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Press focuses on position of 68 CSOs on security, welfare of Nigerians, others

The declaration by a coalition of 68 civil society organisations (CSOs) that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has failed…

The declaration by a coalition of 68 civil society organisations (CSOs) that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has failed Nigerians in its primary duty of ensuring the security and welfare of citizens is one of the trending stories in Nigerian newspapers on Monday.ThisDay reports that a coalition of 68 civil society organisations (CSOs) has declared that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has failed Nigerians in its primary duty of ensuring the security and welfare of citizens.

In a joint statement released yesterday, the CSOs said Nigeria is in dire straits as a result of criminal attacks and extra-judicial killings by state actors and called on Buhari to tackle the security challenges or resign.

They said the federal government, through the Minister of Defence, has “callously abdicated its responsibility and called Nigerian citizens ‘cowards’ and urged Nigerians to defend themselves”.

The group said kidnapping for ransom has assumed “an industrial and deadly scale never witnessed on the African continent” and that children are no longer safe in schools while communities are now “pauperised by terrorists who extort huge ransoms while murdering their hostages”.

They also condemned the government’s “gross injustices” where peaceful protesters are threatened and attacked by security agencies while “criminal elements who murder, rape and kidnap Nigerians are granted amnesty and taxpayers’ money is used to pay terrorists.

The coalition, therefore, asked the federal government to provide political and moral leadership for the security crisis and ensure governmental actions are humane in tandem with Section 17 (2) (C) of the Constitution.

The Guardian says that the black box and cockpit recorder of Nigeria Air Force (NAF) Beachcraft airplane, which crashed yesterday, have been recovered. Seven persons killed in the accident have been recovered and evacuated.

Lamenting the tragedy, President Muhammadu Buhari said he remained committed to the safety of the Nigerian airspace.

The aircraft, which was en route Minna, Niger State capital, crashed shortly after the perimeter fence of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

Firemen attached to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) put out the fire in the afternoon while officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) were on ground.

An eyewitness said the aircraft struggled for balance and began descending dangerously until it hit a mango tree close to a stream behind Bassa village close to the airport.

The newspaper reports that as predicted, the economy has exited recession. But as expected also, at 0.11 percent, the growth is fragile – a reason many economists have warned national economic managers to focus on the suggestions of the data than celebrating the exit.

With the negative growth lasting for just two quarters, the recession was the shortest any economy can achieve. And it was, indeed, the shortest country’s economy has witnessed in recent times. The 2016/2017 slump, which was triggered by the international prices, lasted for five quarters. And like the previous ones, the economy escaped the brief recession with scary hangovers.

Besides agriculture, which struggled through the troubled 2020 with 2.17 percent growth and the fourth quarter with a modest gain of 3.42 percent, the sectors considered as high-capacity utilisation industries are still in the red. For one, the all-important manufacturing recorded a growth rate of -1.51 percent in the fourth quarter and -2.75 percent in the year.

Construction, a high labour-intensive sector, recorded negative growth of 7.68 percent in the year while real estate was even worse with an annual growth of -9.22 percent, leaving the economy to the throes profiteering sectors such as telecommunications and the financial system.

Indeed, the marginal growth recorded last year was driven by telecommunications and financial services. Information and communication, a sector that survives and revolves on telecommunications, grew by 14.7 percent in the fourth quarter and 12.9 year-on-year. While the financial institution sector slide by 2.48 percent in the fourth quarter, its annual gross domestic product (GDP) was up by 13.34 percent, putting its growth in the same pedestrian with telecommunications, which expanded by 15.9 percent.

Thus, last quarter’s growth, on the back of which Nigeria is declared to have exited recession, is not only feeble but also patchy. While agriculture recorded positive growth in the quarter, fishing (which is the largest employer of labour with 14.8 million jobs as of last year) slumped by 3.6 per cent. Manufacturing, with its huge employment potential, also witnessed negative growth.

The Vanguard says that the Chief of Army Staff, COAS, Major General Ibrahim Attahiru yesterday gave troops of the Nigerian Army, ‘Operation Lafiya Dole’ 48 hours to clear insurgents off Marte Local Government Area, LGA, of Borno State recently seized by Boko Haram insurgents.

General Attahiru also directed troops to clear terrorists off Kirenowa, Kirta, Wulgo, Chikingudo communities of Marte and Ngala local government areas in the state.

He gave the ultimatum while addressing troops of the Nigerian Army Super camp 9, Dikwa, saying “areas around Marte, Chikingudu, Wulgo Kirenowa and Kirta must be cleared in the next 48 hours. You should be rest assured of all support you required in this very onerous task.

”I have just spoken to the Theater Commander, and the General Officer Commanding 7 Division, you must not let this nation down. Go back and do the needful and I will be right behind you.”

Meanwhile the Executive Chairman of Guzamala LGA of Borno State, Umar Kyari, lamented that since Boko Haram terrorists dislodged thousands of residents in the last two and half years, all operations of the council were being done at Nganzai LGA.

The Punch reports that the Nigerian Government and Siemens have signed a contract for the pre-engineering phase of the Presidential Power Initiative that seeks to boost power generation in the country.

According to the report, the award letters were signed last Thursday by Siemens Energy Nigeria and FGN Power Company, a special purpose vehicle created by the Federal Government for the project.

The Nigerian Government and Siemens AG had in July 2019 signed a Letter of Agreement on the Nigerian Electrification Roadmap, now Presidential Power Initiative, with the aim of ramping up electricity generation in the country to 25,000 megawatts in six years.

The Federal Executive Council, on July 29, 2020, approved the payment of €15.21m (N6,940,081,465.20) offshore and N1.708bn onshore as part of Nigeria’s counterpart funding for the power deal.

It also gathered that with the issuance of the award letters, Siemens can now begin the pre-engineering scope of the project

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