NIGERIA NEWSPAPERS: Today's Thisday Newspaper Headlines 11 March, 2018.

Below are the headlines found on Thisday Online Newspaper for today, Sunday, 11 March, 2018.

Sun, 11 Mar 2018
The ruling All Progressives Congress and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party saturday exchanged angry criticisms over the 2014 kidnapping of schoolgirls in Chibok by Boko Haram terrorists and the similar incident that took place in Dapchi last month. Each accused the other of using the captured girls as campaign tool, a pawn in the game of politics.

PDP accused the ruling party of unwillingness to acknowledge the security lapses that resulted in the recent abductions and playing politics with the fate of the girls. But it drew a swift rebuttal from APC that equally blamed PDP, which was in power in 2014, for dilly-dallying with politics while the terrorists consolidated their hold on the Chibok schoolgirls.

APC had claimed that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration responded rapidly to the February 19 kidnapping of 110 schoolgirls by Boko Haram from Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State. It said that was unlike the April 14, 2014 abduction of 276 schoolgirls from Government Secondary School, Chibok, in Borno State, when the then PDP government of former President Goodluck Jonathan busied itself with politicking and denial, leaving ample room for the terrorists to hide away the girls. Buhari had also declared in a statement on February 23, four days after the Dapchi abductions, that when he learnt about the incident, he “immediately dispatched a high-level delegation on a fact-finding visit to the town. I also instructed the security agencies to deploy in full and not spare any effort to ensure that all the girls are returned safely, and the attackers arrested and made to face justice.” The president likewise stated, “Our government is sending more troops and surveillance aircraft to keep an eye on all movements in the entire territory on a 24-hour basis, in the hope that all the missing girls will be found.”

But reacting to the claims by the ruling party and the government, PDP said APC was being dishonest about the circumstances surrounding the abduction of the Dapchi girls.

PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, told THISDAY saturday, “You and I know that they did not respond (to Dapchi incident) immediately. They were even in denial initially. But the issue now is that they have not given a response to our question on why troops were withdrawn before the attacks took place.

“They have not given a response that is satisfactory to the majority of Nigerians. And as a matter of fact, the question about the withdrawal of troops before the abduction of the girls does not in any way relate to the alleged PDP non-responsiveness to the demands of the Chibok girls.”

Ologbondiyan said further regarding APC, “Have they not taken responsibility of governance since 2015 and how many of these Chibok girls have they rescued? Why are they playing politics with the lives of our daughters? Why are they playing politics with the lives of Nigerians? Was that the promise they made to Nigerians in 2015?”

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, an erstwhile APC member who returned to PDP on December 3 last year after helping to form APC, also spoke in a similar vein in an interview with THISDAY published yesterday. Atiku accused APC, which was in opposition when Chibok abduction happened, of exploiting the kidnapping for their own political advantage and undermining the efforts of the then PDP government to resolve the incident. He said the APC government’s carelessness was responsible for the seizure of the Dapchi schoolgirls.

Atiku said, “Let me paraphrase Oscar Wilde and say that to lose one set of girls to Boko Haram may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose another set looks like carelessness. As an opposition party, the APC was vocal to the point of exploiting the issue of the Chibok girls’ kidnapping.

“They criticised that (Jonathan) government every step of the way and some may even claim that they undermined the then government’s efforts at resolving that unfortunate incident. So, it is rather surprising that a set of people who were so unsparing in their critique of the previous government would be in a situation whereby they have allowed these same terrorists to kidnap 110 girls.”

Sun, 11 Mar 2018
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, saturday, made a brief stop in Makurdi, Benue State, where he visited the burial site of the 73 victims of the New Year attacks by herdsmen and also laid a wreath in honour of the dead.

Obasanjo’s visit to Benue came two days before the scheduled arrival of President Muhammadu Buhari in the North Central state which has been a theater of killings by herdsmen. President Buhari is billed to visit Benue Monday as part of his scheduled visits to troubled states of Benue, Yobe, Zamfara and Rivers. The former president’s visit to the grave site of the victims of herdsmen attack, who were given mass burial, is seen as symbolic, because Abuja had opposed the conduct of a mass burial for the victims of the attack.

On his arrival at the state capital saturday, Obasanjo, was received by Governor Samuel Ortom at the Makurdi Airport, from where he proceeded to the burial site of the 73 victims of the January herdsmen attacks, where he laid a wreath in honour of the dead. He departed the state immediately after the visit to the burial site.

While condemning the wave of killings in different parts of the country, the former president specifically noted the recent tragic incident in Omusu, another part of Benue State, where 24 people were reportedly killed including 16 women and four children.

The former president expressed shock that after the killings and burial of 73 persons, over 80 people had been reportedly murdered in cold blood in various parts of the state.

He said Nigeria had still not got it right in terms of security and therefore urged leaders at various levels to come together and get to the root of the killings with a view to finding a lasting solution.

He however commended Ortom’s doggedness in finding a solution to the herdsmen killings through the anti-open grazing law and urged him not to relent in his efforts.

He said until the real matter was investigated and permanent solution found, innocent Nigerians would continue to be buried in their numbers.

Obasanjo expressed worry that the senseless killings were being carried out without commensurate actions from the authorities, saying the trend was capable of discouraging foreign investments in the country.

Meanwhile, the state government has announced the itinerary of President Buhari for tomorrow’s visit. Astatement by the Special Adviser on Media and ICT to Benue State governor, Mr. Tahav Agezua, announced said during the visit, the President would pay a courtesy call on the Chairman of the Benue State Council of Chiefs, Tor Tiv (V), Professor James Ortese Iorzua Ayatse, and hold a meeting with major stakeholders in the state.

According to his programme, Buhari will also visit one of the eight displaced persons’ camps in the state.

Since the New Year’s eve attack by herdsmen, the state has been receiving visitors from all walks of life, including opposition politicians.

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, was one of the early visitors received by Ortom in the wake of the herdsmen attacks. He visited the burial site and also donated some money to the state.

Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, also paid a condolence visit to the state on February 8 and declared support for the state’s anti-open grazing law, warning that it must not be compromised.

Meanwhile, the federal government has blamed the incessant clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the country on what it identified as environmental factor.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who stated this on Friday at a mini town hall meeting organised for the staff of the Nigerian Embassy in Berlin, Germany, as well as a cross-section of Nigerians residing in the European country, said the clashes were neither caused by ethnic nor religious issues.

Sun, 11 Mar 2018
An analysis of the December 2017 edition of the monthly operations and financial reports of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has revealed that Products and Pipelines Marketing Company (PPMC) exceeded the projected loss in its year-to-date (YTD) operations by about 240.1 per cent.

THISDAY analysis of the latest NNPC report showed that while PPMC, the downstream petroleum subsidiary of the corporation, only expected to make a loss of N30.144 billion in 2017, it eventually made a loss of N102.527 billion, thus translating to about 240.1 per cent increase between the budgeted and actual loss expectations of the downstream company.

According to a section of the report, which showed the group financial performances of all NNPC subsidiaries, even the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), the upstream subsidiaries of the corporation, and Nigerian Gas Company (NGC) could not keep to their budgeted expenditure marks, as they both spent more money than they planned to in their YTD operations.

For instance, the report noted that the NPDC, which appeared to have increased its revenue as a result of the restoration of production after the Forcados pipeline outages in 2016 and first half of 2017, could not keep its YTD cost under control as it budgeted to spend N291.060 billion, but ended up spending N556.598 billion. The company, however, netted a revenue of N668.475 billion, and an operational surplus of N111.877 billion.

For the NGC, the report showed that it had budgeted to spend N187.324 billion on its operations, but eventually spent N201.688 billion, and subsequently earned N275.502 billion as against the N298.224 billion that it budgeted.

On the midstream, which includes the refineries, the report showed that Kaduna spent N141.295 billion, which is about N29.605 billion more than the N111.690 billion it planned to spend, and earned N109.524 billion as against N107.082 billion, but still recorded a YTD deficit of N31.771 billion. Port Harcourt refinery, it said, budgeted to spend N368.220 billion, eventually spent N351.728 billion and earned a trading surplus of N20.671 billion, even though it earned just N372.399 billion as against the N453.965 billion it planned for.

For Warri Refinery, its planned YTD expenditure was N265.180 billion, it eventually spent N111.104 billion but only earned N89.361 billion out of the N314.940 billion it budgeted to earn for the year, and then posted a deficit of N21.743 billion from its operations.

The NNPC, in the report, stated reasons why the YTD expenses of the PPMC increased by that percentage. “The value gained from NPDC was, however, eroded by an increased PPMC operation’s cost in an effort to ensure steady petroleum products supply across the nation being the major supplier of the products.”

It equally noted that theft of its products and vandalism of downstream assets had continued to destroy its value addition, pointing out that a total of 1120 vandalised points were recorded on its pipeline between January and December 2017.

Perhaps referring to its subsidy of petrol consumption in the country, the corporation added that it had doubled the daily supply of petrol from 850 trucks per day to 1500 trucks per day and that this translated to 52 million litres of daily consumption in the country.

An industry analyst, who didn’t want his name in print, however, told THISDAY that the disruptions at the Forcados in 2016 and parts of 2017 perhaps affected the NPDC and made it miss its revenue projection. He, however, noted that the NPDC would need to do a lot of work to bring its cost under control, adding that continued subsidisation of petrol consumption by the PPMC was denying the federal government and states a lot of revenue.

Meanwhile, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has begun its conduct of data management training for its member countries to ensure that crude oil production data they submit to it are accurate and in line with the current market dynamics.

Sun, 11 Mar 2018
Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara; Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson; and several heads of parliaments across Africa saturday kicked off the 74th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (Africa Region) Executive Committee meeting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, with a call for greater cooperation among Commonwealth countries.

Also present during the conference which the organisers said was aimed at strengthening lawmaking in Africa and other commonwealth countries were Senators Ben Murray-Bruce, Emmanuel Paulker and Foster Ogola, all from Bayelsa, and Assembly Speakers from Adamawa, Bayelsa, Abia, Cross River, Kogi States among others.

Some of those who attended from the rest of Africa, included the Speaker of Botswana Parliament, Gladys Kokorwe; Chairperson of the Executive Committee of the CPA, Lindiwe Maseko, African Region President of the body, Gladys Kokorwe and lawmakers from Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Namibia, Zambia, Tanzania and South Africa.

All those who spoke at the event, agreed that the legislature remains the symbol of democracy all over the world, maintaining that an attack on lawmakers was a direct affront and danger to democracy. They also called for greater cooperation among commonwealth countries and fairness to all members.

Specifically, Ekweremadu argued that Nigeria was not getting its fair share of returns from the commonwealth, despite its contribution to the body, maintaining that the country demands a better deal. “A lot of issues we have looked at are those that affect us as a commonwealth; issues of justice, fairness, environmental impact and how to manage diversity. We are going to see a new era of the commonwealth.

“The CPA must be prepared. Britain is leaving the European Union, they are going to be looking for new partners. Africa must be prepared and put on their thinking cap. Nigeria contributes money to the commonwealth, but we should ask ourselves, do we get enough return on investment there?

“Gambia asked themselves this question and left, but after realising the need for international cooperation, they have now come back, but that question has not been answered. Do we still have student scholarships from the commonwealth?

“Do we need a commonwealth of nations or that of people? I think we need a commonwealth of people where everybody has a sense of belonging, where someone from Nigeria, Togo, Ghana can go to the United Kingdom without necessarily having the need for a visa.

“It is time to say enough is enough. It’s either we are inside or outside. But we prefer to be inside and be treated well. Until we say everybody matters, we are going to keep harvesting insecurity and protests”, Ekweremadu said.

In his comments, Dogara, who was represented by Samuel Ekon of the House of Representatives, underscored the importance of the parliamentary association, especially in the area of capacity for lawmakers.

He expressed dismay over the continuous domination of the legislature by the executive, but commended Governor Dickson for the cordial relationship between him and the executive, especially for always engaging the lawmakers.
Dogara insisted that the Lawmakers’ appropriation and oversight functions must be strengthened and government held accountable, so that the electorate can have value for their votes.

Earlier on Saturday, all the guests had attended the inauguration of the interns and house officers’ quarters at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in Yenagoa, built by the Dickson administration. 

Sun, 11 Mar 2018
Death toll in Ganda rises to 18 ' 2,000 persons displaced Seriki Adinoyi in Jos Gunmen suspected to be herders, on Friday night went berserk again, killing four school children in their sleep at Laake village in Kwall District of Bassa local government council of Plateau State. This latest incident is coming even as [] 

Sun, 11 Mar 2018
The US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson saturday took ill and canceled all his planned events in Africa on Saturday. 'The secretary is not feeling well after a long couple of days working on major issues back home such as North Korea,' Undersecretary of State for public diplomacy and public affairs, Steve Goldstein, told media [] 

Sun, 11 Mar 2018
Yekini Jimoh in Lokoja The Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, may today Sunday dissolve the State Executive Council and other political appointees, following the importation of Military uniforms scandal rocking the governor. THISDAY reliably gathered yesterday that the governor is no more comfortable with 90 per cent of his cabinet members, following the discovery of [] 

Sun, 11 Mar 2018
To provide 2000 roads, renovate classrooms, others Martins Ifijeh The Lagos State government, as part of efforts to address complaints by land and property owners in the state over the Amendment in Land Use Charge, has noted that the tax increase is not geared towards raising money for the 2019 general election, as being [] 

Sun, 11 Mar 2018
The Principal and Chief Executive Officer of Olashore International School, Iloko Ijesa, Osun State, Mr. Derek Smith has received the 2018 Outstanding Schools CEO Awards by Africa Brands Review. The award was presented at the 2018 Africa Top Schools conference which held in Lagos. One of the key criteria for the award is that the [] 

Sun, 11 Mar 2018
For those who are looking at developing innovative human capital, creating a culture of excellence, achieving sustainable first-class performance and securing a competitive edge, These Executive Minds (TEXEM) UK is set to help them accomplish all these and more. These goals, according to a release issued by the CEO of TEXEM, Dr. Alim Abubakre, are [] 
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