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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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Abba Kyari’s Arrest, Extradition: FBI Agents Meet Nigeria’s Police IGP

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Officials of the Federal Bureau of Investigation have met with the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba to demand the arrest and extradition of Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari to the United States, SaharaReporters learnt.

 

According to a top source, four FBI agents met with the IGP on Thursday asking that Nigeria’s celebrated cop, Kyari be taken to the United States for interrogation over his role in the activities of suspected serial internet fraudster, Ramon Abbas, more commonly known as Hushpuppi.

 

The source stated that the agents have returned on Friday (today) to ensure their demands are met, citing the urgency of the case.

 

He said, “FBI agents met with the IGP yesterday (Thursday) to demand Abba Kyari’s arrest and extradition to the United States citing the urgency of the case. Four FBI agents returned to the IG’s office this morning, they are there asking the IGP to release Kyari for interrogation.”

 

Meanwhile, as of Thursday night, the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, had ordered an internal review of the receipt of allegations and indictment processes from the Federal Bureau of Investigation against Kyari.

 

This was contained in a statement issued by the force’s spokesperson, Frank Mba, on its Facebook page on Thursday night.

 

The force also stated that it is committed to the pursuit of justice and the strengthening of its professional relationship with the FBI and other international partners.

 

It assured Nigerians to further communicate developments on the case to members of the public.

 

The statement read, “Sequel to the receipt of allegations and indictment processes from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) against one of the personnel of the Nigeria Police Force, DCP Abba Kyari, the Inspector General of Police IGP Usman Alkali Baba psc (+), NPM, fdc has ordered an internal review of the allegations.

 

“The Nigeria Police Force reaffirms its commitment to the pursuit of justice and the strengthening of its professional relationship with the FBI and other international partners.

 

“Further developments on this case will be communicated to members of the public accordingly.”

 

Otis Wright of the United States District Court for the Central District of California ordered the Federal Bureau of Investigation to track down Kyari and produce him in the United States for his role in a multi-million dollar fraud.

 

Abbas was arrested in Dubai last June and he pleaded guilty to fraud in the U.S. this week.

 

The FBI said Abbas and Kyari have been friends and were both involved in a conspiracy to launder money.

 

American prosecutors first sought a court warrant to arrest Kyari on February 12, 2021.

 

Another warrant was requested on April 29, 2021.

 

Judge Wright’s permission for the FBI to arrest Mr Kyari and hold him in U.S. custody was unsealed on July 26.

 

Hushpuppi had narrated how he bribed Kyari to have one of his rivals arrested and jailed in Nigeria following a dispute over a $1.1 million dupe of a Qatari businessperson.

 

Abbas had asked Kyari to arrest and jail a fellow fraudster Kelly Chibuzor Vincent after both were locked in a dispute presumably over how to share the $1.1 million loot received from the Qatari businessperson.

 

Abbas had pleaded guilty to a multi-million fraud earlier this month and faces up to 20 years in jail.

 

He will be sentenced in the coming weeks and will forfeit some of his assets and his rights to appeal while also paying restitution to victims of his years-long fraud.

 

Kyari in a statement on Facebook has, however, dismissed the allegations of bribe.

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Buhari Meet British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, Discuss Insecurity In Nigeria

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Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari and the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday, appraised the war against different forms of terrorism in Nigeria, and agreed that the judicial process be allowed to run its course.

 

 

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, made this known in a statement on Thursday evening.

 

Adesina said the two leaders held a bilateral talks at the sidelines of the Global Education Summit in London where they agreed that it was important that the judicial process runs without interference, no matter who was involved.

 

According to Buhari’s spokesman, the president briefed the Prime Minister on Nigeria’s power needs and efforts being made, as well as initiatives geared at achieving food security in Nigeria.

 

President Buhari also reviewed the security situation in the different regions of the country, as PM Johnson pledged Britain’s preparedness to help Nigeria curb the deteriorating security situations.

 

PM Johnson said, “We are available to help.”

 

The two leaders equally discussed how to increase trade between the two countries, develop solar and wind power, leadership of the Commonwealth going forward and other matters of mutual interest.

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Tokyo2020: Okagbare, Nwokocha Qualify For 100m Semi Final

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For the very first time in nine years, two Nigerian athletes will be running in the semifinals of the women’s 100m after Blessing Okagbare and Nzubechi Grace Nwokocha qualified from their respective heats Friday in Tokyo, Japan, Newspremises reports.

 

Nwokocha had to run a new personal best of 11.00 seconds to secure her qualification to the semifinals in her debut at the Games.

 

The 20 year old has also moved into fifth in the Nigeria all-time list behind Okagbare (10.79), Glory Alozie (10.90) Mary Onyali (10.97) and Damola Osayomi (10.99).

 

The home-based athlete who ran 11.09 seconds to secure her qualification for the Olympics in March at the MOC Grand Prix in Lagos will however need to make further history by breaking the 11 seconds barrier as the fifth Nigerian woman to do so to stand a chance of joining Onyali and Okagbare as debutants who ran all the way to the final of the event.

 

She has been drawn to run from lane nine in the third semifinal heat with the fastest woman alive, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica, Daryl Neita of Great Britain, Teahna Daniels of the USA and fellow African, Muriel Ahoure of Ivory Coast.

 

While Nwokocha qualified for her first semifinal, Okagbare will be running in her third since she made her debut in the event at the 2012 Olympics in London. The 32 year old ran 11.05 seconds to win her first round heat.

 

She has been drawn in the first semifinal heat alongside two heavyweights of the event, defending champion Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica who ran 10.82 seconds to win her first round heat and Great Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith, the 200m world champion two years ago in Doha, Qatar who ran 11.07 seconds to come second in her first round heat.

 

The 2008 Beijing Olympics Long Jump silver medallist will be in action at exactly 11.15 am Nigerian time on Saturday.

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