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Terrorists ambush gov convoy, kill 15 soldiers, policemen, others

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Terrorists suspected to be Boko Haram members on Friday killed 15 security personnel in an ambush on the convoy of the Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum.

Sources told AFP that eight policemen, three soldiers, and four members of a government-backed militia were killed in the attack on vehicles carrying the Borno governor near the town of Baga on the shores of Lake Chad.

The insurgents reportedly opened fire on the convoy with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades as the governor’s team was passing through a village close to the headquarters of the Multinational Joint Task Force, a military coalition of troops from Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

“The governor escaped unhurt but 15 security men on the convoy were killed in a fierce battle with the terrorists,” one source said.

Zulum was on an assessment tour of Baga in preparation for the return of thousands of residents displaced from the town by the jihadists in 2014, the sources said.

The governor flew on a helicopter into the garrison town of Monguno, 60 kilometres (40 miles) away, and headed to Baga in a convoy under tight security, one of the sources said.

The IS-affiliated Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) group maintains most of its camps on islands in Lake Chad and the region is known as a bastion for the jihadists.

The militant group has recently intensified attacks on military and civilian targets in the region.

In July, Zulum’s convoy came under gun attack from ISWAP outside Baga, forcing him to cancel his trip to the town.

Last week, the group killed a Nigerian army commander along with three soldiers in an ambush near the town of Damboa.
Civilians plying highway linking Monguno and the regional capital Maiduguri said the jihadists set up daily checkpoints, robbing, killing and abducting passengers.

The decade-long insurgency in northeast Nigeria has killed about 36,000 people and forced over two million to vacate their homes.

Most of the displaced have been housed in squalid camps where they depend on food handouts from international charities.

Local authorities have been encouraging the displaced people to go back home despite concern from aid agencies of the security risks to which the returnees would be exposed.
Last week, Zulum said feeding the displaced was not financially sustainable, insisting the only option was for them to return and rebuild their homes and live a “dignified” life.
ISWAP splintered from the main Boko Haram group in 2016 and has gone on to be the dominant insurgent force in the region.

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We won’t tamper with foreign currency in your dom accounts, CBN assures customers

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says speculations that the apex bank is considering converting foreign exchange (FX) in the domiciliary accounts of customers to naira should be ignored.

 

Speaking with reporters on Monday in Abuja, Osita Nwanisobi, the apex bank’s acting director in charge of corporate communications, described those making such allegations as “criminal speculators whose intention was to create panic in the foreign exchange market”.

 

On Tuesday, CBN announced that it would discontinue sales of FX to Bureau De Change operators(BDCs).

 

Godwin Emefiele, governor of the apex bank, had accused BDCs of becoming agents for illegal financial flows and working with corrupt people to conduct money laundering in Nigeria.

 

The development has heightened fears of forex scarcity among Nigerians and led to a significant drop in the value of the naira against the dollar.

 

Addressing insinuations about CBN’s plan to check the purported unavailability of forex, Nwasinobi assured that the apex bank will not tamper with the foreign exchange deposits in the accounts of customers.

 

“At no time did the CBN ever imply that it would tinker with the foreign exchange deposits of customers,” he said.

 

Nwasinobi urged operators of domiciliary accounts and other members of the banking public to go about their legitimate foreign exchange transactions and disregard fictitious stories aimed at pitching them against the apex bank and triggering chaos in the system.

 

Nwanisobi assured the banking public that the CBN would monitor the commercial banks to ensure they meet the legitimate FX demands of customers.

 

He said the CBN had put in place monitoring mechanism to guarantee the seamless sale of foreign exchange to customers who supported their requests with relevant documentation.

 

He also said the CBN had extracted the commitment of the banks, through their chief executive officers, that customers with legitimate FX requests will not be turned back.

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FG adopts gas as strategy towards climate-change-net-zero-emission ― Sylva

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The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, Tuesday, disclosed that the Federal Government has adopted gas as a strategy to meeting the nation’s climate-change-net-zero-emission target.

 

Speaking at the Annual International Conference & Exhibition of the Society of Petroleum Engineers in Lagos with the theme: “The Future of Energy – A Trilogy of Determinants: Climate Change, Public Health, and the Global Oil Market”, he expressed the government’s concern about joining the rest of the world to transit from oil to cleaner fuels.

 

Specifically, he said: “Let me state categorically that our approach towards the climate-change-net-zero-emission debate is to optimize the use of our abundant gas resource domestically as a transition fuel option towards meeting our Nationally Determined Contributions to climate change.

 

“As a Government, we are determined to encourage more penetration of natural gas and its derivatives for domestic utilisation, power generation, gas-based industries, and propulsion in all aspects of the national economy. This would in a fundamental manner address the great challenge posed by volatile oil market, the environmental issues and public health concerns.”

 

The Minister of State, who reflected on current issues in the global oil market, said: “Regarding the global oil market in the foreseeable years, it is becoming obvious that a global migration from a fossil fuel-based economy to renewable would engender a corresponding decline in hydrocarbon including possible divestiture in the sector as deliberate frameworks are being championed to discourage the extraction of carbon-laden resources. The COVID-19 Pandemic has further exacerbated the investment decline.

 

“The Government of Nigeria in collaboration with global partners are exploring policies, technologies, and investments to address the current global challenge that will support migration from our reliance on carbon dependent fuels to meeting our commitment to the Paris Agreement.”

 

He, however, added: “It is our belief that the distinguished Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) will be at the forefront of our quest to achieve the desired balance of a clean environment, safe public health, and a renewed global oil market. This SPE Annual International Conference and Exhibition will be an appropriate platform to bring to the front-burner the critical discussions that would forge a robust and implementable clean energy solutions pathway for Nigeria.”

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Court unfreezes Dokpesi’s accounts, orders release of seized documents

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A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered accounts of businessman and politician, Raymond Dokpesi be unfrozen.

 

The Court also ordered the release of his documents being held by the State.

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had obtained court order freezing the accounts and seized his documents in the course of prosecuting Dokpesi and his company, Daar Investment and Holdings Limited, before the court.

 

They were charged with engaging in procurement fraud and breach of public trust, in relation to the N2.1billion they got from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), under Colonel Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (rtd).

 

In a judgment on April 1, the Court of Appeal in Abuja set aside the November 21, 2018 ruling by Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, rejecting their no-case submission and ordering Dokpesi and his company to enter a defence.

 

In her lead judgment in the unanimous decision of the appellate court’s three-man panel, Justice Elfrieda Williams-Daudu, held among others, that the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against Dokpesi and his company to warrant their being called upon to enter a defence.

 

The Court of Appeal then upheld their no-case submission, quashed the charge against them and discharged and acquitted them.

 

Armed with the Court of Appeal decision, Dokpesi returned to the Federal High Court, Abuja with an application for orders directing the EFCC to unfreeze his account and return documents seized from him while his trial lasted.

 

In a ruling on Tuesday, Justice Tsoho rejected the opposition by the prosecution and proceeded to grant the application by Dokpesi and his company.

 

Justice Tsoho, who is the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, held that since the charge which precipitated the restriction on the accounts had been quashed and the applicants discharged and acquitted by the Court of Appeal, the restriction could no longer be justified.

 

The judge further held that the EFCC had no basis to sustain the post no debit order on the accounts in view of the subsisting and valid order of the Court of Appeal.

 

He noted that the EFCC did not obtain any order staying the execution of the judgment of the Court of Appeal since it was delivered on April 1.

 

On EFCC’s argument that it has lodged an appeal at the Supreme Court against the judgment of Court of Appeal, Justice Tsoho held that the notice of appeal filed at the apex court cannot, in law, stay the execution of the subsisting judgment.

 

He added that the prosecution ought to have obtained an order staying the execution of the judgment.

 

Justice Tsoho was of the view that in the absence of any order staying the execution of the judgment by the Court of Appeal, his court was bound by law to give effect to the judgment.

 

He then ordered that the vacation of the freezing order earlier obtained by the EFCC on the accounts in compliance with the judgment of the Court of Appeal.

 

The judge equally ordered that all documents seized from Dokpesi or voluntarily surrendered by him to the state be immediately returned to him.

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