National News Monday, April 7, 2014
APC Calls for Probe of NNPC’s Crude Oil Swaps
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has asked the National Assembly committees probing the non-remittance of oil revenue by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to the Federation Account, especially the crude-oil-for-refined products barter programme, to beam their searchlight on the activities of the two companies involved in the crude oil swaps, in view of recent developments concerning the firms. In a statement issued Sunday by its interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the two firms involved in the swaps – Taleveras and Aiteo – recently submitted the highest and unmatched bid of $2.85 billion for the largest of Shell Nigeria’s four oil blocks slated for sale, Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29, that the Anglo-Dutch multinational is selling with its 97-kilometre Nembe Creek oil pipeline. It described as simply incredulous that the two firms, with a track record as oil marketers (not exploration and production firms) of less than five years, could have submitted such a huge bid, adding that this had put into glaring context what might be the opacity of the barter programme under which the NNPC exchanges a huge chunk of the 445,000 barrels per day meant for domestic refining. “This bid by the two upstart firms must attract the attention of the various National Assembly committees, including the House Committees on Downstream, Upstream and Justice and the Senate Committee on Finance.
Thisday, front pg cont on pg8
Sanusi financing terrorism –FG, SSS
• Cautious optimism trails ranking
NIGERIA’S economy may have emerged the largest in Africa and the 26th biggest in the world, going by the rebasing of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) data Sunday. Under the rebasing exercise carried out by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the forecast for the nominal GDP for the country in 2013 was put at $509.9 billion, up from $264 billion under the old rate in 2012. South Africa, hitherto considered the biggest economy in Africa, has a GDP figure of $384.3 billion in 2012, while that of Egypt was put at $262 billion during the same period. However, the rebased GDP figure may not have, in real terms, put the nation’s economy ahead of South Africa, according to experts. For instance, they said with the nation’s population, the per capita GDP still ranks lower than that of South Africa with a population of 51.19 million. Besides, they noted that with the lingering parlous infrastructure crisis rocking the nation’s economy and higher poverty headcount ratio, South Africa and indeed several offer other African economies remain more competitive than that of Nigeria.
The Guardia, front pg, cont on pg4
Defection: INEC challenges court’s power to declare Okorocha’s seat vacant
ABUJA — The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has challenged the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, to declare the seat of Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State vacant, following his defection to the All Progressives Congress, APC. In a motion filed before the High Court, the electoral body sought the dismissal of the suit instituted against Governor Okorocha by his former party, the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA.It will be recalled that APGA had in a suit filed by its lawyer, Mr. Victor Odjemu, asked court to declare Okorocha’s seat vacant and order that the deputy governor of Imo State, be sworn -in to take over since the governor had joined another party which manifesto and policies were different from APGA’s. Insisting that Okorocha was holding in trust a mandate given to him by APGA and thus could not transfer same to a different political group, APGA, told the court that its decision to seek the immediate removal of the governor culminated from a meeting held by its National Executive Committee, NEC, in Abuja on August 3, 2013. It urged the court to, in the alternative, either okay the deputy governor as a viable replacement for Okorocha or direct that the speaker of Imo State House of Assembly or any officer next in line to the position of the governor, who is a member of the plaintiff, APGA, be sworn-in to pilot the affairs of the state.
Military commanders aiding Boko Haram, soldier alleges
A soldier has claimed that he witnessed incidents that suggested some military commanders work with Boko Haram insurgents in the North-East. The soldier told the Voice of America Hausa Service how his military unit in Borno State was ambushed by Boko Haram members. He said the commander of a nearby military unit in Bama recently sought assistance from his unit in carrying out a raid. The soldier, who did not give his name, said when the two military units joined up, they were given different uniforms. The Bama unit commander, according to him, gave his own troops green uniforms while his unit received tan “desert camouflage” uniforms. When the troops reached the battle area, the soldier said the commander of the better-equipped Bama unit suddenly withdrew his forces, leaving the remaining troops to fend for themselves against Boko Haram fighters. Speaking in Hausa, he said, “We had only light arms and our men were being picked off one after the other.” The soldier also said he recognised some of the Boko Haram fighters as his former military trainers in Kontagora, a town near Abuja. “We realised that some of them were actually mercenaries from the Nigerian army… hired to fight us,” he said.
The Punch, pg3
NIS tragedy: ‘Please forgive me’, Moro begs Nigerians
•Families of victims, too
Embattled Minister of Interior, Abba Patrick Moro, has again pleaded for forgiveness to Nigerians over the tragic Immigration recruitment exercise, saying as a father, he could not have deliberately engaged in an exercise that he knew would have such disastrous outcome for youths. Speaking during interactive session with Interior Correspondents at the weekend in Abuja, Moro particularly sought for forgiveness of families affected in the ill-fated exercise saying the deaths of their loved ones was ‘a personal loss’. The embattled minister had come under serious criticisms, with agitations mounting that he be sacked especially as stakeholders under the Interior Ministry at recent Senate investigative hearing on the matter, distanced themselves from the decisions leading to the conduct of the March 15, 2014 tragic recruitment exercise.
Daily Independent, pg9
Emefiele faces sterner test at CBN as reserves plunge
The new governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele will confront a sterner test than his immediate predecessor as he begins his tenure. This follows on plunging reserves and less effective policy tools making the goal of price stability harder to attain. This situation will be exacerbated by the Nigerian election cycle, the United States Fed tapering of stimulus, and investors’ continued selling of naira assets on the back of uncertainty tied to former Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s suspension. “Our interaction with foreign portfolio investors suggests that they will consider re-entering the Nigerian carry trade if T-bill yields backed up to 17-19 percent, to compensate them for FX risk and other institutional and economic concerns, ahead of the 2015 elections,” said Samir Gadio, emerging markets strategist, Standard Bank, London, in response to questions.
BusinssDay, from the net
Aero Commences Operations in Asaba Airport
Aero Contractors, one of the country’s leading airlines, will today begin scheduled flights at Asaba Airport with Lagos and Abuja as the initial routes. The new operation brings to three the number of airlines operating flights from Asaba as Overland and Arik had been on the route since the airport was opened for commercial services on July 13, 2011.
Nigeria-Belgium trade volume now €300m
The trade volume between Nigeria and Belgium is now worth about €300m, the Nigerian Ambassador to Belgium, Felix Awanbor, has said. He said this on the sidelines of the just-concluded Fourth European Union-Africa Summit in Brussels, Belgium on Saturday. The Punch, pg30
How Tompolo Secured Release of Ebikeme Clark
Kiagbodo, the country home of elder statesman and national Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, was Sunday thrown into wild jubilation following the intervention by an ex-leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Chief Government Ekpemupolo, a.k.a. Tompolo, which led to the release of Clark’s son, Ebikeme, by kidnappers. The younger Clark was last Wednesday abducted from Kiagbodo in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State by masked gunmen operating through the local river in the community.
Nigeria, not extremely poor, Presidency Refutes World Bank’s classification
• Says ‘enemies’ manipulation facts to disparage government
ABUJA — THE Presidency, yesterday, denied reports by some media houses and public commentators that Nigeria was extremely poor, saying facts were being manipulated to disparage the present administration. According to the Presidency, it is not true that Nigeria is extremely poor, contrary to interpretations of a recent statement by the World Bank President, Jim Yong Kim, who indicated that Nigeria was among the world’s extremely poor countries. The Punch, pg14