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Released Chibok girls to resume school in September

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Sen. Aisha Alhassan,  Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, on Saturday, said the Chibok girls were ready for academic session in September and pleaded with abductors to release the remaining girls.

Alhassan disclosed this during a lunch with the released Chibok girls and their parents in Abuja.

“They will be examined academically and placed appropriately, the ones that are qualified to enter into the university will be allowed to.

“The American University, Yola had indicated interest in supporting 21 of the Chibok girls.

“We are also meeting with the university to support the remaining girls so that they all can be in one place,” she said.

See Also: DSS to hand released Chibok girls over to ministry of women affairs for proper rehabilitation

Alhassan said that the escaped 14 Chibok girls, who were released three years ago were given scholarships by the American University of Nigeria, Yola.

She said that the girls were properly examined academically, adding that they started foundation courses for them.

The minister, however, pleaded for the release of the remaining Chibok girls and others in captivity, adding that the abductors should dialogue with government.

Mr Reginald Briggs, the Assistant Vice President of America University, Yola, said the girls were initially traumatised but had made significant progress.

“We have 24 of the Chibok girls with us, we try to keep their academic levels up by assessing them emotionally, psychologically, academically and we found out that they are at different academic levels.

“They have foundation in English, Mathematics and General Knowledge and gradually we moved them to advanced stage.

“They are studying difference courses such as journalism, computer science, accounting and law,” he said.

Briggs said that the university was working toward supporting the 82 Chibok girls to be enrolled into the university.

The Chairman of the Chibok Girls’ Parents, Mr Yakubu Nkeki said that parents of the girls were happy meeting their children and appreciated the efforts of the government.

Mrs Catherine Udidathe Head of the Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism, Office of the National Security Adviser, said that the Chibok girls were fit psychological as they had gone through various tests.

She said that the girls were fully integrated, adding that initially they were shy but they now have confidence and ready to face the world.

One of the Chibok girls, Miss Rhoda Peter appreciated the efforts of government and well-meaning Nigerians who had supported them.

Another Chibok girl, Miss Hauwa Ntakai, who said she wants to be a medical doctor, also appreciated the government for helping her to achieve her dream.

 

Boko Haram member thanks army for sparing his life, taking care of his wound

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Troops of Operation Lafiya Dole fighting insurgency in the North-East, have rescued Abba Mustapha, an injured suspected Boko Haram member after heavy bombardment in Ngala in Borno.
boko haram

Lt. Col. Kingsley Samuel, Deputy Director, Army Public Relations Department, made the disclosure in a statement issued to newsmen on Friday in Maiduguri.

“Troops of Operation Lafiya Dole in strict adherence to rules of engagement and international conventions on armed conflict, especially as it relates to prisoner of war, have rescued Boko Haram terrorist Abba Mustapha.

“Mustapha was injured and abandoned to his fate by his colleagues in the heat of heavy fire fight with Nigerian Army troops in the remote Forward Operating Bases in Ngala in Borno.

“Mustapha was captured during counter attack operation launched by the troops following an attack at their location,” Samuel said.

He added: “as narrated by Abba, eight of his colleagues were killed. Also recovered from the BHTs were 3 AK 47 rifles, 2 AK 47 magazines, 2 FN rifle magazines and 3 PKM link belts.

“The surviving terrorist was full of joy and praises for his survival. He thanked the Nigerian Army for sparing his life and taking care of his wound. ”

Diezani Alison-Madueke faces new charges from US

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Nigeria’s former oil minister faces charges only at home but her name crops up in a growing number of international cases that lift the lid on the scale of alleged corruption in the country’s oil sector.

After leaving office in 2015, Diezani Alison-Madueke has been implicated in bribery, fraud, misuse of public funds, and money laundering cases in Nigeria, Britain, Italy and the United States.

The first female president of the global oil cartel OPEC — who was one of Africa’s most prominent politicians — has always denied the allegations, which involve billions of dollars syphoned from oil deals and state coffers.

See Also: How Diezani, others diverted NNPC’s $1.8bn – FG

But former US State Department Nigeria specialist Matthew Page suggested that a US civil forfeiture case to seize $144 million (124 million euros) of assets from allegedly ill-gotten crude contracts may just be the start of Alison-Madueke’s legal troubles.

“Although this is the first attempt by US law enforcement to go after assets allegedly stolen by Diezani and her henchmen, it almost certainly will not be the last,” he told AFP.

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, elected in 2015 on a promise to eliminate graft, has said that “mind-boggling” sums of public money were stolen by previous administrations.

See Also: How Diezani, others diverted NNPC’s $1.8bn – FG

Officials in Abuja say they are talking with US prosecutors about repatriating the money if the civil forfeiture claim is successful.

Meanwhile, Italian prosecutors allege that she and Jonathan received kickbacks from oil majors ENI and Shell as part of a $1.3-billion deal for an offshore oil block in Nigeria.

Charges relating to the same oil block deal have also been filed against the oil majors and some senior Nigerian politicians.

Jonathan and Alison-Madueke are not named in the suit but the former president is under pressure from Parliament to answer questions about the so-called Malabu deal.

Finally, Diezani-Madueke was arrested in London in October 2015 in connection with a British probe into international corruption and money laundering, but she was freed on bail.

Leading Nigerian lawyer Festus Keyamo said the cases demonstrated the need fundamentally to overhaul the NNPC — and to investigate just how far up corruption went in the ruling elite.

“The big unanswered questions is it possible one Minister allegedly stole so much without the knowledge, connivance & approval of the C-in-C (commander-in-chief)?”, he tweeted.

Annie Idibia is all shades of beautiful in new photos

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Nollywood actress, wife to Legendary Musician, 2Face Idibia, and mother of two, Annie Idibia looks all stunning in new photos shared by make-up artist, Anita Brows:

See photos below:

Benedict Peters: The fate of Nigeria’s oil future hangs in the balance

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Benedict peters

The workings of the oil sector in Nigeria had been in need of a rethink long before the Obasanjo government decided to take action nearly a decade ago. Passed from government to government in the years since, we’re barely any closer to the promised alignment and clarification of the regulatory framework and the industry is suffering as a result.

And now it’s not just a point about policy; it’s become an impediment to investment. In its latest bulletin, OPEC says that investor confidence in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry is at an all-time low. Failures to reform are now holding up the entire sector, compacting an already downtrodden industry.

There is one piece of legislation that could change that, the now-infamous Petroleum Industries Bill (PIB). Stuck in Nigeria’s legislative corridors for almost a decade, the PIB has now been restyled as the ‘Petroleum Industry Governance Bill’ (PIGB), and the Buhari administration, with Vice President Osinbajo acting on his behalf, has pledged to finally pass it by the end of March this year. But we must hope that the new PIB has not been diluted as a quick fix to getting it passed.

Eight years is a long time in a country’s development and the challenges within the oil sector have only been compounded by the failure of successive governments to bring the PIB into effect. The NNPC is not fit for purpose. The need to reform the national oil company is something which most politicians would, I believe, support.

The vision of the oil minister Emmanuel Kachikwu, to break up the NNPC into several units, each with responsibility for separate divisions, makes a lot of sense. But the problem is not the quality of the proposed regulation; it is the political stalemate over implementing it.

Failure to pass the Bill has got investors spooked: the uncertainty over future regulation, particularly around Upstream taxation, means that investestor cannot plan with any confidence. Without confidence, the investment climate will continue to be stale and a the return of a roaring oil industry will continue to evage Nigiera.

If passed, Nigeria’s fortunes and competitiveness on the world stage may at last be heading in the right direction. A more stable investment environment will improve prospects for foreign investment but will also encourage indigenous players to thrive and compete again.

Qualified Nigerian companies have shown that if given an opportunity, as local content players, that they can deliver the same professional results as many of the globally recognised names.

The absence of investment and a thorough fiscal framework means that the government is not benefitting from the revenue streams it could be. But there is also a greater problem about Nigeria’s long term growth. The lack of investment ultimately means a lack of job opportunities in the sector and a withering skills base. With the right level of investment, Nigeria could develop its own capacity to exploit and benefit from its own natural resources (not least in terms of jobs) at every stage of the supply chain: exploration, production,

With the right level of investment, Nigeria could develop its own capacity to exploit and benefit from its own natural resources (not least in terms of jobs) at every stage of the supply chain: exploration, production, refining, and marketing.

OPEC has recognized that a failure to convert the present challenge into an opportunity will see criticism targeted at the President Buhari administration. But the government must also be encouraged to ensure that the benefits of an improved investment environment are felt predominantly by domestic players. With Nigeria as a more attractive investment option on the world stage, there will be a temptation to invite foreign companies to snap up the most lucrative contracts. But we must not forget the benefits that the Nigerian Local Content Bill, Goodluck Jonathan’s 2010 act, brought to Nigerian firms.

With Nigeria as a more attractive investment option on the world stage, there will be a temptation to invite foreign companies to snap up the most lucrative contracts. But we must not forget the benefits that the Nigerian Local Content Bill, Goodluck Jonathan’s 2010 act, brought to Nigerian firms.

The law specified that Nigerian independent operators should be accorded “first consideration” in the award of oil and gas contracts and that Nigerian service companies should also be given “exclusive consideration” for contracts and services. President Buhari has an opportunity to build a renewed confidence in this local content act and renewed support which will help make Nigeria’s local content players to increase capacity and take the country to the next professional level, globally.

Benedict Peters the CEO and Vice President of Aiteo Group, an integrated energy group involved in exploration, production, refining, and supply.

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