NIGERIA NEWSPAPERS: Today's Thisday Newspaper Headlines [1st March, 2018].

Below are the headlines found on Thisday Online Newspaper for today, Thursday, 1st March, 2018.

Thu, 01 Mar 2018
As the air of uncertainty continues to pervade the declaration of tenure extension for the elected and appointed officials of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at all levels, the National Chairman of the ruling party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has said the party was not expecting everyone to tag along with the National Executive Committee (NEC), saying people were entitled to support any cause they believed in.

During the meeting of the NEC of the APC on Tuesday, its members had, without an amendment of the party’s constitution, voted in favour of the tenure elongation by 12 months for all the executives of the party at all levels.


Citing Article 13 of the APC constitution, which empowers the NEC to carry out the functions of the convention, the party said NEC decided to extend the tenure of the current NWC members and other executive committees at various levels for another 12 months, starting from June 30, 2018.

However, by Tuesday night, in realisation that it may have goofed at the NEC meeting by announcing the tenure extension in contravention of the constitution, APC leaders were scrambling to point out the anomaly in the extension.

The constitution of the party provides for a four-year tenure for its executives.
The current executives were elected in June 2014 for a four-year mandate, which is expected to lapse on June 30, 2018.

Giving fillip to the anomaly, a statement issued by the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Zamfara State Governor Abdulaziz Yari said the decision reached at the NEC meeting was a “mere expression of interest”, adding that it is only at the National Convention of the APC that a constitutional amendment can be carried out to extend the tenure of the executives.
According to Yari, “What has been done is a mere expression of interest. The power of the convention to extend tenure is exercised only by way of a constitution amendment.
“The power of the National Executive Committee of our party cannot go beyond doing so by way of constitution amendment.

Thu, 01 Mar 2018
Tutu, the long-lost portrait by Ben Enwonwu of the Ife royal princess Adetutu Ademiluyi – described by Booker Prize winning Nigerian novelist, Ben Okri as Africa’s “Mona Lisa” – set a new record for the artist’s work at an auction, selling for £1,205,000 (N520.2 million, €1.4 million, $1.7 million) at Bonhams Africa Now sale in London Wednesday.

Before the auction, Bonhams had set an estimate of £200,000-300,000 for the painting.

The auction, which was broadcast live to a Bonhams auction event at The Wheatbaker Hotel in Lagos, in a pioneering move which allowed bidders participate in the auction in real time, kicked off at about 5 pm in London and started broadcasting live to the Lagos participants at 6 pm.

Expectedly, the identity of the winning bidder was not disclosed.
The record-breaking painting, which was one of the three original versions of Tutu painted by Enwonwu, was produced in 1974.

According to Neil Coventry, the Bonhams Lagos coordinator: “It is a well deserved prize for a well renowned artist.”

Enwonwu, who was influenced by the Negritude after his encounter with its key actors at the first Congress of Black Writers and Artists in Paris, held in 1958, was known for his brazen romanticisation of the African womanhood.
The painting depicts a coffee-complexioned damsel with her back half-turned to the viewer. She strikes a regal pose in her traditional Yoruba attire. Aficionados believe that Enwonwu’s interest in her must have been elicited by her straight narrow nose and thin lips – features which are not normally associated with the Negroid race.

The maiden, who could easily have passed for a Fulani girl, was none other than Adetutu Ademiluyi, a member of the Ile-Ife royal family. She was, as the late Nigeria’s iconic artist would later discover, the granddaughter of the then O’oni of Ife.

This encounter, which took place sometime in 1973 when Enwonwu was on a visit to the Yoruba monarch’s palace, paved the way to the production of the paintings.
His bid to get Adetutu to sit for a portrait was at first not enthusiastically considered by her parents. But the latter’s reluctance soon caved in to Enwonwu’s persistence.

Hence, between that year and the following year, three versions of this portrait painting – which became so to speak Nigeria’s equivalent of Mona Lisa – were produced.
There were other reasons why Tutu generated so much interest among the bidders. Enwonwu, as the story goes, never sold the original Tutu.

Indeed, this painting reportedly never left his private collection until his passage in 1994. Even so, signed copies of this 1973 oil on canvas painting have found their way into many private collections in Nigeria.
Consequently, the whereabouts of all the three original paintings remained hitherto officially unknown. This would explain the legendary long search for Tutu, especially for the original of this oil on canvas painting done in 1973.

Also a mystery is the whereabouts of the third Tutu. So, that leaves the version up for sale at Bonhams as the only known original example of the image.

It is, therefore, not hard to figure out why the discovery of this record-breaking painting would stir up such a maelstrom of interest among aficionados.

“It amounts to the most significant discovery in contemporary African art

Thu, 01 Mar 2018
Final year students of the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College (GGSTC), Dapchi, Yobe State, will be temporarily relocated to Government Girls’ Secondary School (GGSC), Nguru, in the same state, to enable them prepare for the forthcoming Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE), the Yobe State Commissioner for Education, Mr. Mohammed Lamin, has revealed.

Disclosing this Wednesday in Damaturu, the state capital, he said the state government was making arrangements to transfer the SS3 students to GGSC, Nguru, to prepare for their exams coming up between March and April.

“We are right now making arrangements for the SS3 students to take them to GGSS Nguru, to prepare them for their examination which is coming up in March-April.

“The practical aspect of their exam will start around that time, and we don’t want them to miss any part of their examinations,” he said.

The state had closed the school on February 20, following the abduction of 110 girls by suspected Boko Haram insurgents.

Despite the trauma the families are experiencing, the commissioner believed life has to go on.
“Nguru is also a boarding school, but we are already taking steps to ensure security,” he was quoted by online news site, The Cable, as stating.

According to him, only SS3 girls of the over 900 students will be relocated for now.
The other students will remain with their parents until the government is able to solve the issues on the ground.
Nguru is further north, about 300 kilometres from Damaturu, while Dapchi is about 100 kilometres, from the state capital.

Meanwhile, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj.-Gen. Babagana Munguno (rtd.), Wednesday inaugurated a 12-man committee to investigate the circumstances leading to the kidnap of the schoolgirls from the school in Dapchi by Boko Haram terrorists.

Addressing members of the committee, Mungonu said: “The abduction of the schoolgirls by the terrorists was a worrisome incident that requires deliberate, urgent and relentless efforts on the part of government.
“There have been conflicting reports from various quarters on the event that led to the abduction, the number of persons abducted, as well as their identities.

“This does not portray the country in a good light. There have also been reports, especially in the social media, which tend to support some level of inactivity by the relevant organisations.

“Therefore, there is a need to verify the circumstances surrounding the abduction of these girls from the school.”
The NSA went further to provide the terms of reference for the committee, saying it was expected to determine the circumstances surrounding the abduction of the students from the school on the 19th of February.

Other terms of reference include: to determine the exact number of persons abducted alongside their identities as there are conflicting reports in this regard; to confirm the presence, composition, scale and disposition of security emplaced in Dapchi, as well as the school itself before the incident; to ascertain the existing communications in Dapchi and their functionality; to suggest measures that can lead to the location and immediate rescue of the abducted girls; to recommend measures to be emplaced in preventing future occurrences; and any other details the committee may deem necessary.

Thu, 01 Mar 2018
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced dates for general elections in the country for the next 36 years starting from 2019 to 2055.

The Chairman of the INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, made the announcement yesterday at a consultative meeting with leaders of political parties in Abuja.

According to him, “In 2019, the dates are February 16 and March 2; in 2023, the dates are February 18 and March 4. In 2027, the dates are February 20 and March 6; in 2031, it is February 15 and March 1. In 2035, it is February 17 and March 3; in 2039, it is February 19 and March 5 and in 2043, it will hold on February 21 and March 7. In 2047, it would hold on February 15 and March 2; in 2051, election would hold February 18 and March 1; while in 2055, INEC would hold elections on February 20 and March 6.”

He pointed out that in other democracies of the world, periods of elections are generally known and are not topics for speculation, explaining that the aim was to engender certainty in the election calendar and allow for long-term planning by the commission and all stakeholders.

Saying that certainty in election calendar was necessary to match Nigeria’s democratic system with global best practices, the INEC chairman said in the last one week, the commission received 108 applications from associations seeking to be registered as political parties.

He said 66 of the applications did not meet the initial requirements while 33 passed and had proceeded to the next stage, adding that nine others were at the final stage of registration.

The INEC boss commended political parties for the roles they played in the governorship and National Assembly by-elections in Anambra State which he said ensured that the exercises were crisis-free, urging all existing political parties yet to comply with all relevant sections of the constitutional requirements necessary for their existence to do so.

He advised the parties to ensure rancour-free conventions and congresses ahead of 2019 and the Ekiti and Osun State governorship elections later in the year.

Yakubu continued: “Internal party democracy is critical to the overall success of the elections and it helps to eliminate some protracted litigations. Less than a year to the 2019 general election, there are still cases in courts, challenging the nomination of candidates in the 2015 elections.’’

He urged the parties to support the commission in its quest to sanitise the voter’s register by drawing the attention of the umpire to any irregularity.

In his remarks, the Chairman, Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Alhaji Mohammed Nalado, commended INEC for recognising political parties as partners.

He said with little or no financial support, political parties were at the forefront of voter sensitisation to the need to conduct themselves responsibly at polling units.

Nalado commended the commission for creating an enabling environment for free and fair elections by rolling out election calendar in good time.

He added that the political parties were happy with the position of INEC on the sequence of elections, saying that the commission acted on the existing law.

Thu, 01 Mar 2018
Notwithstanding the security concerns in the North-east, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said that it will return to the Lake Chad Basin in Borno State to continue the search for crude oil.

The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, disclosed this Wednesday, saying that with the release of the staff of the corporation who were abducted while exploring for oil in the area, it will return “with full force” to continue with exploration activities.

Some lecturers of the University of Maiduguri (Unimaid) who were contracted by NNPC, were abducted last June by the Boko Haram terrorist group.

They did not regain their freedom till recently, following negotiations with the terrorists.
Speaking at the NNPC Day at the 39th edition of the Kaduna International Trade Fair, Baru said the corporation has also intensified exploration activities in the Benue trough.

According to him, the corporation will explore for oil in Benue, Nasarawa, Niger and Sokoto States, adding that with what the corporation has seen so far, it was sure of success.

He said the NNPC has been working tirelessly on the Lake Chad Basin, adding: “We thank the president (Muhammadu Buhari) for rescuing some of our lecturers that were involved in exploration in the region. We are going back to the Chad Basin with full force.”

He said although the oil and gas industry has been the main stay of the Nigerian economy, providing 95 per cent of the nation’s foreign exchange earnings, the major challenge in the country’s monoculture economy is that it exposes the nation to the vagaries of oil price volatility, which during a period of glut could spell doom for the country.
While emphasising on the need for diversification of the country’s economy, Baru said: “The feat achieved decades ago in mining, agriculture and commerce which even sustained the economy of each region of the country can be replicated if we re-channel the country’s productive sector.”

Baru pointed out that the NNPC was poised to provide the enabling environment for the nation to optimise its commercial, industrial and agricultural potential to attain a competitive edge in these sectors. “This is a commitment which we shall continue to abide by,” he said.

“To demonstrate our commitment, the NNPC has set up the Renewable Energy Division that is focused in not only developing solar and other renewable energy sources but also in the development of biofuels that are heavily dependent on agricultural produce as feedstock.

“The multiplier effect in such ventures are enormous: reviving and revitalising our agricultural sector, huge employment generation, significant contributions to power generation, high volume of animal feed, starch and by-products, in addition, biofuels will be blended at our refineries for petroleum products, which will significantly reduce the import of petroleum products into the country,” he noted.

Thu, 01 Mar 2018
Nigeria's manufacturing index sustains expansion for 11 months Obinna Chima with agency report The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected that Nigeria will 'muddle through' with its economic policies in the medium term, warning, however that 'comprehensive and coherent' economic policies remain urgent and must not be delayed by the approaching elections and recovering oil [] 

Thu, 01 Mar 2018
Makarfi: PDP Not Bothered by Order of Elections 

Thu, 01 Mar 2018
Obinna Chima The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has again cautioned Nigerians to be wary of investments in cryptocurrency, stressing that virtual currencies are not legal tender in Nigeria. The bank in a statement last night reiterated that cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ripples, Monero, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Onecoin, among others and exchanges such as NairaEx are [] 

Thu, 01 Mar 2018
Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja President Muhammadu Buhari has re-appointed Mr. Olusegun Awolowo as the Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC). A statement, issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said Awolowo's letter was signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation [] 

Thu, 01 Mar 2018
Ambode, Ganduje seek strong economic partnership FG: $2bn needed for Lagos-Kano rail line Gboyega Akinsanmi The President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, wednesday disclosed that his investments in the Lekki Free Trade Zone alone would earn Nigeria a whopping sum of N8 trillion per annum by the time the projects are completed. Dangote however, [] 

Thu, 01 Mar 2018
Edo, Ondo and Ebonyi account for 85% of cases Senator Iroegbu in Abuja The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed that the cases of Lassa fever from January 1 this year have risen to 317 as of February 25, exceeding the total number of confirmed cases recorded in 2017. The Chief Executive Officer [] 

Thu, 01 Mar 2018
Damilola Oyedele in Abuja The Senate wednesday issued a one week ultimatum to ministers, and the heads of departments and agencies of government, to appear before its relevant committees to defend their 2018 budget estimates. The upper legislative chamber said the attitude of the heads of MDAs, in shunning appearances for budget defence, is responsible [] 
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