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President Bola Tinubu’s 2024 New Year Broadcast

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…TEXT OF PRESIDENT BOLA AHMED TINUBU’S NEW YEAR ADDRESS TO THE NATION

Dear Compatriots,

It gives me immense joy to welcome each and everyone of you – young and old- to this brand new year 2024. We must lift up our hands to Almighty God, in gratitude, for His grace and benevolence to our country and our lives in the year 2023 that has just gone by.

Though the past year was a very challenging one, it was eventful in so many ways. For our country, it was a transition year that saw a peaceful, orderly and successful transfer of power from one administration to another, marking yet another remarkable step in our 24 years of unbroken democracy.

It was a year, you the gracious people of this blessed nation, entrusted your faith in me with a clear mandate to make our country better, to revamp our economy, restore security within our borders, revitalise our floundering industrial sector, boost agricultural production, increase national productivity and set our country on an irreversible path towards national greatness that we and future generations will forever be proud of.

‘Everything I have done in office, every decision I have taken and every trip I have undertaken outside the shores of our land, since I assumed office on 29 May 2023, have been done in the best interest of our country’

The task of building a better nation and making sure we have a Nigeria society that cares for all her citizens is the reason I ran to become your President. It was the core of my Renewed Hope campaign message on the basis of which you voted me as President.

Everything I have done in office, every decision I have taken and every trip I have undertaken outside the shores of our land, since I assumed office on 29 May 2023, have been done in the best interest of our country.

Over the past seven months of our administration, I have taken some difficult and yet necessary decisions to save our country from fiscal catastrophe. One of those decisions was the removal of fuel subsidy which had become an unsustainable financial burden on our country for more than four decades. Another was the removal of the chokehold of few people on our foreign exchange system that benefited only the rich and the most powerful among us. Without doubt, these two decisions brought some discomfort to individuals, families and businesses.

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I am well aware that for some time now the conversations and debates have centred on the rising cost of living, high inflation which is now above 28% and the unacceptable high under-employment rate.

From the boardrooms at Broad Street in Lagos to the main-streets of Kano and Nembe Creeks in Bayelsa, I hear the groans of Nigerians who work hard every day to provide for themselves and their families.

I am not oblivious to the expressed and sometimes unexpressed frustrations of my fellow citizens. I know for a fact that some of our compatriots are even asking if this is how our administration wants to renew their h ope.

Dear Compatriots, take this from me: the time may be rough and tough, however, our spirit must remain unbowed because tough times never last. We are made for this period, never to flinch, never to falter. The socio-economic challenges of today should energize and rekindle our love and faith in the promise of Nigeria. Our current circumstances should make us resolve to work better for the good of our beloved nation. Our situation should make us resolve that this new year 2024, each and everyone of us will commit to be better citizens.

Silently, we have worked to free captives from abductors. While we can’t beat our chest yet that we had solved all the security problems, we are working hard to ensure that we all have peace of mind in our homes, places of work and on the roads.

Having laid the groundwork of our economic recovery plans within the last seven months of 2023, we are now poised to accelerate the pace of our service delivery across sectors.

Just this past December during COP28 in Dubai, the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, and I agreed and committed to a new deal to speed up the delivery of the Siemens Energy power project that will ultimately deliver reliable supply of electricity to our homes and businesses under the Presidential Power Initiative which began in 2018.

*President Bola Ahmed Tinubu

Other power installation projects to strengthen the reliability of our transmission lines and optimise the integrity of our National grid are ongoing across the country.

My administration recognises that no meaningful economic transformation can happen without steady electricity supply. In 2024, we are moving a step further in our quest to restart local refining of petroleum products with Port Harcourt Refinery, and the Dangote Refinery which shall fully come on stream.

To ensure constant food supply, security and affordability, we will step up our plan to cultivate 500,000 hectares of farmlands across the country to grow maize, rice, wheat, millet and other staple crops. We launched the dry season farming with 120,000 hectares of land in Jigawa State last November under our National Wheat Development Programme.

In this new year, we will race against time to ensure all the fiscal and tax policies reforms we need to put in place are codified and simplified to ensure the business environment does not destroy value. On every foreign trip I have embarked on, my message to investors and other business people has been the same. Nigeria is ready and open for business.

I will fight every obstacle that impedes business competitiveness in Nigeria and I will not hesitate to remove any clog hindering our path to making Nigeria a destination of choice for local and foreign investments.

In my 2024 Budget presentation to the National Assembly, I listed my administration’s 8 priority areas to include national defence and internal security, job creation, macro-economic stability, investment environment optimization, human capital development, poverty reduction and social security. Because we take our development agenda very seriously, our 2024 budget reflects the premium we placed on achieving our governance objectives.

We will work diligently to make sure every Nigerian feels the impact of their government. The economic aspirations and the material well-being of the poor, the most vulnerable and the working people shall not be neglected. It is in this spirit that we are going to implement a new national living wage for our industrious workers this new year. It is not only good economics to do this, it is also a morally and politically correct thing to do.

I took an oath to serve this country and give my best at all times. Like I said in the past, no excuse for poor performance from any of my appointees will be good enough.

It is the reason I put in place a Policy Coordination, Evaluation, Monitoring and Delivery Unit in the Presidency to make sure that governance output improves the living condition of our people.

We have set the parameters for evaluation. Within the first quarter of this new year, Ministers and Heads of Agencies with a future in this administration that I lead will continue to show themselves.

Fellow Nigerians, my major ambition in government as a Senator in the aborted Third Republic, as Governor of Lagos State for eight years and now as the President of this blessed country is to build a fair and equitable society and close the widening inequality. While I believe the rich should enjoy their legitimately-earned wealth, our minimum bargain must be that, any Nigerian that works hard and diligent enough will have a chance to get ahead in life. I must add that because God didn’t create us with equal talents and strengths, I can not guarantee that we will have equal outcomes when we work hard. But my government, in this new year 2024 and beyond, will work to give every Nigerian equal opportunity to strive and to thrive.

For the new year to yield all its good benefits to us as individuals and collectively as a people we must be prepared to play our part. The job of building a prosperous nation is not the job of the President, Governors, Ministers, Lawmakers and government officials alone. Our destinies are connected as members of this household of Nigeria. Our language, creed, ethnicity and religious beliefs even when they are not same should never make us work at cross purposes.

In this new year, let us resolve that as joint-heirs to the Nigerian Commonwealth, we will work for the peace, progress and stability of our country. I extend this call to my political opponents in the last election. Election is over. It’s time for all of us to work together for the sake of our country.

We must let the light each of us carries – men and women, young and old – shine bright and brighter to illuminate our path to a glorious dawn.

I wish all of us a happy and prosperous year 2024.

May God continue to bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR

January 01, 2024

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crime

ENUGU: Police Arrest 83 Suspects, Rescue 20 Kidnapped Victims

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Gunmen Abduct NPC Commissioner, Aides At Rivers Section Of East-West Road

The Police Command in Enugu State says it arrested 83 criminal suspects and rescued 20 kidnapped victims within the state from Jan. 1, 2024, till date.

The offences for which the suspects were arrested included abduction, kidnapping, armed robbery, murder, defilement and vandalism among other crimes committed within the state in the period under review.

The state Commissioner of Police, CP Kanayo Uzuegbu, disclosed this on Tuesday while briefing newsmen on the successes of the Command since the beginning of the year.

Uzuegbu noted that 46 firearms of different calibers were recovered as well as 125 ammunition of different calibres were recovered within the period under review.

According to him, 36 motor vehicles were recovered; six tricycles were recovered and 15 motorcycles were also recovered by gallant and eagle-eyed crime fighting officers and men of the Command.

He said many of the arrested suspects had been arraigned in court and remanded in the Nigerian Correctional Service Custodial Centre, while others would be prosecuted accordingly once investigations are concluded.

The commissioner said that proactive and people’s centred policing approaches of the Command had started yielding the expected results.

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“I wish to specially thank the Executive Governor of Enugu State, Dr Peter Mbah, for the immense support his Administration has continued to extend to the police in the state.

“In the same vein, I profoundly thank and appreciate the Inspector-General of Police, Dr Kayode Egbetokun, for his visionary and pragmatic leadership style, which have brought about the policing strides recorded in Enugu State and Nigeria as a whole.

“Additionally, I express my immense gratitude to my colleagues in sister security agencies and the entire security stakeholders in Enugu State, for all the collaborative support we enjoyed in 2023, and which has continued into 2024.

“I also want to thank and appreciate my officers and men for their diligence, hard work and dedication to duty, which have resulted in the operational successes recorded.

“I urge them to remain focused and committed to actualizing the mandates of the Nigeria Police Force in Enugu State,” he said.

The commissioner maintained that discipline remained the bedrock of the Nigeria Police, adding: “I caution officers and men to shun acts of corruption, unprofessionalism and moral debasements, which bring with them severe disciplinary consequences”.

According to him, officers and men must remain professional, firm, upright and diligent in the performance of their duties.

He warned unrepentant criminals to turn over a new leaf, as “we shall more than ever, turn up the heat and make Enugu State more uncomfortable for them and their activities.”

He said: “And if they fail to repent, then we shall stop at nothing to ruthlessly deal with them.

“I also want to strongly caution rumour mongers, rabble-rousers and peddlers of fake, misinformative and disinformative news in Enugu State to desist forthwith, as the Police would not hesitate to deal decisively with anyone found wanting, in accordance with extant laws, particularly the Cybercrime Act.

“There is no doubt that the task of tackling the increasing security challenges in our society is daily becoming daunting.

“Nonetheless, the assurance I bring to the good people of Enugu State is that we will remain focused and unflinching in our commitment to enthrone a crime-free and peaceful environment for all and sundry to thrive in their legitimate enterprises.”

Uzuegbu urged the citizenry to remain law-abiding, security conscious and continue to support the police, through the provision of credible and actionable security information; while also reporting suspected criminals and their activities to the nearest police station. (

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Economy

FG Threatens To Open Borders for Cement Importation Over Price Hike

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Palpable fear has gripped cement manufacturers following the Federal Government’s threat to throw open the nation’s borders for cement importation if the product manufacturers fail to bring down the cost.

The Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Mr Ahmed Dangiwa issued the threat on Tuesday in Abuja at a meeting with Cement and Building Materials Manufacturers.

The meeting was summoned to address the astronomical increase in the cost of cement nationwide.

The minister expressed concerns that in the past couple of months, the country had witnessed a recurring alarming increase in the prices of cement and other building materials.

“Clearly, this is a crisis for housing delivery. An increase in essential building materials means an increase in the prices of houses.

“We are not the only country facing this challenges, many countries are facing the same type of challenges that we’re facing, some even worse than that.

“But, as patriotic citizens, we have to rally round the country when there is crisis, to ensure that we do our best to save the situation,” he said.

The minister added: “Honestly speaking, we have to sit down and look at this critically and know how you should go back and think of it.

“The government stopped importation of cement in other to empower you to produce more and sell cheaper

Bags of cement

“Otherwise the government can open the borders for mass importation of cement, the price will crash, but you will have no business to do”.

Dangiwa said the reasons given by cement manufacturers for the price increase – high cost of gas and manufacturing equipment – were not enough for such astronomical pricing.

He expressed his displeasure at the position of  Cement Manufacturer Association of Nigeria (CEMAN) that the association “does not interfer with the pricing of cement”.

He said the association should not just fold  its arms when things were going wrong.

“One person cannot be selling at N3500 per bag and another selling at N7000 per bag and you cannot call them to order.

“The association is expected to monitor price control, otherwise the association has no need to exist,” he said.

Earlier, Mr Salako James, Executive Secretary, CEMAN, said the housing policy of the administration of President Bola  Tinubu was laudable and every responsible Nigerian has to key into it.

He, however, identified some areas of concern and appealed to the government to look into them to tackle the issue of cement pricing.

Salako identified the challenges of gas supply to heavy users like the cement industry and urged the government to create a window whereby gas will be bought with Naira instead of dollar.

He also complained about the distribution channel, stressing tha there was a great difference between the price from the manufacturers and the market price.

He, therefore called for government intervention to help stabilise the situation and bring sanity to the economy.

At the end of the meeting, the minister directed that a committee should be constituted to review the situation and come out with implementable resolutions that would benefit the common Nigerian.

The three major cement producers, Dangote Plc, BUA Plc, and Lafarge Plc were represented as well as other industry stakeholders.

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crime

Bill To Establish State Police Passes 2nd Reading At Reps

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Suspected bandits kill NIS personnel, injure 2 others in Jigawa

 …As Bandits kill 6 In Katsina

A  Bill for an act to establish State Police and other Related Matters thereto,  has passed a second reading in the House of Representatives.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the bill which will alter provisions of the 1999 Constitution to provide for the establishment,  was sponsored by Rep. Benjamin Kalu and 12 others.

Leading the debate at plenary in Abuja on Tuesday, Kalu who also presided, said in recent times, the nation’s collective security had been greatly challenged due to an upsurge in insecurity cases.

He said Nigeria operated a federation consisting of 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, with 774 Local Government Areas, about 250 ethnic nationalities, and more than 200 million citizens.

Kalu said Nigeria has a vast terrain,  spanning over 920,000 square kilometers but regretted that currently, the nation operates a single centralised police system that employs less than 400,000 police officers and men.

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He said there was no denying that the nation’s security architecture was under immense pressure.

Kalu also pointed out that  the fabric of any democracy remained woven with the threads of constant adaptation to the evolving needs of its society.

He added that at this point in our nationhood, state policing is not only inevitable but urgently desired to tackle the mounting challenges of insecurity.

According to him, the bill emerged as a necessary response to several calls for a decentralised and community-oriented approach to law enforcement.

“It seeks to navigate the complex landscape of security challenges by empowering our states with the means to address issues unique to their localities.”

He said the proposed alteration represented not just a legal adjustment to our constitution but a visionary leap toward a safer, more secure, and more harmonious Nigeria.

He said the bill sought the transfer of “police” from the “exclusive legislative list” to the “concurrent legislative list,” adding that the move would effectively empower states to have state-controlled policing.

He said the bill would also prevent unwarranted interference by the Federal Police in state police affairs, emphasising collaboration and intervention only under well-defined circumstances.

Contributing, Rep. Babajimi Benson (APC-Lagos), observed that police should be empowered to license any state willing,  that meet the requirements for state police, set up by the Police Service Commission.

He said the commission should be empowered to revoke and renew the licenses if such a state abused the license, adding that state police would reduce unemployment and relieve the recurrent expenditure on the Federal Government.

On his part, Rep. Awaji-numbek Abiante (PDP-Rivers), noted that the bill would cure the tragedy of the military decree of 1966.

He, however, called for caution, saying, “We have to be careful and committed enough to look at the bill thoroughly because this was not the first attempt for such bill.”

He said the bill should provide a sure way of guaranteeing the security of lives and property while underscoring the need for deliberate efforts toward making it a reality.

Rep. Ali Madaki (NNPP-Kano) noted that the bill was killed in the seventh Assembly but disclosed that the fear was to avert a situation whereby state governors would use the state police against political opponents.

He said there were high-security challenges nationwide,  adding that each state would deploy its police in a manner that would address their peculiarities.

Also speaking, Rep. Sada Soli (APC-Kano), said about 21 states, including Benue and Taraba were caught in the web of socio-political and ethno-religious crises and could surmount such challenges if they had control of their police.

He said some of the states clamoring for the establishment of state police were not economically viable.

He acknowledged that state policing remained a noble idea while citing a scenario where a state governor denied a political opponent landing at the airport.

He argued that such a governor was capable of using the state police for negative purposes,  and urged  the lawmakers to put all issues into perspective before enacting the law.

Rep. Ademorin Kuye (APC-Lagos),  argued that 400,000 policemen to 200 million Nigerians was insufficient.

He said that the deployment of a police officer to a state he was not familiar with would make him inefficient and ineffective in discharging his duties.

Rep. Ben Itanabene (LP-Delta), called for the establishment of a distinct police structure but feared that the use of state police would be under the control of governors.

He urged the house to delete the word ‘state” from the bill while calling for decentralization of the Federal Police by using Police Command.

Kalu, after listening to contributions, put the bill to vote, which was  unanimously passed by the lawmakers

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