Nigerians rising against xenophobic attacks targeted at their compatriots and other Africans in South Africa, there were indications yesterday that Nigeria might boycott the World Economic Forum on Africa 2019, starting in Cape Town today.
Presidency sources told newsmen that the dominant opinion among its senior officials was that neither President Muhammadu Buhari nor Vice President Yemi Osinbajo should attend the summit of world leaders holding in a country whose citizens has persistently attacked Nigerians and their property with its government doing virtually nothing to end the violence.
The boycott would be a warning shot that if the South African government fails to take concrete steps to stop the hatred of Nigerians in its domain, its economic interests in Nigeria would be severely restrained by the federal government.
“The general opinion here is that we need to show the South Africans that the crawling of a lion is not an act of cowardice and that Nigeria could not only bark but could also bite if it becomes necessary to do so,” a high-level presidential source said.
The boycott would be a logical follow up to government’s demand yesterday for compensation from South Africa for its citizens’ losses in the recent attacks.
There were pockets of reprisals targeted at notably South African businesses in Nigeria such as local outlets of Africa’s largest food retailer, Shoprite, and telecoms giant, MTN, forcing the organizations to scale down operations for now.
But the quick intervention of the police, which beefed up security around many popular South African businesses in Nigeria, prevented an escalation of the reprisals even as one person was feared dead in Lagos during the dispersal of a protest march.
The federal government, which had earlier yesterday summoned the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Bobby Monroe, over the attacks, unveiled a proposal to deploy security operatives in the Nigerian High Commission in South Africa. The security operative will work with the commission to provide security for Nigerians in the country.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, told reporters in Abuja that the federal government had strongly protested the attacks on its citizens to South Africa.
According to him, the federal government expected that such security operatives would eventually be incorporated in the South African police with a view to assisting it in pre-empting future attack against Nigerians.
He said: “We have registered our strong protest to the government of South Africa but most importantly, we have put forward to the South African government what we think will make a big difference.
“One, with regards to compensation for those who have suffered losses and most importantly, a security proposal that we believe will safeguard the security of Nigerians in the future.
“We are hoping to see the possibility of sending some security agents, deploying them initially in the Nigerian High Commission, to work closely with the South African Police Force.”
Onyeama dismissed any contemplation by Nigeria to embark on any revenge mission against South Africans or their businesses, saying two wrongs do not make a right.
The minister said South Africa was provoked by the attacks by its nationals and was striving hard to put the situation under control.
“We don’t believe that two wrongs make a right. I think in terms of revenge on those kinds of attacks is not what we are looking forward to,” he said, adding: “The South African government has assured us that they are doing everything possible to address the situation; that they are equally exasperated by the whole event.”
Onyeama said the special envoy the president was sending to South Africa would table before the government the two issues bordering on compensations to Nigerians, who have lost belongings in the attacks, as well as the plan to deploy security operatives in the country.
Labor leaders insist on consequential increment
Labor leaders said on Monday they will insist on the ‘consequential increment’ in their negotiation with states on the payment of minimum wage. Any governor not ready to pay should be ready for a showdown, they threatened.
Labour leaders who spoke in separate interviews with our correspondents, ;the union leaders were united that states should pay as expected.
Secretary-General of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Musa-lawal Ozigi, said: “The governors are jokers. You know why? Because they were part of the minimum wage committee, they cannot say they don’t know what happened. The state governments are only playing games. They were represented in the minimum wage committee. They cannot come round to deny their responsibility. They are simply courting labour anger and we are ready for them.
“The statement is only to test Labour’s resolve to ensure that the dividend of minimum wage gets to everybody and we are ready for them.
“All the governors in Nigeria receive the same salaries. Even the states that cannot produce anything, they receive the same salaries with states that can produce something. So, they cannot also deny their workers what they should get.
“We have finished battling with the Federal Government and the consequential increase has been signed. It is time to go to the states to ensure that justice is done to everybody.
“Once the template we signed with the Federal government is passed to the states, we will then know which state said it cannot implement or pay. The template is not for negotiations but for implementation.
President Buhari present year 2020 budget
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday formally presented N10.729 trillion for the 2020 fiscal year before a joint session of the National Assembly.
Buhari said the 2020 budget is based on the proposed new VAT rate. The increased revenues will be used to fund education, health, and infrastructure.
The budget proposal was prepared based on the following assumptions: Benchmark of $57 per barrel, daily oil 1.86 million barrel per day.
Buhari said the goal of presenting the 2020 Appropriation Act early to the lawmakers is so it can come into effect on January 1, 2020. He also stated that the main emphasis of the budget is on the completion many ongoing infrastructure projects, instead of starting new ones.
The Ministry of Works and Housing got N262 billion, transportation ministry got a budget of N123 billion, Agriculture ministry received N83 billion.
UBEC got N112 billion, Defence ministry N100 billion, Water Resources was allotted N82 billion, Education sector got N48 billion, health has N46 billion.
North East Dec Commission got N38 billion, SIPs was given a budget of N30 billion, FCT got N28 billion and the Niger Delta ministry got N24 billion.
Sex for marks: Unilag lecturer exposed
BBC Africa Eye’s on Monday released a documentary targeted at lecturers in some West African universities harassing their students for sex in exchange for grades/marks. After gathering dozens of testimonies, BBC Africa Eye sent undercover journalists posing as students inside the University of Lagos and the University of Ghana.
It was disclosed that female reporters were sexually harassed, propositioned and put under pressure by senior lecturers at the institutions – all the while wearing secret cameras in a 13-minutes video documentary released.
A UNILAG senior lecturer, Faculty of Arts, who doubles as the head pastor of a Foursquare Gospel Church in Lagos, Dr. Boniface Igbeneghu, was exposed as one of the culprits.
The undercover journalist posed as a 17-year-old student who wanted an admission at the University of Lagos.
The “student” endured a couple of sexual harassment from the Dr. Igbeneghu.
Igbeneghu, who invited the teenager to his office for a number of tutorials, subsequently began to have inappropriate conversations with her.
On their first meeting, he commented on her appearance.
In the 13-minutes secret filming, the lecturer revealed how his colleagues tossed and passed around UNILAG female students for sex.
He disclosed further how his colleagues patronised UNILAG Staff club ‘Cold room’ to commit series of atrocities on female students.
“Do you know that you are a very beautiful girl,” he asked her.
“Do you know that I am a pastor and I’m in my fifties. What will shock you is that even at my age now, if I want a girl of your age – a 17-year-old, all I need is to sweet tongue her and put some money in her hand and I’ll get her,” Igbeneghu said to her on camera.
Despite repeated requests, the lecturer failed to react to the BBC’s allegations.
Also, authorities of UNILAG dissociated itself from the lecturer’s actions.
It revealed to the BBC that the institution had a zero-tolerance policy on sexual harassment.
Furthermore, it refused to comment on the alleged ‘cold room.’
Senate probes loss of $21bn to non-review of PSC Act
The Senate on Wednesday directed its revenant committees to probe the loss of $21bIllion revenue accruable to the Federal Government due to the failure to amend the Production Sharing Contract (PSC) Act.
This resolution followed a motion entitled: “Urgent need to review and recover additional revenue accruable to the government of the Federation from the Production Sharing Contracts pursuant to Section 16 of the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract Act CAP D3 LFN 2004 and amend the Extant Act.”
The motion was sponsored by Senator Ifeanyi Ubah (Anambra South) and co-sponsored by 16 other senators.
In his lead debate, Ubah urged the Senate to note that “as a result of the non-review and amendment of the PSC Act, the Federal Government has lost about US$21 billion (about N7trillion) over a period of 20 years due to the failure to review and amend the PSC Act as stated by the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources following the meeting of the Federal Executive Council on the 14th day of December, 2017.”
Senator Ubah’s prayer which is to: “Mandate the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources Upstream to investigate the reasons for the failure to review the salient provisions of the PSC Act, identify the best fiscal regime for the PSCs and review the provisions of the PSC Act to ensure that beyond the crude oil price of US$20, the share of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) in the additional revenue is adjusted in accordance with the provisions of the Act,” was unanimously adopted when it was put to voice vote by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan.