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Lai Mohammed: ICC, Amnesty aggravating Nigeria’s security challenges

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The Federal Government has accused the International Criminal Court (ICC) and Amnesty International, among other rights groups of frustrating efforts to tackle the Nigeria’s security challenges.

It alleged that the groups were attacking security forces and threatening them with investigation and possible prosecution over war crimes and human rights abuses.

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said this at a press conference in Lagos while reviewing achievements of the government in 2020.

He also faulted the position of those he described as “jaundiced analysts and their lapdogs,’’ who declared that Nigeria is a failing or failed state due to its security challenges.

He said, “Nigeria is fending off attacks on many fronts, not just from terrorists and bandits, but also from some human rights organisations and the International Criminal Court (ICC), which seem to have colluded to exacerbate the challenges facing the country in the area of security.

“While our security agencies continue to battle these bandits and terrorists, the ICC and some international human rights organisations, especially Amnesty International, have constituted themselves to another ‘fighting force’ against Nigeria, constantly harassing our security forces and threatening them with investigation and possible prosecution over alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes. Unfortunately, a section of the local media has been parroting these organisations without weighing the impact of their constant threats on the security of the nation.”

The minister condemned the “unbridled attempt to demoralise our security men and women as they confront the onslaught from bandits and terrorists.”

He said Nigeria would not surrender its sovereignty to the ICC as it did not join “the ICC so it can become a pawn on the court’s chessboard. It beggars belief to see that a nation that is fighting an existential war against bandits and terrorists is constantly being held down by an international body which it willingly joined.”

He also said, the “ICC, Amnesty International and their cohorts should desist from threatening our troops and putting the security of our country in jeopardy. Enough is enough.”

He said the ICC and Amnesty International based their allegations on fake news and disinformation, citing the CNN report that alleged that the army shot unarmed protesters at the Lekki Tollgate during the EndSARS protest.

“As you are aware, we called CNN out and also petitioned the network. Though they acknowledged receipt of our petition, we have yet to hear from them on what actions they intend to take to prevent a recurrence of the fake news they peddled about Nigeria. I can assure you, that the matter is far from over,” he added.

The minister allayed fears of fresh lockdown over rising cases of COVID-19.

He said President Muhammadu Buhari had no intention of imposing any lockdown, but lamented that Nigerians were not obeying the health guidelines such as wearing of face masks and social distancing to curtail further spread of the virus.

Mohammed also faulted the position of those describing Nigeria as a failed state, saying that the gloomy prediction would not come to pass.

He added that the country would rise to become a more respected member of the comity of nations.

The minister said, “You would remember that for the past two decades or so, some pseudo-analysts have been predicting the country’s implosion.

“That has not happened, hence they have found a new watchword – failing or failed state!

“It’s all a ruse aimed at depicting Nigeria as being in a constant state of anarchy so they can achieve their nefarious objectives for the country.”

According to him, notwithstanding the antics of the analysts who constituted themselves into another ‘fighting force,’ the country has made tremendous progress in tackling bandits and Boko Haram terrorists.

He said, “If Nigeria was not a ‘failing’ state when a large slice of its territory equivalent to the size of Belgium was under the occupation of Boko Haram, which collected taxes, installed and deposed emirs, is it now that no territory is under the terrorists that Nigeria will be a failing state?

“If Nigeria was not a failed state when bombs were raining on towns and cities in Kano, Kaduna, Plateau, Borno, Yobe, FCT and other states, is it now that such bombings have stopped that Nigeria will be described as a ‘failing’ state?

“If Nigeria was not a ‘failing’ state in those years that Christian and Muslim worshippers needed to be screened to even enter their places of worship, is it now that the siege on places of worship has ceased that Nigeria will be described as a ‘failing’ state?’’ Mohammed said it was sad that many people had forgotten where the country was in terms of the state of insecurity just a few years back.”

The minister commended the military and other security agencies for their patriotism and commitment to the anti-terror war.

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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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