NIGERIA NEWSPAPERS: TODAY'S THE GUARDIAN NEWSPAPER HEADLINES [5TH APRIL, 2018.]


Below are the headlines found on The Guardian Online Newspaper for today, Thursday, 5th April, 2018.

Thu, 05 Apr 2018
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday approved the release of $1 billion for the procurement of equipment for the military to prosecute the fight against insecurity in the country.Buhari gave the approval at a meeting he held with the heads of the nation’s security agencies as the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) ‎failed to convene yesterday.

Those who attended the closed-door security meeting summoned by the president were Minister of Defence, Brigadier-General Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd); Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonishakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Ibok Ekwe; National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Mongunu (rtd); Director General of the Department of State Service (DSS), Lawal Daura and the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris.

Dan-Ali ‎who indicated that $1 billion was approved for the procurement of the equipment while briefing State House correspondents after the meeting, said the insecurity in Taraba, Zamfara and other states was also discussed.


The National Economic Council (NEC), at its meeting in Abuja last year December, had resolved that $1 billion be withdrawn from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) to boost the fight against insurgency by the military. ‎

The proposal to withdraw the $1 billion from the ECA account was flayed by some Nigerians who argued that only the National Assembly could make appropriations to the security agencies.

The minister of defence told journalists yesterday that ‎the military had “operationalised” a division in Sokoto, a brigade in Katsina and Zamfara states as well as a quick response group drawn from the Nigeria Air Force to boost the manpower that would take care of the security situation in that area.


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According to him, concerted efforts are being made by government to secure the safe release of one of the abducted Dapchi schoolgirls, Leah Sharibu, still being held by the Boko Haram terrorists.The presidency did not give any official reason for the cancellation ‎of the FEC meeting which holds every Wednesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.  The FEC is presided over by the president or vice president , with members of the cabinet, including the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Head of Service of the Federation (HoSF) and ministers in attendance.

This is the fourth time the council meeting would not hold since the inception of the Buhari’s administration in 2015.The first time the meeting was put off was on August 23, 2017. It did not hold because a committee headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo submitted a report to Buhari on Babachir Lawal, the then suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), who was accused of corruption. The president had just returned from a 103-day medical vacation in the United Kingdom (UK).

On September 6, 2017, the Buhari administration failed to hold FEC meeting because the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said there was no enough time to prepare documents. This was owing to a two-day public holiday declared for the Eid-el-Kabir celebrations. The last time the meeting was put off was on February 28, 2018.

Meanwhile, Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose has queried Buhari’s approval of the $1 billion for the procurement of security equipment.He described the approval as “pooling of public funds for the purpose of funding President Buhari’s reelection as well as the coming governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states.”

The governor demanded to know whether or not the $1 billion is from ECA. “It will be illegal and against the principle of federalism that operates in Nigeria for the president, who is the head of just one of the federating units, to approve the spending of funds belonging to the three tiers of government without the consent of the heads of other federating units.”

In a statement, Fayose asked: “When did the National Assembly approve the spending of the $1 billion, or can the president spend $1 billion belonging to Nigerians without the approval of the National Assembly?

“Nigerians require explanations from the Federal Government as to where the $1 billion will be sourced because the president lacks power to unilaterally spend money from the ECA not even when there is a pending suit by Ekiti State local council chairmen, challenging the powers of the 36 state governors to purportedly execute the constitutional duty of the Federal Government without their consent.”

Fayose said “another question the Federal Government must answer is: which insurgency are they buying arms worth N370 billion to fight, is it the same Boko Haram that they told Nigerians they had completely defeated?“Since they said they had defeated Boko Haram, and later told Nigerians that they had ceasefire agreement with the insurgents, what else do they need a whopping $1 billion (over N370 billion) for, if not to fund the 2019 elections?


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“Also, up till now, the government is yet to give satisfactory explanations as to the abduction and return of the Dapchi schoolgirls. With the hurried approval of $1 billion, is it not being reinforced that the Boko Haram insurgency has become a source of looting public funds by this government?

“It is on record that Transparency International (TI) once said in its report that some top military officials in the country were feeding fat from the war against Boko Haram by creating fake contracts and laundering the proceeds in the United States, United Kingdom and elsewhere.”

The governor reiterated his challenge to the Federal Government to make available to Nigerians, how the money released by international donors for the fight against Boko Haram was spent.

Thu, 05 Apr 2018
Nigeria’s power sector lost about N108 billion during the first three months of this year due to several constraints inhibiting the regular supply of electricity in the country.
According to data from the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI), the power sector is losing between N1.2 billion to N1.5 billion monthly to water, gas and transmission line constraints.

For example, on January 25, 2018, average power sent was 3,971mw and 2,302.8mw was not generated due to unavailability of gas.About 417mw was not generated due to unavailability of transmission infrastructure, while 290mw was not generated due to high frequency resulting from unavailability of distribution infrastructure.


Therefore, the sector lost an estimated N1.584 billion on January 25, 2018 due to insufficient gas supply, distribution infrastructure, and transmission challenges.The power sector is plagued with structural issues in all key areas- generation, gas supply, transmission and distribution, while the operational capacity of the country’s power plants is less than a third of their installed capacity.

Chronic vandalism has crippled oil and gas pipelines, creating gas shortages at power plants and underinvestment in maintenance and infrastructure has constrained the transmission grid. Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, reiterated that the Federal Government is committed to providing regular and efficient power supply in the country.

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Fashola said: “While it is no longer news that we have reached a 7,000MW) Generation Capacity and have a 5000MW Distribution Capacity; what is newsworthy is that last month we met with Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), DisCos, and GenCos “on how to implement the Eligible Customer Policy and increase connectivity to the 2000MW that is available.

He disclosed that the Federal Government had secured the World Bank’s approval for $486 million Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) transmission expansion funding, while progress is being made with the same bank for the Rural Electrification and Distribution Expansion Funding.

He said: “In many parts of the country connected to the grid, citizens’ feedback is positive, even though all the problems are not solved. Citizens acknowledge more power in dry weather, reduced hours of running their generators and reduction in fuel (diesel and petrol) purchase to power generators.”

He described solar energy as cleaner and more efficient source of power, stressing that in many states, solar power is being accepted and used, while consumers are already embracing the solar power generation plan, which is an initiative of the government to boost electricity.

The minister said that the country was moving away from theorising about power to actual provision of efficient power to support trade and businesses, especially Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) who are the drivers of our economy, giving instances of projects like: the commissioning of a 73KW Solar Hybrid System to support mat production in a factory that employs 1,400 people, the Solar system being deployed in Sabon Gari Market, Kano State  that has 12000 shops and the work that has commenced to connect and meter 31000 shops in Ariaria market in Abia state 

Thu, 05 Apr 2018
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Baru, has pledged commitment to the passage of Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).Baru, who spoke yesterday in Abuja, said the corporation would do everything possible to ensure that the lawmakers avoid making mistakes in the bill.
He added that it would give considerable time and efforts to the issue, in the interest of the nation.According to him, the group is specifically interested in the aspect of the bill that is directly linked to fiscal terms, because of the level of investment it could attract.
    
The NNPC chief spoke at a consultative meeting with consultants to the National Assembly.The lead consultant and former Director of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Osteen Olorunsola, led his team to the meeting.


Baru challenged the consultants to take a comprehensive look at the issues in the oil and gas sector, and make bold recommendations that could engender enduring reforms.
   
He said with the passage of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, which deals with the governance structure of the industry by the National Assembly, the remaining two segments of fiscal terms and host communities would require extensive consultation.

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This, he, said was necessary to aggregate views and opinions of industry stakeholders to strike a balance that could attract investments.It would also ensure a decent government-take in terms of oil and gas revenue.On the fiscal terms, Baru said the major complaint by operators in the industry was that of multiple taxations.

He explained that these include statutory contributions to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), as well as sundry expenses on security.
  
He said:   “We have to be able to design a system that works. If the three per cent, 13 per cent or any other statutory allocation for development is not working, then we should not be afraid to recommend a percentage that could work.“This would replace the present system, where operators pay multiple taxes and yet pay much more extra to secure their investments.”

Thu, 05 Apr 2018
The Institute of Directors [IOD] Nigeria and the Federal Government have concluded plans to train well over 50 directors of Ministries, Departments and Agencies [MDAs]. 

Thu, 05 Apr 2018
As part of efforts to reward hardwork and excellence, the management of Crawford University, Igbesa has formally inaugurated a scholarship scheme in the institution. 

Thu, 05 Apr 2018
Foreign embassies may from henceforth deny visas to politicians who engage in electoral violence and fraudulent elections in Rivers State.Convener of Initiative for Credible Elections (ICE) in Rivers State and former President of Movement for the Survival.... 

Thu, 05 Apr 2018
The Lagos State Governor,Akinwunmi Ambode has called on civil servants in the state to eliminate all forms of waste in the system to drive productivity efficiency. 

Thu, 05 Apr 2018
This is a phytonutrient commonly found in grapes. It is a stilbenoid and one of a group of plant chemicals known as polyphenols.Stilbenoids are secondary products of heartwood formation in trees that can act as phytoalexin. 

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Thu, 05 Apr 2018
A wave of reactions, mostly justifiably negative, has followed from recent revelations and insinuations concerning the earnings of government officials in both the legislative and executive arms. 

Thu, 05 Apr 2018
The judge held that the prosecution had proved the case against Babatunde beyond reasonable doubt. He, however, discharged and acquitted the second accused person, Adegboye Sunday, for lack of sufficient evidence against him. 

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