Actions and inactions of the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, are responsible for the woes of all parties involved in Nigeria’s power sector value chain, the 11 power distribution companies (DISCOs) in the country have declared.
Director, Research and Advocacy, Association of Electricity Distributors (ANED), Barrister Sunday Oduntan, said this at a world press conference in Lagos yesterday.
Besides, he said that the minister’s relationship with stakeholders is headmaster/pupils rapport, which gives no room for the much-needed “sincere collaboration.”
Stating that interactive and collaborative talks that would aid development of the sector are not allowed at the monthly stakeholders’ meeting, Oduntan maintained that the minister only comes around, read speeches and give orders to those he is expected to engage in mind-to-mind talk to get solutions to the challenges facing the sector.
“Under the watch of Mr. Fashola as the minister, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has conducted no minor review of the Multi-Year Tariff in violation of the law. This has worsened the under recovery in the entire value chain far above N1.1 trillion,” he said.
Noting that the DISCOs are battling with dire economic situation fostered on them by the lack of cost-reflective tariff, Oduntan insisted that only one of the power firms had foreign direct investment (FDI) as at the time the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN’s) assets were sold to them. Others procured the asset with facilities from the Nigerian banks, he added.
Specifically, he said that if DISCOs collapse, many Nigerian banks will also collapse with the lenders.
In the last four years, he said the power firms had issued two force majeures to tell the government they cannot meet contractual obligations.
“If I file for force majeure and you can assure me that my money would be paid, we shall work on it. But Yola DISCO has filed, and up till now, they have not been paid,” he said as condition for force majeure.
If this continues, he said, Nigeria cannot have uninterrupted power supply in the next five years.
On threat by the government to dip the shares of private investors in the DISCOs, the ANED scribe said: “I can assure you as a lawyer that because there is share sales agreement; because there is performance sharing contract, which stipulates performance expectations from shareholders, if and when we get to the bridge, we shall cross it. Already, GENCOs – generation companies, are in court, DISCOs are also in court and anything that can be done to address this issue will be done.”
Consequently, he said that DISCOs are compelled to respond to the significantly distorted picture that had been painted of the electricity distribution companies by the minister.
Villa feud: Disgraceful, shows Buhari’s leadership failure – PDP
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described as disgraceful and lack of managerial ability of President Muhammadu Buhari, the open fight between the First Lady, Aisha Buhari and President Buhari’s cousins, over rooms in the Presidential Villa.
The party noted that the open fight has exposed the president’s leadership failure.
PDP in a statement Tuesday by the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, further said that such has highlighted why Buhari has failed in delivering on governance in the last five years.
“The feud further uncovers the impunity, disorderliness and vanity that pervade the Buhari presidency and how the once serious and productive seat of power has been turned into a house of comedy and an overcrowded quarter for illegal occupants.
“Nigerians can now see why it has become difficult for our nation to witness any stability or progress under the Buhari presidency and why the Buhari-led Federal Government has been bedeviled by confusion, infighting, policy flip-flops, statutory violations, promotion of violence, ingrained corruption and administrative indolence while millions of Nigerians wallow in poverty and neglect.
“Nigerians and the world can equally see why no one expects the Buhari presidency to articulate any progressive idea or proffer and implement any solution to the myriad of economic and security problems it caused our nation; they can now see why there is no hope in sight and why compatriots are daily agitating for a new order.
“Our party notes that our dear nation has suffered enough disgrace from the Buhari presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC),” the party stated.
It demanded an immediate apology from President Buhari to Nigerians for his failures and asked him to vacate office since it has become obvious that he is leading the country to nowhere.
$2m: EFCC re-arraigns Atiku’s lawyer, brother
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday re-arraigned Uyiekpen Giwa-Osagie, a lawyer to former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, and his brother, Erhunse Giwa-Osagie, at a Federal High Court in Lagos for allegedly laundering $2 million in the build-up to the 2019 general election.
The Giwa-Osagie brothers were docked before Justice Chuka Obiozor, who has just taken over the case, on a three-count charge bordering on the alleged offence. They however denied the alleged offence.
Upon a request by their lawyers, Johnson Samuel and Oladimeji Anjorin, Justice Obiozor permitted them to continue on the existing bail conditions granted them by Justice Oweibo.
Prior to the defendants’ re-arraignment, Justice Obiozor had turned down separate requests by their lawyers for an adjournment of the matter.
The two defence lawyers present in court had drew the court’s attention to separate lawyers from their principals seeking for a further date to re-arraign the defendants.
Uyiekpen’s lawyer, Johnson Samuel, who stood in for Mr. Ahmed Raji (SAN) told the court that his principal had requested for adjournment to enable him be in court when his client’s plea will be taken.
In the same vein, Erhunse’s lawyer, Oladimeji Anjorin, who stood in for his principal, Mr. Norrison Quakers (SAN) equally drew the court’s attention to a letter and one application filed by his principal.
The letter is seeking an adjournment for the hearing of the case while the application sought to consolidate the charge against Erhunse with that of Abdullahi Babalele, Atiku’s son-in-law.
While urging the court to discountenance the letters, EFCC’s lawyer, Kufre Uduak, said there was no basis for the requests.
Uduak also urged the court to refused Erhunse’s application seeking consolidation of the charge against him with that of Babalele on the ground that they were not the same.
The lawyer disclosed that he was not abreast of the facts in the charge against Atiku’s son-in-law, as he was not the counsel in the matter.
In a Bench ruling, Justice Obiozor held that there was nothing before him to give him an insight into what the charge against Babalele is all about. He also turned down the requests for adjournment.
“There was nothing before me to know what FHC/L/484c/19, is all about. This matter is not for counsel’s plea, plea belongs to all defendants, after plea is commencement of trial.
“Now that this charge has been assigned to this court, there is no reason not to proceed today. By NJC’s directive, the court has the right to proceed with any case before it, even with the pendency of a petition.
“The Admin. Judge may or may not concede to the consolidation, until that decision is taken, I see no reason not to proceed with the case, particularly, as the business of today is for plea.
“Finally, the application is refused and defendants are called upon to take their plea,” the judge ruled.
Further hearing in the matter has been adjourned to December 5, 2019, for commencement of defendants’ trial.
It would be recalled that the defendants were first arraigned during the court’s long vacation before Justice Nicholas Oweibo.
However, the matter was re-assigned to Justice Obiozor on resumption of normal court activities after the vacation
N90bn FIRS story: Wazobia FM retracts story, apologises to Osinbajo
A few weeks after a major newspaper, (not New Telegraph) apologised and retracted its story on allegations by Timi Frank regarding a N90B FIRS funding to VP for the 2019 elections, another media organisation now a broadcast station has apologized to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
‘Wazobia FM’ apologized to the Vice President, saying that it had since discovered, like other well-meaning individuals and Nigerian organisations that the allegations were baseless, untrue and substantiated.
The station which also aired the report of the unfounded allegations through its popular programme titled: ”Dem Say Dem Say”, retracted the reports, saying ”We are sorry the Vice President.”
The radio station apologised and tendered its unreserved apology to the Vice President, thorough the presenter of the programme, popularly known as Expensive James, saying that it erroneously joined the broadcast of fake news.
It was gathered that the Vice-President, had ,through his solicitors, Osaror Ehogbami (SAN) and Femi Atoyebi (SAN), written to the station that the report was meant to tarnish his hard-earned reputation built over the years, saying that Vice President Osinbajo had never been found wanting or linked to any act of corruption in his private or public offices.
In a letter to the station, the solicitors had said that for over four decades, the VP had been a distinguished scholar and legal practitioner and had risen through the ranks and files of his career. The lawyers added that the VP was Attorney General of Lagos State for eight years and became a Senior Advocate of Nigeria in 2002 with unblemished records.
The station, however, took a swipe at all the media who carried the report, saying evidence had proven that the report was fake news and a calculated attempt to tarnish the image of the Vice President. The station said: “Christian Association of Nigeria has said that while all the allegations are sponsored by those bent on tarnishing the image of the VP, he is not corrupt.
“If our station has joined those tarnishing the VP’s image to carry out fake news on allegations of the N90billion, we are sorry because, we don’t have any ulterior motive, especially for unfounded and unsubstantiated reports such as that. We are very sorry Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, don’t be annoyed, because you are a Godly man.”
The presenter added that the station also looked forward to inviting Vice President Osinbajo to the station to tell his side of the story and expose the cabals said to be responsible for the dissemination of the fake news so that the world could hear from him directly.
It would be recalled that the national newspaper had also retracted the baseless story in its entirety, saying that the report lacks factual substances.
Ojebode: TV stations may go into extinction, unless…
Sola Adeyemo, Ibadan
Professor Ayobami Ojebode, the current Head of Department of Communication and Language Arts, University of Ibadan, has observed that the advent of technology will surely affect the future of television stations as online provision has made available to viewers all they need to see or hear in gigantic television sets.
Speaking at the International Conference Centre of the University of Ibadan where he delivered a keynote address to mark the 60th anniversary of the first television station in Africa, the Western Nigerian Television (WNTV) established by Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo in 1959, Ojebode, however, noted that the television stations that would survive the trend would be those abreast of the stiffer competition leading to improved quality and relevance of their programmes.
Regretting that many television stations have been turned to photo albums and e-diaries by governors of states, the don said that “in the old order, the medium, television, was king. In the current order, the audience is king. In the coming order, content will be king. Those televisions being controlled by the governors will have to repent or perish in the coming order.
“Chief Obafemi Awolowo once said: ‘And I am confident that in due course (television) will assist in making our great country greater’. It is, however, the time to suggest that if we want a television that will make our country greater than it is now, we must explore the television of experience, one that scrutinizes the audience through large data analysis, and seeks to meet the audience where they are. Television stations which have become the photo albums of the state governors or mouthpieces of political groups have no place in the coming dispensation. Stations that are unwilling to invest in workers’ training and in modern equipment also do not belong”, Ojebode said.
Noting that the celebration was not the birth of NTA, Ojebode said that: “NTA remains a relic of an excessive military fiat, the exertion of federal might which aborted the regional initiative, federalism and growth. The more one thinks of the takeover of WNTV and other regional stations by the military government, the more difficult to understand its justification.”
CJN approves Alaibe’s request for case transfer, as Diri’s counsels protest
Pauline Onyibe, Yenagoa
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad on Tuesday approved the request of Ndutimi Alaibe to transfer his suit against the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Senator Douye Diri over the disputed September 3 governorship primaries of the Party in the state to Abuja.
The Presiding Judge of the Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, Justice Jane Iyang while announcing her decision to accent to the directive of the CJN said the decision was based on the request of Ndutimi Alaibe dated September 27 and received by her Court on the 10th of October 10.
According to her, Chief Ndutimi Alaibe’s letter did not question the credibility of the Federal High Court but expressed security concerns in the state.
“I hereby transfer the case,” she said.
The decision of the Court, which came as a surprise to the defendant’s counsels, elicited protest over the alleged secrecy as it was delivered by the Plaintiff.
The National Legal Adviser of the PDP and Counsel to the Party, Emmanuel Enoidem Esq, the Counsel to the 4th and 5th respondents, Chuks Oguru Esq kicked against the request of Timi Alaibe but the Counsel to Senator Douye Diri, Barrister Chiemezie V.C. Ihekweazu declined to comment.
Emmanuel Enoidem, while speaking with newsmen after the Court session, said: “We came in this morning only to be told that the matter has been transferred due to a letter by Timi Alaibe.
“We are a bit taken aback at the turn of events and not because we are afraid of the case in Abuja. This is a man who wants to be governor of Bayelsa State and not the governor of the FCT or any other state in Nigeria. And if he is running away from Bayelsa, I am afraid what kind of governor the person will make,” he said.
NAF wings first female combat pilots after 55 years
Emmanuel Onani, Abuja
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on Tuesday, winged 13 pilots, who recently completed their flying training abroad, thus qualifying for the award of the prestigious Wing.
Among the newly-winged pilots were two female regular combatant officers – Flying Officer Kafayat Sani and Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile – both of whom made history as the first women to be so awarded in the 55 years of the establishment of the NAF.
Also decorated at the ceremony that held at the NAF’s headquarters in Abuja, was the first female Air Warrant Officer, Mrs. Grace Garba, who was recently elevated to the rank, which is the highest non-commissioned rank in the service.
In his remarks at the ceremony, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, said one of the two female regular combatant officers is a fighter pilot, while the other is a combat helicopter pilot.
The CAS further disclosed that both female pilots had demonstrated exceptional brilliance, leading to their overseas training.
This was as he maintained that the training of the pilots was an eloquent testimony to his commitment to training and other capacity building initiatives in the Service.
“I am deeply honoured and very delighted this morning to welcome you all to this unique occasion of the winging ceremony of 13 NAF pilots who recently completed their flying training abroad and qualified for the award of the NAF prestigious Wing,” the CAS said.
According to him: “Today indeed marks another milestone in the history of the NAF and I am gratified to be part of it. I am particularly happy because out of the 13 pilots to be winged to are two female Regular Combatant officers. Not only because they are female officers, but they are also outstanding aviators. While one of the two pilots is the first female fighter pilot in the 55-year history of the NAF, the second one is the first female combat helicopter pilot in the history of the Service.
“The first female fighter pilot trained at the United States Air Force following an excellent performance during her initial flying training course at 401 Flying Training School in Kaduna, while the second graduated from Starlite International Training Academy. They both performed excellently well during their training.
“It is common knowledge that of all resources available to a leader or manager, the human resource is the most important. This is because the human resource drives all other resources pursuant to the attainment of organisational objectives. It is predicated on this consideration that the NAF spares nothing at developing its human resource capital.
“This desire for excellence is even more compelling in the face of current and perceived future national security challenges. Accordingly, NAF has continued to invest in human capacity building, since the Service is a veritable instrument for maintenance of national security. The NAF will continue to discharge her constitutional responsibility of protecting Nigeria’s sovereignty and integrity by air.”
The Air Chief said 61 other pilots were undergoing basic flying trying, while 50 others continued with advanced training programmes, at home and abroad.
Buhari seeks Senate’s approval to pay Kogi N10.069billion
President Muhammadu Buhari has requested the Senate to approve the payment of N10.069billion as settlement of promissory notes to the Kogi State Government.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan read Buhari’s letter of request on the floor of the Senate
173 stranded Nigerians return from Libya
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has received another two batches of 173 stranded Nigerians from Libya.
The returnees, who arrived the country in two different flights were received by the Coordinator, Lagos Territorial Office Alhaji Idris Abubakar Muhammed at the Cargo Wing of the MMIA, Ikeja Tuesday morning.
A chartered aircraft belonging to Al Buraq Air with flight number BRQ189.14 and registration number 5A-DMG.MRA landed at about 4:52a.m. brought 162 from Misrata while a commercial flight, which brought 11 other returnees from Bengazil also landed at 5:15a.m.
The profiling of the returnees on arrival indicated that were 52 adult females, four female children and four female infants as well as 106 adult males, two male children and five male infants.
Among the returnees were 21 with medical issues.
A returnee, Miss Areni Aishat, 23, from Ogun State, narrated how she was deceived with the promise of traveling to New York, USA with the opportunity to practice catering.
She said: “I just graduated as a catering apprehentice and the aunty told me that she can help me to travel to USA where I do my work better.
“She told me that she would pay for my transportation and that I would refund when I start working there.
“I did not know that she was deceiving me until we left and embarked on a long journey.
“It was my mates that revealed to me that it was Libya they were heading when she started making trouble that it was USA she was promised.”
Miss Areni continued that when she got to Libya, she was told that there was nothing like catering jobs there but she could either become a house girl or be sold out to Connection House, which is a prostitution network.
She said she worked for one year and three months but paid her trafficker five months salaries of N90,000 per month.
“I decided to return home because the nature of the work is not ideal for a human being,” she said.
On those who are still thinking of traveling to Libya, she said: “I will advise whoever is thinking of going to Libya to never contemplate doing so.
“Nigeria is far better than Libya.Libya is dangerous, it is either you are kidnapped, killed, raped, robbed or bombed. Nigerians are not safe there.”
Aishat stated that she was tired of staying in Libya and revealed how she was able to join this batch back to Nigeria.
“I was helped back to the country when my mother went to NAPTIP office to complain and a phone number of a staff of the Nigerian embassy was sent to me and it was the embassy staff that facilitated my return to the country. I am grateful to the Nigerian government for helping back to the country,” she said
More than 13 police killed in ambush in violent Mexican state
Suspected cartel hitmen shot dead more than a dozen police in an ambush in the western Mexican state of Michoacan, authorities said on Monday, in one of the bloodiest attacks on security forces since President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took office.
The ministry for public security said the attack was carried out in the municipality of Aguililla in Michoacan, a state that has long been convulsed by turf wars between drug gangs, notably the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) and its enemies, reports Reuters.
The federal public security ministry said 14 police were killed, though its Michoacan state counterpart reported that 13 officers were confirmed dead and three injured.
Photos of the crime scene published on social media showed shot-up and burning police vehicles, as well as the bodies of slain officers. They also showed large placards signed by “CJNG” left on police vehicles. They warned police not to support rival crime groups, including Los Viagras.
The ambush was an attack on the police by local gangsters, said a state official, who requested anonymity. The official confirmed the authenticity of the photos.
The Michoacan security ministry said on Twitter the state police were working near El Aguaje, north of the town of Aguililla, when they came under fire.
Three police trucks were ambushed and there was no indication that the suspected gang members had suffered casualties, the state official said.
Michoacan has for several years been a stronghold of the CJNG, which in 2015 was blamed for a series of attacks on police in the neighboring state of Jalisco as it sought to consolidate its control over drug trafficking in the region.
El Aguaje is a few miles from the state border with Jalisco.
Police officer who fatally shot woman in her home arrested on murder charges
The police officer who fatally shot a Fort Worth, Texas, woman in her home while answering a call for a welfare check has been arrested on murder charges. The charge comes after the officer abruptly resigned on Monday just before he was about to be fired for allegedly violating multiple department policies, the police chief said.
The officer, identified earlier Monday as Aaron Dean, is being held without bond in Tarrant County, according to court records.
“I certainly have not been able to make sense of why she had to lose her life,” Fort Worth Police Chief Ed Kraus said at a news conference prior to the arrest, in reference to the early Saturday morning killing of Atatiana “Tay” Jefferson. “On behalf of the men and women of the Fort Worth Police Department, I’m so sorry for what occurred.”
Kraus identified the officer who shot Jefferson, 28, as Dean, who was hired by the police force in August 2017 and was commissioned as a licensed peace officer on April 13, 2018, reports abcnews.
The police chief said he was scheduled to meet with Dean on Monday morning, but the officer tendered his resignation before they had a chance to meet.
“Had the officer not resigned, I would have fired him for violations of several policies, including our use of force policy, our de-escalation policy, and unprofessional conduct,” Kraus said.
But Jefferson’s grieving family said Dean should have never been given the option to resign.
“He should have been fired before this,” Jefferson’s brother, Adarius Carr, told ABC News.
Jefferson’s sister, Ashley Carr, added that while her family welcomed apologies from the police chief and other city officials, including the mayor, she told ABC News, “It’s not the end result we’re looking for.”
“I want justice for my sister,” Ashley Carr said. “I want her death not to be in vain.”
She said her sister was a pre-med graduate of Xavier University of Louisiana, who dropped her career ambitions to return home to Texas to care for their ailing mother. She said Jefferson was also helping their sister, Amber, who recently underwent heart surgery, raise her two young children, including their 8-year-old nephew, Zion, who witnessed her being shot to death.
The family’s attorney, civil rights lawyer Lee Merritt, said the next development loved ones of Jefferson are hoping for, is that Dean suffer the consequences of his actions.
“The opportunity to resign is a slap in this family’s face and it’s a slap in the community’s face,” Merritt said. “He should have never been given that option. And I want us to stop treating this … like it’s a bad apple case. The saying is ‘a bad apple spoils the bunch.’ But the barrel is rotten from the core.”
Kaus said an internal investigation and a criminal investigation of Dean would proceed, and that he has sent a preliminary report of the shooting to the FBI to review Dean’s actions for possible civil rights violations.
Kraus said Dean has not been cooperating with the investigation, adding, “He resigned before his opportunity to cooperate.”
The chief had said prior to the arrest he was getting frequent updates on the criminal investigation against Dean and anticipated that he would be able to provide the public with a “substantial update” no later than Tuesday.
He also said Dean’s separation paperwork would be sent to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, the agency in charge of licensing and certifying peace officers, “will reflect that he was dishonorably discharged from the Fort Worth Police Department.”
Kraus made the announcement after Mayor Betsy Price expressed outrage over the shooting and berated the police department for releasing a photo of a handgun found in Jefferson’s home, saying, “there is nothing that could justify what happened on Saturday morning. Nothing.”
“The gun is irrelevant. She was in her own home caring for her 8-year old nephew. Atatiana was a victim,” the mayor said.
Kraus echoed the mayor, saying the photo of the gun that was released to the public “was a bad thing to do” and was apparently intended to “show what the perceived threat may have been.”
He said the gun was found just inside the window where Jefferson, who, according to her family, had a permit to carry a concealed weapon, was shot.
“I can’t imagine most of us, if we thought we had somebody outside our house that shouldn’t be there and we had access to a firearm, that we wouldn’t act very similarly to how she acted,” Kraus said.
But Merritt said he interpreted the move as an attempt to “cast aspersions on Tay, to give this officer (Dean) an out.”
“This was their attempt to justify the unjustifiable,” Merritt told ABC News.
After spending the weekend hearing from outraged community residents, and friends and relatives of Jefferson, Price apologized on behalf of the city of Fort Worth.
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