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Arms Gate: Group Exonerates CBN Governor Of Complicity 

By Jerry Emmanson, Abuja
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The Arewa Youth Integrity Forum has urged the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele to disregard the noise being made in some certain quarters to indict him on the Arms fraud as the handiwork of disgruntled politicians who are desperate to have their cronies replace him.

The Forum vowed to match any protest by pro-corruption groups, street for street and city for city.

The National President of Arewa Youth Integrity Forum, Alhaji Audu Zakari told newsmen at a press conference in Abuja on Sunday that the demand for Emefiele’s sack or resignation by the certain individuals was calculated to spook the Nigerian economy for the benefit of currency speculators, who are waiting in the wings to benefit.

Zakari warned that “Should the markets be spooked on account of this kind of irresponsible behaviour, the economic fallouts will be felt by all of us. Jobs would be lost and those of us with jobs would be pushed into the unemployment market and would have thus fulfilled the wishes of these jobless youths who want the country to collapse.”

The group expressed displeasure with those demanding Mr Emefiele’s sack and arrest by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with the explanation that such position can undermine the credibility of the anti-corruption agency with implications for its ability to discharge its responsibilities.

“The faulty premise that Mr Emefiele was part of the Dasukigate arms scandal is laughable because the EFCC would have so indicted him if that were true. We therefore find the castigation of the EFCC for not arresting a man who has not been indicted ridiculous and something that can only come from people who are ignorant of how the system works.” Zakari declared.

He said those behind the call are disrespecting the office of the President by suggesting that President Muhammadu Buhari, who is globally acclaimed to be committed to fighting corruption, is shielding a corrupt official.

According to him, “This insinuation that the CBN Governor was complicit in the armsgate scandal is also an insult to the exalted office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and an affront to the sincerity of its present occupant, President Muhammadu Buhari, who has consistently demonstrated commitment to stamping out the menace of corruption.

“It is insulting to suggest that Mr President is looking the other way in Mr Emefiele’s case. It is even more sickening to be asking President Buhari to sack the CBN boss to satisfy the whims of people who cannot even get the their facts right.” He noted.

Zakari further declared that “As for the management of the economy, while we admit that the economic environment is harsh, we also realise that Nigeria is not alone in experiencing the negative consequences of a threatened global economy. If things are exceptionally hard, it is because the previous government did not do enough to create an economic buffer but instead allowed a robbery bazar.

“Mr Emefiele has been creative enough under the current circumstances to prevent our economy from taking a full hit from the fall in crude prices. He should rather be commended for this even though currency speculators would want us to believe otherwise since he has refused to dance to their tune to effect a devaluation of the Naira.

“The Arewa Youth Integrity Forum therefore call on the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele to disregard the purported 72 hours ultimatum to resign, whether from ASJA or any other paid entity, as it does not reflect the wish of Nigerians. Even were the groups making such demands were credible, they do not have the mandate of Nigerians.

“We urge Mr Emefiele to press on with his programme for protecting the naira and the economy from those that want to benefit from their collapse. We will rather endure a few months of discomfort than allow the country to suffer a total collapse.

“We appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to discountenance fraudulent calls from paid groups. The mandate of these groups also include finding a roundabout way of sabotaging Mr President’s government and part of the strategy is discrediting the leadership of strategic organisations in the country.

“We call on the EFCC to begin tracking the finances of organisations that are being used to discredit its work. We are certain that such exercise will establish links between the paid groups and individuals currently under the commission’s scrutiny as sponsors. What they are doing is waging a psychological war to sustain corruption as an industry.

“Because we know the implication of people organising a “mother of all occupy protest”, so we have also concluded plans to counter with the father of all occupy protest. We will match any protest by pro-corruption groups, street for street and city for city.” He asserted.

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Taraba Youths Condemn Attacks On Taraba Varsity VC
The Taraba Youth for Peace, Good Governance and Development has condemned what it described as attacks meant to distract the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University, Wukari, Taraba state, Professor O. Geoffrey Okogbaa.

In a communique jointly signed on Sunday by Samson Bwacha and Innocent Audu, President and Secretary of the group respectively, the Youth group said Professor Okogbaa should rather be commended for turning the institution around at a time when there is widespread concern over the standard of education.

The group said it is on record that the current VC conducted the affairs of the school in the most transparent, accountable and judicious manner since the establishment of the institution and should not be rewarded in a manner that suggests Taraba people are ingrates.

The communique reads in part, “Those sponsoring the allegations against Professor Okogbaa do not have the interest of Taraba at heart. The stage is open for any qualified person that will double the efforts already put in the establishment of the University and ensure its rapid growth not minding any ethnic or political affiliation. The professor should therefore be allowed to focus on his work irrespective of his ethnic background.”

The group said the current attempt at politicizing the affairs of the University is highly uncalled for and unacceptable to the youths of Taraba State particularly when it is being done through trumped up corruption allegations.

It noted that it would not have been possible for the alleged financial infraction being touted by some groups to take place because the National Assembly oversight of the institution would have exposed any underhand dealings.

The youth group posited that “There is a Governing Board for the school so it is perplexing that some people can start writing petitions alleging lack of due process in the award of contracts and that those contracts were inflated when the Vice Chancellor does not have the sole discretionary powers to make such decisions.

“We also have a strong feeling that those behind the petitions are either ignorant of how the processes work or that they are simply being deliberately mischievous. For instance, their claim about non-compliance with the Treasury Single Account (TSA) failed to understand the peculiarities of tertiary institutions.

“Committee of Vice Chancellors of Federal Universities had expressed fears that the introduction of TSA would disrupt the operation of their tertiary institutions. Similarly, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had urged the Federal Government to exempt the universities from TSA. In both instances the concern was over disruption to running a university. So for some groups to now be writing a petition over the time it took the Federal University, Wukari to make that transition, despite the resulting disruptions is purely irresponsible.” The statement said.

The group stressed that it would rather have a non-indigene running a world renowned university in Taraba state than having an indigene that will make the place into a glorified secondary school.

It appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to help strengthen the university by finding out and providing what it needs to excel instead of entertaining frivolous petitions.

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Sabotage: Group Calls For Probe Of PPMC MD, Others
The Nigerians in Diaspora Monitoring Group has urged the minister of state for petroleum and NNPC GMD, Dr Ibe Kachikwu to immediately probe the managing director of the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC), Mrs. Esther Nnamdi Ogbue and some marketers for trying to sabotage the federal government efforts in making petroleum products available to Nigerians

Coordinator of the group, Philip Agbese in an electronic statement made available to journalists accused the PPMC boss of trying to undermine the federal government efforts. He said the probe becomes necessary to ensure stability and transparency in the sector

He said PPMC boss and her cohorts are yet to align themselves with the new thinking of the new administration.

He said, "we have noticed that the PPMC MD and his cohorts have been engaged in underhand dealings within the sector as saboteurs to cause hike in the availability of oil products.

The Nigerians in Diaspora Monitoring Group, also commended the Nigeria's minister of state and NNPC GMD, Dr Ibe Kachikwu on the plan to replace the oil swap deal with the Direct Sale-Direct-Purchase (DSDP) in March this year and also for the removal of subsidy.

Agbese said the minister has shown that he is not only courageous but has proven that he is the best man for the job.

He said, "This DSDP which re¬places the crude oil swap initiative and the Offshore Processing Arrangement (OPA) will entrench transpar¬ency into the crude oil for product trans¬action in line with glob¬al best practices.

"The initiative, like the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources has said, would save Nigeria a lot of money that would then go for other developmental projects. $I billion, is a lot of money that can finance a lot of capital projects."

On the removal of fuel subsidy, he said the Federal Government has no justification to retain the controversial fuel subsidy, arguing that the falling oil price and the attendant revenue shortfall have combined to make fuel subsidy absolutely uneconomical at this period of the nation’s history.

Agbese said the minister deserves commendation for his courage despite the pressure from corrupt beneficiaries of the subsidy regime.

Recall that the minister of state for petroleum resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu said yesterday that federal government will save $1billion annually, from the decision to scrap the oil swap deal.

Kachikwu, has disclosed that Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) will next month begin a new product import system of Direct-Sale–Direct-Purchase (DSDP).

The DSDP is to replace the controver¬sial crude-for-products exchange arrange¬ment popularly referred to as crude swap.

Nigeria Extractive Industries Transpar¬ency Initiative (NEITI) reported last year that a whooping $966 million was lost by the country between 2009 and 2012 through the crude swap arrangement.