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Bigger fraud is being perpetrated on fuel subsidy – Saraki

Senate President Bukola Saraki has reacted to an ongoing investigation into “discrepancies” in fuel subsidy, saying its reintroduction is fraudulent.

Saraki made this known in a statement on Wednesday.

According to him, ongoing debates in the senate were aimed at enforcing reforms in the oil and gas sector, including bringing an end to the lingering fuel scarcity.

“Today, the senate debated the interim report of the senate committee on downstream petroleum on the fuel scarcity crisis in the country,” the statement read.

“This interim report stirred up a debate on the floor about the ongoing scarcity, the subsidy regime and ways to make the oil and gas sector more efficient.”

Commenting on some of the reforms, he said the senate committee would look into issues bordering on ending fuel scarcity and uncovering “fuel subsidy fraud”.

“I spent a lot of time on this fuel subsidy issue during the seventh senate (2011 to 2015). It was my motion that brought this topic to the national discourse — hence, it is something that I know a lot about,” the statement read.

“The first (issue) is, even as we speak now, there are still queues. The issue of the ongoing scarcity is one problem that the committee needs to go back to look into so that Nigerians can be reassured that this will not reoccur.

“The second problem is that the subsidy is important, however, based on the figures that have been presented, it is clear that there is a bigger fraud that is being perpetrated. This is because the amount of PMS (premium motor spirit) that is allegedly coming into Nigeria cannot be consumed by Nigerians. We consume about 27 million litres a day, while it has been alleged that 40 million litres a day of PMS is being brought in. There is a discrepancy somewhere.

“At the end of the day, it is Nigerians that are paying for this subsidy fraud because it is not transparent, and it is only being run by one MDA (ministries, departments and agencies).

“The third problem has to do with the principle of MDAs incurring expenditures without the necessary approval by the legislature.

Saraki said sub-committees would be assigned to look into the aforementioned issues for a full scope resolution.


Man seeks divorce to save his manhood

A commercial driver, Laisi Ajibade, on Wednesday asked an Ado-Ekiti Customary Court to dissolve his 22-year-old marriage over threats by his wife, Folake, to cut off his manhood.

Ajibade, 48, also accused Folake of dishonesty and desertion.

According to him, Folake almost cut off his manhood when they went to bed on Nov. 7, 2017.

“She threatens to kill me whenever we have any misunderstanding; I am scared of living under the same roof with her,” he stated.

‎Ajibade told the court that he did not formally contract the marriage that was already blessed with four children.

“My Lord, my wife is not a trustworthy person; she deserted me for months and went to build her own house without my knowledge and consent,” he further claimed.

Ajibade, who said that he deliberately refused to send Folake out of his house because the matter was already in court, appealed that the union be dissolved and the custody of the four children be awarded to him.

The President of the Court, Mrs. Olayinka Akomolede, after hearing the petitioner’s testimony, adjourned the case to Feb. 8, for further hearing.

JUST IN: Suicide bomber kills 12 in Maiduguri

At least 12 people were killed on Wednesday when a suicide bomb exploded around Muna Garage area of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, officials have said.

The explosion occurred at about 5:05 p.m., Abdulkadir Ibrahim, a spokesperson of the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, said in a statement.

“Emergency Response Team (ERT) from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Borno State Emergency Management Agency (BOSEMA) and Red Cross have responded to a suicide bombing incident which occurred around Muna Garage along Mafa Dikwa road in Maiduguri Borno state.

“The Team has responded to 65 injured people who were given first aid and transported to hospitals while 10 others lost their lives.

“Preliminary reports indicate that four female suicide bombers were responsible for the blast,” Mr. Ibrahim said.

The police in Borno, however, said at least 12 persons were killed and 48 others injured on in the attack.

The police also gave a different narrative on the attackers.

The Commissioner of Police, Damian Chukwu, said a male suicide bomber detonated an explosive device at a crowded market killing himself and 10 other persons.

“One other suicide bomber out of panic detonated explosive and blew himself alone into pieces,” he said.

Wednesday’s attack is the first suicide bomb attack in Maiduguri in 2018.

Mr. Chukwu said the wounded persons were evacuated to the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital.

The police commissioner called on the people to be vigilant and report suspicious persons in their communities to security agencies.

“People should be vigilant because Boko Haram insurgents have not surrendered,” he warned.

Edo, Sahara Energy reach gas for power deal 

Plans by the Edo State Government to improve power supply in the state through partnership with oil and gas companies in the state, have received the buy-in of Sahara Energy.  

The innovative energy solution includes the conversion of gas, hitherto flared, to electricity that will be used to power hospitals, schools, street lights and other public utilities.

Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, said this after the weekly Executive Council (EXCO) meeting, held at the Government House, Benin City.

Obaseki explained during the unveiling of representatives of Sahara Group, led by the chairman, Engineer Funso Kupolokun, that the company has indicated interest in partnering with the Edo State Government in the area of electricity generation through the exploitation of the state’s gas assets and other key developmental areas.

Managing Director, Sahara Energy, Tonye Cole, lauded governor Obaseki for opening up the space for investment in the state, adding that the governor has expressed interest in collaborating with Sahara Energy in the areas of electricity and curbing illegal migration.

“The governor has committed to stop gas flaring and to convert it to electricity. This ties 100 per cent to what we stand for. On the issue of illegal migration, which has become the biggest problem in the state, we are standing here to give hope to the people and commit to developing the nation,” Cole said

Irate youth protest killing of rice smuggler by Customs in Lagos

There was pandemonium in Abule Egba area of Lagos on Wednesday morning following the killing of a rice smuggler by suspected Customs officers.

It was gathered that customs officers had chased the rice smuggler to Abule Egba in the early hours of Wednesday before shooting him dead and ran away.

Police source said the body of the deceased was seen lying on the ground this morning while bags of rice that were smuggled were seen inside the danfo bus, with registration number Lagos/RKY/1953506.

Stains of blood was seen on the body of the bus and some bags of rice.

Irate youths burnt tyres and blocked the express road in protest over the killing and the refusal of the police in the area that the dead body should not be evacuated from the scene further fuelled the crisis.

Officials of the Rapid Response Squad, RRS and taskforce officials were quickly drafted to the area to quell the riot while Armoured Personnel Carrier, APC was also deployed.

RRS Commander, ACP Tunji Disu and others at the scene

As at this morning, motorists avoided the Abule Egba axis, while those who dared, were forced to turn back as hoodlums were on rampage.

People were seen running helter and skelter to avoid being caught in the crisis.

APC deployed to the scene

It took the intervention of the RRS, led by their commander, Tunji Disu, the taskforce, police from Oke Odo Police Station and others to restore normalcy to the area. Also on ground were the Fire Service and the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corp, LSNSC

Two policemen killed as gunmen kidnap American, Canadian in Kaduna

Two expatriates, an American and a Canadian, have been kidnapped in Kaduna State.

The spokesperson of the Kaduna police command, Mukhtar Aliyu, while confirming the incident on Wednesday, said two policemen attached to the expatriates were also killed as they tried to rescue the foreigners.

The incident occurred around Kagarko, along Kaduna-Abuja road on Tuesday night.

“An American and a Canadian were ambushed by unknown gunmen around Kagarko on their way from Kaduna to Abuja around 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday.

“The two police escorts attached to them engaged the kidnappers in a fierce gun battle, which resulted to the unfortunate death of the two police officers,” the police spokesperson said.

Though he did not give further details, he said the anti-kidnap unit of the police was on the trail of the kidnappers

Misau says minister behind ‘plot’ to remove Saraki

The senator representing Bauchi central, Isah Misau  has claimed that a minister is spearheading a move to remove Bukola Saraki as Senate President.

Misau said this on the floor of the senate on Wednesday while contributing to a motion sponsored by Shuaibu Lau, senator representing Taraba south, on herdsmen attacks in his state.

The Bauchi senator said the unnamed persons are plotting to remove the senate president because of his alleged plan to defect from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

He wondered why issues in the country had to be tied to religion and tribe.

“When we were on holiday, so many people were going behind that they should try and remove the senate president. During this holiday, a minister that was spearheading that thing,” Misau said.

“What is the reason, they said that the senate president would leave APC that they should create problems from him (Saraki). What kind of country is this? Everything is about religion, about tribe.

“It is high time for us to do. If it’s about talking here or holding conferences, it would not solve this problem (of security challenges). We should look at security, who and who are holding offices, are they appointed by merit?

“So many appointments in this government are not on merit. Some people have taken over the government as if they are even above the president. We say we are fighting corruption. Babachir Lawal that the vice-president’s committee indicted… why can’t they take him to court and all of us are here keeping quiet. People who have not done anything are always in court.

“This attorney-general is becoming a nuisance, going to court to stop Maina (probe) and we are still here.”

UK appoints minister for loneliness

UK Prime Minister, Theresa May appointed Tracey Crouch as the country’s minister for loneliness.

Crouch is the current junior minister for sport and civil society.

The appointment is one of the recommendations made by a commission set up in honour of Jo Cox, a Labour MP.

Cox, who campaigned about loneliness, was murdered by a right-wing extremist in 2016.

The government said it would develop a strategy on the issue, gather more evidence and statistics, and provide funding for community groups to start activities which connect people.

The prime minister is expected to formally announce the appointment on Wednesday and say she has accepted many of the recommendations made by the commission.

“For far too many people, loneliness is the sad reality of modern life,” May said.

“I want to confront this challenge for our society and for all of us to take action to address the loneliness endured by the elderly, by carers, by those who have lost loved ones – people who have no one to talk to or share their thoughts and experiences with.”

Ronaldo demands £36m from Real Madrid or he quits

Cristiano Ronaldo has asked Real Madrid to cough out £36m as his yearly salary, to bring him at par with his Barcelona rival, Lionel Messi or he will leave the club.

At present Ronaldo earns £18.6m a year, but reports from multiple sources said the Portuguese star wants a pay rise of  close to  £17million, which will make his pay packet swell to £35.6 million.

According to Sport, the Portuguese forward has made it clear to Real’s hierarchy that he wants monetary parity with Messi or he will leave the club.

According to reports, Messi got a fatter pay  at the Nou Camp following his recently signed deal.

Ronaldo, who signed a new contract in November 2016, has been left frustrated by Real president Florentino Perez who has stalled on offering him an improved contract.

Reports in Spain have said that the 32-year-old was promised one after spearheading Real to a La Liga and Champions League double last season.

However, without fruition of one; Los Blancos’ No 7 feels undervalued and has cited this as a reason for his goalscoring woes at the moment.

Ronaldo, who has been linked with a return to Manchester United, signed his current five-year contract – which runs until 2021 – in November 2016.

Should Real pay?

Sixty nine per cent of the people who responded to an online poll by, believed the Spanish giants should not do so, why 31 per cent supported his demand.

Pablo Polo, writing for Marca, argues that Real Madrid should ignore Ronaldo’s blackmail on four grounds:

First because Ronaldo isn’t at his best right now, at least in LaLiga, where he has just four goals.

Secondly, Ronaldo  renewed his contract in November of 2016 and his current deal runs until he is 36. He’ll be making more money than most, even at this age.

Polo also reasoned that Ronaldo  may have been the best player of 2017, but the situation has changed.

Sergio Fernandez  writes that the star player deserves the new wage because the Madrid President, Florentino Perez has always said  that Ronaldo is the best player in the world and in history.

“Being fair, Ronaldo has paid back every euro he’s earned and has brought so many individual and collective titles to the club.

“Real Madrid still have the Copa del Rey and the Champions League to fight for this season and, with an on-form Ronaldo, this could still be a not-terrible year for the club”.


Appeal Court orders terminal operators to refund N7trn to FG

Lagos Division of the Appeal Court on Tuesday directed terminal operators to refund over N7 trillion to the Nigerian Shippers Council, a government agency that protects the interest of shippers on matters affecting the shipment of imports and exports.

The court held that the submission of the terminal operators lacked merit and described it as “a mere academic work.”

The appellate court upheld the verdict of a federal high court in Lagos in 2015 which directed terminal operators to refund the said illegal amount to the federal government.

The terminal operators, under the aegis of Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), had dragged the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) and Shippers Association Lagos State (SALS) to a federal court over their role to stop the “arbitrary” terminal demurrage charged shippers as a result of delays.

A high court had in 2015 ruled in favour of the Nigerian Shippers Council over the arbitrary and storage charges even as it directed the terminal operators to return to status quo as regards the charges.

Dissatisfied with the lower court’s verdict, the terminal operators approached the Court of Appeal to challenge the judgement.

The appellate court also upheld the counter claim of the Shippers Association of Lagos State, the second respondent, which stated that they had the locus standi to join force with the Shippers’ council in the case.

Chidi Uwa, who read the lead judgment, maintained that the appellant failed to establish its case in legal rights which according to her was a mere hypothetical reasons.

“I hereby dismiss the appeal and uphold the decision of the lower court,” the judge added.

The court asked all parties to bear their legal costs in the appeal.

Osuala Nwagbara, counsel to SALS, said after the court’s proceedings that the terminal operators had formulated over a dozen grounds for their appeal.

“In fact I think they had up to 17-18 grounds of the appeal and normally issues are a summary of the content of the grounds which should be reduced to a manageable level.

“One may file 18 grounds of appeal and the issues formulated may be reduced to 5-6 grounds. I can’t recall exactly how many issues that formulated those grounds. And on our own side we compressed the entire issues for determination by the court into two.

“Our two issues were one whether the lower court was right in joining SALS to the originating summons.

Secondly whether the court (was right) in upholding our claim and these we believe answered all the issues that are before this court as far as SALS is concerned. Shippers Council also had issues which they have formulated which touched on their status as the economic regulator.”