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Daily Archives: January 9, 2019

Zainab Ahmed backs Ganduje’s plan to buy 540MW from QIPP

The Federal Government, via the minister of finance, has backed the 540 megawatts Qua Iboe Power Plant (QIPP) proposed by the Kano State Government for the re-industrialisation plan of the state.

Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, gave the assurance on Tuesday when she hosted Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of the state, and his team in Abuja.

In a statement by Paul Ella Abechi, the minister’s special adviser on media and communications, Ahmed said the project will help boost the federal government’s plan for the power sector.

She stated that the project will also improve the industrialisation plan, growth, employment generation for the state.

“Let me assure you that it is not an issue of if this project will take place but when, because we have a very huge power gap and it is more in the northern part than in the south. And when we see an opportunity like this, we have the responsibility to ensure it comes into fruition,” she said.

“We are looking at this as a pilot project as this will help mitigate Federal Government’s plan. The ability to provide a counter guarantee will help a long way to reduce the burden on the Federal Government.

“I want to make a commitment that the ministry of finance will put up our best efforts to make it a success. I hope at the end of the day it will be on record that during my tenure that I contributed to the industrialisation of Kano.”

Ganduje said the state government will provide protection against the financial risk of the power project and also set up the Kano State Bulk Electricity Trading Company (KBET) to buy all the power generated by QIPP from NBET in the form of a back-to-back Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

“We wish to express the strong interest of Kano State Government in purchasing the electricity generated by QIPP and providing protection to your Ministry against financial risk,” the governor said.

“The Kano State Government is committed to industrializing Kano as a critical component of its development plans. The shortage of electricity has been the principal factor hindering progress in this area.”

Soyinka blasts former president for supporting ‘a devil’

Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has asked Nigerians to be wary of a former president who pretends to be the conscience of the nation.

Soyinka said this in Abuja on Wednesday at a symposium on fake news organised by BBC News.

The playwright, who was a panelist at the event tagged, ‘Nigeria 2019: Countering Fake News’, urged the traditional media not to spread unfounded allegations as the electronic media sometimes do.

The Nobel Laureate said if the former leader had been referring to a certain person for eight years as ‘a devil’ and is now telling Nigerians to vote for the devil, then there is a reason for Nigerians to express some doubt.

Soyinka said, “We have got to develop a very healthy skepticism. If someone in a position of power for eight years has lectured a nation for eight years and after that, continued year after year to continue to direct the minds of a whole nation in one direction, only saying, ‘This is Lucifer from hell’ for eight years in office and several more years out of office saying, ‘This is Lucifer’ and then one day he changed and says: ‘Behold your redeemer;’ which of the two is fake news?”

He did not mention the former president he was referring to, nor the alleged Lucifer.

The outburst, without naming names, is uncharastaristic of Prof Soyinka, renowned for his pro-democracy and strong activism, especially in Nigerian affairs.

The first African Nobel laureate in literature has arguably stood in as the conscience of the nation being a most recognisable global figure during one of Nigeria’s darkest hours under the Sani Abacha regime.

Thenewsmatrics reports that Soyinka remains bitterly opposed to the continued relevance of former Prsident Olusegun Obasanjo in the political space despite being seen as squandering a unique opportunity to reconfigure Nigeria’s future,  given his strong presidency, on the alter of a retrogressive third term agenda.

Many see the 2019 general elections as another defining moment for Nigeria with President Muhammadu Buhari’ssupporters and antagonists split nationwide on the back of failed promises.

The only viable alternative, Atiku Ababukar, a  formidable veteran politician and Obasanjo’s vice president For eight years, also seems unable to muster enough trust and resources to guarantee a clear victory.



FG approves four new private Universities

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday in Abuja approved the establishment of four new private universities in Kaduna, Oyo, Ogun and Osun states.

The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, confirmed this when he briefed State House correspondents at the end of the first meeting of the council in 2019.

The meeting was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to the minister, the new universities are Greenfield University Kaduna, Dominion University, Ibadan, Trinity University, Laloko in Ogun and Westland University in Iwo, Osun.

“All the four have satisfied the criteria for the establishment of universities.

“They have submitted their academic briefs, their master plans and evidence of facilities after visitation by the National Universities Commission (NUC); they have satisfied all those requirements and they are being granted licences,’’ he added.

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, who also addressed the correspondents, said the Council approved a National Public Building Maintenance Policy and Framework.

He said the new policy, which institutionalised a maintenance culture in the country, saying that some of the benefits of the policy would provide an inventory of government assets, and job opportunities for Nigerians.

“We have trained artisans at different levels but we have not created an economy for them to go and express themselves – Tilers, Bricklayers, Plumbers, landscapers, fitters etc.

“When they leave training schools what do they do? They go and ride tricycles where there is no training school because there is an economy in tricycles – this is the answer.

“So, we have started with a pilot (scheme) to demonstrate to Council that this will work.

“Some of the things that this will bring include an inventory of all assets that government owns.

“It gives us an assessment of the conditions and value, then, it gives us a maintenance framework about what needs to be done after assessments and then a maintenance procurement manual.

Fashola also disclosed that the Council approved the first contract of over N812.5 million for demarcation of specific areas of land to be affected by the actual construction of the Mambilla Hydro Power Project.

He said the contract involved nine land surveying companies, adding that the demarcation would eventually lead to enumeration and resettlement.

Fashola said the contract was also preparatory to payment of compensation and commencement of main construction of the power project.

The minister revealed that the council approved N2.6 billion for the reconstruction of Sharada – Madobi road in Kano State and another N23.8 billion for the reconstruction of New Bussa – Kaiyama road linking Niger and Kwara.

The Minister of State, Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, revealed that the Council approved N3.7 billion for the replacement of damaged petroleum pipelines for the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.

He said the pipelines were affected by corrosion but would be replaced with a new technology, flexible pipeline.

“The essence of this was that in 2014, the pipeline with which we were evacuating crude in that area gave way and so production became very marginal.

“We were producing an average of about 20,000 barrels per day as opposed to the capacity of between 37,000 and 40,000

“This contract is therefore to replace that pipeline with a new technology, flexible pipeline, to resist corrosion,” the minister explained.

The Minister of State, Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, said the council approved five million dollars for the procurement and installation of the second phase of the Controller Pilot Data Link Communication for the Kano flight information region which will cover Abuja and Lagos airports.

Osinbajo: How fake news about strippers almost put me in trouble with my wife

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has narrated an experience he had with his wife Dolapo as a result of a fake news story about him.

Speaking during a BBC world service conference on countering fake news, Osinbajo recalled how the said story nearly caused trouble between him and his wife.

He recalled that a blog had posted a picture of him intertwined between two strippers with a headline ‘Osinbajo caught with strippers’.

Osinbajo said the story in question was manipulated to portray him as being with the strippers whereas they were “fully clothed” in the original picture he took with them.

The VP said: “I have been one of the targets of fake news and it can also sometimes cost you marital peace. I got a call from my wife recently and she said, ‘Yemi what are you doing with strippers’. I said ‘what do you mean by strippers?’

“So, I read a story in a famous blog that said, ‘Osinbajo caught with strippers’. And there was a photograph of me sitting between two perfectly clothed ladies but underneath this picture, the same ladies were not wearing much.

“In checking, the photographs with these two ladies at an entertainment event were taken when they were perfectly clothed but by the time the story was put out, it was as though I had taken a photo with them at the time they were not clothed at all.”

Osinbajo said while he wasn’t in the picture where they were not wearing clothes “with just the caption, the stories gave the impression that I was in the company of these ladies at a point when they were doing their business.”

Buhari appoints Rewane to lead minimum wage advisory committee

President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed Bismarck Rewane, chief executive of Financial Derivative to lead the minimum wage technical advisory committee.

Buhari inaugurated the committee on Wednesday before the federal executive council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday, restating his commitment to paying the new minimum wage.

He said the committee would recommend “modalities for the implementation of the new minimum wage in such a manner as to minimise its inflationary impact, as well as ensure that its introduction does not lead to job losses”.

“The work of this Technical Committee will be the basis of a Finance Bill which will be submitted to the National Assembly, alongside the Minimum Wage Bill.

“I want to make it clear that there is no question about whether the National Minimum Wage will be reviewed upwards. I am committed to a review of the Minimum Wage.

“Also, it is important to explain that even though the subject of a National Minimum Wage is in the Exclusive Legislative List, we have been meeting with the State Governors because it is imperative that the Federal Government carries the State Governments along in determining any upward review of the minimum wage for workers.

“This is especially necessary considering the prevailing public sector revenue challenges, which have made it extremely difficult for some of the governors to pay workers as and when due.”

He said the federal government on its part had made adequate provision for the increase in the Minimum Wage in its 2019 Budget proposals which was submitted to the National Assembly on Dec. 19, 2018.

According to the president, the federal government will be able to meet the additional costs incurred in moving up all personnel who are currently earning below the new minimum wage.

“However, we anticipate that after the new minimum wage has been passed into law we will be going into negotiations for salary review for all the workers who are already earning above the new minimum wage,” he added.

“It is therefore important that we are properly prepared to meet these demands.

“We must, therefore, look at ways of implementing these consequential wage adjustments in a manner that does not have adverse effects on our national development plans, as laid out in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).

”The ERGP sets appropriate targets for levels of capital expenditure, public debt, inflation, employment, etc.”

Buhari, therefore, expressed the hope that “the implementation of a new minimum wage does not adversely affect these targets, and thereby erode the envisaged gains for the workers.

According to the president, the committee is expected to complete its deliberations and submit its report and recommendations within one month from today.

He disclosed that terms of reference of the committee include;

A. To develop, and advise the government on how to successfully bring about a smooth implementation of impending wage increases;

B. Identify new revenue sources, as well as areas of existing expenditure from where some savings could be made in order to fund the wage increases without adversely impacting the nation’s development goals as set out in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan

C. Propose a work plan and modalities for the implementation of the salary increases;

D. Any other suggestions that will assist in the implementation of this, and future wage increases.

Air Peace crew foil attempt to traffic three-day old baby

An eagle-eyed crew of Air Peace has foiled an attempt by a middle-aged woman and her collaborators to traffic a three-day-old baby boy through the Port Harcourt Airport to Lagos.

The all female crew comprised of Captain Sinmisola Ajibola, Senior First Officer Onohi Agboighale, Mojoko Ewane, Taiye Abbey, Victoria Ukpiaifo and Ngozi Ezeamaka  achieved the feat on Sunday. learnt that  the suspect had booked Air Peace Port Harcourt-Lagos Flight P4 7393 on Sunday. However, during boarding, the Lead Crew of the flight, Mojoko Ewane observed that the suspect was handling the baby in an awkward manner and decided to question her.

During her interrogation at the boarding door of the aircraft, the suspect claimed the baby was three days old.

But later she told her interrogators that the baby was born on January 5, a day before her aborted trip. The suspect said she gave birth to the baby shortly after travelling from Lagos to Port Harcourt on an Air Peace flight on January 5.

Our correspondent learnt that calls were  later placed to the contact numbers the suspect claimed  belonged to her husband and the doctor who  delivered her of  the child. While the alleged husband claimed that his wife was actually pregnant, the alleged doctor’s number rang unanswered.

However the bubble burst when the crew not convinced by the suspect’s  alibi asked her to breastfeed the baby, which she could not do because of no breast milk.

As the investigation progressed, the suspect tried to create a scene, rallying other passengers on the flight to prevail on Air Peace crew to allow her fly, but the crew stood their ground.

When the crew informed the suspect that the carrier’s standard operating procedure barred them from allowing passengers fly with a week-old baby on grounds of health, she claimed to be a nurse and insisted that the baby’s health would not be jeopardised.

The airline, it was gathered, later invited personnel of the Department of State Services (DSS) at the Port Harcourt Airport to take over the case for further investigation.

Air Peace Corporate Communications Manager, Mr. Chris Iwarah who confirmed the incident on Wednesday, said the airline was proud that its crew professionally discharged their responsibility to ensure passengers’ safety and assist government in fighting crime.

A DSS source in Port Harcourt which also confirmed that the suspect had been transferred to the zonal office of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State for further handling.

The source claimed that the suspect confessed that a lady gave her the baby. The DSS source commended Air Peace crew for foiling the attempted child trafficking with their vigilance.

It would be recalled that in June 2018, Air Peace crew also exposed a suspected trafficker of a three-month-old baby on its Lagos-Banjul flight.

Adenuga gains $3.9bn, closes gap with Dangote in latest Forbes ranking

Aliko Dangote is Africa’s richest man for the eighth consecutive time although his wealth dropped by $2 billion from $12.2 billion in January 2018 to $10 billion in 2019.

This is according to Forbes’ Africa Billionaires List released on Wednesday.

Mike Adenuga, chief executive officer of Globacom with interests in oil exploration and real estate, moved up to be Africa’s second richest man.

The American magazine said Adenuga’s net worth dramatically increased from $5.3 billion to $9.2 billion because he provided more detailed information about his assets.

Abdulsamad Rabiu, chief executive officer of BUA Group, featured on the list for the first time since 2015.

Rabiu’s Kalambaina Cement firm merged with Cement Company of Northern Nigeria, which he controlled, in December 2018. He now owns 97% of the entity.

Kalambaina, which operates a new cement production facility, started selling cement in mid-2018. Separately, Rabiu’s OBU Cement recently expanded its operations, adding a new production line.

Folorunsho Alakija, whose net worth dropped to $1.1 billion from $1.3 billion, was ranked 19th.

The rank was a tie with South African banker, Michiel Le Roux.

Commenting on the reduced net worth of the personalities, Forbes said “buffeted by plunging stock prices and weaker currencies, the number of African billionaires has shrunk to just 20, down from 23 a year ago.

“Four people fell off Forbes’ annual list of the continent’s richest since last year while one returned to the ranks after a four-year absence. All but four members of the list have smaller fortunes than a year ago.”

In a per country ranking, Egypt and South Africa are tied with five billionaires each, followed by Nigeria with four and Morocco with two. Forbes found one billionaire each from Algeria, Angola, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

World Bank President, Jim Kim joins Bayo Ogunlesi’s GIP as vice chairman

Jim Yong Kim, outgoing president of the World Bank, will join Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), a New York-based private investment fund, as a partner and vice chairman, Reuters reports.

GIP, which is led by Nigeria’s Bayo Ogunlesi as managing partner, manages over $48 billion in assets for various investors across the world.

The new appointment was announced just a day after Kim tendered his resignation from the global financial institution and three years short of his tenure expiration in 2022.

With his departure, Kim will be barred for one year from doing any business with World Bank units, including the International Finance Corporation, the institution’s private sector lending subsidiary.

This is to avoid conflict of interest, especially as he will be working on infrastructure investments in developing economies, which is a core focus of the World Bank.

According to the report, Kim’s departure for GIP took shape around the time of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires that held from November 30 to December 1, 2018.

His exit was also linked to differences with US President Donald Trump’s administration over the need for multilateral institutions.

“The opportunity to join the private sector was unexpected, but I’ve concluded that this is the path through which I will be able to make the largest impact on major global issues like climate change and the infrastructure deficit in emerging markets,” Kim had said in a note to staff on Monday.

Kim will be working closely with Bayo Ogunlesi, chairman and managing partner at GIP, who was formerly head of Global Investment Banking at Credit Suisse.

Ogunlesi, nicknamed “the man who bought Gatwick Airport,” was named as part of Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum, which was disbanded on Aug 16, 2017.

The search for Kim’s successor will be discussed at a meeting of the World Bank’s board later this week.

I won’t approve govt money for election campaign, says Buhari


President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday in Abuja reiterated his commitment to eliminate corruption in campaign financing in the country, pledging that he will not authorise the use of any money from the treasury for his re-election campaign.

Speaking at the close of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, President Buhari directed cabinet ministers to take advantage of technology to reach out to voters on the need to return the All Progressives Congress (APC) led administration in next month’s general elections.

“As political parties spread their ideologies and views to every nook and corner of the country, the issue of cash payment to voters and its corrupting influence in electioneering has once again become a topical issue.

“Try and use text and multi-media messages to seek votes for the party and government.

‘‘There is no money from the treasury for use in the campaigns. I will not authorize that,” he said.

President Buhari declared that the APC-led administration has a clear development agenda best suited to take Nigeria forward and sustain economic development.

‘‘This message needs to be taken to all Nigerians but we cannot use money from the treasury to share out to prospective voters.

‘‘Nigerians want change and we alone can deliver that change. Our people can no longer be swayed by money politics,’’ he said.

The President also used the occasion, which was a valedictory session for the Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Hajiya Khadija Bukar Abba Ibrahim, to wish the minister success in her electoral contest.

The Minister had signified her desire to leave the cabinet, in line with existing regulations, to run for a legislative seat in her native Yobe state.