Nigeria To Purchase 38 Locally Manufactured Surveillance SUVs

The Federal Executive Council, FEC, on Wednesday approved the direct procurement of 38 patrol SUVs manufactured locally, to enhance the operations of the inspectorate division of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.

This was the high point of the FEC meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari during which the council also ratified the Lake Chad Water Charter.

The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi, and his Water Resources Counterpart, Suleiman Adamu, spoke to journalists on the outcome of the meeting.

According to Mr. Fayemi, the session marked one year in office of the ministers, who used the occasion to review progress made by the administration as well as its challenges.

“We are one year in office in two days’ time; so this is the anniversary cabinet meeting.

“And it gave us the opportunity to reflect on the progress we have made as a government, the challenges that we still have to tackle.”

“We also used the occasion to reiterate our commitment to Mr President for giving all of us the opportunity to serve the nation and to do so in a manner that advances our democracy and the development of our country.

“Aside from that, we took on two other memoranda, one from the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and another from the Ministry of Water Resources.

“On the Mines and steel Development it was the approval of the direct procurement of Nissan Patrol vehicles for the Mines Inspectorate (division) in our 36 states.”

According to the minister, for a decade, the division which oversees artisanal mining has not purchased any vehicle.

He said that the vehicles would be used for surveillance of illegal mining activities and to tackle various field challenges faced by the ministry’s workers.

The minister recalled the recent killing of some miners by bandits in Zamfara and the death of two miners in Paiko, Niger State, adding that through proper surveillance, such incidents could be avoided.

Mr. Fayemi said that as part of the ministry’s road map, a surveillance task force had been established with the ministries of interior and defence as well as the police and civil defence.

He said that the approval for the purchase of the vehicles was a demonstration of the government’s commitment to supporting Made in Nigeria products.

“Over the last three months, all the approvals we had for the purchase of vehicles for Mines and Steel, Interior, Immigration and EFCC were procurements authorised to buy vehicles from local assembly plants.

“This is so that we can begin to strengthen our automotive industry and the government remains committed to that and this approval is further confirmation of the government’s commitment in that direction.

“It speaks directly also to our determination to really begin to focus a lot more seriously on the activities of informal or illegal miners,” he said.

The minister added that the ministry was eager to define the role it could play in supporting artisanal and small-scale miners in fulfilment of the administration’s job creation and revenue generation agenda.

He said the vehicles worth N326.78 million would be bought from local automobile companies and given to each of the states and Abuja with Lagos State being allocated two.

Also speaking, Mr. Adamu added that the second memo considered by FEC was the ratification of the Lake Chad Water Charter.

He said that a treaty was signed by all the Lake Chad Basin Commission countries in 2012 which required the ratification of 95 per cent of the countries before it could come into effect.

“It was ratified today and the next stage is for it to go to the National Assembly for an enactment of the law to back it.

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Government Bans Purchase Of Transformers By Electricity Consumers

The Federal Government has outlawed the procurement of transformers by electricity consumers, maintaining that it remains the duty of distribution companies (Discos).

It also charged operators in the nation’s power sector to improve investments in order to upgrade their networks.

The government equally expressed readiness to offset the electricity bills owed by ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) put at N97 billion by the Discos.The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, who made the disclosures during a meeting with officials of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (ANED), however, noted that a careful verification of the debts was being carried out to ascertain the exact amount, considering that the sum stretches to several years.

He welcomed any information that could expedite the exercise.

He said: “You must continue to make distribution asset investments. Private purchase of transformers should stop. That is the responsibility of the distribution companies. We still have cases of people buying transformers themselves. This should not be the case.”

Fashola charged the operators to improve customer relationship as well as close the metering gap and educate consumers on energy conservation.

“Since the distribution companies are now owned by private enterprises, you need to make it easy for people to reach you. Let us all understand that the problems we have are not technical. They are manmade,” he noted.

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Group Asks EFCC To Investigate Buratai Over Alleged ?Purchase Of Properties In Dubai

An anti-graft coalition, the Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), has urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, over alleged diversion of funds to purchase properties in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

In a petition forwarded to the anti-graft commission and signed by the group’s chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, the group said such act was a violation of the law of public service.

According to the group, ?if the revelation is found to be true, based on evidence adduced by a newspaper, then the actions of the COAS is a great disservice, an act of sabotage against the Nigerian State and a violation of the law prohibiting public officer from investing or participating in any other business safe for farming.

Taking a cue from a publication of June 24, 2016, by Sahara Reporters, an online newspaper, the group said the newspaper revealed how the Chief of Army Staff, Major General Buratai and his two wives were alleged joint owners of a Dubai Property that was paid for in one transaction.

“The funds for the said properties were alleged to have come from a vehicle contract scam, executed while Mr. Buratai was the Director of Procurement at the Army Headquarters. “Our correspondents discovered that the Nigerian Army had awarded an apparently bogus contract for the supply of vehicles and motorcycles for the use of troops involved in an anti-terrorism offensive in Nigeria’s beleaguered northeastern zone”.

According to the publication, “The allegation that General Buratai might have pilfered funds meant for the purchase of military vehicles has sparked outrage among soldiers and officers, especially those from the northeastern part of the country. Two military sources disclosed that irate officers had petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari, urging him to order an investigation into the contract scam”.

“In the petition, exclusively obtained by SaharaReporters, the aggrieved soldiers and officers, under the umbrella of Concerned Soldiers and Officers from the North East, had accused the COAS of executing the contract through a proxy. According to the petitioners, the proxy’s name is Usman Gamawa, founder of Baggash Investment Limited. The petition stated that, rather than supply new vehicles, as contained the contract awarded, Mr. Baggash allegedly purchased second-hand vehicles and motorcycles from Niger Republic.

“On arrival in Nigeria, the vehicles were said to have been refurbished at Mogadishu Cantonment under the supervision of Staff Sergeant Dadan Garba. SaharaReporters said some of the vehicles and motorcycles had since broken down.”

Credit: PremiumTimes

Apple Considering Tidal Music Purchase

Apple is exploring the purchase of rival music streaming service Tidal, which is run by rap star Jay-Z, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

The paper said Apple is interested in using the company to beef-up its own year-old steaming service Apple Music.

Talks between the companies are ongoing and might not result in a tie-up, the Journal said, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter.

Executives at Tidal have not spoken with Apple about being acquired, the Journal reported, quoting a Tidal spokesperson.

Apple declined to comment when contacted by AFP.

Tidal soared in popularity early this year after Beyonce released her latest album “Lemonade” exclusively on the service, although it was also broadcast in a film version on HBO and quickly made available on iTunes.

Tidal, which had a mixed reception after its relaunch last year, has heavily promoted exclusives, such as albums by Rihanna and Kanye West.

The company has been trying to seize some of the fast-growing streaming market from Spotify, which focuses on wide and easy access rather than exclusives.

Tidal subscriptions cost $10 or $20 monthly, depending on whether a user wants high-fidelity sound.

Jay-Z bought Tidal from Europe-based Aspiro early last year in a deal valued at slightly more than $56 million.

Credit: Guardian

Imo Residents Lament Purchase Of Petrol At 200 Naira

Residents of Owerri, Imo State capital, have been groaning in agony over the lingering fuel crisis across Nigeria.

This is because many of them have had to stay over two days on long queues to buy petrol for 87 Naira per litre at Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) petrol stations.

Other independent petroleum marketers have been selling petrol at the rate of 200 Naira per litre, a situation which the people have bitterly complained about.

They appealed to the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, find a lasting solution to this problem, as it is crippling activities in all sectors in the state.

Credit: ChannelsTv

I Was Never Invited By Panel On Arms Purchase– Dasuki

The former National Security Adviser (NSA) Colonel Sambo Dasuki, has denied ever receiving any invitation letter to appear before a committee set up by the current administration to investigate procurement processes relating to any arms transaction by the last administration, under which he served.

Colonel Dasuki told an online publication, Premium Times that the DSS is determined to re-arrest him without any court warrant or fresh charges.

He said that his current travails started on Tuesday after Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court ordered his passport returned to him to enable him go abroad for medical treatment.

He added that he received “intelligence” that an order was given to the operatives to effect his arrest at the airport.

As a result, he failed to leave on Wednesday as arranged.

Credit: ChannelsTV

NNPC Issues Guidelines For Sale, Purchase Of Nigeria’s Crude

In its renewed bid to ensure transparency in all commercial activities relating to petroleum operations in Nigeria, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has released the guidelines for the participation of local and foreign companies in the sale and purchase of the various grades of Nigerian crude oil.

The release of the guidelines is coming a few weeks after the corporation initiated measures to make the yearly Offshore Processing Agreements (OPAs) between it and oil traders more transparent.

But while the latest guidelines are in relation to the sale and purchase of Nigeria’s crude oil, OPAs and oil swap agreements are only in respect of the 445,000 barrels of crude oil per day allocated to the NNPC for the country’s refineries.

Details of the guidelines for the sale of the country’s crude, which were published monday, requires companies that wish to participate to show evidence of yearly turnover of $750 million; a minimum net worth of $300 million; ability to establish an irrevocable Letter of Credit for the payment of any allocated crude oil, subject to the terms of the contract; and ability to pay an initial deposit of $2.5 million, representing three lifting deposits upon signing of the contract agreement.

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