Press zooms in on Buhari’s response to #EndSARS judicial panel report, others

President Muhammadu Buhari's pledge that the federal government will allow the system to exhaust itself, and will, therefore, wait for…

President Muhammadu Buhari’s pledge that the federal government will allow the system to exhaust itself, and will, therefore, wait for pronouncements from state governments, which set up panels to probe police brutality in the country is one of the trending stories in the Nigerian newspapers on Friday.The Guardian reports that three days after a leaked report of the Lagos State #EndSARS judicial panel went viral, which indicted the nation’s security forces of opening fire on the assembly of unarmed protesters and killing some citizens, President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday broke his silence when he told the visiting United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, that his government would allow the system to exhaust itself, and will, therefore, wait for pronouncements from state governments, which set up panels to probe police brutality in the country.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, disclosed this in a statement, after President Buhari received Blinken at the State House, Abuja.

Up till last month during the one year commemoration of the #EndSARS protest, the Federal Government had insistently denied that unarmed protesters were killed at the tollgate on October 20, 2020, with the Minister of Information, Mr. Lai Mohammed, describing the incident as a “massacre without bodies.”

But speaking yesterday, the President said: “So many state governments are involved, and have given different terms of reference to the probe panels. We at the Federal have to wait for the steps taken by the states, and we have to allow the system to work. We can’t impose ideas on them. Federal Government has to wait for the reaction of the states.”

The Lagos State government, reacting to the controversies that greeted the leaked report, on Wednesday, had called for restrain while a committee it set up develops a White Paper on the report in two weeks to advise government on the next line of action.

On the development of democratic ethos, President Buhari noted that Nigeria adopted the American model, “hook, line, and sinker, with its term limits. Those who have attempted to breach it were disappointed, if not disgraced.”

In his remarks, Blinken appreciated the contributions of President Buhari to the protection of the climate, particularly, his presence and contributions at the recent COP26 climate conference held in Glasgow, Scotland.

Blinken noted that America and Nigeria have diverse challenges, but a common denominator is security, and hoped for better partnerships, “so that the bad guys won’t get the good guys.”

He also described the report of the EndSARS probe panel as “democracy in action,” stressing that America equally had its own police brutality, and hoping that necessary reforms would be made.

The Punch says that President Muhammadu Buhari has signed into law the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (Amendment) Act, amending the AMCON Act No.4, 2010.

The development means AMCON has now been empowered to take possession, manage, and sell the assets and property of its bad debtors. Buhari signed two bills passed by the National Assembly into law on Thursday.

He also signed the Climate Change Bill into law. The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed this in a statement titled, ‘President Buhari signs climate change, AMCON (amendment) bills into law.’

According to Shehu, the Climate Change Act owes its origin to a bill sponsored by a member of the House of Representatives, Sam Onuigbo, and provides for, among other things, the mainstreaming of climate change actions and the establishment of a National Council on Climate Change.

It also paves the way for environmental and economic accounting and a push for a net zero emission deadline plan in the country.

The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (Amendment) Act amends the AMCON Act No.4, 2010. The AMCON Act also provides for the extension of the tenor of the Resolution Cost Fund and grants access to the Special Tribunal established by the Banks and other Financial Institutions Act 2020.

The newspaper reports that the African Development Bank Group has approved a $150m facility for ETC Group Limited to address the working capital requirements for the company and its agriculture value chain development in a boost for smallholder farmers.

The AfDB said the investment would take the form of a trade and agri-finance package, comprising a $75m soft commodity finance facility to support the group’s pre and post-shipment working capital requirements, with a particular focus on export-oriented activities.

According to a statement, it includes a $75m agriculture value-chain programme to increase agriculture production and productivity, by providing improved agricultural inputs and agronomic advisory services to local farmers.

It said the ultimate beneficiaries of the intervention, would include smallholder farmers, a significant number being women and youth entrepreneurs across 10 African countries, whose productivity is expected to increase from the deployment of high-quality agricultural inputs.

The Vice President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development, AfDB, Dr Beth Dunford, said, “Working with an African agro-champion like ETC was critical towards achieving the bank’s developmental goal to support millions of smallholder farmers across the continent and contribute to increased agricultural production and food security, in the process.”

The Sun says that the Nigerian Government, yesterday, said that the National Development Plan (NDP 2021 – 2025) and Nigeria Agenda 2050 (NA 2050) are projected to generate about 21 million jobs and lift about 35 million people out of poverty.

Speaking at the African Statistics Day, organised by the Nigerian Statistical Association (NSA), in Abuja, the Minister of State for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba, said that the two programmes are Nigerian home-grown medium and long-term National Development Plans developed to succeed the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP 2017 – 2020) and Nigeria Vision 2020 (NV20:2020), both of which ended in December 2020.

According to him, the programmes also target a broad-based economic growth of about five per cent “The plan seeks to achieve these laudable goals in the medium term by expanding economic growth, growing an inclusive economy, leveraging on its young workforce and enhancing execution capacity at the national and sub-national levels.

“The NDP 2021 – 2025 envisions Nigeria being a leading industrialising and reforming nation in Africa that will focus on building its institutional capacity and capability as well as fostering a private sector-led growth to help address the critical issues of job and wealth creation and poverty reduction,” he said.

The newspaper reports that Nigeria again led the rest of Africa as remittances to low- and middle-income countries are projected to register a 7.3 percent to reach $589 billion in 2021.

The return to growth will see Nigeria log about $18billion out of $45billion assigned sub-saharan Africa, which is more robust than earlier estimates and follows the resilience of flows in 2020 when remittances declined by only 1.7 percent amid a severe global recession due to COVID-19, according to estimates from the World Bank’s Migration and Development Brief released yesterday.

To boost inflows of diaspora remittances into the country, the Central Bank of Nigeria had in March launched a Naira 4 Dollar scheme that pays naira to senders and recipients of international money transfers.

Meanwhile for a second consecutive year, remittance flows to low- and middle-income countries (excluding China) are expected to surpass the sum of foreign direct investment (FDI) and overseas development assistance (ODA).

“Remittance flows from migrants have greatly complemented government cash transfer programmes to support families suffering economic hardships during the COVID-19 crisis.

Facilitating the flow of remittances to provide relief to strained household budgets should be a key component of government policies to support a global recovery from the pandemic,” said Michal Rutkowski, World Bank Global Director for Social Protection and Jobs.

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