The President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari has backtracked the appointment of Musa Lawal Daura, as Director General, State Security Service.
The new head of the State Security Service, Daura, appointed by the President, will act in that capacity pending the appointment of a substantive Director General, the Head of Service has said.
If we recall, a first announcement issued from the Head of Service, Danladi Kifasi, said President Buhari appointed “Lawal Musa Daura as the new Director General Department of State Security Service”.
However, the Head of Service issued a second statement late Thursday amid controversy over the appointment, after it became clear the president recalled Mr. Daura, his kinsman, from retirement, ahead of other qualified personnel still in the service.
“President Muhamadu Buhari has appointed Lawal Musa Daura as the new acting Director General Department of State Security Service,” the statement said.
From a caliphate to a network of sleeper cells; Boko Haram’s military defeat has turned it into something worse.
A couple of months ago, the Nigerian Military—supported by troops from Chad, Niger and Cameroon—recaptured virtually every territory under the control of Boko Haram and put a final end to their Caliphate. Six weeks of sustained advances dragged the sect from controlling an area the size of Belgium in Nigeria’s northeast to looking for a place to hide. With the military successes, many in and outside the country predicted an end to an insurgency that has claimed more than five thousand lives. But the current almost-daily attacks have shown how wrong they were. It proves rather that while the Boko Haram caliphate –and any hopes of it—is dead and gone, the sect is very much alive and perhaps now has an even more threatening modus operandi.
There is no doubt that Boko Haram has been severely weakened and will never be as opulent as they were before April. Dozens of their bases have been razed, caches of their weapons seized and destroyed, and nearly a thousand people freed from their captivity. It is inconceivable that they will conquer territories again. But that is where the problem lies. The sect seems to have abandoned its aim of controlling territory, ISIS style, and has instead adopted a sleeper cell style of attacks, similar to that espoused by the forerunner of global terror—Al Qaeda.
The past few weeks have shown just how deadly these Al Qaeda-style attacks can be. Since May, the terrorists have killed around 300 persons in Nigeria mostly through hit-and-run attacks, and with no intention to hold ground. On Wednesday, the group gunned down at least 80 Muslims praying in mosques in Kukawa, a remote town 180km northeast of Maiduguri, the biggest city in northeast Nigeria and the birthplace of Boko Haram. Yesterday the group struck again when two suicide bombers killed 10 people in two separate but apparently coordinated attacks in Malari, southeast of Maiduguri. Other Coalition partners have also been hit by Boko Haram’s network style attacks. In June the group struck Niger and Chad in the same week, killing close to 80 people. In none of all their post-caliphate-destruction attacks did they try to hold ground; they are often already ‘gone’ by the time security forces arrive.
Boko Haram’s shadow tactics has made them harder to defend against and more difficult to defeat. The large and very loose nature of the northeast and its borders with Chad, Niger and Cameroon, as well as the limitations of the Nigerian—and coalition—security forces to effectively police the area plays perfectly into the group’s current script. This means the coalition forces now need a new effective counter script.
Nigeria’s transfer of the Command and Control centre to Maiduguri will make a helpful feature of the counter script, as will the strengthening of intelligence gathering, military empowerment and regional coordination. Most importantly however, there needs to be a change of perception of Boko Haram, from a sect seeking to establish a muslim caliphate by establishing territory to a group espousing regional Jihad through sleeper cells. The latter is more real and more deadly, and defeating it will need triple the effort it took to dismantle the former.
Wines of South Africa Grand Tasting is returning to Nigeria at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos on Saturday July 18th, 2015. This event coincides with the Nelson Mandela Day which is celebrated around the globe.
The one day event which is opened to 18years plus, is designed to showcase quality wines from over 25 wine producers and over 200 wine brands from different regions in the Cape Wineland of South Africa. Guests are expected to trade, taste and attend the exclusive South Africa Wine course, which must be pre-registered. The wine course will be led by Wine Advisor, Brad Coetzer, from renowned education company, Beverage Intelligence. The course is opened to only Trade businesses such as importers, distributors, hotels F& B managers, retailers, portfolio managers, gourmet and brand reporters and general food and beverage service provider.
The annual event is now established as a platform that delivers an up-market audience in a very prestigious environment. The grand tasting event aims to create awareness for the South African category in the Nigerian market; the 12th largest importer of packaged wine from South Africa and the third biggest among African countries.
Wines of South Africa Grand Tasting is targeted at people in the trade such as importers, distributors and portfolio managers working in the food and beverage/hospitality industry. It is also aimed at creating an experiential platform for wine enthusiasts and the elite consumers in Nigeria
According to Aderonke Sobodu, Managing Director, Spronks Creations Ltd, the Event organisers; “Some of the finest South African wines will be on parade. WOSA will be showcasing wines from the leading family owned Wine Estates in South Africa such as Ken Forrester, Paul Cluver, MAN Vintners, DGB, Noble Hills Estate, Rainbow End wine Estate, Robinson & Sinclair, Tamasa wines, Vondeling and Jordan, among others. Guests are requested to ready their taste buds and experience the beauty of South Africa in a glass, while wine producers entertain their questions leaving them better informed about South African Wines”.
Wines of South Africa (WOSA) represents all South African wine producers who export their products. WOSA, was established in its current form in 1999, has over 500 producers on its database, comprising all the major South African wine exporters. It is constituted as a not-for-profit company and is totally independent of any producer or wholesaling company. It is also independent of any government department, although it is recognised by government as an Export Council.
The trade event is being put together and coordinated by Spronks Creations Ltd, the organisers of the Nigeria Wine and Spirit Festival now Nigeria International Wine and Spirit Fair.
If you’ve watched the season 5 finale of Game Of Thrones and can’t yet figure out how the writer was able to break the hearts of millions with the somewhat disastrous ending, then raise your hands.
The last episode of season 5 is still perhaps the most gruelling yet in the history of television and the reason for this is not farfetched. The number of deaths on that episode was at an all time high and each of the deaths was as bizarre and gruelling as they come. But the death that seemed to shock everyone to the core of their beings is that of Jon Snow (Kit Harington).
The writers of the show did the unthinkable by having Jon Snow stabbed to death by his fellow Night’s Watch brothers who didn’t approve of his actions of making peace with the Wildlings. What made the death even more touching was having young Olly (Brenock O’Connor), who seemed to be Jon’s protege, deliver the final stab. It was saddening to say the least.
Even though Kit Harington has said his character, Jon Snow is dead, it is hard to believe given that the character is one of the reasons why we watch Game Of Thrones. This perhaps makes us think the show won’t just take him away, or would they?
Author of the books the show was based on, George R. R. Martin when asked about Jon Snow’s death answered by saying “Oh, you think he’s dead, do you?” he had also said in an earlier interview in 2011. “My readers should know better than to take anything as gospel.”
He also said recently that, “If there’s one thing we know in A Song of Ice and Fire is that death is not necessarily permanent.”
In hopes that Jon Snow would come back from what seems a fatal end, here are 5 Reasons we believe that Jon Snow would make a come back.
Jon could be a warg
The younger brother of Jon Snow, Bran played by Isaac Hempstead-Wright has the ability to put his mind and soul in that of an animal. As such, it is possible that Jon is one too and he could have put his soul into Ghost, his direwolf, to preserve it before his body died. This theory is very much possible given that the last words he says before his death in the book is “Ghost”.
The Red Woman
The priestess (Red Woman) Melisandre, could be one person who might play a major role in ensuring Jon comes back. In the Season finale, she arrives at Castle Black a day before the death of Jon right after losing Stannis, the man she wanted as king. So far, we’ve not actually seen Melisandre bring back any dead person, it has happened a few times on the show. The Priest, Thoros of Myr resurrected Beric Dondarrion, six times using powers from the Lord of Light, who so happens to also be the same god Melisandre believes in. Given her long time interest in Jon, she sure won’t give up now.
Rhaegar + Lyanna = Jon
The long held belief that Jon is Ned Stark’s bastard seems to be wrong. What seemed to convince a lot of people to this fact is because Jon was raised by Ned but in truth, Jon’s real parents are actually Rhaegar Targaryen and Ned Stark’s sister, Lyanna, who are both dead. If Jon truly has Targaryen blood in him, and Men of the Night’s Watch performs their ritual of burning his body so that he doesn’t come back as a wight, then Jon may just be reborn the way Daenerys was in season one.
If the men of the Night’s Watchmen who killed Jon decide to hide his body than going through the funeral rituals of burning his body, this may result in Jon coming back as a wight (Game Of Thrones Zombies). This fact would be depressing to say the least if we remember that the Leader of the White Walkers (Night’s King), is close by in Hardhome, coupled with the fact that he’s interested in Jon.
Though it’s quite hard to imagine Jon as a zombie, he may actually come back as a wight with good intentions. The book made mention of a character called Coldhands- a wight who can control his actions and Jon may come back as this.This might be saddening but it’s still better than no Jon at all.
This perhaps is the biggest and most controversial theory on why Jon Snow May make a comeback. Though not that in depth, there’s a legend about Azor Ahai alternatively known as ‘The Prince Who Was Promised’ or ‘The Lord’s Chosen’.
The Azor Ahai would probably be the true hero of Game Of Thrones as he is destined to save the realm from the invasion of the White Walker/wight invasion. He actually stopped the first invasion of the White Walkers with the help of “a magical blade” and he’s supposed to rise again. The thing is the Azor Ahai character must be a descendant of the dragon, must be born when there’s a bleeding star in the sky and in the middle of smoke and salt.
Jon seems to be the right choice given that his murder in the books was caused by number a knight with a star sigil (aka the bleeding star), Olly was in tears when he stabs Jon (aka the salt), and his stab wounds steam in the cold air (aka the smoke).
Since no one knows what’s coming up next given that the TV show has gotten to the same point with the books, any of these theories could turn out to be true. Perhaps, Jon Snow Could actually be dead which would be a tad difficult to swallow.
“In Africa, hunger is a constant,” says U.S-based charity group Save the Children. Over 200 million Africans are reportedly living in hunger, meaning almost one in every three are either hungry or undernourished. The World Food Programme (WFP), the food assistance branch of the United Nations and the world’s largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger and promoting food security, has been leading the charge to end hunger globally—and in Africa—since it was established in 1961. With over $2 billion of cash reserves—sourced mostly from donors globally—the WFP provides food assistance to 80 million people in 75 countries each year from its base in Rome, Italy.
The WFP has been very active in many parts of Africa, with its largest operations currently in South Sudan due to civil unrest. It is also actively supporting relief efforts in Central Africa Republic and in West Africa countries ravaged by Ebola. However, for sub-Saharan Africa, which holds the second largest population of hungry people after Asia and the Pacific (578 million), the international food agency has been using mobile money, with significant success, to pursue its new strategy of handing out cash rather than distributing food.
Poverty is considered the principal cause of hunger globally as people simply do not have sufficient income to purchase enough food. Africa is no different, with more than 42 percent of its population living on less than $1.25 dollars a day. To curb both hunger and poverty, the WFP in recent years switched to cash handouts, rather than its traditional style of distributing only food items. “Where the market are properly functioning we have a choice of either purchasing ourselves locally and then distributing to our beneficiaries or if the retail supply chain works well to make a value transfer in terms of voucher or cash payment increasingly through digital or electronic to make them available to our beneficiaries,” Robert van der Zee, WFP’s Treasurer and Deputy Director of Finance, told Ventures Africa in an interview. “In the end it depends on the context where we are able to provide a cash base intervention locally and whether it is more cost effective because of course our donors would only want us to do that if it is cost effective and cost efficient.”
It has seen a smoother transition to cash handouts in East Africa, than in the western part of the continent. “We have done this (cash handouts) for many countries across the globe, particularly in the Middle East tremendously because of the Syrian crisis and of course there are better financial systems that we can tap into and good retail supply chains,” Robert noted. “We have seen that as well perhaps more in Eastern Africa, so far than in Western Africa but Western Africa is catching up rightfully as well but there are some funny inclusion challenges.”
Some of these challenges include: are providers available in the rural areas? Is there connectivity? Is there liquidity cashing in the system? Is there cash been taken out of the system? This is where mobile money has made the difference. “Mobile money has many advantages; one of them is that you can quickly distribute cash by SIM cards,” he noted. East Africa has recorded the most success in deploying this technology to grow financial inclusion, particularly within rural areas were issues like hunger are prevalent.
M-Pesa, a mobile-based money transfer and micro-financing service, launched in 2007 by Vodafone for Safaricom and Vodacom, has revolutionized the payment system in Kenya and deepened financial inclusion across East Africa. Since it was rolled into the financial market, it has become the most successful mobile-powered financial service in the developing world. As of June 2013, 98 million of the 203 million registered mobile money accounts globally were in Sub-Saharan Africa, with East Africa holding the lion’s share of Sub-Saharan Africa’s total and accounting for 34 percent of the global total.
The branchless banking service allows users to deposit money into an account stored on their cell phones, to send balances using PIN-secured SMS text messages to other users, including sellers of goods and services, and to redeem deposits for regular money. Users are charged a small fee for sending and withdrawing money using the service, a cost effective option for the WFP.
In August, 2014, WFP provided 3,500 mobile phone handsets to the heads of households in Rwandan camps to facilitate the electronic money transfer through partnership with financial institutions, using the mVisa technology provided by VISA Inc. Each refugee receives RWF 6,300 ($9) per month to cater for food needs. The WFP deposits the entitlements with the bank, which then credits each beneficiary account (mobile number), and the refugee families then receive a confirmatory text message showing the credit to their account.
Tomson Phiri, a Zimbabwean journalist, also confirmed that the WFP is using cash and vouchers in the Southern African country to tackle hunger where food is available in the market place but most people do not have the required income to buy. “In the past, WFP handed out cash to beneficiaries waiting patiently in line. Nowadays, the organization transfers cash and food vouchers via mobile phone.” This method, Tomson notes, is more convenient for the recipient and cheaper for the food agency.
But West Africa still has some catching up to do, according to Robert. “… The problem for financial inclusion [in West Africa] is really an eco-system that needs to be aligned, so you need government to stimulate the sector: You need a regulation that helps financial service providers see opportunities in servicing the poor people, you need good use of technology to make it cost effective and you need and partners using the service, utility companies or mobile phone companies or the likes of ourselves that make social transfers.”
During Robert’s earlier presentation at the EuroFinance conference in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, last week, he identified three key challenges that have limited the WFP’s cash-giving scheme—Power, Identification, and cost of patronizing Microfinance institutions. But these, as well has what West Africa needs to do to catch up with its Eastern neighbors, can be significantly tackled using mobile money solutions. “The good examples are primarily Kenya and Tanzania where there is enough trust in the M-Pesa system that people keep their money in their mobile accounts.”
However, the revolutionary payment tool hasn’t been deployed without challenges, a reason why the WFP has stuck mostly with card payment solutions for a number of its African operations. “Our donors have pretty high standards in terms of reporting they want to know how cash is been used,” Robert noted. “Generally banks are much better (than more money agents) in reporting back to us on how funds are been used and of course you can make specific agreement with retailers.”
Like Robert correctly points out, there will be an eventual convergence between mobile and banking. East Africa (and parts of Southern Africa) has already positioned itself to be at the forefront when the benefits of mobile money start trickling in, one of which is providing the WFP a useful tool to help rid its communities of hunger. And Should West Africa hope to do the same, pursuing greater financial inclusion using the innovative payment system will prove vital, as the number of mobile money accounts gradually outnumbers bank accounts.
The meeting of the National Executive Committee, NEC, of the All Progressives Congress, APC , which is on progress now, may experience a serious fisticuff should some senators and members of House of Representatives decide not to heed the advice of President Mohammadu Buhari on the party’s position on the principal offices in both chambers.
The president, who for a while has not spoken publicly since the election of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and the House Speaker, Rep. Yakubu Dogara on the inauguration of the 8th National Assembly has just opened up.
In his opening remarks, President Buhari charged everyone to put whatever interest they have in their “pocket” and accept the supremacy of the party in the overall interest of democracy.
The meeting is, however expected to be stormy and decisive as the crises in the party are expected to be resolved.
Most economists agree that the Nigerian economy is in the midst of turmoil caused by a crash in the global price of oil. The only question is, how bad will the situation get? The overwhelming majority of Nigerian government revenue derives from oil exports. As oil prices have fallen from $115 a barrel to hover around $50 a barrel over the last nine months, economic indicators in Nigeria have entered a downward spiral. At one point just before the elections, the Nigerian naira fell to record lows of around 206 to 1 dollar. With global capital markets currently reeling from the Greek default crisis in the Eurozone, oil commodity prices will continue to fall and sovereign borrowing costs will continue to rise rapidly, especially for governments with low-credit worthiness. It is now the responsibility of the new APC-led administration to arrest the current economic slide. The only way to do that is to increase government revenue, immediately. Throughout the campaign president Buhari, his running mate and other APC associates suggested that they would increase revenue by eliminating mismanagement and political corruption – in the petroleum sector and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Nigeria has suffered from gross mismanagement and theft of public funds, particularly in the petroleum industry. The recently released audit report on the NNPC identified a host of opaque and unprofessional practices, including oil swaps (paying for refined oil with unverifiable amounts of crude oil), that need to be rectified immediately. However, as long as oil prices remain around $60 per barrel, it is doubtful that even after curtailing mismanagement and corruption, there will be enough revenue to service debts, fund social development programmes, maintain a reasonable exchange rate for the naira and bailout bankrupted states.
President Buhari still enjoys popular support and will continue to for his first hundred days in office. He presently has a tremendous amount of political capital to spend on his political objectives. As time goes, political opponents will begin to regain their footing, as we just saw in the national assembly, and executing acute policy shifts will become more difficult. It is very important during these early days that President Buhari and the APC choose their battles carefully. It would be a catastrophic mistake for Prresident Buhari and the APC to spend their honeymoon period primarily waging anti-corruption battles with the NNPC and other entrenched interests for two reasons. First, the wellspring of political support to tackle corruption in Nigeria will never run dry. Nigerians are sick and tired of the graft and mismanagement that has plagued the country for over half a century and it would be a total waste for Buhari to squander his honeymoon period on an issue that he could tackle at any other point in time with little or no public resistance. Second, it is doubtful that the protracted anti-corruption battles with NNPC will plug enough holes to raise enough revenue to stabilize the naira and avert a severe economic slowdown.
During the campaign, the APC took a page from Soludo and pointed to the period a decade ago when Nigeria received debt relief and thus was able to increase its savings even with the comparatively low oil prices at the time. The inference they try to make is that they can continue to rely primarily on oil to fund all their initiatives and run the states no matter how low the price falls. The problem with this logic is that the economic landscape in Nigeria is totally different today. Nigeria is not receiving debt relief anymore, but actually faces a rising debt profile that is now primarily from domestic sources. Furthermore, even if President Buhari were to solve the corruption problem overnight, as long as global oil prices remain depressed, as an oil-reliant state, Nigeria will face difficult economic times.
Over the last decade, Nigeria’s elite have grown fabulously wealthy. With a record number of billionaires and millionaires, the country has become a top destination for private jets, luxury cars, champagne and a host of other extravagances enjoyed by a global elite. Nigeria’s elite enjoy a 3 percent tax rate, one of the lowest on the planet. In contrast, in other economically successful countries the elite pay on average 13 percent or more of their earnings and assets in taxes. Nigeria can no longer afford to allow its elite to get away with not paying what they owe to the society that has made them wealthy. President Buhari can fix Nigeria’s revenue problem almost overnight by enacting redistributive taxes on the elite. Doing so will help prevent further devaluation of the Naira, and more importantly prevent inflicting austerity on Nigeria’s masses.
If President Buhari is truly interested in increasing revenue, there are a series of taxation measures that he can implement for the wealthiest 3 to 5 percent of Nigerians that will dramatically increase government revenue:
Mansion Taxes: homes that are valued in the top 5 percent in the country should be taxed on a sliding scale up to 20 percent. Tenants of leased properties should pay 80 percent of these taxes. Owners of multiple houses, in country and abroad, should pay higher tax rates on their properties.
Luxury Vehicle Taxes: personal vehicles valued over a certain threshold should be taxed (this includes firms that purchase luxury vehicles for employees). Households with more than one vehicle should pay an added tax on any additional vehicles. There should also be taxes on owners of yachts, and other aquatic vehicles, as well as private aircraft.
Increased tax rate on incomes over 10 million naira.
Increased capital gains taxes on shareholders of companies, including SMEs with earnings above a certain threshold that employ more people than just the registered owner.
Government Contractor Taxes: an additional tax on the profits or earnings of any company or individual that has done business with the government in the previous three years.
Inheritance Taxes on estates valued over 10 million naira.
Luxury taxes on imported luxury consumer goods such as alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, foreign brand foods, luxury textiles, satellite broadcasts, foreign film screenings and business class or first class travel tickets.
With any policy, enforcement is key. As it stands, compliance with Nigeria’s existing taxation measures is very limited. Keeping track of 170 million citizens’ assets is clearly a complicated logistical endeavor, but enforcing these luxury taxes on the proclivities of Nigeria’s top 3 percent should target around 5 million individuals and several thousand companies. This will make the task much more manageable.
Nigerians should understand that despite ongoing turbulence in the rest of the world, Nigeria can avoid an economic crisis. Further devaluation of the naira is not necessary, and austerity measures that reduce funding to social services are also unnecessary. If any of these things occur in Nigeria, it will be in part because President Buhari failed to use his post-election honeymoon period to address Nigeria’s core fiscal problem of dependence on oil for government revenue. The ongoing Eurozone crisis means there will likely be very little global assistance for Nigeria if the country’s economic situation worsens. President Buhari needs to act quickly and decisively to implement policies that raise revenue or face a possible collapse of the Nigerian economy before year’s end.