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Boko Haram plotting to bomb homes of VIPs, not VP Osinbajo – Presidency

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The militant group, Boko Haram, is planning to bomb the homes of VIPs, and not the residence of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the VP’s office said Thursday.

The clarification came after media reports quoted the presidency’s initial claim that Mr. Osinbajo’s home was targeted.

The vice president’s spokesperson, Laolu Akande, said that claim, sourced by journalists from the text of a press briefing after Thursday’s National Economic Council, was a typographical error.

“A press briefing note circulated today by the Secretariat of the National Economic Council, NEC, contains a typo on the very last line of the last paragraph.

“That paragraph should read ‘The Vice President also disclosed that security reports has it that scavengers are now being prepared by insurgents to dump refuse laden with bombs in the houses of VIPs’.

“The last line erroneously says ‘in the house of the Vice President’,” Mr. Akande said in a statement after the media reports.

The earlier text said intelligence had confirmed that Mr. Osinbajo’s residence was being targeted for bombing.

During Mr. Osinbajo’s recent tour of Adamawa and Borno states, two suicide bombers had blown themselves up outside a village in Maiduguri while he was in Borno.

At the NEC meeting Thursday, governors of Yobe, Borno, Taraba, Kaduna, Gombe, Plateau and Bauchi took turns to brief the council about the security situation in the states.

On Boko Haram, the governors of Yobe and Borno States said five local government areas of the two states were still under the control of the militants.

They called for increased military deployment and provision of sophisticated military equipment to those areas.

Vice President Osinbajo regretted that the insurgency had affected the economic life of the Northeast and Nigeria, and called on the council to speak as a team to put pressure on military chiefs to increase their effort in fighting insurgency.

“There should be increase in sensitization and education channels like radio, television,” he said.

On cattle rustling and banditry, the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, disclosed that most of the cattle rustlers are in Kumuku national park. He said if the situation was not properly handled, it could result to another Sambisa forest.

The meeting assured that efforts were underway to deal with the threat.

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Reps Committees probes identities of contractors involved in N18.9b bush clearing contracts

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The Public Account Committee of the House of Representatives, PAC on Wednesday, resolved to unmask the real identities of the owners of the companies which took contracts valued the sum of N18.9 billion from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development for clearing of bushes, land preparation, rehabilitation of soil plant lab and others during the last COVID-19 lockdown of the country.

The resolution followed the appearance of representatives of two of the 20 affected companies at the resumed investigative hearing of the Committee on queries to Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs of the federal government by the Office of Auditor General of the Federation.

The affected companies are: Easy Construction Company LTD and NUKAAG VENTURES LTD respectively while the remaining 18 companies failed to show up.

The Committee being chaired by Hon Wole Oke (PDP-OSUN) said that the two representatives of the Companies (Johnson Philip and Taiwo Idowu), were of the Managerial cadre and as such not competent to appear before the Committee going by the Rules of the House.

Responding to a question posed by the Chairman of the Committee on whether they were familiar with the submission submitted to the Committee on the award and execution of the contractors so as not to mislead it, they both said no.

Consequently, the Committee directed the duo to leave immediately and directed that the Managing Directors or Chairmen of the companies should personally appear before it and speak to the submission before the Committee.

In addition, Hon Oke directed the Clerk of the Committee to write to the Registrar General of the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC to furnish the Committee, the detailed information of the affected 20 companies, including year of incorporation, Corporate offices, names of the owners, shareholders amongst others.

According to him, “we are not concerned about who won the contracts, what we are after is to deter value for money paid out and the sites of the projects, and we will carry that mission to the latter.

“The Clerk should also write the Federal Inland Revenue Services, FIRS, to furnish the Committee about the financial status of the companies.

Hon Oke assured that the Committee would carry out a diligent investigation into the matter as it was interested in finding out the location of the projects and the significance of such projects to the country.

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Blackout looms as IKEDC stops operations

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The Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKEC) has announced a shutdown of operations following the issues between the National Union of Electricity Employees and the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TUC).

In a statement on Wednesday via its verified Twitter handle, @IkejaElectric, the Disco announced the shutdown of operations.

The statement read partly, “Due to the ongoing nationwide picketing of Transmission Stations by the NUEE, we are currently experiencing disruption of power supply as most stations within our network have been shut down.

“Kindly bear with us as we await an amicable resolution by the relevant stakeholders.”

Organised labour had on Tuesday directed workers in the power sector to shutdown and commence an indefinite strike over pending issues with the TCN.

The aggrieved workers under the aegis of the NUEE were at the Abuja national headquarters of the TCN Tuesday as a prelude to the proposed strike.

The union noted that the strike was in protest of a directive by the TCN Board mandating all PMs in acting capacity going to the Annual General Meeting to appear for promotional interviews.

In a circular titled, ‘Call to Action,’ which was addressed to senior assistant general secretaries and zonal organising secretaries, dated August 15, 2022, the General Secretary of the NUEE, Joe Ajaero, directed electricity workers to ensure total compliance, vowing to paralyse operations of the TCN nationwide over anti-masses activities.

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Electricity workers’ strike throws South-East into blackout

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Power distribution has been halted completely in the entire South-East States.

This follows the industrial action embarked upon by the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) at the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) power stations.

The development threw the five South-East States into a total blackout, Wednesday afternoon.

Emeka Ezeh, Head Corporate Communications, EEDC, confirmed that that operations across the franchise area of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company PLC (EEDC) have been disrupted.

He said, “as a result of this development all our feeders are out of supply and this has affected supply to our esteemed customers in Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo States.

“Consultations are ongoing among critical stakeholders in the power sector to address this issue and possibly restore supply.

“The Management of EEDC hereby encourage customers and neighbourhood associations to be vigilant and protect the electrical installations within their environment against elements who might take advantage of this outage to vandalise these installations.”

“We, therefore, appeal for continued patience and understanding while this is resolved,” he noted.

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