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Presidency: Why Tinubu announced removal of petrol subsidy on his inauguration

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The  special adviser to the president on information and strategy, Bayo Onanuga, has said that President Bola Tinubu acted in the best interest of Nigerians by announcing the removal of the petrol subsidy on the day of his inauguration on May 29, 2023.

 

Onanuga said Nigeria was in serious financial trouble which prompted the president to act quickly before things got worse.

 

The presidential aide was reacting to an interview granted by Babachir Lawal, a former secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), who said the announcement of subsidy removal by Tinubu a few minutes after his inauguration was hasty and driven by arrogance without due consultations with relevant stakeholders.

 

While justifying  Tinubu’s action, Onanuga said there was no provision for subsidy in the budget left behind by former President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

He added that the country was in dire financial straits as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) could no longer import petrol due to N4 trillion debt owed by the federal government.

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“Is Babachir still talking? Well, that is his opinion that the subsidy was hastily removed,” Onanuga said.

 

“The truth is, the subsidy was meant to be removed by the end of June 2023 according to what former president, Muhammadu Buhari left behind.

 

“President Tinubu only announced it on May 29 on the day he was sworn in. That is to show you that something is wrong somewhere and that the nation had a problem at that time.

 

“What I find out is that Nigerians easily forget things, we have a short memory about things. They should cast their minds back to what happened at that period. The NNPCL was saying the government was owing them N4tr of subsidy money. NNPCL was the only importer of fuel and towards the general elections, fuel scarcity was all over the country.

 

“Due to the scarcity, in some places, fuel was selling for about N700 – N800 before President Tinubu was sworn in. NNPCL didn’t have money to import fuel because they were being owed over N4tr by the federal government. People have easily forgotten about that.”

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Onanuga said the country would have been in deeper problems if Tinubu did not act swiftly to address the situation.

“Tinubu knew the problem and that was why he made the announcement on the day of his inauguration. The language he used was ‘Subsidy is gone’ because even in the budget, there was no provision for it,” he said.

 

“I will challenge journalists to go and check that budget, when you look at that budget made by Buhari before leaving office, you will find out that aside no provision for subsidy, 97 percent of our income will be spent on servicing debts. If 97 percent of budget is used to service debts, what is left for Nigerians to spend?

 

“That 97 percent budgeted for debt servicing does not include the money the federal government owe the NNPCL. There were serious problems then and Tinubu just needed to do something quickly to arrest the deterioration.

READ  Tinubu meets, shares hug with Obasanjo at Uzodimma’s inauguration

 

“You can see what has happened in the last nine months with those measures he took. Yes, those measures are painful but they are needed to reset the economy and financials of this country. Otherwise, we would have ended into a much more disastrous situation.”

 

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Kano anti-graft agency files fresh charges against Ganduje

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The Kano state anti-corruption and public complaints commission says it has brought fresh charges against Abdullahi Ganduje, national chair of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Appearing on Sunrise Daily, a Channels Television programme, on Tuesday, Muhuyi Magaji, chair of the anti-graft agency, said the commission is investigating a case where N51 billion was allegedly diverted by the Ganduje administration.

Ganduje was governor of Kano from 2015 to 2023.

 

Magaji said during the twilight of the Ganduje administration, N1 billion was withdrawn from the state’s accounts for rehabilitation of roads, but that the sum was allegedly diverted.

 

“What is happening now is a tip of the iceberg,” he said.

 

“As I am talking to you, we are investigating a case whereby N51.3 billion local government funds were directly taken from the government coffers (and) sent to other individuals, and we traced it to people.

 

“We have piled a series of cases. We have a case whereby N1 billion in April last year (2023) was removed from government coffers under the allocation of renovating 30 roads in the metropolis and it was taken away, sent to Bureau de Change.

READ  Plateau killings: Tinubu orders security operatives to arrest perpetrators

 

“We have a case of N4 billion whereby it was sent from the consolidated revenue account of Kano state to an agricultural company. All these cases are before the court.”

 

The chair said the commission is not driven by politics and is dedicated to the fight against corruption.

 

“Incidentally, His Excellency, the former governor, was the one that appointed me in 2015 to head the agency and I was re-appointed in 2020 for another five-year term,” he said.

 

“Basically, we have an institution in the Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission (PCACC) that is devoid of political activities and dedicated to fight corruption, check maladministration and fight injustice.”

It was learnt that a formal invitation will be extended to the former governor.

 

On Monday, executives in Ganduje’s APC ward in Kano suspended the former governor from the party over corruption allegations.

 

Soon after, however, the APC in Kano nullified the suspension and handed the executives behind the move a six-month suspension from the party.

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Nigeria’s problems bigger than crises in Labour Party, says Peter Obi 

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The presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 elections, Peter Obi, says Nigeria’s problems are far bigger than the crises in his party.

 

The LP has been embroiled in crises — ranging from allegations of misappropriation of funds, and leadership tussle, to calls for the resignation of the party’s national chairman.

 

On March 27, the LP conducted a national convention in Anambra state where Julius Abure was re-elected as its national chairman.

 

Obi did not attend the convention, fuelling speculations that he may be mulling over ditching the LP for another platform.

Speaking during an appearance on HaveYourSay247, an interactive online session hosted by Rudolf Okonkwo over the weekend, Obi said he is confident that the crises rocking the LP will soon be resolved amicably.

 

“Whatever is happening in the Labour Party is so minute compared to what is happening in the country,” Obi said.

READ  Plateau killings: Tinubu orders security operatives to arrest perpetrators

 

“So, for me, it is something we will resolve amicably, and it is not anything to worry about. Let us worry about the country.

 

“Let us worry about how the average Nigerian would be able to have a means of livelihood to be able to eat, that should be our worry.”

Obi said he has no interest in being the party’s leader but only to make sure things are done properly.

 

“I don’t see what I do in politics as being the leader of any place or not. My position is that just like I always say, I am not desperate to be president of Nigeria, I am desperate to see Nigeria work because I know it can work,” he added.

 

“We have a more desperate situation. Parties are just a means to be able to contest elections. What is important is that being a leader of a party does not reduce the price of food.

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“What I want to see is that the average Nigerian lives in a society where things are moving properly, with access to education, access to healthcare and a means of livelihood.”

 

The former Anambra governor further said he has moved on from the final decision of the supreme court on last year’s presidential election, even though he does not agree with the decision of the apex court.

 

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Testimony controversy: After backlash, Enenche apologises, meets Abuja testifier

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The woman who was accused of lying while giving testimony at the Dunamis International Gospel Centre, Abuja, Vera Anyim, has said she bears no grudge against the church.

 

This followed the controversy that trailed the treatment that was meted out to her by the church’s Senior Pastor, Dr Paul Enenche, on Sunday.

 

In a video that emerged online, Anyim, during her testimony in the church, said she graduated with a “Bsc in Law” from the National Open University of Nigeria.

 

She was however interrupted by Enenche who said she was lying. The pastor also questioned the credibility of the woman’s testimony while he chided her on how she spoke.

Enenche who said there was nothing like “Bsc in Law” immediately asked her to leave the pulpit.

 

The action however generated a flurry of reactions as netizens demanded an apology from the cleric.

 

But Anyim, in a post on her Facebook page on Monday, said she had put the situation behind her.

 

She made the statement after meeting Enenche and his wife, Becky.

Sharing photos from the meeting, she wrote, “I want to inform the whole world that I just had a warm meeting with my spiritual father and mother, Dr Paul Enenche, and Dr Becky Enenche.

 

“I don’t have any grudge against the church or them. I remain committed to serving God as a member of Dunamis Church.

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“I am thankful for the concern of the public.

 

“I have put the situation at my back, and I have moved forward, and I want everybody to do the same. Peace.”

 

The church in a statement on Monday said it reached out to Anyim over the issue, while it explained that concerns arose during her testimony at the Glory Dome on April 14, 2024, regarding her language proficiency and the clarity of her academic credentials.

 

It stated that her speech suggested a level of English proficiency below what might be expected of a university graduate, particularly one with a Law degree, while noting that discrepancies also emerged regarding the nature and duration of her academic pursuit, raising doubts about the legitimacy of her qualifications.

 

The statement added that the Senior Pastor’s actions stemmed from a commitment to upholding standards of excellence and integrity within the church community.

 

The statement read, “A scenario was created on Sunday the 14th April, 2024 at the Glory Dome, the Global Headquarters of Dunamis International Gospel Centre, when Ms Anyim Veronica Nnenna came out to testify of how God helped her graduate from the university, thus making her the first person to attain that feat in her family.

 

“These were the immediate triggers for the said scenario: First, listening to the testifier’s expressions as it borders on basic spoken English, conveys the impression that the minimum standard expectation of a graduate, especially a graduate of Law was not met.

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“Second, stating that she studied Law for 10 years begged the question of what her degree actually was.

 

“Third, she was unable to state exactly what the correct degree was for Law which is LLB, rather she said it was a BSc in Law which is largely unknown as a Law degree in Nigeria and possibly globally.

 

“These prompted the Senior Pastor. Dr. Paul Enenche, to stop the testimony immediately as a product of a ‘lie.’ However, relief came when it was later confirmed that she actually graduated from a university.

 

“It must be pointed out clearly here that embarrassing the testifier publicly with the attendant media frenzy was never intended; whatever happened was under the spur of the moment.”

 

The church disclosed further that the Senior Pastor was rather based on his and the church’s aversion to seeming mediocrity and any appearance of untruth.

 

“While we remain resolute in our passion for excellence, intolerance of mediocrity and falsehood, we wish to reiterate the fact that no harm or hurt was ever intended by the Senior Pastor against Ms. Anyim Veronica. The Senior Pastor feels deeply concerned and had already reached out to her.

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“As a commission, we regret every inconvenience, hurt, and embarrassment this unfortunate scenario has caused to Ms Anyim Veronica Nnenna. We remain committed to her physical welfare as well as her spiritual growth. God bless us all,” the statement added.

 

Some photos confirming that the woman graduated from NOUN were discovered on her Facebook page and shared online.

 

Reacting earlier to the treatment meted out to her, Vera lamented that she was disgraced and labelled a liar by her spiritual leader because she couldn’t speak English and mistakenly said B.Sc instead of LLB.

 

In a post on her Facebook page on Monday, she stated that she graduated with a 3rd class from NOUN and was no. 2262 on the list of graduates from the school.

She wrote: “It’s disheartened because I couldn’t speak English like lawyers. I was labelled a liar for mistakenly saying B.Sc instead of LLB. Actually, I graduated with a Third Class at NOUN. The rejected stone can become the cornerstone. We’re reminded not to look down on anyone.

 

“You can’t imagine what I endured throughout the service. How shattered I must have felt to be disgraced by my spiritual leader in such a manner? I am no. 2262 on the list. I, Vera, deserve better now.

“The Devil came to steal my testimony but Jesus said NO!,” she stated in a separate post.

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