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Mutallab’s Son Arrested Over Attempted Bombing In US

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Twenty-three year old Abdulfarouk Umar Abdulmutallab, son of former Chairman of First Bank Plc, Alhaji Umar Mutallab, was Saturday in Michigan, United States arrested for trying to blow up North-west Delta Airlines flight on Christmas day.

He was charged in a make-shift court session at the University of Michigan hospital, where the suspect was being treated for burns. He had bandages in his hands, spoke in English, and told the district attorney that he could not afford to pay for an attorney.

He was accused of “willful attempt to destroy an aircraft within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States and wilfully placing and causing to be placed a destructive device upon and or proximity to such aircraft.”

In a five-page affidavit deposed by Theodore James, FBI special agent before District Judge Paul Borman, the justice department said Abdul Mutallab had a device containing a high explosive attached to his body on flight 253 from Amsterdam.

Also Saturday, Alhaji Mutallab, who was former Federal Commissioner for Economic Development in the Murtala/Obasanjo administration, was quizzed for hours by a combined team of the nation’s security agencies in Abuja over the bombing incident involving his son.

The Justice Department said Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab who was born on December 22, 1986 had a device containing a high explosive attached to his body on Flight 253 from Amsterdam.

A preliminary analysis of the device shows that it contained PETN, also known as pentaerythritol, according to the affidavit filed in federal court in Detroit.

Abdulmutallab allegedly told passengers that his stomach was upset, then pulled a blanket over himself, the affidavit said. Passengers then heard popping noises that sounded like fireworks and smelled smoke before at least one passenger climbed over seats and tackled Abdulmutallab.

“Had this alleged plot to destroy an airplane been successful, scores of innocent people would have been killed or injured,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. “We will continue to investigate this matter vigorously, and we will use all measures available to our government to ensure that anyone responsible for this attempted attack is brought to justice.”

Abdulmutallab claimed to have been instructed by al-Qaida to detonate the plane over U.S. soil, said a U.S. law enforcement official. But others cautioned that such claims could not be verified immediately.

London’s Metropolitan Police also were working with U.S. officials, said a spokeswoman who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with department policy.

The father of the suspect Mutallab, told The Associated Press on Saturday that he didn’t know exactly where his son was but planned to speak with Nigerian authorities.

“I believe he might have been to Yemen, but we are investigating to determine that,” the father said.

Mutallab who left Funtua, his home town in Katsina State early Saturday morning for Abuja after hearing about the news of his son’s attempted bombing and arrest reported to the security agencies at the Federal Capital Territory.

Our correspondent gathered that as at the time of going to press Mutallab was still with the security agencies.

Mutallab, admitted that the man arrested over a botched attempt to blow up a US airliner on a flight from Amsterdan to Detroit is his son.

“I have been receiving telephone calls from all over the world about my child who has been arrested for an alleged attempt to bomb a plane,” Mutallab said.

“I am really disturbed. I would not want to say anything at the moment until I put myself together. I will address a press conference on the issue on Monday. I have been summoned by the Nigerian security and I am on my way to Abuja to answer the call,’’ he said.

Family sources said Mutallab has been uncomfortable with his son’s extreme religious views and had six months ago reported his activities to United States’ Embassy, Abuja and Nigerian security agencies.

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CBN Assures On Depositors’ Fund Safety 

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Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reassured the banking public of the safety of their deposits and the banking system’s resilience.
CBN’s Acting Director of  Corporate Communications Department, Mrs Hakama Sidi-Ali, gave the assurance in a statement on  Monday in Abuja.
The statement, a response to concerns raised about the stability of some Nigerian banks in the wake of Heritage Bank Plc’s license revocation, faulted claims that the CBN was considering revoking the operating licences of Fidelity, Polaris, Wema, and Unity Banks.
It also clarified that a circular issued by the Bank on January 10, 2024, notifying the public about the dissolution of the Boards of Union, Keystone, and Polaris Banks, was currently being circulated as though it was freshly issued.
According to the Director, Heritage Bank’s case was isolated.
“Allegations of further revocation of licences prior to the completion of CBN’s recapitalisation exercise are mere fabrications aimed at creating panic within the system”, Sidi-Ali said.
She stated that bank customers, particularly those of Heritage Bank, need not worry about the safety of their deposits, adding that the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) had commenced payment to the bank’s insured depositors.
The spokesperson urged members of the public to continue their regular banking activities without fear, dismissing any false reports regarding the health of specific Deposit Money Banks.
“The CBN, with its robust regulatory framework, is proactively ensuring the stability of Nigeria’s financial system, thereby guaranteeing the safety of depositors’ funds in all Nigerian financial institutions”, she said.
Sidi-Ali reiterated the assurances of the CBN Governor, Olayemi Cardoso, that the recapitalisation of banks in Nigeria was intended to bolster the banking system and safeguard the sector against risks.

She urged all stakeholders to cooperate in ensuring the success of the process, which she said would be for the overall growth of the Nigerian economy.

“Without prejudice to the ongoing recapitalisation process, I want to restate that the Nigerian banking industry remains resilient. Key financial soundness indicators remain within current regulatory thresholds.

“Customers are, therefore, encouraged to proceed with their transactions as usual, as the CBN is committed to ensuring the safety of the banking system”, she said

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NERC Approves New Tariff Hike For Port Harcourt DisCo

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In spire of calls that the recently hiked “Band A” tariff be reversed, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has approved a new tariff hike for the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (DisCo).
NERC permitted the PHED to raise tariffs for Band A customers categorised as Maximum Demand 2 Special (A – MD2 Special).
MD customers are customers that have a load of 45kVA and above. They also operate and maintain their dedicated transformers.
From N206 per kilowatt-hour, this category of customers within the Port Harcourt franchise will now pay N225/KWh.
In a regulatory instrument tagged June 2024 Supplementary Order to the Multi-Year Tariff Order – 2024 (“June 2024 Supplementary Order”) for Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Plc, the NERC said the tariff approval was under the Tariff Review Application by PHED.
“Further to Section 23 of the MYTO-2024, this Supplementary Order seeks to reflect the changes in the pass-through indices outside the control of licensees including inflation rates, naira/dollar exchange rate, available generation capacity and gas price for the determination of Cost-Reflective Tariffs”, NERC stated.
The electricity regilator emphasised the basis for the review, saying the Naira to the US Dollar exchange rate of N1,469.06 per dollar has been adopted for June to December 2024. It said this has been determined by adding a 1 per cent transaction cost to the average foreign exchange rate of N1,454.52 during the period May 1 to 24, 2024 as obtained from the website of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
It also added that the Nigerian inflation rate of 33.69 per cent for April 2024 as published by the National Bureau of Statistics was applied to revise the Nigerian inflation rate projection for 2024.
“Under Section 116 of the Electricity Act and extant regulations, the commission has considered and approved for PHED, the tariffs (in Table 2) effective 1st June 2024. The approved tariffs shall remain in force subject to monthly adjustments of pass-through indices including inflation rates, naira/dollar exchange rates and gas-to-power prices.
“In line with the policy direction of the Federal Government of Nigeria on electricity subsidy, the allowed tariffs for Bands B – E customer categories shall remain frozen at the rates payable since December 2022 subject to further policy direction by the government.
“With this policy, the estimated subsidy benefit for customers under the PHED franchise in 2024 is approximately N11.49bn monthly”, the NERC stated.
In April, the NERC announced a new tariff for customers in Band A, from N68/KWh to N225/KWh.
It later reduced the tariff to N206.80/KWh based on the rebound of the naira.
Meanwhile, organised labour and manufacturers have kicked against the Band A tariff.

Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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AMJON Partners School To Train Journalists On Maritime Operations 

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The Association of Maritime journalists of Nigeria (AMJON) has gone into a mutually beneficial collaboration with School of Eloquence to strengthen the capacity and reporting skills of Maritime journalists.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Chairman, AMJON Organising Committee, Mr. Segun Oladipupo and made available to our correspondent in Lagos on Monday.
According to the statement, “This year’s edition, tagged “Special Edition”, is a collaborative effort between the foremost Public Speaking training School,  School of Eloquence and AMJON”.
Oladipupo said the training is slated to hold on Friday at the School of Eloquence premises at Osborne Road, Ikoyi.
“Experts from the Nigeria Customs Service, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) and School of Eloquence have been lined up to train journalists on the rudiments of their own operations”, according to the statement.
Speaking, the President of AMJON, Paul Ogbuokiri, said journalism required constant training to be in tune with evolving trends in the industry.
According to him, journalism has taken a leap from what it used to be and journalists need to equip themselves with modern journalism tools that will help them to catch up with the trends.
“We need constant training and restraining to be relevant in this age of journalism. If we fail to update ourselves, we will soon fizzle out,
“This partnership with the School of Eloquence is a right step in the right direction. It will no doubt, energise our knowledge of reportage”, he stated.
On his part, the Chairman, Organising Committee, Segun Oladipupo, said the event would afford members the opportunity to take their reporting to enviable height
He, therefore, enjoined participants to seize the opportunity to learn new trends in journalism and also learn the business side of the job.
He thanked the School of Eloquence for providing a platform for Nigerian journalists to take a flight in their daily assignment.

Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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