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Monday, July 22, 2024

Nigerian newspapers headlines Sunday morning

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Respite For Farmers As Military Degrade Bandits In North West [Leadership]

Farmers in the North West geopolitical zone are gradually returning to their farms after a series of military onslaughts on bandits’ camp neutralised most of the criminals and sent some of them packing.

Nigerian troops of the operation Sahel Sanity deployed to Katsina State confirmed yesterday that they have degraded banditry activities and other insecurity bedeviling the state and other North West.

In the recent military bombardments said to be the deadliest for the criminals, 100 armed bandits were neutralized, while 148 bandits and 315 illegal armed miners were arrested, just as a total of 3,984 cows, 1,627 sheep/rams and 3 camels were recovered.

The acting director of Defence Media Operation, Brigadier Benard Onyeuko, gave the hint while briefing journalists at the Army Super Camp 4, Faskari, Katsina.

He noted that the operation Sahel Sanity deployed to assist operation Hadarin Daji succeeded in degrading acts of criminalities carried out by the bandits.

Despite Ban, Traders Still Using Sniper To Preserve Foodstuffs [Leadership]

 

More than one year after the federal government banned the manufacturing and distribution of sniper, traders are still using the substance as well as other chemicals to preserve foodstuffs, LEADERSHIP Sunday investigations have revealed.

With increased rate of preserving foodstuff such as beans, vegetables, fruits, yam, grains, among others, some of the traders rely heavily on sniper and other harmful chemicals to save their commodities from being destroyed.

The federal government had in June 2019 placed a ban on the manufacturing of small bottles of ‘Sniper’, an agro-chemical that has increasingly become a choice killer for persons contemplating suicide.

But when our correspondents went around markets in Lagos and Ogun States to confirm the development, most of the traders who confirmed the development also accused the farmers of preserving farm produce with chemicals.

On his part, a foodstuff seller who simply gave his name as Emeka said sometimes some sellers add kerosene and sniper to their produce out of ignorance and fear of losing their goods to weevils and other destructive insects without minding the effect on consumers.

Nigeria Remains China’s 3rd largest Trading Partner In Africa – Envoy [Leadership]

 

I’ve noticed that September 3rd this year is an important day, can you tell us the significance of this day?

On September 3, China held the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War. We bear history in mind, honour all those who laid down their lives, cherish peace and open up the future.

75 years ago on September 3, the people of China, together with the rest of humanity, finally won a total victory against fascism through unbreakable will and a brave fight. It was a great victory over the evil, darkness and reaction. That day also marked a great victory for the unyielding Chinese people who had fought tenaciously for 14 years and finally defeated the Japanese militarist aggressors.

The war is the Chinese people’s longest and largest fight against foreign aggression in modern times, which came with the greatest sacrifice but led to Chinese people’s first complete victory in national liberation.

China and Nigeria have enjoyed excellent relations. In April 2016, President Buhari paid a successful state visit to China. In September 2018, President Buhari attended the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). During the two visits, President Xi Jinping and President Buhari held fruitful bilateral talks and reached consensus to deepen China-Nigeria cooperation across-the-board. Under the guidance of this important consensus, China-Nigeria relations have entered a new stage of rapid development.

As the largest developing country in the world, China highly values her relations with Nigeria, the largest developing country in Africa. Indeed, China-Nigeria cooperation is brotherly South-South cooperation between equal partners, and has always been a pacesetter for China-Africa cooperation. China remains committed to stepping up its mutually beneficial cooperation with Nigeria in the areas of infrastructure, agriculture, manufacture, trade, telecommunication and etc.

Just take some projects of China-Nigeria cooperation for example. The Abuja-Kaduna Railway, the first phase of the Nigerian Railway Modernisation Project, has been commissioned in and operating smoothly since July, 2016. It is the first modern standard gauge railway not only in Nigeria but also in West Africa. Since its commission, the railway has transported millions of commuters between the two metropolises, with a safe and comfortable experience in barely two hours.

Edo: Obaseki, Oshiomhole renew verbal war [The nation]

 

Days after the Oba of Benin brokered a truce between their camps, Governor Godwin Obaseki and Comrade Adams Oshiomhole on Saturday resumed their war of words.

Addressing the PDP faithful in Wards 8 and 10, Egor Local Government Area, Edo State yesterday, Obaseki, according to his Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy, Crusoe Osagie said Oshiomhole, the immediate past national chairman of the All progressives Congress (APC), was fighting him and his re-election bid because he (Obaseki) reversed the sale of Edaiken Market at Uselu, Benin, which he alleged that Oshiomhole sold to his friends.

The governor also threatened to bury Oshiomhole, the governor’s predecessor and benefactor, politically in Edo State.

Oshiomhole on his part described the governor as the most dangerous politician he had ever seen whose life thrives on propaganda and lies.

Addressing a crowd in Egor LGA, Obaseki said the battle for the Edo State governorship seat on September 19 was between him and Oshiomhole, and not between him and the flag bearer of APC, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

Obaseki threatened that with their votes for the PDP, Edo people would render the ex-national chairman of APC irrelevant, politically bury him and end godfatherism in the state on September 19.

He alleged that the former governor of Edo State sold Edaiken Market to his friends, who he said charged rates that were beyond the reach of traders who needed the lock-up shops.

Obaseki said: “I reversed the sale of Edaiken Market and brought the rates down to the level that our people could afford. That pitted me against the godfather. He said that I could not be a governor. Is he God? Are we fools?”

Obaseki assured that the governorship election in less than a fortnight would put an end to godfatherism in Edo State, urging the electorate to come out en masse to vote for the PDP, to enable him to consolidate on his achievements in the first term.

He said: “A child that was born 22 years ago since Nigeria’s democracy in 1999, is that child not old enough to be a man by now? This democracy will continue and even beyond us, by the grace of God.

“If you come, do your own, and if another person comes, allow him to play his own part and leave. That man (Oshiomhole) is very dangerous.

“See the party (APC) that they put under his watch, he has destroyed it. This fight is between Oshiomhole and me; the fight is not between me and Ize-Iyamu.

“We will bury Oshiomhole politically. We have retired him and on September 19, 2020, we will bury him politically.”

N10.78tr subsidy: Why FG may not reverse new fuel, electricity rates [The Nation]

There were strong indications last night that the Federal Government may not reverse the new fuel pump price regime because it is determined to end the culture of fuel subsidy which officials said has gulped about N10.78 trillion in 14years.

Government is also not contemplating a review of the new electricity tariffs because the sector is already deregulated.

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has however collected electricity Performance Improvement Plan from each of the 11 distribution companies in the country as a precondition for the new tariffs.

Organised labour and civil liberty groups are said to be continuing with their plan to launch a protest later this week over the fuel price increase and hike in electricity tariffs.

Sources said on Saturday that government planned to deploy savings from fuel and electricity subsidies for infrastructure development as part of efforts to make life comfortable for Nigerians.

 

A minister who spoke in confidence with our correspondent said government was determined to end the fuel subsidy regime because only a few Nigerians have been benefitting from it.

P&ID: Allegations against me false, says Shasore [The Nation]

 

Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Olasupo Shasore on Saturday broke his silence on his role in the $9.6 billion Process & Industrial Development (P&ID) Ltd contract debt saga.

Shasore, a former Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, described as false allegations that he offered poor legal representation on Nigeria’s behalf in a case filed by P&ID.

Last Thursday, Nigeria scored a crucial victory in its endeavour to overturn the $9.6bn judgment awarded against it in P&ID’s case.

A United Kingdom Commercial Court said there was evidence of $700,000 (N301 million) bribe in the purported Gas Supply and Processing Agreement between the Federal Government and the Irish firm, Process and Industrial Developments (P & ID).

The court granted the federal government more time to appeal against the $9.6 billion arbitral award delivered in favour of P&ID over the controversial agreement.

The Irish firm had sought the amount as compensation for a project it claimed it invested about $40 million in.

The agreement was negotiated between 2010 and 2012.

Shasore had been under the spotlight following allegations that he might have been compromised to under-represent Nigeria in the suit leading to the award.

But the lawyer defended himself in a statement entitled ‘Olasupo Shasore SAN: Allegations in the P&ID v FRN case’.

He said: “In the last 24 hours, I have been urged to break my deliberate silence about the efforts of the Federal Government of Nigeria to find recourse against the arbitral award procured by P&ID based on a corrupt and fraudulent contract.

“My choice of silence has been the result of my own high sense of responsibility as well as my commitment to the professional duty, which I undertook in representing the Federal Government in this case.

“I am relieved that the corrupt and fraudulent foundation of this case is affirmed in the recent ruling, though I am disappointed that part of the case made for that result was a case against me based on demonstrably false statements, unfounded innuendoes and spiteful personal attacks on my professional conduct and reputation.”

Shasore said he was instructed in the matter and accepted the instructions on behalf of his firm and to the knowledge of his partners in late 2012.

He said: “I made every effort to defend and vindicate my client at every stage with very few tools and with minimal support from within the government itself.

FG weakens power of EFCC chairman, creates director general in new bill [Punch]

 

A new bill seeking to amend the Economic and Financial Crimes Act has weakened the Office of the Chairman of the EFCC and created a new position known as the Director-General of the EFCC, Sunday PUNCH has learnt.

The bill, which was obtained by this newspaper, is titled, ‘An Act to Repeal the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004 (act no. 1 of 2004) and Enact the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act Which Establishes a More Effective and Efficient Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to Conduct Enquiries and Investigate All Economic and Financial Crimes and Related Offences and for other Related Matters.’

The bill, it was learnt, is being put together by the Attorney General, Abubakar Malami (SAN), on behalf of the Federal Government for onward transmission to the National Assembly.

The proposed law was initiated barely weeks after the suspended acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu, accused Malami of frustrating the anti-corruption war of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd).

According to the proposed law, the director-general will be appointed by the President based on the recommendation of the AGF and subject to confirmation by the Senate.

The director-general, and not the chairman, will be in charge of the running of the daily affairs of the commission.

Section 8 of the bill reads in part, “There shall be for the commission, a director-general who shall be appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Attorney General subject to the confirmation by the Senate.

“Subject to the provisions of subsection (3) of this section, the Director-General shall be a retired or serving member of any government institution, including any security or law enforcement agency not below the rank of a director or its equivalent or a person from the private sector.

“A person shall not be appointed as a director-general unless he is of proven integrity and has 15 years cognate experience in security, forensic or financial crimes investigation; forensic accounting or auditing; or law practice or enforcement relating to economic and financial crimes or anti-corruption.”

The director-general, according to the proposed law, shall hold office for a period of four years subject to reappointment by the President for a further term of four years and no more.

The bill states that the chairman of the EFCC shall be the head of the EFCC board.

Other members of the board shall include the director-general, a representative of the Federal Ministry of Justice, a representative of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Director of Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, two other Nigerians with 15 years cognate experience in legal, finance, banking or forensic auditing and the Director of Administration who shall be the secretary of the board.

The proposed law states that the chairman and members of the management board shall be appointed by the President, on the recommendation of the Attorney General subject to confirmation by the Senate; and for a period of four years in the first instance, renewable for another period of four years and no more.

The EFCC board headed by the chairman will be in charge of establishing policy guidelines for the commission; review and approve the strategic plans of the commission; oversee the due performance of the functions of the commission in accordance with the provisions of this Act; and do such other things which in its opinion are necessary to ensure the efficient and effective performance of the functions of the Commission under this Act.

Sunday PUNCH observed that the Secretary of the EFCC, which is a creation of Section 8 of the existing EFCC Act is not mentioned in the new bill, indicating that the position has been scrapped.

The current EFCC Secretary, Ola Olukoyede, who has also been suspended by Buhari pending investigation, is in charge of the secretariat of the commission and is responsible for the administration of the secretariat and the keeping of the books and records of the commission.

The proposed law not only restates the power of the AGF to discontinue the prosecution of criminal cases as guaranteed in Section 174 of the 1999 Constitution, it empowers the AGF to cancel the prosecutorial power of the EFCC when he sees fit. Section 45 of the new bill states that the AGF may, after notifying the EFCC, intervene in court proceedings, at first instance or on appeal,  where, in the opinion of the AGF, public interest, the interest of justice and the need to prevent abuse of legal process so demand.

It further reads, “On receipt of the notice under subsection (2) of this section, the commission shall hand over to the Attorney-General the prosecution file and all documents relating to the prosecution and provide him with such other information as he may require on the matter within the time specified by him.

 

“I represented Nigeria up until the liability stage in the arbitration. I did not represent Nigeria in the damages stage of the arbitration, which means I was not involved when the huge sum of damages was awarded against Nigeria.

“The complete records will show the series of steps that I took to defend Nigeria and the several results, which I secured in that effort at various stages. None of these is consistent with the unfounded allegations that I failed to present the best available defense.

“With very little or no cooperation from relevant government officials at the time, I filed a jurisdiction objection that potentially could and should indeed have terminated the case in favour of Nigeria because it was clear to us from the beginning that the contract was a scheme against Nigeria.

Afenifere leaders knock Tinubu over call to review revenue formula [Punch]

 

Some leaders of Afenifere, the Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, have berated a national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, over his call for the review of the country’s revenue allocation formula.

The Afenifere leaders, Chief Ayo Adebanjo; and the National Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin, in separate interviews on Saturday, said the APC chief must do beyond talking.

The APC national leader had, on Saturday, made the call for the review of the country’s “cumbersome revenue formula,” adding that the governors of the South-West region particularly must be united in boosting their internally generated revenues.

Tinubu, while speaking at the inauguration of the Ondo State Revenue House, in Akure, noted that such a step would help to ameliorate unemployment and hunger experienced by the people.

He said, “The cumbersome revenue formula of Nigeria as of today needs to be reviewed. If the fiscal element of our Nigerian economy is strictly well supervised, we can turn our population to prosperity, instead of our liability. You can equally use the synergy with the Oodua Investment to collaborate not only on Amotekun syndrome. Amotekun is a creation of necessity for hoodlums caused by unemployment, frustration and hunger.

“If everybody is engaged, Amotekun will be a pet. If you work with Oodua Investment, look at the area of collaboration. I know Ondo for (its) great potential for gas, energy and tourism to feed this country.”

In his remarks, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu said the state was generating between N600m and N700m on a monthly basis.

“We were able to generate N1.5bn on a monthly basis in 2018,” the governor said.

However, Adebanjo argued that rather than making a call, Tinubu should ensure that the APC-led Federal Government fulfilled its campaign promises to Nigeria, including restructuring,.

He said, “The statement may not be more than a campaign slogan for Tinubu. He knows that all these issues about revenue generation and sharing are contained in restructuring. If he is convinced about restructuring, then he should press for it now. Restructuring was part of the APC campaign promises; what have they done about it?

“He should join the clamour for the restructuring of this country. We are fed up with the play on words.”

 

Oshiomhole became political bully as APC chair – Obaseki [Punch]

Mr Godwin Obaseki, Edo State Governor and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the forthcoming governorship election in the state, tells ADEYINKA ADEDIPE and some select journalists about his squabbles with a former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, his first term in office and others.

Why should the people of Edo State re-elect you for another term?

When I came into office, I had a social contract with my people and the underlying principle of that contract is to work for them and protect their best interests. To put their interests, yearnings and aspirations first has underpinned the focus of my administration. For the past three years and nine months, I have, by the grace of Almighty God and the support of my people, done my best to uphold their interests against all else.

It is consequent on these that I believe that my people have rallied in large numbers to support me, giving me the assurance that they would troop out en masse to re-elect me on September 19, 2020.

You were said to have supervised the alleged act of vandalism at the State House of Assembly Complex when the government said it wanted to renovate it. Why did you do that?

First and foremost, you need to recognise the principle of separation of powers between the legislature and the executive. So, it is wrong to give the impression that it is the executive that takes decisions for the legislature.

Long before those individuals, whose seats had been declared vacant, made the lawless move of trying to stage a coup, the lawmakers had long moved their sitting to the old Legislative Chamber, as a result of the need for the maintenance of the Anthony Enahoro Complex.

It was perhaps because the complex was inactive due to the fact that maintenance was slowly beginning, that those individuals tried to carry out the desecration of democracy. That would probably be the reason why the legislators accelerated the process of renovating the place to prevent such illegal activities.

In essence, the action of those lawless individuals might have motivated the leadership of the House to accelerate the renovation work at the complex. In any case, it must be stated that even the decision to speed up work at the complex was not made by me but by the leadership of the House of Assembly, led by the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Francis Okiye.

Why did you and a former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, fall out?

When I became governor, we had an understanding of how we were going to run the state. We had agreed to put an end to the use of non-state actors in revenue collection. These persons had been harassing women in markets. We had young men who didn’t respect the enigies and onogies (traditional rulers); they took over land assets and sold a plot to three to five people. They went about with guns and constituted a nuisance. Some people also came and promised young people jobs abroad, only for the young people to make journeys to Europe through Libya and the Mediterranean Sea. The whole place was crisis-ridden. Nobody wanted to come to Edo to invest.

I said we couldn’t continue this way. We needed to change the status quo. I barred thugs from the roads and markets and ensured that they stopped harassing market women and other persons in the state. But some of the leaders said they would have none of that because, according to them, they helped me get into the office. They didn’t help me. The people voted for me and God helped me.

As for sharing of the state’s money, I insisted that we must use the money for the people and change their lives with it. Crude oil prices were low and are still low. There was a lot to do. Debts had piled up. There was work on the ground to be done and if we used the available funds to entertain politicians, there would be nothing left to work for the people. I said no to them. I came to serve God and my people. Whatever is available to us, we would manage it to work for the people.

And today, many of our people are happy. Pensioners get their pay at the end of every month. They don’t protest anymore. As at the time I assumed office, they were always at Ring Road, adorned in black attire, crying that they had not been paid. These are old people with families. I asked, ‘How will we be sharing money in government while we haven’t addressed this sort of challenge’.

Jim Nwobodo opens up: Why I contested presidency against Ekwueme [Sun]

 

Second Republic Governor of old Anambra State and one of the founders of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Jim Nwobodo, is one who usually assimilates issues carefully before speaking on them. He has, therefore, condemned the last week classification of Southeast governors as ‘weak’ in a Sunday Sun interview by elder statesman, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi, arguing that the governors are instead being tactical.

The widely acclaimed politician of the progressive hue who recently turned 80 said that it would gladden his heart to see the actualisation of a Nigerian President of Igbo extraction come 2023. Nwobodo said that Nigerian leaders from all sections of the country are already working towards actualising that.

He spoke about his role over two decades ago when he sought for the presidential ticket of the PDP at the Jos, Plateau State Convention of the party alongside former Vice President Alex Ekwueme; an action many felt he took to sabotage another Igbo man.

But he said that he did not betray Ekwueme, insisting that he contested to win. The former minister also talked about his relationship with Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and northern politicians. Excerpt:

First Republic Minister of Aviation, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi in a recent interview said that the Southeast governors are weak. What’s your take on his statement?

I take exception to that remark, the Southeast governors are not weak at all; they’re sensible, they’re intelligent; very well behaved. I seriously oppose that statement and I think they likewise oppose it because they’re not weak. If they’re weak, we won’t be having a reconstructed international airport; this shows that they’re wise because today in Nigeria, Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu is one of the best airports in the country. I want to disagree with him entirely; what they are doing is applying wisdom, applying tactics and the sense of oneness by not attacking anybody. So, that international airport makes nonsense of whatever Mbazulike Amaechi is saying and I expect him in future, to be careful about the kind of statements he makes because as an elder statesman, his statement should bring peace, should exude wisdom and not attacking people.

NCDC confirms 162 new COVID-19 infections, push total to 54,905 [Sun]

 

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed 162 new cases of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19 ) in the country, bringing the confirmed cases to 54,905.

The NCDC made this known on its official twitter handle on Saturday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria continued its week of recording less than 200 new cases of COVID-19 per day with Saturday’s 162 new confirmed cases.

The agency said that three deaths were recorded in the country.

The NCDC noted that till date, 54,905 cases have been confirmed, 42,922, discharged and 1,054 deaths recorded in 36 states and FCT.

According to the public health agency, the 162 cases are reported from 14 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

It stated that Lagos state led with 53 and followed by Gombe state with 21 new infections.

Among other states with new cases were Oyo (19), Delta (12), Ondo (11), Plateau (10), Ebonyi (9), FCT (6), Kwara (6), Kaduna (5), Rivers (3), Ogun (2), Anambra (2), Imo (2), and Ekiti (1).

The NCDC said that one way the virus spread was by touching contaminated surfaces, then touching the face with the unwashed hands.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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