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Severe Flooding Kills 100 In 10 States

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Nigeria has declared a national disaster after severe flooding left about 100 people dead across 10 states, the country’s main relief agency said, yesterday.
Heavy seasonal rains have caused the Niger and Benue rivers to burst their banks, inundating communities, farms and trapping tens of thousands of people in their homes.
Speaking with newsmen, yesterday, the Director-General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mustapha Maihaja, declared flooding a national disaster in four states including Kogi, Niger, Delta and Anambra, placing eight others on the watch list.
NEMA made the declaration last Monday, days after the President ordered the agency to declare the situation a national disaster.
Following the order, Maihaja had earlier inaugurated five Emergency Operation Centres (EOC) to facilitate prompt search and rescue operations as well as humanitarian support in the 12 states worst affected by flooding.
The Emergency Response Centres will be responsible for planning, organising, directing and supervising deployment of resources with the affected state governments and local authorities and communities.
The primary objective is to localise the responses and expedite intervention to save lives and facilitate quick recovery.
At the command centre in Abuja, the NEMA DG and other chief executives will be responsible for the formulation of policy and operational guidelines for the conduct of emergency operations in all the worst affected states.
The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) had earlier warned that the steady rise in water levels and weather forecast in the coming weeks have put Nigeria at risk of witnessing a recurrence of the catastrophic flooding similar to what it witnessed in 2012.
In 2012, catastrophic flooding had affected up to 30 states in the country and resulted in the deaths of over 300 people and displaced more than two million people, according to data from NEMA.
NIHSA, therefore, believes the country is at risk of a recurrence of the disaster if proper steps are not taken.
With the increase in rainfall and the daily rise in the water levels on both the rivers Niger and Benue, many states have fallen victim to the flooding which has killed many and rendered several others homeless.
In Kogi State, 10 local governments have been submerged by flood in the last 72 hours, according to the state governor, Yahaya Bello.
As a result, 33 camps have been created for the victims numbering about 4,000.
Also in Niger State, more than 100 communities have been submerged, Channels tv reports.
In Kano State, Government has confirmed the death of 31 people and destruction of more than 10,000 houses during the recent flood disaster in 15 Local Government Areas of the state.
Alhaji Ali Bashir, the Executive Secretary of the State Emergency Relief and Rehabilitation Agency (SERERA) disclosed this in an interview with newsmen in Kano .
Bashir said that the cost of the disaster, which wreaked havoc on more than 10,000 houses in the affected areas, was estimated at over N5 billion.
“Thirty one people lost their lives and more than 10,000 houses that are estimated at over N5 billion were affected.
“Most of the affected houses were either totally or partially destroyed,” the Executive Secretary said.
He explained that no fewer than 35,000 farmers were also affected by the disaster in eight local government areas of the state.
In Edo State, at least 30,000 persons have been displaced by flood submerged 42 communities in Esan South East Local Government Area of Edo.
Newsmen report that over 8,000 houses and thousands of hectares of farmland were affected by the flood.
The communities that are mostly are on the bank of River Niger, and had their crops, such as rice, were washed away by the flood.
The council chairman, Mr Victor Emuankhagbon, while lamenting the loss, called for urgent assistance for the victims.
He said because of the enormous destruction occasioned by the flood, there was little or nothing the council could do.
While noting that no fewer than 30,000 persons were displaced by the flood, he said a temporary camp was set up to accommodate the displaced.
“It is huge natural disaster which mainly affected Ifeku Island and Illushi mainland.
The destruction is such that I cannot quantify the loss. “I am appealing to all relevant government agencies, as well as the state and Federal government, to come to the aid of the victims. “The disaster is mind boggling.
Homes are submerged, some destroyed, farmlands and crops washed away.
People don’t have homes to sleep in, no dry land to even cook their meals. “We are in the process of evacuating them to safer locations.
But the job is obviously beyond us; hence we are calling on both the state and federal governments to come to our aid without delay,” said Emuankhagbon.
The council boss listed some of the affected communities to include: Illushi Oji, Oji Ozigono, Oji Awenje, Ajobe, Ajabutu, Owoli, Iyegbi and Ukpodo.
Emuankhagbon noted that four wards out of the ten wards in the council, were affected by the disaster.
Also in Niger State, Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA) yesterday disclosed that 160 communities had been submerged by flood in the state since the rains began in June.
Alhaji Ibrahim Inga, Director General, NSEMA, disclosed this when officials from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Kaduna Field Office, visited him to assess the extent of flooding in the state.
Inga said that the state government had approved release of N28 million to NSEMA to cater for displaced flood victims in Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps.
He said that the agency had established seven IDP camps for families and persons whose communities were submerged by the flood.
According to the director-general, the IDP camps are located at Zungeru Central Primary School, Maikakaki, Muye, Ceku, Ebbo, Gbaciku and Gungu.
“The flood situation confronting us in Niger is beyond the state’s capacity, even one year of the state’s budget cannot solve the problem, and children and women are the most vulnerable,’’ he said.
Inga said that the Nigerian Air Force, Nigeria Association of Medical Practitioners, Red Cross and the State Child Rights Agency were partnering the agency to give aid to victims, especially children and women.
Earlier, Mr Rabiu Musa, Communication Officer and Focal Person Emergency, UNICEF Kaduna Field Office, said that the team was on assessment of the flood situation in the state.
“Our visit to Niger is to assess the situation and report back on what we have seen for further decision and action,’’ Musa said.
In another development, All primary, post primary and tertiary schools in Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra have been temporarily closed down in reaction to the flood disaster in the area.
The council Chairman, Mr Arinze Awogu disclosed this while inaugurating the distribution of relief materials at the council headquarters, Atani yesterday.
Awogu said the closure of the schools was in line with the directive of Gov. Willie Obiano who said schools in the affected areas should close down to avert loss of life.
“We are in an emergency situation and for us, safety of life is paramount, people will not have need for education when they are dead.
The council boss said Ogbaru had taken delivery of buckets, mattresses, mats, mosquito nets and blankets from the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) but noted that it was still a far cry from what was required.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari said on Monday he had approved the release of three billion naira ($8.3 million, 7.1 million euros) to buy medical and relief materials.
Flooding along the rivers is a frequent occurrence during the annual rains, which fall from May to September.

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Tinubu Lauds Dangote’s Diesel Price Cut, Foresees Economic Relief

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President Bola Tinubu, yesterday, applauded Dangote Oil and Gas Limited for reducing the price of Automotive Gas Oil, also known as diesel, from N1,650 to N1,000 per litre.
The Dangote Group recently reviewed downwards the gantry price of AGO from N1,650 to N1,000 per litre for a minimum of one million litres of the product, as well as providing a discount of N30 per litre for an offtake of five million litres and above
Tinubu described the move as an “enterprising feat” and said, “The price review represents a 60 per cent drop, which will, in no small measure, impact the prices of sundry goods and services.”
In a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, Tinubu affirmed that Nigerians and domestic businesses are the nation’s surest transport and security to economic prosperity.
The statement is titled ‘President Tinubu commends Dangote Group over new gantry price of diesel.’
Tinubu also noted the Federal Government’s 20 per cent stake in Dangote Refinery, saying such partnerships between public and private entities are essential to advancing the country’s overall well-being.
Therefore, he called on Nigerians and businesses to, at this time, put the nation in priority gear while assuring them of a conducive, safe, and secure environment to thrive.
This statement comes precisely a week after Dangote met President Tinubu in Lagos, where he said Nigerians should expect a drop in inflation given the cut in diesel pump prices.
“In our refinery, we have started selling diesel at about ¦ 1,200 for ¦ 1,650 and I’m sure as we go along…this can help to bring inflation down immediately,” Dangote told journalists after he paid homage to President Bola Tinubu at the latter’s residence to mark Eid-el-Fitr.
The businessman said his petroleum refinery had been selling diesel at N1,200 per litre, compared to the previous price of N1,650–N1,700.
He expressed hopes that Nigeria’s economy will improve, as the naira has made some gains in the foreign exchange market, dropping from N1,900/$ to the current level of N1,250 – N1,300.
Dangote said this rise in value has sparked a gradual drop in the price of locally-produced goods, such as flour, as businesses are paying less for diesel. Therefore, he asserted that the reduced fuel costs would drive down inflation in the coming months.
“I believe that we are on the right track. I believe Nigerians have been patient and I also believe that a lot of goodies will now come through.
“There’s quite a lot of improvement because, if you look at it, one of the major issues that we’ve had was the naira devaluation that has gone very aggressively up to about ¦ 1,900.
“But right now, we’re back to almost ¦ 1,250, ¦ 1,300, which is a good reprieve. Quite a lot of commodities went up.
“When you go to the market, for example, something that we produce locally, like flour, people will charge you more. Why? Because they’re paying very high prices on diesel,” he explained.
He argued that the reduced diesel price would have “a lot of impact” on local businesses.
“Going forward, even though the crude prices are going up, I believe people will not get it much higher than what it is today, N1,200.
“It might be even a little bit lower, but that can help quite a lot because if you are transporting locally-produced goods and you were paying N1,650, now you are spending two-thirds of that amount, N1,200. It’s a lot of difference. People don’t know.
“This can help bring inflation down immediately. And I’m sure when the inflation figures are out for the next month, you’ll see that there’s quite a lot of improvement in the inflation rate, one step at a time. And I’m sure the government is working around the clock to ensure things get much better,” Dangote added.
He also urged captains of industry to partner with the government to improve the lives of citizens.
“You can’t clap with one hand,” said the businessman, adding, “So, both the entrepreneurs and the government need to clap together and make sure that it is in the best interest of everybody.”

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Court Halts Amaewhule-Led Assembly From Extending LG Officials’ Tenure

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The Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has issued an interim injunction directing the maintenance of status quo ante belum following the move by the Martin Amaewhule-led Assembly in Rivers State to extend the tenure of the elected local government councils’ officials.
The Amaewhule-led Assembly, which is loyal to the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, had amended the Local Government Law Number 5 of 2018 and other related matters.
Amaewhule, explained that the amendments of Section 9(2), (3) and (4)of the Principal Law was to empower the House of Assembly via a resolution to extend the tenure of elected chairmen and councilors, where it is considered impracticable to hold local government elections before the expiration of their three years in office.
But the court asked all the parties to maintain the status quo ante belum pending the hearing and determination of motion on notice for the interlocutory injunction.
The court presided over by G.N. Okonkwo also ordered that the claimant/applicant would enter into an undertaking to indemnify the defendants in the sum of N5million should the substantive case turned out to be frivolous.
The court fixed April 22, 2024 to hear the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.
Okonkwo also issued an order of substituted service of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction, originating summons and other subsequent processes on the defendants.
The orders were made following a suit filed by Executive Chairman, Opobo-Nkoro, Enyiada Cooky-Gam; Bonny, Anengi Claude-Wilcox; and five other elected council officials challenging the decision of the Amaewhule-led House of Assembly to extend the tenure of local government areas.
Also named as defendants in the suit are the Governor of Rivers State, the Government of Rivers State and the Attorney-General of Rivers State.
The claimants/applicants are praying the court for a declaration that under section 9(1) of the Rivers State Local Government Amendment Law number 5 of 2018 the tenure of office of the chairmen and members of the 23 local government councils of Rivers State is three years
A declaration that the tenure of office of the elected chairmen and members of the local government areas would expire on the 17th of June 2024 having commenced on the 18th of June 2021 when they were sworn in.
A declaration that the defendants cannot in any manner or form extend the tenure of office of the chairmen and members of the local government areas after the expiration of their tenure.
An order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from extending the tenure of office of the chairmen and members of the local government areas.
An order of perpetual injunction restraining the 28th, 29th and 30th defendants (the Governor, the Government House and the Attorney-General) from giving effects to any purported extension of the tenure of the chairmen and members of the local government areas.
They also prayed for an order of interlocutory injunction directing all the defendants to maintain the status quo by not elongating the three-year tenure of the chairmen and councilors.
The claimants further sought an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the defendants from extending the tenures of the chairmen and the councilors.

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Nigeria’s Inflation Rate’ll Drop To 23% By 2025 -IMF

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In a recent release of its Global Economic Outlook at the International Monetary Fund/World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington D.C., on Tuesday, the IMF provided projections for Nigeria’s economy, indicating a significant shift in inflation rates.
Division Chief of the IMF Research Department, Daniel Leigh, highlighted the impact of Nigeria’s economic reforms, including exchange rate adjustments, which have led to a surge in inflation rate to 33.2 percent in March.
Nigeria’s inflation rate rose to 33.2 percent according to recent data released by the National Bureau of Statistics.
Also, the food inflation rate increased to over 40 per cent in the first quarter of 2024.
Leigh stated, “We see inflation declining to 23 per cent next year and then 18 percent in 2026.”
This is however different from the fund’s prediction of a new single-digit (15.5 per cent ) inflation rate for 2025 which it predicted last year.
He further elaborated on Nigeria’s economic growth, which is expected to rise from 2.9 percent last year to 3.3 percent this year, attributing this expansion to the recovery in the oil sector, improved security, and advancements in agriculture due to better weather conditions and the introduction of dry season farming.
The IMF official also noted a broad-based increase in Nigeria’s financial and IT sectors.
“Inflation has increased, reflecting the reforms, the exchange rate, and its pass-through into other goods from imports to other goods,” Leigh explained.
He added that the IMF revised its inflation projection for the current year to 26 percent but emphasised that tight monetary policies and significant interest rate increases during February and March are expected to curb inflation.
An official of the IMF Research Department, Pierre Olivier Gourinchas commented on the global economic landscape, mentioning that oil prices have risen partly due to geopolitical tensions, and services inflation remains high in many countries.
Despite Nigeria’s inflation target of six to nine percent being missed for over a decade, Gourinchas stressed that bringing inflation back to target should be the priority.
He warned of the risks posed by geo-economic fragmentation to global growth prospects and the need for careful calibration of monetary policy.
“Trade linkages are changing, and while some economies could benefit from the reconfiguration of global supply chains, the overall impact may be a loss of efficiency, reducing global economic resilience,” Gourinchas said.
He also emphasised the importance of preserving the improvements in monetary, fiscal, and financial policy frameworks, particularly for emerging market economies, to maintain a resilient global financial system and prevent a permanent resurgence in inflation.

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