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Today’s Guardian Newspaper Headlines, Monday 3rd December 2018

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Buhari in Poland, says ‘I’m not Jubril’
Mon, 03 Dec 2018

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday broke his silence on rumours suggesting he had died and had been replaced by one Jubril, a body double from Sudan.

“A lot of people hoped that I died during my ill health. Some even reached out to the vice president to consider them to be his deputy because they assumed I was dead. That embarrassed him a lot and, of course, he visited me when I was in London convalescing… It’s real me; I assure you. I will soon celebrate my 76th birthday. I am still going strong,” Buhari said.

According to a statement by Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity Garba Shehu, the president made the clarification while responding to questions during an interactive session with the Nigerian community in Krakow, Poland.

A member of the audience had asked Buhari to shed light on the matter.

Buhari, who was in the country for the Conference of the Parties (COP24) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), described the rumour as “ignorant and irreligious”.

Buhari used the occasion to restate his government’s commitment to security, the economy and the fight against corruption.

“Those in the northeast will tell you that in spite of the recent setbacks, there is a difference between the time we came and before. We are not doing badly on security, economy and agriculture. We have virtually stopped the importation of food especially rice and we are saving a lot of money.

“We now have food security and that has come with fiscal security because a lot of young educated people have not regretted going back to the farms and earning a respectable living. I am afraid; this is not receiving good publicity. But a lot of people in the rural areas are enjoying the benefits of our interventions in agriculture,” he said.

He urged Nigerians to remain vigilant and supportive of Federal Government’s efforts to ensure the security of life and property in the country. While acknowledging that financing the security sector has been challenging, he maintained that the Nigerian Armed Forces were equal to the task.

In his remarks, the Ambassador of Nigeria to Poland, Mr. Eric Adagogo Bell-Gam, praised Nigerians living in the country for being worthy ambassadors of the country.

Earlier yesterday, the General Overseer of Living Faith Church Bishop David Oyedepo had joined the growing list of Nigerians worried about the rumour. Addressing the congregation, he said if Buhari does not clear the air on the sensitive matter, then “it must have been proved beyond any iota of doubt he is not our president.”

Oyedepo was reacting to a recent publication in a national newspaper where the author claimed representatives of the Jubril family showed up in Abuja threatening they would spill the beans unless the Federal Government meets their set of demands.

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Nigerians will never forget PDP’s crimes, APC insists
Mon, 03 Dec 2018

No matter how hard the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) scrubs, its alleged past wrongs would not be erased from the minds of Nigerians, according to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The ruling party stated this in a reaction to last week’s demand by the PDP that both chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Mahmood Yakubu and Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Idris resign their positions.

The leadership of the PDP, at its National Executive Committee Meeting (NEC) on Thursday, had expressed doubt the two could guarantee the conduct of credible elections next year.

But the APC yesterday insisted there was no basis for the ultimatum. According to spokesman Lanre Issa-Onilu, the outburst was merely another reminder of how the PDP-led administration serially abused state institutions in the pursuit of selfish political and economic interests.

The APC urged relevant state agencies to monitor the PDP, saying its recent utterances were suspect. It also reiterated its resolve to defend participatory democracy.

“We must prevent a reoccurrence of the PDP’s typical undemocratic practices during elections. Never again will a selfish few distort the wishes of the electorate. PDP is now being haunted by its sordid past and the ruinous party is now scampering from its own shadow. It is sad that the PDP hounds have continued to take Nigerians for granted, thinking by embarking on scaremongering, the voters could forget their wanton crimes,” said the APC in a statement.

It added: “Nigerians are not gullible. It is now apparent that the PDP in a bid to hide their inadequacies and undesirability as elections approach have chosen to populate the public space with unfounded allegations.”

Ondo State Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu meanwhile maintained that the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) continues to err by restraining aggrieved members from going to court. His position followed reactions from some quarters in the party questioning President Muhammadu Buhari’s support for legal redress.

The party’s recent primaries had generated disaffection among some members.

Akeredolu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said: “What our NWC members are canvassing against the president’s position is anarchy; an invitation to infringe on the constitutional rights of our members in a democracy by using the provision of the party’s constitution in issue as a sword.

“This will certainly not stand the test of time. To the best of my knowledge there is certainly no provision in our party constitution that prohibits our members from approaching the court if they feel aggrieved on any matter. If any such provision exists it will be unconstitutional.” He also advised the NWC to seek “proper legal advice” on the matter before embarking on moves that could “further muddle the waters.”

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Tightening noose against policy riggers of ‘41 items’
Mon, 03 Dec 2018

It is not going to be a journey as usual for banks, companies and individual operators behind activities aimed at undermining the extant policy on the 41 items banned from accessing foreign exchange at the official window, as it is now declared economic sabotage.

For the apex bank, beside the immediate prosecution, which is being finalised in collaboration with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), culprits would not be banked by any financial institution in the country for unspecified period.

Meanwhile, a mix of inadequate infrastructure base and time lag needed for investments in capital items to mature, has remained a setback to the quest to raise the nation’s productive capacity, which is expected to reduce the huge import dependence and increase domestic growth.

Besides, the long entrenched attitude of importing virtually everything, despite the assessed capacity to produce locally, has continued to affect the productive base of the country, which currently, is being corrected with several monetary policy decisions.

Urging critics to avoid being hasty in condemnations of policies and conclusions, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, said as some policies take time to bear fruits.

According to him, an understanding of the nature of ongoing domestic imbalances showed that the country’s vulnerability to global shocks came from diminished productivity due to a low and inadequate infrastructural base, with over-dependence on imports for both capital goods and consumables.

Delivering his keynote address at the Bankers Dinner, organised by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), he affirmed that there is ongoing efforts by the fiscal authorities in constructing critical roads networks and rail lines aimed at reducing costs of doing business in Nigeria and opening up new markets for farmers, traders and manufacturers.

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World Bank promises $200 bn in 2021-25 climate cash
Mon, 03 Dec 2018

The World Bank on Monday unveiled $200 billion in climate action investment for 2021-25, adding this amounts to a doubling of its current five-year funding.

The World Bank said the move, coinciding with a UN climate summit meeting of some 200 nations in Poland, represented a “significantly ramped up ambition” to tackle climate change, “sending an important signal to the wider global community to do the same.”

Developed countries are committed to lifting combined annual public and private spending to $100 billion in developing countries by 2020 to fight the impact of climate change — up from 48.5 billion in 2016 and 56.7 billion last year, according to latest OECD data.

Southern hemisphere countries fighting the impact of warming temperatures are nonetheless pushing northern counterparts for firmer commitments.

In a statement, the World Bank said the breakdown of the $200 billion would comprise “approximately $100 billion in direct finance from the World Bank.”

Around one third of the remaining funding will come from two World Bank Group agencies with the rest private capital “mobilised by the World Bank Group.”

“If we don’t reduce emissions and build adaptation now, we’ll have 100 million more people living in poverty by 2030,” John Roome, World Bank senior director for climate change, warned.

“And we also know that the less we address this issue proactively just in three regions — Africa, South Asia and Latin America — we’ll have 133 million climate migrants,” Roome told AFP.

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