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FG Approaches World Bank For Fresh $2.5bn Loan

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The World Bank has said that it is in talks with Nigeria for a fresh loan of $2.5bn.
This is despite a $2.4bn loan obtained by Nigeria in 2018.
The Vice-President for the African division of the World Bank, Hafez Ghanem, said this during an interview with Bloomberg on Wednesday.
Ghanem said, “We’re talking about a new set of programs of about the same amount, it should be around $2.5bn.”
Faced with revenue shortfalls as the output and price of oil, Nigeria’s main export, fell in the past five years, President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has increased borrowing to finance government spending, with domestic debt at $55.6bn and foreign loans at $25.6bn.
To ease the mounting debt burden, Nigeria has sought more credit with low interest and long repayment periods from institutions including the World Bank and the African Development Bank.
Nigeria, which vies with South Africa for Africa’s biggest economy, has made a sluggish recovery since a 2016 contraction, with gross domestic product expanding only 1.9 per cent in the three months through June, slowing for the third consecutive quarter. The World Bank in April lowered its 2019 growth forecast for Nigeria to 2.1 per cent from 2.2 per cent.
“The current economic performance of Nigeria is not enough to reduce poverty,” said Ghanem. “We need to accelerate growth.”
The World Bank’s focus in Nigeria is to lift about 100 million Nigerians, half of the population, out of poverty, with special emphasis on women’s education, expanding digital opportunities and solving a power crisis that hobbles economic activities.
“It’s important to resolve the problems of the power sector in Nigeria to bring in more investments,” he said. “Because you need to bring down the cost of power to make the economy more competitive for the development of industries.”
The World Bank is supporting digital transformation in Nigeria because of its potential ability to transform other areas of the economy including industry, agriculture and services, according to Ghanem.
“Nigeria has a comparative advantage in that area because of the youth, a majority of the population is young,” he said. “So if we want to create jobs, we need to invest much more in the digital economy.”

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Late Mechanic: Car Owner Denies Reporting Stolen Car To Police

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The last is yet to be heard concerning the death of an auto-mechanic, Chima Ikwunado, who was allegedly tortured to death while in police custody in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, as owner of one the cars the deceased and four of his colleagues were allegedly arrested for snatching has exonerated the victim.
Owner of one of the car, which the late mechanic and four others were arrested for allegedly snatching, Mr. Chinedu Ezenwarili, has denied reporting a case of stolen vehicle to the Rivers State Police Command.
It would be recalled that Ikwunado and four of apprentices were arrested by men of the Eagle Crack (E-Crack) Unit, attached to the Mile One Police Division, while test-driving two cars they were repairing along Olu-Obasanjo Road in Port Harcourt for alleged robbery and cultism.
After the death of Ikwunado, his four apprentices namely: Victor Ogbanna, Osaze Friday, Ifeanyi OsujI and Ifeanyi Onyekwere, were charged to court, and are currently remanded at the Port Harcourt Correctional Centre.
Briefing newsmen at the Ernest Ikoli Press Centre in Port Harcourt, yesterday, Ezenwarili, said he gave his vehicle, a Toyota Camry saloon car, to the late Chima for repairs before he was arrested and charged for stealing same car.
“On December 19, 2019, I gave my Toyota Camry with registration number JRV 29 SX to one Mr. Chima Ikwunado to fix my camber bushing and radiator coat. Chima was my mechanic, and I have known him for more than two years.
“On December 20, 2019, I called his telephone line as prearranged but all my attempts to reach the said Chima Ikwunado via telephone proved abortive as his telephone kept ringing but he did not pick his calls. I got worried as to what must have happened because he was my trusted mechanic.
“The following day, I called Mr. China’s neighbour who told me that Chima was arrested by the Eagle Crack police team from Mile One Police Station for driving against traffic, and he was being detained there,” Ezenwarili stated.
Ezenwarili, who was accompanied by his legal team, wondered why the police released his vehicle to him and still kept late Ikwunado and others in detention until he died 10 days later.
He said he decided to speak to the press in order to dissociate himself from the murder of an innocent man, saying he never reported any matter to the Eagle Crack police team.
Ezenwarili added, “I want the whole world to hear my story so that nobody will associate me with the blood of an innocent man,” he said, pointing out that the deceased never snatched his car and he (owner of the said car) never lodged any complaint in any police station.
Similarly, a group, the Committee for the Defense of Human Right (CDHR) has called on the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mustapha Dandaura to identify operatives responsible for the death of a mechanic, Chima Ikwunado while in police custody, and ensure that they face justice.
The immediate past National Publicity Secretary of CDHR, Henry Ekine while speaking to newsmen in Port Harcourt, said the group would take all legal majors to ensure justice for late Ikwunado.
Ekine stated that the reason given by the Rivers State Police Command on what caused the death of Chima Ikwunado is unjustifiable.
He also said the committee for the defence of human right will, pointing out that the group will investigate the cause of death of the detainee and defend the matter in court.
“The news is really disturbing to the Committee for Defence of Human Right. The Committee for the Defense of Human Rights, from our National Secretariat in Lagos and the Rivers State branch, we are committed to ensuring that the truth of this matter is unravelled.
“The unjustified reaction on the side of the police is unacceptable. We are committed to ensuring that justice is done and that those who are involved in this are brought to book to face the law.
“We are going to push on this to the extreme including taking all legal actions,” he stated.
Ekine also called on the state police boss to prove the integrity of the force by ensuring that any police officer involved in the death of Chima Ikwunado is punished.
“The police should be more professional in their dealings with Nigerians in any issue that comes to the police. The law enjoins that the police should sieve and in fact look through thoroughly in the complaints that come before them.
“The information we have gathered is that the police have gone outside of their powers. We enjoin the commissioner of police in Rivers State to ensure that they do not bring this under any cover.

 

Dennis Naku & Charity Opara

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Stop Killings Of Christians, Northern CAN Tells Buhari

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The recurring attacks, kidnappings and killings of Christians especially in the North-East by the Jihadist groups have been described as a ploy to set the northern region on fire if the Federal Government fails to curb the trend.
The Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the 19 Northern States and the FCT, Rev. Yakubu Pam expressed the opinion on the heels of the killing of CAN Chairman, Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State, Rev. Lawan Andimi.
Pam, worried by the situation noted that the Federal Government should rise and stem the tide of unwarranted killings of Christians so that wrong signals are not sent to Christian faithful in other geo-political zones of the nation as it seems the entire Christian community in the North is under siege.
According to him, “Interreligious leaders in the North have worked so hard to bring the two main religions, Christianity and Islam adherents to work closely with one another for the peace of the Northern states in recent years.
“The gains made are now being eroded with the recent development of upsurge of Jihadists on the loose in North-East states of Nigeria.
“President Buhari administration should double up its efforts in the management of the current situation in the North to avoid outbreak of religious crisis in the region which would not be of any benefit to anyone.”
The Northern CAN leader added that “the recent video that emerged from ISIS affiliated terror group and the horrific footage released by ISIS News Agency showing a child of about eight years old carrying out the execution of a Christian in an unidentified outdoor area of Borno State is frightening.
“The under-age Jihadist was seen in the video warning Christians to be ready to witness more killings and as such it has sent shock waves into the heart of Christian leaders and faithful in the North that their lives are not safe unless the Federal Government quickly arrests this ugly development before people begin to resort to self help.”
He called on the Christians in the North to be vigilant and watchful as directed by the Lord Jesus Christ over the current happenings around their environment and report same quickly to security agencies located within their homes and environment for prompt security action to save lives of innocent Christians doing their legitimate business in the region.
In the same vein, the Northern Governors Forum has condemned the gruesome murder of Rev Lawan Andimi, who was the local council chapter chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and also a pastor with the Church of the Brethren (EYN) at the District Church Council of Michika, Adamawa State by Boko Haram terrorist group.
In a statement, Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum and Plateau State Governor, Simon Bako Lalong, yesterday, described the act as yet another sad tale of inhuman activities of the terrorist group which is bent on unleashing sorrow in the hearts of Nigerians.
While commiserating with the family of the late clergyman, the church and people of Adamawa State, Lalong urged them not to allow the ugly incident affect their faith in God and love for humanity as the death of the late clergyman cannot be a catalyst for hatred among Nigerians who are disgusted by the cruelty of the terrorist organisation.
He said the Northern Governors Forum remains united in their support for security agencies to continue to rise up to not only terrorist groups, but all forms of criminality that seek to divide the country along ethnic, religious or political lines.
Lalong emphasized that the Northern Governors Forum stands shoulder to shoulder with President Muhammadu Buhari as he rallies the world towards defeating terror groups and their sponsors as well as the purveyors of their bizarre ideology which propagates sorrow, hatred and pain on innocent persons in the name of religion and others claims.
Similarly, the National Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) has expressed shock over the killing of the Christian Association of Nigeria chairman in Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State, Pastor Lawan Andimi, by Boko Haram.
The council described the murder as barbaric and provocative, adding that it was a ploy by the insurgents to incite Christians against Muslims in the country.
Andimi was abducted by Boko Haram on January 3, and subsequently killed last Monday despite being offered a N50million ransom.
The NSCIA, in a statement in Abuja, yesterday, by its Head of Media and Communication, Aselemi Ibrahim, condoled with CAN and the family of the deceased, and also called on the Federal Government and the security agencies to be alive to their responsibilities of protection of lives and property.
It cautioned CAN leadership to think through its public statements “so as not to play into the antics of the enemy”.
The Muslim body stated, “The council hereby expresses her heartfelt condolences to the immediate family of Pastor Lawan Andimi in particular and the leadership and members of the Christian Association of Nigeria in general.
“We equally want to seize this opportunity to appeal to the leadership of CAN in Nigeria to be wary of the comments and statements it puts out in the public domain, so as not to play into the antics of the enemy.
“We should think through and be sure that our comments are in the interest of national peace, security and cohesion.”
The NSCIA expressed its commitment to a safe and united Nigeria “where everyone is protected and free to practice his/her religion without encumbrances”.

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Only Restructuring’ll Save Nigeria From Annihilation, Stakeholders Insist

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Former Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife; Prof. David Aworawo of UNILAG; Mr. Soji Awogbade, of the Voice of Reason, a pro-Yoruba organisation; and Afenifere spokesman, Yinka Odumakin; have told Nigerian that restructuring of the country is the only way forward.
Ezeife said Nigeria is not an accident of British colonialism but a creation of God using British colonialism.
He said Nigeria has not attained the position of global leadership because of its current structure.
Odumakin disagreed on the notion that Nigeria is a creation of God.
He said Nigeria was created by the British.
He said the colonialists did not have the concept of nationhood when they amalgamated the protectorates of northern and southern Nigeria in 1914.
These were the positions they adopted, yesterday, at a conference on restructuring organised by the Institute of African and Diaspora Studies (IADS), the University of Lagos (UNILAG).
According to Ezeife, Nigeria has failed to attain the role of a global superpower because of her unitary structure.
He said: “God designed for Nigeria, unmatched greatness, to enable her to achieve His purpose for creating her. That purpose is Nigeria’s manifest destiny.
“To restructure Nigeria, and make her able to achieve her manifest destiny is the task every Nigerian should pray for and help to bring about. This task must be performed, and urgently too.
“Surely, Nigeria was not an accident of British imperialism. No, God created Nigeria using British imperialism’s mere tools. And God created Nigeria to be a rallying point and big brother for Africa and, indeed, for all the blacks on earth.”
He also blamed the National Assembly for contributing to the current problems the country is passing through, adding that the National Assembly must also be restructured for Nigeria to work.
“Recently, the National Assembly dealt with the issue of devolution of power, which is a key element in the restructuring of Nigeria. Devolution of power deals with sharing of power between the centre or Federal Government and the federating units.
“It is what makes a federation a federation. As it were, by their rejection of devolution of powers, the National Assembly is saying no to the appellation Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The National Assembly is part of the problem and needs to be restructured to work in the overall interest of the country. It is clearly unrealistic to leave the issue of restructuring Nigeria to the National Assembly as it is composed,” he added.
Odumakin, who is the publicity secretary of pan Yoruba group, Afenifere, said the British never envisioned Nigeria to be a nation.
“There is nothing like Nigerian nation. The British did not have nationhood in mind; they merely amalgamated the southern and northern protectorate. The Southern protectorate was making £500,000 surplus and the Northern protectorate was making £500,000 deficit. Lord Lugard needed the money from the south to run Nigeria. That has continued to date.”
He noted that the report of the 2014 National Conference would have addressed all the problems confronting Nigeria today if it was implemented.
“The 2014 National Conference had a unanimous agreement on all subjects before it except derivation. The only way Nigeria can achieve peace is to restructure along federal lines where every region will control its resources. The command and control structure we have now will not allow us to developed.”
He added that every part of the country has enough resources to develop, and urged leaders in the North opposed to restructuring to put their resources into productive use.
“In Economics, the first of the factors of production is land. Niger State has more land than the whole southeast states put together, they should put their land to productive use.
“You also talk of labour, what happened to the population? They should be put to work. The problem we have today is that people are hanging about, playing Baba Ijebu, they don’t want to do anything, but they want quick money,” he added.

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