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NAIJA NEWSPAPERS: TODAY'S THE PUNCH NEWSPAPER HEADLINES [21 DECEMBER, 2017].


Below are the headlines found on The Punch Online Newspaper for today, Thursday, 21 December, 2017.

Thu, 21 Dec 2017

Members of the Federal Executive Council, on Wednesday, embarked on a marathon meeting that saw them approving contracts totalling about N960bn.

The contracts cut across different sectors such as road, aviation, education and transport, among others.


 
After many hours, the meeting, which started at 11am, was adjourned at about 5.20pm to reconvene on Thursday in order to conclude deliberations.

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, told State House correspondents at the end of the meeting that the council approved the variation of the contract for the completion of the Police Service Commission headquarters in Abuja in order for the project to be completed in the next six months.

The project, which had an initial cost of N3.486bn was increased to N3.925bn, with a variation of N439.113m.

Fashola stated that the council also approved additional funding for the Nnamdi Azikiwe Mausoleum in Onitsha, Anambra State.

The project was initiated by the last administration.

“Council approved the additional funding to complete it from N1.49bn N1.953bn,” he added.

Fashola said the council approved road projects, which included the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Road at the cost of N155.7bn and Efire-Araromi-Aiyede-Aiyela Road to connect Ondo and Ogun states at a cost of N14.4bn.

He said for the Enugu-Onitsha highway, the Amansia section, council approved the variations of the cost of N38.74bn to enable the contractor to progress with the work.

“Council also approved the awarded part at the Umunya at the cost of N23.4bn. So if you add that N38.74bn, which was the cost of the Amansia section, you will get a total approved cost of N62.06bn.

“This contract was first awarded for N24bn in 2014 but the scale of work done is, to say the least, appalling,” he said.

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
The House of Representatives alleged on Wednesday that over $5bn had been diverted by the Central Bank of Nigeria from the Federation Account.

The House further stated that part of the money was kept in “secret accounts” known only to the apex bank.


 
In a resolution it passed in Abuja, the House set up an ad hoc committee to investigate several cases of non-remittances and under-remittances of revenue to the federation account by the apex bank.

A member of the All Progressives Congress from Osun State, Mrs. Ayo Omidiran, had raised the issue in plenary under matters of urgent national importance and called for urgent investigations.

Omidiran noted that the federation account was jointly owned by the three tiers of government, but managed solely by the CBN.

However, she informed the House that the CBN took advantage of being the custodian of the account to “manipulate the system by opening various accounts not known to the three tiers of government.”

She added, “Funds are remitted, hidden, diverted and spent without authorisation.”

The lawmaker observed that the $5bn would make some remarkable impact if it was used to fund the 2018 budget.

Omidiran cited some instances of the alleged diversion. She said in 2014, the sum of $339m was moved out, while in the next year, it was $446.3m.

She added that in 2015, $1.3bn was diverted out of the account in connection with Joint Venture operations.
Thu, 21 Dec 2017
As the scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) continues to rock many parts of the, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry has said the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation cannot continue to be the sole importer of the product into the country.


 
Private oil marketers had since last year stopped fuel importation due to shortage of foreign exchange and increase in crude prices, which they said had made it unprofitable to import petrol and sell at N145 per litre.

The LCCI advised the Federal Government to stop treating petrol as a social product by encouraging private sector operators to play a bigger role in the nation’s downstream petroleum sector.
The Director-General, LCCI, Mr. Muda Yusuf, in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents on Wednesday, said, “It’s unfortunate that we are having fuel queues back. But there is a very fundamental problem with our petroleum downstream sector, and the problem is that it is over-regulated. You cannot have a sector as big as that serving our size of population and we expect only the government provider to be supplying fuel. It is not a sustainable model.

“So, there is an urgent need to push back the role of government in the issue of retailing fuel, importing fuel and all of that. Right now, it is only the NNPC that is importing PMS. Such a thing cannot be efficient; it creates room for all manner of abuses, some of which the marketers cannot disclose because of their own businesses.”
Thu, 21 Dec 2017
Chidiebube Okeoma, Owerri Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State has approved the payment of November and December salaries for civil servants in the state. A statement issued on Wednesday by the state Commissioner for Information, Nnamdi Obiaraeri, said the motive was to ensure that all employees of the state government had seamless Christmas. The statement [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
Adelani Adepegba, Abuja The Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, on Wednesday, decorated Ibrahim Danjuma with his new rank of Commissioner of Police after he had been prosecuted and acquitted for the extrajudicial killing of five Abuja traders and a lady in 2005. Danjuma was among 15 new CPs recently promoted by the Police Service Commission [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
Olaleye Aluko, Abuja Gun-wielding herdsmen have fired at the Alpha Jet and the EC 135 Helicopter deployed by the military in an attempt to resist the interventions by the Nigerian Air Force in the troubled communities of Numan and Demsa Local Government Areas of Adamawa State. The herdsmen, who were dressed in black, reportedly attempted [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
Eniola Akinkuotu, Ihuoma Chiedozie and Leke Baiyewu The Senate Committee on Financial Crimes and Anti-Corruption, on Wednesday, quizzed the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, over the arrest of the Chairman/Managing Director of Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing, Chief Innocent Chukwuma. Magu, who appeared before the committee to defend the EFCCs proposed [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
Olusola Fabiyi, Abuja A group made up of about five men on Wednesday opened a parallel secretariat for the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, in Abuja. The five men are Prince Obi Nwosu, Alhaji Hassan Adamu, Chief Olusola Akindele, Chief Godwin Duru and Franklyne Edede. Only two flags of the party are taped [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
Sesan Olufowobi The Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, on Wednesday directed legionnaires to take charge of security in public schools in the state. Ambode, who gave the directive while inaugurating the 2018 Armed Forces Remembrance Emblem at the Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, said ensuring safety of pupils in the state was important to him. He [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
Motunrayo Joel The Secretary, Organisation of African Instituted Churches, Lagos State, Israel Akinadewo, says for the country to progress, Nigerians must make a conscious effort to elect quality leaders. He said a good leader must be humane, incorruptible, hard-working and transparent, among other qualities. Akinadewo stated this at a leadership and time management seminar held [] 


Thu, 21 Dec 2017
Leke Baiyewu, Abuja The Acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, on Wednesday announced that the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit under its supervision would get full autonomy on January 1, 2018. Magu made this known while appearing before the Senate Committee on Financial Crimes and Anti-Corruption to defend estimates in the 2018 [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
Oladimeji Ramon The BBC World Service says it has appointed new leaders for the East and West African languages as part of its continuing expansion on the Africa continent. It disclosed in a statement on Wednesday that the East African languages team would be led by Kenyan-based Rachel Akidi Okwir, while Nigerias Toyosi Ogunseye would [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
Leke Baiyewu, Abuja The Senate will, at the plenary on Thursday (today), debate the proposed withdrawal of $1bn from the Excess Crude Account by the Federal Government to fight Boko Haram insurgency. Raising a point of order at the plenary on Wednesday, Senator Samuel Anyanwu (PDP, Imo-East), sought the permission of the chamber to present [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
Samuel Awoyinfa and Alexander Okere The Academic Staff Union of Universities, Lagos zone, has demanded that a panel of inquiry be set up to investigate the crisis at the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. The crisis reportedly heightened after the sacking of seven lecturers of the institution. Addressing journalists on Wednesday at the ASUU office [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja President Muha-mmadu Buhari on Wednesday inaugurated seven new permanent secretaries at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The event took place shortly before the commencement of the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council. Fifteen out of the 22 recently-appointed perma-nent secretaries were earlier inaugurated on August 15 by Vice-President [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
Ten passengers were confirmed dead in an accident when a commercial bus collided with a truck on the Abeokuta/Ibadan Road in Ogun State on Tuesday night. The Public Relations Officer, Traffic Compliance and Enforcement Corps, Mr. Babatunde Akinbiyi, confirmed the accident to the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Abeokuta. Akinbiyi said that the [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
Olaleye Aluko, Abuja Troops of the Nigerian Army have rescued over 100 men, women and children abducted by the Boko Haram and forced to work on terrorists farms in the Magumeri Local Government Area of Borno State. The troops also captured 17 Boko Haram terrorists during the operation and killed 20 others in a shootout. [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
Alexander Okere, Benin A medical doctor at the Edo State Sickle Cell Centre, Dr. Peter Iyawe, who was accused of unethical practice by the state government, has denied the allegation. Governor Godwin Obaseki had during a meeting with parents and guardians of members of the Concerned Sickle Cell Sufferers Club at the Government House ordered [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
With a year left to fully implement the National Broadband Plan, IFE OGUNFUWA examines the progress made in the deployment of the critical infrastructure in the country The Nigerian National Broadband Plan was designed in 2013 to cater to the broadband challenges of today and take care of telecommunications issues that may evolve over time. [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
Adelani Adepegba, Abuja The Federal Road Safety Corps has warned motorists against flouting traffic laws, warning that violators will spend the Christmas holiday in jail. The Corps Marshal, Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi, who handed down the warning on Wednesday in Abuja, noted that anyone caught beating the traffic light, making phone calls while driving or not [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
Sesan Olufowobi A non-governmental organisation, The Counselling Ambassadors Organisation (TCAO), has urged Nigerians to help the underprivileged in the spirit of Yuletide. The founder of the NGO, Pastor Iyabo Obasa, at an empowerment programme for 120 beneficiaries, said the level of poverty in the country made it necessary for the privileged to help the poor. [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Ibadan West, Emmanuel Badejo, has said Nigeria needs courageous leaders to make the country great. According to him, Nigerian leaders know what is right to do but lack the courage to do the right thing. He said, There is nothing wrong with Nigeria as a country, but the [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
British Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday accepted the resignation of her deputy Damian Green, who announced he was stepping down following a probe into his conduct. It is therefore with deep regret, and enduring gratitude for the contribution you have made over many years, that I asked you to resign from the government and [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has released Mr. Innocent Chukwuma, the Chief Executive Officer of Innoson Motors. Spokesman of the commission, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said in a statement on Wednesday that he was released on bail. Popularly known as Innoson, the industrialist was arrested on Tuesday following his alleged refusal to respond to invitations [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
US President Donald Trumps chief negotiator Jason Greenblatt met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday as part of the administrations efforts to advance peace, the American official said. The meeting took place as tensions with the international community and the Palestinians remained high in the wake of Trumps decision to recognise Jerusalem as [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson heads to Moscow this week on the first official visit by a minister from London in five years. Johnson will hold talks on Friday with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign ministry said, eight months after a previous visit was cancelled over Moscows support for the Syrian regime [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
Gbenga Odogun, Lokoja The Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, has advised the running mate to the late Abubakar Audu in the 2015 governorship election, Abiodun Faleke, to wait till 2019 to test his popularity in the state. The governor, who spoke through his Director General on Media and Publicity, Kingsley Fanwo, told Faleke to [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
Ade Adesomoju, Abuja The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal has said that its December 14, 2016 judgment which made Aidoko Attai the senator representing Kogi East Senatorial District in the National Assembly is no longer valid. This is contained in the latest ruling of the Court of Appeal delivered on Monday. Our correspondent [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
THE precariousness of the Nigerian state was again underscored recently when about 2,000 militants reportedly surrendered weapons to the Ondo State Government. Under the deal offered them by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, those giving up their arms and renouncing crime will get jobs, training and access to the long-running federal amnesty programme for Niger Delta militants. [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation on Wednesday announced that it would build power generating plants with combined capacity for 4,600 megawatts in Abuja, Kaduna and Kano states. It said the resolve to invest in the power plants was due to the recently approved contract for the construction of the Ajaokuta-Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Gas Pipeline, [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja The existing fiscal terms in the Nigeria's oil and gas sector are not strong enough to attract investors into the country, a report by the Nigerian Natural Resource Charter has revealed. Presenting findings from its 2017 Benchmarking Exercise for Nigeria's oil and gas industry in Abuja on Monday, the NNRC observed that [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
Olusola Fabiyi, Abuja The Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Seriake Dickson, has called on the Federal Government to exclude the 13 per cent derivation fund accruable to oil producing states from the controversial $1bn to be deducted from the Excess Crude Account to fight insurgency in the North-East. The governor demanded that the derivation component [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
Everest Amaefule, Abuja The Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission has asked the Federal Government to handle the proposed review of its Production Sharing Contract agreements with multinational oil companies with due diligence. In a statement signed by the Head of Public Relations, Mr. Ibrahim Mohammed, the RMAFC said the nation had been losing revenues [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
Afrinvest West Africa Limited, a Nigeria-based research and investment advisory firm, has said that Guaranty Trust Bank Plc's insider-related lending level is low, contrary to its earlier report categorising it as severe. The 2017 Nigerian Banking Sector Report published by the research firm categorised the severity of insider lending positions in 14 quoted Deposit Money [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
Ifeanyi Onuba, Abuja The Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority on Wednesday said it was planning to invest massively in the Nigerian Infrastructure Debt Fund being managed by Chapel Hill Denham Nigeria. The NSIA said this in a statement issued in Abuja and signed by its Communications Adviser, Mr. Titilope Olubiyi. It, however, did not disclose the [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
The President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, Isma'ila Zakari, has urged the 650 newly inducted members of the Association of Accounting Technicians West Africa to adhere strictly to the conduct of professionalism. He said this recently during the 47th induction ceremony held at the ICAN Centre, Amuwo Odofin, Lagos. Zakari said, 'The [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
Stanley Opara The Nigerian Stock Exchange reversed a two-day decline at the close of trade on Wednesday after the NSE market capitalisation appreciated by N54bn. The Exchange's All-Share Index rose 40 basis points to close at37,933.86 points while year-to-date return expanded to 41.2 per cent. A total of 207.886 million shares valued at N3.386bn exchanged [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja Power generation companies are now getting about 80 per cent of the payments required by them to function properly, as against the previous situation where they get less than 30 per cent of their monthly invoices. It was gathered that this became possible following the Federal Government's intervention in the sector after [] 


Thu, 21 Dec 2017
Bearish sentiments were sustained across the Treasury bills space, as the average T-bills yield advanced by 0.28 per cent to settle at 14.85 per cent on Wednesday. Yield gains were recorded across all tenors, save for the yield on the one-month tenor, which declined by 0.05 per cent. The average bond yield also advanced, though [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
Femi Asu Azura Power said the first turbine of its independent power plant was synchronised with the national grid on Wednesday and began producing electricity for distribution across the country. The company said in a statement that the event marked the start of a four-month period of intensive commissioning of the 459megawatts Azura-Edo IPP located [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
oil majors reject corruption charges 'Femi Asu and Eniola Akinkuotu Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Italian oil major, Eni, would face trial in Italy over a $1.1bn bribery scandal in Nigeria, an Italian judge ruled on Wednesday. The trial would start on March 5, 2018 in Milan, judge Giusy Barbara told reporters, according to Bloomberg. [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
Akinpelu Dada BUA International Limited has welcomed the decision of the Dangote Group to await the completion of the judicial process in the ongoing dispute by both parties over limestone mining sites. Dangote Cement Plc had written to the Nigerian Stock Exchange on Tuesday in respect of a report that a court awarded N2,697,125,000 against [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
Femi Asu Northwest Petroleum and Gas Company Limited, an indigenous petroleum products marketing firm, has said the new ultra-modern filling station in Lekki is in line with the drive for massive expansion of its retail business. The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. Winifred Akpani, said the company had embarked on the construction of new mega [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
An investor is set to commit about N8bn into Resort Savings & Loans Plc as the mortgage bank returns to full-scale business after about two years of break. The mortgage bank also recently appointed new leaders to pilot the affairs of the organisation, having overcome a major crisis that affected its operations for over two [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
On the face of it, a casual observer may be led away to think that Atiku Abubakar and President Muhammadu Buhari, probable candidates for the presidential election of 2019, have contrasting attributes. Unfortunately for Nigeria, those who manage to stand for elections are simply those who may not represent the finest choices of the people, [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
Thursday withAbimbola Adelakun aadelakun@punchng.com Religion is one subject that never fails to tickle Nigerians. I could set up a school where I teach children that the earth is flat, that climate change is a farce concocted by western scientists, and that religion is superior to science and I may never get a single visit from [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
John R. Jimoh, 1 Isale Ijagba Street, Sagamu, Ogun State, +23470643703: The above article in The PUNCH, Friday, December 15, 2017, by Prof. Ayo Olukotun refers. The truth is that politics here has made a majority of the people mentally disabled. We are told, there are two types of people in the world, leaders and [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
Rasheed Akinkuolie The NATO-led military campaign which eventually destroyed Libya started in early 2011 and Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, was killed in October the same year by dissident groups. Since then, the country has not known peace and the crisis is still unravelling. Libya under Gaddafi was an epitome of development and good governance. [] 

Thu, 21 Dec 2017
Greg Odogwu gregodogwu@yahoo.com 08063601665 Very quickly, let me state that considering the existing legislative contradictions in our governance superstructure, what the formulators and proponents of the so-called NGO Bill are doing is tantamount to leaving the log in your eye to remove the speck in your brothers eye. That is paraphrasing the famous words of []