Press focuses on arrest of persons involved in raid of residence of Supreme Court judge, others

The report of arrest by the Nigeria Police Force of 14 suspects, including a self-confessed fake police officer, for alleged…

The report of arrest by the Nigeria Police Force of 14 suspects, including a self-confessed fake police officer, for alleged involvement in the October 29 raid on the Maitama, Abuja, residence of a judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Mary Odili is one of the trending stories in Nigerian newspapers on Friday.The Punch reports that the Nigeria Police Force on Thursday paraded 14 suspects, including a self-confessed fake police officer, a lawyer, an Islamic cleric, and a journalist for alleged involvement in the October 29 raid on the Maitama, Abuja, residence of a judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Mary Odili.

The force said the men who stormed the residence were not security operatives and that seven others, including soldiers, who took part in the raid were at large.

Those paraded by the police force spokesman, Frank Mba, include the leader of the operation, ‘Chief Superintendent of Police’ Lawrence Ajojo, who admitted that he was an impostor; a lawyer, Alex Onyekoro; a cleric and whistleblower, Aliyu Umar, and Stanley Nkwazema, who claimed to be a freelance journalist with ThisDay.

The members of the team had stormed Odili’s residence and laid a five-hour siege to the house on the strength of a purported tip by Umar, who claimed to have observed illegal activities in the building located at No. 9 Imo Street, Maitama, Abuja.

Following an order by Chief Magistrate Emmanuel Iyanna, who issued a search warrant to a body identified as the Joint Panel Recovery Unit in the Ministry of Justice, the supposed security operatives besieged Odili’s home but they were resisted.

The magistrate later revoked the order, saying he was misled.

The incident sparked an outrage with the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, absolving his office of involvement in the operation.

The police and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission also said they were not aware of the raid.

The newspaper says that the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, has described fuel subsidy as a major waste and a drain on the Nigerian economy, saying the government plans to replace it with transport subsidy to assuage the effect of its removal on the masses for a short period.

Ahmed said this on Thursday while speaking on the Channels Television’s Politics Today show.

She said, “The Petroleum Industry Act that has been passed has a provision that says petroleum products should be deregulated, which means there should be no subsidy of any petroleum product. In making our plans, we assume that this deregulation would take effect from July 2022. It is important that we exit the subsidy. It is costing us a significant number of resources that we could have applied for education, health and critical infrastructure. It is a major waste and drain on the economy.”

According to her, fuel subsidy only benefits people with several cars, and not the masses.

She said, “Who is benefiting from this subsidy? It is the people with a number of cars that they run. It is not the person entering a bus from the village to the market.”

ThisDay reports that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has stated that the success and acceptance of the e-Naira has attracted other African countries to understudy the model and basics of the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).

Speaking on the sidelines of the CBN special day at the ongoing Lagos International Trade Fair yesterday, Director, Corporate Communications of the apex bank, Osita Nwanisobi, noted that as one of the first countries in the world to have adopted the digital currency, Nigeria has become a role model to many other central banks in Africa and beyond.

“Presently, many African countries are in the country trying to understand and see how they can also start their own digital currency. Many central banks across the world are still trying to understand it and the CBN has made history as one of the first to achieve this.

 “The world is moving away from fossil fuel and we are entering a digital world. If we do not join the train now, we would be left behind,” he said.

The newspaper says that the Director General, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Dr. Dikko Umaru Radda, has said that the federal government is committed to assisting entrepreneurs from the Aba business cluster to further develop and standardise their products to meet national and international markets requirements.

Speaking at a media briefing in Abuja on the 2021 Made-in -Aba Trade Fair, Radda said the exhibition had become an important annual feature in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) business promotion calendar in the country.

According to him, the ‘Made in Aba Trade Fair’ remains a flagship trade promotion activity between the National Assembly and SMEDAN through the Zonal Intervention Programmes.

He said part of the objective were to bring to limelight the challenges and prospects of MSMEs, increase public awareness among the target participants on the strategic benefit of taking part in the fair as well as other SMEDAN programmes and achievements within the year under reference.

The SMEDAN boss also explained that the initiate sought to create public awareness about the agency activities and programmes.

The Sun reports that the Nigerian Government, yesterday, said that, as a result of its interventions in agriculture, the food import bill has dropped from $3.40 billion in 2014 to $0.56 billion, representing a drop of over 80 per cent over a period.

Speaking at stakeholders’ sensitisation workshop on the National Agricultural Sample Census in Abuja, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr Godwin Emefiele, said that such interventions include, the Anchor Borrower’s Programme (ABP), Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS), Accelerated Agriculture Development Scheme (AADS), Private Sector-led Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (P-AADS), Maize Aggregation Scheme (MAS), Paddy Aggregation Scheme (PAS) and the Rice Distribution Facility (RDF).

According to him, the bank’s flagship programme in the agricultural sector, the Anchor Borrower’s Programme (ABP), has become a game changer for financing smallholder farmers, who are at the forefront of the Federal Government’s drive for food security and self-sufficiency.

“As you are all aware, the programme was designed to serve as an economic link between the smallholder farmers and anchors (agro-processors and manufacturers) who provide quality inputs and trainings in best farming practices to ensure high yield” he said.

The Guardian says that Federal Government has said its goal is to ensure the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector accounts for 70 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2025.

The Director-General, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Dikko Radda, disclosed this yesterday, at a stakeholders’ operationalisation of Public-Private Dialogue on the implementation of the new National Policy on MSMEs (2021-2025) in Abuja.

The event was part of the coordination mechanism provided by the Investment Climate Reform (ICR) facility on effective implementation of the policy.

The DG, represented by the Director, Partnership and Coordination in the agency, Friday Okpara, observed that the sector currently contributes 49 per cent to the GDP and has provided over 59 million employments in the country. He, however, expressed confidence that the target growth was achievable.