NAIJA NEWSPAPERS: TODAY'S THE PUNCH NEWSPAPER HEADLINES [27 DECEMBER, 2017].


Below are the headlines found on The Punch Online Newspaper for today, Wednesday, 27 December, 2017.

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has begun investigations into allegations of misappropriation of funds and abuse of office levelled against the suspended Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Prof. Usman Yusuf.

The EFCC stated this in a letter dated December 21, 2017, which was addressed to the current acting Executive Secretary of the NHIS.


 
The investigations by the commission started five months after Yusuf was suspended by the Federal Ministry of Health.

The ministry, four months ago, submitted the report of a panel on the allegations against Yusuf to the Presidency. In its report, the panel accused the suspended NHIS boss of N919m fraud.

The EFCC’s letter was titled ‘Investigation into activities of Prof. Usman Yusuf –suspended Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme’.

Besides the EFCC, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission is investigating the suspended executive secretary and four other officials of the NHIS.

The ICPC, in its letter dated December 11, 2017, and addressed to the acting executive secretary of the NHIS, stated that the officers were being investigated for “alleged violation of the provisions of the Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Act 2000.”

The ICPC added, “Pursuant to Section 45(3) of the cited Act, you are hereby directed to recover the money advanced to the five officers (of the NHIS) and two staff from the Ministry of Health for the aborted trip to the Netherlands.

“You are further required to furnish the commission with the evidence of compliance by each of the beneficiaries.”

On its part, the EFCC stated that it was investigating suspected cases of fraud and misappropriation levelled against Yusuf during his tenure as the executive secretary of the NHIS between July, 2016 and July, 2017.


 
In its letter, with reference number CR: 3000/EFCC/ABJ/CTGI.2/VOL.15/ 237, and signed by its Director of Operations, Umar Abba, for the Acting Chairman, the EFCC is seeking information on, “All necessary documents relating to local and international training programmes sponsored by the scheme from July 2016 to July 2017.

“All documents relating to payment made to Katamaya First Call Hospital.

“All procurement documents relating to the e-library project of the NHIS. Documents relating to all NHIS-sponsored foreign trips embarked upon by the suspended executive secretary.
Wed, 27 Dec 2017
The Federal Government has described as unnecessary, uninformed and highly-partisan the criticism of the recently approved $1bn by the Nigeria Governors Forum for the military to tackle the country’s security challenges.

It noted that the criticism was uninformed and unnecessary because everyone knew the military’s role in combating the numerous security crises, including insurgency, facing the country.


 
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated this in Lagos on Tuesday, during a press conference.

He said, “There has been an unnecessary, uninformed and highly-partisan criticism of the $1bn which was recently approved by the Nigeria Governors Forum for the military to tackle the security challenges facing the country, including Boko Haram, illegal oil bunkering, kidnapping and cattle rustling.

“I said unnecessary and uninformed because everyone knows the role the military is playing in helping to tackle the numerous security crises facing the states, let alone the war against Boko Haram.

“The fact that Boko Haram has been largely degraded does not mean the war is over. As we have said times without number, asymmetric wars like the one against Boko Haram, do not end with an armistice. It is therefore curious that some of those who have criticised the $1bn approval have hinged their argument on the fact that Boko Haram has been degraded. Perhaps also, the critics do not know that fighting an asymmetric war is costlier than fighting a conventional war. In any case, wars, especially the war against terror, are never fought with budgetary provisions.” 
Wed, 27 Dec 2017
The House of Representatives has proposed special conventions for political parties, where the presidential candidates of the parties will emerge to contest in the country’s general elections.

A party also has the choice of either conducting “direct primaries” or “indirect primaries” to pick its presidential candidate.


 
The provisions are contained in two harmonised bills – ‘A Bill for an Act to Establish the Electoral Offences Tribunal for the Purpose of Trying Electoral Offences’; and ‘A Bill for an Act to Establish the Nigerian Electoral Offences Commission Charged with the Responsibility of Prohibition and Prosecution of Electoral Offences’.

A report on the bills, which is due for consideration by lawmakers, has already been laid before the House. It was presented by its Committee on Electoral Matters.

The committee is chaired by a member of the All Progressives Congress from Gombe State, Mrs. Aishatu Dukku.

A copy of the report, which The PUNCH obtained in Abuja on Tuesday, showed that for a political party to opt for the direct primaries, it “shall ensure that all aspirants are given equal opportunity of being voted for by members of the party.”

The direct primaries mode is similar to the present practice where party faithful gather at the same location, usually in Abuja, to pick their presidential candidate.

However, in the new proposal by the House, a party, adopting indirect primaries to pick a presidential candidate, must meet certain requirements.

Wed, 27 Dec 2017

Vote counting was under way in Liberia on Wednesday following a peaceful run-off election for a new president, pitting former international footballer George Weah against Vice-President Joseph Boakai.

Voters were choosing a successor to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who is stepping down after 12 years as Africa’s first elected female head of state.

Results of Tuesday’s vote are expected in a few days, in what would be the West African country’s first democratic transition since 1944, according to electoral officials.


 
The ballot was delayed for seven weeks due to legal challenges lodged by Boakai’s Unity Party against the electoral commission over the conduct of the first round of voting, but many of the complaints appeared to have been addressed in the second round.

The Liberia Elections Observation Network, which had more than 1,000 observers stationed across the country, hailed a vote it said had passed calmly with better organisation than the first poll on October 10, as did observers from the European Union.

Former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, who served as an electoral observer for the US-based National Democratic Institute (NDI), said a successful resolution to the process was of particular importance within the international community.

“This transition is critical and if we succeed, if Liberia succeeds, West Africa succeeded and Africa succeeded,” he said.

“There has been no major incident to report of a technical nature and the voting was peaceful,” noted electoral commission chief Francis Korkoya.

But with the vote held the day after Christmas, some national and international observers warned that turnout may have been affected.

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
Low budget for HIV programmes and governments failure to address stigmatisation of persons living with HIV/AIDS aid increase in population of babies born with the disease in Nigeria, ENIOLA AKINKUOTU reports The story of Mrs. Martina Solomon, perhaps, explains why Nigeria has become the country with the highest number of babies born with the Human [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
Enyioha Opara, Minna The Niger State Directorate of Road Traffic Services has suspended 10 officers indefinitely for extorting money from motorists. The Provost, Training and Testing, DRTS, Iliya Jankaro, disclosed this to Northern City News in his office in Minna, the state capital, on Tuesday. Jankaro said the command would not tolerate extortion of money [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
Your Excellency, It is on record you mounted the mantle of leadership of Ogun State apparently with good intentions to transform the state far beyond the height achieved by your predecessors. To demonstrate seriousness to this course, your administration started by rolling out massive projects for execution which cut across the length and breadth of [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
Olaide Oyelude, Katsina A 22-year-old Nigerien, Rabe Abdu, is now in the police net in Katsina over the alleged murder of one Jamilu Mohammed, 18. Abdu, who resides in Farun Tshouwa village, was said to have allegedly made away with the deceaseds motorcycle after killing him. Arrested along the Nigerien was Anas Yusuf, 25, of [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
Kayode Idowu, with agency report The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, has said he celebrated Christmas with troops in Gwoza to attest to the success so far recorded in the ongoing counter insurgency operations in the North-East. Buratai, who spoke at Gwoza, the headquarters of Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno State, [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
The Plateau State Police Command on Tuesday said that Christmas celebration in the state was peaceful and devoid of any security threat. Its Public Relations Officer, Terna Tyopev, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Jos that the celebration was also crime-free. The command had earlier said that it had put in place adequate security [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
Fun seekers thronged the Suntan Beach in Badagry, Lagos State, and other recreational centres in the town on Boxing Day in continuation of the Christmas celebration. The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the shoreline of the beach was filled with revellers from different parts of Lagos State in spite of the lingering fuel scarcity. [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
The Yuletide festivities have provided an opportunity for fashion designers to make brisk business in the Enugu metropolis and its environs, the News Agency of Nigeria reports. It was gathered on Tuesday that there had been high demand for new dresses for the festivities. Most of the fashion designers acknowledged high patronage of their services. [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
Ihuoma Chiedozie, Enugu A trailer loaded with cattle killed one person and injured others in a Christmas Day multiple car crash in Enugu. The incident occurred at Naira Triangle, near the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation mega filling station. Our correspondent gathered that the driver of the trailer, said to be conveying cattle from the northern [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
Oladimeji Ramon Embattled former Chairman of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, Dr. Ngozi Olojeme, who is being held for an alleged $48.5m fraud, says the graft was perpetrated by some officials in the organisation while she was on medical vacation abroad. Olojeme, who is currently in the detention facility of the Economic and Financial [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
Olaide Oyelude, Katsina The Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria has described as unlawful the recent refusal by the Nigerian Law School to allow Firdaus Amasa entrance into the venue of the Call to Bar ceremony recently in Abuja because she put on hijab. MULAN made the declaration in a communique on Monday in Katsina shortly [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
John Ameh and Olalekan Adetayo Drama ensued on Tuesday when the Leader of the House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, challenged the Governor of Sokoto State, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal, to tell Nigerians the exact role he played in the emergence of his successor, Mr. Yakubu Dogara. Gbajabiamila was speaking in Abuja at an event to [] 


Wed, 27 Dec 2017
Enyioha Opara, Minna The Al-Amin Petroleum Filling Station in Pandogari town in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State was attacked by gunmen on Saturday. They killed three persons and abducted the manager, identified as Muazzam and three others. It was learnt on Tuesday that the gunmen who came to the fuel station on motorcycles [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
Olaide Oyelude, Katsina The Katsina State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Salisu Majigiri, has said former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar is a factor in Nigerian politics whose presence or absence in any political party will be greatly felt. Majigiri said this at the Katsina State PDP secretariat shortly after welcoming members of the state [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
Success Nwogu, Ilorin The Convener, Coalition of Democrats for Electoral Reforms, Mr. Ayo Opadokun, and the Chairman, Galaxy Clique, Offa, Mr. Muideen Ibrahim, have said it is shameful that Nigeria, which is one of the largest global producers of crude oil, still imports petrol for domestic consumption. They also said the Offa people were at [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
Oladimeji Ramon Simon Utebor, Yenagoa Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State has presented a cheque of N400m to the Nigerian Army Corps of Engineers for the survey of an additional 15,000 hectares of land for the Agge Deep Seaport in the state. He reaffirmed that the seaport remained a landmark project, which was of critical [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
Chukwudi Akasike, Port Harcourt The lawmaker representing Rivers South-East Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Magnus Abe, has called for a summit of stakeholders to find solution to the issue of soot in Rivers State. Abe made the call while speaking at a special thanksgiving service and reception held at the St. James Anglican Church, [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
Sesan Olufowobi The Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, on Tuesday said achievements recorded in key sectors in 2017 were made possible by the massive support for his administration by residents of the state. Ambode, who assured the residents that more projects would be implemented in 2018, spoke in Epe at a special Christmas party, organised [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
Afeez Hanafi The Lagos State Government has approved the establishment of six new public primary schools as well as a correctional home in the state. The Executive Chairman, Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board, Dr Ganiyu Sopeyin, stated that the establishment was in line with the education policy of the Governor Akinwumi Ambode-led government to [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
Sesan Olufowobi The Lagos State Commissioner for Establishments, Training and Pensions, Dr Benson Oke, says the Akinwunmi Ambode-led administration is determined to achieve the dream of making the state a smart city. He added that what the government needed was unity and harmony from the residents to move the state forward. The commissioner stated this [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) on Tuesday sealed a filling station in Kubwa, a suburb of Abuja, for allegedly selling petrol above N145 and gave out the product free to motorists. The Abuja Zonal Operations Controller of the department, Mr Mohammed Abba, said the report about the station, Khalif Civic Oil and Investment Limited, [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
Russia on Tuesday launched a rocket carrying Angosat-1, the first national telecoms satellite for Angola, from its Baikonur space pad, with rare use of a rocket from Ukraine despite collapsed ties between the two nations. Live footage aired by Roscosmos space corporation showed the spacecraft take off into the night from the freezing launch pad [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
Authorities of the Lagos State University says the institution is undergoing internal cleansing in line with President Muhammadu Buhari administrations change initiative. LASU spokesman, Adekoya Martins, on Tuesday in Lagos said that the recent dismissal and suspension cases were not attempts to attack any individual or group but to sanitise its system. It is important [] 


Wed, 27 Dec 2017
Ozioma Ubabukoh The Board of Directors of Zenith Bank Plc has approved the appointment of Dr. Temitope Fasoranti and Mr. Dennis Olisa as executive directors of the bank with effect from December 29, 2017. The bank said that both appointments were consistent with its tradition and succession strategy of grooming leaders from within. According to [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
Dearth of manpower is said to be the biggest problem in the country's aviation industry. Ironically, many unemployed pilots still roam the streets, MAUREEN IHUA-MADUENYI writes From childhood, Ijay Usifo had wanted to be a pilot. He nurtured the dream and after his graduation from the Federal University of Technology, Minna, where he studied mechanical [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
Stanley Opara The issuance of guarantees to lenders by government for infrastructure projects is very critical to the development of the country's infrastructural base, the Debt Management Office has said. The DMO said the Economic Growth and Recovery Plan of the Federal Government expected the private sector to play a major role in the development [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
Stanley Opara The Nigerian capital market apex regulator, Securities and Exchange Commission, says it remains committed to the partnership with the Investments and Securities Tribunal and other relevant bodies in its quest to ensure zero tolerance on infractions in the country's capital market. The SEC, in a statement on Tuesday, said it was also committed [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
Alternative shareholder groups have condemned a recent public outcry by shareholders under the aegis of the Oando Shareholders Solidarity Group over the fracas between Oando Plc and the Securities and Exchange Commission. The shareholders are members of associations from across the country including the Shareholders United Front Association and the National Coordinating Committee of Shareholders [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
NIGERIANS feel very apprehensive about fire disasters, especially during the dry season. Their vulnerability is accentuated by the parlous state of public fire fighting agencies in the country. In a bid to ameliorate this situation, the Federal Government has just unveiled 25 new firefighting equipment, comprising 14 fire engines and 11 water tenders. The acquisition, [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
Okechukwu Nnodim and 'Femi Asu As fuel queues grew shorter at some filling stations in Lagos on Tuesday, oil marketers under the aegis of the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association said they did not have Premium Motor Spirit in their tanks. DAPPMA said its members had not received petrol in their depots despite the [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
Oyetunji Abioye The Deposit Money Banks in the country have set up a multimillion-naira fund to fight scammers as the banking sector continues to record rising cases of electronic fraud. Part of the funds will be deployed in massive anti-fraud campaigns to expose the tricks of e-fraudsters beginning January 2018. The Chairman, Committee of Electronic [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
Oyetunji Abioye The euro suffered a sudden Christmas Day slide on Monday in a drop attributed by analysts to computer-driven selling amid thin trading volumes. The single currency dropped three per cent against the US dollar in minutes, according to Bloomberg, although Bloomberg data on Tuesday showed a fall of about two per cent, Financial [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
Oyetunji Abioye UBS Wealth Management's Chief Investment Office has predicted that 2018 will be positive on global equities relative to high-grade and developed world government bonds. According to the office, global economic growth should continue at the high 3.8 per cent rate witnessed in 2017. In a statement on Tuesday, UBS said, 'Nevertheless, investors face [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
Oyetunji Abioye African Export-Import Bank has emphasised the importance of intra-Africa trade, saying it has potential to transform the economy. The Managing Director of the Intra-African Trade Initiative at the African Export-Import Bank, Kanayo Awani, specifically said Egypt could be a front runner in transforming intra-African trade and boosting innovation and industrialisation on the African [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
Heritage Bank has partnered Folio Media Group to organise the 60th anniversary of Miss Nigeria and the 2017 edition of the beauty pageant. Miss Ehiguese Peace, representing Adamawa State emerged as the new Miss Nigeria at the grand finale of the beauty pageant held at Eko Convention Centre in Lagos recently while Miss Rita Chinedu, [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
Union Bank of Nigeria Plc has announced changes to the membership of its Board of Directors with the retirement of an Executive Director, Mr. Ibrahim Kwargana and the resignations of non-executive directors, Mr. Mansur Ahmed, Dr. Onikepo Akande and Mrs. Arina McDonald in October 2017. Kwargana's retirement came after 33 years in the banking sector. [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
The Lagos State environment regulators have lauded Ecobank Nigeria's various initiatives towards sustainable and safer environment in the state. The Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency and the Lagos State Waste Management Authority said the lender's policy to rid the state of non-biodegradable materials like plastic bottles and used beverage cans would go a long way [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
Femi Makinde, Osogbo Osun State Governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, has said Nigeria cannot develop now because its economy is built on a very weak production arrangement. Aregbesola stated that this had made Nigerians to become lazy, especially after the nation's independence, because they now lived on rents from oil, which was discovered in commercial quantity [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
Femi Asu The Rivers State Government and Shell Nigeria Gas have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the distribution of gas to industries in the Greater Port Harcourt area and its environs. Shell said in a statement on Tuesday that the MoU set out broad terms and conditions to guide co-operation between the two parties [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
Anna Okon The Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has stated that the agency will release the Nigerian maritime industry forecast in the first quarter of 2018. According to Peterside, this is part of the initiative to reposition the maritime sector for greater efficiency in line with international best practices. A [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
Uche Uwaleke Going by official figures, the outgoing year recorded a number of improvements on the economic front over the previous year. Helped by recovering crude oil prices and higher oil production, the year witnessed the return of the economy to positive GDP growth trajectory after a debilitating recession that spanned five quarters in a [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
Transcorp Hotels Calabar, a subsidiary of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc, has been recognised by the Cross River State Safety Commission as the 'Best Safety Compliant Hotel in 2017'. The award was bestowed upon the flagship hotel for achieving an exceptional standard of safety management in the outgoing year. According to Transcorp, this has come [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
Maureen Ihua-Maduenyi Air Peace's Enugu and Owerri bound passengers on Tuesday disrupted the airline's operations in Lagos and Abuja due to delays to their flights. Following the development, the airline called on the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and other airport security operatives to restrain unruly passengers from attacking its staff members and inciting others to [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
David Samson The Federal Governments N10bn proposal for the electrification of 37 federal universities and seven university teaching hospitals across the country came under intense criticism at the meeting of the Senate Committee on Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy on Thursday, December 14, 2017. And rightly so. At the budget hearing, the Managing Director, Rural [] 

Wed, 27 Dec 2017
MTN's give-back initiative tagged 'Season of Surprises' recently came to a close, with the company expressing appreciation to Nigerians for their support to the brand. Speaking on the initiative, Chief Operating Officer, MTN Nigeria, Muhammad Siddiqui, said it was borne out of a desire to give back. According to him, it is MTN's way of [] 
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