Nigeria’s Increased Petrol Price Cheapest In West Africa, Angry Reactions Unnecessary – Lai Mohammed

A file photo of Information Minister, Lai Mohammed.
A file photo of the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed.

 

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has defended the decision of the government to increase the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol.

He attributed the increased amount to the global price of crude oil, saying the “angry reactions” that have greeted the latest petrol price were “unnecessary and totally mischievous”.

Mohammed made the remarks on Monday at a press conference in Abuja on the recent increases in petrol price and electricity tariff.

He explained that with the price of crude creeping up, petrol price was equally bound to increase, hence the latest price of N162 per litre.

The minister, however, believes if the price of crude drops again, the price of petrol will also drop and the benefits will also be passed on to the consumers.

He stressed that despite the recent increase in the price of petrol, that of Nigeria has remained the lowest in the West and Central African sub-regions.

According to Mohammed, petrol is being sold for N211 per litre and N168 per litre in Egypt and Saudi Arabia respectively.

On the hike in electricity tariff, he described the increase as a service-based adjustment by the Distribution Companies (DISCOS).

The minister stated that due to the problems with the largely-privatised electricity industry, the Federal Government has been supporting the sector.

He said while the government has so far spent almost N1.7 trillion, especially by way of supplementing tariffs shortfalls and does not have the resources to continue, borrowing to subsidise generation and distribution which have been privatised would be grossly irresponsible.

A fuel station in Lagos sells petrol at N162 per litre.

 

Read the minister’s full remarks at the press briefing below:

TEXT OF THE PRESS CONFERENCE ADDRESSED BY THE HON MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND CULTURE, ALHAJI LAI MOHAMMED, IN ABUJA ON MONDAY, 7 SEPT. 2020 ON THE RECENT INCREASES IN PETROL AND ELECTRICITY PRICES

PROTOCOL

Gentlemen of the press, good afternoon, and thank you for honouring our invitation to this press conference, which we have called to address the recent issues surrounding the price of fuel and electricity tariff.

FUEL PRICES

  1. As you are aware, the long-drawn fuel subsidy regime ended in March 2020, when the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) announced that it had begun fuel price modulation, in accordance with prevailing market dynamics, and would respond appropriately to any further oil market development.
  2. Recall that the price of fuel then dropped from 145 to 125 Naira per litre, and then to between 121.50 and 123.50 Naira per litre in May. With the low price of crude oil then, the cost of petrol, which is a derivative of crude oil, fell, and the lower pump price was passed on to the consumers to enjoy.

With the price of crude inching up, the price of petrol locally is also bound to increase, hence the latest price of 162 Naira per litre. If perchance, the price of crude drops again, the price of petrol will also drop, and the benefits will also be passed on to the consumers.

The angry reactions that have greeted the latest prices of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) are therefore unnecessary and totally mischievous.

  1. Gentlemen, the truth of the matter is that subsidizing fuel is no longer feasible, especially under the prevailing economic conditions in the country.

The government can no longer afford fuel subsidy, as revenues and foreign exchange earnings have fallen by almost 60%, due to the downturn in the fortunes of the oil sector. Yet, the government has had to sustain expenditures, especially on salaries and capital projects.

Even though we have acted to mitigate the effect of the economic slowdown by adopting an Economic Sustainability Plan, we have also had to take some difficult decisions to stop unsustainable practices that were weighing the economy down.

  1. One of such difficult decisions, which we took at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in March – when oil prices collapsed at the height of the global lockdown – was the deregulation of the prices of PMS.

As I said earlier, the benefit of lower prices at that time was passed to consumers. Everyone welcomed the lower fuel price then. Again, the effect of deregulation is that PMS prices will change with changes in global oil prices.

This means quite regrettably that as oil prices recover, there will be some increases in PMS prices. This is what has happened now.

  1. Government can no longer afford to subsidize petrol prices, because of its many negative consequences. These include a return to the costly subsidy regime. With 60% less revenues today, we cannot afford the cost. The second danger is the potential return of fuel queues – which has, thankfully, become a thing of the past under this Administration.

The days in which Nigerians queue for hours and days just to buy petrol, often at very high prices, are gone for good. Of course, there is also no provision for fuel subsidy in the revised 2020 budget, because we just cannot afford it.

  1. Gentlemen, the cost of fuel subsidy is too high and unsustainable. From 2006 to 2019, fuel subsidy gulped 10.413 Trillion Naira. That is an average of 743.8 billion Naira per annum.

According to figures provided by the NNPC, the breakdown of the 14-year subsidy is as follows:

– In 2006       Subsidy was 257bn

– In 2007       Subsidy was 272bn

– In 2008       Subsidy was 631bn

– In 2009       469bn

– In 2010       667bn

– In 2011       2.105tn

– In 2012      1.355tn

– In 2013      1.316tn

– In 2014      1.217tn

– In 2015       654bn

– In 2016       Figure Not Available

– In 2017      Subsidy was 144.3bn

– In 2018      730.86bn

– And in 2019   Subsidy was 595bn

  1. The Federal Government is not unmindful of the pains associated with higher fuel prices at this time. That is why we will continue to seek ways to cushion the pains, especially for the most vulnerable Nigerians.

The government is providing cheaper and more efficient fuel in form of autogas. Also, Government, through the PPPRA, will ensure that marketers do not exploit citizens through arbitrarily hike in pump prices.

And that is why the PPPRA announced the range of prices that must not be exceeded by marketers.

9   In spite of the recent increase in the price of fuel to 162 Naira per litre, petrol prices in Nigeria remain the lowest in the West/Central African sub-regions.

Below is a comparative analysis of petrol prices in the sub-regions (Naira equivalent per litre);

– Nigeria              – 162 Naira per litre

–  Ghana               –  332 Naira per litre

–  Benin                 – 359 Naira per litre

–  Togo                   – 300 Naira per litre

–  Niger                   – 346 Naira per litre

–  Chad                   – 366 Naira per litre

–  Cameroon           – 449 Naira per litre

–  Burkina Faso      –  433 Naira per Litre

–  Mali                     – 476 Naira per litre

– Liberia                 – 257 Naira per litre

– Sierra Leone        – 281 Naira per litre

– Guinea                 – 363 Naira per litre

– Senegal               – 549 Naira per litre

  1. Outside the sub-region, petrol sells for 211 Naira per litre in Egypt and 168 Naira per litre in Saudi Arabia.

You can now see that even with the removal of subsidy, fuel price in Nigeria remains among the cheapest in Africa.

ELECTRICITY TARIFF

  1. Another issue we want to address here today is the recent service-based electricity tariff adjustment by the Distribution Companies or DISCOS.

The truth of the matter is that due to the problems with the largely-privatised electricity industry, the government has been supporting the industry.

To keep the industry going, the government has so far spent almost 1.7 trillion Naira, especially by way of supplementing tariffs shortfalls. The government does not have the resources to continue along this path.

To borrow just to subsidise generation and distribution, which are both privatized, will be grossly irresponsible.

  1. But in order to protect the large majority of Nigerians who cannot afford to pay cost-reflective tariffs from increases, the industry regulator, NERC, has approved that tariff adjustments had to be made but only on the basis of guaranteed improvement in service.

Under this new arrangement, only customers with guaranteed minimum of 12 hours of electricity can have their tariffs adjusted. Those who get less than 12 hours supply will experience no increase.

This is the largest group of customers.

  1. Government has also noted the complaints about arbitrary estimated billing. Accordingly, a mass metering programme is being undertaken to provide meters for over 5 million Nigerians, largely driven by preferred procurement from local manufacturers, and creating thousands of jobs in the process.

NERC will also strictly enforce the capping regulation to ensure that unmetered customers are not charged beyond the metered customers in their neighbourhood. In other words, there will be no more estimated billings.

  1. The government is also taking steps to connect those Nigerians who are not even connected to electricity at all. As you are aware, under its Economic Sustainability Plan, the government is providing solar power to 5 million Nigerian households in the next 12 months.

This alone will produce 250,000 jobs and impact up to 25 million beneficiaries through the installation, thus ensuring that more Nigerians will have access to electricity via a reliable and sustainable solar system.

  1. Gentlemen, please note that despite the recent service-based tariff review, the cost of electricity in Nigeria is still cheaper or compares favourably with that of many countries in Africa.

COST IN NAIRA PER KWH IN SOME AFRICAN COUNTRIES.

– Nigeria            49.75

– Senegal          71.17

– Guinea            41.36

– Sierra Leone   106.02

– Liberia              206.01

– Niger                59.28

– Mali                  88.23

– Burkina Faso    85.09

– Togo                  79.88

CONCLUSION

  1. Gentlemen, the timing of these two necessary adjustments, in the petroleum and power sectors, has raised some concerns among Nigerians. This is a mere coincidence.

First, the deregulation of PMS prices was announced on 18 March 2020, and the price modulation that took place at the beginning of this month was just part of the on-going monthly adjustments to global crude oil prices.

  1. Also, the review of service-based electricity tariffs was scheduled to start at the beginning of July 2020 but was put on hold so that further studies and proper arrangements can be made.

Like Mr President said today, at the opening of the Ministerial Retreat, this government is not insensitive to the current economic difficulties our people are going through and the very tough economic situation we face as a nation. We certainly will not inflict hardship on our people.

But we are convinced that if we stay focused on our plans, brighter and more prosperous days will come soon.

  1. The opportunistic opposition and their allies are playing dirty politics with the issue of petrol pricing and electricity tariff.

Please note that these naysayers did not complain when the price adjustment led to lower petrol prices on at least two occasions since March.

Nigerians must therefore renounce those who have latched onto the issue of petrol pricing and electricity tariff review to throw the country into chaos.

19. I thank you all for your kind attention

PHOTOS: Nigerians, Foreigners Storm Abuja Airport For International Trips

Passengers storm the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja following the resumption of international flights on September 7, 2020. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/ Channels Television

 

The Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja is witnessing increased activities as it hosts returning and outgoing travellers.

Two days after the resumption of international flights at the airport, more aircraft have continued to ply the facility.

During a visit to the airport on Monday, Channels Television crew observed that operations were being conducted in line with the guidelines of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on COVID-19.

These include wearing of face masks by both travellers by Nigerians and foreign nationals, as well as social distancing by persons on queues.

Similarly, incoming flights were disinfected shortly after their arrival at the airport and before passengers disembarked from the aircraft.

The Federal Government had fixed Saturday last week for the resumption of international flights at the airport in Abuja and the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos.

However, the government set out strict measures for passengers and airlines willing to come into the country, such as passengers presenting a negative COVID-19 test result conducted not more than four days before departure and taking the test again on arrival.

Highlights of Monday’s visit to the airport are captured in the pictures below:

Electricity Tariff Hike: Review Is A Painful Adjustment, Says Buhari

A file photo of a transformer.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari says the decision to adjust the electricity tariff is one that is regretted by the Federal Government.

He is, however, relieved that the tariff review is not about the increase – which will only affect the top electricity consumers – but establishing a system that will definitely lead to improved service for all at a fair and reasonable price.

The President made the remarks on Monday in Abuja at the first-year Ministerial Performance Review Retreat where he was represented by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

 

Earlier, he reacted to the increase in the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, which most marketers sell at a minimum of N160 per litre.

“The other painful adjustment that we have had to make in recent days is a review of the electricity tariff regime.

“If there is one thing that we have heard over and over again, it is that Nigerians want consistent and reliable power supply. So, the power sector remains a critical priority for the administration,” President Buhari said.

He stressed that the protection of the poor and vulnerable while ensuring improved service in the power sector, was also a major priority for the government.

A file photo of an attendant filling the fuel tank of a car.

 

Timing Of Petrol, Electricity Tariff Increase

President Buhari added that the policies of his administration such as the Social Investment Programmes (SIPs) and other socio-economic schemes have shown that they remained focused on improving the welfare of the common man.

“There have been some concerns expressed about the timing of these two necessary adjustments.

“It is important to stress that it is a mere coincidence in the sense that the deregulation of PMS prices happened quite some time ago, it was announced on 18 March 2020 and the price moderation that took place at the beginning of this month was just part of the on-going monthly adjustments to global crude oil prices.

“Similarly, the review of service-based electricity tariffs was scheduled to start at the beginning of July but was put on hold to enable further studies and proper arrangements to be made,” he explained.

According to the President, the implementation of a ‘Willing Buyer, Willing Seller Policy’ for the power sector has opened up opportunities for increased delivery of electricity to homes and industries.

He revealed that the government was also executing some critical projects through the Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Programme, which would result in the transmission and distribution of a total of 11,000 Megawatts by 2023.

Five Million Households To Get Solar Home Systems In One Year – FG

A photo of assembled solar panels.

 

The Federal Government has concluded plans to provide solar home systems to no fewer than five million households in the next one year.

President Muhammadu Buhari disclosed this on Monday at the first-year Ministerial Performance Review Retreat held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

The President, who was represented at the event by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, said, “In addressing the power problems, we must not forget that most Nigerians are not even connected to electricity at all.”

“So, as part of the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), we are providing solar home systems to five million Nigerian households (impacting up to 25 million individual Nigerians) in the next 12 months,” he added.

A Path To Full Electrification

According to the President, the government has already begun the process of providing financing support for manufacturers and retailers of Off-Grid Solar Home Systems and Mini-Grids, who are to provide the systems, through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

He believes the five million systems under the ESP’s Solar Power Strategy will produce 250,000 jobs and impact up to 25 million beneficiaries through the installation.

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

President Buhari explained that this would translate into more Nigerians having access to electricity via a reliable and sustainable solar system.

He stated that the support to solar home system manufacturers and the bulk procurement of local meters would create over 300,000 local jobs while setting Nigeria on a path to full electrification.

“We are also executing some critical projects through the Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Programme, which will result in the transmission and distribution of a total of 11,000 Megawatts by 2023,” the President said.

He noted that the government has developed N2.3 trillion ESP (which consists of fiscal, monetary, and sectoral measures to enhance local production, support businesses, retain and create jobs, and provide succour to Nigerians, especially the most vulnerable) as part of its response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Petrol Price Increase: Why Nigeria Cannot Afford Fuel Subsidy – Buhari

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has reacted to the increase in the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, by oil marketers in the country.

He explained why the country has found itself in such a situation, as well as why the Federal Government cannot afford to pay fuel subsidy at this time.

The President gave the explanation on Monday at the first-year Ministerial Performance Review Retreat which held at the Conference Centre of the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

“There are several negative consequences if the government should resume the business of fixing or subsidising PMS prices. First of all, it would mean a return to the costly subsidy regime,” said President Buhari who was represented at the event by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

He added, “Today, we have 60 per cent less revenues; we just cannot afford the cost. The second danger is the potential return of fuel queues – which has, thankfully, become a thing of the past under this administration.

“Nigerians no longer have to endure long queues just to buy petrol, often at highly inflated prices.

“Also, as I hinted earlier, there is no provision for fuel subsidy in the revised 2020 budget, simply because we are not able to afford it, if reasonable provisions must be made for health, education and other social services. We now have no choice.”

The President’s explanation comes against the backdrop of the outrage triggered by the increase in the pump price of petrol – one which was widely condemned by various individuals and groups in the country.

While the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC) reviewed the ex-depot price of petrol from N138.62 to N151.56 per litre in September, a majority of oil marketers were selling above N160 per litre.

A fuel station in Lagos sells petrol at N162 per litre.

The Long-Term Gains

For President Buhari, the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected economies globally, has compelled the government to make some adjustments which he described as far-reaching.

Although he admitted that such reviews would cause some initial pain for the people, he insisted that they were necessary for the long-term gains.

“As you all know, when oil prices collapsed at the height of the global lockdown, we deregulated the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) such that the benefit of lower prices was passed to consumers.

“This was welcome by all and sundry. The effect of regulation though is that PMS prices will change with changes in global oil prices. This means, quite regrettably, that as oil prices recover, we would see some increases in PMS prices,” he stated.

A file photo of an attendant filling the fuel tank of a car.

 

The President, however, gave an assurance that the government would remain alert to its responsibilities.

According to him, the role of the government now is to prevent marketers from raising prices arbitrarily or exploiting citizens.

President Buhari stressed that this was why the PPRA made the announcement last week to set the range of price that must not be exceeded by marketers.

“The advantage we now have is that anyone can bring in petroleum products and compete with marketers, that way the price of petrol will keep coming down,” he said.

PHOTOS: APC Governors, Others Storm Ondo For Akeredolu’s Re-Election Campaign

APC governors at the venue of the re-election campaign of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu in Akure, the Ondo State capital on September 5, 2020.

 

Members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State were filled with energy and excitement on Saturday as they welcomed party leaders from various parts of the country.

This comes ahead of the flag off of the party’s campaign for the incumbent governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, who is seeking re-election for another term in office.

APC Caretaker Committee Chairman, Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe, Chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum, Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi, and Chairman of the APC National Campaign Council for the Ondo State Governorship Election, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, were among party leaders in Ondo to canvass support for Akeredolu.

Also in attendance included Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Abubakar Bello (Niger), Simon Lalong (Plateau), and Babagana Zulum (Borno), among others.

Meanwhile, the National Leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu, and one of the founding fathers of the party chieftain, Bisi Akande, were also in Ondo, but were not present at the venue of the campaign.

APC National Leader, Bola Tinubu, with Governor Rotimi Akeredolu in Akure, the Ondo State capital on September 5, 2020.

According to a Facebook post by Governor Akeredolu, Tinubu was in the state to commission the new headquarters of the Ondo State Internal Revenue Service in Akure.

The flag-off of Governor Akeredolu’s re-election campaign held in Akure, the state capital a day after he got the endorsement of the President to represent the APC in the poll.

President Muhammadu Buhari who presented the party’s flag to the governor on Friday in Abuja was confident that the APC would with the election fairly.

He had, however, urged members of the ruling party to work diligently and ensure fairness in electoral processes.

See more photos below:

100 Bandits Killed, 107 Victims Rescued In North West Since July – Military

A photo released by the military on September 5, 2020, shows some soldiers riding on motorbikes during an operation in Nigeria’s north-west region.

 

At least 100 armed bandits have been killed in various parts of the North West by troops of Operation Sahel Sanity in the last two months, the military has said.

The Acting Director of Defence Media Operations, Brigadier General Benard Onyeuko, disclosed this on Saturday at a press briefing in Katsina State.

He explained that the operation was aimed at supporting Operation Hadarin Daji to curb the activities of armed bandits, cattle rustlers, kidnappers, and other criminals in the region.

Onyeuko revealed that during the series of search and rescue operations conducted between July 1 and September 4, troops rescued 107 kidnapped victims.

He added that the soldiers arrested 148 suspected bandits and 315 illegal armed miners, as well as nabbed 20 bandits’ informants and collaborators, six arms suppliers, 13 rustled cattle marketers, and 32 bandits’ logistics suppliers.

The military spokesman noted that 3,984 rustled cows, 1,627 sheep and rams, and three camels were recovered.

In this photo released by the military on September 5, 2020, troops burn a hideout of bandits in Nigeria’s north-west region.

 

He said a large cache of arms and ammunition were recovered, including 43 AK47 rifles, one GPMG, and 100 Dane guns, among other weapons.

According to him, 81 bandits’ camps, including the notorious Dangote Triangle and their logistics bases were destroyed by troops, while 74 bandit attacks and 54 kidnap incidents were foiled withing the period under review.

Read the full text of Onyeuko’s briefing below:

GENERAL UPDATE ON THE ACTIVITIES OPERATION SAHEL SANITY FROM 1 JULY – 4 SEPTEMBER 2020

Sequel to the official commencement of Operation Sahel Sanity in July 2020, as part of activities of the Nigerian Army Day Celebration 2020 at the Nigerian Army Special Super Camp IV Faskari in Katsina State, the Operation has in no small measure affected the economic life of the people of the north-west zone of the country positively.

The operation was aimed at supporting Operation Hadarin Daji to stem the tide of the activities of armed bandits, cattle rustlers, kidnappers, incessant killings, and other sundry crimes in the zone.

These acts of criminalities orchestrated by the bandits have been curbed and reduced to its lowest ebb, thanks to the relentless efforts of the troops of Operation Sahel Sanity.

There is no gainsaying that the hitherto crippled agricultural, social and economic lives of the people of this zone by bandits’ activities have been restored to normalcy.

The above assertion was corroborated during the visits of the Chairmen of the Committees on Army in the National Assembly, Executive Governors, and a host of prominent Traditional Rulers from the north-west zone of the country during their official visits to the Headquarters of Operation Sahel Sanity at the Nigerian Army Special Super Camp IV Faskari Katsina State from 7-14 August 2020.

A photo released by the military on September 5, 2020, shows some arms and ammunition recovered from bandits in Nigeria’s north-west.

 

During the visits, they lauded the efforts of the Nigerian Army in their quest to rout out all forms of criminality in the zone. They attested to the fact that normal life has indeed returned to the zone as farming, economic and social life of the people are being carried out without any form of hindrance and molestation by criminal elements.

The tremendous successes achieved since the operation started could not have been possible without the sacrifice, commitment, and gallantry exhibited by the professional soldiers of the Nigerian Army, some of whom have paid the supreme price within the period under review.

The gallant troops of Operation Sahel Sanity, within this period, carried out a series of clearance operations, ambushes, and other aggressive and confidence-building patrols.

Also, farm and highway patrols were carried out within Sokoto, Katsina, Kaduna, Kebbi, and Zamfara States, thus boosting the confidence of the people in carrying out their daily activities.

These operations have most importantly led to the rescue of kidnapped victims, recovery of rustled cattle, the arrest of suspected armed bandits and their collaborators, smashing of local and international illegal arms syndicates and illegal armed miners.

A photo released by the military on September 5, 2020, shows some suspects arrested by troops in the North West.

 

Furthermore, there were recoveries of a large cache of arms and ammunition, as well as recovery of motorcycles and dislocation of bandits’ logistics network within the period.

So far, in all the operations conducted, 100 armed bandits were neutralised, a total of 3,984 cows, 1,627 sheep/rams, and three camels recovered, 148 suspected bandits, and 315 illegal armed miners were arrested.

Furthermore, a large cache of arms and ammunition were recovered, which include 43 AK47 rifles, one GPMG and 100 Dane guns, 3,261 rounds of 7.62mm (special), and 151 live cartridges of ammunition.

In all the search and rescue operations carried out, 107 kidnapped victims were rescued, 20 bandits informants and collaborators, six arms suppliers, 13 rustled cattle marketers, and 32 bandits logistics suppliers were arrested.

Also, a total of 81 bandits’ camps, including the notorious Dangote Triangle and their logistics bases were destroyed by troops of Operation Sahel Sanity. Relatedly, 74 bandit attacks and 54 kidnap incidents were foiled by the troops.

The gallant troops of Operation Sahel Sanity have continued to dominate all the volatile areas with confidence building patrols, ambushes, and clearance operations to deny the bandits and other criminal elements freedom of action.

Consequently, the troops of Operation Sahel Sanity are hereby commended for their gallantry, sacrifices, successes, and the professionalism exhibited within the short period of Operation.

A photo released by the military on September 5, 2020, shows some arms and ammunition recovered from bandits in Nigeria’s north-west.

 

They are also urged not to rest on their oars but build on the achievements recorded so far.

The people of the north-west zone of the country are also appreciated for their cooperation in providing credible information for the success of the operation.

They are also encouraged to continue to avail the troops with actionable information that would aid the desired goal of the operation.

They are further reassured of the Nigerian Army’s commitment to restoring total peace in the zone and indeed the whole country.

The entire press family both in this zone and across the country are also appreciated for their professionalism, patriotism, commitment in our quest to restoring peace and normalcy in the north-west zone of our dear country.

Finally, I thank you most sincerely for coming to this press briefing. I wish you all journey mercies back to your respective destinations.

God bless.

BENARD ONYEUKO

Brigadier General

Ag Director

Defence Media Operations

5 September 2020

Over 300 Suspected Drug Dealers Arrested In Katsina – NDLEA

A file photo of an official of the NDLEA backing the camera.

 

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has arrested over 300 suspected drug dealers with more than 460 kilograms of Cannabis Sativa, tramadol, and other drug substances in Katsina State.

According to the NDLEA Commandant in Katsina, Sule Momoudu, the suspects were arrested since January to date by officers of the agency in various parts of the state.

He made the disclosure Friday when he paid an advocacy visit to the state government to appreciate its support to the agency and solicit for more.

While stating that the agency was ready to rid Katsina of drug traffickers, Momoudu asked the state government to increase its support and recognition of NDLEA as a law enforcement agency as it had no representative in all the COVID-19 meetings held.

He believes security is development and Nigeria cannot thrive in the atmosphere of insecurity, stressing the need to ensure drug education is taught in primary and secondary schools to basically prepare students to understand the dangers of drug abuse.

“There is the need to establish Drug Control Committee and enhance the capacity of drug-free clubs and increase drug abuse awareness campaign by sponsoring inter-school quiz competitions,” the NDLEA commandant said.

NDLEA Commandant in Katsina, Sule Momoudu, visits the state Deputy Governor, Mannir Yakubu, on September 4, 2020.

 

In his response, the State Deputy Governor, Mannir Yakubu, who received Momoudu pledged the government’s commitment to supporting and assisting the agency to tackle the menace of drug abuse and trafficking in Katsina.

Yakubu was concerned about the involvement of some youths and women in drug abuse in the state.

He observed that the challenges of banditry, kidnapping, and cattle rustling in Katsina were connected to drug abuse, hence the need for all stakeholders to put all hands on deck to tackle the problems.

“Our doors are widely open to supporting NDLEA to conduct its activities effectively in the state.

“Since we assumed office in 2015, we have been in close cooperation with the agency and we came with informed position of seriousness of drug addiction in the state,” the deputy governor told his guest.

He added, “We have been taking proactive decisions with regards to drugs as, for instance, we no longer see drug hawkers on the streets or villages, as well as drug merchants in our markets.”

Yakubu noted that the construction of a rehabilitation centre at the State Command Headquarters of the NDLEA, as well as sensitisation and mobilisation programmes of the government, were part of its support to the agency.

Facebook Blocks Terminally Ill Frenchman From Streaming His Death

(FILES) In this file photo taken on August 12, 2020 Alain Cocq, suffering from an orphan desease of the blood, rests on his medical bed in his flat in Dijon, northeastern France. PHILIPPE DESMAZES / AFP

 

Facebook said Saturday it would block the live stream of a Frenchman suffering from an incurable condition who wanted to broadcast his death on the social media platform.

Earlier, Alain Cocq announced that he was now refusing all food, drink, and medicine after President Emmanuel Macron turned down his request for euthanasia.

Cocq, 57, who suffers from a rare condition that causes the walls of his arteries to stick together, said he believed he had less than a week to live and would broadcast his death from Saturday morning.

“The road to deliverance begins and believe me, I am happy,” he wrote on Facebook shortly after midnight in a post announcing he had “finished his last meal”.

“I know the days ahead are going to be difficult but I have made my decision and I am calm,” he added.

Facebook has been increasingly criticised over the way it polices the content it carries and said Saturday its rules did not allow it to portray suicide.

“Although we respect  (Cocq’s) decision to want to draw attention to this complex question, following expert advice we have taken measures to prevent the live broadcast on Alain’s account,” a Facebook spokesman told AFP.

“Our rules do not allow us to show suicide attempts.”

– Calls on supporters –

Cocq had been trying to post another video earlier Saturday when he messaged: “Facebook is blocking my video broadcast until September 8.”

“It is up to you now,” he said in a message to supporters before giving out Facebook’s French address “so you can let them know what you think about their methods of restricting free speech”.

“There will be a back-up within 24 hours” to run the video, he added.

Cocq had written to Macron asking to be given a substance that would allow him to die in peace but the president wrote back to him explaining this was not allowed under French law.

Cocq has used his plight to draw attention to the situation of terminally ill patients in France who are unable to be allowed to die in line with their wishes.

“Because I am not above the law, I am not able to comply with your request,” Macron said in a letter to Cocq, which the patient published on his Facebook page.

“I cannot ask anyone to go beyond our current legal framework… Your wish is to request active assistance in dying which is not currently permitted in our country.”

– ‘With profound respect’ –

In order to show France the “agony” caused by the law in its current state, Cocq planned to broadcast the end of his life — which he believed would come in “four to five days” — on his Facebook page, he told AFP.

Cocq said he hoped his struggle would be remembered and “go down in the long term” as a step towards changing the law.

Macron said in his letter that “with emotion, I respect your action”.

The president added a handwritten postscript: “With all my personal support and profound respect.”

An official from the president’s office told AFP that Macron wanted to hail Cocq’s commitment to the rights of people with disabilities.

Right-to-die cases have long been an emotive issue in France.

Most polarising was the case of Vincent Lambert, who was left in a vegetative state after a traffic accident in 2008 and died in July last year after doctors removed life support following a long legal battle.

The case divided the country as well as Lambert’s own family, with his parents using every legal avenue to keep him alive but his wife and nephew insisting he must be allowed to die.

AFP

Sudan Declares Three-Month State Of Emergency After Floods Kill Almost 100

Sudanese boys make their way through a flooded street at the area of al-Qamayir in the capital’s twin city of Omdurman, on August 26, 2020. ASHRAF SHAZLY / AFP

 

Sudan on Saturday declared a three-month national state of emergency after record-breaking torrential floods that cost 99 lives.

“A nationwide three-month state of emergency has been announced as Sudan is considered a natural disaster zone,” the interior ministry said on social media.

Floods caused by more than a month of heavy rains have killed 99 people, injured 46, and left 100,000 damaged properties in their wake, one of the worst natural disasters in decades, according to state news agency SUNA.

North Darfur in the country’s west and Sennar state in the south were among the hardest-hit areas.

Heavy rains usually fall in Sudan from June to October, and the country faces severe flooding every year.

“The Blue Nile has reached an all-time high since records began more than a century ago,” said the irrigation and water ministry last week.

The latest report from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Sudan said Thursday that over 380,000 people had already been “affected” by this year’s floods.

The whole flooding season in 2019 affected 400,000 people, according to an OCHA spokesperson.

AFP

Everton Boost Midfield Force, Sign Allan From Napoli

(FILES) In this file photo taken on October 1, 2019 Napoli’s Brazilian defender Allan controls the ball during a training session at the Fenix Stadium in Genk. JOHN THYS / AFP

 

Everton secured the first of an expected trio of midfield signings on Saturday with the arrival of Brazilian international Allan on a three-year deal from Napoli for a reported £22 million ($29 million).

The 29-year-old is reunited with Toffees boss Carlo Ancelotti, with whom he worked at the Serie A club.

Everton are also close to reuniting Ancelotti with Colombian star James Rodriguez for a third time after spells together at Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, while a fee has reportedly been agreed with Watford for Abdoulaye Doucoure.

Allan, who made more than 200 appearances in five years at Napoli, admitted he could not turn down the opportunity to work with Ancelotti again.

“It is a club with a rich history in the Premier League, has real ambition and then there is Professor Ancelotti. He has done everything possible to bring me here,” Allan told Everton TV.

“It is the size of the club and the name of the coach which means you don’t think twice about coming to Everton.

“I hope, like I have done in my entire career, I contribute with my performances together with my team-mates and that I put in some great games, great performances and win important things.”

FRSC Sacks 18 Officers, Demotes Others For Bribery, Other Offences

A file photo of FRSC vehicles on patrol.

 

The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has sacked 18 officers from its workforce after they were found culpable for various crimes.

A series of tweets from the agency on Saturday revealed that 10 other officers were awarded various degrees of punishment.

The erring officers were said to have committed offences such as desertion, forgery, number plate racketeering, bribery, scandalous behaviour, driver’s license racketeering, and patrol misconduct, among others.

Eight officers were dismissed, the appointments of 10 others were terminated, the ranks of five personnel were reduced, while the remaining five officers were punished with loss in seniority.

Bisi Kazeem, the Corps Public Education Officer, explained that the agency’s board approved the punishments, which were in accordance with the provisions of the FRSC Regulation on Discipline, as part of an organised effort to rid it of indiscipline and corrupt elements.

He noted that the approval which reaffirmed the Corps’ resolve to align with the anti-corruption policy of the Muhammadu Buhari led administration was granted during the meeting of the Board on Friday.

While re-emphasising the need for personnel to desist from any act of indiscipline, the Board stressed that the disciplinary actions were to serve as a deterrent to others who may form the habit of contravening established regulations and tarnishing the good image of the FRSC.

The Corps Marshal, Dr Boboye Oyeyemi, also restated that his administration would continue to operate on the tripod of consultation, reward, and punishment.

He, therefore, called on all members of staff to internalise the ideals of the founding fathers whose drive and commitments were geared towards saving lives.

According to Kazeem, the FRSC has ensured the entrenchment of discipline among its personnel with the continuous clampdown on corrupt elements since the inception of the leadership of Dr Oyeyemi as the Corps Marshal.

He stated that a reasonable number of the agency’s staff have received different punishments for misconduct and in the same vein, many others have been commended and appreciated for disciplined and exemplary conduct.