The Presidency denied on Wednesday that Zahra, a daughter to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), was an employee of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency.
It said an online publication did the story.
The Presidency stated that much as Zahra could work anywhere she wanted, in the extant case, the story wasn’t correct.
The Presidency’s reaction, contained in a statement by Buhari’s media aide, Mr Femi Adesina, noted, “While Zahra, just like any other Nigerian, can work wherever she secures employment, we hasten to add that the story is false in every material particular.
“The publication is untrue, malicious, and meant to cast aspersions at the First Family, since the tendentious platform claims the job was secured fraudulently.
“All people of goodwill are enjoined to ignore the hack piece, masquerading as a news story.”
Chinese loans: $400m project abandoned after completion
The National Public Security Communication System project for which Nigeria took a $399.5million from China and has paid $76.83million as part of the principal as well as $84.92million interest has been abandoned.
Although President Muhammadu Buhari had, during the 2020 Democracy Day broadcast on June 12, said that the project had been revived, Nigerian Tribune findings show that the project has since been abandoned.
The President, in the 59th paragraph of the Democracy Day speech, had said, “Amongst others, Government has expanded the National Command and Control Centre to nineteen states of the federation, resuscitated the National Public Security Communication System and commenced the implementation of the Community Policing Strategy.”
Nigeria had, in 2010, taken the $399.5million loan to finance the National Public Security Communication System project with the aim of improving the security architecture of the country.
The loan, for which the outstanding is $322.67million, is supposed to be fully repaid by 2030, failing which the China-Exim Bank would take over the facility. Experts are agreed that had the project been activated after completion, Nigeria could have stemmed the rising tide of crime and criminality in different parts of the country.
Nigeria has been at the mercy of insurgents, bandits and kidnappers who have repeatedly unleashed mayhem on many arts of the country. Just a few days back, the convoy of Borno State governor, Professor Babagana Zulum, was attacked by suspected militants. In June 2019, suspected kidnappers also attacked the convoy of Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, Ondo State governor.
However, it was hide and seek for the agencies directly linked with the National Public Security Communication System project on Tuesday as the Nigerian Tribune sought to get their views on the President’s comment that the project had been revived.
Nigerian Communications Satellite (NigComSat) spokesperson, Adamu Idris, who spoke with the Nigerian Tribune on Tuesday, said the agency did not know anything about the project.
“We were brought in after the project had been completed, we were not brought in at the design stage. We were supposed to run it on behalf of the government but it was not successfully executed. So, we are no longer involved.”
When asked to confirm the resuscitation of the project as said by the President, he said he did not know the current status of the project because his agency was no longer involved.
He then referred our correspondent to either the Ministry of Interior or the Police Affairs Ministry for further clarifications. The Ministry of Interior’s spokesperson, Mohammed Manga, declined comments because “I am not in the presidency, so I cannot make a comment about what the president said.”
He also declined to speak on the status of the project, saying “It is not domiciled in our ministry.” Seyi Odutayo, the Police Affairs Ministry’s spokesperson, promised to get back to our correspondent after communicating with the relevant department but had yet to do so at the time of filing this report.
However, during a 2016 investigation by an Ad Hoc Committee of the House of Representatives investigating the award of CCTV cameras in Abuja and Lagos, a former NigComSat MD, Mr Timasaniyu Ahmed-Rufai, had said that the project was fully completed by the contractor, ZTE Nigeria Limited, but that the Federal Government failed to operate and maintain it.
According to Ahmed-Rufai,
“We had a team of 25 engineers that went to every location to verify different stages of the project. We issued Acceptance Certificates after which payments were made to the contractor. There were milestones that were all carefully and professionally observed by the project implementation team.
“As the Project Consultant, I stand by every payment that was made and every decision taken on the project. The project was completed, tested and every component was working.
“It is erroneous for anyone to call the project a CCTV project because the Video Surveillance System (VSS) is even less than 8 per cent of the project. There were five components and they were all completed.”
He added that while the project was fully completed, the Federal Government had failed to activate it, likening the situation to having a brand new car but failing to fuel it.
“They had to power down the backbone for the communication system because government was not forthcoming in maintaining and operating the system. It is a complete communication system, there were special phones for security agencies which some people decided to lock up somewhere.
“There were emergency communication vehicles, they were all delivered. People were trained, from the police and other agencies but somehow some people decided not to operate the system. Those cameras depend on a backbone that has over 670 base stations. Those BTS have to be powered for the cameras to work,” he said.
Similarly, ZTE MD, Mr. Hao Fuqiang, in his response to the House of Representatives’ 2016 investigation, said, “We have consistently maintained that the project was fully completed and final tests completed. The Acceptance Certificates are available for scrutiny.”
According to the ZTE MD, the project was not just about CCTV as it had five components. The Global Open Trunking Architecture (GoTa) Sub-system, which is the dominant component of the system, is a CDMA-based voice and data telecommunications system with national coverage. It operates through two Mobile Switch Centres (MSC) with one each in Lagos and Abuja; 12 Base Station Controllers (BSC), 675 Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) and 21 Microwave repeaters.
The Gota system supports the deployment of 1.5 million subscriber lines. The second component is the Video surveillance Subsystem. The system comprises of 2000 surveillance cameras with 1,000 each installed in Abuja and Lagos respectively.
The subsystem also makes use of solar solutions because of the electricity challenges in the country. The Video Conferencing subsystem provides a platform for real-time video conferencing for the Nigeria Police Force across all commands and the Force Headquarters.
The E-policing subsystem is meant to facilitate the deployment of E-policing databases, while the Coalition Emergency Response subsystem is a platform for national emergency communication using the shortcode of 911 for emergency and /distress calls and 912 for anonymous security information. It also empowers the security agencies to carry out a coordinated response.
The National Public Security Communication System project was initiated during the administration of late President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua to curb insecurity in Abuja and Lagos as well as their environs.
FG rescues 30 Nigerian ladies stranded in Lebanon
Days after the video of 30 Nigerian ladies living in Lebanon pleading for assistance to return home went viral, the Federal Government has rescued them.
Recall that the ladies inside the viral video begged President Buhari and other well-meaning Nigerians to come to their aid and rescue them.
This was contained in a statement released by the spokesperson of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission NIDCOM, Gabriel Odu on Tuesday, August 4.
Odu said the ladies are currently in a more conducive apartment and would be repatriated between August 12 and 16.
”They will be part of One Hundred and Fifty others trafficked and stranded in Lebanon to be evacuated back to Nigeria. The Lebanese Ambassador to Nigeria Mr Houssam Diab disclosed the evacuation plans when the Management of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission NIDCOM, led by the Secretary Engr. Dr Sule Yakubu Bassi visited the Embassy in Abuja.
Ambassador Diab stated that One Hundred and fifty girls will be returned home in batches.
The first batch of One Hundred and Ten(110) will leave Beirut, Lebanon on 12th, August, 2020 to Lagos while the Second Batch will be returned to Abuja on 16th, August, 2020.” the statement in part read
A break down showed that 41 of the girls hailed from Oyo State; Ogun, 21; Lagos, 12; Ondo, 18; Osun, 26; Imo, 3; Kwara, 9; Ekiti, 6; Delta 3 while Enugu, Kogi, Edo, Ebonyi, Benue, Abia, Akwa Ibom and Anambra had one each.
Afenifere leader, Ayo Fasanmi, buried in Ekiti home
Eminent Nigerians on Tuesday paid tributes to the late Afenifere leader, Ayo Fasanmi, as his remains were interred in his country home in Iye Ekiti, Ilejemeje Local Government Area of Ekiti State.
Mr Fasanmi, a Second Republic Senator, died on July 29 at the age of 94.
Newsmen report that the casket conveying Mr Fasanmi’s corpse was brought to the community in a white jeep for the funeral service held at Saint John’s Anglican Church, Iye Ekiti.
Ekiti State governor, Kayode Fayemi said Mr Fasanmi’s contributions to the development of democracy was immeasurable, particularly his role in the formation and operation of the defunct National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) that fought the military.
The governor disclosed that his government was already constructing a secondary school to honour the deceased for his contributions to the state before his death.
“My only regret is that he has left us before the school will be officially inaugurated for academic activities when schools finally reopen,” Mr Fayemi said.
The governor, in his tribute entitled, “‘Tribute to a Man of Integrity,” said what attracted him to the deceased was his integrity.
“His death has, therefore, robbed me of a godfather, counsellor, an advocate and a father. A good man has left us.
“We will sorely miss him but we are consoled that he was dedicated to selfless service,” he said.
Mr Fayemi added that Mr Fasanmi belonged in the class of the youth of the 1950s when the nationalist movement was at its feverish peak.
He noted that the deceased got indoctrinated into nationalism struggle through the writings of Nnamdi Azikwe and his contemporaries.
“He proved his political mettle in 1964 when he was elected as a member of the Federal House of Representatives before 1966 and he got imprisoned in Agodi Prison and was later released.
“He offered to serve as governor of the old Ondo state in 1978 and slugged it out with Chief Michael Adekunle Ajasin who defeated him in the primary.
“One legacy for which Baba would be fondly remembered was his credential of incorruptibility. He was a man of tall integrity and honesty.
“It would be recalled that he was the first to start the Anti-Bribery and Corruption Committee in 1973 under Col. Oluwole Rotimi of the Western Region.
“Chief Ayo Fasanmi has come, he has seen and conquered. He conquered human cravings, vanity of power, ostentation, greed and malice,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the Southwest governors, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, said the news of the passage of the icon was a loss to the Yoruba and Nigeria at large.
“Baba living long for 94 years was not what we are celebrating, but we are celebrating how many lives he had impacted on. He lived an impactful life.
“He was not petty but he spoke the truth, lived a remarkable life and was one politician who became senator and came home to rest,” he said.
The governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, represented by his Special Adviser on Civic Engagements, Aderemi Adebowale, said Mr Fasanmi’s influence became more pronounced by his incorruptible nature.
The All Progressives Congress National leader, Bola Tinubu, represented by former Lagos State Deputy Governor, Abiodun Ogunleye, said Nigerians must learn from the late politician who lived a modest and Spartan lifestyle.
Mr Tinubu described Mr Fasanmi as a revolutionary and a politician of outstanding mien, civility and character who was worthy of being emulated.
In his sermon, the Bishop of Ekiti Oke, Anglican Communion, Peter Olubowale, said Mr Fasanmi was not a noise maker and trouble maker during his time.
The cleric urged the people to continually do good to humanity the way Mr Fasanmi did to his family, political associates, friends and companions.
“We need to be available to ourselves and committed to God. Nigerians are number one people in the world that are easy to govern with patience, zeal and endurance.
“Baba has told us that all these monies you are spending and the one you are keeping inside bullion vans and the ones being stashed in banks accounts are all vanity.
“Use the position you are occupying very well to develop humanity. This is the only way you can gain eternity because materialism will lead you to hell fire,” he said.
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