NIGERIA NEWSPAPERS: Today's Thisday Newspaper Headlines [22 March, 2018].

Below are the headlines found on Thisday Online Newspaper for today, Thursday, 22 March, 2018.

Thu, 22 Mar 2018
Exactly 30 days after 110 schoolgirls were abducted by Boko Haram terrorists from Government Girls’ Science and Technical College (GGSTC), Dapchi, Yobe State, 104 of the kidnapped girls were returned to the North-eastern town wednesday morning by the Islamist sect, much to the delight and relief of their grieving parents and family members.

But the girls only spent a few hours in Dapchi with their parents before they were moved to Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, and handed over to a federal government delegation.

Confirming the return of the hostages, the federal government said 106 abducted persons, comprising 104 Daphi schoolgirls, one other girl and a boy, were freed by insurgents in the early hours yesterday.

But the return of the abducted girls and two other children raised concerns that federal government may yet again have paid millions of dollars for the return of what may be described as “priced” hostages.

The federal government had paid millions of euros last year for the release of 83 Chibok schoolgirls, who were abducted by the same terror sect four years ago.

Although the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed who led the government delegation to Maiduguri immediately after the Dapchi girls were freed yesterday, said no ransom was paid, nor did a prisoner swap take place, there was no explanation from the government as to why Boko Harmam seemingly increases their attacks on soft targets in the North-east once hostages have been released.

There was no word also from government on the fate of seven Dapchi schoolgirls that may still be in the custody of the Islamist sect, since it had given the number of girls that were abducted from their school on February 9 at 110.

There were unconfirmed reports that five of the girls may have died from suffocation, having been moved around by their captors under horrendous conditions during captivity.

During his briefing in Maiduguri, Mohammed said all the 106 persons were freed unconditionally, contrary to reports that ransom was paid and some insurgents swapped for the release of the girls.

“It is not true that we paid ransom for the release of the Dapchi girls, neither was there a prisoner swap to secure their release.

“What happened was that the abduction itself was a breach of the ceasefire talks between the insurgents and the government, hence it became a moral burden on the abductors.

“Any report that we paid ransom or engaged in prisoner swap is false,” he said.

Also speaking earlier before his departure for Maiduguri, the information minister told State House correspondents that the only condition given by abductors of the girls was that they would return the girls to where they were abducted.

However, he said the girls were not dropped in a single place but in various locations and from there, went to their various homes.

Thu, 22 Mar 2018
Teleology Holdings wednesday beat the deadline stipulated under the bid process for the acquisition of 9mobile by paying a $50 million non-refundable deposit for Nigeria’s fourth largest network operator.

Teleology, which emerged the preferred bidder for the 9mobile transaction on February 21, was given till today to pay the non-refundable deposit, failing which Barclays Africa, the transaction adviser, would have invited the reserve bidder, Smile Telecoms Holdings, to takeover 9mobile.

Having successfully paid the $50 million, Teleology is expected to pay the balance of its $500 million bid for 9mobile in the next 90 days, in order to take full possession of the telecoms firm.

Teleology was said to have paid the $50 million from Keystone Bank, with United Capital Trustees Ltd and United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc as beneficiaries.

Teleology, which floored telecommunications giants like Globacom, Bharti Airtel and Dangote’s Alheri to win the bid for 9Mobile, also on Tuesday moved a step closer to taking over the troubled telecoms company, when it signed a memorandum of understanding with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and 9mobile to take full possession of the firm.

A source close to the company told THISDAY that Mr. Mohammed Edewor signed the MoU on behalf of Teleology, while representatives of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms industry regulator, and the banks witnessed the signing.

Providing more insight on the transaction, the former CEO of MTN Nigeria, Mr. Adrian Wood, who led the Teleology bid for 9mobile, said his group mobilised the $50 million last week, after which the transfer was effected to United Capital Trustees and UBA.

Thu, 22 Mar 2018
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, wednesday hinted that the 2018 Appropriation Bill would be passed in the lower chamber onApril 24.

The announcement during plenary, ushered a ray of hope that the disagreement over the timely passage of the budget would at least be brought to an end.

Also, all committees are required to submit their budget reports to the appropriation committee by April 19, prior to the passage date.

The federal government had on Tuesday directed all its agencies to submit their budget proposals to the National Assembly latest March 24.

But except there’s a special plea by the leadership of the House to its relevant committees to take it easy on the agencies and work with whatever information that is provided by the agencies- including de-emphasising on how previous appropriation had been spent, next month’s anticipated passage might be truncated.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi and the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, are among ministers whose ministries or agencies under their purview, are yet to conclude their budget defence.

A document from the Senate showed that the Ministry of Solid Minerals, headed by Mr. Kayode Fayemi, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have not completed the defence of their 2018 budget estimates before the relevant committees of the Senate.

Other defaulting ministries are Housing, Health, National Planning, Science and Technology, Foreign Affairs, among several others.

The document revealed that the Nigeria Railway Corporation, Nigeria Postal Service, Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria, Nigeria Institute of Transport, Federal Mortgage Bank and the Federal Housing Authority are yet to submit their budget estimates to the National Assembly.

Also, the Senate yesterday directed its committees to submit the budget reports of the MDAs under their purview to the Committee on Appropriation latest byMarch 29, 2018.

Senate President, Bukola Saraki, made the announcement and added that the committees who have concluded their work on the budget can begin submission from today.

Thu, 22 Mar 2018
The federal government wednesday approached the Federal High Court in Abuja, for an order to temporarily freeze properties and assets linked to the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu.

The suit which was filed on behalf oaf the federal government by its solicitor, Festus Keyamo (SAN), was brought pursuant to section 330 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 and section 8 of the Recovery of Public Property (Special Provision) Act.

In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/284/2018, the applicant, (Special Presidential Investigative Panel for the Recovery of Public Property) is seeking the order of temporary forfeiture of the said properties pending the conclusion of its investigation.

The applicant is therefore asking for “An interim order of this Honourable court temporarily attaching/forfeiting the properties listed in schedule B hereunder to the federal government of Nigeria pending the conclusion of further inquiry/investigation by the Special Presidential Investigative Panel for the Recovery of public Property and or possible arraignment of the respondent.

“And for such other orders as the court may deem fit to make in the circumstances of the case.

“Some of the grounds on which the application is predicated are that the properties listed in schedule A were the properties declared by the respondent in his asset declaration forms at the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).

“That ongoing investigation/inquiries have revealed that the properties listed in schedule B also belong to the respondent and so belong to him when he declared his assets in schedule A.

“That the properties listed in schedule B were not declared in the assets declaration forms of the respondent.
“That preliminary investigation by the applicant reveals that a prima facie case of breach of Code of Conduct for Public Officers has been made out against the respondent.

In a four paragraph affidavit deposed to by one Yohana Shankuk, a clerk in the Chambers of Festus Keyamo, the plaintiff stated that the order is necessary to forestall any frustration of the investigation of Ekweremadu by the panel.

The Special Presidential Investigative Panel, headed by Okoi Obono-Obla is accusing Ekweremadu of not making full disclosure of his assets as required by the rules of a public officer.

Thu, 22 Mar 2018
Oil marketers have commenced a reduction of their workforce due to their inability to pay staff salaries, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) has reported. Some of the marketers, who preferred anonymity, confirmed wednesday in Lagos that they resorted to adopt a massive sack of their workers as the federal government had yet to pay [] 

Thu, 22 Mar 2018
President Muhammadu Buhari has felicitated with the Chairman of Heirs Holdings, Tony Elumelu, on his 55 birthday thursday. President Buhari joins the United Bank of Africa (UBA), the Tony Elumelu Foundation, the Elumelu family and all professional colleagues of the economist, consummate banker and successful entrepreneur, whose pacesetting antecedents continue to inspire both the young [] 

Thu, 22 Mar 2018
Buhari: We are yet to understand security, economic implications of AfCFTA Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja with agency report The two biggest economies in Africa, Nigeria and South Africa, were wednesday conspicuously absent as 44 leaders of African countries signed a deal to create one of the world's largest free trade blocs. The agreement was [] 

Thu, 22 Mar 2018
DMO defends foreign loans Obinna Chima A former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Professor Kingsley Moghalu, wednesday called on the federal government to put a stop to further foreign borrowing. This is just as Moghalu, who recently declared his intention to contest the 2019 presidential election, expressed optimism that he [] 
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