Naija News Friday, July 18, 2014

National News
No Hidden Agenda for the $1 Billion Loan, Says Omeri
Defence Minister: We are winning war against terrorism
Against the background of insinuations that it has other ‘hidden’ reasons for shopping for a $1 billion loan, the federal government yesterday declared that the proposed facility awaiting the approval of the National Assembly was not just to tackle the Boko Haram insurgency, but to re-energise the Nigerian Army and ensure adequate and a long term logistic provision for the security forces. The clarification coincides with the assurance by the Minister of State for Defence, Mr. Musiliu Obanikoro, in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, that Nigeria is indeed winning the war against terrorism. Coordinator of the National Information Centre and Director General of National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr. Mike Omeri, at the centre in Abuja, yesterday clarified that the proposed loan would not be handed down to the Nigerian government in cash, but said it was an arrangement involving governments. Omeri further dismissed the report that the purpose of the loan was to further the attack against the Boko Haram insurgents.But the president’s letter to the National Assembly was explicit as it linked the purpose of the loan with the need to sufficiently equip the military to be able to deal with terrorism. Thisday, front pg, cont pg6

Panic in Abuja over fresh threat of B’ Haram attack
AN alleged fresh threat by Boko Haram sect that it will attack the Ambeez shopping plaza in Abuja may have created panic among residents of the city. Security operatives Thursday stormed the plaza located in Zone five, Wuse district and ordered the occupants to vacate the premises. Meanwhile, gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram members on Wednesday evening kidnapped two businessmen (names withheld) in Gambouru border town of Ngala Local Council of the state and whisked them away to unknown destination. The threat letter, which was obtained by The Guardian, was said to have been written by an insider who claimed he is now a changed man. The letter reads in part: “This is to inform all occupants of Ambeez plaza that a threat letter has been sent to this plaza that all occupants should be very careful if possible stay out of the plaza for the next three days starting from Monday to Thursday.” The author of the warning letter cautioned the occupants not to treat the letter with levity saying, “please don’t toil with this vital information … like those in Emab plaza that got insight and still stayed until many died. In revealing his identity, the writer, who said he is close to the planners of the dastardly act, claimed he is now a child of God. The Guardian, front pg, cont on pg2

2015: Don’t declare now, PDP govs caution Jonathan
President Goodluck Jonathan has been advised to tarry a little, before attempting to declare his second term ambition. Governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, stated this at a meeting they had with the President at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Monday night. Though the governors were in support of the President’s bid for re-election, they said the nation’s mood was not ripe for such a declaration. Investigations by our correspondent in Abuja on Tuesday and Wednesday showed that the meeting considered the plight of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls and security challenges facing the country. It was learnt that based on these two major issues, the governors asked the President to study the mood of the nation more before considering an open declaration for re-election. Two of the governors, who were at the meeting and spoke with our correspondent separately, said that the President was advised to either visit Chibok or in the alternative, allow the parents of the kidnapped schoolgirls visit him at the Presidential Villa. Vanguard, pg9

It’s insulting to describe Northerners as leeches — Aliyu
Minna — Chairman, Northern States Governors’ Forum, NSGF, and governor of Niger State, Dr Babangida Aliyu, has described as insulting and sad, insinuations by certain members of the National Conference that the north was leecherous. In a statement signed by Aliyu’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Israel Ebije, the governor said he was saddened that some members of the National Conference described the north as leeches while debating the issue of resource control. Aliyu spoke Tuesday night while breaking his fast with a group advocating religious harmony, led by Solomon Dalung, in his residence in Minna, saying no section of the country could be separated from one another as they were all inter-dependent. He said: “Only a few days ago, I hosted some members of the National Conference and I was saddened to hear that some members of the conference are calling the Northern states leeches on account of the ongoing debate on resource control. Vanguard, pg47

Lagos introduces 10-day paternity leave
•Raises maternity leave to six months •Urges private firms to follow suit
Lagos State Government on Thursday unfolded a new maternity and paternity leave policy for male and female workers under its employ, with an appeal to other employers of labour and private establishments to take a cue. With the new policy, female officers will henceforth be entitled to 24 weeks (six months) maternity leave with full pay in the case of her first two deliveries, with the said leave expected to begin at least two weeks before the expected delivery date. The government also approved a 10 working days paternity leave for male officers in relation to and at the time of his spouse’s first two deliveries. In the previous policy, female officers were only entitled to twelve weeks (three months) maternity leave, while their male counterparts were not considered for paternity leave. State Head of Service, Oluseyi Williams, who disclosed this at a press briefing, said the new policy was informed by a situation where nursing mothers leave their new born in the hands of care givers as early as six weeks in order to return to work. Daily Independent, pg2

Business News

Okonjo-Iweala warns against hasty ECOWAS single currency launch
The Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Thursday cautioned the Council of Ministers and Governors of Central Banks of the West African Monetary Zone against a hasty launch of the monetary union for the sub-region. The warning is coming 24 hours after it realisable. The six countries that made up the WAMZ are Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Ghana and Guinea. The single currency-Eco was first planned to be introduced in 2003, but its launch was postponed several times to 2005, 2010 and 2014. The Punch, pg32

Truck owners, drivers to move vehicles out of Apapa within 24 hrs –
The Federal Government, Petroleum Tanker Divers, PTD, truck owners and other stakeholders reached an agreement yesterday to move all the tankers, trucks and other articulated vehicles out of the Apapa area within 24 hours to pave way for the repairs of the bad spots on the road. Vanguard, pg8

World/Regional News

Confab logjam: Ex-militants plan return to creeks
WARRI—SOME groups in the Niger Delta are preparing to return to the creeks following the standoff at the national conference over resource control. The Niger Delta People Salvation Front, NDPSF, led by Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo, in a statement, yesterday, said: “We are stating that going back to the creeks may be inevitably preferable, rather than allow for the wealth of our people to be used to develop or rehabilitate a parasitic, barren yet ignorantly arrogant North. Vanguard, pg14

Malaysian plane shot down, 295 feared dead
A Malaysia Airlines passenger jet which crashed as it flew over eastern Ukraine with 295 people on board was reportedly shot down, Al Jazeera reports. The aircraft, which was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was travelling at an altitude of 10,000 metres when it was shot down on Thursday, Russia’s Interfax reported. An adviser to the Ukrainian interior ministry told the news agency the Boeing 777 was brought down by a Buk ground-to-air missile. The Punch, pg55

Gov Al-Makura Served Impeachment Notice
The wind of impeachment blowing in the political space gathered some momentum Thursday when the Nasarawa State House of Assembly decided that the impeachment notice on Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, be served through the media, since he had been elusive to be personally served the notice. Thisday, front pg, cont on pg6

Sports/Entertainment

• FIFA Ranking: Nigeria moves to 34th after Brazil 2014
The Super Eagles’ performance and eventual qualification for the Round of 16 at the just-concluded World Cup in Brazil has impacted on the July FIFA ranking as Nigeria now occupies the 34th position. In the rankings table released by the world football governing body on Thursday, Nigeria garnered 660 points and moved up 10 spots as against June’s 631 points at 44th position. Although Nigeria may not have been too convincing at the 2014 World Cup, their performance is still good enough to earn them a lift. Vanguard, back pg

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