Panic As Soldiers Begin Operation Stop & Search On Niger Bridge

Fierce military men of “Operation Python Dance” recently launched by the Nigerian Army in the South East, on Thursday, combed the surroundings of the River Niger Head Bridge in Asaba, Delta State, leaving motorists in fear of the unknown while they disciplined those who refused to take orders.

The soldiers heavily armed, descended on motorists who failed to obey their rules of “Stop and Search” before moving as some of them regarded as deviant drivers were put on frog jump for several minutes before they were let off the hook.

Expectedly, the soldiers’ presence caused serious traffic gridlock with commercial motorists/ passengers, including privately owned vehicles traveling to the Eastern states forced to queue for long.

But the Delta State Police Command in a swift reaction through the Deputy Police Commissioner in-charge of Operations, Mr. Undie Adie, allayed fears of the unknown, saying that the presence of the soldiers would collaborate with the personnel of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), including the police, to ensure free flow of traffic and crime free period ahead of the Christmas/ New Year celebrations

His words: “There is no cause for alarm, we the police will collaborate with FRSC, the military to ensure hitch free crimes, and free flow of traffic ahead of the Christmas/New Year seasons.” Investigation revealed that miscreants, including pick pockets who used to have their field days of activities around the head bridge have disappeared into the thin air while the road-side traders, many of who allegedly sell Indian hemp to trailer drivers, have moved into Asaba town to avoid the wrath of the soldiers, who only understand Hausa language and orders from their bosses. One of the soldiers, Musa Mohammed, who spoke to our reporter, said: “Oga we dey here to protect lives and property, we don’t want any miscreants around the head bridge, and we will discipline more of the motorists who will not obey us.”

But a human right activist, Emeka Okonta, told our reporter that the soldiers “stop and search” on major road to the South East was creating hardship for the people even before the Christmas/ New Year periods. He noted that the gridlock has also brought untold sufferings and waste of several hours, adding that Onitsha Head Bridge is the only route to the South East states.

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Ashes Of Fidel Castro Begin Final Journey Across Cuba

The ashes of Cuban leader Fidel Castro began a four-day journey across Cuba on Wednesday to his final resting place, retracing the late communist leader’s revolution victory tour of 1959.

The “caravan of freedom” left at 7:16 am (1216 GMT) from Havana, and will make symbolic stops along a 950-kilometer (590-mile) route that will end in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba over the weekend.

The urn containing the remains of Castro, who died Friday at age 90, was covered by a Cuban flag and protected by a crystal covering as it was transported.

Senior officials of the government and Communist Party, and Castro’s longtime partner, Dalia Soto del Valle, attended the farewell ceremony at the armed forces ministry before the caravan headed out to travel through 13 of the Caribbean island nation’s 15 provinces.

Hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets, waving Cuban flags and shouting “Vivas!” to the late leader as the seven-vehicle motorcade passed by, escorted by police on motorcycles.

The trip follows two days of tributes in Havana where massive crowds were encouraged by the government to view a picture memorial to Castro at the Revolution Square.

The commemorations in the capital ended with a massive rally Tuesday night at the square attended by Latin American, African and Caribbean leaders, along with the Greek prime minister — the only European leader at the event.

Raul Castro, 85, expressed his gratitude for the “countless gestures of solidarity and affection from around the world” after his brother’s death. The rally ended with the revolutionary battle cry, “Until victory, always!”

Castro ruled from 1959 until an illness forced him to hand power to Raul in 2006.

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New National Airline To Begin Operation Soon

The Federal Government will appoint a transaction adviser next week as part of efforts to establish a new national carrier, an official has said.

The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said the new national carrier will ensure competition, cut in ticket costs and give Nigerians options to choose from.

Mr. Sirika, who briefed journalists after the Federal Executive Council meeting, said “….between now and Wednesday we will appoint transaction adviser for national carrier, once that is in place Nigerians will have options, they will be competition, good aircraft and this will bring the price down”.

The new national carrier, the minister explained, will be jointly run by the government and the private sector as an incentive for airlines flying the route.

Mr. Sirika also said the Federal Executive Council, FEC, approved about N3 billion for the completion of the rehabilitation work on terminal building phase II and international wing of the Port Harcourt International Airport.

He said that N1.6 billion would be expended on rehabilitation of the international wing of the airport while completion of work on the terminal building phase II of the airport would cost N1.4 billion.

According to him, the council approved the project as it is captured in the 2016 and 2017 budget.

“So, very soon we will complete that very important airport, especially the arrival, Port Harcourt airport has been tagged the worst airport in the world.

 “But, by the grace of God and the wisdom of the council, it has been approved and will be completed.

“The upgrade and the rehabilitation of the terminal building, international wing of the Port Harcourt from N777, 726,669. 30 to N1,684,520,310.58.

“Second one, is the refurbishment of Port Harcourt airport terminal building phase II domestic wing from N746,830,782.12 to N1,411,662,855.67.’’

He stated that government had intensified efforts towards addressing the challenges of security and safety across the nation’s airports.

Mr. Sirika said his ministry would organise a stakeholders forum where issues concerning the aviation industry would be deliberated upon with a view to finding solutions facing the sector.

“By the end of November we are going to have stakeholders meeting and some of these things will be shown there.”

He stated that the parking space at the Port Harcourt and Abuja airports were being expanded to accommodate more vehicles.

“By the time it is completed, we would have a proper parking space which you will go and park for a fee.

“Once the airport is concessioned, all these will take shape and form that you will love to see.

“Just be patient, in the next 24 to 36 months most of these things will be in place,” he added.

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PDP To Begin Reconciliation Talks October 10 In Preparation For 2019

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may be on the verge of resolving its lingering national leadership crisis, as it kickstarts reconciliation talks in the South-West.

After nearly five months of conflict that almost threatened its existence, party stakeholders would on October 10, converge for what the party described as a ‘crucial assembly’ in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. The purpose of the meeting is to among other issues, brainstorm on strategies to make the party bounce back.

This development is coming a few weeks after factional acting national chairman, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff agreed to the peace moves initiated by the National Chairman of the caretaker committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi.

Both Leaders had a few weeks ago met for several hours for the first time in Abuja and resolved to pursue a united PDP. They agreed to sheathe their swords, after which they both issued a joint statement, saying that they had reached an agreement to set in motion a joint reconciliatory process. The two leaders resolved to end the crisis that had engulfed the party following its National Convention which held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State this year and which resulted in the removal of Sheriff as the National Chairman.

The statement which was released after the meeting and jointly signed by Makarfi and Sheriff, said: “It is time to heal the wounds, and bring about a united, focused and constructive opposition party that can bring sanity to our democratic process, bring relief to the teeming supporters of our great party and to the benefit of our great country, Nigeria.”

Crisis engulfed PDP last year, just a few months after Sheriff emerged as the Acting National Chairman to the displeasure of many stakeholders. A former national chairman of the party and a former governor of Bauchi State, Adamu Mu’azu had resigned when PDP lost the 2015 presidential election. The party appointed Sheriff in an acting capacity to complete Mu’azu’s tenure. He was removed early this year and a caretaker committee was set up with Makarfi as its chairman. An aggrieved Sheriff went to court, saying that the party’s constitution had no provision for a caretaker committee, and insisted that he remained the chairman.

Another pending issue which may also be discussed at the Ibadan meeting is who emerges as the National Chairman. Following the decision of the national body to zone the position to the South-West; the issue of who would be the consensus candidate further split the party and worsened its crisis in the zone. Among the top contenders for the position were former Ogun State governor, Gbenga Daniels, top party stalwart, Bode George, and his protégé, Jimi Agbaje, who was the party’s governorship candidate in Lagos State.

For the umpteenth time, Sheriff has reiterated his commitment to the resolution of the leadership in the party, noting that there is no going back on current efforts to reconcile all interest groups in the party.

Sheriff said a resolution of the PDP has become imperative as the crisis was becoming a threat to the nation’s democracy.

Speaking through the National Secretary of his group, Prof Wale Oladipo, Sheriff said his group is compiling names of its nominee for the 24-man Reconciliation Committee to be constituted jointly with the National Caretaker Committee led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi.
He said the feuding groups decided to bury the hatchet following the intervention of some eminent Nigerians, who mediated in the crisis behind the scene.


Speed-limiting Device Policy To Begin October 1- FRSC

The Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, on Wednesday said it would commence implementation of speed-limiting device on commercial vehicles in the country.

The announcement was made on Wednesday at the agency’s headquarters in Abuja.

Boboye Oyeyemi, the Corps Marshal of the FRSC, said he was happy to formally announce the commencement despite numerous obstacles faced by officials while analysing the technology and trying to convince Nigerians about the benefits of its acceptance.

Mr. Oyeyemi said the obstacles forced the agency to shift the launching date from initial June 1, 2015, schedule to the new date.

“The final directive from the presidency is clear; the enforcement date for the implementation of the speed limiting device is on Oct. 1 and we have had series of stakeholders meeting,” Mr. Oyeyemi said.

“The essence of today’s meeting is to finally convey the directive of the federal government to the stakeholders that with effect from Oct. 1, the implementation and enforcement would commence.”

Mr. Oyeyemi said a platform that will serve as monitoring system for total compliance of the policy had been put in place as well as punitive measures for errant drivers.

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Keshi’s Burial Rites Begin Today

The final journey home for late Super Eagles chief coach and renowned football tactician, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi, will begin today, with series of activities lined up to herald his interment in Illah, Oshimili North local government area of Delta State, tomorrow.

When journalists visited his Ukpologwu Quarters home in Illah on Tuesday, the compound wore a new look, after renovation works were completed in readiness for his burial.

Work on the tomb, where his remains would be laid, had been completed as at the time of the visit.

Also, all was set at the St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, Illah, preparatory to the service of songs/vigil mass today, as well as the requiem mass tomorrow and the thanksgiving mass on Sunday. As a titled chief in Illah, his body would stop briefly at the palace of the traditional ruler of the town tomorrow for traditional rites.

At the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, finishing touches were being put in place to receive the numerous persons coming to pay their last respects to the fallen hero, during the lying-in-state ceremony today. Keshi died on June 7, 2016 in Benin City, Edo, age of 54.

Credit: Leadership

Special Forces Begin Exercise For Combat In Niger Delta- Army

Prospects of a confrontation between Niger Delta militants and the military heightened yesterday as the Nigerian Army announced that its Special Forces had started exercises in preparation for combat in the restive oil rich region.

The Army in a statement by its Director of Public Relations (DAPR), Col. Sani Usman, said it had started conducting exercises for its Special Forces on maritime warfare. “The Nigerian Army will from this weekend commence another training exercise code named ‘Exercise Crocodile Smile’ in 82 Division and part of 2 Division areas of responsibility traversing the South-south geo-political region,” he said.

But Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson wednesday met with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja and said force was not the solution to the problem that had massively constrained the country’s crude oil production output.

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, had warned last week that if the militants failed to accept the federal government’s offer of dialogue over their grievances, the military would have to step in to protect the nation’s oil and gas assets that had been the target of a militant group, Niger Delta Avengers’ (NDA) consistent acts of sabotage.

The federal government’s strategy for dialogue would appear to be experiencing some hiccups as the main militant group, the Avengers, has consistently expressed reservations about the sincerity of the process even as some other stakeholders query the government’s option of using proxy for the proposed talks.

Obviously not wanting to be caught unawares, the Nigerian Army has started preparing for a possible confrontation with the militants, conducting exercises for its Special Forces on maritime warfare.

Credit: ThisDay

FG To Begin Cash Transfers To 30% Poor- Uwais

The Special Adviser on Social Investments in the office of the vice president, Maryam Uwais, yesterday said the federal government would soon begin conditional cash transfers to poor families to ease hardship.
Speaking during a workshop on Child Poverty and Social Protection in West and Central Africa at the ECOWAS Secretariat in Abuja yesterday, she noted that 30% of the poor in every state and local government would be catered for while the figure would be increased to about 50% next year.

 “For the first time, government has budgeted money for the poor in the country. We have been given the mandate to develop a register for poor people. First and foremost, we are going into the communities organising socio group discussions and asking the communities themselves what poverty means to them,” she said.  According to her, N5000 will be the bench mark for each family.

“There is poverty everywhere but if we say everybody is below the poverty line, poverty is higher in some places than others, so to avoid ghost beneficiaries we have asked them to have BVN so banks can pay directly to them,” she added.

The Commissioner, Social Affairs and Gender at the ECOWAS, Dr Fatimata Dia Sow, said despite intervention by government to improve the lives of children across Africa, most of them were still grappling with extreme poverty which had strongly retarded development.

Credit: dailytrust

FG To Begin Payment Of Salaries By 25th Of Every Month– AGF

The Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Mr Ahmed Idris, says the Federal Government plans to begins payment of staff salaries by the 25th of every month, as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Idris, who disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday, said “this is going to be given a test, I believe, by this month’’.

The AGF also said that the government was working on a new arrangement, which, if approved, would ensure payment of the salaries before the monthly meeting of the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC).

According to him, usually, salaries are paid after the FAAC meeting, where revenue accruing to the federation’s account are shared between the federal, state and local governments.

“There is a standing instruction of Mr President to pay salary on or before 24 or 25 of every month and we will try as much as possible to comply and to abide by that.

“We are taking a step further to make a provision whereby we can accommodate salary payments even before FAAC.

“This is going to be given a test I believe by this month.

“We will go to seek for necessary approval of our political masters to make sure that at least salary and other statutory payments are made even before FAAC.

“Because we can project how much they are and therefore we can prepare and hit the ground running to make them realisable and actualised.

“Even where we delay FAAC, we can still pay salary.’’

Idris dispelled the widely held belief that the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy is responsible for the delay in the payment of salaries and attributed the situation to the crash in global oil prices, which has affected the inflow of income to the country

Credit: Leadership

Oil & Gas Exploration To Begin In North East- Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday disclosed that his administration has plans to extend oil and gas exploration into new fields in the Lake Chad Basin in the North East and in the coastal states, like Lagos, where oil has been discovered in commercial quantity.

The president, who was represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, disclosed that, as part of strategies to reposition the Nigerian oil and gas industry, his government had commenced the process of implementing carefully conceived initiatives which would see the country hitting a production target of 2.8 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil.

The president made these disclosures yesterday while declaring open the 6th African Petroleum Congress and Exhibition (CAPE VI) being hosted in Abuja.

The measures, he explained, would come in the form of reduction in production costs and increased efficiency in oil exploration so as to achieve a 30 per cent increase in daily production.

The president also asserted that it was unacceptable statistic for Nigeria to be responsible for 23 billion cubic meters of the 40 billion cubic meters of gas flared annually in Africa, even as he declared his resolve to partner with the legislature to ensure the signing of the United Nations Agreement of ‘Zero Routine Flaring by 2030.’

He said, “In Nigeria, gas flaring amounts to about 23 billion cubic meters per annum in over 100 flare sites, constituting over 13 per cent of global gas flaring. Nigeria is a member of the World Bank Global Gas Flaring Reduction (GCFR) Partnership and with the support of our legislature, we will sign the United Nations Agreement of Zero Routine Flaring by 2030, although our national target is 2020.”

OIL_explorationThe administration, he said, also plans to strengthen the institutional framework on policy formulation through legislation on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) as a prerequisite for the development of the sector and attraction of foreign investment.

He also listed the strategies to include unbundling the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) into lean, efficient and profitable components that will operate as a business venture and deploy existing manpower to areas of competences without attendant job losses, develop stronger policies on local content so as to reduce capital flight in the industry and the reduction of gas flaring through Joint Venture (JV) contracts that will expand infrastructure and deploy Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) for domestic and industrial uses.

While noting that the event comes just before the 33rd Ordinary Session of the Council of Ministers of African Petroleum Producers Association (APPA), which holds in Abuja today, the president stated that African oil producers are confronted with huge challenges that require urgent changes in the managerial strategies deployed within its economies.

APPA was inaugurated as a regional economic association in January, 1987, and it has grown to 18 member countries, namely, Ghana, Cameroon, Algeria, Mauritania, Gabon, Cote D’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Congo DR, Congo Brazzaville, Chad, Benin, Niger, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Angola, South Africa and Nigeria, which currently chairs the association.

This year’s event has the theme, “Positioning African Petroleum for Global Development and Value Addition.”

The president noted that CAPE VI provides a unique opportunity for Africa to look beyond the exploitation of oil and chart a new course in the use of other natural resources to upscale national revenues.

According to him, “Current volatility in the oil sector allows lessons to be learnt, synergies to be built and new approaches to be adopted to enable Africa expand its economy, infrastructure, manpower base, maintain domestic and regional peace and protect the environment.”

He added that the use of gas in Africa’s future energy mix has become imperative, and that if Africa must meet her future energy needs, the issue of the development of a robust gas infrastructure must be jointly addressed.

While inviting all APPA member countries to enter into natural gas business with Nigeria, which currently has the 7th largest gas deposit in the world, Buhari, however, stressed that in processing Africa’s hydrocarbon resource, environmental issues must be accorded huge priority.

He explained that “globally, over 150 billion cubic meters of associated gas is flared annually. Of this figure, Africa flares an estimated 40 billion cubic meters annually. I urge all APPA member countries to set realistic targets for gas flare-out in the region.”

Noting that the development of domestic refining capacity in oil and gas is critical to sustainable economic growth, Buhari challenged African ministers of energy to further explore cooperation mechanisms to expand regional refining capacities in an efficient and cost effective manner.

In his remarks, minister of state for petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, called on African governments to develop policies that will enable backward integration.

He said, “It is a new dawn for Africa and we are excited about the development. We will continue to work collaboratively because there is a lot happening in the space but also a lot of challenges that we have to overcome.

“The major challenge is funding. Obviously skillsets are there already and technology is not an issue but funding remains key. Policies are also key because African governments have to develop policies that will enable backward integration into their own systems.”

Credit: Leadership

Senate To Begin Process Of Issuing Arrest Warrant To Lamorde

The Nigerian Senate is to begin the process of issuing an arrest warrant to  former EFCC Chairman, Mr Ibrahim Lamorde.

At the continuation of legislative proceedings on Thursday, the Senate directed its Committee on Ethics Privileges and Public Petition to begin the process of issuing a warrant of arrest to the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over allegations of diverting EFCC’s recovered loot.

The Senate Committee on Ethics is recommending that an arrest warrant be issued to the former anti-graft agency boss for failing to appear before the committee, despite several invitations from the committee.

The Ethics Committee has been investigating allegations levelled on Mr Lamorde by a petitioner, Mr George Uboh, who is asking the Senate to investigate the Former EFCC Chairman over allegations of Financial Crime and Corruption while in office.

Credit: ChannelsTv

Kanye West’s Fans Begin Crowd Fund To Get Him Out Of Debt, See How Much They Have Raised So Far

During one of his many recent Twitter sprees, Kanye West claimed that he’s currently in debt for $53 million, and asked Mark Zuckerberg to invest $1 billion in his ideas. Though Mark hasn’t yet expressed interest in this plan, Kanye’s fans are now attempting to come to the rescue via crowdfunding.

Earlier this week, Jeremy Piatt set up a GoFundMe page called “Get Kanye Out of Debt,” with the goal of his fans becoming Kanye’s own modern-day Medici family. “We must open our hearts and wallets for Kanye today,” Jeremy writes. “Sure he is personally rich and  can buy furs and houses for his family, but without our help, the true genius of Kanye West can’t be realized.”

Thus far only 388 people have donated, for a grand total of $3,793, so it might be a while before Kanye gets his full $53 million.

Credit: Cosmopolitan

Senate To Begin Debate On 2016 Budget

The Senate has announced that the 2016 Appropriation Bill submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari will be subject to debate from the lawmakers from Tuesday 19th January.

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, made the announcement on Wednesday, during plenary.

“Senate President @bukolasaraki announces that the debate of #2016AppropriationBill will commence on Tuesday 19th January 2016,” reads a tweet from the Twitter account of the Nigerian Senate.

There were reports,Tuesday, that the budget was no longer available in the Upper Chamber, leading to rumour of ‘Missing budget’

However, it is unclear if the budget is now available or the speech of Saraki is to douse tension.

Credit: Vanguard

FG To Begin Board Appointments January, Read How The Appointments Will Be Allocated

The federal government will begin board appointments for its agencies from the end of January.
A top source in the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation said the appointments would be done in phases.  “The first of such appointments will be out by end of January to begin with the ministries of education and agriculture.
“The templates are ready. The two ministries have the biggest parastatals and will have more impact on those expecting appointments,” the source said.
President Muhammadu Buhari is trying to have a great say as to the kind of people he intends to appoint as board members.  It is the same posture he adopted at the time he was forming his cabinet, but state governors are said to be in disagreement over this. “The governors made all manner of protests but the President told them to go and make their own boards and other appointments and leave him to do his,” the source said.
The source added: “Some people are still sending applications for board appointment. We want to use the board appointments to address the challenges we are facing in the party.
One of the members of the presidential committee on the reconstitution of the federal government boards of parastatals, agencies and commissions, last night described their assignment as ‘a daunting task’ but added that they have gone far.
The member, who spoke in confidence, said so far, they have identified issues in several parastatals, agencies and commissions that need to be addressed.
“Our work is daunting because it has to do with reorganising the affected establishments, bearing in mind the issue of federal character, expertise, economic potentials and political expediency. We have gone far in the work, but the most important thing we are considering is national unity,” he said.
Credit: DailyTrust

Anti Boko Haram Raids Set To Begin

UN West Africa Representative, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, says a regional security operation against Boko Haram in West Africa is due to start at the end of the rainy season in a bid to put an end to the militants’ offensive in the region.

According to Mr Chambas, the expected joint raids would adapt to the changing tactics of the enemy.

“The rainy season is always an opportunity for terrorist groups and extremist movements like that to hide in the forests to perpetrate the atrocities they commit in the Sahara, Sahel and Savanah zone.

“When the rainy season is over, it makes the movement of the military much easier and we expect to see a very aggressive approach against Boko Haram this coming dry season,” he said.

Credit: ChannelsTV

Buhari Awaits Attorney General To Begin Corruption Prosecutions

The prosecution of ex-government officials who served under the Goodluck Jonathan administration and their accomplices in the private sector will begin in earnest once an Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice is appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

A presidency source, who confirmed this, said preliminary investigations had enabled the Buhari administration to identify some ex-government officials – mostly former ministers and heads of parastatals — as well as other persons in the public or private sector who helped to conceal their ill-gotten wealth for prosecution.

He added that the list of ex-government officials cuts across mainly the oil and gas sector, among other sectors, but their prosecution would only start in earnest once an attorney general who is “constitutionally recognised as the chief law officer is appointed by the president”.

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JAMB To Begin Sale Of 2016 UTME Forms On Aug. 31

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) says arrangement has been concluded for the sale of its 2016 application documents.

This is contained in a statement by the board’s Head of Information, Dr Fabian Benjamin and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos.

According to the statement, the sales is to prepare candidates early for the 2016 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).

It said that candidates were urged to purchase the examination scratch cards from Zenith Bank,  Sky Bank and First Bank .

”The registration fee for the UTME is N5,000 and candidates are also to pay  N500 to obtain the textbook, The Last Days at Forcados High School’.

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Investigations Begin Into Crash Of Bristow Helicopter

The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), on Wednesday said it had commenced investigation into the Bristow helicopter that crashed into the lagoon in Lagos.

This is contained in a statement issued by the bureau’s General Manager, Public Affairs, Tunji Oketunbi, in Lagos.

The statement said the investigation had commenced with the AIB Commissioner, Dr Felix Abali, leading the team.

The statement said 12 persons were believed to be on board.

Bristow-owned helicopter crashed inside ExxonMobil Facility in Port Harcourt on August 3, 2007.

Another crash involving Bristow Helicopters also occurred on July 14, 2011 in Port Harcourt.

Credit: NAN

Plateau State Govt. To Begin Work On Abandoned Road Projects

Governor of Plateau State, Mr.  Simon Lalong, has solicited the understanding of residents of Jos and Bukuru  metropolis as the government grapples with the problem of clearing the heaps of refuse in most part of the major towns.

The governor says contractors will soon be mobilised to continue work on road projects, which have been abandoned as citizens have been finding it difficult to move around freely.

A statement by the Director, Press and Public Affairs,  Mr. Emmanuel Nanle,  on Monday said the government was disturbed by the rising heaps of refuse, which had been made worse  by the ongoing strike by civil servants in the state.

The governor said he was particularly worried because of the health implications of the stench coming from the dumps,  especially as the raining season has set in.

The statement stated, “Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, is calling on all the citizens of Plateau State and particularly residents of Jos – Bukuru metropolis to please bear with government as efforts are intensified to address the difficulties encountered driving round the city with the rains now in season.

“The governor understands the challenges faced by motorists with the state of major uncompleted roads within Jos-Bukuru Metropolis.

“The governor is further assuring all citizens that the situation would be remedied immediately to ameliorate the difficulties faced.”

Lalong said the Transition Committee’s consultation with contractors would be intensified to ensure that a common understanding was reached to facilitate the continuation of the road projects.


Reps Begin Consideration Of PIB Report Today

Baring last minute change in schedules, the House of Representatives will begin the clause-by-clause consideration of the report on the controversial Petroleum Industry Bill on Wednesday (today).

The Deputy Speaker of the House, Mr. Emeka Ihedioha, announced this on Tuesday in Abuja (yesterday) during the plenary.

Ihedioha presided over the session in the absence of the Speaker, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal.

Ihedioha had earlier (last week) directed that copies of the document should be circulated to all 360 lawmakers, preparatory for the consideration in the Committee of the Whole.

“By now, I am sure copies of the report have been circulated to all of us.

“I personally went to the Office of the Chief Whip to get my own. Please, check the Chief Whip’s office to pick your copies” Ihedioha stated, adding that the consideration would start today.

The report on the bill, which aim is to reposition the petroleum industry for better output and economic reward, has been long awaited.

The 23-member Ad hoc Committee on PIB had produced its report on March 12, more than two years after Tambuwal inaugurated it on November 15, 2012.

The committee was chaired by the Chief Whip, Mr. Ishaka Bawa, a Peoples Democratic Party lawmaker from Taraba State.

However, the House delayed the consideration and possible passage of the bill, as lawmakers abandoned it to focus on the 2015 general polls.

The report, among others, recommended that the President should be stripped of his discretionary power to grant petroleum licences and leases to operators in the country’s oil and gas industry.

In making the recommendation for the removal of the President’s power, as contained in Section 191 of the original bill, the committee recommended competitive bidding for such awards to “avoid the practice whereby the power for the award of oil blocks was discretionary.”

Similarly, the committee recommended the removal of the Minister of Petroleum Resources as the chairman of the National Oil Company, proposed to assume the duties of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and other key industry agencies.


FG To Begin Screening Of Degrees Obtained Abroad- NUC

The Federal Government has constituted a committee to screen certificates obtained by Nigerian students who studied abroad, says Prof. Julius Okojie, the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC).

Mr. Okojie made this known while fielding questions from journalists shortly after the presentation of licences to two new private universities on Thursday in Abuja.

According to Mr. Okojie, the committee comprises members from the NUC and the Federal Ministry of Education. “When they come for NYSC, they are referred to the Ministry of Education to look at the quality of their certificates.

“Recently, the ministry decided to set up a joint committee of NUC and the Federal Ministry of Education to look at the quality of those certificates; the committee has been set up but it has not been inaugurated.

“In Ukraine, where we have many of our students for instance, it is not that all the universities are bad; some are really good but it depends on which one.

“Some of our students who attended universities in Ukraine pass through the UK and get a second degree; in some countries, you can buy a certificate in the airport.’’

He said that mere knowing that a foreign university was approved was not enough as the programme pursued by a student might not be approved.

The NUC boss had earlier expressed concern over the quality of universities Nigerian students attend in the West African sub-region, especially in Ghana.

The universities that got provisional licences are Edwin Clark University, Kaigbodo, Delta State, and Hezekiah University, Umudi, Imo State.

Credit: NAN