The Big 5: Ahead of PDP primaries, Saraki visits Jonathan; U.K. announces programme to raise 3 million poor Nigerians | More stories

These are the stories you should be monitoring today:

British Prime Minister, Theresa May on Wednesday visited Lagos as part of her visit to Nigeria and tour of some African countries.

At a business event in Lagos as part of activities for the visit, the British Minister of State for Africa, Harriett Baldwin on behalf of the U.K Government announced a new £70million programme to create 100,000 jobs in Nigeria

Baldwin said: “Today, it is all about celebrating those links through technology and I am very excited that the Prime Minister is announcing today a new £70 million programme that will create some 100,000 jobs in Nigeria and will also raise the income of three million people from the poorest parts of Nigeria.”

The Debt Management Office (DMO), says Nigeria’s current external debt stock amounts to $22billion, with the Federal Government accounting for 81 per cent of the debt at a quotient of $17.8 billion, while the states and the FCT account for 19 per cent at $4.28 billion.

Nigeria’s commercial nerve-centre of Nigeria, Lagos has the highest foreign portfolio of $1.45 billion, or 33.88 per cent of the states’ debts, followed by Edo with external debt of $279 million; Kaduna, $232.9 million; Cross River, $193.7 million; Bauchi, $134.9 million, Enugu, $127.9; million, Anambra, $107.4 million; Oyo, $106.34 million and Ogun, $105.3 million;

At the tail end of the debt profile are Taraba, with $22.1 million; Borno, $22.2 million; Yobe, with $28.4 million and Plateau with $29.6 million.

The debt status released by the DMO on Wednesday, were as at June 30, 2018.

Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki on Wednesday met with Former President Goodluck Jonathan at his Maitama residence in Abuja.

At the visit, the former Kwara Governor who was accompanied by some Senators, said his visit to the Bayelsa-born leader was to pay respect to him and inform him of his formal return to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

In response, Dr. Jonathan commended Saraki for the firm and progressive leadership he has provided for the National Assembly, adding that the legislature would have been in chaos with the unfolding issues in the country, but for his (Saraki) style of leadership.

The Presidency has said the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to withhold his assent from the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), was for “legal and constitutional reasons.”

Legislative Adviser to the President, Ita Enang, in a statement on Wednesday described as blackmail, reports that Buhari rejected the bill because it whittled down his power as Minister of Petroleum Resources.

In clarifying the issues, Enang noted that some legislative drafting concerns if assented to in the form presented, will create ambiguity and conflict in interpretation.

President Muhammadu Buhari will on Friday play host to German Chancellor,Angela Merkel, two days after the visit of the British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Nigeria’s Ambassador to Germany, Yusuf Tuggar who briefed journalists about the visit on Wednesday in Abuja, said the visit of the German leader to Nigeria would focus on security (particularly in the north east) and strengthening economic ties between both countries.

“She is coming with business delegation which is very important. We have strong economic relation with Germany over the years,” he noted.

And stories from around the world:

US President, Donald Trump has lashed out at China for undermining its work with North Korea, as criticism over progress on denuclearisation mounts. (BBC)

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday cast doubt on the ability of European countries to save Iran’s 2015 nuclear accord with world powers, now under threat following a U.S. withdrawal, and said Tehran might abandon the agreement. (Reuters)

Russia on Wednesday called on the West not to stand in the way of an “anti-terror operation” in Syria’s Idlib, as speculation grows Damascus is planning a Russian-backed offensive on the rebel-held province. (AFP)

Israel renewed its threat to attack Iranian military targets in Syria after Damascus and Tehran reached a new accord on security cooperation. (Al Jazeera)

The European Union is prepared to offer Britain an unprecedentedly close relationship after it quits the bloc but would not allow anything that weakened the body’s single market, chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said on Wednesday. (Reuters)

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