NIGERIA NEWSPAPERS: Today's Thisday Newspaper Headlines [14 February, 2018].

Below are the headlines found on Thisday Online Newspaper for today, Wednesday, 14 February, 2018.

Wed, 14 Feb 2018
President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday in Abuja said with the narrowing of the recruitment base of insurgents and the renewed onslaught on Boko Haram by the Nigerian Army, the days of the terror group were numbered.
Buhari who made this remark while receiving letter of credence from Apostolic Nuncio of the Holy See to Nigeria, Most Rev. Archbishop Antonio Guido Filipazzi, at the State House, said the terror group had lost host of its initial strongholds, which according to him, had forced it into a steady retreat that would eventually culminate in its total end.

The president berated the group, saying: “You can’t indoctrinate people who are below the age of 14 years and blow up churches, mosques, markets and you keep shouting God is great.”
He added: “It is either you don’t know what you are saying, or you simply don’t care or believe what you are saying. It is part of our success story that Boko Haram is finding it more difficult to recruit people. The Nigerian Army is also not making it easy for them to grow, with more intelligence, orientation and regular, measured onslaught on their camps.’’

According to him, the ongoing effort to dismember the terror group, and render it completely powerless will be intensified as he described the Catholic Church as a strong partner in the development of Nigeria, noting that the church had made very significant contributions to the development of educational and health system of the country.
On corruption, the president also stated that the fight against the culture of pilfering public funds would be sustained as he advocated a new orientation through the repositioning of the nation’s entire educational system, adding that African Union (AU) had also keyed into the fight against corruption.

“I am pleased that the African Union has spoken out boldly against corruption and appreciated the work that we are doing here,’’ Buhari stated.
Responding, Filipazzi said Pope Francis had taken a keen interest in the fight against terrorism, corruption and reviving of the Nigerian economy.
“Mr. President, the Holy Father, sends his warm greetings and he is keen to denounce corruption everywhere,’’ he stated.

The cleric also disclosed how he had travelled to the North-east and was pleased with the efforts of the Nigerian Army in dismantling the insurgents and recovering some of the earlier lost grounds.
The president also received letters of credence from the Ambassador of Niger to Nigeria, Mr. Alat Mogaskia, as well as the High Commissioner of Ghana, Alhaji Rashid Bawa.

‘Shekau Flees Sambisa Forest Dressed in Woman’s Attire’

In a related development, the Nigerian Army Tuesday said its troops’ onslaught on Boko Haram had yielded some positive outcomes as the terrorists’ leader, Abubakar Shekau, had fled Sambisa Forest in a woman’s attire.

“The concerted efforts of troops of Operation Lafiya Dole on the ongoing clearance of the Boko Haram terrorists through Operation Deep Punch II has been yielding tremendous results,” Director of Army Public Relations, Brig Gen Sani Usman, said, adding: “Troops have successfully been clearing Boko Haram camps in Sambisa Forest, including Camp Zairo.”
Usman said some civilians held hostage by the terrorists, had been rescued even as the troops recovered arms, ammunition and Improvised Explosives Devices (IED) factories.
According to him, “Consequently, the terrorists are in disarray and scampering for safety while others are surrendering.

“Credible information from arrested and surrendered insurgents indicate that the purported Boko Haram terrorists’ group factional leader, Abubakar Shekau, could not bear the heat anymore as he has abandoned his followers and he is running for his dear life.
“He is desperately trying to escape the theatre disguised as a woman dressed in Hijab.”
Usman said Shekau alternated between blue and black coloured hijabs in order to avoid being detected, adding that he was last seen in a black hijab.

He said: “We, therefore, call on all those remaining Boko Haram terrorists to know that they are following a coward moving about in hijab disguised as a woman. We also request all the remaining Boko Haram members to come out from hiding and lay down their arms and be treated humanely.”
Also Tuesday, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd), spoke on the war against terrorism and warned of the increasing use of religious extremism to perpetrate terror.

Monguno spoke on ‘Partnering for Safer and Resilient Communities,’ at the launch of the Policy Framework and National Action Plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism in Abuja.
He said: “Our great promise is not without enormous challenges, the threat from violent extremism which feeds on conducive conditions has in recent years changed the threat dynamics.

Wed, 14 Feb 2018
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has said only oil and gas projects that have huge net value to the Federation Account will henceforth be sanctioned by the federal government, explaining that there is no more need for international oil companies (IOCs) to develop multibillion dollar projects that will not attract payment of royalties to the government.

Speaking Tuesday in Lagos when he visited the Samsung Yard where the $3.3 billion Floating Production Storage Offloading (FPSO) unit is being integrated by Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) at LADOL Free Zone, Kachikwu stressed that it will no longer be possible for crude oil price to hit $100, except there is a huge calamity in the producing regions.

He said with oil price depressed at $60 – $70, coupled with the production quota imposed by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Nigeria would begin to look at its priority differently.
Kachikwu added that the country lost huge money in some of the previous production sharing contracts (PSCs), saying that no single royalty was paid in some of those projects.

“Oil is not going to be $100 per barrel again except there is a huge calamity in the North Korea peninsula and whatever. So, we are likely to continue to stay depressed at $60-$70, but even at that, that is a huge movement, coming from where we were. But what it says to us as a country is that Nigeria is going to begin to look at its priorities differently. We are going to look at what is the net value for the country in these future projects. We are not as a country, very impressed with the PSCs we put together. We lose a lot of money in the contracts,” Kachikwu said.
The minister said he had worked hard to keep Nigeria’s production within the OPEC quota, adding that the country would focus on projects where it will make more money.

“So, as you look at your numbers; as you look at the terms under which you want to develop these fields, please spend a good amount of time in checking the bottomline and what goes into the Federation Account. There is no need building a huge $70 billion facility- like one field that I looked at that I felt really pained that no single royalty was paid for one reason or the other. Those kinds of things won’t happen any longer. The terms will change,” Kachikwu added.
Kachikwu assured the IOCs that Nigeria will continue to be a prolific economic return model in the world in terms of oil production.

“But we are going to improve our skills. We are going to improve the terms; we are going to make sure that oil companies get away with huge rewards,” he said.
He commended Total and Samsung Heavy Industries for the accomplishments in the Egina deepwater project, saying that President Muhammadu Buhari was impressed to learn that the project will add 200,000 barrels per day of crude oil to Nigeria’s daily production.

Wed, 14 Feb 2018
In what could be a litmus test with far-reaching implications for banking administration in the country, a proposed amendment to the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) has targeted individuals, including chief executive officers, managers and directors of banks, rather than the institutions, in one of the stiffest sanction regimes to hit the financial sector.

The BOFIA Bill is designed by lawmakers to instil discipline in the banking and other financial services sector to protect public deposits, particularly against the backdrop of banking failures occasioned by insider abuses, corporate governance breaches and other unethical practices.
Also, the amendments seek among other things to prohibit the operation of unlicensed banks, Shell Banks, and significantly increase the amount of fines paid for infractions of the Act.
Details of the proposed amendments were made public by Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Banking and Currency, Hon. Jones Chukwudi Onyereri, during a two-day public hearing on four bills, including one aimed at amending the BOFI Act.

The bills include an Act to Repeal and Re-enact the BOFI Act, 2004; a Bill for Act to Amend the Currency Offences Act, 2004; a Bill to Repeal and Re-enact the Foreign Exchange (monitoring and miscellaneous provisions) Act as well as a Bill for an Act to Establish the Nigerian Marine Development Bank.

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, and the Managing Director, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim, described the proposed amendments to BOFIA as apt and long overdue, particularly in the incremental sanctions directed mainly at individuals rather than the institutions.
Emefiele said operators are often ahead of regulators because of the sheer financial power at their disposal and had often exploited loopholes in the BOFIA to perpetrate unwholesome activities.

He said penalties no longer served as deterrence to banks, knowing they could break the law and get away with payment of fines, which are nothing compared to what they stand to achieve by refusing to comply with established rules.
While cautioning, however, that increases in fines may not necessarily deter the banks from breaching regulatory guidelines, he expressed hope that the monumental increment in money penalties in the proposed alteration would ameliorate the situation.

Represented by CBN Director, Legal Services, Mr. Johnson Akinkunmi, the governor, also asked that the apex bank be granted reserved powers in the amendments to be able to take decisions to manage banks in times of crisis.
He said the reserve power would further enable the CBN powers to revoke licences of non-compliant financial institutions where necessary, while any challenge of such powers by affected banks in a law court will be penalised.
He said even if the affected banks go to court, it claims should be limited to damages, if it felt the revocation was done in bad faith- and not ask for reversal or restoration of the revoked licence.

Wed, 14 Feb 2018
The Presidency has put in place an elaborate plan to frustrate the implementation of the amendment to the Electoral Act 2010 that has proposed alterations to the sequence of the general elections in 2019 and beyond.

By the amendment, the National Assembly election will be conducted first, followed by state Houses of Assembly elections and governorship elections, while the presidential election will be conducted last.

The amendment to Section 25 of the Electoral Act, which was substituted with Section 25 (1) has been adopted by a joint session of the electoral committees of both chambers of the National Assembly and is expected to be passed by their plenaries before transmission to the president for assent.

According to the amended version, the elections shall be held in the following order: (a) National Assembly elections; (b) State Houses of Assembly and Governorship elections; and (c) Presidential election, on separate days.
But the presidency fears that the fate of President Muhammadu Buhari may have been sealed by the time election into the National Assembly, state assemblies and the governorship have been concluded, and is, therefore, strategising to frustrate the implementation of the amendment.

A source conversant with the plan told THISDAY that the presidency is viewing the amendment as a “coup” against the president, and must be vehemently resisted.
“For obvious reasons, the presidency is not comfortable with the new sequencing of election as proposed by the National Assembly and will do everything possible to ensure that the 2019 elections are not conducted in accordance with the new amendments to the Electoral Act,” he said.

According to him, the president will not only veto the amended bill when it is sent to him for his assent, he would also encourage the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to challenge it in court.

“The Presidency expects that the National Assembly will override the president’s veto. That is when the second phase of the plan will be activated,” the source said, explaining that INEC would be working hand in glove with the executive to thwart the mandatory re-ordering of the elections.

The source, who asked that his identity be protected for fear of reprisal, said INEC on its part would put together a team of seasoned lawyers to challenge the amendment in court.

The commission, according to the source, would among others ask the court to determine who between it and the National Assembly has the power to determine the order of elections.
He said INEC genuinely believes that the responsibility for determining the order of election is its sole prerogative and not that of the National Assembly.

He gives details of the plot: “When INEC files the suit, the Acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdul Kafarati will assign the case to himself and subsequently declare the amendment invalid.
“As we talk, the Department of State Security has already collected ‘enough dirt’ on the judge. He will be left with no choice but to rule in favour of INEC.”

Wed, 14 Feb 2018
Lagos Alchemy, Kano BUA in Triumphant Start A last minute brilliant solo goal by Ashraf Yahaya secured a 6-5 win for Lagos Alchemy as they edged Lagos Avon as the 2018 Lagos Polo International Tournament got underway yesterday. In another Silver Cup match, Kano BUA also clawed back to beat Ibadan Jericho 5-3 in the [] 

Wed, 14 Feb 2018
Nigeria will be the destination and attention of world football for three days, when the FIFA Executive Football Summit takes centre stage between February 20 and 22 at the Eko Hotels in Lagos. President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Melvin Pinnick, while confirming the news on AIT yesterday morning, said the country is [] 

Wed, 14 Feb 2018
Fans of the UEFA Champions League are in for an amazing time as Heineken, the worlds premium beer brand and Official Sponsor of the competition is set to host them to exclusive viewing of live European matches. These premium viewing venues will be in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt. Followed by more than a billion [] 

Wed, 14 Feb 2018
Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette has been ruled out for up to six weeks after having knee surgery on Tuesday. The 26-year-old came off the bench and missed a couple of chances as the Gunners were beaten 1-0 by Tottenham in Saturdays north London derby. Lacazette had the operation on Tuesday, which Arsenal described as a [] 

Wed, 14 Feb 2018
Cristiano Ronaldo has admitted that Real Madrids Champions League last 16 tie against Paris Saint-Germain tonight will define the whole season. Los Blancos have had a miserable campaign in 'La Liga, currently sitting in fourth place and 17 points behind leaders 'Barcelona. But they remain in contention for the Champions League, a competition Zinedine Zidanes [] 
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