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Bishop Kukah Lambasts Buhari Over Insecurity

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Bishop Kukah

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah has admonished President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration for its handling of Nigeria’s security challenges.

The Bishop in his 2021 Easter Message titled Before our glory departs seen by Business Post claimed that, “Boko Haram terrorists are consuming the nation under President Muhammadu Buhari’s watch.”

He recalled that President Buhari had in 2015 described Boko Haram insurgents as a typical case of small fires causing large fires.

The statement reads in part, “On May 29, 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari, at his swearing-in as President of Nigeria, said: Boko Haram is a typical case of small fires causing large fires.

“Now, before his watch, the fires are consuming the nation, and in many instances, they indeed start small.

“In all, Nigeria’s troubles are growing by the day, but our hands must remain stretched out in supplication.”

Bishop Kukah also blamed those in power for the increasing cases of banditry, kidnapping, terrorism and armed robbery in the country, noting that insecurity keeps deteriorating because the ruling class pays more attention to rehabilitating bandits and kidnappers than the victims.

He expressed concerns over the killing of security operatives and the increased fear among citizens, saying: “Taunted by Boko Haram, ravaged by bandits, kidnappers, armed robbers, and other merchants of death across the nation, there is collective fear as to whether Nigeria’s glory is about to depart! Retired military and intelligence officers lament over what has become of their glorious profession as they watch the humiliation of our military personnel.

“Traumatised citizens are tortured daily by bandits. The nation has since become a massive killing field, as both government and the governed look on helplessly.

“A thick and suffocating cloud of desperation, despondency, desolation, gloom, and misery hangs in the hot air. We have no message and have no idea how long this will last.

“Our people seek solace and protection, but frustration and darkness threaten to drown them. Is their government on AWOL?,” he questioned.

Bishop Kukah full statement:

NIGERIA: BEFORE OUR GLORY DEPARTS

EASTER MESSAGE, April 4th 2021

By Matthew Hassan KUKAH, Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese

If a religious leader is afraid to say what is right, what else can his silence mean but that he has taken flight? Hiding behind a wall of silence is like taking flight at the approach of the wolf.

Pope St. Gregory the Great (540–604 AD).

1: Easter Sunday is here again. But first, let us step back to Friday.

Good Friday was a Kairos moment for the beleaguered followers of Jesus, a defining moment that separated truth from falsehood and light from the darkness. At Golgotha, Jesus remained silent when the first thief taunted Him, and when bystanders scornfully asked him to demonstrate His divine powers by coming down from the cross. Everything about Christ–the prophecies of His birth, His life on earth, the miracles He performed, the sermons He preached, His torture and subsequent death–now hung languidly on a wooden cross on the hill of Golgotha. There were two types of persons at Golgotha: observers and waiters. The observers had two characteristics, derision and curiosity.

The waiters were characterised by hope, fear, and anxiety. Both sides watched and waited with bated breath. After His ignominious death, everything now depended on the third day. After all, He had said He would rise after three days (Mk. 9:31).

2: Let us pause and look back at the earlier events in the life of Jesus. Let us look briefly at the drama of the three temptations of Jesus by the devil as recorded by St. Matthew. First, the devil has a sense of perfect timing when he approached Jesus. He knows that Jesus had fasted for forty days and nights without food and was hungry (Mt. 4:2). Prove that you are the Son of God: turn these stones into bread, he said (Mt. 4:3). In response, Jesus says: Man will not live on bread alone (Mt. 4:4). Here, Jesus insists that there are higher goals for us to live or die for. The devil had hoped that like the dictators of today, Jesus could seduce the people with the bread of temporal power to gain cheap followership. No, Jesus says, you must set a higher moral goal.

Second, the devil asks Jesus to throw himself down the cliff. After all, he tells Jesus, the Angels of God will hold you (Mt. 4:6). Here, Jesus is called to take a shortcut to fame.

Why travel the hard road of suffering, sacrifice, exclusion, and powerlessness? Succumb to the seduction of the dreamer, the charmer, climb the actor’s shoulder. And then what next? Jesus rejects this temptation. Why? Because God demands more than theatrical performances from us.

Third, the devil says he will give Jesus all the kingdoms of the world (money, power, territory) only if He bows and acknowledges him (Mt. 4:8). Wow! No better evidence that the devil is a liar. He knows he has no kingdom and what he has is his kingdom of darkness and lies. It was in this same manner that the devil deceived Eve at the Garden of Eden by mixing a concoction of lies. At the base of this temptation is the seduction of pride and power. God knows that the day you eat it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God (Gen. 3:5). Think of the many who have sold their souls for ephemeral power, those who have denied Jesus by action so as to ascend the throne of power. By His resistance to the devil, Jesus shows that following His path will require tremendous sacrifice.

3: It’s now Saturday night. The clock is ticking. Will He or will He not rise as He said?

No one knows what to expect. Will Jesus be exposed as a fraud? The Apostles are retired, desolate, forlorn, woebegone, and despondent. Has it all come to nothing? Have they lost everything? Has it all just been an illusion? Was Peter right when he asked what their reward would be, having forgone everything to follow Him? (Mt. 19:27) Has this been one wild goose chase? Where would they turn to now? The sun gradually sets on Saturday. The night has in its womb, a combination of the derision and curiosity binding the observers and waiters. A cloud of trepidation envelopes everywhere. The Roman authorities have built a concrete wall of military security around the grave. They sealed the stone and placed heavy military guard just in case, as they feared, His followers come and steal the body and pretend that He had risen (Mt. 27: 64).

4: Sunday morning would seal the fate of everyone on both sides.

As it turns out, the world forgot that: He who guards Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps (Ps. 121:4). Before daybreak, a woman, Mary Magdalene, visits the grave to perform a simple ritual. To her shock, she finds an empty tomb! (Jn. 20:1). Slowly, painfully, unbelievably, the words go out: They have taken the body of the Lord away and we do not know where they have put Him (Jn. 20:2). They will soon realise that, indeed, His resurrection is only a fulfilment of what He had promised during His lifetime. The devil has been defeated, and the Lord has the final word. Truth has drowned falsehood. Light has overcome darkness. Good has triumphed over evil. Life has defeated death.

5: The Roman soldiers who stood guard over the grave were like dead men (Mt. 28:3).

However, rather than face punishment, the Roman authorities offered to bribe them and asked them to lie that the Lord’s body had been stolen while they were sleeping! (Mt. 28:13). It is too late: The Lord is risen indeed! World history succumbs to the power of the Creator of heaven and earth. Time and space have merged. History’s calendar is split into two. Henceforth, everything will be marked by whether it happened before or after the resurrection of Jesus Christ! This is what Christians celebrate today. But what is the implication of all this for us in Nigeria today?

6: Nigeria’s current predicament reminds me of Israel’s situation that led to the death of Eli, the great High Priest of Israel. Israel’s defeat in the hands of the Philistines led to the death of 30,000 soldiers. The two sons of the 98-year-old priest – Hophni and Phinehas – died in the battle. Eli’s two sons had foolishly carried the Ark of the Lord into the battlefield for protection, only for it to become a trophy for the victorious Philistines.

The high priest, Eli, collapsed and died after hearing this horrible news. Elsewhere, on hearing about the death of her husband, her father- in-law, and the loss of the Ark, Eli’s daughter-in-law went into premature labour. She was delivered of a baby boy–a call for great celebration in Israel! Strangely, she responded by naming her newborn son “Ichabod,” meaning, The glory has departed!

7: Taunted by Boko Haram, ravaged by bandits, kidnappers, armed robbers, and other merchants of death across the nation, there is collective fear as to whether Nigeria’s glory is about to depart! Retired military and intelligence officers lament over what has become of their glorious profession as they watch the humiliation of our military personnel. Traumatised citizens are tortured daily by bandits. The nation has since become a massive killing field, as both government and the governed look on helplessly. A thick and suffocating cloud of desperation, despondency, desolation, gloom, and misery hangs in the hot air. We have no message and have no idea how long this will last. Our people seek solace and protection, but frustration and darkness threaten to drown them. Is their government on AWOL?

8: Two weeks ago, I came across a video in which a very frustrated Muslim cleric, addressing a Muslim audience, lamented: If you killed 200 chickens in the farm of any of the big farmers, you will be dealt with. But today, we are being killed. It is your fault. On the day of elections, you say, it is Jihad! Christians will take over Nigeria! Ok, the Christians did not take Nigeria. It has been left in the hands of those who sit and see us being killed. If we are killed, the head says, God forbid! He was not elected to say God forbid. This imaginary jihad won the elections now where are the jihadists? The lesson here is that politicians will use religion to mobilise for elections, but they cannot use it to govern.

9: The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria weighed in with a strong statement on February 23, 2021, titled, We Must Pull Back from the Brink of Collapse. Part of the statement read: The very survival of the nation is at stake. The nation is pulling apart.

Widespread serious insecurity for long unaddressed has left the sad and dangerous impressions that those who have assumed the duty and authority to secure the nation are either unable or worse, unwilling to take up the responsibilities to their office.

Patience is running out. Sadly, all of these warnings are still falling on deaf ears.

10: It may sound strange, but for us Christians, the celebration of the resurrection of Christ is the greatest assurance that all these will pass away. This is not a call for us to simply sit on our hands or believe we can pray our crises away. As pointed out above, the sufferings of Jesus and His Cross provide us with the perfect mirror of our hope. St. Paul reminds us: We are hard-pressed on all sides, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted but not forsaken, struck down but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body (2 Cor. 4:9). These are the hallmarks of our faith. We must remain steadfast.

11: I appeal to Christians to continue in the spirit of the Gospel, the teachings of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. St. Paul says: Though He was God, he humbled himself, became man and remained obedient up till death (Phil. 2:6ff). Following in His steps, we Christians have lived through the life of martyrdom. Jesus taught us how to pray for our enemies (Mt. 5:44). Although His teachings are hard (Jn. 6:60), it was not the guns of a powerful army that brought down the walls of Jericho. The prayers of the priests did (Jos. 6:20). Jesus defied the temptations of coming down from the Cross. He knew there was a higher truth deferred. It was fulfilled on Easter day. No matter the provocation, we must arm ourselves with the weapons of truth, the Word, the Spirit, and love. At the heart of Christianity is the Truth and Love.

12: Today, many of us erroneously speak about the trial of Jesus by Pilate on Good Friday. In reality, it was Pilate who stood trial, not Jesus. Pilate sat on a throne to judge what he himself was ignorant of–the truth. Chained by ignorance, the powerful often grope around a twilight zone between truth and lies. At the mention of the word “Truth” by Jesus, Pilate was jolted from his chair. In trepidation and apprehension, the mighty man says, Truth, what is that? (Jn. 18:38). Pilate was looking for the Truth but did not recognise it when it stood right before him. In every age, the seduction of raw power tends to blind the Pilates of this world to the truth.

13: When governments face legitimacy crises, they fall back on serving the sour broth of propaganda, half-truths, and outright lies. They manufacture consent by creating imaginary enemies, setting citizens against one another by deploying religion, ethnicity, region, and other platforms while appealing to the base emotions of patriotism. We forget the reality that without truth, the throne of power often turns into a cage, and the occupant is turned into a prisoner. In reality, the truth needs neither a judge nor a witness. The truth is its own judge and witness. Without the truth, as the old song says, all else is sinking sand!

14: Recently, according to the World Happiness Report, we are one of the unhappiest nations in the world. This is unacceptable but understandable. Our clay-footed fight against corruption has not moved the needle of transparency forward. Of course, being the poverty capital of the world comes with its rewards such as banditry, violence, death, sorrow, blood, poverty, misery, and tears. Our cup of sorrow is permanently full; hence the exponential rise in the frustration curve across the country.

15: Sadly, human life is haemorrhaging so badly in Nigeria, but the greatest tragedy is the death of empathy from those in power. Mysteriously, the government is investing billions of naira in rehabilitating so-called Boko Haram repentant members and their other partners in crime in the belief that they want to turn a new leaf. These criminals have waged war against their country, murdered thousands of citizens, destroyed infrastructure and rendered entire families permanently displaced and dislocated. Why should rehabilitating the perpetrator be more important than bringing succour to the victims?

16: When kidnapped or killed, victims and their families are left to their wits. They cry alone, bury their loved ones alone. And our government expects us to be patriotic? The victims of violence need empathy, which the dictionary defines as the ability to understand and share the feelings of the other. A critical deficit of empathy on the side of the government makes healing almost impossible for the victims. We have not heard anything about a rehabilitation programme for the thousands of schoolchildren who have been victims of abduction. We seem to assume that their return to their schools is sufficient. Left unaddressed, the traumatic effect of their horrors will haunt them for a long time. Tomorrow’s parents, military generals, top security men and women, governors, senators, and ministers will come from today’s pool of traumatised children.

The security quandary is the greatest indictment of this government.

17: There is a time for everything under the sun (Eccl. 3:1). Perhaps, we can paraphrase this by saying there is a time for war and a time for peace. There is a time for poverty and a time for wealth. There is a time for stealing and a time for returning what has been stolen. There is a time for politics and a time for governance. There is a time for tethering to the brink of chaos and a time for recovering the soul of a nation.

There is a time for the collapse of morality and a time for moral recovery. There is a time for leadership and a time for statesmanship. There is a time for losing greatness and a time for achieving greatness. Nigeria must now ask itself: What is left of our glory? Where are the values that held us together?

18: On our national Coat of Arms, we profess our motto to be: Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress. But let us ask ourselves: Is Nigeria united today? Do citizens still have faith in the country? Where are the signs of peace or progress? Today, before our very eyes, these words have been emptied of their flavour and have lost their resonance and capacity to summon our citizens to patriotism. St Augustine once said: Remove justice, and what are kingdoms but gangs of criminals on a large scale? He further said that: A gang is a group of men (and women) under the command of a leader, bound by a compact of association, in which the plunder is divided according to an agreed convention. This is the fate of our nation today. Day by day, Nigeria drifts irreversibly into a dark tunnel. Things are falling apart with unnerving rapidity because those who govern have only a pact to protect their interests. Politics is merely its conveyor belt of ambition. Nigeria has a date with destiny. If we do not turn around, The axe is already laid to the roots of the tree (Mt. 3:10).

19: With some chance, we might pull through this, but it is getting tougher each passing day. Does anyone remember where we started and how we got here? On May 29, 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari, at his swearing-in as President of Nigeria, said: Boko Haram is a typical case of small fires causing large fires. Now, before his watch, the fires are consuming the nation, and in many instances, they indeed start small. The rumblings over the wearing of a hijab in Kwara State suggest that we have not seen the end of individuals sacrificing national cohesion to feed their personal ambitions by starting small fires. Most politicians hardly think through the long-term effects of these pyrrhic victories of using religion. What started as a small fire with the adoption of Sharia in Zamfara in 1999, spread across the northern states. Ordinary people broke into ecstatic joy. Today, what has become of the north? What are the lessons?

20: In all, Nigeria’s troubles are growing by the day, but our hands must remain stretched out in supplication. Prophet Isaiah’s words should give us hope and consolation. He said: When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze (Isaiah 43:2). We shall lift our eyes to the mountain because we know that our help shall come from the Lord (Ps. 121:1). As Christians, we do not trust in God because we cannot revenge. We do not revenge because we trust in God. The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still (Ex. 14:14). Just as the chains of death could not hold Jesus in the grave, so shall we triumph. Break into shouts of joy together, O ruins of Jerusalem; for the Lord has consoled his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem (Isaiah 52:9). Have hope and be cheerful (Rom. 12:12).

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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FG Blames Poor Management for Apapa Port Congestion

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Apapa Port

By Adedapo Adesanya

The federal government has said terminal operators responsible for the inefficiency of the Apapa Port must work towards its total reconstruction and reorganisation.

This was made by the Minister of Transportation, Mr Chibuike Amaechi, citing the drastic change in the Port on the day the President visited to commission the Deep Blue Project.

“I was in the train with the president on that day and noticed that everything had disappeared, even inside the port that looked like a marketplace was very well organized, no persons were found loitering about, no trucks. What it shows is that the problem of the seaport is the problem of efficiency.

“If they had the capacity in just one night, because I was there the previous evening, and when I came back in the morning, everything had disappeared; If that can happen in one night, it means that the problem is management, nothing else.

“Do we need to wait for the President to come before we can be efficient?” Mr Amaechi queried.

“What I’ve done was to have a meeting with the terminal operators, and I told them that they have to contribute to the reconstruction of the Apapa Seaport.

“We must rebuild the Apapa Seaport, taking into cognizance all the issues that we are seeing now that is frustrating the seaport, like where do you park the trucks, how many trucks are coming into the seaport at what point in time?

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“How can a person come into the seaport who has no business being there, what is he doing at the seaport? The seaport is a security area and it is not for everybody, even me, after my tenure as Minister, I’m not entitled to go into the seaport unless I have business in the seaport,” he added.

The Minister noted that the Ministry of Transportation will partner with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to solve the problem, adding that freighting of cargoes from the seaport through the rail, when it begins, will also help in arresting the situation at the port.

“We are going to partner with customs because they are largely involved. Between them and the NPA, they are the operators (or regulators) of the Seaport and see how to arrest this situation. I believe that when we begin to freight cargoes from the seaport through the rail, we’ll reduce some of the challenges that we have at the seaport,’ he said.

Mr Amaechi also said the recently launched Deep Blue Project is overseen by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in partnership with the Ministry of Defence, would not only boost security in the country’s waters but will also improve trade in the Gulf of Guinea and reduce the cost of production for the oil industry while improving revenue for Nigeria’s economy.

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“Before we came, various contractors were contracted to provide security for oil companies in the water. There was a case between the government and OMSL in which the company provides about three or four boats to the Navy and they collect $2,500 per vessel for the first day and $1,500 for about 30 days.

In a year, like in 2020, they made about $67 million, and when you hand over the security of a country to individuals, it becomes very challenging and irresponsible. So, the president kindly approved that the police, army, air force, and other security agencies should be involved in providing security with the equipment that we have provided.

“We have about three helicopters, two fixed-wing planes, 17 interceptor boats, two vessels, drones, and more; what it does is that it gives you information about where the criminals are, those who go and destroy pipes just because they are looking for oil to bunker. It provides you that information, then you deter them or arrest them.

“So, we are able to provide security in the coastal region, both on land and on the sea. Now, those who provide the coastal security on land will be the Nigerian Army and the Police, and we’ve provided them with all the necessary tools they need.

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“We have ammunitions, we have vehicles, like Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) and all that for patrol by the coast. All that, we believe will begin to yield fruits between now and next year.”

He added that by the time the government provide the necessary maritime security, the economy will improve as a result of more money coming into the economy through oil.

“That’s the impact it will have when it comes to the Deep Blue project. In fact, the Israelis who did the training said in 6 months to 1 year, if there is no improvement in the economy in terms of how much comes in, both to NIMASA, NPA, and the oil industry, come back to us and we’ll be willing to refund.

“But you know it is simple mathematics; It is true that the moment you can take away the criminals from the water, and the contractors from the water, then the cost of security which is borne either by NNPC or the oil companies will be part of what will come back to us as income. Then on land, in all our rail and train coaches, you have enough armed policemen in any trip we are making to withstand any criminal attack.”

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Kano Approves Siting of AKK Gas Pipeline Project in Tamburawa

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kano state map

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Kano State Government has approved Tamburawa in Dawakin Kudu Local Government Area, along Zaria Road as a planning location for the siting of the proposed gas industrial layout under the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC’s) Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (APP) pipeline project.

This was disclosed by the state Commissioner for Information, Mr Muhammad Garba, after the State Executive Council meeting.

He explained that the approval was given to the state government NNPC-AKK Gas Pipeline Project Delivery and Gas Industrialization Committee (KNSG-PDIC) to set up its planning location at Tamburawa adjacent to Challawa Water Works where the Kano/AKK Terminal Gas station is proposed to be built.

Mr Garba stated that while a draft of the proposed layout has been produced, the council directed the state Bureau for Land Management to liaise with the committee and come up with final documents for the new industrial layout.

He also revealed that the council has ratified the award of contract for the reconstruction of Challawa Industrial Layout Road network at the cost of N393,237,697.00 million.

He pointed out that the road is of vital economic importance to the economy of the state in view of its proximity to the ongoing construction of Dala Inland Dry Port at Zawachiki that is expected to impact the development of manufacturing and industrial activities when it commences operation.

The council, he added, has given approval for the release of N23, 883, 464.45 million to the state Radio Corporation for the supply and installation of dehydrators, binary power supply and exciter for its transmitters at Jogana Transmission Station.

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Mr Garba noted that the two components, which are essential items for the effective functioning of the transmission, have all gone faulty beyond repairs.

The Commissioner also disclosed that approval has also been given by the council for the payment of N80, 000.000.00 million one year allowances from a backlog of four years’ bursary allowances to the 59 MBBS, B.sc Masters and PhD. Kano state-sponsored students at the Near East University, Cyprus.

He said the council also directed the government verification team to authenticate the students and their academic performance before the implementation of a recommendation for instalment payment of the cumulative sum of N1, 123, 184, 893.5 billion as of November 26, 2020, to the university in two tranches of 50 per cent.

Mr Garba further revealed that with the setting in of the rainy season, the council has approved the sum of N85, 230, 234.00 million for the conduct of the annual drainage clearance exercise in the metropolis.

The Commissioner said the measure is to avert flooding from siltation of drainages as a result of indiscriminate waste disposal by people which affect the free flow of water, posing threat to life and property.

He said the council has also approved the substitution of the ministry of environment’s nursery located at Rano town to a new site within the local government.

The Commissioner said the decision was informed by the fact that the nursery has been inactive for decades due to lack of reliable source of water supply, persistently being encroached by settlement and request from member representing Rano constituency at the state House of Assembly to construct an ultra-modern Jumu’at Mosque and Islamiyya school at the location.

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The council, he said has given approval for the payment of N32, 610, 000.00 as bereaved allowances to 664 deceased civil servants of various grades in the state who passed away from 2017 to February 2021.

He said payment of bereaved family allowance due to their families/heirs for the civil servants who died in active service is in line with extant civil service rule.

The state government also announced that as part of efforts to improve health care delivery services, the council has given approval for the provision of uniforms (yards) for 17, 480 staff of various health cadres at the cost of N193, 639, 136.71million.

He listed some of the beneficiaries of the two sets of uniforms to be provided to include doctors, nurses, midwives, laboratory scientists, technology/technical assistants, image scanning/radiographers/x-ray technicians, physiotherapist, a technical assistant, dental therapist/technical assistant, dietician/nutritionist, among others.

The Commissioner also indicated that the council has approved contract review from N331, 889, 971.51 million to N370, 773, 987.95 million based on a new harmonized rate for general renovation works at the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Permanent Orientation Campsite, Kusalla Dam in Karaye local government area.

He said the contract was initially awarded in 2016 and as work progresses, prices of materials and labour charges skyrocketed which the contractor lamented, adding that the council has given approval for the state government to partner with the Sugarcane Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria for the cultivation of sugarcane in commercial quantity in the country.

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He said the measure would go a long way in creating young farmers and entrepreneurs which is in line with the state government policy of skills acquisition programme that will uplift thousands of youth out of poverty and increase revenue generation for the state.

The commissioner also announced approval by the council for additional works in the contract for the upgrading of Gidan Shettima to serve as Emirate Council Headquarters for the five Emirs in the state at the cost of N49,893,466,00 million.

The additional work, he said, include the provision of office of the chairman, construction of additional floor to accommodate offices for four Emirs, increase the size of the council chamber and public gallery to adequately accommodate expanded members of the council and construction of a mosque and car park.

The Commissioner disclosed that the council has ratified the approval for the renovation and upgrading of Dawakin Tofa District Head Palace in Dawakin Tofa local government area.

He said the contract for the renovation exercise, which was initially awarded at the cost of N78, 801, 280.82 million, had to be revised to N99,340,773.87 million as a result of some additional vital works introduced that included among others, main Fada, gallery, Hakimi wing, VIP guest wing, new wall, Shamakhi, Generator house.

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Global Financial Wealth Hits $250trn Despite COVID-19

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By Modupe Gbadeyanka

A new report has shown that despite the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, global financial wealth reached an all-time high of $250 trillion.

In the new report released by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), it was revealed that last year, household savings rose and markets showed unexpected resilience in the face of the health crisis.

It was observed that in the period under consideration, many wealth management clients embraced alternative investments in their quest for higher returns, shifting away from low-yield debt securities.

As part of this trend, real assets led primarily by real estate ownership reached an all-time high of $235 trillion.

Nevertheless, Asia, which has the largest concentration of wealth in real assets ($84 trillion, 64% of the regional total) will see financial asset growth exceed real asset growth (7.9% versus 6.7%) in coming years. In particular, investment funds in the region will become the fastest-growing financial asset class, with a projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.6% through 2025.

In the report, BCG identified two attractive markets for wealth managers. One consists of individuals with simple investment needs and financial wealth between $100,000 and $3 million. This “simple-needs segment” comprises 331 million individuals worldwide, holds $59 trillion in investable wealth and has the potential to contribute $118 billion to the global wealth revenue pool.

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The report, titled Global Wealth 2021: When Clients Take the Lead, also revealed that despite the pandemic’s enduring financial impact, global prosperity and wealth grew significantly throughout the crisis and are likely to continue to expand significantly over the next five years, in line with the emerging economic recovery.

It was disclosed that North America, Asia (excluding Japan), and Western Europe will be the leading generators of financial wealth globally, accounting for 87 per cent of new financial wealth growth worldwide between now and 2025.

Anna Zakrzewski, a BCG managing director and partner, global leader of the firm’s wealth management segment, and a co-author of the report said, “Wealth managers often underserve those in the simple-needs segment with a standardized set of products, and the result is a poor client experience with no wow factor.

“This is essentially a missed opportunity. To better serve this key segment, wealth managers must embrace a new approach that lets them reach a larger audience in a cost-effective and scalable way, but with a highly personalized offering.”

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Retirees, one of the world’s fastest-growing demographics, are another appealing market. Many are underserved and adversely impacted by the “advisory gap” that prevails during the retirement phase of life.

Today, individuals over 65 own $29.3 trillion in financial assets accessible to wealth managers. That figure will grow at a CAGR of close to 7% over the next five years, enabling wealth managers globally to target nearly $41.1 trillion in financial wealth by 2025. By 2050, 1.5 billion people globally will fall into the 65+ category, representing an enormous source of wealth.

In addition to the simple-needs and retirees segments, the “ultra” wealth category—individuals whose personal wealth exceeds $100 million—expanded in 2020, with 6000 people joining the 60,000-strong cohort, which has seen year-on-year growth of 9% since 2015. The category currently holds a combined $22 trillion in investable wealth, 15% of the world’s total.

According to the report, China is on track to overtake the US as the country with the largest concentration of ultras by the end of the decade. If investable wealth continues to rise there at its current annual rate of 13%, China will host $10.4 trillion in ultra assets by 2029, more than any other market in the world. The US will be close behind, with a forecasted total of $9.9 trillion in such wealth by 2029.

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The faces of the ultras are changing too, with the rise of the next-generation segment. These individuals, between 20 and 50 years of age, have longer investment horizons, a greater appetite for risk, and often a desire to use their wealth to create positive social impact as well as earn solid returns. Many wealth managers are not yet ready to serve these new ultras.

“High-growth markets represent a massive opportunity, but wealth managers must build a genuine understanding of local differences and also key demographic changes,” said BCG’s Zakrzewski. “For example, women now account for 12% of ultras, most of whom are based in the US, Germany, and China. The next-gen segment is also going to be an influential driver of future growth in the next decade or so. Whether it’s a simple-needs or ultra-high-net-worth client, managers need to offer a personalized service in order to effectively capture the next wave of growth.”

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