…..Directs Fashola, Finance ministers, BPE To Seal Siemens Deal
President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Ministries of Power, Hon. Babatunde Fashola, and the Finance Minister, the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) to conclude the nation’s engagement with Siemens AG over the regular power supply in the Country.
The directive, which was shared via the Presidency’s Twitter handle on Wednesday, was to start the pre-engineering & concessionary financing aspects of the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI).
PPI is a power infrastructure upgrade and modernization Programme agreed to by the Federal Government and Siemens AG of Germany, with the support of the German Government. The ultimate goal of the initiative, according to the government, is to modernize and increase the Nigerian electricity grid capacity from about 5 GW currently to 25 GW, over three phases.
How it works: Under the PPI, Nigeria on behalf of the other shareholders in the Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) invest in infrastructure upgrades in the form of improved payment systems, distribution substations, transformers, protection devices, smart meters, and transmission lines among others.
In a statement shared via Tweeter, the President explained that all DisCos have, directly, and through the BPE, been diligently carried along over the last 15 months to understand in detail the challenges in the electricity systems.
Funding: The funding for the PPI will be secured under concessionary terms (up to 3-year moratorium and 12-year repayment at concessionary interest rates) through the German Euler Hermes cover, which Nigeria will on-lend as a convertible loan to the other shareholders in the DisCos.
According to the statement, President Buhari has approved the release of funding for the first part of Phase 1 of the PPI, to kick-off the pre-engineering and concession financing workstreams.
Ogbaru Relief Market Traders Pass No Vote Of Confidence On Chairman of All Line Chairmen
By Oge Onyeanusi, Onitsha
In their bid to ensure complete peace in Ogbaru Relief Market in Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State, traders in the market have passed vote of no confidence on Chairman of All Lines Chairman of the market, Mr. Chukwunonye Anaka, (a.k.a Westino ) over his alleged insubordination towards the state government and the Ogbaru Relief Market Caretaker Committee President, Mr. Ndubisi Ochiogu.
It was gathered that Mr. Anaka was still loyal to the previous market leadership, without any regard to the present administration , even though he knows that state government gave authority paper to Mr. Ndubisi Ochiogu as new market president.
Motion for Anaka’s impeachment was moved by traders during a general meeting of the association , where they sanctioned him, telling him to vacant his position, as he was begged severally but he refused to comply with, since then , he still remained adamant in his refusal to be submissive to relevant authorities.
According to the line chairmen and secretaries, “we all know that government gave authority paper to Mr. Ndubisi Ochiogu as new president of the market. Everyone should be loyal to him. His administration is willing and ready to accommodate every trader, to follow due process.
“We would not want to witness any riot or violence in our market. Anaka’s behaviour is inimical to the existing peace in the market,” the traders lamented.
They further lamented that Mr, Chukwunonye Anaka did not carry traders along in his administration, we did not elected him and that he was not their true representative, henceforth has no mandate to represent them and therefore, he should stop parading himself as their leader.
However, the Caretaker Committee President, Mr. Ndubisi Ochogu, urged the traders to remain calm, that he would look into the matter and follow due process in arriving at a decision.
In his reaction, the secretary of the Ogbaru Relief Market, Mr. Buckno Agu, said, i have served previous administration, follow it up to this new government , on a principles, based on the understanding that whoever that would be in that position as the president of the market should be given massive support.
Speaking on behalf of traders, a trader in the market, Chetachukwu Achuwa, described the activities and dispositions of Anaka as uncalled for.
Nigerian Army Debunks Report On Distribution Of Ramadan Packages By Boko Haram
The attention of the Nigerian Army (NA) has been drawn to an ill-informed publication by an online news medium Sahara Reporters of 11 May 2021 where it was alleged that Boko Haram, the Islamic State West Africa Province had distributed Ramadan welfare packages to some residents of Borno and Yobe States. The article went on to give breakdown of the food items distributed including cash which the publisher alleged was meant to entice the locals to join the terrorists ranks. The article then switched to speak on the 2019 report of International Crisis Group which tended to pour encomiums on the terrorists recruitment system since breaking away from the Abubakar Shekau’s faction. Unfortunately the article did not mention any specific location where the alleged distribution took place.
The NA being a professional organisation decided to look at the article with every seriousness with a view to making intelligence out of it. However, our analysis established that there was nothing substantial about the claim except that it was a hurriedly packaged piece of propaganda that was meant to distract the populace away from the recent defeats being suffered by the terrorists. It is a notorious fact that the terrorists at various times have made several attempts to make the lives of the residents of these states miserable through the Ramadan season which were met with overwhelming response from the troops of Operation Hadin Kai. The most recent of such being their failure to sneak into Maiduguri on 11 May 2021 same day this ill-conceived article was published. The fate of the terrorists that made that audacious attempt is already a public knowledge.
The author of this article displayed his/her clear lack of situational awareness by getting designation of the various terrorist groups moduled up. In the self-styled amateurish publication, there was no single mention of any community that the said distribution took place which is indicative of the fact that there was indeed no community or village where such activity took place. The writer consciously omitted such an important part knowing that once a name is attached to the publication it would be much easier to unravel the motive behind it, which is simply to mislead the unsuspecting readers.
Our team of eagle-eyed analysts went further to critically examine the pictures attached to this malicious publication and discovered that they were simply stage-managed in a typical terrorists-styled propaganda. The uncoordinated director of the photo shoot presented the pictures according his IQ and decided to measure the standard of the Nigerian public from his own personal standing. He used two poorly constructed shacks sited in the wilderness in multiple scenes by simply changing the arrangement of items and introducing different faces to make it look like an existing structure. He later posted a truck loaded with bags and a few terrorists on it parked in the middle of nowhere. A closer look at the background of all the pictures clearly showed an empty forest with no signs of human habitation or activity except the few terrorists and some children that must have forcefully taken away from their parents. These facts therefore met every known style of the terrorists propaganda.
The million dollar question here is why the choice of Sahara Reporters as the medium to propagate such unfounded piece that failed every test of professional journalism? Could it be that the terrorists find the media outfit fertile enough for propagating their devilish stories? These are questions that demand answers from the publishers of this piece of disinformation.
The NA therefore calls on the general public to disregard this article as it is nothing but a tissue of lies aimed at misleading them. The NA under the leadership of the Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru will continue to maintain the pressure on the remnants of terrorists hibernating in the forests around the North Eastern borders until they are completely obliterated.
You are kindly requested to disseminate this information to the general public through your medium.
Director Army Public Relations
13 May 2021
Southern Governors’ Resolutions: ACF Backs Open Grazing Ban
• Some restructuring advocates want Nigeria disintegrated – Forum
• Houses to get bills soon, lawmakers seek legal backing for resolutions
• With 2014 confab report, no need for fresh dialogue, says Middle Belt
Southern governors’ resolutions at their meeting on Tuesday generated more nationwide reactions on Wednesday.
The northern sociopolitical group, the Arewa Consultative Forum, told The PUNCH that some of those advocating restructuring were bent on the disintegration of the country.
The group, however, supported the decision of the governors to ban open grazing of cattle.
But the Southern Senators and members of the House of Representatives commended the governors’ call for restructuring and the ban on open grazing.
The governors, had at their meeting in Asaba, the Delta State capital, banned open grazing and called on the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to take bold steps in restructuring the country.
They also called on the President to address the nation and convene a national dialogue.
ACF backs open grazing ban, calls on Buhari to address Nigerians, opposes restructuring
The National Publicity Secretary of the ACF, Emmanuel Yaw, in an interview with one of our correspondents in Kaduna on Wednesday, faulted the call for restructuring, but supported other resolutions of the southern governors.
Yawe stated, “On restructuring, the ACF believes that before we take a decision on this, we should agree on whether Nigeria should remain one country before deciding on what
Restructuring advocates wants to disintegrate Nigeria – ACF
“Our position on this is informed by the fact that some of the advocates of restructuring are at the same time advocating the dissolution of Nigeria. Are they believers in Nigeria at all? We must all agree to let Nigeria be, before we move forward.”
He said there was nothing wrong for the President to address Nigerians on matters affecting the country.
The forum also said it supported the ban on the open grazing, noting that the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, an umbrella body of the herders, had called for the establishment of ranches.
The ACF spokesman also said, “There is nothing wrong with their call on the President to talk to Nigerians. As a politician he should jump at any opportunity to communicate with the electorate.
“On the issue of ban of open grazing, I don’t think there is problem here with the stand of the ACF.
“At our last National Working Committee meeting in Kaduna the national leader of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria spoke to us at length.
“He said he and his organisation had decided that the only way forward ,and that in the interest of MACABAN, was to embark on ranching and that they were waiting for government’s policy.
“If MACABAN wants open grazing banned, not only in the southern part of Nigeria but all over Nigeria, who are we to say otherwise?
“On the issue of dialogue, the ACF has always believed in this if the aim of the dialogue is to promote the unity and progress of the whole country, our forum will hold dialogue with any state and group of people that share our cherished ideals of unity, justice, peace and progress.”
Southern Senators, Reps back govs, seek bills on resolutions
The southern caucus in the House of Representatives, in a statement on Wednesday commended the governors on the demand for true federalism and restructuring.
The statement was signed by the Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu; Deputy Majority Leader, Peter Akpatason; Deputy Majority Whip, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha; Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu; Deputy Minority Whip Adesegun Adekoya; Dolapo Badaru, Jimoh Ojugbele and Femi Fakeye, “on behalf of the southern members in the House of Representatives.”
Justifying the ban on open grazing, they said the Federal Government should provide “alternative and modern livestock management that does not constitute a security and economic challenge to the nation.”
Also, the Southern Senators Forum, in a statement on Wednesday, hailed the resolutions of the governors.
They urged the governors to immediately approach the leadership of the National Assembly for necessary legislative input to give their decisions, the required legal backing.
The statement was titled, “Insecurity: Southern senators commend and endorse the resolutions of the southern governors; urging them to work with the National Assembly for optimal results.”
It was jointly signed by the SSF Chairman, Opeyemi Bamidele (Ekiti); Secretary General, Mathew Urhoghide (Edo) and Publicity Secretary, Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu).
Open grazing falls short of global best practices – Southern senators
The senators commended the governors for being emphatic on the issues of restructuring, state policing and the jettisoning of archaic traditional grazing methods, “which fall short of global best practice standard and a potential threat to our national cohesion and peace.
“As insecurity continues to take a toll on the country and subjecting many to kidnapping and killing, the Southern Senators Forum has commended governors from the region for taking a firm position on burning national issues, including banning open grazing of cattle.
“The Senators submitted that such deft and unanimous policy would help in reining in those hiding under cattle grazing to unleash terror of kidnapping and killing on the residents of the region.”
The Senators noted that southern farmers were losing hundreds of millions of naira to plundering of food crops through encroachments on farmlands and exposing the region to famine and acute food scarcity .
Nigeria’s lopsided federation needs speedy restructuring – Southern senators
They added, “With this uniform resolve by our governors to initiate no-open grazing policy, the region will return to its peaceful and agriculturally self-sufficient status it had assumed even long before Nigeria’s amalgamation in 1914.
“We salute the governors for ruminating on the expediency and the need for speedy restructuring of the highly lopsided Nigerian nation, saying this will also help to remove the venom that has permeated the land on account of alleged neglect of certain sections of the country.
“Finally, the Southern Senators Forum encourages the governors to swiftly follow up on their resolutions by immediately approaching the leadership of the National Assembly.”
But the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Army, Ali Ndume, faulted the decision of the governors’ to ban open grazing.
Ndume, who is representing the Borno South Senatorial District in the upper chamber, stated this while addressing journalists in Abuja on Wednesday.
Ndume also advocated the suspension of salary payment to workers and other political office holders so that the money could be used to tackle the security challenges in the country.
Also, the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra backed the ban on open grazing.
MASSOB, in statement on Wednesday, by its National Leader, Uchenna Madu, described the decisions of the governors on critical national issues as highly commendable.
Southern states to submit anti-grazing bills to state assemblies
Meanwhile, there were indications on Wednesday that Southern Governors’ Forum had directed state houses of assembly in the South to enact law backing the ban on open grazing.
The Chairman of South-South Governors’ Forum and Governor Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa, said that every state would enact its law to enforce the open grazing ban.
The governor, who spoke through the State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, stated this on Wednesday in an interview with The PUNCH in Asaba.
He said, “Every state will put in place a law that will be used to prosecute anybody that goes against the ban. The governors of the south have agreed with their people that the right thing to do is to ban open grazing.”
Herdsmen can’t continue moving cows from Kano to P’Harcourt on foot – Akeredolu
The Chairman of the Southern Governors’ Forum, Rotimi Akeredolu, on Wednesday explained why the forum placed a ban on open grazing.
Akeredolu, who presided over the Asaba meeting of the governors on Wednesday, during an interview on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said the decision was not new.
“It is not an entirely new issue; most of the governors have placed a ban on open grazing in their states before the meeting. Most of the states have passed laws on open grazing. Virtually all of us have passed that law.
“We felt that this open grazing must stop. It is causing a lot of problems particularly between the herders and the farmers. Whether we like it or not, times have changed and this must change. We must adopt a modern system of animal husbandry.
“In this day and age, they cannot continue taking cows by foot from Kano to Port Harcourt,” he said.
The governor said the Federal Government needed to throw its weight behind state governments that wanted to set up ranches, adding that this would benefit the herders who were exposed to dangers as they roamed with their cattle.
He added, “At the meeting, we referred to what Governor (Abdullahi) Ganduje said. It was clear that he is also against open grazing. He says it does not augur well and the herders also do not benefit from it. There is no development, they are exposed to dangers.”
On its part, the Middle Belt Forum described as unnecessary the call by the southern governors for the President to convene a fresh national dialogue .
The National Publicity Secretary of the MBF, Dr Isuwa Dogo, who spoke to one of our correspondents in Jos on Wednesday, also faulted the call for the President to address the nation.
governors did not get it right when they asked the President to address the nation. What purpose will that serve when Nigerians want him to take actions to address the challenges they are facing which he has not done?
“And again, the southern governors did not get it right when they called on the President to convene a national dialogue. What happened to the 2014 national conference that captured all the contending issues in the country and what should be done to address them? With the exception of these observations, every other resolution reached by the southern governors during their meeting in Delta State is acceptable to us in the Middle Belt Forum.”
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