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Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Saddiq Abubakar (left) and Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos during a visit of the Chief of Air Staff to Governor Ambode in Lagos, recently.

Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Saddiq Abubakar (left) and Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos during a visit of the Chief of Air Staff to Governor Ambode in Lagos, recently.

Adamawa

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared
Adamawa as a polio-free state.
The WHO Coordinator in the state, Dr Nuhu Ningi, confirmed this in a statement made available to newsmen in Yola.
Ningi said in the statement that Adamawa was free of Polio virus since 2009.
According to him, the absence of Polio in Adamawa was not a “mere chance” as speculated in some quarters.
“It is very unfortunate to describe all efforts of government and partners fighting against polio in the state as ‘mere chance occurrence’.”
“This statement by the Zonal Coordinator is unfortunate and absurdly lack scientific base,” Ningi said.

Bauchi

The Bauchi State Police Command, has confirmed the death
of two policemen and four civilians in an auto crash on Darazo-Bauchi road.
Spokesman of the command in a press release in Bauchi, DSP Mohammed Haruna, indicated that the accident, which involved a Vectra vehicle with registration number GJW 446 XA, occurred on April 13.
Haruna said that the vehicle, conveying two suspected kidnappers from Soro Police Division, had an accident at Dabe village in Ganjuwa local government area of the state.
He said eight other occupants of the vehicle with various degree of injuries were conveyed to Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH) in Bauchi for treatment.

Ekiti
Farmers in Ekiti State have expressed worries over the delay
in getting assistance from the Federal Government to develop and expand their farms ahead of this year’s farming season.
Mr James Kupoluyi, the spokesman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Ikole local government area told newsmen that the delay might have negative impacts on the current farming season if not addressed urgently.
He disclosed that the Federal Government in the third quarter of 2015, directed every farmer in Nigeria to register for a programme tagged “Nigeria Agricultural Payment Initiative’’ (NAPI), with the aim of assisting farmers.
“Many of us registered and have been waiting since then but have not got the assistance from the government to expand our farms.

FCT
The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) has solicited
stronger partnership with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for improved telecom services in the country.
The Director-General of CPC, Mrs Modupe Atoki, made the call when she visited the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta, in Abuja.
“There are certain complaints that we received and which we want to share and which we want to have this deliberation on a way forward to make sure that Nigerians begin to enjoy value for money.
“First is the quality of service, which every one of us here would have experienced one way or the other.
“It is still poor in spite of the effort that the NCC has put in, in streamlining their quality.”

Jigawa

The National Directorate of Employment (NDE) in Jigawa
said it would soon introduce a skill acquisition training programme tagged, “School to Work” for secondary schools students in the state.
The NDE Coordinator,, Malam Muhammad Sambo, announced this in an interview with newsmen in Dutse.
Sambo said that the programme was part of the directorate’s initiatives targeted at SS3 and JS3 students.
“The programme is already captured in our budget this year,” Sambo said.
He explained that the agency would use long vacation period to train them in various skills to make them self reliant.
Katsina

Funtua local government area of Katsina State had returned
230 cows and 22 sheep to their lawful owners after they were recovered from the rustlers by a joint security taskforce at Sheme village.
Alhaji Hassan Gambo, Head of Administration of the local government, told the gathering that the rustled cows were stationed in Funtua for 18 days after they had been rescued from the bandits.
Gambo said that the local government officials carried out all the required processes of cattle identification and clearance from the owners before they were handed over to them.
He explained that the identification was done in the presence of the District Head of Funtua, Alhaji Sambo Idris, security agencies and the leaders of headsmen association.

Lagos

A total of 25,781 candidates registered for this year’s
National Common Entrance Examination (NCEE) in Lagos.
Our correspondent reports that the examination was for admission into the 104 Unity Colleges across the country.
The Lagos State Zonal Coordinator, National Examinations Council (NECO), Mr Gbenga Olapade, organisers of the examination, said in an interview that a total of 115 centres were being used for the examination across the state.
Olapade said that there were additional four centres for this year’s examination, when compared with 111 centres used for the same examination in 2015.

Ogun

A 68-year old man, Sulaimo Akindele,  has been charged
before an Ota Magistrates’ Court for allegedly damaging a fish pond valued at N4 million belonging to one Adetayo Olanrewaju.
Akindele, who lives at No. 23 Ogunyemi Street, Iyana-Iyesi, Ota, is facing a two-count charge of conspiracy and malicious damage.
The Prosecutor, Sgt. Ebibomino Itaita, told the court that the accused and others still at large, committed the offences on February 20 at about 11:20 p.m. at Odo-Pako area of Ota.
Ebibomino said that the accused and his accomplices unlawfully damaged a fish pond valued at N4 million belonging to one Adetayo Olanrewaju.

Ondo

A petitioner in a divorce suit, Mr Olusola Ogunleye, has
told an Akure Customary Court that his wife’s siblings advised him to divorce her because of her stubborn nature.
Olusola, who had been married to his wife, Funmilayo, for 13 years, and the marriage blessed with four children, accused the respondent of always threatening him with knives and broken bottles whenever they had misunderstandings.
He said that whenever there was any misunderstanding between them, his wife was also fond of destroying his properties.
Nasarawa

The Akwanga local government in Nasarawa State has
inaugurated a 17-man taskforce to remove illegal structures along major roads in Akwanga and its environs within two weeks.
The Sole Administrator of the council, Mr Kwanta Yakubu,  said in Akwanga while inaugurating the committee that the aim was to ease traffic and ensure healthy environment in the affected areas.
According to Yakubu, the decongestion is to discourage hawking, trading and other illegalities on major roads.
“The aim is to make Akwanga clean, healthy, and peaceful for everybody.
“The high rate of congestion along major roads has become a source of concern and as responsible government, we cannot fold our hands and watch the situation,” he said.

Plateau

The Bishop of Pankshin Diocese in Plateau, Mr Michael
Gokum, has urged the Federal Government to be pragmatic in its policy and programme implementation and save Nigerians from the current hardship.
He made the call in an interview with newsmen in Pankshin recently.
“Times are hard and the people are really suffering; I hope God will inspire our leaders, especially the Federal Government to do something drastic and save the situation.
“Nigeria is so blessed yet the people are suffering because of the greediness of our supposed leaders, who are starshing billions of naira within and outside the country.
“The doctrine of putting the interest of others before yours is not being observed here in Nigeria because of lack of fear of God, ’’ he lamented.

Yobe

Yobe Government in collaboration with the Nigerian
Army has reopened the 132km Damaturu-Biu federal road, which was blocked three years ago by Boko Haram insurgents.
Our correspondent reports that the road, which was a major link between Yobe and southern part of Borno, was inaugurated at Buni Yadi.
Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, Chief of Army Staff, said at the occasion that the road was strategic to the economic well being of Yobe as it linked the state capital with many communities.
He said reopening of the road would boost economic activities of Yobe, Borno, Adamawa and Gombe State.
“This will also impact positively on the current military operations in the area by boosting the achievement of the troops,” he said.

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Release Kanu, Igboho To Southern Govs, Group Tells Buhari

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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

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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’

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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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