PDP sabotaging fuel supply to blackmail federal govt – Tinubu; Despite arrest threats, Emefiele fails to appear before reps | 5 Things That Should Matter Today

  • PDP sabotaging fuel supply to blackmail federal govt – Tinubu
  • Despite arrest threats, Emefiele fails to appear before reps
  • Protesters block Lagos-Benin expressway over petrol scarcity
  • Zulum orders finance ministry to open additional bank branches in Borno
  • PDP’s Akinlade convoy attacked in Ogun

Across Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, these are the five top Nigerian news stories you shouldn’t miss:

PDP sabotaging fuel supply to blackmail federal govt – Tinubu

Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate for the All Progressives Congress (APC), has once more accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of sabotaging the country’s fuel supply in order to blackmail the federal government.

Tinubu, addressing at the APC presidential campaign rally at the MKO Abiola stadium in Kuto, Abeokuta, Ogun State, said that the ongoing fuel crisis and redesigned currency by the Central Bank of Nigeria were part of a scheme to derail the election and his anticipated triumph.

“They don’t want this election to hold. They want to scuttle it. Will you allow them? They have started coming up with the issue of ‘no fuel’. Don’t worry, if there is no fuel, we will trek to cast the vote. If you like, increase the price of fuel, hide the fuel or change the ink on the naira notes, we will win the election…Let the price of fuel continue to increase, they are the ones that know where they are hoarding it. They are hoarding naira notes, they are hoarding fuel, we will vote and we will win. If you like, change the ink in the naira note, we will win the election, and the opposition will be defeated,” Tinubu had said.

Tinubu, according to the Atiku/Okowa Campaign Organization, was bemoaning the Naira redesign because it thwarted his efforts to utilize slush monies for vote-buying and manipulative techniques.

Tinubu, however, stated on Wednesday at the APC presidential campaign rally in Makurdi, the capital of Benue State, that while in power, the PDP administration issued petroleum retail licenses to its followers and sympathizers.

Tinubu emphasized in a statement released Wednesday by his Media Office and signed by Abdulaziz Abdulaziz that PDP members and sympathizers are currently stockpiling petrol to cause long lines throughout the country and to cause Nigerians to suffer.

Tinubu said, “They met good oil prices for 16 good years, they didn’t remember gas pipelines, they are what I called saboteurs yesterday. They gave PMS license to their supporters and sympathisers. They are the ones who started creating fake queues. PDP, enough is enough.”

Taking further jabs at Atiku Abubakar, APC Presidential candidate noted that the PDP candidate didn’t know that he broke the civil service rule in Nigeria when he said he was doing transport business when he was in Customs Service.

“They asked him, you are so rich, where did you get your money from, and he said from doing transport business. He didn’t know that was an offence. The only thing you are allowed to do as a civil servant is farming.”

Despite arrest threats, Emefiele fails to appear before reps

A special committee of the House of Representatives has advised Femi Gbajabiamila to issue an arrest warrant for Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), for defying its summons.

Thursday in Abuja, Alhassan Doguwa, majority leader of the house and committee chairman, addressed managing directors of banks at an interactive meeting.

Speaker of the lower legislative chamber Gbajabiamila had already threatened to issue an arrest warrant for Emefiele if he refused to appear before the committee.

The legislator, who spoke during Thursday’s plenary, deemed it “inappropriate” for the CBN governor to disregard the house’s summons.

Tuesday, the house requested that the deadline for withdrawing outdated naira notes from circulation be extended from January 31 to July.

The lower legislative house also established a committee to meet with Emefiele, CBN officials, and bank managing directors on Wednesday.

However, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) or his deputies did not come before the committee on Wednesday, stating in a letter that the invitation was received late.

The committee again invited Emefiele to testify on Thursday, but the house got a letter from the CBN deputy governor for corporate services stating that the CBN governor is in Senegal as part of a presidential delegation.

Gbajabiamila, dissatisfied with the answer of the central bank, requested that Doguwa hold the meeting as planned and alert the house if the CBN governor fails to come.

Thursday’s meeting with bank CEOs was attended neither by Emefiele nor his representatives.

Doguwa stated at a meeting that the CBN’s governor had disregarded the national parliament by neglecting to appear before legislators.

The CBN lied to the house by stating that the president was still in his hometown, despite the fact that the president’s trip had ended.

“It is our position of this committee and by extension, the position of the house of representatives that the letter they have earlier sent to us is only an action in futility. The house does not count on that letter whatsoever and it holds no water at all,” he added.

“I want to rule that the Central Bank of Nigeria through its chief executive, who is the governor of the central bank, has decided to flagrantly disregard and disrespect the institution of the legislature. And on this note, I would want to say that this committee will outrightly inform the house.

“Commercial banks are complaining, their customers are complaining, the economy is bleeding, and we go to the polls in these circumstances. I want to believe that somewhere, somehow, there is a dark horse behind the agenda and we will not allow that cause to continue to drag the success of our electoral process.

“By this position, the house of representatives is now compelled to recommend to Mr. speaker to go ahead and initiate the necessary instrumentality of the law to compel the governor of the central bank to appear before this constitutional committee.”

Meanwhile, speaking after plenary on Thursday, Gbajabiamila said he will issue the warrant of arrest against Emefiele on Tuesday.

Protesters block Lagos-Benin expressway over petrol scarcity

In protest of the rise in fuel’s price per liter and its shortage, protesters shut down the Lagos-Benin motorway at Oluku junction on Thursday.

Drivers and passengers who were stuck for hours expressed their displeasure with the situation.

The demonstrators, many of whom were young people, decried the increase in the price of fuel and its unavailability.

This incident occurs less than 72 hours after President Muhammadu Buhari approved the formation of a 14-member steering group for the supply and distribution management of petroleum products.

Tuesday’s announcement by Horatius Egua, senior assistant (media and communications) to Timipre Sylva, minister of state for petroleum resources, announced the formation of the committee.

While Buhari is the head of the steering committee, Sylva will function as the vice-chairman.

Other committee members include Zainab Ahmed, the minister of finance; Gabriel Aduda, the permanent secretary of the ministry of petroleum resources; Doyin Salami, the president’s national economic adviser; and Yusuf Bichi, the director-general of the Department of State Services (DSS).

Hameed Ali, comptroller-general of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Abdulrasheed Bawa, chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and Ahmed Audi, commandant-general of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, are also committee members (NSCDC).

The committee also includes Farouk Ahmed, CEO of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mele Kyari, group CEO of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, and Umar Farouk, senior special assistant to Sylva.

The federal government has denied increasing the price of fuel, despite the disparities in pump pricing at filling stations.

Zulum orders finance ministry to open additional bank branches in Borno

Babagana Zulum, Borno governor, has directed the state’s ministry of finance to hastily establish branches of Borno’s existing microfinance bank across all 27 local government areas (LGAs).

Zulum, who said the directive was in accordance with regulatory procedures, also ordered the ministry of higher education, science, technology, and innovation to set up ICT centres in the LGAs.

He announced the measures on Wednesday in Maiduguri during an ‘extraordinary’ stakeholders meeting.

The meeting had in attendance members of the Borno state house of assembly, commissioners, advisers, local government chairmen, and other critical stakeholders.

According to Zulum, the directive became necessary following the CBN’s Jan 31 deadline for the validity of old naira notes as well as the absence of banking services across 25 out of Borno’s 27 LGAs due to over 12 years of insurgency.

He said the establishment of the branches of the microfinance bank should start this week in Monguno and Gwoza LGAs.

“At the moment we only have two LGAs with banking services and these are Maiduguri and Biu. The distance from most of the local governments to either Maiduguri or Biu is too long,” Zulum said.

“Despite a great improvement of the security in Borno, there are still challenges for banks to start operations.

“Banking is a very delicate industry and I am sure none of them is willing to take the risk of establishing branches in our LGAs for now.

“Therefore, to support our people, Borno state government has to take the risk. I have directed the ministry of finance to ensure the recapitalisation of Borno Renaissance Microfinance Bank to qualify it to have the capacity to open branches in all the 27 LGAs.

“This, I believe will greatly alleviate the suffering of our people.”

Zulum also instructed the finance ministry to immediately come up with a template to organise and ensure people in rural communities deposit their old naira notes before the January 31 deadline.

“I have convened this meeting to discuss how our people in the villages can get easy windows of depositing their money to the bank accounts as stipulated in the CBN’s new policy,” he said.

“The ministry of finance is hereby directed to mobilise the people and ensure nobody loses his money, you should facilitate ways through which people can voluntarily deposit their money into the banks in the remaining days.”

The politician also directed the ministry of higher education, science, technology and innovation to support mobile telecommunication providers toward improving their network coverage for internet connectivity across all the 27 LGAs in the state.

PDP’s Akinlade convoy attacked in Ogun

Adekunle Akinlade, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for deputy governor in Ogun State, reportedly suffered an assault on Thursday.

While PDP supporters were returning from a campaign event in Igbesa, Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government Area, Ogun State, their convoy was ambushed.

Akinlade’s media aide, Azeez Adelani, confirmed the attack by stating, “the side window of the car Deputy Gubernatorial candidate, Hon. Adekunle Akinlade was riding in was shattered.”

According to him, more branded cars were destroyed, and a number of supporters got injuries of varying severity.

Adelani attributed the incident to members of the ruling All Progressives Congress, whom he identified as thugs.

According to him, the thugs “laid ambush and assaulted vehicles and PDP supporters following their Igbesa rally”

Adelani asserted, however, that Akinlade was unfazed by the event, stating that “no amount of intimidation or provocation will deter him or the PDP from completing what he termed ‘God’s mission’.”

Akinlade urged party members to remain patient and consistent while expressing confidence that the PDP will win the upcoming elections.

In the meantime, the PDP in Ogun State has urged security authorities to offer increased safety for all people, regardless of their political membership, and to investigate the incident.

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