Below are the headlines found on The Leadership Online Newspaper for today, Monday, 25 December, 2017.

Mon, 25 Dec 2017
Apparently disturbed by the harsh condition the lingering fuel scarcity has imposed on Nigerians as they celebrate Christmas today, President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed regret over the unfortunate situation.

This year’s Christmas celebrations to mark the birth of Jesus Christ is a mix grill of excitement and despair, with many Nigerians marking the day at filling stations where they have been languishing on queues to buy fuel for their vehicles.

Despite assurances from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources that fuel queues will soon disappear, the situation has continued unabated, leaving commuters and motorists stranded.

A cross section of Nigerians had criticised the president for keeping silent since the fuel scarcity started.

But President Buhari yesterday sought understanding from Nigerians, even as he ordered a clampdown on hoarding of petrol at filling stations across the country.

In a statement personally signed by the president, which was posted on his verified twitter handle, Buhari said the scarcity was regrettable.

He disclosed that he was being briefed regularly on the matter, assuring that the NNPC was on top of the situation.

He said, “The fuel scarcity being experienced nationwide is regrettable. I sympathize with all Nigerians on having to endure needless fuel queues. I’m being regularly briefed, especially on the NNPC’s interventions to ensure that there is enough petrol available during this period & beyond.

“I have the NNPC’s assurance that the situation will improve significantly over the next few days, as new shipments and supplies are distributed across the country.

Noting that he has ordered that fuel hoarding at petrol stations be curbed, the president said, “I have also directed the regulators to step up their surveillance and bring an end to hoarding and price inflation by marketers.

“Let me also assure that the relevant agencies will continue to provide updates on the situation. I thank you all for your patience and understanding”.
Mon, 25 Dec 2017
Kogi State governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, yesterday unveiled the state’s branded rice called Confluence Rice.

The governor also warned local government administrators and political office holders against diversion of agricultural equipment for personal use.

Bello, who gave the warning in Lokoja, while commissioning agricultural equipment worth several millions of naira and unveiling the Confluence Rice, said the procurement of the equipment was aimed at enhancing agricultural production in the state.

The governor said his administration will deal decisively with anyone engaging in act that could hinder the real farmers from gaining access to the equipment.

“I will not take it lightly with any administrator of local government who interfere with the management and control of the tractors. The main objective of procuring the tractors is to assist the farmers in the local government to enhance their production. Government will not condone any attempt to divert the tractors”, he said.

He pointed out that aside the engagement of Public Private Partnership (PPP) in the sector, his administration will continue to assist local farmers and youth who are willing to earn a living through agriculture.

He said, with the move, Kogi State has joined the league of rice producing states that are striving to make the country achieve food sufficiency.

Also speaking when he unveiled the rice, Bello said the agricultural revolution that led to the production of the Confluence Rice was in line with the economic diversification agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

According to him, the agricultural policy of the federal government that the state had been implementing has given the state the capacity to produce good quantity of rice that will be enough to feed the entire country.

Bello noted that an important measure that had helped Nigeria out of the mess the past administration left for the country was the decision to be self-sufficient in food production.

He stressed that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government, which handed over power to President Buhari, mismanaged the economy to recession.
Mon, 25 Dec 2017
The federal government has borrowed a whopping N5 trillion from the N7.3 trillion pension funds saved since the commencement of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) in 2004.

LEADERSHIP investigations revealed that the N5 trillion was loaned to the government by the pension fund managers to fix its infrastructural deficits and meet its financial obligations as and when due.

It was learnt that, while the money has allowed the government to build new roads, repair the rail system, fix some of the power challenges, pay salaries of its workforce, among others, it has also in return lead to economic growth and development.

Findings by correspondents showed that the Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) invested N3.87 trillion, amounting to 54 per cent of the pension funds, in federal government bonds, while the pension operators also invested N1.27 trillion, representing 17.7 per cent of the pension funds in government treasury bills in a bid to rescue the federal government from illiquidity.

This means the pension industry has granted 71 per cent of the pension assets as loans to the federal government through bonds and treasury bills.

Since federal government bonds and treasury bills are less risky, the pension operators decided to invest heavily in them, while the new scheme has generated about N2.5 trillion as investment income from some of the investments PFAs made.

Speaking on this development, the chairman, Pension Funds Operators of Nigeria (PenOp), Eguarekhide Longe said, “With about N5 trillion invested in infrastructural development through bonds, it shows you that the pension fund has been active. So, the philosophy of managing this money is to add to it. It means that the money has been used profitably”.
Mon, 25 Dec 2017
Barely five days after some haggard looking men suspected to be hired assassins invaded the home of the embattled former Chairman of the Presidential Taskforce Team on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina in Abuja, brandishing sophisticated weapons and harassing his family members, his family house in Kaduna was again attacked at about 900hours on Christmas eve.An eyewitness, Mallam Salisu told Journalists that, no fewer than nine (9) men arrived the house in a Hilux van and a Peugeot 406. They w 
Mon, 25 Dec 2017
By Jonathan Nda-Isaiah, Abuja The Presidency wishes to refute a false accusation that President Muhammadu Buhari was behind the removal of the erstwhile Kano All Progressives Congress,APC chapter chairman Hon Umar Haruna Doguwa.This is in reaction to the allegations made by a political support group at a press conference in Kano, by a group calling itself Concerned Members of the APC in Kano State.According to a statement by the senior special assistant media to the President, Garba Shehu noted 
Mon, 25 Dec 2017
By Philip Agbese President Muhammadu Buharis decision to extend the tenure of the military chiefs has been drawing accolades across the country never mind the few poorly informed criticisms. The explanation that the extension was after the President carefully reviewed the on-going military operations across the nation and the efforts of the Chief of Defence staff and the Service chiefs in the counter- insurgency operations in the North East coupled with the security situation of the Niger Delta 
Mon, 25 Dec 2017
CHAN Eagles latest invitee, Suraj Ayeleso vows to continue working hard so as to make the cut for the African Nations Championship in Morocco next month. The Nasarawa United goaltender has promised to be fully focused on the assignment at hand as he pushes for CHAN place.The goalkeeper was impressive in the 2016-17 season which led to several calls for his inclusion in Salisu Yusufs setup.He managed 15 clean sheets in the Nigeria Professional Football League, thus, helping the Nasarawa United to 
Mon, 25 Dec 2017
Serena Williams will return to tennis in Abu Dhabi next week, almost four months after giving birth.The American, 36, will play world number seven Jelena Ostapenko in an exhibition match on 30 December during the Mubadala World Tennis Championship.Williams, who has won an Open-era record 23 Grand Slams, said she was delighted to be returning to the court.She gave birth to daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian in September. Former world number one Williams has not played since winning the Australian Op 
Mon, 25 Dec 2017
Turkey said yesterday that 2,756 people were dismissed from their jobs in public institutions including soldiers, teachers and ministry personnel over links to terror organizations.The dismissed personnel were found to be members of, or linked to, terror groups, structures and entities that act against national security, according to a decree published in the Official Gazette.Some 50,000 people have been arrested since a failed putsch in July last year and about 150,000 have been dismissed or su 
Mon, 25 Dec 2017
By Kingsley Opurum, Abuja In a bid to boost Nigerias recuperating economy and create more jobs, a lot of Russian investors have signified interest in bringing their companies in the country.The Russian Ambassador to Nigeria, Nikolay Udovichenko, made the disclosure during a press briefing with select journalists in Abuja recently.The envoy said that these investors have already identified power, agriculture, solid mineral and education as critical sectors to venture into, adding that the Russian 
Mon, 25 Dec 2017
Rescuers in the Philippines searched yesterday for survivors of a storm that triggered floods and landslides and killed about 200 people, left scores missing and thousands homeless, most of whom apparently ignored warnings to move to safety.Misery in the largely Christian Philippines was compounded by the death of at least 37 people in a shopping mall fire, officials said on Christmas Eve.The Philippines is battered by about 20 typhoons a year and warnings are routinely issued, but the level of 
Mon, 25 Dec 2017
BY DAVID ADUGE-ANI The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has disclosed that it spent over N9.6 billion on education development projects in parts of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), in 2017.Speaking during the 11th Annual Media Luncheon, the secretary, FCT Education Secretariat, Senator Isa Maina, said that education-related projects worth N2.8 billion have been completed, while projects worth nearly N4billion were awarded and would be completed in few months time.Some of the p 
Mon, 25 Dec 2017
BY TUNDE OGUNTOLA, Abuja The member representing Mashi/Dutsi federal constituency of Katsina State, Mansur Ali Mashi, has challenged former governor Ibrahim Shehu Shema, to come out with convincing proofs that he left N14 billion in the state coffers while handing over.Mashi, who until the bye-election which brought him to the lower chamber of the National Assembly was an aide to Governor Aminu Bello Masari, said the claims by Shema that he left N14 billion in the state treasury was falsehood at 
Mon, 25 Dec 2017
By RICHARD NDOMA,Calabar Arrangement has been concluded by the Cross River State government to commence payment of 2013 outstanding gratuities to the affected retirees in the State through a table payment.This was part of the outcome of the meeting between the State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade and the leadership of the State Chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), held at the State Executive Chambers, Governors Office, Calabar.Speaking with journalists yesterday shortly after the meeting, th 
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