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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Nigerian newspapers headlines Friday morning

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Rumblings in NPFL: Unresolved riddles over contract of players, coaches [THE NATION]

The International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) early this year ranked Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) the 57th national league in the world for 2019 trailing the likes of Tunisia (15), Morocco (17), Egypt (30), Angola (48), South Africa (50) and Zambia (55) in the continent. Just this month, the continent’s top football-governing body-Confederation of African Football (CAF)-also rated the NPFL  eighth on the continent behind yet again   Morocco, Egypt, and Zambia.

According to CAF, the rating employs a point system based on how clubs from respective countries have performed in the two major club competitions over the past five years.

Incidentally, Nigerian clubs have had mixed fortunes on the continent in recent times, with NPFL teams struggling to get to the crucial stages of the CAF Champions League and Confederations Cup.

The  lacklustre performance of NPFL in continental competitions in recent years  was ironically celebrated by the League Management Committee (LMC) chaired by Shehu Dikko yet there  are growing concerns about the status  of both players and coaches  bothering on the vexed issue of secrecy and non-disclosure of  their sign-on fees cum salaries across all the clubs.

Apart from not knowing what players earn in NPFL, many clubs are also fond of owing players and coaches despite huge money released by government which happens to be  the owners of most NPFL clubs .

For some inexplicable reasons, most of these clubs hardly disclose the worth of their players’ contract talk less their wages as obtainable in other African countries for instance.

For purpose of this investigation on why there is so much secrecy surrounding  the emoluments for NPFL and coaches , it was like squeezing water of stones as most major players in the domestic league declined comments and few ones  that responded did so under the guise of anonymity.  For instance, a foremost coach who had handled several NPFL clubs and a stint with the national team, blamed lack of transparency in players and coaches contract on nothing but this on insincerity of club management.

The tactician as usual, pleaded anonymity equally blamed such trends on pressure from associates of the players and coaches.

“I think the reason why most clubs in Nigeria don’t disclose players and coaches sign-on fees and salaries is because of the insincerity of those in charge of the clubs,” explained  the vastly experienced tactician that has handled several NPFL Clubs including Enyimba.“  Most of them see the clubs as another way to enrich themselves to the detriment of those who sweat it out on the pitch.

“Apart from this, you can hardly know the amount released to them by the owners of the clubs which most often, are state governments.

“All these happen time and again because of the weak structure of most of the clubs in the NPFL as they are owned by the state governments.

“Look at those that manage the clubs, they are either family members of the government or party chieftains who were rewarded for their loyalties.; so from the beginning, such clubs are set up to fail and it is based on this that those in charge rip-off the players and coaches with undisclosed sign-on fee and salaries.

“Basically the structures of most of the clubs were set up to encourage fraud and financial impropriety particularly in the NPFL.

 

Buhari to CBN: don’t release money for food, fertiliser import [THE NATION]

Going by President Muhmmadu Buhari’s directive to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), importers food items and fertiliser would not enjoy patronage from the apex bank.

CBN Governor Godwin Emiefile on Thursday got the Presidential order to withhold funding from for food and fertiliser importation during yesterday’s meeting of the National Food Security Council (NFSC), held in the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.

The order given issued verbally by the President would soon be documented, a statement by Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity Mallam Garba Shehu.

According to the President, Buhari restated his earlier verbal directive to the apex bank, saying he would pass it down in writing that “nobody importing food should be given money.”

The Federal Government had rolled out the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), the core of which is self-sustainability and massive job creation through agriculture.

Emphasizing the need to boost local agriculture, the President said: “From only three operating in the country, we have 33 fertiliser blending plants now working. We will not pay a kobo of our foreign reserves to import fertiliser. We will empower local producers.”

The President also directed that blenders of fertiliser should convey products directly to state governments so as to skip the cartel of transporters undermining the efforts to successfully deliver the products to users at reasonable costs.

He advised private businesses bent on food importation to source their foreign exchange independently, saying “use your money to compete with our farmers instead of using foreign reserves to bring in compromised food items to divest the efforts of our farmers.

“We have a lot of able-bodied young people willing to work and agriculture is the answer. We have a lot to do to support our farmers.”

The meeting, chaired by the President with other key members of the Council in attendance, was briefed on the food security situation prevailing in the country.

At the meeting were: Vice Chairman of the Council and Kebbi State Governor Atiku Bagudu; Chief of Staff to the President Prof Ibrahim Gambari and a governor from each of the six geo-political zones – Jigawa, Plateau, Taraba, Ebonyi, Lagos and Kebbi. They all made presentations.

Finance, Budget and National Planning Minister Mr. Zainab Ahmed outlined measures introduced by the administration to tackle the unprecedented challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic on the nation as contained in the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP).

She also highlighted that the government will facilitate the cultivation of 20,000 to 100,000 hectares of new farmland in every State and support off-take of agro-processing to create millions of direct and indirect job opportunities.

She listed the creation of 774,000 direct jobs for a minimum of 1,000 young Nigerians in each local government, the construction of 300,000 homes every year to give a boost to jobs through the construction industry, as well as the connection of 25 million new users of electricity with the installation of Solar Home System (SHS) targeting 5 million households.

Mrs. Ahmed also briefed on the joint investment with the World Bank to provide intervention fund to States to improve health infrastructure.

She said to ease existing financial hardships among the people, the government will soon come up with low-interest loans for mechanics, tailors, artisans, petty traders and other informal business operators.

The minister added that the Federal Government will equally provide support to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to help them keep their employees and boost local manufacturing.

She explained the N2.3 trillion stimulus cash recommended by the NESP will, among other benefits, bring about the expansion of broadband connectivity to boost job opportunities in the digital economy.

 

Southwest PDP rift deepens [THE NATION]

The national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Thursday ratified the outcome of the Ekiti congress, it was learnt on Thursday.

National Secretary, Senator Umaru Tsauri, urged security agencies and the Resident Electoral Commissioner to cooperate with the state executive committee, led by Bisi Kolawole.

The congress threw up two factional chairmen – former Environment Commissioner Kolawole and former House of Representatives member Kehinde Odebunmi.

Kolawole enjoys the support of former Governor Ayo Fayose. Senator Biodun Olujimi is backing Odebunmi.

Moves by the party’s Southwest leader, Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde, to resolve the conflict collapsed, following the rejection of his call for a political solution.

Fayose had taken the Kolawole-led exco on a visit to National Chairman Uche Secondus at the party secretariat in Abuja.

A party source lamented that the two factions might approach the court for adjudication on the parallel congresses.

Yesterday, it was learnt that the faction, led by Odebunm, had gone to the High Court sitting in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, to challenge Kolawole and members of his team.

There are fears that the crisis may affect preparations for the proposed Southwest zonal congress.

Blaming Secondus for the escalation of the rift, the source said: “The national leadership of the PDP saw the crisis coming, but they failed to avert it through their inaction. They should have called the two sides and proposed harmonisation or any other option agreeable to the two sides.

“Now, the court is the last option. It takes time, from High Court to the Supreme Court. No court verdict has ever restored party unity and cohesion.”

On Thursday, Olujimi, a former Senate Minority Leader, urged Makinde to ignore the alleged threat by Fayose to stop meddling in the affairs of Ekiti PDP. She also said the ratification of the Ekiti PDP congress  was fake, vowing to challenge it in court.

Senator Olujimi was reacting to comments by Fayose, who had allegedly the governor a persona-non-grata who should not visit Ekiti.

 

Resident doctors call off strike [THE NATION]

Doctors under the aegis of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) have suspended their strike.

NARD President, Aliyu Sokomba, confirmed this on Thursday evening.

He stated the discussions with Federal Government on how to resolve the issues continues on Friday by 8 am.

He said the doctors decided to embark on strike due to the failure of the government to meet their requests made in June.

In June, the doctors downed tools over unpaid salaries, non-payment of hazard allowance and a dearth of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in hospitals, among several other reasons.

The meeting between the two parties on Wednesday in Abuja ended in a deadlock with government threatening to revoke the residency programme.

 

Forex ban on food: MAN warns of rising inflation, faults FG on food sufficiency [PUNCH]

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Thursday, directed the Governor of the  Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, not to release money for food and fertilizer importation henceforth.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba, Shehu, who disclosed this in a statement titled, “Don’t give a kobo for food, fertilizers imports, President Buhari directs CBN,” said Buhari stated that firms that were bent on importing food should source their foreign exchange elsewhere.

Shehu said Buhari gave the directive at a  meeting of the National Food Security Council at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

But the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, in its reaction, warned that the directive could cause further inflation, saying the country was not sufficient in food production.

In a circular in 2015, the Central Bank of Nigeria listed 41 goods and services as items not valid for foreign exchange in the Nigerian foreign exchange market, and had gradually increased the number to 44.

On Thursday, Shehu quoted   Buhari as restating his earlier verbal directive to the apex bank, saying he would pass it down in writing that ‘’nobody importing food should be given money.’’

The statement quoted  Buhari as saying, ‘’From only three operating in the country, we have 33 fertilizer blending plants now working.

“We will not pay a kobo of our foreign reserves to import fertilizer. We will empower local producers.’’

Shehu said Buhari also directed that blenders of fertilizer should convey products directly to state governments so as to skip the cartel of transporters undermining the efforts to successfully deliver the products to users at reasonable costs.

The President, he said, advised private businesses bent on food importation to source their foreign exchange independently, saying, “use your money to compete with our farmers’’, instead of using foreign reserves to bring in compromised food items to divest the efforts of our farmers.

“We have a lot of able-bodied young people willing to work and agriculture is the answer. We have a lot to do to support our farmers,’’ Buhari added.

Shehu said the meeting, chaired by the President with other key members of the council in attendance, was briefed on the food security situation prevailing in the country.

We have recorded notable achievements in food production

Also at the event, the President boasted that his regime had recorded what he called “notable achievements” in five years.

Specifically on agriculture, he said the sector had continued to grow despite the impact of COVID-19 because of his regime’s targeted policies.

Buhari said this in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.

The statement was titled “Despite COVID-19, we’ve been able to avert food crisis, says President Buhari.”

Adesina quoted the President as saying that the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the level of preparedness of nations to shocks of food security.

Shehu, in his statement,  said the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed, outlined measures introduced by the administration to tackle the unprecedented challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic on the nation as contained in the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan.

Among others, he said the minister highlighted that the government would facilitate the cultivation of 20,000 to 100,000 hectares of new farmland in every State and support off-take of agro-processing to create millions of direct and indirect job opportunities.

He said Ahmed also briefed the meeting on the joint investment with the World Bank to provide intervention fund to States to improve health infrastructure.

She said to ease existing financial hardships among the people, the government is also coming up with low-interest loans for mechanics, tailors, artisans, petty traders and other informal business operators.

The statement added, “The minister added that the Federal Government will equally provide support to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises to help them keep their employees and boost local manufacturing.

“In his presentation, the Minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, told the council that the nation expected a bumper harvest of food items despite floods in the north and drought in the south.

“He quoted the latest market surveys to show that the recent hike in the price of commodities is being reversed.

 

Nigerians, others face deportation, UAE issues Nov deadline [PUNCH]

Nigerians and other foreigners in the United Arab Emirates whose resident visas had expired have till November 17 to leave the Gulf country.

This followed the suspension of visa extension for foreign residents and expatriates by the UAE government on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Previously, residents with visas that expired before March 1 had until August 18 to leave the country without having to pay a fine, but now, they have until November 17.

The authorities said those who violated the directive would be deported and would also pay fines under the UAE immigration regulations.

Under its modified COVID-19 visa policies that took effect August 1, foreign residents currently in the country have until October 10 to renew expired visas.

According to the UAE official portal, https://u.ae/#, tourists and visit visa holders have a grace period of 10 days to renew their visas or they would be fined AED 200 (N20,476) for the first day of overstay; AED100 (N10,373) each consecutive day and AED 100, as service fees.

In the case of UAE residents, they have 30 days’ grace period after visa expiry to either amend their status and get another resident visa or leave the country.

Fines do not apply during the grace period, but if they overstayed after the grace period, they will be fined AED 125 for the first day; AED 25 for each subsequent day; AED 50 per day after six months of overstaying and AED 100 per day after one year of overstaying.

“Residents with expired visas who wish to leave the country should cancel their expired visas prior to departure. Their visa cancellation documents will show the grace period they have to exit the country,” the directive said.

But officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who spoke on condition of anonymity noted that the Nigerians, including Pakistanis, Iranians, Bangladeshis and Indians, ignored the directive to leave the country.

A senior official said, “With the expiration/cancellation of their visas, the Nigerians and other foreigners affected by the policy have become illegal migrants. What this means is that the UAE authorities would arrest and deport them and the expenses would be borne by the deportees.”

 

Police arraign Lagos doctor who fled UK for false rape accusation [PUNCH]

Controversy has trailed the arraignment of a female doctor, Bolanle Aseyan, by the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Yaba, for false rape accusation.

The convener of the #EndSARS movement, Segun Awosanya, who posted a screenshot of the charge sheet on the social media, claimed that Aseyan was remanded in police custody pending the perfection of her bail conditions.

The defendant, however, posted videos of herself on Twitter, denying the claim.

Responding to a tweet from her follower, who asked if indeed she was arrested, she wrote, ‘Arrestation’.

She further posted a video of her being in a vehicle and held in traffic.

“Uncle, it’s not handler, don’t stress my life, please,” she said in response to another follower, who asked for proof that she was the one.

According to court documents posted by Awosanya, 24-year-old Aseyan was arraigned on Wednesday before the Yaba Magistrates’ Court on five counts bordering on false accusation and extortion.

The charges read in part, “That you, Bolanle Aseyan, and others currently at large between June 29, 2020 and July 1, 2020, at No. 12a Molade Okoya Thomas Street, Adeniyi Jones, in the Lagos Magisterial District, did conspire with others now at large to cause injury to the person, reputation and profession of Dr Olufunmilayo Ogunsanya by your false publication on the social media tagging him as a rapist, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 413 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.”

According to Awosanya, the court ordered that Aseyan be remanded in the custody of the SCIID pending the perfection of her bail conditions.

Aseyan started a controversy on Twitter after she raised allegations of rape against Ogunsanya, aka Dr Olufunmilayo, after the latter supported her travel to the United Kingdom.

She also reported to the UK police and the medical authorities, seeking the withdrawal of the Ogunsanya’s licence based on the allegations.

However, both agencies of government reportedly cleared the doctor, who also filed a complaint of false accusation against her.

Aseyan was said to have sneaked back to Nigeria, where she allegedly continued the defamation against Ogunsanya.

The #EndSARS convener said the matter was reported to the police in Lagos, as Aseyan later she showed up with her lawyers at the Bar Beach Police Station.

The matter was then transferred to the SCIID, where the suspect reportedly made allegations against the investigating police officer and sought the transfer of the matter to the Zone 2 Command, claiming assassination attempts.

 

Gana wanted to work for God, be a changed man before he was killed – Widow [PUNCH]

One of the five widows of the slain notorious militia leader in Benue State, Terwase Akwaza, aka Gana, Mrs Wantor  Akwaza, said on Thursday that her deceased husband was snatched by military men.

Recall that The Commander of Operation Ayem A. Kpatuma, Major General Ali Gadzama, had on Tuesday told Channels Television that Gana was killed in a gun battle with soldiers.

But a community leader, who confided in The PUNCH in Makurdi, said Gana was in a government convoy when he was dragged out of a car by soldiers at a checkpoint in Gbitse in the Gboko Local Government Area of the state.

Mrs Akwaza said her husband was in a convoy of government officials, traditional rulers and clergymen, heading to Makurdi, the state capital, to finalise the amnesty deal he had with the state government before he was killed.

The 34-year-old, who spoke with some select journalists in Abuja, said Akwaza only accepted the state government’s offer of amnesty and came out of his hiding after a former Governor of the State, Gabriel Suswam, visited and assured him that he was involved in the deal.

Suswam, who is currently the senator representing Benue North-East Senatorial District, had on Wednesday called on the Federal Government to set up a judicial commission of inquiry to unravel how Gana died.

But Gana’s widow said her late husband whom she last spoke with on Saturday, accepted the government’s amnesty offer because he was tired of living in hiding and wanted to start living as a freeman.

She said, “He said he had worked for the world for too long; so he wanted to work for God. He said he wanted to be a free man.”

She said she wanted government to “bring the people” who killed her husband “to justice and pay compensation” of N5bn to the family.

Ortom says amnesty continues

Meanwhile, the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, on Thursday said security had been beefed up in the Sankera area where Gana, hailed from.

Ortom, who was answering questions from journalists after his briefing on the outcome of Thursday’s Security Council meeting, called for calm in the area and assured the people that government had provided enough security in the area to forestall any possible breakdown of law and order.

 

Nigeria needs more cancer diagnosis, treatment centres –GreenLife Pharmaceutical boss [SUN]

Managing Director of GreenLife Pharmaceutical, Mr. Ebere Nwosu, has called on government at all levels to provide more cancer diagnosis and treatment centres to save the lives of citizens afflicted with the disease.

He stated this during the groundbreaking ceremony for Clinix Cancer Centre in Lagos, yesterday, which also marked his 50th birthday.

Nwosu said the driving force behind the project was to save as much life as possible from the grip of cancer disease and promised that the project would be completed in two years.

“The deficiency in cancer facilities in the country and the incessant deaths caused by cancer  triggered me to embark on the multi-million naira project. We don’t have sufficient cancer facilities and machines in Nigeria. And because cancer issue is so dear to me, that is why we chose to support the existing ones. We are coming with two more machines to combat this deadly disease. I decided to lay the foundation today being my 50th birthday hoping to round off in two years. This cancer centre would help to save money for the government as our people will not run outside the country for cancer medical care. As for cost to access our services, we shall make it very affordable so that people don’t die because they couldn’t pay medical bills,” he said.

He said the centre would provide 100 bed spaces ,while stating that ‘nuclear medicine’ remained the basic practice to solve every kind of cancer challenge.

“We have one of the best diagnosis centres in Nigeria. So when we diagnose, we found out that treatment is a big issue; patients either go to Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) or any other centre, and what we hear thereafter is that the machines are down, which eventually leads to death. So because of that we decided to establish this state- of -the- art cancer centre. We don’t want to see people die unduly, if you go to LUTH, they’re fully booked till 2021, which is not supposed to be. We have been into diagnosis, now we are going into hospitals. I am doing this because I want to touch lives, but if you don’t have the heart of flesh, you can’t do this, because you have a lot to sacrifice to save lives,” he said.

Pastor-in-charge of Trinity House, Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, who did the holy ritual at the proposed site, called on the government to create the right  environment for businesses to thrive.

“This big investment is timely, geared to respond to the rising need of cancer prevention and treatment. COVID-19 pandemic has shown that we need more projects like this, which will stem health tourism. Cancer is one of the quick killer diseases, so government should strive to establish health care zones for the people,” Nwosu said.

 

INEC to deploy 3,000 thermometers in Edo, Ondo elections –Yakubu [SUN]

Chairman of Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has disclosed that it will be deploying 3,000 infrared thermometers donated by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 pandemic to cover about 3,000 voting areas in Edo State, in the September 19th elections in the state.

This is even as he has reiterated that without face masks, voters wound not be allowed to vote.

Yakubu said this at his first appearance at PTF briefing to speak on preparations for imminent governorship election.

He said INEC has developed a policy on COVID-19 protocols to guide voters and electoral officials during elections.

He said voters must avoid touching surfaces or leaning on walls at polling units.

He added that a 10-point voters code of conduct has been produced by INEC for voter education during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He added that the INEC’s COVID-19 Policy and Voters Code of Conduct have been produced in braille format to assist the visually impaired.

According to Yakubu, millions of people are involved in elections and they need to be protected.

Meanwhile, Chairperson of Transition Monitoring Group,  Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, has solicited the cooperation of INEC and security personnel to avert violence during the polls.

Afolabi said the heightened tension, increased mutual fears and suspicions and predilections for violent confrontation and lawlessness, threatening lives and property of ordinary citizens and undermining the chances of having free, fair and credible elections should be resisted.

“TMG is worried by the increasing spate of allegations and counter allegations being bandied about by the political parties and their candidates as regards the forthcoming elections in both states.

“That dealing with formidable obstacles to the integrity of the electoral process which bedeviled our elections in the past, operational and logistically, there is need for us as stakeholders to redefine our roles as political leaders and CSOs actors in contributing to  the improvement to the electoral process.”

 

Fire guts Ondo INEC office [SUN]

Fire reportedly gutted office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Akure, Ondo State, yesterday.

According to information available to Daily Sun, the inferno razed a container housing smart readers cards and other valuable items and document.

Details of the incident were sketchy as press time last night.

INEC National Commissioner and chairman of  Information and Voter Education Committee, could not be reached, but a source confirmed the incident.

It was, however, uncertain if it would affect the forthcoming governorship slated for next month.

In April, fire had also gutted the Media Centre of the Commission in Abuja.

The fire outbreak came few hours after suspected political thugs killed a member of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) in Alade-Idanre in Idanre Local Government Area of Ondo State as.

The death of the party stalwart simply identified as Taiwo triggered political tension in Idanre and neighbouring communities as protesters set bonfires on major roads in the town and its environs.

Sources revealed that the deceased was trailed to Alade by his killers who brutally hacked him down.

According to a source, “the man (Taye) was attacked and killed at Alade and those who led the thugs to perpetrate the act have been declared wanted.

“When has it become a crime to be a member of an opposition party? These sponsored thugs killed the man because he was supporting ZLP,” the source said.

It was learnt that the corpse has been deposited at the mogue of the General Hospital, Idanre and police have begun investigation into his killing.

ZLP Chairman in Idanre, Ademehintoye Claudus, who confirmed the incident, alleged that the thugs who killed Taye were sponsored by some politicians.

He said: “Taye was killed by political thugs because he was canvassing support for the ZLP being a member of our party. And what happened has also confirmed that some politicians are calling for war in this election because they have been attacking us unchallenged.

“The party has broken the peace accord reached at the palace of the monarch of Idanre with other political parties ahead of this contest. We have, however, appealed to our members and supporters to remain calm even in the face of this provocation and asked them not to take laws into their hands.”

The ZLP chairman disclosed that they have informed the security operatives about the killing, adding that his party would seek justice for the family of the deceased.

Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) for the state police command, Teo-Leo Ikoro, who confirmed the incident, said there was political skirmish last night in Idanre in which one person was killed. It was a mob action.

 

Fuel, electricity tariff, VAT increment: Police arrest 18 protesters, 4 journalists in Lagos [SUN]

The police, yesterday, clamped down on anti-fuel, electricity tariff and Value Added tax (VAT) increment protesters in Lagos State and arrested 18  protesters and four journalists covering the event.

This comes as the Joint Action Front (JAF) and 18 civil societies vowed to mobilise Nigerians to demand reversal of the new energy and VAT policies.

Pump prices of petrol and electricity tariffs have gone up by more than 100 per cent in the last two weeks following the deregulation of the sector  as VAT rate also increased from five per cent to 7.5 per cent.

The new policy has, however, attracted widespread condemnation and protests by citizens who consider it as anti-people, especially coming at a time the country was gripped by an economic crisis that has shot up prices of basic foods, following months of lockdown from COVID-19 pandemic.

In Lagos, yesterday, attempts by the police led by its Area Commander to foil the protest and its coverage by the media, was met with resistance as SPN members vowed to go ahead with demonstrations. SPN National Secretary, Chinedu Bosah and other protesters told the police that they had the right to stage a peaceful protest against any anti-people policies, but the security personnel demanded they produce a police permit that allowed them to be on the street.

The protesters and journalists were thereafter arrested at Ojuelegba and taken to the Lagos State Police Command, Ikeja in two police vans.

A member of SPN and National Coordinator, Education Rights Campaign, Hassan Taiwo Soweto, who was also arrested, in an SMS message said:  “We have just been arrested alongside several other members of the SPN and journalists for protesting  this morning against fuel price hike, electricity tariff and de-registration of SPN. Typing this message at the back of a police van taking us to Area C.  We are in two police vans.”

JAF Secretary, Abiodun Aremu and Deputy Chairman, Achike Chude, said the group and other civil societies have met to fine-tune strategies for the protest, which could start on Wednesday, September 16.

Addressing newsmen on the forthcoming nationwide mass protest, Achike said the meeting was the third of such independent activities in the past nine years that JAF would rally nationwide resistance of labour, CSOs and the suffering majority of Nigerians against hikes in prices of fuel and electricity.

It urged Nigerians to hold mass meetings and sensitisation rallies to reject the latest hikes and struggle to defeat it.

The group demanded immediate and unconditional reversal of the hike in petrol price from the N160 to the N86.50, stating that government has a responsibility to make the refineries work and build new ones to ensure availability of petroleum products at cheaper and affordable prices.

Meanwhile, the International Press Centre (IPC) in a statement by its Programme Officer/Safety Desk Officer, Melody Akinjiyan, has condemned the arrest of four journalists saying they were going about their legitimate duties and demanded their unconditional release.

However, Timipre Sylva, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources says the Federal Government’s decision to fully remove subsidy from petrol will earn the country one trillion naira annually and create massive jobs.

Sylva told newsmen in Abuja that beginning from October, Nigerians “can now convert cars using petroleum to gas, which will be cheaper.

“It is time for Nigerians to face reality and do the right thing. What is deregulation going to do? It is going to free up a lot more money. At least from the very beginning, it will save us up to a trillion and more every year. Already, we have taken up the budgetary provision for subsidy which is about N500 billion in the budget. Also, we have taken off the excess forex price that special rate that was given to NNPC which also came at a cost.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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