NIGERIA NEWSPAPERS: Today's Thisday Newspaper Headlines [21 March, 2018].

Below are the headlines found on Thisday Online Newspaper for today, Wednesday, 21 March, 2018.

Wed, 21 Mar 2018
One year after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) discovered a whopping $44.3 million at a luxury apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos, the anti-graft agency, in conjunction with the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), has allegedly unearthed another $9 million cash at the residence of the sacked Special Adviser on Niger Delta to President Muhammadu Buhari and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brig.-Gen. Paul Tarelah Boroh (rtd).

The discovery of the cash was made a few hours after his arrest by a combined team of EFCC and ONSA operatives.
His arrest, which the Head, Media and Publicity of the anti-graft commission, Mr. Wilson Uwujiaren confirmed, in response to THISDAY’s enquiries, took place on Monday.

A senior security agent also told THISDAY that Boroh was picked up from his home in Gwarinpa, Abuja, on Monday, but was taken back to his residence at about 3 a.m. Tuesday by the security operatives who raided his house for hours and made the cash discovery of $9 million at his home. He remains in the custody of the EFCC.

“The former adviser was driven to his home in an unmarked car after his arrest. His home was searched for several hours and about $9 million cash was discovered in several safe boxes in several parts of the house,” the senior security agent stated.

“The combined team of EFCC and the National Security Adviser operatives were very thorough with the search. Indeed, at a point, the operatives broke all the locks in the home including his wife’s closet. The recovered cash has been deposited at the Office of the NSA.”

With the $9 million cash haul at Boroh’s residence, this will add to other cash discoveries made by the EFCC in the last two years, including the infamous $44.3 million found in the apartment at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi.
Within 24 hours of that discovery, the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) had laid claim to the cash, claiming that the apartment was used as a safe house for its operations in the South-west.

The discovery eventually led to the sack of the NIA director general, Ambassador Ayodele Oke.
Buhari sacked Boroh last week and announced Prof. Charles Dokubo as his replacement.
In the statement announcing Boroh’s dismissal, it said the NSA, Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd), had been directed to probe the activities of the Amnesty Office from 2015, when Boroh was appointed, especially allegations of financial impropriety and other acts that were allegedly detrimental to the objectives of the Presidential Amnesty Programme.

According to investigations by THISDAY, Boroh’s sack, investigation and arrest by the EFCC may not be unconnected to a petition, among others, that was sent to the president last August.

Wed, 21 Mar 2018
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, has disclosed that the NNPC has started to prepare for the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) when it is finally signed into a law and its operations reformed, adding that the transformation process will lead to the right-sizing of its personnel but not job losses.

Baru made the disclosure Tuesday at the symposium on the PIGB organised by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) in Abuja.

Baru, who was represented at the symposium by the Group General Manager, Corporate Planning of the corporation, Mr. Bala Wunti, explained that the NNPC has initiated a new policy that involves reforming its people, processes, procedures, productivity and profit drive to fit into the demands of the post-PIGB era when it will be expected to transform into a commercial entity with key performance indicators given to it by its shareholders.

According to the GMD, NNPC would right-size its workforce to fit into the various businesses it would be involved in across the entire value chain of the industry, instead of downsizing and firing them.
He said the corporation has recognised that it would need to survive in the post-PIGB era without government subventions, hence the need to ensure that all its staff are productively engaged in the various aspects of its operations.

Also speaking at the event, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, indicated that the award of new oil acreages in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry would be done by the federal government under new laws and terms expected in the country soon.

Wed, 21 Mar 2018
The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), Tuesday commenced the legal battle in the Electoral Amendment Bill suit with a swipe at the National Assembly, accusing the legislature of threatening and intimidating the judiciary.

The AGF, who is the second defendant in the suit instituted by Accord Party attempting to stop the legislature from overriding President Muhammadu Buhari’s veto of the amendment bill, decried what he described as the constitutional colouration being attached to the suit, adding that it underscores why he was physically in court to respond to the suit.

Last week, Justice Ahmed Mohammed had in a ruling restrained the National Assembly from overriding the president’s refusal to assent to the amended electoral bill.
The order was a sequel to an oral application for interlocutory injunction argued by the plaintiff’s (Accord Party) counsel, Wole Olanipekun (SAN).

But in reaction to the injunction granted by the court, the Senate decried the restraining order, saying it negated the principle of separation of powers enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution.

It also said it would send a petition to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, to complain against the restraining order granted by Justice Mohammed, among other similar injunctions granted by the judiciary against the National Assembly.
However, as of Tuesday, the Senate was yet to make good its threat to submit a petition against the judge to the CJN.

Justice Mohammed, in granting the preservative order, had ordered the defendants to maintain status quo ante belum, pending the next adjourned date Tuesday.
Speaking at the proceedings Tuesday, Malami, who had aligned with the position of other counsel on the need to accord importance to the case, accused the National Assembly of intimidating and threatening the judiciary.

He said he was disturbed by the first defendant’s (National Assembly) comment that the judiciary was in the eye of the storm when it is actually the judiciary that was being threatened and intimidated by other arms of government.
“I have to state that threats and intimidation by one arm of government against another concerning this matter are unfortunate.

“We have a collective duty to support the entrenchment of the principle of separation of powers and in support of the judiciary in the discharge of its duties.
“The independence of the judiciary is constitutionally guaranteed and we must work hard to ensure that independence is sustained,” he said.

Earlier, the plaintiff’s counsel told the court that owing to the importance and urgency of the suit, the parties had agreed to move straight to the subject matter of the originating summons.
He then asked the court for a short adjournment to enable the parties to respond to his brief of argument filed on March 19, 2018.

He noted that since the court had granted the plaintiff’s request for an order restraining the first defendant from taking any step that would affect the res of the matter, the issue has continued to generate interest.
“Unfortunately, this has been misinterpreted in different quarters, including by the first defendant that the court made an order preventing the first defendant from carrying out its legislative duties,” he said.
Olanipekun was of the opinion that parties should be properly guided so that the subject matter of the litigation is not hijacked from the court.

Wed, 21 Mar 2018
African Union (AU) chairperson Paul Kagame Tuesday gave a strong indication that member states would go ahead to sign the treaty to create the continental free trade area, even with the continent’s most-populated country, Nigeria’s withdrawal from the meeting.

At least 53 African Heads of States have gathered in Kigali, Rwanda, for the 10th Extraordinary Summit of the AU to consider the legal instruments for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and also launch the agreement officially to establish the treaty.

AfCFTA is aimed at deepening African economic integration, promoting agricultural development, food security, industrialisation and structural economic transformation through a single-air continental transport market with free movement of persons, capital, goods and services.

It is part of Africa’s plan to promote intra and inter-regional trade, economic cooperation and partnership on the continent by 2063, and seeks to make Africa the largest free trade area, improve its economies and strengthen its position in global trade.

According to the African News Agency (ANA), South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, who will attend the signing of the agreement in Kigali Wednesday, said his country was committed to the establishment of an AfCFTA that will boost intra-Africa trade in accordance with the aspirations of the AU Agenda 2063.
However, President Muhammadu Buhari withdrew his participation from the summit at the weekend and did not travel to Kigali, saying that continental aspirations must complement Nigeria’s national interests.

This was after his cabinet had endorsed the AfCFTA.
“As Africa’s largest economy and most populous country, we are committed to ensuring that all trade agreements we sign are beneficial to the long-term prosperity of the continent,” Buhari had said in a statement.

“We are therefore widening and deepening domestic consultations on the AfCFTA to ensure that all concerns are respectfully addressed. Any African free trade agreement must fairly and equitably represent the interests of Nigeria, and indeed, her African brothers and sisters,” he had said.
Buhari’s decision to skip the signing ceremony arose from the objection raised by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to the treaty.

Wed, 21 Mar 2018
The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) has blocked various bank accounts in Switzerland over an alleged oil bribery scheme linked to Nigeria.

This came as executives from oil giants Shell and Eni are due to stand trial in Milan, Italy, in May.
In a statement from its website, it stated that at the request of the Milan public prosecutor, the Swiss authorities confiscated assets and provided information and assistance to the Italian authorities, the Swiss attorney general’s office confirmed this on Monday.

The trial, which was supposed to hold on Monday, was postponed until May 14, Reuters reported.
Nigerian and Italian courts have accused officials from both companies of having paid bribes to secure a licence for an oil field off the African country.

The case has been billed as one of the biggest ever corruption cases in Europe by anti-corruption campaigners.
The exploration permit, which concerns an oil block called OPL-245 in the Gulf of Guinea off Nigeria, was issued in 2011 by the Nigerian government to the two firms for $1.3 billion.

Three separate bank accounts in Lugano, Basel and Geneva were blocked, according to a report in German-speaking Tages-Anzeiger newspaper on Monday.

The prosecution confirmed this, but declined to comment on the value of the assets which were seized. The Tages-Anzeiger cited “several hundred million francs,” while the Nigerian authorities quoted a bribery sum of $801 million.

Wed, 21 Mar 2018
Tussle between both arms responsible for delay in passage of Appropriation Bill Submit budget estimates to legislature before Friday, SGF directs MDAs Damilola Oyedele and James Emejo in Abuja In a development that has further dampened the prospects of early passage of the 2018 budget, the executive and legislative arms of government have taken to [] 

Wed, 21 Mar 2018
Omolou Ogunmade in Abuja Vice-President Namadi Sambo on Tuesday paid a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja. Sambo, who was the vice-president in the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan and a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was visiting the president for the first time since he left office [] 

Wed, 21 Mar 2018
Gboyega Akinsanmi Former President Goodluck Jonathan's media assistant, Mr. Reno Omokri, on Tuesday asked the General Overseer of Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye, to call Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo to order for accusing Jonathan of sharing N150 billion two weeks to the 2015 elections. Omokri made the call in a statement [] 

Wed, 21 Mar 2018
Emma Okonji There are strong indications that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms industry regulator, may not issue operational licence to the preferred bidder of 9mobile as announced by Barclays Africa, the financial adviser handling the sale of the telecoms company should the preferred bidder fall short of the technical know how required to [] 
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