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Minister Fights NBS over Job Losses Figures

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Chief Audu Ogbeh, minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, has picked holes in the recently released third quarter report of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), indicating that over four million jobs were lost under the present administration in 2017.

 

Ogbeh, at a press briefing on the National Egg Production Scheme (NEGPRO) in Abuja, faulted those he called ‘calculators of Nigeria’s economic indices’ for reporting job losses in the formal sector without noting that millions of jobs had been created in the informal sector.

 

The NBS report had stated that the country’s unemployment rate rose from 14.2% to 18.8% in 2017.

 

The reported job losses came on the heels of the All Progressives Congress (APC) campaign promise to create 3million jobs annually, if it came into power.

 

Ogbeh claimed that there was no difference between income earned in the village and that earned in the towns and cities; pointing out that farmers; across the villages were getting richer.

 

Ogbeh said “In many of the states, communities have become richer. In some of the states; the last Hajj was funded; people bought their tickets; foreign exchange and travelled, they paid their way and went on Hajj in many of the northern states.

 

“Let me correct an impression; I’ve been reading in newspapers that Nigeria has lost four million jobs in the last two years and it became a campaign. But let me make it clear, if we’ve lost 4million jobs in the cities and in the factories; we’ve actually created six million jobs on the farms.

 

“Let no one pretend that income earned in the village is not the same as income elsewhere. There may have been some job losses; but there have been some job creation efforts in the rural areas because you will find this in many places that villagers are getting richer than many of us in the cities. In my village, the Cashew Association sold cashew worth over N150m and I am always proud to say that I taught them how to grow cashew nuts. And when I go home, I get palm wine in salutation.

 

“So, when the calculators of the economic indices of Nigeria talk, they don’t know what is going on below. I am in a position to say so because I see it. With this NEGPRO coming on board, another one million jobs would be added.”

 

However, the NBS report indeed stated that the nation’s labour population increased from 83.9 million in the second quarter of 2017, a difference of 1.2million in additional workforce.

 

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Ekuwem, Telecom Expert Appointed SSG in Akwa Ibom

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The Akwa Ibom Government has appointed former National President of Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem, as new Secretary to State Government (SSG).

The state’s Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Charles Udoh, announced this in a statement on Monday in Uyo.

He stated that the new SSG would be sworn in on Jan. 16 at the Government House, Uyo.

He added that “this appointment is part of continuous effort to re-jig the governance structure of the state.”

Udoh noted that the process of strengthening the state executive council had started, with the swearing in of two new commissioners in the last two months.

Ekuwem would replace the erstwhile SSG, Sir Etekemba Umoren, who had been in that position since the inception of Gov. Udom Emmanuel’s administration in 2015.

The new SSG is a native of Ofi Uda in Mbo Local Government Area of the state.

He holds a PhD in Electronic and Electrical Engineering with specialty in Computer-based Instrumentation and Control Engineering.

The new SSG is the founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Teledom Group and a former President of Nigeria Internet Group (NIG).

He is the immediate past Chairman of the Board of Nigerian Export Processing Zone Authority (NEPZA).

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Another $44m Develops Wings @ NIA

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Another $44 million has reportedly vanished from the vault of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA).

 

This comes months after N13 billion belonging to the agency was found in an Ikoyi apartment belonging to Ayo Oke, immediate past Director General of the agency,. DailyTrust revealed the recent development. Read how it was reported below

 

Two months after Ambassador Ayodele Oke was sacked as Director General of the National Intelligence Agency [NIA] and two days after Ahmed Rufa’i Abubakar was appointed as its new DG, another scandal hit the intelligence agency at the weekend when $44million in cash kept in its vaults in Abuja was removed to an unknown destination. Daily Trust on Sunday learnt from top security sources that the money was surreptitiously removed even before the agency’s new DG resumes duty.

 

Tracing the origin of the money, the sources disclosed that the Jonathan administration released over $260million to NIA as General Intervention Fund. At the time Federal Government launched an investigation into the funds last year, only the cash discovered in Lagos and the $44million lying in the Abuja vault remained to be expended out of the original $260million, the sources said.

 

As soon as it started its probe, the Osinbajo-led committee directed that the money must remain in NIA’s vault as exhibit, Daily Trust on Sunday learnt.The sources however said, “While the money remained in the vault, certain powerful forces mounted pressure on the acting DG, Ambassador Mohammed Dauda, who was redeployed from Chad, to use the money since it is the property of the NIA but the acting DG refused.”

 

According to our sources, the “powerful forces” pushed very hard for the money to be tampered with, saying government had forgotten all about it, but for the firm resistance of the outgoing acting DG.

 

Our sources added, “But barely two days after President Buhari named a substantive head for the agency, a black bullion van was dispatched to NIA and the money was removed to an unknown destination around 6am on Friday. The team that removed the money was accompanied by a serving military officer who was posted to the intelligence outfit months ago as the finance officer.” The total amount of money that was taken away from NIA’s vaults on Friday was $44,285,996.

 

Daily Trust on Sunday learnt that the $43million that former DG Ambassador Ayodele Oke kept at an Ikoyi apartment was part of the funds earlier released to NIA by the Federal Government as General Intervention Fund. Oke was fired from his job in October last year, six months after he was handed an indefinite suspension following the discovery of the money at an Ikoyi apartment by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. When a whistle blower led EFCC to the money, NIA under Oke said the money belonged to it and was meant for unspecified undercover operations.

 

An investigative panel headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo probed the matter and turned in a report to President Muhammadu Buhari which indicted Oke in the scandal. Weeks after he received the report, Buhari announced in October last year that he had accepted its recommendation to terminate Oke’s appointment.

 

Secretary to the Government of the Federation [SGF] Babachir David Lawal was also sacked on the same day based on the same committee’s report, though for a separate offence. Apart from Osinbajo, other committee members were National Security Adviser Major General Mohammed Monguno and Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami, SAN.

 

When Daily Trust on Sunday contacted the acting DG Ambassador Mohammed Dauda yesterday, he neither denied nor confirmed the allegation that money was moved from NIA’s vaults.

 

He however promised to investigate the matter and get back to us, but did not do so before we went to press.

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CAPDAN Tables Demands before Shittu, Seeks Improved Patronage of Local Products

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‘Computer Villagers’ at Ikeja, Lagos, have played host to the Adebayo Shittu, minister of Communications, tabling their demands, especially for improved patronage of computer and allied products manufactured locally.

Operating under the auspices of Computer and Allied Products Dealers Association of Nigeria (CAPDAN), the Body made a-five point demands which Ojikutu Adeniyi, the President, described as areas of working relationship with the Minister.

Ojikutu said, if met, the demands will improve the Nigeria’s ICT Ecosystem and show recognition of the informal sector like the Computer Village in the Ministry’s programs.

CAPDAN is the umbrella body comprising the Dealers, Vendors, Artisans, Technician and SMEs at the popular Computer Village, Ikeja, Lagos.

The Body sought the Ministry’s collaboration in training to get technicians at the Computer Village to international standard and building incubation center for more training; drive local content in the ICT sector so as to develop more made in Nigeria products; help facilitate free broadband in Computer Village through the Nigeria Satellite and funding for ICT research to develop Nigeria based software.

Responding, the Minister said he is honoured to visit the Computer Village, which has made a valuable contribution to the awareness of ICT in all spheres of life of the Nigerian populace.

He disclosed that there are concrete steps to transform Computer Village into ICT regional Hub, owing to its estimated N2billion turnover per day. The Minister admitted this is a huge contribution to the Nigeria’s economy, which is largely dependent on Oil.

“The federal government is ready to partner CAPDAN, especially in the area of local content because we know you have first hand experience in terms of ICT usage,” he assured.

The Minister also noted that any ICT related product that can be produced in large quality must be discouraged from being imported, saying Nigeria cannot be a dumping ground.

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