Nigeria loses $3b to illegal gold smuggling in 6 years — Buhari.
President Muhammadu Buhari has voiced concern that Nigeria lost close to $3b from 2012 – 2018 due to illegal smuggling of gold.
President Buhari spoke on Thursday during the official presentation of locally mined gold bars by the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative (PAGMDI) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The President, who renewed the determination of his administration to combat illegal mining activities, said improved gold mining operations in the country would generate no fewer than 250,000 jobs and over $500m annually in royalties and taxes to the Federal Government.
He said this laudable initiative would support efforts at creating jobs for Nigerians, diversifying the revenue base, and improving foreign exchange reserves.
President Buhari noted that in addition to the potential revenue gains that will occur from mining operations, efforts are being made to enable the setting up of gold refineries in Nigeria.
“With the implementation of the PAGDMI scheme which will result in the set-up of accredited gold buying centres across key mining areas, artisanal miners and SMEs engaged in mining will be able to capture the value of their work.
“These operations will help in diversifying our revenue base. The sale of gold by artisanal miners and SMEs at accredited centers will help the government in realizing royalties and taxes from the sale of these assets.
“These developments will also help in improving our foreign reserves by enabling the Central Bank of Nigeria to increase the amount of gold in its reserves.
“These gold assets which will be purchased in Naira, will not only help to bolster our international reserves, it will also provide a hedge against inflation and other economic volatilities associated with foreign currencies that are held in our reserves,” the President said in a statement issued by his spokesman, Femi Adesina.
He also voiced optimism that these measures would lead to the creation of additional job opportunities across the gold value chain and also help the nation capture the additional value created from the gold refining process.
Matawalle to bandits: Surrender a rifle, get two cows.
Governor Bello Muhammad Matawalle of Zamfara state said his administration would give two cows for each AK47 rifle surrendered by repentant bandit in the state.
Matawalle spoke on Thursday when he hosted Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu, Director General, Department of State Security Services, Yusuf Bichi and other heads of Intelligence Units of military and police.
According to him, “For every rifle submitted by a repentant bandit, there would be compensation of two cows.
“We don’t want to give them money, so they wouldn’t use the money to purchase new weapons.
“We said we will compensate them with cows, they are Fulani and they need the cows to advance their economic interest.
“We also told the repentant bandits that all “Dabas” (Camps) in the forests should be disbanded. We won’t accept a situation where the bandits will disarm and then go back to the forest and be staying in these camps or Dabas.
“We asked them to either come to town and be reintegrated into the society or be given economic empowerment where they are, so that they would start a new life.
“Most of them are residing in forests under the shades of trees and inside caves. That is why we came up with RUGA policy to help them”
Governor Matawalle further disclosed that Zamfara state is the epicentre of armed banditry in the country, adding that if the security operatives could deal with the menace in the state, the whole North West and by extension the country in general would be secured.
“Why I said so is because all the bandits’ super camps and their leaders are in Zamfara state.
“We need proper coordination among the security formation in the country.
“There should be synergy among the security agencies because when these criminals are attacked in the neighbouring Katsina state, they escape to Zamfara, Sokoto and Kebbi states”
IGP Adamu said President Muhammadu Buhari had given them marching order to stop the carnage all over the nation because he is very much concerned about the security situation of the country.
WTO: Okonjo-Iweala thanks Buhari, ECOWAS, others.
Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on Thursday expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari and members of the House of Representatives for supporting her candidacy for the position of Director General of the World Trade Organisation( WTO).
”I want to also thank the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, and the Nigerian ambassadors to Switzerland, WTO as well as the Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva,” she said.
Okonjo-Iweala, who stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Geneva, also thanked the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for endorsing her candidacy as the race for the WTO top job enters the selection phase.
The former Nigerian minister of finance is vying for the top job alongside candidates from Kenya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia. UK, Moldova, Mexico, and the Republic of Korea.
All the candidates are in Geneva to make presentations to the WTO General Council and address the press from July 15 – 17.
Cross River's PDP crisis takes another dimension as group calls for suspension of Gov Ben Ayade.
The crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Cross River State has taken another dimension as a group, Movement for the Restoration of Cross River Peoples Democratic Party (MFTROCR) has called for the suspension of Governor Ben Ayade and five others for dragging the national PDP and its officers to court over congresses.
Speaking in Calabar on Thursday, the coordinator of the group mostly made up of founding members, former elected and appointed officers and National Assembly members (NASS), Comrade Raymond Takon, alleged that their investigations have revealed that the litigants are sponsored and bankrolled by the Ntufam Inok, the party chairman, through the office of the Governor as the claimants/applicants cannot muster enough financial resources and courage to take the party to court.
Boko Haram: Why 602 ex-terrorists swore oath - Nigerian military.
The Nigerian military on Thursday explained why 602 repentant Boko Haram members swore oath of allegiance to Nigeria.
Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, spoke at a news conference in Abuja.
He recalled that the former insurgents underwent De-radicalisation, Rehabilitation and Re-Integration (DRR) programme by Operation SAFE CORRIDOR.
Enenche said they completed DRR programme at Malam Sidi Camp and took the Oath before an 11 member quasi-judicial panel.
The senior officer said the “reason behind the Oath of Allegiance is to emphasize their loyalty, discipline and obedience to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and thereby making a commitment”.
The implication, he noted, was that if they commit any offence, they will forfeit “all privileges and will be liable for offence against the State”.
Enenche added that Operation SAFE CORRIDOR “has successfully coordinated the DRR programme for 882 ex Boko Haram members including the 280 earlier graduated”.
“The message here is clear to others out there; surrender and be profiled accordingly for the DRR privilege,” he said.
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