Tuesday

Nigeria has lost close to $200 billion in investment opportunities over the last 4 years

CC™ Global News

Nigeria may have lost close to $200 billion, representing more than 92 percent of investment opportunities available to the country between 2017 and 2020.

Details of a report by the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) on “Investment announcements versus FDI (Foreign Direct Investments) Inflow in Nigeria, 2017 – 2020” revealed that the actual inflows of FDI into Nigeria within the period was about 7.65 percent of the total investment announcements captured by the Commission.

This indicates that most investment announcements and expression of interests to invest did not materialize or translate to actual investment inflow.

The report shows that total investment announcements captured by NIPC during the period amounted to $203.89 billion whereas actual FDI inflow was $15.6 billion, representing 7.65 percent.

Specifically, statistics obtained from NIPC stated that in 2017, only $3.5 billion actual FDI inflow was recorded out of a total investment announcements of $66.35 billion; in 2018 only $6.4 billion FDI materialized out $90.89 billion announced; in 2019, $3.3 billion out of $29.91 billion; and in 2020 only $2.4 billion actual FDI inflow was recorded out of $16.74 billion investment announcements that were captured.

NIPC noted, however, that its report is based only on investment announcements captured by the Commission which may not contain exhaustive information on all investment announcements in Nigeria during the period, adding that it did not independently verify the authenticity of the announcements.

NIPC further reported that in 2017, a total number of 112 projects were announced across 27 States and FCT; in 2018, there were 92 projects across 23 States and FCT; 2019, there were 76 Projects across 17 States, FCT; while in 2020, a total announcements of 63 projects were made across 21 States, FCT and the Niger Delta region.

Further details of the NIPC report revealed that in 2020, the top 10 announcements accounted for $15.59 billion, representing about 93 percent of total announcements.

The details show $6 billion by Indorama Petrochemicals and Fertilizer company from Singapore; $2.6 billion by Bank of China and Sinosure from China; $2 billion by 328 Support Serves GmbH from USA; $1.6 billion by MTN South Africa; and $1.05 billion by Sinoma CBMI of China.

Others are $1 billion by Torridon Investments of UK; $600 million by African Industries Group in Nigeria; $390 million by Savannah Petroleum of UK; $200 million by Stripe from USA; and $150 million by NESBITT Investment Nigeria.

In 2019, the top 10 announcements accounted for $26.29 billion or 88 percent of total. These include $10 billion by Royal Dutch Shell from Netherlands; $5 billion by Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company from Nigeria; $3.15 billion by Sterling Oil and Energy Production Company (SEEPCO) from Nigeria; $2.3 billion by TREDIC Star Core from Canada; and $1.5 billion by OCP Group from Morocco.

Others are $1 billion by Tolaram Group from Singapore; $900 million by Yinson Holdings Bhd from Malaysia; $880 million by CMES-OMS Petroleum Development Company (CPDC) from Nigeria; $860 million by China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC)/Lagos State; and $700 million by Seplat/NNPC from Nigeria.

The top announcements in 2018 accounted for $79.3 billion, representing 87 percent of total announcements captured by the commission.

The details include $18 billion by Range Developers of UAE; $16 billion by Total from France; $12 billion by Azikel Refinery from Nigeria; $11.7 billion by Green Africa Airways from Nigeria; and $9 billion by Royal Dutch Shell from UK.

Others are $3.6 billion by Petrolex Oil & Gas from Nigeria; $3 billion by CNOOC from China; $2 billion by Vitol/Africa Oil/Delonex Energy from Luxembourg, Canada and Nigeria; $2 billion by General Electric from USA; and $2 billion by Blackoil Energy Refinery from Nigeria/Niger.

The NIPC report revealed that the top 10 announcements in 2017 accounted for $43.1billion, representing about 65 percent of total announcements captured.

The commission did not, however, provide the details of the investors, sector, source and destination.

According to NIPC, the gaps between announcements and actual investments demonstrate investments potentials which were not fully actualized.

The Commission stated: “A more proactive all-of-government approach to investor support, across federal and state governments is required to convert more announcements to actual investments.”

Reacting to the situation, Director General, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Ambassador Ayoola Olukanni, noted that the gap may not be unconnected to the economic recession and COVID-19 pandemic events within the period, aggravated by policy instability.

Olukanni stated: “Numerous studies have established that Foreign Direct Investment is dependent on the market size of the host country, deregulation, level of political stability, investment incentives, openness to international trade, economic policy coherence, exchange rate depreciation, availability of skilled labor, endowment of natural resources and inflation.

“You will agree with me that the four years spanning 2017 and 2020 are characterized by struggle to exit from economic recession, a period of slight recovery, the COVID-19 pandemic, and another period of recession. These circumstances may or may not be responsible for the political and economic reaction that can be witnessed in the uncertainty in the foreign exchange market, increased inflation, increased unemployment, increased political unrest and insecurity and so on.

“What can be established is that Foreign Direct Investment is averse to risk and uncertainty, especially the kind of uncertainty brought about by policy instability and economic policy. An obvious example is the closure of the land borders in 2019, while justifiable through the lens of national security is certain to have a negative impact on Foreign Direct Investment which has a long-term planning horizon.

“In summary, to seek to increase actual FDI is to promote the factors that have been shown, empirically, to positively impact FDI. While the Nigerian economy checks the boxes of most of these factors, economic policy coherence, foreign exchange market stability and insecurity are issues that are currently the bane of FDI inflows.”

Also commenting, an economist and private sector advocate, Dr. Muda Yusuf, who is also the immediate past Director General of Lagos Chamber of Commerce of Industry (LCCI), said the development reflects low level of investors’ confidence occasioned by structural problems of infrastructure and worsening security situation.

His words: “It is investors’ confidence that drives investment, whether domestic or foreign. Investors are generally very cautious and painstaking in taking decisions with respect to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). This is because FDIs are often long term and invariably more risky, especially in volatile economic and business environments. Uncertainties aggravate investment risk.

“Investors in the real sector space are grappling with structural problems especially around infrastructure. There are also worries around liquidity in the forex market; there are concerns about the accelerated weakening of the currency. There are issues of heightened regulatory and policy risks in many sectors.

“Investors’ confidence has also been adversely affected by the worsening security situation in the country. Meanwhile, the economy is still struggling to recover from the shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic. These are the likely factors impacting investment decisions.

“Our ability to attract FDI will depend on how well we position ourselves. The critical question will be around expected returns on investment. Overall, it is the investment climate quality that will make the difference. We need to ensure an acceleration of necessary reforms to make Nigeria a much better investment destination. We need policy reforms, regulatory reforms and institutional reforms, among others.

“We should accelerate the ongoing foreign exchange reforms; we need to undertake trade policy reforms to liberalize trade in sectors of weak comparative advantage; we need regulatory reforms to make regulations more investment friendly. We need to create new opportunities in the public private partnership (PPP) space, especially in infrastructure. We need to see more privatization of public enterprises.

“It is important as well to quickly fix the ravaging insecurity in the country. All of these are crucial to boost investors’ confidence.”

AGENCY

Sunday

Saturday

Liverpool can't find breakthrough as 10-man Chelsea hold on for shared spoils at Anfield


CC™ Global Sports

By Our Sports Staff

European champions Chelsea, despite playing with 10 men, held on for a 1-1 draw against six-time European champions Liverpool, in a top-of-the-table English Premier League clash at Anfield. 

Chelsea had broken the deadlock earlier on in the 21st minute with a looping backward header from Kai Havertz, off a corner pick that beat Allison in goal for Liverpool.

The tide of the game then changed in stoppage time of the first half when Mohammed Salah converted a penalty kick for the hosts, after Chelsea defender Reece James intentionally handled the ball on the goal-line. James was then sent off and Chelsea was forced to play the second half of the game with 10 men. 

Liverpool could however not find the needed breakthrough as Chelsea defended well and held on to share the points with the Reds at a raucous Anfield.

Chelsea is now second, behind West Ham United, on the EPL table having won seven points in three games, while Liverpool is 3rd, also with seven points in three games.

Friday

Buhari's secret police open fire at recruitment center in effort to stop striking Nigerian doctors from taking jobs in Saudi Arabia


CC™ Global News 

Armed operatives of the State Security Service (DSS) on Thursday opened fire outside Sheraton Hotel in Abuja to disperse Nigerian doctors who were arriving for an interview for medical positions in Saudi Arabia, witnesses told Peoples Gazette. 

At least one person was injured and had been moved to a hospital in Mabushi neighbourhood of the Nigerian capital, The Gazette learnt. 

The secret police officers mounted a barricade outside the hotel to block people seeking to enter through Abacha Estate, according to one of the doctors who identified himself as Mr. Olubanjo in a telephone chat with The Gazette.

“The officers tried to block us from entering Sheraton but some of us insisted that we were on our way for an interview organized by the Saudi government,” Mr. Olubanjo said. “But we were forcibly chased away when the officers started shooting into the air to disperse us with threats that they will kill us and no one would punish them.”

The programme was scheduled for 8:00 a.m. and many of them had been arriving at the venue as of 5:30 a.m., he said.

Mr. Olubanjo said the organizers later told them the interview had been suspended but wondered why that became the case when a similar exercise held last week at a hotel in Lagos.

A spokesman for the SSS did not return a request seeking comments. A telephone line for Sheraton in Abuja did not connect on Friday morning.

Nigerian medical professionals have been on a desperate bid to leave the country following years of incessant strikes over low remuneration and generally poor welfare. They have been moving to Europe, Canada, Saudi Arabia and other countries where they hoped to get better training and practice.

It was not immediately clear why the SSS was sent to truncate yesterday’s interviews, which came barely a week after Nigerian labor minister Chris Ngige insisted that the country was not in short supply of medical doctors. The minister said the widespread claims of brain drain in the country’s medical sector was false and should be disregarded.

GAZETTE NIGERIA

Thursday

Terrorists are trying to sneak on evacuation flights from Afghanistan to Britain to commit attacks


CC™ Global News

U.K. Armed Forces Minister, James Heappey has warned that evil extremists plotting to "cause us harm" were exploiting the chaos in Kabul - where troops are on high alert for an ISIS suicide bomber. 

Security checks means UK officials at the airport are unable to process evacuees at breakneck speed.

Mr. Heappey told BBC Radio 4: "We would love to be able to just open the gates and let people in at an even faster flow but there are people right now trying to get on some British flights that we have identified in our checks as being on the UK's no fly list. 

"So the checks that are being done are entirely necessary, because there are people trying to take advantage of this process to get into the UK to cause us harm."

Soldiers helping with the rescue mission in the Afghan capital are also on constant watch for Islamist threats.

Mr. Heappey said no British squaddies were involved in a gunfight at the airport yesterday - but that it showed the "chaotic" environment there right now.

He said: "There is a very real threat posed by Islamic State and I just think one of the most remarkable things about what our troops are doing is they know that there is a real threat of a suicide bomber, or some other sorts of threats or attack. 

"That means that with one hand they have to have their finger on the trigger. And on the other hand they're holding babies.

"These are 18 and 19-year-old young men and women from across the United Kingdom, who were dealing with the most extraordinary circumstances."

Over the past 24 hours 1,821 people have been evacuated on eight British military jets, with a further nine flights planned for the next 24 hours.

British officials are racing to rescue people before August 31 when the U.S. has agreed to pull back entirely.

About 4,000 British and Afghan nationals are hoped to be airlifted before the cut-off.

Boris Johnson will use a G7 virtual meeting to lobby President Joe Biden for an extension to get more out.

The Government has ruled out continuing the evacuation mission without the Americans.

Mr. Heappey admitted that even if the leaders agree to a longer window they cannot keep boots on the ground without the Taliban's say-so.

He told LBC: "That's why we're continuing to work towards the 31. Because even if the political will in London, Washington, Paris, Berlin is to extend, the Taliban may say no.

"And whilst of course we have the military force that would be required to stay by force if we wanted to.

"I think you can probably imagine that the sort of humanitarian mission we're involved in, is not helped by the international community in fighting the Taliban on the streets."

THE SUN

Sunday

Buhari under fire over directive on grazing sites


CC™ Global News

President Muhammadu Buhari drew flak from across the country on Friday following his approval of the recommendations of a committee to revive 368 grazing sites in 25 states.

The first salvo came from Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State who declared the grazing sites recovery plan unacceptable.

He accused the Presidency of seeking to turn Nigeria into a ‘cow republic’ through its grazing reserves policy.

The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Ohanaeze Ndigbo and the Pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere, all vowed in separate statements not to cede an inch of land in the South-south, Southeast and Southwest for grazing purpose.

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) also called for caution on the part of the federal government.

Ortom, who is well known for his long standing opposition to open grazing in his state, wondered why the Presidency “is only bordered about animals and their safety and is deploying all machinery and arsenals of government to impose grazing reserves and cattle routes on Nigerians” at this time when “insecurity has reached an all-time high with hundreds being killed by armed herdsmen, bandits and other terrorists.”

The governor, in a statement through his Special Adviser on Media Terver Akase, said the latest move could plunge the country into   crisis.

He said: “The Buhari administration has turned a blind eye to the unimaginable levels of encroachment on lands belonging to Nigerians by cattle. Mr. President has never come out even once to condemn the activities of herdsmen and the attacks they visit on innocent people.

“The only time the President is heard speaking about atrocities of the herders is when he defends them.

“It is now clear that the Presidency wants to plunge the country into avoidable crisis. Otherwise, what is the justification for President Buhari’s insistence that grazing reserves be established across the country when Nigerians have openly kicked against the policy and have embraced ranching in place of open grazing?”

He said “millions of Nigerians have been displaced following attacks by armed herders and are currently suffering in IDP camps” with Benue State alone, according to him, having “over 1.5 million displaced people with thousands living in camps and many more forced to flee their ancestral lands to stay under dehumanizing conditions in open fields.”

He added: “The Buhari administration does not seem to be worried about the food crisis already ravaging the country. Farmers have been chased into IDP camps by herders and children are dying of starvation in addition to being denied education, yet what is more important to their President is the wellbeing of cows.

“We expected the pitiable condition of the displaced people to be the preoccupation of the President whom they voted in 2015 and 2019. It is unfortunate that the people’s genuine show of love, trust and votes for Mr. President are being rewarded with hate, cruelty and dictatorial policies aimed at grabbing their lands to donate to herders and cows.

“We challenge the Presidency to name what it has done to alleviate the plight of those displaced by herdsmen in Benue and other states since 2018.

“What is the difference between the Buhari administration’s approach to insecurity and the Taliban agenda in Afghanistan? It is now evident that the government at the center prioritizes the welfare of cattle over human beings and is bent on taking Nigeria back to the pre-colonial era with some snippets of a society where in the words of Thomas Hobbes, life has become ‘solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short’.

“The country has been turned into a cow republic by the present administration and the basic principles of equality, justice, fairness and equity which engender peace and suppress anarchy are non-existent.

“President Buhari has refused to prove wrong those who accuse him of being a Fulani President. He has instead proven that he indeed belongs to somebody.

“But Buhari is not the first Fulani man to be President of this country. Nigeria had Presidents Shehu Shagari and Umaru Yar’Adua who were also of Fulani ethnicity but were Presidents for all Nigerians and treated citizens of this country fairly and equitably.

“Our country has never been more divided on ethnic lines and sentiments as it is under President Buhari who was thought to be the most prepared to lead the country at this time. Under President Shagari and President Yar’Adua, Nigerians were not chided by a horde of presidential spokesmen and social media hirelings for simply expressing their views on government policies.

“Perhaps Mr. President is not aware that most of the northern states, including his home state Katsina and the entire southern states have unanimously rejected open grazing of livestock and approved ranching.

“The Presidency is therefore whipping a dead horse on the issue of grazing reserves. It is hypocritical for the Presidency to support and fund ranching in Katsina State and turn round to impose grazing reserves on other states.”

Ortom also did not spare the President’s advisers.

He said of them: “Those saddled with the duty of advising Mr President have apparently failed in their responsibility. They ought to have told the President that though grazing reserves existed in some parts of the country before independence, there have been several reviews and laws which, in addition to the years of social and infrastructural development as well as population growth, have superseded and rendered the reserves null and void.

“Additionally, the Land Use Act provides that governors are the custodians of all lands in their states. The Federal Government has no constitutional right to appropriate lands for itself or anyone else for that matter without the approval of state governors.

“Nigeria is practicing democracy; not despotism or feudalism. The President is obligated to listen to the yearnings of the people and lead according to the constitution. Leaders are elected to solve problems, not create more problems for the people.

“Nigeria is grappling with numerous security and economic challenges that should ordinarily worry the President. The Federal Government introduced the National Livestock Transformation Plan, NLTP and Nigerians accepted the policy. Why has the Buhari administration dumped the programme and opted for grazing reserves and cattle routes? That is the question agitating the minds of discerning Nigerians who suspect foul play.

“The Federal Government’s posture has emboldened armed Fulani herdsmen who go about maiming and killing innocent Nigerians. That the government has turned deaf ears to calls for the licensing of responsible Nigerians to own sophisticated weapons is another pointer to a hidden motive.

“We also read the President’s comments yesterday at the National Security Council meeting where he threatened to sack Security Chiefs for what he termed failure to tackle insecurity in the country. Why won’t the Security Chiefs fail when the body language of the Commander-in-Chief points to a clan of sacred cows who must be spared and given protection to perpetuate evil?

“How will the Security Chiefs succeed when their formations are not well funded and the troops are left to confront terrorists who have superior weapons? Why will the military commanders be decisive when those who kill their personnel and other Nigerians are given preferential treatment on the pretense of “repentance”?

“We hope that Mr. President was misquoted. But if indeed he made the statement attributed to him, he was not being fair to the security agencies.

“President Buhari’s spokesman Femi Adesina once asked Nigerians to choose between holding onto their lands or losing their lives. What is happening now is confirmation of that threat from the Presidency. They introduced Cattle Colonies, Ruga and National Water Resources Bill but Nigerians rejected all the policies. The latest push for grazing reserves and cattle routes is surely the final onslaught against majority of Nigerians who must be deprived of their God-given lands to accommodate foreign herdsmen moving into the country for the occupation agenda.

“Governor Samuel Ortom has repeatedly stated that there is no land for grazing reserves or cattle routes in Benue State. Though the Federal Government craftily concealed the names of the states where Mr President has ordered that grazing reserves be foisted on the people, we wish to categorically state that no part of Benue will be allocated for grazing reserves or cattle routes!

“The stand of the Governor is not personal; it is the collective decision of Benue people.  There is no gazetted land or cattle route in Benue State. Our state should be counted out of the proposed grazing reserves programme.

“If President Buhari must actualize his cattle agenda in Benue State, he should be ready to kill all of us! We know that grazing reserves and cattle routes are the only project that the President has for Nigeria, but Benue is not interested in such a project.”

The Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, dismissed moves to revive any grazing sites the Southwest.

Leader of the group, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, said no one in the geo-political zone will cede his land for grazing.

“This man (Buhari) is just stubborn, stubborn.  Nobody! We are not going to cede our land for grazing,” he told The Nation on the phone yesterday.

Asked what would happen if the Federal Government insists on seizing such land, Adebanjo retorted: “Which government? The government does not have any right on our land, and the governors would not give our land for grazing.”

In a separate statement on the issue, the Secretary General of Afenifere, Sola Ebiseni, said President Buhari was just wasting scarce resources on a programme that lacks all conceivable growth capacity.

The Afenifere scribe described the policy on grazing reserves as the implementation of a script by the Fulani intelligentsia.

His words: “We recall and support the Resolutions of the Nigerian governors, particularly from the South of the country, banning all forms of open grazing, and it does not matter to us that some elected governors, in a federation, would condescend so low to functioning as members of a committee presided over by an appointed aide of the President, no matter the name in which his office is painted.

“The concept of Grazing Reserves, otherwise known as Hurumi, which was introduced during the colonial and immediately after independence failed in the north, particularly in the Middle Belt provinces, notwithstanding a monolithic one North government and permissive land use regime.

“For the umpteenth time, let the President be told that the constitution which he reveres relentlessly and the Land Use Act which derives equal force therefrom extol the majesty of the people over their land.

“Even the governor who holds the land in his state in trust for the people cannot dispossess any citizen thereof, except for proven overriding public interest through the due process of law.

“The current exercise is not only a waste of tax payers’ money, it is a sweet pipe dream in a fool’s paradise. Every herder has a state of origin. Let the governments of the respective states make arrangements for settled life for them in the territory where the culture is fully appreciated.” 

It was the same song of no land here for grazing from the South-south and the Southeast.

The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) representing the South-south and and Ohanaeze Ndigbo for the Southeast vowed that no inch of land in the two regions would be ceded to the Federal Government for the purpose of grazing cattle.

Spokesman of PANDEF, Hon Ken Robinson, in a telephone interview on Friday, said: ”Our simple response to that is that there are no grazing reserves in the South-south.  No grazing reserves at all to be reviewed.

“No inch of South-south land would go for grazing reserve. Cattle rearing is a business. If anybody wants to go into cattle rearing, the person should see it as a business. Do they reserve fishing reserve for us in the north? There is no grazing reserve in the South-south. That is our position.”

Öhanaeze Ndigbo’s spokesperson, Alex Ogbonnia, said: “Ohanaeze’s position is that Igboland does not have land for grazing. Every land in the Southeast is owned by God, people and shrines. I don’t understand what you mean by grazing reserve. Ohanaeze’s position on this is no.

“Nigeria runs a federal system of government. Many houses of assembly have passed bills against open grazing and some of them have been signed into law. I am sure that in some states where the open grazing law has been signed is in operation.

“Even in the northern region there are some states that have banned open grazing. If the Federal Government wants to impose its will on the states, that is where constitutionalism comes in. I am sure some states will resist.”

A faction of Ohanaeze Ndigbo interpreted the federal government’s directive as a response to the recent ban on open grazing by Southern governors.

It said it was meant to arm-twist southern governors to reverse the ban.

Secretary of the faction, Okechulwu Isiguzoro, asked the Southeast governors to resist any attempt to make them change their stance on open grazing ban.

He also warned Southeast governors that they would be taking a huge risk if they donated land for grazing.

He said: “Ndigbo will not condone further obnoxious policies from the Federal Government aimed at helping the enemies, especially the murderous herdsmen, to erect a” TALIBAN STATE” in southeastern Nigeria.

“Southeast governors’ forum had in the past given the region’s verdict that there are no available lands for grazing reserves or Ruga in anywhere in the East.”

“So we hope that no Igbo governor will sabotage this verdict, as it won’t go without sanctions.

Another Igbo group,  Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF), said it did not believe Buhari was taking the action in the best interest of Nigeria and the majority  of Nigerians.

Its spokesman, Abia Onyike said: “Approving grazing reserves is not the solution to the attacks on farmers by herdsmen. The federal government knows the problem.

“Herders have been grazing their cattle for decades without any confrontation with the farmers. The question is why did they start attacking farmers and villages with guns and machetes?

“As far as we’re concerned, there’s no problem between herders and farmers. Rather, it is hegemonists and their blood-letting herdsmen that are killing innocent people in their farms, raping hapless women and using their cattle to graze in those areas without any form of control.

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) called the Federal Government’s move an open invitation to civil war.

The group in a statement accused the federal government of “doing everything outside of the law to arm-twist other ethnic groups just so the President’s kinsmen are awarded the ancestral lands for their private commercial business of grazing cattle.”

It advised the President to avoid actions that are capable of pushing Nigeria into a long drawn civil war.

It added: “For the avoidance of doubt and from the abundance of scholarly submissions, Mr. President should note that the Land Use Act enacted in 1978 was meant to standardise land administration systems across the country.”

Human rights lawyer, Barr. Emperor Ogbonna, described open grazing as obsolete.

He said: “The truth is that open grazing and grazing routes are outdated. No sane country still allows cows to migrate from one place to another grazing on grazing routes.

“The modern trend is for cows to be ranched in ranches.

“Since the President is keen about the security of the country, any directive that may increase the chances of insecurity should be avoided.

“Insisting on the grazing routes when there are other options like encouraging northern governors to give out land to the farmers or herders to ranch is a better option.”

The President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, announced on Thursday that Buhari had approved  the recommendations of a committee to review “with dispatch, 368 grazing sites across 25 states in the country and to determine the levels of encroachment.”

The committee headed by the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, called for the collection of field data collection on 368 Grazing Reserves across 25 states to assess encroachment and encroachers, stakeholder engagements and sensitization.


THE NATION

Saturday

Obstruction of Justice: MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell says he is hiding a pro-Trump election official to help her dodge an FBI investigation

CC™ Politico News

By Joshua Zitser

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell has said he is providing a safe house for a Colorado county clerk amid an FBI investigation into her role in an alleged plot to leak election data to a QAnon leader, according to Vice News.

The official at the center of the probe, Mesa County clerk Tina Peters, is accused of compromising voting machines and allowing someone to share sensitive data with QAnon figurehead, Ron Watkins, Insider previously reported.

Peters, a so-called "Trump Truther," permitted surveillance cameras to be turned off for up to two months, it is alleged.

She is under investigation by the Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, and on Tuesday, the FBI said it was also looking into it. The FBI announced that it was working with Colorado's District Attorney's office "to determine if there was a potential federal criminal violation," FBI Denver office spokeswoman Courtney Bernal told the Denver Post.

Two weeks ago, when Griswold issued an order authorizing her staff to travel to Mesa County to inspect the election system, Peters was on her way to MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell's "cyber symposium" in South Dakota, Vice News reported.

Lindell told Vice News on Wednesday that, following the symposium, a member of his own security team leaked the secret location she was staying in, the media outlet reported.

Peters is now "holed up" in a new safe house, Lindell said.

"She's worried about her safety. These people are ruthless," he told Vice News.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Friday

Nigerian, girlfriend arrested in Thailand for drug possession

CC™ Global News

By Wale Odunsi

A Nigerian, Obimma Kelechi Anthony, and his girlfriend, Marisa Noipitak, have been arrested with drugs in Thailand.

They were apprehended in the capital, Bangkok, while shipping 490 grams of crystal methamphetamine to Australia.

The Airport Interdiction Task Force (AITF) caught the couple when they brought the drugs in a spindle photo frame and a Buddhist monk offering to a company to send to Australia.

During a search of Marisa’s residence in Ramkhamhaeng, 985 grams of meth were found in another spindle frame.

In Obimma’s house in Samut Prakan, security agents discovered 35 grams of heroin, 89 grams of meth and 82 grams of cocaine.

The duo are being held by the Narcotics Suppression Division 3.

Marisa and Obimma have been charged with illegal drug possession. Police investigation continues.

DAILY POST

Thursday

Northern and Southern Governors have banned open grazing in Nigeria


CC™ ViewPoint

By Femi Falana

At the virtual meeting of Northern Governors Forum held on February 9, 2021, the members unanimously resolved to ban open grazing. According to the communique issued at the end of the meeting, it was stated that the Forum noted with concern “the growing wave of insecurity in the country particularly as it relates to the circulation of unverified video clips on social media portraying violent attacks on persons in some parts of the country. Therefore, the forum called on political leaders to segregate between criminality and social groups in their domains with a view to treating criminals as   criminals.

The forum reiterated   the   condemnation of   every form of criminality whether from herders, hunters, or farmers occupying forest reserves illegally. It also noted with concern the tension generated by the eviction order issued to herdsmen in some parts of the country. And it  expressed concern that this is heating the already fragile security atmosphere with threats of reprisals which the Northern governors are working assiduously to contain.”

The forum also noted with concern that “the current system of herding conducted mainly through open grazing is no longer sustainable in view of growing urbanization and population of the country.”

Consequently, the forum resolved to aggressively sensitize herdsmen on the need to adopt new methods of herding by ranching or other acceptable modern methods.” The forum appealed to the Federal Government “to support states with grants to directly undertake pilot projects of modern livestock production that will serve as springboard and evidence for breaking resistance to the full implementation of new methods of livestock production (and) resolved to engage elders and youths in a robust discussion with a view to dousing the tensed security environment in the North and called on all the citizens of the north to continue to live in peace with all Nigerians irrespective of their origins and backgrounds.”

The forum stressed the urgent need for the Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF, to meet and discuss the issue holistically with a view to resolving all areas of misunderstanding and conflicts arising from these threats and suspicion for the sake of national unity.

In response to the call of the NGF for an urgent meeting, the Nigeria Governors Forum held a virtual meeting on February 11, 2021. At the meeting the 36 state governors agreed by consensus to end nomadic cattle rearing in the country in order to end the incessant violent clashes between farmers and herders. In the communique of the governors it was categorically stated as follows: “Following an update from governors on the various initiatives taken by state governments to address the rising insecurity in the country due to the   activities of herdsmen, members reached a consensus on the need for the country to transition into modern systems of animal husbandry that will replace open, night and underage   grazing in the country.”

It was further stated in the Communique that: “State   governments are encouraged to put in place systems to accelerate the grazing initiative of the National Livestock Transformation  Plan, NLTP and ranching in the country.” However, the Forum urged state governments to respect “the right of abode of all Nigerians and strongly condemns criminality and the ethnic profiling of crime in the country in an effort to frame the widespread banditry and the herders /farmers crisis.”

At its own meeting held at Asaba, Delta State on May 11, 2021,   the Southern Governors Forum reiterated the decision of the Nigeria Governors Forum to ban open grazing in the country. Curiously, Professor Usman Yusuf has condemned the decision of the Southern Governors Forum on the ban. Even though he did not condemn the decisions of the Northern Governors Forum and the Nigeria Governors Forum, Professor Usman has argued that the decision of the Southern Governors Forum could not be justified under the Land Use Act. Such divide-and-rule tactics are designed to further polarise the masses of our people.

In any case, the decision of all the   governors to ban open grazing is in line with section 1 of the Land Use Act which has vested the entire land in every state in the governors on behalf of the people. Accordingly, any person or corporate body that wishes to use land in any state is required to apply for a certificate of occupancy issued by the governor.

In the same vein, the power to approve the physical planning of the land in every state is the exclusive responsibility of state governments.  Furthermore,   forest reserves owned by state governments are equally regulated by laws enacted by the Houses of Assembly. Under such laws it is stipulated that it is a criminal offence to occupy any part of such reserve without authorization of the state government.

By the combined effect of the Land Use Act, Regional Planning laws and Forest Laws applicable in all the states of the federation. Thus,   pursuant to such laws the Federal Government has directed state governments to take charge of all the forests in all states. It is, therefore, grossly misleading to argue that herders have unquestionable power to graze their cattle on any land without the authorization of the appropriate authorities.

As I had repeatedly maintained, the worsening insecurity in the country, including the violent clashes between herders and farmers, can only be seriously addressed if policy makers are prepared to abandon primitive ideas and embrace scientific solutions. As far back as 2016, the Buhari administration had adopted ranching in place of open grazing on farmlands without the authorization of the owners. Unfortunately, due to pressure from some selfish interest groups the Federal Government abandoned the policy of ranching.

However,   the increasing wave of insecurity in recent times has compelled the Federal Government and all the state governments to make ranching as the cornerstone of the National   Livestock   Transformation   Plan. From the information at our disposal, not fewer   than 24 state governments have applied for the special grant earmarked for the establishment of ranches by the Federal Government.

No doubt, every citizen is entitled to the fundamental right to freedom of movement and right to own and acquire land in any part of Nigeria by virtue of sections 41 and   43 of the Nigerian Constitution, respectively. To that extent, herders, like other citizens, are at liberty to acquire land for cattle business under the Land Use Act. But it is grossly misleading on the part of Professor Usman to say that governors are required to secure the permission of herders before banning the dangerous practice of open, night and underage grazing.

Those who are encouraging herders to reject modern animal husbandry are advised to learn from Botswana, South Africa,   Mozambique, Kenya and Ethiopia that have effectively adopted ranching to end clashes between herders and farmers. In those countries, farmers live in the ranches with family members, including their children and wards who attend schools in the neighbourhood.

*Femi Falana, SAN, is Interim Chair, Alliance on Surviving COVID – 19 and Beyond, ASCAB.

Wednesday

'We welcome Taliban' say China as they begin building 'good relations' with terrorists


CC™ Global News

By Tom Hussey

China has made a harrowing declaration that it "welcomes" the Taliban with open arms as the new regime in Afghanistan and "wishes to develop good relations" with them moving forward. 

Speaking at a news conference on Monday, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying announced China's full support of the Taliban as the militants take control of Afghanistan. During the chilling speech, Ms. Chunying outlined how China "welcome" future efforts of "participation in the reconstruction and development" of Afghanistan as they seek "good relations" with the terror group. But China has sworn the Taliban must not host Uyghur Islamists who hail from China's western Xinjiang province, a group that have launched terror attacks against China.

During the speech at a press conference of China's foreign ministry, Ms. Chunying confirmed China had become the first nation in the world to pledge their support for the new Taliban regime.

Ms. Chunying said: “The Afghan Taliban have repeatedly expressed their wish to develop good relations with China

“That they look forward to China’s participation in the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan.

“And that they will never allow any forces to use Afghan territory to endanger China."

And in a sobering moment, Ms. Chunying said: “We welcome this.”

It comes as the Chinese held talks with the Taliban at the end of July to discuss the future of their relationship.

Nine officials from the Taliban met China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, in the Chinese city of Tianjin on July 28.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar the Taliban’s co-founder was welcomed by Mr. Yi with open arms at the meeting.

During the talks the Taliban promised they would not allow Uyghur militants from China’s Xinjiang Province to come to Afghanistan and train as terrorists. 

In return China pledged support to the militant group.

And in a shocking statement, Mr Yi called the Taliban “an important military and political force in Afghanistan”.

Despite the comments US secretary of state Antony Blinken at the time claimed that Beijing’s interest in Afghanistan could be a “positive thing”.

The news comes as the Taliban have effectively taken control of Afghanistan after 20 years of western intervention in the country.

Taliban fighters have now declared “the war is over” after seizing the presidential palace, sending President Ashraf Ghani fleeing. Photos have now emerged of hundreds more Taliban fighters flooding into the capital Kabul as citizens scramble to escape at Kabul airport.

The declaration of victory follows a blistering advance across Afghanistan, which saw 20 provincial capitals fall to the Taliban in less than two weeks as the Afghan army failed to hold back their offensive.

It follows chaotic scenes that were unfolding on Sunday evening and Monday morning as thousands of desperate Afghan's swarmed into Kabul's Hamid Karzai international airport to try and board flights. While heartbreaking footage shows how some were so desperate to leave that they climbed on the outside of a US military plane as it took off and later fell tragically to their deaths.


EXPRESS