*Reps padded Agric Ministry’s budget with N12.6bn*  *FG agencies engage in secret recruitment*

*Reps padded Agric Ministry’s budget with N12.6bn*  *FG agencies engage in secret recruitment*



Reps padded Agric Ministry’s budget with N12.6bn

The trouble in the National Assembly over the 2016 budget is yet to abate as crisis is already budding in the House of Representatives on alleged fraudulent injection of projects worth billions of Naira by Committee leaders to the exclusion of members. Indications emerged yesterday that the House of Representatives’ Committee on Appropriations smuggled new projects in the 2016 budget worth N12.6 billion without the knowledge of the entire membership of the committee.

New Telegraph also learnt that the Committee earmarked the sum of N325 million for boreholes in 79 undisclosed rural communities in the country. It was learnt that aside the ministry’s N40.918 billion budget proposal that was reduced to N31.618 billion by the National Assembly, the lawmakers allegedly inserted fresh 386 projects worth N12.6 billion The injected projects in Agric sector are as follows: Read more

FG agencies engage in secret recruitment

Amidst complaints of massive unemployment in Nigeria, more indications have emerged that some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Government have been engaging in secret recruitment of personnel to fill the available vacancies in their organisations. A couple of weeks ago, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was alleged to have recruited about 909 personnel without adherence to the laid down rules on hiring new employees. Read more

Zoning divides PDP

National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, seems to have won a major battle in his quest to remain in office. The zoning committee, headed by Governor Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom State, has zoned the national chairman of the party to the North-East. Sheriff is from Borno State in the North-East.

The zoning arrangement proposed by the committee, according to the source, include: Deputy National Chairman (South-South); National Secretary (South-West); Organising Secretary (South-East); Publicity Secretary (South-West); Women Leader (North- West) and Treasurer (North Central). Read more

NCAA: FG shops for new DG

The Federal Government has concluded plan to appoint a new Director-General for the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). This is coming on the heel of administrative irregularities in the assumption of duty on appointment of the current Director General.

The Ministry of Air transportation in Abuja hinted that the current Director General did not resign his former appointment as career civil servant with the Federal Government seconded to the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB). A source in the ministry said that contravened government regulations to assume a political office without first resigning a previous civil service appointment on attaining the mandatory 35 years of service or 60 years of age whichever comes first. Read more

No plan to build more Unity Schools –FG

Despite the increase in the number of candidates who seek admission into the 104 Federal Government Colleges otherwise known as Unity Schools, the Federal Government has ruled out plans to construct more colleges to take care of the surplus candidates.

“The problem is not the number of Unity colleges. Rather, we intend to focus on the quality of teachers, so as to boost the output. We are regulating the system in such a way that teachers who will be deployed to teach in these schools will not be doing so just because they lack other meaningful jobs,” Minister of State for Education, Professor Anthony Anwuka, stated this on Saturday in Abuja after moving round centres where candidates wrote the National Common Entrance examination . Read more

Stakeholders back Ambode on relocation of plank market

A group of Lagos based Sawmillers have backed the decision of the state government to relocate them from Oko Baba Plank Market on Mainland Local Government Area, to Agbowa, Ikorodu, the dicision is in line with the state government’s plan.

The stakeholders dissociated themselves from the ongoing litigation against the move. Briefing journalists on their readiness to move to the new site, the President of Lagos Island Saw Millers Association Alhaji Ganiyu Onikeku, said that it was time for all stakeholders to support the initiative to bring sanity to the rebuilding of the state built environment. Read more

Bode George reads riot act to Sheriff

Former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George, has urged the National Chairman of the party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, to stay on the positive side of history by handing over to an elected chairman at the forthcoming National Convention of the party.

Speaking on Saturday night at a press conference in Lagos shortly after his arrival from the United Kingdom, the PDP chieftain identified indiscipline as the contributing factor to the party’s defeat, adding that there is the need to restore discipline and strong adherence to constitutional purity. Read more

Troops discover Boko Haram’s food storage facility – Army

In continuation of efforts to defeat the extremist group, Boko Haram, troops of 7 Division Strike Group, have uncovered a storage facility that supplies food to the insurgents. The dawn operation was carried out simultaneously with troops of 22 Task Force Brigade on suspected Boko Haram terrorists hideouts at Biggoro, Warpaya and Aura, North of Kumshe in Bama Local Government Area of Borno State. Read more

JAMB demotes, transfers workers over flawed 2016 UTME

A senior staff of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), has been recommended for demotion while five others were marked for transfer out of their present stations as punishment for their respective roles in the much-maligned 2016 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).

Even as the dust raised by the examination, a qualifying test (UTME) into tertiary institutions across the country is yet to settle, the board has extended its dragnet to other staff members, whom it has reasons to believe compromised the exercise. Read more

Buhari to establish special forces against pipeline vandalism

President Muhammadu Buhari is considering establishment of a special security force that will be heavily equipped to protect crude oil pipelines in the country. Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo disclosed this at the weekend after inspecting oil installations at the Forcados Terminal in Delta State. The vice president had visited the area to ascertain the collapse of the facility, which led to the recent drop in electricity supply across the country.

He said: “One of the future steps the Buhari administration could take to forestall the perpetration of vandalism, is to estab-lish a permanent pipeline security force.” According to him, such a force if formed, “would be armed with sophisticated weapons to ensure we contain the vandalism and overhaul security.” Read more

Emirates Increases Free Baggage Allowance on All Africa Routes

Emirates, the world’s largest international airline with an extensive network across Africa, is set to increase its free baggage allowance for customers travelling on all its flights originating from destinations across the continent.

The airline said starting from April 15, 2016, all Emirates customers travelling in any of the airline’s three cabin classes on outbound African flights would benefit from the increase in free baggage allowance based on the piece concept (individual piece of luggage). Read more

UK Expresses Support for Buhari’s Anti-graft War

The United Kingdom is fully behind President Muhammadu Buhari in the ongoing efforts by his administration to rid Nigeria of corruption, Mr. Nick Hurd, the UK Minister for International Development, has said.

Hurd told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja yesterday that fighting corruption was critical to transforming Nigeria’s future. Read more

IPOB Wants S’East, S’South to Back out of Grazing Commission Bill

The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has alerted the National Assembly members from the South-east and South-south zones on the grave danger in supporting the bill on grazing commission, saying that it portends bad omen for the two zones.

In a statement issued by its Head of Media and Publicity, Emma Powerful, IPOB said urged lawmakers from the two zones to back out from supporting the bill as it represents another means of “bringing invaders to our land” in the guise of setting up grazing reserves. Read more


Financial stocks contribute 10.8b to NSE’s turnover

The Financial Services Industry dominated in volume terms on the equity sector of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) last week with 7.890 billion shares valued at N10.807 billion.

This volume traded represents 81.09 per cent of the total equity turnover respectively. Read more

UBA Metropolitan Life gives N30m to bomb blast victims

The Executive Director, Business Development, UBA Metropolitan Life Insurance, Henry Ationu, has said that “Insurance especially Life insurance can be used as a fulcrum for dividend of democracy”.

He made this statement last week in Kaduna, at the official presentation of benefit cheques by the Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, to the beneficiaries of the deceased Zaria bomb blast last year. The governor gave out a total of about N30 million worth of cheques to 24 beneficiaries, at an official ceremony which took place at government house, Kaduna. Read more

IMF, World Bank laud Nigeria’s economic recovery plan, Adeosun affirms

From Washington, the headquarters of the Breton Woods multilateral institutions – the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in America – came praises for Nigeria’s economic recovery programme, according to the Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun.

The commendation is even as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, said yesterday that the country’s foreign exchange restriction policy has begun to pay off with some manufacturers of some imported goods indicating interest to begin manufacturing in Nigeria instead of offshore activities because of the high cost of imported products occasioned by the policy. Read more

25 states record dramatic slide in revenue

The picture is becoming clearer: 25 of the 36 states of the federation are in dire straits with their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and this is being blamed on the slow-down in the nation’s revenue base and security concerns in others.

And the immediate fallout is that workers across the federation are languishing in penury due to unpaid salaries running into months as the first quarter of the year draws to a close. Read more

We must encourage our creative industry, says Minister

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has assured Nigerians of government’s commitment to the promotion and provision of enabling environment for the creative industry to thrive. He said that there was a lot of money to be made in the creative industry. The Minister gave the assurance at an interactive session with the media, held in Lagos yesterday.

Mohammed said: “This administration is diversifying the economy away from oil, which for many years has been the main stay of our economy. Among the sectors that have been identified as major sources of revenue is the arts and culture sector. Read more

African Finance Ministers okay currency devaluation

Finance Ministers of 15 African countries including Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, have agreed on the need for oil exporting nations on the continent to adjust their currencies and embark on economic diversification. These are part of measures to address slowing growth and the difficult external environment.

The ministers, who belong to the African Caucus of the African Consultative Group, stated this during the Group’s meeting yesterday at the Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. The decision to embrace currency adjustment comes against the background of repeated opposition by President Muhammadu Buhari to calls by the IMF and foreign investors for the naira to be devalued. Read more

AfDB issues 3-yr $1bn global bond

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has launched and priced a new USD 1 billion 3-year Global benchmark transaction due 15 May 2019. The new 3-year issue is AfDB’s second USD Global benchmark this year, and follows on from a successful USD 1 billion 3-year Global benchmark transaction priced in February, which had tightened significantly in the secondary market.

According to a statement released by the Bank, “ Given the constructive market backdrop for issuance and a clear execution window, a USD 1 billion ‘no grow’ transaction was announced on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 at 2:30 pm London time and initial price thoughts of midswaps +14 basis points area were simultaneously released to the market. Read more

Naira stable as forex dealers wait on budget

The naira traded flat at N322 against the dollar on the parallel market for most of last week, as foreign exchange dealers said they were waiting for President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the 2016 budget into law before placing orders to buy the greenback.

The Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) exchange rate also remained fixed at N197 to a dollar, while at the official interbank window, the naira traded at N198.90 to the dollar around the peg rate last Thursday. A Lagos-based dealer said that there has been a lull in demand for forex because traders anticipate that the signing of the budget into law will lead to an increase in economic activities, which will result in more requests for the dollar. Read more

Benchmark index down 2.4%

Hope for turnaround of the stock market dimmed at the weekend, as the NSE All- Share Index and Market Capitalisation fell by 2.4 per cent to close at 24,719.27 and N8.503 trillion respectively. The downturn of the nation’s capital market, according to market watchers, was in response to the recent intention by the index provider MSCI, seeking feedback from investors on the ease of access to the Nigerian equity market, a move that could lead to it being excluded from MSCI’s Frontier Markets index. The MSCI Frontier Markets Index captures large and mid cap representation across 23 Frontier Markets (FM) countries. Read more

GTB, UBA, Ecobank face fierce contest in Kenya

There are indications that the recent series of bank failures could trigger a wave of mergers and acquisitions in the Kenyan banking industry, which would result in increased competition for Nigerian lenders with operations in the East African country.

In the last few weeks, the Kenyan authorities have placed three lenders- Chase Bank, Imperial Bank and Dubai Bankunder receivership, a development, analysts say, could lead to depositors seeking safety in the biggest financial institutions. Read more

Oni joins FirstBank Board, Odubola retires

First Bank of Nigeria Limited has announced the appointment of Dr. Remi Oni to its Board of Directors as Executive Director, Corporate Banking, effective April 15, 2016. In a statement, the lender also announced the retirement of Mr. Abiodun Odubola from its Board as Executive Director/CRO, effective June 30, 2016. Odubola’s retirement is to enable him pursue his personal interests, the bank explained. Until this appointment, Dr. Remi Oni was Executive Director, Corporate & Institutional Banking, Nigeria and West Africa at Standard Chartered Bank. Read more

Nigeria’s rice import dips by N86.8bn

For the first time in one decade, rice import to Nigeria has dropped by N86.8 billion ($430 million) or 1,000,000 metric tons in the last one-year (between 2014 and 2015). The price of the commodity is $430 per ton in the global market. A data from the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) revealed that in 2014, rice importation to Nigeria was 3.5million metric tons but it dropped to 2.5 million metric tons or 28.57 per cent in 2015. Read more

Total Oil: Earnings hurt by exchange rate, others

The harsh operating environment and the nation’s economic woes have continued to take their toll on corporate earnings of most companies listed on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). Despite expectations that the trend would be reversed with the arrival of the earnings season, the emergence of fourth quarter 2015 and first-quarter 2016 earnings reports, which turned to be disappointing, have generally contributed to the volatile environment.

This is owing to the fact that most companies operating in the country were faced with difficult operating environment due to the slowdown in economic growth across Africa, as a result of lower commodity prices. These developments have affected both households and businesses. Read more

Nigeria’s fiscal woes worsen as buyers shun $4.9bn oil

Nigeria’s crude worth $4.961 billion remained unsold at the weekend, as buyers discarded 55 cargoes, amounting to 112.75 million barrels of the country’s May crude loading at the global market. Buyers’ apathy and crude supply glut at the international market worsened last Friday, the day oil benchmark briefly sold off, breaking below $45 a barrel. Brent crude, which is used to benchmark Nigeria’s oil price, sold at $43.49 at the weekend. Read more

Interbank Rates Rise on Cash Shortage

Shortage of cash in the banking system last week led to an increase in the overnight tenor of the Nigerian Interbank Offered Rates (NIBOR).

The central bank also sold about N63.98 billion of 7-month treasury bills at nine per cent on Thursday to further curtail excess liquidity in the banking system. Read more

Greece is on its way out of economic crisis, says envoy

The Consul of the Embassy of Greece in Abuja, Lykourgos-Antonios Kaplanis, has said that Greece is on its way out of the economic crisis the country has been going through.

In an interview with The Guardian during the celebration of the Greek National Day at the weekend in Lagos, Kaplanis said that many countries in the world were going through economic crisis, but very soon Greece would get out of its own. “All countries are getting the influence of the crisis. It is very unfortunate that Greece is also under the crisis, but we are on the way out of it. We are all hopeful that things would get better very soon.” Read more


Nigeria, others fail to agree on oil freeze deal

Some of the world’s biggest oil producers, including Nigeria, on Sunday failed to agree on the proposed production freeze for which they converged on Doha, the Qatari capital, in a bid to limit global supply and prop up prices.

The summit, which was attended by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, dragged on into the evening amid disagreements on the wording of the draft to freeze output at “an agreeable level.” Read more

Fuel queues grow longer in Lagos, Ogun, others

The fuel supply situation, which showed slight improvement in recent days, has taken a turn for the worse as queues grew longer on Sunday at the few petrol stations selling the product in Lagos and Ogun states.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, had recently said petrol queues would clear in Abuja and Lagos by April 6 or 7, adding that the scarcity would subside in other parts of the country, including Kano, Katsina, Port Harcourt and Warri, by that weekend. Read more

Pipeline Vandals Evade Arrest as Navy Storms Atlas Cove

A gang of pipeline vandals at the weekend evaded arrest when they jumped ship when personnel of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS), Beecroft, stormed the notorious hideout of the vandals at Atlas Cove.

Although all the seven suspects successfully escaped, the naval operatives however impounded their wooden boat and recovered 27 jerry cans loaded with stolen petroleum products. Read more

Why fuel scarcity lingers, by major oil marketers

Despite efforts by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the independent marketers to ensure the availability of petrol, Nigerians have continued to experience the scarcity of the product .

The situation is worse in Lagos as major filling stations were shut yesterday. The few that opened for business were selling between N150 and N200 per litre, while black marketers took advantage of the situation to sell a litre of petrol for N300. Read more


Crowd trouble halts Giwa, Rangers match

Enugu Rangers’ hope of getting their first away win in the 12-week-old Nigeria Professional Football (NPFL) was halted abruptly yesterday when surging fans of Giwa FC encroached on the Rwang Pam Stadium, Jos, pitch midway into the game.

Rangers had taken a goal lead in the game, which drew fans from within and outside Jos to the stadium , but the officials were forced to call off the match when the security could not control the crowd. Read more

Call Giwa to order now, Ogufere tells Dalung

Former President of West Africa Football Union (WAFU), Jonathan Ogufere, is not happy with the crisis rocking Nigerian football and has called on Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, to end it by calling Chris Giwa to order.

The octogenarian football buff, who is also chairman of Sports Veterans Association, said he was dismayed that Giwa and his group were hell-bent on destabilizing Nigerian football over an issue that the supreme world sports arbitration body (CAS) had laid to rest. Read more

Leicester go eight points clear, as Arsenal fumble against Crystal Palace

Leicester City went eight points clear at the top of the Premier League table after a dramatic 2-2 draw with West Ham United in a game that saw Jamie Vardy sent off for diving. Vardy broke the deadlock with a clinical finish but the striker received a second yellow card in the second half after simulation in the penalty area.

Andy Carroll then levelled from the penalty spot before Aaron Cresswell scored a fantastic effort from range. Read more


Durban hostels implore UN for help

ANC councillor and activist Zodwa Sibiya was shot and killed at Glebelands Hostel in Umlazi on Saturday night – the 62nd victim of ongoing violence in the hostel precinct since April 2014.

Seven people have been murdered at Glebelands since January. Residents fear there will be no end to the attacks . At a press conference yesterday a resident said a hit list of 21 people was circulated recently. Read more

Ivory Coast man arrested over ivory found in luggage

A 27-year-old man from the Ivory Coast has been arrested after 26 kilograms of suspected ivory products were found in his luggage.

The man arrived in Hong Kong on Saturday from Abidjan via Dubai, Ming Pao Daily reports, citing customs officials. Read more

Ecuador Earthquake: State of Emergency Declared After at Least 272 Killed

The death toll from a powerful earthquake that shook Ecuador’s northwestern coast soared to 272 on Sunday, and hundreds more pepole were wounded, the office of the nation’s president said.

Ecuador was in a state of emergency Sunday after the magnitude-7.8 earthquake flattened buildings and ravaged towns just before 7 p.m. (8 p.m. ET) Saturday. Read more

Chinese military aircraft makes first public landing on disputed island

A Chinese military aircraft has for the first time publicly landed at a new airport on an islandChina has built in the disputed South China Sea, state media said on Monday, raising the prospect that China could base fighter jets there.

The United States has criticized China’s construction of artificial islands in the South China Sea and worries that it plans to use them for military purposes, even though China says it has no hostile intent. Read more

Toyota halts production due to quakes in Japan

ONE of Japan’s biggest automakers, Toyota Motor Corp, has suspended its production in Japan due to supply disruptions following the twin earthquakes that struck the southern island region of Kumamoto late last week.

The company said it had stopped production at a factory in Kyushu, where the quakes struck late Thursday and early Saturday, killing at least 42 people. Read more


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