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Economy

Power outage: Group hails Buhari’s plan to probe 16 billion dollar failed power project

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Probe

Enugu, March 13, 2019 The Southern Nigeria People Mandate (SNPM), a Non-Governmental Organisation, has hailed President Muhammadu Buhari on his plan to probe the 16 billion-dollar investment in the power sector by past administrations.

The project spanned through the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

The President of SNPM, Mr Augustine Chukwudum, in a statement in Enugu on Wednesday also called on Buhari to  probe 20 billion dollars allegedly misappropriated by former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration when Emir Lamido Sanusi of Kano was governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

He alleged that Sanusi was removed from office because he raised the alarm concerning how 20 billion dollars was moved by the administration.

“We want President Muhammadu Buhari to march his word with action because during 20l5 and 20l9 campaigns, he promised to fight corruption.

“Nigerians will not be happy with him if he fails to probe and recover these monies,’’ he said.

According to him, these monies totalling 36 billion dollars, if recovered by the government will prove to Nigerians that there is no sacred cow.

“This time, Buhari’s administration must prove to the world that he is serious in fight against corruption.

“SNPM demands that Buhari should use every power within him as president to recover all these monies; while anybody culpable must be punished.

“Let every right thinking Nigerian support Buhari on this wonderful plan,’’ Chukwudum said.

Economy

House of Representatives set to investigate privatisation of power sector

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The House of Representatives Committe on Power, says the House has concluded plans to investigate all privatisation in the sector to ensure that the challenges being presently faced are resolved.

Rep. Magaji Aliyu, Chairman of the Committee said on Friday in Abuja when he led othe members on an oversight function to the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).

“The house has just been mandated to investigate all power sector privatisation from the public enterprises to the Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos).

“This will commence by next week so that the issue of no power will be solved and Nigerians get value for their money

“The complexity of this sector is enormous when TCN has capacity to wheel  10,000 megawatts  and the Distribution Companies (DisCos do not take more than 3,000.

“Why we are paying for undelivered capacity in billions of naira, something has to change,” he said.

Aliyu also urged the management of TCN to ensure that Nigerian engineers were patronised in the execution of projects in the sector..

President Muhammadu Buhari has signed an Executive Order aimed at boosting the domestic production of goods and creating jobs in science, technology and engineering in the country.

The President has signed the order that no project should be given to any foreign company unless there is no Nigerian company

“My committee will look into this very seriously to ensure the order is carried out as we will not support any contract given out to foreign companies no matter how technical.

“There can be a technical partnership as we must protect Nigerians and Nigerian businesses,” he said.

He urged the management of TCN to work with NASS, adding that the members were ready to assist them to achieve their goals.

Responding, the Acting Managing Director of TCN, Mr Sule Abdulaziz said that there was the need to strengthen the transmission sector by ensuring critical transformation of the existing system.

According to Abdulaziz, the government, regulator and TCN management will all play key roles in ensuring the transformation of the power sector.

“With the government taking the lead to create the right investment while TCN focus on implementing new technology, faster projects execution and improving operational efficiencies,” he said.

According to him, Members as representatives of the people and legislators have important roles to play by ensuring that the populace they represent have sufficient and qualitative power supply

He said that ensuring qualitative power supply to all constituencies would boost economic growth in the country.

“In order to drive growth in capacity utilisation, the immediate focus of the new TCN management will be on repairing existing equipment which are failing and prone to breakdowns.

“Regular, proactive maintenance processes will be institutionalised to reduce the occurrence and impact of breakdowns.

‘We are also going to prioritise on expanding our capacity via new projects that will span across the entire nation.

“These are some of the considerations that will help in achieving the goal in improving the performance of the transmission sector,’’ the TCN boss said. .


Edited By: Ese Ekama (NAN)



Edited By: Chinyere Bassey (NAN)

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Health

Okota Rotary Club empowers women, donate ICT, first AID kits to schools

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Rotary Club of Okota, District 9110, says it has empowered five women, donated ICT equipment, fully kitted first aid boxes and supply note books to some schools in Okota Community area of Lagos State.

Its President, Ronke Jones-Adewale, said that the donations were part of the “Three in One” project embarked upon by the club.

It was tagged: “Basic Education and Literary Project”.

Jones-Adewale said items donated by the club to the beneficiaries included complete ICT system unit with all in one printer, universal power supply.

In the empowerment programme, each beneficiary woman got Ex large insulated cooling container, plastic cooler, five cartoons of soft drinks, five cartoons of bottled water and stipends for ice blocks.

She said that the basic education and literary project comprised fully kitted first aid kits and 1,500 note books to six schools within Okota and Oke-Afa areas.

The club president said that donations to the schools were continuous programme.

She said that the first aid boxes had been introduced in some schools in line with the Motto of Rotary: “Doing Good in the World, Service To Humanity”.

The club leader said that four out of the six schools had been enjoying the club’s programme before two other schools were added.

Jones-Adewale said that the complete ICT system unit with all in one printer and universal power supply were donated to two secondary schools in Okota, which made the total number of beneficiary schools to be eight.

She said that the donation was in tandem with what Rotary International stands for all over the world.

Jones-Adewale said that basic education was one of the six areas of focus as the bedrock and future of any nation in the 21st century.

“Regarding the empowerment, the impact is definitely going to be felt by the beneficiaries, their dependants and invariably the community.

“The items of empowernment will shore up the income base of the beneficiaries, the entire value chain involved in delivering the service, while also providing satisfaction to the consumers in whichever community they might be operating their businesses,” she said.

Commenting, Mr Jide Oderinde, the club Secretary, said that the effect of COVID-19 on Rotary Club generally had been very disastrous.

Oderinde said: “It has really held us back from doing our normal things, but still we went ahead under the leadership of a determined president.”

The secretary said that both international and at the centre, most of our meetings are now virtual, like this programme that we did today, we supposed to have done it long time ago, this Rotary year, the president is so committed.

“I salute her courage she went ahead and make sure that she accomplished all her set goals, because we are rounding up the Rotary year.

“But we thanked God, we are law abiding organisation; we don’t go contrary to the government directive.

“But, we put all the recommendations laid by government into place during the programme, we ensure we maintain social distances,” he said.

Oderinde said that the club president had completed her set goals.

Earlier, Mrs Tiitlope Okubadejo, a former President and Chairman Service Project, said that Rotary delighted to see people expressing their joy and satisfaction about what the club has been able to do for them.

Okubadejo said all these we have done today were just to ensure that we affect the lives of our community positively.

“Whenever we rise up between the Okota Community that we are from Rotary, we are happy the way people welcome us, because they know that we are positively impacting their lives,” she said.

A beneficiary, Mrs Bolanle Ariyo, said she was very happy that the club did not wait for the big things to happen before empowering them.

Ariyo said that she did not know anybody from the club, but was nominated to be among the beneficiaries, adding that what was given to her would go a long way, especially at this point in time.

She prayed that none of the club members will be victims of COVID-19.

Also, Mrs Mojisola Adeyoyin, the Headmistress, Low Cost Primary School II, responding on behalf of all beneficiary schools, said that the club had just addressed one of the major needs of pupils in her school.


Edited By: Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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Agriculture

Anambra govt. empowers teachers with farm inputs for school farming

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Mr Nnamdi Onukwuba, the Commissioner for Agriculture in Anambra says the ministry has extended its farm inputs distribution to schools across the state for the 2020 farming season.

Onukwuba made this known on Thursday while presenting the farm inputs to some teachers in Awka.

The commissioner urged the teachers to key into the subsistence farming policy for school children initiated by Gov. Willie Obiano to promote agriculture in the state.

He said that most public primary and secondary schools in the state have large expanse of land, which could be used for cropping activities and urged the teachers to maximise the policy.

He described Obiano as agriculture-friendly governor, who had always supported farmers with certified inputs and wished to put food on the table of the people of the state.

“We want to chase away hunger and unemployment in our state; we must join hands with the governor to promote agriculture,” he said.

He said that the inputs support given to the schools would achieve maximum yield and tasked the teachers to make efforts to achieve the government’s goal of encouraging young farmers in the state.

Onukwuba charged the teachers to apply the inputs using best agricultural practices to achieve the objective which the school farming was initiated.

He said that the ministry had presented pumpkin, okro and maize seedlings, sweet potatoes, lime, cassava stems and organic fertiliser to various schools.

Mrs Ifenyinwa Uzoka, the Director of Extension Services in the ministry, who briefed the teachers on the best agricultural practices, said an agro company, “Harvest plus” provided some of the seedlings to the ministry to support government’s call for  “Go back to Agriculture” initiative.

Mr Joevita Arazu, the Principal of Igwebuike Grammar School Awka, who spoke on behalf of other teachers reassured of their support to government policies.

Arazu said that they would do their best to key into the new policy of subsistence farming for school children.

He commended the government and ministry of agriculture for their support to schools in the state and promised to utilise the inputs properly.


Edited By: Nick Nicholas/Grace Yussuf (NAN)

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Judiciary

Court reaffirms INEC’s power to deregister political parties

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The Federal High Court Abuja on Friday  reaffirmed the powers of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to deregister political parties.

Justice Taiwo Taiwo, delivering judgment in a suit filed by Hope Democratic Party (HDP) against INEC, reaffirmed that the commission was empowered by the 1999 Constitution to deregister political parties that failed to meet provisions of Section 225(a) of the constitution.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that HDP had approached the court challenging the powers of INEC to deregister it as a political party.

The party also prayed the court to declare that INEC had no powers to deregister it as a political party except in accordance with the law.

The party further asked the court for an order for INEC to relist it as a political party in Nigeria.

In his judgment, Justice Taiwo held that HDP fell short of Section 225(a) and also had nothing to show to the court that the action of INEC to deregister it as a political party was unconstitutional.

According to the judge, he who asserts must prove but the plaintiff (HDP) fails to prove to the court that INEC acted unlawfully by deregistering it as a political party.

The court held that “the case of the plaintiff is weak and cannot be granted the reliefs sought. The law is that the plaintiff succeeds on the merit of his case and not that the defence is weak.

“The plaintiff has the onus to prove its case but has failed to show to the court that it met the requirements of Section 225(a).

“The plaintiff ought to give particulars of malice when it alleged that it was deregistered out of malice. The court is not a father Christmas to grant reliefs that have not been sought.

“I find that the deregistering of HDP as a political party was lawfully done and it has terminated the legal existence of HDP as a political party.” the judge said.

HDP has however vowed to appeal the judgment.

NAN also recalls that on May 28, Justice Taiwo had in another judgment delivered in the suit filed by the National Unity Party (NUP) against INEC, affirmed the electoral umpire’s powers to deregister political parties.

NUP was one of the 74 parties deregistered by the INEC in February.

The court affirmed that the constitutional powers of the commission and the reasons given by the commission for deregistering political parties were valid, in conformity with the law and sacrosanct.

The court further held that INEC’s powers could not be affected by the fact of anticipated local government elections by some states which dates were not fixed, certain or even ascertainable.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Foreign

Singapore’s PM warns of United States-China power rivalry impact on Asia 

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Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has expressed fears that rising tensions between the United States and China can undermine security and economic growth across Asia.

In an article published on Thursday, Lee, therefore, called on both sides to pull back from confrontation.

The prime minister flagged his concerns in an article titled, “The Endangered Asian Century” in the United States journal Foreign Affairs, which has a history of running essays by policymakers.

Fearing that smaller Asian countries could be forced to take sides if intransigence grows between the world’s two biggest economies, Lee called for cooperation between the United States and China, even as tensions endure over the coronavirus, trade, the disputed South China Sea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

“The two powers must work out a modus vivendi that will be competitive in some areas without allowing rivalry to poison cooperation in others,” Lee implored.

China is the biggest trading partner for much of Asia and could soon overtake the United States as the world’s biggest economy – raising concerns about a looming and potentially-debilitating arm-wrestle for supremacy in Asia.

“If Washington tries to contain China’s rise or Beijing seeks to build an exclusive sphere of influence in Asia – they will begin a course of confrontation that will last decades and put the long-heralded Asian century in jeopardy,” the Singapore leader wrote.

Noting that Singapore is the only country aside from China that is home to an ethnic-Chinese majority, Lee said that the U.S’. presence in Asia “is welcome”.

“Asia has prospered because Pax Americana, which has held since the end of World War II, provided a favorable strategic context,” Lee wrote.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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Oil & Gas

NNPC to deepen business portfolios in power, medical

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) says it is firming up business portfolios in the power, medical, housing and other sectors that would strengthen the profitability of the state owned oil company.

The corporation said this in a statement on Thursday that the move was part of measures to cope with the boom and bust cycle in the global crude oil market and to sustain revenue generation for the country.

The statement quoted the corporation’s Chief Operating Officer, Ventures and Business Development, Mr Roland Ewubare, as saying that the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) pipeline network would enable the NNPC to deepen its footprint in the power sector through the establishment of an Independent Power Plants.

Ewubare also stated that NNPC would use its network of excellent medical centres across the country to provide innovative healthcare for Nigerians.

“NNPC is creating an energy company that would have portfolios in renewable energy; we have initiatives on solar that is ongoing.

“We have got biofuels agreements with some state governments that would soon be activated.

“We do have a lot of non-core businesses that are aggregated under the Ventures and Business Development Autonomous Business Unit of the NNPC.

“This would be expanded through effective collaboration and partnership with the private sectors,” Ewubare said in the statement signed by NNPC Spokesman, Kennie Obateru.

He further disclosed that the NNPC had hectares of land across the country and would soon partner with private developers to reduce the housing deficit in the country for the benefit of Nigerians who are core shareholders of the corporation.

Ewubare explained that NNPC’s aspiration was to achieve a 10 dollar per barrel cost by the fourth quarter of 2021, adding that a lot of logistics costs would be recalibrated to drive down the cost of crude oil production in the country.

“When you have a low commodity price regime, as the case now, the only way we are able to squeeze out some reasonable cash and financial gain to the nation is by curtailing and constraining our costs in line with the GMD’s aspiration to push for a 10 dollar per barrel cost of production.

‘Against this backdrop, the conversation around cost becomes an imperative and urgent one,” Ebuware said.

He said the corporation was working closely with its partners to commercialise flared gas by converting it to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Liquefied Natural Gas, adding that the gesture would preserve the flora and fauna of the country.

ENO/

Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Politics

Power: Senate probes N1.8trn intervention fund

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The Senate is probing over N1.8 trillion Federal Government interventions in the Power Sector since privatisation of the sector from 2012 to date.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Power, Sen. Gabriel Suswam made this known at a meeting with members of the Committee on Thursday in Abuja.

The meeting was on Power Sector Recovery Plan and the Impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

The chairman, who said that the three-day hearing would begin next week, recalled that the Senate had a motion on the floor where the committee was mandated based on that motion to investigate comprehensively the power sector, especially in areas as it related to the intervention.

Suswam said that the Committee would investigate all interventions in the sector since the privatisation of the sector to date with a view to ascertaining the adequacy of such interventions and their desired impact.

“We are looking at the intervention and whether corporate governance had been introduced since privatisation because the expectation is that the sector will become efficient, unfortunately that is not the case.

“You know that the Federal Government had over the years intervened at various times in different sums: N701 billion, N600 billion and this year there has been N380 billion and N213 billion.

“All of these monies were Federal Government interventions in the power sector with the intention and hope that the power sector will become efficient and Nigerians will have access to electricity.

“Unfortunately, in spite of these huge amount of monies that have been expended, the result in what we see today is that the performance is below expectations,” Suswam added.

He however noted that the investigation would not be punitive, but intended to identify the reasons for efficiency and under performance in terms of unstable and inadequate electricity supply in the sector in spite of the huge financial interventions by government.

Suswam said other objectives of the investigation was to assist President Muhammadu Buhari to achieve his promise to Nigerians of providing them with adequate and stable power supply.

“The investigation is intended to identify why this interventions have come and there has been no improvement.

“This is so that at the end of the day, the leadership of the Senate will present that to the President of this country, who has shown a lot commitment to providing electricity to Nigerians,” he said.

He listed those agencies to appear before the committee to include Ministry of Finance and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) because most of the interventions of government came from these two bodies.

Others, Suswam said are the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trader (NBET), Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and Presidential Power Initiative among others.


Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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General news

Gov. Sule lauds FG for approving funds for Farin-Ruwa Hydro Power project

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Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State has commended the Federal Government for approving over N8 billion for the completion of Farin-Ruwa multi purpose hydro power project in Wamba Local Area of the state.

The governor made the commendation on Thursday in Lafia at an expanded meeting of the state COVID-19 committee.

Sule noted that the Dam, which has the capacity to generate 20 megawatts of electricity, has been taken over by the federal government.

He said expected the power generated from the dam has the capacity to serve the people of Wamba, Akwanga and Keffi Local Government Areas of the state and beyond.

“The project was started by the first executive governor of the state, Sen. Abdullahi Adamu, he said, adding that his administration continued with it before the fedeal government took over the project.

“Government is a continuum; my predecessor started the project and I continued it before it was taken over; that is the beauty of government.

“Government is a continuum and a lot of government resources have been spent on the projects by the former governor,” Sule added.

He also expressed gratitude to the federal governent for taking over the construction of 15 kilometre Sisinbaki-Farin Ruwa road.

He described federal government’s attention on the projects as unprecedented considering the rich potentials endowed in the area, especially the Farin Ruwa Dam which has the capacity to generate 20 megawatts of electricity and other tourist attractions.

He specifically thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for the release of N8 billion for the execution of the two projects, adding that it will boost socio-economic activities in the area.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the Federal Executive Council had on Wednesday approved over N8 billion for the execution of Farin Ruwa hydro power project.


Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Foreign

Germany loses ground in patent-power ranking: study

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Germany lost some of its “patent power” in a global comparison as the international balance in innovation had shifted towards east Asia between 2000 and 2019, according to a study conducted by the German Bertelsmann Stiftung and published on Wednesday.

“While still the strongest European patent power, Germany is losing ground worldwide,” the study found. Although Germany still showed “impressive results” across nearly the entire bandwidth of technologies, its status as a leading technology nation was “increasingly challenged.”

In 2010, Germany had still been among the top three countries worldwide by patent numbers in 47 out of 58 considered technologies. By 2019, this had more than halved to 22, according to Bertelsmann.

South Korea and China in particular have “developed enormously in terms of patent quality in the last ten years,” the study noted. Especially China‘s strength in the field of nutrition would not come as a surprise in light of “growing prosperity and high population numbers” in the country.

In 2019, China was among the three countries with the largest numbers of top patents in 42 of the 58 technologies, according to the study. Almost 20 years ago, Chinese patents did not even reach a top five ranking in a single category.

The United States would remain the “greatest patent power in the medium term,” according to the study.

The 27 member states of the European Union (EU) were able to maintain top positions in the categories of wind energy and functional food. However, the study revealed that Europe was bound to fall behind in new developments, such as 5G or block chain.

“Europe needs a clear political commitment towards a common initiative. The competition lies not within the European countries or their respective organizations,” stressed Brigitte Mohn, member of the Bertelsmann Stiftung Executive Board.

(XINHUA)

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