Bauchi State Governor , Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar believes very strongly that his party, All Progressives Congress (APC) has an edge over its rival , Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) .
In this interview , he said the campaign will provide an opportunity for both President Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President , Atiku Abubakar to present their scorecard to Nigerians.
The Governor also spoke on other controversial issues including APC primaries , Hon Yakubu Dogara political weight in Bauchi and his achievements.
The recent primaries of your party have continued to raise dust- protests , litigations and even some governors complaining to President Muhammadu Buhari. Did you see it coming ?
What you have just described is the definition of politics. That is what politics is about. There will be disagreements. But it’s the ability of the political party to surmount those challenges that will now determine whether or not it’s a strong political party.
So, disagreements are usual in politics and I’m assuring you that most of these disagreements are being settled as we proceed.
If you would recall, five us went to see Mr. President last week and we discussed some of these issues. We implored Mr. President to wade in and he has done that and we are getting to the bottom of the problems.
The step taken by your party has also robbed it of fielding candidates in some states like Zamfara . The INEC is insisting that it will not accommodate your candidate in that State, what do you make of that?
As a lawyer, I’m quite shy of commenting on that issue because I know that it has been taken to court. I do not want to preempt the decision of the court in respect of that matter. But I’m sure that it will be settled when one way or the other.
The fallout of the primaries have made people to contend that internal democracy is still a huge challenge in APC
Are you in sync with this position ? What is also your reaction to those who feel that the seeming less rancorous primaries in PDP means that the opposition party is its acts together more than your party ?
The PDP may appear to have had a better presidential primary, but all the other primaries were overshadowed by the presidential.
So, we do not know what transpired in those ones . I agree that we have not reached the point of satisfaction as far as internal democracy is concerned in Nigerian political parties, but it is work in progress. This democracy is about 20 years old now.
So, there is still a lot of space for improvement in the internal democracy of our political parties. But I think things are getting better generally.
What is your take on claims that the problem APC is is having with its primaries is because the leadership of the party resisted attempts by Governors to impose their lackeys?
I don’t think so. I think actually, the reverse is the case. In The case of the current primaries that are going on, the entire process has been managed by the headquarters of the party.
In a lot of cases, the headquarters of the party has taken a stance against one or two Governors who are insisting on installing what you call their lackeys.
So, I think the reverse is the case. The entire process is owned and managed by the headquarters of the party, not the Governors.
But Governors are angry with the leadership of the party because they could not have their way in foisting their men as candidates ?
I don’t think so. Bauchi, for example, is a good case in point. The NEC of the party sat and took a decision that presidential primaries should be direct.
But for all other primaries, the State Executive Committees of the party should sit and determine for themselves, considering the peculiarities of their state, what mode they will utilize for their primaries.
The State Executive Committee of Bauchi State of the APC met while I was in China with Mr. President. They decided they wanted indirect primaries. But the headquarters of the party changed indirect to direct. So, I’m one of those Governors that the policy affected .
I’ve undergone direct primaries. In fact, it was done twice. It was done on a Friday before the Committee set up by the headquarters came because people came out, they waited and therefore decided to count themselves.
On Saturday when the Committee of the party came, the primary was conducted again by direct method. So, if there is any Governor that should be annoyed with the headquarters of the party, I should be one of them. But I am not. I’m happy with what transpired. As for me, what has taken place is like a mock election.
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Maybe some Governors who are not happy are in such emotional state because they could not have their way?
I wouldn’t know that but I have given you a clear example of myself. In line with the decision of the NEC, the State Executive Committee chose indirect primaries . The headquarters of the party in its wisdom changed it to direct. We acceded as committed, loyal party members and we went ahead with the primaries and we are happy.
The emergence of Atiku has raised a whole lot of momentum and almost drowning your own presidential candidate. What do you make of that?
As we said when we addressed the press after our meeting with Mr. President, the next set of elections are going to be run on issues. Everybody will bring out his scorecard.
We thank God Atiku was at one time the Vice President of Nigeria and in fact between 1999 to 2003, everybody knew he was the de-facto President of Nigeria because Obasanjo allowed him a free reign of the Government and of the party.
So, Atiku must have his own scorecard to show and Mr. President has his own scorecard to show. I want Nigerians to be able to judge based on achievements of the two candidates.
There are so many things that Mr. President has silently achieved. One, he took us out of recession within a period of less than two years.
There are countries of the world, in fact countries in Europe that have gone into recession and for over ten years now, they have not been able to come out.
Greece is one example of such a country. But in our own case, in less than two years, we came out of recession. Things are not rosy, but we are making slow progress.
The exchange rate of the naira to the dollar is being stabilized by the day and projects that have for long been abandoned have been revived. You go to the eastern part of Nigeria, there are major projects that may have been abandoned and hope was lost, like the Enugu/Port Harcourt Expressway, the Enugu/Oitsha Expressway, all those were abandoned for a very long time and suddenly, they have been revived and they are being done. In railway, a lot has been achieved.
The otherwise abandoned projects are now seeing the light of the day. Everyday, we are commissioning projects. So, we are going to run the campaigns on issues.
How about the recent verdict by the World Bank that the Nigerian economy is not doing well and the caution by CBN that the country may slip into recession again. Are these not contradictory to your claims ?
It is not a contradiction. At a point, we were in actual recession, but we came out of it. Yes, growth is slow, but that is expected in a recession. Let us not lose sight of the fact that it was not this government that pushed Nigeria into recession.
If you recall, as far back as 2013, Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala warned Nigerians that the economy was going into recession because of the way the economy was being handled by the government of the day and she was part and parcel of that government.
I don’t know why Nigerians have suddenly forgotten about that. So, something that has taken 16 years to do, Nigerians are expecting magic that within three years or four years, we should be able to undo what has been done in 16 years.
That is not fair. So, a lot has to be done and every hand must be on deck for us to be able to achieve this.
Apart from the poor state of the economy some have accused the APC government of dividing the nation more than any other government. Are you concerned about such accusation ?
That is not true. Those that divided this country were officials of the government of Jonathan towards the election of 2015.
They were the ones who divided Nigeria along religious and ethnic lines and you expect a government that has come on for three and half years to be able to reverse this.
I’m not saying that there are no problems, there are problems. Some of the problems are new. But the bulk of the problems were inherited and it’s not this government that has divided Nigeria.
Would you say in fairness that in terms of the way government has gone about things like appointment, siting of projects, it has been fair to every section of the country?
Are you saying that the Enugu/Portharocurt expressway is not being done? Are you telling me that the Enugu Onitsha expressway is not being done? I have followed it recently during the Anambra Governorship election. I have seen it myself.
It is being done under SUKUK. Some people were even saying that Buhari was using SUKUK to islamise Nigeria. I have read somebody from the East who said that if what they are doing now, building that road between Enugu and Port Harcourt is islamising Nigeria, then Buhari should go ahead and islamise Nigeria.
The fact is, these things are being done. I am from the Northeastern part of Nigeria. I cannot give you the same example of the many roads that are going on in the Southeast that are going on in the Northeast. They are not but we are not complaining.
Even appointments, I read in the social media somebody giving account of the appointments that were done during Obasanjo’s time and during Jonathan’s time and the places where those people came from. It is not as bad as during Jonathan’s time.
So, let us face it. Nigeria can never progress if when we are commenting on issues, we take sides based on either religion or ethnicity. It will not help us at all.
You have faced huge opposition in your state . The hazy political situation in Bauchi resulted to the Speaker House of Representatives dumping APC . Why were key political leaders uncomfortable with you? Would you say it was a gang-up?
Of course, it was a gang up but we have been able to surmount this gang up and things are getting clearer. When we started, only three members of the House of Representatives were with me. But today, nine members of the House of Representatives out of 12 are with me.
So, we have waltzed through the storm. The truth, no matter how much you suppress it, will one day come out. The truth has come out in respect of the Speaker. His heart has never been in the APC.
That is the truth of the matter because you wouldn’t know the efforts that were done to resolve some of these things. Even towards the time he decided to move to the PDP, several efforts were made at a very high quarters. I called and I had given my word that I was prepared to look at the big picture and be accommodative. But the man refused towards the end.
When we had our Senatorial by-election that would have been the greatest opportunity for coming together, he was asked to come together with the Governor so that we succeed in delivering.
But he switched off his phone. He was not taking phone calls from high ranking members of this government who were trying to broker peace in Bauchi State because his mind was made up.
Dogara left PDP in 2014 and helped in forming APC, why would he lose interest in the party , on the platform of which he is where he is ?
The answer lies in the number of those people who helped in building APC that have gone back into PDP – Saraki, Kwankwaso, Tambuwal, they are all in the PDP today. Look at the antecedents of the Speaker, even his speakership was made possible by the PDP.
You knew what transpired during the days when they were running for these offices. It was the PDP that assisted him in becoming a Speaker.
There were claims that you worked against his emergence as Speaker because of his religion. How true is this ?
Many reasons were adduced but not religion. If it were to be based on religion, he can never be even a Senator in Bauchi State, talkless a Governor.
There is nothing like religion in it at all. If you recall very vividly, the APC chose a candidate for Speakership. I’m a loyal party member and I took the line of the party.
That was all. But if I should prefer anybody out of the 12 members of the House of Representatives to be Speaker, it will be Dogara because Dogara wouldn’t have constituted any problem to me. He wouldn’t have aspired to be Governor of the State. So, take religion out of it.
It has never played a part. My government is one government that has an SA, Christian Affairs. It has never been done because I want to cement the relationship. The Christian votes counted in my becoming Governor of Bauchi State, no matter how little.
Some key politicians in the state accused you of arrogance, selfishness and not wanting to to work with other political leaders in the state. Are you aware of this allegation ?
Who are the key politicians? If you can name them, I will give you my reasons. This is the general thing that people come to Abuja and say.
Don’t forget that politics is local, the politics is played in Bauchi State. Let me give you a reason for the insistence of the headquarters of the party that we should have direct primaries.
Some people came to Abuja and told them that because the government is not popular, if we do direct primaries, he is going to lose. Direct primaries have been conducted. The result is that 85,000 ballot papers were taken.
Out of the 85,000, 75,000 voted for me. People stayed in the headquarters of the wards until 3.00am to vote. So, the issue of people saying I refused to work with some elements, there are always Abuja politicians who will come to you, you journalists will report them saying they are the Alphas and Omegas in Bauchi State. But when it comes to the time for doing politics.
The same people will know that politics is local, they find it difficult going back to their constituencies and communities . I contested with three other people, none of them was seen at their own units to vote. It was televised. A mammoth crowd was at my unit. They even escorted me on foot back to the government house.
Would you say you have absolute control of Bauchi political structure including Dogara’s Southern senatorial district ?
No human being can have total control. Politics is a human phenomenon and every human phenomenon, therefore cannot be perfect. But all I know is that the APC chapter in Bauchi State is intact and it’s running its affairs without let or hindrance and come 2019, we will deliver as we have always done.
Are you saying that Dogara doesn’t have a place in Bauchi politics?
Dogara is not a factor. Politics is a game of number. Dogara in 2015 represented a total 70,000 registered voters, not people who came out to vote.
The total registered voters of Tafa Balewa was 70,000. I can’t give you the figure now because continuous voters registration has been done. I don’t know the current figure of voters. But even then, I don’t think it’s going to be anything more than 100,000, even if there is a huge increase in that number.
In 2015, I won election with a difference of 393,000. You can do your arithmetic. Take away the 70,000. Assuming everybody came out to vote in that area and they have not voted for me, you can give your own answer yourself.
So, that is the truth about the politics of Bauchi State.
In the Bauchi South bye election, Dogara worked against the party. We lost only in his Local Government by 2,600 votes. We won the other six Local Governments, including the two Local Governments in his constituency, which are bigger than his own Local Government Tafawa Balewa. So, that answers your question. It’s a game of number and that’s how politics operates. The results are what counts. I believe the handwriting is on the wall.
Bauchi has been struggling with governance issue , with your predecessor being accused of not always being in the state to govern. Would you say that your government has filled that void in terms of you achievements?
My answer is find time as journalist to do some investigations. Come to Bauchi. I will organize for you to go and see it for yourselves. I don’t want to blow my own trumpet.
I have done this with many reporters that have gone and visited. I took them on a three-day tour of Bauchi State and the projects we have done. I wanted them to compare it with the 16 years of PDP. At that time, I was not yet three years in office yet.
Can you pinpoint the things you have done in the last three years to merit a second term?
When we took over, education was in complete tatters. The percentage of success in the two major examinations of WAEC and NECO was 3.5 percent.
By 2016, we were able to raise it to 17.6. By 2017 last year, we were able to raise it to 27.8. This is a rare achievement. I have either constructed or renovated 1,700 schools all over Bauchi and they are there.
Wherever you go, every nook and cranny, when you see cream coloured building with blue roof, that is my project and you will see them in every nook and cranny. It’s part of the achievements in education because the learning environment is very important.
But it’s just a very tiny factor whether or not you succeed in education. What determines success in education is what I have told you – raising the percentage of success from 3.5 percent in 2015 to 27.8 percent in 2017.
When we took over, health was also in doldrums.
We started by first and foremost surpassing the Abuja declaration of calling on states to vote at least 15 percent of their budget to health. I have consistently been voting 16 or above to health and I have been trying to revive that sector.
I have constructed 19 brand new healthcare centres, fully equipped with staff quarters and water supply. Some of them, where ambulances are not available in the secondary institutions, we have even provided ambulances.
In the realm of infrastructure, I started by rolling out the construction of 400 kilometers of roads all over the state, including the headquarters of the state where we are dualising all the entrances into Bauchi to modernize the city. We are doing same in Azare, the second largest town in the State and we are doing the same in the Misau the third largest town.
We have not left it at the urban areas only. We are constructing rural roads in 9 out of the 20 Local Government headquarters for the time being, more than 9 because some of them connect two local governments in the state.
We are succeeding a great deal in that.
But most importantly, in the area of empowerment of particularly the youth and women, we have a large a population of unemployed youths, some of them educated, some of them half educated, some of them not educated at all that we have to attend to.
So, we have evolved a system of teaching them skills and then starting them off. We have an outfit called Basiwo. Basiwo takes care of the empowerment of youth and we have succeeded a great deal in doing that. So, the people of the State are happy.
One of my policies is that I hate the phenomenon of uncompleted or abandoned projects. What I’m doing is that I am completing projects that were started by the past government because the argument is it is people’s money that have been used in starting these projects.
So, you cannot wish them away, especially housing estates. I inherited four uncompleted housing estates. I have completed one that I named after a later Deputy Governor of Bauchi State, Dr Shehu Wunti Estate on the way to Maiduguri.
I have entered into tripartite discussion with the Mortgage Bank and the Developers of these other estates. They came in to do PPP with the former Governors. They sank their money. They took loans from Federal Mortgage Bank and started off these projects.
The government of the state did not perform its own part of the bargain. They abandoned them halfway. So, I said we cannot have that because if you leave those estates the way they are, they will turn into dens of criminals.
So, we have reached an agreement with the federal mortgage bank and the developers to continue and complete these projects and then government will now allocate them to civil servants and deduct the money from the salaries of civil servants.
Are you worried by insinuation that the over 14 million votes your party said President Muhammadu Buhari polled in the direct primaries is cooked up and is part of the strategy by APC to rig next year’s election ?
That is a very simplistic reasoning because with the advent of the card reader, how do you now go out and say 14 or 15 million people have come out to vote for Mr. President? The votes from my state were reduced a great deal. From 2003, Buhari has been defeating even sitting Presidents.
Sitting Presidents were not even getting 25 percent in Bauchi State. Obasanjo did not get. Yar’Adua did not get. Jonathan did not get.
So, the issue of the number that voted for Mr. President in the direct primaries, there is no way you can take that number and just supplant it on election day and claim that you have won it because people have to go out there and vote. The good thing about what we did during the direct primaries for Mr. President, we insisted not only on the registration cards of the members, but also on the PVC.
There must be your APC card as well as PVC before participating in that. So, it was like a mock election for many of us and I assure you that the numbers will come out.
How do you feel about the continuous reference of the victory by APC in Osun election as dubious by some people ?
I don’t understand some people’s argument. There was a makeup election in some units and the APC was now able to enter into an understanding with some strong people in the areas. For example, Omisore has never lost election around Ife area. In every election he participated, he won. So, what is strange about Omisore coming over and APC winning that?
Some senior lawyers have faulted the recent travel ban slammed on some Nigerians by the Federal Government. As a lawyer what is your take on that?
From the point of view of a lawyer, I disagree with Femi Falana because what transpired was this order was issued and then the National Assembly countered. The government went to court and the court said that that the order was constitutional. So, until an appeal court says otherwise, the subsisting judgment is that of the Federal High Court, which has stated that that order is constitutional. So, for any lawyer to come and say it’s unconstitutional is unfair
The judge said the execution of the order must be in line with the constitution.To issue it is constitutional. The execution must also be in line with the constitution. That was what the court said. It did not say that the issuance of the order was unconstitutional. If it has said that that, that would have been it.
But it said that the order itself is constitutional and then cautioned that when you are executing it, you must do it in line with the provisions of the constitution. So, I think the government was acting in its right to issue that order. Anybody who feels strongly about that can challenge it in court. That is the way of democracy and constitutionalism.
Of course, you know lawyers will always make comments and for every problem that you take to court, there will be many opinions, depending on which lawyer you are talking about. The most important thing is the judgment of the court. If the judgment said the order is constitutional, that is what is obtained till a higher court now says no. that is my take.
What are the things you feel APC leadership must be doing between now and the election to avoid a defeat?
Reconciliation, reconciliation and reconciliation . Then we must organize the campaign structure of Mr. President and the Governors must be inclusive.
Can you say with confidence that your programmes and polices have made Bauchi better ?
When we came on board, we determined for over selves three broad areas of comparative advantage. One agriculture; two, solid minerals; three tourism and we have been pursuing development in these broad areas.
Agriculture, because 85 percent of the total population of Bauchi State practice one form of agriculture or the other and these people have been practicing agriculture the way they inherited it from their forefathers. But that cannot sustain us. If we continue that way, agriculture will just be a subsistent activity. If you plant to feed, sometimes, what you plant will not even sustain you for the year.
So, we thought we must find ways of improving that practice for the people. What we have done is introduction of mechanization. Recently, when Mr. President went on a state visit, we launched our agricultural entrepreneurship programme, which we are making available 500 full fledged tractors with four implements each.
From the beginning of the state to date, maybe we have never acquired that number of tractors. I’m not saying that that will suffice. But at least it is the beginning.
Along with the tractors, we purchased an equal number of power tillers. Power tillers are mini tractors if you like. They do whatever a tractor can do to a small holder farmer, which 85 percent of the population comprise of small holder farmers that own nothing more than a hectare of land.
In the northern part of the state, the soil is so soft that you do not need a fully fledged tractor to till it. So, these power tillers will work for them. It will till the land, it will water it, it will cut grass, it has a small trailer that you can attach to it and drive it and convey whatever produce you make.
We have entered into an understanding with a Morocco based company called OCP Africa. It is the largest producer of phosphate based fertilizer in the world.
So, I went to Morocco and met with them and entered into an understanding with them. The first thing they started, the sponsored a programme called school lab programme. This school lab programme is a progranmme whereby a mobile laboratory drives to your farm, pick the soil from your farm, they immediately subject it to test by computers.
The lab is computerized. It will quickly test your soil and determine for you the type of fertilizer you should use on that soil and probably the type of crop you should plant on that land. This will immediately revolutionize agriculture for these small holder farmers.
The next thing OCP is doing is the agric booster programme using the maize crop, which is one of those crops that are widely spread in my State.
So, they want to boost the production of maize, using modern methods, teaching the farmers modern methods. Along with that, they are teaching the farmers to turn agriculture into a business that can sustain them and then allow them to participate in the economic activities of the state. That is one aspect for agriculture.
The second aspect is of course large scale agriculture. We occupy one-fifth of the total land of Nigeria in Bauchi State.
We occupy slightly less than 50,000 square kilometers in Bauchi State. Most of these are arable land and a lot of it is lying fallow.
So, we have started attracting investors to come and join hands with the government and do large scale farming. We have entered into an MOU with a company to do a sugarcane project in my local government. It’s integrating the existing farmers of that area into a scheme whereby sugarcane will be produced, turned into sugar and then electricity generated.
The other area is solid mineral. I don’t think there is any solid mineral known to man that is not found in one part of Bauchi State or the other.
The last one to be found was gold. If you had met me about a year half ago, I will tell you that it was only gold that was not found.
But today, gold has been found in large quantity in Bauchi State. So, for that reason, we have all the minerals, starting from Hydro Carbon, Oil and Gas which is now being prospected for in Local Government called Alkaleri. If you could recall, there was a time over 20 years ago when Shell and Chevron went to Bauchi and they prospected.
They were able to drill one well only that they called Kolmani River-1. In that well, they found oil, but they said it not in commercial quantity. But they found gas. So, now, activities are gearing up. They have done all the seismic survey. They are going to commence drilling in that area.
So, from Hydrocarbon dam, we have iron ore, we have coal, we have limestone and many other minerals. For that reason, we thought solid minerals will be the other area of economic activities that we should pay attention to. In doing this, we realized that in the past, what the government of Nigeria failed to do in respect of solid minerals because we are concentrating on oil, is doing scientific surveys to produce what they call bankable reports.
These bankable reports mean they will determine the existence of this mineral, the quantity of this mineral, the quality of this mineral.
That is what the investor is interested in. Before he ventures to put in his money, he would want to know that that mineral is there in high quality and a lot of quantity to justify whatever investment he should do.
So, we have engaged a company in Czech Republic to now go round the state and do this kind of reports for us. it’s either you do that or you just waste your time travelling to the end of the earth, to Australia to attend their annual down under meetings. You drink tea, you speak grammer with people and nothing will come out of it, unless you have these bankable reports. So, this is what we are doing.
Another company we have engaged, another big player in the industry, is a British based company called Morea. What they are trying to do for us is to do things at once.
One is to be able to organize artisanal miners for us. Artisanal miners all over the world, they are a phenomenon. You cannot wish them away. The moment you discover a mineral, they will swarm round in large numbers.
Right now, the place where this gold has been discovered is giving me sleepless nights for security reasons because all of a sudden, there is an influx of about 5,000 people, a lot of them not even Nigerians, coming to prospect for this.
All over the world, that is what happens. But the best you can do is you try and organize these people and entice them by probably providing protective gears for them and maybe providing rudimentary machines that they can use at very cheap cost, so that with that, you can now be able to get them into cooperatives and maybe tax their activities. Otherwise, they are a big problem to everybody. So, Morean is trying to do that for us.
Along with that, Morean is going to establish a buying centre for us. a buying centre in the mineral industry is a beneficiation plant, whereby if you go and pick the mineral in its rough state, you can now bring it to the buying centre.
The buying centre will clean it up for you so that it will achieve the quality that can be sold in the international market. The buying centre will now display it for you so that buyers can come and inspect and do whatever.
It beats the system that exists now. What exists now is that you will suffer, maybe go underground as an artisanal miner, you will dig for gold for example, you will clean it up and then a Chinese man will come to you, you will go under a tree, he will look at it and then he will determine the price for you.
Whether that price is the right price, you don’t know. But the buying centre will take care of that because the buying centre will clean up that gold. It will weigh that gold for you so that the actual price will be determined. These are what we are doing in that sector and we have a company we have set up that we have set up that will participate in the business itself.
Generally, it is said that government is very poor business manager. But it all depends where you are coming from. A place like my own where the organized private sector is non-existent, government must participate in a business, at least take business to a certain point before you now invite the private sector to take over.
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The third is tourism because we’ve been endowed with the Yankari Game Reserve in Bauchi State. what we did at inception is to look at what we have in Yankari Game Reserve and try to bring what we have up to speed, improve it so that we can attract client who will come in. We are doing well as far as local tourists are concerned because business has picked up, from the time we took over to date.
The area where we have not been successful and there are obvious reasons for that, is the attraction of foreign tourists. The location of Bauchi State within the Northeastern sub region is operating against our efforts.
Bauchi State is the most peaceful of the six Northeastern States. From the time I have taken over to date, there hasn’t been any activity of Boko Haram in Bauchi.
But the international community will not know that. The moment Bauchi is mentioned, they will look their map and they will see Bauchi in the Northeast. They will say Boko Haram. So, they will not allow their nationals to come in. This is what we are fighting against.
In addition to Yankari Game Reserve, we have what we call the Suhu Game Park. The Suhu Game Park is unique because it is populated by animals that are not common to the West African subregion. You can only find them in East and South Africa.
What happened was that in 2006, the then Governor of Bauchi State, Adamu Muazu travelled to Namibia and Kenya and then he now asked the governments of those countries to allow him pick some species of some mammals that are herbivorous animals and bring them to see if they will thrive in West Africa.
So, he brought Giraffes, he brought Zebras and many others that are not found here and they were taken to a place called Suhu about 48 kilometers away from Bauchi. They were kept in a Park and protected. So, from the time he brought them to date, they have been reproducing.
They are growing in large numbers. So, we protect them and we supplement their feeding. It’s very good for tourism.
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Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump – CAN fumes
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s revelation of his conversation with United States President, Donald Trump, on the massacre of Christians in Nigeria, saying President Buhari was economical with the truth.
President Buhari had on Tuesday, revealed that at the heat of the bloody clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria, the United States President, Donald Trump, unequivocally accused him of killing Christians.
Buhari said these in his closing remarks at the two-day ministerial performance review retreat held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.
At a point, the President digressed from his prepared speech and narrated his encounter with Trump on the bloody clashes.
He said he managed to explain to the American leader that the clashes were not about ethnicity or religion.
He said, “I believe I was about the only African among the less developed countries the President of United States invited.
“When I was in his office, only myself and himself, only God is my witness, he looked at me in the face, and asked, ‘Why are you killing Christians?’
“I wonder, if you were the person, how you will react. I hope what I was feeling inside did not betray my emotion, so I told him that the problem between the cattle rearers and farmers, I know is older than me not to talk of him. I think I am a couple of years older than him.
“With climate change and population growth and the culture of the cattle rearers, if you have 50 cows and they eat grass, any root, to your water point, then they will follow it. It doesn’t matter whose farm it is.
“The First Republic set of leadership was the most responsible leadership we ever had. I asked the Minister of Agriculture to get a gazette of the early 60s which delineated the cattle route where they used meager resources then to put earth dams, wind mills even sanitary department.
“So, any cattle rearers that allowed his cattle to go to somebody’s farm would be arrested, taken before the court. The farmer would be called to submit his bill and if he couldn’t pay, the cattle would be sold, but subsequent leaders, the VVIPs (very important persons) encroached on the cattle routes. They took over the cattle rearing areas.
“So, I tried and explained to him (Trump) that this has got nothing to do with ethnicity or religion. It is a cultural thing.”
However, CAN’s Vice President and Chairman of the association in Kaduna State, John Hayab, was not impressed with Buhari’s submission, saying “Buhari and his government will never stop from amusing us with their tales by moonlight because what is happening in Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Birnin Gwari, Southern Kaduna, Taraba, Plateau and others cannot be described as a cultural thing.
He told Punch correspondent in an interview: “President Buhari’s weak story about his conversation with President Donald Trump further confirms why his government does not care about the killings in our country by calling them cultural things.
“Just this (Tuesday) evening, I received a report from the Kaduna Baptist Conference President about the number of their members that have been killed by bandits in Kaduna State from January 2020 to date to be 105 and our President will call it a cultural thing? All we can say is may God save our Nigeria.”
CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers
The Catholic Bishop of Nsukka, Most Rev. Godfrey Onah, has blamed Christians in the National Assembly (NASS), for the passage of the 2020 Companies and Allied Matters Bill (CAMA), signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari recently.
Bishop Onah, said in a remark during the Sunday Mass that if Christians in NASS had opposed the bill, it would not have been passed into law.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Aug. 7, signed the CAMA bill into law, giving provision for religious bodies and charity organizations to be regulated by the registrar of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and a supervising minister.
“The question many Christians have been asking is, where were Christian legislators during the debate of this bill and its passage in the National Assembly?
“Because, if they had opposed this bill on the floor of the house, it would not have been passed and sent to the president for assent.
“I blame Christian legislators for doing nothing and allowing the passage of the 2020 CAMA Act,” he said.
“When I say that Christians are too divided and too selfish, don’t forget that the second in command in this country is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, a professor of Law and a pastor.”
Onah, however, wondered what the Federal Government wanted to achieve in monitoring how the finances of churches in the country are managed when it contributed no dime to the church, NAN reports.
“Government should focus and monitor its ministries, agencies and other government institutions where it budgets billions of Naira annually and not church offerings.
“Had it been that the government gave allocations to churches and decided to monitor its usage, nobody will question the government,” he said.
Nigerians spit fire over fuel, electricity prices hike
Anger and condemnations, across the country, have continued to trail last week’s take off, of new increases in pump price of petroleum products and electricity tariffs, as directed by Federal Government.
Recall that the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) official, D.O. Abalaka announced on Wednesday September 3, on behalf of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that the new price of petroleum is now N151.56k per litre instead of N149 – N150 per litre which it was previously.
The new electricity tariff which the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) tagged “Service Reflective Tariff” has also come into effect. It requires consumers to pay N53.87 – N66.422 per kwh of electricity.
Outraged consumers of fuel and electricity have therefore warned government to get ready for collision with the masses if it fails to rescind these new prices.
Those who have expressed outrage over the new prices regimes include, the Organized Labour, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Nigerian main opposition political party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and the Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN).
Others are: Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce (NACCIMA).
The NLC said, “The frequent fuel price increase will no longer be accepted. We will not allow Nigerians fall victim of government ineptitude and negligence to make the country self-sufficient in terms of refining petroleum products at home.”
On its part, the PDP has described the price hike as “callous, cruel and punishing” and demanded an immediate reversal to avert a national crisis.
The All Industrial Global sees the incessant increase as a confirmation that deregulation means just price increase.
“This is unacceptable! Under a pandemic, we should put money in the pockets of citizens to revive collapsed livelihoods and preserve lives.” In its reaction, NECA said it has always urged Federal Government to adopt deregulation policy in the oil and gas downstream sector.
The MOMAN in its statement insists that monthly price variation of fuel was no longer sustainable. It urged PPRA to adopt quarterly price mechanism which would save the market the hassles of price volatility. The statements by IPMAN and NACCIMA also followed along the same line that the hike “…serves only to increase the severity and duration of the looming economic recession.”
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