TOP 10 NEWS MAKING THE ROUNDS IN NIGERIA TODAY, WEDNESDAY
1. Suspend Blanket Visa Ban On Nigerians – Buhari To UAE
President Muhammadu Buhari has called for a lifting of the blanket visa ban clamped down on Nigerians by the Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The President canvassed this position on Monday during a telephone conversation with the President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who doubles as the Emir of Abu Dhabi.
In a statement to newsmen, Buhari Media Assistant, Garba Shehu, revealed that the President had called Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to condole with him on the death of his mother-in-law, Sheikha Maryam Al Falasi, during which important issues of mutual concern between the two countries came up.
The President requested his UAE counterpart to review the blanket visa ban imposed on Nigerians intending to travel to the UAE, recalling that mutually beneficial excellent relations have subsisted between the two nations over many years, symbolized by robust economic interactions and regular consultations on matters of common interest, including engagements at the highest political levels.
He noted that recent irritants in bilateral relations generated by consular issues relating to the behaviour of some Nigerians in the UAE are being ironed out, explaining that no country including Nigeria will condone criminalities and illegal behaviours.
President Buhari therefore expressed the readiness of the Government of Nigeria to apply necessary sanctions through appropriate judicial process against anyone identified to have committed criminal acts in the UAE, urging that the issue be allowed to be handled by the relevant security/intelligence agencies of the two countries and to come up with lasting solutions to the problems associated with criminalities and illegalities.
President Buhari also requested a resumption of the suspended operations of Emirates Airline in the country.
2. Emefiele Speaks, Gives Update On CBN Deadline For Old Naira Notes
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele has insisted there is no going back on the deadline earlier given for the old naira notes to be withdrawn from circulation.
Speaking on Tuesday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abuja, the CBN Governor said the naira scarcity situation is already calming down hence no need to shift the February 10 deadline as earlier announced.
Emefiele was at the Ministry to discuss the monetary and currency redesign policy of the apex bank.
According to him, there is no need to consider any shift in the deadline.
“The situation is substantially calming down since the commencement of over-the-counter payments to complement ATM disbursements and the use of super-agents.
“There is, therefore, no need to consider any shift from the deadline of February 10,” Emefiele was quoted to have said.
He also threatened that Point-of-Sale agents, who charge above N200 for cash swaps will be arrested and jailed if caught in such practices.
3. 2023: Boss Mustapha Inaugurates Presidential Transition Council, Highlights Their Duties
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha on Tuesday, inaugurated the Presidential Transition Council ahead of the 2023 election.
Mustapha noted in his speech during the inauguration that the council will facilitate the handing over process by the current President to the President-elect.
The SGF added that the inauguration of the committee is a demonstration of the commitment of the Muhammadu Buhari administration to strengthening key governance institutions that support the democratic process.
President Buhari had last week approved the establishment of a presidential transition council to oversee the 2023 transition programme.
Speaking on Tuesday during the inauguration, Mustapha said the assignment is in compliance with the Executive Order No. 14 of 2023 signed by the President on February 7 for managing Presidential transitions of government at the federal level.
The SGF also on Tuesday announced the appointment of the Special Adviser to the President on Policy and Coordination, Dr. Habiba Lawal as Secretary of the Presidential Transition Council.
4. Why We Invited, Grilled Fani-Kayode For Six Hours – DSS
The Department of State Services (DSS) has said the former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, will appear before the agency for more questioning.
Recall that Fani-Kayode, the Director of New Media Operations and Special Projects of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential campaign council, was on Monday detained and grilled by the DSS over a post he made on Twitter.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Public Relations Officer of DSS, Dr Peter Afunanya disclosed that the agency invited Fani-Kayode for questioning based on an investigation it is carrying out relating to issues relevant to National Security.
According to the secret police, Fani-Kayode was made to face a Panel which interviewed him on the subject matter before granting him administrative bail.
He said the former minister had been directed to make routine returns to the DSS with effect from Wednesday till otherwise while his investigation continues, warning political parties and their media managers to apply restraint in their utterances and public communication engagements prior to and after the general elections.
5. G5 Will Act On D-Day – Wike Speaks About Preferred Presidential Candidate
The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has again spoken about when the G5 governors would act on their preferred presidential candidate.
According to him, the group has not lost its momentum and it will act of the day of election.
Wike made the announcement on Tuesday during the party’s governorship campaign in the Ahoada East Local Government Area of the state.
The governor noted that the G5 will act on the D-day come next week, noting that “They said G5 is dead. What is their problem? Why are they concerned?”
Wike submitted that “They don’t know there is a time to talk and there is a time to take action in politics. The action is on February 25. They can’t know our plans even if they push us. The more you look, the less you see.
“None of the vultures can withstand me and talk. Nobody can sell Rivers State for a pot of porridge.”
6. CBN Reveals Action It Will Take Against PoS Operators
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Tuesday threatened to clamp down on Point of Sale operators for taking advantage of Nigerians of the scarcity of newly printed naira notes in the country.
The apex bank described the PoS operators exploiting Nigerians as fifth columnists and vowed to arrest and prosecute operators found guilty of such acts.
The Director of the Governor’s Department of CBN, Joseph Omayuku while addressing newsmen in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State said the sharp practices were discovered after reviews of the implementation of the policy.
Omayuku accused PoS operators of selling naira notes for naira notes to Nigerians amidst the rejection of online payments by some business operators.
7. Why I Shunned Court Order That Sent Me To Prison – Bawa
The Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, said he disobeyed a court order that committed him to prison for contempt because he was not given fair hearing.
Recall that a High Court sitting in Kogi State had directed the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Baba, to arrest the EFCC Chairman over disobedience to a court order.
The IGP was also ordered to remand Bawa in Kuje prison for the next 14 days until he purges himself of the contempt.
The presiding judge, Justice R.O. Ayoola in his judgement granted the application for committal to prison of the EFCC chairman for disobeying a court ruling delivered on November 30, 2022.
However, the EFCC approached the Court of Appeal in Abuja for a stay of execution on the court order which committed its chairman to prison for 14 days.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday in Abuja, Bawa, who was represented at the briefing by EFCC’s Head of Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, said the Commission had approached the appellate court for a stay of execution as a law-abiding agency.
The EFCC spokesman said the Commission would never disobey any court ruling or undermine the judiciary which he holds in great esteem, adding that its action does not show contempt for the court.
8. INEC Reveals How Naira Scarcity Might Interfere With 2023 Election
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) may find it challenging to conduct the 2023 general election as a result of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) cashless policy.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner for the Federal Capital Territory, Yahaya Bello, said this while delivering a speech on Tuesday in Abuja at the North-Central Elections Stakeholders Roundtable, which was organized by the civil society group Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA).
Nigerians have been lining up in front of ATMs to obtain the new notes following CBN’s decision to redesign the N200, N500, and N1,000 notes. Those who can not get the notes from the ATMs, have to buy it between 10 to 20 percent per order.
In reaction to how difficult it has been to get cash, the INEC commissioner said INEC requires money to be able to manage logistics and security, hence, the dearth of naira would interfere with those responsibilities.
He said that because most services required cash to be purchased, INEC would struggle to deploy staff and election-related materials in the FCT and throughout the country if nothing was done to address the cash constraint caused by the CBN’s cashless policy.
Apart from the financial issue, the INEC Commissioner claimed that the Commission was prepared for the election because it had received 80% of the election-related paperwork and had people who had undergone training beforehand.
9. Lai Mohammed Discloses Biggest Achievement As Minister
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has disclosed the biggest achievement of his ministry.
Mohammed stated that the ministry has made great leaps in the repatriation of hundreds of looted artefacts.
The Minister disclosed this on Tuesday in Abuja at the 26th edition of the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration Scorecard Series (2015-2023).
According to him, he was able to repatriate 1,130 Benin Bronzes looted from Germany alone.
He also boasted that the ministry succeeded in repatriating a 600-year-old Ife Terracotta From the Netherlands in October 2020.
10. Coup Allegation: Your ‘Regret’ Not Enough, Apologise To Atiku, Nigeria Military – Shaibu Roasts Fani-Kayode
The Director of Special Projects and New media of the Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, Femi Fani-Kayode has been asked to tender an unreserved public apology to the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and the Nigeria Military.
According to the Special Assistant, Public Communication to Atiku, Phrank Shaibu, this is to ensure that Fani-Kayode is truly remorseful of his self-confessed lie that Atiku met with army generals with the aim of executing a coup against the democratically elected government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Recall that the Department of State Services (DSS) had on Monday grilled Fani-Kayode for six hours following a series of tweets wherein he claimed that Atiku had met with some army generals in a bid to perpetrate a coup.
After his release by the DSS, Fani-Kayode stated at a press conference that he regretted making the comments and he would guard his statements in the future.
But in a statement to Naija News, Shaibu said Fani-Kayode’s “regret” was not enough without a public apology issued to Atiku and the military.