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Buhari Administration At 6: Even the blind can see certain things — Adesina

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Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari and his special assistant, Femi Adesina

This day six years ago, Muhammadu Buhari was inaugurated into office as President. One can vividly recall the spectacle as he stood ramrod straight on the dais at Eagle Square, taking the oath of allegiance to Nigeria, and promising to belong to everybody, and to nobody.

Well, as they say, a lot of waters have passed under the bridge since then. Nigeria has seen a lot of good. Lots and lots of it. The country has equally seen the bad. Lots and lots of it. Seen the ugly too. Lots and lots of it. That’s the way life often goes. A mixed bag. Like being out there on the sea, calm and serene at times, tempestuous and rambunctious at other times.

As the Buhari administration clocks six, revisionists will want to paint just a picture of woes, thoroughfare of woes. But reality says no. In the words of former British Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill, “Truth is incontrovertible. Ignorance may deride it, panic may resent it, malice may destroy it, but there it is.”

No doubt, Nigeria faces a lot of challenges, particularly in the areas of security and the economy. And it has affected the quality of lives of the people. Will we pull back? Yes, we are pulling back already, and our country is being retrieved. Soon, we will arrive Canaan, flowing with milk and honey.

President Buhari inherited a land that was badly riven, a boat filled with holes, and taking in water massively. He struggled, and stabilized the craft. Things got better, as the battle was taken to the enemies of the country. Then, suddenly, it got worse again. If insurgency was the main problem, banditry joined. Kidnapping for ransom threw its hat into the ring. Murders, mayhem, cult killings, violent criminalities, all joined, till it began to seem that nothing else was happening in the land, except killings, and more killings. True? False.

Despite the overwhelming nature of security challenges, the Muhammadu Buhari administration is taking some giant strides that make one believe that happier days lay ahead of the country. But that is for those who choose to see the bright, and not perpetually gloomy side of things.

A Fact Sheet has been released by the media office of the President, chronicling some of the achievements of the government in the past six years. And it is still work in progress, with two more years to go.

Before it breasts the tape, the Administration will lay the security challenges to rest. Peace and calm will return to this country, from north to south, east to west. And what will easily pedestal this government among the greats (in fact, greatest) are strides in infrastructure. The deficits in infrastructure would have been significantly reversed, and such is evident even now.

Join me on a voyage of discovery, and we’ll have things to see. The blind would see it, and the deaf would hear. Come on, let’s go.

*Some achievements in the area of rail development:
– 156km Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge Rail set for commissioning
– 327km Itakpe-Warri Standard Gauge Rail completed and commissioned 33 years after construction began.
– Abuja Light Rail completed in 2018.
– Ground-breaking done for construction of Kano-Maradi Standard Gauge Rail, and revamp of Port-Harcourt-Maiduguri Narrow Gauge Rail.
– Financing negotiations ongoing for Ibadan-Kano Standard Gauge Rail project

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ROADS
– Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF), investing over a billion dollars in three flagship projects: Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Second Niger Bridge, Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Expressway.
– Executive Order 7 mobilizing private investment into the development of key roads and bridges like Bodo-Bonny in Rivers and Apapa-Oshodi-Oworonshoki-Ojota in Lagos
– Highway Development and Management Initiative (HDMI), a public-private partnership program to mobilise, in its first Phase, over a Trillion Naira in private investment into the development and maintenance of 12 Roads, amounting to 1,963km in length.
– More than 360 billion Naira worth of Sukuk Bonds raised since 2017 for dozens of critical road projects across all six geopolitical zones.

PORTS
– Completion of New Terminals for International Airports in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt
– Construction of New Runway for Abuja and Enugu International Airports
– Presidential approval for four International Airports as Special Economic Zones: Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Port Harcourt.
– Approval for new private-sector funded deep sea ports: Lekki Deep Sea Port (Construction already well underway, for completion in 2022); Bonny Deep Sea Port (Ground-breaking done in March 2021); Ibom Deep Sea Port; and Warri Deep Sea Port
– Development of capacity at the Eastern Ports:
*In December 2017, Calabar Port commenced export of bulk cement to Tema Port in Ghana
*In 2019, three container ships berthed at Calabar Port, for the first time in eleven years
*Dredging of Warri Port (Escravos Bar—Warri Port channel) completed in 2018
*On October 30, 2019, an LPG Tanker operated by NLNG, berthed in Port Harcourt – the first time ever an LPG ship berthed in any of the Eastern Ports
*On December 8, 2019, Onne Port received JPO VOLANS (owned by Maersk), the FIRST gearless and largest container vessel (265.07 metres) to call at any Eastern Port in Nigeria.
*On August 1, 2019, Onne Port’s Brawal Terminal received MSC GRACE, its first container vessel since 2012.

POWER
Energizing Education Programme: Taking clean and reliable energy (Solar and Gas) to Federal Universities and Teaching Hospitals across the country. Four Universities completed and commissioned already: BUK (Kano), FUNAI (Ebonyi), ATBU (Bauchi) and FUPRE (Delta); others ongoing.
Energizing Economies Programme: Taking clean and reliable energy (Solar and Gas) to markets across the country. Completed projects include Sabon-Gari Market in Kano, Ariaria Market in Aba, and Sura Shopping Complex in Lagos.
National Mass Metering Programme: Nationwide rollout of electricity meters to all on-grid consumers, launched in August 2020. The Central Bank of Nigeria is providing 60 billion Naira for the first phase, with a target of 1 million meter installations. So far more than 500,000 meters have been delivered to the Discos, and more than 280,000 installed.
Solar Power Naija: Launched in April 2021 to deliver 5 million off-grid solar connections to Nigerian households. The program is expected to generate an additional N7 billion increase in tax revenues per annum and $10 million in annual import substitution. In May 2021, the Rural Electrification Agency announced the planned deployment of solar-powered grids to 200 Primary Health Centres (PHC) and 104 Unity Schools nationwide.
Presidential Power Initiative (PPI), aka Siemens Power Program: A Government-to-Government initiative involving the Governments of Nigeria and Germany, and Siemens AG of Germany, to upgrade and modernize Nigeria’s electricity grid. Contract for the pre-engineering phase of the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI) was signed in February 2021, following the 2020 approval for the payment of FGN’s counterpart funding for that phase.
Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP) has provided grants for the deployment of 200,000 Solar Home Systems, impacting one million Nigerians. The NEP is also delivering mini-grids across the country.

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HOUSING
– The Family Homes Fund Limited (FHFL), incorporated by the Federal Government of Nigeria in September 2016, is the implementing agency for the Buhari Administration’s National Social Housing scheme.
– More than two thousand (2,000) hectares of land with titled documents have been given by 24 States for the Buhari administration’s Social Housing programme, with the capacity to accommodate about 65,000 new homes.
– Under the National Social Housing programme, Nigerians will be given at least a 15-year period with a monthly payment at 6 percent interest rate, to pay for each housing unit. The Central Bank of Nigeria is providing a N200 Billion financing facility, with a guarantee by the FGN.

OIL AND GAS
The Buhari Administration has declared this decade the “Decade of Gas.”
– Ground-breaking on 614km Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano Gas Project.
– Successful completion of Nigeria’s first Marginal Field Bid Round in almost 20 years, expected to raise in excess of half a billion dollars, and open up a new vista of investment in oil and gas.
– Launch of National LPG Expansion Programme (including Removal of VAT from the domestic pricing of LPG)
– Financial close and signing of contract for NLNG Train 7, which will grow Nigeria’s production capacity by about 35%
– Nigeria and Morocco have in 2021 signed an agreement to develop a US$1.4 billion multipurpose industrial platform (Ammonia and Di-Ammonium Phosphate production plants) that will utilize Nigerian gas and Moroccan phosphate to produce 750,000 tons of ammonia and 1 million tons of phosphate fertilizers annually by 2025. It will be located in Ikot-Abasi, Akwa-Ibom State.
– Commissioning, in December 2020, of the new NPDC Integrated Gas Handling Facility in Edo State, the largest onshore LPG plant in the country, with a processing capacity of 100 million standard cubic feet of gas daily, producing 330 tonnes of LPG, 345 tonnes of propane and 2,600 barrels of condensate, daily.
– Establishment of a $350m Nigerian Content Intervention Fund, to finance manufacturing, contracts and assets in the oil and gas industry
– Financial Close on the following NNPC-involved projects:
*A 10,000 tonnes per day methanol plant and a 500 million standard cubic feet per day gas processing plant, in Odeama, Brass, Bayelsa State.
*The ANOH gas processing plant, with a processing capacity of 300 million standard cubic feet of gas, in Imo State. It is a Joint Venture between Seplat Petroleum Development Company and the Nigerian Gas Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). It also has the potential to deliver 1,200MW of power when completed.
*Comprehensive Rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt Refinery (PHRC). Sign-off Ceremony of Engineering, Procurement & Construction (EPC) Contract held in April 2021, marking the commencement of site handover and full mobilization to site.
– Policy, Regulatory and Funding Support for the establishment of Modular Refineries across the Niger Delta. When the Administration took office in 2015 Nigeria had only one functioning Modular Refinery. Today there are at least six ongoing brownfield and greenfield Modular Refinery Projects across the Niger Delta. In 2020 President Buhari commissioned the first phase of the Waltersmith Modular Refinery, in Imo State.
– Launch of the Nigerian Upstream Cost Optimization Programme (NUCOP), to reduce operating expenses through process enhancement and industry collaboration.

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AGRICULTURE
– Anchor Borrowers Program (ABP): The Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) of the Central Bank of Nigeria, launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on November 17, 2015, has made more than 300 billion Naira available to more than 3.1 million smallholder farmers of 21 different commodities (including Rice, Wheat, Maize, Cotton, Cassava, Poultry, Soy Beans, Groundnut, Fish), cultivating over 3.8 million hectares of farmland.
– Presidential Fertilizer Initiative: Launched as a government-to-government partnership between the Nigerian and Moroccan Governments, in December 2016, the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI) produced ~12million 50kg bags of NPK 20:10:10 equivalent in 2020, bringing total production since inception to over 30 million 50kg bags equivalent; and number of participating blending plants increased to 44 from three at inception.
– Special-Agro Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) Programme: A partnership between FGN, AfDB Group, and other stakeholders including IFAD and BOI. Under the SAPZ programme, agro-processing centres will be established across the country. The agro-processing centres will be provided with basic infrastructure such as water, electricity and roads as well as facilities for skills training. Seven (7) States and the FCT selected for the pilot phase, due to commence 2021: Ogun, Oyo, Imo, Cross River, Kano, Kaduna, Kwara.
– The Green Imperative – a Nigeria-Brazil Agricultural Mechanisation Programme aimed at boosting agricultural production in Nigeria. The National Assembly has approved a loan for the financing of the program, which will involve the development of 632 privately-operated primary production (mechanisation) Service Centers and 142 Agro processing (value addition) service Centres across the 774 LGAs, and the reactivation of 6 privately owned partially-operational or moribund tractor assembly plants nationwide. It will also train 100,000 new extension workers.

These are just teeny-weeny bits of what the Buhari government has done in these spheres of national life. Others abound. Yet you hear some people say: we don’t know what they are doing. We don’t see it. Really? Except one chooses to be willfully blind, and willfully deaf, these achievements are evident, and speak for themselves. They are also trumpeted by different organs of government. And as it is said, there’s more where that came from. Wonders will still be seen in the remaining two years of this Administration.

*Adesina is Special Advisr on Media and Publicity to President Buhari

Opinion

Opinion: Kanu’s trial is supposed to be opposed, not monitored

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Nnamdi Kanu, rights activist and leader of the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB)

Lately, some individuals and civic groups have, in some show of support for Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, indicated that they will ‘monitor’ his trial. In the same vein, some have also called for a fair trial. Fair trial of what? Illegality in high places?

While it’s commendable that Kanu has attracted such avalanche of support across the spectrum, it’s important to make it clear from the outset that there won’t be any trial to monitor. None. Nnamdi Kanu cannot be tried on the basis of this extraordinary rendition that brought him in Nigeria.

If you truly support Kanu, you don’t need to monitor his trial or ensure he gets a fair trial. What you need to do is to oppose his trial. Saying that you will monitor his trial gives the impression of bestowing legality to the illegality that brought him to Nigeria.

To better understand how Kanu ended up in Nigeria and why he won’t face trial, you need to juxtapose it to what happened to Umaru Dikko in 1984 and it’s aftermaths. Dikko’s kidnapping was, like this one of Kanu, a brazen act of attempted rendition, which is a State crime under international law and it comes with dire consequences – legal, diplomatic and political.

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Though the kidnapping of Dikko failed, it brought the following consequences: Britain swiftly arrested seventeen people, four were convicted and they served between six to eight years in prison. Britain expelled the Nigerian High Commissioner and broke diplomatic relations with Nigeria for 2 years. And most tellingly, Nigeria’s subsequent requests to Britain to extradite Dikko and others were summarily denied.

All these were done even as Dikko was not a citizen of Britain but a mere resident. Conversely, Kanu is a bonafide citizen of Britain, traveling on a British passport when he was unlawfully renditioned to Nigeria from Kenya. That should counter for more countervailing measures.

What this means is that, apart from answering to its conscience as a nation, Nigeria shall ultimately answer to Britain, to the international community and even to Kenya if Kenya succeeds in denying official complicity in the rendition.

A nation does not go to jail. So, when I stated that Nigeria will answer for the rendition, it means a mix of consequences, some of which are already unfolding. The easiest one to see is that Nigeria has, by her own hands, lost its jurisdiction to subject Kanu to trial. In sporting terms, you can say that Nigeria scored an own goal.

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How that own goal was scored and its fallouts is a complex legal subject that will certainly be ventilated in court and within the diplomatic circles to which Nigeria is subject. But one thing that is clear is this: No valid prosecutorial or judicial action can proceed from such a manifestly criminal conduct by a State.

So, when you say you will be monitoring Kanu’s trial or that you want a fair trial for him, you are unwittingly buying into a grievous crime that should shock your conscience. Put another way, you will be making yourself complicit in what was done to Kanu or as lawyers would say: you’re making yourself an accessory after the fact.

Conversely, it would be a great thing to say that you will monitor the trial if Kanu’s presence in Nigeria was compliant with due process. That due is nothing but what is generally known as extradition.

Extradition is the only valid means of surrendering an international fugitive from one country to the other. That’s why Nigeria was punished for daring to kidnap Dikko. There’s no reason to think that Kanu’s case will be different.

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Nigeria has an extradition statute which is known as the Extradition Act. Kenya has a similar law but with slightly different name. Britain has its own. All three are, in substance, very similar and strict to boot.

What I can tell you for now, assuming you don’t know it already is that Kanu’s rendition will live in infamy because it violated the extradition law of Kenya (the country of abduction), Britain (the country of domicile and citizenship) and even Nigeria (the country of destination).

If you add other municipal and international laws, conventions and protocols to which Nigeria is subject but chose to break just to bring Kanu to Nigeria, you begin to see why you must oppose his trial instead of monitoring it.


Barriater Aloy Ejimakor is the counsel for the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu


 

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Opinion

Apprehension of Biafra Leader Poses Challenges for Nigeria’s Govt

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Nnamdi Kanu, rights activist and leader of the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB).

Nigerian Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami announced yesterday that Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the separatist Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), was apprehended abroad on June 27 and has been returned to Nigeria for trial. Kanu poses a challenge to the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and, indeed, to the unity of Nigeria. Separatist sentiment in the South East—the heart of the former Biafra—has been growing, and Kanu appears to have some degree of popular support. If the government botches Kanu’s trial and the atmospherics around it, it risks further inflaming separatism. Initial signs are not good.

The government has not announced where abroad or how Kanu was apprehended, except to say that it was with the assistance of Interpol. Kanu is a British citizen and his headquarters has been in London. One source says that he was apprehended in the United Kingdom, but British authorities deny it. It seems inevitable that social media will include claims that he was kidnapped. For his initial court appearance, the security services allegedly blindfolded him, handcuffed him, chained his legs, and smuggled him in through the back door. He made no statement.

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Kanu was arrested in 2015 on numerous charges, including treason; he was released on bail in 2017 and then fled abroad. Since then, he has been a thorn in the side of the Buhari government, and his Radio Biafra, based in the United Kingdom, continues to advocate for Biafran independence. He is the leader of the IPOB which the Nigerian government has designated a terrorist organization. He also helped establish IPOB’s armed wing, the Eastern Security Network, which has attacked police stations. In addition to pushing for Biafran independence, Kanu’s rhetoric is bitterly hostile to Hausa-Fulani Muslims, especially herders moving south in search of pasture. He and other Biafra separatists denounce the Buhari government as Muslim and Fulani dominated.

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For its part, President Buhari’s government has long reacted viscerally to Biafran separatism. Buhari and his generation fought in the 1967-70 civil war against Biafran separatism. They were successful, but up to two million died in the conflict, mostly of disease and starvation. Biafra was quickly reincorporated into Nigeria, but many Igbos retain a sense of grievance.

In the face of current rampant insecurity in Nigeria and a stalled or declining economy, separatist sentiment has been growing in the South East (Biafra) but also in Yorubaland. Removing Kanu from the picture is unlikely to set back Biafran separatism, just as the death of warlord Abubakar Shekau does not appear to have set back jihadi terrorism in the North East. Indeed, Kanu’s jailing could provide the space for other Biafran separatist leaders to emerge.

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