CBN Fixes April 3, 4 For MPC Meeting

CBN Orders Banks With Huge Bad Loans To Stop Paying Dividends

 

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has fixed April 3 and 4, 2018 for the country’s first Monetary Policy Committee meeting.

The apex bank fixed the date following the concession made by the Senate to screen and confirm the nominees of President Muhammadu Buhari to fill the posts of deputy governors of the CBN and the four members-designate of the Monetary Policy Committee.

The MPC was unable to hold its first meeting last January because it could not form a quorum, due to the Senate’s refusal to confirm the nominees sent by the President to the National Assembly.

However, due to the importance of the MPC meetings to the economy, the Senate reconsidered its stance last week on the CBN nominees and gave its Committee on Banking and Financial Institutions one week to screen them.

Army Intervenes As Youths Protest Against Arrest Of Suspected Cattle Rustlers

Death Toll From Fresh Benue Attack Rises To 24
File Photo: Youths Protesting in Benue.

 

Hundreds of youths in Agasha town of Benue state on Monday protested the arrest of four youths suspected to be members of a syndicate which rustled 20 cows.

In a statement signed by the Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Texas Chukwu on Monday, the youths numbering about 500, were said to have taken to the streets to demand the release of the suspects from the custody of a sister security agency.

However, the timely response of troops of 707 Special Forces Brigade, prevented a complete breakdown of law and order.

According to Chukwu, the situation is closely being monitored as patrols continue to dominate the general area.

This comes a time when the state has been thrown into mourning with attacks by some group of herdsmen leading to hundreds of people and several animals being killed, as well as farmlands being destroyed since the beginning of the year.

However, the Nigerian army and other security agencies have continued to make efforts to stamp out the criminals and bring an end to killings in the state.

Read More: Exercise Cat Race: Troops Arrest 12 Herdsmen In Benue

‘Southwest Federal Housing Project Nearly Completed, Already Creating Jobs’

Federal Controller of Works, Kolawole Kukoyi

 

The Federal Government has expressed satisfaction that its ongoing National Housing Programme (NHP) across the country has reached about 70 per cent completion stage in the south-west.

The Federal Controller of Works, Kolawole Kukoyi, who led the team on an inspection tour to Abere in Ede North Local government area of Osun state at the weekend, commended the speed of work on the site so far.

Kukoyi explained that apart from addressing the housing deficit issues in the nation, the government has also developed different structures that empower private investors to contribute to the development of the nation.

“The Federal Government Housing Programme is a programme that is created to impact on the economy of the environment and to provide houses for the people; to intervene in the housing problem,” he said.

He also expressed joy that the NHP has created jobs for many locals as well as empowered the indigent ones involved in all the building stages.

The Federal Government had in the 2018 budget set aside N35.4bn to address the housing needs of its workforce under the NHP.

The programme which kicked off in 33 states of the federation is expected to deliver over 2,700 housing units in Nigeria.

Buhari Sends Condolence Team To Bauchi Over Wakili’s Death

Wakil’s Death ‘An Incalculable Loss To Nigeria's Democracy’ – Buhari
The late Senator Ali Wakil appeared as a guest on Channels Television’s Hard Copy in February 2018.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday, sent a high-level government delegation to Bauchi to commiserate with the people of the state and the family of the late Senator representing Bauchi South, Ali Wakili.

The President who described the death as shocking, said Wakili appeared “full of life” when he last saw him, at the wedding ceremony of daughter of business mogul, Aliko Dangote in Kano, barely 24 hours before the news broke.

In separate letters written earlier to the Emir of Bauchi, Alhaji Rilwan Adamu, and the older brother of the late Senator, Alhaji Mohammed Wakili, President Buhari said he received the news with great shock and sadness.

“By common consent, Senator Ali Wakili was a noted and indefatigable member of the Senate who lived a simple yet purposeful life, and to the end, he played politics of commitment to a cause. There is no doubt he would be remembered as a capable and principled representative of his Senatorial District and the people of Nigeria,” the President noted.

Thereafter, he sent the government delegation to the state, led by the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu.

Also, among the delegation were the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mohammed Musa Bello, and the Minister of State, Power, Works and Housing, Alhaji Sulaiman Hassan.

Others were three Senior Special Assistants (SSAs) to the President, Sarki Abba, Ya’u Darazo and Garba Shehu as well as the Permanent Secretary in the State House, Mr. Jalal Arabi.

Many have described the late senator as one of the President’s staunchest supporters.

He, however, prayed for the repose of his soul saying: “I pray to God to forgive him and cover him with his mercy and grace.”

Sustainable Cassava Seed Systems Critical To Food Security – IITA

 

Scientists and experts in agriculture have converged on the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan to concretize efforts on ways to develop sustainable cassava seed systems in Nigeria.

This according to them, would enable them to solve problems of low productivity and improve the livelihood of farmers while ensuring food security.

Coordinator, Dr Hemant Nitturkar, in his address noted that the project (Building an Economically Sustainable Integrated Cassava Seed System (BASICS), is aimed at setting up a sustainable system where improved seeds would be provided for farmers.

Nitturkar emphasized that it would benefit the full cassava seed value chain and ultimately Nigerian farmers, thereby enhancing their productivity and income.

According to him, the two-day annual meeting which took place from March 16-17, with the theme ‘Consolidation’ helps in developing a shared understanding of the cross-cutting dependencies among breeders, foundation and commercial seed producers.

He added that it also helps farmers agree on quantities of seed flows over the next three years.

Furthermore, he noted that it enhances and strengthens the key building blocks of seed system being developed in the project.

“Nigeria is the world’s largest producer of cassava but the productivity is very low, Nigeria loses about N1trn yearly due to low productivity.

“We hope that this project that will last between 2016 and 2019 will address low cassava productivity issue,” he said.

Also speaking, the Director-General of National Agriculture Seeds Council, Dr Olusegun Ojo noted that the council would do its best to ensure that farmers get improved cassava seed varieties.

“The project is going on well since its inception in 2016; farmers are already excited with the contribution and provision of the seed council.

“All stakeholders in this project are working perfectly to ensure that the goal is achieved,” Ojo said.

Liverpool Star Salah Is “Indescribable” Says Gomez

Egypt's Salah Goal-rush Dominates African Performances
Liverpool’s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring his team’s first goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Southampton at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on November 18, 2017.
Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Mohamed Salah has been hailed as “indescribable” by Liverpool team-mate Joe Gomez after the Egypt winger maintained his incredible debut season with a four-goal spree against Watford.

Salah became the first Liverpool player since Luis Suarez in December 2013 against Norwich to score four times in a game as Watford were crushed 5-0 at Anfield on Saturday.

The former Chelsea player, who arrived at Anfield from Roma last year, is just three away from Suarez’s total of 31 league goals in a single season.

His haul of 36 in all competitions is the best goal record by a Liverpool player in their maiden season with the club.

Salah’s mesmerising first and third goals against Watford drew comparisons with Barcelona legend Lionel Messi.

Asked what effect Salah has on the team, Reds defender Gomez said: “It is indescribable.

“The goals he brings are invaluable and he is just so good to play with. It was a pleasure to be out there.

“He’s a special player; he is special to watch and I think we on the pitch enjoy it as much as the fans do.

“The fact he has so many assists (nine in the Premier League) shows he is bringing more than just his goals.

“He’s a positive person and a great guy to be around. He just gets on the ball and does what he does.

“He complements the team so well with Bobby (Firmino) and Sadio (Mane) and the front three anyone in the world would fear them. They all showed their quality in different ways.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said after Saturday’s performance that 25-year-old Salah could one day succeed Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the world’s best player.

Burundi Sets May 17 For Vote On Contested Reforms

 

Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza has set May 17 as the date for a referendum on a controversial constitutional reform that could keep him in power until 2034, according to a decree signed Sunday.

Critics accuse Nkurunziza of trying to stay in power for life and say a personality cult has developed around the former rebel chief who has led the central African country since 2005.

The government in October drafted reforms that would enable Nkurunziza to serve two seven-year mandates from 2020, but they have come under fire from the opposition and the international community, particularly the African Union.

The opposition says the changes could sign the death warrant for the Arusha peace accord of 2000, which helped end a 1993-2006 civil war that claimed more than 300,000 lives.

Nkurunziza ran for a third five-year term and was re-elected in 2015 despite a two-term limit under the constitution, triggering violence that left at least 1,200 people dead and sent more than 400,000 Burundians fleeing abroad.

The government had previously announced that the referendum would take place in May but had not announced the exact date.

The reforms will be adopted if 50 percent plus one vote cast ballots in favour.

Sunday’s decree said those wanting to take part in the official campaign must register with the Independent National Election Commission (CENI) between March 23 and April 6, but no-one is yet allowed to publicly declare themselves for or against the reforms.

The opposition has denounced what it describes as double standards, saying that ministers and officials with the ruling CNDD-FDD have openly campaigned for a Yes vote, while several dozen opposition activists have been arrested for pushing for a No vote.

The election commission announced last month that more than five million people had registered for the referendum and for the next election in 2020.

NSCDC Officials Commence Security Tour In Northeast Schools

NSCDC boss Mohammadu Abdullahi and officers interacting with students in Government Secondary School Hong  (Boarding school), Adamawa on Saturday.

 

The Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corp (NSCDC) has commenced the deployment of its personnel to secure secondary schools in the northeast.

This follows President Muhammadu Buhari’ s directive that the NSCDC should be involved in providing security following the recent abduction of over a hundred girls from the Government Girls Science Technical College (GGSTC) in Dapchi, Yobe state.

The Commandant General of the NSCDC Mohammadu Abdullahi has therefore, commenced the tour with Adamawa state on Sunday.

He visited the Government Girls Secondary School Gombi in Gombi local government area, as well as the Government Secondary School Hong.

Read More: Buhari Orders Deployment Of NSCDC Officials To Northeast

See Photos Below.

Tributes To ‘Inspiration’ Hawking As Curtain Falls On Paralympics

A general view during the closing ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Paralympic Games at the Pyeongchang Stadium in Pyeongchang on March 18, 2018.
Jung Yeon-je / AFP

 

The Pyeongchang Winter Paralympics closed Sunday with a dazzling ceremony featuring light shows, dancing and music, as well as tributes to late wheelchair-bound British physicist Stephen Hawking as an “inspiration”.

Nine days of sporting action ended earlier in the day with a flurry of events, including victory for the United States in a hard-fought sledge hockey final, helping them to top the medals table with 36 overall.

North Korea’s athletes, who made their country’s Winter Paralympics debut in Pyeongchang, were absent from the closing ceremony after heading home early, but it was a minor sticking point after the rapid inter-Korean thaw of recent weeks.
With thousands packing out the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium, International Paralympic Committee president Andrew Parsons used his closing address to pay tribute to Hawking, who died last week aged 76.

The scientist is seen as an inspiration by Paralympians. He never let his acute physical disability stop him from pursuing his dreams, and is fondly remembered for opening the London 2012 Games.

Parsons hailed him as “a genius of a man, a pioneer and inspiration to us all”.

“While Hawking tested the limits of his imagination, Paralympians, you have once again pushed the boundaries of human endeavour,” he said.

“Your logic-defying performances have focused the world not on what holds you back, but on what motivates you and pushes you forward.”

Hawking developed a form of motor neurone disease in his 20s that left him confined to a wheelchair, almost completely paralysed and only able to speak through a voice synthesiser.

But his disability did not stop him pursuing his ambition of unlocking the secrets of the Universe, and his best-selling book “A Brief History of Time” made him a household name.

In a memorable speech at the opening of the 2012 Games, Hawking urged Paralympians to “look up at the stars and not down at your feet”.

– Triumph over adversity –

Athletes carried their countries’ flags into the stadium at the closing ceremony but North Korea’s was brought in by a Games volunteer, after Pyongyang’s delegation headed home a few days ago.

Pyongyang sent two novice sit-skiers to the Games and they finished at or near the back of their two events, but were still welcomed by South Korean fans delighted at the latest sign of detente on the Korean peninsula.

The rapprochement began at last month’s Winter Olympics, when the North sent 22 athletes to the Games and the two Koreas marched under a united flag at the opening ceremony.

The North’s presence at the Paralympics was low-key compared to the Olympics — as well as leaving before the end, the North did not march with the South at the opening.

Sunday’s closing ceremony included traditional Korean music and dancing, and also modern rock and pop, with K-pop star Ailee among the performers.

There were also disabled performers, including a dancer with a hearing impairment and a wheelchair-bound dancer.
Towards the end of the ceremony, the Paralympic flag was hauled down and handed to the mayor of Beijing — which will host the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

In a fitting finale to the Games’ high-octane sporting action, the USA earlier Sunday beat Canada 2-1 with a dramatic goal in overtime to defend their Paralympic sledge hockey title.

It brought Team USA’s gold medal haul to 13.

Russian athletes — competing as neutrals after their country was banned due to a doping scandal — picked up eight gold medals, second-highest after the USA and tied with Canada.

The Winter Paralympics broke records for ticket sales, which topped 340,000, as well as for the number of athletes competing at 567.

There were numerous tales of triumph over adversity.

Dutch snowboarder Bibian Mentel-Spee won two gold medals despite having had cancer surgery twice in recent months.

American skier Oksana Masters – born with multiple birth defects due to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster — also won double gold.

Outbursts Only Increase Pressure On Defiant Mourinho

United Boss Admits Concern At Herrera Injury In Sevilla Draw
Jose Mourinho leaves the pitch at the end of the football match between Manchester United and Huddersfield Town at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on February 3, 2018. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

First came the impassioned defence of his record as Manchester United manager, then a stinging rebuke of his players’ “lack of personality” to meet the demands of the 20-time English champions from Jose Mourinho.

The outspoken Portuguese coach is no stranger to causing controversy, but his astonishing rant aimed at his own squad despite beating Brighton 2-0 in snowy conditions at Old Trafford on Saturday only served to cast more doubt on whether he will be handed a third season in charge.

“My calculation is that without pressure, they don’t perform well,” argued Mourinho, when questioned whether his public criticism could backfire should his players’ react negatively.

“What can I lose? And the ones that are always there are the ones that will always be there. And that is an example of personality.”

United are still reeling from a bitterly disappointing Champions League last 16 exit at the hands of Sevilla.

Mourinho reacted angrily to criticism of his cautious approach in both legs against the Spanish side, who are languishing in fifth in La Liga, with a 12-minute rant in his pre-match press conference on Friday.

In seven seasons under four different managers, Mourinho pointed out that United’s best performance in the Champions League has been one quarter-final appearance, and the club’s highest finish in the Premier League since legendary former manager Alex Ferguson retired was fourth.

Mourinho’s actions spoke almost as loudly as his words. Two of United’s biggest signings of his time in charge, Alexis Sanchez and Paul Pogba, were dropped and not even introduced as substitutes against Brighton.

Other than Nemanja Matic, who set up Romelu Lukaku’s opener before heading home United’s second himself, Mourinho lambasted what he described as a “lack of personality, lack of class and lack of desire.”

– New contract no guarantee –

As recently as January, Mourinho was handed a new contract till 2020 by the United hierarchy.

However, history from Mourinho’s nomadic coaching career shows that is no guarantee of a long-term stay.

Mourinho signed a new deal in August 2015 of his second spell in charge of Chelsea, only to be sacked four months later after a disastrous start to their Premier League title defence.

His latest outburst struck a similar tone to his final match in charge of Chelsea when, after a 2-1 defeat at Leicester, he claimed his work on the training ground had been “betrayed” by players not following instructions.

Like his time at Real Marid, Mourinho’s second departure at Chelsea came in a turbulent third season once his message to a talented squad began to fall on deaf ears.

Worryingly for United, Mourinho’s reserves already appear to be running low in the final stages of his second campaign, when he has traditionally been most successful.

Unlike both spells at Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid, there will be no title to crown his second season.
Despite sitting second in the Premier League, United trail local rivals Manchester City by 16 points in the Premier League, and could even face the indignity of seeing City seal the league when they face each other in three weeks’ time.

As British newspaper The Telegraph wrote on Sunday, “a trophy could still be salvaged from the wreckage” in the FA Cup.
However, that didn’t help Mourinho’s predecessor Louis Van Gaal, who won the FA Cup in his final game in charge only to be soon dismissed.

“When a manager publicly challenges his players in a bid to defend their own reputation, it is their reaction that decides whether it was a blunder or not,” added the Telegraph’s match report.

If Mourinho can’t get his players back on side, and the likes of Sanchez and Pogba performing on the pitch in the final few weeks of the season, the United board have a huge decision to make on whether to persist for a third act.

Vladimir Putin In 10 Dates

Putin Orders Alternative Olympic Games For Banned Athletes
File photo: President Vladimir Putin/ Alexey NIKOLSKY / SPUTNIK / AFP

Vladimir Putin, who is expected to win a fourth term as Russian president in Sunday’s election, has reimposed the Kremlin’s grip over society since taking power 18 years ago.

Here are key dates in the life of the 65-year-old former KGB officer:

– October 7, 1952: Putin is born into a poor working-class family in Leningrad, now called Saint Petersburg.

– 1998: He is named head of the FSB security service, the successor to the KGB, having joined the service in 1975.

– 1999: As Boris Yeltsin’s prime minister, he oversees the launch of a second war to crush rebels in Chechnya. When Yeltsin resigns on New Year’s Eve, Putin takes over as president, being officially elected in March 2000.

– 2004: He is re-elected president.

– 2008: In line with a constitutional limit, at the end of his second term Putin hands power to his protege Dmitry Medvedev and becomes prime minister.

– 2012: He returns as president, for a term which has been extended from four to six years, amid unprecedented opposition protests.

– 2013: After three decades of marriage, he divorces Lyudmila with whom he has two daughters.

– 2014: He annexes the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, sparking the worst diplomatic crisis between Russia and the West since the Cold War.

– 2015: Gives military backing to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

– 2017: In December, he announces he will seek a new six-year term as president in March 2018.

Russian Presidential Election: Polls Open In Moscow

Russian paratroopers vote at a polling station during Russia’s presidential election in Stavropol on March 18, 2018.
Danil Semyonov / AFP

Voting opened Sunday in Moscow in Russia’s presidential election, with President Vladimir Putin set to secure a historic fourth Kremlin term amid escalating tensions with Britain and its allies over a spy poisoning.

Polling stations opened in the far east of the vast country at 2000 GMT Saturday and will close in Kaliningrad, Russia’s enclave on the EU border, at 1800 GMT on Sunday.

Since the disintegration of the USSR or the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, here are five major dates in Russia.

– 1991: the Soviet Union dies –

December 8, Russian President Boris Yeltsin, elected six months earlier at the first multi-party ballot, agrees with his Belarussian and Ukrainian counterparts to replace their union, the USSR, with a commonwealth.
As the Soviet Union disintegrates, leader Mikhail Gorbachev resigns. The USSR ceases to exist in international law on December 31, 1991.

Yeltsin launches a raft of free-market reforms and ruthlessly expands his powers, presiding over rampant corruption and a sell-off of assets to allied oligarchs.

He is discredited further by a severe financial crisis in the summer of 1998 which leaves millions of Russians in poverty, with the health and education systems collapsing.

– 1999: Putin arrives –

When Yeltsin resigns on New Year’s Eve, 1999, he names his prime minister, the ex-spy chief Vladimir Putin, as president.

Putin is elected in March 2000 and then again in 2004.

As Yeltsin’s prime minister, Putin had overseen the launch of a second war to crush separatist rebels in Russia’s North Caucasus region of Chechnya, sealing his image as a strongman.

The separatists had carried out a series of bloody attacks which traumatised Russians.

Tens of thousands die in Moscow’s bombing of the regional capital Grozny before the conflict ends in 2009.

During his first two terms as president, Putin asserts his dominance over parliament and regional governors, imposes control over the media and empowers the security services.

He also sidelines influential oligarchs from politics, including Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the ex-Yukos chief, who is jailed for 10 years.

Russia’s economy recovers, thanks to high energy prices, a strict control of monetary policy and reform.

– 2008: Interim president –

At the end of his second term in 2008, Putin — in line with the constitution — hands the presidency over to his protege Dmitry Medvedev and takes the post of prime minister.

He is widely seen as retaining the reins of power, however, and remains Russia’s most popular figure.

– 2012: Putin’s comeback –

Putin scores a crushing first-round presidential election victory in March 2012 that he insists is honest but the opposition and international observers say is tainted.

On the eve of his inauguration for a term extended to six years, thousands of protesters stage a so-called March of Millions, which is repressed by police.

A crackdown on civil society follows Putin’s return to power, with activists arrested, the Pussy Riot rock band jailed and draconian new laws passed.

– 2014: Russia flexes muscles –

In March 2014, Putin annexes the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, which sparks the worst diplomatic crisis between Russia and the West since the Cold War.

The move prompts the European Union and United States to impose sanctions on Russia.

Moscow is also accused of backing pro-Russian separatists in the east of the strategically placed former Soviet republic.

Russia’s role as a key international player is sealed when in September 2015 it intervenes in Syria, turning the tables in the civil war in favour of ally President Bashar al-Assad.