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Friday, July 12, 2024

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Release of water from Ogun dam raises flood alert in Lagos [THE NNATION]

The Lagos State Government at the weekend reminded residents, especially those close to be banks of the Ogun River, to be on the alert as more water will be released from Oyan Dam this month.

It said the heavy rains predicted for this month by the Nigerian Hydrological Services might compound the   floods that the water from the dam would cause in the state.

The Lagos neighbourhoods that are at the risk of heavy flooding are Agboyi -Ketu, Owode Onirin, Isheri, Ajegunle, Agiliti, Kara, Majidun, and all areas bothering the rivers and the sea in Lagos.

Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Mr Tunji Bello raised the alert as The Nation correspondent in Kogi State reported that  some members of Kogi  State House of Assembly and their families were at the weekend forced out of their quarters located along the Ganaja Road in Lokoja by floods.

Bello, in a statement, on Sunday disclosed that 23 million cubic meters of water would be released this month from the Oyan dam in neighbouring Ogun State.

He, however, explained that respite might come by next month when a gradual reduction of water release would be effected to the level of 11million cubic meters.

But he reminded Lagos residents of data provided by the Nigerian Hydrological Services which indicated that July, August, September, and October which are known as JASO months would be characterised by heavy rains, flooding and flood disasters in many parts of the country.

The commissioner however said the government was intensifying measures to minimise the effects of the rains on lives and properties.

He explained that in continuation of preventive efforts against flooding by the government, work  was nearing  completion at all the secondary and primary water channels in the state.

Bello said: “This is in addition to the efforts of our Emergency Flood Abatement Gangs

(EFAG) that are being deployed around the state to undertake quick fix to free manholes or clogged up drains manually.

“For a coastal city like Lagos, let me remind everyone that once it rains consistently for a minimum of eight hours, we are bound to have flash floods caused by the increasing inability of effective discharge into the lagoon which is brought about by a rise of the ocean level.

“This will automatically lock up all our drainages and until the water level goes down, the drainages would be unable to discharge.

“Flash flood is not peculiar to Lagos. It is the new wave in most coastal cities around the world, including those who have adopted the best of technological advancements to curtail flooding it..

“Lagos is at the receiving end of three types, coastal, urban and river flooding because of the peculiarity of its location.”

He admonished residents not to dump refuse in drainage channels and to stop erecting structures on drainage alignments.

Hundreds of residents of Lokoja, and other parts of Kogi State have been sacked in the past days by surging floods.

At least eight households were affected  in the House of Assembly quarters.

One of the members who pleaded not to be named, told The Nation that the last time heavy floods affected the quarters was eight years ago.

He said: “The last time we experienced this kind of situation was in 2012, but then, I was not a member of the assembly.

“The situation is entirely different now, and the waters have found their way into my apartment. Before water started seeping into some parts  of the quarters, my relatives that were driven from their homes in other parts of the state owing to flooding came to stay with me.


Unsung heroes in virus era (I) [THE NATION]

In Lagos, Nigeria’s epicentre of Coronavirus infections, the announcement was music to the ears of over 20 million residents. That was Saturday, August 29, when an elated Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu declared that “Lagos has started flattening the COVID-19 curve.” After six months of a grinding lockdown imposed to halt the community transmission of the virus that crept into Nigeria on February 27, the announcement delighted Lagosians to no end, allowing them to breathe a sigh of relief.

In the worst-case projections announced during a news briefing on Friday, May 8, the Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi, said Lagos was expected to reach between 90,000 and 120,000 cases of Covid-19 by July or August. It was a prediction that never came to pass, but it indeed sent a wave of fear into residents. At the time, total infections in the state had just hit 1,854 out of the total 4,399 cases confirmed by the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) then. Now, confirmed cases in Lagos have just reached 19,215 by September 26, forcing the state government to close down one of its isolation centres due to under-utilisation.

Governor Sanwo-Olu, who has drawn plaudits from far and wide for providing leadership in the heat of the global pandemic crisis, has since authorised the phased resumption of economic and social activities in the state. Other states have also re-opened their states so that the process of rebuilding the economy could begin in full drive. After all, despite the much-hyped predictions that Covid-19 crisis would usher in the Apocalypse, Nigeria has only recorded 58, 324 cases, with 49,794 recoveries and 1,108 fatalities as of September 27 – a score sheet many local and international public health experts have described as not too bad for a country burdened with one of the most shambolic healthcare systems.

Heroes turned villains on Covid-19 frontlines

Contrary to dire predictions that COVID-19 could lead to dead bodies lining the streets of Africa, there have been fewer cases/deaths in the continent than other parts of the world – though there is a low level of testing across Africa compared to the rest of the world. In Nigeria, one of the gallant troops that made the relative success possible is Kazeem Amusan, 36, a nurse. He was among the first set of over 1000 health workers hurriedly drafted into the frontline of COVID-19 intervention team in Lagos, after a short training in how best to manage infectious diseases. The father of one, who resides in Magboro area of Ogun State, spent over 3 months delivering care at the 100-bed capacity Onikan isolation centre, which has now been closed down as a result of a drop in patients.

Amusan, who has since returned to his normal duty post in one of the public health facilities in Lagos, said he volunteered for COVID-19 response because of the “special pay we were promised.” Like many volunteers working in different areas of COVID-19 response across Nigeria’s 36 states, he was initially shunned by relatives and friends who feared he could pass on the infection to them. Throughout his three and a half months he spent on the frontline, he said “I did not come home” to see his child and pregnant wife.

The nurse was one of the health workers housed in a hotel in Ikeja, with free meals and free transport to and fro work. “I could not come home to see my family throughout the time we were being asked to stay in a hotel in Ikeja. This left me with the only option of communicating on phone with my family. I have to move my family to my uncle’s house nearby so that they would not miss me too much,” he said.


Outrage over FSARS excesses [THE NATION]

There was outrage on Sunday over the alleged shooting of a young man in front of a hotel in Ughelli, Delta State, by men suspected to be of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS).

The #ENDSARS campaign has been strident in the last two years.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) and several prominent Nigerians condemned the activities of the dreaded police arm, some of whose members they said had become notorious for extortions at gunpoint.

The Vice President, who spoke to State House reporters at his Abuja residence, backed the decision of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, to ban routine patrol of the FSARS and other tactical squads.

He deplored the “bad eggs of the Force” and urged the police to stick to their mandates.

The Vice President said: “I am very concerned, in fact, very angry about what I see happening to young men and women who are arrested, in some cases maimed or killed by men of the police force.”

Osinbajo, who had earlier met with the Inspector General of Police, said President Muhammadu Buhari was also displeased about such reports and is committed to reforms.

According to him, such violations are “completely unacceptable because these are individuals who are meant to protect Nigerians”.

He added: “The arrest, maiming or killing of young people or anyone at all, is completely wrong. It is unlawful and illegal, and anyone involved in this act ought to be investigated and prosecuted.

“It is very obvious that this is a major concern, a few bad eggs in the police force are causing all of these problems because it is all over the place, in different states. There is a need to take serious action.”


Oil firms to fund development of host communities in PIB plan [THE NATION]

Oil companies are to put aside 2.5 per cent of their annual expenditure for the development of their host communities, going by the proposed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

The firms are to deploy 75 per cent of the budget to implement capital projects in such communities with an understanding that the beneficiaries would watch over the projects.

The proposed PIB states that the special vote would be used to fix damaged facilities in any community that allows vandalism of oil installations in its domain.

It was learnt that the Federal Government came up with the stick-and-carrot approach as a strategy to protect oil installations and production by host communities.

The PIB was last transmitted to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari for consideration and passage.

The proposed bill also contains a lot of radical changes to the management and operations of the nation’s petroleum sector.

It recommends that communities where oil facilities are located or where oil exploration and production takes place protect such facilities and operations at all cost.

A development trust fund is expected to be established by oil companies to fund development projects.

To benefit from the projects/fund, a host community must have a near-zero vandalism incidence as a case or cases of vandalism or hostility against oil facilities means loss of any right to be a beneficiary of the development project(s) through the trust fund.

Section 257 (2) of the proposed law states that “where, in any year, an act of vandalism, sabotage or other civil unrest occurs that causes damage to petroleum and designated facilities or disrupts petroleum activities within the host community, the community shall forfeit its entitlement to the extent of the cost of repairs of the damage that resulted from the activity with respect to the provisions of this Act within that financial year.”

Section 257 (3) also states that “the basis for computation of the trust fund in any year shall always exclude the cost of repairs of damaged facilities attributable to any act of vandalism, sabotage or civil unrest.”

According to the bill sited by The Nation at the weekend, the oil companies are expected to set aside 2.5 per cent of their annual expenditure for the development of their host communities. But such money can be used to fix oil facilities vandalised in the various communities if that is allowed to happen.

The oil companies classified as Settlers in the proposed law are expected to carry out a need assessment of their host communities after they are granted any license or lease. Such assessment will be based on the social, environmental and economic needs of the communities.

The need assessment is expected to determine the specific needs of each host community, ascertain the effect that the proposed petroleum operations might have on the community and provide a strategy for addressing the needs and effects identified.

Every settler is expected to develop a host community development plan based on the findings of the needs assessment which shall be submitted to the relevant government agency for proper monitoring.

According to the proposed law, the objective of the Host Community Development Trust Fund is to foster sustainable prosperity, provide direct social and economic benefits from petroleum operations, enhance peaceful and harmonious co-existence and create a framework to support the development of every host community.

The oil companies are expected to incorporate a trust in the community where they operate within 12 months from the effective date of their operations.

Section 238 of the bill states: “Failure by any holder of a licence or lease governed by this Act to comply with its obligations under this chapter may be grounds for revocation of the applicable licence or lease.”

The proposed law suggests changes to the operations in the oil and gas sector in Nigeria. It recommends the scrapping the Department of Petroleum Resources, the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Authority and the Petroleum Equalisation Fund and commercialising the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

It suggests that they should be replaced by the Nigeria Upstream Regulatory Commission, Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority and the Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited.


Buhari ‘won’t succumb to threats on restructuring’ [THE NATION]

The Presidency on Sunday night warned that President Muhammadu Buhari will not “succumb to threats and undue pressure” being mounted by advocates of restructuring of the country.

There has been renewed agitation for restructuring of Nigeria’s political and economic setup in the days leading to the 60th Independence anniversary and after.

Ethnic groups, socio-political organisation, activists, former leaders and political office holders are spearheading the call.

Some of them are “warning” the government of dire consequence unless “the country is restructured.”

But the Presidency, in a statement, criticised “the recurring threats to the corporate existence of the country with factions giving specific timelines for the President to to do one thing or another or else, in their language, “the nation will break up.”

The statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity Garba Shehu, added: “This is to warn that such unpatriotic outbursts are both unhelpful and unwarranted as this government will not succumb to threats and take any decision out of pressure at a time when the nation’s full attention is needed to deal with the security challenges facing it at a time of the COVID-19 health crisis.

“This administration will not take any decision against the interests of 200 million Nigerians, who are the President’s first responsibility under the constitution, out of fear or threats especially in this hour of health crisis.

“The President as an elected leader under this constitution will continue to work with patriotic Nigerians, through and in line with the Parliamentary processes to finding solutions to structural and other impediments to the growth and wellbeing of the nation and its people.”

In another statement, the Presidency said those condemning the organised Labour for reasoning with the government by suspending a planned nationwide strike last week are enemies of the country.

The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), after rounds of negotiations with the federal government, suspended the industrial action slated to commence on September 28.

The decision was criticised by varying groups, with some suggesting that the decision was a betrayal.

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity Femi Adesina, noted that the attack on the Labour unions was borne out of pain for “traducers of the Administration”, having failed to achieve an alleged plan to use the strike to score political and electoral gains.

The statement said: “Since Organized Labour toed the path of sense and sensibility last week, seeing reason with the imperatives of fuel price adjustment, and opening a further window of dialogue on the service based electricity tariff, some groups of Nigerians have been dolorous, disgruntled, and disconsolate.

“They had apparently perfected plans to use the strike by the labour unions as smokescreen to unleash anarchy on the land, fomenting mayhem and civil disobedience. But the plan blew up in their faces, and they have been in severe pains since then. They have launched series of tirades against Organized Labour.

“For some interest groups, their intention was to use the umbrella of the strike to further their whimsical and pie-in-the-sky dream of a revolution in the country. It went bust in their faces.

“For some others, Bitter-Enders, who have remained entrenched in pre-2015 and 2019 elections mode, it was opportunity to avenge the 2012 Occupy Nigeria protests, which they believe largely devalued the government of the day, and led to its eventual ouster in 2015.


CBN, BDCs reinforce commitment to exchange rate stability [THE NATION]

CORRUPTION and illicit financial flows are twin evils  that no right thinking individual, group or organisation should support. The impact of these societal malaise transcends over $30.4 billion lost  by  African economies and businesses annually. It has led to poor infrastructure and rise in insecurity.

That explains why the over 5000 Bureaux De Change (BDCs) and their umbrella body, the Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) rejected in totality, attempt by  certain segment of the economy to label BDCs as economic saboteurs and illicit forex traders.

Analysts insist that money laundering and illicit funds transfer are unwholesome practices that predates the coming of licensed BDCs. These illegal activities are so pervasive and widespread that every segment and all operators in the financial industry is vulnerable to their operations. That is why many prominent financial institutions including global banks, and investment firms have been found culpable in this respect.

Stakeholders have also backed the ongoing investigation of some corporate bodies and individuals by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The apex bank under the Godwin Emefiele leadership has set up tough regulations and implemented several policies to tackle illicit financial flows.  The regulators has also partnered with ABCON to tackle money laundering and ensure transparency in the financial market.

ABCON also believes that money laundering through the BDCs or any other financial institutions is unacceptable and those found wanting should be punished based on the law. The group supports the need to tighten and strictly enforce regulations in the foreign exchange market , with erring members sanctioned.

Besides, the CBN has been effective in regulating the the BDC sector , hence ABCON and all registered BDCs take exception to the editorial for its outright lies and ignorance of the working of the financial system.

ABCON President, Aminu Gwadabe, said: “We also do not agree with the those that insist that the CBN has been “inexcusably weak in enforcing its own rules”. He said the regulator has in the past, fined erring BDCs and insole extreme cases, withdrew their operating licenses.

Gwadabe said the resumption of dollar sales to BDCs has led to nearly N40 appreciation of the naira in the first week of the exercise, and saved the local currency from continued depreciation.

He said the CBN’s aim of easing pressure on supply and firming up the naira succeeded and will continue to be achieved with improved liquidity in the market.

“The N2 margin earned by BDCs from every dollar sold is barely enough to cover their operating costs and keep over 15,000 Nigerians employed by the sector, hence the assertion that BDCs business is one of the lucrative business in the country is wrong,” he stated.

Gwadabe also said that  call from certain segments of the economy for a moratorium on licensing new BDCs is unacceptable as any new operator that meets the requirement for registration should be given the opportunity to operate.

The ABCON boss said that BDCs operate only within the allowable scope of transactions ie Personal Travel Allowances, Business Travel Allowances, school fees, medicals, among others adding that BDCs all over the world are important retail sector of the foreign exchange market.

“The BDCs in Nigeria have over the years remained the most portent tool of exchange rate stability management of the CBN when ever the local currency suffers as seen in  2006, 2009, 2016 and 2020. The BDCs are not illegal operators but licensed with CAC and CBN and pay levies and taxes to the government.  The over 5000 BDCs have created huge employment opportunities and remained a big threat to over one million unlicensed operators whose activities are usually misconstrued to represent the licensed players,” he said.

Also speaking, former Executive Director at Keystone Bank, Richard Obire, said servicing the retail foreign exchange market through the BDCs is helping to  stabilize the exchange rates.


Travellers must bear full costs of COVID-19 tests – PTF [PUNCH]

The National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Dr Sani Aliyu, has said the country cannot afford to conduct free COVID-19 tests for passengers arriving into Nigeria.

Aliyu, who made this statement on Saturday during a webinar organised by the Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, explained that the country would run out of test kits if it chooses to test the 5,000 to 7,000 persons who come into the country daily.

For this reason, he said, travellers must pay for the full cost of COVID-19 testing.

The coordinator explained that the kits were expensive and testing everyone was not sustainable.

He said, “The main reason why we can’t test people is due to the number of passengers we get into Nigeria. It is nothing compared to Ghana or other countries. We get between 5,000 and 7,000 passengers when we fully open the airport every day. There is a slightly smaller number that goes out.

“At the moment, we have done just half a million tests. The tests are very expensive as we all know. PCR tests are very expensive in Nigeria and even in developing countries. At any point in time, we have 300,000-400,000 test kits available. The majority of these test kits are donated by our donors. We have some we have bought. We are in the process of buying about another half a million or so.”

He added, “If we were to take up the travel testing, we will run out of test kits in no time, believe me. We will be tripling the number of tests every day and it is not sustainable. Even in developed countries, like the United Kingdom for instance, yes you do testing and it is free under the National Health Service but it is not for travel purposes.

“The moment you say travel, they would ask you to go private. We have had colleagues that had paid £250 for a test in the UK before coming from the private sector. We are trying as much as possible to push the cost of PCR down for the private laboratories but one of the things we have said is that they will not be allowed to double-dip.

“They will not serve the public sector and private sector. They have to do it only within the travel sector side and the more laboratories we have coming onto the portal, the easier it will push down the cost. I am very sure the cost will come down.”

The PTF Coordinator listed Lagos as the only one charging N50,000, noting that others were charging between N36,000 and N39,000 for testing.


One doesn’t know where Osoba belongs politically, says Adebanjo [PUNCH]

A leader of the Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, has promised to, at the appropriate time, respond to ex-governor Olusegun Osoba, who in a recent interview with Vanguard newspaper, made some comments about him.

Osoba in the interview accused Adebanjo of breaking Afenifere and also urging the South-West to support Igbo presidency in 2023, among other issues.

He also said Adebanjo accused him (Osoba) and others of selling out to a Fulani by supporting Muhammadu Buhari, but forgetting that he also supported Abubakar Atiku, who’s also a Fulani.

Osoba also claimed that Adebanjo supported some past governors of the Peoples Democratic Party in the South-West, including the current Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde.

According to Osoba, a former governor of Ekiti State, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, walked out on the Afenifere for making uncomplimentary remarks about his father.

He noted in the interview that he became the governor of Ogun State against Afenifere’s wish in 1990, adding that the group never contributed a dime to his emergence.

He said in the interview, “When they hobnobbed with former President Jonathan, that is consistency. Awolowo will never jump from one party to another. And Awolowo, if alive, would never hobnob with (the) PDP.

“Adebanjo is instrumental in Afenifere breaking into different sub-groups. He speaks so annoyingly about so many people. Inside Awolowo’s house in Ikenne, the Yoruba Unity Forum, founded by Bishop Ladigbolu, regularly meets. From Afenifere, we have Wale Oshun’s Afenifere Renewal Group; we have Prof. Banji Akintoye’s Yoruba World Congress; we have Deji Osibogun’s group; and we also have the Yoruba Council of Elders headed by Pa Alayande. Can you question the credentials of Alayande and say that he’s not a core Awoist?”

But, Adebanjo, in a telephone conversation with our correspondent on Sunday, said the ex-governor said many things he was not privy to and only wanted to create an impression that he (Adebanjo) was having a controversy with him.

He said, “At the appropriate time, I will put the record straight by telling my own side of the story. I will not dignify his statement with a response, because he only wanted to create an impression that he’s having a controversy with me.”


Woman bathes maid with hot water for licking baby’s milk [PUNCH]

Eight-year-old Chiamaka Oha is battling for her life at the General Hospital, Uga,  Anambra State, after she was allegedly bathed with hot water by her employer, Ogochukwu Anichukwu, for licking her baby’s milk.

PUNCH Metro learnt that the victim, who hails from Ugwueme community in the Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu State, lived with her employer and the husband at their house at Nanka community, in the Orumba North LGA of Anambra State.

It was alleged that Anichukwu on September 25, 2020, poured hot water on the victim for licking her baby’s milk and shut the door against her to prevent people from seeing the injuries she sustained from the attack.

Our correspondent learnt that a neighbour who visited Anichukwu saw the maid’s condition and reported the matter to a non-governmental organisation, Human Rights Legal Aid Initiative. The NGO was said to have rushed the victim to a medical facility in the area.

PUNCH Metro gathered that another group, Awgu Egbeleli Socio-Cultural Development and Unity Forum, transferred the victim to a general hospital.

A member of the forum, Chidi Okoh, who spoke to our correspondent, said the group learnt about the incident through the social media.

He said, “When we saw a video of the girl on social media, we were moved with compassion, and we sent one of our members, Chief Sunday Nwankwo, who resides in Onitsha, to investigate the incident. When he got there, he was shocked at the inhuman act meted out to the victim by the woman and her husband.

“Chief Nwankwo settled the medical bill at the initial private hospital where the victim was taken to for resuscitation and moved her to the general hospital.

“We learnt that the girl’s offence was that she licked the milk meant for her (Anichukwu’s) baby. She poured hot water on her and locked her inside so that neighbours won’t see her in that state.

“The neighbours confirmed to have seen the girl eating sand on several occasions because of starvation. When we asked the woman why she poured hot water on the victim, she said she was bathing her baby and didn’t know when the hot water poured on her; her husband admitted to beating and inflicting injuries on her.”

The Ekwuloba Zonal Coordinator of Human Rights Legal Aid Initiative, Akaneme Chijioke, who condemned the attack, noted that the victim was in pains when the group rescued her.

He said, “There were sores all over her body. The woman used a hard object to beat her and damaged her fingernails. Her face and mouth are filled with injuries.

“The girl looked frail, hungry, malnourished and traumatised and when we asked the woman what happened, she said she mistakenly poured hot water on her. When we took the child aside to interrogate her, she said the woman was always beating her and that she never licked any milk. She also said she ate sand sometimes to stay alive.  We then went back to the woman to find out why they had not taken the girl to hospital; she said they did not have money.”

Our correspondent learnt that the matter was reported at the Uga area command and the couple had been arrested.

The Anambra State Police Public Relations Officer, Haruna Mohammed, said he was not aware of the matter.


Petrol price may drop this month, say marketers [PUNCH]

The pump price of petrol may reduce marginally this month, going by the fall in global crude oil prices, oil marketers said on Sunday.

According to them, since the cost of petrol has been largely determined by the price of crude oil, the recent marginal plunge in crude oil cost could lead to a drop in petrol price in Nigeria.

Findings by our correspondent on Sunday showed that Brent, the global benchmark against which Nigeria’s crude is priced, dropped in price by $1.66 or 4.06 per cent as at 13.20pm Central Standard Time.

The commodity (Brent) traded at $39.27 per barrel at the same time, while the cost of crude in the OPEC Basket was put at $39.94 per barrel.

Crude oil in OPEC basket dipped by $1.77 when compared with what it traded on the preceding day.

Speaking to our correspondent in Abuja on Sunday night, the National President, Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, Billy Gillis-Harry, said the prediction of marketers was that petrol price could dip in October.

He, however, said that oil marketers, particularly members of PETROAN, would continue to call for an enlarged stakeholders meeting in determining the price of petrol across the country.

Gillis-Harry said, “We will continue to insist that the arm-chair pattern of fixing prices is not correct. You saw the confusion it caused the last time. We are going to have a meeting with them (government) that will involve all the stakeholders.

“So, hopefully by then we should be able to have proper information to give to you on the latest in price.

“However, based on the slide in crude oil prices, there is the suspicion that petrol price may come down.”

The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency commenced the deregulation of the downstream oil sector in March.

Although it provided petrol price bands in some months after March 2020, the PPPRA eventually stopped issuing price bands, as it explained that the downstream sector had been fully deregulated.


Woman allegedly assaulted by NSCDC official loses three-month-old pregnancy [PUNCH]

A trader, identified simply as Funmilola Adekoya, reportedly lost her three-month-old pregnancy following alleged brutality by some security agents in Ibadan.

Adekoya, mother of one, lost her pregnancy after an unidentified security operative used an electrical gadget on her.

The woman was said to have been attacked on September 29, at Floor 2, Gbangbalolonwa Complex, Idi-Ope, Imonlefalafia, Ibadan.

Francis, the victim’s husband, said, “When the men who were guarded by two NSCDC operatives entered the shop, they claimed to have come for N2,000 tax for the Oyo State Board of Internal Revenue.”

The woman said, “I made them understand that I had not made any sales that morning. Besides, there was no notice of their coming and so I did not prepare.

“I pleaded with the tax collectors to give me till afternoon before paying the money but they threatened to apply force.

“One of the NSCDC operative later dragged me out of the shop and touched me with an electrical gadget and then sprayed a gaseous substance on me.”


Adeboye laments Nigeria’s rising debt profile, decayed infrastructure [SUN]

The General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye, on Sunday, raised the alarm over the Federal Government’s continued borrowing from international lenders  saying the trend portends grave danger to the country’s future and development.

Speaking during the church’s Special Thanksgiving Service yesterday, Adeboye said the level of decayed infrastructure especially roads across the country was another worrisome development that has turned most cities into slums.

He stated that most of the countries lending to Nigeria may be doing so to choke it with their harsh conditionality.

According to him, Nigeria may choke to death under the heavy weight of foreign debts, given that the borrower would always be the servant to the lender.

He said, “there are people who want this nation to choke to death and we read all about it in the newspapers that money meant for the development of this nation is swallowed up even after seeing that the people are hungry.”

Adeboye who cited 1 Sam 17 vs 34 to buttress his assertion, said the bear represents false friends who try to kill by hugging, calling them  wolves in sheep’s clothing.

“Some of these countries who claim to be our friends want to hug us because they want us to come and borrow money. They want us to borrow so much that we would never be able to repay. They keep on saying come and borrow money, we are your friends. The Bible makes it clear that the borrower would be the servant of the lender and some of these people who pretend to be our friends manufacture guns and bullets. They rejoice when you have problems so that you can come and buy their guns and bullets and use them to kill your own people.”

On infrastructure decay across the country, the RCCG chief shepherd said, “I travel a lot on Nigerian roads and when I travel by road particularly, I understand when someone says the roads are not completely bad. I understand that it is a true statement because the roads are not just very bad; they do not exist anymore. It is a road that exists that can be classified as very bad. I have travelled within towns and distances that I used to cover within 15 minutes now take up to an hour. Our stagnation must come to an end.”

Citing Psalm 68 vs 1-4, Adeboye prayed that God should arise for Nigeria so that the stagnation it is facing will come to an end.


IGP cuts SARS’ wings [SUN]

Reactions have continued to greet the banning of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS), Special Tactical Squad (STS), Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Anti-Cultism Squad and other tactical squad of the Nigeria Police operating at the federal, zonal and state command levels.

The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, yesterday, banned the tactical squads from carrying out routine patrols and other conventional low-risk duties, stop-and-search duties, checkpoints, mounting of roadblocks, traffic checks, et cetera, with immediate effect.

The Force Public Relations Officer (FPPRO), Frank Mba, announced the ban in a statement issued in Abuja at the weekend.

Among those who had complained about the misconduct of SARS was Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who said in a tweet following recent allegations of abuse by SARS, “The safety of our residents is my number one duty as the CSO of Lagos. So, reading reports of seemingly unlawful exploitation by the people charged to protect is very worrying & needs to be addressed immediately. Be assured that appropriate actions will be taken, & speedily too.”

News of the ban has been greeted with criticisms as many see it as a ploy by the IGP to pacify Nigerians, who have been calling for the total scrapping of these squads for alleged extrajudicial killings and harassment of innocent Nigerians. They recalled that it was not the first time the IGP would ban the squads, whose commanders have more powerful contacts than the IGP himself.

For this reason, many critics believe the IGP’s latest order would not hold water. It was gathered that while the police authorities were not unaware of the achievements of these tactical squads, their mode of operation was said to be of concern, as most of them have gone completely out of their scope of duties. In addition, reports said incessant extrajudicial killings, interference in private matters other than serious crime and murder, as well as the inability of the squads to prosecute suspects arrested for various crimes in the shortest possible time were giving the police authorities sleepless nights.

To lend credence to Nigerians skepticism about the IGP’s order, some police officers that did not want their names mentioned have described the order as “audio directive,” saying this is not the first time the IGP is giving such orders.

Speaking to State House correspondents, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, while applauding the IGP, described the routine attacks on young people as infuriating. He described some of the officers in the police force as a few bad eggs “causing all of these problems because it is all over the place, in different states. There is a need to take serious action.”

Osinbajo also commended civil society organisations (CSOs) for speaking up against injustices meted out by some security operatives on young Nigerians. He said: “I am very concerned, in fact, very angry, about what I see happening to young men and women who are arrested, in some cases maimed or killed by men of the police force.”

According to the Vice President, such violations are “completely unacceptable because these are individuals who are meant to protect Nigerians. The arrest, maiming or killing of young people or anyone at all is completely wrong. It is unlawful and illegal and anyone involved in this act ought to be investigated and prosecuted.”

Osinbajo added that President Muhammadu Buhari was concerned: “The President and I have had discussions on this, he is very concerned about it. He wants to see a reform. You are probably aware that the IGP has issued a statement looking at all these issues, in particular, the warning against the use of these tactical units such as SARS for purposes of doing anything other than anti-robbery.


Tension in Akure as thugs take over streets [SUN]

There was palpable tension in Akure, the Ondo State capital yesterday as thugs took over the streets of the town and shot sporadically for several hours.

The thugs who were suspected to be working for some politicians in the state also brandished various weapons including axes, cutlasses and charms.

Many christians who were on their way to Churches had to turn back home as many of the streets were blocked by the thugs.

Also, many passers-by scampered for safety during the fracas, just as residents of the affected areas locked themselves inside for fear of being victims of stray bullets.

It was alleged that the thugs were working for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Also, it was learnt that the crisis was a reprisal attack by suspected APC thugs following an attack on their members at Ijomu/Obanla areas of the state capital by PDP thugs on Saturday night.

According to a source, policemen who were drafted from A-Division Police Station which was few meters from the scene of the crisis could not stop the thugs who were said to be heavily armed.

The governorship election in the state will hold on Saturday and the violent crisis in many parts of the state is already causing apprehension.

The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) who said the police are already investigating the matter assured that police are on top of all challenges that may occur before and during the Saturday’s election.

He warned hoodlums to steer clear of the state as there will not be hiding place for them.


Presidency lampoons those against labour’s suspension of strike [SUN]

The Presidency has described those lampooning  organised labour for suspending the planned nationwide strike and protest that was to commence on Monday, September 28,  over the recent hike in electricity tariff and petrol pump price, as dolorous, disgruntled, and disconsolate.

It also described them as enemies of Nigeria, accusing them of having perfected plans to use the strike by  labour as smokescreen to unleash anarchy on the land, fomenting mayhem and civil disobedience.

It further described others as “Bitter-Enders” who have remained entrenched in pre-2015 and 2019 elections mode, and were ready to use the opportunity to avenge the 2012 Occupy Nigeria protests, which devalued the government of the day, and led to its eventual ouster in 2015.

A statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, yesterday, said:  “Since organised labour toed the path of sense and sensibility last week, seeing reason with the imperatives of fuel price adjustment, and opening a further window of dialogue on the service based electricity tariff, some groups of Nigerians have been dolorous, disgruntled, and disconsolate.

“They had apparently perfected plans to use the strike by the labour unions as smokescreen to unleash anarchy on the land, fomenting mayhem and civil disobedience. But the plan blew up in their faces, and they have been in severe pains since then. They have launched series of tirades against organised labour.

“For some interest groups, their intention was to use the umbrella of the strike to further their whimsical and pie-in-the-sky dream of a revolution in the country. It went bust in their faces.

“For some others, Bitter-Enders, who have remained entrenched in pre-2015 and 2019 elections mode, it was opportunity to avenge the 2012 Occupy Nigeria protests, which they believe largely devalued the government of the day, and led to its eventual ouster in 2015.

“The strike that was to have come up last week, they wanted to use as opportunity for a pound of flesh, which they calculated would weaken the government so much, and influence the 2023 elections. For them, it was all about hanker for power, its trappings and appurtenances. Nothing about love of country. They have since then been calling organized labour all sorts of names, claiming they deceived Nigerians.

“The times in which we live-with severe security, economic and social challenges-call for all hands to be on deck, and goodwill and support for government, as it strives to put the nation on an even keel. We commend organized labour for putting the country first.

“Those sponsoring and encouraging discord and anarchy, either for selfish ends, or as revenge for perceived injuries, are enemies of the country. Nigerians are urged to beware of them, as the Muhammadu Buhari government is only interested in engendering better quality of life for the citizenry. Nothing more.”


2023: Presidency should go to S’East- Essien, ex-minister [SUN]

Former minister for Land, Housing and Urban Development, Chief Nduse Essien, has joined the advocacy for Nigeria’s  president to shift to the South East  in 2023.

The former chairman of South South National Assembly caucus and member,  House of Representatives between 1999 and 2007, said  having a president from South East would assuage feelings of marginalisation from the zone and further reinforce Nigeria’s unity.

“We have had the government of Nigeria rotate from one zone to the other. So far we have all the zones taste power at the presidency such as the South West, South- South, the North Central during the military administration and the North West is doing so presently. If Nigeria is to have peace and move forward there is need to allow the South East  have the president.

“Zoning has to continue until after the turn of the South-East. From 2023 and thereafter, Nigeria should return to elect the best material to govern the country and no longer on zoning arrangement or rotation anymore.  We can’t say we have had a peaceful rotation of the presidency if the South-East is not given an opportunity to rule the country. So we are all hoping that the next election will produce a south easterner as Nigeria’s next president,” he said.

Commenting on Nigeria at 60, Essien said things were getting worse.

“Nigeria is now 60 years, but the level of disappointment of Nigerians is reflected in some of the cartoons presently in circulation in the country. Some say that Nigeria has reached retirement age and should be retired. Some say new countries should emerge out of Nigeria. That shows the level of frustration among Nigerians.There is no doubt that most Nigerians are frustrated about the way things are done.


I never defied security reports, Zulum replies ex-DSS chief [THE GUARDIAN]

Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State has denied claims that he defied security reports before the multiple attacks on his convoy by terrorists at Baga.

Last week, former Deputy Director of Department of State Services (DSS), Dennis Amakiri, had said that the governor defied warnings by security operatives against going out of Maiduguri.

A senior official in Borno government told The Guardian on Saturday that the governor could not have ignored warnings from his security details.

According to him, Borno has a security council comprising heads of all military and paramilitary agencies, the police and DSS, which Zulum chairs.

He stated: “Zulum’s relationship with heads of security is very professional and of mutual respect.

“The composition of Zulum’s security includes soldiers, police and DSS staff, and his trips are usually known to heads of security agencies who often join his convoy.”

He berated the ‘analysts’ who ride on the back of security situation in the country to popularity.

“I do not know where anyone would generate some kind of information, but of course, as it observed, many people who want to be referred as security analysts exploit the Boko Haram issue to appear on TV and claim knowledge of many issues.

“We have seen people who speak about issues they clearly lack knowledge about concerning Borno. I know of one analyst that has written a book on the Boko Haram insurgency in Borno, but who has never been to Borno,” he added.

Amakiri had said on Friday in a special programme on Channels TV to mark Nigeria’s 60th independence anniversary that the governor was warned earlier against travelling out of Maiduguri, the state capital, based on security reports.

“Zulum was furnished with the intelligence that Monguno/Baga road was not safe. He, however, defied our security warnings and felt he could go.

“Being the chief executive, he ventured out and was attacked twice. I hope he will not go again,” he said, noting that they would continue to manage the governor to make sure that he kept safe.

On September 25, 2020, Zulum’s convoy was attacked two kilometres to Baga, killing about 30 people, including 11 security operatives. Two days later, the governor encountered a fresh attack by terrorists on the same route to Monguno after resettling 521 displaced households.

The governor’s convoy was also attacked along the same road on July 29, 2020, but it narrowly escaped.

Piqued by the attacks, the governor had confronted the army and expressed his “anger and disappointment” over the inability of the military to rid Borno communities of terrorists.

His words: “You have been here for over one year now, with 1,181 soldiers. If you cannot take over Baga, which is less than five kilometres from your base, then we should forget about Baga.

“I will inform the Chief of Army Staff to redeploy the men to other places that they can be useful.”

The governor alleged sabotage in the fight against bandits in the North East.

“President Muhammadu Buhari needs to know the truth on the ongoing counter-insurgency operations in Borno,” he had lamented.

But the military said that Zulum’s allegation of sabotage was untrue.

According to a witness in the government’s press crew, that fateful Friday, the terrorists deployed a donkey laden with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) along the road to attack the governor’s convoy.

“A soldier in the convoy had to shoot the donkey and triggered multiple detonations of explosives, killing not less than eight policemen,” he said.


















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