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Press zooms in on warning that Nigeria may not celebrate another Democracy Day, others

The warning by Nobel laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka that Nigeria may not celebrate another Democracy Day as one nation if…

The warning by Nobel laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka that Nigeria may not celebrate another Democracy Day as one nation if President Muhammadu Buhari fails to listen to the people and decentralise the system of government is one of the trending stories in Nigerian newspapers on Tuesday.The Guardian reports that Nobel laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka has said that Nigeria may not celebrate another Democracy Day as one nation if President Muhammadu Buhari fails to listen to the people and decentralise the system of government.

Soyinka said this yesterday during an interview with Arise News, which focused on June 12 Democracy Day commemoration in Nigeria, where he described the country as a plane that is on a suicide slide, and that the citizens have the right to exit the plane before it nosedives.

He urged President Buhari to stop exuding false confidence and speak like a leader who is ready to take action concerning the country’s challenges.

“And that is what’s happening to people in the streets. That’s why they are moving, that’s why they are demonstrating; that’s why they are defying even threats from the police and the government – If you demonstrate, we will do this, if you do this, we will deal with you, we will talk to you in language which you understand – it does not wash with anybody any longer. Because if a nation is on a suicide slide, the people who feel that they do not deserve that kind of suicidal plunge have a right to say they are getting off this plane before it nosedives.”

The Nobel laureate noted that the upsurge in secessionist agitation in the country in recent times stemmed from Buhari’s refusal to listen to Nigerians.

When asked the question: “Do you think Nigeria can continue as one?” Soyinka responded: “Not if it continues this way. Not if it fails to decentralise. If Nigeria fails to decentralise, and I mean to decentralise as fast as possible, manifestly and not as rhetoric, then Nigeria cannot stay together.

“Again, it is not Wole Soyinka saying this. Everybody has said it: ex-heads of state have said it; politicians have said it; analysts have said it; economists have said it, and sometimes we get tired.”

ThisDay says that Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, yesterday unfolded plans by the federal government to take more Chinese loans to expand rail services to more states.

Amaechi, who featured on ‘The Morning Show,’ a programme on ARISE NEWS Channel, the broadcast arm of THISDAY Newspapers, said the federal government had already begun negotiations for the loans.

If granted, it will balloon Nigeria’s public debt stock, which, according to data from the Debt Management Office (DMO), stood at $87.239 billion as of March 31, 2021.

Already, there has been an outcry against Nigeria’s rising debt profile since 2015.

Last Thursday, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, had admitted that the federal government was exceeding its borrowing plan for 2021.

However, Amaechi said Nigeria had been fulfilling its loan obligations as it had never defaulted in the repayment of loans, especially for the railway projects.

The newspaper reports that the doors of Access Bank South Africa Limited were yesterday officially opened for business.

The bank described the development as another step in engraving Access Bank Plc into the continent’s history. Noting the enthusiasm of all parties leading up to this day, Access Bank CEO, Herbert Wigwe said the SADC region represents the strongest economy on the African continent.

Wigwe highlighted Access Bank’s solid presence in Zambia too, saying the opening of the South African subsidiary cements the Bank’s commitment to sub Saharan Africa as a portal for exceptional banking opportunities across the continent.

Building on the organisation’s vision of delivering a robust banking operation that connects key African markets, the CEO of Access Bank SA, Bennie van Rooy, described the development as, “an exciting event for the South African banking industry,” as well as the provision of sustainable support to existing customers while appealing to new clients with a business presence across Africa. Continuing,

Wigwe said the Group would continue to focus on building relationships, as a partner in both businesses and in communities it serves. With its transactional account and online banking, commercial and asset finance, offshore investments and Forex requirements or deposit solutions, Access Bank puts the power of choice in clients’ hands.

The Punch says that the value of the naira to the dollar fell from 196.99 in December 2015 to 410 in April 2021, reflecting a 51.95 percent decline despite the various foreign exchange policies introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria to strengthen the currency.

The PUNCH had reported last month that the CBN officially adopted the NAFEX exchange rate of N410.25/$1 as its official exchange rate, devaluing the naira from N379/$. In a move to achieve exchange rate stability and preserve the country’s forex reserves, the CBN in 2015 reviewed downwards the spending limit on the usage of naira-denominated debit cards for transactions abroad.

In June 2015, the CBN announced that it was stopping the supply of forex to 41 items that could be easily produced in Nigeria, a development that brought about the forex exclusion policy.

The implication of the policy is that importers of items on the forex restriction list would not be able to get forex directly from the windows created by the apex bank to bring the products into the country. From January 2020 to April 2021, the naira continued in a downward trend at both markets, falling from 307/$1 to 381/$1 in the official window and 361/$1 to 481/$1 at the parallel market.

The Vanguard reports that power supply in Nigeria has failed to improve on last week’s performance, as at fell by 22.9 percent from peak generation of 4,115 Mega Watts on Saturday to 3,172.20MW as at 5pm on Sunday, latest data from the System Operator has shown.

According to the data, most power plants were operating far below capacity due to gas shortage with Olorunsogo power plant, 335MW capacity, and Sapele power plant, 450MW capacity, completely out. Egbin was generating at 746MW, Omoku 37.20, Omotosho (NIPP) at 105MW while Afam was generating at 80MW.

The data showed that on the average power generation in the past seven days were 4,120.9MW on Sunday 6 June, 4,249.4 on Monday 7 June, 4,000.9MW on Tuesday 8 June, 3,720.7 on Wednesday 9 June, 3,517 on Thursday 10 June, 3,765MW on Friday 11 June and 4,115MW on Saturday 12 June.

The International Oil Companies, IOCs, had last warned that despite Nigeria’s huge gas reserves a lot needs to be done to attract investment to the sector to develop gas reserves to boost power generation in the country.

Speaking at the just concluded Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, the Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria MD SPDC, Osagie Okunbor, said with 203 Trillion Cubic Feet of gas reserves, what was needed in the country is to deliver projects that would produce the gas.

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