The Early Edition: Glancing The Major Headlines For 18th March, 2015

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Jega: Condemnations Trail Ethnic Militias’ Protests

Condemnations, yesterday, trailed calls by ethnic militias in the country for the removal of Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega.

The Oodua People’s Congress, OPC, on Monday staged a protest march in parts of Lagos, calling for the sack of Jega.

The Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, had last week, also held similar protest in Enugu.

But, the Council of the Wise and the Coalition of Oodua Self Determination Groups, COSEG, rose up in the defence of the INEC boss and condemned calls for his removal.

The Council of the Wise, on a visit to former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, described the protests staged by armed ethnic militia in some parts of the country where they called for the removal of Jega as “unfortunate” and “partisan.





Again, No Clue Yet On Chibok Girls – Army

The Nigerian Army said yesterday that it has no clue yet on the whereabouts of the remaining 119 girls abducted by Boko Haram from Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State. About 276 girls were abducted by the sect on the night of April 14, 2014.




NERC Reduces Electricity Tariff By 50%

In a bid to ensure that only prudent and efficient costs are passed to consumers, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, has directed that the collection loss for all DISCOs should be set at zero.

This was stated by the Chairman of NERC, Dr Sam Amadi, yesterday, during a press conference in Abuja.

He said that the removal of collection losses from customer has reduced tariff by more than 50 per cent in some places.

Speaking on the new development, Amadi said the Commission reviewed the technical and financial assumption of MYTO 2.1 and it shows that the major underlying cause of the skyrocketing increase in the tariff is the huge Aggregate Technical, Commercial and Collection ATC&C losses, which are passed to consumers.

He also disclosed that the industrial and commercial consumers under the auspices of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, petitioned the commission, asking for a review of the MYTO 2.1 and requested drastic reduction of their tariff.




Don’t Heat Up The Polity – Buhari

Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, General Muhammadu Buhari, has said the media will enjoy maximum freedom under his leadership, even as he warned the practitioners against unnecessarily heating up the polity.




Oil Glut: 116 Firms Cut $120bn From 2015 Budget

About 116 companies have cut their 2015 capital budgets by 24 per cent, amounting to $120bn, as a result of continued crash in the prices of crude oil in the international market.

Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, who disclosed this at the ongoing Nigeria Oil and Gas conference in Abuja yesterday, said the cut may go up to 40 per cent as prices continue to slide.

“According to Wood Mackenzie, relative to 2014, a total of $120bn (24 per cent) has been cut from the 2015 upstream budgets of some 116 companies. This can go up to as much as 40 per cent,” she said, adding that it was obvious that many oil producing countries, including Nigeria, were facing declining government revenues due to low prices and this will pose challenges to funding of projects.

“The state of our industry is one that is responding to the dramatic events mentioned above. Globally, the oil prices have been sliding to levels last seen during the peak of the financial crisis in 2008, resulting from a weak global economy, strong dollar as well as an over-supplied oil market,” she said, adding that most analysts agree that as oil producers, stakeholders should brace up for extended periods of lower prices and increased price volatility.




Na’Abba Declares For APC

Barely two days after dropping his resignation letter, former House of Representatives’ Speaker, Umaru Ghali Na’Abba, visited All Progressives Congress, APC, head office in Abuja and declared for the opposition party. Na’Abba also called on the presidential candidate of APC, Muhammadu Buhari, to transform himself into a true national leader and shun ethnic biases.

Addressing the party leadership on why he left the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the former speaker said the party leadership failed to carry Nigerians along and to consult when it mattered most.

He said: “The bane of this government is that our leaders do not carry Nigerians along. Nigerians are ready to follow, but all our past leaders have refused to carry people along.

“Democracy is all about consultation. Leaders must be patient; patience is the only thing you do in life that you will never regret.”

Speculations were rife since Sunday that the former Speaker might opt for the APC, especially as supporters in his home state of Kano had since declared for the APC.




Police Smash Armed Robbery Gang In Osun

A notorious armed robbery gang leader said to specialise in robbing passengers along Ife/Akure expressway, identified simply as Abbey, was yesterday killed by men of Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, in Osun State. Sources close to Osun police command said preliminary investigations revealed that Abbey, who is also called Iku, is the leader of a six-man gang of robbers that have been terrorising motorists on the expressway.

The police command was tipped off on Sunday by some residents as to the hideout of the gang along Ife/Akure road, alleging plans by them to operate along the road next day.

It was also gathered that the SARS unit, who were awaiting arrival of the robbers, immediately swooped on them as they attempted to block the road and got three members of the gang arrested.

Those arrested, on interrogation, reportedly confessed that the late Abbey was the leader of the gang and gave out information as to the location of his house in Modakeke.




God Told Me My Husband Will Win – Patience Jonathan

Wife of the president, Mrs. Patience Dame Jonathan yesterday in Ilorin said the God that she serves has told her that her husband will win March 28 presidential election.




LASU Workers Declare VC Persona Non Grata

Workers of the Lagos State University, LASU, Ojo yesterday declared the Vice-Chancellor of the institution, Professor Oladapo Obafunwa, persona non grata. They said he was no longer fit to administer the affairs of the crisis-ridden university, hence the need for Governor Babatunde Fashola, who is the visitor to the university to find according to them a better replacement in acting capacity for the next six months that Obafunwa’s tenure of office is expected to expire.




Two Dutch Peacekeepers Killed In Mali Helicopter Crash

Two Dutch United Nations peacekeepers were killed when their Apache attack helicopter crashed in northern Mali, the Dutch military said, calling it an accident. The helicopter, from the UNs MINUSMA mission, crashed about 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Gao, a source from the city’s airport told AFP.




Security Experts Urges Aregbesola To Pay Workers’ Salaries

A security expert, Mr. Lekan Jackson-Ojo, has called on the Osun State Governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, to pay workers the five months’ salaries he has been owing them. Jackson-Ojo said this while speaking with our correspondent in Osogbo on Tuesday. According to him, workers’ salaries should be given priority by any responsible government.




Toyota Plans Biggest Pay In 13 Years

The success of Toyota Motor Corporation as the world’s leading vehicle manufacturing firm is about to rub off on its workers in Japan as indication has emerged the automaker will increase its workers’ salary substantially beginning from next month.

Toyota retained its crown as the world’s largest car company by sales in 2014, selling 10.23 million vehicles, up three per cent, placing it slightly ahead of Volkswagen AG’s 10.14 million and General Motors Co, which sold 9.92 million vehicles.

In Nigeria, Toyota has been the leader in new vehicle sales for a long time, selling between 18,000 and 20, 000 vehicles annually.

Considered the biggest pay in 13 years, the new monthly salary for all unionised Toyota workers is expected to rise by 3.2 per cent on average, according to a report by an online journal, Auto News.

Toyota’s management would offer a ¥4,000 ($32.94) increase in the monthly pay, in addition to a ¥7,300 rise in seniority pay, a person close to the negotiation between the automaker and its union said.




Ireland-based Company To Boost Digital Banking In Nigeria

Ireland-based company, CR2, says it is set to boost omnichannel banking in Nigeria. This, it said, would assist the nation’s banks to reduce costs and increase revenues through integrated self-service channels.

The Chief Operating Office, CR2, Mr. Mike Brady, who stated this at a news conference in Lagos, said the company was bringing innovative omnichannel banking solutions to financial institutions in the country in order to raise their incomes.

Brady, accompanied by other senior CR2 officials, said Nigeria was an important market for the Dublin-based firm and that the team would visit customers and prospects in the country.

According to him, recent trends and consumer demands in the Nigerian market are fuelling the need for banking innovation.

CR2, he said, had a strong presence and history in the Nigerian market, which is currently seeing an unprecedented shift towards self-service channels.

Automated Teller Machine numbers in the country have rocketed from 865 to over 12,700 in the past 10 years, with an increase of 19 per cent from the end of 2012 to end of 2013 alone.

Brady said CR2’s existing clients such as Diamond Bank had benefited greatly from adopting the company’s integrated self-service management platform and the current market trends.

He said, “Nigeria remains a very dynamic market for CR2 as banking customers continue to embrace innovative and unique banking services. I am delighted to once again be visiting Nigerian banks to continue to bring CR2’s banking innovation to the region.

“Given the sheer size of the Nigerian market, it is essential for banks to choose a solution which can help deliver the right product, in the right place, at the right time, and we are excited to continue to work with Nigerian banks to enable them to deliver innovative and advanced banking to customers.”




Prosecution Seeks Death Penalty For 14-year-old Housewife

Prosecuting state counsel representing Kano State government has requested for death penalty for a 14 ‘year-old child bride, Wasila Tasiu, who was charged before a Kano State High Court for culpable homicide.




Stowaway: NCAA Directs Arik To Review Security Arrangement

The Director-General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Capt. Muhtar Usman, on Tuesday directed the management of Arik Air to review the existing security arrangement around its aircraft when not in operation. This is in a bid to forestall the re-occurrence of stowaways finding their way onto aircraft parked at the nation’s airports.




Oil Price Crash May Last Longer – FG

The harsh economy in Nigeria caused by the fall in global crude oil prices might last much longer as the Federal Government on Tuesday declared that there was no end in sight with respect to the plunge.

According to the government, many companies in the oil and gas industry as well as in other sectors have slashed their respective capital spending this year as a result of the fall in crude oil prices.

The PUNCH had reported on Tuesday that the price of global benchmark Brent crude oil fell by about three per cent the previous day to a six-week low of $52.50 per barrel. This was less than a week after the National Assembly adopted $53 per barrel as the 2015 budget oil price benchmark.

The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, told participants at the 15th Nigeria Oil and Gas Conference in Abuja on Tuesday that the global fall in oil prices was last seen during the peak of the financial crisis in 2008.

She noted that the 2008 plunge in crude oil prices was due to a weak global economy, strong dollar as well as an over supplied oil market, but stressed that the current plunge was different as there was limited visibility as to how it would evolve.




No End In Sight To Nigeria’s Unemployment

The International Labour Organisation, in its recent report, predicted that unemployment would continue to rise in the next five years in Nigeria and other countries, as the global economy entered a new period combining slower growth, widening inequalities and turbulence.

In its World Employment and Social Outlook – Trends 2015, the body stated that more than 212 million people globally would be out of work, up from the current 201 million.

The report noted that although the employment situation had improved in the United States and Japan, it remained difficult in a number of advanced economies, particularly in Europe.

East Asia is among the regions that are likely to make the biggest dent in vulnerable employment, which is expected to be reduced in the region from 50.2 per cent in 2007 to 38.9 per cent in 2019, it added.




2, 123 Policemen Protected Jonathan While Robbers Raided Bank – Fashola

THE Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, on Tuesday said 2, 123 policemen that would have helped to repel the Thursday bank robbery in the state were sent to protect President Goodluck Jonathan when he visited Lagos.

Fashola, who said this at the 2015 Agric Value Chains Empowerment programme, lamented that the President’s visit to the state paralysed the state security apparatus so much that it could not foil the robbery.

He said nearly all the vehicles bought by the state government for the police to be able to respond rapidly to crimes were on the alert for the President.

Fashola said, “The President came to Lagos last Thursday, and while citizens were being robbed, the President was protected by 2,123 security personnel.

“Let me be very clear, the President is entitled to every protection; he is our President, but the question to ask is; when you were being traumatised, where were these 2,123 men, because you are also entitled to be protected? The reason why the President gets all that protection is so that he can protect all of us.”

Fashola said he was also worried by the reports of violence and harassment of innocent citizens on Monday during a protest by members of the Oodua People’s Congress and loyalists of the Peoples Democratic Party.

“Yesterday (Monday), they also showed the difference between us when the supporters of the PDP and President Jonathan came out. On March 7, just about a week ago, the APC held a solidarity walk in Lagos. Did anybody attack you on that day?

“So, yesterday, they held their own, and instead of canvassing for your votes, they were showing you knives and cutlasses.”




Buhari Meets Media Owners, Pledges To Uphold Freedoms

The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) has assured the media that his administration will uphold their constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms if elected. Buhari gave the assurance at an interactive forum with media owners, including members of the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria as well as owners of broadcast stations.




Court Nullifies Indictment Of Ex-Abuja CJ By NJC

A Federal High Court in Abuja has set aside the indictment of a former Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Justice Hassan Gunmi (retd.), by the National Judicial Council in July 2013.




Oil Subsidy Report: NNPC Didn’t Receive N1.329trn From CBN – Alison-Madueke

The Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke yesterday in Abuja denied categorically that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) received N1.329 trillion as subsidy payments over three years (2009-2011) from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as alleged by the Ad-hoc Committee of the House of Representatives on Subsidy Regime.




FG Launches N39.6bn Business Support Project For MSMEs

The Federal Government, on Tuesday, launched the first ever Nigerian Business Development Services Network for effective and productive performance of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria.




Violence Won’t Ensure Victory, Maitama Sule Tells Politicians

Elder statesman, Alhaji Maitalma Sule, yesterday admonished politicians to eschew violence, coercion and intimidation of opponents which he said doing so, would promote peaceful general elections.




APC Supports Confab Recommendations – Ngige

Senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Dr. Chris Ngige, has said the All Progressives Congress (APC) is not against implementation of the 2014 national conference recommendations.

He recalled that the APC governors nominated three candidates each to the national dialogue.

Ngige said those who accused APC of not recognising the national conference were simply being mischievous, stressing that an APC Federal Government would fine-tune modalities for the implementation of the recommendations of the national conference in addition to creating one additional state in the South-East for equity, justice and fair play. The senator made the observation when he undertook campaign tour of wards in Awka metropolis.





Henry Igwe

Henry Igwe

Copywriter. Sanguine. God understands me.

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