Press zooms in on alleged plot to overthrow President Buhari, others

The alarm raised by the Presidency that there is a plot by disgruntled religious and past political leaders to overthrow…

The alarm raised by the Presidency that there is a plot by disgruntled religious and past political leaders to overthrow President Muhammadu Buhari dominates the headlines of Nigerian newspapers on Wednesday.The Guardian reports that what began as a rumour or idle talk – whispers of a putsch – yesterday gathered a life of its own as state actors kept giving life to the notion, which is turning and turning in the widening gyre.

First was the pledge by the military that it would not overthrow President Muhammadu Buhari, a former army general and head of state whose government has come under strident criticisms over growing insecurity in the country.

In a statement issued by Acting Director, Defence Information, Brigadier-General Onyema Nwachukwu, the military said it has no intention of taking over power again in Nigeria. This, it said, is because it believes that despite tough times, democracy is the way to go and militarism is no longer fashionable. The army also warned politicians nursing ambition of ruling Nigeria outside the ballot box, saying it would continue to defend the country’s democracy.

This statement was in reaction to agitation by some secessionist and opposition figures for a restructuring of the government, coming two days after the Department of State Services (DSS) also issued same warning.

Immediately after the army’s pledge of loyalty, the Presidency, yesterday, raised the alarm, warning of a subliminal plot by some past leaders working with foreigners to forcefully sack President Buhari from office. However, it did not provide names of the leaders and their cohorts.

The Presidency predicated its conclusion on what it described as ‘unimpeachable’ evidence made available to it by DSS operatives. It, however, warned of dire consequences of such plot, especially where the citizens have opted for democratic rule, saying the only accepted way to change a democratically elected government is through elections.

The newspaper says that the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and the CGIAR System Organisation have formed an alliance to address rising hunger on the continent.

At a two-day high-level dialogue that focused on modernising food production, the group observed that the impact of climate change, rising fragility, conflict and locust invasions in east and southern Africa are taking a toll on the continent’s effort to tackle food insecurity.

Finding solutions will require strong backing from governments, development partners and the private sector. The virtual event brought together government officials, heads of multilateral development banks, development partners, regional organisations, research institutions, business leaders, private sector operators, investment agencies and civil society organisations.

The dialogue was an opportunity to share achievements and lessons from across the African continent and accelerate agricultural transformation. Across the continent, hunger poses an even greater risk than COVID-19.

The Punch reports that the Minority Caucus of the National Assembly on Tuesday, threatened to use its legislative powers to move against President, Muhammadu Buhari, should he continue to breach the constitution.

To make good its threat, the caucus has listed the various constitutional breaches which it said it would rely upon to invoke its constitutional powers, should the breaches persist.

The leader of the caucus and Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, made this position known at a media briefing in Abuja, on Tuesday.

According to him, the caucus was saddened that Buhari had failed to guarantee the security and welfare of Nigerians, which he described as the primary purpose of the government.

The caucus also expressed disappointment that the current regime has mismanaged the economy to the point of near collapse. This, he said, should not be allowed to continue.

He said, “The caucus has taken note and will continue to take note of the constitutional breaches that are happening at this time by the government of the APC.

“We will at the appropriate time utilize all constitutional methods and measures available after consultations with our colleagues, to do the needful to save the country from collapse.

“PDP expresses very strong concern about the ineptitude and the inability of the APC-led government to arrest the drift to anarchy of our nation at this time.”

The Punch says that subscribers under the aegis of the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers have called on the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, to step down in spite of the extension of the deadline for National Identity Number-Subscriber Identity Module linkage.

Pantami, who has been under fire of late over his past extremist pro-Islamist comments, announced the postponement of the deadline to June 30 based on the request by stakeholders.

The President, NATCOMS, Adeolu Ogunbanjo, while appreciating the minister for the extension, admonished Pantami to step down and be investigated.

He said it was necessary for the minister to resign just as the former Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, had done after she was accused of forging her National Youth Service Corps exemption certificate.

Ogunbanjo said, “For now, he should step aside just like Adeosun did and allow investigation to continue. If he is cleared, he can come back as minister. “We appreciate him for extending the deadline, but he has a moral obligation to resign so investigation can be devoid of partiality. He should do the honourable thing and be investigated.”

Panatami disclosed that 54 million Nigerians had obtained their NIN in a statement jointly signed by the Director, Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission, Ikechukwu Adinde; and the Head, Corporate Communications, National Identity Management Commission, Kayode Adegoke.

The Sun reports that the Nigerian Government is set to slash salaries of civil servants and merge agencies with duplicitous functions in its efforts to weather the rough economic storm it currently faces.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, who stated this in Abuja on Tuesday at the ongoing ‘National Policy Dialogue on Corruption and Cost of Governance in Nigeria’, disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the salaries committee to review payroll and also review the number of agencies.

According to her, the government will weed out unnecessary items from the budget as a move to cut the cost of governance in the country. This move is consistent with the 2011 Steve Oransanye Committee report, an 800-page document, which had far-reaching recommendations on MDAs that should be scrapped, those to be merged and those to become self-funding, thereby freeing funds for the much-needed capital projects across the country.

 Speaking at the event organised by the Independent Corrupt Practice Commission, the Finance Minister noted that the government had approved a N13.88 trillion budget with a deficit of over N5.6 trillion. The government projected a revenue of N7.98 trillion to fund part of the 2021 budget.

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