President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday admonished South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to take “visible steps” to halt the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other foreigners resident in that country. The President said the persistent attacks and violence were capable of denting the image of South Africa as a leading African country.
President Buhari ordered the immediate voluntary evacuation of Nigerians willing to return from South Africa due to increasing xenophobic attacks.
The President spoke after receiving the report of his Special Envoy to South Africa and Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Amb. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar. The envoy was in the country for on-the-spot assessment of the attacks and consultations with the South African president and other government officials.
Presidential spokesman Femi Adesina said the special envoy, who was in Pretoria from September 5 to 7, “conveyed the deep concern of President Buhari and Nigerians about intermittent violence against Nigerians, their property and business interests in South Africa.”
The president, according to the statement, also stressed the need for the South African Government to take visible measures to stop violence against citizens of brotherly African nations.
“President Buhari is worried that the recurring issue of xenophobia could negatively affect the image and standing of South Africa as one of the leading countries on the continent if nothing is done to stop it.
“The Special Envoy conveyed the assurance of President Buhari that the Nigerian Government is ready and willing to collaborate with the South African Government to find a lasting solution to the involvement of few Nigerians in criminal activities, and to protect the lives and property of the larger groups of other law abiding Nigerians and indeed Africans in general, against all forms of attacks, including xenophobia.
“President Buhari further assured that the Nigerian Government will guarantee the safety of lives, property and business interests of South Africans in Nigeria.
“On his part, President Ramaphosa agreed that the violence was most disconcerting and embarrassing, adding that his government completely rejects such acts, which undermine not only the country’s image but also its relations with brotherly African countries.
“President Ramaphosa reaffirmed his stand against criminality and committed to doing everything possible to protect the rights of every Nigerian and other foreign nationals in the country.
“The Special Envoy also interfaced with his South African counterpart, where they reviewed the situation of foreign immigrants in general and Nigerians in particular. They agreed to work together to find a permanent solution to the root causes of the recurring attacks on Nigerians and their property.”
The statement said President Buhari had taken note of the report and instructed Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama to continue to engage with appropriate authorities on the concrete measure the South African Government is expected to take.
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.