Buhari asked to develop the North- W/Bank


…As ECOWAS Court awards N18m against Nigeria in rights suit***

The World Bank President, Jim Yong Kim indicated on Thursday that the bank focused its attention on the Nigerian northern axis, in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s advice.

“You know, in my very first meeting with President Buhari he said specifically that he would like us to shift our focus to the northern region of Nigeria and we’ve done that.  Now, it has been very difficult. The work there has been very difficult”, Kim stated.

Jim Yong Kim and Christine Lagarde, the Managing Director, International Monetary Fund, spoke at separate media events in Washington DC, United States, highlighting the need for President Buhari to invest in human and infrastructure capacity building, towards boosting economic growth.

“I think Nigeria, of course, has suffered from the dropping oil prices. I think things are just now getting better.  But the conversation we need to have with Nigeria, I think, is in many ways related to the theme that I brought to the table just this past week, which is investment in human capital.  The percentage of the Gross Domestic Product that Nigeria spends on healthcare is less than one percent”, he stated further, noting the turbulence in the North and its implications on personnel safety.

“Focusing on the northern part of Nigeria, we hope that as commodity prices stabilise and oil prices come back up, the economy will grow a bit more. But very, very much important is the need to focus on what the drivers of growth in the future will be.”

“Despite that, there is so much turbulence in the northern part of the country, and there is the hit that was taken from the drop in the oil prices.  Nigeria has to think ahead and invest in its people.

Investing in the things that will allow Nigeria to be a thriving, rapidly growing economy in the future is what the country has to focus on right now”, he indicated further, adding that the World bank will in the meantime, invest in human capital development in other parts of African continent so as to set the stage for a more rapid growth.

Meanwhile, Lagarde has expressed concern with the slow pace and trend of developments in Africa, particularly Nigeria, stressing that the usual 2.5 percent growth average plummets to nothing when juxtaposed with a rapidly increasing population ratio. She subsequently stressed the need to parley with the respective Finance Ministers, perhaps, for re-sharpening of their visions.

“The Sub-Saharan Africa is one region of the world where growth is suboptimal. Those countries grow at an average growth of 2.5 per cent. That is too low for the demographic expansion of the region”, Lagarde posited.

In the meantime, the Community Court of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has imposed a N18 million fine against the Federal Government in judgment of a case of violation of the fundamental human rights of one Dorothy Njemanze and two other Nigerians.

The judgment, read by Justice Friday Chijioke Nwoke of the three-man panel, after over 25 minutes, rendered the award of sums of N6 million each to the parties: Justina Etim, Amarachi Jessyford and popular actress, Dorothy Njamenze to be paid by the Federal Government for the unlawfully arresting, detaining and declaring them as prostitutes in Abuja.

Justice Nwoke ordered the Nigerian government to pay the money as compensation for humiliation and inhuman treatment they suffered during their arbitrary arrest and proclamation as women of cheap virtue.

The judge held that the Nigerian government was liable for the arbitrary arrest and detention of the plaintiffs carried out by the military, police and officials of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board who claimed to be acting on the directive of the Federal Government.

He further held that the government’s labeling of the three ladies was a gross violation of their rights to dignity, as there was no shred of evidence from the defendants to back it.The court agreed with counsel to the plaintiffs, Bolaji Gabari that there was no law in the Nigerian statute book prohibiting women from being outside in the late hours.

Additional report from Guardian NG