Kachikwu, Baru meets Osinbajo; Buhari leaves for Turkey and many more on Atiku’s Intels and Monkeypox
Here are some of our top stories from Wednesday.
The Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, and the Group Managing Director, GMD, of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Maikanti Baru, on Wednesday held a closed door meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in his office at the presidential Villa, Abuja.
Mr. Kachikwu, who briefed State House correspondents after the meeting said it was held to discuss issues in the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry.
He said the meeting was necessitated by some information brought about by an International oil company, AGIP, regarding its operations in “Okpai, in terms of Zabazaba field, and in terms of the cash call exit which they are doing with the NNPC.”
He said the meeting briefed Mr. Osinbajo on areas the company needed assistance from some government officials to fast track their operations of the field.
The minister also said the meeting discussed “a few completion items on NNPC” with regards to cash call, as well as “the opening up of the escrow accounts and that type of stuff which they need to fasten up on.”
President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday presided over the meeting of Federal Executive Council (FEC) at the presidential villa, Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the meeting which started at about 10 a.m., was attended by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, acting Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Habiba Lawal, and cabinet ministers.
The president was scheduled to leave Abuja for Turkey immediately after the council’s meeting.
A statement by the president’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, on Tuesday, said Mr. Buhari would participate in the ninth D-8 Summit in Istanbul, Turkey, on Oct. 20.
The conflict climaxing in the Nigerian Ports Authority finally cancelling lucrative pilotage contract it had entered with logistics giant, Intels last week, took a long time coming.
Aside the much publicised controversy over the Nigerian government’s Treasury Single Account and the failed bid by the NPA to get Intels to enroll into the scheme, PREMIUM TIMES also traced an old conflict on the monopoly enjoyed by the logistics company in handling oil and gas cargoes.
This newspaper has reviewed documents dating back to 2006 detailing a tumultuous relationship between the two parties and the policy rigmarole that complicated the business partnership.
In May, PREMIUM TIMES reported the raging feud between the two sides and the decision by the NPA to seek the intervention of the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.
Ensconced within the imposing structures of the twin-complex Federal Secretariat, Abuja, is an uncompleted building which over the years has housed a shanty that doubles for some as a residential and business point.
The shanty, which exists outside the federal capital city masterplan, without interference by government, is located in an abandoned building within the secretariat complex, with prominent government establishments, including the federal ministries of finance, education and health, as well as Louis Edet House (Nigeria Police Force Headquarters) among its neighbours.
A PREMIUM TIMES reporter, who visited the spot over several weeks to monitor activities there gathered that the building is originally part of Phase Three of the federal secretariat. But it was not allocated to any ministry or agency because it was not completed.
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Senate Caucus on Wednesday met with the party’s, minority leaders of State Assemblies, assuring that the party was stronger and set to dislodge the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, from power in 2019.
Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, made this known while briefing journalists shortly after the meeting which held behind closed door at the National Assembly Complex.
He said that a teeming number of stalwarts of other political parties “were on their way to the main opposition party in droves.
The 36 states of the federation spent N2.67 billion to service external debt in September.
The amount is contained in a report obtained on Wednesday by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) from the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation.
Figures from the Debt Management Office (DMO) also showed that as at June 30, 2017, the 36 state governments and the Federal Capital Territory had a debt stock of about $3.94 billion (N1.2 trillion).
According to DMO, the states and the FCT are currently servicing loans with multilateral agencies like the World Bank and Agence Française de Dévelopement, AFD.
The monkeypox virus may have spread to 11 states with 74 suspected cases recorded, Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, has said.
Mr. Adewole made the disclosure in Abuja on Wednesday when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting of the Federal Executive Council, FEC.
President Muhammadu Buhari chaired the meeting held at the State House Council Chamber, Abuja.
The Federal Government on October 11 confirmed that 33 suspected cases of the virus were recorded in seven states.
However, after samples of the suspected cases were sent for test at a WHO laboratory in Senegal, only three cases from Bayelsa tested positive.
Monkeypox is a rare viral zoonosis (a virus transmitted to humans from animals) with symptoms in humans similar to those seen in the past in smallpox patients, although less severe.
The bedlam on Tuesday in Rivers State, in which parents in Port Harcourt and other towns in the state rushed to withdraw their children and wards from schools, was incited by the state government, a review of the development by Premium Times has revealed.
The parents were reacting to a seeming confirmation of a rumour that personnel of the Nigerian military were moving round schools in the state to forcibly inject pupils with the Monkey pox virus under the pretext of inoculating them against the disease.
The same rumour had caused panic last week in some states in the North-east, South-east and South-south.
But in those instances, government officials promptly quelled the rumour and restored order by unequivocally declaring that no vaccination programme was going on in any school in their states.
The Nigerian Army, 32 Artillery Brigade in Akure, Ondo State has said it would fish out and sanction those who spread rumours of an alleged planned vaccination of school children against monkeypox by soldiers.
The command said it would arrest those who spread the “wicked and fake” rumour in the state on Tuesday.
School activities were cut short on Tuesday after rumours filtered into town that the army was injecting students with the monkeypox virus.
Parents immediately stormed the schools and withdrew their children as panic spread from one school to the other.
By Wednesday, some of the schools were yet to resume normal academic activities despite the state government’s rebuttal of the vaccination rumour.
A prosecution witness, Orji Chukwuma, in the ongoing trial of a former Special Assistant on Domestic Affairs to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Waripamo-Owei Dudafa, on Tuesday told Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court , Ikoyi, Lagos, how Mr. Dudafa allegedly laundered several billions of Naira for a former First Lady, Patience Jonathan.
Mr. Dudafa is standing trial alongside Joseph Iwuejo, his ex-account officer, who allegedly aided him to perpetrate the fraud.
Messrs. Dudafa and Iwuejo, who also claimed to be ‘Taiwo Ebenezer’ and ‘Olugbenga Isaiah’, between June 2013 and June 2015, were alleged to have used different companies to fraudulently launder various sums of money to the tune of N5.1 billion.