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Crude swap racket: NNPC recoups $202m from AITEO

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has recouped $202 million as outstanding payment on crude for product swap from Aiteo Group.

The corporation, which confirmed this yesterday, stated that it would continue to go public on recovery process for product under-deliveries in the $184 million crude swap racket, which rocked the corporation up till August 2014 when the crude swap contracts were cancelled.

Stating that the rigorous recovery efforts were in line with the ongoing reforms in the industry, the NNPC, in a statement by its Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Ndu Ughamadu, said that Dr. Maikanti Baru’s leadership was committed to ensuring transparency and adequate public information on the ongoing recovery effort.

“In line with its pledge to provide members of the public with periodic updates on its recovery efforts for crude swap under deliveries, the NNPC is pleased to confirm that it has now reached a final settlement with AITEO Group.

“Following extensive reconciliation between both parties across their business transactions and subsequent agreement by the parties therefrom, the Corporation wishes to state that AITEO Group has paid in full all its outstanding indebtedness to our downstream entities amounting to $202,344,838.62,” the statement read.

The amount, the NNPC said, “includes AITEO’s share of the $184 million total indebtedness by three companies on crude swap obligations plus AITEO’s other downstream liabilities.” Aside AITEO, two other companies, it continued, are involved in the crude swap under deliveries. They are: Televaras Group of Companies and Ontario Oil Gas Ltd.

It would be recalled that following its engagement with the NNPC on the issue, AITEO Group has demonstrated cooperation and commitment towards a successful recovery process.

“Already, Televaras has pledged to make a tranche payment of $17.2 million. However, the NNPC is still engaging Ontario Oil & Gas Limited for mutual settlement. “The corporation shall continue to provide further update on the recovery process,” the statement read.

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My life as a herdsman, by Buhari

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“…the nomad life exposes you to nature. You will never learn enough about plants, trees, insects and animals’

 

 

Apparently recalling his early life as a herdsman, President Muhammadu Buhari has said his rearing of cattle contributed immensely to shaping him into what he is today as a former military Head of State and the incumbent president of Nigeria, attributing these landmark achievements to the Fulani training of perseverance which he imbibed along the line.

President Buhari won the 2015 presidential election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) after he attempted it four times before defeating former President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Speaking in an interview initially published by The Sun Newspaper in 2012 but reproduced by Saturday Telegraph, President Buhari acknowledged that his life as a herdsman was made possible due to the Fulani training of perseverance which toughened and made him a realist. President Buhari in the interview also talked about his relationship with former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former Military President Ibrahim Babangida respectively, whom he said, he had some unpalatable experi-ences with in his emergence as head of state.

In the case of Obasanjo, Buhari said he still remembers with nostalgic intuition what the former president did to him by mobilising the electorate against him while Babangida’s case was masterminding the coup that ousted his military regime in 1983.

Sounding modest in his assessment of his growing up days as a herdsman, Buhari said: “Clearly, I could recall I reared cattle. We had cattle; we had sheep and then, there was good neighbourhood. Not many children had the opportunity to go to school, but I went to school.

“Those who are brought up in the city have limited space. If you are in a confined school, you learn from the school and what you see immediately. But the nomad life exposes you to nature. You will never learn enough about plants, trees, insects and animals.

Every day, you are learning something. You have seen them and every day you are learning. You will never know all of them. So, it is so vast that it takes a lot of whatever you can think of.

And then again, the difference in the environment. In the Savannah, in the Sahel, after harvest, you can always see as high as your eyes can go. And then, at night when there is moon, it is fantastic. So, I enjoyed those days and they made a lasting impression on me.

“I left home at the age of 10 or 11 and went to school, like I said. And I was in the boarding school for nine years. In primary school and secondary school, I was in the boarding house and from there, I went straight into the Army.” Recalling what could have spurred him further as a respected herdsman in his country home in Daura, Katsina State, the President said: “Because when you have reared cattle, for those who have been doing it, they said it toughens you…”

On what could have led to his perceived rift with Obasanjo, Buhari tacitly said: “Obasanjo mobilised Nigerian voters against me,” apparently referring to the various times he contested the Presidential elections and lost before he eventually won the 2015 election. Pressed further if he actually had forgiven the former president, he said: “No, I haven’t forgiven him (laughter).” For Babangida, Buhari said his feud with the former military president was hinged on the fact that he staged a coup that ousted his regime in 1983, which according to him, got him infuriated.

He said: “Of course, I was angry because I can’t recall what I had done for him to mobilise the military to overthrow me and detain me for more than three years. Yeah, it is natural for me to be upset.”

Though he later acknowledged that he had forgiven Babangida publicly, he, however, said: “I think the worst thing anybody can do to oneself is to have either hatred or grudge on a daily basis. One thing will happen and you better forget.

I did. Publicly, I did.” He added: “I have and some of your papers published it. I said as a Muslim, I have forgiven him. I have forgiven him. I said it and it was printed by some of your colleagues. But I didn’t say it will be forgotten. It cannot be forgotten. If I say I forget about it, I will be lying. But I have forgiven him, just as I expect Shagari to forgive me as the one who succeeded him.”

Asked if joining the military was the best thing that ever happened to him, he said: “I think so, because from primary to secondary school and in the military, it continued, both the academic and the physical one. I think it was so tough, but then, once it was inbuilt, it had to be sustained because you don’t contemplate failure.”

On why he choose the infantry and not the other arms, President Buhari said: “I found the infantry much more challenging and when we were doing the training, the Federal Government decided that we were going to have the Air Force.

So, I was invited. A team came from the Ministry of Defence to interview cadets that wanted to be fighter pilots in the Air Force. “I was the first to be called in our group. I appeared before them and they told me that those who could pass the interview would be recommended to go to the Air Force training in the UK.Some also went to Ethiopia or United States or Germany. So, they asked me whether I wanted to be a fighter pilot and I said no.

They asked why, and I said I wasn’t interested. “We were given three choices. Number one, maybe you went to infantry; number two, you went to reconnaissance before they became armour and later, maybe artillery. So, all my three choices, I could recall vividly, I put infantry, infantry.

So, they said why? I said because I liked infantry. And they asked if I wouldn’t like to be a fighter pilot. I said no, I didn’t want to join them. They said why. I said I hadn’t done Physics. “Normally, I did some mathematics but to be a fighter pilot, you must do some physics.

They said no, that it was no problem, that I could have an additional one academic year. So, since I had some mathematics background, it was just one year purely to do physics and I would reach the grade required to be a pilot. I said no, I didn’t want it. They again asked why.

I told them I chose infantry. The reason is: when I am fighting and I was shot at, if I was not hit, I can go down, turn back and take off by foot. They laughed and sent me out. So, I remained infantry officer.”

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Yobe schoolgirls’ case receiving attention –Buhari

●I never believed any govt could be careless with girls again, says Ezekwesili
●United States condemns latest kidnap case

 

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday said the case of students abducted from the Government Girls Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State is receiving the deserved and that no effort would be spared to bring succour to them. This is coming as an avalanche of mixed reactions yesterday trailed last Monday’s attack and abduction of 94 girls of the Government Girls Science and Technical Secondary School, Dapchi, Yobe State by Boko Haram sects.

Hours after it released a statement that some of the girls had been freed, the Yobe State Government recanted on Thursday and said none has been rescued. The actual number of missing girls is also yet to be ascertained. While the police said 30 were missing as at Wednesday evening, the state government said over 50 were missing.

On Thursday, the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the government was yet to ascertain the actual number of missing girls. But yesterday’s reaction saw a Co-Convener of the Bring Back Our Girls Group, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, saying it was unthinkable for such a thing to happen, while the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the claim by the Federal Government that the Boko Haram insurgents have been defeated was responsible for Dapchi schoolgirls’ abduction.

On its part, the United States strongly condemned the abduction, stating that: “The choice of targets including schools, markets and places of worship reflect the brutality of terror organisations.” Dapchi, a town 101km from Damaturu, the Yobe State capital, is one of the oldest communities in Yobe State.

Dapchi girls’ kidnap devastating, says Buhari

A statement issued yesterday by the Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media and Publicity), Mallam Garba Sheu, said the President described the news of the attack as, “devastating.”

The statement reads: “When I received the devastating news of the attack on the school and the fact that the local authorities could not account for all the students, I immediately dispatched a high-level delegation on a fact-finding visit to the town. I also instructed the security agencies to deploy in full and not spare any effort to ensure that all the girls are returned safely, and the attackers arrested and made to face justice.

“The entire country stands as one with the girls’ fami-lies, the government and the people of Yobe State. This is a national disaster. We are sorry that this could have happened and share your pain. We pray that our gallant armed forces will locate and safely return your missing family members. “Our government is sending more troops and surveillance aircraft to keep an eye on all movements in the entire territory on a 24-hour basis, in the hope that all the missing girls will be found.”

Ezekwesili: This is sheer absurdity

Reacting to the abduction, Ezekwesili, who was a former Minister of Education, said she never believed that there could be a repeat of the 2014 Chibok girls abduction in the country until last Monday’s incident. Speaking yesterday at this year’s Pastors’ and Leaders’ Conference organised by the Fountain of Life Church, Ilupeju, Lagos, she said she was broken at the news of the abduction of the girls, stating that she nearly gave up on Nigeria.

She said: “When I stood for Chibok girls in 2014, it was to make a statement that never in our nation should any child be ignored when they are in danger. We cannot have a society that ignored its poor.

“From the April 15, 2014, I have not stopped screaming at the governments that they must rescue these girls because I could imagine what could happen to a girl-child in the nest of killers. “We promised and made a commitment on the 30th of April 2014 and said we will not stop our sit-out until all the girls return.

How could I have known that it will take this long? I thought that if we stood demanding the return of the girls and the nations of the world joined with our government, the girls will be back in record time. It didn’t happen, it will be four years in April but I have to keep my promise. In keeping that promise, I don’t want to tell you what it has meant in my life.”

The co-founder of Transparency International, who was almost in tears said, “But I was broken on Wednesday (sobs)…when exactly the same thing has happened again. Girls were taken from their school in Yobe, the military comes out like they came out in 2014 and said they have all being rescued and I celebrated just as I celebrated when they said they have rescued all the Chibok girls. Only for it to be false because parents of Yobe school girls started screaming that they haven’t seen any child that military said they rescued.

“I was broken and I decided that I have little hope left concerning Nigeria. If we what we gave our lives to for four years could repeat in exactly the same pattern. I thought all the people who said I was wasting my time for all those girls were right after all. “I never thought another set of girls in this same country would go through what Chiboks girls are going through. I never thought any government would be careless again with the children of Nigeria with the way it has happened again. I never thought that parents would wake up and be told one thing only for it to be another thing, But the Lord spoke to me not to give up,” she said.

PDP blames FG

PDP said in a statement yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, that Muhammadu Buhari’s presidency has put Nigerians at risk by issuing false performance indices suggesting that insurgents have been completely routed, a situation which made many unsuspecting citizens to dropped their guards in the face of real threats and danger.

The party noted that despite the claim of total victory over the insurgent, the group has been perpetrating several atrocities against citizens, particularly in the northern part of the country. The PDP said: “Without doubt, if the incompetent All Progressives Congress (APC)- led government had not dished out lies to the people in a bid to score cheap political points for its ill-lucked 2019 re-election bid, more precautionary measures would have been adopted by the affected communities to ensure adequate protection.”

US flays kidnap of schoolgirls’

The Spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State, Ms Heather Nauert, while speaking at a press briefing on Thursday, said even though the U.S. was yet to get all the details about the abduction, the act remained barbaric.

Nauert said: “We are still trying to get all the details about that but we wanted to mention that we condemn in the strongest possible terms the terror attack on a school earlier this week in northeastern Nigeria.

The victims in the attacks were girls who were simply seeking an education.” She said the U.S. extended its condolences to the students and to their families affected by the terror attacks. The U.S. also expressed its concerns that some of the students are still not accounted for.

“We continue to support Nigeria’s efforts to counter the terror group. We also support Nigeria’s efforts to enable more than two million displaced in the Lake Chad region to return home safely.

“United States continues to provide humanitarian assistance to those who were affected by the violence,” she said. Ortom identifies with Yobe govt Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom yesterday identifies with the government and people of Yobe State over the missing schoolgirls of Government Girls Technical College, Dapchi.

The governor expressed optimism that the remaining schoolgirls will soon be found and reunited with their families. Ortom, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Terver Akase, yesterday described the incident as traumatic especially for parents and relations of the schoolgirls, urging security agencies to ensure that the rest of the girls are rescued from the hands of their abductors.

How Boko Haram attack, kidnap of Dapchi schoolgirls occurred –Residents, School staff Residents of Dapchi, the Yobe community attacked on Monday, said the Boko Haram gunmen that invaded their community had no other mission than to abduct the female students of Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi.

The grieving parents, relatives and residents of Dapchi, a dusty agrarian community, informed an online news portal, PREMIUM TIMES that the gunmen that invaded their community were strangers who had to force some of the residents to show them way around the town.

“They were total strangers to the town. They did not even know where the school GGSS is located even though it is just by the road on the way to Gashua. And when they eventually located the school they moved in, captured many of our daughters and left without any one confronting them,” said Muhammed in tears.

The Yobe State Governor, Ibrahim Gaidam, was already in the town ahead of the visiting Federal Government delegation. It was also his first visit to Dapchi since that attack occurred. Then, he was away from the state on an official function in Abuja, according to his spokesman, Abdullahi Bego.

The presence of the governor in the attacked town gave residents hope that they would soon be reunited with the rescued schoolgirls whom the state government had the previous night announced had been rescued by soldiers PREMIUM TIMES spoke with many of the residents who confirmed that they saw the Boko Haram gunmen taking the missing girls away in their trucks. Abdullahi Jimuna, a young man who identified himself as a trader, said many of them are yet to overcome the shock of witnessing such invasion, which was the first ever in the community.

“On Monday at about 6.30 p.m., we were about to perform the evening prayer, then we saw about eight Hilux vans and a Tata truck coming into the town the other direction”, said Mr. Jimuna, a lanky fair-skinned man. “When they arrived the town the vehicles separated in two groups, taking different directions.

Then suddenly they began to shoot sporadically. After a while, as everyone was fleeing, then we began to hear the schoolgirls were screaming, we saw some of them scaling the fence and taking to the bush. Then we saw some of them being conveyed in a truck and being taken away.”

Clear mission to abduct schoolgirls

Usman Na-Katarko, a farmer, told PREMIUM TIMES that he was very sure that the schoolgirls were the primary target of the Boko Haram gunmen whom he said were total strangers to the town. “It was about prayer time, and we were in the mosque when we began to hear sounds of vehicles moving at unusual speed around the streets,” he said. “Then we saw some of them driving towards where the security people are stationed.

Then we began to hear shootings. From my experience as an internally displaced person from Katarko, I knew that such kind of shooting was not a friendly one. So I told people that this is not good we have to take to safety.

“I told them that these people in military uniform are not soldiers, because on their Hilux vans are inscriptions in Arabic. “So I had to flee out of the mosque. As I was running towards my house to see if my family had also ran out, I saw a large number of Boko Haram gunmen (marching on) a village head of a nearby community called Dana, asking him to take them to a school; I had to dock and I heard them cursing him and shouting at him that “show us where the school is, show us where the girls school is.”

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3 die as gas explosion rocks Abuja

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Three persons were feared dead yesterday with two others sustaining various degree of injuries, following a gas explosion that rocked Abuja gateway city, Zuba, Gwagwalada Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). This gas explosion tragedy was the second one this week.

The first explosion which no life was lost to, but left up to twenty people with various degrees of burnt and hospitalised at different medical centres, occured at one of densely populated Jahi 11 village, in Jahi district of Abuja. Saturday Telegraph gathered that the explosion at Zuba claimed the life of the gas attendants and the customer who obviously was there to refill a gas cylinder. An eyewitness account by Madam Jubillee Madu, said: “The incident occured when a boy suspected to be a welder came to a gas shop with a gas cylinder to refill. Four persons were inside the shop. These persons include the wife and three sales persons in the shop.

As the sales persons were trying to refill the gas, all of a sudden the cylinder exploded and blasted the about three persons to pieces.” Another eye witness, Victoria, told Saturday Telegraph that some people around the area escaped death by whisker, but were left with various degrees of burnt, and were immediately rushed to a nearby hospital for medical attention. She said: “One of the gas attendants that died was to graduate next month and would be given a sendforth party with his own shop fully furnished as is the custom of the Igbos, and the other one was a new apprentice who was brought to replace the outgoing one and acquire a little experience on the trade.

“The remains of the deceased were put together by the policemen and taken to mortuary the police also evacuated the remaining gas cylinders from the shop.” The Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Zuba Area Command, CSP Dankwano Welson, who confirmed the incident, said a distress call was received by the police and immediately a team of officers were dispatched to the place. He said: “On getting there, the gas had exploded, the victims’ bodies were seen scattered all over the place, we carried them and picked the shattered parts of their bodies and deposited them at Gwagwalada Teaching Hospital Mortuary, and the one that sustained injury to Diamond Crest Hospital.

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