The Big 5: Ibe Kachikwu explains major reason fuel subsidy must end; 71 Reps sponsor bill to reintroduce parliamentary system | Other top stories

These are the stories you should be monitoring today.

The Senate Thursday, approved $1 billion for the completion of Ajaokuta Steel Company, after the adoption of the Ajaokuta Steel Company Completion Fund Bill, 2018, was passed.

The cash would come from the Federal Government’s share of excess crude revenue.

The Bill, slated for concurrence, was presented by Senate Leader, Senator Ahmed Lawan.

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu says the country will continue to struggle with fuel scarcity if it continues to subsidise petroleum products.

He said, “in the midstream and downstream sector, we have struggled. I’d love to see a day when there will be no fuel scarcity in this country but for that to happen, there are certain realities whether we want to accept the facts or not.”

He added, “Investments are lacking in this sector, we’ve been working on trying to rebuild the four refineries. We got approval from the president in January 2016. NNPC has struggled in terms of finding the financials. Financials have finally been found but to find the terms have been difficult.”

Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu Thursday, told a Lagos high court judge, Doris Okuwobi, that he had never been investigated by the Department of State Services (DSS).

Magu said this while giving evidence in a N100 million suit he filed against the publisher of The Sun newspaper and four others over alleged defamation.

Joined in the suit are Fred Itua, editor, Saturday Sun; James Ojo and Lawrence Enyoghasu.

Magu is seeking compensation for “libellous imputations” and statements made against him in a story published in the March 25, 2017 edition of The Saturday Sun titled, “Magu Under Fresh Probe Over 2 Abuja Mansions”.

A bill sponsored by 71 members of the House of Representatives to amend the 1999 Constitution to reintroduce a parliamentary system of government has passed first reading.

The bill seeks to change the system of government from presidential to parliamentary where the government will be run by the parliament.

The sponsors of the bill consist of members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), All Progressives Congress (APC), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and African Democratic Congress (ADC).

The pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere and the Ohanaeze Ndigbo have described the decision of the members of the House of Representatives as a welcome development.

Following persistent attack on traffic management officers, Lagos State Government has vowed to enforce the 2017 Transport Sector Reform law in the state.

The state government lamented that motorists in the state have taken its leniency in traffic law enforcement as a means to violate extant laws in the state.

Commissioner for Transportation, Ladi Lawanson stated that the law harmonised all traffic agencies enforcement and penalties in the state.

And stories from around the world…

French police have killed the suspected gunman who shot and stabbed people at Strasbourg’s Christmas market, killing three and leaving a dozen wounded.

Chérif Chekatt was shot dead on Thursday evening, 48 hours after he disappeared sparking a massive manhunt. He was killed after police officers spotted him in the Neudorf area of south-east Strasbourg near where he was last seen getting out of a taxi on Tuesday evening.

European Union leaders have said the Brexit withdrawal agreement is “not open for renegotiation”, despite appeals from UK Prime Minister, Theresa May.

May wanted legal assurances on the Irish backstop to help her deal get through Parliament after she delayed a Commons vote in anticipation of defeat.

The PM said the deal was “at risk” if MPs’ concerns could not be addressed.

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said there could be clarifications but no renegotiation.

News of the arrest of a former al-Shabab leader-turned-politician in Somalia‘s town of Baidoa has been met with street protests in the area.

Security forces had arrested Mukhtar Robow who is set to contest in regional elections and, is one of the leading candidates seeking the presidency of Somalia’s South West state in next week’s vote.

Somalia’s Ministry of Internal Security has issued a statement accusing Robow of being a threat to the security of Baidoa town, failing to denounce terrorism and smuggling weapons into the south-western Somali town.

English football club, Chelsea, on Thursday questioned the “brain-power” of some of their supporters after a group of fans were heard singing an anti-Semitic chant in Budapest  just five days on from the alleged racism directed at Raheem Sterling.

After the Europa League match with Vidi FC ended in a 2-2 draw, Chelsea released a statement condemning the behaviour of the supporters in question.

“Anti-semitism and any other kind of race-related or religious hatred is abhorrent to this club and the overwhelming majority of our fans,” a club spokesperson said. “It has no place at Chelsea or in any of our communities.”

US president Donald Trump attended an August 2015 meeting that federal prosecutors believe was central to a criminal scheme to violate campaign finance laws to help Trump win the presidency, according to CNN.

According to court filings, Trump was joined by Michael Cohen, who was his attorney at the time, and David Pecker, the chairman of American Media Inc., parent company of the National Enquirer.

During the meeting, the group discussed a plan to shield Trump from potentially damaging stories. Prosecutors say this amounted to illegal donations to Trump’s campaign.

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