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Osinbajo presides as FEC mourns Olowoporoku, Baba

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Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo this morning presided over a virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the State House Council Chambers, Abuja as President Muhammadu Buhari arrived in London for a two-week medical check-up.

FEC members gave a minute silence in honour of two former ministers, Senator Bode Olowoporoku and Alhaji Umaru Muhammad Baba.

The virtual FEC meeting had seven members physically present in the Executive Council Chambers of the State House.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, announced the passage of the two former ministers to the council and recalled their various services to the country.

Senator Olowoporoku, who served as Senator representing Ekiti South Senatorial, was Minister of Science and Technology in the Second Republic.

He died on Wednesday, March 24, 2021 at 76.

Baba was at different times Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and Minister of State for Defence.

He died on Friday, March 26, 2021 at 81.

Also at the FEC meeting is Chief of Staff to President Professor Ibrahim Gambari and National Security Adviser (NSA), Major-General Babagana Monguno (Rtd).

The ministers in physical attendance are those of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Power, Mamman Saleh; Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, and Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed.

Others are ministers of the FCT, Mallam Mohammed Bello; Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, and the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.

The Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan as well as other members of Council joined the meeting virtually.

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JUST IN: Old naira: IMF asks FG, CBN to extend February 10 deadline

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has called for the extension of the February 10 deadline to phase out the old naira notes.

The International monetary body made the call just after the Supreme Court had restrained the Federal Government and Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) from enforcing the deadline.

The IMF, in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday by Laraba Bonet, said the plea was on the hardship Nigerians were exposed to over the issue.

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It said: “in light of hardships caused by disruptions to trade and payments due to the shortage of new bank notes available to the public, in spite of measures introduced by the CBN to mitigate the challenges in the banknote swap process, the IMF encourages the CBN to consider extending the deadline should problems persist  in the next few days leading up to the February 10, 2023 deadline”.

The IMF is the first international financial organisation to openly call for extension of the deadline for the deposit of old Naira notes.

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Cash crunch: Protesters defy police in Abeokuta, make bonfires on major roads

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Residents of Abeokuta, Ogun State, took to the streets on Tuesday protesting the scarcity of cash and the attendant pains.

Major streets affected by the protests are Aladesanmi, Fajol and Somorin in Obantoko area of Abeokuta as the protesters made bonfires and chanted anti-CBN songs
The Sapon branch of First Bank was also vandalised and the protesters tried to set it ablaze.
Ogun Police spokesman, Abimbola Oyeyemi, confirmed the protest, saying police officers were on the ground to monitor the situation and prevent the destruction of property and loss of lives.
He said some group of boys were involved in the crisis.
The police later came to disperse the protesters but they regrouped as soon as the operatives withdrew from the scene.
The situation affected vehicular movement as motorists and pedestrians ran in different directions to avert being caught up in the chaotic situation.

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Court frees Diezani associate Omokore of $1.6bn fraud

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An Abuja federal high court on Tuesday discharged and acquitted Jide Omokore, chairman of Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Nigeria Limited, of $1.6bn fraud allegations.

Omokore, an associate of former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with Victor Briggs, Abiye Membere, and David Mbanefo on a 15-count charge on July 4, 2016.

They were accused of fraudulently diverting the $1.6bn said to be part of proceeds of sales of petroleum products belonging to the Federal Government.

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