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THE NATION

Again, Group accuses presidency of desperation, deception on NIA Rufai Ahmed’s saga

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A group, the National Patriot’s Forum, has said the Presidency, in its seeming desperation to cover up the fraud at the National Intelligence Agency, NIA, and defend the wrong appointment of Abubakar Rufai Ahmed as the substantive Director General has been telling unbridled lies and half-truths, using its propaganda machinery

A statement by the group noted Thursday that “In a Hausa Radio programme on Vision FM monitored in Abuja on Wednesday, one of the Presidential spokespersons, Garba Shehu tried misleading the gullible Nigerian Hausa listeners ignoring the obvious contradictions in the birth and nationality of Rufai Ahmed.

The group’s statement signed by Comrade Adewale Benjamin, convener and Mustapha S. Tarajo, co-convener said “Whereas Garba Shehu, in seeming ignorance of what is contained in the official Resume of Rufai Ahmed stated that the NIA DG was born in Chad, which is the truth, the official records, as contained in Rufai’s CV however indicates that the man was born in Katsina state of Nigeria. The poser here is who is telling lies between the Presidency and Abubakar Rufai Ahmed?

“Suffice it to state that, being born in Chad automatically confers on Abubakar Rufai Ahmed the citizenship of Chad, going by conventional practice which makes citizenship either by birth, by naturalization or by registration.

It added that “Since The Presidency admitted the truth of his place of birth, it pre-supposes that a holistic vetting would have been carried out from the cradle. As far as we are concerned, he could have been born anywhere else since nobody has carried out any vetting on him as required by law.

Going further, the Patruiot’s Forum said “On the issue of his marriage to a foreigner, it is necessary to point out that, contrary to Garba Shehu’s postulations that no law exists guiding the marriage of a foreigner by diplomats and other officers of the foreign Affairs Ministry; regulation no. 6, appendix c, section 2, sub section (a) and (b), of the Federal Public Service Rules which the Foreign Affairs Ministry subscribes to stipulates amongst others that: (a) Any member of the foreign service who proposes to marry a foreigner shall first seek prior permission of the Permanent Secretary before proceeding with the marriage.

“It is needless to expatiate that it is completely forbidden in the case of Head of the National Intelligence Agency, NIA. This is intended to insulate officers from vulnerability to double loyalty and exposure to Hostile Intelligence counterparts.

“It was rather laughable the explanations made by the Presidency on the issue of Abubakar Rufai Ahmed’s failure in promotion examinations, to the effect that Garba Shehu said, Rufai was made to sacrifice his promotion having come from outside the country to sit for the examinations at each turn.

“It is rather absurd to say that he was prevailed upon to be patient on the grounds that he had been a Director at the UN. Abubaker Rufai Ahmed never rose to the rank of a Director at the United Nations. At best, he was a P5 Officer, the equivalent of an Assistant Director. He was given an honorary Deputy Director so that he will be entitled to pensions, as has been the practice at the UN.

According to the Forum, “The contradiction is, whether he accepted to return to the NIA as an Assistant Director, having been a Director at the UN, or that he was too provident to allow others proceed, while he downgrades? The fact remains that he was a glorified Personal Assistant, PA, to Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, who was head of Africa’s Peace Keeping Mission, UNAMID, before it was taken over by the UN.

It said “In accordance with Civil Service Rules, where an officer comes from does not count in his promotion, just as it does not subtract anything from his record of service. It has always been a level playing field, with no room for forfeiture on account of one’s duty post.

“There is nowhere all over the world that an officer will be prevailed upon to forgo his promotion, in a situation that he passed necessary evaluation tests, under the guise of sympathy for others. The question to ask include; whether Rufai Abubakar was prevailed upon verbally or in written and under which Director General did that take place?

“That Abubakar Rufai came in from Katsina then into the NIA is a fact, contrary to the claim that he came in from the United Nations. In fact the issue coming from the UN does not arise because it is assumed that he came from the NIA to take up appointment with the UN.

“It remains an aberration that the NIA DG who was supposed to have been downgraded on his transfer of service from Katsina State to the Foreign Affairs, he was rather promoted from Grade level 12 to Grade level 14.

“That Abubakar was both a permanent staff of the NIA as well as the UN, and retired from both in the same year are issues to be investigated. It is not practicable anywhere for an officer to hold two appointments both on permanent basis at the same time.

“There is the need to state for the avoidance of doubt that Nigerians, including supporters of President Muhammadu Buhari are not impressed with the infantile defenses being put up to save the job for the cabal, using Abubakar Rufai Ahmed and the NIA as a proxy.

“Lies, however beautifully colored can never take the place of truth, neither can deceit, however well clothed take the place of reality. Nigerians are watching,” the group said.

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THE NATION

Over 1.4 million PVCs unclaimed in Lagos – INEC

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The Lagos  Resident Electoral Commissioner, Sam Olumekun, yesterday said that over 1.4 million Permanent Voters Cards  (PVCs) remained  unclaimed.

Olumekun, who disclosed this yesterday at the end of an Inter Agency Consultative Forum on Elections, said that the commission recorded a total number of 6,609,115 registered voters between April 2017 and August  2018.

According to him, the number of unclaimed PVCs in Lagos alone was alarming and that the commission would do everything within its power to encourage owners to come forward.

He said: “We are going to improve on our strategies. This is why we are here to meet with security chiefs in Lagos state under the umbrella of inter-agency consultative forum. In the past few months, some activities have taken place including the continuous voters registration exercise  which we undertook from April 2017 to August  2018. Lagos State recorded additional 786, 839 new registrants. This figure has been collated and it is the authentic figure.

“Presently, this brings us to a total number of registered voters as 6,609, 115 million registered voters. The meeting considered the issue of uncollected permanent voters cards.”

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Again, IMF scores Nigeria’s economy so poorly

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Growth prospects in Africa are being held down by poor economic development in Nigeria, South Africa and Angola, the International Monetary Fund, IMF has said.

The Breton Woods institution, which said this at the Annual General Meetings of the IMF/World Bank currently going in Bali, Indonesia, also revised downwards growth prospects for Nigeria in 2018 from 2.1 per cent to 1.9 per cent.

Speaking to journalists in Bali, the Deputy Director, Research, IMF, Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, said the largest economies on the continent were holding down economic development in Africa as a result of poor growth rate.

“Nigeria’s growth, 1.9 per cent this year; 2.3 next year. South Africa, only 0.8 per cent this year; Angola, contracting by 0.1 per cent this year. So, the aggregate – over three per cent this year, close to four per cent next year – is despite the largest economies in the continent doing poorly.

“The continent could do much better once these economies are on a more solid footing, particularly South Africa and Nigeria, because they are really large and affect a number of countries in their neighbourhood.”

The IMF had in its World Economic Outlook report in July projected that Nigeria’s economy would grow by 2.1 per cent in 2018 and 2.3 per cent in 2019.

Also on Tuesday, it projected that inflation in Nigeria would increase to 13.5 per cent next year.

After 18 straight months of decline, the nation’s inflation rate rose to 11.23 per cent in August from 11.14 per cent in July, the National Bureau of Statistics said last month.

The IMF, in the WEO report, said inflation pressures in sub-Saharan Africa had broadly softened, with annual inflation projected to drop to 8.6 per cent in 2018 and 8.5 per cent in 2019, from 11 per cent in 2017.

It noted that in South Africa, inflation had moderated to 4.8 per cent from 5.3 per cent in 2017, with the easing of drought conditions, “but is expected to edge back to 5.3 per cent in 2019 as temporary disinflationary effects subside.”

The Washington-based fund said in Nigeria and Angola, tighter monetary policy and moderation in food price increases contributed to tapering inflation.

“In Nigeria, inflation is projected to fall to 12.4 per cent in 2018 from 16.5 per cent in 2017, and to rise to 13.5 per cent in 2019. In Angola, inflation is projected to fall to 20.5 per cent in 2018 from 29.8 per cent in 2017, and to decline further to 15.8 per cent in 2019,” it added.

According to the WEO report, growth is on the mend for sub-Saharan Africa, with the region’s average growth projected to rise to 3.1 per cent in 2018 (from 2.7 per cent in 2017) and 3.8 per cent in 2019.

The IMF said, “The growth forecast for 2018 is 0.3 percentage point lower than the April 2018 WEO forecast. The acceleration relative to 2016–17 reflects a more supportive external environment, including stronger global growth, higher commodity prices, and improved capital market access, following efforts to improve fiscal balances in the aftermath of the commodity price slump.

“Growth performance varies, however, across countries. About half of the expected pickup in growth between 2017 and 2018 reflects the growth rebound in Nigeria. Nigeria’s growth is projected to increase from 0.8 per cent in 2017 to 1.9 per cent in 2018 and 2.3 per cent in 2019 (0.4 percentage point higher than in the April 2018 WEO for 2019), buoyed by the impact of recovering oil production and prices.

“In Angola, the region’s second largest oil exporter, real GDP is expected to shrink by 0.1 per cent in 2018, following a 2.5 per cent contraction in 2017, but is projected to increase by 3.1 per cent in 2019.”

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Iyara Development Movement marks Silver Jubilee of “Iyara Day”

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Professor Mike Ikupolati

The silver jubilee celebration of Iyara Day, organised by Iyara Development Movement (IDM) in Kogi State has been slated for Saturday 20th October, 2018 at Iyara Town Hall Premises, by 10 am.

According to a statement dated 26th September, 2018 and jointly signed by the President of IDM, Professor Mike Ikupolati and its Director General, Barrister Funso Fayomi, the 2018 celebration of Iyara Day, which is the 25th in the series, is going to feature Thanksgiving to God Almighty for His grace and faithfulness that has sustained the event and the community this far.

“All Okun sons and daughters will be treated to one of the best celebrations in recent times and the occasion will feature cultural dances and displays, while there would be launching of a water project tagged; “Operation Quench Thirst In Iyara Water Project.”

“The water project is estimated to cost N100 Million and we are emboldened to embark on the project as it will bring the availability of potable water close to the people and reduce the suffering of the people to the barest minimum.

“We invite all Okun sons and daughters as we celebrate culture and tradition while counting on your support to tackle development issues concerning Iyara,” they said in the statement that was made available to journalists.

It will be recalled that In 1993, a group of young persons identified the advantages of community day celebration they witnessed in their respective areas of domicile and were motivated to replicate same in Iyara, headquarters of Ijumu LGA, Kogi State.

It was the first of its kind in Okunland and it has become an avenue to bring the people of the community together in unity.

Ikupolati and Fayomi revealed in the statement that almost every community in Okunland has emulated the laudable idea, which they said has turned the community to the envy of others.

They added that the silver jubilee celebration is a confirmation that the people behind the celebration have not relented in their efforts of bringing all and sundry together to develop the community and bring its indigenes together in unison.

The statement read further that “Iyara Community with gratitude to Almighty God appreciate the efforts of the pioneers of the celebration in utilizing a sociocultural annual event to engender development in the community.

“It is an event no stakeholder can afford to miss as it promises to be an avenue to further solidify the good relationship that exists among the indigenes of the community.

“God bless you as you honour us with your presence and join hands with others to make Iyara a better place for all and sundry.”

 

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