Sabinews Morning News Update for March 23, 2016
Buhari, APC Caucus in Crucial Meeting
President Muhammadu Buhari last night held a meeting with the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former Lagos State Governor, Senator Bola Tinubu and the caucus members of the party.
In attendance were many serving and former governors on the platform of the party including Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso. Read more
FG Sets up Panel to Probe Alleged Sexual Assault at Queen’s College
The federal government on Tuesday set up a committee to investigate the alleged sexual assault of a JSS 2 female student of Queen’s College, Yaba, Lagos by a male teacher in the secondary school.
Mr. Olaseni Oshifala, a biology teacher at Queen’s College, was accused by a parent, Mrs. Chinenye Okoye, of making sexual advances at the girl by kissing and touching her private parts. Read more
FG declares Friday, Monday as public holidays
The Federal Government has declared Friday and Monday, March 25 and 28, 2016, as public holidays to mark Good Friday and Easter respectively.
Making the declaration on behalf of the Federal Government, Minister of Interior, Gen. Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau (retd), enjoined all Christian faithful and Nigerians in general to support, co-operate and join hands with President Muhammadu Buhari in his sustained efforts to build a peaceful, united and virile nation. Read more
Court sentences killer of 11 policemen to death in Bayelsa
A Bayelsa State High Court, in Oporoma, has sentenced to death by hanging, one of the killers of the 11 policemen in Lobia II community of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, Bayelsa State, on April 5, 2013.
The accused, Jackson Feutubobai, was found guilty on all the 11-count charge of murder preferred against him. Read more
Alleged N35bn fraud: EFCC arraigns Tompolo in absentia
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, yesterday, arraigned former militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo (aka Tompolo) in absentia over alleged N35 billion fraud.
Arraigned alongside Tompolo were former boss of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Patrick Akpobolokemi, Global West Vessel Ltd, Odimiri Electrical Ltd, Kime Engozu, Boloboere Property and Estate Ltd, Rex Elem, Destre Consult Ltd, Gregory Mbonu, and Captain Warredi Enisuoh. Read more
Imo govt appoints new SSG
Imo State Governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha, has announced the appointment of a career civil servant, Mr. George Eche, as the new Secretary to the State Government of Imo State, SGI. Gov Rochas Okorocha Mr. Eche’s appointment came barely four days after the Governor relieved the immediate past occupant of the office, Sir Jude Ejiogu, of his duties. Read more
N10 billion for IDP’s resettlement not enough
The Senate last week voted N10 billion for the care and resettlement of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP’s) in Nigeria’s troubled North East and other parts of the country. This was sequel to a motion championed by Senator Ali Ndume, who represents Borno South Senatorial District in the prestigious Red Chamber of the National Assembly.
Ndume also called for the release of grains from the Strategic Grains Reserve to help in feeding the displaced persons and also the repatriation of Nigerians who fled to Chad, Niger and Cameroon for inclusion in the rehabilitation plan. Read more
Nigeria Dragged Before ICC over Zaria Killings
A United Kingdom-based non-profit organisation, the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) has asked the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to conduct a preliminary investigation into the attacks on members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) in Zaria on December 12 and 13, 2016.
It attached the list of members of IMN believed to be dead, (216) and those in detention (219) and those still missing (480) and said the list was still being updated, and did not reflect the total number of casualties on December 12 and 13, 2015. Read more
UK Offers to Help Nigeria to Investigate Terrorism, Money Laundering Cases
The federal government’s ongoing fight against corruption has received a boost as the United Kingdom has offered to help Nigeria in tracking terrorism, money laundering and other form of organised crimes.
A statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday by the Special Adviser to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice on Media and Publicity, Mr. Salihu Othman Isah, said UK also promised to provide technical expertise in complex cases with a view to meeting international best practices. Read more
Government to establish science and technology development bank
Greater days are ahead for the nation’s innovation industry, as the Federal Government yesterday announced that it was setting up the nation’s first science and technology development bank.
The bank, according to the Ministry of Science and Technology, would help boost the process of technological development in the country by giving financial assistance for research and innovations. Read more
Judge Recuses Self from Saraki’s Case Citing Publication
Justice Abdulkadir Kafarati of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday declined to give judgment in the case of enforcement of fundamental human rights instituted before him by the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki.
The judge premised his refusal to deliver judgment on the grounds that an online medium had made a wild allegation against him in respect of the case. Read more
Court Restrains Adefarasin, Church from Trespassing on Land
Justice Adebisi Akinlade of the Lagos State High Court in Igbosere has restrained popular Lagos Pastor, Paul Adefarasin, and his church, House on the Rock, from trespassing on a land belonging to businessman, Gerald Chukwueke.
The judge granted the interim injunction after hearing a motion ex-parte filed on behalf of Chukwueke and four others by their counsel, Moyo Onigbanjo (SAN), seeking to bar Adefarasin and his church from further trespassing on a land located in Lekki area of the state. Read more
FG to Disclose Amount Recovered from Looters Soon
The Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, on Tuesday asked Nigerians to exercise more patience in their quest to know the amount of money the federal government had so far recovered from treasury looters.
He stated that the litigation hurdles associated with the looted funds would have to be scaled before Nigerians are availed of the figures. Read more
Rising tension as Cameroon ‘annexes’16 Nigerian communities
THIS certainly is not the best of time for Nigerian communities located along the borders with the Republic of Cameroun. Indeed, 13 years after the ceding of the oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroun by the International Court of Justice, ICJ, at The Hague, Netherlands, the Cameroun authorities have been preying on these hapless Nigerian communities in their quest for territorial expansion. They recently upped the tempo when they again annexed 16 more Nigerian villages following the invasion of parts of Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa-Ibom State located within the mangrove island along the Nigeria/Cameroun maritime boundary. Read more
CBN Tightens Money Supply
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday raised the benchmark interest rate, the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR), to 12 per cent from 11 per cent in response to the sharp increase in inflation rate in February.
The apex bank also increased cash reserve ratio (CRR) – the portion of customers’ deposits that banks must keep as cash – to 22.5 per cent from 20 per cent in a bid to tighten money supply in the system. It however retained the liquidity ratio (LR) at 30 per cent. Read more
Nigeria’s economy hits new lows on strings of misfortunes
It appeared to be long coming. And finally, it dawned on the economy. This is about the strings of economic challenges that have befallen the country over the years, which took drastic turn in the last one year. From the effect of low oil prices, to its consequences on the national revenue profile, foreign exchange reserves and exchange rate crisis, it has been heart-rending.
Still, the socio-economic and political developments of petroleum products’ availability and distribution, policy direction and communications, as well as persistent uncertainty about the value of the naira are telltale signs of what has happened and those that may happen. Of course, it appears not over yet. Read more
LCCI tasks govt on foreign investment drive
Stakeholders in the nation’s economy have revved up their clamour for improved investment climate that would attract more foreign investors as a strategy to mitigate the impact of the current fiscal straits on the performance of the economy. The President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, (Dr.) Mrs. Nike Akande, disclosed at a recent forum in Lagos that there were various factors preventing foreign investors from putting their businesses in Nigeria. For instance, she noted that in respect of investors’ interest, Nigeria fell by one basis point on protecting minority investors ranking as it moved from 61st position to 62nd position. And on tax payment, Nigeria was ranked 179 as against 177 in the previous year. The LCCI boss said that all these indicators were relevant to having an attractive investment climate. Read more
FG targets 500, 000 direct jobs through agriculture
Federal Government said about 500,000 direct jobs would be created through the initiatives of the Ministry of Water Resources in the area of agriculture in the next 15 years. Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu, delivering his keynote address at a symposium organised to commemorate the World Water Day in Abuja, noted that the targeted number is expected to arise from an increase in irrigable land from 70,000 hectares to 500,000 hectares across the country.
Revealing other avenues through which the sector is targeting more job creation, he noted that an additional 20,000 jobs are expected to also arise from fish production; 8,000 jobs from dam construction and management of hydropower, in addition to an excess of 10,000 jobs already in existence through dam constructions, irrigation and water supply infrastructures. Read more
FG to Raise VAT, Release N350 Billion Budgeted Expenditure
The federal government has said that it will inject N350 billion budgeted expenditure to revamp the Nigerian economy in the next few months. It will equally work in collaboration with the state governments to adopt a plan for the gradual increase of value added tax (VAT) on goods and services.
These were some of the decisions taken at the end of a two-day retreat for governors of the 36 states of the federation and members of the National Economic Council (NEC) at the Presidential Villa in Abuja. Read more
CBN Tightens Liquidity, Raises MPR to 12%, CRR to 22.5%
The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Tuesday resolved to raise the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) otherwise known as the interest rate, to 12 per cent from 11 per cent.
It also increased bank’s Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) to 22.5 per cent from 20 per cent, in a move aimed at tightening liquidity, which the central bank blamed for the current pressure in the foreign exchange market with a strong pass-through to consumer prices. Inflation in the country rose to 11.4 per cent last month, effectively exceeding the CBN’s inflationary ceiling by 240 basis points. Read more
Oil and Gas
UK supports Nigeria’s energy forum
The 2016 Nigeria Energy Forum (NEF 2016) aims to facilitate increased energy access, strengthen energy capacity building initiatives and attract direct foreign investment to Nigeria’s electricity sector. The Forum will hold from 12th to 13th April, at the Oriental Hotel in Lagos, Nigeria.
The UK Minister for International Development, Nick Hurd, has confirmed attendance and will be making a presentation titled ‘Sustainable Energy in Africa – Rising to the Challenge’ at the event. The Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has been invited to be the Chief Host of the forum and to formally open the event with a keynote speech titled ‘S0ustainable Energy for All Nigerians – Grand Challenges, Big Opportunities’ on 12th April 2016. Read more
Hope Rises As Oil Price Hits $41pb
Oil prices has stayed above $41 a barrel as the oil cartel, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), raised hopes of a moderate rebound from a meeting of key producers in Qatar in April.
This is cheering news for the federal government whose budget for 2016 is predicated on a benchmark of $38 per barrel. Read more
Petroleum depot operators face stricter conditions for licence
It will definitely no longer be business as usual when the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) finalises its review of the downstream operating regulations, as depot owners without filling stations may lose their licences.
Specifically, the industry watchdog recently confirmed its readiness to sanitise the downstream petroleum sector and particularly phase out the fuel traders who are distorting the distribution chain. Read more
Stakeholders identify options beyond crude oil resources in Nigeria
Nigerian economy is mono-cultural, depending on a single commodity for revenue generation. Other sectors have been relegated to the background, while the management of oil revenues has proven inefficacious in driving the economy to bring about the needed level of development.
With the recent plummeting crude oil prices and drop in the country’s daily revenue by half, industrialists and experts who gathered at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)/ PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) forum, called on the Federal Government to look beyond crude oil for economic development. Read more
Soldiers destroy illegal crude oil farm in Abia
Soldiers of the 144 Battalion, Asa, Abia State have destroyed illegal crude oil reservoirs in a swamp located at Umuelechi community in Ukwa West council area of the state.
The reservoirs are estimated to have the capacity to contain over 10,000 liters of crude oil drawn from a pipeline that passes through the Umuelechi community to the Imo River. Read more
Nigeria Turns to Oil Swaps to Stave off Petrol Shortages
Nigeria is set to ramp up the amount of crude oil it swaps for vital petrol imports by more than a third as it grapples with the worst economic crisis in years and upheaval in its energy sector.
A more than 60 per cent drop in global oil prices since 2014 has hammered Nigeria’s economy and triggered a currency crisis, leaving it short of funds to pay for imports of oil products. Read more
NBS: Nigeria Spent N1.24trn on Petrol Imports in 2015
Nigeria spent N1.239 trillion on the importation of petrol in 2015, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has revealed.
The NBS in its Foreign Trade Statistics for the Fourth Quarter of 2015 stated that the amount spent on fuel import in 2015 represented an increase of 3.08 per cent or N37 billion when compared to the N1.202 trillion spent in the importation of fuel in 2014. Read more
Government gives reasons for concessioning Kainji hydro power plant
From Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) came the revelation that the Federal government has no option but to concession the Kainji Hydro Power plant for failing to generate its 760 installed capacity of electricity to national grid.
The Kainji hydro Power Plant concession was granted to Mainstream Energy Solutions Limited, with estimated cost of $418.5 million in February 2013 for 30 years. Read more
EEDC urges consumers to help arrest ‘energy theft’
The Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, EEDC, has blamed what it described as incidences of overbilling of its customers on “energy theft” and appealed to electricity consumers in the South East to assist the company to arrest the perpetrators.
According to EEDC, energy theft was the major cause of the bloated bills, otherwise known as crazy bills. It said that “energy losses (theft) in Nigeria was about the highest in the world.” Read more
Pharaohs storm Kaduna today
After securing the green light to land in Kaduna, the Egyptian national team, the Pharaohs will arrive Kaduna today in their chartered plane, direct from Cairo.
An official source said yesterday that the Egyptians have informed the NFF of their arrival plans, but did not give details of the number of the contingent on the trip. Read more
We won’t give Egypt room to operate – Siasia
Stand-in-coach of the Super Eagles Samson Siasia has revealed that his boys will not give the Pharaohs of Egypt room to operate during the forthcoming 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier between the two teams this Friday in Kaduna.
Siasia who spoke yesterday after the team rounded off its training session in Abuja before departing for Kaduna said he knows that the Egyptians have some sleek-footed players which means they will not be given the chance to play their game. Read more
Algeria’s Sonatrach to sell oil and gas sites
After a deep slide in oil prices, Algeria’s Sonatrach is shifting strategy to offer foreign firms direct negotiations to buy stakes in 20 oil and gas fields in a bid to attract investors and increase output, a source at the state energy company said.
The campaign to bring in energy investment comes at a crucial time for the north African Opec producer as it tackles lower revenues and stagnating production. Read more
Kenya warns over incursion of fleeing Al-Shabaab militants
Kenyan police say they have stepped up surveillance across the country, warning that Al-Shabaab militants, fleeing military operations in southern Somalia, may sneak into the country.
Inspector General of Police, Joseph Boinett, on Tuesday urged Kenyans to remain vigilant, saying the militants may stage attacks in Kenya. Read more
Sudan’s opposition says committed to dialogue to end war
Sudan’s opposition on Tuesday reiterated commitment to dialogue and negotiations to end the war in Sudan, achieve sustainable peace and work to find political solutions to the country’s crisis.
The Future Force of Change Alliance, which brings together around 41 Sudanese opposition parties, held a meeting with Sudan’s Higher Coordination Committee of National Dialogue (7+7) through an initiative by the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel on Sudan (AUHIP), headed by former South African President Thabo Mbeki. Read more
Morocco ‘Escalates Row’ With Military Expulsions
THE United Nations accused Morocco on Monday of trying to expel military staff from the peacekeeping mission in occupied Western Sahara.
The latest row came days after Rabat ordered 84 UN staff to leave the former Spanish colony in protest at UN general secretary Ban Ki Moon’s referral to the occupation as such. Read more
Australia announces A$1 billion clean energy fund, in break with past
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Wednesday said the country would establish a A$1 billion ($761.60 million) clean-energy innovation fund, in a major departure from his predecessor’s much maligned approach to combating climate change.
Conservative former Prime Minister Tony Abbott was criticized by environmental groups for lagging behind other advanced economies when he announced cuts to Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions last year. Read more
Brussels bombings: Social media reaction to attacks criticised as disproportionate compared to Ankara
Accusations of hypocrisy have surrounded the reaction on social media to the bomb attacks in Brussels, which many contrasted with the response to similar terror attacks around the world.
In the wake of the explosions, people took to social media to share cartoons in solidarity and the term #JeSuisBruxelles trended for much of the day on Twitter. Read more
Possible piece of MH370 engine found on South African beach
A piece of debris found on a beach in South Africa will be analysed to see if it belongs to missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, authorities have said.
Malaysia said it would send a team to retrieve the possible piece of aircraft engine inlet cowling, which was found near Mossel Bay, a small town in Western Cape province on the southern coast. Read more
Massive US airstrike in Yemen kills ‘dozens’ of people, Pentagon says
A massive US airstrike in Yemen has killed what the Pentagon estimates is “dozens” of people, the second such mass-casualty strike the US military has undertaken this month.
The two strikes, killing more than 200 people at what the Pentagon described as terrorist training camps, diverged so sharply from the previous years’ worth of relatively low-casualty strikes that observers speculated US policy might have quietly changed. Read more
Experts Say U.S. Airports Vulnerable to Brussels-Style Attack
Two of the bombs that exploded in Brussels on Tuesday, part of a terrorist attack that killed at least 31 people and left more than 100 injured, were detonated in a place where the illusion of security masks a growing vulnerability: the airport departure terminal where fliers check in and drop off bags.
“I was surprised they didn’t do it before,” says Rafi Sela, founder of the global security firm AR Challenges. “You can kill 500 people just by blowing yourself up in a security line.” Read more
French appeals court refuses to recognise third gender
A French appeals court has overturned a landmark decision that recognised a third gender for a person born with both male and female genitalia.
A lower court ruled in August 2015 that a hermaphrodite plaintiff who was designated male at birth, could use the term “neutral gender” on personal official documents. Read more
Deaths caused by reckless driving in Thailand again raise issue of ‘double standards’
JUSTICE in Thailand in the eyes of many Thai people can seem to have a protean value. It seems this value can often be equated to the wealth and power of whom it serves. This is widely acknowledged in a country whose civilians accept corruption to be a part of everyday life. A learned helplessness hangs over most Thai citizens, to the point that social progress is held in less esteem than getting ahead on your own terms, even if that involves being corrupt. It’s well-known – the Bangkok Post gives some examples here – that with enough money one can mold his own kind of justice in Thailand. Without wealth, the justice system can often be a very unpleasant place to navigate if you should find yourself unfortunate enough to be caught up in it. Read more
US Election 2016: Trump and Clinton win big in Arizona
US presidential front-runners, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, have continued to dominate the race, winning Arizona.
The issue of immigration loomed large in the south-western state, the biggest prize in the latest round of contests. Read more
FBI needs two-week test in bid to unlock killer’s iPhone
It will take at least two weeks to know whether an alternative method will unlock an encrypted iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino terror attackers, the FBI has said, adding that investigators think they have “a good shot”.
US government officials were asked to file a status report in court about the method by April 5 because that is how long they think it will take to know if it will unlock the phone without compromising the data it contains, said David Bowdich, an assistant FBI director in charge of the agency’s Los Angeles office. Read more