Below are the headlines found on The Guardian Online Newspaper for today, Friday, 19 January, 2018.

Fri, 19 Jan 2018

The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) is not responsible for the wave of killings by herdsmen across the country, according to the Sultan of Sokoto and President of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III.

The leader faulted calls for the proscription of the group and condemned the killings in Taraba, Benue and other states of the federation.

MACBAN had been in the eye of the storm over massacres by herdsmen, with many Nigerians accusing the group of culpability.

At the first General Assembly of the Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace in Abuja, yesterday, the Sultan argued that Miyetti Allah had existed purely as a business organisation for more than 32 years, and that a call for its ban was equivalent to demanding the proscription of Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and other socio-cultural organisations.

“Anyone carrying arms is not one of us,” he said, urging the Federal Government to go after perpetrators of the killings.

“There are criminal elements in every organisation,” the sultan said, adding: “We will never condone anybody taking up arms to kill innocent citizens. We will never be a part of it, whether it is a Fulani cattle herder, farmer or anybody trying to place himself at a strategic position as we move towards the 2019 general elections.

“The Fulani we know, since we were children, never went about with weapons. Where do these get weapons? How is it possible that they attack villages and disappear without being traced? What are the security agencies doing? We must get to the bottom of this problem”

The President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, expressed hope that the forum would help to douse tension in the polity. He stressed the need for sincerity among religious leaders.

The Catholic Bishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, called for the building of trust among religions. “We need to know that we are in the same boat on a turbulent sea. If we continue to fight in the boat, it will sink,” he warned.

Yesterday in Kano, the National President of Miyetti Allah, Alhaji Bello Bodejo, called for a repeal of the Benue State anti-open grazing law. He said the crisis between the Tiv and Fulani in the state was aggravated by the enactment. He said the Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, should be blamed for innocent lives lost in the clashes.

“The major problem in Benue remains the law enacted by Ortom, preventing our fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution of Nigeria and the Africa Charter that provide freedom of movement anywhere within and outside the country. The law is clearly against the cultural interest and business nature of a Fulani man who is a Nigerian and more concerned about the survival of his cattle,” he said.

“A Fulani man will always want to be on the move, to look for greener pastures and water for his animals anywhere and everywhere, as guaranteed by the constitution. But when you look at the law in Benue, it is clearly dissonant to our interest and survival as Fulani people, especially Article Nine of the law, which says anybody interested in ranching will only be authorised for one year.

“We saw it as a potential danger. And that was why we quickly approached the Federal High Court in Abuja. The case is still pending. But the governor threatened us with security agencies. I have received several threat messages just because we want peace.”

He asked why spotlight had not been cast on killings of herdsmen and their cattle and warned: “Let me caution those attempting to use the Benue incident against the present administration in 2019 to have a rethink because the clash predates Buhari’s administration.”

But Ortom said persons peddling the rumour that he owns armed militias are blackmailers seeking to derail the anti-grazing law.

He stated this, yesterday, when he received members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) who had come to pay him a condolence visit at the Government House, Makurdi.

“These people have now resorted to blackmailing me. I have never sponsored any militia. That is why I am insisting that the Nigerian security should handle the attack by herdsmen in the state. The herdsmen are out there threatening that there will be more bloodshed. But nothing is being done,” the governor said.

He insisted the state would make no land available for cattle colonies, adding that anyone who wished to keep livestock must use ranches.

The Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE) also kicked against the Federal Government’s proposal to create such colonies, saying no part of the South West would be allowed for the enterprise.

The body condemned what it described as President Muhammadu Buhari’s insensitivity to the security of farmers in Benue, wondering why the killer herdsmen have not been arrested.

Fri, 19 Jan 2018

The African Development Bank (AfDB) yesterday said its $1 billion emergency lifeline approval support to Nigeria last year was what helped to pull the country out of recession, the country’s worst economic crisis in more than a decade.

The President of the AfDB, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, who made the claim, said with the approval of the lifeline, its Nigerian portfolio has risen to $6 billion, while it is working to increase its investment in Nigeria to $8 billion by 2019.

He said the bank would continue to support Nigeria and other African countries in order to accelerate the development of infrastructure and energy on the continent.

President Muhammadu Buhari who yesterday commissioned the ultra modern first AfDB office outside its corporate headquarters in Abidjan, Cote d’ Voire in 54 years, corroborated the lifeline claim.

Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, who also expressed gratitude to the AfDB for that 2017 lifeline intervention, requested the bank to quickly complete the remaining $400 million of that intervention as Nigeria still needs it to fix pending economic challenges.

President Buhari, represented at the ceremony by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said:” During Nigeria’s challenging moment in 2016, we approached the bank for intervention and the intervention was swift with the approval of $1 billion. The first tranche of $600 million has been fully disbursed and utilised and in my discussion with the project implementation teams which is sector by sector, I’m satisfied that the funds have been dutifully deployed. So we are looking for the disbursement of the balance of $400 million which will go a long way in assisting us to recover fully.”

Area where the balance of the $400 million would be deployed once disbursed is in the North East region where he said some 10 million people are struggling to return to normal life following the devastating displacement by the activities of Boko Haram.

He said AfDB has earned a special place in the heart of the country and pledged Nigeria’s commitment to continue to be a major player in the bank towards making it strong to deliver on its vision.

Buhari recalled that Nigeria from inception has been an important stakeholder as a major shareholder and that the decision to locate its first office outside the headquarters in Nigeria, signifies the recognition.

Adeosun who is also AfDB member of Board of Governors said the $1 billion intervention gave the country’s foreign reserves the much-needed boost, which helped stabilise the naira.

On the issue of eradicating extreme poverty by the year 2030, Adeosun urged African countries to be more effective in fragile and conflict-affected states.

Adesina disclosed that the bank had invested $500 million in the Development Bank of Nigeria and would also be committing $200 million in the Transmission Company of Nigeria.

“Our support also extends to the financial sector. Several Nigerian banks have benefitted from $1.8 billion in lines of credit, including Access Bank, Fidelity Bank, Stanbic IBTC, First Bank, WEMA Bank, Zenith Bank, GT Bank and the Bank of Industry and NEXIM.”

Fri, 19 Jan 2018

Prices of petroleum products including Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also known as petrol, Household Kerosene, and Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) or diesel, increased by over 6.32 per cent in December, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has disclosed.

Specifically, consumers of petrol in Abia, Kebbi, and Anambra states paid an average of N220.4, N210.08 and N210 per litre respectively during the Yuletide, others like Zamfara N250; Yobe N270; and Taraba N266.67 recorded the lowest prices

Also, the average price per litre paid by consumers for Household Kerosene rose from N267.14 in November to N284.03 in December 2017, while diesel also increased by 4.87 per cent from N199.26 to N205.81 during the review period.

States with the highest average price of diesel were Kaduna N250.63; Adamawa N235; and Taraba N227, while those with lowest average prices were Bayelsa N184; Akwa Ibom N187.78; and Zamfara N190.

Despite the increases in petrol, kerosene, and diesel, the average price for the refilling of a 5kg cylinder for Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) or cooking gas decreased by -4.84 per cent from N2,377.81 in November to N2,262.79 in December 2017.

States with the highest average price for the refilling of a 5kg cylinder for Cooking Gas were Benue N2,666.67; Oyo N2,664.29; and Taraba N2,500.00, while Plateau N2,060.00; Ekiti N2,062.50; and Cross River N2,093.75, experienced the least.

Similarly, average price for the refilling of a 12.5kg cylinder for Cooking Gas decreased by -1.97 per cent from N4,542.30 in November to N4,452.83 in December 2017

Consumers in Cross River paid N4,800.00; Imo N4,771.43; and Abia N4,677.78, recorded the highest price for refill, while those in paid Osun N4,200.00; and Yobe N4,200.00 to refill their 12.5Kg cylinders.

NBS said for the data collection, field work was done solely by over 700 staff in all states of the federation, supported by supervisors who were monitored by internal and external observers.

“Fuel Prices are collected across all the 774 local governments across all states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) from over 10,000 respondents and locations, and reflect actual prices households said they actually bought those fuels together with the prices reportedly sold by the fuel suppliers. The average of all these prices is then reported for each state, and the average for the country is the average for the state.”

Meanwhile, Spokesman for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Ndu Ughamadu, said the Corporation has deployed more of its depots and other throughput facilities to enforce the N133.28 Ex-Depot price of petrol on marketers directly.

Fri, 19 Jan 2018

A bill was introduced in the US House of Representatives on Thursday aimed at tightening the terms of the Iran nuclear deal, despite Tehran’s rejection of changes to the accord.

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized the agreement aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear program, which was agreed under his predecessor Barack Obama’s administration.

The “Iran Freedom Policy and Sanctions Act” was introduced by Peter Roskam and backed by Liz Cheney, two Republicans in the US House of Representatives.

The proposed legislation “makes clear what any effective agreement would have to contain,” Cheney said in a statement.

A deal with Iran would need to “at a minimum, authorize anywhere, anytime inspections including inspections of military facilities; disclosure of all past and present, military and civilian nuclear activity; a ban on weapons-grade enrichment; and a restriction on ballistic missile development,” said Cheney.

The legislation “will ensure that sanctions on Iran will only be relaxed if Iran meets these crucial requirements,” said Cheney, criticizing the current agreement for allegedly delivering “sanctions relief and cash payments to the Iranian regime in exchange for unverifiable promises.”

A parallel bill aimed at toughening the nuclear deal is under consideration in the Senate.

Trump again waived nuclear-related sanctions last week — as required every few months to stay in the agreement — but demanded European partners work with Washington to “fix the deal’s disastrous flaws, or the United States will withdraw.”

Iran’s foreign ministry has said it “will not accept any amendments in this agreement” — and the International Atomic Energy Agency has confirmed Tehran’s compliance with the current agreement.

The other parties to the deal — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the European Union — have all said it is working and that Iran is complying fully with its commitments.

Fri, 19 Jan 2018

As the Home-based Super Eagles take on their Libyan counterparts today in their second group match at the on-going African Nations Championship in Morocco, formal international, Yisa Sofoluwe says the players must avoid wastage of scoring opportunity like they did against Rwanda on Monday.

Coach Salisu Yusuf’s men recorded 18 shots on goal and six on target in their first Group C match against Rwanda, with three of those efforts hitting the crossbar.

Speaking with The Guardian yesterday at the National Stadium Lagos, Sofoluwe advised that the team must be focused, particularly in the attack to triumph in today’s game. The Libyans are the defending champions.

“The players must be focused and work for one another throughout the duration of the match. They must take their chances,” Sofoluwe stated.

Also speaking yesterday, coach of Nath Boys FC, Achievement Yunus, said teamwork is needed for the Eagles to get all three points against Libya today. He urged the players to improve on their scoring ability.

Yunus rubbished insinuations in some quarters that the CHAN Eagles are not the best in the Nigerian leagues. He said: “Coach Yusuf has made his best selection, and we have to support the team. Some of the players can make it to the World Cup if the coach works on them.”

On his part, Coach Emmanuel Adeniyi said that the players must be calmed, adding that beating Libya would put them in a vintage position of winning the championship.

Other Nigerians who spoke yesterday advised the trio of Anthony Okpotu, Sunday Faleye and Emeka Ogbugh who had scoring chances in their last game to be clinical against a Libyan side that was not really tested defensively in their opening game win against Equatorial Guinea.

They also called on Kano Pillars midfielder, Rabiu Ali, who is supposed to be the team’s playmaker, to do more to ensure his crisp passes beat the defence of Libya for his strikers to score.

Fri, 19 Jan 2018

Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, has received 24 returnees from Libya, promising to assist and reintegrate them into the society. 

Fri, 19 Jan 2018

Residents yesterday woke up to see a baby wrapped in a white cloth and abandoned at the middle of the road among heaps of refuse. 

Fri, 19 Jan 2018

Pan-African Internet services provider, Internet Solutions has incorporated its CloudConnect colocation connectivity solution into Microsoft's Azure ExpressRoute network. 

Fri, 19 Jan 2018

For more than half a century, hearing aids have been the only effective treatment for the millions struggling with deafness. 

Fri, 19 Jan 2018

When Nigeria gained its independence, most of the military governors who governed the states under the successive military regimes were under the age of 30 years, according to Wole Soyinka. 

Fri, 19 Jan 2018

The Super Eagles of Nigeria have maintained their 51st position in the latest Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) Coca Cola World Ranking released yesterday. 

Fri, 19 Jan 2018

The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has charged the leadership of Ministries, Agencies and Departments (MDAs) and other government parastatals in the state to work hard and raise the revenue of the state. Aregbesola said for the state to survive economically and continue on the ongoing infrastructure development, all hands must be on deck [] 

Fri, 19 Jan 2018

Prof. Umaru Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission has restated that the Commission will not rest on its oars in ensuring... 

Fri, 19 Jan 2018

A group, Lilyford Foundation (LF), in collaboration with an oil firm, Brittania-U Nigeria Limited (BNL) has provided free medical and welfare to indigent citizens in Anambra State. 

Fri, 19 Jan 2018

Rochas Foundation for Africa, a non governmental organisation (NGO), has disclosed its plan to offer free education to about one million African indigent children from secondary to tertiary institutions. 

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