​Nigeria has become nation of sorrow under Buhari – PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party has stated that Nigerians are suffering under the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government.

The Vice-Chairman of the party in the North-East, Emmanuel Njiwah, made this observation in Yola, on Wednesday.

According to him, Nigeria had become a nation of sorrow under the All Progressives Congress.

Njiwah belongs to the Senator Modu Sheriff faction of the party, which is locked in a bitter leadership struggle with the Senator Ahmed Makarfi faction.

The factional vice-chairman, who spoke while inaugurating the Adamawa State executive committee of the PDP led by Abdulrahman Bobboi, said the APC had devastated the economy.

He said, “Anybody with a plan for Nigeria cannot come into power and within the spate of a year, plunge the largest economy on the continent into recession.

“They have actually devastated the economy of Nigeria but they kept blaming the PDP. But the fact remains that as of May 29, 2015, Nigeria was the largest economy in Africa and as of May 2016, we have become a nation of sorrow.”

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While presenting the 28-member Adamawa State chapter of the party with their certificates of return, Njiwah reiterated the determination of the PDP to reclaim power in 2019.

He said, “The PDP needs to come back. Is there anybody who is not suffering here? Those who voted them in and even we that didn’t vote them are suffering too. Our markets are not different. Our filling stations are not different. We are buying from the same markets.

“We want to buy a bag of rice for N7,000. We want to buy fuel at N87 per litre.”

A former aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Ali Gulak, who was chairman on the occasion, deplored the poor state of the economy under the APC-led Federal Government.

Earlier in June, Vice President,Yemi Osinbajo also admitted that there’s suffering in the land.

According to him, his boss, President Muhammadu Buhari meant well for the people of the country and thus needed the support and cooperation of Nigerians to bring the desired change.

Source: DailyPostDailyPost

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​Nigeria’s population now 182 million —NPC

The Director-General of National Population Commission, NPC, Ghaji Bello, has said Nigeria’s population was currently 182 million, with more than half its people under 30 years of age.

According to him, this puts a severe strain on a nation, with its slowing economy and declining revenue to provide enough schools and health facilities.

Bello, who disclosed this in Abuja, said the latest estimate was based on the population of 140 million recorded in the last census a decade ago, using an annual growth rate of 3.5 percent weighed against other variables such as rising life expectancy and a declining infant mortality rate.

President Muhammadu Buhari chats with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Executive Director and Under Secretary General of the United Nations, Dr Babatunde Osotimehin during a meeting in Abuja.(File)
He said Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, was witnessing a growing youth bulge, with those under 14 years accounting for more than 40 percent of its citizens.

According to him, this is happening at a time the International Monetary Fund, IMF, has predicted that the nation’s gross domestic product will shrink 1.7 percent this year, the first full-year contraction in more than two decades.

“The implication is that they are assets, they are the future of our country, but they are also liabilities. We need to know how to plan for their transition from youths to the next category.

‘’It has implications for education, health and security, particularly in our environment where you have a lot of unemployment,’’ Bello said.

He said plans to hold a census this year were delayed by 2015 elections and a plunge in revenue due to low prices for crude, the country’s main export, and slashed output caused by militant attacks in the Niger Delta.

“We’re hopeful the government will soon make a statement for the next exercise,” he said.

Source: Vanguard

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​‘Nigeria becomes eighth country to use armed drones in combat’

The convoy had stopped for prayers in a Taliban stronghold in southern Afghanistan when the Hellfire missiles came out of a clear blue sky, incinerating vehicles and liquidating 23 unarmed civilians.

The February 2010 attack, involving US drone operators who were later described as “inaccurate and unprofessional” in a military investigation, fueled the growing outcry over America’s rapidly expanding drone wars.

The personnel who mistook the travelers for insurgents had been analyzing Predator drone footage from Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, directing a remote-control massacre thousands of miles from the victims.

They reported that they could see only military-age men in the three vehicles but several of the dead and wounded turned out to be women in brightly-colored civilian clothing and their children.

The incident, and what it reveals about America’s secretive drone program, is the subject of “National Bird,” a disturbing documentary released in US theaters on November 11.

The feature-length investigation follows three whistleblowers who, plagued by guilt over participating in the killing of faceless people in foreign countries, decide to speak out.

“I knew I had to do something because I knew what was happening was wrong and it was growing exponentially out of control,” Lisa Ling, a former drone system technical sergeant in California, told AFP.

In the documentary Ling shares a letter of commendation she received for having helped to identify 121,000 insurgent targets over a two-year period.

She asks that viewers “do the math” to estimate how many deaths there have been since America declared war on the Taliban after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in the US.

– Faraway consequences –

The problem with drone warfare, says Ling, is partly the unreliability of the fuzzy images analysts use to make life and death decisions, although the technology will inevitably improve.

A bigger issue however is the detachment of the drone operators — geographically and emotionally — from the faraway consequences of their decisions.

The White House puts the number of non-combatants killed by drones in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya from 2009-15 at up to 116, although the Bureau of Investigative Journalists claims the figure is at least six times that.

President Barack Obama has defended the use of the technology, declaring in 2013 that strikes were only carried out when there was “near certainty” that the target was present.

“At that time there wasn’t a lot of information at all,” said New York-based filmmaker Sonia Kennebeck, who was just starting research for “National Bird.”

“People were commenting about the drone war but you couldn’t really get access to people who worked in the program.”

She managed to track down Ling, Heather Linebaugh, a former drone operative suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and “Dan,” a civilian intelligence analyst who was the target of an Espionage Act investigation.

Kennebeck traveled with Ling to Afghanistan to meet the innocent victims of the 2010 attack, adults and children who had lost loved ones, not to mention limbs.

– ‘Drones are terror’ –

The aim, she says, was to start a debate that had been utterly absent from the public conversation, about whether people wanted drone warfare waged on their behalf and — if they did — how to regulate it.

“The question is how precise and surgical is it really to drop a bomb on a house? Do you really know with 100 percent certainty who is inside and who you are killing?” she asks.

According to US public policy think tank New America, 86 countries have some drone technology.

Earlier this year Nigeria became the eighth country to have used armed drones in combat. The Lebanese Islamist militant group Hezbollah has also used them.

“This is our taxpayer money. We are paying to have this happen so at least we should say we are okay with this, or not okay with it,” US-based Ines Hofmann Kanna, who produced “National Bird,” told AFP.

“We’re not even discussing it, really. That’s a problem.”

The 92-minute “National Bird” is being released as Obama prepares to make way for a successor who will be in a position to re-evaluate the moral case for drones, and their efficacy in warfare.

“I’d like to see whoever comes into office watch this film and understand that, from the ground, drones are terror,” says Ling.

“If you’re walking through a garden with your grandmother and you don’t know within the next 10 seconds whether you’re going to see your grandmother in pieces, that’s called terror.”

Source: Vanguard

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​Nigeria will continue to support Liberia- Obasanjo

ABEOKUTA—Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday, pledged that he would continue to support everything that would be in the best interest of Nigeria and Liberia.

Obasanjo gave assurance while hosting Vice President of Liberia, Mr Joseph Boakai, on Wednesday at his hiltop residence in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital.

Boakai was in Nigeria for an international conference organised by Save Democracy Group Africa.

The former President said, “you can count on us that we would continue to support your country because the development of Liberia is paramount to us. If any country in West/Africa is lagging behind,then West Africa is disturbed.”

Earlier, the Liberian Vice President had stressed the need for quality investment in African youths to secure the future of the continent.

He also called on African leaders to be united in fighting corruption in order to enhance sustainable economic development in the continent.

Boakai said, “We should begin to invest in our youths. We should begin to do away with corruption and stop taking money out of our country and sending it elsewhere when our youths need employment.

“I think if we begin to invest more in our country and demonstrate that they are entitled to the resources, then they will feel a sense of belonging and Africa will be open to all.”

Boakai said Nigeria was not just a sister country to Liberia but a dependable ally who made the necessary sacrifice to ensure that Liberia survived its civil war.

He described Obasanjo as a special friend of Liberia and commended him for strengthening cordial relationship between Nigeria and his country.

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  4. Source: Vanguard

​Nigeria’s GDP loss to South Africa

Reports of South Africa overtaking Nigeria in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rating hardly came as a surprise. Though it indicated that both countries have recorded drops in GDP in the last one year, Nigeria’s case was a huge crash compared to South Africa’s.

Nigeria’s US Dollar GDP was put at $296 billion, a 43.2% drop from $521 billion last year while South Africa’s clocked at USD301 billion, about 14.7% drop from last year’s $D353 billion. Nigeria was never as strong as the 2014/15 rebasing of the GDP had portrayed. The rebasing had pushed the statistics above South Africa, making Nigeria nominally the largest economy in the continent.

Even at that, it was clear that the large economy was like a clay-footed elephant that could collapse under the slightest pressure. Thus, it took just a slide in oil revenue compounded by ineffective policy responses to it by the President Muhammadu Buhari regime to bring the elephant down.

The report was too good for Nigeria, as grey areas in the economic statistics were not fully reflected. Just a glance at what has happened across Africa’s top five economies will give the proper impression of where the country stands comparatively.

Even as at last year when Nigeria’s GDP out-did South Africa, Nigerians were still almost four times poorer. South Africa’s GDP per capita was USD11,035, while Nigeria’s was a paltry USD2,700. Obviously, this reflected the downside impact of population on Nigeria’s economy.

But the irony is that most advanced economies have always looked at market size to put Nigeria first, yet the country has not been able to translate the market size into upside impact in economic performance, due to internal low production capacity. Consumption is high, but it is mostly imported goods.

Thus, most other African countries in the top five GDP category have always done better than Nigeria in terms of both GDP growth rate and income per capita. Nigeria has always come behind Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Libya and Angola in per capita income.

Until Nigeria’s economy managers begin to engage its large population into productive activities contributing to the GDP it will always present a pitiable sight before its African peers in economic statistics.

Though the others are also reliant on primary produce such as agriculture and natural resources, the difference is clearly on diversification. Local industries have been developed to process the primary produce and get more citizens gainfully employed. This is also the way forward for Nigeria.

Nigeria must make its large population count by developing its economy and local industrial production before it can credibly compete with other continental giants in the prosperity rating. Otherwise our population will continue to tell negatively on our GDP.

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​Trekking from Enugu to Umuahia was my toughest task in Army – IBB

Former Nigeria military President Ibrahim Babangida has said that his toughest encounter in the army was trekking from Enugu to Umuahia where he sustained injury during the Nigeria civil war.

Babangida made this known at an interactive session with newsmen to mark his 75th birthday in Minna on Tuesday.

“Movement from Enugu to Umuahia was very tough and challenging because you need to be physically fit to be able to undertake that kind of journey on foot.

“We had to go through the jungles and the hills. I think it was my toughest encounter in the army because that was where I got wounded in April 1969,’’ he said.

He said that he joined the army for the purpose of being in the force to protect the country. According to him, being in the military means that you must subject yourself to a constituted authority to execute all the tasks assigned to you by government. He said that the constitutional roll and international treaties made it possible for military personnel to serve anywhere in the world.

The former military president said that the military job was more challenging than being the president of a country. He explained that as an army officer you would lead men to danger because your life and their lives depend on you as the commander.

“If they have faith in you they follow you. If you have faith in them you go along with them. “So, it is more challenging than being a president,’’ he said. Babangida further said that being a president or Head of State, you have to seek people’s advice, interact and discourse with them to get solution based on the prevailing circumstances.

“Being a military officer you are the only one leading your troops hoping on you. If you lead them wrongly you will kill many of them. “So, I consider the military more challenging than the political job,’’ he said.

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  4. Source: Vanguard

​Nigeria spends N1trn on 4 food imports annually – FG

Abuja —Massive importation of food, especially, rice, wheat, sugar and fish, has continued to bleed the nation’s economy, with the four items accounting for a whopping N1 trillion loss to the nation annually.

Executive Secretary, Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, ARCN, Prof. Baba Abubakar, disclosed this at a sensitization seminar on Genetically Modified Organisms, GMOs, and Agricultural Biotechnology, organised for staff of Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development by Biotechnology Development Agency, in collaboration with other OFAB and National Bio-safety Management Agency, in Abuja, yesterday.

Abubakar, who was represented by the Acting Director, Partnership and Linkages Programme, Yarama Ndirpaya, noted with dismay that Nigeria had remained a large food importer, in-spite of massive uncultivated agricultural land across the country.

He said: “Nigeria spends over N1 trillion on the top four food imports annually. And farmers have limited capacity and use techniques that adversely affect soil fertility, water and biodiversity. Human-induced climate change compounds the issue.”

According to him, Nigeria is the largest importer of US hard red and white wheat worth N635 billion annually; world’s number 2 importer of rice at N356 billion; N217 billion on sugar and N97 billion on fish.

Abubakar, who described the development as unacceptable, further noted that Nigerian farmers had limited capacity and used techniques that adversely affected soil fertility, water and biodiversity and warned that unless farmers were empowered with biotechnology, the problem might linger into the future.

Applying the principle of total productivity factor, TPF, he revealed that of Nigeria’s 98 Mha land, 74 Mha, representing 75 per cent was good for farming, but lamented that less than half was put to use.

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