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Following the recent threat by the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) to resume attacks on oil installations, the federal government at the weekend released plans for the development of the volatile oil-rich Niger Delta region.

Nigeria depends on its oil for almost 90 per cent of its foreign exchange earnings and 70 per cent of total earnings.

Sustained attacks on oil installations by the Avengers in the first of 2016 contributed to halving Nigeria’s oil output and plunging the country into its first recession in 25 years.

But with the temporary end to hostilities secured by the government late last year, Nigeria has been able to ramp up crude production and was one of the major factors, along with higher oil prices, that the country exited the recession by the second quarter of 2017.

A statement by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo’s spokesman, Mr. Laolu Akande, Sunday night listed the plans to include increased budgetary allocation to the Niger Delta ministry and Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), take off of the Maritime University in Delta State, commencement of the Ogoni clean-up exercise, investment in infrastructure such as the construction of N120.6 billion Bonny-Bodo Road and N1 billion Ibaka deep sea port.

Other plans he listed were approval for the establishment of an export processing zone in Delta State, approval for establishment of modular refineries, and increased allocation for Presidential Amnesty Programme.

Giving details of the budgetary allocations for the region’s programme in 2018, Akande said N71.20 billion was allocated in the 2018 budget to Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), N65 billion for the Amnesty Programme, and N53.89 billion for the Ministry of Niger Delta, up from the N34.20 billion in 2017.

On the Maritime University, he said: “The new Maritime University in Okerenkoko, Delta State, has now commenced operations, inviting job applications for academic staff.

“President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration recently approved an increase in the take off grant from the N2 billion earlier announced to N5 billion. This sum was included in the 2018 budget presented to the National Assembly earlier this week under the Federal Ministry of Education allocation.

“Academic activities are expected to start in the university soon following the completion of the hiring process for professors, readers, senior lecturers, lecturers, assistant, assistant lecturers and graduate assistants to teach in the Faculties of Science, Maritime Transportation, Maritime Engineering and Technology, Maritime Environmental Management and General Studies.

“The take off of the Maritime University was one of the major requests tabled before the federal government when Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo went on a series of tour to all the Niger Delta states during the year, following President Buhari’s meeting with leaders of the Pan Niger Delta Elders Forum (PANDEF) last November.”

On Ogoni clean up, he said in June 2016, the administration started the implementation of the 2011 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on Ogoniland devastated by decades of oil spills.

“An inter-ministerial committee on Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPREP) under the Federal Ministry of Environment was established.

“HYPREP has since set up structures in place for the final take off of the clean up and restoration of the region devastated by oil spills. This shows the commitment of the FG to restore the region.

“Eight companies have been engaged to conduct demonstration clean up exercises in the four local government areas of Ogoniland, to enable HYPREP select the best and most suitable technology for the remediation work.

“These demonstrations were recently concluded; the results are being studied by the governing council of the Ogoni clean up project.

“HYPREP has also trained 15 indigenous Ogoni scientists on environmental assessment remediation.

“HYPREP assessed existing water facilities in Ogoniland in line with the UNEP recommendation report that potable water be provided for Ogoni, following pollution of water sources in the region by oil spills.

“A health impact assessment study to be done to ascertain whether there is a link between some disease patterns and oil pollution in the affected communities is also being done.

“Bids have been invited for consultancy on provision of water, health study and environmental remediation,” the statement added.

It explained that the Bonny-Bodo bridge and road project is a public private partnership arrangement jointly funded by the federal government and the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) on a 50:50 basis.

According to him, when completed, the 34-kilometre road will connect several major communities in the Niger Delta region and boost socio-economic development and improve on the lives of people in the region.

Akande also said the federal government approved the establishment of the export processing zone (EPZ) comprising the gas city project at Ogidigben and the deep seaport in Gbaramatu, Warri South-west Local Government Area of Delta State.

“When fully operational, these projects are expected to boost socio-economic activities and improve the security landscape of the Niger Delta region,” he added.

On the modular refineries, he said 13 of 35 applications received by the government had reached what he described as the LTC (Licence to Construct) stage.

He also said two of these 13 refineries are almost ready for shipment while consideration for a customs duty waiver and some form of tax holidays are also underway.

The advent of modular refineries, he added, would create a robust domestic refining sector necessary to meet and exceed the full capacity of national demand, address the proliferation of illegal refineries in the Niger Delta and attendant environmental degradation, and provide jobs for unemployed youths in the region.

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LAGOS BENEFITED NOTHING FROM PDP’S 16 YEARS PRESIDENCY – AMBODE

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Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode on Tuesday took a swipe at the sixteen years presidency of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) between 1999 and 2015, saying the State benefited nothing from the party’s reign.  

Speaking at the National Consultative Forum of the National Committee of Buhari Support Groups, a coordinating body of all the groups campaigning for the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in 2019, held at Nicon Luxury in Abuja, Governor Ambode said the country would not go back to Egypt by bringing PDP back to power having crossed the Red Sea.

He said just within three and half years from 2015 till date, the All Progressives Congress (APC) had been able to lay a solid foundation for Nigeria’s economic growth and prosperity, adding that the Buhari/Osinbajo ticket remains the best option to take the country to the next level from 2019.

“Sixteen years of PDP, I can say it clearly that Lagos State never enjoyed anything from them. Three and half years of APC, I can clearly attest here that whatever it is that we have achieved in Lagos in the last three and half years, the present Federal Government has largely contributed to the things that we have achieved be it in terms of right of way, be it in terms of approval for waivers for import duties and other things that have actually made Lagos to be on the progressive trajectory that it had been in the last twenty years.

“So, for me it is very easy and it is just common sense that we have to uphold the Buhari/Osinbajo ticket to allow that economic progress and the growth in the GDP that we want for Nigeria rather than allowing it to get dismantled and then make us to go back to Egypt after crossing the Red Sea and we are not going back to Egypt,” Governor Ambode said.

He said since assuming office in 2015, the Buhari administration had worked tirelessly to bring about fundamental paradigm shift and retracing the steps of the country for sustained progressive chart, adding that the onus is now on the entire country to give the APC a chance to consolidate on the massive development already embarked upon.

“I just want Nigerians to understand and also to encourage all our members here that what we have started as a support group coordinating everything that is happening is not necessarily for you but it is a selfless service to put Nigeria on that trajectory that grows prosperity and also conveniently in another four years, we would make all Nigerians proud and I am very proud to be part of this.

“We have made up our mind that we are going to work tirelessly; we would do everything that is possible in terms of supporting and campaigning to let Nigerians understand that there are two parallel lines between what we stand to offer which is growth and prosperity for this country and what PDP is trying to come and re-engineer to take us back to the debris of the past that we don’t want to ever go back to.

“So, I just want to congratulate Mr President, Muhammadu Buhari and also the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo and assure them that when they look at their back, they have true Nigerians who believe that yes, we want to build a skyscraper but we need solid foundation to be able to enjoy that skyscraper and then the next level we are thinking on is to be able to put the proper aesthetics and lay the proper foundation to allow Nigeria to make progress and that is what the Buhari/Osinbajo ticket speaks about,” the Governor said.

Besides, Governor Ambode said it was also gratifying that all APC Governors were united in ensuring the victory of APC in the presidential election next year. 

“All APC Governors, I can speak on their behalf, are resolved that the Buhari/Osinbajo ticket is what Nigeria needs and that is what we are going to pursue and I am happy that a handful of our gubernatorial candidates are here to align with us to make sure that what we would deliver is what Nigerians want and what Nigerians want is the APC President,” Governor Ambode said.

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CPPM DRAGS FIRS TO COURT OVER ATIKU ABUBAKAR TAX RECEIPTS

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The Committee for the Protection Peoples Mandate (CPPM) today Thursday 29th November, 2018, dragged the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) before the federal high court in Abuja, seeking to compel it through an Order of Mandamus, to make public to the organization directly or through the court, copies of the 2015 and 2016 tax receipts of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the forthcoming 2019 Presidential election.
It would be recalled that CPPM, had on the 16th of November, 2018 invoked relevant sections of the Freedom of information Act, by submitting a formal request to FIRS, to avail it the 2015 and 2016 tax receipts of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar within 7 working days, failure of which, it will resort to a court action.
Consequently, the organization made good it’s threat by approaching a federal high court in Abuja, today.
The organization premised it’s action on the information available to it, that Alhaji Atiku may not have been paying his taxes AS AT WHEN DUE, thus it wonders how as a candidate for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he can make Nigeria work, if he is a tax evader.
CPPM considers it’s action in line with its societal responsibility of advocacy for good governance and accountability, as well as educating the electorate to ensure that only persons of integrity and credibility are elected into public office.
The statement was signed by Nelson Ekujumi as National Coordinator and Solomon Sobade as a member of the board of trustees.
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EFCC Arrests 24 Undergraduates Yahoo Boys

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Ibadan has arrested 36 suspected internet fraudsters at 21, Sawmill Road, Awa-Ijebu, Ogun State

The commission’s acting Head, Media and Publicity, Mr Tony Orilade, made this known in a statement in Abuja on Thursday.

Orilade stated that the suspects, who were between 19 and 37 years of age, included 23 university students, out of which, nine were ladies who allegedly claimed to be girlfriends and or neighbours of some of the suspects.He added that one of the suspects was from another university, while 12 others were not students.

He stated that EFCC got wind of their activities through intelligence reports alleging that the suspected fraudsters were obtaining money by false pretext.

He said, “the suspects carry out their activities by sending emails to unsuspecting victims mostly in the United States of America, while others were engaged in romance scam on several dating sites.

“At the point of arrest, EFCC operatives recovered over 300 SIM cards from them.”

Orilade said other items recovered from the suspects included different models and brands of exotic cars, 18 laptops, nine being of Apple brand, 50 cell phone, including 21  iphones and two bags of fetish objects.

The media and publicity acting head said that the suspects would be charged to court after investigation. (NAN)

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