NIGERIA NEWSPAPERS: TODAY'S THE PUNCH NEWSPAPER HEADLINES [20 MARCH, 2018].


Below are the headlines found on The Punch Online Newspaper for today, Tuesday, 20 March, 2018.


Tue, 20 Mar 2018
The debt status of most states of the federation exceeds 50 per cent of their annual revenues. For 18 states, the debt profiles exceed their gross and net revenues by more than 200 per cent. Lagos, Osun and Cross River states record over 480 per cent debt to gross revenue.

The Fiscal Responsibility Commission, which stated this in its 2016 Annual Report obtained by our correspondent in Abuja on Monday, said the development was contrary to the guidelines of the Debt Management Office on debt sustainability.
 
According to the guidelines, the debt status of each state should not exceed 50 per cent of the statutory revenue in the previous 12 months.

The report stated, “In the light of the DMO’s guidelines on the Debt Management Framework, specifically, sections 222 to 273 of the Investment and Securities Act, 2007 pertaining to debt sustainability, according to the guidelines, the debt to income ratio of states should not exceed 50 per cent of the statutory revenue for the preceding 12 months.”

However, an analysis presented in the FRC report showed that most states flouted the directive. In fact, the debt status of many states exceeded the debt to revenue ratio by more than 100 per cent. The analysis was based on the debt profile of the states as of December 31, 2016.

The states with the highest debt to gross revenue ratios were Lagos (670.42 per cent), Osun (539.25 per cent), Cross River (486.49 per cent), Plateau (342.01 per cent), Oyo (339.56 per cent), Ekiti (339.34 per cent), Ogun (329.47 per cent), Kaduna (297.26 per cent) and Imo (292.82 per cent).

Others were Edo (270.8 per cent), Adamawa (261.96 per cent), Delta (259.63 per cent), Bauchi (250.75 per cent), Nasarawa (250.36 per cent), Kogi (221.92 per cent), Enugu (207.49 per cent), Zamfara (204.91 per cent), and Kano (202.61 per cent).

The debt to net revenue ratio of the states puts some of the states in even more precarious situations. The debt to net revenue of Lagos, for instance, is 930.96 per cent, while that of Cross River is 940.64 per cent.

The only states whose debt did not exceed the 50 per cent ratio by more than 100 per cent are Anambra, Borno, Jigawa, Kebbi, Sokoto, Yobe and the Federal Capital Territory.

The debt to revenue ratio is very important in debt analysis as it can give an indication of the capacity of the debtor to service and repay the debt.


 
However, the FRC noted that it should not be concluded that a state had over-borrowed because its debt to revenue ratio was more than 50 per cent.

The report stated, “It should be noted that the fact that some states exceeded the threshold of 50 per cent of their total revenue is not an indication that they over-borrowed as the debt limits of the governments in the federation are yet to be set.

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
The Jama’atu Nasril Islam under the leadership of the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar lll, has asked the President Muhammadu administration to wake up to its statutory responsibility of protecting lives and property of Nigerians across the country.

The wake-up call, according to the Muslim body, became imperative following the killings by suspected herdsmen of villagers in the Bassa LGA, Plateau State.


 
The National Publicity Secretary of the JNI, Dr. Khalid Abubakar-Aliyu, stated this in a statement in Kaduna on Monday.

The religious body condemned the attack which left several people dead and over 150 houses destroyed.

It cautioned security operatives against taking sides with any warring party in Plateau State and other parts of the country.

The JNI also called on the authorities not to spare anyone culpable in the sundry attacks, adding that the attackers should be fished out and made to face the wrath of the law.

The statement read in part, “The Jama’atu Nasril Islam received with grave concern, the news of premeditated killings of innocent persons and destruction of properties worth millions in the Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau State on Wednesday, March 14, 2018, as well as Rukuba Chiefdom in the same Bassa LGA.

“Attacks and counter-attacks were carried out repeatedly and reports reaching us state that over 150 houses were razed while animals were not spared.

“The JNI condemns in the strong terms the heinous attacks in their totality.

“We nonetheless, expect the Plateau State Government and the Federal Government of Nigeria through their respective relevant agencies to wake up to their respective responsibilities of protecting lives and property.”

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday said the difference between the present administration and “the other” was that the “Muhammadu Buhari administration is not corrupt.”

He said once a country had a President that was not corrupt, half of such country’s financial problems were over.


 
Osinbajo spoke at the Seventh Presidential Quarterly Business Forum for Private Sector stakeholders at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He said, “Today, with less revenue, we have increased capital funding by 400 per cent … in power, works and housing, in defence, transportation and agriculture.

“If we want to do analysis in Nigeria, it is either fraudulent or ignorant if we do not bring money that belongs to corruption into the mass.

“This is what distinguishes, in my own respectful view, this administration from the other. I can say that with what I have seen, if you have a President who is not corrupt, 50 per cent of your financial problems are over. This is what I have seen; I can demonstrate it with facts and figures.

The Vice-President, however, admitted that corruption had not been completely dealt with under the present administration.

He said where corruption had become systemic, the scourge could not be dealt with easily.

 “I am not saying that corruption under this administration has been completely dealt with; no, certainly not.

“Where corruption has become systemic, such as we have in our country today, you cannot deal with it in one full fell swoop, it is not possible.


 
“In any event, you still have corruption fighting back. The system fights back and it’s both an internal and external fight back and you have to be steadfast and strategic to win the battle.

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
An operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ovie Akpoyibo, on Monday lamented the agency’s inability to locate a former cashier at the Abia State Government House, Michael Udoh.

Akpoyibo, who is attached to the Calabar, Cross River State office of the EFCC, lamented before the Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday that all efforts to track Udoh down and bring him before the court had yielded no result.


 
The EFCC had listed Udoh as one of the witnesses it lined up to testify against a former governor of Abia State, Orji Kalu, who was charged with an alleged fraud of N2.9bn.

But the anti-graft agency said the former Abia State Government House cashier had been evasive.

Akpoyibo, who himself appeared as a witness in the case on Monday, told Justice Mohammmed Idris that Udoh had absconded.

While being led in evidence by the prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), Akpoyibo said, “In respect of M. A. Udoh, on January 15, 2018, I was instructed to go to Umuahia to locate his residence and if possible arrest him. When I got to Umuahia, I linked up with the state’s Attorney General and he called the Accountant-General who took me to Udoh’s apartment.

“Operatives gained access to the property the next day. At the place, we met Udoh’s wife and daughter and we were told that the man had travelled to Calabar. I later asked for his phone number but I could not connect with him. I then left my phone number with the wife so that she can call me anytime he is around.”

Akpoyibo said efforts to serve a court summons on Udoh had also failed as he could not be contacted.

Justice Mohammed Idris adjourned till Tuesday for continuation of the trial.

Earlier, the defence lawyers had lamented that the matter was getting protracted, complaining that the prosecutor had just served additional proof of evidence on them.


 
Kalu’s lawyer, Chief Charles Enwelunta, fumed that just when the defence thought the case was coming to an end, the prosecutor served on them a list of seven additional witnesses.

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
Ade Adesomoju, Abuja The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, said on Monday that the judiciary at the state level was being deprived of financial independence. He said financial autonomy was critical to the judiciary. He said while the federal judiciary was enjoying financial independence, there was the need for the law to be [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
Godwin Isenyo and Olaleye Aluko A Diamond 40 Trainer Aircraft belonging to the Nigerian Air Force crashed on Monday on the outskirts of Kaduna town in Kaduna State, during which the student pilot was injured. According to the air force, the pilot force-landed the aircraft after an airborne emergency prevented him from flying back to [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
Olufemi Atoyebi, Ibadan A former Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate and a Peoples Democratic Party chief in Oyo State, Hosea Agboola, on Monday called on former governor Rashidi Ladoja to accept the resolution of the National Executive Council of the PDP in finding a solution to the crisis in the party in the state. [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
Gbenga Odogun, Lokoja Ten persons, including a traditional ruler, Onu Agbenema, Musa Edibo, and his wife, have been killed while many houses were razed by suspected herdsmen in separate attacks on Agbenema, AjIchekpa, Opada and Iyade villages in Kogi State on Monday. Agbenema is in Omala Local Government Area of Kogi State. The attackers, who [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
Adelani Adepegba, Abuja Citing the security challenges facing the nation, the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, on Monday, ordered the withdrawal of all police officers attached to Very Important Persons, including political and public office-holders nationwide. The police boss, who announced this in Abuja during a conference with senior officers, stated that the directive also [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
Sesan Olufowobi The Lagos State Government on Monday asked residents living close to the dump at the Olusosun area, Ojota, to relocate in order to prevent health hazards associated with inhalation of smoke billowing from the dump. The dump had been on fire since Wednesday last week with thick black smoke billowing from it. The [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
Adelani Adepegba, Abuja The police said they have arrested two suspected political thugs working for Senator Dino Melaye and recovered two AK 47 rifles, five pump-action guns and a heap of charms from them. The force spokesperson, Moshood Jimoh, in a statement on Monday, explained that the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad trailed and arrested Kabiru [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
Olufemi Atoyebi, Ibadan The 60th anniversary lecture in honour of the former opposition leader in the old Western House of Assembly, Adegoke Adelabu, will be held on March 27, 2018 at the Sheu Musa Yaradua Foundation Centre in Abuja, with the Chairman of Kakanfo Inn and Conference Centre, Dr. Lekan Are, and former President Olusegun [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
Niyi Odebode, John Alechenu and Leke Baiyewu A former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, says the EFCC has done fairly well. Ribadu, who stated this at a town hall meeting organised by the Shehu Musa YarAdua Foundation in Abuja, on Monday, however, advised the Independent Corrupt Practices and other [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
Ihuoma Chiedozie, Enugu The state chairmen of the All Progressives Congress, on Monday, insisted on the one-year elongation of the tenure of the partys national officers. The tenure of the APC national officers was extended by one year, with effect from June 30, at a joint meeting of the partys National Executive Committee and the [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
Femi Makinde, Osogbo The Elders Forum of the All Progressives Congress in the Irewole Local Government Area of Osun State has called on the party to zone its governorship ticket to the Osun West Senatorial District. The party elders said the Osun West Senatorial District was the only district that had not produced a governor [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
Afeez Hanafi The Lagos State Film and Video Censors Board (LSFCB) has urged cinemas in the state to comply with safety measures and international standards. The LSFCB Executive Secretary, Mr. Dele Balogun, stated that some of the safety measures included, fire extinguishers, air conditioners and at least one entrance and one exit in every hall. [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
Clement Nnachi, Abakaliki A renowned clergyman and General Overseer of the Eternal Light of World Christian Church (Worldwide), Dr. Adol Awam, has declared his intention to contest the governorship election in Ebonyi State come 2019 on the platform of the All Progressives Congress. Awam made the declaration in Abakaliki, the state capital, on Monday during [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas labelled the US ambassador to Israel David Friedman a son of a dog on Monday during an attack on Donald Trumps policies. The scathing comments come with US President Trump still expected to launch a plan for peace between Israel and the Palestinians despite Abbas boycotting his administration over his controversial [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
Facebook announced Monday it has hired a digital forensics firm to investigate the handling of data on millions of Americans leaked to a consulting firm working on Donald Trumps 2016 presidential campaign. The move by Facebook came amid an onslaught of criticism after reports that British firm Cambridge Analytica harvested personal data from the profiles [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
Godwin Isenyo, Kaduna. A Diamond 40 trainer aircraft belonging to the Nigerian Air Force crashed in the outskirt of Kadunaon Monday. The Diamond 40 trainer aircraft is a one-person seated aircraft used for the training of students at the 401 Flying Training School, Kaduna. A statement by the spokesman of the Nigerian Air Force, Air [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
JUSTICE dispensation in Nigeria is like a shipwreck. And the reasons for this calamity are obvious to the stakeholders. A former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mariam Aloma-Mukhtar, decried in Abuja recently the prevalence of lobbying and favouritism in judicial appointments, instead of being merit-driven. Her observation is a knock-out on the judiciary. These base criteria, [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
John Alechenu, Abuja The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, and a representative of the Yoruba Unity Forum, Chief Dipo Jemileyin, have called for the restructuring of Nigeria's federal structure in line with the country's peculiar circumstances. They spoke during the ongoing 3rd Annual National Summit with the theme, 'Reforming the Nigeria Federation [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
Kamarudeen Ogundele, Ado Ekiti The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has said the party will deploy every available resources to win the July 14 governorship election in Ekiti State. Describing the election as a 'must-win' for the party, he promised that the APC would conduct a free, fair and credible [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
Ifeanyi Onuba, Abuja The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has said that the country has enough capacity to repay its debt obligations, which currently stand at about N21.7tn. Adeosun stated this in an interview with some journalists in Abuja on Monday. She said that the government was not worried about the country's rising debt [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
Femi Asu Electricity generation companies have said they are not planning to disrupt power supply in the country but that their inability to pay for gas due to the non-payment of the debt owed them will lead to the shutdown of power plants. The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, alleged last [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja Owners of overloaded heavy duty vehicles that ply federal highways will start paying fines ranging from N1m to N10m, the Federal Government has announced. It stated this in an official gazette dated February 6, 2018, entitled: 'Federal Highways (Control of Dimensions, Weights and Axle Load of Heavy Duty Goods Transport Vehicles) Regulations, [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja The current administration has fulfilled the promise it made in May 2015 as regards developing road infrastructure, President Muhammadu Buhari declared on Monday. Buhari, however, stated that the government would continue to work on the country's road network and stressed that his administration had raised the country's budgetary commitment for capital projects [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
A human rights advocacy group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project,has sent an open letter to the UN Security Council and its members asking that they appeal to the government to end killings and destruction of property by suspected herdsmen across Nigeria. The organisation urged the council members to visit Nigeria for an on-the-spot assessment. The [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
Stanley Opara The Nigerian equities market started the week in a loss after 36 stocks trended southwards. Cadbury Nigeria Plc, Niger Insurance Company Plc and Unity Bank Plc emerged as the worst-performing stocks, shedding 9.6 per cent, 9.5 per cent and 8.9 per cent, respectively. A total of 327.759 million shares valued at N5.259bn exchanged [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
Milost Global Incorporated is looking to inject as much as $1bn to recapitalise Unity Bank Plc, which is struggling to build buffers after a slowdown in Nigeria, according to two people familiar with the matter. New York-based Milost offered to invest $700m in equity and $300m in five-year bonds that can be converted into shares [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
The Central Bank of Nigeria has injected another sum of $210m into the inter-bank foreign exchange market. The lender said the forex sale was aimed at sustaining liquidity in the forex market, and making forex available for customers' needs in various segments of the market. According to the figures obtained from the CBN on Monday, [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
Maureen Ihua-Maduenyi An equipment belonging to Skyway Aviation Handling Company on Sunday bumped into an Arik Air aircraft at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two, Lagos. The aircraft was scheduled to operate the Lagos-Port Harcourt route before the incident occurred on the ramp. Arik Air recently announced the relocation of its Lagos-Port Harcourt flight operations [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
The Small and Medium-scale Enterprises and youths who desire to start businesses in Abia State now have a huge opportunity to actualise their dreams. This is because First City Monument Bank has partnered the Abia State Government to provide financial and other technical support to existing and potential owners of the SMEs in the state [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
Ifeanyi Onuba, Abuja The upgrade of the Model Skills Training Centre of the Industrial Training Fund is to gulp the sum of N5bn. The figure was given by the Director-General of the ITF, Joseph Ari, while conducting journalists around the centre in Abuja. He said the amount would be required to procure a befitting accommodation [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
If you're going to open a new bank account, choose wisely. Switching accounts is a pain, and living with an ill-fitting account can be a drain on your time and your account balance. Banking services are very similar from bank to bank, so focusing on a few key features might be all you need to [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
Heritage Bank says it has achieved the Information Security Management Certification from International Standards Organisation. The certification, also known as the ISO 27001: 2013, is part of the ISO 27000 family of standards which helps organisations keep information assets secure. The certification was achieved on the heels of the bank's drive to revolutionalise the banking [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
Stanley Opara Selling pressure dominated the secondary market for Treasury Bills on Monday as the average T-bills yield advanced by 0.08 per cent to settle at 14.55 per cent. While the yields on the other tenors trended downwards, the positive sentiment towards the one-month tenor led to a 0.07 per cent drop in yield. However, [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
Maureen Ihua-Maduenyi The new environmental management company in Lagos, VisionScape Sanitation Solutions, has assured residents that appropriate measures have been taken to prevent fire outbreak at the dump in Epe area of the state. The Chief Executive Officer, VisionScape, John Irvine, said this during a visitation by the management team of the company to the [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
Nike Popoola Continental Reinsurance Plc has said that the consolidated gross premium for the group rose by 32 per cent from N22.4bn in 2016 to N29.7bn in the 2017 financial period. A statement obtained from the company on Monday said the increase was mainly driven by strong aggregated growth from its operations in Africa. It [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
The Securities and Exchange Commission, United States, has announced its highest-ever Dodd-Frank whistle-blower awards, with two whistle-blowers sharing a nearly $50m award and a third whistle-blower receiving more than $33m. The previous high was a $30m award in 2014. 'These awards demonstrate that whistle-blowers can provide SEC with incredibly significant information that enables us to [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
Visa has announced that its Everywhere Initiative will expand into the sub-Saharan African region. Visa's Everywhere Initiative is a global innovation programme that tasks start-ups to solve commerce challenges of tomorrow and further enhance their own product propositions and provide visionary solutions for Visa's vast network of partners. According to a statement by the payment [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
Ride-sharing giant Uber on Monday said it is suspending its self-driving car program after one of the vehicles struck and killed a pedestrian in the US state of Arizona. The Uber vehicle was in autonomous mode, with an operator behind the wheel, when it hit a woman walking in the street in the city of [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
Azuka Onwuka When 73 people were killed in Benue State in early January, the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, briefed State House correspondents, after a meeting of the security chiefs with President Muhammadu Buhari, and gave the government position on the reasons for the continuous attacks by the herdsmen. He said: Whatever crisis that happened [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
The American founding fathers gathered in Connecticut some time in 1787 in order to fashion a constitution that would herald a new union. One very contentious issue they were confronted with was how to reconcile the fears of smaller states about the dominance and possible oppression of larger ones. The controversy was resolved by a [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
Niyi Akinnaso The controversy over nomenclature notwithstanding, Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria today are being viewed at home and abroad as terrorists, because they use violence and threats to intimidate, coerce, or otherwise instill fear in people. Moreover, they plunder farms and whole villages, drive the owners away, and seek to occupy their land. In their [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
Tayo Oke drtayooke@gmail.com The former Soviet bloc collapsed in a spectacular fashion in 1989. The historical experiment to create a Communist Nirvana, a Utopian of all Utopian states, had lasted for over 70 years, almost to no avail. The West, under the auspices of the United States, rejoiced in triumph; proclaiming what Francis Fukuyama referred [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
Jaye Gaskia Whenever the question of restructuring and devolution of powers has been raised by the contending factions and fractions of Nigerias prodigal ruling class, one of the issues always brought to the fore is that of State Police, alongside that of fiscal federalism. And as always, these issues like the parent concepts of restructuring [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
Olaide Oyelude, Katsina. Government Science Secondary School, Kurfi, Katsina State, has been shut and its students sent home after an unknown epidemic claimed the lives of eight pupils of the school. A lawmaker representing Kurfi Constituency at the Katsina House of Assembly, Kabir Lawal, made the revelation on the floor of the House on Monday [] 

Tue, 20 Mar 2018
Theophilus Onojeghen, Warri An unidentified mobile policeman guarding an oil facility operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company has reportedly shot dead a soldier in Odimodi community, in the Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State. PUNCH Metro gathered that the incident occurred on Saturday during a misunderstanding between the two men. A credible community source, [] 
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