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Top 13 stories of Tuesday, April 5, 2016


Dangote Group’s giant strides in establishing cement plants across Africa has attracted commendation of Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Power (ECCIMA) which described the conglomerate
as an emerging global player from Africa. President of ECCIMA, Ugochukwu Chime speaking at the weekend during Dangote Group’s special day at the 27th Enugu International Trade Fair also lauded the group for operating in almost every sector of the economy while adding a lot of value to the growth of the Nigerian economy.

He said more of Dangote is all Nigeria needs to be an industrial giant in the comity of nations, adding that the present challenges facing the country presents opportunity to investors to do business in Nigeria especially Nigerians. According to him, “Dangote Group has gone beyond being a Nigerian conglomerate to an African conglomerate operating in many countries across the continent”.



The Nigeria-China Business Council has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to focus on infrastructure, power and investment during his upcoming visit to China. The national co-coordinator of the council, Mr Matthew Uwakwe gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.

He noted that partnership with China in the identified areas would enable Nigeria to achieve its economic diversification plans. The coordinator noted that China has stable power supply, and learning from that country would mean a breakthrough in the area of electricity. He added that Nigeria needed major economic boosts in order to speed up infrastructure development, improve Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and overall quality of life indices. “We need to build trade and economic relations and also have a good exchange of knowledge.

“The president can get them to increase investment in Nigeria and get strategic long-term relations as his main focus to diversify our economy,’’ he said.



The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has disclosed its readiness to pull out up to N1 trillion from circulation in a bid to stabilize the economy.

Already, N525 billion has been pulled out less than one week after the policy which seeks to tighten money supply, while additional N219 billion is slated to be pulled out next week. Banks’ treasury executives said they are preparing their treasury plans for more mop ups of about N300 billion. The Central Bank Monetary Policy Rate was increased to 12 per cent from 11 per cent while Cash Reserve Requirement was hiked to 22.5 per cent from 20 per cent at its last meeting.



Hope has risen for Nigeria’s crude oil business as the drop in shale production has forced United States (US) to resume crude oil imports. With this development, the US is now a big importer of crude oil again after a very sharp fall in its production. Bloomberg reports that US oil production has fallen by about 600, 000 barrels per day since peaking in 2015, and imports have filled the gap as the American industry is hoarding foreign crude. According to the US Department of Energy, earlier in 2014, Nigeria oil sales to the US dropped to a trickle of about 100,000 barrels per day but completely stopped in July. Nigeria did not export a single barrel of crude to US-based refiners in July 2014 for the first time since records started in 1973. Preliminary data suggest the trend continued in August and September. However, at its peak in February 2006, the US imported 1.3million barrels per day from Nigeria. By 2012, Nigeria was already selling just 500, 000 barrels per day, but was still one of the top-5 suppliers to the US, alongside Saudi Arabia, Canada, Mexico and Venezuela.



In view of the highly positive response to the N10 billion Youth Entrepreneurship Support (YES) programme of the Bank of Industry (BOI), that was launched in the middle of March by the Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechikwu Enelama, the Federal Government might have found a panacea to the problem of youth unemployment in the country.

According to BOI’s Acting Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Waheed Olagunju, the fact that the bank received more than  13,272 online applications as at April 1, 2016, – two weeks after the scheme was launched, which is in excess of the 10,000 applications that were projected to be filed in six weeks, is an indication of the wide acceptance of the YES programme among Nigerian Youths across the country as shown by the geo-political analysis of the applicants. Olagunju was particularly pleased to note that the North East is leading with 1,300 applicants, followed by South West with 1,150 and North Central with 663.



Senator Bola Tinubu, national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has said the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) should be held responsible for the ongoing crises in the power and petroleum sectors of the country. He also said the APC was kept busy repairing the damage the PDP left behind, and as such, Nigerians must be realistic and objective.

The APC chieftain stated this in the face of lingering blackouts, scarcity of petrol and biting economic hardship nationwide. Tinubu told newsmen at the weekend in Lagos: “We want to stay focused and redirect Nigeria. We want to reverse the decay of 16 years. We are hearing comments from the PDP left and right. We are saying we want to clear the mess they created. For 16 good years, the PDP destroyed the country. We should not be lamenting over petrol queues today if they had seen what was necessary and done what was necessary for this country.”



The Bayelsa State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Monday accused Governor Seriake Dickson of being the behind the crisis rocking the party in the state.

The Bayelsa APC in a statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Panebi Fortune, said there was an underhand dealing between the suspended Chairman of the party, Chief Tiwe Oruminighe, and Dickson. Oruminighe and few members of the state Executive Committee have been directly attacking the state leader of the party, Chief Timipre Sylva, accusing him of selling appointments to his cronies. Dickson in the heat of the crisis released a statement purportedly supporting the faction of the APC Executive Committee led by Oruminighe.

The party said: “It has become compelling for us to expose the under hand dealings between the governor, Hon Henry Seriake Dickson and the suspended state chairman of the APC, Chief Tiwei Oruminighe alongside two of his accomplices.

“In the last few days, the state and indeed the entire nation has witnessed the outright misdemeanour on the part of the suspended party and two members of the state exco. As a party built on the principles of discipline, justice and fair play, 25 out of the 31 member state exco of the party supended Orunimigha and his co-travellers for gross indiscipline and misconduct.”


BlackBerry has announced its latest move to remain relevant: making all the privacy and control features within its BBM messaging app completely free to use. The company first launched its Retract and Timer features within the cross-platform BBM app back in 2014, and though they were free to use initially they later represented part of the Canadian company’s $1 monthly premium subscription plan. The features are fairly self- explanatory — with Retract, you can later remove text or photos from a message thread so that they are no long visible to anybody in a conversation. And with Timer, you can set how long something is visible for in advance.

The company later added more features to the premium mix, including the ability to launch anonymous private chats and edit messages. Once a major player in the mobile phone realm, BlackBerry has been struggling in the hardware realm for a while and has been slowly moving away from its own operating system to embrace those that have emerged as the dominant forces in the mobile phone world — namely, Android and iOS.



Following the crisis rocking the Kebbi State People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the state police command yesterday sealed off the party office secretariat. Confirming the incident, the Police Public Relation Officer (PPRO) Nafiu Abubakar said that the closure of the party office became necessary due to the friction in the party.

He said that the crisis started when the two sides were claiming chairmanship of the party and they were asked to resolve the matter within themselves but could not. The PPRO explained further that Alhaji Musa Danillea and Alhaji Aliyu Bagudu were claiming to be the state party chairmen while the two of them were sending an invitation planning to hold a meeting at the party office. “We are given directive from above and ensure that the crisis should not take place, so for that we just have to seal the premises to avoid rift between them, presently am at the party office monitoring the situation”, he added.



The widespread publication of the purported arrest of the Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Retail, Mrs. Esther Nnamdi-Ogbue, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has been described as a campaign of calumny. A group, Young Professional Alliance for Change described the allegation as smear campaign by some detractors who are envious of the giant strides and achievements of the Mrs. Nnamdi-Ogbue while she presided over the affairs of the Petroleum Products and Marketing Company.

According to the group, some mischief makers were uncomfortable of the strides recorded by Mrs. Nnamdi-Ogbue in the NNPC from her days as the General Manager, Board Matters and Management Committee Department in the Corporate Secretariat and Legal Division to the PPMC which she headed before her latest promotion.

According to Mr. Chukwudi Ifediora, General Secretary of the Group, Mrs. Nnamdi-Ogbue was invited by the EFCC to clarify certain operational issues which she promptly honored and was never arrested because she returned home after throwing light on the issue for which she was invited.



The Nigerian Army has urged its officers and men to maintain a high state of alertness in order to help to curb the menace of kidnapping, oil theft, cult activities, armed robbery and others. Brigadier General Sani Mohammed, the Commander of 13 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Calabar, Cross River State, gave the charge on Monday during the opening of the five-day 82 Division Inter Brigade Corporal and Below Competition.
Sani, who decried the alarming rate of kidnapping at a time the military was totally eliminating the Boko Haram sect, also urged its men to be focused and alert at all times.

He said the objective of the competition was to sharpen soldiers’ skills, improve the spirit of espirit-de-corps, physical fitness, proficiency and professionalism in their assigned duties.

He said: “This exercise should keep you on alert, expand your combat readiness and physical fitness in curbing these ugly crimes. “I want you to see this exercise as an opportunity to affirm the drive for realistic training and quest to transform our military to a professional army better able to meet the contemporary security challenges.”



The police in Kwara State Monday paraded 14 men it arrested over their alleged involvement in a clash among rival cult groups that led to the death of three persons and created panic and tension in some parts of Ilorin, the state capital over the weekend.

One of the suspects, according to sources in the police command, is the son of a prominent paramilitary officer. Two of the suspects are also among suspected criminals earlier declared wanted by the state police command. The state’s Police Commissioner, Mr Sam Okaula, who was visibly angry when he addressed newsmen over the rising wave of cult killings in the state capital, lamented that some of the suspects are children from decent homes but who had wandered away from the path of morality but declined to comment on the link between one of them and the serving paramilitary officer.



The Federal Road Safety Commission says its enabling law is undergoing amendment to include community service as a form of punishment for traffic offenders. The FRSC Corps Marshal, Boboye Oyeyemi, made this known in an interview with the

News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Monday. Oyeyemi said punishments on motorists, especially in urban areas, were unsatisfactory because the motorists engaged in all sorts of lawless activities.  According to him, the motorists drive and use phones, beat traffic lights and drive on pavements.

He said: “This is a barbaric attitude to compliance. It is not correct and we will continue to press for maximum punishment.

“There was a public hearing recently in respect of our Act. It is being amended to include community service so that people that have contravened the law instead of being fined are sentenced to community service. It is going to the third reading and once it is approved, then it will go for concurrent with the Senate. Then, the president will sign it into law before it will be implemented.

“This means that during working hours, when you are supposed to go to work and you find yourself in motor parks cleaning the place or sweeping other public places, then you will behave yourself.”

Oyeyemi said that this was why Abuja alone had 10 mobile and conventional courts to make those prosecuted to serve as deterrent to others. He said the FRSC would increase the number of its mobile courts from about 200 nationwide to 250.



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