Ex-defence minister, Domkat Bali, dies at 80 – Newstrends
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Ex-defence minister, Domkat Bali, dies at 80

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  • He saved Nigeria from genocide – Buhari 

A former Minister of Defence, Domkat Bali, has died at the age of 80.

Bali, who died on Friday, was minister of defence and member of the Supreme Military Council between 1984 and 1985, and the Armed Forces Ruling Council of 1985 to 1990.

He was joint chief of staff between 1984 and 1985 when President Muhammadu Buhari was head of state.

The octogenarian retired as a decorated military officer in 1990. In December 2010, he emerged as Ponzhi Tarok, paramount ruler of the Langtang in Plateau State.

Buhari, in a condolence statement signed by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, described the retired officer as a man with records of bravery and patriotism.

He said Bali’s records would inspire young military officers, adding that his foundation would always be remembered.

“President Muhammadu Buhari condoles with the people and government of Plateau State over the passing of an illustrious son and highly decorated retired military officer, Gen. Domkat Bali, who served the country as Minister of Defence,” the statement read.

“The President, who spoke with the wife of the deceased, Esther, on Friday, also commiserated with other family members, friends and professional associates of the former member of the Supreme Military Council and Armed Forces Ruling Council, after rising through the ranks, with a distinguished military career, reaching the peak as Chief of Defence Staff.

“President Buhari believes the records of bravery and patriotism of Gen. Bali, the Ponzhi Tarok, will continue to inspire young military officers, while the foundation he laid in all the commands he headed will always be remembered.

“The President has also constituted a delegation led by the Minister of Defence, Maj-Gen. Bashir Salihi Magashi (retd.) to visit the family, and condole with government and people of the state over the loss. President Buhari prays that the almighty God will receive the soul of the departed and comfort his family.”

President Buhari described him as a loyal soldier who saved Nigeria from genocide.

Bali was loyal to his country and he spent decades in active service proving just that.

Born on February 27, 1940 in Zamko, Langtang, Plateau state, Bali attended elementary schools at Mban and Langtang and the Provincial Secondary School, Kuru, from 1955 to 1960. His military career began when he entered the Nigerian Military Training College, Kaduna in April 1961. He later attended the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, England in 1961 and had further military training at the Gunnery Staff Course, Larkhill, UK in 1968; Staff College, Camberley, Surrey, and the Royal College of Defence, Cowdon, UK.

 

From his military years in service to serving as the Ponzhi Tarok, the paramount ruler of Langtang people, here’s what we can tell of the octogenarian who died on on Friday.

Bali quit the army in January 1990 under not-so-pleasant circumstances. When Ibrahim Babangida reshuffled his cabinet on December 29, 1989, he removed Bali as defence minister and moved him to internal affairs. Bali, however, refused to accept the position and left.

 

 

Bali rose from a cadet officer in 1961 to the position of army general before he retired

“To be very frank with you, the Ministry of Internal Affairs is a very important ministry, but that was not my problem. My problem was that as a military officer, I was senior both to Babangida and Buhari, but I served under both as Minister of Defence and Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff. I could accept that they were heads of state. You cannot remove the fact that I was a senior to both of them. And when Babangida came, he said, ‘ok, you are no longer Chief of Defence Staff, but Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff.’ If I am not that, then I am also junior to all other military people other than the Head of State, which I would not accept,” Bali said in a 2006 interview with TheNEWS.

“I could accept that I was junior to the Head of State but to accept that I was also junior to other junior officers to me, that was unacceptable. That was the main reason that I had to leave. Not because I was made the Minister of Internal Affairs. Some people said it was because I was taking over from John Shagaya who was also a junior officer. Those were not the issues at all.”

In 2011, Bali rejected the national merit award of commander of the federal republic (CFR) given to him by ex-President Goodluck Jonathan. Justifying his rejection of the honour, Bali said he had earlier been conferred a higher title, adding that accepting that of the CFR would amount to demoting him.

“It makes no sense to me. I saw the recent national merit award given to me as an insult to my personality. They told me the 2011 honour awarded me is Commander of the Federal Republic, CFR. But the Federal Government of Nigeria gave me in the past a higher national merit honour as Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger, GCON, which is the second highest national honour in Nigeria. So what this current government offers me in 2011 National Merit Award is inferior to what I have before now,” he said.

“So I said, let them give the CFR to someone else who deserves that. I don’t deserve that because I had a higher one. That was the reason why I refused to attend the programme because my appearance there in Abuja will mean my acceptance to be demoted.”

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Tinubu pays condolence visit to Akeredolu’s widow, says late husband was a fighter

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Tinubu pays condolence visit to Akeredolu’s widow, says late husband was a fighter

President Bola Tinubu on Wednesday paid condolence visit to  Betty Akeredolu, widow of former Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, in Owo.

Tinubu described Rotimi Akeredolu as a fearless fighter who was committed to the welfare of the people.

He said the late governor departed the world when the ovation was loudest.

The president was accompanied in his visit by Ondo Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, and former APC Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande.

“This sentiment should inspire us to live each day with purpose; to pursue our goals with determination, and to leave behind a legacy that will be remembered fondly by those whose lives we have touched,” he said.

The President said Akeredolu truly embodied courage and fearlessness in relentless pursuit of good governance.

He said, “He truly embodied courage and fearlessness, especially in his relentless pursuit of good governance. I can only describe him as a fearless fighter.

“His unwavering commitment to the welfare of his people and his courageous nature will always be remembered.”

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There’s hope for great economy, Tinubu assures Nigerians

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President Bola Ahmed Tinubu

There’s hope for great economy, Tinubu assures Nigerians

The economic situation will improve and pains will give way to prosperity, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu assured Nigerians yesterday.

Urging citizens not to despair, he said things would get better.

Also, House Representatives Speaker Tajudeen Abbas urged Nigerians to exercise patience and cooperate with the government in its bid to effectively implement the economic reforms that will soothe the pains.

President Tinubu and the Speaker spoke on the prospect of economic recovery yesterday as workers staged protests in state capitals and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) over the high cost of living.

The President said: “We must assure Nigerians that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

“We might be going through a difficult period now, but when you look at the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning and people manning the ship of this country, including Central Bank of Nigeria (governor), they have collaborated and in the spirit of development and progress, we are glad that good effort is being made to retool, re-engineer the finances of the country and make growth our hallmark.”

The President spoke during the unveiling of the handbook on Expatriate Employment Levy (EEL).

Abbas, who spoke when he received the leadership of the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) led by Comrade Muhammad Usman in his office, said: “My appeal to you as the National President of PASAN is to please, help to tell your other colleagues in the Labour leadership to give this government a little more time.

“There are so many things that are under consideration, things that the government is trying to come up with for the benefit of Nigerians.

“So, please, help us to tell them to exercise patience that something very good will come out very soon.”

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He added: “I know of a lot of palliatives, reviews of salaries and welfare packages that are most likely coming on board in the near future.

“Please, communicate to them that we know their pains and their problems and we will not let them down. They should give us more time.”

The President lauded the Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, for the various progressive innovations he introduced, saying they have received applause at home and abroad.

President Tinubu, who described the EEL scheme as another game changer, highlighted its advantages.

These include better employment opportunities for Nigerians with foreign companies, bridging the wage gap between Nigerian employees and expatriates in foreign companies operating in Nigeria and boosting national security.

He said: “We expect revenue generation improvement, improved naturalisation and indigenisation, employment of more Nigerians by foreign companies operating in this country, balancing of employment opportunities between Nigerians and expatriates, and closing the wage gap between the expatriate and the Nigerian labour force by making it more attractive to hire Nigerians.

“I’ve been further assured that the project can plug loopholes and gaps that have bedevilled the country in dealing with security challenges, and the movement of foreigners in and out of the country.

“Interestingly, this scheme will wield the dual fold of revenue generation as well as addressing employment challenges.”

President Tinubu, however, warned operators of the scheme against turning it into another bureaucratic bottleneck, which is capable of frustrating potential investors.

He said: “I declare my support for the Expatriate Employment Levy scheme and I will continue to encourage the operators, practitioners of immigration matters and expatriate quotas.

“But don’t use it as a bottleneck, don’t use it to frustrate potential investors.

“There will be clear lines of implementation and effective acceleration of aims and objectives of this programme.

“Immigration matters and expatriate quotas, and relevant stakeholders, have to be effectively guided to make Nigeria the focus of the objective of this EEL.”

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The Minister of Interior highlighted some of the features of the EEL scheme, saying that it would create employment opportunities and competitive advantages for Nigerians working in foreign companies in the country.

He said the project was in tandem with the President’s eight-point agenda, especially on security and economic growth.

Tunji-Ojo said: “The main essence is to be sure that if you are bringing an expatriate to work in Nigeria, it should be a job that no Nigeria has the skill to do.

“That’s the major objective of this particular initiative; balancing employment opportunities between Nigerians and expatriates and, of course, closing wage gaps between expatriates and the Nigerian labor force by making it more attractive to hire Nigerians

“Part of the motivation is to reduce the dependence of companies on foreign personnel and to also reduce the rate at which renewal of expatriate quotas has been sought after by companies.

“We want to see a scenario whereby once an expatriate comes, there will be a knowledge transition period of which Nigeria should be able to be trained to take over this responsibility and create opportunities for our teeming youths.”

Chairman, Senate Committee on Interior,  Adams Oshiomhole, said the initiative would strengthen the position of Nigerians when it comes to competitive employment

He said: “We all have to share with Mr. President the burden of putting in place appropriate policies that will ensure that more Nigerians are engaged in jobs that are good paying.

“That is the way to fight and defeat poverty in the long run.”

There’s hope for great economy, Tinubu assures Nigerians

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Senate forms panel to investigate CBN’s N30 trillion loan to FG

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Senate forms panel to investigate CBN’s N30 trillion loan to FG

The Senate has established a nine-member committee to probe the N30 trillion Ways and Means advances provided by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to the federal government.

During Tuesday’s session presided over by Deputy Senate President Barau Jibrin, Senator Jibrin Isah (representing Kogi East) was appointed the committee’s chairman.

The Senate’s decision to investigate the utilization of the loan follows its adoption of the report from the Joint Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, Finance, National Planning, Agriculture, and Appropriations last week.

Ways and Means is a loan facility extended by the CBN to the federal government to address budget shortfalls.

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The loan facility has stirred controversy, with experts raising concerns over the CBN surpassing its lending limits to the federal government, contrary to existing laws.

Barau, in his statement before announcing the committee’s composition, highlighted that excessive borrowing has contributed to inflation in the country.

He remarked, “The financial obligation to the CBN now stands at N30 trillion. It is therefore imperative to scrutinize the N30 trillion Ways and Means loans to recover whatever is feasible.”

The ad hoc committee includes Ekpeyong Asuquo, Mohammed Tahir Monguno, Victor Umeh, Olamilekan Adeola, Sani Mohammed Musa, Aliyu Wadada, Abdul Ningi, and Ipalibo Banigo Harry. They have been granted four weeks to submit their report for further legislative action.

Senate forms panel to investigate CBN’s N30 trillion loan to FG

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