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JUST IN: Nigeria’s debt hit N21.7 trn in 2017 – DMO



Nigeria’s total national debt grew to N21.7 trillion ($70.92 billion) at the end of December 2017, the Director-General of Nigeria’s Debt Management Office told a news briefing on Wednesday. It was N17.36 trillion at the end of 2016.

Nigeria’s first Eurobond will be repaid when it matures in July, said the head of the DMO, Patience Oniha. The national debt mix is about 30 percent foreign and 70 percent local after a $2.5 billion Eurobond sale in February, she said.

Earlier this month, Nigeria paid off about N130 billion worth of treasury bills maturing this week instead of rolling over the debt as it has done in the past.

Nigeria, with Africa’s largest economy, is trying to increase its ratio of foreign, dollar-serviced debt to local debt, in a bid to lower costs.

Eurobond sales last year boosted foreign reserves by $4.8 billion, in addition to February’s $2.5 billion gain, Oniha said.

Nigeria is also expected to save N81.66 billion after it refinanced $3 billion of treasury bills, she said.

Last week, Nigeria’s Central Bank said foreign reserves rose to $46 billion at the close of business on March 9, reports Reuters.

Successful debt sales and higher oil prices have helped the government accrue billions of dollars in foreign reserves, although they remain far from the peak of $64 billion reached in August 2008

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National news

PHOTO NEWS: Senator Ali Wakil buried in Abuja



Senator Ali Wakil who died Saturday was this afternoon buried at Gudu cemetery, Abuja.

Mr. Wakil who represented Bauchi south died at the age of 58 Saturday morning.

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, attended the burial.

See Photos below

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National news

Herdsmen didn’t kill 25 persons in Kogi – Kogi Govt



The Kogi state government has denied reports that Fulani herdsmen killed 25 persons in Ogane-Nigu and nearby communities in the Eastern Senatorial Zone of the State.

New Telegraph earlier reported that herdsmen invaded Kogi communities when everyone had slept. The assailants also invaded Abejukolo community in Omala Local Government Area in the Kogi East Senatorial District. At press time residents were moving out of Obakume, Idirisu and Oji Apata to escape the rampaging herdsmen, while residents in other communities yet to run away live in fear.

It was learnt that gunmen armed with AK-47 had earlier in the day visited mayhem on the villagers in their farms before returning in the night while they were asleep to accomplish their mission. Several houses were razed, while others were demolished out right.

But the state government, in a statement signed by Kingsley Fanwo, the spokesperson for the governor, “urged the people of Kogi State to ignore the conflicting casualty and other figures thrown about by different individuals, organisations and sections of the press as they are mostly baseless and speculative.”

It added that the violence has since been contained and brought under control. “The incident, however, remains under investigation while efforts are ongoing to apprehend the attackers and bring them to justice.”

“His Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, the Executive Governor of Kogi State will conduct on the spot assessment of the distressed communities today. He will meet with Security Chiefs and community leaders after which more information will be forthcoming based on available facts. The Governor believes nothing compares to the sanctity of the human life and that must be protected by all who believes in humanity”, the statement added.

The government further said it has ensured that the military, the police and other relevant security agencies, including members of the Kogi State Vigilante Services have been mobilised to the affected areas following the initial reports.

Kogi state was the first state to accept the Federal government cattle colony program to curb farmers/herdsmen clashes.



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National news

EFCC drags INEC staff before Ilorin High Court



Two officials of the Ilorin, Kwara state office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were yesterday arraigned before a high court by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) for their alleged involvement in a N817.6 million fraud.

The accused, Christian Nwosu and Tijani Nda Bashiru were alleged to have committed the offence between February 27, 2013 and year 2015, an offence the prosecutor tagged as criminal breach of trust in respect of fund entrusted to them in their capacity as public officers.

Bashiru was separately charged with criminal breach of trust in respect of total sum of N77 million, while Christian Nwosu was accused of misappropriating N4.9 million.

The accused were alleged to have committee the offence while in the employment of the INEC, Ilorin contrary to and punishable under Sections 97, 315, 308, and 309 of the Penal Code.

Although both of them pleaded not guilty to the charges counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, gave the court the list of eight witnesses he intended to call for evidence, including one Abdulrahman Adebayo Abdulganiyu, who he said would give evidence of how his bank account was allegedly used to warehouse the proceeds of the alleged offences.

While making oral application for bail, counsel to the defendants, Obinna Okereke and Nelson Imoh, prayed the court to grant the two accused persons bail on the strength that the offences with which they were charged are ordinarily bailable.

The counsel, who also said that the defendants had been in the EFCC custody since February 7, 2018, added that they were rearrested in Lagos court.

However, the prosecution counsel opposed the application arguing that the accused persons may obstruct course of investigation, considering evidence he had against them.

Justice Sikiru Oyinloye later granted each of the accused persons bail worth N50 million bail with two sureties each in like sum

The sureties the court ruled should have landed property within the jurisdiction, adding that they should depose to verified and satisfied bail bond, provide statement of account as at Wednesday, submit their current photographs individually and collectively, deposit their travel document

He said that the bail could be revoked if the accused persons failed to adhere to terms upon which it was granted.

The court then ordered that the defendants should be remanded in prison custody, pending when they perfect their bail and later adjourned he hearing till 26 and 27 of April, 2018.

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