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Nigeria Still Operating 18th Century Economy, Says Ben Bruce

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Ben Bruce Murray

Ben Murray-Bruce, a former senator, has lamented that the Nigerian government still runs the country’s economy like that of the 18th century.

Murray-Bruce, who represented Bayelsa East Senatorial District in the eighth National Assembly, made his observation known in a video uploaded on Twitter.

According to him, the country is still dependent on crude oil, whose volatility in the international market is affecting its price, thereby affecting the economy of Nigeria and the standard of living of its citizens.

The former federal lawmaker called on President Muhammadu Buhari to commence the process which will enable Nigeria to join the rest of the world in the 21st century, and also empower the Ministry of Science and Technology to take giant steps in order to create significant innovations.

He said: “We are already 21 years into the 21st Century, but here in Nigeria, we still run an 18th Century economy dependent on crude oil and its turbulent market prices.

“Mr President, I urge you, we need to move to the 21st Century and join the rest of the world. We cannot afford to be left behind waiting for the price of crude oil to rise.

“The biggest economies in the world are technology-driven. For example, a 10 per cent increase in broadband penetration is associated with a 1.4 per cent increase in GDP growth in emerging markets.

“Technology encompasses a huge body of knowledge and tools that ease the use of economic resources as a way to produce goods and services efficiently.

“Technological progress is essential to economic growth and development, and the more advanced the technology is available, the more quickly our economy can grow.

“The Ministry of Science and Technology must be properly funded and run professionally to attract the best brains we have.”

Murray-Bruce said Nigerian inventors and scientists can also perform like their foreign counterparts if provided with the enabling environment.

He said: “Nigerians are natural inventors. Nigerians are among the world’s best scientists and so many Nigerians are contributing to the technological advancement of other countries instead of ours and it’s no fault of theirs. We have simply done nothing to attract them.

“Aptera Motors, an American Start-up company based in San Diego, California recently announced a new three-wheeled electric car with a range of up to 1,609 kilometres per charge. But what’s more fascinating is that you can charge the car’s 100 KWH battery from an electrical outlet powered by the sun and while driving and parking, thanks to its solar harvesting roof. Nigerian inventors and scientists can do the same in the right environment.

“Mr President, I am begging you, please start the process of creating the right environment so Nigerians can leap and join the world’s strongest economies.”

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Don Jazzy Respond To Gay Allegation Levelled Against Him

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Music producer and label boss, Michael Collins Ajereh, better known as Don Jazzy, has responded to a homosexual allegation pointing at him.

A popular Instagram blogger called out the Mavin Record boss and alleged that he is gay while maintaining that homosexuals have a woman as a coverup from the public.

... read: “Hello Tueh Tueh, ladies open your eyes o, this is the popular trend in the industry now, gay are not getting married to opposite sex thereby subjecting their spouse to emotional tørture, alot of your favorites are sitting pretty on this table, even one just welcomed a baby recently in the us, his hostility towards the wife is on another level, according to him, na my papa say make I go marry so i don marry to please am, una favorite instagram influencer dey on this table, your favorite comedian wey dey call himself aunty e.g that one all him client for this [email protected] knacking business na abuja dem dey, ladies be at alert, if you must be a gay or whatever, come out of the closet already, stop punishing our girls (sic).”

“Do your GAY in peace and stop deceiving our girls, come out of the closet, if we start to do roll call yeah Instagram fit catch fire now now, Don Baba J oga oga, i Dey hail oÀÄÅÅÅ i come in peace, igi ewedu oni woluwa ooooo (sic).”

Reacting to this, Don Jazzy reposted ... and wrote: “So I hear I’m gay all the time. Anyways click on the link on my bio. Subscribe to my YouTube channel. Click on the notification bell too oooo. Cos I’m going to be coming out there.”

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23 Burnt To Death By Bandits In Sokoto Bus Attack

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At least 23 passengers, including children, were burnt to death when their bus was ambushed by gunmen suspected to be bandits in Sokoto State, police have said.

They were travelling from the town of Sabon Birni to the town of Isa near the border with Niger.

Sokoto police command spokesperson, Sanusi Abubakar, told the BBC that several others are being treated in a hospital for severe burns.

Some reports suggest the number of those killed is around 30.

One of those involved in evacuating the casualties described the scene as “horrendous” and that most of the victims were burnt beyond recognition.

The attack happened late on Monday but details are just emerging due to poor communication services in the area.

Some reports say the attackers deliberately set the vehicle on fire burning the occupants alive while another account indicates the fire ignited on the bus as a result of the attackers’ gunfire.

The police say they are investigating the circumstances of the attack.

Muhammad Bello, the spokesman to Aminu Tambuwal, Governor of Sokoto State, confirmed the development in a statement on Wednesday.

“Contrary to speculations that over 40 people lost their lives in a bandits attack on a 42-seater bus traveling to Kaduna on Monday, facts have emerged that 23 people lost their lives during an attack at Gidan Bawa village in Isa local government area of Sokoto state,” the statement read.

“Security chiefs in Sokoto state, comprising heads of the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force, the Nigeria Police, Department of State Security and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps as well as the Chairmen of Isa and Sabon Birni local government areas had briefed the state Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, on the incident at the Government House, Sokoto, Wednesday, pledging to work with it on modalities to checkmate future occurrences.”

While commiserating with the families of the victims, the state government added that strategies are being put in place to prevent a reoccurrence.

Travellers are frequently targeted as the region continues to grapple with a wave of violence by armed gangs carrying out kidnappings for ransom as well as killings.

Additional reporting from the BBC and TheCable

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Senate urges FG to review payments under debt issuance programme

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Nigerian Senate e1618410666305

The Senate has called on the executive arm of government to review the outstanding payments under the Promissory Notes and Debt Issuance Programme of the Federal Government for submission to the National Assembly.

The call was made on Wednesday during plenary sequel to the consideration of a motion to that effect.

The motion was sponsored by Senator Yahaya Oloriegbe (Kwara Central).

Oloriegbe, in his presentation, recalled that in order to address the burning issue of mounting obligations of the Federal Government inherited by the present Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Federal Executive Council in July 2017 approved a Promissory Note and Bond issuance programme to clear the arrears of outstanding obligations.

According to the lawmaker, the Federal Government set up a Verification committee chaired by the then Minister of Power, Works and Housing to verify all claims submitted by the Ministry of Finance under the Promissory Notes and Bond Issuance Programme.

He noted that the report of the verification was again subjected to Audit by the Presidential Committee on Continuous Audit (PICA) before a final amount was arrived at after rounds of negotiations and discount schemes agreed with proposed beneficiaries.

He recalled further that in March 2018, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria sent a request to the Senate for approval by the National Assembly to commence a N2,697,820,794,305.91 Promissory note and Bond issuance Programme to clear outstanding obligations inherited by President Buhari’s Administration.

These included unpaid obligations to pensioners, salaries and promotional arrears to civil servants in the sum of N740,752,291,351.91; Obligation to Petroleum marketers on Subsidy in the sum of N429, 054,203,228; Federal Government Major Contractors and Supplier debts and outsourced liabilities of N654, 536, 409, 687.60.

Others are unpaid power bills and obligations from tariff reversal in 2014 to DISCO’s and GENCO’s N496,775,452,038.61; Export Expansion Grant (EEG) Scheme debts N350,383,295,143.23; Judgement debts N112,958,703,764.45; and Refunds to State Governments for projects undertaken on behalf of the Federal Government N584,983, 966, 973.18.

Oloriegbe noted that, “the 8th National Assembly approved some of the promissory notes and Bond issuance in the following amounts: N573, 494, 697, 133.63 as payment of refunds to 25 State Governments for Federal Highway Projects executed on behalf of the Federal Government; N206,065,107,252.69 as payment to various major contractors; N348,003, 054,975 as payment to Petroleum Marketers for arrears of subsidy; and N195,089,234,808.63 as payment to exporters as Export Expansion Grant.

“Concerned that in spite of the above approvals in the sum of N1,322,652,094,169.95, a considerable number of these outstanding obligations which accrued from periods ranging from year 2000 to year 2017 (and now till date) still remain unpaid.

“Disturbed that from the last figures published by the Debt Management office on its official Website in February 2020, only the sum of N914,212,563,852 (Nine Hundred and Fourteen Billion) has been issued under the Federal Government of Nigeria Promissory notes programmne as at December 31, 2019.

“Worried that after the approval of the N1.3 Trillion Naira from the total sum of 2.6 trillion by the 8th National Assembly, nothing has been done in respect of approvals of the outstanding balance of N1.3Trillion by the Senate.

“Troubled that the long term debt effect on the various corporate entities whose monies still remains unpaid after several years, with the attendant financial consequences including interest accruals, loss of jobs and often failed companies.

“Further troubled that various Companies have legitimate claims for interest and or penalty payments due to them as contained in the various contract agreements signed with the Federal Government, an issue which will require serious consideration, dialogue and negotiations between Federal Government, the contractors and the financial institutions involved;

“Observes also that for example, the outstanding claims in respect of the incentive and result based Export Expansion Grant Scheme covers a period from 2007 – 2016, clearly showing that some of the accruals are at least 14 years past due.

“Worried that job losses, failed banks and companies going under which is a daily occurrence in Nigeria are occasioned by failure of Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies to meet financial obligations as contained in contractual agreements.

“Concerned that the amount of outstanding liabilities of the Federal Government ordinarily would have soared from the March 2018 figures and would require an update of figure from the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.”

Accordingly, the Senate it its resolution, the Senate urged the Executive arm of government to review the outstanding payments under the Promissory Notes and Debt Issuance Programme of the Federal Government and prepare a fresh submission to the National Assembly for consideration.

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