*Tompolo may shun today’s invitation by EFCC* *Pro-Biafrans protest in Lagos*

*Tompolo may shun today’s invitation by EFCC* *Pro-Biafrans protest in Lagos*

Sabinews Morning News Update for December 17, 2015

National News

Tompolo may shun today’s invitation by EFCC

Former Niger Delta militant leader, Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, will not appear before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, which penultimate Wednesday ordered him to report to the commission today (Thursday) or be declared wanted,Vanguard has learned.

EFCC is investigating Tompolo over alleged fraudulent sale of land to government at N13 billion and first invited him to appear at its Lagos office, November 25, but he responded through his solicitors, saying he was already in court with the agency. Read more

Pro-Biafrans protest in Lagos

Biafran loyalists, who were mostly traders yes­terday, staged a peaceful protest at the Alaba Inter­national Market in Ojo Lo­cal Area of Lagos, shutting down shops and restricting vehicular movements in the area.

The Biafran supporters demanded the uncondi­tional dismissal of the case against Director of Radio Biafra, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu. Read more

Six parties demand poll cancellation in Bayelsa

Six political parties that participated in the Bayelsa State governorship election have demanded the cancellation of polls in five local government areas. The local government areas are: Sagbama, Nembe, Ekeremor, Ogbia and Yenagoa.

The parties, under the aegis of the Coalition of Progressive Parties, said beside the contentious Southern Ijaw poll, there was widespread violence in the aforementioned local government areas. Read more

Declare accruable interest on foreign accounts, Reps tell CBN

The House of Representatives has called for information from the Central Bank of Nigeria on the interests accruable to the country’s foreign bank accounts in the last four years.

It also asked the apex bank to provide information on the criteria for selecting managers of foreign reserve accounts of the federation “to ensure transparency and to report annually on the performance and continued compliance of the managers with any set guidelines issued by the CBN.” Read more

Five parties show interest in Ekiti council poll

Ekiti State Independent Electoral Commission, SIEC, has said that five political parties are participating in Saturday’s local government election in the 16 council areas of the state.

They are the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, African People’s Alliance, APA, KOWA Party, United Progress Party, UPP, and People’s Party of Nigeria, PPN. Read more

Ambode’s convoy arrests traffic offenders

Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode yesterday arrested motorists, tricycles and motorcyclists, driving against traffic in deviance of traffic laws at Ijora Olopa area of the state.

The governor’s convoy, which was driving from Lagos Island en-route Carter Bridge to Ikeja, also accosted some other motorists committing traffic offence on Apogbon Bridge. Read more

You lack power to suspend us, NULGE tells NLC

The National Union of Local Government Employees in Cross River State has said the state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress lacks the power to suspend any affiliate body.

The state President of NULGE, Mr. Godwin Ayendi, made this assertion on Wednesday, following the purported suspension of the body by the NLC. Read more

We won’t politicise railway revival project, says Amaechi

The Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, said on Wednesday that the Federal Government would not politicise the resuscitation and development of the railway system in Nigeria.

Amaechi explained that the railway system was designed for the benefit of Nigerians, adding that political party affiliation would not influence the development of the railway system in any state. Read more

How we killed 9 policemen at Ikorodu creek

Nine persons, including an amputee have been arrested by operatives of the Inspector General of Police Special Task Force on Pipeline Vandalism, for vandalizing and siphoning petroleum products from a pipeline belonging to the Nigeria National Petroleum Commission, NNPC, in Ogijo area of Ogun State.

The suspects,  including two ex- militants from Ondo State, an owner of a popular petrol station and one of his staff and five receivers of stolen petrol products, were arrested at separate locations in Ogijo, Shagamu and Ijebu-Ode areas. Read more

Fresh Halliburton bribe probe likely in January

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) may reopen investigation into the $180million Halliburton scam in January, The Nation gathered yesterday.

Some of those implicated in the scandal, including three former Heads of State, may be reinvestigated, a source said. Read more

Buhari writes NASS to present budget on Tuesday

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday wrote the National Assembly seeking permission to present the 2016 Appropriation Bill to a joint session of the Senate and the House Representatives.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Sabi, who spoke with reporters in  in Abuja, said the Senate granted the president permission to present the 2016 budget next Tuesday as requested. Read more

Police probe death of family of five

The men of the Ogun State Police command on Wednesday commenced investigation into the fire incident which consumed a family of five in Abule Ake in Idi-Aba, Abeokuta South Local Government Area.

It will be recalled that on Sunday, five members of a nuclear family were burnt beyond recognition in the inferno. Read more

Senate Uncovers N701bn Illegal Withdrawals From Natural Resources Fund

The Senate Committee on Police Affairs has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately cause the investigation and prosecution of illegal withdrawals to the tune of N701, 489,494,960.61, from the Natural Resources Fund for purposes outside what the money was meant for.

The monies, according to the chairman, Senate Committee on Police Affairs, Senator Abu Ibrahim, was withdrawn between 2002 and 2012, out of the total sum of N873,400,023,790.19 which accrued to the Fund within the same period. Read more

Economy

Naira plummets to 269 against dollar

The naira tumbled to 269 against the United States dollar at the parallel market on Wednesday as the Central Bank of Nigeria commenced rationing the greenback to Bureaux De Change operators in its weekly foreign exchange sale.

The dollar was sold for 260 at the parallel market on Tuesday. Read more

TUC seeks review of foreign exchange policy

AS part of measures to create enabling environment for manufacturers across the country, Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has urged the Federal Government to review its foreign exchange policy.

The union, in a communiqué issued at the end of its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, argued that the restriction placed on 42 items under the government’s foreign exchange policy may cause more damage to the country’s ailing industrial sector. Read  more

Oil and Gas

‘Two NNPC refineries may be streamed this month’

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, has said two of the state-run refineries may be re-streamed before the end of this month.

A statement endorsed by  Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC),  Mr. Ohi Alegbe yesterday explained that the minister said based on available reports, the refineries may come alive again. Read more

Don’t Increase Price Of Fuel, NLC Warns FG

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to resist any pressure to remove fuel subsidy and thereby increase the price of fuel.

NLC president, Ayuba Wabba, made the plea while speaking at the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the death of foremost labour leader, Comrade Chima Ubani. Read more

Power

NERC’s planned electricity tariff hike aborted

The House of Representatives has halted the planned increase in electricity tariff by the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, (NERC) pending the completion of its committee’s investigation of some stakeholders in the sector.

In a December 15 letter addressed to NERC, the Hon. Babajimi Benson headed House Ad-hoc Committee investigating the activities of Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) told NERC to abide by the directives in a previous letter it wrote urging it to suspend the review of electricity tariffs in the country. Read more

Experts prescribe solar solution for Nigeria’s energy challenges

A gathering of solar energy experts, recently, reviewed the energy situation in Nigeria and the consensus was that policy makers and the citizenry must immediately adopt solar as the primary source of power in the country.

The experts bemoaned that the nation is unable to generate more than 4,000 megawatts while the country needs to be generating 77,000 megawatts if the national development aspirations are to be achieved. Moreover, the grid network for distribution ought to be completely retooled if Nigeria is to avoid a catastrophe.  Read more

Sports

Siasia: We can surpass Beijing’s feat

Fresh from winning the CAF Under-23 African Cup of Nations, Nigeria coach Samson Siasia believes his achievement at the Beijing 2008 Olympics can be surpassed.

Siasia, a veteran of football tournaments of sorts, won a silver medal at the 2008 Games, and after earning the right to be at the 2016 Games in Brazil, the former Super Eagles striker stated that with hard work Nigeria can win the gold. Read more

Bonfrere Jo tips Siasia for Olympics glory with Dream Team

Former Nigeria coach Johannes Bonfrere say he believes Samson Siasia can lead the Dream Team VI to win the 2016 Olympics men’s football event.

Siasia guided the Nigeria U23 team to win the 2015 Caf U23 Afri­ca Cup of Nations in Senegal which gave them an automatic spot to rep­resent Africa at next year’s multi­sport event in Rio. Read more

NFF to build soccer houses in 36 states

The congress of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) rose from its an­nual general assembly yesterday in Abuja with a resolve to build foot­ball houses in all the 36 states of the federation.

The Amaju Pinnick-led soccer federation also vowed to protect the welfare of players plying their trade in the nation’s domestic league with the enactment of a new regulation. Read more

World News

MTN rating slashed by Moody’s

MTN Group, Africa’s largest phone company, had its credit rating cut by Moody’s Investors Service because of the uncertainty regarding a $3.9 billion fine in Nigeria, its largest market.

The rating was lowered to Baa3 from Baa2, Ivan Palacios, an analyst at Moody’s in Madrid, said in an emailed statement on Tuesday. The outlook is negative, signaling further rate cuts are possible. Fitch cut MTN’s rating one level to BBB- last week because of risks in Nigeria and South Africa. The outlook remains stable at Fitch. The company has a BBB- rating at Standard & Poor’s. Read more

Morocco Ranks 62nd in List of Best Countries for Business

Morocco was ranked 62nd out of 144 countries in Forbes’ 2015 ranking list of the Best Countries for Business, released on Wednesday.

The U.S.-based magazine ranked Morocco as the best destination to do business in North Africa, gaining 17 places compared to last year’s ranking. It came ahead of Tunisia, Mauritania, Algeria and Libya who ranked 82, 129, 137 and 142 respectively. On the Arab level, Morocco ranked fourth, only behind United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Jordan who ranked 40th, 48th and 60th respectively. Read more

ICGLR appeals for calm in Burundi

The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) has appealed to warring parties in Burundi conflict to calm down and work towards the resumption of the national dialogue that was suspended in mid-July.

In a statement issued yesterday, the 12-member inter-governmental organisation also expressed deep concern over the continued deterioration of the security situation and acts of violence in Burundi particularly in the capital Bujumbura which has resulted in the loss of human life and poses “a serious threat” to peace and stability in the country and the region. Read more

HIV Drug Shortage Plagues Uganda

Uganda is short of imported drugs to treat HIV victims because of a weak currency and insufficient foreign exchange, but the government is raising funds to cover the shortfall, a senior finance ministry official said.

Health activists say about 240,000 patients on publicly funded treatment programs are at risk because of the shortage, forcing them to take lower dosages or none at all. Read more

Egyptian King’s gold mask back on display after restoration

The golden burial mask of King Tutankhamen, one of ancient Egypt’s most famous artifacts, was put back Wednesday on display at the Egyptian Museum on after eight weeks of restoration by an Egyptian-German team.

“Thanks God, it is done,” German conservator Christian Eckmann, who oversaw the restoration works, told reporters during a press conference at the Egyptian Museum. Read more

Sudan enters 3rd year of war with no solution in sight

The armed conflict in South Sudan has entered its third year with no signs of a political solution to lead the new-born state toward much-needed security and stability.

South Sudan descended into violence in mid-December 2013, as fighting erupted between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir Mayardit, and defectors led by his former deputy, Riek Machar. Read more

Central African Republic Residents March For Freedom From Militias

Hundreds of residents in the last remaining Muslim neighborhood in Central African Republic’s capital, Bangui, marched Wednesday to demand that armed groups withdraw and allow them to vote in elections.

PK5 residents shouted “Freedom, freedom,” as they marched to United Nations mission headquarters. They asked the international body to help them dislodge armed elements. Read more

US and Cuba near deal on restoring commercial flights

The United States and Cuba are close to a deal on restoring scheduled commercial flights amid the anniversary of detente between the Cold War enemies.

The diplomatic advance would help open the way for US airlines to begin flying to communist Cuba within months in what is likely to be the biggest step towards tighter economic ties since the two countries began normalising relations last year. Read more

US man sentenced to eight years in prison over KKK ‘death ray’ plot to attack Muslims

A New York man has been sentenced to more than eight years in prison for his role in a plot to build a remote-controlled radiation-emitting “death ray” intended to harm Muslims and the president, Barack Obama.

Eric Feight, 55, pleaded guilty in January to a federal charge of providing material support to terrorists. He admitted helping Glendon Scott Crawford, a self-proclaimed Ku Klux Klansman, in modifying an industrial-grade radiation device, which tabloid newspapers dubbed a “death ray,” and building a switch to operate it from a distance. Read more

Pentagon chief Carter used personal email account at times – NY Times

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter used a personal email account for some government business in his first months at the Pentagon, the New York Times reported on Wednesday, citing White House and Defense Department officials and copies of the emails.

Carter, who took office in February, continued to use his own email account, contrary to Defense Department rules, for at least two months after it became public in March that Hillary Clinton had used only her personal email account while she was secretary of state, the Times quoted the officials as saying. Read more

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