Friday , 6 December 2019
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Author Archives: Editor

JUST IN: Abducted Assistant Commissioner of Police rescued, two arrested

Abducted Assistant Commissioner of Police, Musa Rabo, has been rescued.
Rabo, who is in charge of Suleja Area Command, Niger State, was rescued unhurt, a statement late on Sunday by Force Public Relations Officer, Deputy Commissioner of Police Frank Mba, said.

He was abducted on Saturday at about 3:30pm, a statement by the spokesman of the Kaduna State Police Command, Deputy Superintendent of Police Yakubu Sabo, said.

Mba said Rabo was rescued by a combined team of Police operatives from Kaduna and Niger State as and those of Zone 7 Command Headquarters, Abuja, backed by members of the elite Special Forces of the NPF.

Two male suspects have been arrested in connection with the incident, Mba further said, adding: “Investigation into the incident is ongoing.

“The officer was travelling in his civil dress, with his private vehicle and without escort or any special security at the time of the incident. He was not targeted as a cop. It was purely an opportunistic crime, indiscriminately and maliciously targeted at citizens using that particular road. He was, perhaps, positionally unlucky at the time of the incident!”

Why FG is breaking monopoly in broadcasting — Lai Mohammed

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, says the Federal Government is determined to end all forms of monopoly in broadcasting because it is detrimental to the actualisation of the immense potential in the industry.

The minister stated this on Sunday at a meeting in Lagos.

Mohammed recalled that he, on October 10, inaugurated the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Reform Implementation Committee to, among others, implement reforms to end monopoly in the sector.

The committee was also mandated to implement the review of National Broadcasting Code and extant broadcasting laws to reflect stiffer penalties for violators of broadcasting regulations as approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“A situation where a few people corner a chunk of the industry to the detriment of others, especially our teeming and talented youths, is totally unacceptable and untenable.

“Monopolies stunt growth, kill talents and discourage creativity.

“The clearest example of the creative energy that can be unleashed when monopoly is totally broken can be seen in the telecommunications industry.

The minister added: “Of course, the broadcast industry has also been liberalised. But any vestige of monopoly is antithetical to the liberalisation of the broadcast industry and must be dismantled.

“In the case of Nigeria, it’s the monopoly of content that breeds anti-competition practices.

“You cannot use your financial or whatever power to corner and hold on tight to a chunk of the market, preventing others from having access.

“Such monopolies are crumbling everywhere in the world and Nigeria cannot be left out.

With the implementation of the committee’s mandate, television viewers, especially lovers of sports may witness an end to MultiChoice’s monopoly on the live airing of high-profile sporting events.

High-profile sporting events, especially for well-loved sports, particularly soccer, are currently only available to subscribers of DSTV.

Specifically, DSTV has the monopoly on live airing of English Premier League and UEFA Champions League in Nigeria.

A reliable source in the ministry said that the era of liberalisation is, therefore, expected to witness the sporting events being accessible to other pay-TVs and free to air platforms in the country.

It will be recalled that Independent Communications Authority Of South Africa (ICASA) had taken similar step by unveiling Draft Sports Broadcasting Services Amendment Regulations 2018.

The bill is aim at making big sporting events accessible for free to all citizens of South Africa.

Passengers scared as Boeing wants 737 Max back flying

On September 12, Boeing started putting out 30-second videos in which employees tout its planes’ safety, hoping to reassure travelers about the 737 MAX that was grounded after two fatal crashes.

“Safety is at the core of our business. We have put hundreds of engineers to work to ensure that this airplane is 100 percent ready,” says Jennifer Henderson, chief test pilot for the 737, in one of the clips.

“When the 737 MAX returns to service I will absolutely put my family on this airplane,” she stressed. But on a Facebook page for Boeing enthusiasts where the clip was posted, the response is negative.

“Well, I think she could not say it would be unsafe,” one member quipped, as Boeing faces the Herculean task of trying to regain the confidence of civil aviation authorities and the public, seven months after the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines MAX that killed 157 people.

That came after the downing of a Lion Air MAX in Indonesia in October 2018, killing 189, with the plane’s MCAS anti-stall system being blamed in both accidents.

It’s not known when the MAX will return to service. Boeing, which still has not submitted a modified version of the MCAS system to regulators, hopes it will be before the end of the year.

“The 737 Max is, for now, an ‘airplane non grata’ — a plane passengers do not want to fly,” said Henry Harteveldt, president of Atmosphere Research Group in San Francisco.

“Travelers aren’t merely scared of the 737 MAX, they’re terrified of it.”

Just 19 percent of business travellers and 14 percent of leisure travellers would willingly take the 737 MAX within six months of returning to the sky, according to an Atmosphere survey.

Nearly half of the 2,000 respondents said they would pay more to avoid the MAX.

Faced with this distrust, airlines are adapting.

“We will be transparent — and communicate in advance — with our customers who are booked to fly on a MAX aircraft, will rebook those who do not want to fly on a MAX at no charge, and for some time will not swap aircraft to a MAX if a change of aircraft is required,” said a spokesperson at United Airlines, which owns 14 MAX aircraft.

American Airlines, which has 24 MAX planes, has said its company brass and employees will be the first to fly on the aircraft once it’s cleared to return to the sky.

The MAX’s setbacks have cast a shadow over a century of history at Boeing, a highlight of which was the success of its 747 jumbo jet, nicknamed the “Queen of the skies.”

According to Harteveldt, half of business passengers and 55 percent of leisure passengers consider Boeing to be “irresponsible,” “arrogant” and “unsafe.”

Boeing’s management has addressed the trust issue.

“We know that trust has been damaged over the last few months and we own that and we are working hard to re-earn that trust going forward,” CEO Dennis Muilenburg said in August.

The trust may have been tested again on Friday, when it emerged that some potentially significant documents at Boeing were held back from investigators for months.

Boeing says it has conducted 1,447 flight test hours as of October 13 with the modified MCAS, and Muilenburg personally took part in two tests.

From late September to mid-October, the company also invited airline pilots to simulator training and information sessions in Miami, London, Istanbul, Shanghai and Singapore.


Again, Royal Air Maroc plane suffers cargo door incident in Lagos

Less than two weeks after an aircraft used by Air Maroc to operate a flight inward Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos had problem with the door of its cargo compartment, another aircraft used by the same airline to operate an outward flight from the same airport experienced similar incident on Sunday.

Confirming the incident, the management of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) in a release by its spokesperson, Mrs Yakubu Henrientta noted the pilot of the aircraft discovered the the light of the cargo door flickered on after it has been visually certified locked and cleared for take off by concerned security operatives at the airport.
Not ready to take any risk, the pilot alerted the control tower to request return to the apron.

“The pilot flying a B737-700 belonging to Royal Air Maroc with registration number CN-RNQ discovered that the cargo door light was flickering on, despite the Aviation security escort visual observation that the Cargo door was closed. he alerted the control tower, requesting to return back to the apron, at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos, at about 05.30 hours today, October 20, 2019,” FAAN said.

According to the statement, “The Aviation Security escort team remained with the aircraft as it taxied back to the apron. At the apron, all concerned officers of FAAN and other agencies were on ground for thorough inspection.

“In line with standard and recommended practices, all parties concerned supervised the offloading and the re-screening of all the luggage belonging to all passengers on board the aircraft”.

Yakubu cleared that, every luggage on board the flight was certified intact in the presence of the airport manager and other top brass security personnel at the Lagos airport before the aircraft departed later this morning to Morocco.

“All the luggage belonging to the passengers were intact as certified by the team on ground before the flight eventually took-off at 10.06 hours in the presence of the Airport Manager and Chief Security Officer of the Airport.,” she said.

Escaped Kano lion: Police assure residents of adequate security

The Kano State Police Command says it has provided adequate security to ensure the protection of lives and property around Kano Zoological Garden following the escape of a lion from its cage.

The command’s Public Relations Officer, Deputy Superintendent of Police Abdullahi Haruna, made this known to the News Agency of Nigeria in Kano State on Sunday.

He said the command had deployed adequate armed policemen to prevent people from having access to the area in view of the prevailing situation.

The PPRO, however, advised the residents not to panic as experts and armed security personnel were making concerted efforts to capture the escaped animal.

He also called on the people of the area to be law-abiding and cooperate with security personnel as the police had already cordoned off the area to have total control.

NAN recalls that the lion escaped from its cage when rangers were trying to put it back in its cage after they returned it from Nasarawa State where the national agricultural show took place.

The incident had forced many residents of the area to remain indoors while motorists had deserted the ever-busy Zoo road since the incident happened on Saturday night.


Auto dealers ask Buhari to call Customs boss to order


On Saturday the 28th day of September, 2019, men of the Nigeria Customs Service carried out a wholesale clamp down on automobile dealerships nationwide with the sealing of all our members’ Premises.
It is very important to note that before the said sealing, no Court Order was obtained, neither was any Notice issued to us nor did we receive any communication or correspondence from the said Customs Service informing us of the reasons behind the said sealing of our members premises.

When some of our members engaged the Customs Services, they were informed that the exercise was carried out with a view to ascertain if smuggled vehicles were in the respective premises and that within a few days, the issue would be resolved after the verification of the importation documents of the automobiles in the sealed premises.
As we speak, the siege has entered its fourth week, thereby occasioning untold financial losses and severe hardship for not just us, the auto dealers but for the thousands of Nigerians employed in our businesses.

We have noted over time that the Comptroller-General of Customs appears to be zealously committed to improving the revenue generating capacity of the service.
We, however, have grave reservations as to the legality of this present action. While we have in the last three weeks been engaged in dialogue with the Customs service authorities, we have noted that our reputation as responsible corporate citizens of this country is being impugned and scandalised, no thanks to the prolonged closure of our business premises.
Thus, the public is left with the impression that we are all economic saboteurs and smugglers.

We are, therefore, constrained to make our position known to the public and emphatically state as follows: -.

1. None of our members is involved in the act of smuggling nor do we stock in our premises any smuggled vehicles whatsoever.

2. The sealing up of our premises was not sanctioned or backed by an order of Court.

3. The Customs and Excise Management Act does not empower the Customs Service to seal a business premises without first identifying contraband goods within the premises.

4. We as bona fide businessmen and corporate citizens lawfully engaged in the business of importation, sales and service of automobiles do not have the licence and or authority to personally clear automobiles directly from the ports as that duty statutorily belongs to Customs Licensed Clearing Agents. Therefore, any discrepancy in the documentation of any automobile imported through a Nigerian Sea Port should be placed at the doorsteps of the Customs Licensed Clearing Agents and the Customs Service.

Consequently, we are at a loss as to why we should bear the brunt of this draconian, ill-conceived and drastic blanket action. Even though we have been groaning under a cocktail of duties, multiple levies, taxes and terminal charges that have made the landing cost of automobiles into Nigeria the most expensive in the world.
We are particularly burdened by the 35% automotive industry levy payable after the stipulated 35% import duty. A fact not lost on the Comptroller General of Customs who has had cause to complain about it recently.

As patriotic Nigerians, we stand with Nigerian Customs Service in their drive for increased revenue and their determination to curb smuggling. Even as we commend the determination of Col. Hammed Ali (rtd), the Comptroller General of Customs to introduce international best practices in the process of clearing goods at our ports in the face of the chaotic state of affairs, we believe that due process should be followed without jeopardising the businesses of thousands of law abiding automobile dealers by this brazen and blanket clampdown.

To be sure, the effect of this unfortunate action on the part of the Customs Service has far reaching negative consequences on the reputation of Nigeria as a safe haven for investors and corresponding effect on Foreign Direct Investments. It stifles economic growth and negates this administration’s stated resolve to create employment because at the moment this unlawful action is threatening the job security of hundreds of thousands of Nigerians employed by us.

By this statement, we are making an urgent appeal to the President Muhammadu Buhari to prevail on the Nigerian Customs Service to rescind and desist from carrying out such unlawful and draconian actions in the future.

We are also conscious and well aware of our rights at law and should our premises continue to remain shut, we shall be constrained to enforce our rights and seek legal redress by commencing legal proceedings against the Nigeria Customs Services which would naturally come with damages for the huge amount of losses we have suffered.

In conclusion, we make a clarion call on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the distinguished President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to prevail on the Nigeria Customs Service to cause an immediate unsealing of the premises of all the automobile dealers without any further delay.

Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria


Falana writes Lawan: No need for loans if we recover $103bn oil sale loss

Femi Falana, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has asked the National Assembly to work with anti-graft agencies for the recovery of “$103.7 billion lost on oil sale”.

In a letter to Senate President Ahmad Lawan, the senior lawyer said if Nigeria can recover the money lost to oil sale, there would be no need to seek foreign loans.

Nigeria is currently planning to secure the first tranche of a $3 billion loan from World Bank in April. According to Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, who disclosed this, the facility is meant to improve the power sector.

But Falana said Nigeria lost a larger part of the proceeds from oil as a result of the non-implementation of the deep offshore and inland basin production contracts act.

In the letter dated October 18, Falana said in 2015, he had raised the alarm that both government and international oil companies in the country failed to stick to the agreement for an upward review of loyalties whenever crude oil was sold beyond $20 per barrel in the international market.

“In his reaction to our allegation of economic sabotage by the public officers who deliberately refused to implement the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Act the immediate past Minister of State in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachukwu admitted that the non implementation of the law by some unnamed public officers had led to a loss of oil revenue of over $60 billion,” he wrote.

“But due to the reluctance of the federal government to enforce the law the governments of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and Rivers States instituted an action at the Supreme Court in 2016 to compel the Federal government to recover the accrued royalties.

“In the judgment delivered in the case on October 18, 2018 the Supreme Court directed the Federal government to recover the royalties that had not been collected from the International Oil Companies for the past 18 years. Based on the judgment of the apex court the Federal government has demanded for the immediate payment of the sum of the sum of $62 billion by the defaulting oil companies.

“But the affected oil companies have filed fresh suits in the federal high court challenging the claim of the federal government. It is hoped that the federal high court will speed up the hearing of the new cases in view of the categorical pronouncement of the Supreme Court on the right of the federal government to recover the outstanding royalties.

“The National Extractive Industry and Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has disclosed that sum of $22 billion and N481 billion has been withheld from the Federation Account by the NNPC and some oil companies. Without any justification whatsoever the federal government has ignored the findings of the NEITI.

“If the National Assembly, under your able leadership, is prepared to resist pressures from vested interests and muster the political will to recover the said fund Nigeria will have no business begging for foreign loans from China, African Development Bank and the World Bank. Therefore, the National Assembly may wish to collaborate with the anti graft agencies in the recovery of the said sum of $103.7 billion without any delay.”

Falana alleged that in the course of their work on leakages in the national economy, they also discovered that sometime in 2006, the management of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) illegally withdrew $7 billion from the nation’s foreign reserves and fixed same in 14 commercial banks.

He said Godwin Emefiele, CBN Governor, had also ignored their demand for the recovery of $7 billion and the accrued interests from the 14 commercial banks.

Apart from the expected revenue of $1.5 billion from the implementation of the amended deep offshore and inland basin production contracts act, Falana said the outstanding royalties, fixed deposit and other funds withheld or diverted from the federation account are not less than $103.7 billion.

Buhari to meet Putin in Russia

President Muhammadu Buhari will meet with Valdimir Putin, his Russian counterpart, within the week.

Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday.

Shehu said the Nigerian leader will leave Abuja on Monday to attend a three-day Russia-Africa summit in Sochi, Russia.

“The event, which will be held between October 23rd to 25th, will focus on exploring and expanding opportunities in security, trade and investment, science and technology, and gas production, Shehu said in a statement.

“The summit, which will be attended by African Heads of State, will bring fresh perspectives on some global issues and challenges like nuclear technology, energy development, digital transformation, environment, technical security, mining and steel, education, agriculture, infrastructure and development strategies.

“The summit, which will be attended by African Heads of State, will bring fresh perspectives on some global issues and challenges like nuclear technology, energy development, digital transformation, environment, technical security, mining and steel, education, agriculture, infrastructure and development strategies.”

Shehu said the meeting with the Russian president will “further strengthen relations in security, trade and investment, and building partnership that will enhance Nigeria’s huge gas potential, following Russia’s remarkable success in gas exportation.”

The governors in Buhari’s delegation are Muhammad Yahaya (Gombe), Bello Matawalle (Zamfara) and Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti).

The ministers are Geoffrey Onyeama (foreign affairs), Adeniyi Adebayo (trade and investment), Olamilekan Adegbite (mines and steel development), and Timipre Sylva, minister of state for petroleum.

IMF supports Nigeria’s border closure —Minister

The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, says the International Monetary Fund supports Nigeria’s closure of its land borders because it understands that the action is not punitive.

Addressing newsmen in Washington on Sunday, Ahmed explained that the measure was intended to restore Nigeria’s relationship with its neighbours, based on commitments made.

She said that President Muhammadu Buhari did not want to approve the closure because he was mindful of the adverse effect it would have on the economies of neighbours.

According to her, there were several engagements between Nigeria and the neighbouring countries toward securing compliance to the rules, “but things got worse”.

“Of course, there will be economic impact on the side of our neighbours due to the border closure, that is a consequence of it.

“In a manner of speaking, IMF supports the border closure that we have done because they understand that the closure was not meant to be punitive.

“It was meant for us to restore our relationship with our neighbours back to the commitments that we made.

“The commitment that we have among these countries is that goods can come through their ports to Nigeria.

“They are supposed to come in sealed containers escorted to Nigeria for the Nigeria Customs Service to inspect the goods and charge them.

“But that is not what is happening. They allow containers to be opened, and also allow goods to be smuggled beyond the formal borders through several illegal routes,’’ she fumed.

The minister reiterated that Nigeria would ensure that rules were obeyed now that it had committed itself to the African Continental Free Trade Area,“ otherwise local industries will suffer.”

She said that a lot of discussions were ongoing between Nigeria and the affected countries toward securing their re-commitment to the rules governing cross-border trade.


FIRS establishes tax office for non-resident taxpayers

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has established a tax office, dedicated solely to the administration of taxes for Non-Resident Persons.

This is contained in a Public Notice signed by the Executive Chairman, FIRS,
Tunde Fowler.

Designated Non-Resident Persons Tax Office (NRPTO), the notice clarified that a non-resident person refers to a foreign company as defined in the Companies Income Tax Act (Cap C2, LFN 2004 as amended) or an individual (who is resident outside Nigeria and derives income or profit from Nigeria) as defined in the
Personal Income Tax Act (Cap P8, LFN 2004as amended).

The notice said that FIRS has identified Non-resident taxpayers as very important segment of the tax-paying public for the purposes of devoting to them specialised

“The devotion of attention to this segment of taxpayers, Fowler said “is to
enhance tax certainty, promote voluntary compliance, reduce tax disputes and
avoid incidence of double taxation.

“In view of the foregoing, the FIRS hereby notify all non-resident persons
operating in Nigeria and the general public that: Non-Resident Persons’ Tax
Office (NRPTO) which will handle all tax affairs of non-resident persons
(individuals or corporate) has been established; The NRPTO is located within
the International Tax Department at 3rd Floor, FIRS Building, 17B Awolowo Road,
Ikoyi, Lagos.

“As from 1st January 2020, all non-resident persons liable to tax in Nigeria shall submit every return, correspondence or enquiry relating to all the taxes
administered by the Service to the Non-Resident Persons’ Tax Office; and Tax
files of non-resident persons shall thenceforth be domiciled at the NRPTO”, the notice said.

Fowler further enquiries should be directed to: The Executive
Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, or Revenue House, 20 Sokode
Crescent, Wuse Zone 5, Abuja or email .

Such non-resident taxpayers are also free to contact the Director,
International Tax Department, 3rd Floor, FIRS Building, 17B, Awolowo Road,
Ikoyi – Lagos, or email

NRPTO will be devoted solely to international taxation to serve non-resident persons, including all tax treaty operational issues, cross-border transactions,

inter-company transactions and income derived by non-resident

Fowler noted that the “devotion of attention to this segment of taxpayers is to enhance tax certainty, promote voluntary compliance, reduce tax disputes and
avoid incidence of double taxation”

Achuba insists he remains Kogi dep gov, seeks Buhari’s intervention

The impeached Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Mr Simon Achuba, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in the political crisis currently rocking the state to prevent breakdown of law and order.

Achuba made the call at a press conference in Lokoja on Sunday, shortly after packing out of his official residence.

He said that the president’s elderly intervention would save the state and the All Progressives Congress (APC) from an impending danger.

Achuba described his impeachment by the House of Assembly as act of extreme lawlessness, saying that he had instructed his lawyers to commence a judicial process to reclaim his seat.

He accused the executive and the legislative arms of government of treating him like a common criminal by calling policemen to barricade the entrance to his house.

The impeached deputy governor said that electricity supply to his official residence was also disconnected and power generator disabled to force him out few hours after his purported impeachment.

He insisted that swearing in anyone else as deputy governor amounted to illegality and a breach of the constitution.

“My purported impeachment last Friday by the state House of Assembly was unconstitutional and an illegality that will not stand the test of judiciary,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Assembly has accused members of the panel that investigated the allegations levelled against the former deputy governor of compromising the assignment given to them.

The Assembly’s Majority Leader, Hassan Abdulahi, made the accusation in a statement he issued on Sunday in Lokoja.

Based on the rules of procedure given to members of the panel, Bello said that their assignment was a fact-finding one, which did not require them to give any resolution.

“The panel submitted its report to us, and based on the report, we gave our verdict.

“The rule of procedure says that the panel was a fact finding one and as such, they were not to give judgement. This was in the rule of procedure which they accepted.

“They are not supposed to give any verdict in this circumstance. The decision of whether the deputy governor is guilty or not guilty is that of the House.

“If you look at Section 188(11), it says that the House of Assembly is the only authority which determines what gross misconduct is. It is not for the panel to determine,” the lawmaker explained.

He also expressed displeasure with the reports of the panel being put in public domain.

“How come that few minutes later, the whole reports were on social media, even before the deliberation of the House on the same report? Again, I should let you know that even the report that is in the public domain was not signed.

“In the rule of procedure, it was written boldly that the panel shall not give the report of its investigation to anybody except to the Assembly.

“We question the rationale behind the statement credited to the panel Chairman, Mr John Baiyeshea, on the issue and wonder what his interest is.

“So, if the panel has gone ahead to release the report to anybody, that means it has compromised.

“It is a known fact that the impeached deputy governor was on some national television stations, discussing issues that should be classified information about the state government, thus acting against the oath of secrecy he swore to uphold.

“Does that not amount to a gross misconduct?” he queried.

The majority leader claimed that Achuba confirmed before the panel that he did appear on those stations.

“Aside that, he (Achuba) also affirmed through an affidavit that he did commit the offence as alleged, and besides, the reports he submitted came in three parts. Then, how come the version on the social media is only parts I and II?

“In a nutshell, his actions already have negated the oath of secrecy. Is that not gross misconduct? Achuba also lied that he was not paid his salary when the schedules of payment showed clearly that he was paid.

“These and many more showed that he has negated his functions as deputy governor,” Bello said.

Police confirm abduction of Area Commander in Kaduna

The Kaduna State Police Command, has confirmed the abduction of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Musa Rambo, the Police Area Commander in Suleja.

Confirming the incident, the spokesman of the command, DSP Yakubu Sabo, said the ACP was abducted on Saturday at about 3.30pm.

Sabo said on Sunday in Kaduna that the police officer’s car with registration number KRD 753 BT and his ID card were found abandoned along the road by a team of Operation Safe Heaven.
Sabo added that the vehicle was abandoned near Kanock Bridge, a border area between Kaduna and Nasarawa States.

He also said that contact had been established with the kidnappers who requested for ransom, but did state how much is being demanded by the abductors.

Sabo however said efforts are in top gear to rescue the ACP and arrest the culprits.
The State Commissioner of Police, Ali Janga assures the public of the command’s resolve to secure the release of the victim.

“He enjoin the people of the state to continue to support the Police with relevant information that could help the command to overcome the recent security problems.”

CBN opposes MTN’s planned charges for USSD transactions

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has opposed plans by MTN to charge their subscribers for Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) access to banking services from October 21.

The Governor of CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, gave the bank’s position at a news briefing by the Nigerian delegation to the just-concluded World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings, in Washington on Sunday.

MTN, in an SMS message to its subscribers, had said the decision was on the request of the banks and would take effect from October 21.

“Yello, as requested by your bank, from October 21, we will start charging you directly for USSD access to banking services. Please contact your bank for more info(rmation),’’ the message said.
Responding to a question seeking his reaction to the announcement, the CBN governor said the bank would not allow that to happen.

“About five, four months ago, I held a meeting with some telecom companies as well as the leading banks in Nigeria at Central Bank, Lagos.

“At that time, we came to a conclusion that the use of USSD is a sunk cost. What we mean by a sunk cost is that it is not an additional cost on the infrastructure of the telecom company.

“But the telecom companies disagreed with us, they said it is an additional investment on infrastructure and for that reason, they needed to impose it.
“I have told the banks that we will not allow this to happen. The banks are the people who give this business to the telecom companies and I leave the banks and the telecom companies to engage.

“I have told the banks that they have to move their business, move their traffic to a telecom company that is ready to provide it at the lowest possible, if not zero cost.

“And that is where we stand, and we must achieve it,’’ he said.
The transactions to be affected by the charges include intra- and inter-bank money transfers, through USSD, among others.

FG sets aside $1.61bn for 24-hour power supply

The Managing Director, Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Alhaji Usman Gur, says the Federal Government, in collaboration with international donor agencies, has set aside over $1.61 billion to ensure constant power supply in the country.

Gur, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of the TCN revealed this on Sunday in Kano while briefing newsmen at the Kumbotso power sub-station.

According to him, the project will be carried out under the Transmission Rehabilitation Expansion Programme.
“We are rehabilitating and expanding to degree 20, 000 Mega Watts by 2022 across the country,” he said.

He noted that, the federal government has already earmarked about N32 billion to compensate Nigerians whose lands, houses and farms could be affected by the Righ-Of-Way to create Power Lines for the execution of the project.

“The total amount that we are going to pay for compensation across the country is about N32 billion. And the total project cost is 1.61 billion dollars. The project will be supported by various international donors.

“The compensation for right-of-way from Kumbotso sub-station to Rimi Zagara will cost about N3 billion. We have not completely validated it. The total cost for compensation across the country being provided by the Federal Government, ” he said.

Gur who is also the chairman of the West African Power Pool (WAPP) Committee Executive Board stated that he led the TCN team to Kano to validate and look at the route that ran from the Kumbotso Transmission sub-station to Rimi Zakara.

“You know we are going to connect Rimi Zakara to this sub-station (Kumbotso). Rimi Zakara is the place we are putting another 330 KV Sub-station, just like this one in Kumbotso.”

“The mistake that happened in the past is that we normally award contract for line without doing the study. You know the study will establish who are the people under the right-of-way; and who are those people that are going to be affected by the lines.

“So, we are supposed to have come up with those people and pay them their compensation.

“Unfortunately, this contract was awarded many years, even before I came. It is not only this one, many of them are like that. They awarded the contracts without the payment of compensation.

“That is why now, we are trying to pay the compensation, we are validating it, but we also need to tell people that this takes time, because right now, we have over 1000 people who need to be compensated within Kano alone.

“That is why I am here, I will go through the routes and see exactly what are in the right-of-way. We are actually collaborating with Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje because some people who have land on the right-of-way are seeking for relocation.

“We are going to request to the governor to relocate them and give them land in some other places so that we can build the line,” he said.

According to him, “what we are doing for Kano state, actually is that we are trying to change the game. It is what you call game changer. Right now, the only line that supplies Kano is the 330 Single-Sighted Line that run from Kaduna to Kano.

“We are bringing a Code Line from Kaduna to Kano. Now, you know we need to get a source of supply to transport the line from Kaduna to Kano. When I came newly in February, 2017, the line between Jos and Kaduna was funded only 10 per cent, but today the line is 98 per cent completed.

“That means we have bulk power at the double-sighted line apart from the Single-sighted line from Jos to Kaduna. Then from Shiroro to Kaduna, we have two Single-sighted lines; none of them can carry more than 300 Mega Watts.

“We are taking one of them and we are going to construct it into a Code Line, ” he said.

He further explained that those projects, particularly, the one from Shiroro to Kaduna, the procurement of that line is about 80 Per Cent completed and it is funded by French Development Agency.

Gur added that from Kaduna to Kano, TCN is building a Code Line, adding that the public information, this is the first time in the history of Nigeria that TCN is doing 330 Code Line.

He said this mean it is going to carry, four Conductors per pair, which is expected to bring 2,400 Mega Watts of power.

“Now, I will also want to tell you that we want to change the game here completely. So, there is a line we are building from Kainji to Birnin Kebbi, Benin Kebbi to Sokoto; and also from Katsina to Daura, Daura to Gwiwa and from Gwiwa to Jogana. That line is also funded by AFD that is French Development Agency.

“In fact, the line from Katsina to Daura, Daura to Gwiwa, Gwiwa to Jogana is going to evacuate the Solar IPP in Gwiwa which is going to be the like of the Marrakech Solar IPP in Morocco”, Gur assured.

According to him, on that line, the European Union gave the TCN a grant, which is free money for the Nigerian government, worth about 25 million Euros.

“Now we are working to close the link between Sokoto to Kaura Namoda, and Kaura Namoda to Katsina. Now, if you complete this line from Kumbotso Sub-station to Rimi Zakara, that line also went to Katsina; which means from Kainji, you can feed Kano through Sokoto, Katsina, Daura and Gwiwa.

“We also have another line that is coming from Kaduna to Kano. I also want to tell you that we sent a proposal to the West African Power Pool, and it was approved by the Committee of Heads of State and Government on Dec. 22, 2018 where President Muhammadu Buhari chaired that meeting.

“We have approved another line that will come from Calabar. It will come from Ikon to Ogoja to Kasimbula, to Mambilla,bto Jalingo, down to Yola, and move to Hong, to Biu, to Damaturu, Potiskum, Azare, to Dutse, and then to Jogana in Kano.

“This is another 330 Double-sighted line. This very line is under what we call multi-national project. This project is under the ECOWAS project.

He explained that government is working towards launching the study.
“This is what I have pre-planned before I left Abuja to Kumbotso sub-station here in Kano.

“This means we are going to have another Double-sighted line that will come to Kano, which means Kano will be supplied from three sources: through Sokoto, through Kaduna, and then through Calabar.

“When this is done, it then means that we have solved the problem of bulk electricity supply to Kano, and this is what we are doing. And that will place Kano on a status we call MNS2, meaning if 2, 330KV Double-sighted line goes out, Kano will still receive supply of electricity,” he said.

He added:“however, I will require the support of the people of Kano because all these things we are doing need some level of sacrifices from the good people of Kano state, because definitely, those lines will pass through people’s houses, lands, and farms.

“Therefore, people have to make sacrifice. When you don’t make sacrifice, there is no way we can solve the problem of electricity.

“I can tell you that the difference between development and lack of development or the difference between poverty and prosperity in any part of the world is actually electricity; and that is why we are doing all these so that we can solve the problem of electricity in Kano,” he said.

Rapist begs for forgiveness, says ‘action not concluded before my arrest’

30-year-old water vendor caught defiling a nine-year-old girl in Adamawa State has pleaded for leniency on the grounds that he had not “concluded” his act before he was apprehended.

The suspect, Mohammed Babangida, who was paraded by the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) on Friday, told newsmen that he was a first offender, and that he regretted his act.

“This is my first time of doing this thing and I didn’t even ‘conclude it’ when my door was knocked, forcing me to stop.

“I want to beg for forgiveness as a married man with children, based in Bauchi; I don’t want this shameful thing to wreck my family.

“The whole thing started some days ago when the girl begged me for N50 to buy cake, claiming she was hungry, which I gave her.

“Another day, she also begged for money and I gave her N20, she again came to my house and I gave her N50 and we entered the room,” Babangida narrated.

Speaking earlier on the arrest of the suspect, the State Commandant of NSCDC in Adamawa, Alhaji Nuraddeen Abdullahi, said Babangida was apprehended in Damare Ward of Yola town, following a report from residents of the ward.

He said that the victim had been taken to the Yola Sexual Assault Referral Centre for treatment and compilation of needed evidence to prosecute the suspect.

“The suspect will be charged to court for prosecution after the intervention and advice of the Director Public Prosecution,” Abdullahi said.

The commandant, who expressed concern over incidents of rape of minors, urged the public to do away with the culture of silence by reporting such incidents for necessary action.

“Our command has a Humanitarian and Gender-Based Violence Unit, which statutory duty is to handle this type of cases.

“We are always ready to handle this type of case and, therefore, urge the public to always speak out on rape and other gender-based violence,” Abdullahi pleaded.

Journalists don’t like having sex, lawyers hardest to please in bedroom, research finds

Latest research findings have shown that of all the professionals, journalists have been found to be less sexually active, as the majority of them don’t have time for sexual activities, while lawyers are said to be the hardest to be pleased by their spouses in the bedroom when making love.

Hence, if your sex life leaves much to desired, your job may be to blame, the new survey says.

According to the survey by Lelo UK, it said 2,000 men and women were asked about their sex lives, as well as their occupation.

At the other end of the scale, journalists, it was said, appear to have the least sex, with one-fifth of respondents claiming they only have sex once a month.

Likewise, the survey also revealed that lawyers are the hardest to please in the bedroom, with 27 per cent admitting to faking an orgasm every time they have sex.

An expert at LeloUK, the organisation that conducted the research, Kate Moyle, said: “Even within groups such as professions where there is a lot of similarities, we have to consider that there is a huge amount of individual differences impacting people’s sexuality and sex lives.

An expert at Lelo UK, the organisation that conducted the research, Kate Moyle, said: “Even within groups such as professions where there is a lot of similarities, we have to consider that there is a huge amount of individual differences impacting people’s sexuality and sex lives.

“However, what we may expect are some trends, for example, the level of physical activity in a career such as a farmer, rather than someone in an office setting may impact levels of fitness and energy.

“The lifestyle factors of our jobs such as flexibility of working hours and the environment are also likely to have an impact on all our lives not just our sex lives

But on the final analysis, the results revealed that farmers have the most sex, with over 33 per cent claiming to have sex at least once a day.

Farmers were closely followed by architects, with 21per cent of the architects spoken to said they have sex once a day, followed by hairdressers, 17 per cent of whom said they have sex once a day.

Another fuel tanker catches fire in Onitsha


Just a day after a fire ignited by a crashed tanker killed at least three persons in Onitsha, another fuel tanker Friday morning also crashed and caught fire in the commercial city of Anambra State.

The incident occurred on the Enugu-Onitsha expressway around 3 a.m.

However, no lives were lost in the incident.

A witness, Chiedu Beluchi, said the vehicle fell and spilt its contents believed to be petrol into the drainage which quickly spread to the surrounding area.

“Around 3 a.m we heard shouts of ‘fire,’ ‘fire’. I thought it was our building. When we rushed out it was at Enugu-Onitsha express. A tanker laden with fuel fell on the express exactly in front of a filling station,” Beluchi said.

Unlike Wednesday’s incident where the Anambra State Fire Service failed to show up with their fire fighting equipment, Beluchi said the firefighters quickly put out the fire.

“This time, Anambra State Fire Service came swiftly and before 4:30 a.m the fire had been put out and stopped from causing havoc in the residential area.”

Another resident, Ada Igwe, however said the fire destroyed some cars parked on the street around the area.

“The fuel tanker fell this on the Onitsha Enugu expressway opposite Bessoy filling station and burst into flames which entered Omagba Phase 2 and burnt some cars parked along the drainage line,” she said.

“This time around, the fire service responded well after they were contacted by my men,” the police chief said.

Wednesday’s fire incident continued to elicit reactions from across the state.

The senator representing Anambra North District, Stella Oduah, in a statement, said she will donate three fire trucks to help in fire fighting in the state.

“Sequel to my statement yesterday where I promised to look into ways of ameliorating the plight of victims in yesterday’s fuel tanker inferno, I have decided on the following steps:

“Wounded victims are encouraged to go to the Saint Charles Borromeo Hospital & Holy Rosary Hospital, Waterside where arrangements have been put in place to receive and treat them for free”.

“I shall be making a donation of three fire trucks to the Federal Fire Service in Onitsha to ensure they are better equipped to avert future occurrences like this”, Mrs Oduah said.

The lawmaker also said she would work with SMEDAN to develop access to soft loans and grants for the affected youth to help get them back on their feet.

“I shall be working with my colleagues to explore the legislative option on the need to regulate the movement of heavy-duty trucks on our Trunk A roads to prevent such calamities from ever happening again,” she said.

Also, the senator representing Anambra Central District, Uche Ekwunife, commiserated with the victims of the fire disaster.

In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Kingsley Ubani, the lawmaker described the incident as sad and unfortunate.

“What is most saddening is that the incident which took lives and destroyed goods worth millions of Naira came at a time when most citizens are struggling to earn a living”, she said.

Ms Ekwunife said Ochanja market, which was most hit by the incident, is a major source of revenue for the state.

She urged the state government to take proactive steps to curb the incessant fire outbreaks in the state.

She called for public places such as markets and malls to be provided functional fire stations to ensure swift reaction to fire outbreaks.

Buhari: Nigeria will prosper if we get infrastructure right

President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigeria will get better if needed infrastructure is put in place.

In a series of tweets on Friday, the president said good infrastructure will lead the country towards prosperity.

He reiterated his commitment to providing infrastructure, saying it will be a priority of his administration.

“I firmly believe that if we get infrastructure right in Nigeria, our roads, rail, ports; Nigerians will mind their businesses, many people will not even care who is in government. A country like ours, full of entrepreneurial energy and potential, will prosper,” he tweeted.

“This is why Infrastructure will continue to be one of our primary focus areas. We must & will rewrite the story, for this dear country of ours. I wish we had even more resources,and we are working on this, but we are doing our best within the resources currently available to us.”

Muhammadu Buhari


I firmly believe that if we get infrastructure right in Nigeria, our roads, rail, ports; Nigerians will mind their businesses, many people will not even care who is in government. A country like ours, full of entrepreneurial energy and potential, will prosper.

Muhammadu Buhari


This is why Infrastructure will continue to be one of our primary focus areas. We must & will rewrite the story, for this dear country of ours. I wish we had even more resources,and we are working on this, but we are doing our best within the resources currently available to us.

729 people are talking about this

On Thursday, Buhari approved the sum of N10 billion as intervention fund or the rehabilitation of Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu state said his administration will continue to prioritise infrastructural development in the country despite limited funds available.

Don’t associate Christ with criminality, CAN warns MURIC

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has asked the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) to desist from associating criminality with Christ.

While condemning the abduction of nine children in Kano state, Ishaq Akintola, director of MURIC, had said: “kidnapping for Christ is disgusting, nauseating, wicked and reprehensible. Kidnappers have taken over the house of God. The phenomenon of kidnapping for Christ has now rented the air. We are shocked to our marrows.”

Reacting in a statement in Kaduna, Joseph Hayab, chairman of CAN in the northern region, said there is nothing like kidnapping for Christ.

He described the statement of the MURIC director as “irresponsible, derogatory and provocative.”

“Criminals abound in everywhere and in every religion, for MURIC to say a crime was perpetrated for Christ, is sheer mischief aimed at provoking Christians,” he said.

“How could rational, sane and educated person, associate the action of criminals to a religion? There are many instances where Christian girls were abducted, forcefully converted to Islam and married off by criminals in Northern Nigeria. In some of these cases, the police either refused to act, or turned blind eyes.

“Will it be right to accused all Muslims for the action of such criminals? The answer is no.

“A particular group which belongs to a particular religious group has always been alleged to be responsible for the rampant kidnappings and banditry across the country, especially in the north, will it be right to say that they are committing the crime to promote their tribe or religion?

“We also have the case of Leah Sharibu who is still being held by Boko Haram insurgents for refusing to denounce her Christian faith and convert to Islam. No Christian has associated Muslims with such criminal acts.”

Hayab said CAN is willing to work with the people of Kano to ensure that the kidnappers are brought to justice.

“If we have any witness against the culprits behind the abduction, we will join hands with the people of Kano to testify against him or them in court,” he said.

“There is nothing like kidnapping for Christ. This evil kidnapper or child trafficker, knowing that he did not carry away the children for religion gave them new tribal names, MURIC should note.

“CAN northern states, therefore, condemned anybody carrying peoples children away and supports security agencies to investigate the matter and prosecute the culprits. Abduction of children is a criminal offence. MURIC can call whoever is found doing that whatever name they like, but don’t associate criminality with Christ.”


Gunshots as police, IMN members clash again in Abuja

The police have dispersed a demonstration of the proscribed Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN).

The IMN members came out in their numbers on Friday to protest the continued incarceration of Ibraheem el-Zakzaky, leader of the movement.

They held black and red flags while chanting songs.

But some police officers fired tear gas canisters and gunshots in the air to disperse the procession.

The incident took place along Sultan Abubakar road in Wuse zone 2, Abuja.

El-Zakzaky has been in detention since December 2015. He was arrested after IMN members clashed with soldiers in Zaria, Kaduna state.

Despite different court rulings ordering his release, the IMN leader and Zeenat, his wife, have remained in the custody of the government.

The IMN members are planning to hold their annual Arbaeen trek on Saturday.

The Arbaeen trek is held in commemoration of the murder of Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad.