The Presidency has temporarily locked up the State House Council Chamber, the venue of the hitherto weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC).
The Nigeria News Agency reliably learnt that the action of the presidency was in adherence with the directive by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.
NAN, however, gathered that President Muhammadu Buhari performed his normal presidential duties at his office.
The Taskforce had Monday announced the suspension of the council meeting until further notice.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation/Chairman PTF-COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, announced the suspension as part of additional measures by Federal Government to curb the spread of the pandemic.
Confirming this development to State House correspondents, the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, said the Council meeting was suspended because of the large number of people involved.
He said: “The Council was suspended because of the size. You have over 50 people seated in the Council Chamber whenever the meeting holds and that is not advisable at a time like this.
“But if there would be a very important decision to be taken, you can always summon the relevant people, three, four or five and hold a small meeting and arrive at a decision.
“It does not mean that one man is going to be taking all the decisions. Of course yes there are executive decisions but the ones that must pass through consultations of which must have a buy in of the federal executive council can always be discussed at a smaller meeting.”
The Presidency had on Tuesday scaled down the number of personnel, including Journalists working in the Presidential Villa.
It stated that it was adhering to the current restriction in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) against gathering of not more than 50 persons at the same time at any venue.
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza
President Muhammadu Buhari has felicitated with Senior Pastor and General Overseer of Omega Fire Ministries International, Apostle Johnson Suleman, on his 50th birthday.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Saturday, the president congratulated Suleman for a life of service and dedication to God and humanity.
Buhari rejoiced with all family members, friends and associates of the spiritual leader, whose influence and generosity, especially to the poor and underprivileged continues to resonate.
The president also felicitated with the Christian community and all congregants of the Omega Fire Ministries.
He prayed that the almighty God would continue to sustain the General Overseer in wisdom, strength and good health.
Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola
President Muhammadu Buhari has condoled with with Sen. Ben Murray-Bruce over the loss of his wife of 41 years, Evelyn.
The president’s condolence message was conveyed through a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Friday.
Buhari prayed God to comfort the former Senator, who represented Bayelsa East at the 8th Assembly, the children left behind by the deceased, and the entire family.
While urging the family to take solace in the quality of life lived by the departed, the president beseeched God to soothe its pains, and grant succour to all those who mourned Mrs Evelyn Murray-Bruce.
Edited By: Ali Baba-Inuwa
President Muhammadu Buhari has condoled with Dr Uche Diala, Coordinator, Buharist Hang Out, over the death of his father, Sir Gervace Diala, aged 85.
In a condolence message by his spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Friday, Buhari prayed for God’s comfort for him.
“The departed left his footprints on the sands of time, being survived by accomplished children, who will keep the flag of the Diala dynasty flying,” he said.
Diala, who hailed from Ehime Mbano Local Government Area (LGA) of Imo, was a renowned educationist, devout Christian, community leader, mentor, and man of integrity.
Buhari, therefore, urged those he left behind to approximate his virtues.
He enjoined the family to be comforted by the fact that their patriarch lived a life worthy of emulation, and that his good deeds would follow him.
President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated the Aguma Bassa-Benin, Alhaji Bako Dogwo, on his 55th birthday, March 20, wishing him more years of good health, strength and wisdom to keep serving the country and his people.
The president, in a congratulatory statement by his spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina in Abuja on Thursday in Abuja, joined family members, friends and associates of His Royal Highness in celebrating the landmark age.
Buhari particularly lauded Dogwo’s contributions and sacrifices for his domain in encouraging education and entrepreneurship.
He commended Aguma Bassa-Benin for always speaking for the unity of the country, promoting peaceful co-existence and upholding civic standards among indigenes.
The president prayed that almighty God would grant him long life and peaceful reign.
Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola
President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigeria has foreseen the economic problems that may come in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and will explore all alternatives to protect citizens.
Mr Femi Adesina, the President’s spokesman, said in a statement that the president spoke on Tuesday at State House, Abuja, during a briefing session by the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC) led by Prof. Doyin Salami.
The president noted that with oil prices oscillating between 29 and 30 dollars in recent times, as opposed to the 57 dollars benchmark for year 2020 Budget, many variables, including production cost and political impact will determine oil prices.
”We will see how to survive fallen prices, as we already envisaged the problem,” he added.
He explained that protecting the people from vagaries of international economic fortunes, ”and associated fallen prices of oil, is a priority of government, and we will do our best to do so”.
While stressing the importance of education and healthcare, Buhari submitted that if people were adequately educated “they won’t accept any form of mismanagement by leadership, nor would they allow themselves to be manipulated by those promoting ethnic and religious sentiments”.
He promised that inputs in agriculture, education and healthcare would continue as much as practicable.
In his briefing, Salami, leading a team of PEAC members, painted sobering scenarios of what could happen to the Nigerian economy, if the COVID-19 pandemic lasted for too long.
These, according to him, include slower growth, as the supply and demand sides of global economy would be affected; uncertainty, which would erode confidence; governments acting unilaterally instead of cooperatively; further drop in oil prices, and lockdowns gaining grounds around the world.
”There would also be oil glut, trade imbalance, drop in foreign reserves and rise in unemployment,” it said.
While noting that many countries round the world may go into economic recession, the PEAC advocated hard work for Nigeria to keep its head above the waters.
The council recommended, among others, a possible revision of the 2020 Budget, with priority spending on healthcare, reprioritisation of expenditure on infrastructure to focus on projects nearing completion with pro-poor effects and curtailing recurrent expenditure.
It added that the private sector should be mobilised to strengthen health sector infrastructure and boosting of government revenue.
The PEAC also stressed that the projections may seem dire, but the worst may be avoided with hard work and scrupulous implementation of policies.
Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola
President Muhammadu Buhari has felicitated with President of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Rev. Felix Omobude, on his 74th birthday.
The President, in a congratulatory message by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Tuesday, joined the Christian community to celebrate ”the visionary leader who has been serving and mentoring for more than 40 years”.
President Buhari rejoiced with Omobude, who is General Superintendent of Gospel Light International Ministries, for always preaching and upholding the truth of the gospel.
He also lauded him for supporting social and economic stability of families and individuals in the country.
According to him, the contributions of the spiritual leader to the educational development of the country has been commendable, with investments in schools, provision of scholarships and publication of many books that inspire people to seek God and more knowledge.
The President believed that Omobude’s forthrightness on national issues and love for the country would always stand him out, urging him to keep sharing his experience with upcoming preachers.
President Buhari prayed that the almighty God would grant him longer life, bless his family and ministry.
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza
The Presidency has described as false and untrue social media reports on alleged attack on President Muhammadu Buhari in Argungu, Kebbi State, on Thursday.
A statement by the President’s spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, late Thursday night, said a young man had attempted to greet the president at a closed range but was prevented by security officials.
The presidential said:”As the President went round the arena to inspect rice pyramids on display, and take photographs with farmers, a young man was so very excited to see his President so close. He made an attempt to get to him.
”World over, such would not be allowed by security details. The young man was prevented, and he protested that he should be allowed to greet his President.
”Now, professional contortionists are making mischief of the event. They are passing the video clip off on social media as an attempt to attack the President.
”Malicious people always twist things to give a negative narrative. But they simply dash their heads against the wall. The country moves on.”
Buhari was in Kebbi State on Thursday to declare open the Argungu Fishing and Cultural Festival.
It was the first time the international tourism event would hold in 11 years, as security considerations had rendered it impracticable.
Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday lauded the relationship between Nigeria and Iran, describing it as mutually beneficial.
A statement by Mr Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, said the president made the commendation at a farewell audience with the outgoing Iranian Ambassador, Morteza Rahimi Zarchi, at the State House, Abuja.
While recalling his visits to Iran as Oil Minister in the 1970s, and as a civilian President, the Nigerian Leader noted that the Islamic Republic of Iran had recorded phenomenal growth, even as a developing country.
President Buhari wished the Ambassador, who spent about four years in Nigeria, greater successes in his future endeavours.
Amb. Zarchi said his tour of duty was “very successful,” describing Nigeria as a “strong country in Africa” with bright prospects for the future.
He commended President Buhari for strides in the war against corruption, and revival of the economy.
On the fight against insurgency, the Ambassador said Iran had a lot of experiences to share with Nigeria, and believed that the terror war would eventually be won.
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)
Mr Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, says President Muhammadu Buhari will complete ongoing legacy projects in the South-East before the end of 2023.
Adesina gave the assurance when he received the Editorial management of Orient Daily Newspaper, led by veteran journalist and Editor-in-Chief, Stanley Egbochuku, at the State House, Abuja, on Thursday.
The presidential spokesman said several ongoing federal projects in the five south-eastern States of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo were at different stages of completion.
He recounted that in 2018, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed had listed 69 ongoing projects in the region, mainly roads and bridges, funded from budgetary allocations, the Sukuk Bond and the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund.
‘‘Last December, I had reason to travel to Onitsha, Anambra State and onboard the flight to Asaba, I remember the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe, asking me to ‘thank the President profusely for us on the second Niger Bridge.’
‘‘The good thing is that the project will be completed by February 2022, as promised by the contractor handling it,’’ he said.
Adesina welcomed the initiative by the media group to partner with his office to uphold professionalism in the media industry.
In his remarks, Egbochuku, a former Vice President of African Capital Alliance, who worked variously with Daily Times of Nigeria Plc, Concord Press Nigeria Limited, Business Day Media Limited, said:
‘‘Journalism is a profession that must be respected and we believe that the President’s media handlers (Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu) have done so much to promote this.
‘‘You have not disappointed us in the media industry and must be assured of our strong support.”
The Orient Daily Editor-in-Chief and Chief Operating Officer told the president’s spokesmen that the Awka-based publication recently received an approval for a facility, which would boost its operations and circulation across the country.
According to him, the media organisation with the slogan, ‘‘Setting the Bound Free,’’ wants to be a legacy media house, adding; ‘‘if we work with you we know we will get the needed support.’’
Egbochuku, a close associate of the late Chief MKO Abiola, thanked Buhari for conferring the highest national honour of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) on the acclaimed winner of June 12, 1993 presidential election.
Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)