British PM Rules Out Return Of Hard Border In North Ireland

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday promised a “practical solution” on the Irish border after Britain leaves the European Union in a bid to allay fears about a return to tough checks.

She spoke on her first visit since taking office to Northern Ireland, which has what would become the United Kingdom’s only border with the EU after Brexit.

“Nobody wants a return to the borders of the past,” May said in Belfast, where she met Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

“What we do want is to find a way through this that is going to work and deliver a practical solution for everybody,” May said in televised comments.

Cross-border relations with the Republic of Ireland are a prime concern for Northern Ireland in negotiations on Britain’s departure from the European Union, and May said Belfast would be involved in the talks.

Britain and Ireland share an open-border Common Travel Area (CTA) that dates back to the 1920s, continuing arrangements from before Irish independence.

Credit: Guardian

New Zealand PM Rules Out Ransom For Citizen Abducted In Nigeria

New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, on Thursday ruled out paying a ransom as a long-held government standing for a New Zealander abducted a day earlier by gunmen in southern Nigeria.

He said at a press conference in Wellington that there was no chance of the government paying a ransom for the release of New Zealander being held hostage in Nigeria.

Key said the compromise would only put a bounty on the head of any New Zealander working in a volatile region and make the situation worse.

Gunmen took at least three foreign contractors, including one New Zealander and two Australians working for an Australian mining company early Wednesday morning and killed their driver on the outskirts of Calabar.

Key said it’s likely the kidnapping was random motivated rather than an act of a terrorist organisation.

“The kidnappers are yet to contact police or make any request.

Meanwhile, The Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, said the Australian High Commissioner in Nigeria is at the scene while New Zealand has no diplomatic mission in the country limiting its capacity to coordinate the rescue.

He said the Australian mining company MacMahon, has been working with Nigerian government to resolve the situation as New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs was receiving updates on the situation.

Credit: NAN

Nigeria Rules Out Cutting Oil Production In Isolation Of OPEC

Nigeria said wednesday it would not cut oil production outside the framework of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), even as nose diving crude prices caused by a global supply glut have ravaged its revenue.

US crude oil prices fell below $30 a barrel on Tuesday, prompting Nigeria, an OPEC member country, to call for an emergency meeting to address collapsing prices that have drained the coffers of Africa’s largest economy.

Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, said in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday that he expected an extraordinary meeting of the global oil cartel in “early March” to discuss the continued plunge in prices.

His push for an emergency meeting was however opposed by the United Arab Emirates, which like Saudi Arabia has resisted calls for production cuts by the oil cartel in order to retain market share.

But until the meeting is formally confirmed, Nigeria can do little in response to the collapsing price of crude, said the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s (NNPC) head of marketing, Mr. Mele Kolo Kyari.

“Nigeria cannot stop the prices of crude from going down,” he told AFP in Abuja.

“The easiest thing to do is to control production but Nigeria can only do that through the OPEC framework and the last OPEC meeting did not agree to cut down production.

“So influencing the price through production is now out of the question.”

Saudi-led Gulf exporters within OPEC have so far refused to cut production to curb sliding prices, seeking to protect their market share despite a heavy blow to their revenues.

Credit: ThisDay

NPC Rules Out Possibility Of Census In 2016

The National Population Commission (NPC) on Thursday said the conduct of a comprehensive National Census in 2016 is not feasible due to factors beyond the commission.

Addressing a media forum in Abuja, the Federal Commissioner representing Enugu State on the Board of the Commission, Dr Festus Uzor, said the commission needs more time to prepare for the census as it requires 1.1 million enumerators and over 50, 000 supervisors to effectively cover the country.

He said the earliest feasible time for the census will be in 2017twenty-seventeen.

Dr Uzor, therefore, appealed to Nigerians and the federal government to support the National Population Commission? in its effort to conduct a credible population census that will be generally acceptable by all.

The commission had earlier made known its intention to adopt the use of bio-metric data technology for the 2017 population and housing census.
The technology will involve the capturing of facial impression and fingerprints of respondents.

Credit: ChannelTV

CBN Rules Out BVN Registration Extension As Deadline Approaches

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has ruled out the possibility of an extension of the deadline for customers to register for the Bank Verification Number (BVN) which closes tomorrow, Tuesday, June 30, 2015.

The director, Corporate Communications, CBN, Ibrahim Mu’azu, who spoke to a reporter on the telephone, yesterday, said that the window was open for one and a half years and customers had ample opportunity to register.

According to him, as at the last check over 14 million bank customers have already registered.

Mu’azu assured that not having the BVN will not prevent bank customers from making transactions, such as payments and withdrawals, on their accounts. However, he said that customers using remote access services, such as internet banking and other services online, and even Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), would not be able to transact business.

Meanwhile, the apex bank also directed banks to provide online platforms for Nigerians in diaspora to register. Although the registration closes tomorrow, many customers are still unaware of the BVN or its benefits, especially Nigerians living outside the country but who have accounts with local banks.

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