President Muhammadu Buhari will address Nigerians at 8 pm today (Monday).
Personal Assistant on New Media to the President, Bashir Ahmad, made this known via a tweet.
He tweeted, “Buhari will address the nation later today, at 8:00 pm. Television, radio, and other electronic media stations are enjoined to hook up to the network services of the NTA and Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria respectively for the broadcast.”
U.S. Insists on Fresh Investigation into Allegations Against AfDB’s Adesina
Despite being cleared of all allegations of impropriety and fraud by a board of directors, the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, still has another big hurdle to cross in his bid for re-election into office.
The United States government has demanded that a fresh and in-depth investigation be conducted into the allegations against Mr Adesina using an independent investigator.
On May 5, the ethics committee of the board of directors of the continental bank, headed by Takuji Yano, said in its report that Mr Adesina was not guilty on all counts.
Mr Yano is a Japanese executive director charged with the responsibility of investigating allegations by some concerned employees against the official.
The committee described the allegations that he (Mr Adesina) violated the code of conduct of the institution as “spurious and unfounded”.
In its petition, the concerned staff accused Mr Adesina of 20 breaches of the bank’s code of conduct, including “unethical conduct, private gain, an impediment to efficiency, preferential treatment, and involvement in political activities.”
The group, which noted their allegations were in line with AfDB’s whistle-blowing policy, said these activities adversely affected the confidence and integrity of the bank.
Jeune Afrique, which said in a report that it saw the board’s letter that exonerated Mr Adesina, quoted the chair of the board of governors, Niale Kaba, as saying the committee proposed “to adopt the conclusions of the investigation” after due consultations.
Regardless, the United States government expressed “deep reservations about the integrity of the committee’s process” and called for a fresh “in-depth investigation of the allegations.”
In a letter dated May 22, 2020 to Ms Kaba, the U.S. government, through the Secretary, Department of Treasury in Washington, D.C., faulted the decision of the committee to totally exonerate Mr Adesina of all allegations, saying it was not yet time to make such a declaration.
Excerpts of the letter signed by Steven Mnuchin is reproduced below:
“We have deep reservations about the integrity of the Committee’s process. Instead, we urge you to initiate an in-depth investigation of the allegations using the services of an independent outside investigator of high professional standing.
“We emphasise that undertaking an independent evaluation of facts, at any stage, is not at odds with a presumption of innocence.
“The allegations set out in the whistleblowers’ complaints submitted on January 19, 2020 raised significant issues that all relevant governing bodies of the Bank must handle with the utmost care, using all tools available to them.
“Had the Ethics Committee undertaken a proper preliminary examination that was in line with the Board of Governors Resolution B/BG/2008/11, standard practices at other international financial institutions, and the Bank’s own rules and procedures, it would have reviewed available facts that could be gathered by external counsel and found in internal Bank records.
“We fear that wholesale dismissal of all allegations without appropriate investigation will tarnish the reputation of this institution as one that does not uphold high standards of ethics and governance.
“This is a serious risk when we need strong confidence in the AfDB to play an influential role in the current global economic and health crisis, and when many shareholders are seeking legislative support for payments under the recently-concluded General Capital Increase.
“Therefore, the United States cannot support dismissing the allegations at this stage. We believe the Board of Governors must demonstrate that this institution takes governance, anti-corruption, and transparency seriously.
“We thus request that you take steps to initiate an impartial, independent investigation into these allegations. Whatever the outcome, the AfDB will emerge stronger for having taken seriously its obligations to uphold good governance.
“The United States sincerely wishes the AfDB to remain a high-quality institution with the capability to address the needs of the African continent, particularly at this critical time.
“Considering the scope, seriousness, and detail of these allegations against the sole candidate for Bank leadership over the next five years, we believe that further inquiry is necessary to ensure the AfDB’s President has broad support, confidence, and a clear mandate from shareholders.”
Muslims in the North Shun NCDC Guidelines, Sultan’s Directives to Hold Sallah prayers
Muslims in Kano, Katsina, Borno, Zamfara and Bauchi states on Sunday shunned a directive of the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, and the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, which stated that there should be no large gatherings at Eid prayers.
Punch correspondents, who monitored prayer grounds in the states, observed that there were massive gatherings with the majority of the faithful not observing the PTF’s protocols such as social distancing and wearing of face masks.
Recall that states, including Kano, Katsina, Borno and Yobe, last week relaxed the Federal Government’s lockdown and allowed religious organisations to hold their congregational activities. They gave Muslims the go-ahead to hold prayers at Eid at grounds to mark the end of 30 days fasting.
But the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, led by the Sultan, on Wednesday contradicted the state governments.
In a statement by its Deputy Secretary General, Prof Salisu Shehu, the NSCIA said massive gatherings at one Eid ground in a big city should be avoided. “Rather the Eid could be performed in area mosques to avoid unmanageable crowds,” it stated.
On Thursday, Jama’atu Nasril Islam, also led by the Sultan, directed Muslims to observe Sallah prayers at home
In a statement by its Secretary General, Dr Khalid Abubakar, the JNI said, “Eid-el-Fitr congregation on the outskirts of towns and cities should be temporarily suspended.”
It also directed that “Eid-el-Fitr prayer be observed at home with family members or alone in case there isn’t anyone with him or her, at home.”
At the press briefing of the PTF on Thursday, its Chairman, Mr Boss Mustapha, advised against large gatherings of people during the Sallah celebration.
Abike Dabiri, Communications Minister Fight Dirty on Twitter over Office Space
The Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, and the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, on Sunday traded words on Twitter over the forced eviction of NIDCOM staff from their office at the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
While Dabiri-Erewa, in a series of tweets, accused Pantami of being disrespectful to women, the minister, who tweeted back, called the NIDCOM boss a liar.
The scuffle between the duo started after the former House of Reps member, in a video posted on NIDCOM Twitter page, accused Pantami of ordering armed men to chase away her workers from their office.
She noted that the office was given to them by the Nigerian Communications Commission, lamenting that the working tools of the staff had been locked up.
She said in the video, “In one year, we don’t even have an office. The office we got, given to us by the NCC, we were actually driven away by the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Mr Isa Pantami. Within two days he drove us out with guns and what happened? The place was given to us by the NCC.
“You know we all help each other, NCC as an agency of government, said there is a place you can use to settle in. And just as we settled in, I was in Ethiopia when I got a call. I thought that it was a joke. I came back from Ethiopia on Thursday, this happened on Tuesday, by Friday when I went to the office, guns, armed men had taken over the place. I thought it was a joke; but here is the thing, I’m a government employee, so is he. It’s government business. Do I go on the street and start fighting. No. So, I said I would take the moral higher ground.
“I have complained officially, but we let it be. He wants the place, let him take it. And that place is still there, a whole floor is still vacant. As I speak with you all our items are locked up. I don’t have a computer; I don’t have printers, everything has been locked up.”
However, the minister, in a tweet to the video, called Dabiri-Erewa a liar.
“This is a fat lie from her. The owner of the building @NgComCommission has faulted her lies on their social media platforms. The minister has never given that directive to any gunman. We need to be very objective in reporting. I have never sent any gunmen there, and I have no one,” he wrote.
The NIDCOM boss, while quoting Pantami’s tweet, said he chased the workers away because he did not respect women.
“An Islamic scholar should not lie. Hon minister (Phd), you did that to me because I am a woman. Your disrespect for women is legendary. Left the ugly incident behind me since February. But please, release all our office equipment. Public office is transient,” she wrote.
She then posted a video of the stranded NIDCOM workers who were being addressed to stay calm.
“To refresh you sir, despite your denial; the secretary of the commission seeking calm after staff resumed for work and denied access to the 5th floor office of NIDCOM based on your instruction. Turned back by armed men! Haba!!!!” Dabiri-Erewa added.
Pantami retweeted supports from some of his followers, who urged him to take legal action against Dabiri-Erewa for defamation of character.
He also shared a statement from the NCC, which had also absolved him of blame in the matter.
The agency’s Director of Public Affairs, Henry Nkemadu, said NIDCOM was not forced out of the complex.
“The NCC has not withdrawn the offer, but had hiccups arising from the preparation for the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to inaugurate the Communications and Digital Economy Complex and launch of other projects relating to the mandate of government.
“Incidentally, after the offer of the office spaces to the NDC (NIDCOM), the Director General, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, had not visited the complex to take possession of any of the offices and also the commission had not started using any of these spaces as offices.
“As is usual in ensuring security and accountability before, during and after presidential visits, the building had to be cleared to allow for only known and identifiable persons to have access within the complex.
“Therefore, the Honourable Minister of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, could not have sent armed men to drive the staff of the Diaspora Commission out of the Communications and Digital Economy Complex,” the statement said.