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The just released GDP figures for the 2016 second quarter by the National Bureau of Statistics while confirming a temporary decline, has also indicated an hopeful expectation in the country's economic trajectory.

Besides the growth recorded in the agriculture and solid mineral sectors, the Nigerian economy in response to the policies of the Buhari presidency is also doing better than what the IMF had estimated with clear indications that the second half of the year would be even much better.

The Buhari presidency will continue to work diligently on the economy and engage with all stakeholders  to ensure that beneficial policy initiatives are actively pursued and the dividends delivered to the Nigerian people.

The following statement was made by the Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters, Dr. Adeyemi Dipeolu on the latest NBS report:

"The just recently released data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed that Gross Domestic Product declined by -2.06% in the second quarter of 2016 on a year-on-year basis.

A close look at the data shows that this outcome was mostly due to a sharp contraction in the oil sector due to huge losses of crude oil production as a result of vandalisation and sabotage.  

However, the rest of the Q2 data is beginning to tell a different story.  There was growth in the agricultural and solid minerals sectors which are the areas in which the Federal Government has placed particular priority.

Agriculture grew by 4.53% in the second quarter of 2016 as compared with 3.09% in the first quarter.  The metal ores sector showed similar performance with coal mining, quarrying and other minerals also showing positive growth of over 2.5%.  Notably also, the share of investments in GDP increased to its highest levels since 2010, growing to about 17% of Gross Domestic Product.  

The manufacturing sector though not yet truly out of the woods is beginning to show signs of recovery while the service sector similarly bears watching.  

Nevertheless, the data already shows a reduction in imports and an increase in local produced goods and services and this process will be maintained although it will start off slowly in these initial stages before picking up later.

The inflation rate remains high but the good news is that the month-on-month rate of increase has fallen continuously over the past three months.  

Unemployment remains stubbornly high which is usually the case during growth slowdowns and for reasons of a structural nature.

The picture that emerges, barring unforeseen shocks, is that the areas given priority by the Federal Government are beginning to respond with understandable time lags to policy initiatives.  Indeed, as the emphasis on capital expenditure begins to yield results and the investment/GDP numbers increase, the growth rate of the Nigerian economy is likely to improve further.  

As these trends continue, the outlook for the rest of the year is that the Nigerian economy will beat the IMF prediction of -1.8% for the full year 2016.

The IMF had forecasted a growth of -1.8% for 2016, however the economy is performing better than the IMF estimates so far. For the half year it stands at -1.23% compared to an average of -1.80% expected on average by the IMF. 

What is more, it is likely the second half will be better than the first half of 2016. This is because many of the challenges faced in the first half either no longer exist or have eased."

The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) on Tuesday said it had concluded arrangements to ensure safety of the nation’s highways during the Ember Months.

The Public Relations Officer (PRO), FRSC, Mr Bisi Kazeem, made the statement in an interview in Abuja.

``Ember Months are here again and we want to disabuse peoples mind that the months are months of mystery and myths.

``The months are neither dangerous months nor about sucking of human blood as it is believed in some quarters, but rather, in most of the periods we witness more upsurge in vehicular traffic,’’ he said.

Kazeem explained that the prevalent upsurge during yuletide compared to other months both in vehicular and human traffic was due to overzealousness of people in order to maximise profits.

``You will find that commercial drivers will want to carry more passengers in order to maximise profit and by so doing, they drive dangerously without consideration for other road users.

``So, having observed this development nationwide, what we did first was to embark on sporadic enlightenment and public education to curb this ugly development by all our formations,’’ he said.

Kazeem said all the efforts were geared toward making the nation’s roads safe for the users.

He explained that the commission had zero tolerance for accidents during yuletide periods, which was the reason why each command normally inaugurated campaign at its various areas without necessarily waiting for the headquarters.

This, he said, would be a continuous exercise throughout the period of yuletide in order to reduce carnage on our roads.

``We also look at critical corridors, accident prone areas and populated areas to be well policed by our personnel to avoid accidents.

``We also emphasise on enforcement because we have come to realise that education and enlightenment without enforcement is just like entertainment. So, we match education and enlightenment with enforcement,’’ Kazeem said.

He promised that the FRSC officials would also be on ground to check drivers because, they had realised that during yuletide there were always cases of drunk driving which was not a healthy development.

Kazeem also promised that the Speed Limit Device would come into effect On Oct. 1.

He said that the device would go a long way in reducing roads crashes, as the commission had realised that about 56 pet cent of road crashes were as a result of speeding.

``We are also going to use what is known as passengers watch where you find out that somebody will be in your vehicle without you suspecting is a road safety officer.

``And once you are misbehaving and that person tried to caution you and when you prove stubborn, he or she will get you arrested and the person will face the consequence.

``We also have traffic calming control and Safety Engineering Department which conduct road audit to identify where there will be need for rehabilitation, probably repairs.

``If it is Federal roads we recommend to Federal Ministry of Works and Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA); and if it is States roads, we recommend to State Ministry of Works,’’ Kazeem said

The Guild of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria has given September 1st 2016 as the deadline for all bloggers in Nigeria to stop the practise of plagiarism .

This is contained in a statement pushed out by the union after its general meeting held in Lagos. The meeting presided over by its Acting National President, Mr. Chris Kehinde Nwandu advocates that bloggers should be seen to live above board in their practices. 

To ensure full compliance with this directive, the union raised an 8 man ethics committee to among other things, monitor the ethical behaviour among its members and to recommend adequate sanctions where necessary.

All members are expected by this directive, to adhere to the conventional practise of acknowledging and crediting sources of their materials. The union also enjoined other mass medium across the globe to adequately credit all sources of news materials lifted from pages of its members as well.    

According to it, the association is now out to bring some level of credibility and sanity to the practise of blogging in Nigeria and to give its practitioners their rightful place in the scheme of things.                                                      

It has also mapped out refresher programmes and continuous training to adequately equip its members with effective tools to discharge its duties as managers of information in a digital age.

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A member of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) and former presidential aide, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, yesterday took on those calling for the restructuring of the country, suggesting that if the amalgamation of the country by Lord Frederick Lugard in 1914 was a mistake, it would be best for each region to go their separate ways.

Abdullahi made this known during the launch of two books by Dr. Hadiza Isa Wada titled, “Boko Haram: The Charade vs. Reality” and “The Life and Times of Umaru Turakin Bauchi”.

He queried agitators clamouring for the restructuring of the country from the present quasi-federalism to true fiscal federalism, or even secession, particularly in the South-south and South-east geopolitical zones.

According to him, such threats remained baseless, given that no region is afraid of secession.

Tracing how several other countries had separated peacefully, Abdullahi argued that contrary to the opinion of some government officials, Nigeria’s unity was negotiable.

“The batures (Hausa for white people) have brought us together. They tried what they could before they left in 1960 to see whether this country could become a political unit that is stable, because without political stability it is impossible to stabilise any aspect of our socio-economic development.

“They succeeded up to a point, but they were very lucky because they had our forefathers and founding fathers who were honest.

“We might not be one, in terms of language or in terms of geographical location or in terms of customs or in terms of history or in terms of religion and so on, but as a people put in one country our first job is to understand one another.

“Let’s understand one another. Understanding one another will be the basis for working together. This wish of being one is Utopian because if you look at examples of other parts of the world there’s a lot to learn from.

“Take for example India that got independence in 1948, yet one or two years later Pakistan was created, and in another one or two years, Bangladesh emerged out of Pakistan, because there was insufficient basis on which India would stay together in the first place,” he said.

Abdullahi held the view that Nigeria’s greatest challenge today is political instability “created unfortunately by politicians and the Nigerian elite”.

“We are responsible for the conditions we’re experiencing today and that we have experienced over the years. This is the basis on which we have made slow or no progress in our development and I think we can accept this as a fact, or continue to pretend and go round and round and round in circles and at the end of the day come back to the same spot.

“What are we hearing? We’re hearing about the restructuring of Nigeria. We’re hearing about secession, we’re hearing all sorts of things and who are the promoters of this rhetoric?

“This is coming from the elite of the country. They’re right to speak their minds, but they should also leave me to speak my mind when the time is right because we cannot continue, because I remember in the last four or five years, particularly when we were headed towards the last elections. We saw all that and then I said it was time.

“If Lugard made a mistake in 1914 let’s correct it now. Why not? If Nigerians cannot live together and allow peace and development to reign, then let’s go our separate ways and to our different places so that we can concentrate and develop our children and grandchildren in peace.

“There’s nothing wrong with that. So many countries have gone through that before. So I don’t believe in all these emotions and sentiments that Nigeria is indissoluble,” he said.

Continuing, Abdullahi said there was nothing like indissolubility in any country. “Take Great Britain, they’ve been a model for 1,000 years of democracy and then a year or two ago Scotland that had been in the union for about 350 years opted for a referendum to get out; same problem with Ireland.

“The Soviet Union was a super power many years ago, today 12 or 13 countries were created from it.

“So what is so special about Nigeria? If we find truly that we cannot develop and guarantee the welfare of our people as a nation and the solution is to go our separate ways, why not?

“So you see this is the thing we have to always discuss at all times honestly, especially if we put into context the history of Boko Haram,” he noted.

On the terrorist sect, he said the “ragtag boys” who were fed up with the things happening to them became members of Boko Haram.

“You ask the question where did Boko Haram got their sophistication and articulation from? No doubt from external connections, but external connections can only thrive if they have internal connections in the country itself.

“But then came robberies and Boko Haram was blamed, then came in political interference.

“Bombs were also put in churches and mosques and they were not entirely put by Muslims but by both religions. But the real offence was people who knew and should have spoken out did not do so.

“Some of us including my teacher and I went to see (Goodluck) Jonathan to discuss it. Some days later, and we heard there was going to be some dialogue, but then two weeks later a state of emergency was declared and Boko Haram was banned.

“So the question is who are you dialoguing with if you have banned Boko Haram? These are some of the contradictions we saw, which were clearly political.

“We the northerners were taking the brunt of it. And those who ought to have said something stayed quiet. It was Murtala Nyako who came out and said something was going on and before you know it he was on exile,” he stated.

While condemning the Niger Delta Avengers as economic terrorists, Abdullahi asked the federal government to deal decisively with the militia group, in order to end vandalism in the oil region.

Describing the group as “economic terrorists”, Abudallahi said: “In the Niger Delta, for example, people who come out openly and say they are avenging something and that they are fighting to avenge something, they’re worse than Boko Haram.

“So if you (federal government) are not going to fight the Niger Delta Avengers then stop fighting Boko Haram.”

Also speaking at the event, elder statesman and the Danmasanin Kano, Alhaji Maitama Sule, commended the author of the book, Dr. Wada, for her painstaking research on the Boko Haram insurgency.

Sule said such work laid out the facts and would educate readers in various ways.

The reviewers of the book, Dr. Sadiq Abba of the University of Abuja and Dr. Abubakar Muhammad of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, pointed out that the thorough research evidenced in the book on the Islamist sect provided in-depth literature on the study of the Boko Haram insurgency.

In her remarks, the author said there was need for the federal government to do more research on Boko Haram, noting: “Our intelligence needs to concentrate on our neighbouring countries, because that is where our support should be coming from.

“Boko Haram is coming from different angles – it has the political angle, religious angle and criminal angle.”