Below are the headlines found on The Guardian Online Newspaper for today, Friday, 2nd March, 2018.

Fri, 02 Mar 2018
The National Assembly yesterday passed the Federal Audit Services Bill, which grants autonomy to the auditor general of the federation.

The “landmark achievement in the fight against corruption,” according to Senate President Bukola Saraki, would give the office of the auditor general unfettered access to the books of agencies and parastatals.

“This law will bring accountability and probity in the finances of the government and the fight against corruption,” he said.

The Senate and the House of Representatives adopted the conference report on the bill and consequently separated the auditor general’s office from the Ministry of Finance.

“We truly have to block all the various leakages. We also have to ensure that we get this to Mr. President to get his assent,” Saraki said.

Commending the members of both chambers for the landmark, he noted: “We have gone a long way in this administration in our fight against corruption, and it is commendable that the National Assembly members are the sponsors and movers of this very important bill. We will continue to play our part in this fight against corruption for the sake of our country.”

The bill expanded the powers of the auditor general to carry out audit, except when the constitution provides otherwise, of all revenues accruing to the federation and all expenditures of the federation from all sources.

The auditor general will also carry out audit, except otherwise provided by the constitution, of donations, grants and loans accruable to federal ministries, departments and agencies or other public entities.

He will audit classified expenditure and perform forensic audits. Others are: the audit of international institutions to the extent of Nigeria’s contribution to such bodies; the audit of disaster-related grants and aids; the audit of public-private partnership entered into by the Federal Government and its agencies.

The National Assembly specifically empowered the auditor general to: select the methodology to be adopted in respect of an audit; determine the nature and extent of audit to be carried out and request details, account statements and financial statements that he considers necessary; request in writing, any person in the employ of federal ministries, departments and agencies and international institutions whose accounts are being audited by the office of the auditor general to make an appearance at a specified place and time, or produce such records, books, vouchers and documents under the control of that person.

Fri, 02 Mar 2018
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has again called on the government to take the restructuring of the nation more seriously in the interest of Nigerians.

Atiku, who was represented by Prof. Maxwell Gidado, said the country is in a critical situation and that no magic wand would save it unless its leadership does the right thing at the right time.

He made this known in Lagos, yesterday, at the launch of In the Belly of Vultures, a 1238-page book written by Akogun Adetola Adeniyi, the former Managing Director of Daily Times.

Atiku, chairman of the occasion, said restructuring should not be discarded because of ethnic bias, as every region stands to benefit. According to him, “If done properly, it will help the whole nation.”

Nigeria is in a “vulnerable” state because of its reliance on crude oil, which may not remain pricey for long, as the world embraces renewable energy, he said, stressing: “We should not be fighting over a disappearing wealth.”

He described vilifications by opponents of restructuring as unhelpful, saying those who oppose the idea do not like the country any more than the proponents.

Atiku is one of the strident voices supporting restructuring as a way of ending tension and agitation in the country.

He had earlier suggested that the quickest way to achieve the goal is reducing the power and roles of the Federal Government and “returning some items on the concurrent list to the states.”

At the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State, last year, he said restructuring could be achieved in six months, if the items on the concurrent list are returned to the states.

“Some of what my ideas on restructuring involve require constitutional amendment. Some do not. Take education and roads for instance. The Federal Government can immediately start the process of transferring federal roads to state governments along with the resources it expends on them.

“In the future, if the Federal Government identifies the need for a new road that would serve the national interest, it can support the affected states to construct such, and thereafter leave the maintenance to the states, which can collect tolls from road users for the purpose.”

Fri, 02 Mar 2018
The United States on Thursday accused Moscow of openly breaching Cold War-era treaties by developing what Russian President Vladimir Putin called a new generation of “invincible” hypersonic weapons and submarines.

Putin unveiled the new arsenal earlier Thursday in a state of the nation address, challenging Washington to a new arms race ahead of a presidential election that will all but certainly confirm his grip on power.

Putin left his usual Kremlin perch to this year speak from a nearby exhibition center — allowing him to show a series of video montages of missiles crossing mountains and oceans, heading over the Atlantic before striking the US eastern seaboard.

He quoted a speech he gave in 2004, vowing that Russia would develop a new generation of weaponry, a promise that he said he has now fulfilled.

“No one really wanted to talk to us basically. No one listened to us then. Listen to us now,” Putin said, prompting a standing ovation from the audience of top officials, lawmakers and celebrities.

He presented Russia’s military efforts as a response to recent actions by the United States, which last month unveiled plans to revamp its own nuclear arsenal and develop new low-yield atomic weapons.

‘Cheesy’ attack video

The State Department expressed outrage at Putin’s presentation and his “cheesy” animated video of warheads over US soil — and said the Russian leader had confirmed long-held allegations about his program.

“It was certainly unfortunate to have watched the video animation that depicted a nuclear attack on the United States,” spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters.

“That’s something that we certainly didn’t enjoy watching. We don’t regard that as the behavior of a responsible international player,” she added.

“President Putin has confirmed what the United States government has known for a long time but that Russia has denied prior to this,” she added.

“Russia has been developing destabilizing weapons systems for more than a decade in direct violation of its treaty obligations.”

Specifically, Nauert said that Moscow had proven itself in violation of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), through its development of ground-launched cruise missiles.

The Pentagon reacted with more equanimity, with a spokesman insisting that the US military remains “fully prepared” to react to “anything that comes our way.”

The United States has long accused Russia of breaching the INF treaty and, while it is modernizing its own nuclear arsenal, says that it remains in compliance with the terms of the Cold War accord.

The spat came as relations between the powers lie frozen at levels not seen since the Cold War over the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria and accusations that Moscow interfered in the US presidential election in 2016.

Also Thursday, the US formally approved the sale of Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, which is fighting a Russian-backed insurgency in the east of the country.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency said Ukraine has asked President Donald Trump’s US administration for permission to buy 210 missiles and 37 launchers at a cost of around $47 million

Fri, 02 Mar 2018
The Elders Forum of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo Central Senatorial District has expressed confidence that the party would regain control of the Federal Government and the senatorial district in 2019.

Speaking at Igbara Oke, Ondo State, to chart a new course for the party in the state, leader of the forum, Professor Olu Agbi, assured members of a resounding victory in the coming elections. He said PDP remained the only party with depth, experience and administrative acumen to put Nigeria in the right direction.

To him Nigerians had been able to compare between the PDP and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and had accepted that they made a huge mistake in the 2015 general election, which they were ready to rectify in the forthcoming elections.

Professor Agbi therefore charged members to go to their various communities and ensure unity.

He also commended the state executive council of the party for its steadfastness, commitment to bringing back members who went astray into the fold, adding that the party would remain a big family with conflict management mechanisms to resolve conflicts.

Fri, 02 Mar 2018
The Department of State Service (DSS) that arrested and detained INDEPENDENT Newspapers' Abuja Bureau Chief, Tony Ezimakor, on Wednesday, February 28, 2018... 

Fri, 02 Mar 2018
The Nigerian Healthcare Excellence Award (NHEA) has called for nominations for the fifth edition of the Oscar of Nigeria healthcare award. 

Fri, 02 Mar 2018
President Muhammadu Buhari has, in Abuja, declared that his administration is targeting self-sufficiency in food production and consumption... 

Fri, 02 Mar 2018
Alhaji Lai Mohammed, minister of Information and Culture, has said that with the Digital Switch Over (DSO), Nigeria has taken a bold step... 

Fri, 02 Mar 2018
The much-talked about Ibom Deep Sea Port in Akwa Ibom State would soon be realised, as more than 100 companies across the globe have reportedly indicated interest for the development of the Port. 

Fri, 02 Mar 2018
Lagos State Government said that it would have trained one million residents on coding by 2030 to make them to compete favourable for employments globally. 

Fri, 02 Mar 2018
As part of efforts to develop women rugby in the country, the Nigerian Rugby Football Federation (NRFF) has taken steps to revive the women's league through the 10s championship. 

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