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Monthly Archives: April 2019

UBA, Mastercard rewards customers with all-expenses paid trip to watch UCL semis, finals matches

United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc in partnership with leading global payments and technology company, Mastercard, have announced they are giving away all-expenses paid trips to the Semi-Finals and Finals of the 2019 UEFA Champions League to 12 lucky UBA Mastercard holders and their plus ones.
Open to all existing and new UBA Platinum Mastercard holders, this amazing giveaway is an opportunity to pamper customers and give them a unique, unforgettable and priceless experience including flights, visas, 5-star accommodation, tickets to watch either the semi-finals or final matches of the UEFA Champions League and so much more with their MasterCard Platinum Access.
 A total of 12 UBA Platinum Mastercard holders from Nigeria and 11 other African countries will share the enthralling experience of watching the finals live with a loved one as well as enjoy the great ambience of host city of the Semi-Finals or Finals (Madrid). The participating countries are Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Congo Brazzaville, Gabon, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia.

“As we celebrate our 70 years of Banking and excellence, this is our way of rewarding customers for their continued patronage to the UBA brand. There will be many more this year as we want to continue to appreciate all our customers … for now. Customers who qualify should get a UBA Platinum Mastercard and spend a minimum of $10,000 or its equivalent in his or her local currency to stand a chance to win the all-expense paid package. To get your UBA Platinum Mastercard at any UBA Branch, a customer simply needs to contact his or her relationship manager at any UBA branch office” the Group Head, Marketing, UBA Plc, Mrs. Dupe Olusola said.

She said, “The UEFA Champions League is the most sought-after trophy in club football competition, and one of the most followed sporting spectacles in the world. To this end, we decided to partner Mastercard and UEFA in bringing the most iconic and cherished moments in the history of football to our esteemed and loyal customers who are the reason why we are so successful.

“We realise that, a lot of our customers love football and we feel giving them this treasured experience while they are pampered in far-away Spain is the way to go. These are the moments that make football such a passionate sport and we want to share these moments and experiences with our loyal customers across Nigeria and Africa,” Olusola said.

NNPC, road transporters move to curtail petrol smuggling 

NNPC, Road Transport Employers move to curtail petrol smuggling 


… As Corporation Supplies 2bn Litres of PMS Monthly

Efforts by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to end cross border smuggling of petroleum Products in the country has received a boost as the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) has pledged its support to the corporation to end the menace.

National President of RTEAN, Comrade Osakpawan Eriyo, who made the pledge at the National Executive Council meeting of the Association in Abuja on Tuesday said as stakeholders in the Downstream Petroleum Sector, his association would support “any initiative by the NNPC to restore sanity to the Industry and we will be with you to fish out every unscrupulous element in the system’’.

He assured that no member of his association would engage or aid cross border smuggling, hoarding and products diversion, saying the present NNPC management has brought about positive changes in the downstream as Nigerians no longer queue endlessly for petrol at filling stations.

Presenting an award to the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, for Leadership Innovation and Repositioning,  comrade Eriyo said  “we are happy because there are  positive changes in the country’s Petroleum Industry, we support you, if a man does what is right he deserves an award, hence we decided to honour the GMD and his team’’.

Speaking earlier on the state of the Petroleum Downstream, Group Managing Director of the NNPC, represented by the Managing Director of Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), Mr. Umar Ajiya, disclosed that to sustain the present seamless supply of petrol across the country, the NNPC is adding additional 2 billion litres of PMS to its stock every month with effect from April 2019.

He said all products were available and at government approved prices, emphasizing that the price of petrol remained N145.00 per litre, while calling on RETEAN not to allow their members to be shortchanged and report any marketer who contravenes the law to the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).

The NNPC, he said, had embarked on the revamp of its refineries which began with the Port Harcourt Refining Company, PHRC, in order to reduce the importation of petroleum products in the country.

Mr. Ajiya received the award on behalf of the GMD.

Speaking on the awards, the Secretary General of RTEAN, Comrade Yusuf Adeniyi, said the recipients were honored not ‘’because of the office they occupy but because of the impact of their stewardship in the lives of Nigerians’’.

Probe panel recovers N40m from bank

The Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the recovery of Public Property (SPIP), says it has recovered over 40 million naira for the Federal Government from one of the commercial banks in the country.

This was made known in a statement signed by the panel’s Head, Media and Communication, Lucie-Ann Laha, on Tuesday in Abuja.

The panel said it refrained from mentioning the name of the bank in question, in order to prevent panic by its customers.

The statement stated that the recovery was made as a result of findings by a team of the panel’s investigation into accounts of Federal Government agencies operated by commercial banks from 2009-2015.

It said the panel had earlier assigned a team of forensic auditors with the task of x-raying the operations of the Federal Government accounts domiciled in commercial banks within that period.

The panel said this was done with a view to establishing whether or not such accounts had been subjected to arbitrary or excessive charges, interest shortfalls or accrued interests.

Arising from its findings, the panel, in a letter dated Jan.19, issued a demand notice to the bank for sum of N230,1444,784,34, comprising of N180,932,793.39K and 161,350,79 dollars.

It said the bank had initially objected to the figures.

Following the bank’s objection, the panel and the bank held a joint reconciliation meeting and agreed that the amount actually due for refund was N40,336.186.25K

The money was paid into the panel’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) Recovery Account domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The reconciliation team also agreed that the sum of 56,919.10 dollars should equally be returned to the coffers of the Federal Government. (NAN)

PDP claims INEC servers replaced to conceal rigged election results

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of replacing all the servers in its headquarters and its state offices to conceal alleged rigging in the just concluded general elections.

The party made the allegation in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in Abuja, saying the action was in a desperate bid to change the actual results of the presidential election transmitted from the polling centers across the nation.

The PDP claims its candidate, Atiku Abubakar, won the February presidential election, saying INEC’s computer server has the authentic results of the poll.

But the electoral body says results were not transmitted electronically. Some ad hoc staff of the commission have however said in court affidavits that that was not the case.

Mr Ologbondiyan said the alleged replacement of the servers was “completely reprehensible” and had further exposed the culpability of INEC in the alleged manipulation and rigging of the election.

He said that the PDP was briefed on how the INEC leadership and officials of the Presidency became jittery and resorted to the desperate measure, after they realised that the servers had information of its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar’s victory at the election.

“Our party also has details of how the INEC leadership and the presidency agents procured and detailed computer experts to the commission’s offices to switch the servers, mutilate vital information in the system and attempt to erase all trails of transmitted results to the main server,” he said.

“Moreover, our party has been informed about how the INEC leadership, several weeks after the election, used some compromised officials of the commission to manipulate voter registers in some states by ticking names of individuals who did not participate in the Presidential election, as having voted.

“This is with the view to using such to cover the fictitious results it wrote for the All Progressives Congress (APC).’’

Mr Ologbondiyan said that forensic investigation of the system would reveal the real votes transmitted from the polling centers.

“The PDP therefore insists on forensic examination of all relevant documents and equipment used for the Presidential election.’’

However, the Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, who reacted to the allegation described it as baseless and uncalled-for.

“The commission has maintained that it will not join issues with the PDP in the media on a petition that the party had already filed in court, in respect of the 2019 Presidential Election.

“Rather than issuing press statements and addressing press conferences on the same petition on a daily basis, PDP should allow the legal process to run its full course,” Mr Oyekanmi said. (NAN)

Senate queries appointment of new NYSC boss

The Senate on Tuesday asked its Committee on Sports and Youth Development to investigate if the recent appointment of a new Director-General for the National Youth Service Corps by the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, was in order.

Buratai had recently appointed Sani Ibrahim to replace Sule Kazaure as the NYSC boss.

The committee investigating the matter was asked to submit its report on Wednesday next week.

The committee members were saddled with the responsibility of finding out if any law was violated in the appointment of the new NYSC boss.

The decision to investigate the matter was based on a point of order raised by Senator Dino Melaye.

The senator had claimed that the appointment violated the Act that established the body.

He said, “The NYSC Act, Section 5, says there shall be a service to be headed by a person called the Director-General, to be appointed by the President.

“Surprisingly, the Chief of Army Staff removed the Director-General through a signal and, through another signal, appointed another one.

“The law doesn’t confer the power of appointing NYSC DG  on anybody, but the President. The last DG and all other past DGs were appointed by sitting Presidents.

“If we allow this, the announcement of the Senate President can come from the Federal Road Safety and replacement may come from the same institution.”

Nigeria does not have 20 million units housing deficit – Fashola

Minister for Works, Housing and Power Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Tuesday dismissed insinuations that Nigeria has a 20 million unit housing deficit.

He conceded that Nigeria has housing challenges, but added that housing challenges is a universal phenomenon.

The minister told reporters in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital at the end of a capacity building workshop for Federal Controllers of lands and housing in the country.

The theme of the training is “learning and development for greater stature.”

Mr. Fashola revealed that the ministry had removed the mandatory 10 percent equity contribution before accessing loan from the National Housing Funds (NHF).

He said: “First of all I don’t believe that 20 million housing deficit number. Nobody has owned up to it. It is a number of no origin, I say so. So the person who did that data should come up and take ownership of it.

“But that is not to say that there is no housing challenge. We have it, every country in the world has it. Its level and degree is a function of so many things. It is perhaps, more pronounced in the urban centres as it is in the rural areas. But even in the urban centres there are still empty houses even where there is a problem of shelter.

“What we are doing is to try and complete ongoing projects that we met. We have started our own national housing programme. The idea is to design a product that Nigerians accept and can afford. One of the reasons why we have a number of empty buildings and houses is that some of these buildings are acceptable or are not affordable or both.

So we are trying to create a model that will be acceptable for the people. “Some of the other thing we are doing is to grant funding for people who contribute to the National Housing Fund (NHF) by way of mortgage. That is happening. We are improving access by reducing the amount you have to contribute. Those who wanted to borrow up to five million naira for example, their equity contribution was about 10 percent.

“We know that some people will not have N500,000 to contribute and deposit, we have removed that. They can borrow and what they should have contributed is now capitalized into what they will pay.

“That opens the door of access. You are not denied because you did not have the fund to self-contribute. We have also reduced the amount of which you are borrowing five million Naira and above from 15 percent down to about 10 percent.”

On consents and title documentation, the minister said that “we are also dealing with backlogs of title documenting and transactions, such consent to transact land. This is also a barrier to access. If you cannot finish the documentation, you might probably not get the funding. If you don’t have the title you might also be denied access to funding.

“So we have those backlogs of consent and certificate of occupancy (C of Os). As at April 19th this year, we signed 2,400 certificates of occupancy, we issued 1,214 consents to transact business on land.

These are things, some of which have been pending since the 1990s. We are attacking housing challenge in many fronts.”

On the power to revoke the licenses of DISCOs, he said: “The power to regulate DISCOs rests with the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) not in the ministry. It is a power vested by law, so the ministry cannot interfere with that power. It is a statutory power. The ministry is only saddled with policy directive which I have given in documents, letters and all of that. Don’t forget that before the privatization, the ministry had well over 50,000 staff. The staff strength of the ministry is now 779.”

Eight injured in another Ibadan building collapse

A two-storey building under construction on Tuesday collapsed in Ibadan, injuring eight persons.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the building located on Eleyele road in Jericho area of Ibadan collapsed at about 4.pm.

Speaking with NAN, one of the bricklayers at the site, Mr Kazeem Adebayo, said concrete casting on a portion of the building had started when it gave way.

Adebayo said that a portion of the building began to give way at about 3.30 pm and the attention of the site engineer was drawn to the development.

He alleged that the engineer ordered them to continue work only for the building to collapse shortly afterwards, injuring those working close to the collapsed portion.

An official of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Dada Abinmbola, told NAN that nobody died in the incident while the injured had been taken to Jericho Specialist Hospital for treatment.

Mr Olatunji Bolu, a representative of the Architect Registration Council of Nigeria, said the body was still investigating the cause of the incident while the outcome would be made public.

NAN reports that the task force of the Oyo State Bureau of Physical Planning and Development Control had already sealed the building while security agents were sighted keeping vigil at the site.

It would be recalled that a two-storey building had collapsed in the Sogoye area Ibadan on March 15.


Facebook unveils revamped app focused on privacy, small groups

Facebook said it would begin delivering a revamped app Tuesday as the embattled social network embarks on a new strategy emphasizing private communications and small groups.

“As the world gets bigger and more connected, we need that sense of intimacy more than ever,” Zuckerberg said as he opened the F8 developer conference for the social networking giant.

“That’s why I believe the future is private.”


Reps to sanction RMAFC boss

The House of Representatives will proceed with the institution of sanctions against acting Chairman and Management of Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Rep. Mark Gbillah (PDP-Benue) has said.

Gbillah, who is the Chairman of the House ad hoc Committee investigating data collection processes, maintenance and usage in RMAFC made this known at a hearing on Tuesday in Abuja.

The chairman said that the committee was constituted in January, 2018 but had not been unable to finish its work as RMAFC would not comply with the demands of the committee.

He said that the committee had written to RMAFC several times and there were various reasons why the commission would not respond to the demands of the committee.

“The committee intended to prevail on the speaker to halt the sanctions that had already been initiated against earring  institutions if they are not willing to cooperate with the committee.

“But from what we are seeing today, I want to assure Nigerians that the House of Representatives would proceed with the institution of sanctions against the acting Chairman and management of RMAFC,” he said.

Gbillah said that the commission had erred fundamentally to have written to other agencies instructing them not to honour the invitation of the committee.

The legislator said that by that action, RMAFC did not respect the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

He said that the institution did not observe the principle of the Rule of Law and thought they were above board.

The lawmaker said that he wanted President Muhammadu Buhari and all the supervising officers to know what the committee had been going through with the commission in the last one year.

He said that the commission had degenerated to the extent of writing to the Speaker of the house demanding the removal of the committee chairman and casting all forms of aspersions on the committee.

He said that the new National Minimum Wage is hinged on the revenue that accrue to the states of the federation.

According to Gbillah,  the committee is out to ensure an equitable allocation of resources to the state and prevent any state from being shortchanged.

The chairman said that the RMAFC has been unable to come up with a record and data to show that all the indices sent to the Accountant General’s office are correct representation of their changing realities envisaged by the Constitution.

He said the allegations against RMAFC before the National Assembly had not been unproven as the commission would not cooperate with the committee.

Gbillah said that the house was left without any other option than to engage the state and take far reaching actions against the commission.

Rep. Abdulrazak Namdas (APC-Adamawa) said that the committee could not afford to allow institutions vital to the investigation to hinder the progress of the committee.

He said that the commission writing to other agencies, instructing them not appear before the committee should not be condoned and serious actions should be taken.

Namdas said that the exercise was not a child’s play as section 89 of the Constitution empowers the parliament to carry out investigations and institutions must respect  it.

Also, Rep. Mohammed Usman (APC-Kaduna) said it was a sad day for him as the parliamentarians were accused of not doing their job in the media.

According to him, here we are working for Nigerians and some institutions do not want to support to make Nigeria great and better than it is.

He said that there was no institution that was as significant to the state and Local Government as the RMAFC.

Usman said besides Lagos state, no other state in the country could function without revenue from the Federal Government.

He said it was sad that only three states out of 36 honoured the invitation to attend a hearing bothering on revenue allocation. 

The lawmaker said that the house must come out strongly as Nigerians would not tolerate such sabotage.

Usman alleged that the right processes hardly works in the RMAFC, alleging that  some members of staff allocate monies at will and illegally get a share of it.

According to the lawmaker, this is what necessitated the petition which came to the floor of the house as a motion and the resolution to investigate the matter and the institutions are not here.

The acting Director, Banking Services, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Mr Abubakar Kure said that the CBN keeps custody of the Federation account which is shared between the federal, states and local governments.

He said that the CBN is also empowered to monitor the inflows and the out flows of the account and to carry out reconciliation.

Kure said the CBN is not a revenue generating agency and that the bank only keeps custody of the account.

He said on a monthly basis, all inflows are collated and sent to the Office of the Account General of the Federation.

Kure said though the bank provides information and returns on the account to RMAFC, it does not have an interface with the commission.

He also said that the commission had not demanded for any returns of revenue collecting agencies from the bank in a very long time.

Also, Mr Abdulazeez Mustafa, the Deputy Director, Revenue Account Department, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) said that the service had submitted all documents requested for by the committee.

He said that details of disbursements by the CBN to the FIRS were also contained in the documents submitted to the committee.

He said that there was no existing electronic interface between FIRS and the RMAFC and that the details of all revenue generated by FIRS since 2014 to 2018 had be submitted to the committee.

Mustafa said that the issue of revenue sharing formular was outside the scope of the mandate of the FIRS.

Institutions that failed to appear include  the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS).(NAN)

Iran: Rouhani signs bills branding U.S. troops in middle East as terrorists

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday signed a bill into law declaring all U.S. forces in the Middle East terrorists and calling the U.S. government a sponsor of terrorism.

The bill was passed by parliament recently in retaliation for President Donald Trump’s decision this month to designate Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards a foreign terrorist organisation.

Earlier in April, U.S. branded Iran’s Elite military force a terrorist organisation, marking the first time Washington has formally labeled another country’s military a terrorist group.

It was not clear what the impact of the new law might be on U.S. forces or their operations.

“Rouhani instructed the ministry of intelligence, ministry of foreign affairs, the armed forces, and Iran’s supreme national Security Council to implement the law,’’ state media reported.

The law specifically labels as a terrorist organization the United States Central Command (CENTCOM), which is responsible for U.S. military operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

The U.S. has already blacklisted dozens of entities and people for affiliations with the Guards, however until Trump’s decision not the organisation as a whole.

Comprising an estimated 125,000-strong military with army, navy and air units, the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) also command the Basij, a religious volunteer paramilitary force, and control Iran’s ballistic missile programmes.

The Guards’ overseas Quds forces have fought Iran’s proxy wars in the region.

The long-tense relations between Tehran and Washington took a turn for the worse in May 2018 when Trump pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, reached before he took office and reimposed sanctions.

Revolutionary Guards commanders have repeatedly said that U.S. bases in the Middle East and U.S. aircraft carriers in the Gulf are within range of Iranian missiles.

Rouhani said that Iran will continue to export oil in spite of U.S. sanctions aimed at reducing the country’s crude shipments to zero.

Saraki, Dogara, 52 others know fate May 17

The Federal High Court Abuja, has fixed May 17 to deliver judgment in a suit seeking the removal of Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and 52 other lawmakers.

Justice Okon Abang fixed the date on Monday after taking arguments from all parties involved in the matter.

An advocacy group, Legal Defence and Assistance Project, (LEDAP) dragged the lawmakers to court seeking a declaration that they were no longer members of the National Assembly having defected to other political parties before the expiration of their tenure.

The defendants comprise 17 Senators, 37 members of the House of Representatives, the Independent National Electoral Commission, the Attorney-General of the Federation and the clerks to both houses.

At the resumed hearing, Mr Mahmud Magaji, SAN, counsel to Saraki and the other senators insisted that the plaintiff had no locus standi to institute the suit since it was not a political party, politician, constituent of the lawmakers or an executive member of either of the political parties.

He concluded that they were meddlesome interlopers who instituted the suit to annoy the defendants, Nigerians and their constituents who voted them to represent them.

“Allowing this suit will amount to slapping Nigerians and I urge the court to resist the temptation and dismiss the suit.”

Mr Josh Amupitan, SAN, counsel to Dogara and the other members of the House of Representatives, for his part, urged the court to discountenance the argument of the plaintiff that it had locus standi because it was a registered organisation.

“They claim that they are a registered NGO and that since this is an issue of public interest litigation, they have the locus.

“We have referred the court to our address where we said that public interest litigations in Nigeria are limited to statutory cases.

“The Supreme Court only allows the expansion of locus standi because of the provisions of criminal procedure act which recognises the rights of a private prosecutor.

“Public interest litigation is limited to cases of fundamental rights especially where the exercise of such rights has been vested on public officers or public institutions like INEC, the senate president or the speaker.”

Amupitan added that the plaintiff had failed to provide any document before the court to back its claim that there was a defection.

He urged the court to dismiss the suit on the grounds that the plaintiff was a stranger and an interloper in the matter.

Arguing on behalf of the plaintiff, Mr Jubrin Okutepa,SAN,maintained that his client had the requisite locus standi to appear in court.

On the argument that his client had not been able to prove the defection, let alone division, Okutepa said that facts admitted, need no further proof.

“Since they themselves have admitted that they defected, the allegation that we have not proved defection is a moot point and not a life issue.

“The defendants themselves put up a defence of division.”

Okutepa urged the court to grant the reliefs of the plaintiff and resist the temptation to accept the submission of the defendants which he said appeared attractive but was a dangerous omen for the Nigerian society.

Justice Abang in a short ruling noted that the court had on April 11, suspended delivering judgment in the suit, even though the judgement was ready, because of an application from the defendants to be heard.

“They have been heard and the matter will be determined on its merit.”

He adjourned the matter until May 17 for judgement.

LEDAP, in their suit filed on Sept. 14, 2018, prayed the court for an interpretation of Section 68(1)(g) of the 1999 Constitution.

This was with regards as to whether any member of the National Assembly who resigns from the political party that sponsored his election before the expiration of the term for which he was elected, automatically loses his seat in the assembly.

The group was also seeking a declaration that the lawmakers were no longer entitled to receive any remunerations due to a member of the National Assembly and that any of such remunerations after their date of defection be refunded to the Federal Government.

LEDAP in the suit, also prayed the presiding members of the National Assembly to declare vacant, the seats of the defectors.

Minimum wage not salary increment, junior staff should get more – Okowa

Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta said on Tuesday the new minimum wage for Nigerian workers was long overdue and urged state governors to implement the N30,000 minimum wage recently signed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Okowa, who spoke with State House correspondents after a private meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, said that he would pay the N30,000 new minimum wage.

He however said that the minimum wage increment should not be seen as salary increment across-board, stressing that the junior staff earning below the new wage would be the major beneficiaries.

He said that the previous minimum wage of N18, 000 was not sustainable.

“We are actually going to pay the N30,000; we had made our statement long before the new minimum wage was even approved.

“ I actually believe that it is long overdue because N18, 000 is definitely not sustainable.

“But I also do believe as I have told my colleagues and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President that this time we must understand what minimum wage is.

“Minimum wage is not supposed to be a general salary increment; those at the bottom of the rung should actually benefit much more than those at the top and it ought to be so.’’

The Governor also said that education was free at the primary and secondary levels in Delta State, hence the recent treatment given to little Success Adegor was unfortunate.

He said the matter was being investigated and many people involved would soon be punished.

“We are doing well in terms of our education but people were quick to talk about the matter but there were two issues that came out from there.

“Corruption was there because asking the child not to take exams except fee were paid was wrong.

“ I know that education at that level is free in Delta State. Disciplinary actions are being taken and a lot of persons are obviously going to be caught up in that trap.

“I know that we run a free education up to secondary school level; so that was wrong.

“People were quick to talk about the picture of the school and I told them, we have 1124 public schools; that’s the primary school; then we have 465 secondary schools.

“If you believe that in just three years we can impact on all the structures then it will be magical but I do know that the schools in delta have a new face.

“We have so many of them that have been rehabilitated and have been put in proper shape and we are continuing with that.’’

The governor said that the state was also doing a lot in the health sector as its health sector reform was addressing issues concerning public health.

He said that the state’s healthcare was driven by the Primary Healthcare Development Agency along with the Local Government Primary Healthcare Authority.

According to Okowa at present Delta is the leading state when it came to the issue of the Health Insurance Policy.

He said that upon his assumption of office, the law on Delta State Contributory Health Commission was made in the first six months.

“Within that law which is already operational starting from January 2017, we are now providing free maternal healthcare services and free under-five healthcare services.

“Not only in our 64 general hospitals but also in 167 primary healthcare centres; we intend to upscale to about 270 functional primary healthcare centres for the purpose of the health insurance.

“The former administration did operate a free maternal and free under-five healthcare because it is in under-five healthcare that you have a lot of malaria and a lot of mortality.

“But what we are doing right now is to ensure that we pay the premiums of these set of vulnerables and they will access healthcare services,’’ he said.

According to him, the state has over 550,000 persons already enrolled in its Health Insurance Policy in two years.

He said he was looking to providing 30 per cent to 40 per cent of Delta indigenes with health insurance in the next four years.

UBEC chairman, daughter regain freedom

Muhammed Mahmood, chairman, board of Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), and his daughter have been released by their abductors.

Their release was confirmed by Hussain Danladi, one of Mahmood’s aides.

Mahmood and his daughter were kidnapped on Monday afternoon while travelling from Kaduna to the federal capital territory (FCT).

His driver was shot dead when armed bandits opened fire on the vehicle they were travelling in.

Danladi reportedly said no ransom was paid to secure their release.

However, there is no information on the the other travellers who were kidnapped alongside the duo.

Several cases of kidnappings have been recorded along the route in the past months. Many commuters have abandoned the route for the train station as a result of insecurity.

All efforts by the government to end the activities of  kidnappers and bandits have not yielded the desired result.

Nigeria’s oil exports plunge as Shell, Total declare force majeure

Exports of Nigerian crude oil have suffered a significant disruption as two international oil companies operating in the country declared force majeure on two crude grades.

Force majeure is a legal clause that allows companies to cancel or delay deliveries due to unforeseen circumstances.

Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, in a statement on Monday, said it declared force majeure on Bonny Light effective 12 noon (Nigerian time) on April 25, 2019.

The oil major said the declaration of force majeure followed the shutdown of the Nembe Creek Trunk Line on April 21, 2019, and declaration of force majeure by the operator of the NCTL, Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company Limited.

The NCTL, a major crude oil transportation channel used for export, evacuates crude to the Bonny Crude Oil Terminal. It is one of the two main pipelines taking Bonny Light grade to the export terminal.

Last week, Aiteo declared force majeure on the NCTL following a fire outbreak, saying it was constrained to shut in injection as well as other related operations into the NCTL.

Amenam, operated by oil major Total, is also under force majeure, Reuters quoted trading sources as saying on Monday.

Both grades of crude are light and sweet, typically suitable for petrol production.

Bonny Light exports had been planned at 222,000 barrels per day in June and 184,000 bpd in May, but trading sources said they were awaiting new loading plans. Shell said the export terminal continued to run.

A port source told Reuters that oil-well shutdowns had reduced Amenam’s daily production and led to force majeure. Exports of Amenam are typically around 100,000 bpd, and trading sources said loadings had been delayed by roughly 25 days.

Two Shell oil workers were kidnapped last week in Rivers State, an escalation that helped prompt state police to step up security operations.

N’Assembly finally passes 2019 budget, after N86bn hike

The upper legislative chamber, senate has passed a sum of N8.916 trillion as estimates for the 2019 budget as against N8.83 trillion earlier proposed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The new budget figure was passed after Danjuma Goje, chairman senate committee on appropriations, presented a report on Tuesday.

The figure is N86 billion higher than the estimated presented by Buhari before a joint session of the national assembly on December 19.

The chairman noted that this is the first time that the senate would not tamper with key assumptions such as $60 per barrel of crude oil and N305/$ benchmark.

“This is the first time that the benchmark will not be increased,” he said.

Thereafter, the senators voted on the clauses of the appropriation bill in the committee of supply.

They also approved a N10 billion intervention fund for Zamfara following the activities of bandits and kidnappers that have ravaged the state.

Here are key components of the budget as passed by the senators.

* Statutory transfer (for the national assembly, National Judicial Council (NJC) and * Public Complaint Commission (PCC) among others – N502.58 billion
* Debt service (foreign and domestic) – N2.25 trillion
* Recurrent expenditure – N4.65 trillion
* Capital expenditure – N2.94 trillion

Former NNPC top shot, Dafe Sejebor, arrested in US for ‘human trafficking

Houston Police Department has arrested Dafe Sejebor, former group general manager of National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), over his alleged involvement in human trafficking.

Sejebor was arrested along 46 others in an investigation that lasted 10 days with focus on Fort Bend County and the Katy areas of Texas.

Sejebor was retired from NAPIMS, a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), in August 2015.

According to Click2Houston, the 47 suspects arrested include 27 woman and 20 men.

It added that eight were confirmed as victims, including 2 juveniles, another eight charged with sex and human trafficking-related offenses.

Some of those charged with sex and human trafficking also face other charges related to unlawful possession of weapons, and narcotics charges and possession of controlled substances, tampering with evidence and prostitution.

“We are here to help, first and foremost. We understand the problem of human trafficking. We understand what it does to the victim, how to fix the victim,” said John Wall, an officer with the Houston police department vice-division.

“We understand they are scared to come forward, but we are going to do everything in our power to keep them safe, give them the services they need to move forward in life.

“If you think about it, children (and) young adults spend and an enormous amount of time on social media, and they are vulnerable. They don’t understand the risk involved in talking to individuals they don’t know on that type of forum.

“And, at the end of the day, we hope we can put the trafficker where he belongs, and that’s in prison.”

BREAKING: Nigerian framed for drug trafficking released from Saudi prison

A Nigerian woman arrested for alleged  drug trafficking in Saudi Arabia, Zainab Aliyu has been released.

She has been handed over to the Nigerian mission in Saudi Arabia, according to latest reports.

The other victim, Ibrahim Abubakar is also scheduled to be released tomorrow.
Zainab Aliyu, a student of Maitama Sule University, Kano, who travelled for Lesser Hajj in December 2018 was detained by the Saudi Arabia authorities for allegedly being in possession of banned substance.

She had travelled from Malam Aminu Kano International Airport in company of her mother, Mrs Maryam Aliyu, and sister Hajara Aliyu.

She was later arrested over allegations that a luggage, bearing her name tag, contained the unlawful substance.

Zainab who was accused of entering Saudi Arabia with an illegal dose of Tramadol was later discovered to be a victim of a cartel that specialised in keeping hard drugs in travellers’ bags.

Aliyu with officials at the Nigerian embassy in Jeddah

Some members of the drug cartel are already in the custody of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency.

Her release follows the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari, acting on an appeal by the girl’s father

Olam offers to buy Dangote Flours Mills for N130bn


…board calls EGM to get shareholders approval

Barring any last minute change in the scheme of things, the board of directors of Dangote Flour Mills Plc is currently concluding plans convene an Extra Ordinary General Meeting EGM, where it would recommend to the shareholders a proposal by to Olam International Limited to acquire 99.90 per cent stake in the company.

This is sequel to an earlier consideration and approval and decision to recommend to its shareholders, Olam International Limited’s offer for the acquisition of 99.90 per cent of the Issued Share Capital of the company through its subsidiary, Crown Flour Mills.

Dangote Flour Mills had last week notified the Nigerian Stock Exchange NSE, of the intention of Olam International Limited, a Singaporean agro-allied company, to acquire five billion shares of the DFM plc. at the cost of N130billion.

Meanwhile, in a fresh notice dated April 26, 2019, the DFM announced the consideration and approval of its board of directors for the acquisition and plans to recommend same to the shareholders for their final approval.

The notice signed by the Company Secretary, Mrs. Aisha Ladi Isa Company Secretary, said that the principal terms of the offer will be set out in the scheme document that will be circulated to the shareholders at the relevant time.

It reads in part: “Today, the board of directors of Dangote Flour Mills Plc announces that it has considered and, subject to obtaining regulatory approvals, will recommend the binding offer  received from Olam International Limited to its shareholders for consideration at a court ordered meeting to be convened for that purpose. As previously communicated, Olam has submitted an offer to acquire all the outstanding and issued shares of DFM that are not currently owned by Olam through its subsidiary, Crown Flour Mills.

“Further details will be communicated to the market upon obtaining relevant approvals from shareholders and regulators Shareholders and potential investors are advised to exercise caution when dealing in DFM’s shares until a further announcement is made”.

Investigations however showed that this acquisition translates to a payment of N26.00 per share, subject to adjustments for net working capital and net debt as at March 31, 2019, even as the offer comes at a premium of N15.30 per share based on its closing price of N10.70 as at April 18, 2019.

It was further gathered that the transaction is to be executed through a Scheme of Arrangement and is subject to the approval of the Federal High Court, in addition to those of the shareholders and regulators, among others.

DFM is a public limited liability company incorporated in the Federal Republic of Nigeria with its shares listed on the NSE. The principal activities of DFM are the milling of wheat and production of wheat products. It produces bread flour, confectionary flour, semolina and wheat meal.

Dangote Pasta Limited and Dangote Noodles Limited are subsidiaries of the company.

On its part, Olam is a leading food and agri-business supplying food, ingredients, feed and fibre to over 19,800 customers worldwide. Its value chain spans over 60 countries and includes farming, processing and distribution operations, as well as a sourcing network of an estimated 4.8 million farmers.

Through its purpose to ‘Re-imagine Global Agriculture and Food Systems’, Olam aims to address the many challenges involved in meeting the needs of a growing global population, while achieving positive impact for farming communities, the planet and all its stakeholders.

Headquartered and listed in Singapore, Olam currently ranks among the top 30 largest primary listed companies in terms of market capitalisation on SGX-ST.

Six killed in attack on church in Burkina Faso

Six people, including a pastor, were killed in an attack on a Christian church in Burkina Faso, a government spokesman said.

The violence took place Sunday in the village of Silgadji, in the country’s north, not far from the volatile border with Mali.

Urbain Kabore, the communications director for the Sahel region of Burkina Faso, said Monday that the six people were killed after Sunday services.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Violent Islamist extremism has been increasingly destabilizing Burkina Faso, and a number of jihadist groups are known to operate in the area of the attack.

Authorities said that in a separate attack in the east of Burkina Faso, five teachers were shot to death Friday.

The extremists also have targeted foreigners, abducting and killing a Canadian geologist earlier this year.

Buhari wades into Nigerian Zainab Aliyu’s case in Saudi Arabia

President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, to intervene in the case of Nigerian student, Zainab Aliyu detained by Saudi Arabia authorities.

Zainab Aliyu, a student of Maitama Sule University, Kano, who travelled for Lesser Hajj in Dec. 2018 was detained by the Saudi Arabia authorities for allegedly being in possession of a banned substance, Tramadol.

Mrs Abike Dabiri Erewa, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, said this in a statement by her Media Aide, Mr Abdur-Rahman Balogun, on Monday in Abuja.

“President Muhammadu Buhari gave the directive immediately the matter was brought to his attention about two weeks ago.

“My office has been working with the AGF as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in that regard,” she said.

The Presidential aide assured that progress was being made in Zainab’s case along with two others held in similar circumstances in Saudi Arabia.

“Zainab, although detained, had not been put on trial by the Saudi Arabia government.

“And with the hard evidence that those who implicated her have been arrested, a strong legal case is being made to the Saudi authorities,” she said.

Mr Habib Aliyu, the father of the alleged drug courier, Zainab, had appealed to the Federal Government to intervene in her daughter’s case and save the ‘innocent’ lady from being executed wrongly.

Aliyu also called on the Saudi authorities and the international community as well as well-meaning individuals to intervene.

Zainab’s father had expressed displeasure over his daughter’s arrest and detention in a Saudi Prison in spite of the recent discovery that she was framed by some drug cartel.

He had explained that the allegations of Zainab entering the country with Tramadol was absolute falsehood as recent events and arrests had confirmed the girl’s innocence.

Zainab, had travelled from Malam Aminu Kano International Airport in company of her mother, Mrs Maryam Aliyu, and sister Hajara Aliyu.

She was later arrested over allegations that a luggage, bearing her name tag, contained the unlawful substance.

Zainab who was accused of entering Saudi Arabia with an illegal dose of Tramadol was later discovered to be a victim of a cartel that specialised in planting drugs in travellers’ bags.

According to the statement some members of the drug cartel are already in the custody of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency.

Amnesty International and many Nigerians on Monday night campaigned for Zainab’s release.

Amnesty said: Saudi Arabian authorities must free Zainab Habibu Aliyu. Her ordeal shows everything wrong with death penalty. Let us raise our voices, until Zainab is free. No one knows who can be the next victim of such injustice. #FreeZainab #Nigeria #ZainabIsInnocent”