Below are the headlines found on The Leadership Online Newspaper for today, Sunday, 17 December, 2017.

Sun, 17 Dec 2017
President Muhammadu Buhari is seeking the possibility of putting in place a well-run regional mechanism for the evacuation, resettlement and empowerment of stranded ECOWAS migrant citizens abroad.

He made the call yesterday in Abuja  at the  Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States.

President Buhari lamented that in West Africa, citizens live in constant threat of violent terrorist groups such as Boko Haram, AQIM and Al-Qaida.

According to him, nearly every week we see and hear the horror of human trafficking perpetrated by trans-border syndicates, who lure  youths to slavery through irregular migration.

He said “We see the consequences, on our young men and women and on our economies, of drug trafficking and capital flight. Accordingly, it is imperative that we take urgent action to address these challenges.

“In collaboration with the International Organisation for Migration, we, in Nigeria, have been evacuating our compatriots who are stranded in Libya. Returnees have been receiving needed support including from state governments and   some  non-governmental organisations.

“I have instructed the National Emergency Management Agency to speed up the evacuation of all Nigerians stranded in Libya and facilitate their resettlement.

“In view of the enormity of this challenge, may I suggest that we look into the possibility of putting in place a well run regional mechanism for the evacuation, resettlement  and empowerment of stranded ECOWAS citizens abroad.

“Meanwhile, we should step up dialogue with our European partners in our efforts to jointly address this challenge which affect us all.”

President Buhari contended that  the long term solutions to these challenges is to create conditions of peace and security in ECOWAS countries and sustainable development of our economies.

Only through this, he noted that  the countries can create jobs and other conditions in which the  youths will have little or no excuse to embark on the suicidal venture of irregular migration.
Sun, 17 Dec 2017
The All Progressives Congress (APC), the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, and Sokoto State governor Aminu Tambuwal have congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari as he clocks 75 years today.

They also praised him for his committed leadership of the country and prayed God to grant his more wisdom and good health to pilot the affairs of the country.

The APC said the president’s administration has helped in restoring the country to a deserved standing among the comity of progressive nations.

APC, in a statement signed by the party’s national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, said: “We attest that under his leadership, the President Muhammadu Buhari administration is building a new Nigeria for our progress, peace, unity and prosperity; restoring our country to its deserved standing among the comity of progressive nations; fighting corruption and repairing our value system; diversifying our economic revenue base, creating jobs and economic opportunities for Nigerians; bringing succour to the insurgency-ravaged North-East; reforming the oil, defence, pensions, and other critical sectors and creating a world-class transport system, among others.

“Our great party wishes the president many more happy, healthy and rewarding years of service to the nation and party.”

Speaker Dogara, in a congratulatory message he personally signed on the president’s birth anniversary, praised Buhari for his uncompromising stance and relentless commitment in introducing deft policies aimed at achieving full economic recovery and growth.

He described the president as a visionary and prudent leader who

carved a niche for himself as military head of state and has brought to bear his long standing pedigree as an incorruptible leader in the discharge of his duties as a civilian president.

Dogara said: “The numerous achievements of our APC-led government, which you pilot, and your revolutionary zeal, courage and dynamism in leadership have earned you and, indeed, Nigeria  respect  globally as well as inspired and rekindled the hope of Nigerians for better days ahead.

“You have consistently demonstrated exceptional humility, uncommon integrity and dogged patriotism while piloting the affairs of the nation.”
Sun, 17 Dec 2017
The three tiers of government, federal, state and local, have shared a total of N609.958 billion being revenue generated in the month of November 2017.

The figure is higher by N77.21 billion than the N532.758 billion shared for October.

The gross statutory revenue of N549.532 billion was available for the month, which was N106.487 billion higher than the N443.045 billion received in the previous month.

The total sum of N77.209 billion minus cost of collection was received as revenue from Value Added Tax (VAT) for the month by Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and Nigeria Custom Service.

The accountant general of the federation, Ibrahim Idris who chaired the Federation Account Allocation Committee meeting yesterday in Abuja, said the federal government was yet to release the $1billion approved by the National Economic Council (NEC) for deduction from the Excess Crude Account to fight Book Haram insurgents in the North East.

He said that, by December 15, 2017, there was still a net balance of $2.317 billion in the ECA.

Asked why the money in the ECA has failed to rise with the rising cost of crude oil, Idris said the priority was to fund government needs before savings can be made again into the account due to the wide government revenue deficit.

A communiqué by FAAC showed the federal government was allocated net allocation of N248.227 billion (52.68%) as against N205.706 received last month. The states received N125.904 billion (26.72%) as against N104.337 billion received in the previous month while the LGAs took N97.067 billion (20.60%) as against N80.439 billion they received for October 2017.

The oil producing states received N43.215 billion as 13 per cent derivation revenue as against N40.847 billion received in the previous month.

The communiqué explained that during the period under review, there was revenue decline of N69.49 million in federation export sales due to a drop in crude oil production by 1.75 million barrels.

The national income was further negatively affected by sabotage acts and a brief force majeure declared at Bonny Terminal.

Meanwhile, only 27 states had so far been paid their entitlements from the third tranche of Paris Club refund.

The director of Home Finance in the Federal Ministry of Finance, Mrs. Olubummi  Sinyanbola, who disclosed this yesterday, said the remaining states had not been paid due to issues of process around the payment, which she did not explain further.

She also failed answer whether the consultant that facilitated the refund had been duly paid or not.
Sun, 17 Dec 2017

President Muhammadu Buhari has mourned the death of the former secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), Mallam Gidado Idris, describing it as as a big loss to the nation.

The president, who expressed sadness at the passing on of the octogenarian, described the late SGF as a highly experienced technocrat who traversed the different stages of the political evolution of the country, adding that his wise counsel will surely be missed.

President Buhari, in a statement by his special adviser, media, Femi Adesina  said the late Mallam Idris, in addition to rising to the pinnacle of his public career as SGF, also served several civilian and military administrations meritoriously as federal permanent secretary, noting that he left inspiring footprints.

He enjoined current and upcoming public servants to emulate the cherished values of hard work, discipline, professionalism and integrity which the late distinguished nationalist embodied.

President Buhari also commiserated with the family and associates of Mallam Idris, and prayed that God comfort them.

Sun, 17 Dec 2017
Let me begin by telling a story. On June 1, 2015, the day I resumed work as adviser on media to President Muhammadu Buhari, he had admonished me: Adesina, always tell me the truth. That is what I want from you. In this type of position I have found myself, it is very easy not to be told the truth. People will just tell you what they think you want to hear. But from you, I want the truth. As a General, I may argue, but please argue with me. Tell me the truth always.Based on that blank cheque Id b 

Sun, 17 Dec 2017
By Tommy Odemwingie In 2012, my friend and fellow Bini tribesman Omorefe Asemota was appointed the Executive Director of the Nigerian Institute for Oil palm Research (NIFOR), near Benin City, Edo State. He recently ended his five-year tenure. The story was that the issue of who to appoint to the position was so volatile that the then minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and current president of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, had to put the contestants through a competit 

Sun, 17 Dec 2017
By Akin Oyedele These are indeed challenging times for state governors, majority of whom, indubitably, are not sleeping soundly because of the financial dire straits currently buffeting the country. At the end of each month, the states helmsmen are, expectedly, torn between committing the available pittance to the backlog of benefits of the dark and grey-haired on their pay role and fulfillment of their electioneering promises.Since 2015, regular payment of salaries and pensions had become a dau 

Sun, 17 Dec 2017
Eliminating barriers that inhibit the growth of startups and growing businesses in Nigeria continues to take centre stage as part of 9mobiles commitment to building a vibrant SMEs sector. Correspondent VICTORIA OMUYA USMAN reports.Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) are the stimulants of growth and key drivers of socio-economic transformation in any country, especially in an ever expanding business environment like Nigeria. They are the core sector that spur the national economic objective 

Sun, 17 Dec 2017
OLUSHOLA BELLO examines the low state of commodity exchange markets in the country; and the new drive to breathe life into them. She notes that well-driven and functional commodities exchange markets are needed to boost economic growth and agricultural sector contribution to the nations GDP.Nigeria is a resource-rich country, but the focus has been on the production and exportation of crude oil and gas. With the prolonged tumbling of oil prices, it has been imperative for the country, more than 

Sun, 17 Dec 2017
Mr Peter Ayeni, a Nigerian, has developed an app, which he named Mbele, that will help to increase access to quality education using technology and creating a fun learning environment in Nigeria. Ayeni said that the app is a learning platform that would change the challenges of learning among young Nigerians.According to him, its mission is to increase access to quality education anywhere in the country. MbeleApp will also enable young people to compete by providing curriculum based, soft skills 

Sun, 17 Dec 2017
By Orjime Moses, Abuja All is now set for the first ever national conference on the menace of begging and almajiranci taking place today in Arewa House, Kaduna.The event, organised by the Centre for Quranic Reciters of Nigeria, is going to feature key members of the Ulama, who will brainstorm towards finding s lasting solution to the problem bedevilling the society. The event will also feature presentation of special awards on some personalities that have played key roles in setting up of tsanga 

Sun, 17 Dec 2017
There is no going back on the supposed instructions by the 36 states governors for withdrawal of $1 billion from the excess crude revenue account for the fight against Boko Haram, despite dissent by Ekiti State counterpart, Ayo Fayose, the Accountant General of the Federation, AGF, Ahmed Idris, said Saturday.Mr. Idris was speaking in Abuja at the special Federal Accounts Allocation Committee meeting for December where members resolved to share a total of N609.96 billion for the month.The meeting 

Sun, 17 Dec 2017
BY MSUE AZA, Kaduna President Muhamadu Buhari,19 Northern governors and traditional rulers have called for peaceful coexistence among Nigerians for investors to invest more in Nigeria.President Buhari, who stated this in Kaduna during the grand Durbar as part of activities to celebrate Kaduna 100 years of existence urged local and International investors across the globe to the advantage of the relatively peace enjoy in the country, particularly for curtailing the activities of the Boko Haram in 
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