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Government News

Fire guts section of ECOWAS Secretariat in Abuja

A section of the secretariat of the Economic Community of West African States ECOWAS in Asokoro, Abuja was on Tuesday night gutted by fire.

Vanguard gathered that the inferno affected one of the floors housing the Finance and Accounts department in the secretariat.

Although the cause of the fire was not immediately known, it was gathered that fire fighters from the Federal Fire Service were immediately dispatched to the scene and were able to prevent it from spreading to other floors.

Spokesman of the Service, Ugo Huan did not immediately respond to media enquiries to ascertain the extent of damage.

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Government News

FG increases petrol pump price to N143.80

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The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency has announced a new price band of N140.80 to N143.80 per litre for Premium Motor Spirit, also known as petrol. 

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Sources at the Abuja headquarters of the agency said the rise in petrol price was primarily due to the increase in global crude oil prices.

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A circular released on Wednesday July 1, from the PPPRA to marketers reads;

“After a review of the prevailing market fundamentals in the month of June and considering marketers’ realistic operating costs, as much as practicable, we wish to advise a new PMS pump price band of N140.80-N143.80 per litre for the month of July 2020.

All marketers are advised to operate within the indicative prices as advised by the PPPRA.”

The federal government, in March, announced that the retail price of petrol would be adjusted monthly to reflect realities in the global crude oil market. On May 31, 2020, the PPPRA announced a price band of N121.50 to N123.50 per litre for the product.

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News

Ekiti reopens schools and religious centers

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The Ekiti state government has directed worship centres in the state to resume services from Friday July 17,  in line with the agreement reached by the state government and leaders of religious organisations in the state. 

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Worshippers and religious leaders were urged to ensure “full compliance with the regulations regarding worship centres, which includes social distancing of 6-feet between worshippers, hand washing and face masks.”
 

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Governor Kayode Fayemi who made the announcement in a statewide broadcast on Tuesday June 30, also announced plans of reopening schools in the state from July 20.  He said the resumption of schools would be in phases, and will start with pupils in graduating classes (SS3, JSS3 and Primary six) who are preparing for their examinations

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Fayemi said; 

“However, this might be in phases starting with students in terminal classes SS3, JSS3 and Primary 6 to prepare for their examinations. Other classes will be gradually absorbed as schools meet all requirements to accommodate them safely and responsibly.

“A certificate of Readiness showing that a school has adhered to all the conditions required for school reopening will be issued to all schools before they can reopen.”

The Governor also disclosed that they have embarked on a quick rejuvenation of schools to ensure that basic facilities such as water, sanitiser, soap and other facilities to aid hygienic practices are in place.

He further announced that the two largest markets in Ado Ekiti – Oja Oba and Bisi Market, will now be open to lock-up shops only, subject to compliance with protocols. Fayemi affirmed that street trading, makeshift stalls kiosks and open display of wares in the said markets are still banned. 

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Government News

100% electricity tariff hike put on hold as Lawan and Gbajabiamila intervene

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The 100% hike in electricity tariff slated to commence Wednesday, July 1, has been put on hold.

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This comes after the National Assembly leadership’s intervention at a meeting with the Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos), the National Electricity Regulatory Agency (NERC) and others in the power chain, Monday night, June 29.

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The DisCos announced over the weekend that the tariff  pushed forward from April 1 would take effect from July 1.

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Customers protested the planned increase but the DisCos insisted that only a “cost-reflective” tariff could guarantee their survival to keep the power sector afloat.

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At Monday’s meeting, Senate President Ahmad Lawan and House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila promised to take the DisCos’ request to President Muhammed Buhari and urged them to push the tariff raise till Aprill 2021.

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In a statement, Special Adviser (Media) to the Senate President, Ola Awoniyi, said the National Assembly leadership was emphatic at the meeting that the timing of the  hike was wrong.

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The statement added that the National Assembly leadership told the DisCos that they were not opposed to cost reflective tariff for the power sector to attract the much-needed investment.

The DisCos also admitted that they were not fully prepared for the planned tariff hike although they desired it.

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The statement added that the National Assembly leaders  promised  the electricity distributors  that they would  meet with President Muhammadu Buhari on the issue.

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The statement said: “The agreement here is that there is not going to be any increase in tariff on July 1.  

“The Senate President and the Speaker are going to take appropriate action and meet with the President.

“We are in agreement here that there is no question on the justification of the increase but the time is simply not right and appropriate measures need to be put in place.

“So, between now and the first quarter of next year, our task will be to work together with you to ensure that we put those blocks in place to support the eventual increase in tariffs.”

The statement quoted Lawan as saying that  the government had  been doing a lot as part of its obligation to provide some forms of Intervention.

He said: “I’m quite aware that for this year, probably starting from last year, over N600 billion was earmarked for this sector to improve.

“The potential increase in the tariff is definitely something that will be of concern to us in the National Assembly.

“There is too much stress in the lives of Nigerians today and indeed across the world because of the challenges imposed by COVID-19 pandemic and even before then, we had issues that would always make it tough for our people to effectively pay the tariff.

“One way or the other, for this business to flourish, for this sector to be appropriately fixed, for it to attract investment, something has to give way, there is no doubt about that but it is also crucial that we look at the timing for any of our actions.”

According to the statement, Gbajabiamila said the National Assembly was on the same page with the DisCos on the issue of cost reflective tariff.

Gbajabiamila added: “There is time for everything. A well-intended programme or policy of government can fall flat on the face and never recover if you do it at a wrong time.

“Whatever will affect this government is something that should concern all of us. I think this will affect this government.

“The timing. I think it will affect the Muhammadu Buhari  government and if it is going to affect his government, we should all rally around our people, our President and the government to make sure we do the right thing,

“The good thing is that we have agreed that we need to do something about the cost of electricity.”

The representatives of the DisCos said the government should  be ready to continue to bear the difference in the present tariff and what was considered as the appropriate tariff

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Government News

Uproar as FAAN increases passengers’ service charge by 100 percent

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The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has concluded plans to increase Passenger Service Charge (PSC) by 100 percent.

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The new charge, effective from August 1, requires passengers to pay N2,000 as PSC, instead of the former N1000 for domestic flights.

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As for international passengers, they will have to pay $100 as opposed to the previous $50.

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Managing Director of FAAN Capt Rabiu Yadudu made this known in a letter to all airlines dated June 22, 2020.

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In the letter titled “Implementation of the approved new passenger service charge (PSC) effective August 1, 2020” with reference Ref: FAAN/HQ/MD/18E/VOL.86/72, it was stated that the decision was premised on approval by the Minister of Aviation in a letter referenced FMT/FMA/COM/T/69 dated August 3rd, 2017, which he said was sought with the intention to improve and upgrade airports infrastructure among others.

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Yadudu explained that  FAAN recently notified the Minister of Aviation of its intention to commence implementation, stressing on several occasions they had engaged the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and relevant stakeholders which delayed the implementation from 2017 to date.

The FAAN boss disclosed the cap on the value of the PSC is simply outdated.

According to Yadudu, the last review of PSC on domestic route from N350 to N1000 and from $35 to $50 on the international route was on May 1, 2011, and March 21, 2011, respectively. He added that the last review of the PSC was outdated.

He stated: “This does not correlate with the prevailing economic situation and the index to meet the needs of today and future growth in passenger traffic by FAAN and airport development, most especially for the airport upgrade to post COVID-19 standards.

“You will also wish to recall that Bi-Courtney Aviation Services, operators of the MM2 has for years been charging N2,500 as its PSC. Despite the operating PSC, some airlines recently moved operations from the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) handled by FAAN to the MMA2 because of the inability of FAAN to expand GAT.

“This increase will therefore afford FAAN the needed funds to upgrade our facilities to accommodate new airlines including the anticipated national carrier.”

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Government News

Expect 11,000 MW of electricity by 2023 — Lai Mohammed

Expect 11,000 MW of electricity by 2023 ? Lai Mohammed
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Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture has told Nigerians to expect 11,000 megawatts of electricity by 2023 following the agreement the Nigerian government reached with German firm Siemens. 

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He said the German firm will be growing the present 3,400 megawatts to 7,000MW by the end of next year. Lai Mohammed added that they will then grow the megawatts to 1,000 megawatts by the end of 2023 (phase 2) and 25,000 megawatts in the third phase.

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The minister said; 

 “Following an agreement with German company Siemens in July 2019 to boost power supply in Nigeria, the stage is set for the perennial power problem to become a thing of the past.

“Under the three-phase agreement, Nigerians will enjoy 7,000 megawatts of reliable power supply by the end of 2021 (phase 1), 11,000 megawatts by the end of 2023 (phase 2) and 25,000 megawatts in the third phase.

“To put things in perspective, Nigeria’s current power generation capacity is more than 13,000 megawatts, but only an average of 3,400 megawatts reliably reach consumers. In essence, the current amount of power that reaches consumers will more than double by the end of next year.

“In addition, this will create thousands of jobs and will leapfrog the country into the next level of industrial and social development.”

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Gist Government

FMOCDE’s Twitter page handler apologizes after mistakenly using the official Twitter account to share an inappropriate tweet

FMOCDE?s Twitter page handler apologizes after mistakenly using the official Twitter account to share an inappropriate tweet
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The social media account manager handling the official Twitter account of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy has apologized for an error he made when he used the Ministry’s Twitter account to share a personal tweet that was considered inappropriate.

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A Twitter user had shared a tweet about sports and @FMoCDENigeria’s Twitter handle gave a heated response that ended with: “Indaboski Bahose will sure visit you soon.”

FMOCDE?s Twitter page handler apologizes after mistakenly using the official Twitter account to share an inappropriate tweet

It was apparent that the social media handler had forgotten to switch over to his personal account before sharing the tweet.

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Unfortunately, the error was noticed by Twitter users and they called out the Ministry.

FMOCDE?s Twitter page handler apologizes after mistakenly using the official Twitter account to share an inappropriate tweet
FMOCDE?s Twitter page handler apologizes after mistakenly using the official Twitter account to share an inappropriate tweet

The social media handler took responsibility for the error and he switched to his personal Twitter account to reveal himself and apologize.

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He tweeted: ” I want to apologise to @FMoCDENigeria and Nigerians for the oversight at my end to have reply a tweet with the official Handle. I was given privileged to review and check tweets. It was an expensive error from me. I sincerely apologise. Blame is on me.”

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FMOCDE?s Twitter page handler apologizes after mistakenly using the official Twitter account to share an inappropriate tweet

The official Twitter handle of the @FMoCDENigeria also apologized, writing: “We sincerely apologize to Nigerians, this was a mistake by one of the handlers of this account who thought he was tweeting with his personal account. We are a responsive handle and would not get involved with such.”

FMOCDE?s Twitter page handler apologizes after mistakenly using the official Twitter account to share an inappropriate tweet
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Government News

Governor Wike’s Special Adviser on Media, Simeon Nwakaudu has died

Governor Wike?s Special Adviser on Media, Simeon Nwakaudu has died
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Simeon Nwakaudu, the Special Assistant on Electronic Media to Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, has died.

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A statement from Paulinus Nsirim, the state Commissioner for Information, confirmed that Simeon died today Sunday May 17 at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH) where he was being treated for an undisclosed ailment.

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The statement quoted the governor as describing Nwakaudu as “loyal and dedicated professional”. Read the statement below

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“Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, has expressed shock over the sudden death of his Special Assistant on Electronic Media, Mr Simeon Nwakaudu.

He described late Nwakaudu as a loyal and dedicated professional who contributed immensely to the implementation of the Rivers vision.

The governor on behalf of his family, the government and good people of the state condoled with the bereaved family. 

He prayed God to grant them the fortitude to bear the great loss.”

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Government News

President Buhari reportedly appoints dead Ebonyi lawmaker as member, Board Of Federal Character Commission President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed a dead former lawmaker from Ebonyi State, Tobias Chukwuemeka

President Buhari reportedly appoints dead Ebonyi lawmaker as member, Board Of Federal Character Commission
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President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed a dead former lawmaker from Ebonyi State, Tobias Chukwuemeka Okwuru, to the board of the Federal Character Commission, SaharaReporters reports.

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The appointment of the late Okwuru alongside 37 others was contained in a letter Buhari sent to the Nigerian Senate for confirmation.

President Buhari reportedly appoints dead Ebonyi lawmaker as member, Board Of Federal Character Commission

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, read out the letter on Tuesday during plenary. 

But findings by SaharaReporters has revealed that Okwuru, who once represented Ikwo/Ezza Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives, died in February 2020 at the age of 59. 

During his lifetime, he served as state auditor of Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Whip of Ebonyi State House of Assembly, before moving to represent his constituency at the National Assembly. 

Interestingly, this won’t be the first time President Buhari will be giving appointment to dead people.

In 2017, the list of appointments into the boards of federal agencies and corporations released was enmeshed in controversy after the names of five persons said to be dead appeared on it.

The dead persons alleged to be on that list were Senator Francis Okpozo (Delta), Rev. Father Christopher Utau (Benue), DIG Donald Ugbaja (retd), Garba Attahiru (Kaduna) and Umar Dange (Sokoto).

President Buhari reportedly appoints dead Ebonyi lawmaker as member, Board Of Federal Character Commission

Similar things have happened over the years. In 2017,  this won’t be the first time President Buhari will be giving appointment to dead people.

In 2017, the list of appointments into the boards of federal agencies and corporations released was enmeshed in controversy after the names of five persons said to be dead appeared on it.

The dead persons alleged to be on that list were Senator Francis Okpozo (Delta), Rev. Father Christopher Utau (Benue), DIG Donald Ugbaja (retd), Garba Attahiru (Kaduna) and Umar Dange (Sokoto).

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Coronavirus Government News

People thought Abba Kyari was a cabal member in Buhari’s presidency because he was loyal and took lots of bullets – Governor Yahaya Bello

People thought Abba Kyari was a cabal member in Buhari?s presidency because he was loyal and took lots of bullets  ? Governor Yahaya Bello
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Governor Yahaya Bello has revealed why many people thought Abba Kyari was a cabal member in Buhari’s Presidency. 

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The Kogi Governor made the disclosure during an interview on Channels Television’s ‘Sunday Politics’. He described Abba Kyari as President Buhari’s loyal and dedicated aide who left a vacuum that will be difficult to fill over time both within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and Nigeria in general.

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He added that the late CoS was a great politician who never sought for any elective position and a great diplomat who was never an ambassador during his sojourn here on earth.

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“We look at him as a patriot, a great diplomat but he was never an ambassador, a great politician but he never sought for any elective position, a great technocrat and a great lawyer.

“Somebody who was very passionate about this country. He has done his own part, he has made his own contribution and left a very big shoe.

“I hope and pray that Mr President will get somebody who can fill in this vacuum. We wish him an eternal rest”

Commenting on the alleged cabal in Buhari’s Presidency, Bello admitted that Kyari was an influential member of the cabinet who must have stepped on toes while discharging his duties in the interest of President Buhari and the country.

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He averred that the late CoS took a lot of bullets, lots of responsibility and there is no regret or apology to that effect. 

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The Kogi Governor added; 

“Like you know and those of us in authority, loyalty is number one. Secondly, your ability and character to discharge the duties and responsibilities discharged on you is one other thing. Mallam Abba Kyari was very loyal to Mr President, very diligent, a professional per excellence and he is very passionate about the progress and development of Nigeria, not only to our party the APC but Nigeria in general.

“So such a person, if he is carrying out his duties and responsibilities, surely there is no way you will not step on toes one way or the other to ensure that the job is done. So if he stepped on toes in one way or the other, it is just to ensure that he serves Mr President diligently, that he did very well.

“He took a lot of bullets and took a lot of responsibility for that. So there is no regret and there is no apology to that effect. In due course, we are going to miss this great Nigerian who sacrificed it all to ensure that we have the much modest achievement that we have today. So if you say cabal, in one way or the other yes.

“You will have one or two persons that are loyal to you who is ready to dare the devil and ensure that the job is done. So if you call it a cabal, it depends on the angle you are looking at it from.”