*$2.1b arms scandal: PDP ex-national chair Bello, son for trial* *Pray for Buhari, Fayose appeals to Nigerians*

*$2.1b arms scandal: PDP ex-national chair Bello, son for trial* *Pray for Buhari, Fayose appeals to Nigerians*

Sabinews Morning News Update for December 27 2015

National News

$2.1b arms scandal: PDP ex-national chair Bello, son for trial

All is set for the commencement of the trial of a former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Dr. Haliru Bello Mohammed and his son, Abbah for alleged corruption by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday.

Operatives of the anti-graft agency yesterday arrested Abbah ahead of his arraignment and father. Read more

 Pray for Buhari, Fayose appeals to Nigerians

Ekiti State governor, Mr Ayo­dele Fayose has called on Nigerians to pray specially for President Muhammadu Buhari, saying that the president needs God to give him the necessary wis­dom, to be able to find solution to the country’s economic and secu­rity problems.

The governor also challenged the Min­ister of Information and Culture, Lai Mo­hammed to relocate to Sambisa in Borno State or at best, Maiduguri, the Borno State capital and move around there with­out heavy military security if indeed he was sure that Boko Haram had been de­feated. Read more

Two killed, many injured in Ekiti bank robbery

There was panic in Okemesi on Christmas Eve in Ekiti West Local Government Area of Ekiti State when a nine-man armed robbery gang attacked an old generation bank. Two persons were killed in the process.

The hoodlums also carted away millions of naira and injured scores of residents in an orgy of shooting that lasted almost an hour. Read more

Defence minister, military chiefs spend Christmas with troops

Minister of Defence, Muhammad Dan-Ali, has assured soldiers fighting insurgency in the North East of government’s commitment to provide the needed logistics to expeditiously end insurgency in the country.

He gave the assurance in Damaturu at the weekend at a Christmas lunch organised for troops locked in battle with Boko Haram. Read more

Troops arrest five as pirates kill one, injure seven in Bayelsa

Troops of Operation Pulo Shield (OPS) formerly known as Joint Task Force (JTF), have arrested five suspected sea pirates and oil thieves in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

The suspects were nabbed by the troops of Sector 2 who were on patrol on the Sangana Creek on December 21 and 22. Read more

Biafra agitators celebrate Xmas on Aba streets

Members of the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) celebrated this year’s Christmas on the streets of Aba as they protested the continued detention of the director of Radio Biafra and leader of the IPOB by the federal government.

The protesters had as early as 7.00am gathered at Na­tional High School on Port Harcourt Road from where they marched through Cem­etery to Azikiwe roads before they proceeded towards the city’s main motor park en-route to Osisioma junction. Read more

Zaria Residents Accuse Zakzaky, Followers of Alleged Human Right Abuses, Impunity

Some residents of Zaria, Kaduna state on Saturday alleged that the Islamic Movement in Nigeria otherwise known as Shiite had subjected them to untold hardship in the past 20 years.

Addressing a news conference in Kaduna, spokesman of the group, Alhaji Idris Mohammed Baba said the Shiites had held residents of Zaria and Sabon Gari local government areas hostage with impunity by allegedly operating a parallel government. Read more

Suspected Murderer Nabbed In Lagos

A man suspected to have being among those that killed a young man at Layinka Street, Ajegunle area of Lagos State, has been arrested.

The suspect, simply identified as Osha, was arrested on Christmas Day by members of the vigilante group in Ajegunle, Orile. Read more

Economy

BPE Blames Lack of Regulatory Regime for Rot in Education, Health Sectors

The Director General, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr. Benjamin Ezra Dikki has said the current decline in education standards was bound to worsen unless the primary and secondary levels were brought under a regulatory regime that enforces uniform standards across the country.

He said an urgent reform of the sector was critical to ensuring that standards are enforced at all levels. Read more

Naira Free Fall: Manufacturers Canvass End To Fuel Subsidy

Manufacturers in the country have joined the clamour for fuel subsidy removal, saying it is putting pressure on the country’s external reserves and the value of the Naira.

The President of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Dr. Frank Udemba Jacobs, in a statement yesterday, described fuel subsidy, as a ‘major source of wastage of foreign exchange’, arguing that it would stop naturally with the privatisation of the oil and gas sector to promote emergence of private refineries. Read more

Expert forecasts 5.4% growth for hospitality industry in 2016

Expert has forecasted a promising outlook for the nation’s hospitality industry in 2016. This is quite in contrast with the Central Bank of Nigeria fears of a possible recession hitting the economy by 2016.

According to PriceWaterHouseCoopers, the global accounting firm, although the domestic market took a knock in the first half of the year, an increase in hotel bookings is projected to occur at a 6.6% compound annual rate to 2.2 million by 2019. Read more

Oil and Gas

FG moves to reduce trucking of petroleum products

The federal government has moved to reduce road transportation of petroleum products with trucks from coastal depots and storage facilities in the country to hinterlands.

Speaking with journalists during his inspection tour to the Port Harcourt Refinery Company (PHRC) on Christmas Day in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, revealed that government would trim down the country’s dependence on the use of trucks to distribute fuel and rather improve the use of pipelines for product conveyance. Read more

Looming subsidy removal: Oil workers warn Buhari!

Amid indications that the government may have settled for the full deregulation of the petroleum sector  in 2016, oil workers, under the aegis of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), have expressed support for the looming regime.

Meanwhile, the support came with a caveat to President Muhammadu Buhari: Utilities for the full deregulation must be in place and Nigerians must be adequately protected from Shylock oil sector players. Read more

Sports

Sokari hails Enyimba ahead of Esperance showdown

Kingsley Sokari has  praised Enyimba boss Felix Anyansi-Agwu for making his move to Tunisia to go through just as he looks forward to today’s showdown against Esperance, who he would have joined earlier this year. Sokari made a winning debut for new club CS Sfaxien last Wednesday after a day’s delay in the coming through of his transfer papers.

I thank the Enyimba chairman, Chief Anyansi, who gave me the chance to play top-flight football in Nigeria,” said the enterprising midfielder, who has signed a three and half year contract. Read more

Wenger laments as Southampton massacre Arsenal

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said that his title-chasing team had been punished for lacking sharpness after they crashed to a damaging 4-0 defeat at Southampton on Boxing Day.

Having beaten Premier League title rivals Manchester City 2-1 on their previous outing, Arsenal were looking for a victory that would have sent them to the top of the table. Read more

 Ighalo spoils Chelsea’s revival

Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo on 57 minutes of their game spoilt Chelseas’s revival under care taker coach, Guus Hiddink when his shot took a deflection off Gary Cahill and looped over the keeper and allowed him to celebrate in front of the travelling Watford fans to bring his goals tally to 13 in the lucrative English Premiership League.

Though, the game ended 2-2 courtesy of Diego Costa emerging as the figurehead of Guus Hiddink’s revolu­tion at Chelsea, with the Spanish forward keeping the Blues afloat against Watford, it wasn’t enough to give the boys from the Stamford Bridge any respite after Jose Mourinho’s sack. Read more

World News

Rwanda did not default on EAC remittances, says official

Rwanda never defaults when it comes to its annual financial commitments to the East African Community (EAC) Secretariat, a senior government official told Sunday Times.

Innocent Safari, the Permanent Secretary in Rwanda’s Ministry of East African Community Affairs, said this following a recent report by The East African newspaper indicated that the five countries defaulted in remitting $30.9 million in budgetary support, leading to rising supplier debts and disruptions of operations. Read more

11 new governors sworn in before Egypt’s Sisi

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi on Saturday swore in 11 new governors, days after local media highlighted possible gubernatorial changes, state-run MENA news agency reported.

According to MENA, the presidential spokesman Alaa Youssef said the new reshuffle includes the governorates of Alexandria, Suez, Gharbiya, Karf al-Sheikh, Aswan, Port Said, Sharqiya, Giza, Minya, Qalyobiya and Bani Swief. Read more

Egypt Struggles to Pay for Oil, Liquefied Natural Gas Supplies Amid Currency Crisis

Egypt, which Israel is counting on as a major export market for its natural gas, is struggling to pay for U.S.-dollar-priced oil product and liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports, canceling purchases and asking suppliers to extend payment terms amid an acute foreign currency crisis, industry sources said.

Egypt, which depends on oil and gas imports, has faced a sharper decline in foreign currency receipts since the Russian airliner disaster last October, which has hit tourism, while low oil prices limit aid from Gulf allies, banking and trade sources said. Read more

US, EU Prepare New Air And Ground Operations Against Libya

The US and NATO are preparing to carry out new military operations on Libyan territory, a Guardian report made clear on December 20.

The Western powers are pressuring the newly formed Libyan “unity government” coalition, assembled last week under the nominal leadership of the Maltese government, to approve strikes against ISIS targets in the country, according to the British newspaper. Read more

Jesus statue’s promotion to army general vetoed by Guatemalan president

A beloved statue of Jesus looked likely to get a promotion to general in the Guatemalan army until the church and president stepped in.

The statue, known as Jesús de la Merced, is paraded through the streets of the capital ahead of Easter in centuries-old traditions brought in by former colonial power Spain. Read more

Drought Deepens South Africa’s Malaise

Under a midmorning sun that augured punishing heat later in the day, a handful of cows stood still inside a small pen, their ribs protruding. Too weak to reach the nearest grassy field some miles away, some munched on tall grass that their owner had cut from a strip of land along the highway, in a desperate attempt to save his cattle from the drought afflicting the land.

The owner, T. J. Koee — a former miner and a full-time cattle farmer for the past 16 years — listed the drought’s toll this year: 19 dead cows, 38 left, none sold. Last year, he sold 17 calves, earning enough to support his family and send two of his children to college. Read more

Chicago police officer shoots, kills two, one by mistake

In a city troubled by allegations of police misuse of force, a Chicago officer early on Saturday shot and killed a male college student and a mother of five, both black, and the police department later said the woman’s death was both accidental and tragic.

Hours later police shot another person at a separate location. Read more

Death of Syrian rebel leader in air strike is setback for opposition

The assassination of a senior Syrian rebel commander who led one of the most powerful groups fighting President Bashar Assad’s forces dealt a significant setback to the opposition.

It could also reshuffle the line-up of key players on the ground ahead of the planned peace talks in Geneva next month. Read more

Thailand backpacker murders: Burma army chief urges review of death sentences

Myanmar’s army chief has called on Thailand to review the sentencing of two countrymen to death for murdering a pair of British backpackers after a controversial trial that sparked protests.

General Min Aung Hlaing, head of the country’s influential military, has asked Thailand for a “review of the evidence” against the two men, the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar reported on Sunday. Read more

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