Police, Army Bicker Over Detectives’ Killing in Taraba
…You’re Insensitive, Unpatriotic-FPRO
… Buhari Orders Probe
By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja
Nigerians are eagerly awaiting the full revelation of the circumstances surrounding the killing of three police officers recently by the Nigerian Army in Taraba state.
While expectations are mounting on the Federal Government to bring the perpetrators of the dastardly act to book, the Security Council presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday held a closed doors meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja and set up a committee to investigate what they described as ’unfortunate killing’ of the three police intelligence officers in Ibi, Jalingo, Taraba state.
However, in swift reaction, the Police authorities said the Army was economical with the truth surrounding the killing of its personnel.
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, while speaking with newsmen yesterday in Abuja with State House correspondents, said that the council decided to set up a committee to investigate the “unfortunate incidents in Ibi, Taraba state.”
According to him, the committee will be constituted under the Defence Headquarters to unearth the truth on the incident.
The air chief also said that the council evaluated the current strategy of managing internal security operations all over the country and was satisfied with the current efforts being made by the security agencies to curtailing crimes in the country.
”We are making substantial progress in all the areas of conflicts”, Air Marshal Sadique said.
The service chief, however, assured Nigerians that the armed forces of Nigeria and other security agencies would continue to work to ensure the security of Nigerian.
He added they would also ensure that no individual or group of individuals undermine the territorial integrity of Nigeria.
Asked if the council discussed the issue of using technology and drones to fight crimes as earlier pledged to the south-west leaders, the Chief of Air Staff said, ”technology will continue to play a very critical role in resolving security challenges in Nigeria.
“All the services are using one technology or the other in order to ensure that our country is secured.
“So security will continue to play a role and we are also looking at other areas of technology that are not currently in use to ensure that we put together all that is required to ensure the security of Nigerian and Nigerians.”
Recalled that the Nigeria Police Force had Wednesday, accused some unidentified soldiers of shooting to death three police officers and a civilian along the Ibi-Jalingo Road, Taraba State when they were taking an arrested suspect, Alhaji Hamisu to the command headquarters in Jalingo when they were shot at by the soldiers.
The police spokesman said that despite sufficient proof that they are police personnel on legitimate duty.
The Police alleged that several other officers were also injured during the attack.
But the Army spokesman, Col. Sagir Musa, countered the police claims stating that the policemen allegedly refused to stop at a military checkpoint and were trailed and shot dead by troops who had earlier received a distress call.
Apparently not satisfied with the steps taken by the Security Council, the Police, also yesterday, ramped up public criticism of the Nigerian Army over the killing of three officers, saying the Army authorities lied.
The officers were on an operation to arrest a suspected kidnap gang leader in a remote settlement in the northeastern state. After successfully apprehending the suspect, the police officers handcuffed him and drove him towards Jalingo, the state capital, police said.
But on their way to Jalingo between, Ibi and Wukari communities, the police team of 10 persons came under close-ranging shooting from Nigerian soldiers in the white bus they were travelling on. Three officers and a civilian were killed in the process, while several others were injured.
The soldiers then freed the handcuffed suspect, police spokesperson Frank Mba said when he first made the development public on Wednesday evening.
The Nigerian Army pushed back against the account of the police late Wednesday. Army spokesperson Sagir Musa admitted soldiers from 93 Battalion were responsible for the tragedy. He, however, blamed it on poor communication on the part of the police, saying the officers were mistaken for kidnappers.
The army also claimed that villagers made a panic call to soldiers that kidnappers had come to operate in their community, leading to the hot pursuit that ended in the killing of three police officers.
Although an investigative panel had been raised to urgently get to the root of the incident, the police appeared uncomfortable with how the matter was being handled.
On Thursday evening, Mr Mba condemned the army’s description of their personnel as suspected kidnappers and challenged the military to provide evidence of its claim that villagers made a distress call to soldiers.
Mba also raised a series of questions for the Nigerian Army to clarify to Nigerians around its culpability in the killing of detectives.
Security analysts said the strongly-worded public attacks the police have been directing at the army showed that President Muhammadu Buhari was not handling the issue well and the police felt helpless.
“For the police to be releasing statements to the media and coming to Twitter to scream about this showed they are helpless and not getting the support they need from the president,” Cheta Nwanze, a security analyst, told PREMIUM TIMES Thursday.
Nwanze urged Mr Buhari to urgently resolve the dispute, saying Nigeria cannot afford a total breakdown of harmony between the police and the military, perhaps the two most crucial institutions combatting the country’s acute insecurity.
The analyst also expressed concerns that the rescue of the kidnap suspect, now believed to be at large, by the soldiers could signal high-level connivance between criminals and security chiefs.
The suspect, identified as Alhaji Hamisu, had reportedly received N100 million as ransom in a recent abduction of an oil baron in Taraba.
FEC Approves N24.2bn for Free Internet in 20 Airports, Varsities, Markets
By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja
The Federal Government has approved two contracts worth N24.20 billion for the provision of broadband for free internet in 75 public places, including 20 airports, tertiary institutions and markets across the six geopolitical zones of the country.
Briefing State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ali Pantami, disclosed that an aggregate sum of N209.
Giving a breakdown of his own approvals, Professor Pantami said his two memoranda were related since they both were focused on providing free internet connectivity services, explaining further that the second one was complementary to a similar approval last year.
“So both memos, you will discover that they will provide broadband to these institutions at the price of approximately N24.20 billion and the project is going to be implemented by the Nigerian Communications Commission.
“The duration for the project is four months minimum and a maximum of five months and there is a budgetary provision for that. Also, the fund to sponsor the implementation has been secured by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR.
“For universities, it’s because we have learned bitter and better lessons during the COVID-19, so we don’t want to go back to that, we want to ensure that students and staff benefit from unlimited internet. For airports, we know the difficulty when you land without any connectivity. So it will even at least make our airports more lively if there is at least internet connectivity that is for free.
“Thirdly for the market, it’s to support innovation-driven enterprises that are being championed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where we try to give global visibility to our innovators, to our micro, small, and medium enterprises, so that their market is not going to be narrowed and restricted only to our local communities”, he explained.
The council also approved two major contracts for the construction of a Centre of Excellence for environmental restoration Wiiyaakara in the Kana council area of Rivers State and a 100-bed specialist hospital in Ogoni.
Minister of Environment, Mohammed Abdullahi, said these projects are aimed at facilitating efficient and cost-effective approaches to contamination management and environmental restoration while supporting the well-being and welfare of the people who have been impacted by the negative effects of contamination in those areas.
“On behalf of the Ministry of Environment, HYPREP Project Office, I presented two memos one for the award of contract for the construction of Centre of Excellence for environmental restoration at Wiiyaakara, Bori in, in Khana local government area of River State, in favour of CCECC Nigeria Limited, in the sum of N41,472,263,848.60, with a completion period of 24 months.
“The second memo, which is equally approved, and is also in line with the UNEP Report on the level components, is the contract for the construction of Ogoni 100-bed specialist hospital in favour of Messrs Tannit Medical Engineering Limited, in the sum of N18,308,463,225.37, plus 7.5% of VAT, with a delivery period of 24 months”, Abdullahi said.
Moreso, the Ministry of Works and Housing received what seemed to be the biggest approval at the Council meeting as the Minister of State for the ministry, Umar El-Yakub, disclosed that for his two memoranda, FEC approved the sum of N95.98 billion.
He said the first memorandum was “for the award of contract for the dualization of the Akure/Ita Ogbolu –Iju/Ado Ekiti state border, on the Ondo Stateside, in favour of Messrs Samchez Nigeria Limited and Messrs Horizon Construction Company Limited, in the sum of N46,684,481,745.44, with a completion period of 24 months
“Section two of that road was awarded to Messrs Kopek Construction Limited at the cost of N49,295,088,593.98, with a completion period of 30 months. So, one is doing it from the Ekiti State border and the other one is on the Ondo Stateside. That’s the two sections of the contract was awarded”, he said.
Again, the Minister of Transportation, Muazu Jaji Sambo, who also spoke at the briefing, said his two memoranda; the first being for the renewal of a management contract for the management ports facilities and the second for procurement of two tugboats for operations at the Lekki Deep Seaport, pooled an aggregate of N26.77 billion.
“The first memo was the renewal of the management contract for the management of Tugs, Pilot Cutters, or Mooring Launches within the limits of the Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports complex.
“This management contract was signed between Nigerian Ports Authority and Messrs LTT Coastal and Marine Services Limited, initially in April 2007, for 15 years, which therefore meant the agreement had expired in March last year.
“The purpose of the memorandum is to seek Council’s approval to renew the management contract, as provided in the management agreement and endorsed by the Bureau of Public Procurement, in favour of Messrs LTT Coastal and Marine Services Limited, for the sum of $29,871,615.22, which is an equivalent of N12,440,332,875.44, inclusive of 7.5% VAT, at an exchange rate of one US dollar to N416.46
“The second memorandum that was considered by Council and approved is in respect of a contract for the design, construction, and supply of two 80 tons … marine tugboats to support the operations of the newly commissioned Lekki Deep Seaport in Lagos.
“The contract was awarded to Messrs the De Pasa Marine International Nigeria Limited for €30,183,540.20, which is an equivalent of N14,330,329,389.75 at the CBN prevailing exchange rate at the time of payment, inclusive of seven and 7.5% VAT and with a completion period of 15 months,” he said.
Also, the Ministry of Aviation got approval for the construction of 150 room capacity hostel for over N2 billion, according to the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who briefed on behalf of the Minister, Hadi Sirika.
“On behalf of the Minister of Aviation, who presented a memo to Council today, seeking Council’s consideration and approval for the award of contract for the construction of a 150-room capacity female hostel, at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria in favour of Messrs Best Homes Construction Limited, in the sum of N2,244,713,424.56, inclusive of 7.5% VAT with a completion period of 12 months.
The Federal Minister of Information and Culture also presented a memo to the Council, which was approved today, for the procurement of 13 operational vehicles for the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria for the sum of N383,968,500, in favour of Kaura Motors, with a completion period of three weeks.
“The operational vehicles will be used for the day-to-day operations of the FRCN and in particular, they will be used to report, and gather news, concerning the various tribunal cases and also for the National Population Commission Census coming up sometime in May. Thank you very much,” Mohammed said.
DSS Confirms ‘Entrenched Interests’ Plot to Install Interim Government
By Gom Mirian, Abuja
The Department of State Services (DSS), yesterday said it has confirmed a plot “by some key players” to install an interim government and stop Bola Ahmed Tinubu from being inaugurated as president.
The plot includes embarking on violent protests nationwide to engineer the declaration of a state of emergency as well as securing frivolous court injunctions to stall the inauguration, the DSS said.
In a statement yesterday, the Public Relations Officer of the secret police, Peter Afunanya, said: “The Department of State Services (DSS) has identified some key players in the plot for an Interim Government in Nigeria.
“The Service considers the plot, being pursued by these entrenched interests, as not only an aberration but a mischievous way to set aside the constitution and undermine civil rule as well as plunge the country into an avoidable crisis.
“The illegality is totally unacceptable in a democracy and to the peace loving Nigerians. This is even more so that the machination is taking place after the peaceful conduct of the elections in most parts of the country.”
There have been agitations for Tinubu, the president-elect, not to be inaugurated on May 29, 2023 based on complaints by his opponents on the presidential election.
Datti Baba-Ahmed, the vice-presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), specifically called on President Muhammadu Buhari and Olukayode Ariwoola, the chief justice of Nigeria (CJN), not to inaugurate Tinubu, tagging it an “illegality”.
Some demonstrators also went to the defence headquarters building in Abuja on Tuesday to protest the outcome of the presidential election in what might be understood as an invitation for military intervention.
Afunanya alleged that some protests are being sponsored.
“The planners, in their many meetings, have weighed various options, which include, among others, to sponsor endless violent mass protests in major cities to warrant a declaration of State of Emergency. Another is to obtain frivolous court injunctions to forestall the inauguration of new executive administrations and legislative houses at the Federal and State levels,” he said.
“The DSS supports the President and Commander-in-Chief in his avowed commitment to a hitch-free handover and will assiduously work in this direction. It also supports the Presidential Transition Council and such other related bodies in the States. It will collaborate with them and sister security and law enforcement agencies to ensure seamless inaugurations come 29th May, 2023.
“Consequently, the Service strongly warns those organising to thwart democracy in the country to retract from their devious schemes and orchestrations.
“Stakeholders, notably judicial authorities, media and the Civil Society, are enjoined to be watchful and cautious to avoid being used as instruments to subvert peace and stability of the nation. While its monitoring continues, the DSS will not hesitate to take decisive and necessary legal steps against these misguided elements to frustrate their obnoxious intentions.”
IPOB Denies Plan to Print Biafra Currency, Form Govt
The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Wednesday said it has no plans to print Biafra currency and operate a government in exile.
IPOB’s spokesman, Emma Powerful, warned those he described as autopilot to desist from such a move.
In a statement he signed, Powerful distanced IPOB from the autopilot group, stressing that the group has no faction.
Powerful, who distanced IPOB from those operating Radio Biafra in the United States, noted that those operating under the guise of the Directorate of State are not members of IPOB.
“We the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) under the command and leadership of the great liberator Nnamdi Kanu once again reiterate that IPOB is not part of the formation of Biafra government in exile anywhere.
“The people behind the shambolic Radio Biafra government in exile in the USA are not IPOB members, and they should stop linking themselves to us.
“Those piloting government in exile in the USA are not IPOB members, and they don’t mean well for Biafra freedom and restoration.
“IPOB has no plan to print Biafra currency, stamps, and other important state documents because we are not yet a sovereign nation. If we print currencies now, where can they be used as legal tender,” the statement read in parts.
Oando Grows 2021 Revenue to N722bn
Oando Plc has announced an increase of more than a half in turnover for 2021, according to its unaudited earnings report issued yesterday.
The increase helped the oil driller halt its two-year run of losses that began in 2019, the report showed.
Shares in the company had gained nearly 10 per cent, the upper daily limit allowed by the Nigerian Exchange, as of 10:14 WAT in Lagos after the news hit the market.
A messy shareholder dispute involving an indirect shareholder, Ansbury Investment Inc, had prompted the Securities and Exchange Commission to bar the firm from holding annual general meetings, making it impossible to release its financials for three years until last June.
At the heart of the conflict were loans granted to the shareholder, which forced Oando to make a huge impairment allowance that tipped the company into a loss after tax of N207.1 billion in 2019 and N140.7 billion in 2020.
Revenue for 2021 grew to N722.4 billion from N477.1 billion, while other operating income slowed to N36.7 billion from N43.6 billion as the company recorded a loss on fair value on commodity options in contrast to a gain one year earlier.
Oando earned N112.1 billion from reversal of impairment of financial assets, where a loss in the sum of N62.9 billion was posted a year ago, boosting operating profit.
Finance income expanded by almost fivefold to N44.1 billion, helping cushion the hit of net finance cost on profit.
Pre-tax profit stood at N48.4 billion compared to a loss before tax of N134.3 billion in 2020, while profit for the period came to N34.7 billion relative to a loss after tax of N140.7 billion one year prior.
Earnings-per-share was N3.04 compared to a loss per share of N9.05 in 2020.
“Bullish oil prices throughout the year saw us record a 105% increase in average realized oil sale price whilst a surge in militancy and sabotage across the Niger Delta resulted in a 40% decline in average hydrocarbon production compared to 2020,” said CEO Wale Tinubu.
“Despite the challenges, a strong revenue performance, coupled with the refund of a longstanding receivable contributed to a Net Profit of N34.7 billion,” he added.
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