Government extends confab by four weeks
• Kutigi rejects minority report
•Member accuses chair of backing northern agenda
• Threatens return of N’Delta militants over 13% derivation
• Delegates’ aides protest over welfare.
TO enable the national conference complete its assignment, the Federal Government has extended its duration by four weeks. The secretariat of the conference wanted the extension to be six weeks. But the Federal Government rejected this and granted four weeks. This was disclosed Thursday by the Chairman of the conference, Justice Idris Kutigi, at the resumption of plenary for the day. He said the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Anyim Pius Anyim, had communicated the position of the government to them, following the request that the time frame for the conference be extended by six weeks Also, as the plenary was in session yesterday, Justice Kutigi alerted the delegates that there was a security report from the Department of State Security (DSS) indicating that aides to the delegates were warming up for a protest over their welfare. In a note he read to the delegates, he said the aggrieved aides had also written a letter to the Presidency and copied the conference secretariat.
The Guardian, front pg, cont on pg2
B’Haram kills 29 in Borno
Nigerians have fled into Cameroon as Boko Haram attacked another Borno village, killing 29 persons. It will be recalled that about two weeks ago the outlawed sect attacked Gamboru Ngala, a border town with Cameroon, killing about 300 persons and destroying million of Naira worth of property. It was gathered that some suspected members of the Boko Haram sect, laid ambush on the village on Wednesday morning. The attack, according to a resident, Mallam Bakura Mustapha, occurred barely 10 days after the withdrawal of troops from the village. Sources said the gunmen drove into the village in 15 vehicles and several motorcycles and were armed with AK47 rifles, Improvised Explosive Devices and petrol bombs. It was gathered that they stormed the village at about 11am on Wednesday and opened fire on armless residents killing 29 people and burnt many buildings. Another source said, apart from those killed, there were several injuries sustained and many residents of the village who sustained gunshot wounds “are now receiving treatment at one of a hospital in Cameroon Republic.
The Punch, pg12
Treat Boko Haram like Al-Qaeda – France
ABUJA— FRANCE, yesterday, declared that the Boko Haram sect will be treated like Al-Qaeda, just as the sect’s members, again, killed 29 people in a Borno border village. Also, yesterday, President Goodluck Jonathan declared that although the Chibok school girls have not been rescued 39 days after their abduction, he was not slow in the rescue operation as he was in constant touch with his security chiefs on a daily basis. French Ambassador to Nigeria, Jacques Champagne de Labriolle, who made the declaration in Abuja said his country would not hesitate to offer intelligence support, pointing out that collective effort was needed to tackle insurgency. made the remarks while speaking with newsmen at the reception organised by the Chinese Embassy to mark the assumption of duty of the new ambassador to Nigeria, Gu Xiaojie in Abuja. He said: “As a matter of fact, we live in a situation that is very different from what happened before. Before, we had international network and people on ground and each with a local course, the connection now is much simpler to establish. “Therefore, we believe the mobilization against Boko Haram should be the same as the mobilization we have seen before against al-Qaeda and for the same reason.
Vanguard, front pg, cont on pg5
Kidnapped former Anambra commissioner feared dead
Anambra State was thrown into grief on Thursday evening as news filtered into Awka, the State capital, that former Commissioner for Science and Technology, Mr. Chike Okoli, who was abducted last Saturday by unknown gunmen, might have been killed by his abductors Okoli was reportedly shot dead by the kidnappers, despite the payment of N16 million ransom by his family as demanded by the kidnappers. The ex-Commissioner was abducted in Agulu town in Anaocha Local Government Area by the gunmen who intercepted him on his way to his Nanka country home, in Orumba South local Government Area of the state. Daily Independent gathered that one of those abducted and kept together with him and others in a bush but who fortunately escaped narrated to members of Okoli’s family how their loved one was killed. He was quoted to have said that Okoli with the rest of them were taken to and kept in a bush in Ugwuoba, which is a border town between Enugu and Anambra states, from where the kidnappers contacted members of their families through telephone calls and demanded for ransoms.
Daily Independent, pg7
Chibok girls: U.S. Air Force men, drone go into action
More details emerged yesterday on the United States troops deployed to join the search for the Chibok girls kidnapped by extremist Boko Haram sect. A U.S. military spokesman said that the 80 personnel deployed in Chad to help find nearly 300 kidnapped schoolgirls are from the Air Force and have already begun their mission, using a drone and Global Hawks. Chuck Prichard, a spokesman at the U.S. military’s Africa command in Germany, said yesterday that the 80 Air Force personnel were previously stationed in the United States, though he did not disclose where in the U.S. President Barack Obama told Congress in a letter Wednesday about the deployment. Obama said the service members would help with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft for missions over northern Nigeria and the nearby region. A senior U.S. official said the drone is a Predator and will be in addition to the unarmed Global Hawks already being used. The new flights will be based out of Chad and allow the military to expand its search to that country. Initially the flights were largely over Nigeria.
The Nation, front pg, cont on pg4
Nigeria’s attraction draws $480m USTDA investment grant
Nigeria is now becoming an investment destination for foreign investors, as three companies yesterday signed a $480 million grant with US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA). The companies are Royal Power Integrated and General Services limited, Honeywell Group limited and Benin Electricity Distribution Company. With the grant signing, USTDA committed to fund a feasibility study for a 275 megawatt gas-fired power plant that will improve electricity access for customers across Lagos State. BusinessDay gathered that another feasibility study will assess the viability and scale of a proposed gas-fired power generation project at the Sagamu Independent Power plant, even as USTDA is said to be providing technical assistance for an investment plan to update and modernise the Benin Electricity Distribution Company’s network.
BusinessDay, from the net
Diezani, NNPC file fresh suit against jet probe
The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Deziani Alison-Madueke and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation have filed a fresh suit before a Federal High Court in Abuja seeking to restrain the National Assembly from probing her over the alleged N10bn chartered jet scandal. Through the suit, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/346/2014, the plaintiffs are praying the court to declare that both the Senate and the House of Representatives lacked the power to conduct any investigation into allegation of fraud, corruption or criminal activities.
The Punch, pg3
Jonathan hands over 2014 Budget to Okonjo-Iweala
President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday formally handed over the 2014 Budget to the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and the Director, Budget Office, Dr. Bright Okogu, for implementation. The handing over was said to have followed his signing the document into law on Wednesday. Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, confirmed this to our correspondent on the telephone.
Daily Independent, from net
Power: FG faults claims on banks’ collapse
ABUJA — The Federal Government, yesterday, urged investors to discountenance claims of the imminent collapse of commercial banks that invested in the nation’s power sector. Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr. Benjamin Dikki faulted the claims while speaking at an all parties meeting, Wednesday, in Abuja during a presentation to the owners of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) Successor Companies (SCs) by the Africa Energy Team of the World Bank.
FRSC suspends enforcement of new number plate, licence
The Federal Road Safety Corps has suspended the enforcement of the new vehicle number plate and the driver’s licence following two separate court judgments from Lagos and Abuja which ruled that the scheme was illegal.
Daily Independent, pg5