Naija News Thursday, May 22, 2014

National News

U.S. deploys troops to find abducted Nigerian schoolgirls
• UN Security Council to designate group today • Bomb scare in Bauchi market • Delegates reject swap deal with terrorists • APC celebrates, benefits from terrorism, says PDP • Obasanjo, Moghae blame crisis on poor leadership, corruption. To augment efforts to find Nigerian schoolgirls who were taken hostage by Boko Haram, the United States has deployed 80 troops to Chad. The White House announced this Wednesday in a significant escalation of Washington’s contribution to a crisis that has drawn global consternation. Quoting a White House statement, the Washington Post stated: “these personnel will support the operation of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft for missions over northern Nigeria and the surrounding area.” President Barack Obama is believed to have notified Congress about the deployment. The unit will remain in Chad “until its support resolving the kidnapping is no longer required,” the statement said. The Pentagon recently dispatched a team of eight experts to the Nigerian capital to help search for the more than 200 schoolgirls captured by Boko Haram, a group that holds sway over remote areas in northern Nigeria. They are working with roughly two dozen other U.S. law enforcement and intelligence personnel, advising the Nigerian government on the recovery effort. On Tuesday, a Defence Department spokesman, Rear. Adm. John Kirby, called the search for the missing girls tantamount to finding “a needle in a jungle.” “We’re talking about an area roughly the size of West Virginia, and it’s dense forest jungle,” he told reporters.

The Guardian, front pg, cont on pg2

Without enough funds, we can’t defeat B’Haram – Army
In a clear term, the Nigerian Army on Wednesday declared that its soldiers could not march force with force with the dreaded Boko Haram insurgents. The Chief of Accounts and Budget (army), Maj.-Gen. Abdullahi Muraina, said this at Jaji, near Kaduna at a training programme for the Nigerian Army Finance Corps Warrant Officers and Senior Non-Commissioned officers. Muraina said without adequate funding, the army would not be able to halt the current activities of Boko Haram. He said, “Currently, budgetary allocation for the military is inadequate to meet the contemporary security challenges and also cater for the welfare of the Nigerian Army.” Muraina noted that apart from inadequate funding,the army was enmeshed in bureaucratic bottlenecks for funding approvals for military operations across the country, urging the Federal Government to evolve other means of funding and supporting military operations aside the usual budgetary allocations. He also said there was the need for a special operation fund to be included in the defence budget and placed under the control of the Chief of Army Staff. Muraina , who described Warrant Officers and Senior Non-Commissioned Officers as the backbone of regimentation in the Nigerian Army, said, “Apart from limitations of the envelope system, the Nigerian Army is enmeshed in the bureaucratic bottlenecks for funding approvals for military operations.

The Punch, pg12

Reps begin probe of alleged N10bn jet scam
ABUJA— SPEAKER of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, yesterday, mandated the Public Accounts Committee to commence an investigative hearing on the alleged N10 billion air charter services scam involving the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke. Apparently angered by reports that the House had jettisoned the probe, the Speaker directed members of the committee to commence hearing on the issue. Tambuwal gave the directive barely five minutes after plenary resumed yesterday. The directive was greeted with about three minutes of silence before other matters were tabled before the House. Earlier Vanguard recalls that the House, in March 27 plenary, had mandated the accounts committee to commence an investigative hearing into the scam. The probe, which was slated for April 28, was botched as the Minister of Petroleum Resources had gone to court on that same date. For fear of violating the laws, the lawmakers retraced their steps, promising to seek legal opinion on the issue. Vanguard, pg13

UN Security Council meets over Boko Haram today
•May designate sect international terror group •U.S. deploys 80 troops to Chad to find abducted girls •Gunmen kill another 19 in Borno village •Northern Govs not doing enough to fight terror –FG •Jonathan lacks tact to defeat Boko Haram, say APC leaders
The United Nations (UN)Security Council is to meet today to decide the status of Boko Haram. Coordinator of the National Information Centre, Mike Omeri, disclosed this on Wednesday at a joint news conference with the Department of State Security (DSS), Nigeria Police and the Armed Forces in Abuja. He said the council would decide whether Boko Haram should be designated as an international terror group like Al-Qaeda, adding that the 15-member council would vote on the matter. Omeri said Nigeria had begun the implementation of recommendations at the security summit on terrorism in Nigeria which ended in Paris on Monday. He said the Federal Government viewed the twin bomb blasts in Jos, which claimed many lives on Tuesday as a heinous crime, despicable and horrifying. He disclosed that the casualty figure from the explosions had risen to 75, adding that the toll included 73 adults and two children. He said 70 other persons sustained various degrees of injuries and appealed to Nigerians not to rush to the scene of a bomb blast whenever it occurred.
Daily Independent, pg2

North’s governors should do more to fight terrorism, says Fed Govt
The Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, has urged the 19 governors in the North to work harder at curbing insecurity in the region. The minister said it was necessary for the North’s governors to really prepare their people against insurgency. Maku addressed State House correspondents yesterday in Abuja at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan. The minister said northern governors should stop criticising the Federal Government’s decision to extend the state of emergency in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno states. According to him, terrorism is a community war, which all governors, especially those in the North, should work hard to end. Maku said the governors should devise proper monitoring of all persons within, coming in and going out of their states. The minister noted that the current war against insurgency, being restricted to the community level, cannot be won by the Federal Government merely sending troops to the affected states. He said the cooperation of all Nigerians was needed to win the war across the country.
The Nation, pg5

Concerns over CCTVs in Lagos as insecurity heightens in north
As insecurity mounts in parts of northern Nigeria with intermittent attacks and killings by Boko Haram insurgents, there is growing concern in the southern states over measures in place to secure lives and property in those states. Particularly in Lagos, the nation’s commercial capital, with an estimated 20 million inhabitants, the concerns arise from speculations that the Close Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras installed across the state may not be functioning. There are fears that several of the CCTV cameras are not working and that if this is so, it could undermine surveillance for security purposes. Industry watchers say that Lagos, being Nigeria’s economic nerve centre hosting an international airport, two seaports, the Nigeria Stock Exchange, head offices of major banks, insurance companies and multi-national organisations, must be painstakingly watched over.
BusinessDay, front pg, cont on pg4

Business News

FG targets $558.45bn GDP in five years
The Federal Government on Wednesday said that the implementation of the National Quality Infrastructure Policy, which would serve as support to the Nigerian Industry Revolution Plan, would help to grow the country’s Gross Domestic Product from $510bn to $558.45bn within the next five years. The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, said this at the second meeting of the National Steering Committee for the Nigerian National Quality Policy.

The Punch, pg32

Cement manufacturers kick against new policy
It will result in high price, shortage
Cement manufacturers have kicked against the new government’s policy which restricts certain categories of the product to specific uses. They said the policy will lead to increase in the price of cement, as well as result in its scarcity as there would be difficulty in responding to the new requirement in the production lines Speaking at a joint press briefing in Lagos, the manufacturers, comprising Lafarge WAPCO, United Cement Company of Nigeria (UNICEM) and Ashaka Cement, said the restriction placed on the usage of 32.5 grade of cement to plastering only, is an indirect ban on the product. They said it is unacceptable to them.

The Nation, pg12

World/Regional News

Underwater search resumes for flight MH370
The underwater search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 resumed on Thursday in the same part of the southern Indian Ocean where pings from a black box were detected in early April. The torpedo-like Bluefin 21 was lowered into the water from the Australian navy vessel, Ocean Shield, to continue mapping the ocean floor.

The Punch, from the net

9 Fulani herdsmen gang-rape 15-yr-old girl, 2 housewives
MAKURDI — No fewer than nine suspected Fulani herdsmen, yesterday, allegedly gang-raped a 15-year-old girl and two housewives (names withheld) at gunpoint, in Tse Ikyuer, Yandev, Mbagwen in Guma Local Government Area of Benue State. Two of the victims, who narrated their ordeal to Vanguard in Makurdi, the state capital, said after beating and raping them, the herdsmen also made away with their N60,000 and two phones.

Vanguard, pg6

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