National confab panel seeks unbundling of INEC
• Committee adamant on splitting AG’s office • Limits commission’s power to disqualify candidates
A PROPOSAL by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to be empowered to disqualify candidates aspiring to electoral offices has been unanimously rejected by the National Conference Committee on Political Reforms and Electoral Matters which is recommending removal of the residency clause in the Electoral Act to enable people in the Diaspora who desire to be registered by the electoral body to do so. Also, if the recommendations of the committee sail through at the plenary, electoral offenders would be banned from contesting elections for 10 years. In another development, the Committee on Public Finance and Revenue at the Conference has insisted on the need to split the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation by creating a separate Office as Accountant-General of the Federal Government. The committee, chaired by Adamu Aliero, Wednesday had in attendance the Accountant-General of the Federation, Jonah Otunla and some state accountants-general to assist them in their efforts to make appropriate recommendations. While most of the members favoured the creation of another accounting office solely for the Federal Government, which will not interfere with funds from states and local councils, others were of the view that the move would amount to duplication of duties and would be robbing the President of the power to effectively manage the economy.
The Guardian, front pg cont on pg2
Extension of emergency rule: Northern Senators vow to frustrate move
ABUJA — THE Senate and the House of Representatives have invited the service chiefs and the Inspector-General of Police to appear before them and brief them on the security situation in the troubled states before commencing debates on President Goodluck Jonathan’s request for extension of emergency rule. This is just as Senators from the North, operating under the umbrella of Northern Senators Forum, NSF, after their closed-door meeting yesterday, which lasted about three hours, vowed to frustrate moves for the extension of emergency rule in the three North-East states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe. In their resolve to stop the extension of emergency rule, the northern Senators stated that they would mobilise in their numbers to have the constitutional requirement of two third to vote against the President’s decision to extend the emergency rule. The Senators maintained that the extension of the emergency rule was not the best way to combat the insurgency that had paralysed social and economic activities in the affected areas even though they welcomed the intervention of friendly nations in the fight against terrorism.
Death toll at Turkey mine blast hits 238
The death toll in a coal mine disaster in western Turkey has risen to 238, the country’s prime minister said, adding that the accident would be “investigated thoroughly,” Al Jazeera reports. At least 80 others have been injured while 120 remain trapped inside the mine in the town of Soma, Recep Teyyip Erdogan said on Wednesday. “The accident is being investigated thoroughly. We will not allow any negligence,” Erdogan said after visiting the site of the mine explosion in the town, about 250 kilometre south of Istanbul Authorities said that most of the deaths in Tuesday’s explosion were the result of carbon monoxide poisoning. The energy minister said about 400 workers were involved in the rescue operation. Television footage showed people cheering and applauding as some trapped workers emerged out of the mine, helped by rescuers, their faces and hard-hats covered in soot. Al Jazeera’s Caroline Malone, reporting from Soma, said hundreds of people – along with ambulances and fire engines – had gathered around the scene of the accident to try to help with the rescue effort.
The Punch, pg69
Angry soldiers shoot at GOC in Maiduguri
•Allege betrayal, non-payment of allowances •We’re probing mutiny –DHQ •Villagers repel Boko Haram attack in Borno •Tension in Akwa Ibom over fear of attack
General Officer Commanding (GOC) 7 Division, Nigerian Army, Ahmadu Mohammed, a Major General, narrowly escaped death on Wednesday when aggrieved soldiers opened fire on his official vehicle, as he arrived to address them at the Maimalari Military Barracks in Maiduguri, Borno State capital. Sources close to the military barracks disclosed that some troops who went to Chibok Local Government area for an operation where over 234 schoolgirls were recently abducted by suspected Boko Haram terrorists carried out the mutiny against their boss after returning to Maiduguri. One of the sources spoke of how they were on their way back to Maiduguri when they realised that the Maiduguri-Damboa road was not safe, as darkness had set in, and then requested the GOC to allow them spend the night in one of the villages considered to be safe for them. The GOC was said to have insisted that the soldiers must come back to Maiduguri the same night. However, on their way back to Maiduguri, according to investigation, the soldiers were ambushed by suspected terrorists, and many of them (soldiers) were killed.
Daily Independent, pg2
Government scrutiny hinders Nigeria oil and gas mergers
Shareholders of Oando plc hoping for a quick conclusion of the deal that would have seen the Nigerian energy company purchase ConocoPhillips’ assets in the country might have to wait a while longer as government scrutiny of the transaction lingers. “The Conoco-Oando transaction is still going through due diligence by officials at the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR),” said Diezani Alison-Madueke, minister of petroleum resources, last Friday at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Africa in Abuja. “The deal has not got to the minister’s table yet, but we are on it.” Oando recently announced that it had extended the completion date for the acquisition from April 30, 2014 to June 30, 2014.
BusinessDay, front pg, cont on pg4
Jonathan to Boko Haram: no prisoners swap for girls
President Goodluck Jonathan has ruled out freeing Boko Haram prisoners in exchange for the release of more than 200 kidnapped schoolgirls. Minister of Special Duties Tanimu Turaki, had earlier said authorities were ready to negotiate with Boko Haram, but the President insisted yesterday that this was out of the question. “He made it very clear that there will be no negotiation with Boko Haram that involves a swap of abducted schoolgirls for prisoners,” said British Africa Minister Mark Simmonds after meeting Dr. Jonathan in Abuja, to discuss an international recue mission for the girls, according to the BBC. The April 15 kidnapping has caused international outrage, and foreign teams of experts are in the country to assist the security forces in tracking them down. The United States has deployed a drone in the search for the abducted Chibok girls as Britain offered a surveillance plane and a military team to help. The over 200 girls were abducted from their dormitories. British Prime Minister David Cameron said yesterday in parliament: “Today I can announce we have offered Nigeria further assistance in terms of surveillance aircraft, a military team to embed with the Nigerian army in their headquarters and a team to work with United States experts to analyse information on the girls’ location.”
The Nation, front pg, cont on pg2
Labour condemns FG’s continuous spending on power sector
The Federal Government’s continuous spending on the power sector has been described as very worrisome considering all the resources and activities that went into the sector’s privatisation process. The General Secretary, National Union of Electricity Employees, Mr. Joe Ajaero, said this in a telephone interview with our correspondent on Monday.
The Punch, sdaypg48
‘We won’t allow terrorism to paralyse economy’
The Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has said that the Federal Government will not in any way allow the activities of terrorists to paralyse the nation’s economy.In an interview with Yahoo News, the minister described the abduction of over 200 schoolgirls by the Boko Haram insurgents as frustrating, adding that the Federal Government would do all within its power to rescue the girls.
The Punch, pg27
3 arrested over plot to assassinate Lagos businessman
• We were paid N140,000 to assassinate him-suspects
LAGOS — Operatives of the Special Anti Robbery Squad, SARS, Ikeja, have foiled an attempt by some hired assassins to snuff life out of a Lagos-based businessman, one Ade Adelakun, popularly known as Ade Lexus, arresting three suspected members of the syndicate. Recovered from the suspects were two guns and a picture of their intended victim. However, in their confessional statement, the suspects alleged that they were hired by a hotelier in Ibadan whose identity they gave simply as Orekoya and were paid N140,000 to carry out the dastardly act. They stated that their sponsor alleged that their target snatched his wife.
Another look at Northern Elders’ response to B’ Haram
In view of recent developments, some observers have questioned the debt of the concern so far shown by the Northern Elders Forum. Reference has been made to thedemand by the elders that the Federal Government should refrain from using foreign troops to free the abducted schoolgirls who have been going through untold agony in Boko Haram’s enclave for over three weeks. The Northern Elders Forum in a meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan last Wednesday reportedly claimed to have established contacts with the Boko Haram leadership to negotiate the release of the female students kidnapped by Boko Haram.