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Economy

Niger Customs Command generates N323m as revenue in April – Comptroller 

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The Niger Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on Thursday said it generated about N323 million as Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in the month of April.

Mr Yusuf Abba-Kassim, Comptroller of Customs in charge of Niger, Kwara and Kogi Commands, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Minna.

”In the month under review, the command seized 6 different second hand vehicles and 120 bags of rice with Duty Paid Value of N7.5 million,” he said.

He explained that the command was putting on sensitive security measures at the border posts, to curtail illegal trades and prevent contraband from coming into the country.

He said the area command had issued an order to officers deployed in border posts of Tungan Madugu, Kibira and Agbara Rofiya in Borgu Local Government area of Niger to ensure compliance.

“The order was also sent to officers in border posts in Chikanda, Yashikira, Kosubosu in Baruten Local Government Area of Kwara.

“We are fully prepared to end smuggling through our various strategies that will pave way for arrest and prosecution of smugglers,” the comptroller said.

Abba-Kassim said the command would also carry out 100 per cent physical examination to prevent offensive goods from being smuggled into the country through the borders in the command area.

He said that already, the Area Command had issue an effective operational order to its field officers on how to tackle the menace of smuggling in its area of supervision.

He solicited the support of stakeholders, traditional and religious leaders in mobilising residents to volunteer information that would aid in apprehending all those involved in the illegal trade.

 

Oil & Gas

Nigeria’s proven gas reserve now 203.16tcf, says DPR

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The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) said on Wednesday that Nigeria’s proven natural gas reserve had become 203.16trillion cubic feet (tcf), while crude oil reserve was 36.89billion barrels (bb) as at Jan. 1, 2020.

Mr Sarki Auwalu, Director, DPR,  gave the numbers on Wednesday during an online interactive session with the media on topical issues in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria.

Auwalu said the new figures represented a marginal increase of 1.16tcf in proven natural gas reserves representing 0.57 percentage increase from previous 202tcf recorded on Jan. 1, 2019.

According to him, the DPR has set new targets of 210tcf by 2025 and 220tcf by 2030.

He said that crude oil reserves declined by 82million barrels representing 0.22 percentage decrease when compared to the 36.97 billion barrels recorded during the same period in 2019.

The director also explained the rationale behind the ongoing bid rounds for 57 marginal oil fields being conducted by the regulatory agency on behalf of the Federal Government.

Auwalu said :”These are fields that have been unutilised and we believe that this was overdue because the last time Nigeria did bid round for the marginal fields was in 2003.

“Between that time and now, a lot of professionals have come into the industry and some companies who were among the 24 successful companies are now considered oil producing companies.

” So, there is a lot of appetite to invest in Nigeria and the government also needs revenue because the benchmark for the 2020 budget has been revised to $27 per barrel.”

He said since the bidding was only for indigenous  companies,  it would help in boosting the Nigerian economy and also create jobs for the people.

Auwalu also clarified that the marginal fields embroiled in litigation were not part of those in the fresh bid round,  adding that it however included some of the previous 24 that were not utilised by successful bidders.

He said: “The bidders were given awards and not licences, and they were to develop the fields within 10 years.

” Some of these companies failed to achieve the conditions for the awards. In 2013, they were granted an extension to 2015. Thereafter, another extension was granted to them till 2018  and they could not bring the field to production.

“Technically, the government is losing, so that is why they were brought back for bidding and it is an opportunity for the previous bidders to bid again and have another 10 years to develop them again.”

Auwalu maintained that the bidding process which was being done electronically would be transparent, stressing that only competent companies would emerge as winners.

He also disclosed that over 200 companies had expressed interest in Nigeria’s 96 gas flare points for various commercial purposes, which would increase government’s revenue while addressing environmental challenges.


Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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Health

Over 110 Hand sanitisers production Coys registered in Nigeria- NAFDAC

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The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) says over 110 hand sanitisers production companies are currently operating in Nigeria following the advent of COVID-19 pandemic.

Its Director-General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, made this known on Wednesday during a virtual meeting organised by the Lagos Business School Sustainability Centre.

The focus was: “LBS Sustainability Centre: COVID-19 in Africa and the Impact on Medical Products and Technologies: What We Know and What We should Be Doing.”

Adeyeye said when the pandemic started, it was a wild wind for the regulatory agency, because they were caught by surprise and everything stopped as they had to focus on COVID-19 pandemic.

She said: “There was complete lockdown in selected states of Lagos, Ogun and FCT; so, we had to quickly start using adaptive regulatory activities with only essential workers.

“There were too many things happening at the same time, but we had to expedite approval processes.

“We actually cut it down to 10 days instead of months that we had before.

“For alcohol-based hand sanitisers, there was intensification of submissions and approvals.

In January 2020, we had about 21 hand sanitising companies in Nigeria before COVID-19, now we have over 110 hand sanitising companies registered in our data base.’’

According to her, 55 brands of hand sanitisers were issued emergency approval for use during the four weeks COVID-19 countrywide lockdown.

Adeyeye said that expedited approvals were being given, and NAFDAC could not inspect the sites because of lockdown, and because it was just at the beginning of the pandemic.

“We weren’t even prepared to get all the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) needed.

“However, we went into the market on surveillance, we had to go to open markets.

We started in Lagos, then spread across the country, because with the pandemic came unregistered hand sanitisers, falsified hand sanitisers.

“But, we did our due diligence in terms of both market surveillance which included mopping of many sanitisers from the market, doing laboratory testing to know the level of alcohol.

“There were some that had low levels of alcohol, and we mopped them from the market,’’ the NAFDAC director-general said.


Edited By: Vivian Ihechu/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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Education

Experts urge Nigerians to embrace natural foods, proper hydration

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A Professor of Biochemistry at Lagos State University (LASU) has urged Nigerians to embrace natural foods and proper hydration to boost their immune system to fight against COVID-19.

Prof. Babajide Elemo made the call at the sixth LASU Virtual Public Lecture, entitled; “COVID-19: Effective Use of Science in Overcoming the Pandemic,” on Wednesday in Lagos.

He said that regular consumption of natural foods and balanced nutrition were part of the keys to stay free from contracting COVID-19 and any other diseases.

World Health Organization recently published a nutrition advice that people should eat fresh and unprocessed food, drink enough water, eat moderate amount of fat and oil, amongst others.

“Balanced diet and hydration are vital during COVID-19 pandemic, while nutrition status plays an important role in the functioning of the immune system,” Elemo said.

Dr Josephine Sharaibi, Lecturer, Department of Botany, Faculty of Science, LASU, said that absence of cure for COVID-19 necessitated that everyone consumed the right foods and herbs as a means of boosting the immune system against the virus.

Sharaibi said that plants were critical to both the prevention and eventual cure of the disease and advised participants on the responsible use of herbs and herbal medicines in their search for solution to the COVID-19 pandemic.

She said that there were many local herbs which included ginger, garlic, tumeric and cinnamon that could be taken as immune boosters.

“There are also anti-malaria herbs such as moringa lucida (Brimstone tree), alstonia boonei (God’s tree), enantha clorantha (African whitewood) and the popular Dogonyaro tree, all of which can be used to treat symptoms of the virus.

“We should also regularly detoxify our system by taking herb drinks and natural fruit smoothies but avoid processed foods and as much as possible, stay natural,” Sharaibi advised.

Also speaking, Prof. Sunday Omilabu, Director, Centre of Excellence on Human and Zoonotic Virology, Lagos State Biobank, warned against unapproved testing process of COVID-19.

Omilabu said that till date, no serological testing platform had been licensed for COVID-19, and even when available, was not meant to replace the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction for diagnosis of the virus.

Prof. Richard Adegbola, Research Professor and Consultant, Nigeria Institute of Medical Research, Yaba, recommended three pronged approaches to prepare for future pandemics.

Adegbola said that the three approaches were consistent surveillance for data aggregation and trend monitoring; modelling for prediction and forecasting; and translation and research that turned basic research into health-improving products.

He said there was need for multidisciplinary approach to problem solving because research alone would not be enough to solve all science-related problems.

“Technology and other fields, have major roles to play in keeping our world together,” Adegbola said.


Edited By: Razak Owolabi/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Education

Niger SUBEB to reexamine teachers for professionalism – Chairman

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The Universal Basic Education Board (NSUBEB) Niger State, says it will  reexamine teachers to ensure they meet expected professional standard.

Chairman of the Board, Dr Isah Adamu said this while inaugurating a 15-member  Teaching and Non-Teaching staff Committee for the 25 Local Government Education Authorities on Wedneaday in Minna.

He said the committee would conduct staff audit exercise for teaching and non-teaching staff across the 25 Local Government  Education Authorities (LGEAs) in the state.

“This will help us to determine the kind of staff that we are parading as teachers. We want to know if they are able to deliver on their subject matter as it pertains teaching and learning.

“It will help us to verify the staff qualification as commensurate to their grade level, ” he said.

Adamu tasked all staff of LGEAs to cooperate with the committee so that the aim of the exercise would be achieved.

He said  the committee had 30 days to submit its report and recommendations while urging them to be transparent in their assignment.

“Due process should be your watchword and discharge this assignment without fear or favor.

“It is expected that you will bring your professional knowledge and expertise to bear on this assignment so as to contribute to the overall development of education in our dear state,” he said.

According to him, inconsistencies in staff data has been a challenge and a clog in the wheel of progress in Niger state Basic Education sub-sector.

“That is the reason, auditing our personnel in the actual number becomes paramount.

“The stagnated figures despite death, retirement and quest for greener pasture by our staff is something we must do and unravel as quickly as possible,” he said.

Similarly, he assured that the exercise is not aimed at witch-hunting anyone, but a deliberate effort to strengthen the system for effective service delivery.

“Anyone with any useful information that will aid the work of this committee should not hesitate to share such information for the benefit of our dear state,” he said.

He, however, noted that any attempt by stakeholders to conceal the truth or sabotage efforts of the board would be severely dealt with.

Adamu reassured that government of Gov. Abubakar Bello was poised to better the lots of teachers in the state by ensuring that all their due benefits were given to them as at when due.

“The governor has reassured us of his determination and willingness to improve on teacher’s welfare but consistency in staff data hinders all efforts, hence this inauguration.

” It is therefore desirable for us to carry out this exercise so as to determine our factual staff against the current one,” he said.

Also,  Mr Ibrahim Umar, Chairman Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) Niger chapter while appreciating the board,  said that the project was timely and exigent.

The Niger (NUT) needs this project so that we have authentic membership of our union, Niger State Uniniversal Basic Educaton Board (NSUBEB) will need it to sort out lingering issues on promotion and increment of teachers in Niger.

“Our problem as teachers can only be solved with such projects coming on board and Niger (NUT) will do all in its power to see that the project is successful,” he added.

The News Agency of Nigeria , reports that members of the committee include Alhaji Ayuba Katako, chairman for zone A,  Alhaji Saidu Ibrahim, chairman for zone B,  Alhaji Khalid Garba chairman for zone C , Alhaji Ibrahim Umar,  NUT chairman Niger State chapter and 11 others


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma and Isaac Ukpoju (NAN)

 

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Foreign

Gang rape of undergraduate ignites anger about women’s safety in Nigeria

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Nigerian police have arrested a member of a gang suspected of raping and killing of an undergraduate in Benin, a southern city in Nigeria, a crime that ignited anger about women’s safety in the West Africa country over rape cases and brutality.

Vera Uwaila Omozuwa, a 23-year-old student of the University of Benin was raped by a gang of unknown men on May 27 and died a few days later in a local hospital. She was attacked in an empty church where she had gone to study.

The state police spokesperson Chidi Nwabuzor told media on Tuesday one suspect was arrested after the fingerprint on the fire extinguisher she was attacked with was examined.

“The item used in the assault, which was a fire extinguisher, was recovered, immediately the operatives who were with some specialists screened the finger prints which led to our suspect,” Nwabuzor said, adding the suspect was arrested around the place of the incident.

Nigeria’s police chief Mohammed Adamu had earlier deployed investigators to help speed up the investigations, assuring that the perpetrators of the crime will be brought to book in the shortest possible time.

Similarly, another 11 suspects were also recently arrested for allegedly raping a 12-year-old girl in the northwest state of Jigawa.

The suspects were arrested on Saturday after the police received a complaint that one of the suspects, aged 57 of Ma’ai village was seen at Limawa market in Dutse, the state capital, trying to lure the victim.

The crimes had continued to raise concerns and stirred reactions from Nigerians. Officials and observers expressed worry that many Nigerian girls and women might have experienced at least one form of verbal and physical abuse or assault in their lifetime.

Data on the number of reported cases is very limited, but a 2014 national survey on violence against children in Nigeria found that one in four women had experienced sexual violence in childhood, with approximately 70 percent reporting more than one incident. Only 5 percent sought help, and 3.5 percent received any services.

Lai Mohammed, the minister of information and culture, in a statement sent to Xinhua on Wednesday said the government had directed the police to unravel the circumstances surrounding the gang-rape and murder of the student and sexual abuse of a minor in northwest Jigawa state by 14 men.

By bringing the perpetrators of the heinous crimes to justice, the government will be serving a strong notice of its total aversion to gender-based violence in whatever form, Mohamemd added.

On his part, President of the Senate Ahmad Lawan has advocated for stiffer penalties for rape in Nigeria.

Lawan made the call on Tuesday in his concluding remarks on a motion over increasing rape cases and brutality against the girl child in the country.

According to him, having stiffer penalties in Nigeria’s criminal and penal code will serve as deterrent to perpetrators of the act.

In the same vein, Adesuwa Urhoghide-Edigin, president of the Medical Women Association of Nigeria decried the rape and murder of Omozuwa, calling on the authorities to fish out and punish the culprits.

She described the incident as “devilish acts of unkind beings”.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

73 Boko Haram militants killed in NE Nigeria

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Nigerian troops have killed 73 Boko Haram militants including senior members of the sect in an operation in the restive northeastern state of Borno, a military spokesperson said Wednesday.

In a statement sent to Xinhua, defense spokesperson John Enenche said the operation carried out last week confirmed the death of some high ranking commanders of Boko Haram alongside other militants.

Many others wounded with narrow chances of survival during the operation, Enenche said, noting that a large number of equipment of the militants including gun trucks, motorcycles and bicycles were destroyed by the troops.

The military operation follows a failed attack by the militants on a military base at Banki Junction in Borno, said Enenche.

Boko Haram has been trying to establish an Islamist state in northeastern Nigeria since 2009, extending its attacks to countries in the Lake Chad Basin, posing enormous security, humanitarian and governance challenges to countries including Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Benin and Niger.

(XINHUA)

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Oil & Gas

Nigerian Content Board intervenes in NLNG, Macobarb N970m rift

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The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), has waded into the N970 million dispute between the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG), and a Nigerian company, Macobarb International.
News Agency of Nigeria
gathered that the N970 million contractual dispute is being mediated by the NCDMB as reconciliatory meetings were held at NCDMB’s headquarters in Yenagoa.
Macobarb
wants to be paid about N970m by the NLNG for what it termed wrongful termination of a contract and value for downtime and equipment on site over a period of time.
Several organisations have made unsuccessful efforts to mediate in the dispute including the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Shell, and Office of Attorney-General of the Federation amongst others.
NAN sources at NCDMB said the board got the complaint in October 2019 and invited both parties and the first sitting was held about Dec. 10, 2019 at the Yenagoa head office of the board.
A senior official of the board, Mr Alexis Emele, chaired the reconciliation meeting.
The source who participated in the talks said Macobarb asked for what it called ‘Standing Time Amount’ when the NLNG kept the company’s equipment and key personnel doing nothing on offshore contract for 559 days.
The Nigerian company said it calculated the claim with contract standing time rates to get N958 million, plus outstanding balance on turnstile and vehicle barrier Macobarb supplied the NLNG as part of the contract, all totaling N970m.
Macobarb
had complained to numerous organisations that it had been rated as a top performer in contracts with the NLNG until it was upgraded and awarded a Turnstile and Security contract in 2014.
The company said the contract’s biggest term was that there would be no mobilisation fee paid to Macobarb, but that every milestone achieved and approved would be paid for, failing which the defaulter would pay penalty.
The CEO of Macobarb, Mr Shedrack Ogboru, said that when it was time to pay the first batch, after all due technical approvals, one man in NLNG stopped payment without offering any reason.
He said the unwarranted development affected the job so badly that performance was impossible.
He said that he had taken loans from a bank to execute the early stages of the contract, only for payment to be stalled.
He expressed regret that the NLNG only turned round to terminate the contract, leading to protracted dispute.
The NLNG Management, led by Mr Tony Attah, had in a reaction said that the contract was terminated due to non-performance.
At the NCDMB brokered talks, the NLNG was said to have insisted that it terminated the contract on grounds of non-performance and paid the contractor the value of work done.
Macobarb was said to have rejected it, saying the terms of the contract were grossly violated by pushing the company into non-performance through non-payment of milestones achieved.
It was gathered that both sides tabled their positions and that the NCDMB asked them to report back on a date early in January 2020.
The NLNG was said to have disputed figures tabled by Macobarb but the mediators asked Macobarb to furnish the Board with the information itemising all outstanding claims being allegedly owed by NLNG on the contract.
The Board was said to have also asked the NLNG to revert with information concerning the status of payments on demobilisation for the contract and the 20ft container kept in their place by the contractor as part of the contract terms.
Macobarb expressed optimism that the matter would be resolved by the NCDMB instead of resorting to court so that other Nigerian companies affected in the contract could heave a sigh of relief.


Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Foreign

9 killed in gunmen attack in northern Nigeria

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At least nine people were killed in an attack carried out by gunmen in northern Nigeria’s Kaduna state on Wednesday, said a local official.

Cafra Caino, chairman of Kajuru council, who confirmed the incident to Xinhua, said that the gunmen invaded Tudu village in the early hours of Wednesday with dangerous weapons such as guns, machetes and knives. They attacked people sporadically, and forced residents to scamper for safety.

He said nine people were killed on the spot while those who sustained injuries have been taken to hospital for treatment.

Caino said more people would have been killed but for the timely intervention of security forces, which made the bandits flee into the bush.

Local police has yet confirmed the attack.

A series of gunmen attacks have been reported in northern Nigeria since the beginning of this year.

(XINHUA)

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Defence/Security

Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists lose more high ranking commanders, equipment to Nigerian troops

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The Boko Haram/Islamic States West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists have lost more high ranking commanders to Nigerian troops following a failed attack on troops’ location at Banki Junction and Firgi in Borno, recently.

The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja.

Enenche said that troops of Operation Lafya Dole (OPLD) on May 26, killed high ranking commanders of the Abubakar Shekau’s faction of the Boko Haram terrorist’ group during a counter attack against the terrorists.

He explained that the Boko Haram/ISWAP commanders that were killed include Manzar Halid, Amir Abu Fatima and Nicap among others with 72 fighters of the sect also neutralised in the attack.

According to him, others wounded with narrow chances of survival include some high profile commanders and fighters are, namelyamratu AL-Naweer, Kaka Bana and Tareta Babakari.

“Equally, a large number of their equipment including gun trucks, motorcycles and bicycles were destroyed by troops in collaboration with the Air Task Force during fighters’ withdrawal which was in disarray.

“Furthermore, credible information indicates  that the camp is in chaos and presently unable to conduct any offensive due to heavy losses.

“Additionally, the blockade of their spy routes, networks, crossing points and logistics supplies had further crippled the terrorists and limited their freedom of movement and action to the advantage of own troops.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, congratulates the gallant troops for their resilience, courage and dedication to ending the North-East security challenge.

The High Command of the Armed Forces of Nigeria hereby encourages all troops of OPLD to sustain the onslaught against the terrorists,” he said.


Edited By: Joseph Edeh and Abdullahi Yusuf (NAN)

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Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

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