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Nine abducted ABU students regain freedom

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Nine students of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria kidnapped last Sunday have regained their freedom.

The students were going to Lagos for an immersion programme at the Nigerian French Language Village in Badagry when they came under attack by kidnappers along the Kaduna-Abuja road.

Kaduna State Government confirmed two persons died during the incident and nine others rescued by security personnel.

Director of Public Affairs at the ABU, Malam Auwal Umar, confirmed the release of the students on Sunday.

He said, “I can confirm to you that the students have been released. They were released yesterday (Saturday) night and most of them have already been reunited with their families.”

The students were reportedly released midnight Saturday after the parents had paid between N500,000 and N4 million as ransom.

One of the parents, who confirmed the release of his daughter, said, “After series of bargaining, they said I should pay N1 million, but I told them that I could not afford to raise that amount. I told them I have over N500,000 and they asked me to bring it.

“I sold my goats, pigs and other belongings to pay the money.”

Another parent said she among the team of four parents that went to deliver the ransom to the bandits, adding that they were directed to come to Abuja Junction.

The parent said, “They called me yesterday (Saturday), and said if I am not able to pay N1 million, they would kill the girls or marry them or use them as sex slave.

“On arriving in Kaduna, we were told that security personnel were monitoring the bandits in the bush. But surprisingly, the bandits called us and told us to come and wait at Abuja junction.

“They sent us a telephone number to call. We called the number and the person came to take us to a car. Unknown to me, the owner of the car is also a victim. His daughter was among those abducted. We drove along the Kaduna-Abuja road. That was around 11pm to deliver the ransom and other things they demanded.”

He said the bandits also demanded some crates of Malta drink and cartons of milk from each parent.

“When we got to Dutse, we stopped at a junction leading to the bush. We met soldiers there and they stopped us and made the four of us in the vehicle to sit on the ground.

“The soldiers noticed that all of us were carrying nylon bags and the items and they asked what was in the nylon bags.

“We told them that we were carrying money to go and pay ransom for the students that were kidnapped. The soldiers wished us safe journey to the bush and we parked the car at the junction.

“We trekked far inside the bush from Dutse and handed over the money to them and they released the girls to us. He said the owner of the car is one of the parents given directives by the bandits.

“The bandits are very clever. They planned everything very well. We came back and picked the vehicle where we parked by the main road and returned with the girls to Kaduna around 1am.

“Some parents paid N1 million; some paid over N1 million; some paid N2 million; some paid over N500,000, depending on how each parent bargained with the hoodlums because they spoke separately with the parents.”

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Lagos Gridlock: Fayose Takes ‘Okada’ To Avoid Missing Flight

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The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) says it is working with the Lagos State Government to address the traffic gridlock on the Murtala Muhammad International Airport (MMIA) road in the state.

 

Daily Trust reports that the traffic gridlock has worsened on the airport road in recent times, forcing some travelers to resort to motorcycles in order not to miss their flights.

There were mixed reactions when the former Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, was sighted on a bike along the airport to catch a flight. It was not clear where the governor was heading to.

 

Our correspondent reports that many passengers on several occasions had to resort to Okada in order not to miss their flights following the hectic traffic gridlock that has become a daily occurrence especially at peak periods on the airport road.

 

The worst hit is the domestic wing of the airport as the gridlock usually stretches from Ikeja under bridge to as far as the airport tollgate.

 

When such happens, commercial motorcyclists popularly known as Okada riders usually flood the airport road, charging passengers as much as N1000 and N2000 to convey them to either the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) or the MMA2, a private terminal operated by the Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL).

 

Though Okada is banned on major roads in Lagos, the riders have continued to defy the law to take over the road leading to the busiest airport in Nigeria.

 

Passengers and airport users have continued to lament the daily traffic gridlock on the airport road where they spend hours commuting from the international airport to the local terminals or the popular Ikeja Under-Bridge.

 

Speaking with Daily Trust, General Manager, Corporate Communications of FAAN, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu in a chat with Daily Trust said Okada remain banned on the airport road and vowed that the authority would continue to clamp down on the riders.

 

She, however, said the authority was working with the state government to address the gridlock on airport road while further clamping down on Okada riders.

 

Asked on what FAAN is doing on the Okada menace, she said, “Of course we are doing something. We usually arrest them and take them to the Police station. We impound their bikes. Only recently we mounted signages warning them on the use of bikes on our access roads. There’s a fee of 50k if caught.”

On the worsening gridlock, she said, “FAAN is working with the LASG to address the traffic gridlock. It starts from under the bridge and the government promised to do something.”

 

Aviation analyst, Group Capt. John Ojikutu, decried the situation, saying it was wrong for Okada to be operating a shuttle on airport service road. He charged FAAN to urgently do something about it.

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Why We Attacked Goronyo Market – Banditry Kingpin

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Bandits operating between Sokoto and Zamfara states have taken responsibility for the attack on Goronyo Market in Sokoto State, where 49 villagers were killed on Sunday, describing it as a reprisal.

 

One of the kingpins, who is close to both Kachallah Turji and Halilu Sububu – the two notorious warlords in the area – Shehu Rekeb, said the attack was carried out to avenge killings of “innocent Fulani” in the area.

Daily Trust had on Tuesday reported that the attack was a joint one with the attackers storming the market on over 100 motorcycles.

 

They surrounded the place and opened fire on buyers and sellers that led to the death of 49 people.

 

“We heard those who attacked Goronyo being described as criminals. They were not.”

 

“The president (Muhammadu Buhari) came out to say so. Those people (of Goronyo) have killed so many people, so they would have to be attacked and killed,” he said.

 

Citing the killing of some Fulani Muslim worshippers at Unguwar Lalle, Rekeb said, “When those people (Fulani) were killed, the president did not say anything but he is now coming out to react to this one.”

 

A resident had on Monday told Daily Trust that, “The recent attack could be a misplaced reprisal by ‘Yan Sakai’ because of the recent killing of 11 herders at Mamande Market in Gwadabawa Local Government Area.

 

“This outlawed group is arresting and killing Fulani men unjustifiably,” he said.

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NNPC Spent N1.1tr On Subsidy, Oil Exploration, FAAC Remittance In 7 Months

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) spent N1.165 trillion to subsidize petrol, for oil exploration and remittance to the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) in seven months of this year.

According to NNPC monthly FAAC report for September, the three expenditure items gulped 57 per cent of the total revenue distribution of N2.043 trillion done by the national oil company in the first eight months of 2021. The balance of N878bn was distributed for other expenditures including crude oil lifting inspection expenses.

On subsidy which NNPC describes as under-recovery of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) value shortfall, the corporation spent N714.791bn within seven months, from February to August.

 

While there was no subsidy spent in January, NNPC spent N25.37bn in February and that figure rose by nearly three times in March to N60.396bn. The corporation then spent N61.966bn in April which more than doubled to N126.298bn in May, following a reported higher rise in the landing cost of imported petrol.

 

The national oil company further incurred a higher cost in petrol subsidy of N164.337bn in June but declined to N103.286bn by July; however, by August, the gain was reversed when subsidy cost rose to N173.132bn, the highest figure published so far.

 

The Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, has continually reiterated that the government was committed to ensuring the total removal of subsidy from next year especially with the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) as Nigerians await the impact of the decision.

 

Frontier exploration gulps N20bn

 

NNPC also spent N20.681bn on frontier oil exploration in seven months with the highest expenditure done in August. While it spent N1.964bn on exploration activities in January, the bill slightly dropped to N1.920 in February but rose to N2.250bn in March. There was no expenditure on oil exploration in April but the figure rose to N3.216bn in May, and dropping to N2.715bn in June. While oil exploration expenses dropped to N2.443bn in July, it rose by three times in August to N6.167bn.

 

This expenditure on oil exploration is being made at a time when global leaders are shifting from the use of fossil fuel to renewable and clean energy. However, Sylva recently said Nigeria will gradually lead its energy transition by focusing on gas exploration towards reaching a cleaner energy goal.

 

More so, in the recently signed PIA, 30 per cent of oil proceeds has been pegged for oil exploration activities at the frontier basins with concerns that these activities are concentrated in the north.

 

However, the Governor of Nasarawa State, Engr. Abdullahi Sule, at an oil and gas union gathering last week in Abuja, clarified this misconception saying what refers to as frontier encompasses all new exploration areas including the Niger Delta, with the Benue Trough exploration reaching Calabar, the Cross River State capital. He also said it includes the Benin Basin and some undeveloped offshore areas in the South-South.

 

FAAC gets N429bn in 7 months

 

The corporation also remitted N429.284bn oil proceeds to the FAAC for seven months during the period as it skipped remittance in April.

 

The breakdown of the remittance shows that NNPC remitted N90.860bn in January, but that dropped to N64.161bn in February, and further depleted to N41.184bn in March 2021.

 

There was no remittance in April which was said to have gone for subsidizing petrol pump price per litre to keep it at the 162 to N165 price band.

 

By May, the remittance to FAAC dropped to N38.608bn but rose significantly to N47.162bn in June and higher to N67.280bn in July before climaxing at N80.030bn in August.

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