FG to designate specific courts to try corruption cases –Osinbajo
Says one year spent clearing Jonathan’s mess
1m IDPs back home
By Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Government has announced plans to designate some specific courts to handle corruption cases as part of judicial reforms to buoy the anti-graft war.
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo who made the disclosure in his address to mark the administration’s second anniversary also said the Federal Government was working towards re-equipping the prosecution teams.
He said the administration identified security, corruption and the economy as specific areas for immediate intervention on assumption of office.
“Our vision is for a country that grows what it eats and produces what it consumes. It is for a country that no longer has to import petroleum products, and develops a lucrative petrochemical industry.
“Very importantly it is for a country whose fortunes are no longer tied to the price of a barrel of crude, but instead to the boundless talent and energy of its people, young and old, male and female as they invest in diverse areas of the economy.
“And that vision is also for a country where the wealth of the many will no longer be stolen by or reserved for a few; and where the impunity of corruption – whether in the public or private sectors – will no longer be standard operating practice; a land rid of bandits and terrorists.
“As citizens you all deserve a country that works, not merely for the rich or connected, but for everyone. And our promise to you is that we will, with your support and cooperation, take every step needed to create that country of our dreams.”
While he noted that the journey would be tortuous, he said the administration would resist the temptation to take short-cuts that might ultimately complicate the journey.
He said the administration was determined to bring persons accused of corruption to justice.
“We believe that the looting of public resources that took place in the past few years has to be accounted for. Funds appropriated to build roads, railway lines, and power plants, and to equip the military, that had been stolen or diverted into private pockets, must be retrieved and the culprits brought to justice. Many have said that the process is slow, and that is true, corruption has fought back with tremendous resources and our system of administration of justice has been quite slow. But the good news for justice is that our law does not recognize a time bar for the prosecution of corruption and other crimes, and we will not relent in our efforts to apprehend and bring corruption suspects to justice. We are also re-equipping our prosecution teams, and part of the expected judicial reforms is to dedicate some specific courts to the trial of corruption cases.”
He reiterated that the dreaded Boko Haram terrorist sect, which once openly challenged the sovereignty and continued existence of the state, killing, maiming and abducting persons, especially in the North-east zone had been degraded.
He attributed the feat to the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari, the new leadership and renewed confidence of the military and the improved relations with neighbouring countries.
“The positive results are clear for all to see. In the last two years close to one million displaced persons have returned home. 106 of our daughters from Chibok have regained their freedom, after more than two years in captivity, in addition to the thousands of other captives who have since tasted freedom.
“Schools, hospitals and businesses are springing back to life across the Northeast, especially in Borno State, the epicentre of the crisis.
Farmers are returning to the farms from which they fled in the wake of Boko Haram. Finally, our people are getting a chance to begin the urgent task of rebuilding their lives.”
The Acting President admitted that the economic challenges has resulted in some companies shutting down their operations, job loss, rising food prices, inability of some states to pay salaries for months among others.
He said it was in recognition of all the sacrifices that has been made that the administration’s work on the economic front has been targeted at a combination of short-term interventions to cushion the pain, as well as medium to long term efforts aimed at rebuilding an economy that is no longer helplessly dependent on the price of crude oil.
He said that “much of 2016 was spent clearing the mess we inherited and putting the building blocks together for the future of our dreams; laying a solid foundation for the kind of future that you deserve as citizens of Nigeria.”
Osinbajo said with the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and the whistleblowing policy, the Federal Government has successful plugged leakages amounting to billions of naira, over the last two years.
He also noted that the administration has ended expensive and much-abused fertilizer and petrol subsidy regimes.
“We have taken very seriously our promise to save and invest for the future, even against the backdrop of our revenue challenges, and we have in the last two years added US$500 million to our Sovereign Wealth Fund and US$87 million to the Excess Crude Account. This is the very opposite of the situation before now, when rising oil prices failed to translate to rising levels of savings and investment.”
Osinbajo said while the Cabinet and the Economic Management Team put together a Strategic Implementation Plan for the 2016 budget, targeting initiatives that would create speedy yet lasting impact on the lives of Nigerians, the 2017 budget presented in December by President Buhari was meant to bring forth “tangible benefits of all the planning and preparation work.”
He said in the five months since Buhari delivered that speech, tremendous progress has been made.
Osinbajo reflected on Buhari’s ill-health and again called on Nigerians to continue to pray for the restoration to full health and strength and for his safe return.
…Portal for second round of 300,000 jobs opens June 13
Ag President says social investment programme right not favour
Disqualifies 13% for incomplete records, others
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has said the portals for NPower would be reopened on June 13 to absorb additional 300,000 of the National Social Investment Programmes (NSIP).
This is even as he declared that the NSIP initiative was not designed as a favour for the nation’s vulnerable ones but because as citizens, the beneficiaries deserved it.
Osinbajo spoke yesterday at the second anniversary of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, showcasing the achievements of the NSIP with the theme: “A smile for every Nigerian”, as part of activities to mark 18 years of uninterrupted democratic rule, held at the State House Conference Centre, Abuja.
“The next phase of this programme will proceed on a surer footing. We will be reopening the portals for NPower on the 13 of June, we are ramping up on the CCT, GEEP, and the Home Grown School feeding. Our targets are clear, soon enough we will put smiles on the faces of millions more.
“I want to say to all of you that we do not consider the programme as a favour done to you. It is not. You deserve this programme because you are citizens of this country.
“This country can provide and should provide for all that is in need of help and we will do our very best to provide.”
Osinbajo described the NSIP as a “heart and head” programme because not only is it difficult to ignore the pains caused by poverty, articulate and detailed planning is required to provide appropriate remedies.
“The social Investment Programme is both a heart and a head programme.
Heart, because the pains of poverty cannot be ignored. The programme is also a head or logical common sense issue. A country’s economic development is a function of the number living above poverty level.
“Our levels of poverty are so alarming that clearly some fundamental interventions by government are necessary.
“For all those who need the help, we will do our very best to provide.
“When some people talk about N30,000 for a graduate, it almost seems as if this is ridiculous, but it is clear that anyone who hasn’t had a job for years, and that is the case for so many, needs that start in life.
“I am very, very proud of everyone of you for the ways you have gone about this. You have done this with so much dignity and you have gone about ensuring that everyone who was listening to you is so extremely proud for the way you have conducted yourselves, the way that you have shown so much commitment and so much dedication. This is truly the Nigerian spirit and I am extremely proud of you.”
Osinbajo said with the programme, Nigeria has shown that a massive programme could be initiated and managed on-line.
“The N-Power programme is the largest posttertiary jobs programme in Africa. We now know that we can train large numbers electronically.
“Secondly, we have demonstrated that a transparent process of employment is possible. All of these young men and women have testified that they knew nobody, paid nobody to get the jobs they now have.
“Thirdly, we have achieved great success in our financial inclusion efforts by bringing in many, especially the extremely poor in the hinterlands into the formal banking system.
“Beneficiaries of the Conditional cash Transfer programme, home grown school feeding vendors and cooks, now have BVNs and bank accounts. We have also demonstrated that electronic payment on such a huge scale, across the nation is possible.
“Most importantly, we have ensured that our programmes are in all states not just APC states, so much so that some of the governors in non-APC states even take credit for these Federal Government programmes.
“We know that our children in public schools, many from poor homes, do not really care about whether the food is from one political party or the other.
“The fund will enable us to provide inexpensive mortgages for hundreds of thousands across the country. Already the project has started in 11 States,” he said.