Thursday, 28 May 2015

How Nigeria landed itself in fuelscarcity mess - CNN.com



People line up to buy fuel last week at Mobil gas station in Lagos, Nigeria.
Japheth Omojuwa is a Nigerian blogger, political commentator and environmental consultant. A columnist with Nigerian newspaper The Punch and Metropole Magazine, he recently concluded a six-month stint as a lecturer at Free University of Berlin. The views expressed are solely those of the author.

(CNN)Nigeria is the biggest exporter of petroleum in Africa and one of the world's largest exporters, it is also the one country in the world where its citizens often have to live through months of fuel scarcity. This is not the only paradox that defines Nigeria but it is one of the most telling of its many ironies. The current fuel scarcity cannot be isolated from the history of petroleum export and fuel supply in Nigeria.

Opaque Oil Sector

Nigeria's national oil company, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) can pass for the darkest place in the world. The reason is because despite several probes and external audits over the years, no one knows exactly what happens inside the NNPC. It is both a regulator of the oil sector and a direct participant in oil exploration. It manages the subsidy process while also managing the country's earnings from petroleum. One thing has been consistent with the NNPC over the years, though: corruption. Between the numbers projected by former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II and the audit report of PriceWaterhouseCoopers, at least $18.5 billion might have been diverted by the NNPC. The continued existence of the NNPC as it is means fuel scarcity as Nigerians have always known it.

Power Cuts

As at the last count, Nigeria is currently generating about 1000MW of electricity. This would have normally passed without making the news, but at a time of fuel scarcity, the demand for petrol and diesel are bound to further expose the shortage of fuel. Like most people, Nigerians need petrol to fuel their vehicles, but (unlike most people) many Nigerians need more petrol to fuel their power generators than they need for their cars. The power cuts made the fuel scarcity even more biting.

Government waste

Nigerians are angry with leaders who have rewarded public officers with unjustifiable salaries and allowances. For most citizens, lawmakers' pay is out of line with the reality in the country. Lawmakers in Nigeria are reported to be the highest paid in the world, and in a country with a minimum wage of $90.00, the disparity is startling. As a result of this, Nigerians have come to see fuel subsidies as their own right to "eat from the national cake." Were public officers to drastically reduce their salaries and allowances today, one of the most telling reasons the fuel scarcity continues to rear its head would be dealt with once and for all. That reason is the fuel subsidy.

Fuel Subsidies

This is why fuel shortages have become a recurring norm in Nigeria. Fuel importers; referred to as "the oil cabal" or "fuel marketers" have proven to be more powerful than the Nigerian government. In 2011, the Jonathan administration budgeted about N245 billion (then $1.6 billion) to subsidize the public's consumption of fuel. At the end of that year, however, it emerged that about N2.6 trillion (then $15 billion) had been expended. This anomaly has gone down as one of the biggest heists in Nigeria's history. As at the time of writing, no major culprit has been brought to book in what government committees and the National Assembly have concluded to be the fuel subsidy scam of 2011.
This subsidy scam prompted the government to push for the removal of subsidies, which went ahead in January of 2012. The #OccupyNigeria movement was born as a result of this, as most Nigerians insisted on the government dealing with the oil cabal and corruption and reducing its own salaries and allowances before contemplating the removal of subsidies. The government did partially have its way, as petrol pump prices went from N65 (about 30 cents) to N97 while promising to cut corruption and re-invest the money made from subsidy savings. SURE-P Subsidy Reinvestment Programme was created but it has since been enmeshed in corruption.

Corruption

Everything, or at least almost everything, in Nigeria rises and falls on corruption. Corruption has become the life blood of the subsidy regime, while being the central nervous system of the government. As a new administration steps in, many Nigerians expect the subsidy to be removed. The fuel subsidy challenge is certainly one of the most controversial issues awaiting incoming president Mohammadu Buhari. One thing is certain though, Nigerians will fight to keep the subsidies until public officers make certain commitments, the most telling of which is their salaries and allowances. Until then, the shutdown of Nigeria or "Naijacalypse" continues.

Amber Rose is completely unrecognizable in this super-'90s throwback pic


Amber Rose didn't always look like the bootylicious babe we all know and love!
The 32-year-old model recently took to Instagram to share a super-cute throwback pic of herself, sporting an adorable ‘90s look, including a cropped floral shirt and light-wash jeans. Perhaps most noticeable are her sideswept bangs, a big change from her now signature shaved head.
"Young Ambs," she captioned the pic.

Amber Rose Is Completely Unrecognizable in This Super-'90s Throwback Pic
Compare the snapshot to her recent appearance at a Memorial Day party at Chateau nightclub in Las Vegas on May 22 -- where Kanye West's ex showed off her tattoos and bleached eyebrows -- and it's safe to say you probably wouldn't recognize Amber from her throwback!
Earlier this month, Amber appeared on E!'s Good Work, where she wasn't shy about revealing her jaw-dropping bra size.
"I wear a 36H, natural," she said.

Kylie Jenner responds to pregnancy rumors

Kylie Jenner arrives at the 2015 Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 17, 2015 in Las Vegas, -- Getty Images 
Kylie Jenner set the record straight on rumors that's she's expecting.
"People been thinking I'm pregnant for 8 months now... CLEARLY I'm not pregnant!" the 17-year-old reality star Tweeted on Wednesday.
Back in December, the daughter of Bruce Jenner squashed pregnancy rumors along with the notion that she was expanding her empire into the rap world.
"[I'm] not trying to become a rapper, I'm not getting married, & I'm not pregnant...." Kylie, who is dating rapper Tyga, posted late last year.
The "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" star also took a moment to go deep on what Instagram is about for her.
"Instagram is a made up world. I just show people what I want em to see. Doesn't everybody?" she Tweeted on Wednesday.

Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan just did incoming Buhari a big favour with the fuel crisis

As Nigeria gradually pulls back from the brink of the ‘Petrocalypse‘, it is just the latest example of why the petroleum sector of one of the world’s biggest exporters needs urgent reform.
Between the petrol marketers, Nigerian government, the long lines for overpriced petrol and the endless power cuts, millions of people have been caught in the middle, without alternative means of generating power to make life bearable.
Having a whole country held to ransom by a few marketers has a national security dimension. While the scarcity lasted, banks, radio stations and other businesses were forced to close early, or not open at all, and phone and Internet companies faced disruptions of service. Had it continued, the ability of the entire country to communicate and do business would have been thrown in jeopardy.
Some have blamed this latest scarcity on the continued existence of the petroleum subsidy–which the government uses to keep petrol pump prices artificially low. But it also means the government incurs a hefty bill trying to make oil marketers whole when marketers have to sell below market rates. These same observers blame the January 2012 protests called ‘Occupy Nigeria’, triggered by president Goodluck Jonathan administration’s decision flawed attempt to end the subsidies. The view is that had the subsidy been removed, then the marketers would not wield so much influence.
This is wrong for a number of reasons.

Muhammadu Buhari's Nigeria to-do list - BBC News

An art student takes part in a competition by drawing a portrait of President-elect Muhammad Buhari 
In a series of letters from African journalists, Sola Odunfa looks at the challenges ahead for Nigeria's incoming President Muhammadu Buhari.
This is the one Nigerian president who will assume office on Friday with unprecedented goodwill across the country - even from people who did not vote for him in the presidential election held two months ago.
His pre-election albatross of being a stern disciplinarian during his first time as as military head of state in 1983 has suddenly transformed to a quality which Nigerians are yearning for in the face of the excruciating pains of mass poverty and social insecurity pervading the land.
With his inauguration, he will have achieved his long-cherished dream of becoming a democratically elected leader - having made history as the first opposition candidate to win a presidential election in Nigeria.
But he will need prayers to have the courage and wisdom to confront the huge tasks he will inherit immediately after he is sworn in.

Nigeria inauguration 2015: For President Buhari's big day, John Kerry, African leaders travel to Abuja

RTX1E7E7United State Secretary of State John Kerry was expected to join leaders from across Africa in Abuja this week for the presidential inauguration of Muhammadu Buhari. Buhari, a Muslim from northern Nigeria, was expected to take the oath of office Friday after vowing on the campaign trail to wipe out the Boko Harem insurgency and national political corruption.
More than 50 world leaders were expected to attend the inauguration. South Africa President Jacob Zuma said he would depart for Nigeria Thursday to attend the ceremonies. ”In his congratulatory message, President Zuma expressed his commitment to working closely with president-elect Buhari to enhance the good bilateral relations which exist between South Africa and Nigeria, paying particular focus on the strengthening of economic cooperation,” the presidency said in a statement.
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe will also travel to Nigeria for the Abuja ceremonies. He has complained about corruption in Nigeria in the past. "We used to go to Nigeria and every time we went there we had to carry extra cash to corruptly pay for everything," he has said. "You get into a plane in Nigeria and the crew keeps dilly dallying without taking off as they wait for you to pay them to take off."
Buhari, 72, received 15.42 million votes against outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan during the general elections held in March. Jonathan received 12.85 million votes.
Buhari first seized power of Nigeria in a military coup from 1983 to 1985. He is the leader of All Progressives Congress (APC) coalition. Jonathan, 57, of the People’s Democratic Party, was elected president in 2010 and served two terms.
Ahead of the inauguration, local government officials in Abuja cancelled restrictions on human and vehicular movement. State Commissioner for the Environment Tunji Bello said the cancellation would ensure free movement during the inauguration ceremonies, reported News24 in Nigeria.

Adesina is new ADB's chief


The race for the next African Development Bank (AfDB) is over.
Eight candidates contested for the job.Nigeria’s outgoing agriculture minister Akinwumi Adesina has won the vote to become the new president of the African Development Bank,according to official results.
Adesina, 55, will succeed Rwandan Donald Kaberuka, bank chief for two consecutive terms since 2005, at a time of economic transformation in the continent.
He was elected after six rounds of voting, beating the finance ministers of Cape Verde and Chad to the role.
A total of 80 AfDB shareholders — 54 African states and 26 non-African countries — took part in the vote in Abidjan, which saw eight candidates vying for the presidency.
THOSE WHO CONTESTED FOR THE POST INCLUDE
1. Sufian Ahmed: The maker of one of Africa’s leading economies
He is Ethiopia’s long serving Minister of Finance and Economic Development. Ahmed is known to many as the one who has made his country one of Africa’s leading economies. He currently serves on the Board of Governors at the African Development Bank. He is an economist and holds a master’s degree in economic development and planning. Ahmed believes that he is the best man for the top job, but his lack of other languages, particularly French, which is one of the working languages of the bank, might be a big minus for his candidacy.
2. Jaloul Ayed: Banker and musician
He is Tunisia’s former Minister of Finance. He was appointed an interim minister during Tunisia’s Arab spring in 2011 and left the position in December 2011. He is a politician, a musician, a composer and he has wide experience in international banking and finance. He is an economist and holds a master’s degree in economics. If chosen as the president of the bank, he hopes to guarantee a better future for all Africans.
3. Cristina Duarte: would have been the first female president
Cristina Duarte, Minister of Finance in Cape Verde
Cristina Duarte is the Minister for Finance, Planning and Public Administration in Cape Verde and has been in the post since 2006. She has been working hard to raise Cape Verde from a low to middle-income country. She is also known for her determination in undertaking reforms and building institutions in response to emerging global and development challenges. She has 30 years of experience in government and the private sectors. She is an economist and holds a master’s degree in business administration. 52-year-old Duarte is the first woman to vie for the presidency of the African Development Bank.
4. Kordje Bedoumra: A man for the AfDB’s make-over?
He is Chad’s Minister of Finance and Budget. He has worn several hats in his banking career and worked for almost three decades within the Pan-African institution and he knows exactly where the bank needs a make-over. He knows the bank inside out and has now decided to run for the top job. He is a telecommunications engineer and holds a master’s degree in electronics. His major interest is to use the position to create sustainable employment to cater for the needs of young men and women who make up the largest part of the African population.
5. Samura Mathew Wilson Kamara: International banker and diplomat
He was once the governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone and is currently the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Some people describe him as an articulate, unassuming diplomat with vast experience in economic development. He thinks he can speed up the way the bank is operating and so accelerate the pace at which the continent is moving. He believes that the mix of his experience in international banking, in general economic management and international diplomacy make him the best man for the job.
6. Akinwumi A. Adesina: “Africa is not a continent of poor people”
Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in Nigeria
He is the outgoing Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development for Nigeria. He has been in the post since 2010. He is a supporter of the Green Revolution in Africa. As a minister, Adesina transformed the Nigerian agricultural sector. He holds a PhD in agricultural economics. Having experienced poverty first hand, Adesina’s goal is to bring hope and prosperity to all African people. He is seen as the man who could boost the rural economy and strengthen regional trade.
7. Thomas Zondo Sakala: SADC nominee
An experienced Zimbabwean economist and development banker, Thomas Zondo Sakala is the South African Development Community (SADC) nominee. He is the former Vice-President of the African Development Bank in charge of country and regional programs, a position he held till 2014. Sakala was born on 3 March 1955 in rural Zimbabwe where he attended primary and secondary school. He holds a master’s degree in economics. Sakala’s compaign centers around building a confident, integrated and prosperous Africa. He thinks having a winning team is core to having a successful bank that serves Africans.
8. Birama Boubacar Sidibe: “Africa needs a dynamic development bank”
He is currently the Vice President of the Islamic Development Bank. He is another veteran of the AfDB. Prior to his current post, Sidibe worked for more than 20 years in the AfDB, holding several technical and managerial positions. He holds an engineering degree and master’s degree in water and sanitation. His vision is to have a modernized, dynamic, effective African Development Bank, responsive to the needs of its members, providing innovative and lasting solutions in the service of the emerging continent of Africa. He is counting on his two decades of experience to get him the job.
The incumbent Donald Kaberuka’s second term will end at the end of the year.

Afreximbank’s Abidjan Office comes on stream, expected to drive integration


 
Abidjan, 28 May 2015 – The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) today opened its Abidjan Branch Office, with the Ivorian Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan saying that the Branch Office would accentuate the Bank’s effort at achieving economic integration in Africa.
 
At the official opening ceremony in Abidjan, Mr. Duncan said that economic integration remained a major challenge to Africa and described Afreximbank as a catalyst for the grand project to drive economic growth and integration in Cote d’Ivoire and in the West Africa sub-region.
 
“As a founding member of Afreximbank, Cote d’Ivoire is proud to host the Bank’s third branch office,” he said, adding that the country had positioned itself for economic growth through the structural and sectoral reforms it had implemented.
 
Earlier, Jean-Louis Ekra, President of Afreximbank, said that the Branch Office was expected to greatly improve access to the services of the Bank by allowing it to speed up the geographic diversification of its portfolio in order to reach more entities in its member states.
 
It would also hasten the realisation of the Bank’s vision of promoting intra-African trade, he said.
 
Mr. Ekra said that the establishment of the branch office was the result of the rapid increase in the Bank’s activities in the ECOWAS region which, at $1.817 billion, accounts for 52 per cent of the Bank’s annual business, compared to $631 million, or 18 per cent, for second-placed southern Africa.
 
“Taking into account the strong growth and the inadequacy of the Abuja Branch Office to effectively respond to requests from other ECOWAS countries, and in line with the Bank’s Fourth Strategic Plan, the Bank decided to open a second branch office in the zone,” he explained
 
Mr. Ekra added that Afreximbank decided site the Branch Office in Abidjan after a very rigorous assessment and said that it would perform marketing, business development, relationship management, loan structuring, loan monitoring and agency functions for Afreximbank in the Francophone West Africa area.
 
The establishment of new branch offices to serve Francophone West Africa and East Africa was approved by the Bank’s Board of Directors during the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders in Libreville in June 2014.
 
Afreximbank and the Ivorian Government signed the two foundation agreements for the establishment of the Abidjan Branch Office on 22 September 2014. With today’s opening ceremony, the Bank will now start full operations from the Branch Office.
 
Afreximbank’s two other branch offices are located in Abuja and Harare, with a fourth one, to be located in Nairobi, is expected to come on stream shortly.
 
The opening ceremony was witnessed by ministers, members of the diplomatic corps, heads of financial institutions, members of the Afreximbank Board of Directors, business leaders, some shareholders and a number of the Bank’s key customers in Cote d’Ivoire.

Oshiomhole lacks knowledge of economy -- Okonjo-Iweala

Okonjo-Iweala has ruined Nigerian economy -- OshiomholeOut-going Nigeria's Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Thursday accused Governor Adams Oshiomhole of lacking knowledge about the running of the economy.
The minister also stated that she is not afraid of inquiry into how the economy has been managed under the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
In the statement made by her Special Adviser on Media, Paul Nwabiukwu, the minister stated that Oshiomhole article, “Economy: Okonjo-Iweala’s hidden figures,” was deficient in facts and logic.
The minister accused the governor of unnecessary attack. "Like previous baseless allegations by some governors, the motive behind Oshiomhole’s attack is clear: to deflect public attention away from the manner in which they have run the finances of their states and make Okonjo-Iweala the scapegoat," she said.
Okonjo-Iweala stated that Oshiomhole’s statement lacks fact. She said "there is no substance in the wild allegations that any money is missing from the account or that finances of the country under Okonjo-Iweala watch have not been well managed."
The minister insisted that state governors mismanaged the finances of their states.
According to her, “Obviously, for daring to publish how the ECA was shared and showing that governors, who cannot pay salaries, have no excuses, Okonjo-Iweala is being targeted.
“It is noteworthy that several of their colleagues have been able to manage their finances reasonably well under these same difficult circumstances.
“The release of the ECA details has also demonstrated very clearly that there is no substance in the wild allegations that any money is missing from the account or that finances of the country under Okonjo-Iweala watch have not been well managed.
“Like previous baseless allegations by some governors, the motive behind Oshiomhole’s attack is clear: to deflect public attention away from the manner in which they have run the finances of their states and make Okonjo-Iweala the scapegoat. If it was meant to intimidate the minister, it has failed abysmally.
“How can Governor Oshiomhole claim that state governors were not properly briefed on the status of the ECA when his commissioner of finance attends all the FAAC meetings, where decisions were taken and communicated to the nation?
“Oshiomhole’s allegation that Okonjo-Iweala has not been transparent is ridiculous and totally lacking in merit.”Read full story here: www.newsconnect.ng

Okonjo-Iweala has ruined Nigerian economy -- Oshiomhole

 Edo State governor, Adam Oshiomhole has accused the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of gross mismanaging of the nation’s economy in the last four years and feeding Nigerians with half-truths.
The governor said  Okonjo-Iweala runs the Excess Crude Account (ECA) as if running a one-man show, saying Okonjo-Iweala’s recent outcry that oil marketers were falsifying subsidy claims might have been done in fear of the incoming President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Governor wrote: “As the country transits from one democratic dispensation to another, there is no gainsaying that the state of the nation’s economy is the focal point, especially with the unending fuel scarcity which is gradually grinding the nation to a halt. No doubt, the best person to explain the state of the economy today is Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Honourable Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, whose management of the nation’s resources in these past four years has elicited different reactions from Nigerians.
“As a member of the National Economic Council, I had spoken out at different times at NEC meetings and even in public on the way the economy is managed under Dr Okonjo-Iweala, again, I want to share my views with the public on some of the issues affecting the Nigerian nation.
“Recently, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Honourable Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy (CME) has been all over the place, pointing in the wrong directions and blaming everybody but herself for the parlous state of the Nigerian economy. Coming after her deafening silence on the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) audit of NNPC crude oil sales and receipts, which revealed massive abuse of public trust and stealing of our common patrimony in high places under her watch and the government she serves, it is quite intriguing that with barely few days left in office, she has suddenly woken up from her slumber to realize that oil marketers have been all along falsifying subsidy claims and defrauding the nation of billions of naira and dollars.
“This latter day “policy activism” on her part deserves closer scrutiny and interrogation. Perhaps for fear of the incoming President, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, come May 29, 2015, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is now compelled to disclose to Nigerians that a cabal is holding the country and the government to ransom. Beside the abuse of the subsidy regime, we will insist that Dr. Okonjo-Iweala also comes clean on some other critical issues that demand accountability from her and her office.
“According to Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, after paying N156 billion to the oil marketers, the marketers came with another claim of N200 billion, which includes a N159 billion coming not from actual supply of fuel but from exchange rate differentials. This resulted in a prolonged bickering that led to the current nation-wide fuel scarcity and total black-out.
“The question to ask is: how come that it is now, for the first time, that we are hearing from the Minister of Finance about fraudulent claims by the oil marketers amounting to billions of Naira? At what point did the Minister of Finance and CME realise that these fraudulent and similar claims are going on? When did it start? Is it just recently or it has been going on all along? These questions are pertinent because we know that if the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) were doing its work diligently, all claims by oil marketers would be vetted on a daily basis before their payments are processed by the Ministry of Finance. Hence, there should be no dispute about the amount due to oil marketers at any point in time.
“What the foregoing, therefore, suggests is that all along, PPPRA, the Ministry of Finance and the oil marketers have been involved in an unholy alliance, in the mismanagement of the fuel subsidy regime and in the process defrauding the nation of its revenues.
“The Minister of Finance cannot stop at simply shedding crocodile tears about fraudulent claims by oil marketers. Having found her voice, thanks to the fear of Gen. Buhari, it is very necessary that Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala takes one more crucial step at full disclosure. She must disclose to the nation the full details of subsidy payments made to oil marketers in the last four years, including the parameters used to calculate the subsidies. This also must include how much of the subsidy was paid to the NNPC since the NNPC is also being accused of making the same fraudulent claims. In other words, the Minister of Finance should be prepared to provide more information and make more explanations regarding the management or mismanagement of subsidy payments in the last four years.
“The squandering of the Excess Crude Account (ECA) is another area in which the Minister of Finance should come out, shed more light and put all the cards on the table. During several meetings of the National Economic Council (NEC), which has all the governors as members and with the Vice-President as Chairman, I had cause to observe that the State Governments, who are joint owners of the ECA, with the Federal Government, were not being adequately briefed on the status of the Account.
“The Minister of Finance had also developed the penchant for deliberately avoiding NEC’s crucial meetings, which many saw as a ploy to keep the governors in the dark. And when she is not around, no one gets any information, as if she was running a one-man show.
“The recent nationwide fuel and energy crisis, adjudged the worst in the economic history of Nigeria, is merely a reflection of the gross mismanagement of the economy which characterized Dr. Okonjo-Iweala’s tenure since 2011. As we speak, there is a widespread and popular feeling that she has presided over the wanton mismanagement of the Nigerian economy since the inauguration of the democratic order in 1999. Aspects of this could be seen from the reckless borrowing and debt accumulation since 2011, as well as the manner in which government’s recurrent budget has been continuously funded through borrowings, while about a quarter of the national budget is allocated to debt servicing.
“Under Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, government borrowings were programmed to support wasteful expenditures. In the same vein, budgets were so poorly formulated and skewed towards consumption such that 90% of budgetary releases were meant for recurrent expenditures, which is injurious to the economy.
“There is the urgent need to launch an audit trail of the sources and uses of the borrowed funds we have accumulated in the last five years amounting to over N8 trillion. It does not make sense to accumulate such huge debts without a tangible infrastructure project that we can point to as evidence of fund utilization.
“Dr. Okonjo-Iweala was quick to blame state governments for not paying salaries but the situation with the federal government employees is even worse. Things have gone so bad that even salaries of federal employees have to be paid by recourse to irresponsible borrowing from the capital markets.”

Buhari receives handover notes from President Jonathan

Jonathan hands over to Buhari after tour of Presidential VillaThe President has presented his handover notes to the President-elect.
Both men, Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari are perhaps meeting for the last time before the handover.
The presentation was done inside the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja shortly after President Jonathan conducted Buhari round the Presidential Villa.
Jonathan also presented an executive summary of his handover notes and a copy of the National Conference report to the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari.
Mr. Buhari  says the telephone call by  President Jonathan changed the course of  Nigeria’s political history and by that Jonathan has stabilised the system of multi party democracy.
Buhari spoke after a familiarisation tour of the presidential villa and the acceptance of the hand over notes.
According to Buhari, if President  Jonathan had attempted to make things difficult, that would have been at the expense of lives of poor Nigerians.
In the same vein, Vice President Namadi Sambo took the incoming Vice President Prof. Yemi Osibajo round the Vice Presidential office also to show him.
After the tour, every one converged  on the Council Chambers, also present are Ministers in the Jonathan Administration and some other APC chieftains and officials that came with the President and Vice President elect.
President Jonathan from a fifteen page speech  reeled out what his administration has done,  and what they were to do and what he would want the Buhari Administration to implement.

Female corps member found dead in Ilorin

Tragedy struck in Ilorin, Kwara State capital, on Sunday night as a member of National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, serving in the state, Miss Yetunde Shukurat Idowu, was found on the street, dead.
Vanguard reliably gathered that her last visit before she was found dead was to the popular shopping mall, Shoprite, located along Fate Road.
Consequently, concerned roommate and neighbours constituted themselves into a search party that found Yetunde stone dead on a street at GRA, Ilorin.
Vanguard also gathered that the family of the late youth corps member had been contacted, while her corpse would be released today (Wednesday) on the insistence of the family.
It was also gathered that the deceased, who was an indigene of Ogun State but lived along the popular Fate Road, Ilorin, was of the NYSC 2014 Batch ‘B’ set.
Vanguard investigations, however, revealed that the corps member who went to Shoprite on the fateful day, must have been given a free ride.
Police
Contacted, Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Ajayi Okasanmi, confirmed the incident, but could not confirm whether or not the late corps member was given a ride, saying they were still investigating.
Asked whether she was given a ride, he said: “All these are guess work. Nobody has volunteered any statement to us. If anybody has any information, maybe they should get to us.
“As far as we are concerned, it was a reported case of ‘found dead’ with a broken skull and bruises. For now, I cannot tell you whether it was a case of rape, abduction or kidnapping.
“We are still investigating. We cannot conclusively say it is a case of abduction or ritual killing because no part of the body was missing.
“It could be a case of a hit-and-run by a careless driver or an outright accident. I cannot confirm that she was raped because all the examinations conducted on her does not show any sign of rape and we are still investigating. But I cannot say exactly what happened.”
He said the corpse would be released today, while investigation was ongoing.
NYSC
The state NYSC Public Relations Officer, Mr. Oladipo Morakinyo, confirmed the incident yesterday, adding that the family had been contacted.
He said: “It is only the medical expert that can diagnose what actually killed her and this is beyond the scope of our scheme.
“The most important thing is that a corps member died and NYSC has done the necessary thing that we are expected to do. We have contacted the family.”
The corps member served with the state broadcasting corpo-ration, Radio Kwara, Ilorin.

How a cleric poisoned client, chopped off his hands, head, private parts

Residents of Obele community in Oko-Agbola, Magbon area of Badagry, Lagos, were taken aback at the sight of policemen at the site of a swimming pool around the area on February 13, 2015. However, before their arrival, a crowd had gathered to watch the bloated headless body of a man in the river. At the approach of the policemen, the crowd disappeared into thin air for fear of possible arrest.
Fatai-AderomuOn closer observation , it was discovered that the headless man also had other parts of his body mutilated. For instance, his two breasts were slashed off, his two wrists chopped off and his chest region dissected, revealing a conspicuously deep hole. Not only that, his stomach was also discovered to have been sliced open with the intestines missing, as well as his manhood.
Before the arrival of the policemen, the crowd reportedly tried in vain to fathom the true identity of the headless man who was dumped in the river, stark naked. However, the nut has been cracked by operatives of the Homicide section of the State Criminal Investigations Department ,SCID, Panti, Yaba, following the arrest of a Muslim cleric , otherwise known as Alfa.
The 27 year-old suspect, Alfa Fatai Aderomu, an Arabic teacher popularly known around Oko-Agbonla area of Magbon, is currently cooling his heels inside the dreaded cell at Panti. He gave a shilling account of how the headless body found its way into the river.
JOURNEY OF NO RETURN
The headless man was later discovered to be one Rafiu Suleiman , a father of one, who also lived around the area. Further checks showed that he left home for his place of work in Apapa on Valentine day, February 14, 2015, but never returned. Apprehension reportedly set in next day following his continued absence, a development that led to his family reporting at Morogbo police division the next day.
Search, as gathered, had been conducted round the area, with visits to hospitals and mortuaries but he was not found. His wife and their 3-year-old baby were said to have waited in vain for the arrival of their 41-year-old bread winner, until news about the discovery of a headless man in Obele river reached them.
STARTLING DISCOVERY
Crime Guard gathered that members of the family were invited to ascertain whether the headless body was that of the missing Suleiman. While they were at it, the wife reportedly called a member of the family who was with the Police on phone, informing that her husband had informed her on Valentine day that he would stop by Alfa Aderomu’s place on his way back.
With that information, operatives of the Homicide section led by the officer-in charge, Mr Iyamah Daniel, a Chief superintendent of Police, stormed Aderomu’s apartment located at 32, Oko-Agbola street,where he was seen teaching children Arabic and Islamic studies. He was subsequently apprehended.
Spokesman for the Lagos State Police Command, Kenneth Nwosu, who confirmed the arrest, revealed that when a search was conducted round the cleric’s apartment, a pair of blue Jeans identified as the one worn by the victim was found in a nearby bust opposite Alfa Aderomu’s house. On further interrogation, he reportedly opened up by saying that he administered a concoction on the deceased that fateful day which led to his death, right in his apartment which he shared with his wife and five children.
CONCOCTION FOR FAVOR
In an encounter with the Oyo state-born suspect, he gave a terrifying account which could be likened to a horror movie, of how the victim whom he claimed to be his client, died and how he was dumped in the river. Hear him: “ Rafiu Suleiman (deceased) was a friend and a client for two years . He usually came for spiritual cleansing. Yes, I have been an Alfa ( Islamic cleric) for 15 years.I own a mosque where I teach children Islamic and Arabic studies.
I also administer treatment on strange sicknesses. Also, I prepare concoction of favor, success and quick sales for my clients. On February 14 , 2015, Suleiman called me on phone to inform that his child had dislocated his arm. I told him I could prepare medicine that would heal him. That morning, he came to my house and dropped N2000 for the preparation of the medicine intended for his child.recovered-earthen-pot
On his way back from work, precisely11pm, he came to my place and demanded for an earlier concoction I prepared for him. It was for favor. He said he needed it in order to gain his boss’s favor at work. He worked as a crane driver. After preparing the concoction, he took it . That was 12 midnight. By then, he said he could not go back home, that it was late. At about 2am, he started complaining of stomach ache. I gave him palm oil, after which we both slept.
AND HE DIED?
At this point, the suspect paused , shook his head intermittently and cast a stare at this reporter as if he was in a trance. After a long silence, he continued: “ I woke up at about 4am. But by the time I shook Suleiman to wake him up, he was cold. I shook him vigorously and at the same time called out his name but there was dead silence.”
Crime Guard asked if his (Alfa’s) wife and children whom he said occupied one of the two bedrooms were not attracted by the noise, he replied: “ No, I did not shout that loud . Immediately, I picked my phone and quickly dialed the number of the Chief Imam of Obelle community (name withheld). When he came, he suggested we should take the body away from the house in order to avoid prying eyes.”
HOW BODY WAS DISMEMBERED
Alfa Aderomu stated that the body was cut and and packed into two bags of rice and thereafter, taken to a bush along the street. From his explanation, it seemed the Chief Imam came prepared for the dehumanizing act, as according to him: “ When we reached the bush, the Chief Imam brought out a knife and cut the two wrist s and the head.
He hid them somewhere in the bush with a promise to come pick them later. Next day, we called another cleric named(name withheld) on phone. On arrival, we discovered that came with another cleric(name withheld) . They dissected the chest and removed the heart . They also cut the stomach and removed all the intestines. They further cut off the breasts and manhood.”
BODY DUMPED IN THE RIVER
Asked what part of the body he collected, he said , “I did not collect any part”. Also asked what they intended doing with the body parts, he said : “ I believe they either wanted to sell them or use them to prepare concoction for fertility , stroke or other illnesses.’’ Continuing, he said : “ We, thereafter, pulled his clothes and pants before dumping him inside the stagnant pool . Our intention was to prevent his death being linked to me. I did not plan to kill him.
POWDERY SUBSTANCE KILLED HIM
How could I plan to kill Rafiu Suleiman who was like a brother to me? I have prepared several concoctions for him and nothing bad has ever happened. What actually killed him was the powdery substance I added in the concoction. I believe it was too much. That was why, when he complained of stomach ache, I quickly gave him palm oil.
I didn’t know it would kill him. Since I became a cleric, such calamity had never befallen me. I had to call my colleagues because I was confused. I did not know they would end up complicating my problem,. If I had known, I would have called his family or even raised alarm.
RECOVERED BURNT SUBSTANCE
When asked what the earthen port with burnt substance which was recovered inside his apartment was meant for, the suspect revealed that it was a concoction for success which was at the verge of being prepared for a client. According to him: “ The burnt substance were in different denominations of naira I added some ingredients to it before burning them. It was at the last stage of preparation when I was arrested.
The last stage would have been the killing of a ram for the blood to be added to the burnt materials. Thereafter, the ram would be cooked and shared to people. It was meant for a client who wanted to be successful in his business”, he said , insisting however that his intention was never to kill his client.
POLICE ON THE TRAIL OF FLEEING CHIEF IMAM
As at the time of filing this report, operatives of the Homicide section were on their way to recover the head of the victim from where the suspect said it was kept. Also the Chief Imam of the community alleged to have cut off the head and wrists was said to be on the run. But the Police stated that they were on his trail, assuring that they would get him.
POLICE REACTION
Lagos State Command Image maker, Kenneth Nwosu, who confirmed the story said that the suspects would be charged to court at the conclusion of investigations.

Vanguard

Akpabio inaugurates last batch of projects

Akwa Ibom Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio has inaugurated the last batch of life-touching projects worth billions of naira with a clarion call on the people of the state to emulate selfless service of his administration.

The projects are Ibom Specialist Hospital at Ekritam, Itu Local Government Area, Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Ikot Ekpene and Ikot Ekpene mini-Sports Stadium.

The hospital, which sits on 44,000 square metres in the heart of Uyo metropolitan city, has a 309-bed space expandable to 400, has six theatres, three of which are completely integrated modular theatres and three semi-modular theatres.
It has private, general and semi-private wards, an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) which is 1.5 tetular, the most advanced technology available in the imaging field, 640 slide CT scans, full dialysis unit, automated laboratory and an endoscopic unit, CATH laboratory, intensive care unit for adult and children, a medical gas plant, paperless and pneumatic delivery devices, digital mammography, a helipad and a parking lot that can accommodate 500 vehicles.
The Four Point by Sheraton Hotel in Ikot Ekpene which is a 14-storey oval shaped, has 146 rooms, 14 suites, a 600-seater banquet hall, six meeting rooms, swimming pool, terrace, fountain and presidential wing,  among others.
 
Also inaugurated was the renovated Ikot Ekpene Sports Stadium which sits more than 5,000 spectators.
 
At the hospital premises, Governor Akpabio said ‘’We meet here today for the commissioning of this great adventure in healthcare at a defining moment in the history of our country. A time when Nigerians have lost faith in our healthcare system and our nation has lost vital revenue in medical tourism. But also a time when Nigerians have also gotten used to the idea expressed by an American Ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador Terrence McCulley, “that the future of Nigeria is Akwa Ibom State.”

According to him, ‘’The Ibom Multi-Specialist Hospital, which we have come to commission today, is an important part of the future of Nigeria. It seeks to restore the faith of Nigerians in our healthcare system. It seeks to check the worrisome trend of medical tourism bearing in mind that we, as a nation, loses N81 billion annually to medical tourism’’.
 
‘’As the Governor of this blessed state, I had the onerous responsibility of ensuring that no Akwa Ibom person died an unnecessary death. To keep faith with this commitment, we had to send droves of Akwa Ibom people abroad for treatment whenever it was decided that our healthcare system could not handle such complex cases. It was at this point, I decided that as part of the social contract between the government and the governed, government should provide a proximate health institution which could meet all conceivable health problems and challenges of the people.
 
‘’When we conceived this project, we ran into a storm of cynicism by men and women who wondered whether any good thing can come out of Nazareth. Well today we believe we have confounded the doubters and we invite them to come and see this marvel, which shall remain a testament of our commitment to the health of our people, Nigerians and humanity in general.
 
”We have built this great edifice and equipped it with state-of-the-art facilities. But this is only one aspect of solving the problem. I believe that the medical training institutions in our country should upgrade their curricular to accommodate the modern trends in medicare. It will be counterproductive to run such an advanced hospital purely on the skills of expatriates. Though we are starting with about 150 expatriates, it is our hope that a technology transfer would take place and at some point this hospital will be run mostly by Nigerians who could hold their heads high anywhere in the world”, he added.
 
The governor thanked Gitto Construction Company and NAIRDA Consulting Engineers for a job well done particularly the late Mr Domenico Gitto, the former Managing Director of Gitto, who passed away while the work was going on, the supervising ministries and consultants who helped in bringing this concept to reality as well as the host community for their cooperation in sacrificing the land for the health of humanity.
 
Speaking earlier, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Ememabasi Bassey, described the hospital as the most ambitious project by the state government with sophisticated medical facilities, and applauded Governor Akpabio, the architect of the project, Gitto and other sub-contractors for an excellent job.
 
Also speaking, Dr. Yomi Johnson, a representative of the hospital operator, said the project had to do with determination, hard-work and planning which, he said, would bring high standards of medical care to the state, Nigeria and Africa.
At the commissioning of Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Ikot Ekpene, Akpabio said he was impressed with the speedy delivery of the project, and noted that the hotel would rest and comfort to the people as part of the uncommon transformation of the state.

Speaking earlier, the state Commissioner of Special Duties, Barr. Emmanuel Enoidem, had hinted that the government completed it in 14 months and used three years to change the face of Ikot Ekpene after the demolition of the Ikot Ekpene Prisons that led to the emergence of the hotel.

Later, Akpabio inaugurated Ikot Ekpene mini-Sports Stadium and some internal roads in Utu Edem Usung, Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area.

Probe me--Jonathan dares Buhari

Nigeria's out-going President Goodluck Jonathan  said he is ready to be probed of activities under his watch when he leaves office on May 29.
In a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, the President said that he is not afraid of any investigation after leaving office.
He noted that investigations will not be out of place since Jonathan’s administration also reviewed the actions of previous governments on assumption of office.
Buhari and Jonathan
Buhari and Jonathan
“As Alhaji Mohammed threatened in his statement, the incoming administration will be perfectly within its rights to review all actions of the present government as it may deem fit.
“We see nothing wrong with that. After all, the present administration reviewed the actions of previous governments on assumption of office with resultant benefits for policy and project implementation,” he said.
He also disclosed that President Jonathan has ordered the immediate release of the full report of PriceWater Cooper’s investigations into the alleged unremitted $20 billion to the Federation account by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
He said: “President Jonathan is also deeply concerned by the continuing suggestions that his administration still has something to hide about the unproven allegation that about $20 billion is unaccounted for by the NNPC during his tenure.
“To lay the matter to rest, President Jonathan in line with Section 7(2) of the NNPC Act, has directed that the full report of the PWC Forensic Audit of the NNPC accounts be released immediately to the public so that all Nigerians will be properly informed on the matter.
President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday said he is ready for any probe of activities under his watch when he leaves office on May 29.
In a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, the President said that he is not afraid of any investigation after leaving office.
He noted that investigations will not be out of place since Jonathan’s administration also reviewed the actions of previous governments on assumption of office.
Buhari and Jonathan
Buhari and Jonathan
“As Alhaji Mohammed threatened in his statement, the incoming administration will be perfectly within its rights to review all actions of the present government as it may deem fit.
“We see nothing wrong with that. After all, the present administration reviewed the actions of previous governments on assumption of office with resultant benefits for policy and project implementation,” he said.
He also disclosed that President Jonathan has ordered the immediate release of the full report of PriceWater Cooper’s investigations into the alleged unremitted $20 billion to the Federation account by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
He said: “President Jonathan is also deeply concerned by the continuing suggestions that his administration still has something to hide about the unproven allegation that about $20 billion is unaccounted for by the NNPC during his tenure.
“To lay the matter to rest, President Jonathan in line with Section 7(2) of the NNPC Act, has directed that the full report of the PWC Forensic Audit of the NNPC accounts be released immediately to the public so that all Nigerians will be properly informed on the matter.

- See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2015/04/jonathan-to-buhari-i-am-ready-for-probe/#sthash.5XtfHk4L.dpuf

Real reason Osun cannot pay workers salaries

Impeccable sources within the Osun State Ministry of Finance have revealed the real reason the state cannot pay workers salaries for the past six months.
Except sometime drastic actions are taken, the situation will continue for the next one year and more, The Paradigm can authoritatively confirm.
Government document shows the state received a net allocation of N111.3
billion between 2010 and 2014. However, the state wage bill far outweighs its income.
The state emoluments i.e. wages, salaries et al gulped N113.62 billion between the same period.
Osun state, a largely agrarian society, has a population of 4 million people according to the 2006 population census. However, only 1% of the population gulps 102% of the state’s allocation through its 40,000 strong civil service.
Except there is an increase from the federal government allocation, reduction of staff salary, or a drastic reduction of the state civil service, the government might not be able to pay salaries for a long time.
Recall that international prices of oil fell below $50, its lowest in the last seven 7 years, a situation which affected the Nigeria’s crude oil earnings and subsequently reduced the income accruing federating states.
It its not yet clear how the government will fund the N-2.32 billion (deficit) of the wage bill, but source reveal the government will have to borrow to pay back its lenders.
The source told The Paradigm that “though the state has recording progress in augmenting it’s income base with a robust Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) drive, the returns from this is insufficient for funding the state civil service.”
The Paradigm learnt that the emoluments increase has been driven by arbitrary demand for Salary increase by unions without due consideration for commensurate increase in revenue.
For now, there seems to be no information on which direction the government will take to end this stalemate.

65-year-old German mum's quadruplets face big health risks: doctors


 
This photo taken in 2005 shows then 55-year-old Annegret Raunigk (1st row, 2ndL) with her children and grand-children being interviewed on Germany's RTL television channel (AFP Photo/Jörg Carstensen)

 Berlin (AFP) - Doctors at a Berlin clinic said on Wednesday quadruplets, whose very premature births to a 65-year-old German mother have captured headlines and stirred debate, face big health risks.
Eight days after their delivery about 15 weeks early, two of the newborns are receiving help breathing and one has undergone surgery for an intestinal problem, said the medical experts at the prestigious Charite hospital.
Teacher Annegret Raunigk, who has already had 13 children, gave birth to the quadruplets by caesarian section in the 26th week of pregnancy, after travelling to Ukraine for fertility treatment with two anonymous donors.
Speaking at a press conference, doctors at the Berlin university clinic stressed their only concern was the health of the newborns and their mother, and they did not weigh into the ethical issues surrounding such a late pregnancy.
"These children need our help," said Christoph Buehrer, head of the Charite's neonatal services.
Head of obstetrics, Wolfgang Heinrich, said he did not believe there would now be lots of other cases like Raunigk's.
"In Germany we have reasonable specialist doctors in reproduction. They try to prevent" multiple embryo pregnancies, he added.
The quadruplets, three boys and a girl, who weighed between 655 and 960 grams (1.4 to 2.1 pounds) at birth, arrived before fully maturing in the womb, making them "absolute high risk" cases, Buehrer told reporters.
"These are children who can die, who can contract serious illnesses or have after-effects," he said.
"These are very fragile babies, but totally sweet," he added.
The mother, a Berlin teacher of Russian and English who is close to retirement age, has negotiated exclusive rights to her story with the private TV channel RTL.
The channel has released photos of the tiny intubated babies.
- 'Decide for oneself' -
Heinrich said that, to his knowledge, Raunigk -- an elegant red-haired woman with glasses -- was the oldest woman in the world to have given birth to quadruplets.
She has left the intensive care unit, is doing well and is able to express breastmilk to feed the babies, the doctors said.
She visits the quadruplets several times a day, holds them against her chest and caresses them, they added.
News of her multiple pregnancy emerged in April when she dismissed critics who said she was acting irresponsibly due to her age.
"How does one have to be at 65?" RTL quoted her as saying at the time. "One must apparently always fit some cliches which I find rather tiring.
"I think, one must decide that for oneself."
The grandmother of seven said that she decided to try to have another child because her youngest daughter, who was nine, wanted a little brother or sister.
Raunigk made headlines 10 years ago too, when she gave birth to her 13th child, Lelia, at the age of 55.
"At first, I only wanted one child," the Bild mass circulation daily quoted her as saying at the time.
"Not all were planned. But then things happen. I'm not a planner but rather spontaneous. And children keep me young."
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