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Electricity: Free meters distribution begins today ahead of new tariff

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 By Fola Raheem

Distribution of free electricity meters is expected to commence across the country today as indication has emerged that power customers may start paying new rate for electricity consumed from next week.

Already, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has through its Development Financing Department, released a framework for the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP).

The National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) will roll out the free meters with a simultaneous launch of the scheme in Kano, Kaduna, Eko and Ikeja Disco franchise areas, according to a Presidency source.

President Muhammadu Buhari had initiated the programme to close the metering gap in the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry and eliminate arbitrary estimated billing in the electricity sector.

Newstrends learnt that all arrangements for the launch had been concluded with relevant groups and authorities including representatives of the organised labour and civil society on the ground for adequate motoring and guide during the distribution.

The CBN said an analysis provided by the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission put the metering gap in the NESI – based on recent customer enumeration data – at over 10 million.

“This comprises unmetered customers as well as customers with obsolete meters that need to be replaced,” it stated.

The Presidency source said the “NMMP is to roll out six million meters for all connections points on grid without meters over the next 18 to 24 months, estimating to impact 30 million consumers nationwide.

“Following Mr President’s directive on mass metering, the Central Bank of Nigeria, on October 18th, approved guidelines for funding the mass metering programme which entailed that all meters under the scheme will be locally sourced, creating thousands of manufacturing jobs through lead manufacturers such as MOMAS, MOJEC and others.”

The source also said, “The launch of the NMMP will be part of a continuous effort where all DisCos will go from location to location across the country with their respective Meter Asset Providers to install meters for all Nigerians.”

Minister of State for Power, Prince Godwin Jedy-Agba, had said out of the six million meters planned for distribution, the government would start with one million were expected to be distributed before the end of December this year.

Meanwhile, the government may have given a nod for the resumption of the collection of Service-Based electricity Tariffs (SBT) from next week.

Following a threat of strike by the organised labour, government suspended the implementation of the new electricity tariff regime in September.

But it was learnt on Friday that the labour might have backed down on the issue after the government had agreed to roll out free electricity meters.

It was also resolved that the tariffs for certain categories of power consumers should be reviewed downward.

Those in A and B bands were reduced by 10 per cent, the tariff for C band customers was reduced by 30 per cent.

For the D and E bands, there will be no increase in their tariff.

The Special Adviser on Infrastructure to President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr Ahmad Zakari, confirmed this during the 51st virtual Power Dialogue organised by Nigeria Electricity Hub in Abuja on Thursday.

He said since labour had accepted the new terms, the implementation would begin next week.

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FG demolishes illegal structures on Apapa-Oshodi expressway

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By Dada Jackson

The Federal Ministry of Works and Housing has demolished illegal structures on the Right of Way, (RoW) around Toyota Bus Stop, near the popular Ladipo auto part market on the Apapa-Oshodi expressway, Lagos

Briefing journalists at the demolition site, the Federal Controller of Works, Lagos, Olukayode Popoola, said the demolition exercise became inevitable, considering the fact that the traders were given enough notice by the ministry to vacate the place but failed to do so.

He said, “The traders were given an initial two weeks’ notice to vacate the corridor but they ignored it. Afterwards, they were given another two weeks but still the illegal occupants turned a deaf ear. After the expiration of the final notice, the ministry had no option but to apply he full force of the law.”

According to him, only the Minister of Works and Housing has the statutory right to grant anybody to occupy the Right of Way, adding that none of the traders along the corridor was granted the ROW.

Popoola said that the items confiscated by the task force could only be retrieved by the traders after they must have signed an undertaking never to encroach on the Right of Way again.

The controller said that it would not be ‘business as usual’, adding the reclaimed RoW would be beautified to further make Lagos a place of pride.

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Ndume: Amnesty for bandits may produce another form of criminality

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Senator representing Borno South, Ali Ndume, has said giving amnesty to bandits will encourage other criminal groups to take up arms.

He stated this when he featured on a Channels Television Programme on Sunday.

There has been controversy whether there should be negotiations with bandits, following a request by an Islamic cleric, Ahmad Gumi, that the Federal Government should offer “blanket amnesty” to them.

But Ndume, in his reaction to the issue, said, “I don’t think blanket amnesty is the solution, because if you do that, another form of criminality may emerge, hoping that the government will bring them to the negotiation table.

“I think the carrot-and-stick approach should be used in dealing with this kind of situation. We have to find out the root of the causes of this banditry were witnessing in the north-west particularly — the army of herders and people that are involved in this.

“The government, I think as a matter of emergency, should form a committee of eminent people or those people that can reach out and get to the root causes of this issue.”

The senator also called for a speedy justice system for the prosecution of suspected bandits, adding that it will help to discourage other such persons.

“A holistic approach should be kick-started to address this problem, and I believe that it can be done with all manner of seriousness. Time isn’t on our side, and more are coming in,” Ndume said.

“The other thing is that the system must invoke a fast justice system, where justice will be dispensed. I’ve said it several times that you see people paraded, and that would be the end of it. It seems that it’s a big network that must be busted by the government. And the earlier that is done, the better.”

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Zamfara working with repentant bandits to get abducted girls released – Matawalle

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  • Says Nigerians will be shocked by those behind the abduction
  • Aviation minister leads FG delegation to state

Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, on Sunday said revelations about those behind the attack on Government Girls’ Secondary School, Jangebe last Friday and abduction of over 300 students will shock Nigerians.

He stated this just he told a high powered Federal Government’s delegation led by o the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, that the state government was working with repentant bandits to secure the release of the abducted schoolgorls.

The governor, while speaking on Sunday when 17 Emirs in the state paid him a sympathy visit over the abduction of the schoolgirls, said Nigerians would be shocked to know people behind the abduction of the girls.

Also during the visit, the Emir of Anka and Chairman of Zamfara state Council of Chiefs, Alhaji Attahiru Anka, berated the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), over the upsurge in killings and kidnappings by bandits in the country.

Gunmen on Friday had attacked GGSS Jangede, and abducted over 300 girls, while seven of the girls escaped while they were being taken into the bush.

This happened about two weeks after bandits abducted 27 students and 15 workers of Government Science College, Kagara, Niger State.

Before the attack in Kagara, bandits had struck in Kundu village, also in Niger State and abducted passengers of the state transport service bus.

Commenting on the rising insecurity in the country, the Emir of Anka blamed the Federal Government.

He said, “The Federal Government is in total control of the security operatives in the country and not the state governors, as such the President is the one who has failed to address the issue of insecurity.”

In his response, Matawalle thanked the Emirs for the solidarity visit and assured them that he would not abandon his peace accord with the bandits no matter what the people would say.

He said, “Many people will be surprised to hear those people behind the abduction of these innocent children.”

“They are not comfortable with the progress I am getting as a result of my peace initiative and they want to do all they can to sabotage my efforts”.

“I will insha Allah succeed at the end of the day and they will bury their faces in shame,” said the governor.

Delivering a speech on behalf of the President, Sirika said the Federal Government was deeply concerned with the abduction at the GSSS Jangebe.

He stated, “The President is deeply concerned and worried about the abduction of students in Zamfara State and other states where such incidents occurred.”

Responding, the governor said the abducted students would be released soon.

He said the state government was working with repentant bandits to facilitate the safe rescue of the schoolgirls.

“We are using the leaders of the repentant bandits to rescue the schoolgirls from the kidnappers. Very soon, we are going to witness the release of the abductees,” he said.

Matawalle added that his administration “is going to continue with peace process with bandits, considering its impact in addressing security challenges facing the state”.

He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for sending the delegation to symphathise with the state.

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