TOP 10 NEWS MAKING THE ROUNDS IN NIGERIA TODAY, THURSDAY
1. Port Harcourt-Maiduguri Rail Line Can’t Be Ready Before We Leave Office – Buhari Govt
The federal government on Wednesday conceded that it can’t complete the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri eastern rail line before the tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari ends in May 2023.
The Minister of Transportation, Muazu Sambo gave the update while fielding questions from newsmen after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.
Sambo was questioned on what is causing the delay in the completion of the railway project as promised by the current administration when he gave the update.
According to him, the inability to secure foreign loans that will make 85 percent of the funds needed to execute the project available is responsible for the non-completion of the work as promised to Nigerians.
He added that the part of the project that is already implemented was financed through budgetary allocation.
2. Buhari Seeks N1trn Cash Advance From CBN
The 9th Senate led by Senate President, Ahmad Lawan on Wednesday received a request from President Muhammadu Buhari asking the upper chamber to approve the advance of N1trillion to the Federal Government by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Buhari in another request also urged the legislators to approve N819,536,937,813.00 as Supplementary Appropriation Bill for 2022.
President’s requests were stated in two letters read by Lawan at plenary on Wednesday.
Buhari in his letter titled: “Restructuring of Ways and Means Advances” wrote: “The Ways and Means Advances by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to the Federal Government has been a funding option available to the Federal Government to cater for short term emergency finance to fund delayed government expected cash receipts or fiscal deficits.
“The Ways and Means Balances as at 19th December 2022 in the sum of N22,719,703,884,306.90 is hereby attached as annexture one.
“The detailed breakdown of the additional N1trillion to be advanced by the CBN is attached as annexture two.
3. CBN Increases Cash Withdrawal Limit For Individuals, Corporate Organizations
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Wednesday (today) announced the increase of the maximum weekly limit for cash withdrawals across all channels for individuals and corporate organisations.
In a letter addressed to bank branches today, the apex bank said the withdrawal limit has now been increased to N500,000 and N5 million for individuals and corporate organizations, respectively.
The apex bank said it made the decision based on feedback received from stakeholders.
The letter quoting all Deposit Money Banks (DBMS) and other Financial Institutions [Payment Service Banks (PSBs), Primary Mortgage Banks (PMBs), Microfinance Banks (MFBs), Mobile Money Operators (MMOs) and Agents], as stakeholders said customers should be encouraged to use alternative channels (internet banking, mobile banking apps, USSD, cards/POS, eNaira, etc) to conduct their banking transactions.
4. Emefiele Ill, To Be Represented Before House – CBN
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Wednesday confirmed that the Governor of the apex bank will not appear before the House of Representatives on Thursday.
According to CBN, Emefiele will be represented before the lawmakers by the Deputy Governor of Financial System Stability (CBN), Aisha Ahmad.
The Deputy Governor of Corporate Services in CBN, Edward Adamu in a letter forwarded to the House of Representatives, said Emefiele is ill and would be represented in the House.
Emefiele’s failure to appear before the House of Representatives makes it the second time this week he would not appear before the lawmakers.
Recall that the CBN Governor on Tuesday failed to appear before the House.
The lawmakers who insisted on the suspension of the cash withdrawal limits set by the apex bank rescheduled Emefiele’s appearance for Thursday.
Lawmakers in the House had summoned Emefiele to explain the latest policy by the CBN.
5. 2023: Buhari Will Campaign For Tinubu, Others — Presidency
The Presidency on Wednesday confirmed that President Muhammadu Buhari will campaign for the presidential campaign of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu and other candidates of the party.
The statement was released by the presidency on response to concerns in some quarters that President Buhari has not been attending APC rallies, since the launch in Jos, Plateau State.
The Presidency further stated that even though Buhari is committed to APC, the functions and duties of the President will take precedence.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, revealed this in a statement titled ‘President Buhari ready to campaign for Tinubu and all APC candidates with energy and conviction.’
Citing the President’s remarks to the Nigerian community in Washington DC in the course of his recent visit to the United States, the Presidency said Buhari “is ready to campaign for the party’s victory in the general elections next year.”
The presidency noted that the APC campaigns have so far been the most aggressive in recent history.
6. Osinbajo Visits APC Presidential Candidate, Tinubu
The Vice President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday visited the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu and his running mate, Kashim Shettima.
Osinbajo since his defeat to Tinubu in the APC presidential primary has not been involved in the campaigns of the ruling party.
The presidency, however, stated that it was President Muhammadu Buhari that directed Osinbajo and the Secretary to the Government Boss Mustapha be excused from campaign activities so they can focus on governance.
There had been speculations that Tinubu and the Vice President had fallen out due to Osinbajo’s stand to contest against him in the presidential primary.
Tinubu, however, after clinching the presidential ticket of the ruling party, visited Osinbajo to seek his support.
Osinbajo months after being silent on the activities of the APC visited Tinubu and the former Governor of Borno State, Shettima.
7. Again, Hoodlums Attack INEC Office In Imo
Again, hoodlums have attacked another facility of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Imo State.
The latest attack was carried out in the Isu Local Government Area of the state on Tuesday.
In a statement dated December 21, 2022, INEC lamented that yesterday’s attack made the fourth by hoodlums in Imo in less than three weeks following previous attacks in the Orlu and Oru West Local Government Areas and the State Headquarters in Owerri.
It said the incident had been reported to the police and other sister security agencies for further action while the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Imo State, Sylvia Agu, was informed of the situation also.
National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, confirmed that eight windows were smashed and burglary proofs removed.
He, however, noted that hoodlums could not access the building, adding that movable and immovable equipment and other sensitive election materials were not removed or vandalized.
8. Buhari Proposes N819.5bn Supplementary Budget, Blames Recent Flood
A supplementary 2023 Appropriation Bill of about N819.5 billion has been transmitted to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday.
According to the president, an additional N819,536,937, 813 would be needed for next year due to the recent flood that destroyed several lives and properties.
The president in the letter explained that the additional money would be used to tend for the destruction of farmlands and road infrastructure caused by the flood devastation.
It was learnt that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, read out the content of the cover letter on the bill to members today.
The president noted that the floods affected “several roads and bridges” across the 36 states of the federation.
9. ‘I Respect Your Decision’ – Peter Obi Reacts To Okupe’s Resignation
The Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, has hailed the decision of Doyin Okupe to resign as the Director General of his Campaign Organisation.
Okupe stepped down from the position on Tuesday in a resignation letter addressed to the LP flagbearer.
In his resignation letter, Okupe said he has invested too much in Obi’s campaign to allow his personal travails to become a source of distraction.
Okupe’s resignation followed the ruling by a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja that convicted him of violating the Money Laundering Act.
In a letter addressed to Okupe on Wednesday, Obi said he has accepted his decision to resign from his campaign organization and commended the LP chieftains’s efforts made so far towards his presidential bid.
The LP flagbearer commended Okupe’s support and tenacity that led to the countrywide acceptance of the party and his candidacy.
10. Eyemark: Buhari Launches Mobile App For Project Monitoring
To ensure smooth monitoring of government projects, President Muhammadu Buhari today launched a National Monitoring and Evaluation mobile app and platform codenamed EYEMARK.
The official website for the project monitoring platform was revealed as www.eyemark.ng.
The platform was unveiled today, Wednesday, December 21, shortly before the commencement of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the council chambers, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to the President, his administration has invested more in infrastructure projects than any other government before now; hence it is wise to create such a platform for checkmating the execution and running of the projects.
Buhari said the federal government could no longer depend on its handful of Monitoring and Evaluation teams to oversee the vast number of infrastructure projects spread nationwide.
He stressed that the latest development would close the existing gaps and promote citizens’ participation in governance. Buhari also blamed the spate of corruption on the poor implementation of infrastructure projects across the country.