Category: NIGERIA

FG spends N2.6trn on fuel import in nine months

Nigeria  spent N2.582 trillion on fuel importation in nine months, from January to September 2018, rising by 12.9 per cent from N2.289 trillion recorded in the first three quarters of 2017.

The amount spent on fuel import in the nine-month period is 28.3 per cent of Nigeria’s N9.12 trillion budget for the 2018 fiscal year and 36 per cent of the N7.17 trillion proposed expenditure in the budget.

This came as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, yesterday, said that the Federal Government has paid petroleum products marketers N236 billion, being first tranche of the outstanding fuel subsidy claims owed the marketers.

Members of the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria, DAPPMAN, confirmed receipt of the payment and stated that they would still seek clarifications on certain issues with the government.

According to data obtained from the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, Foreign Trade Statistics for the Third Quarter of 2018, Nigeria’s fuel import stood at N845.12 billion, N720.4 billion for the first and second quarters of 2018 respectively.

However, in the third quarter of 2018, the report noted that fuel import rose sharply by 41.03 per cent from N720.4 billion recorded in the second quarter to N1.016 trillion in the third quarter of 2018. This, according to the report, was in comparison to fuel  import of N802.4 billion, N744.28 billion and N742.82 billion recorded in the first, second and third quarter of 2018 respectively.

In its month-on-month analysis of the Nigeria’s fuel import, the report showed that in January, February, March, April, May and June 2018, Nigeria imported fuel valued at N384.59 billion, N357.45 billion, N103.08 billion, N190.26 billion, N380.7 billion and N149.44 billion respectively.

For July, August and September 2018, the NBS report stated that N343.25 billion, N378 billion and N295.03 billion fuel was imported respectively.

The report further pointed out that fuel import in the third quarter of 2018, accounted for 24.4 per cent of Nigeria’s total imports in the period under review.

Specifically, the report stated that total imports into Nigeria in the third quarter of 2018 stood at N4.172 billion, rising by 73.8 per cent from N2.4 trillion in the second quarter of 2018. The report further attributed the sharp rise in total import in the third quarter to the importation of an oil rig.

Particularly, the report said the floating or submersible drilling or production platforms worth N1.159 trillion was imported from South Korea in August 2018.

“In the same way, there was a rise of 67.7 per cent when compared with the import value of the corresponding quarter in 2017. The huge increase in import value during the quarter, resulted into a decrease in the country’s trade balance from N2.103 trillion in the second quarter to N681.3 billion in third quarter representing a decrease of 67.6 per cent. The year to date Total Trade amounted to N23.14 trillion,” it noted.

Subsidy In an interview in Abuja, Chief Operating Officer, Downstream, NNPC, Mr. Henry Ikem-Obih, disclosed that the payment, which was done through promissory notes, had been ready since last Wednesday, while the marketers were asked to come pick them up Monday. Ikem-Obih further stated that all the promissory notes for this tranche would mature in 2019, adding that the CBN had also promised to grant special status to the notes.

He said:  “I can confirm that the promissory note has been issued. In fact, there were ready on Wednesday. The marketers got emails inviting them to come and receive them on Monday.

“By the end of Tuesday, there were actually ready from the Debt Management Office, DMO. We had a meeting with the CBN Governor on Thursday and they were informed officially. The Director General of DMO was there and said that they should pick up the promissory note.

“Most of them were waiting for that meeting with the CBN governor; it went very well. one of the things that CBN governor  had taken the initiative to do is to ask the banks to freeze the interest on any loan  that are related to that scheme, the outstanding payment, from end of June 2017 to date.

Those are some of the additional concession that government has done.” NNPC assures Ikem-Obih assured of steady and stable petroleum products supply during the Yuletide season and beyond, stating that the NNPC currently has over 2.7 billion litres of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, also known as petrol.

Police Boss Rejects Senate Confirmation of IGP Appointment

The Inspector-General of Police Ibrahim Idris has kicked against provision of a proposed Police Reform Bill seeking to subject appointment of Inspector General of Police (IGP) to Senate confirmation.

Speaking at a public hearing on Wednesday; his first appearance in the Senate after months of running battle with the upper legislative chamber, Idris cautioned strongly against the proposed provision of the bill asking that it should be expunged from the document.

The Police Chief advised lawmakers to stick to the current arrangement where the President appoints the IGP on the recommendation of the National Council of State.

“The appointment of the IGP on the recommendation of the Police Service Commission without confirmation of the Senate is the desire of the Police”, he said.

The IGP also kicked against a provision that seeks to alter the existing structure of the police.

While the bill recommends a single Deputy Inspector of Police (DIG) to act in the absence of the IGP; Idris believes the arrangements will put too much pressure on the IGP who is currently working with 7 DIGs.

Idris however supports the provision of five years tenure for the position of IGP.

Also speaking, Chairman Police Service Commission, Musiliu Smith welcomed the reform; stressing the need to invest more in funding the police.

 

He lamented the situation where police personnel live outside the barracks and exposed to criminals and drug merchants who offer them free accommodation.

 

Sponsor of the bill, Senator Bala Ibn Na’allah was optimistic the proposed bill will greatly enhance police service delivery and insulate officers from the antics of politicians.

 

The laws governing police in Nigeria have witnessed amendments but most of the laws still dates back to colonial time.

Police collect houses from criminals, drug bandits as bribe – Musiliu Smith

Speaking on wednesday, a former Inspector-General of Police and Chairman, Police Service Commission, Musiliu Smith, told the Senate that the rot in the Police Force had got to a head as criminals and drug bandits give gift of houses to serving policemen.

He made the allegation during a public hearing on a ‘Bill for an Act to repeal the Police Act CaP P19 Law of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and enact the Police Act, 2018’, which held at the National Assembly complex.

The hearing was conducted by Senate Committee on Police Affairs, and was attended by the topmost echelon of the Police formation and other relevant institutions of government and individuals.

Musiliu opposed plans by the Senate to remove ‘Force’ from the name of the organisation and retain only Nigeria Police, saying that it must be done appropriately, in line with the provisions of the constitution.

He said: “I have few observations. One is the name from Nigeria Police Force to Nigeria Police. If the name has to be changed, it has to be done constitutionally. We met a police when all the training schools were working. We met a police where you could not be promoted without writing an examination.

“We met a police where every policeman lived in the barracks. Some policemen are given houses by criminals and hard drug bandits. That need to change. We should think of additional funding source for the police.

“In Lagos State, a governor came into office. He didn’t like what he met on ground. He invited some of us to change what was on ground. That was what gave birth to Lagos State Police Trust Fund. We can’t tackle insecurity without this. Let us think of that. The annual yearly budget ritual can’t help. It will not take us anywhere. If you want a highly motivated Police Force, we should adequately fund it”.

The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr. Ibrahim Idris, kick against the plans by the Senate to pass the bill seeking to make it compulsory for the apex legislative assembly to confirm the appointment of an IGP by the President.

He said it will politicise the Force if the Senate have the power to remove the IGP whenever it deemed it necessary.

Idris expressed opposition to the idea that the Senate Committee is also proposing to reduce the number of Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG) from seven to one but , saying that the reduction would make the job hectic for the IGP.

“You can’t police a people without their consent. The provisions of the Bill are in consonance with the contents of the Criminal Justice System. The confirmation and removal of the IGP by the Senate is not necessary. It will politicise the Police Force. It should be expunged from the Bill. The tenure of the IGP of five years should be maintained. he said.

“The appointment of the IGP in consultation with Police Service Commission is appropriate. There should not be any confirmation by the Senate. This is the desire and position of the Police Force. There should not be one DIG. There should be seven as we have already. Having one will put too much pressure on the IGP. Having seven reduces the workload.”

We are expecting credible elections in 2019-US to Nigerians

Mr. Stuart Symington, United States Ambassador to Nigeria, on Tuesday called on Nigerians to give themselves credible elections in 2019 by avoiding acrimony and standing against electoral malpractices.

He made the call at the Peace and Security Network Quarterly Roundtable with the theme, “Towards 2019 Elections in Nigeria: Securitization of the Electoral Process and the Prevention of Violence’.’

The ambassador said that because there would be no election anywhere in the world in February, 2019, the attention of the entire globe would be on Nigeria and its citizens to provide credible polls.

He further said only one thing will make the difference in 2019 and that is the ties that bind the people of Nigeria.

Symington explained, were ties of friendship, “of trust not of hate, but of love, not of desperation but of purpose; the ties growing ever stronger’’.

He said that during the life of a nation, there were moments such ties would be tested around elections, adding that it was now for the security forces and the government to resolve to work together.

“I stand for an idea of network, which is a network of Nigerians that will make elections succeed. It has to be a net, it has to be people and organisations linked to each other with strong bonds and purpose.

“Then, that net has actually got to work in every sphere and corner; it has to have people that are citizens woven together that represent government, electoral commissions, security services, federal, state, local officials.

“Secondly, it is more important in the world than Nigeria – the reason is that some people talk about the potential population of Nigeria which is already exploding.

“Now the question will be how to finance the energy and the opportunity of this extraordinary youthful population for the good of its entire people, its neighbours and the whole world,’’ he said.

The envoy advised security forces to act in a way that was true to their mandate and true to securing the country and not being partisan.

He went further to encourage Nigerians to focus on doing good things together, saying something good that could bring about a new Nigeria because the world was watching and hopeful for violent-free elections.

On his part, Country Director, Mercy Corps, Mr Darius Radcliffe, said that the corps was working on integrating all its programming to address electoral violence.

Radcliffe said that the corps had partnered Nigeria toward achieving such goals.

He assured that the group would keep partnering at all levels for a better and greater Nigeria ahead of 2019 elections, and called for a collaborative effort of all citizens.

Mr Adeolu Adewumi, National Coordinator Peace and Security Network, said that the event was organised to brainstorm on the securitisation of the electoral process and the prevention of violence.

Adewumi said that the aim was also to know the strategic plans of the security agents ahead of 2019 elections since there were still insecurity in some regions of the country.

“We all are all witnesses to the fact that there is a resurgence of the insurgency in the North-East towards the 2015 elections; security agencies declared that they could not guarantee security during the election so it needed to be postponed.

“The question now is, are there signs that the 2019 elections will also be postponed? These are the questions we need to ask due to the recent attacks.”

(NAN)

Tackling insecurity a Bone of Contention between PDP and APC

During the inaugural session of the Nigerian Political Parties Discussion Series (NPPDS) organized by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) in conjunction with OSIFA in Abuja yesterday,

The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) disagreed with the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on how to maintain law and order in the polity.

The APC spokesman, Malam Lanre Issa -Onilu maintained that the strategies put in place by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to keep the peace would surely achieve the desired result, his PDP counterpart, Mr. Osita Chidoka insisted that the entre security apparatus of the country needed to be redesigned to effectively tackle the security challenges in the country.

Issa-Onilu, who warned the opposition against politicisation of security matters, argued that the APC-led administration has made tremendous inroads into tackling the Boko Haram insurgency, activities of militants in the Niger Delta region, the farmers-herders clashes and other violent crimes in the polity since 2015.

Lanre Issa -Onilu, advised the media to exercise restraint in the reportage of security issues, cited the clean up in Ogoni land and the exploratory activities of oil companies in the Niger Delta region, leading to a boost in foreign exchange, as evidence of the gains recorded during the period under review.

He alleged that PDP inflicted poverty on Nigerians during its 16 years of administration and also blamed the opposition for the activities of bandits and kidnappers in the north west political zone. He said Buhari’s resolve to reequip and retrain security personnel were aimed at tackling insecurity in the country.

The APC spokesman said that ongoing police recruitment and increase in their salaries as well as various social intervention programmes like trader money, N-Power and U -win collect as other strategies aimed at empowering indigent Nigerians who may be tempted to take to crime.

In an argument, Chidoka said that the issue of security goes beyond enforcement, insisting that much more needed to be done in the aspect of intelligence gathering, adjudication, enforcement and putting in place corrective measures for culprits.

He assured that under the Atiku Abubakar-led administration, the country’s security apparatus would be restructured in such a manner that there would be community policing where the states would play active role in the funding of the security outfits in the country.

The PDP spokesman assured Nigerians of strict adherence to the principle of federal character in the recruitment process of security personnel, saying merit and competence would not be sacrificed on the alter of nepotism and parochial interests which has dampened morale of officers and men of the armed forces.

The PDP promised improved funding and deployment of modern gadgets to security outfits if Atiku, the PDP presidential candidate, is voted into power in the 2019 making reference to the poor budgetary provisions to security outfits over the years by the APC lead administration.

Nigeria is ruled by Two Men not by Buhari-First Lady

As revealed yesterday by the first lady, Aisha Buhari, that the leadership of the country under her husband would have performed better, but for two powerful individuals standing as clogs in its wheels. Mrs. Buhari said there are two men in President Muhammadu Buhari administration who have constituted themselves as hindrance for the speedy progress of governance.

She said that she is disappointed in men who rather than fight these two men will go to them in the night begging for favour.

Speaking at the National Women Leadership Summit organised by a political group, Project 4+4 for Buhari & Osinbajo 2019, in Abuja, however, did not mention the names of the powerful persons. She noted that if not for the two powerful men, Buhari’s achievements in the last three and a half years would have been accomplished by the President in one year. Mrs. Buhari stated that the two people in government would never allow things to move fast.

Aisha Buhari, however, stated that the President has done well in the delivery of good governance. The event was also attended by the wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo. Mrs. Buhari urged Nigerian women to rise up and fight.

In a dramatic act, the Political Adviser to the President, Senator Babafemi Ojodu, was signalling to the First Lady to move away from the topic, she said:

“I have realised that Senator Babafemi Ojodu, Special Adviser on Political Matters to the President, and Dr. Hajo Sani, my aide, Sajo, and wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Osinbajo, are not comfortable with me saying this and want me to confine myself to my prepared speech, but we must say the truth.”

The President’s wife insisted that the two powerful people are retrogressive elements preventing the government from moving forward. This is not the first time the first Lady would be critical of her husband’s government and its functionaries.

Relating her statements to an interview with BBC Hausa, Aisha had stated that Buhari’s government had been hijacked by only a “few people”, who were behind presidential appointments. According to her, the president did not know most of the officials he appointed. The First Lady stated that people who did not share the vision of the All Progressives Congress (APC) were appointed to top posts because of the influence a “few people” wield.

“The president does not know 45 out of 50 of the people he appointed and I don’t know them either, despite being his wife of 27 years. “Some people are sitting down in their homes folding their arms only for them to be called to come and head an agency or a ministerial position,”

When asked to name those who had hijacked the government, the First Lady simply said: “You will know them if you watch television.” Asked whether the president was in charge, Mrs. Buhari had said: “That is left for the people to decide.”

National Assembly shutdown over unpaid salary

Members of Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN), protested to disrupt activities at the National Assembly.

The workers had at the weekend threatened to picket the National Assembly over claim of non-payment of salary and allowances.

Earlier today, The workers in their numbers shutdown the National Assembly over alleged non-payment of salary and other allowances

The protesting workers took over the National Assembly lobby chanting solidarity songs as they displayed their numerous plea cards with various inscriptions.

The two chambers of the National Assembly were barricaded thereby stopping Senators and House of Representatives members from accessing their offices including Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, Speaker House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and his deputy Lasun Yusuff.

The Clerk to the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani-Omolori, however insisted that the protest was uncalled for especially when the demands of the workers were being treated.

The workers vowed to continue the protest until Sani Omolori was removed from office.

PASAN issued a statement at the weekend to alert the National Assembly management of its planned protest scheduled for three days beginning from Tuesday (today).

Some of the plea cards read “Pass our condition of service bill; CONLESS is not tied to 2018 budget; give us our CONLESS; bank loans are killing; No alert no sitting; Stop Omolori now before he stops Nigeria democracy, Omolori must go; We are not slaves.”

“The money has been released alongside other releases, and we ask where is our allowance?”

“We will not rest on CONLESS until we receive alert. Omolori must go,” the workers chanted.

When Saraki succeeded in paving his way to address the protesting workers, he assured them that the leadership of the National Assembly would meet management to resolve issues at stake.

The senate president assured that the two chambers would take steps to fast track the passage of the Condition of Service for National Assembly bill and further pleaded with the workers to call off their protest as their demands would be met.

Ahmed Lawan, the senate leader said that the protest was not against the leadership of the National Assembly but against the management.

Sani-Omolori on his part said: “It is a matter that has been on for some time now and we have tried to explain to them; we approved salary increase for them which was captured in 2018 budget but as it is today, it is a common knowledge that the level of implementation of the 2018 budget, especially the new addition to the National Assembly, which has not been implemented – that is where we had hoped that the addition would be paid.

“So, to the extent that the money has not been released there is no way we can make the payment.

“We told them it is wrong and we tried to prevail on them to try to see through things in the correct way. As a matter of fact, I wrote a letter to them and I also had series of formal and informal consultations with their leadership up till yesterday (Monday) to make them back out of what is clearly an act that is not in tune with their own rules.

When Asked if he is worried by the action of the workers, Omolori said: “I am worried that in an institution that you think people should be able to look at things properly and then they are not looking at it that way that is why I am worried.

“I still insist that they need to be a bit patient with the system. Like I said, in my reply to them; in an unprecedented manner, the presiding officers acceded, without hesitation to their requests for this increment. It was bargained with them and they captured it in the budget.

“So, how is it in their (lawmakers) powers, if the money is not released? And in any case, the reality on the ground is that it is not only the National Assembly that is suffering from non-release of funds. That is the reality of the Nigerian situation. So, I think we all have to be patient.”

President Buhari pledge the release of the remaining chibok girls

The President of The Federal Republic of Nigeria has pledged that his government will not rest until the remaining Chibok girls kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists in April 2014 are safely released

Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, released the statement in Abuja on Tuesday, Buhari made the pledge on Monday in Katowice, Poland, during a bilateral meeting with the Swiss President Alain Berset, on the sidelines of the UN Climate Change Conference, COP24.

The Presidential aide said Buhari had spent the whole day at the International Conference Centre, Katowice, where he delivered his national address at the opening of the 12-day meeting of COP24.

Malam Garba Shehu said the president met with several world leaders and visited the impressive Nigerian pavilion at the climate summit.

In his meeting with the Swiss President, PMB thanked the Swiss Confederation for its efforts and important role as intermediaries to secure the release of some Chibok girls.

PMB assured that his ‘key priority’ is the issue of the remaining kidnapped girls and other abducted persons.

In the statement, President Buhari and his Swiss counterpart discussed joint strategies to ensure the safe return of the girls, building on the past successes of securing the release of some of the Chibok girls and other abducted persons in the North Eastern part of Nigeria.

The President also welcomed the Swiss President’s commitment to continue providing humanitarian assistance to Internally Displaced Persons in Nigeria and to ensure the safe release of the abducted school girls.

PMB in his word said; “We will continue to make the safe release of the remaining Chibok girls a priority and will welcome any kind of support from any quarters to make this happen, ”

(NAN)

Nigeria in fresh debt of $200m to finance electricity projects

The Federal Government has been granted $200 million loan for the funding of the nation’s electrification project.

AfDB said in a statement that, “The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved a $150 million sovereign loan to the Federal Government of Nigeria to finance the Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP),”

 

“The Africa Growing Together Fund (AGTF), a $2 billion facility sponsored by the People’s Bank of China and administered by the African Development Bank, has also approved a $50 million loan to the Federal Government of Nigeria to co-finance the project.”

 

According to the statement, the joint financing is targeted at supporting the government efforts to address critical energy access deficit in the country, and catalyze achievement of universal energy access by 2030 targets.”

 

Recalling that in 2017, the World Bank approved $350 million loan to Nigeria for the development of rural electrification projects in the country. “By supporting the electrification of unconnected and underserved communities, NEP will contribute materially to their economic development,” said the Managing Director of the rural electrification agency, Damilola Ogunbiyi.“Access to reliable, affordable and clean electricity will result in savings for households and businesses, which can be deployed to other uses.”

Buratai directed by the Minister of Defence to remain in North-east until security improves

Mansur Dan-Ali, the Minister of Defence, has directed the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, to remain in the North-east until security situation in the region improves.

 

 

 

Represented by Tukur Gusau, the Public Relations Officer of the minister. He said in a statement on Monday that Mr Dan-Ali gave the directive when he met with the Chief of Defence Staff and Service Chiefs in his office.

 

 

 

Mr Dan-Ali also directed the General Officer Commanding 8 Division, to relocate his Tactical Headquarters from Sokoto State to Zamfara, to oversee the conduct of Operation Sharan Daji.

 

 

 

He mandated the chief of defence staff and chief of army staff to effect changes in the operational commands of Operations Delta Safe in the Niger Delta, Lafia Dole in the North East, Sharan Daji in Zamfara and Katsina states and Awatse in the South-west.

 

 

 

These directives were given to enable them meet up with the current threats and security challenges in their areas of responsibility.

 

 

 

He further said “The President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces has also directed the emergency procurement of critical equipment for the armed forces in line with the federal Gyovernment policy of procuring equipment from Original Equipment Manufacturers through government to government basis,”

 

 

 

He announced that the Army Council and Navy Board had considered and approved the promotion of qualified senior military officers to their next higher ranks.

 

 

 

“In a related development and a show of concern to the welfare needs of members of the Armed Forces, the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces has directed the enhancement of the welfare of troops particularly those serving in operational areas within the country.” (NAN)