Privatisation: BPE, NERC promise improved power supply

The Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprises, Mr Benjamin Dikki, has promised to work with the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission to ensure improved electricity supply in the country.

Dikki said that the two organisations would ensure that the new owners of the power companies met the country’s expectations of adequate power supply.

This is contained in a statement issued in Abuja on Friday made available to newsmen by the Head, Public Communications, Mr Chigbo Aniechebe.

Dikki said that the bureau was aware of the high expectations of Nigerians from the outcome of the power sector reform.

He said that this necessitated the BPE and NERC to put in place monitoring mechanisms to ensure that the new owners of the power companies fulfilled their obligations to improve power supply.

Dikki said that during the privatisation exercise, documents were signed to give BPE and NERC the power to monitor these companies after the sales to help them ensure that power supply improved.

He said that these agreements were the Share Sale and Purchase Agreement, Performance Agreements, BPE’s Post Privatisation Monitoring Template, NERC’s Reporting Compliance Regulation and NERC’s Terms and Conditions of Licensing.

“SSPA clearly spells out the terms and conditions of sale of shares to the investors, while the PA contain terms of payment and Post Acquisition Plans implementation.

“It also stipulates clear milestones the investor must achieve within a specified period.

“The NERC’s Reporting Compliance Regulations clearly outlines the level of compliance to set standards by the companies.

“Also, NERC’s license terms and conditions is the document that shows the mandatory requirements for acquiring a license and the violation of the terms will lead to NERC’s withdrawal of the license,” he said.

Dikki said that among the documents was the Compliance Monitoring which gave BPE the right to audit, enter and monitor privatised enterprises every six months upon five days notice to the company.

“The performance obligations and liquidated damages mandates the purchaser to ensure the company achieves the minimum performance targets, failing which the purchaser shall be made liable to pay liquidated damages for performance below agreed standards.

“The purchaser must comply with Post Acquisition Plan and initial budget which the consent of BPE is required for annual revisions to budgets and plans for first five years and afterwards.

“BPE will have the veto rights regarding certain expenditures as provided in the reserved matters,” the statement said.

Dikki said that the privatisation of the sector was to improve electricity supply in the country so as to create employment and attract massive investments across the country.

“The other objectives of the reform is to repeal monopoly laws that restricted entry into the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry and the liberalisation of the sector to create an enabling environment for private sector investment.

“Also it was aimed at creating a regulatory agency with full powers to regulate the sector and to ensure the separation of the roles of policy formulation, regulation and operations.

“The intent of the reform was also the creation of an electricity market that is private sector-driven,” he said.


Gunmen kill family of seven in Kaduna attack

Gunmen, suspected to be Fulani herdsmen, in a midnight raid on Thursday wiped out a family of seven at Manyi Akuru village, a suburb of Manchok town in Kaura Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
Manchok in Kaura LGA is about 200km South of Kaduna, the state capital, had  in recent time witnessed ethnic and communal clashes.
It was learnt that the suspected Fulani herdsmen had stormed Manchok town around midnight and killed the seven members of the family.
The assailants, it was gathered, fled into the bush after the killings.
The development, our correspondent gathered, further angered the youth of Manchok, who then mobilised and attacked a Fulani settlement close to the town.
But a detachment of the Army stationed around the area averted the an imminent bloodbath.
Though, no official confirmation from the police in Kaduna, a policeman in the community, who pleaded not to be named because he was not permitted to talk to the press on the matter, confirmed the attack.
He also added that there was a likelihood of an increase in the death toll.
 Besides that, the incident forced the state governor, Muktar Yero, to visit Manchok for  an on-the-spot assessment of the attack.
It was gathered that while the governor was addressing the youth and elders of the communities, another attack was said to have been launched against a nearby village where several people were said to have lost their lives.

I am not against Eggon people, says Al-Makura

Gov. Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State on Friday said that his administration had not been running a regime of vendetta against any ethnic group in the state since the entire state was his constituency.

Al-Makura made the declaration when the Eggon Renaissance Group paid him a “reconciliation” visit at Government House in Lafia.

The governor said his administration was not biased against the Eggon people, adding that he was committed to carrying everybody along in all his activities.

The delegation was led by their leader Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu paid him a courtesy visit at Government House, Lafia.

“My administration will continue to carry all sections of the state along, irrespective of religious, political, cultural or ethnic differences,” he said.

The governor specifically described the Eggon ethnic group as his friends and colleagues, reminding all the stakeholders that the “state belong to all of us”.

Al-Makura appealed to the Eggon to disregard speculations that he was against them, reiterating that he took an oath of office to carry everybody along and that he would abide by the oath.

He commended the Eggon people for their efforts to ensure peace and unity in the state.

The governor urged them to disregard any speculation that he was against them.

“Because of my confidence with Eggon ethnic nation, the sky is your and my limit, as I have no reason to hold any grudge against the Eggons.

“Unfortunately, we are in period of politics; people can create so many fiction and stories to divide people that have been living together,” he said.

The governor said that security challenges that bedeviled the state in recent times were unfortunate.

He said whatever might have happened “is natural and we should forget the past and move forward, because tomorrow is more than today”.

Al-Makura, however commended the leaders of the Eggon Renaissance group for the solidarity visit.

He said that he cannot forget his long time relationship with them and other tribes in the state.

The governor, however, appealed to the people of the state to maintain peace ahead of the forthcoming local government elections.

“Peaceful conduct of the local government polls is a testimony of how 2015 will look like, and the politicians should not take it as a do or die,” he said.

He said his administration would provide a level playing ground for the people to elect candidates of their choice.

“I will not impose any candidate on the people, the people’s choice is mine,” he declared.

The governor assured the group that he would fulfill all his campaign promise to the Eggon and other ethic tribes in the state.

Earlier, the leader of the group, Mu’azu said that the group was poised to reconcile the differences among the Eggon and with the governor.

He said their relationship with Al-Makura became strained as a result of the Ombatse activities which disrupted the peace of the state.

Mu’azu, who is also the Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources in Nasarawa State, said there was a need for the Eggon to bury the hatchet and embrace the reconciliatory move embarked upon by their group.

Mu’azu, however, appealed to the governor to appoint more Eggon sons and daughters into position of authority and provide the people with more dividends of democracy.

Minister orders resumption of flight operations at Yola airport

The Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, on Friday directed the Yola International Airport authorities to commence full flight operations at the facility with the use of the newly-built terminal.

The minister gave the directive in Yola while inspecting the facilities upgraded at the airport, whose rehabilitation began in 2013.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the airport had been under rehabilitation since 2013 and is expected to be inaugurated soon.

Oduah expressed satisfaction with the quality of work at the airport, saying “the quality of the work is according to international standards’’.

She said all major expansion and upgrading works at the airport had been completed, and the official inauguration of the facility “is only a matter of time’’.

Earlier, the Managing Director of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Mr George Orise, had said the management was waiting for the airport to be inaugurated before commencing full operations.

Orise, while conducting the minister round the airport, said the airport’s new terminal was efficiently designed and has state-of-the-art facilities, including laundries, shopping malls and accommodation for passengers.

He disclosed that the cargo terminal construction and lighting projects had begun and would be completed before the end of 2014.

Court orders Union Bank to release N320m depositors’ fund

A Jos High Court on Friday ordered Union Bank Plc to release N320 million funds accruing to investors in a failed investment house in Jos, Plateau immediately.

A High Court Judge, Mr Justice Dakwak Yau, gave the order in a judgement delivered in Jos.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that a “wonder bank”, Access Investments Company Ltd, had used Union Bank Jos as receiver of lodgments form its numerous depositors.

However, in his judgment, Yau ordered the Union Bank to release the sum of N320 million. which the bank statement said was still in the account maintained by Access Investment in its Jos branch.

Depositors, through their representatives, had sued the management of Access Investments Ltd and Union Bank as the receiver bank and prayed the court to cause the bank to release the money still trapped in its account.

Yau’s judgment came after 17-sittings between 2012 and 2014.

The judge, however, declined further orders as to general damages sought by the plaintiffs.

Counsel to the plaintiffs Mr Charles Obishai, had in an application also asked for general damages of N1 billion.

Obishai prayed the court to grant the application on the grounds that Union Bank did not comply with the Money Laundering Act of 2011.

According to him, the Act requires the bank to report in writing any withdrawal or lodgment exceeding five million for an individual and N10 million for corporate bodies to the EFCC.

“The Act also required the bank to report any unreasonable transaction in an account.

“In this case, unsuspecting persons numbering in their thousands were lodging money daily into the account of Access Investments Ltd.

“The plaintiffs’ case is that the bank defaulted to comply with this law which greatly influenced the unlawful transaction in that account,” he said.

Obishai, however, said that he was satisfied with the first part of the judgment and would study the second part to know what steps to take further.

The Chairman of the Committee of the Investors in Access Investments Company, Mr Michael Anongo, also said that they were happy with the judgment.

He said that his total investment in the company was N50,000.

NAN recalls that the investment company, established in June 2012, mobilised funds from investors at a repayment rate of 120 per cent per month.

The company, however, folded up in August 2012 with the sudden disappearance of its officials.

No fewer than 6,000 depositors instituted the suit to recover their funds, calculated at N700 million.

Quoting a security report, the investors said that officials of the company collected about N1.5 billion from depositors but the statement tendered by Union Bank for the period said that only N320 million was found in the account.

Army trains 937 officers on counter terrorism

The Nigerian Army School of Infantry, Jaji, Kaduna, on Friday said it trained 937 soldiers on counter terrorism as part of efforts to strengthen the fight against terrorism.

A breakdown of those, who attended the six-week training in the school, showed 489 were from Headquarters Infantry Corp Centre; 200, 7 Division; and 248, Nigeria Army Ordnance Corps.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Kenneth Minimah, said the training was organised to prepare the soldiers to efficiently handle the current security challenges in the country.

He said as part of its efforts to fight terrorism, the army established new Division in Borno in the North-East to add brigades and strengthen army operations.

“The current security challenges facing the country, most especially in the North-East zone of the country, has made the Nigerian Army concerted efforts in fighting against terrorism,” he said.

Represented by Maj.-Gen. Garba Wahab, the General Officer Commanding, 1 Division, Nigeria Army, Kaduna, Minimah commended the soldiers for their level of discipline and proficiency.

He directed them to deploy their new knowledge “to counter terrorists acts in real battle and other emergency situations”.

Minimah also directed them “to react swiftly and efficiently” during counter terrorism operations.

“It is the desire of the Nigeria Army to make you better professionals in your respective fields. This can only be achieved through continuous training.”

In his speech, the Commandant of the school, Maj.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, said that the participants had distinguished themselves during the training, and expressed confidence in their ability to rise to any security challenge.

He said, “Nigeria Army School of Infantry has been a major facilitator and force multiplier in the fight against terrorism in Nigeria”.

He appreciated the support of the Army high command, saying that the school would continue to discharge its role more effectively.

Medical council prosecutes 23 quacks -Official

The Registrar, Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, Dr Abdulmumini Ibrahim, said on Friday that the council had successfully prosecuted 23 quacks in the medical profession in Nigeria.

Ibrahim told the News Agency of Nigeria that the council was poised to sanitise the profession to restore standards.

He added that activities of quacks would no longer be tolerated.

“Part of our achievements last year was to prosecute quacks; I made mention of membership of the council that is cut across the states of the federation.

“What we have in the states are state monitoring committees; these state monitoring committees are under the auspices of the director of medical services in the state ministry of health.

“They do the monitoring of functions of the council in their states, when they identify the quacks and the suspected doctors or quacks, they report them.

“We have a department called the inspectorate and monitoring, this department will investigate and report that quack to the law enforcement agencies.

“Last year alone, we had about 23 cases before the courts and we are following these cases in various parts of the country,” he said.

He said investigation of complaints of some medical doctors from the public was on going, adding that efforts were on to end the negative trend.

Ibrahim said the act establishing the council mandated it to discipline erring professionals, who fall short of standards.

He said there were laid down rules and standards in accreditation and registration of medical training institutions, stressing the need for all practising members to renew their license annually.

He said, “any training institution that falls short of standards, we caution that institutions and if need be, we suspend its accreditation.

“Practising members are expected to renew their license annually, while new members who have just graduated from our training institutions are provisionally registered.

“We also have guidelines; we also have our members who are expatriates that come into this country.

“We also have a standard that we have put for them to register in this country; they must attain those guidelines; if they are short of those guidelines, we don’t register them.”

The registrar warned that any medical or dental practitioner found engaged in or encouraging touting would be subject to proceedings before the Panel and Disciplinary Tribunal.

Ibrahim called on parents and prospective candidates to always find out about the accreditation status of the institutions they or their wards were applying to.