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Press focuses on protest over arrest, detention of Sunday Adeyemo in Benin Republic, others

The protest in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital, over the arrest and detention by Beninoise authorities of the campaigner for…

The protest in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital, over the arrest and detention by Beninoise authorities of the campaigner for Yoruba self-determination, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, dominates the headlines of Nigerian newspapers on Thursday.The Guardian reports that as extradition battle begins in Republic of Benin following Monday’s arrest of an embattled campaigner for Yoruba self-determination, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, his supporters, yesterday, took to the streets of Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, to protest his arrest and detention by Beninoise authorities.

Sympathisers took to the street in Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State, yesterday asking for the Benin Republic authorities to release Igboho immediately. They also warned against his planned extradition to Nigeria, saying he (Igboho) did not commit any crime to warrant his arrest and extradition.

The protesters, who also carried placards bearing solidarity messages for Igboho and condemnation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration for selective justice and favouring his ethnic nationality above other groups in Nigeria, appealed to the international community, traditional rulers in Yoruba land and others to ensure that the activist is not hounded like a common criminal to Nigeria.

The protesters gathered in front of Igboho’s house in the Soka area of Ibadan from where they took to the streets around 12noon. They were singing the Yoruba nation anthem and chanting “Igboho Oosa”, “Free Igboho now,” while calling on Yoruba leaders and the international community to fight for his release.

Igboho is being held after he was arrested at Cotonou Airport with his wife on their way to Germany on Monday night to evade arrest by Nigeria’s secret police.

The newspaper says that the Catholic Bishops of Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province have condemned what they termed selective administration of justice by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government, saying this development has greatly affected the country’s image in the international community.

They also decried the socio-politico-economic situation of the country, saying Nigeria has lost its soul in the sense that it is no longer a healthy entity, thus, necessitating the need for recovery.

The clerics, who said, “the good health of any nation consists in its capacity to offer its citizens a territory, where they can feel at home, feel secure and enjoy the basic necessities of life,” lamented that such was no longer the situation in Nigeria.

The bishops, in a communiqué issued yesterday at the end of their meeting, which was held at the Domus Pacis Pastoral Institute, Igoba, Akure, the Ondo State capital, from July 19 and 20, expressed sadness that the order of the day in Nigeria was “armed conflicts, armed robbery, kidnapping for ransom, insurgency, banditry, and extrajudicial killings.”

The bishops noted that the current waves of insecurity in the country are an indication that the government has failed to address the criminal elements wreaking havoc but rather dissipating energy on silencing lawful citizens.

The communiqué, which was made available to newsmen in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State capital by the Catholic Bishop of Ekiti, Most Rev Felix Ajakaye, was signed by the province chairman, Most Rev Gabriel Abegunrin, and the secretary, Most Rev Akin Oyejola, where they expressed sympathy for citizens “who bear the brunt of Nigeria’s debilitating situation because of economic depression and hunger, armed robbery, banditry, kidnapping for ransom, unemployment and injustice.”

The bishops lamented that the nation under the present administration has lost its soul and that the insecurity pervading the land, dwindling economy, and others are all indices of a failed country needing an urgent revival.

The Punch reports that Nigeria lost an estimated N53.26bn in the first two months of this year as international oil companies and local players flared a total of 33.04 billion standard cubic feet of natural gas.

The oil companies wasted 17.53 billion scf of gas in February, compared to 15.51 billion scf in February, according to data obtained from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. With the price of natural gas put at $3.93 per 1,000scf as of Wednesday, the 33.04 billion scf flared translates to an estimated loss of $129.85m or N53.26bn (using the official exchange rate of N410.13/dollar).

The NNPC, in its latest monthly report, said out of the 206.05 billion scf produced in February, a total of 133.06 billion scf was commercialised, consisting of 40.15 billion scf and 92.91 billion scf for the domestic and export market respectively.

It said this implied that 64.48 percent of the average daily gas produced was commercialised while the balance of 35.52 per cent was re-injected, used as upstream fuel gas or flared. Gas flare rate was 7.67 percent in February (i.e. 565.52 million standard cubic feet per day), compared to 7.73 per cent in January (i.e. 554.01 million scfd).

ThisDay says that the statutory payments made by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to the Federation Account, a joint pool operated by the local, state and federal governments, declined by over 63 per cent in the first five months of 2021, documents obtained by THISDAY have indicated.

An analysis of the data presented by the national oil company to the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), in the first five months of this year showed that of the calendarised total sum of N613.834 billion, the corporation was only able to remit N225.852 billion.

The documents obtained from one of the federal ministries showed that N387.982 billion remained unpaid during the period under consideration, representing about 63.21 per cent actual budgetary forecast.

According to the NNPC/ FAAC data, while the corporation was expected to pay a net amount of N122.767 billion monthly into the federation account, it was only able to remit N90.860 billion in January, N64.161 billion in February and N41.184 billion in March.

But as it earlier announced, the national oil company was unable to make any payment into the federation account in April, while a paltry N29.647 billion was remitted in May.

The Sun reports that Federal pensioners under the Defined Benefit Scheme (DBS) have a cause to smile as the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) has paid an additional nine months of consequential adjustment arrears, occasioned by the new minimum wage increase of 2019, to Civil Service Pension Department pensioners and six months of the same arrears to parastatals, police, Customs, Immigration and Prisons Department Pensioners.

This brings the arrears paid so far to 18 out of the 24 months arrears of the pension increment. PTAD Executive Secretary, Dr. Chioma Ejikeme, made the disclosure in her response to the commendations from pensioners on the payment of the arrears.

In May 2021, the Directorate implemented the consequential adjustment on pensions as a result of the minimum wage increment of 2019 and commenced payment of arrears to the pensioners of the four operational departments as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The civil service pensioners were paid nine months of the arrears while parastatals, Police and Customs, Immigration and Prisons Pensioners were paid 12 months arrears in May. With this payment, each of the pensioners in the four operational departments would have a balance of six months arrears left to be paid.

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