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Press focuses on criticisms trailing minister’s support for open grazing, others

The criticisms that trail the Minister of Justice's support for open grazing and castigating 17 Southern governors for banning it…

The criticisms that trail the Minister of Justice’s support for open grazing and castigating 17 Southern governors for banning it and the pledge of the Military High Command to sustain the tempo of operations against banditry, kidnapping and terrorism, among other security challenges are some of the leading stories in Nigerian newspapers on Friday.ThisDay reports that the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, yesterday came under fire for criticising the open grazing ban by the 17 Southern governors at their recent meeting in Asaba, Delta State.

Malami, while fielding questions on a live TV programme on Wednesday had kicked against the open grazing ban.

The Minister compared the Southern governors’ decision to Northern governors banning spare parts trading in the North, considering the fact that the majority of spare parts traders in the North are from the South.

He had said: “It is about constitutionality. Within the context of the freedoms enshrined in our constitution, can you deny a right of a Nigerian? It is as good as saying maybe the Northern governors coming together to say that they prohibit spare parts trading in the North. Does it hold water? Does it hold water for a Northern governor to come and state expressly that he now prohibits spare parts trading in the North?”

Reacting to Malami’s comments, the Southern governors dared him to challenge their decision in the court, saying that there is no going back on the open grazing ban.

Some senior lawyers and the Founder of Stanbic IBTC and Anap Foundation, Mr. Atedo Peterside, also criticised the minister over his comments.

The Vanguard says that the Military High Command yesterday vowed that plots by criminal elements to perpetrate nefarious activities to discredit the government and security agencies would not deter it from sustaining the tempo of operations against banditry, kidnapping and terrorism, among other security challenges.

This came on a day Defence headquarters explained that the renaming of the ongoing counter-insurgency operation in the North East from ‘Operation Lafiya Dole’ to ‘Operation Hadin Kai’ was to reflect the renewed spirit of collaboration in the North East operational environment.

Consequently, DHQ reiterated that the combined efforts of the armed forces and other security agencies was a demonstration of the commitment, synergy and determination to lay down lives of personnel to protect the country.

It also noted that to ensure the Military High Command came out with improved ways of tackling the myriad of security challenges across the country, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, and service chiefs had visited the six geo-political zones and consulted government officials, traditional and religious leaders and interest groups for the purpose of sensitization on the current security challenges facing the country.

Acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Brigadier General Benard Onyeuko, who disclosed this, while giving an update on military operations across the country, said: “We will continue to sustain the offensive posture and will not relent until peace is restored to every troubled zone in Nigeria.

The Punch reports that the Nigeria Labour Congress will today (Friday) come up with its position on the recommendation by governors that the price of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, be raised from N162/litre to N408.5/litre.

A committee set up by the Nigeria Governor’s Forum had on Wednesday called for immediate removal of petrol subsidy.

It recommended a petrol price of between and N380/litre and N408.5/litre. However, the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Thursday advised the Federal Government to be tactful when removing petrol subsidy.

They recommended that it be done gradually. Also, officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation told our correspondent that the oil firm was awaiting the Federal Government’s position on the recommendation of the governors before it would adjust petrol price.

The Nation says that the World Bank Group yesterday rejected request by African heads of state for cancellation of their countries’ debts, saying the world has moved past that line of action.

The World Bank Group President, David Malpass said, who disclosed this yesterday during a media roundtable for western and central Africa, said one of the themes of the Paris Conference two days ago, on Tuesday, was the call by African heads of state for cancellation of debts, but that’s not the direction that the world is moving at this point.
Nigeria has the largest World Bank portfolio of more than $12 billion. Those are programmes under implementation covering a variety of sectors, access to electricity, water, education, health, agriculture.

The World Bank says it has this year, delivered about $2 billion for Nigeria in order to help the population have access to critical services but also to support governments and institutions to provide some technical assistance to a variety of stakeholders.

Malpass said over the last 10 years, the World Bank Group has invested over $200 billion in Sub-Saharan Africa and would be investing another $150 billion in Africa in the next five years to support the continent’s recovery.

The Guardian reports that experts at a global research body, Wood Mackenzie, in a report released yesterday predicted further woes for the oil and gas sector, stating that the pressure from energy transition could wipe as much as $14 trillion from the upstream sector of the petroleum industry.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) had earlier in the week said investments in new fossil fuel projects would need to stop if the world would reduce global warming to 1.5 °C.

The Guardian had reported that such development put planned $150 billion oil and gas projects in the country at risk.
The new report released by WoodMac said that energy transition represents $14 trillion worth of uncertainty for upstream oil and gas.

The experts noted that while oil and gas has been alluded to as a risky business, growing tension pushing for energy transition has worsened the concern.

The Sun says that the National Economic Council (NEC) on Thursday, received an update on the Federation Accounts from the Minister of Finance Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed.

The update presented at a virtual NEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, and anchored from the Presidential Villa, Abuja, showed that the nation’s Excess Crude Account which attained a peak of $20 billion in January of 2019 is still tottering at a mere $72.4million as of May 18, 2021.

Failure of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s government to save for the rainy day however, saw the ECA eroded to $2.07billion in May 2015, while the succeeding Muhammadu Buhari administration grew it to $2.26billion in April of 2016.

Thereafter the account headed to its worst level at $72.4million following years of consistent crude oil crash. Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State who briefed State House correspondents after the meeting, stated “At today’s NEC meeting, which was chaired by the vice president, I have the briefing that was presented by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning.

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