Question & Answer Interactive Session With VP Osibajo At Aso Villa

Yesterday evening, I held an interactive session with select individuals, some of whom were from Tech Cabal, YNaija, ProShare, Premium Times,, ScoopNG, Bella Naija, Leadership NG.

Boy, they came prepared with some tough questions ranging from the style of governance, perceived economic recession, the Fulani herdsmen, Health, the Niger Delta, Poor communication, if the heavy rates attached to the use of drones would impede growth in technology and other questions.

I will highlight a few questions here and some of my responses. 

Question One 
There is a communication lapse between the government and the people. The government allows false information fester before it provides accurate information.

My response~
We totally agree that communication has been sloppy. We are working on a system that will provide accurate information and prompt responses to issues that bother the Nigerian people.

Question Two: What specific thing is the Federal Government doing about the killer herdsmen?

My response: First we have to agree that not all herdsmen are dangerous. A directive has been issued that any herdsman with weapons must be arrested on sight.

In addition, the State Police Commands across the Federation now have rules of engagement with dealing with the herdsmen. There is a heightened awareness.

The major deficiency is that the police cannot effectively police without State policing. The current set up of a unitary command doesn't help the situation.

I believe that State policing would be better but this requires a constitutional amendment so we are looking for ways to devolve power to the State commands.

Question Three: 
What are we doing to ensure Nigeria does not fully slide into a recession?

My response: Nigeria is not sliding into a recession! 
True, things have been difficult but we are committed to reflating the economy with the 2016 budget. We are investing in the people by empowering them. Economics is not just the fiscal part, it is also about how many people we are able to lift out of poverty.

Question Four:
How will the poorest of the poor be determined under the Social Protection Programme?

My response:
We are currently working with the World Bank and the Bill Gates Foundation. In each State, we have mapped out the poorest Local Government Areas and have made physical visits to those communities to ask the people there and see for ourselves.
It is a rigorous exercise but we believe it is the most credible way to capture the information we require.

Similarly, the Federal Government through the Bank of Industry will give out loans to 1.6 million people. 1 million market men and women and 600 hundred thousand artisans.

The N-Power Initiative for young people which will include training in technology, animation will commence in June. Young people can access the portal in June.

Question Five
There is a general perception that despite the hard times, the government doesn't seem to be cutting down its cost of governance.

My response:
Far far from it. President Muhammadu Buhari is a very frugal man. His lifestyle screams frugal. 

He has cut down waste in the government totally.

I can tell you that as a private citizen and a lawyer at SimmonsCooper Partners, I earned a lot more than as Vice-President, but I am not complaining.

Question Six
What is the government's stance on the Niger Delta Avengers?

My response:
When people have genuine grievances, the government has an obligation to engage. We are engaging with those who have genuine grievances.

However, the wanton destruction of oil pipelines and export faculties is criminal conduct.

We will not create monsters by engaging anyone who participates in destruction. 

There are ways to get the attention of the government but criminal conduct is certainly not a way to do that.

Question Seven:
We have heard of money that has been recovered, how do we know how much has been recovered or what has been done with the money?

My response ~
Yes, money has been recovered but we must categorize them differently.

We have identified large amounts of money from the US, the UK and Switzerland but the process takes time.

There is also the category of "assets" and funds that have been seized but are still subject of litigation and so cannot be spent.

Then there is the category of funds that have been willingly returned by individuals.

We will however publish the data of funds retrieved so far.


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