Buhari met Ohanaeze, Igbo governors, ministers & lawmakers; Buhari told World Bank to focus on Northern Nigeria – Kim; At APC South-west Leadership Meeting: ‘Presidential Ticket Open to All’ – Akande; Fear grips Southwest as Boko Haram Sr members are arrested in the region; South African President Zuma begins two-day visit to Imo State today; NNPC shuts Kaduna & Warri refineries over operation costs; Osinbajo Denies Approving 2 NNPC Contracts; NNPC To Intensify Oil Search In 7 Hydrocarbon Basins; Lethal Weapons Recovered From Nnamdi Kanu’s Residence – Police; EFCC, I spent N3.5 Billion on sick children – Patience Jonathan; Politicians grabbed power firms’ shares under Jonathan – Ex-minister; Police IG Idris asks court to stop Saraki, Senate from investigating him; Alleged N2.1b laundering: EFCC, let my mum rest in peace – Patience Jonathan . . .
President Muhammadu Buhari met South East governors, ministers, senators, the leadership of Ohaneze Ndi Igbo. Governors in attendance were those of Abia, Okezie Ikpeazu, Enugu, Ifeanyi Ugwuani, Ebonyi, Dave Umahi and the Imo deputy governor, Eze Madumere. Others in attendance are the Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu and other leaders. The meeting is being held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the nation’s capital. Discussions at this crucial meeting will not be unconnected with the incessant Biafra separatist movements in the southeast, including Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB, the so-called Igbo marginalisation and infrastructural deficiency and breakdown in the southeast of Nigeria. Details later . . .
The President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, said at a news conference in Washington DC, US, on Thursday, that Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari asked the World Bank to focus on northern Nigeria. Kim said inter alia: “ . . . in my very first meeting with President Buhari he said specifically that he would like us to shift our focus to the northern region of Nigeria and we’ve done that . . . Focusing on the northern part of Nigeria . . . and oil prices come back up, the economy will grow a bit more . . . ” Kim was in Nigeria for three days in April 2016 during which he met with Buhari. Since this revelation from Washington DC, the presidency has kept mum, but many Nigerians leveling accusations against President Buhari on his promotion of northern interests to the exclusion of the south.
The South-west governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), National Assembly members, ministers and other stakeholders of the party Thursday evening rose from a meeting in Agodi Government House, Ibadan, Oyo State, after which the former National Chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande, declared that the presidential ticket of the party was open to all in the 2019 general election. Akande, who spoke to reporters after the meeting, said the contest for the presidential ticket of the party was open to all, as President Muhammadu Buhari had not indicated that he would be contesting the 2019 elections, but if he does there will be process for his selection.
Fear gripped the entire South-West, last week, when two commanders of the dreaded terrorist group listed as numbers 156 and 176 on the wanted Boko Haram members’ list were arrested in the region. The suspects who have made confessional statements include 42-year-old ldris Ibrahim Babawo nicknamed Nagada and 20 year-old Mohammed Bashir, were arrested in Isua, in Akoko South-East area of Ondo State.
South African President, Jacob Zuma, will today pay a two-day visit to Imo state, Governor Rochas Okorocha disclosed Thursday. Briefing journalists at Government House, Owerri. Rochas said Zuma will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Rochas Okorocha Foundation and Zuma Foundation.
Also, Zuma will assess the planned 20,000 hectares, Egbema Industrial Park, estimated to cost over N2 billion and the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport. “My interest is to see that the airport takes off to help lift our exports, jointly work on education and sign an MoU between the Rochas Okorocha Foundation and Zuma Foundation,” the Imo state governor said.
The NNPC has indefinitely shut down two of the nation’s three refineries due to increase in their operation costs and several maintenance interventions. A top official of NNPC told Daily Trust, yesterday, that Kaduna and Warri refineries had been down in July and yet to resume production till date. “Kaduna refinery (KRPC) is about to start complete overhaul – Turn Around Maintenance (TAM). Once the assessment is finished, we will have an idea (when it will be back),” the official said, adding that only the Port Harcourt refinery is functioning at the moment. Checks showed that both refineries have suffered intermittent shut downs this year.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo clarified yesterday that he only approved 2 loans for NNPC and not contracts. SSA to the vice president on media and publicity, Laolu Akande, had earlier said the VP approved 2 contracts for NNPC. Akande said the contracts were approved after due diligence by the VP when he acted as president. Refuting the statement made by his aide yesterday in Bonny Island where he flagged off the Bodo-Bonny Road in Rivers State, Osinbajo said he granted loans and not contracts: “They were financing loans, joint venture loans that have been procured. So, in some cases, NNPC ventures have to secure loans and they need the authorization to secure those loans. While the President was away, I granted authorisation which is what the law provides . . .”
The NNPC said it will reinvigorate exploratory activities in the 7 hydrocarbon basins in the country as part of efforts to shore up the nation’s oil reserve base. GMD of NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, revealed this when he received the Governor of Yobe State, Alh. Ibrahim Geidam at the NNPC Towers, Abuja. In a statement through NNPC’s spokesman, the GMD stated this while briefing the Governor and his entourage on efforts to increase the tempo of exploratory activities in the Industry. Dr. Baru stated that modalities were on to open up all the basins in the country to prospective investors.
The Commissioner for Police in Abia State, Mr Anthony Ogbizi, has said that lethal weapons, including petrol bombs and one double-barrel gun, were recovered during last Sunday’s raid of the residence of the leader of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu. Ogbizi stated this during an interaction with journalists in Umuahia. He said the items were recovered during a joint operation in the state. Petrol bombs were found in buckets and incriminating documents and letters concerning IPOB’s activities and plans were also recovered during the raid. According to him, the raid was carried out based on an intelligence report. They found phone nos, Biafra flags and communications: “We recovered many of Biafra’s insignia, staff of office and some of those items are being analysed”.
Mrs. Patience Jonathan says her foundation Aruera Reachout Foundation, spent over N3.5bn for the treatment of 700 children and adults with heart-related ailments. She, therefore, rubbished allegations by the EFCC that she used her foundation to launder stolen funds. In a statement by her Chief Press Secretary, Belema Meshack-Hart, on Thursday. Mrs. Jonathan said inter alia: “Till date, over 700 children have benefited from the Aruera Reachout Foundation, this alone cost the foundation billions, it is not news that the logistics involved in the treatment of heart disease cost over N5m per child.
Former Minister of National Planning Commission (NPC) Dr. Shamsuddeen Usman yesterday exposed how politicians and officials in ex-President Goodluck Jonathan ’s administration jostled for shares in the power generation and distribution companies that were privatised in 2013. Usman, who spoke in Abuja at the 26th October Lecture of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), said government officials who ordinarily should have been neutral in the privatisation exercise were, however guilty of foul plays and used their positions to leverage their selfish interests. The former minister’s speech delivered by its former president, Mustafa Shehu, said that most of the transaction principles often included and followed in the privatisation of government’s assets were sidestepped during the sale of the power assets to the private investor.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, on Thursday, filed a suit before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja, seeking an order restraining the Senate and Senate President Bukola Saraki from going ahead with their plan to investigate allegations of malpractices against him by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Navy and ex-police officer, Sen. Isah Misau (APC). Sen. Misau had alleged, among others, that the IG collected about N10bn monthly from some firms and highly-placed Nigerians for giving them security cover and granting fraudulent promotions to undeserving police operatives. On August 25 Sen. Misau accused Idris of extorting money from Commissioners of Police, State Mobile Commanders and Special Protection Units Commanders, for favourable postings. The IG denied these allegations while the Police Force Headquarters had accused Sen. Misau of leaving the force with forged retirement papers.
Ex-Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, has denied using her late mother’s firm’s account to launder N2.114 billion. According to her, the company, Magel Resort Limited, was not awarded a N200m IT contract by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA). She pleaded with EFCC to allow her late mum Madam Charity Oba rest in peace. She said the EFCC was engaging in sheer blackmail to tarnish her hard-won image. On Aruera Reachout Foundation, she said over 700 children had benefited from it, with billions of Naira spent. Mrs. Jonathan made the clarifications in a statement through her Chief Press Secretary Belema Meshack-Hart. The statement said inter alia: “Our attention has been drawn to an article . . . alleging that EFCC has traced N2.1bn to the account of Patience’s dead mother. These allegations are spurious, baseless and intended to mislead the public . . . the allegations are false and a grand design by EFCC to tarnish the image of the former first lady, Mrs Patience Jonathan . . .”