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Judiciary

2 herbalists docked for allegedly defrauding businessman of N2.8m

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Two herbalists, Omotosho Sunday, 57, and Adetutu Ayodele Adetutu,45, who allegedly defrauded a businessman of N2.8 million, on Tuesday appeared in a Chief Magistrates’ Court, in Ado-Ekiti.

The police charged Sunday and Ayodele with conspiracy and advance Fee Fraud and other fraud related offence.

Okunade alleged that both herbalists, fraudulently collected the sum of N2.8 million from Mr  Adedamola Adesida, to help him prepare a charm to stop woman from jilting his son.

He alleged that the defendants collected the money and  did not delver on their contract.

The offence, he said, is punishable under Section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other fraud related offence Act.

The plea of the accused were not taken.

Defence Counsel, Mr Femi Olajide, urged the court to grant bail to his clients, with a promise that they would not jump bail.

Chief Magistrate Aderopo Adegboye, admitted the defendants to bail in the sum of N200,000 with two sureties in like sum,.

He adjourned the case until Sept. 11 for further hearing.

Economy

Nigerian electricity supply industry recorded ₦119.46bn deficit in Q4 2019, says NERC

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The Nigerian Electricity Regulation Commission (NERC), on Saturday said the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) recorded N119.46 billion deficit in the fourth quarter of 2019.

NERC said the 11 Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) only remitted a total of ₦74.20 billion out of the ₦193.66 billion invoice issued to them for energy received and administrative charges during the period.

The Fourth Quarter Report was obtained by News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos from the website of NERC, which is the regulator of the industry.

NERC said liquidity challenge was still a major issue in NESI in spite of the recent improvement in Aggregate Technical, Commercial and Collection (ATC&C) losses by the 11 Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos).

“This is evidenced in the DisCos’ international and special customers’ remittances to Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET) and Market Operators (MO) during the fourth quarter of 2019.

“During the fourth quarter, DisCos were issued a total invoice of ₦193.66 billion for energy received from NBET and for administrative services by MO.

“However, only a total of ₦74.20 billion (38.32 per cent) of the invoice was settled as and  when due, creating a total deficit of ₦119.46 billion including tariff shortfall, ” the regulatory agency said.

NERC said Eko DisCo recorded the highest remittance rate (51.50 per cent) in the fourth quarter of 2019 followed by Abuja with 51.27 per cent remittance rate.

It added that although Jos DisCo’ settlement rate improved during the fourth quarter, its remittance rate of 19.57 per cent was the lowest in the fourth quarter of 2019.

NERC also disclosed that total market invoices were issued to the special customer (Ajaokuta Steel Co. Ltd) and the international customers (Societe Nigerienne d’electricite (NIGELEC)and Communaute Electrique du Benin (CEB) during the same period.

According to NERC, N29.50 million was issued to Ajaokuta Steel Company while N2.07 billion was issued to NIGELEC and CEB respectively.

The commission, however, said neither NBET nor MO received payments from these customers during this period.

“Although there has been a significant improvement, the challenge of low remittance to the market is still a concern to the commission as it is one of the main causes of the

liquidity crisis facing NESI.

” Low remittance adversely affects the ability of NBET to honour its financial obligations to Electricity Generation Companies (GenCos).

 “Also, service providers struggle with the paucity of funds impacting their capacity to perform their statutory obligations,” NERC said.

It therefore urged the DisCos to rapidly improve on their revenue collection from customers in order to fulfill their remittance obligations and mitigate financial distress in NESI.

NERC said to enforce payment discipline and compliance with minimum remittance, it had during the fourth quarter, began enforcement action against  DisCos that defaulted in the third quarter billing cycle.

Following the commencement of the enforcement by the Commission, all DisCos except Enugu DisCo have met their expected Minimum Remittance Threshold for the third quarter.


Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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General news

California says film, TV production can resume June 12

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Film and TV cameras can start rolling in California as early as June 12, state officials said on Friday as they approved new guidelines to prevent the spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) on sets.

Producers will need approval from local health officials to restart filming, according to a statement from the California Department of Health.

Filming around the world was halted in mid-March to help curb the coronavirus pandemic.

A task force of Hollywood studios and labour unions earlier this week proposed extensive coronavirus testing, daily symptom checks and other safeguards to allow actors and crew members to return to work.

The guidelines were developed by representatives from Walt Disney Co, Netflix Inc, AT&T Inc’s Warner Bros and Comcast Corp’s NBCUniversal, plus unions including SAG-AFTRA, IATSE and the Directors Guild of America.

To return to work, productions must follow the task force guidelines and also receive clearance from county health officials, the state health department said.

County authorities should consider local coronavirus infection rates, preparedness for a surge in cases, testing capability and other data before granting approval, the department added.


Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Politics

COVID-19: Ekiti Assembly marks low-key 365 days in office

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The sixth Ekiti House of Assembly says it will mark its one year of qualitative legislation in low-key due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision is contained in a statement signed by Mrs Yemisi Ayokunle, the Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs on Saturday in Ado-Ekiti.

It will be recalled that the current Ekiti Assembly was inaugurated on June 6, 2019 by the State’s Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi.

Ayokunle, in the statement, expressed the members’ gratitude to God and the public for the confidence reposed in them.

She said that the achievements made within one year had been people oriented,.

She restated the commitment of the state’s lawmakers to delivering on the electoral promises they had made to their constituents.

According to her, in the past 365 days the assembly has made various resolutions and passed bills aimed at bringing about development and meaningful changes for the benefit of Ekiti people.

The house committee chairman said the past 360 days in office had been worthwhile and would remain indelible in the hearts of the lawmakers.

The statement highlighted that a Prayer Session of not more than the COVID-19 protocol specified number of people would be organised at the Speaker’s, Mr Funminiyi Afuye Lodge on Saturday, June 6.

The statement also said,  a Special Plenary Session would hold on Monday,  June 8 at the Assembly Chamber, Ado-Ekiti, while the Committee on Media and  Public Affairs holds a  news conference immediately after plenary.

She commended the Gov. Kayode Fayemi and members of his executive team for the support accorded the assembly.

She promised that the lawmakers would not disappoint their constituencies.


Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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Economy

8.10m MWh electricity generated in Q4 2019 – NERC

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The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has said that 8.101 million Megawatts-hour (MWh) of electricity was generated in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2019.

NERC made this known in its Fourth Quarter Report 2019 obtained on Saturday by the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos from its website.

The regulatory agency said the total electricity generated during the fourth quarter of 2019 was 1.46 per cent higher than the energy generated during the preceding quarter.

The commission said: “Within the same quarter, the industry recorded a peak daily generation of 5,157MW.

“The available plant generation units on bar decreased to 63 from the daily average of 66 units recorded in the preceding quarter.

“However, in spite of the decrease in the available generation units in the fourth quarter, the total electric energy generated increased by 1.46 per cent with 5.44 percentage points increase in generation capacity utilisation. “

According to NERC, the improved capacity utilisation is attributed to reduction in constraints such as gas supply shortage, transmission and distribution networks and water management at the hydropower stations.

It also disclosed that there was one incidence of partial system collapse (failure of a section of the grid) during the fourth quarter of 2019, as compared to zero partial system collapse recorded during the third quarter.

The commission disclosed that the resolution of technical and operational constraints in Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) remains one of its the top priorities.

NERC said it would continue to work on addressing the interface bottlenecks between the 11 electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) and the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).

It said the move intends to free up part of the stranded generation capacity by addressing the technical constraints inhibiting the flow of energy.

NERC said: “Also, the commission is currently reviewing the Performance Improvement Plans (PIPs) submitted by the DisCos.

“The PIPs, which were prepared following guidelines issued by the commission, cover the period 2020-2025.

“They have an overall objective of ensuring that utilities invest in projects critical to addressing the technical and operational challenges affecting their operational efficiency,” it said.


Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Foreign

Taliban outfit sets free 36 Afghan detainees

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The Taliban outfit in the latest round of prisoners swap has set free 36 persons from its custody in the western Farah province and handed them over to security forces on Saturday.

However, Mohammad Shuaib Sabit, the governor for Farah province asserted that some of the released persons were civilians.

The exchange of prisoners is part of the United States-Taliban so-called peace deal that inked in Doha on Feb. 29 to facilitate the intra-Afghan dialogue for finding a political solution to Afghanistan’s prolonged war and withdrawal of the United States-led forces from the country.

Under the agreement, the Afghan government has to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners for the exchange of 1,000 security forces languishing in Taliban custody.

More than 2,000 Taliban and some 400 government men have reportedly been released by both sides since March.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Thai restaurants required not to serve alcoholic beverages on premises

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Authorities in Thailand have been reinstructed to see to it that no alcoholic beverages are provided for drinking on the premises of any restaurants, or else they might be immediately ordered to close again, said a senior government official on Saturday.

Permanent Secretary for Interior Chatchai Phromlert confirmed he has repeatedly issued his directive to the governors of all provinces nationwide to strictly see to it that no alcoholic beverages will be served on the premises of restaurants as part of the social distancing rule and anti-pandemic measures.

All restaurants have been allowed to reopen and sell whiskeys, wines and beers to customers only on condition that those alcoholic drinks are not consumed on their premises. Sales of alcoholic beverages at supermarkets, discount stores, convenience stores and groceries nationwide are as well allowed by law.

Chatchai’s repeated order given to the provincial governors apparently followed news reports that certain restaurants, which may have observed social distancing order by keeping one table about two meters apart from another, had discreetly managed to serve whiskeys, wines and beers to their customers who lunched or dined inside.

Those restaurants, which have been allowed by the authorities to reopen under social distancing and other anti-pandemic rules, might probably be ordered to close again only if found to have served alcoholic drinks to customers on their premises, according to the permanent secretary for interior.

He said he ordered provincial governors on Thursday to have officials conduct patrols in restaurants and other public venues on a regular basis.

(XINHUA)

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General news

Osun records 2 new COVID-19 cases

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The Osun Government says it has recorded two new cases of Coronavirus COVID-19, bringing the total number of infections in the state to 49, with four deaths.

Dr Rafiu Isamotu, the state Commissioner for Health, said in a statement in Osogbo on Saturday that the two new cases were relatives of an earlier confirmed COVID-19 patient in Ikire area of the state.

Isamotu said that the two new cases of the virus had increased the total number of confirmed cases in the state to 49.

He said the state had successfully treated and discharged 36 patients, while four deaths had been recorded since the outbreak of the pandemic in the state.

“We have recorded two new cases bringing the number of active cases in the state to nine.

“The two patients are relatives of a patient from Ikire, Irewole Local Government Area of the state.

“As of today, we have recorded a total of 49 confirmed cases out of which 36 patients had been successful treated and subsequently discharged from our facilities, leaving us with nine active cases,” Isamotu said.


Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Foreign

Feature: Thousands march in Australian cities over treatment of Indigenous Peoples

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Huge crowds marched Saturday in Black Lives Matter demonstrations across Australia, including in Sydney where a Supreme Court decision banning the protest was overturned at the last minute.

The rallies were held to draw attention to Aboriginal deaths in police custody and in solidarity with widespread demonstrations in the United States.

Thousands of people turned out in Brisbane and Adelaide, with even larger crowds in the more populous cities of Melbourne and Sydney, after the New South Wales (NSW) State Court of Appeal ruled in favour of authorising the Sydney protest.

On Friday organizers in Sydney were told the event could not go ahead due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19, however a large number of people made their intention to attend the demonstration, despite risking arrest if they did.

Minutes before the demonstration was scheduled to begin, and after a large crowd had already gathered, the news came through that the protest would be considered lawful, with police aiming to accommodate the demonstrators while maintaining peace.

Most of the protesters wore masks and volunteers distributed hand sanitiser throughout the crowds, however with such large numbers of people, recommended social distancing was difficult to maintain.

While the death of George Floyd and occurrences in the United States were the clear catalyst for the demonstrations, the focus was largely on the treatment of Australia’s First Nations Peoples, mainly police brutality and an inflated number of deaths in custody.

Since 1991, 432 First Nations Peoples have died while in the custody of police, according to data from the Guardian. One of them, 26-year-old Dunghutti man David Dungay, passed away in 2015 while being restrained by five officers despite repeatedly saying, “I can’t breathe.”

Members of Dungay’s family who were in attendance in Sydney, expressed their shock and grief at the similarities between his death and that of George Floyd in the United States, but said they were heartened by the significant amount of support on display.

“I look around and see so many signs and so many faces — it’s overwhelming,” Dungay’s nephew told the crowd.

One of the protesters in Sydney, Alyssia Gibbs told Xinhua that she had been to similar demonstrations in the past and would continue to do so as long as it took to achieve justice for Indigenous Australians.

“No one’s going to listen to you if you’re just posting on social media. If you get thousands of people in the same place chanting the same thing with the same message, people will listen,” Gibbs said.

While the demonstrations were largely peaceful, tensions briefly flared on the steps of Sydney’s Town Hall after a counter-protester took to the stage wielding a sign reading All Lives Matter, drawing the anger of the crowd before he was arrested by police.

At 4:32 p.m. local time, thousands of demonstrators in Sydney knelt and observed a minute of silence in recognition of the 432 Aboriginal deaths in police custody, and the international Black Lives Matter movement.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Indonesia’s COVID-19 cases surpass 30,000 with death toll exceeding 1,800

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The COVID-19 cases in Indonesia rose by 993 within one day to 30,514, with the death toll adding by 31 to 1,801, Achmad Yurianto, a Health Ministry official, said at a press conference here on Saturday.

According to him, 464 more people had been discharged from hospitals, making the total number of recovered patients stand at 9,907.

The pandemic has spread to all the 34 provinces in the archipelagic country. However as of 12:00 p.m. Jakarta time on Saturday, no more positive cases were found in five provinces, namely, Aceh, Bengkulu, Southeast Sulawesi, West Sulawesi and East Nusa Tenggara.

Authorities have been conducting coronavirus tests in the affected areas and ordered the public to always wear masks to curb the spread.

The government is preparing for the so-called “new normal,” under which the public would be allowed to resume their routines.

(XINHUA)

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