I won’t stop criticising Buhari govt – Katsina cleric, Abu Ammar explodes after DSS arrest

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Katsina-based Islamic cleric, Mallam Aminu Usman, popularly called “Abu Ammar”, who was recently detained and released by the Department of State Services (DSS), has vowed not to stop criticising the Buhari government.

According to him, preachings to political leaders to offer good leadership are mandated by the Holy Quran and Prophetic traditions of Islam.

In an audio of his preaching after his release obtained by PRNigeria on Sunday, the cleric said traditional rulers and religious leaders should have the courage to speak the truth to power.

While giving glory to Almighty Allah for protecting him while at the DSS facility, Sheikh Abu Ammar, thanked Muslims and other Nigerians who offered ceaseless prayers for his safety.

He disclosed that he was arrested and interrogated just because he appealed to government to do the necessary thing, which is to provide maximum security for the poor masses of Katsina who have been at the mercy of bandits and kidnappers.

“There is no point discussing the ordeal DSS made me pass through. But, Alhamdulillah I have been reunited with my family and the Muslim Ummah. And I have vowed not to keep mute in the face of injustice, poor governance and tyranny of our leaders.

“The problems and agonies of the people of Batsari, Safana, Dan Musa, Kankara, Sabuwa, Faskari, Jibia, Batagarawa, Mani, Daura and even the Katsina Local Government Area itself, are also my problems.

“I will speak about their plights, even if I will be incarcerated a million times. I will speak truth to power, even at the detriment of my life. As such, I am urging my fellow Muslim preachers to remain steadfast and have faith in Allah.

“They should not relent in admonishing our leaders and those in authorities to do the right thing and what are expected of them,” he said.

The cleric pointed out that Allah is not only with those who speak the truth, but abundantly rewards those who exhort their leaders to justice, equity, and righteousness.

He said: “As Muslims we must not allow the transient power or authority wielded by our leaders to dissuade us from objectively criticizing them, and charging them to offer good governance.”

Abu Ammar urged religious leaders and Islamic scholars in the country not to surrender to the whims of political leaders or allow themselves to be cowed, no matter the conspiracies that may be fashioned against them.

Source: Daily post

The newly appointed Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria, Mr Lamin Manjang, in this interview explained the mission of his bank and his tenor in Nigeria while speaking on sundry banking industry issues such as sustainability banking, mobile money, recapitalization.
Sustainability Banking has been one of the current front burner issues across the banking industry. What is the Standard Chartered Bank doing in this area especially as regards Nigeria’s infrastructure, human development and SMEs and in line with the Bank’s tagline, …‘‘here for good’’?

Coming from Kenya where mobile money was a huge success, do you think that it should be more teleco-driven or bank-driven?

That’s always a debate; of course in Kenya it was teleco-driven. Banks would like it to be bank-driven. By the way, I was quite impressed with the NIBSS (Nigeria Interbank Settlement System) that we have in Nigeria. In fact, banks in Kenya decided to come up with similar platform. It was called PESALINK and it is to allow real time transferring of money from one bank account to another. And then the head of the NIBSS was with us in Nairobi and he was telling me that NIBSS is actually M-Pesa on steroids here in Nigeria because everything is done through it. I think the banks in Nigeria clearly have taken the lead as opposed to Kenya where it was telco-driven. At the end of the day what we want is for the client to get the best value for the service.

For Nigeria, it would be bank-led obviously. Because we are active and if you don’t play in that space you will give a chance for somebody else. So this is our space, payments and money; that’s our strength, so we leverage on that.

So you said you are here for a long haul and by September you will be 20 years in Nigeria, but your record shows you have only 22 branches, meaning you are yet to cover Nigeria’s 36 states. How are you going to impact all the people and parts of the country?

Yes we have 22 branches mainly in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt for retail banking. We decided to adopt a focused strategy which means that we are focusing on few cities as opposed to the nationwide, a sort of mass marketing strategy which some other banks are following. Now two, we are investing on the digital banking platform and we will be announcing some major changes on that front. We believe that the future of retail banking will largely dovetail towards digital channels because quite honestly if you look back in 30-40 years ago, the role of our traditional bank branch then and the role today is quite different.

So, the things that will typically take you to our branch are the things that you can now do without visiting our branch and therefore, that speed, convenience, accessibility that the digital channels provide our clients is the area that we feel we should invest more in as opposed to physical channels. I’m sure you know about banks that are now actually entirely digital; they start with digital platform end-to-end; from opening an account everything has to be digital. So we are going to spend on that space and that will give us the capacity to scale up and reach out.

You are aware of the CBN governor’s agenda on bank’s recapitalization and lending to real sector as opposed to concentration of your investments in Treasury Bills and Bonds; What is Standard Chartered going to do to support these initiatives?

About recapitalization, whether it will have impact on lending to the real sector, well we will see how it evolves. Obviously the signal has been sent that over the next five years we might see an increase in capital base for banks and I think as Standard Chartered we are well positioned so we will respond to that at the appropriate time. Then the issue of lending to the real sector I think it is something that is absolutely important from a macroeconomic point of view. Investment is a key component of GDP as well as consumption and these are all areas where banks can play a critical role. So if we can start seeing opportunities for investments in those sectors whether it is in the power sector or the transportation sector these are areas that have bankable projects; I think the demand is there and it is a question of just banks and other partners responding to that demand.

So all I can say is that we are ready if those projects are there so that we can reduce that skewness in terms of investment away from Treasury Bills and Bonds which are important obviously to support the government, but even the government realizes that it is better to have more of those investments deployed into the real sectors of the economy. So as a bank, we are aligning and fully supportive of that.

Nigeria to launch OIC film festival, says Garba Shehu

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The Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, has defended the President’s recent trip to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, saying there are plans for Nigeria to launch the organisation’s film festival.

Shehu, in a statement on Monday, also stated that Buhari, leading other African leaders, got key support for several issues of concern or interest to Nigeria and the African continent at the meeting.

The statement read in part, “Nigeria, a country with bubbling and versatile cultural heritage, stands to gain from measures that will support cinematic productions, including a planned launching of an OIC film festival.

“In this regard, the leaders commended the Secretariat for the initiative of the OIC Film Award for Peace and Co-existence which debuted in February this year at the African Film and TV Festival at Ouagadougou, Mali.”

According to the presidential aide, when the President decided to attend the OIC meeting, he knew some people would raise dust.

Buhari’s spokesman, however, noted that the President, guided by overall national interest, preferred not to worry about the storms.

Shehu said, “The criticisms of his attendance by some, including cultural organisation, Ohanaeze and the Christian Association of Nigeria are not new or unexpected.

“For those who know President Buhari, these tantrums don’t make him angry, in the full understanding that when the critics take time to read or see the outcomes, they too will be glad that the decision (was) taken to be present at the key strategic gathering.

“Interestingly, the major takeaways from this meeting were concerns expressed daily by church leaders and imams. The issues deal directly with safety, peace and prosperity of the nation and its citizens.”