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The Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President (SSAP) on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is partnering with the Albino Foundation to provide succour to those living with albinism.

The SSAP on MDGs, Dr Precious Gbeneol, said this when she received members of The Albino Foundation (TAF) in Abuja last Thursday.

She said the office was partnering with the foundation under the MDGs Albinos Support Programme Initiative (MASPRO).

Gbeneol explained that MASPRO was a special focus empowerment project designed for the vulnerable section of Nigeria’s populace with principal consideration for people living with albinism.

“The initiative is an effective channel to reach a hitherto unreached group of Nigerians.’’

She said her office would address awareness progammes, economic empowerment and social inclusion of albinos.

Gbeneol said that some albinos had been given protective gadgets to prevent their exposure to the rays of the sun which make them prone to developing skin cancer.

She said the office was also planning skills acquisition and how to reduce poverty among the albinos.



Kano State Hisbah Command has started training prospective couples who qualified for its match-making project, our correspondent reports.

The Public Relations Officer of the Command, Mr Musa Tanko, said that the training, which would be held in batches, was aimed at preparing them for wedlock.

The speakers, drawn from various fields, made presentations on topics such as the importance of marriage and reasons for staying in wedlock.

One of the speakers, Dr Yakubu Katchako, who spoke on the rights of couples, said that women had the rights to decision-making in their matrimonial homes.

Dr Sani Shu’aibu whose presentation was on the processes of divorce in Islam, said that divorce was more prevalent in the Hausa speaking communities.

He said that research had revealed that the Hausa community was rated number two in terms of high rate of divorce in some parts of sub-Saharan Africa.

A participant at the training, Malam Sulaiman Muhammad, expressed optimism that the lessons learnt would guide him through his new marriage.



The Katsina State Government has awarded a N600. 8 million contract for the purchase of 5, 000 tonnes of fertiliser for farmers, the Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Gide Sani, said.

The contract is in addition to an earlier one in which the government ordered 20, 000 tonnes for the farming season, Sani told newsmen in Katsina on Thursday.

He said the decision was taken at the state executive council meeting on Wednesday, adding that the state still had 17,000 tonnes of fertiliser remaining from the stock of 2011.

The commissioner said the contractors had six weeks to supply the commodity for distribution to farmers at subsidised rates.

The state government last week approved the inauguration of Songhai-Katsina Agricultural and Agro-allied projects worth more than N3.4 billion.



A gang of armed robbers has shot dead two residents of Ibereko, Badagry during an attack on a family house in the area.

The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) CSP Dankoli Mohammed, in Badagry, who confirmed the incident, told newsmen on Thursday that one of the victims died on the spot, while the other died in the hospital the following day.

“It is true that some robbers attacked a private home at Ibereko on Tuesday morning and shot two people during the operation,” he said.

The DPO said that no arrest has been made adding added that the remains of the two victims, Bello Isah and Akeem Oluwarotimi, have been deposited at the mortuary, while police investigation continued into the matter.



Nasarawa State Government has revoked the contract for the state’s Aerial Geographic Information system (NAGIS) awarded by the past administration in 2010 at a cost of N499 million.

The Commissioner for Lands, Survey and Town Planning, Mr Sonny Agassi,  disclosed this on Thursday in Lafia while briefing newsmen at the end of the State Executive Council meeting.

Agassi said that the contractor (JM Technologies) violated the contractual terms and lacked the capacity to deliver on the job.

He said the state government decided to revoke the contract and re-award it to another company (Suraj Engineering Consortium) at a cost of N2.7 billion.

The commissioner said that the new contract had three major components.

“These are digital aerial mapping of the state with the aim of giving appropriate titles, aerial geographic information services as well as detailed district planning of Lafia, Karu and Keffi.’’



The Ese-Odo Local Government Chairman, Akinwunmi Sowore, has described politics as an instrument for tackling development challenges in the area.

Speaking with newsmen in Ese-Odo, Ondo, Sowore said politics could be used to influence decisions to favour communities, local government and states

“Politics is worth doing as it involves our day to day activities; my entry into politics has given me a lot of insight into the affairs of Nigeria.

“Since we came on board, we have been trying to impact on the lives of the people through our numerous empowerment programmes and about 500 youths have benefited.

“About 1000 of them are in the pipeline for the oncoming empowerment scheme; we have also been able to set the women up in small scale businesses,” he said.



The Radio Television Theatre Arts Worker’ Union of Nigeria (RATTAWU), Osun chapter, has appealed to the state government to commence the implementation of the N18, 000 minimum wage.

The state chairman of the union, Mr Layi Odekunle, made the appeal on Thursday in Osogbo in an interview.

He observed that the implementation of the wage would improve the purchasing power of workers in the state and make life more conducive for them.

The labour criticised the high salary being paid to political office holders, saying that the monthly salary of a special adviser was more than the salary of three directors in the state civil service.

Odekunle urged Gov. Rauf Aregbesola to ensure that payment of the new minimum wage was across the board, adding that it should not be restricted to officers on grade levels 1 to 7.



The Oyo State Government says it has paid N396.7 million as WAEC fees for 67,786 students in the state’s secondary schools.

The state’s Commissioner for Education, Mrs Adetokunbo Fayokun,made this known during a media briefing in Ibadan on Thursday.

Fayokun also said N21.9million was paid as bursary award for 219 law students from the state in the 2010/2011 academic session.

She said the bursary was restricted to law students alone because the budget inherited by the present government did not take care of other disciplines.

He, however, added that as from the next academic session, the bursary would cover all students in other disciplines.

The commissioner said 250 pairs of furniture was purchased for Igbo Elerin Grammar school under the Education Trust Fund (ETF) while rehabilitation of 35 schools damaged by storm was carried out at cost of N269 million.



The Sokoto State Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Jabbi Kilgori, says the state government is set to procure 296,000 bags of assorted fertilisers from the Federal Government for the 2012 farming season.

Kilgori told newsmen in Sokoto on Thursday that the fertilisers would be bought under the newly introduced electronically enabled system called “e-wallet voucher system using GSM.’’

According to Kilgori , the consignments will comprise 148,000 bags each of NPK and Urea brands of the commodity.

“We will buy each bag of the commodity at N5,500 while both the Federal and Sokoto State Governments will provide a 25 per cent subsidy each, on any bag of the commodity.

“Only genuine farmers will get the commodity while private fertiliser companies and agro-dealers will be used in transporting the fertilisers to the 23 local governments of the state.’’



The Taraba State Government has awarded two separate contracts worth N10 billion for the construction of 4km roads in the headquarters of each of its 16 Local Government Areas.

The contracts were awarded under the State Joint Account Project to PW Nigeria Ltd and Taraba Road Construction and Management Agency (TARCMA).

Mr Timothy Kataps, the Commissioner for Justice, who signed on behalf of the government, said the roads would be constructed in the headquarters of each of the local government.

“PW will execute the project in 10 local governments in southern and central Taraba, while TARCMA will handle the roads in six local governments in the northern zone of the state,” he said.

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Release Kanu, Igboho To Southern Govs, Group Tells Buhari



The National Coordinator, Concerned Advocates for Good Governance (CAGG), Olusegun Bamgbose, has told President Muhammadu Buhari to release self-determination campaigners, Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho, to the southern governors.

Nnamdi Kanu is currently in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS), after he was a few weeks ago rearrested in Kenya and bundled back to Nigeria while Sunday Igboho was arrested in neighbouring Benin Republic on Monday night and is currently in detention in Cotonou.

Kanu is the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), while Sunday Igboho is a leading advocate for Oduduwa Republic.

Speaking, yesterday, Bamgbose noted that the nation was undoubtedly passing through a very critical moment in its political history and that the future seems to be unpredictable, warning that stakeholders must take extreme caution to avoid disintegration as the unity of Nigeria has never been this weak.

“The truth remains that in any part of the world, where there is unfair treatment, injustice, and inequality, agitation becomes inevitable and legitimate. You can’t push someone and tell him or her where to fall,” the senior lawyer and 2023 presidential hopeful noted.

“We can’t claim to be one nation when there is obvious discrimination in terms of clan or tribe. Agitation is a natural reflection of what goes on in society.

“The Igbos have always complained that they are heavily marginalized in the scheme of things, while the Yorubas are aggrieved that Fulani herders are kidnapping their people, raping their women, destroying their farms, killing them, the one million naira question begging for answers is, how has President Buhari addressed these critical issues?

“President Buhari can’t claim to be the father of the nation when he will treat some as sacred cows and others as sacrificial lambs.

“Clamping down on agitators may not yield a positive result in the long run. The issues must be addressed. Even though I will never be in support of any form of armed struggle, one expects President Buhari to proactively address issues raised by the agitators.

“Jailing the agitators will never put an end to agitation, but escalate it. I will, however, expect the southern governors to rise to the occasion and secure the release of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Adeyemo as soon as possible.

“This matter can be resolved in eight weeks. President Buhari should equally be prepared to release them to the southern governors. Our nation needs healing not victimization.

“Buhari’s government will be worse off and will be in the black book of the international community if he so decides to mishandle this matter.

“President Buhari should dialogue with the southern governors and release the two agitators to them. I believe this will prove to all Nigerians and the international community that he is indeed a leader to reckon with.

“He should also look into their grievances and address them dispassionately. It won’t be a bad idea if President Buhari will meet with Kanu, Igboho, and the southern governors at the Presidential Villa to resolve this matter once and for all. I wish our President the best.”

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Catholic Bishops Accuse Buhari Of Nepotism; NASS Of Sabotage



Catholic Bishops of Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province, have accused the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration of nepotistic tendencies.

The bishops, after their meeting held at the Domus Pacis Pastoral Institute, Igoba in Akure, also accused members of the National Assembly (NASS), of sabotaging their constituents.

They argued that the spike in insecurity across the country is occasioned by government’s inability to serve on the principles of equity and fairness.

According to the communique signed by the Province’s Chairman and Secretary, Rev. Gabriel Abegunrin, and Rev. Akin Oyejola, respectively, the country is plagued by “inept, uncaring leadership which functions by selective allocation of posts, privileges, and resources and by selective application of justice”.

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‘Without Alternative Energy, Petrol Price’ll Rise on Subsidy Removal’



The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has warned that the pump price of petrol in the country may rise up to as much as N1,000 per litre when petrol subsidy regime comes to an end without an alternative energy source.

The DPR stated this just as some oil and gas experts have advocated for a measure from the government that will ensure that Nigeria gets commensurate value from its abundant oil and gas resources like its fellow oil producing nations.

The Director of DPR, Mr. Sarki Auwalu, said this while responding to questions and comments generated by a paper he delivered in Lagos, recently, at the Second Quarter, 2021 Business Dinner of Petroleum Club, Lagos.

The topic of the paper was, “A Discussion on the Future of the Nigerian Petroleum Industry.”

The questions and comments came from a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Funsho Kupolokun; political economist and Founder of Centre for Values in Leadership, Prof. Pat Utomi; Production Geologist at Shell Nigeria, Mr. Adedoyin Orekoya; and Chairman of AA Holdings, Mr. Austin Avuru; amongst others.

Responding to the subsidy concerns and the disparity in the petrol consumption figures given by NNPC and the DPR, as raised by Orekoya, Auwalu, acknowledged that Nigeria was spending so much on petrol subsidy.

He said eliminating it would require making alternative fuel available to Nigerians and that failure to do that will plunge Nigerians into paying higher petrol prices when subsidy is removed.

He stated that Nigerians may be paying as high as N1, 000 to buy one litre of petrol in the country when subsidy on petrol is removed and when the alternative energy or autogas gas policy becomes fully operational.

He, however, said the alternative fuel regime comes with initial cost as it will lead to spending $400 to convert one vehicle from running on petrol or diesel to running on either Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) or Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).

Auwalu maintained that converting eight million public vehicles currently present in Nigeria to gas-powered will cumulatively cost $3.2billion to achieve.

He said, “So, to eliminate subsidy, they don’t call it subsidy anymore now, it’s under-recovery of purchase. So, to eliminate under-recovery, what you need is alternative fuel. Without alternative, you will subject people to higher prices and that is why we go for price freedom.

“As at today, there are 22 million cars in Nigeria. Eight million are for public use. Imagine if you want to convert every car into gas, the average cost of conversion is $400. Converting eight million cars requires $3.2billion. To do that, there are a lot of environmental investors which can invest and recover from the sale of gas and we are encouraging that.

“Once that is achieved, you will see that PMS can be sold at N1,000. After all, the average distance covered by one gallon equivalent when you compare it with LNG or CNG with respect to energy for mobility, is 2.7 against one; one for PMS, 2.7 for LNG or CNG.

”So, with that advantage, you will see that it creates opportunity for this industry again. The issue of subsidy, volume will all vanish and that is what we are working towards.”

He, however, warned that the rise in Nigeria’s local refining capacity as seen in the coming on stream of a number of refineries in the country without a corresponding increase in the country’s oil production volume may threaten the country’s membership of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

The director lamented that out of Nigeria’s over 7,100 reservoirs and its mature basins, the country was recovering just as low as about 1,000, a situation he said, needed the collaboration of all industry players to find a solution to before Nigeria gets evicted from OPEC due to low contribution.

“How do we now get the national production capacity so that we export more, we consume more? Today, we have huge additional capacity in domestic refining. If we don’t increase the production, we have to get out of OPEC, because you can’t be a net consumer to stay in exporting countries.

“So, the challenge is for all of us. As the refining capacity is increasing, we have to now get production capacity to increase so that we remain the net exporter. We believe this will guarantee and fortify the future,” he said.

Responding to Kupolokun’s question on the need to address the low contribution of the oil and gas sector to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is less than 10 per cent, Auwalu attributed the abysmal contribution to lack of deep investment into the value chain of the sector as well as the export mentality of the players.

According to him, only few players, mostly indigenous companies, have the mentality of ensuring that more output, especially with respect to gas, was given to the domestic market to power the country’s economic growth.

He said there was need to focus on domestic market in order to grow the sector’s contribution to GDP.

He explained what the department and the Federal Government were doing to address the two-pronged challenge of energy transition and the transition from the international oil companies (IOCs) operating in Nigeria, who are divesting out of the country, leaving the indigenous oil companies to take over from them.

Auwalu said the department had foreseen such situation and had planned ahead by setting up the Oil and Gas Excellence Centre to equip local companies to be able to fill the gap created by such transition.

“Now, we are saddled with two transitions: energy transition and transition from IOCs to NOCs. Why did we establish Nigerian Oil and Gas Excellence Centre? It’s because of this. We’ve seen this coming; we thought it twice before now.

“It is our duty to make those companies functional, and to do that, we need to establish a centre of excellence that will help in the migration from IOCs,” he explained.

Also reacting to the need for scenario planning and the possibility of galvanising the private and public sector to work together to increase the value of oil and gas to the economy, as proposed by Utomi, the DPR henchman noted that the agency had transformed from mere regulator to business enabler and opportunity provider and was working to maximise the value of the sector to the economy.

Auwalu maintained that as a business enabler, DPR was after creating an enabling environment for operators to work, produce, make returns on their investments and pay taxes and royalties to the government as while providing employment to Nigerians.

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