The major headlines from mainstream newspapers today, Friday, May 4, are mostly focused on President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to the US, and his stopover in London on his way back home; the call by Southern and Middle Belt leaders for NASS to restructure Nigeria; Saraki’s pledge that the Senate will revisit the devolution of powers, and the issue of settlement for Naira/RMB currency swap.
The Nation reports that the presidency stated that contrary to the views in some quarters, President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to the United States was beneficial to the country.
In a statement released on Thursday, May 3, by the senior special assistant (media and publicity) to the president, Mallam Garba Shehu, the presidency said Buhari was satisfied with the outcome of the visit.
The publication reports that the statement was in response to criticisms of the trip by former president Olusegun Obasanjo and others, even though it did not specifically say so.
Obasanjo had dismissed the trip on Wednesday, May 2, saying “For whatever the meeting (between President Buhari and U.S. President Donald Trump) was worth, President Buhari again bungled another opportunity to self-redeem.”
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had also condemned the trip.
Still on the issue of Buhari’s US trip, The Guardian is reporting that the president made a stopover in London, on his way back to Nigeria. There had been no prior official disclosure he would make the London visit; and the stopover had reportedly led to speculations.
The publication recalled that in 2017, President Buhari had spent several months in the United Kingdom receiving treatment for an undisclosed ailment.
However, the presidency dismissed insinuations that the visit had any significance beyond the ordinary.
According to the senior special assistant to the president, the technical crew decided to break the long trip from the U.S. to refuel and carry out routine checks.
Deviating from Buhari’s US trip, Punch is reporting that leaders of the South and the Middle Belt geopolitical zones appealed to the National Assembly to save Nigeria, which they said was on the edge of a precipice.
The leaders, who were drawn from the southwest, south-south, southeast and north central, made the appeal when they met with the leadership of the Senate in Abuja on Thursday, May 3.
They made their positions on various issues affecting the country known, and urged the legislature to drop partisan politics in handling the affairs of the country. They also asked that a national emergency be immediately declared, as they echoed the call for Nigeria to be restructured.
Also focusing on the visit by Southern and Middle Belt leaders to the Senate, Vanguard reports that Senate president, Bukola Saraki, assured the visitors that the upper chamber will revisit the rejected devolution of power items in its constitution amendment exercise.
The Senate president stressed that Nigerians must defend the parliament, if they want to strengthen the nation’s democracy, and also stated that the National Assembly was ready to play its role to ensure that the country continues on the path of democracy and growth.
Saraki said the National Assembly was also ready to reconsider clauses which were rejected during the ongoing constitution review process; and will do so after the passage of the 2018 budget. He added that NASS has been working hard to create an enabling environment that will attract investors into the country.
Meanwhile, This Day’s spotlight is on the issue of the settlement for the Naira/RMB currency swap.
The publication reports that First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Stanbic IBTC, Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) and Zenith Bank Plc have been appointed as the settlement banks for the $2.5 billion bilateral currency swap agreed between the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the People’s Bank of China (PBoC).
The development was made public on Thursday, May 3; and the apex bank disclosed that the deal had been sealed on Friday, April 27 in Beijing, China.
According to the paper, a reliable CBN source privy to the deal, said the four banks will now be responsible for settling the trade transactions between importers and exporters from both countries, likely to take off just before next month.
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