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Atiku Releases Policy Document, Promises To Create Three Million Jobs Each Year

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The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar, has promised to create three million jobs every year if he is elected as president in the 2019 election.

This is one of the key points in the policy document released by the PDP flagbearer today (Sunday), which details a seven-year timeline in which he intends to deliver on his campaign promises.

Giving a breakdown of the rate of unemployment in the country, Atiku said, “Close to 16 million people are unemployed, nine million more than in 2014.

“Over two million new entrants join the labour force each year meaning the unemployed share of the labour force more than tripled in less than a decade: from 5.1% in 2010 to 18.8% in 2017

“Unemployment for women and young people is at 33%, 70% of unemployed youths are uneducated and unskilled.

“Creating jobs and economic opportunities for these people will be vital both for reducing the pool of easy recruits for violent groups and reducing underlying grievances that feed the conflict”.

As a solution, he said his administration, if elected in 2019 will, “Launch a new, more efficient, cost-effective and sustainable national Entrepreneurship Development and Job Creation Programme.

“Target the creation of up to three million self and wage-paying employment opportunities in the private sector annually.

“Target all categories of youth, including graduates, early school leavers as well as the massive numbers of uneducated youth who are currently not in schools, employment or training.

“Create incubation centres, clusters and industrial/commercial hubs to provide a marketplace for MSMEs and SMPs.

“Champion the repositioning and streamlining the activities of the existing Federal and State Government Job Creation Agencies”.

Apart from job creation, the document also lists three other areas of priority namely infrastructure development, human capital development and poverty eradication.

According to the former Vice President, he has plans to lift 50 million Nigerians out of poverty, by 2025.

Furthermore, he stated that he has plans to privatise the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and also sell all four national refineries.

Other areas of focus in terms of infrastructure is the construction of 5,000 kilometres of roads, and 5,000 kilometres of modern railway.

Read Also: Buhari Promises To Overhaul Education Sector, Remodel 10,000 Schools Every Year

A statement released on Saturday, by the Atiku Campaign Organisation, had explained that Atiku’s decision to kick-start his presidential campaign with the launch of his policy document was to reiterate his commitment to running an issue-based campaign.

It added that the intention was to take their policy directly to Nigerians and to register Atiku’s belief that it would take the collective efforts of every Nigerian to rebuild the country.

It read in part, “That is why we want Nigerians to access the policy directly and ultimately take ownership of it,” it said, adding, “Our campaign offers a simple message: United, the people of Nigeria can begin anew, creating a prosperous and secure future and a better life for every Nigerian.

“Our policy document focuses on creating jobs, ensuring security, growing business, developing power and water infrastructure, agriculture and education and how we will empower women.

“Our policies outline the goals and methods for developing and revitalising Nigeria as the foundation of our campaign. This policy document is being launched to encourage a dialogue with the people of Nigeria, inviting everyone to join us in helping to get Nigeria working again.

“The PDP presidential candidate looks forward to conducting vital discussions as he travels across the length and breadth of Nigeria, meeting and talking with stakeholders – farmers, small business people, workers, students, mothers, and children.”

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House Okays N30,000 as New Minimum Wage

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The House of Representatives has finally approved N30, 000 as the New national Minimum Wage.

President Muhammadu Buhari had sent a N27, 000 minimum wage bill to the National Assembly last week Thursday.

But the lawmakers adopted the report by the ad-hoc committee set up on the New Minimum Wage Bill which held a public hearing Monday and presented the report to the National Assembly.

The bill has already been passed for the third reading.

The lawmakers were unanimously in support of the adoption of the N30, 000 recommendation by the committee, which labour leaders insisted was approved by the tripartite committee set up by the President.

Details later….

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Governors express concern over increase in arms ahead of elections

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The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has expressed concerns over the proliferation of arms and ammunition in the country ahead of the February 16 general election.

The Chairman of the forum and governor of Zamfara state, Abdul’aziz Yari, said the governors were also alarmed over the spate of kidnapping across the country.

Addressing journalists at the end of an emergency meeting held with the Office of the National Security Adviser and head of security agencies on Tuesday in Abuja, Yari said the governors have recommended a stronger collaboration and intelligence sharing amongst security agencies to ensure that lives and properties are protected.

According to him, the governors have further resolved to collaborate with security agencies to ensure that the elections are free, fair and credible.

He said: “Governors as major stakeholders, they seek our cooperation so that their job would be easier. We promised to do our best and ensure the election is free and credible. Not only that, we came through the ballot box and we are going through the same process to seek reelection and make sure that the election is free and is commended by the international community as they did in 2015.”

Yari further absolved the presidency of the allegation that the present administration was planning to rig the election saying the president has promised that he is not taking the “election in any way as do or die”.

While speaking, the Acting Inspector General of Police (IGP), Muhammed Adamu reassured Nigerians of a violence-free poll.

He assured further that the security agencies are ready for the election and would ensure that they mop up illegal arms in the system while saying the neutrality of the police shouldn’t be in doubt.

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Atiku writes UK, US others over Onnoghen’s suspension

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The opposition People’s Democratic Party presidential Candidate and former Vice president of Nigeria Atiku Abubakar has petitioned the United Kingdom, United State of America, France and Germany over the suspension of Walter Onnoghen as Nigeria’s chief justice.

“I have chosen to write this letter to Your Excellency for the enviable role that your country plays as champion of Democracy and the Rule of Law,” Abubakar wrote in the letter on Tuesday.

“As a Presidential Candidate in the forthcoming General Elections that will be conducted and supervised by the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari.”

“I feel the urgent need to share with you some of these key violations of the provisions of our constitution and to demand that you pile pressure on the Federal Government to desist from these violations and ensure a level playing field for the General Elections that are only a couple of weeks away.

Nigeria president Muhammadu Buhari on Friday swore in Ibrahim Tanko Muhammed as the new acting Chief Justice of Nigeria to replace embattled Onnoghen.

His swearing-in followed Onnoghen’s suspension by the president, who acted based on an order by the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

Onnoghen is facing a six-count charge of non-declaration of assets when he became the chief justice of Nigeria. Buhari said the allegations against Onnoghen were “grievous enough”.

Onnoghen’s suspension sparked reactions from Nigerians including the U.S. and Uk government

Uk noted that the “timing of this action, so close to national elections, gives cause for concern.”

“It risks affecting both domestic and international perceptions on the credibility of the forthcoming elections,” the statement read.

“We, along with other members of the international community, are following developments closely,” the statement read.

While the United State, on the other hand, said it “is deeply concerned by the impact of the executive branch’s decision to suspend and replace the Chief Justice and head of the judicial branch without the support of the legislative branch on the eve of national and state elections.”

“We note widespread Nigerian criticism that this decision is unconstitutional and that it undermines the independence of the judicial branch. That undercuts the stated determination of the government, candidates, and political party leaders to ensure that the elections proceed in a way that is free, fair, transparent, and peaceful.”

The Nigerian government said the reactions of the two countries were hasty.

The government said it would welcome partnerships for successful 2019 general elections but would not condone unfair interference in matters that are specifically internal.

“Nigeria reserves the right to be insulated from suggestions and or interference with respect to wholly internal affairs and commends international laws, customs and norms that mandate and require nations and the comity to respect this prerogative to all,”  presidential spokesman Garba Shehu said in a statement on Monday.

“Nigeria is confident of its electoral processes and her preparation for the imminent elections and the federal government has supported the independent electoral umpire in both its independence and resources needed to accomplish our desire and insistence on free and fair elections,” he added

But the former Vice president in his letter insisted that the “attempt to muscle out the Chief Justice of Nigeria using phoney charges at a time when His Lordship was primed to play a central role in the fast-approaching nationwide electoral process represents the boldest steps in the march to undermine our democracy,”

“This is undoubtedly an anti-democratic act which my political Party and I reject without reservation and for which I urge Your Excellency to condemn unequivocally,” he added

Abubakar affirmed that the “brazen authoritarian and imperious stride of the President Buhari is the latest action in a series of carefully planned onslaught on our nation’s hard-earned democracy by an extremely power hungry and anxious President and the cabal that feeds fat around him as February 16, 2019, draws nearer.”

Nigerians will be heading to poll less than a month from now to vote in a new president.

Buhari is seeking re-election with Abubakar mounting a strong challenge.

Abubakar, a former vice president during the Olusegun Obasanjo administration from 1999 till 2007, is contesting the office of the president for the fourth time.

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Nigeria climbs up on Transparency International’s 2018 rankings

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Nigeria climbed four places on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index for 2018.

In Transparency International’s report, Nigeria was ranked 144 out of 180 countries that were surveyed. In 2017, Nigeria was ranked four places lower sitting at 148 out of 180 countries.

Despite the four place jump, the nation’s 27/100 score shows no improvement as it is the same from the previous year.

Nigeria shares the 144th position with Kenya, Mauritania, Guatemala, and Comoros. Seychelles is the highest ranked African nation at 28th with a score of 66/100, while Somalia sits at the bottom of the list with 10 points.

Sub-Saharan Africa is the lowest scoring region on the index with Nigeria listed as one of the countries to watch in the region.

Corruption is much more likely to flourish where democratic foundations are weak and, as we have seen in many countries, where undemocratic and populist politicians can use it to their advantage,” Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chair of Transparency International said.

In the report’s analysis of Nigeria, it noted that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration took a “number of positive steps in the past three years, including the establishment of a presidential advisory committee against corruption, the improvement of the anti-corruption legal and policy framework in areas like public procurement and asset declaration, and the development of a national anti-corruption strategy, among others.”

“However, these efforts have clearly not yielded the desired results. At least, not yet.”

Buhari was voted into power in 2015 with an anti-corruption war part of his key campaign promises. While there have been few convictions, critics say the anti-corruption fight of the president has been partisan.

Transparency International advised an improvement in the health of democratic institutions which includes supporting participation, transparency and trust, along with necessary checks and balances.

The 2018 CPI draws on 13 surveys and expert assessments to measure public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories, giving each a score from zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

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