The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) have concluded arrangement to sign a $1.16 million grant as part funding for the NNPC-Abuja Independent Power Project (IPP).
The corporation disclosed this in a statement by Mr. Samson Makoji, Acting spokesman for NNPC, in Abuja yesterday.
He said that the arrangement was the outcome of a business meeting between the Management of NNPC and the USTDA at the NNPC Towers.
Makoji noted that both parties agreed to close out the deal on December 1, adding that the IPP was modeled to generate 1,350 megawatts of electricity to alleviate the power challenge in the country.
The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Malam Mele Kyari, said that the plan by the corporation to build the 1,350MW power plant in Abuja was part of the national strategy to monetize the abundant natural gas resources in the country.
He added that the USDTA grant was to complement the ongoing feed project in order to make the Abuja IPP initiative more bankable for strategic investors’ participation.
“As a state-owned oil company and enabler organisation, we know that our investment in the Abuja 1,350mw IPP will increase energy supply level with great impact on the nation’s economy.
“Therefore, the USTDA grant is timely to make it a bankable project that would attract foreign direct investment into the country,” he said.
Court summons Dokubo, over alleged diversion of amnesty slots, stipends
A Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa on Tuesday summoned Prof Charles Dokubo, Cordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Office to appear before it on January 21, 2020.
The court, presided over by Justice Awogboro Abimbola, also dismissed an application by two ex-militants to join the suit alleging diversion of N65,000 monthly stipends for 75 amnesty beneficiaries from 2010 till date.
Ruling on application for joinder, Abimbola said that she found no merit in the application as the applicants were not a necessary part in the matter.
“I find no merit in the application for joinders as the rule for joinders require that only those whose inclusion will ensure the dispensation of justice, the application is hereby dismissed,” Abimbola said.
Two ex-militant leaders, Messrs Aso Tambo and Stephen Ebisintei had sought to be joined in a suit which alleged the diversion of stipends for 75 ex-militants who embraced the Presidential Amnesty Programme.
The ex-agitators had brought the application through their Counsel, Mr Stanley Damabide before the High Court
Army: Law-abiding Nigerians have nothing to fear about our operations
rehabilitates road in Ogun
General Officer Commanding (GOC) 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major-General Olu Irefin, on Tuesday, said law-abiding citizens in the country have nothing to fear about Exercise Crocodile Smile IV.
Irefin, who reassured Nigerians about the ongoing military operation, declared that only criminals, miscreants and “those on the other side of the law” should be ready for military onslaught.
He spoke at the flag-off of road maintenance from Alamala Barracks to Lafenwa Railway in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
New Telegraph reports that the rehabilitation of the deplorable road was carried out by the 35 Artillery Brigade, Alamala, Abeokuta in collaboration with the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC).
The GOC, who was accompanied by the Commander, 35 Artillery Brigade, Alamala, Abeokuta, Brigadier-General E.J. Amadasun, said the Army authorities desire a hitch-free festive period for Nigerians.
He explained that the Exercise Crocodile Smile IV was designed in line with military’s constitutional role of conducting internal security operation in aid of civil authority.
APC, PDP, trade words at Osagie’s book launch
Echoes of the tension in the political leadership in Nigeria revibrated Tuesday at the presentation of a book by former Managing Director of the Sun Newspaper, Mr. Eric Osagie.
The occasion, which had in attendance, the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike as well as the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) counterpart, Prince Uche Secondus, became an opportunity by the leaders of the two leading political parties to throw jibes at each order.
Oshiomhole was first to throw the first salvo when he made a reference to an interview of an unnamed former Nigerian president whom he said, appeared on the popular BBC interview programme, HardTalk.
“I watched an interview with a former Nigerian president. I have enough trouble right now, so I won’t add to it, I won’t mention names. But Wike knows the person, he is associated with the person, he schooled under the person and still being overseen by the person,” Oshiomhole said.
According to him, when the former president was asked the problem of Africa he said attributed it to lack of population control to match the economic growth.
“But when he was asked that as president of Africa’s most populous nation, how much did he contributed to this population growth? How many children do you have? How many wives do you have whether now or before? That to me is courageous, that leaders should not preach what they are not doing.
“We have it on record that he has so many wives, both registered and unregistered; several children, some in dispute, and yet, you go to the Queen’s land and lecture about population.
“You are part of the people who helped to create problem instead of being role model to young ones,” the APC National Chairman added.
But Wike who responded almost immediately, drew the former Edo State governor’s attention to his statement when he won second term in office
“I remember during the Chairman’s second term as governor of Edo, he came to the villa and thanked the then president for one man, one vote. Today, do we have one man one vote? He should have carried it along to make sure that we have one man one vote.
“Two, I remember in their own time, they had what they called ‘Occupy Nigeria.’ Nobody was arrested, nobody was sent to jail. Are they practicing what they’re preaching?
“We cannot be deceived by rhetoric, we cannot be deceived by propaganda. All of know, we are not progressing, rather we are retrogressing. Nigeria is witnessing what we preach but not practising. So as a leader, call our leaders to order,” Wike demanded.
Don’t transport corpers as from 6pm, FRSC boss tells drivers
The Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Corps, Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi, has ordered that no transport union should transport any National Youth Service Corps member as from 6pm during the Yuletide.
Boboye said this during the FRSC end-of-the-year meeting with transport union stakeholders as one of their programmes in preparation for the end of the year activities on Tuesday in Abuja.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that NYSC orientation camp, Batch C, steam 2 resumed November 28 and would end December 19.
He said that the need for transport leaders to jointly fight against road crashes in ember months and beyond had called for concern.
“No transport Union should convey any corp member and those leaving the orientation camp on Thursday, December 19, 2019 from 6pm.
”Any vehicle that violates this order will be dealt with seriously as the FRSC is committed to the safety of lives and properties.
“I want to urge the State Coordinators of different NYSC orientation camps to send signals to the Corps members to be aware of the information.
”This has become necessary to address road accidents and crashes that occur during the festive period across the country. The safety of the youths, goods and Nigerian lives at large is our major concern,” he said.
The Corps Marshal, however, urged the NYSC members to use legal parks and avoid road side vehicles to ensure their safety while traveling for Christmas and New Year.
Brig.-Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim, the Director-General, NYSC, appealed to the transport union workers to give discount to corps members traveling for Christmas and New Year.
Ibrahim warned corps members against unauthorised journeys, boarding vehicles at the road side and late night travels.
Buhari asks Senate to confirm Nami as FIRS boss, 13 others as board members
President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the Senate to confirm the appointment of Muhammad Nami from the North Central geopolitical zone, as the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service.
Buhari, in a letter dated December 9, also sought the approval of the red chamber for the appointments of 13 others as members of the FIRS board.
They are: James Ayuba (North Central); Ado Danjuma (North West); Adam Mohammed (North East); Ikeme Osakwe (South East); Adewale Ogunyomade (South West); Ehile Aibangbee (South South);
Other members of the board appointed from the ministries agencies and departments of the Federal Government are: Ladidi Mohammed (Attorney General of the Federation Office) and Godwin Emefiele (Central Bank of Nigeria).
They also include: Fatima Hayatu (Ministry of Finance); Maagbe Adaa (Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission); and Umar Ajiya (Nigerian National Petroleum Commission).
The rest are: DCG T. M. Isah (Nigeria Customs Service) and the Registrar General of the Corporate Affairs Commission.
Buhari in the letter read at plenary on Tuesday by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, urged the senators to accord the communication an expeditious consideration.
Education will stop early marriage of the girl child, says Women Affairs Minister
From Musa Pam, Jos
Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen has said she is committed towards abolishing early marriage of the girl child by ensuring their education
Tallen said her mnistry is collaborating with the Ministry of Education towards addressing the issue of early marriage among Nigerian girls.
The minister stated this in Jos on Tuesday while addressing journalists after a town hall meeting with women from Plateau State.
She said educating the girl child is key to unlocking access to economic and social development of the country, saying her ministry along with the Ministry of Education is ensuring that their education from primary to junior secondary school is free.
“Investing in girls’ and women education is one of the most effective ways to reducing poverty and advancing national development,” she said.
2020 Budget: Gov. Bello presents N148.2bn to Niger Assembly
Daniel Atori, Minna
Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger State on Tuesday presented a N148.2 billion budget for the 2020 fiscal year to the state House of Assembly.
The proposed the budget is N148,211,929,549.82 less than the 2019 budget which was N194,698,816,253.00 (including a Supplementary Budget of N30,247,947,518.42).
According to Governor Abubakar Sani Bello: “The proposal consists of Recurrent Expenditure of N69,968,379,598.50 or 47.21 percent and Capital Expenditure of N78,243,549,951.32 or 52.79 percent of the budget.”
The budget was christened: “Budget of Inclusion for Sustainable Development”.
Democrats expected to announce Trump impeachment articles Tuesday
Democrats in the U.S. House Judiciary Committee are expected to announce articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Tuesday, a lawmaker told multiple U.S. media outlets.
Elliot Engel, the House Foreign Affairs Chairman, told reporters that the articles of impeachment were likely be unveiled at a news conference on Tuesday morning.
It is unclear how many articles will be introduced and on what charges the articles will be based, reports dpa.
Democrats say that Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine as part of a pressure campaign to get Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Trump’s domestic political rival Joe Biden and conspiracy theories related to the 2016 presidential election.
According to the Democrats, Trump abused power and committed bribery, accusations which Trump denies.
Once the Democrats’ articles of impeachment are formally introduced, they are likely to go through changes before leaving the House Judiciary Committee and are put up for a general vote.
If the Democrat-controlled House votes in favour of the impeachment articles, then the process moves to the Republican-controlled Senate, where Trump’s supporters have promised to defend the president.
On Monday Democrats held a public hearing summing up their case against the president.
House Judiciary Committee staff lawyers for majority Democrats laid out evidence for impeachment over Trump’s dealings with Ukraine earlier this year, while a committee lawyer for minority Republicans rebutted the claims in sometimes heated exchanges.
“We are here today because Donald J Trump, the 45th president of the United States, abused the power of his office, the American presidency, for his political and personal benefit,” Daniel Goldman, a lawyer for Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, said in his opening statement.
Democrats say a back-and-forth during a July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky showed a “quid pro quo” that put Trump’s own personal political interests over U.S. national security.
Trump has vehemently denied any wrongdoing, and on Monday he tweeted about the hearing, citing a comment from Zelensky that Trump did nothing wrong.
“If the Radical Left Democrats were sane, which they are not, it would be case over!” he tweeted.
Republicans on the committee said that the evidence presented since the inquiry was announced in September, based on a whistleblower’s report, was thin and the process used by the Democrats unfair.
But the Democrats’ lawyer for the Judiciary Committee told lawmakers that the evidence against Trump was “overwhelming” and revealed a “brazen” scheme.
Barry Berke said that impeaching him was an urgent matter because he could potentially repeat the behaviour.
“This is a big deal. President Trump did what a president of our nation is not allowed to do,” Berke said.
In addition to Goldman and Berke the committee heard testimony from Stephen Castor, a lawyer for Republicans on both committees.
He said that the process was “not warranted” based on the evidence and that a “compelling argument” to take a decision “out of the hands of the voters” was lacking.
The full House could vote on articles of impeachment as early as Friday.
The inquiry’s leaders have not yet named the specific impeachable offences they may vote on.
Once articles of impeachment are passed – as expected in the Democrats-dominated House – the articles would then move to the Republican-controlled Senate, where Democrats appear unlikely to rally enough Republicans to vote to remove Trump from office.
Democrats in the House appear undeterred by that reality.
Democrats have said that the matter is too important, citing it as an example of what the framers of the U.S. Constitution intended to stop when they gave Congress the ability to remove a president through impeachment.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said in his opening statement that Trump “put himself before country” as monarchs of the past had done.
Nadler was forced to pound his gavel several times and warn Republican members not to interrupt as they bickered over procedural matters.
He also was forced to order a number of roll call votes to satisfy Republican demands, even once over a question of whether the committee should take a break.
Republicans complained bitterly about the timing of the impeachment process just a year before the next presidential election and said that the evidence didn’t show that impeachable offences had been committed.
Representative Douglas Collins complained that the Democrats had put the House in danger by abusing its power, saying that the hearings had been “all military,” and adding, “It’s a show”.
Saudi Arabia lifts ban on segregating men, women in restaurants
Women will no longer have to be segregated from men in restaurants in Saudi Arabia, the country’s government has said.
Previously, it was mandatory to have one entrance for families and women, and another for men on their own.
The ruling is the latest measure announced by the Saudi government that upends conservative restrictions that have been in place for decades, reports standard.co.uk.
The decision was announced in a lengthy and technically worded statement by the Municipal and Rural Affairs Ministry.
While some restaurants and cafes in the coastal city of Jiddah and Riyadh’s upscale hotels had already been allowing unrelated men and women to sit freely, the move makes official what has been a sensitive issue in the past among traditional Saudis who view gender segregation as a religious requirement. Despite that, neighbouring Muslim countries do not have similar rules.
Across Saudi Arabia, the norm has been that unrelated men and women are not permitted to mix in public. Government-run schools and most public universities remain segregated, as are most Saudi weddings.
Restaurants and cafes in Saudi Arabia, including major Western chains like Starbucks, were segregated by “family” sections allocated for women who are out on their own or who are accompanied by male relatives, and “singles” sections for just men.
Many also have separate entrances for women and partitions or rooms for families where women are not visible to single men. In smaller restaurants or cafes with no space for segregation, women were not allowed in.
In recent years, however, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has pushed for sweeping social reforms, with women and men now able to attend concerts and movie theatres that were once banned. He also curtailed the powers of the country’s religious police, who had been enforcers of conservative social norms, like gender segregation in public.
Two years ago, women for the first time were allowed to attend sports events in stadiums in the so-called “family” sections. Young girls in recent years have also been allowed access to physical education and sports in school, a right that only boys had been afforded.
In August, the kingdom lifted a controversial ban on travel by allowing all citizens – women and men alike – to apply for a passport and travel freely, ending a long-standing guardianship policy that had controlled women’s freedom of movement.
Reflecting the sensitive nature of this most recent move, the decision to end enforcement of segregation in restaurants was announced in a statement published by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.
The statement listed a number of newly approved technical requirements for buildings, schools, stores and sports centres.
The statement noted that the long list of published decisions was aimed at attracting investments and creating greater business opportunities.
Among the regulations announced was “removing a requirement by restaurants to have an entrance for single men and (another) for families.”
N’Zealand police launch criminal investigation after 13 killed in volcanic eruption
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern expressed “unfathomable grief” on Tuesday after a volcanic eruption at a popular tourist island, as the police announced that it is launching a criminal investigation into the circumstances of the deadly incident.
Ardern confirmed five fatalities and said eight people were still missing after Monday’s eruption at Whakaari, also known as White Island, reports al-Jazeera.
There was little hope of finding the missing alive, after overnight aerial reconnaissance flights found no signs of life. Police also said that the bodies left on the island are covered in ash.
“The focus this morning is on recovery and ensuring police can do that safely,” Ardern told a news conference.
Reuters and AFP news agencies confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that a criminal investigation is being launched by police to look into the incident, and why the tourists were allowed despite an earlier warning about volcanic activities.
Among those on the island during the cataclysm were tourists from Australia, the United States, the UK, China and Malaysia, as well as their New Zealand guides.
“To those who have lost or are missing family and friends, we share in your unfathomable grief and in your sorrow,” Ardern said.
“Your loved ones stood alongside Kiwis who were hosting you here and we grieve with you.”
Ardern singled out “our Australian family” for sympathy, while her Australian counterpart Scott Morrison said there were fears that three of the five dead were Australian.
“This is a very, very hard day for a lot of Australian families whose loved ones have been caught up in this terrible, terrible tragedy,” he told reporters in Sydney.
A total of 31 people – including 13 Australians – were in hospital with various injuries, some listed as critical with serious burns.
Of those those who were injured, police said on Tuesday that 27 of them suffered greater than 71 percent body surface burns.
White Island Tours, a trip operator, confirmed that two of its guides were unaccounted for, while the UK’s High Commissioner in Wellington said two female citizens were in hospital.
Concerns about further eruptions, poisonous gases and choking ash prevented efforts to recover bodies.
The eruption occurred just after 2pm on Monday (01:00 GMT), thrusting a thick plume of white ash 3.6km (12,000 feet) into the sky.
The island is about 50km (30 miles) off New Zealand’s North Island in the picturesque Bay of Plenty and attracts more than 17,000 visitors every year.
When the blast occurred, it was being visited by a group of more than 30 people from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, the Ovation of the Seas, which left Sydney on a 12-day voyage last week.
The threat level at the volcano had been raised in recent days, and questions are already being asked about whether it was safe for tour groups to visit.
Cruise operator Royal Caribbean had sold a day trip to White Island as an “unforgettable” adventure to New Zealand’s most active volcano, one that took visitors so close to the action they could require gas masks and hard hats.
White Island Tours said it “operates through the varying alert levels” but that “passengers should be aware that there is always a risk of eruptive activity regardless of the alert level”.
Scientists said there had been increased activity at the volcano over the past week – but nothing to indicate an eruption was imminent.
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