Simon Danczuk today admitted 'there is no fool like an old fool' after he was caught sending lewd messages to a 17-year-old girl asking if she wanted to be 'spanked' and told her: 'God I'm horny'.

The MP, who has campaigned against child abuse, has been suspended by Labour over explicit texts sent to Sophena Houlihan after she asked him for a job in his Rochdale constituency office.

Mr Danczuk said today he had been 'stupid' to sext the young drama student but claimed it was at 'an extremely low point in my life' after his split from his 'selfie queen' wife Karen, 32.

He tweeted: 'Today's story, while not entirely accurate, refers to an extremely low point in my life.
'My behaviour was inappropriate & I apologise unreservedly to everyone I've let down. I was stupid & there's no fool like an old fool'.
'I'm more saddened that this episode could overshadow the important work we're doing to help Rochdale & that's where my focus lies'.
Mr Danczuk, an outspoken critic of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn could be expelled and deselected before the next election.

A Labour Party spokesman said: 'The General Secretary of the Labour Party has today suspended Simon Danczuk's membership of the Party, pending an investigation into allegations published today'. 
Mr Danczuk, who outed Sir Cyril Smith as a paedophile, started sending texts in July, shortly after his split from his 'selfie queen' wife Karen, 32.

Miss Houlihan claims she was bombarded with explicit messages over the next month, including ones asking to 'spank' and 'discipline' her.
Fellow Labour MP Jess Phillips today said of Mr Danczuk: 'If you have position of responsibility you have to employ it. If a 17-year-old chatted me up I would tell them to stop'. 
Greater Manchester Police today confirmed the MP was accused of 'communicating inappropriately with a teenage girl', but officers 'determined that no offences have been committed'.
The messages were seen by Mr Danczuk's girlfriend Claire Hamilton, 32, who dumped him saying she believed he was messaging 'a lot' of other women online. 

Miss Houlihan, a drama student who is a member of a vampire and goth website, said she was shocked by his messages - but also enjoyed the attention.
The teenager, who has just turned 18, said she was 'flattered' because she 'was in awe of him' but was later 'weirded out' because 'he is old enough to be my dad', she said.
The MP has not commented on the story - but a source close to him said they are 'two consenting adults'.
Miss Houlihan told The Sun: 'I could not believe what I was seeing when he first sent me a naughty message. I was shocked.
'He's an MP and shouldn't be behaving like that. He also had only just split up from Karen — and then he started dating Claire'. 
The teenager, who lives with her mother, revealed that after a month of messaging Mr Danczuk asked her how old she was.

When she said '17', he is said to have replied: 'Good for you'.
The Rochdale MP, who led a campaign to expose his predecessor Sir Cyril Smith as a paedophile, later messaged Miss Houlihan after she posted a picture of herself in a dress on Instagram.
It was that point, she says, that their exchanges became more flirty and the two sent messages back and forth about three times a week.
Around the time of the Labour Party conference in September, Mr Danczuk is said to have suggested the pair 'meet up', before asking Miss Houlihan for a picture.
On September 18 he said they should 'meet up' and the student asked him: 'are you serious?' and he responded: 'I'm always serious! I rarely do non-serious! Let's meet up when you're ready.'
When she sent one of her wearing a revealing white body suit he allegedly wrote: 'Why aren't you here in Spain wearing that costume?! Lol', to which the teenager joked it would 'look better on your bedroom floor'. 
Among the more sexually-explicit messages he sent including one where he told Miss Houlihan he was 'horny' and she was 'distracting' him from writing a book. 
He also wrote: 'Right, let's get back to the sex then' when the conversation turned serious. Later he told her she was 'cheeky' and asked if she wanted him to 'spank' her, she claimed.

Police in Brussels have arrested six people in connection with an alleged plot to target the city on New Year's Eve, prosecutors say.
The arrests come as cities around the world heighten security measures ahead of large-scale New Year celebrations.
The arrests in Brussels were made during raids in suburbs including Molenbeek, which was used as a base by the 13 November Paris attackers.
The city's main fireworks display has been cancelled over the feared plot.
None of the six people arrested on Thursday has been identified.
Two people arrested in Brussels earlier this week, named as 30-year-old Said S and 27-year-old Mohammed K, have been charged with threatening to carry out a terrorist attack.
Brussels police say the apparent plots to target New Year celebrations are not related to the network behind the Paris attacks.

Extra measures

Security is being stepped up in major European cities ahead of New Year celebrations, with officials wary of possible terror plots.
New Year fireworks and festivities have been cancelled in Brussels and extra measures are being put in place in other cities, including Paris, London, Berlin and Moscow.
Meanwhile in Turkey, security services say they have thwarted a major plot to attack celebrations in Ankara.
Earlier this week, Austrian police claimed a "friendly intelligence service" had tipped them off that major European capitals were at risk of being attacked over the holiday period.
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said the Brussels decision had been taken "given information we have received".
Last year 100,000 people turned out in Brussels to welcome in the New Year. "In these circumstances, we can't check everyone," Brussels Mayor Yvan Mayeur said.

Brussels was put on a far-reaching lockdown in November in the wake of the Paris attacks, as police hunted suspects linked to the city.
An escalation of the perceived terror threat to the maximum level four led to the metro network being suspended and a curfew imposed for four days.
Belgium remains on high alert but the threat level has been downgraded to three. Restrictions in place over the New Year relate to specific events and celebrations.

Tight security in Paris

The French capital has cancelled its main New Year fireworks display but the traditional gathering on the Champs-Elysees will take place, amid tight security.
Projections on the Arc de Triomphe will be shorter than normal and four giant screens will be placed at intervals to avoid creating tightly packed crowds.

THE Federal Government, yesterday, explained how it would fund the N5,000 monthly welfare payment to vulnerable Nigerians just as it reaffirmed that the Boko Haram insurgency had been technically suppressed.

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed
Mohammed, who was accompanied by his Special Assistant, Mr. Segun Adeyemi, was received by Vanguard’s Editor-in-Chief, Mr. Gbenga Adefaye and Acting Editor, Mr. Eze Anaba, said beneficiaries of the N5,000 monthly payment would be required to meet conditions, including enrolment into the country’s development agenda.
The minister also disclosed that the insurgents had been restricted into two local government areas of the 30 local government areas they controlled at the onset of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Funding of N5,000 welfare scheme
On how the funding of the N5,000 welfare scheme would be achieved, Mohammed said: “What we want to achieve by our social intervention of which the conditional transfer is just one part, is to move out millions of Nigerians from poverty. That is why we have this half a trillion naira social intervention.
“Part of what we intend to do with the half a trillion naira is to train market women, artisans and unemployed graduates in the art of management and also give them loans to start their own businesses. Part of our social intervention also includes the transfer of N5,000 to the most vulnerable people.
“And we are being partnered in this by the World Bank and other multilateral organisations. It has been done in many countries before and we believe that it can be done here. Many people have written ridiculously about N5,000 and claimed that it is not up to what they spend on recharge cards. And we said yes, those who are writing such things are not the average Nigerians we are seeking to help.
“If you look at the lady who is selling water melon or pawpaw, she does not have up to N5,000 capital. People don’t know that N5,000 can be meaningful for many Nigerians because they are too comfortable in their corners. They do not know that N5,000 can make the difference between life and death for many Nigerians.
“Many people have died because they cannot afford transportation to the health centres. We are grappling with the reality on ground and we know that this conditional cash transfer is working in some states and it is being piloted by DIFID. In Jigawa, Yobe, and Kano, a British group is tying the conditional N5,000 transfer on a pilot scheme.
“When we say conditional transfer, it means that you must show evidence that you have enrolled your children in school and immunised them. It is not just that we are giving you money free, you must also show evidence that you have complied with some obligations. We know it works because it has increased school enrolment, led to a drop in mortality rate and decline in stunted growth.
“Apart from blockages and savings, there are many government institutions today, who ought to be returning money to the treasury but they are not doing so. We know that some organisations made over N20 billion last year but returned less than N100 million to the treasury.
“This is why the idea of the Treasury Single Account is so important to us. We are going back to the basics. We believe that the money for this project will come from savings, budget and prudent management. Also we are going to have support from multilateral organisations, especially in the area of cash transfer. Again some of these projects are not just recurrent, they are also capital in a way.

President Muhammadu Buhari will host his first Presidential Media Chat today, Wednesday, December 30, 2015.
In the course of the programme, which will be broadcast live on the network services of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), President Buhari will answer questions from a panel of journalists on a broad range of current national issues.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity), Mr. Femi Adesina, said the Presidential Media Chat will begin at 7.00pm.
The statement said other television and radio stations in the country may hook-up to NTA and FRCN to relay the programme to their viewers and listeners.

Funke, who was a National Diploma II student of Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH), was allegedly electrocuted on a hotel bathroom on Sunday.

The incident happened on 30, Balogun Street, Oshodi in Lagos where she and Adetunji, lodged in his mother’s hotel that was commissioned last Thursday.

Her younger sister, Funmi, said Abolade came to pick her sister at their residence on Saturday around 11pm, adding that was the last she saw of her.

She said: “Abolade was in a hurry that night and I told my sister not to go but she picked some of her things and left with him. On Sunday morning around 7, she called and said plans had changed that they were not going to the beach again but to a hotel and since then, we have been trying her mobile line. When she didn’t pick her call, I became worried. That day was her birthday and our mother still called her in the midnight to pray for her. Even, when my mum called Abolade’s mobile line, someone picked and said he forgot his phone and since then his lime has been switched off.”

Funmi said when she and some family members went to the hotel to check her, they didn’t see her, adding that the receptionist said Adetunji just stepped out and wasn’t with a girl.

“Even when we got to Abolade’s house, we were told he had gone to the beach. Around 8pm on Sunday, my cousin and I went to the hotel again, I sighted blood on the wall and when I asked Abolade’s brother, Bayo where my sister was, he said: ‘at the moment, Funke is dead’; he said it without remorse and was still icing drinks in the freezer. Even when we went to the police station, they said they were not aware of the incident. Is that how my sister will die? She has been dating him for almost a year. He just returned from National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) orientation camp in Anambra State. The boy is very proud to the extent that whenever he visited her, he didn’t greet anyone.”

Adetunji told The Nation on his hospital bed yesterday that the late Funke wanted to have her bath that morning when they realised there was no toothpaste in the toilet.

He said: “She was already in the bathroom and I went to meet my brother who was on the same floor with us to get the toothpaste. As I returned to the room, I tried to open the toilet door but it was stiff. As I gained access to the toilet, I met her on the floor with a shower handle on her right hand. When I tried to carry her, I didn’t know what happened until I saw myself on hospital bed.”

At their home, his father, Mr Jamiu Adetunji, A. K.A (Yaro), said Abolade’s elder brother called their mother that they needed a doctor.

Adetunji said: “Immediately we took them to Geo Medical Centre where Funke eventually gave up. We first took her to General Hospital, Ikeja but she was rejected because there was none of her family members with us. It was later we reported the incident to Akinpelu Police Station where they took the body to Yaba mortuary.

I wouldn’t want to kill someone else’s daughter. Funke was my son’s girl friend and I told her to help me monitor his movement because at times he wouldn’t listen and since he talked about her dearly, I felt she was going to inspire him. It is really unfortunate. My son has put me in trouble. Even when they wanted to know the girl’s full name, I pinched my son few times just for him to wake up. I have arrested the electrician that connected light to the building because last Friday, occupants of the building beside the hotel complained of shock in their house and I told the electrician but he refused to come. It was after the incident he came and was arrested . “

Some family members claimed that the late Funke’s skin was still fresh when they visited the mortuary, adding that there was no sign of electrocution except for her swollen right arm.

The bereaved mother, Mrs Kehinde Balogun, said she still spoke with her daughter on Sunday morning.

She said:”Funke was my first child and she has a three-year-old son. The only reason they live alone is because her school is close to the family house in Oshodi. Why did they kill my beauty? Why? What have I done to deserve this? I wish she listened to her sister that night because she had a dream. I saw my daughter in my sleep this morning telling me she had returned. It is unfortunate.

I wish it was a reality. It is a big tragedy because where she died was three houses from where I gave birth to her. I warned her about him but she told me he was okay and assured me everything was fine.”

Mowo 11, a suburb of Olorunda Local Council Development Area of Badagry area in Lagos State, was yesterday thrown into pandemonium, as an Islamic cleric, Mallam Shehu, popularly referred to as Alhaji Sambo, attempted to use his 20-year-old lover, Busayo Amdalat, for money ritual.

The victim, who resides in Ibeju-Lekki, was said to have visited the cleric at Mowo Phase 2 in Badagry to spend the Christmas holidays.

It was gathered that in the early hours of yesterday, the cleric had a visitor known as Ifa and they asked the victim to put on a white cloth and when she did, the cleric and his accomplice hit Busayo with an iron rod on her head.

It was gathered that when Sambo's accomplice, Ifa was slashing the victim's throat, she was able to muster courage by hitting Ifa on the head with a bottle and in the process ran to a nearby street where a carnival was taking place.

Some residents, who saw her drenched in a pool of blood with injuries inflicted on her neck and other parts of her body, quickly rushed her to an undisclosed hospital in the area.

A resident, Taiwo Abdulraman, who spoke with Vanguard said, the residents quickly mobilized themselves into two groups; one of them went after the cleric and his friend, Ifa, while others took the lady to hospital.

"We quickly mobilised and went after him, when we got to his house, we saw blood in parts of the building. There were lots of charms and other fetish substances in his house. We saw the iron rod and the sharp knife he used on her, but we didn't meet him in the house. We also quickly mobilized and went to his second house at MTN Bus Stop, but he was nowhere to be found, he said."

When Vanguard paid a visit to the hospital where the 20-year-old victim was being treated, her face and neck were covered with plaster.

Narrating her ordeal, Miss Amadalat said "We both had a quarrel before now for close to three weeks. I knew his first wife before she died but the second wife did not want him (Sambo) to marry me but he resolved that he was going to marry me. I even got pregnant for him but he rejected the pregnancy at some point in time.

"I went to report him to a Muslim cleric but the cleric said there was nothing he could do to convince my lover to accept the pregnancy. For about two months, I did not call Sambo and because of the issue, I changed my telephone number."

She said after Sambo apologized to her she forgave him.

Her words: "So, yesterday, Sambo and a man called Ifa were having a discussion in his house. Before I knew it, he started taking lots of alcohol, when I cautioned him; he refused to listen to me. He even offered me some but I rejected it.

"Later that night, he asked me to wrap myself in a white clothing of which I obliged. The man called Ifa wanted to use a cloth to cover my face and in the process, Sambo came in with an iron rod and hit me on the head. I shouted but nobody heard me because it was a bushy area.

"Ifa and Sambo attacked me with a knife but I managed to lock myself in a room. I now lied to them I had called one of the neighbours, it was in that process that they left and I managed to escape from the house."

TV personality Moet Abebe is currently on a romantic getaway with her boo, who she has referred to as her “Baby Daddy” and as “M” on social media.
The couple is in Mahé, a large island in Seychelles. From underwater kisses to swimming with turtles and more, Moet Abebe and her boo are in lala-land.
On Christmas day Moet posted “Merry Christmas guys!!!!!! I’m spending the holidays with the man of my dreams that I thought I would never find… Sigh… Hope you all are spending this time with those who matter to you!!! I love you all and next year has to be a bang”.
See more cute photos of the couple below.
Her boo is popularly known as Monk Chief (real name Christian Ojeme) and he is an upcoming recording artist who most recently released a song titled “Conga”.
According to reports he studied Mass Communication at Bowen University Nigeria and also studied at AFDA (The South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance) in Cape Town, South Africa.

A relative of President Buhari's spokesperson, Femi Adesina, Professor Foluke Ogunleye died in a fatal motor crash along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway on Saturday December 26th.

Ogunleye who is believed to be the elder sister of Femi Adesina, was on her way to Lagos on boxing day, 26th of December, when the accident occurred. Until her death, she was a lecturer with Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU and was at a point, the Head, Department of Dramatic Art.

Sergi Guardiola has denied posting the tweets which saw Barcelona rescind his contract with the club on Monday.
The 24-year-old was one of three players signed for Barca B, but his dream of playing for the European champions soon unravelled when tweets emerged in which he had posted offensive comments about the club and about Catalonia. 
In an official statement, hours after announcing his arrival, Barcelona confirmed they would be making a U-turn on the attacking midfielder’s signing
Speaking to Onda Cero, Guardiola said he understands the Catalan club’s decision, but claimed he did not publish the tweets. 
“I apologise to Barca and to Catalonia,” he began.

“It is a mis-understanding. I didn’t write [the tweets], it was in 2013 and I didn’t even know they existed. 
“It was put on my profile, but it wasn’t me. I ask for forgiveness a thousand times - I have learnt a difficult lesson.”
Guardiola also wanted to make it clear he has nothing against Catalonia, saying it was his dream to play for Barcelona.  
“Barça have behaved really well with me,” he continued. 
“I understand their decision. I wouldn’t be capable of putting something like that, though. 
“Once you become a professional, you support the team that plays the best football, which is Barca. 
“I’m from Mallorca, I’m not anti-Catalan or anti-anything. My dream was to play for Barca, now it’s broken.” 
It’s not clear what will happen next for Guardiola.
He recently left Alcorcon and said for the time being he will return home and carry on training. 
“We will see what happens,” he added when questioned about his future.

A woman, identified as Esther Williams, has been arrested by the Isheri division of the Lagos State Police Command for pouring hot water on her neighbour, Mabel Enwongomfon–Umoh, who is a nursing mother.

Williams, who is said to be in her late 30s, was said to have emptied a bucket of hot water on Mabel after they had a minor argument in their rented house on Thursday, December 24, 2015, around 8pm.

The incident left Mabel, who was still breastfeeding her two-month-old baby, with severe burns on many parts of her body, including her two breasts and abdomen.
PUNCH Metro gathered that the woman had not been able to breastfeed her baby since the incident happened.

The husband of the victim, who identified himself simply as Umoh, told PUNCH Metro that Williams attempted to escape after assaulting his wife, but he was able to apprehend and hand her over to the police.

Mabel, 27, who was evidently writhing in pains on the hospital bed when our correspondent visited, told PUNCH Metro that it was a fight between some of her co-tenants in front of her room that led to the incident.

She explained that Williams, who poured the water on her, had nothing to do with the quarrel.

She said, “My neighbour’s brother and his girlfriend were fighting and they pushed themselves to the front of my door. When I could not cope with the disturbance again, I went outside to call the guy’s sister to come and separate them or make them leave our entrance.

“As I was going back to my room, Williams, who had nothing with the fight, asked why I called the sister, saying I was interfering in something that did not concern me. I told her that they were fighting in front of my room, but she pushed me. I was surprised because we never had a quarrel before then.

“That was how we started shouting on each other.”

She recalled that it was the noise from the fight that drew the attention of her husband who was in the room with their two children. She said her husband came out to separate them and they were already going back to their apartment when Mabel ran into her room to carry the bucket of water and poured it on her.

She said, “I was in the front while my husband was behind me. Suddenly, she went into her room and came out with a bucket and poured the content on me.

“I have been in serious pain since then, and I have not been able to breastfeed my two-month-old baby, who is my second child.”
A police source told our correspondent that Williams had confessed to the crime and that she blamed the devil for the act.
“She would be charged to court,” the source said.

Meanwhile, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Joe Offor, said he would get back to our correspondent on the incident.

“Let me call the DPO of the division and get back to you,” he added.

The Federal Government would on January 1, 2016 reduce the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly known as petrol, to N85 per litre.
The Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, who broke the news to journalists,during a tour of the Port Harcourt refinery on Christmas Day said that the Federal government is working to reduce the pump price of petrol to about 85 or 86 naira per litre by Jan 1st.
He said efforts were on to get the refinery to achieve 60 percent production capacity and to supply about 11 million liters of petrol daily.
"If you look at the new PPPRA template that we developed and which I just signed off two days ago, when it is announced you will find out that for now ,and I use the emphatic word of the President for now, the price of the refined product will actually be lower than 87 naira, It will be 85. We will probably announce that in January if the prices hold.
"Like I said, we have done a modulation calculation and it is showing us below N87. I imagine that if PPPRA publishes it today, it will become effective immediately. But the 1st of January that is when we are looking at."
"What that does for you is that its modulating. If it goes up you move up, if it comes down you come down. So we take away the fact of having to go find funds to pay for these subsidies that we cannot afford.
"More importantly we try to be as close to the pump price that we have now as possible," he said.

The Federal Government has declared December 24, 25 and 28 public holidays to mark Maulud Nabiy, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, respectively.
The Minister of the Interior, Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (retd), made the declaration on Thursday in Abuja in a statement signed by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr. Bassey Akpanyung.
“The Federal Government has declared Thursday, 24th December, 2015 as public holiday to mark Eid-El-Maulud celebration.
“Friday, 25th and Monday 28th December, 2015 have also been declared as public holidays to mark Christmas and Boxing Day celebration,” the statement said.
The minister enjoined Muslim and Christian faithful to use the unique occasion to‎ pray for the peace and unity of Nigeria.
He also advised Nigerians to cooperate and join hands with President Muhammadu Buhari in his efforts to build a peaceful, united and virile nation.

President Muhammadu Buhari has presented a N6.08 trillion budget for the fiscal year 2016. He presented the budget today before a joint session of the National Assembly. In the budget, capital expenditure takes N1.8 trillion. N396billion is voted for education, being the largest sectoral allocation. The health sector gets N296 billion while defence has N294 billion. Read his full speech after the cut. It is titled “The Budget of Change”.

2016 Budget Speech: “The Budget of Change”

Delivered By:
His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari
President, Federal Republic of Nigeria

A Joint Session of the National Assembly (on December 22, 2016)


I am honoured and privileged to present the 2016 Budget proposal. This is my first address before this joint session of the National Assembly. I have come here today, not only to address members of the National Assembly, but also to speak directly to the men and women who placed us here.

2. I know the state of our economy is a source of concern for many. This has been further worsened by the unbridled corruption and security challenges we have faced in the last few years. From those who have lost their jobs, to those young people who have never had a job, to the people in the North East whose families and businesses were destroyed by insurgents, this has been a difficult period in our nation’s history, lessons that we must not forget or ignore, as we plan for the future.

3. By June 2014, oil prices averaged $112 per barrel. But as at today, the price is under $39 per barrel. This huge decline is having a painful effect on our economy. Consumption has declined at all levels. In both the private and public sectors, employers have struggled to meet their salary and other employee related obligations. The small business owners and traders have been particularly hard hit by this state of affairs.

4. Fellow Nigerians, the confidence of many might be shaken. However, I stand before you today promising that we will secure our country, rebuild our economy, and make the Federal Republic of Nigeria stronger than it has ever been.

5. The answers to our problems are not beyond us. They exist on our farmlands; our corporations; in the universities in the hearts and minds of our entrepreneurs; through the gallantry of our Armed Forces; and the resolute spirit of Nigerians, especially the youth, who have refused to give up despite all the obstacles confronting them.

6. This Budget proposal, the first by our Government, seeks to stimulate the economy, making it more competitive by focusing on infrastructural development; delivering inclusive growth; and prioritizing the welfare of Nigerians. We believe that this budget, while helping industry, commerce and investment to pick up, will as a matter of urgency, address the immediate problems of youth unemployment and the terrible living conditions of the extremely poor and vulnerable Nigerians.

7. In the medium to longer term, we remain committed to economic diversification through import substitution and export promotion. This will build resilience in our economy. It will guarantee that the problems we have today, will not confront our children and their children. This shall be our legacy for generations to come.

2015: A Year of Global and Domestic Challenges

8.            Today, it is widely acknowledged that the global economy has slowed down. This is particularly the case with emerging markets such as Nigeria. However, despite the weak emerging market growth rates, our domestic security challenges, declining oil prices, and the attendant difficulties in providing foreign exchange to meet market demands, the Nigerian economy grew by 2.84% in the third quarter of 2015.

9.            We have, and will continue to implement strategies that will maintain macroeconomic stability and manage the oil price shocks we are experiencing.

10.          Upon the inauguration of this administration on 29th May 2015, we engaged key stakeholders from various sectors of our economy and interfaced with the heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in order to understand the true state of our nation. What we found prompted us to take certain strategic decisions.

11.          On the economy, we injected new leadership at the helm of our revenue generating agencies including the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), and the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS). We implemented the Treasury Single Account (TSA) which, so far, has provided greater visibility of Government revenues and cash flows. We intervened to support States to navigate their fiscal challenges by restructuring their commercial bank loans and by providing facilities to enable them to pay salary arrears.

12.          We have demonstrated a strong will to fight corruption. I am sure you will agree that the sheer scale of corruption and impunity of the past explains in part, the economic challenges we now face. On these initiatives, and the many more to come, we shall not be deterred. We will pursue the recovery of everything that belongs to the people of Nigeria. No matter where it is hidden. No matter how long it will take.

2015 Budget Performance

13.          Distinguished and honourable members of the National Assembly, I now present a review of the 2015 Budget. That Budget was based on a benchmark oil price of $53 per barrel, oil production of 2.28 million barrels per day and an exchange rate of N190 to the US$.

14.          The projected revenue was N3.45 trillion, with an outlay of N4.49 trillion, implying a deficit of N1.04 trillion. Due largely to under-provisioning by the previous administration for fuel subsidy and the costs required to support the military operations in the North East, the Government had to obtain National Assembly’s approval for a supplementary budget of N575.5 billion. I take this opportunity to thank all members of the National Assembly for the prompt passage of that Bill.
2016: Budget Assumptions

15.          After reviewing the trends in the global oil industry, we have set a benchmark price of $38 per barrel and a production estimate of 2.2 million barrels per day for 2016. We have focused on non-oil revenues by broadening our tax base and improving the effectiveness of our revenue collecting agencies.

16.          Also, with the full implementation of the Treasury Single Account, we expect significant improvements in the collection and remittance of independent revenues. To further support the drive for increased remittances, we will ensure that all MDAs present their budgets in advance, and remit their operating surpluses as required by section 22 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

17.          We are determined to ensure that our resources are managed prudently and utilized solely for the public good. To set the proper tone, one of our early decisions was the adoption of a zero based budgeting approach, which ensures that resources are aligned with Government’s priorities and allocated efficiently. This budgeting method, a clear departure from previous budgeting activities, will optimize the impact of public expenditure.

18.          In addition to the proper linkage of budgeting to strategic planning, we are enhancing the utilization of the Government Integrated Financial Management Information Systems (GIFMIS) to improve financial management. The recently established Efficiency Unit is working across MDAs to identify and eliminate wasteful spending, duplication and other inefficiencies. We engaged costing experts to scrutinize the 2016 budget proposals. They have already identified certain cost areas that can be centralized for economies to be made.
19. We have directed the extension of the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) to all MDAs to reap its full benefits. We will also strengthen the controls over our personnel and pension costs with the imminent introduction of the Continuous Audit Process (CAP). These initiatives will ensure personnel costs are reduced. Our commitment to a lean and cost effective government remains a priority, and the initiatives we are introducing will signal a fundamental change in how Government spends public revenue.
2016: Laying the Foundation for Sustainable Growth

20.          The 2016 budget, as outlined, is designed to ensure that we revive our economy, deliver inclusive growth to Nigerians and create a significant number of jobs.

21.          We aim to ensure macroeconomic stability by achieving a real GDP growth rate of 4.37% and managing inflation. To achieve this, we will ensure the aligning of fiscal, monetary, trade and industrial policies.

22. As we focus on inclusive growth, we are conscious of the current rate of unemployment and underemployment. This is a challenge we are determined to meet; and this budget is the platform for putting more Nigerians to work. I can assure you that this administration will have a job creation focus in every aspect of the execution of this budget. Nigeria’s job creation drive will be private sector led. We will encourage this by a reduction in tax rates for smaller businesses as well as subsidized funding for priority sectors such as agriculture and solid minerals.

23.          As an emergency measure, to address the chronic shortage of teachers in public schools across the country, we also will partner with State and Local Governments to recruit, train and deploy 500,000 unemployed graduates and NCE holders. These graduate teachers will be deployed to primary schools, thereby, enhancing the provision of basic education especially in our rural areas.

24.          We also intend to partner with State and Local Governments to provide financial training and loans to market women, traders and artisans, through their cooperative societies. We believe that this segment of our society is not only critical to our plan for growing small businesses, but it is also an important platform to create jobs and provide opportunities for entrepreneurs.

25.          Furthermore, through the office of the Vice President, we are working with various development partners to design an implementable and transparent conditional cash transfer program for the poorest and most vulnerable. This program will be implemented in phases. Already, the compilation of registers of the poorest persons is ongoing. In the coming weeks, we will present the full programme, which will include our home-grown public primary school feeding and free education for science, technology and education students in our tertiary institutions. Indeed, this will mark a historic milestone for us as a nation.

The 2016 Budget

26. Distinguished members of the National Assembly, I now present, the 2016 Budget proposals of the Federal Government. Based on the assumptions I presented earlier, we have proposed a budget of N6.08 trillion with a revenue projection of N3.86 trillion resulting in a deficit of N2.22 trillion.

27.  The deficit, which is equivalent to 2.16% of Nigeria’s GDP, will take our overall debt profile to 14% of our GDP. This remains well within acceptable fiscal limits. Our deficit will be financed by a combination of domestic borrowing of N984 billion, and foreign borrowing of N900 billion totaling N1.84 trillion. Over the medium term, we expect to increase revenues and reduce overheads, to bring the fiscal deficit down to 1.3% of GDP by 2018.

28. In 2016, oil related revenues are expected to contribute N820 billion. Non-oil revenues, comprising Company Income Tax (CIT), Value Added Tax (VAT), Customs and Excise duties, and Federation Account levies, will contribute N1.45 trillion. Finally, by enforcing strict compliance with the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007 and public expenditure reforms in all MDAs, we have projected up to N1.51 trillion from independent revenues.

29. Although we are working to diversify our economy, we will not lose sight of the need to restructure the oil and gas sector which has been marred by corruption and plagued with inefficiencies. Accordingly, I have directed the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) to adjust its pricing template to reflect competitive and market driven components. We believe this can lower input costs and attain efficiency savings that will enable PPPRA to keep the selling price for all marketers of petrol at N87 per liter for now.

30. The current fuel scarcity with long queues at petrol stations all over the country causing social dislocation is very unfortunate. Government profoundly apologizes to Nigerians for this prolonged hardship and misery. It is as a result of market speculators and resistance to change by some stakeholders. Government is working very hard to end these shortages and bring fuel to the pumps all over the country.

31. I have also directed the NNPC to explore alternate funding models that will enable us to honour our obligations in Joint Ventures (JVs) and deep offshore fields. We are confident that these measures can be achieved and will lower the burden that the traditional cash calls have imposed on our budget and cash flows as well as contribute towards shoring up our national reserves.

32.  To deliver our development objectives, we have increased the capital expenditure portion of the budget from N557 billion in the 2015 budget to N1.8 trillion, in the 2016 budget. Distinguished and honourable members of the National Assembly, for the first time in many years, capital expenditure will represent 30% of our total budget. In future years we intend to raise the percentage allocation for capital expenditure.

33. This is a fulfillment of our promise to align expenditure to our long-term objectives, and a sign of government’s commitment to sustainable development. This increased capital expenditure commits significant resources to critical sectors such as Works, Power and Housing – N433.4 billion; Transport – N202.0 billion; Special Intervention Programs – N200.0 billion; Defence – N134.6 billion; and Interior – N53.1 billion. These investments in infrastructure and security are meant to support our reforms in the Agriculture, Solid Minerals and other core job creating sectors of our economy.

34. We will invest to safeguard lives and property.

35. We will invest in equipping our farmers with the right tools, technology and techniques.

36. We will invest in empowering and enabling our miners to operate in a safe, secure and humane environment.

37. We will invest in training our youths, through the revival of our technical and vocational institutions, to ensure they are competent enough to seize the opportunities that will arise from this economic revival.

38. Indeed, the future looks bright. And I ask that we all work together to make this vision a reality. The 223% year on year growth in capital expenditure demonstrates our desire to make Nigeria more competitive, and start the journey to deliver sustainable development in our country.

39.  In fulfillment of our promise to run a lean government, we have proposed a 9% reduction in non-debt recurrent expenditure, from N2.59 trillion in the 2015 Budget to N2.35 trillion in 2016. Furthermore, we have budgeted N300 billion for Special Intervention Programs, which takes the total amount for non-debt recurrent expenditure to N2.65 trillion.

39. As I mentioned earlier, the Efficiency Unit set up by this Administration together with effective implementation of GIFMIS and IPPIS will drive a reduction of overheads by at least 7%, personnel costs by 8% and other service wide votes by 19%. Distinguished and honourable members, this budget will be executed to provide optimum value by ensuring every naira spent by this Government, counts.

40. We will devote a significant portion of our recurrent expenditure to institutions that provide critical government services. We will spend N369.6 billion in Education; N294.5 billion in Defence; N221.7 billion in Health and N145.3 billion in the Ministry of Interior. This will ensure our teachers, armed forces personnel, doctors, nurses, police men, fire fighters, prison service officers and many more critical service providers are paid competitively and on time.

41. Distinguished and honourable members of the National Assembly, our 2016 borrowings will be principally directed to fund our capital projects. Furthermore, the sum of N113 billion will be set aside for a Sinking Fund towards the retirement of maturing loans; while N1.36 trillion has been provided for foreign and domestic debt service. This calls for prudent management on our part, both of the debt portfolio and the deployment of our hard earned foreign exchange earnings.

42. I am aware of the problems many Nigerians currently have in accessing foreign exchange for their various purposes – from our traders and business operators who rely on imported inputs; to manufacturers needing to import sophisticated equipment and spare parts; to our airlines operators who need foreign exchange to meet their international regulatory obligations; to the financial services sector and capital markets who are key actors in the global arena.

43. These are clearly due to the current inadequacies in the supply of foreign exchange to Nigerians who need it. I am however assured by the Governor of Central Bank that the Bank is currently fine-tuning its foreign exchange management to introduce some flexibility and encourage additional inflow of foreign currency to help ease the pressure.

44. We are carefully assessing our exchange rate regime keeping in mind our willingness to attract foreign investors but at the same time, managing and controlling inflation to level that will not harm the average Nigerians. Nigeria is open for business. But the interest of all Nigerians must be protected. Indeed, tough decisions will have to be made. But this does not necessarily mean increasing the level of pain already being experienced by most Nigerians.

45. So to the investors, business owners and industrialists, we are aware of your pains. To the farmers, traders and entrepreneurs, we also hear you. The status quo cannot continue. The rent seeking will stop. The artificial current demand will end. Our monetary, fiscal and social development policies are aligned.


46. Mr. Senate President, Mr. Speaker, distinguished members of the National Assembly, in spite of the global economic uncertainties; we must remain steadfast in our commitment to steer this country back to greatness.

47. The Nigerian economy needs to move away from dependency on oil. Our growth must be inclusive. Nigerians must be part of the growth story. As a Government, we shall deliver security, jobs and infrastructure. This is the right of all Nigerians.

48. I know many people will say “I have heard this before”. Indeed, trust in Government, due to the abuse and negligence of the past, is at an all-time low. This means we must go back to basics. Our actions will speak for us. My team of dedicated, committed and patriotic Nigerians is well aware of the task ahead and I can assure you that we are taking on the challenge.

49. We will not betray the trust reposed in us.

50. We will welcome and be responsive to your feedback and criticisms.

51. We are here to serve. And indeed, Nigerians will get the service they have longed for and which they rightly deserve.

52. We as a Government cannot do it alone. We will require the support of all civil servants, the organized labour, industry groups, the press and of course, our religious and traditional institutions. This is a call for all of us to stand and serve our country.

53. This Budget represents a major step in delivering a new opportunity for Nigeria. It demonstrates our confident optimism that despite the challenging times, we have the will, resourcefulness and commitment to deliver prosperity to our people. And by the Grace of Almighty God and the sheer will and determination of the Nigerian people, we will come out stronger and more united than ever.

54. Thank you and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
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