Abducted Chibok schoolgirl escapes Boko Haram

A group of 82 girls, abducted in 2014 by Boko Haram insurgents from their Chibok, Nigeria, school, were returned to the capital, Abuja, on May 7. One more girl escaped and is traveling to Abuja, the Nigerian government announced Thursday. Photo courtesy the Nigerian government/EPA

May 18 (UPI) — A girl abducted in 2014 by the Boko Haram insurgent group has escaped, a Nigerian government official confirmed.

Femi Adesina, spokesman for acting President Yemi Osinbajo, said Wednesday that Osinbajo made the announcement during a Federal Executive Council meeting, adding that the unidentified girl is traveling to the capital, Abuja. She will be reunited with 82 others, of a group of about 276 kidnapped from a Chibok school on April 14, 2014, who were freed 12 days ago, he said.

President Muhammadu Buhari, 74, returned to Nigeria from a medical stay in London to meet the girls on May 5, before returning to London.

Adesina also said Nigerian military forces were capable of defeating Boko Haram, a terrorist group involved in an eight-year campaign for an Islamist caliphate in Nigeria that has cost thousands of lives and displaced millions. Addressing concerns that the depleted Boko Haram is regrouping in Nigeria’s Sambisa forest, Adesina commented, “One thing you can be sure of is that this government has the capacity to confront any security challenge that arises. So, if they are regrouping they will be flushed out again. I believe that we have seen the worst of that insurgency. We are in a mopping-up process and I believe the mop-up would be completed.”

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Nigeria’s Buhari tells parliament he has resumed duties: spokesman

By Felix Onuah
ReutersMarch 13, 2017
Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari, returning from a medical trip from London, is welcomed by governors in Abuja
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, returning from a medical trip from London, is welcomed by governors in Abuja, Nigeria March 10, 2017. Presidential Office/Handout

By Felix Onuah

ABUJA (Reuters) – Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has told parliament that he has resumed his duties following seven weeks of medical leave in Britain, his spokesman said on Monday.

Shortly after returning from London on Friday, the 74-year-old former general said he was feeling “much better” but wanted to rest over the weekend, raising questions about his ability to run Africa’s biggest economy and most populous nation.

Nigeria’s economy shrank 1.5 percent in 2016, its first full-year contraction for 25 years, largely due to low oil prices and attacks on energy facilities in the OPEC member’s Niger Delta oil hub last year.

Buhari had made his deputy Yemi Osinbajo acting president during his absence. The vice president, a lawyer who is seen as more business-friendly than Buhari, played an active role in driving policy changes during the president’s absence.

Both men were seen by a Reuters reporter walking together at the presidency offices on Monday.

A statement from the president’s spokesman, Femi Adesina, quoted from Buhari’s formal letter to the Senate and the House of Representatives, saying: “I have resumed my functions as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Buhari first led the country from 1983 to 1985 after taking power in a military coup, and was elected two years ago. Since then he has travelled to Britain several times to consult doctors. Details of his condition have not been disclosed.

(Additional reporting by Alexis Akwagyiram and Ulf Laessing; Editing by Louise Ireland)

Nigeria’s Buhari officially back to work: presidency

Ola Awoniyi,AFP 8 hours ago

Nigerian vice president says he has Buhari’s approval for everything

By Felix Onuah
ReutersMarch 13, 2017
Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari speaks after returning from a medical trip from London to Abuja
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari speaks after returning from a medical trip from London to Abuja, Nigeria March 10, 2017. Presidential Office/Handout via REUTERS
More

By Felix Onuah

ABUJA (Reuters) – Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said on Monday he had the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari for “practically everything”, after taking the reins as acting president during Buhari’s absence for medical treatment in Britain.

During the almost two-month absence, acting president Osinbajo drove policy changes, concluding an economic reform plan required for a World bank loan. The central bank devalued the naira for retail customers after a state body chaired by him called for an urgent review.

Top political posts in Nigeria are traditionally shared out to reflect the country’s geographic and religious divisions. Buhari is a northern Muslim, while Osinbajo is a pastor from the mainly Christian south.

Buhari, who returned to Nigeria on Friday, has written to parliament notifying lawmakers that he has resumed his presidential duties, his spokesman said on Monday.

“We just had a very long meeting … basically trying to bring the president up to speed as to some of the things we have done while he was away‎,” Osinbajo told reporters later in the day.

“By and large, practically everything I discuss fully with him and have his endorsement before we are able to go on and do anything at all.”

Buhari did not address the media after the meeting in his office. The president said on Friday he was feeling “much better” but wanted to rest over the weekend.

“His readiness for work is not in doubt at all,” Osinbajo said. “He is very well.”

During Buhari’s absence the acting president traveled several times to the commercial capital Lagos and the Niger Delta oil hub in an effort to calm tensions with militants attacking oil facilities. Buhari had been accused of neglecting the two regions.

Buhari, who first led the country from 1983 to 1985 aftertaking power in a military coup, was elected to power two years ago. Since then he has traveled to Britain several times to consult doctors. His illness has not been disclosed.

(Writing by Alexis Akwagyiram and Ulf Laessing; Editing by Andrew Roche)

LandAssets Plan: Implementation (Sponsored by LandAssets Consult)

Photo published for International Organizations Take Major Step to Boost Global Cooperation in Tax Matters

IMF

At no other time in the history of mankind have things become as gloomy as they now seem. The seven years of drought in the Pharaohic time of Joseph, and the modern USA history of the depression of 1933 are the closest scenarios to the kind of devastation that stares mankind in the face in our present times. And, dare we say that we had a taste of it during the Global Economic Recession of 2008/2009?

Whereas that period of depression in the Biblical time of Pharaoh and Joseph

affected a region of the World; the Middle-East, the great depression of 1933

affected the United States alone. However, what stares mankind in the face in

our time is not just continent wide, it is worldwide!

Just as the transition from the Agrarian to manufacturing economies of the 19th

Century caused a lot of economic upheavals which required great minds like John Locke, Adam Smith, and Karl Marx to address, the current transition from

manufacturing to Service/Technology based economies is equally creating

upheavals that modern man is finding difficulty dealing with.

At the center of the problem this treatise hopes to address is the most

important unit of production: man, and hence employees or workers in the

production process. The onset of manufacturing meant that so many who were

employed in agricultural production, who wished to make the transition to

manufacturing couldn’t, because of the limitations in the numbers that could be

employed or absorbed by the owners of manufacturing concerns. Relatively

speaking, the numbers have further dwindled with the introduction of technology in manufacturing and the Service industries, leading to an aggravated spike in the unemployment rates in most economies. For instance, drones are already cutting down on the number of pilots that most air forces in the developed world need.

More of technology, and less of human factor has meant lesser number of people employed, and reduction in aggregate national wages; and in contrast, more of the proceeds of enterprise that owners or entrepreneurs retain. This scenario is what has finally developed into the 1%/99% phenomenon; with less than one hundred of the richest in the World having an asset net worth that far exceeds that of the bottom half or 3.5 billion of World population; a very unacceptable development, one would think.

Unemployment therefore is at the core of the concern we have devoted years and effort to address, and which we at LandAssets Consult, in this treatise, intend to address. What our years of enquiry, using the Nigerian economy as case study has birthed, we have named The LandAssets Plan, after our outfit, LandAssets Consult.

The LandAssets Plan

The LandAssets Plan is a concept which seeks to increase the volume of property insurance and use it to provide solutions to the world-wide problem of unemployment, and enhance poverty reduction, wealth creation, industrialization, manufacturing and housing provision. Put in a nut shell, the LandAssets Plan could be defined as the compulsory insurance of all urban and semi-urban based Real Estate within an economy, with a view to:

# deepening insurance penetration;

# increasing insurance volume and increasing appreciably, the Gross Annual

Insurance Premium;

# Providing there from, the required funding for infrastructure provision and

maintenance;

# providing long term funding for the private sector of the economy;

# reducing the cost of funds to single digit from the current, tortuous

double digit rates; and,

# jump-starting the economy from a recessive to a productive one.

As it is with so many developing economies, Nigeria is troubled by such economic problems as:

♦ Unavailability of long-term Development Funds;

♦ Infrastructure deficit;

♦High interest rates;

♦ High inflation rates;

♦High rate of Capital flight;

♦ Exchange rates deficiency;

♦ Inadequate housing provision;

♦ Decaying manufacturing infrastructure; and,

♦ Very low rate of industrialization.

The existence of the foregoing problems result in high unemployment and poverty rates. Such economies are often caught in the throes of recessionary spirals. The problem therefore, properly situated, is the need to conceptualize ways to fund job creation, create wealth, reduce poverty, industrialize the economy, enhance manufacturing, and create the enabling conditions for provision of affordable and adequate housing.

Muhammadu Buhari

President Mohammadu Buhari

The NEEDS Development Objective

 In the Nigerian context, (and we believe this is equally the applicable scenario

in most developing economies of Africa, the Americas, Asia-Pacific, and the

Middle-east) none availability of loanable funds seems to be the major handicap

towards the attainment of the foregoing laudable objectives. In the Nigerian

context, this problem was adequately captured in the following words in the

NEEDS Document:

“Financing: NEEDS will require a heavy investment program to jump start the

economy in a manner that is pro-poor and poverty-reducing. Aside from the

projected investment by the federal and state governments as well as the private

sector, there is still A RESIDUAL FINANCING GAP which requires special efforts to mobilize the required finance.”

Developing economies like Nigeria have hitherto relied on World bank and IMF

loans, which were mostly diverted by politicians into private accounts in

European and American banks. That was basically why Nigeria paid for loans that never yielded any dividends, since the projects for which the loans were

obtained were never developed, ab initio.

The LandAssets Plan was therefore focused on seeking a method to fill the void

created by the residual financing gap of NEEDS. Since sourcing such funds

offshore seems impossible at this time, the practical thing would be to source

them from within; and this, we believe the LandAssets Plan would accomplish in any economy.

Stated differently, the LandAssets Plan is a concept which seeks to use the

resources of the rich within any given economy to create jobs, create wealth,

redistribute wealth, and reduce poverty. This objective would be realised

through the compulsory insurance of all Real Estate situate within the urban and

semi-urban areas of the subject economy, at very affordable rates.

From our study of the Nigerian economy, which we employed as our Case Study for the LandAssets Plan, we found that for considerably reduced premium on individual properties, the increased volume of insured properties would result in:

ð  A Gross Revenue of N 3 trillion p.a. over an initial five-year period;

ð  The cost of realisation includes N 45 billions for Valuation fees, and N

180 billions in Legal, Architectural, Construction and other fees;

ð ¯ N 600 billion would be retained by LandAssets Consult for Conceptualizing,

Brokering, Managing and Coordinating the project;

ð ¯ Every destroyed property would be redeveloped within a year at no cost to

the property owner;

ð ¯ Over one million jobs would be created within the first year of

implementation; and,

ð ¯ The spill over effects of releasing three extra trillion Naira into the

economy annually would defy description.

Partnering with the IMF/World Bank

 We conceptualized the LandAssets Plan in 2002, and incorporated the “residual

financing gap” concept into same in 2004. From inception, we have tried to

secure our successive Governments’ interest in the project to no avail,

basically because of our aversion to paying lobbyists.

In order therefore to get this project off the starting blocks, we would

appreciate the partnership of either the IMF or the World bank. For a start, the

partnership of either finance institutions in an advisory role would be

immensely beneficial to the entire world economy by affording the project a

badge of acceptability. Moreover, having the resources of the institutions

available to us through their country managers would add a lot of advantages in

project execution.

We would gladly offer 30 percent of LandAssets revenue from every economy in which the LandAssets Plan would be executed to any of the subject finance

institutions which partners with us. We value very highly the statistics for

each individual economy in which we would consult, considering that such

resources would reduce highly, the time that would have been spent garnering

such.

Subtle Redistribution of Wealth and Income

 Issuing from the dictum in elementary physics that matter can neither be created

nor destroyed, but could be transformed from one state to the other, we, in

trying to address the 1% /99% phenomenon, ascertained that the LandAssets Plan could turn out a subtle instrument for wealth and income redistribution, in the sense that, unlike taxes which are resisted by the rich, and does nothing for

the poor; the institution of the LandAssets Plan would result in the idle wealth

of the rich being employed to empower the poor, and towards poverty-reducing

tendencies, while enhancing the wealth of the rich.

The way to achieving such goals , using Nigeria as case study, is for the

Federal government to appropriate yearly , 80% of the income of the insurance

companies over an initial five year period, specifically for development

purposes. In exchange, the Federal government would issue twenty year Bonds for the appropriated funds to the Insurance companies. Such Development Funds should be channelled towards:

ð ´ Infrastructure development and maintenance;

ð ´ Provision of Seed Capital to Small and Medium Scale Enterprises at 3%

interest through the insurance companies rather than banks;

ð ´ Providing funds for Solid minerals development and extraction;

ð ´ Lending towards assisting the manufacturing sector of the economy; and,

ð ´ Providing affordable housing to the low income group.

The IMF, or the World bank, whichever of the finance institutions which partners with us, would ascertain that the use to which such development funds are employed meet the defined objectives. They would be better placed to effectively play that role than LandAssets Consult.

By the sixth year of implementation, by which period over N12 trillion would

have been ploughed into such fund, the economy would be sufficiently empowered to become very productive. Again, the imagination could be stretched to appreciate what such development would do with regards to job creation and poverty-reduction. Simply stated, it would be beyond belief.

On our part, from every revenue we shall earn in every economy, 80% would be

ploughed back in investments in such economies, depending largely on the perception of those who would advise LandAssets Consult as to what the priorities are for each economy. For the Nigerian economy, the following shall be our priority investments objectives:

🔵 Development of a Petroleum Refinery in order to alleviate the bleeding of the economy by oil marketers;
🔵 Investment in, and development of affordable housing for the low and middle income earners, since most housing developments seem aimed at the top end property market;
🔵 Investing in solid minerals extraction by taking on stocks in some of the extraction outfits;
🔵 Construction of water hydrants in various residential and commercial districts in the urban areas of the economy, with a view to fighting fire more effectively;
🔵 Taking the lead in investing in an East-West fast rail project;
🔵 Investing in Power generation;
🔵 Lending directly to Small and Medium Scale Enterprises;
🔵 Investing in the manufacturing, industrialization and other economy enhancing investments and sectors of the economy; and,
🔵 Investing in the provision of internet platform and technology to the rural and highly disadvantaged areas with a view to making the internet more accessible and affordable throughout the economy.

Conclusion

 During the period of the Sub-Prime Mortgage induced World Economic Recession of 2008 / 2009, the erstwhile President of France, Nicholas Sarkozy remarked that Capitalism had failed; and that there was a need to develop a new system, perhaps some innovation, comprising of an amalgam of Capitalism and such innovative application.

The “Invisible hand” theory of Adam Smith which is the core and basis of Capitalism, it seemed to world leaders then, no longer does any good to the majority of mankind; since the rich seemingly gets richer while the poor gets nothing. From the developing economies, all kinds of indictment have been flung the way of the IMF and the World bank for impoverishing developing economies with their “one solution fits all” approach to dealing with economic problems.

The first salvo which signified that the voiceless poor were getting their voice back was the disruptive economic stirrings induced by, and dubbed “Occupy Wall Street”, which metamorphosed into the “Occupy Movement”, with London and several European cities witnessing the  phenomenon.

Unfortunately, since that movement got to and became transformed into the “Arab Spring” by radicalised, and mostly unemployed Arab and Muslim youths, the World has neither known peace, nor would ever be the same again. In essence, it is our contention that unemployment is at the very roots of the spike in terrorism the world is currently witnessing. We doubt that any informed member of any nation would doubt the foregoing assertion because the facts and statistics are glaring enough.

Recently, in discussing the Brussels terrorist attack, a TV anchor, quoting from a study undertaken by some organisation, stated that of the foreign fighters who joined ISIS,   (the financial inducement being a factor), the contingent of unemployed Tunisian youths, who numbered six thousands, were the highest from any particular country.

The point which needs to be made here, and which needs restating, is that the United Nations Organization, the World Finance System, represented by the World bank and the IMF should, with all the statistics at their disposal, be addressing World Poverty and Unemployment much more than they have done. The world’s rich don’t seem to appreciate that whether it is “the Occupy Movement,” “Arab Spring,” or “ISIS,” it is all about unemployment and poverty.

A young man or woman out of University and holding down a good job to which he reports every morning, has no business either occupying anything other than his job, or lending his time to being a suicide bomber. The resources to ensure that, we insist, is domiciled in every economy, but locked down by the rich in non-performing wealth and assets. We just want to free up those latent assets and use them for the benefit of humanity.

If we had the wherewithal to impose the LandAssets Plan solution on an economy such as Greece, then the fact that this is “an idea whose time has come,” would  become crystal clear to all and sundry.This is the best we can do. From here on, we await the United Nations, the World Bank, the IMF, the Federal Government of Nigeria, and who else to talk to us.

Let’s get the World working again. Like  President Barrack Obama said in one of his State of the Union addresses, “opportunities abound, let’s get to work.” Give a helping hand in reducing poverty. Help us to create wealth. Give us a helping hand in getting youths off guns and bombs, and having them gainfully employed in civil jobs. Help us make this world liveable again.

Thank you for your time.

GabbyOgbechie
Managing Consultant, LandAssets Consult.

The basic principles underpinning the LandAssets Plan could be found in our

earlier publications in The Property Gazette, (thepropertygazette.org) namely:

  1. On Reviving our Depressed Economy; Engendering Growth and Development; and,

Creating millions of Jobs: The LandAssets Plan – short link –

  1. The Jurisprudence of Annuity and the LandAssets Plan – short link –
  2. Banking Reforms and the LandAssets Plan -short link –
  3. Infrastructure Development and Maintenance: The LandAssets option

85 dead in Boko Haram’s deadliest attacks since Buhari took-over

on September 21, 2015   /   in News 10:07 pm   /   Comments

Boko Haram carried out its deadliest attacks on the key northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri since President Muhammadu Buhari came to power, killing scores in a series of coordinated bomb blasts.

Police in the Borno state capital said at least 54 people died in Sunday’s co-ordinated strikes, with 90 injured, but residents caught up in the explosions said as many as 85 lost their lives.

The attacks on Sunday night in the Ajilari Cross area and nearby Gomari, near the city’s airport, killed and maimed worshippers at a mosque, bystanders and football fans watching a televised match.

The army and rescuers said the explosions were caused by homemade devices but one local and the police said a female suicide bomber also blew herself up.

Victims of the multiple blasts blamed on Boko Haram, lie on mattresses at the State Specialist Hospital in Maiduguri, on September 21, 2015. Boko Haram carried out its deadliest attacks on the key northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri since President Muhammadu Buhari came to power, killing scores in a series of coordinated bomb blasts. Locals in Maiduguri said at least 85 people were killed in a series of bombings blamed on Boko Haram, disputing a lower figure of 54 given by police. AFP PHOTO

Maiduguri, where Boko Haram was founded in 2002, has been the epicentre of the six-year-old insurgency and repeatedly attacked since Buhari assumed office.

Some 26 people were killed in a suicide attack on a Maiduguri mosque on May 30, while another attack on a cattle market three days later killed 13. The day after that strike, 18 were killed in a bomb blast.

Since his inauguration on May 29, at least 1,100 people have been killed, with the majority of attacks in Borno, according to AFP reporting.

– Co-ordinated strikes –

Nigeria’s authorities have frequently downplayed the death toll from attacks in the insurgency, which has claimed at least 17,000 lives and forced more than two million from their homes since 2009.

“I can assure you that no fewer than 85 people died,” said resident Sabo Ahmed. “The figure given by the police is just the number of people taken to hospital.

“Many more died and were just taken away by their loved ones.”

Ahmed said 15 more bodies had been pulled from the rubble of the football match “viewing centre” and that four were his brothers aged between 19 to 24.

Alhaji Jidda, a resident of the Binta Sugar neighbourhood, said more than 35 people were killed at the mosque, which is thought to have been hit by a female suicide bomber.

“Apart from the imam and a few people, all the rest died instantly at the mosque because of the impact of the blast,” he said.

“From the figures we gathered, more than 85 people died (in total),” he said.

A security source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed: “Yes, the dead should be higher than what was given to you but that (54) is the official figure,” he said.

– Desperation –

Army spokesman Sani Usman said on Sunday the blasts, which locals believed could have been aimed to distract security forces to enable an attack on the city, “signify (a) high level of desperation on the part of the Boko Haram terrorists”.

His boss, Chief of Army Staff Tukur Buratai, described the attacks as “unfortunate” but said it indicated the group’s methods.

“It’s not a setback because it is giving us a lead to how we can progress toward our success,” he told reporters in Abuja on Monday.

A victim of the multiple blasts blamed on Boko Haram, lies on a mattress at the State Specialist Hospital in Maiduguri, on September 21, 2015. Boko Haram carried out its deadliest attacks on the key northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri since President Muhammadu Buhari came to power, killing scores in a series of coordinated bomb blasts. Locals in Maiduguri said at least 85 people were killed in a series of bombings blamed on Boko Haram, disputing a lower figure of 54 given by police. AFP PHOTO

The military has claimed the rebels were in disarray, having apparently lost territory and seen their camps destroyed in recent months.

But Boko Haram’s shadowy leader Abubakar Shekau denied the group was a spent force, describing the military claims as “lies” in an audio recording published via social media on Saturday.

Apart from suicide and bomb attacks on markets, bus stations and mosques, the insurgents have also carried out deadly cross-border raids in neighbouring Chad, Cameroon and Niger.

All three countries have been assisting Nigeria in the counter-insurgency since the turn of the year, in recognition of the group’s threat to regional security.

A new 8,700-strong regional force comprising all four countries plus Benin is set to deploy against the jihadists

I expect Buhari administration to persecute my ministers, aides – President Jonathan

Less than three weeks before he leaves office, President Goodluck Jonathan has said he expects his ministers and aides to be “persecuted” after his tenure.

Mr. Jonathan, whose administration witnessed several corruption scandals, stated this on Sunday at a thanksgiving service organized in his honour at the Anglican Church, Life Camp, Abuja.

He said he believes he lost some allies as well as the March presidential election because of “certain decisions,” he took.

“It (the decisions) might be good for the generality of the people but it might affect some people differently,” the president said. “So for ministers and aides who served with me, I sympathize with them, they will be persecuted. And they must be ready for that persecution.”

Mr. Jonathan said he expected that he and his ministers would have a hard time after he leaves office.
“To my ministers, I wish you what I wish myself,” he said. “They will have hard times, we will all have hard times. Our ways will be rough.”

Indications that some officials of the Jonathan administration would be investigated for corrupt activities emerged after the president-elect, Muhammadu Buhari- vowed to probe the ‘missing’ $20 billion in the state oil firm, NNPC. The money, which was first made public by the immediate past Central Bank governor, Lamido Sanusi, remained an albatross on the neck of the Jonathan administration which repeatedly claimed its officials did nothing wrong.

However, an audit commissioned by the government and released after much pressure by the pubic and after Mr. Buhari’s statement showed that officials of the highly secretive NNPC and other relevant authorities frustrated the work of the international auditors, PWC. One of those expected to face a major probe is the petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, whose tenure witnessed several scandals in the oil sector, apart from the $20 billion.

Mr. Jonathan, who became the first incumbent to lose an election in Nigeria, also said the “hard decisions” he took probably cost him his re-election.

“Some hard decisions have their own cost, no doubt about that,” he said. “That I have ran the government this way that stabilized certain things, the electoral process and other things that brought stability into this country. They were very costly decisions which I myself must be ready to pay for.”

“Some people come to me and say this or that person, is he not your friend that benefited. Is it not your government that this person benefited from? But this is what the person is saying?

“But I used to say worse statements will come. If you take certain decisions, you should know that those close to you will even abandon you at some point. And I tell them that more of my so-called friends will disappear.”

The president compared his unpopularity based on his ‘decisions’ to that of the last apartheid ruler of South Africa.

Read more HERE