Nigeria: Press focuses on release of 279 abducted schoolgirls by bandits

The release of 279 schoolgirls by bandits on Tuesday and the return of long queues for petrol in many Nigerian…

The release of 279 schoolgirls by bandits on Tuesday and the return of long queues for petrol in many Nigerian cities are some of the trending stories in Nigerian newspapers on Tuesday.The Vanguard reports that Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State has confirmed the release of the Jangebe schoolgirls on Tuesday, while also claiming no ransom was paid to their kidnappers.

The governor, in a tweet, said; “Alhamdulillah! It gladdens my heart to announce the release of the abducted students of GGSS Jangebe from captivity. “This follows the scaling of several hurdles laid against our efforts. I enjoin all well-meaning Nigerians to rejoice with us as our daughters are now safe.”

The governor later told the BBC Hausa that no ransom was paid, but appealed to the Federal Government of Nigeria to increase the number of security agents in the country.

According to the governor, the 279 students were in good health and no one was hurt.

He said he and his wife were at the Government House Gusau, receiving the freed schoolgirls, who were being conveyed to the state capital in buses.

Governor Bello, however, commended the government officials who took part in the negotiations that led to the release of the female students.

The Guardian says that Nigerians across regions, yesterday, lamented scarcity of petrol and the attendant price hike.

Motorists and commuters have resorted to panicky measures to secure the product.

Uncertainties, intrigues and the face-off between Federal Government and labour unions may have created an avenue for some marketers of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) or petrol to return to smuggling or hoarding as Nigeria’s daily consumption witnessed over 25 million litre surge.

With petrol selling for an average of N400 per litre in neigbouring countries, there are indications marketers have returned to smuggling or hoarding products in anticipation of price increase, which would enable them make arbitrary gain.

That singular act has returned petrol queues and upsurge in the activities of black marketers across the country as well as over N62 billion monthly subsidy.

The current crisis followed a supposed exit from payment of subsidy, which was announced in March last year and the eventual deregulation of the downstream sector. Under the arrangement, the control of pump price is expected to be determined by market forces, especially crude oil price and exchange.

The Punch reports that the Nigerian Government on Monday said Nigeria would overhaul its power grid and distribution systems through the Presidential Power Initiative, otherwise known as the Siemens Project.

In September 2020, the government explained that the project being handled by the German firm, Siemens, would expand Nigeria’s power grid capacity to 25,000 megawatts.

Nigeria’s power generation on the grid currently hovers between 4,000MW and 5,000MW.
Speaking in Abuja on Monday while hosting the Egyptian Ambassador to Nigeria, Ihab Awad, the Minister of Power, Sale Mamman, said his ministry had been directed by President Muhammadu Buhari, to collaborate with Egypt on the effective implementation of the Siemens deal.
Mamman said Egypt had successfully rehabilitated and restored its power sector through its collaboration with Siemens and that Nigeria would overhaul its grid through the deal with the German firm.
He was quoted in a statement as saying, “The President had reasoned that obtaining more information from Egypt would enable our country to maximise our agreement with Siemens towards the total overhaul of our power grid and distribution systems.”
In the statement, which was issued in Abuja by his media aide, Aaron Artimas, the minister assured his guest that the power ministry would leverage on the visit by the ambassador and his team.

ThisDay says that ahead of the expected arrival of the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines today, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has commenced online registration of Nigerians interested in taking the jab.

NPHCDA yesterday launched the electronic registration platform to enable eligible Nigerians to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The government said it is employing a T.E.A.C.H strategy, which combines indigenous (traditional) approaches with modern technologically enabled systems of vaccination and leverage experiences gained during the polio immunisation programme.

The launch of the registration platform came just as the World Health Organisation (WHO) advised all countries to limit vaccination for now to persons above 18 years, until research and studies are completed on any possible effect on growing children.

Nigeria is set to receive its first batch of 3.92 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine today.

Speaking at the official launch of the T.E.A.C.H strategy for COVID-19 vaccination of eligible Nigerians and Electronic Management of Immunisation Data (EMID) in Abuja, the Executive Director/CEO of the NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, said the vaccination process would be in four phases.

According to him, the first group is frontline health workers who are the first priority group of eligible populations to receive the first doses of vaccines arriving in the country.

The newspaper reports that the Managing Director of Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC), Mr. Ahmed Dikko, has said the turnaround maintenance (TAM) of the company would begin in April this year, if the COVID-19 pandemic could permit.
He said all the approvals and support required from the government and NNPC had been given and a team had been dedicated for the project.

Dikko stated this recently when the members of the National Assembly Joint Ad-hoc Committee on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) visited the refinery complex in Eleme, Rivers State.

“We have done a lot of activities; we are very confident and are sure that we are going to bring back this facility’s optimum production capacity in a very short time.

“Our engagement has been very different; we try to carry everybody along, we try to open up and show a lot of transparency in what we do.

“The whole arrangement is concluded and approvals are almost got; so, by and large, by next month or April at most, we mobilise to the site if COVID-19 permits”, he said.

He noted that the company hoped to run the turnaround process through to the second quarter of 2023 when it would begin to inaugurate all the work they were doing in phases.