Press zooms in on advice of Catholic Bishops on security situation in Nigeria, others

The advice of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria to President Muhammadu Buhari to listen to the cries of Nigerians…

The advice of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria to President Muhammadu Buhari to listen to the cries of Nigerians over the security situation in the country is one of the trending stories in Nigerian newspapers on Wednesday.The Vanguard reports that the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, CBCN, yesterday, asked President Muhammadu Buhari to listen to the cries of Nigerians over the security situation in the country.

CBCN President, Archbishop Augustine Akubeze, who stated this while speaking at the funeral of Emeritus Bishop of Orlu Diocese, the Most Revd. Gregory Ochiaga, said Buhari should not ignore the constructive criticism of religious leaders.

“We join our yokes to many courageous religious leaders, Catholics and non-Catholics who have spoken out against government’s performance in the area of insecurity in Nigeria.

“To the Federal Government of Nigeria, let it be known to you that openness to objective criticism is a sign of maturity. Many critics of government mean well for the government.

“There is no religious leader who will want the government to fail, neither is there any genuine religious leader who truly feels the pain of their people and keeps quiet when the life and property of the people are not secured,” he said.

The newspaper says that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has announced 1,270 new cases of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), bringing the total number of infections to 102,601.

The NCDC disclosed this on its official website on Tuesday. The public health institute confirmed 12 new deaths in the past 24 hours. This takes the nation’s death toll to 1,373.

Nigeria has so far tested 1,033,858 people since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was recorded in the country on February 27, 2020. The agency said the new infections were reported from 21 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

According to the breakdown released on Tuesday by health agency, Lagos takes the lead with 435 infections, FCT 234, Oyo 103, and Plateau 86.

Meanwhile, the total number of recoveries and discharges has risen to 81,574.

The Guardian reports that the Presidency has welcomed a team of Nigerian professors and scientists investigating effectiveness and role of Ivermectin drug in the treatment of the novel coronavirus.

Composed of scholars at home and abroad, the group also submitted its report on usefulness of the drug to the World Health Organisation (WHO) that had appointed a peer review expert from the United Kingdom.

Speaking yesterday while being briefed on the report by a team of scientists led by the Principal investigator, Prof. Femi Babalola, and the Chief Medical Director, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Prof. Chris Bode, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo expressed satisfaction that Nigeria and Nigerians “are at the cutting edge of scientific research into COVID-19 treatment.”

He said: “We have an opportunity here and I am so fascinated to hear this drug has been used in the treatment of river blindness in this country.”

Commending the squad, Osinbajo added that with the report, Nigeria was at an advantage both in knowledge and availability of the drug, especially since Ivermectin had been found useful not only in the treatment of COVID-19, but also as a prophylactic medication.

ThisDay says that Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, has said that there is no provision in the 2021 Budget to fund the acquisition of COVID-19 vaccines.

The minister, during a virtual presentation of the 2021 Budget in Abuja, however, explained that the federal government is working on the type and quantity of COVID-19 vaccines to procure, while her ministry and the Ministry of Health will meet to finalise an amount to be allocated to vaccine procurement within the next two weeks.

Also, the 2020 Finance Act recently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari has exempted workers within the minimum wage bracket of N30,000 from personal income tax.

The Act, which amended no fewer than 14 different fiscal laws, now extends the implementation of the Public Procurement Act to the National Assembly and the judiciary.

Nigeria is expected to receive about 100,000 doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech approved COVID-19 vaccines by the end of January.

The newspaper reports that the Chairman of Peugeot Automobile Nigeria (PAN) and former member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ahmed Wadada Aliyu, yesterday forecasted that Nigeria will import used cars and motorcycles worth N3 trillion in 2021.

He also described the recent tariff reduction on automobiles as a policy somersault from the recommendations of the Automobile Standing Committee set up by the federal government through the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) to examine factors hindering the growth of the automotive sector. Ahmed, during a media parley on,

“The tariff regime for automobile assembly plant in the 2020 Finance Bill,” yesterday in Abuja, also accused the Comptroller-General of Customs,

Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), of succumbing to the lobby of vehicle dealers with no matching investments in local vehicle assembly.

But in a swift response, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) dismissed the allegation, saying that Nigerians are happy with the new policy.

The Punch says that the Nigerian Government spent a total of N6.46tn on debt servicing and workers in 2020, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, has said.

She also disclosed that the government released a total of N1.8tn for capital projects within the year. She noted that out of this, up to N118.37bn was released for COVID-19 capital expenditure.

Ahmed spoke virtually while presenting the 2021 Federal Government approved budget. Providing updates on the 2020 budget implementation, the minister stated that as at year end 2020, the Federal Government’s retained revenue was N3.94tn, 73 percent of target.

She said the Federal Government’s share of oil revenues was N1.52tn, representing 157 percent performance, over and above the prorated sum in the revised 2020 budget, while non-oil tax revenues totaled N1.28tn, 79 per cent of revised target.

On the expenditure side, she said N9.97tn was appropriated, excluding GOEs and project-tied loans, while N10.08tn representing 101 percent was spent. Ahmed said,

The Nation reports that Heineken B.V, the majority core investor in Nigerian Breweries Plc and Champion Breweries Plc, may soon launch a full takeover bid for minority shares in Champion Breweries after the global breweries giant closed a N4.95b deal to increase its majority equity stake in Champion Breweries to 84.97 percent.

Transaction details and regulatory filings at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) showed that Heineken, through its wholly-owned Nigerian subsidiary, Raysun Nigeria Limited, acquired N4.95 billion shares from local investors to increase its controlling equity stake in the Akwa Ibom State-based Champion Breweries.

A total of 1.90 billion ordinary shares of 50 kobo each of Champion Breweries were crossed to Raysun Nigeria Limited at N2.60 per share through the negotiated window of the NSE.

The new transaction represents 24.27 percent of the issued share capital of Champion Breweries. Prior to the latest acquisition, Heineken, through Raysun Nigeria Limited, held 60.7 percent majority equity stake in Champion Breweries.

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