Press focuses on suspension of Mali by ECOWAS, others

The suspension of Mali from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) by West African leaders at an extraordinary…

The suspension of Mali from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) by West African leaders at an extraordinary summit on Sunday in Ghana and the mourning of Easterners killed during the Nigeria-Biafra civil war dominate the pages of Nigerian newspapers on Monday

The Guardian reports that the West African leaders have suspended Mali from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) at an extraordinary summit Sunday but stopped short of reimposing sanctions, after a second military coup in nine months.

The putsch had sparked deep concerns over stability in the volatile Sahel region and warnings of fresh economic penalties.

Ten regional heads of state and three foreign ministers attended the summit in the Ghanaian capital Accra, with former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan serving as a mediator in the crisis.

“The suspension from ECOWAS takes immediate effect until the deadline of the end of February 2022 when they are supposed to hand over to a democratically elected government,” Ghana’s Foreign Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey said after the meeting.

The final declaration called for the immediate appointment of a new civilian prime minister and the formation of an “inclusive” government.

In a statement, ECOWAS also reiterated that “the head of the transition, the vice-president and the prime minister of the transition must under no circumstances be a candidate for the future presidential election”.

The newspaper says that uncertainty trailed the already tension-soaked Southeast region yesterday, when the aide of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Ahmed Gulak, was intercepted and shot dead on his way to Sam Mbakwe Airport in Imo State.

Tension had enveloped the five states in the Southeast over yesterday’s sit-at-home order by pro-Biafra agitators, proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), to mark this year’s Biafra Remembrance day in honour of millions of people who died in the war between 1967 and 1970.

The leading separatist group in remembering war victims over two days, with a candlelit march on Sunday evening and a strict order for people to remain indoors on Monday for their own safety.

The streets of Owerri, the Imo State capital, were empty yesterday until the eerie calmness was broken with the gruesome killing of Gulak. The former Presidential aide and Adamawa politician, who in 2019 served as the chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) committee that conducted the governorship primaries in Imo, was ambushed by six gunmen.

A statement issued by the police spokesperson in the state, Bala Elkana, disclosed that only Gulak was killed by the gunmen in a vehicle he was riding to the airport.

ThisDay reports that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of being responsible for the escalated tension, indignation, violence, mass killing, kidnapping, terrorism and banditry ravaging various parts of the country.

The PDP wondered how APC leaders could sleep at night with all the blood in their hands, as their lust for power, body language, divisiveness as well as vindictive policies of their administration have brought acrimony and resentment among citizens, while also encouraging and emboldening acts of terrorists against Nigerians.

In a statement issued by the National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, the main opposition party said that Nigerians can recall that the PDP had earlier alerted that the APC had come to power with a Janjaweed agenda, to foist a reign of terror, balkanise, destabilise and raze down the country for their selfish gains.

According to the PDP, “since APC assumed office in 2015, our nation has not known peace. At every turn and on daily basis, one is confronted with gory tales of killings, bloodbath, misery and destitution, with thousands of compatriots killed and many more injured and displaced in various parts of the country.

“From Kano to Cross River, Lagos to Borno, Kaduna to Imo, Kogi to Ebonyi and indeed all parts of the nation, the APC is erecting altars of violence and pushing life to Hobbes state of nature; short and brutish,” the PDP said.

The Vanguard says that 54 Nigerians were reportedly killed by suspected herdsmen and gunmen in different attacks carried out in Ebonyi, Benue, Enugu, Nasarawa and Oyo states, but police denied reported killings in Ebonyi state.
The suspected herdsmen, yesterday, attacked Odoke, Ndiobasi and Obakotara communities in Ebonyi Local Government Area of the state where no fewer than 30 Ebonyi indigenes were killed.

The affected communities share a boundary with Ado Local Government Area in Benue State. A resident in the area, Uchenna Okpokwu, said the herdsmen invaded his community with guns and machetes around 3 am, yesterday.

“They came into Ndiobasi village and started slaughtering people. After slaughtering them, they entered Odoke, from there they went to Obapta.

“Currently, people that were slaughtered in Ndiobasi are up to 30 according to the video clips on the incident, but Odoke and Obapta are very far and nobody was able to enter the two villages to capture those that were killed.”

The Punch says that the Senate has launched a large-scale probe into the alleged non-remittance of the one per cent stamp duty on contracts awarded by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation from 2010 to 2020.

The Committee on Finance, which is currently probing the internally revenue generation of all the ministries, departments and agencies of government, has therefore summoned the management of the NNPC to appear before it on Tuesday.

A source in the panel, who confirmed the development to our correspondent on condition of anonymity on Sunday, said the decision was taken following the inability of the NNPC to present convincing evidence of stamp duty remittances to the federation account since 2010.

The source said the decision was actually taken at the last sitting of the finance panel when the Chairman, Senator Solomon Adeola, expressed displeasure over the development.

Adeola had told the NNPC Chief Financial Officer, Umar Ajiya, who represented the management at the session,that the committee was not satisfied with the corporation’s submission on the one per cent stamp duty remittances.
The Sun reports that four oil firms including the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) are jostling for a 20 percent minority stake in Dangote refinery.

The investment decision by NNPC and other oil firms will cost each entity about $3 billion to purchase 20 per cent stake in the $15 billion 650,000 barrels per day (bpd) Dangote refinery.

Group Executive Director, Dangote Industries, Devakumar Edwin, said the firms from Western and Middle East countries and involved in trading and crude production were looking to secure crude supply agreements, a similar objective to that pursued NNPC.

“They are seeking to have 20 percent minority stake in Dangote refinery as part of collaboration so that they can sell their crude,” Edwin said.

He said Dangote refinery is not looking for equity but that the company wants to be able to secure crude from the market.

Meanwhile, the NNPC said it was taken the investment decision in order to further ensure an undisrupted supply of petroleum products across the country when the transaction pulls through.

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