Obasanjo Urges Zambian Govt. To Follow Rule Of Law In Dealing With Opposition

Xenophobia Attacks: Obasanjo Lays Blame On SA Government
Former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo.

A former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has appealed to the Zambian government to adhere to the rule of law and human rights principles, in dealing with the opposition in the Southern African country of Zambia.

The appeal is coming on the heels of the report, which broke early on Tuesday that the house of the main opposition leader, Hakainde Hichilema, was allegedly broken into by the Government Police and other Paramilitary Agencies with the purpose of arresting him without any warrant.

Obasanjo, in a statement signed by his Media Aide, Kehinde Akinyemi, said it was in the best interest of the country to maintain the rule of law and human rights principles, which are recipes for peace, stability and development not only in the Southern African country, but the entire African continent.

“Early Tuesday, the news broke that the Zambian Government Police and other Paramilitary Agencies broke into the house of the opposition leader, Hakainde Hichilema, to effect his arrest without any warrant.

“Special appeal is being made to the Government of Zambia to ensure that the rule of law is followed without Bach of human rights in dealing with the opposition leader of the stature of Hakainde Hichilema.

“It is in the best interest of the country in ensuring that the rule of law and human rights principles are followed to ensure peace, stability and security, which are fundamental basis for development, which all Africans require at this point in time”, he stated.

Obiano Signs Two Billion Dollars Airport City MoU

The dream of Governor Willie Obiano in making Anambra State a first choice investment destination and a hub for commercial activities seems to be materialising.

The State Government has signed a two billion dollars Memorandum of Understanding with two investment companies, Orient Petroleum Resources and Elite International Investment Limited, for the construction of an international airport city in Umueri, Anambra East Local Government Area.

Speaking at the signing ceremony which took place in the Government House Awka, the state’s capital, Governor Obiano expressed hope that the project would reduce cost of importation and boost development in the state.

He added that it will also create a boundless business connection between Anambra and China, saying the State Government will ensure that the project is not only a central economic hub for the state, but also for the entire south-east region and Nigeria at large.

Giving details of the investment, the Chairman of Anambra State Investment Promotion and Protection Agency (ANSIPPA), Igwe Cyril Enweze, said the project would promote rapid urbanisation and increase the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the state.

On his part, the Managing Director of Orient Petroleum Resources, Mr Christian Udechukwu, commended the vision of the Obiano led administration.

He assured the State Government that they would deliver quality project, in line with aviation engineering best practices.

The airport city to be named, Anambra Airport Infrastructure Company Limited, has a completion duration of three years and sits on a 1,500 hectares of land at Ivite Umueri.

Mascherano Warns Barcelona Against Juventus Attackers

Courtesy: marca.com

Barcelona defender, Javier Mascherano, has cautioned his teammates against Juventus pair, Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala, ahead of Tuesday night’s UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg tie.

Juventus will meet Barcelona for the first time since the 2015 Champions League final, when an early Ivan Rakitic strike left Massimiliano Allegri’s men with a mountain to climb before they succumbed 3­-1 in Berlin.

Barcelona will be without Sergio Busquets due to suspension, meaning Mascherano could be given a rare outing in the midfield holding role.

Neymar, as well as Rakitic and Gerard Pique, who returned to the team following a suspension against Malaga, are all one booking away from a suspension that would rule them out of the return leg.

Governor Wike Charges Rivers IRS On Revenue Generation

 Governor Wike Charges Rivers IRS On Revenue GenerationRivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has inaugurated the reconstituted Rivers State Board of Internal Revenue Service (IRS), charging the board to create a tax friendly environment in the state, while improving internally generated revenue for development purposes.

The governor urged the chairman and members of the state Board of IRS to ensure that they weather the storm of political blackmail and other forms of pressure in the discharge of their responsibilities.

Inaugurating the Board at the Government House, Port Harcourt on Wednesday, the governor stated that the renewed revenue drive in the state is because of the dwindling revenue from the Federation Account.

According to him, the new board was selected because of their professional competence. He therefore warned members against getting themselves involved in unproductive politics.

The governor said: “It took us time to appoint members of this all-important Board because of our search for persons who are professionally competent to achieve improved revenue.

“Members of the board were chosen strictly on their professional track record.

Wike Charges Rivers IRS On Revenue Generation
members of reconstituted board

“We have made commitment to the Rivers people and we are determined to continue to deliver on quality projects. We can only do this with sustained revenue flow. Therefore, you must work towards blocking revenue leakages, increasing our revenue and providing more funds for development”.

Wike went on to say that if the state is able to generate up to 50 per cent of her potentials, it would easily fasten the development process.

He told the reconstituted Board that this is their opportunity to serve the state and make a positive impact on the lives of the people.

In response, Chairman of the Rivers State Board of Internal Revenue Service, Mr Thank God Adoage Norteh, said members of the Board are committed to delivering on the assignment of improving the revenue of the state.

He then gave an assurance that they would create a tax friendly environment and professionalise the revenue service of the state.

Furthermore, he solicited the cooperation of the leaders and people of the state as the board discharges its responsibility of generating the needed funds for development.

Nigeria’s PMI Improves To 52.9 Reading

policy design, Progressive Governors, economic recessionNigeria’s Purchasing Manufacturing Index turned positive at 52.9 reading in October, from a negative reading of 47.9 in September.

The uptick in the manufacturing level according to FBN Quest, was driven by an improvement in all five sub-indices, in October.

FBN Quest is projecting a further contraction of -1.7 percent in the third quarter of 2016, but says the figure could be better, if the oil economy surprises on the upside.

The analysts expect a flat GDP for the fourth quarter of 2016.

Senate Demands Oil Production Sale Report

senateThe National Assembly has asked the Department of Petroleum Resources to begin a daily reporting exercise of oil and gas production and sale to the senate.

According to the Senate Committee on Petroleum, the records are to be submitted on a monthly basis.

Chairman of the Committee, Senator Tayo Alasoadura, said the data would give an opportunity to have deeper knowledge of activities in the petroleum sector.

The demanded petroleum industry activities will include, data on seismic activities, crude oil production, lifting and allocations as well as exports by destination.

Other details are receipts, gas production, utilisation, sales, transmission and exports.

New Earthquake Rocks Italy, Buildings Collapse

italyA powerful earthquake struck Italy on Sunday in the same central regions that have been rocked by repeated tremors over the past two months, with more homes and churches brought down but no deaths reported.

The quake, which measured 6.6 according to the U.S. Geological Survey, was bigger than one on Aug. 24 that killed almost 300 people. Many people have fled the area since then, helping to avoid a new devastating death toll.

The latest quake was felt across much of Italy, striking at 7.40 a.m. (0640 GMT), its epicenter close to the historic Umbrian walled town of Norcia, some 100 km (60 miles) from the university city of Perugia.

Panicked Norcia residents rushed into the streets and the town’s ancient Basilica of St. Benedict collapsed, leaving just the facade standing. Nuns, monks and locals sank to their knees in the main square in silent prayer before the shattered church.

“This is a tragedy. It is a coup de grace. The basilica is devastated,” Bishop Renato Boccardo of Norcia told Reuters.

“Everyone has been suspended in a never-ending state of fear and stress. They are at their wits end,” said Boccardo, referring to the thousands of tremors that have rattled the area since August, including two serious quakes on Wednesday.

Italy’s Civil Protection unit, which coordinates disaster relief, said numerous houses were destroyed on Sunday in the regions of Umbria and Marche, but either they were deserted at the time or most of the residents managed to escape beforehand.

“No deaths have been reported, but there are a number of people injured,” said Civil Protection chief Fabrizio Curcio, adding that just one person was in a serious condition.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said Italy was living through extremely difficult times, but promised a massive reconstruction effort in the years ahead regardless of any possible objections from the European Union over the eventual costs.

“We will rebuild everything, the houses, the churches and the businesses,” Renzi told reporters. “Everything that needs to be done to rebuild these areas will be done.”

FG To Ban Felling Of Trees To Avert Desertification

Felling of Trees, Desertification, The Federal Government is working towards putting a ban on felling of trees as a means of addressing the challenge of desertification in Nigeria.

The Minister of Environment, Mrs Amina Mohammed, announced the plan on Wednesday at a public forum on desertification and deforestation organised by the European Union.

Mrs Mohammed laments that about 1.5 million trees are cut daily in Nigeria, thereby creating room for desert encroachment.

On his part, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, hinted that the Senate was considering a bill to improve forestry in Nigeria.

At an earlier event to flag-off the ‘Keep Kaduna Green Project’, President Muhammadu Buhari expressed worry that Nigeria has the highest rate of deforestation in the world in spite of campaigns against such acts.

Restore The Environment

The President was represented by the Environment Minister at the event designed to plant one million trees annually in Kaduna State.

He pointed out that over 576 million trees were lost annually due to deforestation, adding that the situation had led to the increased rate of desertification, flooding and drought in some parts of Nigeria.

Environmental Auditors, AFROSAI, Implementation

President Buhari feared that with the upsurge in the rate of deforestation, the Federal Government’s effort to achieve the forest cover and restore the environment by 25% might be a tall dream.

Paid For Growing Trees 

In another development, the Federal Ministry of Environment reiterated its commitment to forestry development with a view to checkmate the effects of climate change in Nigeria.

The Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jibrin, stressed the importance of agriculture and forestry to national economy and security.

He also expressed concern over the negative destruction of the nation’s forests which he said had led to numerous environmental challenges.

Mr Jibrin called on farmers and other stakeholders to come up with solutions on how to combat climate change and deforestation in Nigeria.

If Nigeria could enact a law that would proscribe felling of trees, the nation could be added to the list of countries getting paid for keeping their forests.

Over eight countries get the REDD+ (Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) funds.

REDD+ is the UN led mechanism which helps countries earn dollars by not cutting trees and saving carbon dioxide in forests.

Environmental experts estimate that if a nation upholds deforestation and also plant new trees, it can earn $4 – 12 billion

NIPOST Plans To Offer Banking Services

nipostThe Nigeria Postal Services, (NIPOST) may start offering banking services if the proposal of the Communications Minister, Mr Adebayo Shittu to President Muhammadu Buhari is approved.

The Minister has revealed that the President’s approval is being sought to establish a NIPOST bank, positioned to serve millions of Nigerians in the rural areas.

If President Buhari agrees, the new NIPOST bank may become Nigeria’s largest bank by branch network with 1,500 postal agencies across the country serving as financial services outposts.

The Minister said that President Buhari has asked the Attorney-General to look into the proposal to set up NIPOST bank, similar to the Japan’s Postbank, offering people-based financial services like bureau de change alongside postal services.

FG To Launch Digital Switchover In Abuja In December

Digital SwitchoverThe Federal Government has announced plans to launch digital broadcasting in December as part of efforts to ensure the realization of the June 2017 Digital Switch Over deadline.

This is in line with the directive of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to its member countries.‎

Fielding questions from Journalists in Abuja after inspecting a set-up box manufacturing company, the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, said that digitizing broadcasting in Nigeria is irreversible and unstoppable and that the digital switch over is no longer a matter of choice but a matter of necessity.

He added that the process of digitization would also provide over a million jobs for Nigerian youths within the next two years.

The June 2017 deadline for the digital switch over from analogue to Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) is part of the development of all digital terrestrial broadcast services for sound and television for 119 countries who are members of the International Telecommunications Union.

World Bank, NEWMAP Partner On Imo Erosion Control


World bank, NEWMAPThe people of Umueze Eziala Obizi autonomous community in Ezinihitte Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo state are excited about the gully erosion control and site rehabilitation project by the World Bank and Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP).

This is because they will in no distant time heave a sigh of relieve as gully erosion, which used to displace many lives and properties in the community will soon become a thing of the past.

The cheering news was shared at a town hall meeting organized by NEWMAP in the community to create a rapport between the World Bank project team and the indigenes of the area to ascertain the level of work done on the Obizi gully erosion site.

The meeting was to also educate the people on further precautionary measures to be taken to prevent further occurrence of gully erosion while urging them to also cooperate with the contractors handling the project.

Before the intervention of the World Bank through the Nigeria Watershed Erosion Management Project (NEWMAP), the dangerous Umueze Eziala Obizi gully erosion site had claimed many lives and property.

The erosion site was identified as one to be rehabilitated under the Nigeria Erosion Watershed Management Project and seven months after, the rehabilitation and control work on the erosion site reached 75-80% completion.

The traditional ruler of the community, Stephen Azubuihe commended the
NEWMAP team for the progress made so far on the rehabilitation works.

He acknowledged the role expected of Stephen-Azubuihe-Umueze-Eziala-Obizithe community in ensuring the success of the project and promised that residents would cooperate with the World Bank to see the project through.

Some of the indigenes of the community whose properties and farmlands were affected by the gully erosion also commended the World Bank.

One of them is the chairman of the farmers’ cooperative in Obizi autonomous community, Justus Uha, who noted that the quick financial intervention and compensation has enabled them to start life over again.

The Urualla erosion site in Ideato North and Umuezelibe Isu erosion site in Njaba local government areas are also under the rehabilitation watch of the NEWMAP team. They have also promised to complete work in these sites in no distant time.

Customs Allege Plot To Massively Smuggle Rice Into Nigeria

Hameed Ali, Customs, RiceThe Nigeria Customs Service has raised alarm over a plot to illegally import 1.5 million metric tonnes of rice.

The Comptroller General of Customs, Colonel Hameed Ali (rtd), made the allegation during a media briefing on Wednesday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

He revealed that at least 117,000 bags of illegally imported rice have been seized by the Customs since January 2016.

Reps summon finance and agric ministers
Impounded bags of rice

The Acting Director-General of the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control, Mrs Yetunde Oni, also corroborated the claims.

She said that the activities of smugglers were affecting Nigeria’s revenue generation, despite its economic recession.

Prior to the development, Customs authority in Ogun State Command decried the increase in the activities of smugglers.

Addressing reporters after vehicles loaded with bags of rice were seized at Idiroko border, the Ogun State Area Comptroller of Customs, Mr Multafu Waindu, paraded 18 vehicles loaded with bags of rice which were being smuggled into Nigeria from the Republic of Benin.

According to him, the vehicles and the grains were impounded around 3:00am at the porous Alari and Ifoyintedo bush paths, in Ipokia Local Government Area of the state where the smuggled bags of rice and the vehicles were abandoned by the smugglers.

Economy In Recession

Meanwhile, Nigerians have lamented the upsurge in the cost of rice from 12,000 Naira to over 20,000 Naira in some parts of the country, a fall out of the economic recession.

Economic analysts have said that more persons could go into smuggling of rice due to the increase in price, with most of them opting for Benin Republic where they could get rice for as low as 12,000 Naira.

While the government is making effort to address the economic challenges, a World Economic Outlook report released by the International Monetary Fund had predicted that the Nigerian economy would grow by 0.6% in 2017.

The report revealed that Nigeria’s real Gross Domestic Product was expected to increase marginally by 0.6% with Consumer Prices rising by 17.1%, effectively lifting the country out of an officially declared recession.

Attacks On Oil Facilities

The recession was a result of the drop in the price of crude oil and the attacks on the nation’s oil facilities by some militant groups in the Niger Delta region.gas-pipeline-vandalisation

Some militants under the umbrella of the Niger Delta Avengers have claimed responsibility for most of the attacks which have drawn the attention of the Nigerian Government and some other foreign governments.

Disturbed by the spate of the militants’ activities, the Nigerian Army launched a special team code named “Operation Crocodile Smile”, as the government agreed to dialogue with the militants after a ceasefire agreement from both sides.

In spite of the development, both military and militants have continued to point accusing fingers, alleging a breach of agreements as the military said it would not hesitate to repel militants’ attack in the region.