Acting President,Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has received full backing from the United States of America and the United Kingdom in the ability and commitment to continue with the anti-corruption war and economic revival in Nigeria.
The two countries said on Friday that they have confidence in Osinbajo to carry on with the quality leadership President Muhammadu Buhari has been providing the country.
This is coming on the heels of public outrage and fears expressed by Nigerians over Buhari’s deteriorating health and continued absence from public.
The President left for the UK last Sunday to receive medical attention and he is expected to be there for an indefinite time, according to his media aide, Femi Adesina.
In his last medical trip to Britain, Buhari was away for 49 days.
In the last few weeks, some prominent Nigerians had expressed angst over a cabal that has purpotedly hijacked power in the Presidency due to Buhari’s protracted illness, leaving Osinbajo in the cold.
The US and the UK, however, said that they believe the VP would take off from where the President stopped when he jetted out of the country to the UK for further medical attention.
When asked by our correspondent if the US Government was worried that Buhari’s poor health could slow down ongoing anti-corruption war in Nigeria, the spokesman for the US Embassy in Nigeria, Russell Brooks, said President Donald Trump’s administration believed in Buhari and Osinbajo.
Brooks said, “We are very much in favour of President (Muhammadu) Buhari’s campaign against corruption. We also believe that Acting President (Yemi) Osinbajo is strongly committed to this agenda and will continue to pursue it while President Buhari is out of the country.”
Speaking in a similar vein, the spokesman for the UK High Commission in Nigeria, Joseph Abuku, stated that while the British Government could not comment on whether any crisis resulting from Buhari’s protracted ill-health would lead Nigeria into political instability, he said the UK had confidence in the President and his deputy.
“The Vice President is acting President in President (Muhammadu) Buhari’s absence. The United Kingdom has full confidence in both he (Osinbajo) and President Buhari. Questions on President Buhari’s health should be directed to his office,” Abuku said.
Concerning Buhari’s return to the UK to continue his medical treatment, Brooks stated that the US looked forward to the President’s return to the country.
“Again, we wish President Buhari good health and a speedy return to his homeland,” he said.
Recently, the US had praised the Buhari administration’s current agenda of fighting insecurity and corruption, noting that it agrees with Trump’s plan of dealing with such issues on the African continent.
Speaking last week during a special briefing in Washington, the Deputy Director, Office of West African Affairs, Bureau of African Affairs, Nathan Holt, told journalists that the country was a critical US partner.
“Nigeria matters to us because it’s Africa’s most populous country, and depending on the price of oil, it’s either the biggest or the second biggest economy on the continent.
“With a current population of 182 million, Nigeria is projected to grow to over 400 million over the next few decades, which will leave it by the middle of this century as the fourth-largest country in the world,” Holt said.
When asked about America’s continued support for the country in view of President Donald Trump’s rhetoric to cut foreign aids to Nigeria and other African countries, Holt said, “I’m not the person who can answer your questions about the future of the US Government budget.”
Senate Committee Screens Yakubu For INEC Chair Today
The Chairman of the committee, Kabiru Gaya, disclosed this to journalists on Wednesday after the panel submitted the report of the 2021 budget estimates of the commission to the Senate Committee on Appropriation.
The Senate received President Muhammadu Buhari’s letter seeking Yakubu’s confirmation on Tuesday.
He had on October 27 announced his decision to reappoint the former INEC boss.
The president’s letter was forwarded to the committee on INEC for screening which Senator Gaya said will be carried out expeditiously.
“Precisely the re-nominated Chairman of the Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu is to face our committee by 2:00 pm for the required drilling, the outcome of which will determine the report to be submitted to the Senate on Tuesday,” he said.
No Plan To Review 2021 Spending Estimates: Minister
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed has expressed that there is no plan to review the spending estimates of the 2021 budget.
She has also allayed the fears of federal civil servants that the country’s entering into recession might stall the salary payments of workers.
She made this known while speaking with journalists after the weekly virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in the State House.
Ahmed said even the consequential adjustment in the 2020 budget wholly addressed salary matters.
Recall that the proposed 2021 budget is currently being reviewed by members of the National Assembly.
“On the 2021 budget, we are not planning to retrieve the budget or to reverse the budget beyond the work of appropriation that the National Assembly is currently doing in consultation with us,” she said.
#EndSARS: UK Parliament Does Not Speak For British Govt – FG
The federal government of Nigeria has stated that it has reached out to the United Kingdom to explain its side of the story over the #EndSARS crisis.
This follows a petition being considered by the United Kingdom to sanction officials of the Nigerian government over alleged human rights abuses during the #EndSARS protests in the country.
However, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, explained to State House Correspondents on Wednesday that Nigeria has reached out to the UK govt.
He explained that FG has presented its own side of the story to the UK govt to aid its deliberations on the matter.
This he stated after the weekly federal executive council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, noting that a balanced view is important in such matters.
He said: “Yes, we have reached out to the UK government. The meeting that took place were Parliamentarians and they do not speak for the UK government which acts for the United Kingdom and they have also heard the side of the (Nigerian) government regarding everything that has happened.
“So, we have been in touch with them and engaging with them. Of course, as in any democracy, the members of parliament are able to also able to air their views.
“But what is important, is that a balanced picture is made available to them before they take any decision.”
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