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Nationwide outage as grid collapses to zero megawatts again

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Nigeria was thrown into a total blackout Monday morning as the national grid collapsed to zero megawatts (MW).

The latest incident, which reportedly occurred at 10:51am Monday, is the seventh time the power grid would collapse this year.

This came just days after electricity consumers said they had enjoyed improved supply.

Some power distribution companies including Kaduna Electric, Enugu and Kano have already communicated the nationwide outage to their customers, adding that efforts were being made to restore supply.

The national electricity grid as of 10am on Monday had 3,712MW generated from 21 power generation companies (GenCos) before it dropped to 0MW one hour after, Daily Trust reported.

It stated that information from the System Operations, a section of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), indicated only Afam IV was on the grid but with zero supply as of 12noon.

It also showed that as of Sunday, the highest generation was 4,100MW while the lowest was 3,652MW with the frequency hovered between 49.04 Hertz (Hz) and 50.34Hz.

Electricity consumers have attested to improvement in supply in their various areas since July this year.

For instance, the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) recently confirmed increment in its daily allocation to over 500MW from the actual 300MW it had distributed before then.

Though the national grid had not cross 5,000MW, Daily Trust observed that level of load rejection especially around the DisCos’ networks had dropped significantly with some customers entitled to five-hour supply, recording over 12 hours daily.

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) had attributed the improvement in power supply nationwide to the partial activation of contracts seeking to hold sector operators liable for deliberate incompetence.

The national grid collapsed twice, in July and in August but was quickly restored and power supply improvement was sustained before the latest system collapse on Monday.

Although the TCN, the national grid manager, was yet to establish the cause of the crash, some insider said it could be as a result of a maintenance of the 330 kilovolts Jos – Bauchi transmission line maintenance slated for Monday.

 

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Aisha Buhari bows to pressure, withdraws case against Internet critic

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Aminu Adamu and Aisha Buhari

Wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, has withdrawn her case against a final-year student of the Federal University, Dutse, Jigawa State, Aminu Mohammed, following pressure and condemnation by activists, Amnesty International, the National Association of Nigerian Students, and other Nigerians.

The prosecution counsel, Fidelis Ogbobe, while withdrawing the case on behalf of Mrs Buhari, said the President’s wife, being the mother of the nation, decided to withdraw the case following the intervention of “well-meaning Nigerians”.

Moving a motion for the withdrawal of the case, Ogbobe cited Section 108 (2)(a) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act. Justice Yusuf Halilu of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory commended Mrs Buhari for withdrawing the case.

Halilu, while issuing the release warrant, called on parents to always monitor their children to avoid recurrence

The 24-year-old student had alleged in Hausa that the wife of the President was “feeding fat on poor people’s money”. It was reported that he was moved from Bauchi to Abuja on Aisha’s command and locked up.

Muhammad’s uncle, Shebu Azare, had, in an interview published by BBC Hausa, on Monday, said the victim’s father, Mallam Adamu, was not aware of his son’s arrest until five days later when the matter had escalated.

The matter had also generated a lot of reactions, with prominent Nigerians, including the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, Omoyele Sowore, and other human rights activists calling for the student’s release.

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According to a police report, Muhammed was arrested at Federal University Dutse on November 18, 2022, after the wife of the President instructed a team of police detectives to track him down.

The Presidency had also barred visitors from visiting inmates at the Suleja Correctional Centre, Niger State, following the arrest of Aminu.

 One of our correspondents who visited the facility observed a heavy presence of security agents, with an inscription, “No Visitation,” at the entrance.

A security agent told Saturday PUNCH that there was an order from the Presidency barring all forms of visitation following Muhammed’s arrival at the facility.

“We can’t let you into the facility. No one is allowed to see Aminu. In fact, since he was brought in on Tuesday, no one has been allowed to visit inmates within the facility. You can read the note on the wall, no visitation is allowed, and I don’t want to lose my job,” he told one of our correspondents.

The officer, however, noted that the detained student lacked food since he arrived at the facility on Tuesday, adding that he only had N2,000 on him which spent, and could not afford to get food since no one was allowed to visit or call him.

The security agent added, “I feel for the boy; he arrived here with just N2,000, and it is finished. He complained of hunger today (Thursday), but there was nothing we could do since no one had been allowed to visit or call him. He only ate bread this morning.”

Meanwhile, Amnesty International Nigeria condemned the arrest and alleged torture of Muhammed and called for his immediate release.

Its Director of Amnesty International, Nigeria, Osai Ojigho, said, “The Nigerian authorities must urgently release Aminu Muhammed and drop all charges against him. He is a student accused of defaming Aisha Buhari, the first lady of Nigeria, on Twitter.

“It is beyond disgraceful that the Nigerian authorities have arrested and allegedly tortured Aminu Muhammed after he merely tweeted about the first lady of Nigeria. This deeply repressive act brazenly violates his human rights.

“The bogus charges against Aminu must be urgently and unconditionally dropped. The authorities should instead order an investigation into his unlawful detention and abusive treatment. The fact that he was detained incommunicado highlights the rampant impunity enjoyed by the Nigerian authorities.

“Aminu’s final exams are scheduled for December 5, 2022, at the Federal University, Dutse. He must be urgently freed and be able to finish his degree.”

On November 29, 2022, Muhammed was charged with cybercrime, cybersquatting, computer-related forgery, conspiracy and criminal breach of trust.

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But Amnesty International noted that though the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) ratified the Anti-Torture Act in 2017, torture and other ill-treatment remained pervasive in Nigeria, with police and state security agents continuing to subject detainees to torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment.

Ojigho added, “The heavy-handed mistreatment of Aminu is a clear attempt to strike fear into the hearts of young Nigerians who use social media to hold the powerful to account. The Nigerian authorities must urgently respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression.

“Amnesty International is concerned by the growing number of attacks on freedom of expression in Nigeria. The authorities are increasingly using unlawful arrests and ill-treatment to stifle those who criticise the state. This must stop now.”

 Over 2,000 Nigerians sign petition for critic’s release

However, over 2000 Nigerians have signed a petition seeking the release of the detained undergraduate who they said had been languishing in detention after some security officials, including the police and men of the Department of State Services, arrested him over a post he made on Twitter months ago.

A petition with the title “#FreeAminu” was started on the global change website, change.org, by one Ife David, demanding the student’s unconditional release. The petition had, as of the time of filing this report on Friday, garnered over 2,000 signatures from Nigerians,  calling for the release of the student and a probe of the wife of the President, Aisha, for what they termed as an ‘abuse of power’.

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Oyetola left N76bn salary, pension debts

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Mrs Bimpe Ogunlumade, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance in Osun

Mrs Bimpe Ogunlumade, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance in Osun, says the state government has discovered a salary and pension-related debts, amounting to over N76 billion, left by the immediate past Gov. Adegboyega Oyetola’s administration.

A statement by Malam Olawale Rasheed, the Spokesperson of Gov. Ademola Adeleke of Osun, said on Thursday in Osogbo that Ogunlumade made the revelations while briefing officials of the new administration on the state’s financial status.

According to Rasheed, the Osun Government has uncovered a monumental debt in salaries, pensions and insurance commitments incurred by the administration of Mr Gboyega Oyetola, amounting to N76 billion.

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“This revelation was made by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mrs Bimpe Ogunlumade, while briefing officials of the new administration on the financial status of the state on Thursday.

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Some public servants earn more salary than the president – RMAFC boss

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Mohammed Shehu, chairman, Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC)

Mohammed Shehu, chairman, Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), says some political appointees earn more salary than President Muhammadu Buhari.

Shehu disclosed this during an interview on Channels Television on Thursday.

The RMAFC boss, who spoke on the commission’s plan to review judicial and political holders’ salaries, said some officials of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) collect salaries higher than the president.

He said the country needs to review allocations as some agencies remit less revenue. 

“The severance package of the president is just N10.5 million. This is after the president leaves office. You can imagine after spending four or eight years, that would be the only take-home. The salary of Mr President is not up to N1.3 million a month,” he said.

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“There are people in the private sector and others in other public sectors that earn twice, three times or four times. No public servant should earn a salary bigger than Mr President. But we do have public servants that earn salaries bigger than Mr President, such as in the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), etc.

“My argument has always been that no public servant should earn allowances, severances, or salaries larger than the president of the federal republic of Nigeria, and I stand by it.”

Speaking further on how salaries would be reviewed, especially on current realities, Shehu said salary review would go through processes.

He, however, added that salaries may be reviewed upward after going through due processes.

“When you do a review, the takeoff point is not immediate. And this is a process that has to go to the president and then to the national assembly, and then it becomes a law,” he added.

“I can not tell you whether we can afford it or not, but what I can tell you is there are unremitted revenues out there, probably estimated from N6 trillion to N7 trillion that should be remitted to the federation account.

The Cable

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