The Late 5: Senate asks NNPC to refund N216bn subsidy fund, Trump to visit UK in July, and other top stories

These are the top five Nigerian stories that drove conversation today.

The Senate has declared the current payments by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation for subsidy of premium motor spirit (petrol) illegal.

It asked the corporation to refund the sum of N216bn spent for the purpose in 2017 under the guise of “operational costs” into the Federal Government’s coffers.

The legislature also asked the corporation to stop further payment of the subsidy, while asking it to pay the arrears owed fuel marketers.

The legislature also resolved to legalise the payment by including it in the 2018 budget.

They also called for sanctioning of the officials involved in the illegal payments.

The Committee on Public Accounts made the recommendations in its report on the investigation into the illegal subsidy payments, which was adopted by the Senate at the plenary on Thursday.

The national leadership of the All Progressives Congress has asked a former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Ali Modu-Sheriff, who has expressed his desire to join the ruling party in Abuja, to do so at his ward.

Sheriff was scheduled to storm the national headquarters of the party in Abuja by noon on Thursday with his supporters, where he would have declared for the party.

A three-paragraph statement was issued by the National Publicity Secretary of the ruling party, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, in which he directed Modu-Sheriff to join the party in his ward.

The statement read, “Our attention has been drawn to reports in some sections of the media that the former factional chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff plans to defect to the All Progressives Congress today at the APC National Secretariat in Abuja.

“While we are aware of such intentions, we wish to restate our earlier position that anyone who wants to join the Party should do so at the ward level.

“We are happy to welcome new members to our party, but membership cards are not issued at the Party National Secretariat.”

The Independent National Electoral Commission in Osun has released the timetable for the conduct of the state’s September 22 governorship election.

Presenting the timetable to newsmen on Thursday in Osogbo, Mr. Olusegun Agbaje, the newly appointed Osun Resident Electoral Commissioner said election activities would commence on June 23 with the release of “Notice of Election’’ by INEC.

Agbaje said political parties would commence a public campaign on June 24 while candidates for elections and their parties would have the opportunities to obtain forms at INEC headquarters from June 25.

The REC said that party primaries and resolution of disputes arising from the primaries would hold from June 24 to July 23.

Residents of Benue state have been thrown into mourning again, following the invasion of another church by suspected herdsmen.

A source said seven persons were killed in the incident which happened two days after two priests and 17 church members were shot dead at a Catholic church in Gwer west local government area of the state.

The fresh attacked took place at a church and a primary school in Logo local government area (LGA) of the state on Thursday morning.

Richard Nyajo, chairman of Logo local government, told journalists that herdsmen were responsible for the attack.

He said they invaded three villages in Mbamondo clan in early hours of the day, opening fire on people who were asleep in the church and school.

The senate has resolved to invite President Muhammadu Buhari to brief a joint session of the national assembly on incessant killings in the country.

The resolution comes a day after the house of representatives summoned the president on the same issue.

The house summoned Buhari after the killing of 19 persons in Benue state. The president was asked to explain his efforts to stem the high rate of killings in various parts of the country.

At plenary on Wednesday, Obinna Ogba, senator representing Ebonyi central, moved a motion that the upper legislative chamber should invite the president to brief them on the nation’s security situation.

His motion followed debates on an earlier motion moved by George Akume, senator representing Benue north-west, on the continued killings in Benue.

And now, stories from around the world…

A Spanish court has jailed five men for sexually abusing a young woman during the famous San Fermin bull-running festival but acquitted them of rape.

All five were sentenced to nine years in prison for their part in the attack, which they filmed, during the festival in Pamplona in July 2016.

The 18-year-old victim’s ordeal caused a national outcry, and protests continued outside the court.

Both the woman and the defendants say they will appeal against the verdict.

“It’s rape, not abuse,” demonstrators said outside the court. Rallies have been called in Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Alicante and more than a dozen other cities across Spain against the verdict and in support of the victim.

French President Emmanuel Macron has said he may have failed in efforts to persuade Donald Trump to stick to an international nuclear deal with Iran.

“My view is… that he will get rid of this deal on his own, for domestic reasons,” Mr Macron said at the end of a three-day state visit to the US.

Mr Trump has until 12 May to decide on the deal, which aimed to prevent Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.

He has been a strong critic of the accord, calling it “insane”.

On Wednesday, Mr Macron used similar language to describe frequent shifts in the US position on global issues, including climate change and the Iran agreement.

“It can work in the short term, but it’s very insane in the medium to long term,” he is quoted as telling reporters following a question-and-answer session with students at George Washington University.

Kim Jong-un is set to become the first North Korean leader to cross into South Korean territory since the end of the Korean War in 1953, as final details are put in place for the summit.

South Korea said President Moon Jae-in would personally meet Mr Kim at the border at 09:30 (00:30 GMT) on Friday.

The historic summit will focus on the North’s recent indications it could be willing to give up its nuclear weapons.

Talks are also proposed between Mr Kim and US President Trump by early June.

US President Donald Trump is to visit the UK on Friday 13 July, after previously cancelling a planned trip amid claims he would face protests.

It will not be the full-blown state visit Mr Trump was promised when Prime Minister Theresa May visited the White House in January last year.

But an invitation to a state visit still stands, the BBC understands.

He will hold bilateral talks with Mrs May, Downing Street said, with further details to be “set out in due course”.

The July date follows the Nato summit in Brussels which the president is expected to attend.

President Donald Trump on Thursday morning suggested that some of the elements of his potential summit later this year with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un are up in the air.

“It could be that I walk out quickly, with respect, but it could be. It could be that maybe the meeting doesn’t even take place. Who knows?” Trump told Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” during a half-hour call-in appearance.

The President said in the past, North Korea-US relations were “very, very nasty you know with little Rocket Man and with the buttons.” But now, he said, “they want to meet.”

Trump added that there are three or four possible dates for the summit and confirmed CNN’s reporting that five locations are currently under review for the meeting.

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