Below are the headlines found on The Guardian Online Newspaper for today, Monday, 26 March, 2018.

Mon, 26 Mar 2018
A 10-year target set by the Federal Government to boost crude oil reserves to 40 billion barrels and daily production to four million by 2020 is becoming unrealistic due to uncertainties that decrease investments in the sector.

Indeed, instead of making progress, the country may be taking steps backward, going by statistics from the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), which indicate that the reserves declined by whopping 961.47 million barrels between 2012 and 2016 alone.

The situation, which is already building anxiety among experts, has been blamed on uncertainties in the oil and gas sector associated with the delay in the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), rising security challenges, growing corruption rating, competition fuelled by increasing oil discoveries across Africa, obsolete fiscal terms as well as other global challenges confronting the industry.

Just like savings and earnings, the reserves and daily production are key to creating energy security, increasing the income from crude oil, boosting economic development and showcasing an index that is capable of wooing investors into the country.

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)’s recent statistics on reserves across the world showed that since Nigeria set the target in 2010, the reserves and daily production have remained almost stagnant, hovering in the region of 37 billion barrel and two million bpd.

According to the statistics, the reserve which stood at 37.200 billion in 2010, dropped to 36.247 billion in 2011. It was 37.139 billion in 2012 before it went down to 37.071 in 2013. In 2014, it stood at 37.448 billion, and later dropped to 37.062 in 2015 and remained at 37.453 billion in 2016.

In terms of production, the country’s average daily record in 2010 was 2,048 million, it dropped to 1.975 million in 2011. There was further reduction in 2012 to 1.954 million. In 2013, the figure went down to 1.754 million, in 2014 and 2015 it was 1,807 million and 1.748 million. In 2016, it reduced to 1.427, but in January this year, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said the figure increased to 2.25 million.

Mon, 26 Mar 2018
The Nigerian Army yesterday warned that any citizen caught in possession of arms and ammunition would be dealt with in accordance with the law.

The army gave the warning in a statement by its spokesman, Brig.-Gen. Texas Chukwu, in reaction to an accusation against it by Gen. Theophilus Danjuma, a former Chief of Army Staff.

At the convocation of the Taraba State University on Saturday, Danjuma accused the armed forces of colluding with armed bandits to foment violence.

He also alleged that the armed forces were unable to adequately provide security for the citizens of Taraba State and called on the people to defend themselves.

In the reaction, Chukwu said: “The army views this statement as most unfortunate at this critical time that the military has embarked upon the demilitarisation of the North Central region of the country.’’

According to him, certain facts needed to be clearly stated in the interest of the Taraba people and Nigerians in general. Chukwu said the army is constitutionally charged with the responsibility of defending the territorial integrity of Nigeria and to aid the civil authority whenever called upon to do so.

According to a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Chukwu said it was in line with this that the army was authorised to conduct “Exercise Ayem Akpatuma’’ in six states, including Taraba.

The army spokesman explained that under the exercise, troops were deployed to curb herdsmen/farmers conflict and other criminal activities in the North central zone, amongst others.

“It is noteworthy to state that at the inception of Exercise Ayem Akpatuma, the Taraba State government did not cooperate due to the army’s stance to remain absolutely neutral in the herdsmen-farmers crisis.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the army advises the people of Taraba State and indeed all other Nigerians to continue in their day-to-day activities and be law-abiding as anyone caught with arms and ammunition will be dealt with in accordance with the laws of the land,” he said.

Mon, 26 Mar 2018
Apparently worried by the long wait for the return of Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the stock exchange, investors have stressed the need for government to develop focused strategies that will economically empower indigenous firms and multinationals, as well as stimulate their investments’ interest.

The investors, who described IPOs’ relaunch as the only option for capital market stability, however maintained that the offerings cannot thrive in an environment where the secondary market is not vibrant.

According to them, IPOs’ resurgence would deepen the market and make it capable of providing the needed funds required to fortify the equity standings of several listed companies that are now in the clutches of debt overhang.

Furthermore, it would boost the Nigerian stock market’s average, in terms of volume of activities and contributions to GDP, which is currently rated low when compared to other emerging markets’.

In 2015, only Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc and Transcorp Hotels Plc had IPOs and while Seplat’s, a global IPO, was 100 per cent successful, Transcorp Hotels recorded only 50 per cent subscription.

In 2007 and 2008, 
IPOs were common before the market witnessed a downturn and companies shunned the capital raising strategy, embracing mostly rights issues and bonds.

Analysts said that the overall weak macroeconomic scenario, sustained negative market sentiments in the past few years, coupled with tensed socio-political space, have not encouraged successful primary market activities.

It is also on record that some planned IPOs have remained on hold due to the prevailing negative market sentiments, driven by growing uncertainties on the back of falling oil price and other macro-economic challenges.

Investors, in an interview with The Guardian, maintained that the market is in dire need of liquidity.

An investment analyst, Johnson Chukwu, argued that several reasons entice companies to list on the Exchange, including the expectations that the market will appropriately buy them and place a premium to the intrinsic worth as a lure for investors to trade on the equities.

Mon, 26 Mar 2018
An Ekiti State High Court sitting in Ado-Ekiti has sentenced a man, Lucky Ayosin, to life imprisonment for serially raping his own daughter (name withheld) who later gave birth to a baby girl for him.

Ayosin was also sentenced to ten years imprisonment for attempting to murder the victim’s elder brother, Ilesanmi Ayosin, who caught him while having sex with his younger sister.

Justice John Adeyeye in arriving at the verdict held that the prosecution has proved the case beyond reasonable doubt by the evidence made available to the court. The judge ruled that both sentences are to run concurrently.

During the pendency of the case, the victim, who was a Senior Secondary (SS) Two student carried the pregnancy of his father and later gave birth to a baby girl. The convict’s 20-year-old son, Ilesanmi, caught his father having sex with his 16-year-old daughter three times.

Ilesanmi was shot by the father with a single-barrel gun in a bid to cover up his crime but the boy escaped and reported the incident to his mother, Yemisi Bayode, who had divorced from their father 14 years ago leaving the two children in his custody.

The boy in his evidence quoted his father as saying this after shooting him: “May your soul rest in peace, next time, when you see anything you will know how to keep secret.”

Justice Adeyeye found Ayosin guilty of attempted murder contrary to Section 320 of Criminal Code Cap C16 Laws of Ekiti State 2012 and rape contrary to Section 358 of Criminal Code Cap C16 Laws of Ekiti State. According to the charge sheet, the incident occurred on November 19, 2015 at Isaba-Ekiti in Ikole Local Government Area of the state.

The convict was first arraigned at the Magistrate’s Court before issuance of legal advice by the Director of Public Prosecutions for the case to be transferred to the State High Court. Ayosin was first arraigned at the High Court on February 21, 2017 on two-count charge of attempted murder and rape.

The prosecution called five witnesses to prove the case including a medical doctor who examined the girl raped and put in family way by her father.
Exhibits tendered include the statement of the convict, medical report and the single-barrel gun with which he shot his son who caught him while forcibly having carnal knowledge of his younger sister.

Mon, 26 Mar 2018
Amid the unabating controversy trailing the recent reduction of the Lagos land use charge, opinions are still varied on the action of the state government. 

Mon, 26 Mar 2018
Former Miss Nigeria, Mrs. Anna Ode, has urged the government to do more to curb women prostitution and trafficking in the country. The former beauty queen, who reigned in 1965... 

Mon, 26 Mar 2018
Edo State chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) yesterday described as laughable threat by the state government to engage private doctors in the event of the industrial action by doctors in the state. 

Mon, 26 Mar 2018
Former Super Eagles Captain, Nwankwo Kanu believes the Greensprings Football Camp, which is in its seventh edition, has a big role to play in Nigerian soccer development. 

Mon, 26 Mar 2018
Total Nigeria has pledged to support the Fly me to Russia fund raising committee set up by the Ministry of Sports to back the Super Eagles campaign at the 2018 World Cup. 

Mon, 26 Mar 2018
The House of Representatives is currently working at amending the Act establishing the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) in efforts to empower and embolden the corporation to go after its debtors. 

Mon, 26 Mar 2018
Dissactified with the running of the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) Plc, the board of directors has dismissed Prof. Charles Inyangete as the Managing Director/ Chief Executive... 

Mon, 26 Mar 2018
National light welterweight champion, Rilwan 'Babyface' Babatunde has vowed to add the West African Boxing Union (WABU) welterweight title to his laurels when he takes... 

Mon, 26 Mar 2018
Heritage Bank Plc has taken a step further to revolutionalise banking in Nigeria with the introduction of an advanced intelligent digital experience known as Octopus. 
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