Friday, March 11, 2016

North Africa Observer– MAR. 1-7, 2016

Written by Marko Milicevic exclusively for SouthFront; Edited by Viktor Stoilov
Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal has received the Angolan Foreign Minister Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti on Thursday, in Algiers.1 The main topic of their talks was improvement of the bilateral economic cooperation. African countries can improve the living standard and level of security of their citizens only if they strengthen mutual economic and political ties.

Ex-NNPC Chief: Jonathan’s Govt Blew N2.2b On Prayers

Besides the fortune sunk into phoney arms deals, no less than N2.2billion was spent on prayers against Boko Haram, it was learnt yesterday.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration blew the cash on special prayers in Nigeria and Saudi Arabia to win the war.
The cash was disbursed through the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), following a proposal by a former Executive Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Aminu Baba-Kusa.

Senate, House Disagree On NNPC Restructuring

The two chambers of the National Assembly have disagreed with the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, over the restructuring of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
While the Senate has backed the reforms, saying the minister’s action did not contravene any known law, the House of Representatives insists that the restructuring of the national oil firm is illegal.
Kachikwu appeared before the Senate Joint Committees on Petroleum Resources (Upstream, Downstream and Gas) in Abuja on Thursday to explain the reasons for the restructuring.

NNPC Restructuring Is Illegal – Falana

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Femi Falana, has described the reorganisation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachukwu, as illegal.
According to him, having realised the illegality of the reforms, the minister, who is also the group managing director of the NNPC, has said that he has not unbundled the corporation but is merely reorganising it.
Falana said in a statement on Thursday, “It is pertinent to point out that the reforms being carried out by the NNPC GMD are illegal in every material particular. Section 2 of the Nigerian National Petroleum Act stipulates that the affairs of the corporation shall be conducted by the Board of Directors of the body. To that extent, it is the board of the corporation that is saddled with the responsibility to carry out the reorganisation of the body.

Buhari Has Put Nigeria On The Right Track, Says Commonwealth.

The Royal Commonwealth Society has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for “putting Nigeria in the right shape and uniting African leaders”.
Abdullahi Faruk, vice-president of the association, said this on Thursday at the 2016 Commonwealth Day Celebration in Abuja.
Faruk said the Commonwealth appreciates Buhari for his dogged determination to put Nigeria on the right track, for his leadership role in the continent and ensure better relation with leaders.
“The Royal Commonwealth Society would like to appreciate him for his dogged determination to put Nigeria in the right shape,” he said.
“We also commend him for uniting the African countries and making the continent a better place to live.

MTN’s N50bn Payment Inadequate, Must Pay All N1.04trn Fine – Reps

Members of the House of Representatives yesterday said the down payment of N50 billion by MTN as a step towards out-of-court settlement of its N1.04 trillion fine was inadequate and must be forced to pay the total amount to the Nigerian government.
This is coming as the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC), Prof Umar Garba Danbatta told the lawmakers that the commission was not in custody of the N50 billion payment and was unaware of the account the money was paid into by the MTN.

Investigate, Prosecute Those Behind Forex Crisis, AGF Tells EFCC

IN a bid to stabilise the exchange rate of the naira against major foreign currencies in the foreign exchange market, the Federal Government has mandated the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other security agencies to investigate and identify and prosecute those behind the crisis experienced in the foreign exchange operations.
The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, who disclosed this to newsmen on Wednesday, blamed the current state of the naira on the activities of unscrupulous elements, whom he said were hiding under the cloak of “market forces” to deliberately undermine the national currency.

Fulani Influx Too Much For Benue —Gov Ortom

GOVERNOR Samuel Ortom of Benue State has raised the alarm over the massive influx of Fulani herdsmen into Benue State who, he said, the state cannot accommodate.
Fielding questions from State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, after briefing President Muhammadu Buhari on the security situation in his state, he said ranches must be developed for the herdsmen to turn them away from farmlands.
He expressed delight that following the recent attack in Agatu communities in the state, leading to hundred of casualties, the Federal Government had mobilised more security personnel to restore normality to the area.

Ethnicity, Corruption Lead To National Instability – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday described ethnicity and corruption as a lethal combination that is inimical to national development.
He said any nation where the two are prevalent would continue to witness instability.
According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President spoke while receiving South Sudan’s First Vice President, Dr Riek Machar, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
“Ethnicity and corruption are a lethal combination. You have to deal with them otherwise instability will continue,” Buhari warned after receiving a briefing from Machar on the current state of affairs in South Sudan.

Arms Scandal: Jonathan Should Be Tried If Involved –Senate Leader

Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, on Thursday asked President Muhammadu Buhari to authorise the prosecution of former President Goodluck Jonathan if he (Jonathan) covertly instigated the sharing for other purposes the $2.1bn given to former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, to buy arms.
Ndume, who spoke with journalists in Abuja, also said the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, should be held responsible for any breakdown of law and order in the state.

Women Representation Under Buhari Poorer Than Past Administrations – UN

United Nations Information Centre in Nigeria has said women have a poorer representation in President Muhammadu Buhari-led government than in past administrations. UNIC Lagos Director, Mr. Ronald Kayanja said this yesterday at the United Nations International Women’s Day celebration, organised by a coalition of non-governmental organisations in Lagos. He attributed the situation to huge funding required for election campaign and traditional perception of women, saying economic and gender-based violence also increased the risk of young women contracting Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Reserves Rising Again As Nigerian Crude Hits $39.

Nigeria’s foreign reserves are on the rise again, as the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) confirmed on Thursday that the Nigerian crude, bonny light, is trading at $39.07 per barrel.
The current selling price, which is above the 2016 budget benchmark of $38 per barrel of crude by $1, is also the highest point for Bonny Light in 2016.

According to the latest figures from the central bank, the reserves rose to $27.88 billion following a nine-day rising streak from $27.82 billion at the beginning of the month.
The reserves had a four-day rise in February, the very first of such, since President Muhammadu Buhari took office in May 2015.

30 Senators Flood CCT To Support Saraki.

Senate President Bukola Saraki is at present at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) where his trial for alleged false declaration of assets continues.
He arrived at 9:56am in company of at least 30 senators.
He wore a flowing milk-coloured agbada and sat gently in the second row of benches reserved for senators.

Saraki: I Wasn’t Allowed To Explain Myself.

Senate President Bukola Saraki has insisted that his ongoing trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) is “political”, saying he was not given the opportunity to explain what could have led to perceived inaccuracy.
Saraki is currently at the tribunal after the supreme court failed to grant his wish to halt the trial.
He is facing a 13-count charge of alleged corruption and false declaration of assets.
In a statement signed by Gbenga Makanjuola, his deputy chief of staff, the senate president said the act which established the tribunal accord anyone whom allegation is laid against the right to deny or admit the claim.

Fayose: I Drove Trucks Before I Became Governor

Ayodele Fayose, governor of Ekiti state, on Thursday revealed that he drove trucks before he was elected number one citizen of the state. Fayose was first elected in 2003 but he was impeached three years later. However, he returned in 2014 after defeating Kayode Fayemi, then the incumbent governor, in the year’s governorship election, and has spent two years in his new term. In a message posted on Twitter, Fayose charged people to be proud of their professions. “We must be proud of our profession. I sell trucks, I did haulage, I can drive this truck to Lagos. I did this before I became governor,” he wrote. Last year, he told members of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) in his state that he was once a commercial driver. “I was once a driver like you. I used the money I got from driving to sponsor myself for HND at Ibadan Polytechnic. Being a driver, you can make it in life. You will become what you want to become in life through hard work,” he had said. “Don’t join evil gang for you to get rich overnight. Though I am part of you, if you breach the law, I won’t spare you. I don’t want to be the enemies of drivers, I want to be your friend.

Babatope: PDP Will Sack Buhari From Aso Rock In 2019

Ebenezer Babatope, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), says his party will “dislodge” President Muhammadu Buhari from Aso Rock in 2019.
Speaking when he visited Ayodele Fayose, governor of Ekiti state, Babatope accused the current administration of using security agencies to harass and intimidate its opponents.
Babatope said his party was regaining its strength, as the PDP has had good outings in recent times.
“We have been preparing for him (Buhari) such that come 2019, we will become stronger in PDP and dislodge him from Aso Rock,” he said.

Buhari Sweeps Off 184 Top Officials Over Budget Padding

President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday, made good his threat to deal ruthlessly with top civil servants who altered figures in the 2016 budget thereby making nonsense of his zero budget plan. No fewer than 184 top budget officials were flushed out of budget duties and sent to establishments that have little or nothing to do with budget, as a punishment for their roles in padding this year’s fiscal document, now before the National Assembly. A top official in the Budget office confirmed that 22 top officers from the Budget Office of the Federation were affected in the mass deployment.

Sixty Five Lawyers Represent Senate President Saraki As Tribunal Adjourns Corruption Trial

The Code of Conduct Tribunal has adjourned the trial of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to March I8.
The tribunal, Friday, took the decision after Mr. Saraki’s new lawyer, Kanu Agabi, asked the tribunal to rule first on the senate president’s objection to the powers of the tribunal to try him.
Mr. Saraki is facing charges of alleged false asset declaration and corruption.
The senate president’s bid to thwart the trial failed after the Supreme Court said the tribunal has powers and was constituted to hear the case against Mr. Saraki.

Doctors Spend More Time On Strike Than They Do In Theatre – Oshiomhole

Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has noted that public doctors in the country spend more time on industrial action than on their duty post, noting that such disposition is treasonable in other climes.
The former Labour leader made this assertion yesterday during the formal commissioning of Alliance Hospital, a multi specialty hospital in Abuja, where he observed that many things have gone wrong in the Nigerian environment.

Noting that doctors spend more time on strike than they spend in the theatre as every grievance is always settled with a strike, he said, “Many things have to change. It’s not just a factor of equipment. If the human factor and orientation is inappropriate, facilities and equipment cannot translate to good health outcomes.”

Explosion Rocks CBN Office In Calabar [PHOTOS]

A gas explosion was on Friday recorded at a section of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, office in Calabar, the Cross River state capital, which is under construction. The CBN spokesman, Mr. Isaac Okorafor, who confirmed this to TheWill, disclosed that no death was recorded from the incident, adding that the resultant fire has been successfully put out. His words, “There is a gas explosion from the construction area of our premises there. There is no fatality yet. A few persons who were injured have been taken to the hospital. The Fire service personnel responded promptly and they have been able to put out the fire.”

Man arrested in the U.S with 12 passports with different names but his photo on all of them(Photo

A Nigerian man, Uchenna Azubuike has been charged with 13 counts of identity fraud and held at the Thomas County Jail, Georgia. Immigration personnel have interviewed the suspect and officials with the Diplomatic Division of the U.S. attorney’s office at Macon will interview Azubuike here in mid-March.

Azubuike, 29, of 1000 Barone Ave., Atlanta was arrested after allegedly attempting to purchase two cell phones from a Vericon store using a fake passport of a woman in New York.

Employees at the Thomasville Verizon store, 13915 U.S. 19 South, became suspicious when someone using a New Jersey woman’s identification purchased phones in late February. Personnel contacted the woman and learned she had never been in Thomasville.