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Top 10 stories of Monday, March 28, 2016

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PRESIDENCY COUNTERS TINUBU ON KACHIKWU, FUEL SCARCITY

The presidency yesterday rose in stout defence of Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu who at the weekend came under scathing criticism by the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu over comments relating to the fuel scarcity across the federation.

Kachikwu, who is also the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), was reported to have said that he could not perform magic in solving the problem of fuel scarcity, a statement Tinubu considered insensitive and insulting to the sensibilities of Nigerians. But the presidency yesterday rose in defence of Kachikwu, saying the Minister was speaking the truth when he said that Nigerians would have to wait till May for the scarcity to go away.

 

PAINS FOR TRADERS AS AGEGE LOCAL COUNCIL DEMOLISHES ASHADE MARKET

Demolition of markets in Lagos has become the trend in recent times, especially by the local councils and development areas. The latest to deal the bitter pill are traders at Ashade Market, phase one in Agege Local Council, who were given the greatest shock of their lives on Thursday morning, when some young men, armed with dangerous weapons and bulldozers, leveled their means of livelihood.

The worried traders expressed their displeasure at the Local Council and the developer, one Alhaja Dosunmu, for carrying out such a dastardly act without prior notice.

 

NNPC SPENDS N103.4 BILLION TO PROTECT OIL PIPELINES IN ONE YEAR

It may be virtually impossible for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to operate its refineries, crude oil and products’ pipelines nationwide profitably, unless government takes drastic measures to eliminate all acts of pipeline vandalism.

This is coming in the light of a report titled, “Report on Improving Local Refining Capacity in Nigeria”, prepared by the Managing Director, Matwins Consult Limited, Mark Tubotein, which reveal that the repeated repairs by Petroleum Pipelines and Marketing Company (PPMC) after each act of vandalism for several years calls to question the integrity of existing pipelines that are over 35 years in operation without adequate maintenance on them.

 

NSCDC ROUNDS UP CABLES THEFT GANG

A suspected dealer in stolen communications cables, fingered to be the kingpin behind missing communication cables, Gideon Ioenes, has been apprehended by men of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Lokoja.

He was nabbed at the weekend at his hideout after the corps began the investigation of nine persons linked to the stolen 18 rolls of communication dots valued at N5.4 million. The suspects, who are the ad-hoc staff of Success Communication Company, had claimed to embark on the criminal exercise because the firm refused to pay them their salaries after several months.

 

HARVEST OF FIRES IN KANO…..

It was a gloomy Easter at the weekend for thousands of shop owners in the famous Sabon Gari market that was razed by fire on Saturday. The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said yesterday that at least 3, 800 shops were destroyed by the incident.

Few hours after fire razed both Sabon Gari and Birni Kebbi Central markets, the Abubakar Raimi Market was also razed leaving shop owners to groan over losses running into billions of naira. NEMA Director General, Alhaji Muhammad Sani Sidi Sidi, told told newsmen at the scene in Kano that the interim assessment of the situation indicated that the fire had destroyed more than 90 percent of the market.

 

FARMERS/HERDSMEN CLASHES: BENUE KICKS AGAINST GRAZING LAND

As the Federal Government takes steps to establish grazing land for marauding Fulani herdsmen as a way of ending the frequent clashes between the herdsmen and farmers in the country, the Benue State Government  has maintained that establishment of ranches remained a panacea for the crisis.

The position of the state government was reiterated yesterday, in a statement issued on behalf government by the special adviser to the Governor on media and ICT, Mr. Tahav Agerzua. According to him, “Governor Samuel Ortom has reiterated over time that the establishment of ranches remains the best global practice in animal husbandry that explains why there are no clashes between farmers and herders in countries that have domesticated the practice”.

 

1M HOUSES ANNUALLY POSSIBLE THROUGH COLLABORATION – BUHARI

The Federal Government is targeting the development of about one million housing units annually in collaboration with states and the private sector. President Muhammadu Buhari disclosed this at a two-day National Economic Council retreat in Abuja, last week. He said the Federal Government will provide 250, 000 units, the 22 states controlled by All Progressive Congress (APC) are expected to jointly provide 250, 000  houses while foreign investors and their local partners would provide the remaining 500, 000 units.

In our successful campaign to win the general election last year, our party, the APC, promised to build a million housing units a year. This will turn out to be very tall order unless the Federal Government builds 250, 000  units, and the 22 APC states together manage another 250, 000 units. We invite foreign investors together with locally-domiciled big construction companies to enter into commercial housing building to pick up the rest.

 

JONATHAN CAN BE TRIED IF THERE IS EVIDENCE – BUHARI’S PANEL

The Chairman, Presidential Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay, has faulted a former Minister of National Planning, Dr. Abubakar Suleiman, regarding the culpability of former President Goodluck Jonathan in the current anti-corruption cases.

Suleiman, who is the spokesperson for the Peoples Democratic Party Ministers’ Forum, had said in a Sunday interview that Jonathan could not be held liable because no stolen funds had been traced to the ex-president’s personal bank account.

 

NAVY PROBES OFFICER’S ALLEGED KILLING OF GBARAMATU INDIGENE

The Nigerian Navy has begun equity into the circumstances surrounding alleged killing of one Bernard Pius on Thursday by a Naval Officer at Tebular Okpelama, a Gbaramatu community in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State. This came as Chief Beck Hitler condemned the killing and also urges the commander, Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS Delta, Commodore Raimi Mohammed, to warn his officers to stop further killings in Gbaramatu kingdom.

This was revealed at a meeting convened, weekend, by commodore Mohammed, commander, Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS, Delta, Warri Naval Base, with Gbaramatu leaders on the way forward over the incident which aggravated anger in the communities over military presence in the area.

 

THE RISING CASES OF PIRATES INVASION IN BAYELSA

The people of the Coastal settlement of Ekeni in Southern Ijaw Local Govenrment Area of Bayelsa State have raised alarm over the rising cases of pirates’ invasion and attacks on their community. Indigenes of the predominantly fishing community, tucked in the coastal waters between Furopa and Ezetu, said they were constantly living in fear of the rampaging sea robbers, who overtime had been exploiting the sloppy policing of the area to carry out their nefarious trade.

They noted with sadness that though a military post was sited at neighbouring Ezetu, they were always at the mercy of the bandits because of the alleged refusal of the soldiers to move out of their base.

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