Below are the headlines found on The Guardian Online Newspaper for today, Thursday, 22 February, 2018.

Thu, 22 Feb 2018
The crisis in the Senate over the order of next year’s general elections took a new twist yesterday as the Northern Senators’ Forum announced the removal of its chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu (APC, Nasarawa).
Former Sokoto State governor, Senator Aliu Wammako (Sokoto North), was immediately announced as a replacement.

Adamu’s removal was hinged on an alleged mismanagement of N70 million handed to him by the forum’s former leadership under the seventh Senate.

Last week, Adamu had led nine senators in protest against the chamber’s reversal of the election schedule, which demanded the National Assembly election come first while the presidential hold last.

Faulting the adoption of the controversial election sequence clause, the dissenters claimed the inclusion of Section 25 (1) was targeted at President Buhari.

They contended that the action of the Assembly breached the constitution, which they claimed empowered only INEC to fix dates for elections. They also alleged that the process was rushed to achieve predetermined motives.

Furious, Adamu had said: “Considering the strategic importance of the bill, it does not need to be rushed. So many members of the committee did not sign. We need to know why they did not. I believe that the content of the bill is not fair. We need to be fair. Why the rush? I will not be part of it.”

A letter titled “Announcement of Removal of Senator Abdullahi Adamu as Chairman Northern Senators’ Forum,” read by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu notes: “This is to inform the Senate that the majority signatories of members of the Northern Senators’ Forum have removed Senator Abdullahi Adamu as chairman for financial mismanagement and misadministration. We announce his replacement with Senator Aliyu Wammakko immediately.”

The drama turned witty when some members of the forum, while addressing a press conference, declared ‘monkeys’ had raided Adamu’s farm and run away with the money.

Senator Shehu Sani said: “Abdullahi Adamu is a distinguished senator and an elder statesman. I will prefer a situation where he is in the Senate to answer such a weighty allegation made against him. It is not good to shave the head of a man in his absence.

“When we resumed as senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and assumed office, Senator Ahmed Lawan tendered the sum of N70 million to the Northern Senators’ Forum of 8th Senate. It was money gathered by the Forum in the 7th Senate.”

Sani added: “The rumours going round, whether it is true…But I believe most of the senators know it’s the fact. There were allegations that some monkeys raided the farm house of some of the executives in the Northern Senators’ Forum and carted away some of this money.

“I think this country is becoming a huge joke. First of all, it was rodents that drove away the president. Then we had snakes consuming about N36 million. And now, you have monkeys. They don’t want this to be said but I believe it should be very clear.”

When contacted, Adamu said he was not ready to give any statement on the allegation.

The sack of Adamu came few minutes after Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, another dissenter, tendered a formal apology to the House for alleging the re-ordering targeted the re-election bid of President Buhari.

“When this bill was passed in the House of Representatives, only 36 members were present. This cannot stand in a House of 360 members. This amendment needs to be debated before it is passed. We are supposed to determine if the decision of the House is in tandem with what the Senate passed. That was not done. We cannot stand and allow a law passed against Mr. President to stand,” he had said at a press briefing last week.

But citing Order 43, Omo-Agege pleaded for clemency, regretting that his action and utterance had impinged on the integrity of the chamber.

He said: “I addressed the media at the press centre. I made certain remarks during that interview which my attention has been drawn to. The comments are offensive, not just to Senator Dino Melaye but also to the entire Senate. I rise to apologise to the leadership and the entire Senate for those remarks. I take back whatever I said. Thank you, Mr. President.”

Though Ekweremadu appreciated the apology, he nevertheless said: “The matter has already been referred to the committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions. I urge the committee to quickly look into it, so that we can have the report as quickly as possible. Then we will take a decision.”

Thu, 22 Feb 2018
The Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN) has petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Ibe Kachikwu over the non-payment of their outstanding subsidy in excess of N650 billion.
The marketers issued a fresh 14-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to pay up, failing which they would shut down their depots and embark on a massive sack of workers.

The development could set back government’s efforts at easing the scarcity of petroleum products.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) uses the private depots to stock most of its imported products for a fee due to a shortage of storage facilities in the country.

The association said: “The unfortunate primary fallout of this step is the likely shutdown of all DAPPMAN depots nationwide due to lack of manpower to operate same, pending the time the Federal Government will pay off its indebtedness to petroleum marketers. This, unfortunately, will have a multiplier effect on the nationwide supply and distribution of petroleum products, which currently is still a struggle.”

The ultimatum, contained in a letter signed by Executive Secretary Olufemi Adewole, notes: “Subsequent to our letter ref: DS/ES/Presidency/16 dated January 24, 2018 and copied to you, we again observe a lack of response on the part of the Federal Government to the plight of petroleum marketers, many of whom have become financially insolvent.”

The Guardian gathered that the demand became inevitable as a result of buck-passing between the executive, represented by the Ministry of Finance, and legislators. While the ministry insisted the sum had been forwarded for legislative approval, the lawmakers denied receiving any notification.

Last year, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo directed Minister of Finance Kemi Adeosun to pay oil marketers all outstanding subsidy claims, estimated at about $2 billion after verification and study of the legal implication of continued delay.

The minister, however, noted that although the Federal Executive Council approved promissory notes for settlement of the arrears and other liabilities inherited from the previous administration, the National Assembly was yet to approve the payments.

Having waited years for the payment, which continues to attract huge bank interests, the association, therefore, petitioned the Federal Government, noting:
“Marketers are continually under pressure by banks and the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), with looming threats of imminent take-over of our petrol stations and tank farms by creditors, labour unions, Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners and Petroleum Tanker Drivers (NARTO/PTD), to whom we are substantially indebted due to past freight services.”

In the light of the foregoing, the association said it had no option but stop borrowing to pay staff and immediately commence massive disengagement of staff, as forewarned in its January 24 letter, where it gave the Federal Government a 21-day notice to pay up.

Thu, 22 Feb 2018
They have met several times in this game and on most occasions, Nigeria’s Falcons had the upper hand. Today in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, the Black Queens will attempt to have one over the Super Falcons in the second semifinal of the maiden WAFU Cup.

Nigeria topped Group B of the competition on nine points, with Mali coming second on six points. Ghana, on the other hand, came second in Group A behind Cote d’Ivoire to set up the clash with the Super Falcons.

Nigeria and Mali finished the group stage of the competition with victories over Togo (3-0) and Senegal (1-0) respectively on Monday in Abidjan. Senegal placed third with three points, while Togo without any point remained at the bottom of the log.

In Group A, hosts, Cote d’Ivoire topped on seven points with Ghana in that order on six points. Burkina Faso and Niger complete the standings on four points and Niger zero point respectively.

In the first semifinal billed for the Parc des Sports, host Cote d’Ivoire will face Mali before Nigeria and Ghana enter the fray.

The final of the inaugural edition of the regional championship is scheduled for Saturday at the Stade Champroux in Abidjan.

In the opening match of the competition, which started on February 14, Group A leaders, Cote d’Ivoire beat Ghana 1-0 Ghana, Burkina Faso defeated Niger 5-1 in the second game, while Ghana walloped Niger 9-0 on February 15, the same day Burkina Faso held Cote d’Ivoire to a 1-1 draw.

The hosts came back to wallop Niger 7-0 at the weekend, just before Ghana thrashed Burkina Faso 4-1.

Group B opened with Senegal’s 6-0 victory over Togo on a day Nigeria beat Mali 1-0. The Super Falcons hit Senegal 3-0 on matchday two of the group, while Mali -completely outclassed Togo 8-0.

On the final match day in the group, Nigeria beat Togo 3-0, with Mali 1-0 better than Senegal.

Thu, 22 Feb 2018
Barely two weeks after he dissolved the state executive council, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau on Wednesday forwarded 19 names to the House of Assembly for confirmation as commissioners.
Among those nominated is Mr Dan Majang, Special Adviser to the governor on media and publicity.

Others are Bulus Bot, Ezekiel Daju, Anna Izam, Sylvester Wallangko, Pam Bot-Mang, Hosea Finangwai and Usman Idi.

Also nominated are Dakur Eli, Victor Lapang, Elizabeth Wapmuk and Regina Somela.

Ahmed Nazif, Abdullahi Abbas, Dayyabu Garga, Tamakat Wali, David Wuyep, Festus Fuanter and Hitler Dadi, who were among those dropped, were re-nominated.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Lalong had earlier forwarded three nominees who were screened and cleared on Feb. 14.

Speaker Peter Azi, who read the names during plenary on Wednesday in Jos, said that the governor’s communication was in accordance with section 195 of the 1999 constitution as amended.

The lawmakers have agreed to screen the nominees on Feb. 27.

Thu, 22 Feb 2018
Fears grew in northeast Nigeria on Wednesday about the fate of potentially scores of girls who have not been seen since a Boko Haram attack on their school two days ago.

Militants stormed the Government Girls Science Secondary School in Dapchi, Yobe state, on Monday evening. Locals initially said the girls and their teachers fled the attack.

The jihadists gained worldwide notoriety in April 2014 when they abducted 276 girls from their school in Chibok, in neighbouring Borno state. A total of 112 are still being held.

Monday's incident sparked fears of a repeat and on Wednesday morning some 50 parents and guardians gathered at the school demanding information.

"Our girls have been missing for two days and we don't know their whereabouts," Abubakar Shehu, whose niece is among those missing, told AFP.

"Although we were told they had run to some villages, we have been to all these villages mentioned without any luck. We are beginning to harbour fears the worst might have happened.

"We have the fear that we are dealing with another Chibok scenario."

According to school staff, there were 710 students at the state-run boarding school, which caters for girls aged 11 and above.

Inuwa Mohammed, whose 16-year-old daughter, Falmata, is also missing, said it was a confused picture and that parents had been frantically searching surrounding villages.

"Nobody is telling us anything officially," he said. "We still don't know how many of our daughters were recovered and how many are still missing.

"We have been hearing many numbers, between 67 and 94."

Police in the state, which is one of three in the northeast Nigeria worst-affected by the Boko Haram insurgency, said they have no reports of abductions following the attack.

Yobe's education commissioner, Mohammed Lamin, said the school had been shut and a roll call of all the girls who have returned was being conducted.

"It is only after the head-count that we will be able to say whether any girls were taken," he said.

Some of the girls had fled to villages up to 30 kilometres (nearly 20 miles) away through the remote bushland, he added.

Boko Haram has used kidnapping as a weapon of war since its insurgency began in 2009, seizing thousands of women and young girls, as well as men and boys of fighting age.

Thu, 22 Feb 2018
Katsina State Governor, Aminu Bello Masari yesterday said the state was in need of additional 13,000 teachers to bridge the gap with educationally advantaged states in the country. Besides, the governor who disclosed that the state has a deficit of 16,000 classes lamented that the number was a major factor to realising the goal of [] 

Thu, 22 Feb 2018
The Acting Director, Department of Academic Services, Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Abuja, Mallam Wadatau Madawaki, has called on the Federal Government to ensure that education is accordedits priority as stipulated by the United Nations (UN),so as to move the nation forward. Speaking at the Connecting Classroom Best-Practice Sharing Conference for education stakeholders organised [] 

Thu, 22 Feb 2018
In this report, Head, Education Desk, IYABO LAWAL writes that the key to ending the strike embarked upon by universities' non-teaching staff unions lies in the willingness and readiness of the federal government to keep its promises and honour agreements reached with the non-academic groups. They shook one another's hands with their faces beaming with [] 

Thu, 22 Feb 2018
The Vice Chancellor, Nnamdi Azikiwe University(NAU), Awka, Prof. Joseph E. Ahanaku has urged the Federal and state government in Nigerian to apply the measures used in eradicating guinea worm disease, to fight other tropical diseases bedevilling the country. Prof. Ahanaku made the recommendation while speaking at a public lecture yesterday in Awka, organized by department [] 

Thu, 22 Feb 2018
Dr. Paulin Basinga is the Country Director for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) in Nigeria. He spoke to NKECHI ONYEDIKA-UGOEZE in Abuja on why the foundation is investing in polio eradication in Nigeria, maternal and child health, family planning and the Primary Health Care (PHC) among others. Ecerpts: What does the Foundation hope [] 

Thu, 22 Feb 2018
The Old Grammarian Society (OGS) sets of 1977/79 have honoured the Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, for his achievements in academic world. The OGS of the CMS Grammar School, Bariga, hosted Ogundipe to a dinner in commemoration of his appointment as Vice Chancellor. President of OGS, Adedapo Fashanu, said [] 

Thu, 22 Feb 2018
The rains are coming early this year, a frightening development that may spell doom for residents of the coastal city. It is not enough for Lagosians to prepare for an unprecedented flooding, what is scarier is the looming epidemic that lies in the days ahead while the state struggles to stay afloat in the ocean [] 

Thu, 22 Feb 2018
An Ogun State High Court sitting in Ipokia local government area of the state yesterday declared the imposition of curfew on residents of Ipokiaby organisers of Oro festival in day time as illegal. Thecourt also declared that Oro festival, which is always associated with rituals could only be celebrated between 12:00a.m. and 4:00a.m. in the [] 

Thu, 22 Feb 2018
The police at Area 'D' police command in Mushin, Lagos State, have arrested two suspects, one former bank manager, Mr. Felix Oko and Samson Sunola in connection with the alleged abduction of two children of the same parents on their way to school in Lagos. The incident occured at Iyke Meregini Street area in Bucknor [] 

Thu, 22 Feb 2018
To sensitise the Nigerian journalists and the general pubic on countering hate speeches, The Nigerian Press Council has concluded arrangement to organize a capacity building programme with the theme, Hate Communication in Nigeria: identifying its roots and remedies. The workshop scheduled for Thursday, February 22, 2018 in Abuja, according to the Director, Research and Documentation, [] 

Thu, 22 Feb 2018
Marvel Secondary School and St. Paul College Ozoro yesterday qualified for semifinals of the ongoing Delta State Principals' Cup sponsored by Zenith Bank Plc for all secondary schools in Delta State. The semifinals will hold on February 26 and 27 at venues yet to be determined by the organisers. At the Sapele Stadium, Marvel Secondary [] 

Thu, 22 Feb 2018
Peeved by the unending fuel scarcity in Warri and environs allegedly caused by the hording of products by marketers, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) yesterday raided some erring filling stations in the oil city. Four stations were sealed by the DPR team led by Mr. Yusuf Sule, Manager Operations in Warri, particularly around Airport [] 

Thu, 22 Feb 2018
Today in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, the Black Queens will attempt to have one over the Super Falcons in the second semifinal of the maiden WAFU Cup. 

Thu, 22 Feb 2018
While Lagosians were savouring the downpour on Tuesday to douse the heat experienced in the last few weeks, it was a fatal end for 38-year-old man, Eugene Ibem, who was electrocutedafter stepping on a high voltage cable lying inside a pool of water on Hospital Road, Olodi Apapa, Lagos. It was gathered that the [] 

Thu, 22 Feb 2018
It is the mark of genius for someone to devise a simple solution to a complex and intractable problem. On Tuesday, February 20, Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State has shown us how to deal with the political opposition. A rebel faction of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, led by Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi had [] 
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