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Lack of Synergy among Defence Ministry, Security Agencies Troubles NASS

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By Eze Okechukwu, Abuja

The Joint Senate and House of Representatives Committee on Defence has expressed sadness over the lack of synergy between the Ministry of Defence and the Services, assuring they would work closely with the Executive with a view to solving the issue.

The Chairman of the Joint Committee and President of the 9th Senate, Ahmed Lawan raised the observation in his response to the Minister’s presentation of the Ministry’s budget yesterday at the National Assembly, Abuja.

Lawan told the Minister of Defence, Badaru Abubakar that in his speech he said what he was defending was the 2024 appropriation proposal as it relates to the Ministry’s headquarters.

 “Honestly, I’m not happy with that. You are the Minister of Defence, not Minister of the headquarters and at the press of a button you are supposed to see the budget of the Ministry of Defence, including everyone, not the Ministry’s headquarters. This to me is a message for the Ministry.

“You are supposed to supervise the work of the entire Ministry of Defence ecosystem, for everyone, all the services, all the other agencies. They are supposed to be under your power.

Lawan was of the view that “this is part of our problem in the defence of our country because it doesn’t make sense to me that the minister will be restricted to defending the budget of only the ministry’s headquarters. That should be the Permanent Secretary’s work. The minister is supposed to be in the grip of everything.

“I think there is a need for us to work together with the executive to see how we can address this kind of situation because it is simply not going to work. The Ministry of Defence is the Ministry of Defence. Another thing that didn’t impress Lawan was the request by the minister for upward review of the ministry’s budget.

The former Senate President said, “Honourable Minister, this budget proposal was done two, three weeks ago. It’s supposed to be your business then to know that the prices of diesel and other things are already up and I’m sure they have not increased in the last two weeks. You might have been constrained by this envelop”.

Earlier in his defence of the 2023 budget performance and presentation of the 2024 proposal, the Minister of Defence, Badaru Abubakar assured the National Assembly that the Ministry will deliver on its core mandate.

“The Ministry is totally committed to actualizing its core mandate and I believe the Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members will assist to achieve this mandate”, he said.

He also appealed to the Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members to review upwards the ministry’s overhead cost in view of the current economic situation which hinders the Ministry to function effectively.

“You are aware of the inflation trend and the cost of diesel, petrol and the operation cost. The overhead is very low and we ask you to increase the overhead, especially the overhead of the Brigade of Guards, they consume a lot of fuel and it is very important and I appeal that you look into that”,he stated.

After pouring his mind, Lawan then assured the minister that they will try their best to address the provision of resources “for the defence of our country because that no one in the country will say no to and no one will say it is frivolous, but we will insist on value for money”.

NEWS

Tinubu Mourns Ex-Minister, Ogbonnaya Onu

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President Bola Tinubu has extended his deepest condolences to the Onu family over the passing of Chief Ogbonnaya Onu, a former Minister of Science and Technology in the Buhari administration.

Chief Onu passed away on Thursday at the age of 72.

“The President mourns a luminous star in Nigeria’s political firmament.

The first civilian governor of Abia State; former minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, a principal draughtsman in the founding of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and a valiant partner in the victory of the party in the 2015 elections.
 

“Most importantly, the President celebrates the life of an accomplished scholar, first-class engineer; a man of proven integrity; defiant to indiscipline, but ever yielding to the highest standards of rectitude,” a statement by Chief Ajuri Ngelale, Presidential spokesman quoted the President to have said.

The statement said Tinubu affirmed that the late Onu epitomized Nigeria in concord; in wholeness, as the late statesman believed in and defended Nigeria’s unity, advocated peace, and promoted fellowship across the Niger.

The President also condoled with the friends and associates of Chief Onu, Ebonyi and Abia State Governments, and all Nigerians grieving this gaping loss.

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Business News

Geregu Power Earns N50.4bn From Electricity Sales, Capacity Charges 

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja 

Geregu Power Plc has generated N50.4bn on electricity sales and capacity charges to Nigerians in the first quarter of 2024.

The power company which is the first listed power company of the Nigerian Exchange Ltd disclosed the performance in its Q1, 2024 financial statement.

The company grew its Q1 revenue by 225 per cent from N14.

2bn in 2023 to N50.
4bn in 2023.

A breakdown reveals that Geregu Power sold energy worth N31bn and received N19bn as revenue from capacity charge.

Recall that the power company posted an annual revenue of N82.9bn in the full year of 2023 but it has covered half of the amount in Q1.

The revenue was above the company’s forecast for Q1 2024 when it projected its revenue to rise to N31.24bn.

Geregu Power recorded a profit before tax of N21.9bn up from the N5.3bn recorded in Q1 of last year, reflecting 307.8 per cent growth.

During the period underreview, the company saw its profit after tax rose by 307.3 per cent to N14.46bn from N3.54bn recorded in Q1 of last year. In the full year 2023, the company made N16.1bn net profit.

The net profit was above the company projection of N5.5bn. 

Geregu Power took an income tax charge of N7.43bn, up from the N1.8bn in Q1 2023. The tax charges were higher than the N2.7bn projected for Q1 2024.

The company also spent N21.5bn on the cost of sales involving gas supply and transportation, up from the N6.6bn spent on gas supply and transportation in Q1 2023.

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Foreign News

U.S. not Expecting to be Drawn into War but Predicts Attack by Iran Against Israel

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The United States expects an attack by Iran against Israel but one that would not be big enough to draw Washington into war, a U.S. official said late on Thursday.

The White House said earlier that Washington did not want conflict to spread in the Middle East and the U.S. had told Iran it was not involved in an air strike against a top Iranian military commander in Damascus.

The White House added it warned Iran to not use that attack as a pretext to escalate further in the region.

Suspected Israeli warplanes bombed Iran’s embassy in Damascus on Monday in a strike for which Iran has vowed revenge and in which a top Iranian general and six other Iranian military officers were killed, ratcheting up tension in a region already strained by the Gaza war.

Iranian sources told Reuters that Tehran has signalled to Washington that it will respond to Israel’s attack on its Syrian embassy in a way that aims to avoid major escalation and it will not act hastily, as Tehran presses demands including a Gaza truce.

The United States has been on high alert about possible retaliatory strikes from Iran and U.S. envoys have been working to lower tensions.

Palestinian Islamist group Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel’s military assault on Hamas-governed Gaza has since killed more than 33,000 people according to the local health ministry, displaced nearly all of Gaza’s 2.3 million population, caused a humanitarian crisis, and led to genocide allegations that Israel denies.

Iran-backed groups have declared support for Palestinians, waging attacks from Lebanon, Yemen, and Iraq.

Tehran has avoided direct confrontation with Israel or the United States, while declaring support for its allies. (Reuters/NAN)

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