PDP Needs Strong Leadership To Bounce Back- Jonathan

On Wednesday night during a programme titled, ‘Focus on Africa’ aired on an international news and current affairs television channel based in Paris, France 24, former President, Goodluck Jonathan said, “The PDP will definitely have some minor issues but that is expected because we were in power for 16 years and when we lost the presidency, we began to have some kind of leadership problems.

Everybody looks up to the president but when you are no longer the president, it becomes difficult for the party to have a very strong leadership.

“But I believe that whatever the PDP is going through will be sorted out. Elders and leaders of the party have been meeting and all these perceived disagreement will soon be sorted out. The party will bounce back.”

Agency Report …….

Jada Pinkett Smith Returning To ‘Gotham’ As Fish Mooney In Season 2!

Jada Pinkett Smith will reprise her role as the cutthroat crime boss, Fish Mooney, for a multi-episode arc in season two, ET confirms.

When fans last saw the nightclub-owning nemesis in Gotham’s season one finale, she was getting pushed to a watery grave by her former minion-turned-mob leader, Oswald Cobblepot — aka The Penguin.

Although the details behind Mooney’s return are being kept tightly under wraps, we have a hunch that it could have to do with the oh-so-strange experiments that those folks at Indian Hill are conducting.

Regardless of how Smith makes her big comeback, we’re certainly looking forward to another action-packed Fish out of water tale.

Agency Report ……

Saido Berahino Has Wasted Months – Tony Pulis

Berahino has struggled for first-team football so far this season

West Brom striker Saido Berahino has “wasted three or four months” of his career, according to Baggies boss Tony Pulis.

The 22-year-old forward suggested he would not play for Baggies chairman Jeremy Peace again after a move to Tottenham was blocked last August.

He has again been linked with a move in the January transfer window.

“It’s been dreadful to have an outstanding player who has dropped off because of circumstances,” said Pulis.

“It has not helped us at all.

“If he’s still here [after January], he’s got to start realising that this is affecting everybody. He’s got to get back to what he was.

“Saido has to realise he is a footballer. In my opinion, he has wasted three or four months and he can’t afford to waste any more time.”

Berahino has made 18 league outings for West Brom this season, with 10 as a substitute, and scored three goals.

“I’m not picking him because he’s not been anywhere near what he was last year,” added Pulis.

“You have to make him understand that we are playing at the top of our profession and every week you have to be at the top of your form. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been Saido, mentally or physically.

“I like the kid, I spend a lot of time with the kid but my biggest worry with him is that he has so many other people out there who influence him.”

Agency Report ….

Dickson Denies Allegation Over 500 Civil Servants To Be Punish For Supporting APC

The Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Seriake Dickson, yesterday, said his administration had no plans to sack civil servants in the state.

Dickson, who spoke through his deputy, Rear Admiral John Jonah (retd), also denied allegations that his government had penciled down over 500 civil servants accused of supporting the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the just-concluded governorship election, for sanction.

Speaking during the monthly Transparency Briefing in Yenagoa, Dickson said the ongoing workers’ verification in the state was not designed to sack civil servants for their stand during the election.

The governor, however, condemned the action of some civil servants, who he said openly campaigned for political parties during the election.

While describing such action as wrong and against civil service rule, the governor said that his administration never gave any directive to sanction and stop the salaries of civil servants.

He said the ongoing verification exercise by an Establishment Committee and the delay in the payment of salaries arose from the continued financial deficit experienced by the government in the payment of salaries.

He said: “On the issue raised by some 500 workers in the state, to the best of my knowledge and due discussion with Governor Seriake Dickson, there is no plan by the government to retrench any worker.

“However, we must add that although the partisan posture of some workers during the election was wrong, there is no plan to sanction or retrench anyone over that.

“The verification being conducted by the Establishment committee is to look inward and examine ourselves as an administration. We are doing this due to the consistent deficit we are experiencing. This is why there is no government official on the committee.

“We have asked them to help check and also find other ways of raising revenues. If they come out to say, the figures we have is correct, so be it. If they say we have some addition, we will check again. Things at the moment are hard and it is a challenging moment for us as a state.”

Dickson also announced a deficit spending of N1.713bn in November 2015, saying a total of N4.804bn accrued to the state.

He noted that over N6.518bn was spent on the payment of salaries for workers and political appointees, overhead costs and loan repayment.

He said that the deficit and the reluctance of some banks to provide loan facilities to the state because of the governorship election were factors responsible for the delay in the payment of workers’ salaries.

The Nation News ……..

Leadership Newspaper Returns N9 Million Share Of Dasukigate

The management of Leadership Holdings Limited, publishers of Leadership newspapers, has returned the N9 million it received from the Presidency through the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria as compensation for the seizure of its publications in 2014.

In a letter dated January 29 and addressed to the General Secretary of NPAN, the company said it decided to return the money after some senior officials had gone behind to direct their organisations to refund the compensation received from the government even though it was agreed that they committed no offence by receiving the compensation.

It specifically alleged that the chairman of Daily Trust newspaper, Kabiru Yusuf, went behind the association and directed his newspaper to refund the money.

The letter entitled Re: Compensation for illegal seizure of newspapers was signed by the Group Managing Director of Leadership Newspapers Group Limited, Mike Okpere.

The letter obtained by PREMIUM TIMES on Friday said, “We refer to the above subject matter and enclose herewith a Zenith Bank draft no 08549695 for the sum of N9,000,000.00 (Nine million Naira only) being refund of the compensation paid by the Goodluck Jonathan government for the crude and illegal seizure of our newspapers over a period of 5 days by soldiers from the 6th of June to the 10th of June 2014 through the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN).

“It will be recalled that this was the sum paid to all newspapers which incurred losses as a result of the act which was arrived ay when President Jonathan pleaded for an out of court settlement.

“It has come to our notice that the chairman of Daily Trust, Malam Kabiru Yusuf who was acting president of NPAN/chairman of the meeting held at Mr. Sam Amuka’s guest house in Lagos in December 2015 where it was agreed, after a detailed analysis of the situation that NPAN and the newspapers committed no offence by the out of court settlement and therefore had no reason to refund the compensation, has gone behind the association’s back and directed the Daily Trust to refund monen.

“After such a dishonourable act by the one person under whose direction members of the association all agreed that there would be no need to refund the money, it is our view that it is no longer tenable not to refund. This is particularly more discomforting when it is recalled that the decision to agree to the out of court settlement and compensation was taken at the Abuja office of Daily Trust with Kabiru Yusuf in attendance. It is for this reason that we are refunding the N9 million.

“But we will like to maintain the general position that neither the NPAN nor newspaper committed any offence. Our chairman has also made it clear that he does not see any situation where LEADERSHIP will be part of any group that will take the current government to court.

“Therefore we should be counted out of any future decision to seek redress in court on this same matter. After all it is not the government that asked us to refund, it is the treachery of some of our members.

“Kindly be advised accordingly.”

Leadership newspaper is owned by Sam Nda-Isaiah, a former presidential aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress.

It becomes the second known beneficiary of the compensation given by the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, a retired colonel, to return its share of the money.

The Sun newspaper had earlier in December returned its own share of N9 million.

NPAN had received N120 million from the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan in June 2014 as compensation for the seizure and stoppage circulation of their newspapers by armed soldiers in Abuja and several cities.

Some of the 12 newspapers, which allegedly got the compensation, dissociated themselves from the payments.

The newspapers are African Newspapers of Nigeria (ANN) Plc, publishers of the Tribune titles; Peoples Media Limited, publishers of Peoples Daily; Daily Telegraph Publishing Company Limited, publishers of New Telegraph, Saturday Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph, and Independent Newspapers Limited, publishers of Daily Independent newspapers.

Premium Times …….

Inter Milan Signed Eder On Two Years Loan

Inter Milan have signed Sampdoria striker Eder on loan for two years before Sunday’s Milan derby.

Inter boss Roberto Mancini moved for the Italy international, who has scored 12 Serie A goals this season – second only to Napoli’s Gonzalo Higuain (21).

“I’ve worked hard for years to play for a big club like Inter,” said the Brazil-born forward, 29.

The move could be made permanent upon “the fulfilment of certain conditions”, Inter said in a statement.

Eder has scored 49 times in 135 matches during four years at Sampdoria, who are five points above the Serie A relegation zone.

Inter are fourth in the table, six points behind leaders Napoli going into this weekend’s derby with AC Milan.

Agency Report ……

 

Zika Virus “Spreading Explosively” – WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that the Zika virus, linked to severe birth defects in thousands of babies in Brazil, is “spreading explosively” and can infect as many as four million people.

The WHO Director-General, Margaret Chan, said this at a meeting on Friday with the agency’s executive board in Geneva, adding that the spread of the

mosquito-borne disease had gone from a mild threat to one of alarming proportions.

She said that to help determine its response, WHO would convene an emergency meeting on Monday, because the level of alarm was extremely high.

Chan told the Geneva gathering that in 2015, the virus was detected in the Americas, where it was now spreading explosively.

She stressed that as of today, cases have been reported in 23 countries and territories in the region.

She recalled that WHO was criticised in 2015 for reacting too slowly to West Africa’s Ebola epidemic, which killed more than 10,000 people, and it promised to cut its response time.

“We are not going to wait for the science to tell us there is a link with birth defects.

“We need to take actions now,” Chan said, referring to the condition called microcephaly in which babies were born with abnormally small heads and brains that have not developed properly.

Chan promised a quick action from the WHO, stressing that this has become urgent because there is no vaccine or treatment for Zika, which is like dengue and causes mild fever, rash and red eyes.

“An estimated 80 per cent of people infected have no symptoms.

“Much of the effort against the illness focuses on protecting people from mosquitoes and reducing mosquito populations,’’ she said.

Meanwhile, WHO Assistant Director, Bruce Aylward, said there was no confirmation yet in the area of vaccines.

He said there were no indications if there had been some work done by some groups looking at the feasibility of a Zika virus vaccine.

Aylward said it would take six to nine months to confirm whether Zika was the actual cause of the birth defects, or if the two were just associated.

About 15 killed In Adamawa Bomb Blasts

At least 15 people were killed in two blasts that rocked a grain market in Adamawa on Friday.

Reports said the explosions occurred at about 2:00pm when the market was at its peak.

Two male suicide bombers, according to the reports, carried out the attack on unsuspecting traders in the market.

The Nation News …….

States To Take Ownership Of Facilities, Fashola Urges

The Minister of ‎Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN has appealed to communities and State governments to take ownership of Federal infrastructure facilities in their localities.

The Minister said it was important to prevent disputes or acts of sabotage that could be detrimental to delivery of such projects‎ to the people.

The Minister made the call at various stops in the course of a nationwide inspection, verification and fact finding tour of projects under the Ministry, which began on Monday with an inspection of the various sections of the Abuja –Abaji- Lokoja road, the Geregu I and II Power Plants and the Lokoja 330/132/33 KV Transmitting Sub Station in Kogi State.

During the tour, Fashola visited Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau States in the North-Central zone by road to assess work conditions at several important power, roads, housing and other infrastructure facilities under the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing.

In a statement by the ‎Special Adviser to the Minister, Communications, Hakeem Bello Friday in Abuja, Fashola emphasised that since the developmental projects were meant for the people, host communities should treat the projects as theirs and offer every necessary support to ensure its successful completion.

He told the immediate past Kogi State Governor, Capt. Idris Wada ‎during a courtesy visit in company with his Minister of State, Mustapha Shehuri, Monday that the tour became necessary to see things for themselves after being briefed and planned budget.

He stated that the development of the people should transcend party affiliation, adding that such affiliation would mean nothing without attention paid to the development and prosperity of the people.

Fashola said: “This is the 80th‎ day since our appointments as Ministers. We have spent the time before now planning a budget, taking briefings, getting to know our staff, getting to know ourselves and this phase of the work now is to go and see for ourselves some of the things we have read in files across the States, some of the things we have been told in the meetings and to see things as they stand in preparation for implementation.

“So one of the things that we have done first is to ask our Controllers of Works in the various states to start working in partnership with the State governments. It does not matter what party or what colour of flag is flown by that Governments.”

Enumerating some of the projects already inspected before getting to the state capital, Fashola said the Ministry remains committed to the completion of the Abuja – Abaji- Lokoja road in order to achieve the connectivity of the two cities and the State itself to the Federal Capital Territory as well as facilitate the efficient movement of goods and services.

The Minister spoke further on the rational for the tour and visits which centred on various steps being taken to realize the various aspects of the Ministry’s mandate in collaboration with the states and on which he had earlier written the Governors.

“… I have written to all Governors about providing us with land for housing and also providing us with their advisers, commissioners and or assistants as the case maybe on Energy,’’ he said.

Continuing the Minister declared, “We will need those advisers, commissioners and assistants to be our fronts men in the states. Men and women who will take decisions, who will be accountable to the State Governors, because we are also seeing that quite a number of critical power projects are held up by community issues, disputes, environmental issues, cultural issues, social issues which are best dealt with by the people who are masters of the terrain and usually the Governors are closer to the local people.”

According to the Minister, the Federal Government through the Ministry wants to pay attention to and resolve as many of such issues as possible in order to ensure that important life impacting projects are delivered on time for the benefit of the people.

“We have just resolved some issues in one of the states where the power project has been held by communal and legal issues that was delaying about 700MW of power from being put to completion.

“These are the kinds of things that we want to tackle now. And these are the kind of things that I think has been left in the back burner. So we have cases of land disputes over erection of transmission towers, who gets compensation, who does not get and they escalate to court issues.”

Decrying such negative attitude as people going to damage or sabotage infrastructural facilities located in their communities, the Minister appealed for more community and state ownership of projects in order to check those practices.

“ We are seeing people blowing up Gas pipes. They are things happening within states and within Nigeria. So we want much more community ownership, we want much more state ownership, so that these things can be put behind us. You can’t want electricity and be destroying electricity infrastructure,” Fashola said.

The Minister also stated that President Muhammad Buhari has constituted a Committee comprising of some Ministers including Power, Works and Housing, Transportation and Education to review and verify claims made by states with respect to work done on Federal roads in order to enable the Federal Government put a plan in place for refunds.

According to Fashola, the tour would also enable him to see such projects done by states who had put up requests for refunds in the North Central and other zones he would be visiting while the Ministers of Transport, Education and the Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing would also be visiting some of the states in line with the responsibilities for verification allotted in the Committee.

During each of the stops to inspect projects and the subsequent brief courtesy visits to the Governors – Dr. Samuel Ortom of Benue State, Alhaji Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State and Hon. Simon Lalong of Plateau State-, the Minister used the opportunity to address key issues affecting Federal Government projects in the states and observations made in the course of the tour such as the habit of leaving lights on in broad daylight observed in some of the rural communities.

At the Pankshin 2 X 60 MVA 132/33 KV Sub- Station which has been completed but could not be energized due to the non-completion of the 132 KV line from Jos as a result of community issues revolving around repeated right of way compensation demand, the Minister reiterated his appeal for the cooperation of States and local communities.

While noting that the Plateau State Government had stepped in to resolve the issue, Fashola said that communities should avoid standing in the way of their own development as timely delivery of projects would require the cooperation of all stakeholders.

Each of the Governors who received the Minister expressed their delight at his hands on approach in visiting personally to see things for himself while also using the opportunity to acknowledge the Federal Government projects and stating their requests in areas requiring attention as well as enumerating efforts being made to respond to the Minister’s earlier communications and steps aimed at resolving community related issues affecting federal projects.

The Minister, during the inspection and verification tour was accompanied by a small team of senior officials in each of the sectors covered by the Ministry.

Nation News ….

Naira Fell Further On The Parallel Market

The naira, yesterday, fell further on the parallel market, with projections of huge loss of value soon unless drastic efforts are made to increase foreign exchange liquidity.

The Central Bank of Nigeria had on Tuesday, defied pressure and speculations for the currency to be devalued, which in response has elicited more demand, pushing down the local further.

However, the naira has remained stable on the official interbank market at N197 per dollar.

CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, has reiterated that the bank is fine-tuning the framework for foreign exchange management with a view to ensuring a more effective and liquid foreign exchange market.

He also said that it has become necessary to improve the supply of foreign exchange to the market, especially from autonomous sources, reiterating commitment to maintaining stability in the naira exchange rate.

Guardian News …….