PDP demands Defence Minister’s sack

By Gbade Ogunwale, Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has demanded for the immediate sack of the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd) for asking unarmed Nigerians to defend themselves against aggression by armed bandits and terrorists.
The party described the Minister’s call as reckless, irresponsible and an indication that the Buhari administration has abdicated its statutory duties of protecting Nigerians.
Speaking to journalists on the sidelines during the screening of the newly appointed Service Chiefs on Wednesday, the Minister had asked Nigerians to “stand and face” the armed bandits.
Stating that security issue should not be the responsibility of the military alone, the Minister had charged Nigerians to stop acting like cowards when confronted by armed criminals.
The Minister, while commenting on the killing of a pupil and abduction of 27 others at a secondary school at Kagara, Niger state the by armed bandits, said it’s a surprise to him that Nigerians often took to their heels on hearing gunshots fired by bandits who sometimes strike with “only three rounds of ammunition”.
But in a statement on Wednesday by the spokesman for the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party described the Minister’s statements as reckless, irresponsible and a confirmation that the Buhari administration has surrendered to outlaws and has no determination to fight them.

“It is unthinkable that a government would describe unarmed victims of armed aggression of terrorists and bandits as “cowards” while those who were elected and given the necessary resources to defend them recede in the comfort and safety of their offices in Abuja.
“Such disposition to security; a statutory responsibility of government, goes to validate apprehensions that our nation is indeed descending to a failed state under the Buhari Presidency, where government can no longer perform its duties while unarmed citizens are left to confront bandits and warlords,” the PDP said.
The party noted that given the silence by the Presidency over the comments, the Minister actually spoke the mind of the President and his security architecture
It added that the Minster’s position further explained why the administration has remained complacent in the fight against terrorism and banditry in the country.
The PDP said: “Such statement by the Buhari administration, at the time it ought to be scaling up its security strategies to guarantee the safety of all Nigerians, have been emboldening bandits, terrorists and kidnappers to escalate their acts atrocities against our compatriots.
“Moreover, with such disposition, the Buhari administration is creating a lucrative job for bandits, terrorists and kidnappers who are settled with huge ransom instead of being faced with firepower.
“Our party however urges Nigerians not to despair at this moment but brace up as it has become obvious that we are now in a despondent situation where government has shown that it can no longer defend the citizens”.

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PDP demands Defence Minister’s sack – Oamen Eromosele – 2021-02-18 17:23:51

Mohammed Mijindadi appointed President for General Electric in Nigeria

General Electric (GE) has announced the appointment of Mohammed Mijindadi as President of GE Nigeria.
In this role, Mr Mijindadi will focus on strengthening GE’s impact in Nigeria, building strong stakeholder relationships across Power, Healthcare, Aviation and Renewable Energy sectors, and supporting the businesses to develop and execute the market strategy.
Mr Mijindadi brings over 20 years of deep domain experience as well as global and regional leadership expertise. He has been with GE for the last 13 years in the various commercial country and regional leadership business roles.
A graduate of the GE Experienced Commercial Leadership Program (ECLP), Mr Mijindadi has progressed through varied, complex assignments including Commercial Excellence Leader, Strategic Sourcing Leader and Business Development. Prior to joining GE, Mohammed worked in several US multinationals in the transportation, services, construction, and entertainment industries.
Commenting on the appointment, Jaime Morais, President, GE West & Central Africa said, “We are privileged to have Mohammed take up the leadership of GE in Nigeria. His track record of building and managing relationships as well as pushing to deliver business results will serve us well as we position to support our businesses for growth, transformation and operational performance in such an important and high priority market.”
“With a growing population and huge infrastructure needs, Nigeria continues to represent a significant market opportunity for GE, and I am excited to take on this challenge to drive GE’s growth in Nigeria, building on its 120 plus years of impact on the continent. I’m looking forward to working across our businesses in Power, Healthcare, Renewable Energy and Aviation to create value for the country, our customers and our team on critical themes such as decarbonization and digitalization, as we rise to the challenge of building a world that works,” Mr Mijindadi said.
Mr Mijindadi serves on the boards of GE international Operations Nigeria (GEION) and GE FZE entities in addition to other external boards. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree (BSc.) in Civil Engineering from Temple University in Philadelphia and an M.B.A in Marketing and Strategic Leadership from Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) in State College, PA.
GE has been operating in Nigeria for over 40 years, with businesses spanning across key sectors including, power, healthcare, aviation, and renewables.
Today, GE provides gas power technology, services and solutions in the country. “Our Healthcare solutions are improving access and quality of care across the country in public and private healthcare centres, while our Renewables and Grid Solutions business is providing reliable and affordable green power as well as complete, engineered solutions for power generation companies, utilities, and industries,” the company said.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of GE.

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Mohammed Mijindadi appointed President for General Electric in Nigeria – Press Release – 2021-02-11 14:28:33

Covid-19: FG must rethink financing of the healthcare sector – Fayemi

Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Governor of Ekiti State and Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum has disclosed that for Nigeria to rebuild post-Covid, the country must move to a more impactful sustainable health care plan.The Governor disclosed this on Tuesday after his lecture titled, “The role of Nigeria’s state governments in recovery: responses to COVID-19 linked challenges’’ at the Chatham House Event, London, United Kingdom. He added that the NGF is working with the FG to ensure Nigerians have access to the vaccines.Fayemi stated that the FG must focus on healthcare to ensure a better economic rebuild.“We must ask ourselves and rethink on existing assumptions and facts around financing and delivery of health care in a manner that guarantees we build back better.“This requires adequate funding of the health sector. We have begun to advocate for increased investment in health security and public health emergencies by State Governments,” he said.He disclosed that his Ekiti State increased the capital budget for health by 250% due to the pandemic, and proposed that states establish their own Centres for Disease Control.“In Ekiti State, for example, our capital budget for health in 2021 increased by 250%  above 2020 figures.“Our new four-year strategy for the health sector has public health security as a major priority.“At the NGF, we are recommending that states begin to think about establishing their own Centres for Disease Control,” he said.He also said that Nigeria now has a National Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS) which includes a multi-sectorial approach to prepare for and respond to disease outbreaks.The Governor revealed that Covid-19 is the biggest lesson for Nigeria as it affected every area of the economy, adding that all sectors have a duty to contribute to public health.“The COVID-19 pandemic is perhaps our biggest lesson around this, as the pandemic has affected all spheres of the economy.“Every sector must now contribute to ensuring health security and this is not limited to the provision of funds alone.“Many of the determinants of health are outside the health sector, and so we must have multi-sectoral leadership and response to public health emergencies,” Fayemi said.On the Central BankThe Governor praised the Central Bank of Nigeria for its intervention policies to the states and for its role in ensuring states grow back to pre-pandemic levels.“Intervention funds have been made available with interest rates below inflation, with the hope that we can stimulate the growth of small and medium scale businesses.“Similarly, institutions such as the Bank of Industry and Bank of Agriculture have also given moratoriums on existing loans to ease the burden of payment,” he said.What you should know Nairametrics reported this week that the Nigerian government expects about 41 million vaccines from the African Union before the end of April, as it also expects to source vaccines from India and Russia.This was disclosed by the head of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib.President Muhammadu Buhari also signed the COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations 2021 policy, citing powers conferred to the Presidency, by Section 4 of the Quarantine Act, Cap. Q2 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2010.Six States, Lagos, FCT, Plateau, Kaduna, Oyo, and Rivers, have contributed 70% of confirmed cases, with Lagos, the commercial nerve of the country, contributing about 40% of the total burden. Data indicates that men appear to be disproportionately affected, accounting for 69% of the confirmed cases. Most cases occur in people aged 31-40 years.Fayemi also stated that Nigeria expects about 80 million doses of vaccines to be made available in 2021 to cover 40% of the population, while another 60 million doses are to be delivered ahead of 2022.

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Covid-19: FG must rethink financing of the healthcare sector – Fayemi – William Ukpe – 2021-02-03 11:34:08

Telecom stocks reach record high, Nigerian stock market value hit N22 trillion

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has announced the disbursement of $250 million as part of its support for Trans Niger Oil and Gas Ltd (TNOG) to acquire 45 per cent stake in Oil Mining Lease (OML) 17 onshore oilfield.The fund is part of the $1.1 billion which is required by the oil firm for the acquisition of the 45% stake in the oilfield in which the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) holds 55% equity in the Lease.According to a press statement from Afreximbank, the $250 million Reserve Based Lending facility, is the largest amount to be disbursed for this purpose, underwriting about a quarter of the financing that enabled TNOG to acquire stakes in OML 17 from Shell Petroleum Development Company, Total E & P Nigeria Limited and ENI.The statement noted that other participating lenders in the consortium include African Finance Corporation, Union Bank, Shell, Hybrid Capital and Schlumberger with TNOG advised by United Capital Plc.Other participating lenders are Africa Finance Corporation, Union Bank, Shell, Hybrid Capital and Schlumberger, with United Capital Plc. advising TNOG.TNOG is a related company of Heirs Holdings Limited and Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc (Transcorp), a leading African conglomerate with interests in banking, insurance, real estate, hospitality and powerAfreximbank in its statement said, “The five-year US$1.1-billion-dollar facility, which was signed in December 2020, despite the economic headwinds caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, was led, as Mandated Lead Arrangers, by Afreximbank, Standard Chartered Bank and ABSA.“Following this acquisition, TNOG will now operate the OML 17 onshore oilfield on behalf of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, which owns the remaining 55% working interest,’’ the statement added.What the President of Afreximbank is sayingProf. Benedict Oramah, in his statement, said, “This transaction further underscores Afreximbank’s commitment to ensuring that indigenous African companies are able to play a more dominant role in the operations of specialized oil and gas assets in an industry hitherto dominated by the International Oil Companies.‘’ TNOG as the Operator of OML 17 will invest in an accelerated production ramp up thereby boosting foreign exchange earnings and employing more Africans. This resonates with our mandate. We congratulate Heirs Holdings for keeping the Africa flag flying.”What the Chairman of Heirs Holdings is sayingThe Chairman of Heirs Holdings and Transcorp Group, Tony Elumelu was quoted as saying, ‘’The transaction is a testament to the opportunity in Nigeria. Our acquisition of OML 17 and important related assets, significantly advances Heirs Holdings’ strategic vision of creating Africa’s leading integrated energy company. ‘’We are building a business that will ensure that African natural resources drive African power networks and ensure value creation occurs in Africa. I would like to take the opportunity to thank Afreximbank, and President Oramah for their strong support and shared vision of the transaction.”What you should knowNairametrics had about 2 weeks ago reported the acquisition of 45% stake in OML 17 from Shell, Total and ENI by Heirs Holding through TNOG Oil and Gas Limited as part of its bid to expand its oil and gas portfolio.TNOG which is a sister company of Heirs Holdings Ltd. and Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc will have the sole operatorship of the asset in a transaction that is reported to be one of the largest oil and gas financings in Africa in over a decade.

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Telecom stocks reach record high, Nigerian stock market value hit N22 trillion – Olumide Adesina – 2021-01-27 18:59:56

Tunde Ayeni Accuses Okunbo of Stealing, Criminal Diversion of Millions of Dollars

OMS: He is a Meddlesome Interloper Seeking to Blackmail Okunbo for Financial Benefit
Tobi Soniyi
A former chairman of the defunct Skye Bank (now Polaris Bank), Mr Tunde Ayeni, has dragged his business partner, Captain Hosa Okunbo, to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged mismanagement, stealing and diversion of funds from their company – Ocean Marine Security Limited. In the petition written by his counsel, Mr Femi Fálànà (SAN), Ayeni gave a vivid account of how Okunbo tried to scheme him out of the company.

Ayeni said he had since discovered “a lot of stealing and diversion as well as gross mismanagement of large sums of money belonging to the company.”
However, in a swift reaction to the multitude of allegations against Okunbo and OMS, via press statement obtained by THISDAY yesterday night, the Management of OMS categorically stated that Dr Ayeni was no longer a part of either OMS or its associated companies as he resigned since in 2018 after selling all his shares. The press state reads in part: “The attention of the Board of Ocean Marine Solutions Limited (OMS) has been drawn to several petitions written to various Government Agencies and widely circulated online, written, authored and orchestrated by Dr. Olatunde John Ayeni, a former Director and shareholder of OMS.”
The statement went on to describe Ayeni as “a meddlesome interloper seeking to blackmail Okunbo at this time of his ill-heath for Financial Benefit.”On his part, businessman and politician, Prince Ned Nwoko, has dismissed allegations in the Tunde Ayeni’s petition, that he (Nwoko) received the sum of $6,000,000 (Six Million Dollars) from him and Captain Idahosa Okunbo, in a business deal with Ocean Marine Solutions (OMS) Limited, over which he allegedly promised to pay the company the sum of $30,000,000 (Thirty Million Dollars).
Mr. Ayeni’s petitioner alleged that sometime in 2007, himself, Okunbo, Joe Aikhomu, represented by his father, Admiral Augustus Aikhomu, and Gareth Dooley came together to form a company called Ocean Marine Security Limited. He said the company later changed its name to Ocean Marine Solutions Limited.According to him, Okunbo holds 46 per cent shares in the company, he, Ayeni, holds 35 per cent, Dooley holds 14 per cent, while Aikhomu held five per cent.
Ayeni said himself and Okunbo acquired Aikhomu’s shares after his demise. After his death, Aikhomu, who was the founding chairman, was replaced by Okunbo as chairman.
Ayeni said the company incorporated four other subsidiaries and invested in Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company as well as Yola Electricity Distribution Company.
Trouble started when in 2016 the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) took over Skye Bank Plc, now Polaris Bank Limited. Following the take over, the new management of the bank wrote a petition against the management of the bank under Ayeni.
Charges were filed against him at both at the Federal High Court and the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja.In the petition Falana stated, “Our client became very distracted from the day to day operations of the company because of an almost daily requirement of his presence at either the EFCC, the offices of his lawyers and the courts.
“During this period, the company had a payment challenge from the CBN as it also works for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and its subsidiary NPDC as a result of which some of the payments are denominated in United States Dollars and as such the payments come through the CBN.”
Ayeni said Okunbo attributed difficulties in the payment of the invoices to his (Ayeni’s) prosecution by the EFCC.
In order to shield the company from the effect of his prosecution, Ayeni said Okunbo persuaded him to step aside from the company and its subsidiaries and handover to him to enable him protect income sources of the company.Ayeni said he agreed to the suggestion because he trusted Okunbo, only for the latter to turn around and say Ayeni’s shares had been sold tThe petitioner alleged that at no time did he discuss the actual sale of his interest in the company or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates with Okunbo. He said he no longer received emails and briefings from the company in respect of the businesses and finances but continued to receive his monthly allowances of $350,000 and $25,000 for his wife.However, Ayeni alleged that the allowances were stopped in September 2020 because of irreconcilable differences bordering on financial impropriety by Okunbo. the petition said.
When our client confronted Okunbo he had no defence whatsoever but claimed that he had bought our client out of the company and he cannot complain.”Ayeni also narrated how Okunbo introduced one Mr Nedd Nwoko to the company.
Nwoko said he had a contract with the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) in respect of the Paris Club refund and that his fee was 20 per cent, Ayeni alleged.He said Nwoko asked the company to fund the transaction process for him, which he put at $5 million, and proposed to pay the company at success the sum of $30 million.
Ayeni said Okunbo funded Nwoko at various times to the tune of $6million.He said, “Captain Okunbo claimed that only $4.5 million was paid which was less than the money given to Nedd Nwoko because the Nigeria Governors’ Forum reduced his payment and he could not afford the commitment.“Captain Okunbo suggested to our client to accept the money to reduce the pressure from AMCON, which he obliged, as this was the practice in the company – any particular director in need is sometimes advanced sums of money ahead of others.”
Falana further stated in the petition, “Captain Okunbo now claimed that our client is no longer entitled to any share in the company’s revenues because of the N1 billion (utilised in initially settling the EFCC on his behalf) which was part of the $4.5 million paid through him to our client by Nedd Nwoko, which was tied to the agreement our client signed with him to avoid EFCC from closing down the account.”
He explained, “Sometimes in July 2020, one of our client’s partners told him of a discrepancy which had been noticed in the accounting records leading to an unauthorised withdrawal of $10 million and $8 million, respectively.
“Capt. Hosa Okunbo had claimed to them that he had spent the sum to settle a Senate hearing on one of the subsidiary companies, the Secured Anchorage Area (SAA), and that $8 million was spent in the Presidency on the same issue because of the dispute between him and the Ministry of Transport/Nigerian Ports Authority, which our client considers to be unreasonable because the total annual profit achieved on the SAA was about $5 million.
“You will agree with our client that the claim that Capt. Hosa Okunbo spent $18 million on influence peddling without discussing it with our client amounts to diversion as it makes no sense at all. More so, that the story of the amount he claimed to have spent has continued to change by the day from $1 million to $2 million to $4 million to $6 million until he made them to input the records $10 million for the Senate hearing and $8 million for the Presidency.”
Infractions Ayeni accused Okunbo of included moving the company’s accounts from Polaris Bank to Stanbic IBTC and abandoning the loan repayment comment by the company to the consortium of banks that funded the acquisition of Yola and Ibadan Discos.He said, “The loan as at today is about $100 million and no single repayment of interest and principal has been made into the account for over one year and a half.
“Captain Okunbo was a director of the Board of IBEDC until a few months ago when he resigned and replaced himself with his younger brother, Mr. Kingsley Okunbo, but he refused to pay the money meant for the acquisition of the company but he rather has been stealing it and diverting same to his personal use and to fund his political activities in just concluded Edo State governorship election.”
Ayeni also alleged that Okunbo inflated the cost of making a movie on oil spill in the Niger Delta from $7 million to $30 million.
The petition read, “Diversion of the loan of N500m to Gen. Boro the then coordinator of the Niger Delta Amnesty programme. Our client was informed that the money was subsequently repaid to the company through Captain Okunbo and two vehicles were recovered by him. He took possession of it and never paid back to the company.“Captain Okunbo borrowed $2 million from the company and took it to Liberia to fund the current Liberian president’s election. He has refused to pay back to the company.
“Unauthorised sale of the company’s Challenger Aircraft for the sum of $5.5 million and diversion of the money to his personal farm in Benin, which he has refused to pay back to the company.“Captain Okunbo borrowed $1 million from the company account which he refused to pay back to the company.
“The company through Captain Okunbo made available the sum of $5 million to Dr John Abebe for a five per cent share in an oil block with Star Oil. He has refused to provide details of the document of the investment.
“Captain Okunbo has illegally taken unauthorised amounts of money from the company account to fund the just concluded Edo State election without our client’s consent. From preliminary information our client has been informed that he spent about $18 million in this process, as a result of which our client requested a forensic audit of the accounts of the company and the subsidiaries, which Capt. Okunbo had taken full control of.”
Excerpts of OMS Press Statement in Response to Ayeni’s Petition
“The Board of Directors of OMS with a view to setting the records straight and to prevent Government Agencies, Clients of OMS and the general public from been misled by the false stories hereby states as follows:1. That Dr. Olatunde John Ayeni is no longer a Director of OMS and any of its Associated Companies having resigned from OMS since August 2018.
2. That Dr. Olatunde John Ayeni is no longer a shareholder of OMS and its Associated Companies having sold and transferred all his shares and interests to Wells Property Development Company Limited for valuable consideration since 2018.
3. That Dr. Olatunde John Ayeni has not been involved and connected in the management of OMS since 2018 when he resigned from the Board and sold his shares.
4. That Dr. Olatunde John Ayeni became aware in September, 2020 that the Chairman of OMS Capt. (Dr.) Idahosa Wells Okunbo had health issues and was undergoing treatment in London and has since that time started making false claims that he is still a part of OMS.
5. That the Board of OMS has implicit and unshaken confidence in all the steps taken by Capt. (Dr.) Idahosa Wells Okunbo in managing the affairs of the company and the lofty heights to which he has taken the company.
6. The Board commends and appreciates Capt. (Dr.) Idahosa Wells Okunbo for his selfless and personal efforts in managing the affairs of the company and the use of his personal resources in meeting operational financial shortfall in the company.
7. The company states unequivocally that its accounts are in good and correct order and its funds are intact and not missing, misappropriated or otherwise mismanaged.
8. The Board has passed a vote of confidence on Capt. (Dr.) Idahosa Okunbo.9. Dr. Olatunde John Ayeni is a meddlesome interloper who is seeking to blackmail Capt. (Dr.) Idahosa Wells Okunbo at this time of his ill-health for financial benefit.
10. Dr. Olatunde John Ayeni has no interest whatsoever in OMS and its affairs and is hereby advised to steer clear from OMS and its Associated Companies.”
Ned Nwoko Fires Back at Ayeni
In a letter addressed to the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, Nwoko put a lie to Ayeni’s claim, stating that at no point in time “have I had any dealings with Ayeni or Ocean Marine Solutions in whatever capacity.”Describing Ayeni’s assertion as “a malicious statement devoid of truth”, Nwoko expressly stated he has “never received any sum from Ayeni which he purported in his petition and has never played any role whatsoever as it relates to this transaction.”
“All transactions on the subject matter were done directly with Capt. (Dr.) Idahosa Wells Okunbo in his personal capacity to the exclusion of any other party including Ocean Marine Solutions Limited. To suggest otherwise as contained in the said petition is merely a malicious statement devoid of truth.”
Nwoko urged the IGP to yield no credence to the contents of Ayeni’s petition, as he had no clue “as to the nature or extent of my involvement with ALGON,” as he further clarified that that he only met Tunde Ayeni “in connection with ALGONS contract for the supply of Ambulances which were to be funded from the Paris Club refunds (5% of the judgement sum) and this project is still pending for all that I know.”“I am not aware of any payments in connection with this project,” Nwoko stated.
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Tunde Ayeni Accuses Okunbo of Stealing, Criminal Diversion of Millions of Dollars – editor – 2021-01-10 04:22:47

AfDB appoints directors-general, deputy directors-general in regional offices

The African Development Bank Group has announced the appointment of directors-general for the East, Central and Southern Africa regions and deputy general for the East, Central, Northern, Southern and West Africa regions.
Serge N’Guessan, Director General, Central Africa RegionAs Director-General, Central Africa, Mr N’Guessan will drive and ensure the operational efficiency, effectiveness and overall health of the Bank’s portfolio across the Central Africa Region. He will also spearhead regional business development and investment, driving resource mobilization across the countries under his remit and growing the business of the Bank significantly.
Mr N’Guessan, a Canadian citizen, is a professional with over 30 years of experience in international development and portfolio management, who has held important representation roles within the Bank for almost 10 years.
He has been the Deputy Director-General, West Africa, since September 2018, where he built an effective and motivated team, working in the spirit of ¨One Bank¨ and improved the work processes in the Regional Office. Serge has been instrumental over the last 10 years in enhancing policy dialogue, socio-economic reforms, resource mobilization and co-financing capacity, and aid coordination and effectiveness by strengthening the Bank’s collaboration with its technical and financial partners and with the private sector. Serge held the position of Country Manager, Senegal Country Office, from October 2017 to August 2018. He was previously Resident Representative for the Bank’s Office in Togo as of October 2011. He successfully opened, in January 2012, the first Country Office in Togo, a Fragile State, and he managed the operational functions of the Bank in Togo and, since 2013, in Benin.
Mr N’Guessan joined the Bank in 2000 as Senior Architect/Implementation Specialist, in the Human Development Department. He was subsequently assigned to the Governance and Financial Management Department, where he held the positions of Principal Procurement Specialist prior to his appointment as Chief Governance Specialist in 2008.
Before joining the Bank, he managed the International Projects Division of OMIRA Inc., a Canadian Company (1996-2000). Between 1992 and 1996, he was Chief Project Manager of Dirigo Land & Livestock, an American Company based in Denver, Colorado.
Commenting on his appointment, Mr N’Guessan said: “I am very pleased to be able to lead the Bank’s teams and activities in Central Africa (Cameroon, CAR, Congo, DRC, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon,) to accelerate the implementation of the High 5 and President Adesina’s vision reiterated for his second mandate to effectively transform the lives of people in this region in a positive and sustainable way for the development of Africa.”
He holds a Ph.D. in Regional and Urban Planning from the Université de Montréal (Canada), a Master of Architecture from the University of Colorado, of Denver (USA), as well as a Diplôme d’Ingénieur de Génie Civil from École Nationale Supérieure des Travaux Publics of Yamoussoukro (Côte d’Ivoire).
Commenting on the appointment, President Adesina said: “Serge is a seasoned professional with a solid track record. His hands-on experience and his capacity to deliver will be an asset in supporting transformation and integration in the region.”
Nnenna Lily Nwabufo, Director General, East Africa RegionAs Director-General, East Africa, Ms Nwabufo will be responsible for leading and advancing the Bank Group’s strategic objective of achieving significant and transformational developmental impact in thirteen countries in East Africa by ensuring operational efficiency, effectiveness and an overall healthy portfolio in the region. Specifically, she will lead high-level dialogues at country and regional levels and across Bank sector complexes as well as oversee the full implementation and integration of all aspects of the Bank’s work in the region. She will also spearhead regional business development and investment, and foster resource mobilization efforts across the countries in the region to ensure focused growth of the Bank’s sovereign and non-sovereign operations.
A Nigerian citizen, Ms Nwabufo is a versatile and seasoned executive with over 30 years’ professional experience in treasury and financial management, budget programming, planning and performance management, human resource and corporate services management, and country/regional operations.
She joined the Bank’s Treasury Department in 1991 where she worked at different professional levels for over a decade. Subsequently, she took on progressive management level responsibilities including, Manager in the General Services and Procurement Department from March 2007, Director of Programming and Budget Department in January 2013, Acting Director, Human Resource Management Department and Acting Vice President for Corporate Services from May 2015 to May 2016. She was on a special assignment to lead the Bank’s Annual Meetings preparation team from June 2016 until her appointment as Deputy Director-General, East Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office in January 2017. She was appointed the Acting Director-General for the region effective 1st October 2019.Before joining the African Development Bank in August 1991, Ms Nwabufo worked as a Treasury Management Expert in two merchant banks in Nigeria rising to become the Treasury Manager of one of them.
Commenting on her appointment, she said: “I am very pleased to be appointed by President Adesina as the Director-General for the Bank’s East Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office and to support his vision for the continent. I have no doubt that working together with all internal and external stakeholders, we can make a difference and bring much-needed development to East African citizens.”
Ms Nwabufo holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the University of Lagos, Nigeria and a Master of Business Administration from Henley Management College, Henley on Thames, United Kingdom.
Commenting on the appointment, Mr Adesina said: “I am delighted to appoint Nnenna as the Director-General for East Africa. Her vast experience and solid track-record in strategic functions across the Bank attest to her capacity to effectively lead the team to rise up to the development challenges and ensure continued development impact to improve the lives of Africans in the East Africa region.”
Leïla Farah Mokadem, Director General, Southern Africa RegionAs Director-General, Southern Africa, Ms Mokadem will drive high-level dialogue and Bank’s operations, ensuring the Bank operates efficiently, effectively and successfully in the relevant countries, within the region. She will lead and monitor adaptation to specific requirements of individual countries/operations with greater efficiency, cost-effectiveness and value addition in the use of resources, with downstream gains for Regional Member Countries, and the private sector in the Southern Africa Region.

Ms Mokadem, a Tunisian national, is a seasoned professional in International Finance. She has over 25 years of experience with multilateral development banks and international institutions.
She joined the Bank in September 2002 and was appointed as Country Manager for Morocco in 2017. Prior to this appointment, she was the Resident Representative of the Bank in Egypt from 2014 to 2017 and Regional Resident Representative from February 2010 to December 2013, based in Dakar, Senegal. In these capacities, she successfully led the Bank’s strategic engagements and partnerships as well as high-level dialogue and operations.

Prior to her assignments in country offices, Ms Mokadem held the position of Manager, Financial Institutions Division in the Bank’s Private Sector Department at Headquarters, where she designed innovative financial solutions for Africa, including the African SME Guarantee Fund, AfDB Trade Finance Initiative and the Women in Business Initiative. Leila managed multibillion investment portfolios in over 35 African countries, particularly in the private, infrastructure and financial services sectors. Leila also served as Board member at the Ouest African Development Bank (BOAD) and Advans Holding (Microfinance). She is currently serving as alternate Board member of the Afreximbank.
Before joining the Bank, she was long-term fiscal advisor to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from August 1996 to December 1999. She started her career at the Ministry of Economy in Tunisia.
Commenting on her appointment, Ms Mokadem said: “It’s a great opportunity to work under the leadership of President Adesina, supporting his vision and the implementation of Africa’s development agenda while strengthening the Bank’s engagement in the Southern Africa Region.”
She holds a Diploma in Finance from the Institut des Hautes Etudes Commerciales (HEC) of Carthage, Tunisia and a master’s degree in International Trade from the Institute of High-level Management (Institut Supérieur de Gestion), Tunisia.
Commenting on the appointment, Mr Adesina said: “For my second term as President of the African Development Bank, I have prioritized the support, stabilization and strengthening of African economies to get back on a stronger pathway of economic growth and resilience. Leila will support my vision and drive to build a stronger development impact of Bank’s operations and advisory support in Southern Africa Region. She is a highly respected professional, with a solid track record in leading Bank’s strategic engagements in our Regional Members Countries.”
Solomane Koné, Deputy Director-General, Central Africa RegionMr Kone, a national of Côte d’Ivoire, has been Acting Director-General for the Central Africa Region since January 2020, as well as Country Manager for the African Development Bank’s Office in Cameroon. In these capacities, he was involved in high-level strategic country and regional dialogue with different stakeholders, governments, and other development partners, including co-financing arrangements and donor coordination particularly in the context of the Regional Economic and Financial Reform Program of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (PREF-CEMAC). He helped to grow the Bank’s business and supervise the performance of the portfolio in Cameroon, which is the largest in Central Africa (35 operations for about USD 3.1 billion).
Mr Kone joined the Bank in January 2003 as a Country Economist in the Central Africa Region, before moving to the West Africa Region and the Governance Department. He later on held several senior and managerial positions such as Lead Economist for the Regional Department East 2, from November 2009 – July 2012, Acting Regional Director for OREB from July 2012 – October 2013, Advisor to the Vice-President Country and Regional Programs (ORVP) and Regional Development, Integration and Business Delivery (RDVP) from November 2013 – September 2017.
Prior to joining the Bank, he had accumulated more than 10 years of relevant research, strategic and policy analysis experience as a lead consultant, researcher and policy analyst in various academic, national and international institutions, including Cornell University Food and Nutrition Policy Program, the Ivorian Center for Economic and Social Research, the ILO, the OECD Development Centre, and the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO), where he was instrumental in developing forecasting, simulation and econometric models to guide macroeconomic and monetary policy and regional programs in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). He authored and co-authored numerous publications and reports on regional development, industrial policy, the impact of fiscal and monetary policy, the adequate level of foreign reserves, as well as poverty analysis using Social Accounting Matrix. He has also taught high-level macroeconomic policies, econometrics and quantitative methods at West African Center for Banking and Financial Studies of BCEAO and Cornell University.
Commenting on his appointment, Mr Kone said: “I am honored by this mark of confidence from President Adesina. I am determined to help provide the necessary leadership on the ground for the delivery of his vision and ambition at this critical time for our economies.”

He holds a master’s degree in regional planning and a PhD in Development Economics and Planning from Cornell University in the United States, obtained in 1990 and 1993 respectively.
Commenting on the appointment, President Adesina said: “Solomane is a seasoned economist and well-respected professional, with a deep knowledge and experience in developing and managing regional and country strategies and operations. His experience as Country Manager and his track record in building partnerships and providing leadership will be critical in the transformation agenda of the Bank in the region.”
Abdul B. Kamara, Deputy Director-General, East Africa RegionMr Kamara, a citizen of Sierra Leone, is currently the African Development Bank Group’s Country Manager for the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.
Mr Kamara is a development economist with over two decades of experience in development policy research, development financing and policy work on Africa’s economic transformation and development. He has worked as a joint Research Associate of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Washington DC and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Addis Ababa (1997–1999), and as Assistant Professor at the University of Göttingen, Germany (1999–2000).
He joined the Bank in 2004 and has served as Senior Agricultural Economist (2004–2007); as Manager of the Research Division (2007–2010), and for seven years as Resident Representative for Sudan (2011–2017) where he was also responsible for South Sudan until 2013. He was Assistant Secretary-General at the United Nations for one year (2014–2015), serving as Deputy Joint Special Representative of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in charge of the Darfur Mission. In 2017, President Adesina appointed him as Country Manager for Ethiopia, where he currently manages the Bank’s USD1.63 billion portfolio.
Commenting on his appointment, he said: “I am delighted to take this responsibility, entrusted in me by President Adesina, to serve as Deputy Director-General in a region I am very versed with, having served the Bank effectively for the past 10 years in this region.”
Mr Kamara holds a Bachelor of Science (Vordiplom) in Agriculture General and an MSc (cum laude) in Agricultural Economics, both from the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart, Germany, and an award-winning PhD (cum laude) in Agricultural and Development Economics from the University of Göttingen in Germany.
Commenting on the appointment, President Adesina said: “Abdul is a well-rounded professional with valuable policy, research and operational experiences suitable for this role. His in-depth knowledge of the region and solid track record of superior field-level delivery and excellent managerial skills will help the Bank accelerate delivery on its vision and mandate in East Africa.”
Malinne Blomberg, Deputy Director-General, North Africa RegionMs Blomberg, a Swedish citizen, is a seasoned finance professional with solid experience in developing strategies, providing advisory services, and executing operations for results in both the public and private sectors.
She has over 15 years of experience in development finance, gained largely from serving the Bank since 2008 when she joined the Water and Sanitation Department as Financial Management Specialist and later was in charge of its Division covering West and Central Africa. In-between she also worked in the Agriculture and Agribusiness Department, focusing on climate finance. She brings extensive hands-on experience from working across the continent including fragile states, in terms of business development and dialogue, resources mobilization, identifying and structuring innovative investment projects and other initiatives, as well as promoting private sector participation with a focus on infrastructure sectors.
She is currently the Bank’s Country Manager for Egypt, where she has been leading the Bank’s operations since 2017.
Before joining the Bank, Ms Blomberg worked for Arthur Andersen Business Consulting in the UK and on assignments in other financial hubs of the world as Manager in the Financial Services Industry up to 2001. From 2003 to 2007, she served as Financial and Institutional Advisor in the Government of Uganda, in the Ministry of Water and Environment, supporting national efforts to strengthen institutional effectiveness and fund utilization, and managing the ministry’s multi-donor trust funds.
Commenting on her appointment, she said: “I am very grateful for this expanded mandate that allows me to deepen the Bank’s partnership with its clients and expand operations across North Africa – a region with tremendous opportunities that is undergoing fast-paced transformation.”
She holds an MBA from IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland and an MSc in Economic and International Business from University of Linköping, Sweden.
Commenting on the appointment, Mr Adesina said: “During my second term as President of the African Development Bank, I will continue to strengthen the Bank’s delivery on the ground, and to accelerate the socio-economic transformation of our continent. Malinne brings the drive and experience from both the public and private sectors, needed to bring together various stakeholders to scale up our impact in North Africa. She is a highly respected professional, with a solid track record in development finance.”
Kennedy K. Mbekeani, Deputy Director-General, Southern Africa RegionMr Mbekeani, a Malawian citizen, is a seasoned development economist with over 20 years of senior level country and regional experience in development finance, project management, policy advisory services, and knowledge generation.
He joined the Bank in 2009 as Chief Trade and Regional Integration Officer. He provided leadership in formulating the Bank’s trade assistance strategy to regional economic communities and on policy research on international trade, economic integration and development.
He was Lead Regional Economist (2012-2014) at the South African Resource Centre. He later served as Officer in Charge and Acting Regional Director of the Bank’s South African Resource Centre in South Africa (2014-2016) where he led the largest syndicated A/B Loan arranged in Africa to-date. He was appointed Officer in Charge of the African Development Bank’s Ghana Country Office in February 2017. In September 2017, African Development Bank President, Akinwumi A. Adesina, appointed him as Country Manager, Uganda Country Office where he grew the portfolio to over USD 2 billion.
Before joining the Bank, Mr Mbekeani worked for the UNDP as a Trade, Debt and Globalisation Advisor for East and Southern Africa. Prior to that he worked as a Senior Research Fellow at the Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis, and as Senior Economist at the National Institute for Economic Policy in South Africa.
Commenting on his appointment, he said: “I am pleased to work with President Adesina to support execution of his vision for the Bank and the continent and accelerate delivery on the High 5s”.
Mr Mbekeani holds a Bachelor of Social Science degree from the University of Malawi, MPhil (Monetary Economics) from the University of Glasgow, MA and a PhD in International Economics from the University of California. He has published on trade, regional integration, and infrastructure development in Africa.
Commenting on the appointment, Mr Adesina said: “Kennedy is a rounded professional, with broad experience in international development. His capacity to deliver in various areas will help to build strong partnerships in the region and to promote both private and public sectors operations.”
Joseph Martial Ribeiro, Deputy Director-General, West Africa RegionA Cape Verdean national, Joseph Martial Ribeiro is currently Manager of the African Development Bank Group for the Angola Country Office, which also covers Sao Tome and Principe.
Mr Ribeiro is an experienced international development practitioner with in-depth knowledge of the key issues of decentralisation, privatisation and public-private partnerships. He is a seasoned professional in the evaluation and management of development projects.
Prior to joining the AfDB, he worked as a consulting engineer, particularly in the areas of water and sanitation, and has extensive experience in university education in Canada and Senegal, as well as solid experience in academic and industrial research. He joined the Bank in 2000 and has served as Senior Irrigation Specialist (2000-2005), Procurement Specialist (2005-2009), Representative for Angola (2009-2011), Resident Representative for Mozambique (2011-2017) and Country Manager for Angola and Sao Tome and Principe (2017-Present).
Commenting on his appointment, Mr Ribeiro said: “I am very honoured by the trust that President Adesina has placed in me through this prestigious appointment. I am delighted to take on this responsibility as Deputy Director-General in the West Africa Region, which affords numerous opportunities to deliver the High 5s sustainably and effectively.”
He holds a PhD in Hydrology from the École Polytechnique de Montréal (Canada), an MBA from the University of Cumbria (UK), a degree in Political Science from the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies (UK) and a Design Engineering Certificate in Civil Engineering from the École Polytechnique de Thiès (Senegal).
Commenting on the appointment, President Adesina said: “Joseph has successfully represented the Bank in three Portuguese-speaking regional member countries, in addition to being an accomplished professional with strong political acumen and managerial skills. His experience in the field and his in-depth knowledge of public development projects and public-private partnerships will greatly contribute to the success of the Bank’s operations in West Africa.”

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AfDB appoints directors-general, deputy directors-general in regional offices – Premium Times – 2021-01-07 12:24:33

The Abuja airport community lacking electricity, potable water, schools, hospital

Abuja, Nigeria’s capital can be described as a dual society. One part is the city of the powerful and the affluent, the other is the city of the downtrodden.
A dual society typically has rural, impoverished, and neglected parts surrounding a more developed and advanced part – with the two having little interaction.
Arguably, nowhere is this contrast sharper than in the difference between the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport and its nearby community of Wolumo.
Though the international airport, the second busiest in the country, is 20 kilometres west of the Abuja main city, it is surrounded by lush landmarks and posh edifices.
Important landmarks such as the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority head office, the Air Force Base, and other are in this area.
Flying into Abuja at night is such a splendour. Driving through the long airport road, the bright street lights are lit, turning the quiet neighbourhood’s after-hours into daylight. The trees on the roadside are lined in perfect harmony.
Bright lights from houses at the Air Force Base and filling stations illuminate the serene environment to give Abuja and its airport the befitting ambience until of course, you decide to take a left turn into the valley of Wolumo.
A mere stone throwaway, the village is enveloped in a blinding darkness.
“I am an indigene of Wolumo. My father and forefathers lived and died here. This is where I was born and raised. I am 38 years but we have never had one single electric pole or transformer talk more of electricity,” a visibly sad Saliu Musa told our reporters on Saturday.

These journalists inquisitively entered the village when they visited Nigeria’s national vaccine plant, which is the first and last quality building you will see when entering Wolumo.
After passing the tarred roads and cobbled pavements with street lights, underground drainages, lush royal palm trees surrounding the residences with high fences, luxurious cars cruising around, it is a bit hard to imagine how a village like Wolumo will be tucked in the middle of all these.
AbandonedWolumo, a community under the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), is densely populated with substandard houses and shanties lacking sanitation and safe drinking water, depicting squalor right in the middle of the road leading to the airport.
The major road that leads to Wolumo is ironically named after a former American president.
Along Bill Clinton Way, Wolumo sits directly opposite the presidential wing of the airport.
Aside from the absence of electricity, there are no schools or health facilities in the entire community with about a thousand residents.

Wolumo residents would have to take tricycles or motorcycles to the airport base for schooling, health care, and other essential services.
Mr Musa was quick to show the reporters one of the decrepit wells which serve as a source of water in the community.

“We have repeatedly requested from AMAC to supply electricity to this community but we are yet to get a response from them for ages. We started with our councillor, then the chairman and up till date nothing has been done,” Mr Musa, a farmer, said.
“No single school has been built in this community since its existence. The children attend a school located at the airport base. No potable water supply in this community. Our only source of water is a stream and well dug in some households.
“During election campaigns, politicians will come and promise light, school, water, and other basic amenities but once they win, they won’t fulfill their promises.
“There is no healthcare centre in this community. We travel all the way to the air force base hospital to access healthcare.”

Ladidi Kasim, a mother of four, owns a food store in the village. She lamented how the lack of electricity is affecting her business.
“We are still praying for God to provide electricity for us in this village. Lack of light has greatly affected my business. Most of my customers request cold drinks and water due to the hot weather. I buy ice block every day”, said Kasim who spoke partially in pidgin.
“We have to travel out of the community to access vaccines for the children. When it’s time for childbirth too, we have to take a bike to the nearest hospital at Bassa.”
Left out from COVID-19 palliatives
The Wolumo village chief, Sule Sariki explained how the community was left out during the sharing of COVID-19 palliatives.

During the severest part of the lockdown, the government created a national register of about 3.6 million vulnerable persons. Residents of Wolumo should, ordinarily, fall under this category.
“During the COVID-19 lockdown, some people came to the community to document our names and bank details, promising to send some money to mitigate the impact of the lockdown but to date, we haven’t received any money. Residents of the nearby communities said they received some money from the government,” the chief said.
“We have reached out to our councillors numerous times but he said there is no budget for our community yet.”
For Yakubu Abbas, there is a bit of tension and insecurity in the community due to the situation of the community. “I plead with our leaders to have mercy and provide basic and social amenities for us.”
Sadiq Mohammed, 27, said, “I want the federal government to remember us in this community and help solve all our problems.”
No response from government
The village chief, Mr Sariki, showed our reporters a letter dating back to 2014 written to AMAC through the councillor representing Gwui ward, which Wolumo is under.
Despite repeated reminders and several visits to the councilor, Mr Saraki said there has not been any response.
“With the fact that security challenges in the country is on the high side, we humbly plead for electrification of our village… attached is the formal letter… this is a reminder to our request”, the letter dated April 24, 2014 read.

Contacted last week, Sunday Bikko, the councilor of Gwui ward said he would not discuss matters regarding development of the community over the phone, insisting that our reporter comes to his office.
But when contacted later in a bid to schedule the said visit, Mr Bikko did not take calls or return text messages.
Felix Nwankwo, the director of Satellite Town Development Department of the FCT, when contacted, said his office is not in charge of the area in which Wolumo is located. “Call the FCTA office”, he said on phone Sunday morning.
But Hajiya Rabiu, the information officer of the FCTA, said the community actually falls under the purview of Mr Nwankwo.
“The Satellite Town Development Department is the office to contact”, she said in a phone interview. “They are responsible for developing suburbs: communities within urban areas but lack basic amenities”.
The official promised to “get back to us” with more information. She has yet to do so at press time.
Dual society
Wolumo is just one of the long-abandoned communities that make Nigeria’s national capital, Abuja, a dual city.
As PREMIUM TIMES’ investigation showed that in Abuja officials take refuge in their fortified houses and offices with standard infrastructure and services at the centre, leaving hundreds of thousands of others to wallow in extremely torrid circumstances in the rural peripheries.
Outside of the enclaves of the rich, like Maitama or Asokoro, Abuja has many urban slums, such as Dakibiu, Nyanya, Orozo, Karimo, or Dei Dei. These places are often not connected to public water service and lack sanitation and planning. But this is just a small hint of Abuja’s development crises.
Just like Wolumo, some of the abandoned communities are home to the indigenous people who originally lived in Abuja before it became Nigeria’s national capital decades ago.
A previous PREMIUM TIMES report showed how the village of Gomani which lies inward from Yangoji on the Abuja-Lokoja Expressway was abandoned for years with no basic amenities.
Danladi Jeji, the president of the Original Inhabitants Development Association of Abuja, had told PREMIUM TIMES in an interview that the original inhabitants have become orphans in Nigeria’s equation.
As the constitution provides, Mr Jeji noted, the President and the National Assembly have the executive and legislative responsibilities over the people of the FCT respectively.
“But for the 43 years of FCT, the government has been unfair to the original people,” he said. “And this is a democracy. They don’t remember us.”

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The Abuja airport community lacking electricity, potable water, schools, hospital – Nike Adebowale – 2020-12-24 08:02:39

Military to rescue abducted pupils ‘whichever way’

By Augustine Okezie, Katsina; Okodili Ndidi, Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja and AbdulGafar Alabelewe, Kaduna

Governor: we’re negotiating through Miyetti Allah

IG deploys Special Squad

There is a rev up in the moves to rescue abducted pupils of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State.
The military said on Wednesday it is determined to get the boys out “whichever way.”
Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Adamu has deployed a Special Squad in the state.
Governor Aminu Masari said there is an ongoing negotiation with the abductors through Miyetti Allah – a Fulani group.
Defence Headquarters spokesman Maj.-Gen. John Eneche told reporters that the military was not part of any form of negotiation with the abductors.
He said although the military acknowledged the right of the Aminu Masari government to “negotiate,” it was working on its own strategy to ensure the safe rescue of the remaining 316 schoolboys “whichever way.”
Seventeen of the 313 students abducted by bandits last weekend have returned from the forest where they were taken
The governor told Channels Television last night that the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) was carrying out the negotiation on behalf of his administration.
He added however, that the government would not pay cash to the kidnappers.
He said he was working with the security agencies to ensure that no attempt was  made to change the location of the children by the bandits.
He said: “The leadership of MACBAN is the one that we are talking with. The Commissioner of Police and Special Adviser on Security are discussing with the leaders of Miyetti Allah, who are also discussing with those that abducted the children.
“This is the way we are talking to them. I am waiting for the feedback on their discussion. We are doing all we could to get the children back but what we will not do is to negotiate money with the bandits.
“We should be more proactive with the information given to the security agencies. Everybody should be more involved by providing reliable information and not misleading information that would endanger the lives of the security operatives.
“I am a Chief Security Officer without security apparatus. No governor is a true chief security officer but that is our Constitution. We should do something about it but right now I have over 300 students to look for. I am concerned, more concerned than everyone else except perhaps the parents. I am accountable here and hereafter.

“It is the responsibility of the security agencies to do what they are supposed to under the constitution of the Federal Republic oF Nigeria. I am quite aware of my responsibility and I will support these security agencies till they get each and every one of the children. I am the leader; I am not shying away from my responsibilities.”
He said none of the missing students is dead, quashing fears about the safety of the boys.
“The children are alive and we have not received any report that anyone had fallen sick. So we assume that all is well with the children. I was in touch with at least two of the students that escaped on Saturday. I was also in touch on Monday with two that came back.”
Masari also refuted the claim by the Boko Haram that its members  abducted the pupils, saying that “from the information available to us, this was conducted, executed by local bandits that are known to all of us.”
He added: “These are bandits that are roaming the forests of Zamfara and parts of Kaduna State. So far, this is the information we have. Whatever role any other terrorist group must have played, we are yet to confirm it.
“But with regards to this abduction, we have not seen any direct involvement of Boko Haram or ISWAP.”
The Coordinator, Defence Media Operation, while giving an update on the military operations across the country said: “I don’t know from history where the military or the armed forces go into negotiations when it comes to ransom and I don’t have any record.
“Nothing is connecting the armed forces with negotiation. If the governor believes in that as a father, he is seeing it in a larger perceptive.
“We are going on with our operations, and we don’t step down our kinetic operations for any reason at all. There is nowhere in the world where you stop your kinetic operation; it is a total package because purported negotiations are going on. It is not done. We will rescue the school children whichever way, that’s what I can assure you.”
Gen. Enenche restated that none of the abducted boys was dead.
He said: “Nobody is dead; we have not received anything that anybody is dead from the information that we have monitoring the situation and then the troops are on guard as it were.
“They have started patrolling the whole of that area to ensure that they are intact and that we rescue them alive.”
He also explained why troops could not foil the kidnapping of the students despite arriving the scene during the attack.
He said the troops could not engage the bandits in gun fuel because the bandits used the students as body shields.
“When the troops came, it was not in the best interest of saving lives to start exchanging direct fire, of course firing to scare the bandits was done but not direct fire because the children were being used as human shields.
“What is the end objective when you come to rescue and end up killing those you came to rescue; it will amount to nothing. Of course in the hours of darkness, while that ensued they removed the children.”
Gen. Enenche also dismissed the reported claim by the Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, that the schoolchildren were abducted by his men.
He said the claim was the usual propaganda of the terrorist group, adding that the military had continued to record successes against insurgents in the Northeast and bandits in the Northwest.
IG deploys Special Forces in Katsina
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has directed the immediate deployment of special forces in the state  to ensure quick rescue of the children.
Spokesman for the Katsina Police Command Gambo Isa said the Special Forces led by Deputy Police Commissioner Abba Kyari were directed on Monday by Adamu to hit the ground running.
Isa said: “We cannot easily forget how he (Kyari) led a team of detectives to rescue Buhari’s inlaw in Daura”
He also told The Nation in a telephone interview that the command had received a full complement of needed logistics and equipment from Abuja to ensure a hitch-free search for the missing boys
“We are now fully mobilised and have intensified the search for the missing boys; very soon, you will hear the good news from us,’’ he said.
Police, protest planners meet in Katsina
The Katsina Police command has met with the leadership of the Concerned Northern Groups (CNG) to discourage them from their planned protest in Daura.
When The Nation visited the command headquarters yesterday afternoon, some of the group’s leaders were seen coming out of the meeting.
It was however not clear if the protest would still commence today as scheduled.
The CNG had said the protest, which it intended to take to President Muhammadu Buhari in his country home in Daura, was to compel action to rescue the schoolboys alive.
Spokesman for the group, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, said in a statement before the meeting that the protest was harsh-tagged #Bringbackourboys.
According to CNG, “The exercise, harsh tagged #Bringbackourboys which will kick off in Katsina on Thursday is expected to proceed to Daura to register the current concerns with Mr President.”
Security architecture compromised, says CAN
The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has said that the abduction of the pupis has shown that security architecture under President   Buhari has been compromised.
CAN described the abduction as another tragic chapter in the history of the country.
It said the kidnap of the schoolboys also exposed the “failure of both the government and the security agencies to learn from the abduction of 276 Chibok schoolgirls in 2014 in Borno State and 110 schoolgirls at the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College in Dapchi, in Yobe State in 2018.”
CAN’s position is contained in a statement yesterday by Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, Special Assistant (Media and Communications) its President, Rev. Samson Ayokunle.
CAN also called for the suspension of  boarding facilities in all the private and government schools in the North until  security situation improves.
It faulted Buhari for not honoring the invitation of the National Assembly to explain the deplorable security situation in the country.
The statement reads in part: “President Buhari should remember that history is being written about him with the way he is addressing all these security challenges just as we are talking about the Chibok schoolgirls and the Jonathan administration.
“We advise President Buhari to revisit all his electioneering promises on the security and compare them with what the security has become under his watch.
“The country is almost becoming a failed nation.”
Like CAN, the National Coalition of Interfaith Group of Nigeria (NCIGN) flayed Buhari’s indifference to the growing call to rejig the nation’s security architecture.
The group particularly frowned at the President’s inaction over the demand for the sack of the service chiefs and implementation of some far-reaching resolutions of the National Assembly on insecurity as very disturbing.
The organisation made its feelings known in a statement by its National Coordinator, Sheikh Mohammed Ibrahim and Co-Coordinator, Bishop John Adebayo.
NASFAT pleads with abductors
Also on Wednesday, the Nasru-Lahi-l-Fatih Society (NASFAT), Chief Missioner, Imam Abdul-Azeez Onike, appealed to “the abductors to become the ones from whom compassion and love flourish, and not the ones who is enemy and tormentor of mankind.”
Onike, who called on all parents to pray for quick return of the abducted students, added: “Islam abhors aggression in whatever form and forbids banishing people from their homes unjustly. Such acts have punishments prescribed for them under Islamic laws.”

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Military to rescue abducted pupils ‘whichever way’ – Alao Abiodun – 2020-12-17 10:05:55

Airline operators kick against extra flight allocations to Emirates

The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) have kicked against the recent commencement of an additional flight daily into Nigeria by Emirates Airline.They said this came few weeks after Nigerian carrier, Air Peace, began flight on the lucrative United Arab Emirates route.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Capt. Nogie Meggisson,the AON chairman in a statement issued on Sunday in Lagos, said the extra allocation has increased Emirates flights to four daily into Nigeria through Lagos and Abuja.
He said: “It is very unfair for Emirates to be allowed such increase barely two weeks after the inauguration of flights on July 5 to Sharjah, United Arab Emirates by Air Peace, our very own Nigerian airline.
“The move effectively places our indigenous carriers at a massive disadvantage, the Nigerian economy and the jobs of our youths and huge capital flight.
“You will recall that AON had appealed that government must stand tall to play the role of aeropolitics to support Air Peace, otherwise it will end up the same way as others that went before it as they were unable to play in the wild and aggressive field of international aeropolitics.
“Emirates as of today, operates two daily flights out of Lagos and two daily flights out of Abuja. Etihad, from the same country, also operates daily flights out of Lagos as well.
“This translates to five flights daily and a total of 150 flights per month from UAE; as against a Nigerian carrier that only just started operating three flights weekly (12 flights monthly into UAE).”
He also said that this amounts to plundering of the Nigerian economy through capital flight and a huge loss of Nigerian jobs.
Meggisson said the AON was even more saddened that Air Peace, which was operating with almost 100 per cent Nigerian Pilots, Cabin Crew, Engineers and Dispatchers, was still waiting to be allocated a dedicated lounge or departure wing at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport.
According to him,other foreign airlines such as Emirates, British Airways, Lufthansa, Air France and others had heavily branded dedicated lounges in their respective countries as a way of support by their governments.
The AON Chairman recalled that the three major carriers in the United States (United, American and Delta) had cried out against the same open skies and anti-competitive behaviour of the gulf airlines.
Meggisson said following the complaint, the President Donald Trump administration came up with a policy that ensured that the airlines from Emirati reduce their flights into the US by 30 per cent.
He said: “It is the role of government therefore to protect our very own Nigerian carriers and preserve the Nigerian economy and the jobs of our unemployed youths.
“The additional double daily flights given to Emirates, a highly subsidised airline, is not necessary at this time as statistics show that half of the flights out of Abuja are half empty.
“The Emirati airlines already have an unfair trade advantage of 150 flights monthly out of Nigeria; as against 12 monthly flights for Nigerian airlines.
“We will therefore like to use this medium to call on the government to review all existing Bilateral Air Services Agreements to readdress the unfair trade advantage given to foreign airlines against Nigerian airlines.”
Meggisson said this would go a long way to safeguard the Nigerian economy, preserve the livelihood of workers in the aviation sector, and create jobs for many unemployed youths.
He said it would also promote technology transfer and significantly reduce capital flight in line with the vision of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

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Airline operators kick against extra flight allocations to Emirates – Annie Nwosu – 2019-08-04 13:53:40

Obaseki sacks eight commissioners – The Nation Newspaper

Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki has sacked eight commissioners. Obaseki reshuffled his executive after he returned from Abuja.
Immediate past Speaker of the House of Assembly, Kabiru Adjoto, was appointed a Special Adviser.
Those sacked were Joseph Ugheoke (Energy and Water Resources); Magdalene Ohenhen (Women Affairs and Social Development) and Osahon Amiolemen (Commissioner for Infrastructure).
Others were Dr. David Osifo (Health); Mika Amanokha (Youths and Special Duties); Mariam Abubakar (Budget); Emmanuel Usoh (Wealth Creation, Cooperatives and Employment); Dr. Christopher Adesotu (Science and Technology).
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A statement by Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie, reads: “The following persons have been nominated for appointment as commissioners – Damian Lawani; Joe Ikpea; Felix Akhabue; Moses Agbakor; Momoh Oise Omorogbe and Marie Edeko.
“The government offers its gratitude to the outgoing commissioners for their service and assures of continued cordial relations in the years ahead, while congratulating the newly appointed commissioners and special advisers, urging them to serve the people with integrity.”
The statement advised the outgoing commissioners to hand over all government property in their possession to the Permanent Secretaries in their ministries, and wished them well in their future endeavors.
Others appointed Special Advisers are Magdalene Ohenhen; Osaigbovo Iyoha; Andrew Momodu and Ojo Asien.

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Obaseki sacks eight commissioners – The Nation Newspaper – Osagie Otabor, Benin – 2019-07-04 07:25:12