NIGERIA NEWSPAPERS: Today's Thisday Newspaper Headlines [6th April, 2018].

Below are the headlines found on Thisday Online Newspaper for today, Friday, 6th April, 2018.

Fri, 06 Apr 2018
Barely 24 hours after governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the National Working Committee (NWC) seemingly resolved the quagmire that had arisen over President Muhammadu Buhari’s rejection of the 12 months tenure extension granted to elected and appointed executives of the party at all levels, APC stakeholders have turned their sights on national chairmanship seat.
THISDAY reliably gathered Thursday that names of possible contenders for the post were already being bandied around among different interested groups in the party.

Prominent among the contenders are the incumbent national chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, who is eligible to seek another four years in office, the former governor of Edo State Adams Oshiomhole, and a former governor of Cross River State in the Third Republic, Clement Ebri.

A senior party official, who preferred to remain unnamed, informed THISDAY that the party was already looking beyond the tenure elongation issue which has distracted the APC for about six weeks, and was focused on the National Convention and who would succeed Oyegun.

“Right now, three persons are being considered – former Governors Oshiomhole, Clement Ebri and Oyegun,” the source disclosed.

Providing some insight on what the thinking is within the party on each of the possible contenders for the chairmanship post, he said some of the governors and Buhari loyalists are not very comfortable with Oshiomhole because of his strong personality and independence.

“Oshiomhole will make a good chairman because he is strong and independent minded, he cannot be pushed around. That is why the presidency is pushing for him.

“But these same attributes are considered a drawback among several of the governors and Buhari’s loyalists who believe they will not be able to control him,” the party official said.

He noted that those opposing the choice of the former Edo governor have gone as far as unearthing what Oshiomhole did during his campaign for his second term bid in 2012 when he refused to allow Buhari to come and join his campaign in Benin, the Edo capital.

“They said that the former Edo governor cannot be trusted with power to lead the party at the national level,” the party source said.

He further revealed that those opposing Oshiomhole’s candidacy are rooting for the re-election of Oyegun, whom the governors, especially, believe is humble and accommodating of varied interests.

“Alternatively, there are others who are canvassing for former Cross River governor Ebri who will add fresh blood and ideas to the party,” he added.
In addition to turning their focus of who will lead the party after its convention, the party’s chieftains, THISDAY learnt, are in a battle of wits over who should draw up the membership of the convention list.

It was gathered that in anticipation that Buhari would have his way on the conduct of congresses and the convention before the 2019 elections, the National Leader of the APC, Chief Bola Tinubu, had recently rushed a list of convention committee members to the president.

Fri, 06 Apr 2018
A total of 23 persons were thursday feared killed in Benue, Taraba and Kaduna States by Fulani herdsmen and bandits respectively.

While 10 persons were killed in Benue State, five others were killed in Taraba State by herdsmen who have been terrorising the state, while a village head and seven five others were killed in Kaduna State by bandits.

The attack in Benue State took place in Mbakyondo, Mbakpa and Sengaev communities in the Agagbe area of Gwer West Local Government Area.

According to an eyewitness, the attackers stormed the three communities in the early hours of yesterday, shooting sporadically and burning down houses in the communities.

“They came in their numbers wielding sophisticated weapons, shooting anything on sight and razing people’s houses.

“As we speak, not less than 10 persons may have been killed, most of them were gunned down while fleeing while some were burnt alive in their houses.

“Scores have been injured while many are also unaccounted for, though there is total confusion and palpable tension in the entire Gwer West council area at the moment.
“The crisis has led to the mass exodus of people, mostly women and children, from the affected communities to Naka, the local government headquarters.

“Our fear is that the attackers who were moving unrestrained, may storm Naka because the residents of Naka have also started fleeing their homes. Some are currently moving towards Adoka in Otukpo Local Government Area.

“We may have a huge humanitarian crisis in Naka if nothing is done urgently to stem this problem,” the eyewitness said.

When contacted, the state Police Commissioner Mr. Fatai Omoseni, said the situation in Gwer communities was due to panic on the part of the residents who are moving out for fear of reprisal by Fulani herdsmen, after an alleged attack on some herdsmen by some bandits.
He claimed that there were no casualties from the latest attack.

In Tabara, the attack took place at Utile in Donga Local Government Area.
The killing, which took place few hours after herdsmen killed a family of four at Mbiya village in Takum Local Government Area, brought the number of those killed by the gunmen within 24 hours to nine.

A resident of the community, Mr. Aondofa Ianna, who spoke to journalists on phone, said the attackers, numbering over 30, invaded the community in the early hours when people were still sleeping and started shooting sporadically, killing five people in the process.

According to him, “The attackers came in the early hours of today (yesterday) when people were still asleep. The attacks have now spread to Shaakaa village, and we have so far recovered five corpses while people have continued to flee the community.”

Fri, 06 Apr 2018
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, Thursday put the under-recovery, a euphemism for subsidy, arising from the importation and sale of petrol at the government regulated price of N145 per litre at N1.4 trillion per annum.

Speaking at a meeting in Abuja where operators in Nigeria’s Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) sub-sector met to review the challenges of the LPG market and find ways to mainstream it into the country’s fuel market, Kachikwu explained that it was time Nigeria began to look at alternative fuel sources like LPG which are clean and less expensive for the country.

He also stated that President Muhammadu Buhari would in the next two months launch an infrastructure rebirth plan, which the country would leverage to attract private funding to upgrade her oil and gas infrastructure.

“Clean energy is very essential and we need to move away from complete utilisation in our transport sector of only petrol which is creating a lot of under-recovery of N1.4 trillion per annum as the government’s exposure.

“At the end of the day, we will begin to go into other components of cleaner fuels and rely less on petrol that is gotten from out of the country,” he said.

When asked to clarify if the figure on under-recovery for petrol was annual and how the federal government was going to address the funding gap, the minister said: “Yes, that is per annum and that is being addressed at a very high level. But I don’t want to go into that.”

In March, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) disclosed that its current expenditure on petrol subsidy was N774 million per day, adding that 50 million litres of petrol was consumed in the country everyday.

NNPC’s Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru, described the amount as “under-recovery”, blaming the humongous subsidy element on the proliferation of fuel stations in communities with international land and coastal borders across the country, inferring that a large portion of the 50 million litres is smuggled across borders to neighbouring countries where petrol prices are higher.

Kachikwu also indicated that the government would launch an infrastructure rebirth plan for the oil and gas industry. The rebirth plan, he noted, would enable the private sector to invest in key infrastructure assets across the entire value chain of the oil and gas sector.

“I think government is focused on all the areas. We are hoping to launch an infrastructure rebirth map for the oil sector over the next two months, and I hope the president will launch that.

“The effect is that it will be to open up tariffs and create policy positions that will enable people to actually go in and invest in critical infrastructure that is needed because anywhere you go, whether it is distribution of petroleum products massively through trucks and rather than through pipelines, whether it is being able to take crude to the refineries or distribute gas throughout the country, infrastructure is so key.

Fri, 06 Apr 2018
The embattled Kogi West senator, Dino Melaye, has asked the Supreme Court to declare as illegal and unlawful, the process of his recall from the Senate already being initiated by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Melaye in a notice of appeal dated April 3, 2018 and filed by his counsel, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), wants the apex court to equally set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal delivered on March 16, 2018, which dismissed his appeal against the recall for lacking in merit.

The notice of appeal which is predicated on seven grounds, is seeking a declare action that the statutory 90 days period provided for in section 69(b) of the 1999 Constitution, having elapsed with effluxion of time on September 23, 2017, INEC can no longer validly proceed on the basis of the purported petition for his recall, presented on June 23, 2017.

He further prayed for an order of perpetual injunction restraining INEC from commencing or further continuing with the process of acting on the purported petition presented to it by his constituents.

Some of the grounds upon which the appeal was anchored challenged the entire decision of the Court of Appeal.

The first grounds of appeal claimed that the appellate court erred in law when it held that “an unchallenged finding of fact stands’, the basis of which the court held that it lacked the jurisdiction to entertain his appeal, for the alleged failure to appeal against a specific finding of fact at the trial court.

Another grounds is that the Court of Appeal erred in law when it held that “it is not for the court to verify the signature on the petition. It is the duty of INEC”, saying that the court failed to invalidate the petition presented to INEC.

The Court of Appeal had on March 16, 2018, dismissed Melaye’s appeal for lacking in merit as it disclosed no cause of action.

In a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Tunde Awotoye, the appellate court resolved all the issues contained in the appeal in favour of the INEC.

The Court of Appeal had in its judgment affirmed the decision of Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Abuja division of the Federal High Court, who held that Melaye’s suit was “hasty, premature and presumptuous.”

Melaye, not satisfied with the judgment of Justice Dimgba approached the Court of Appeal to set it aside and stop the electoral body from embarking on the recall process.

Fri, 06 Apr 2018
President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday in Abuja denied the persistent allegations of religious bigotry levelled against him, saying throughout his public life as a soldier, politician and administrator, he has never violated his oath of office.

Buhari, who stated this while receiving a delegation of the Arewa Pastors Non-Denominational Initiative for Peace in Nigeria led by Bishop John Abu Richard, said religious leaders have a responsibility of creating an enabling environment for peace and development to thrive.

Buhari, according to a statement by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said in his days as military head of state, he had more Christians in his cabinet than Muslims.
“Some voices, for political or ethnic reasons, are making unguarded statements accusing the government and myself in particular of religious bias.

“Let me assure you, honourable clergymen, that this is far from the truth. In my career as a soldier, administrator, and politician, I have never veered from my oath of office.

“When I had the honour to lead a military government there were more Christians than Muslims in the Federal Executive Council and the Supreme Military Council.

“This was not by design, but I appointed people on merit without the slightest bias. The present Federal Executive Council is also evenly balanced, again not by design but by respecting and rewarding individual qualities,” the president was quoted to have said.

The statement said Buhari welcomed the group’s proposal to hold a one-day prayer and fasting meeting for the nation on April 26, promising to direct the Inspector General of Police (IG) Ibrahim Idris to provide adequate security for the gathering.

It added that the leader of the delegation, Richard, told Buhari that more than 45,000 pastors in Northern Nigeria had registered with the initiative to use their pulpits for the propagation of the gospel of peace and will shun political distractions.

It also said the clergyman urged other pastors to support the administration’s effort to stop violence in various parts of the country and avoid politically motivated sermons.

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