13 terrorists killed in military raid -DHQ

The Director of Defence Information, Maj. Gen Chris Olukolade, has said that 13 insurgents were killed in a military raid on makeshift terrorists camp located between Borno and Adamawa states on Friday.

Olukolade said in an electronic mail on Friday that the special forces also arrested some of the insurgents who escaped the raid in Maiduguri and its environs.

He did not give the exact number of insurgents arrested in the raid.

Olukolade said calm had returned to Shuwa community, which was attacked by the insurgents on Thursday after the confusion and panic in the community when the people mistook the convoy of troops in pursuit of the terrorists for the insurgents.

He said the community members became panicky when they saw the column of military trucks because they mistook them for insurgents on a mission for another attack.

Olukolade said the confusion sparked the rumour that the Governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako, was attacked while visiting the community.

He said, “The troops were deployed to block a discovered entry and exit point of terrorists into the country through the state.”

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42 firms shortlisted for 10 NIPPS power plants

FORTY-TWO firms have been shortlisted for the financial bids opening of the 10 power plants built under the National Integration Power Projects by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company of Limited.

Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue State disclosed this to State House correspondents at the end of the third joint meeting of the NDPHC and the National Council on Privatisation presided over by Vice President Namadi Sambo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Friday.

Suswam said the 42 firms that would take part in the financial bids opening which takes place on Friday were picked from the 66 proposals for the offer of sales of 80 percent of the shares in each of the 10 generating companies.

He said, “The evaluation team carried out the evaluation exercise following the approved  evaluation criteria and  guidelines and subsequent due diligence reports have now been approved and reviewed by the joint transaction board.

“Of the 66 proposals received, 54 proposals met the criteria to be technically qualified based on the findings of the subsequent due diligence exercise. 42 proposals have qualified for the financial bids opening.

“Consequently, of the 66 proposals submitted, a total of 24 have either failed the technical evaluation or the due diligences assessment.

“The number of proposals received and qualified for each of the Niger Delta power generating companies will be  subsequently published, each of the companies that qualified for each company will be published subsequently.

“But out of the 66, only 42 are qualified for the financial bids opening that will be done next week Friday. So, the NDPHC will publish the names of those who are qualified for the purpose of the general public.”

Suswam attributed the power challenge currently being witnessed in parts of the country to teething problems associated with a transition from government-owned to private sector-driven sector.

He also said challenges were being experienced in the area of gas supply because gas infrastructure had not yet been properly put in place.

This, he said, led to the hiccups being experienced by generating companies with gas supplies.

He however said the Ministry of Power was collaborating with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to address the problem.

He also raised the issue of vandalism which he said was working against the dream of a stable power supply.

The governor added, “Now, the fundamental problem with the issue of gas infrastructure is the vandalization of those infrastructure. You know, this is purely sabotage because in crude, you know that people who vandalise these crude pipelines are lifting them and selling them for money.

“But when you vandalise the gas pipelines, there is no way you can scoop it. You know it is like air. You can’t scoop it. These are people who are economic saboteurs and they should be treated as such.

“So, this is something that should be of concern to Nigerians because any person who goes intentionally to sabotage an activity of government that would impact positively on the economy of this country should be treated as economic saboteur.

“So we have these issues that are militating against the smooth supply of power even after the privatisation process. So, it is not the BPE problem. I believe that before end of this year, we will be able to get out most of them.”

B’Haram: We are dealing with serious enemy, says Presidency

Following the renewed attack on civilians in the North-East, the Presidency has said Nigeria is currently dealing with a serious enemy.

It also likened the activities of the members of the dreaded sect to that of a war situation.

The Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, who stated this while speaking on Channels Television in Abuja on Friday, however gave an assurance that the military was on top of the situation.

He said, “We are dealing with a very, very serious enemy. We are engaged in a war that has been internationalised.

“It is very difficult, very costly in terms of lives lost. But we will overcome. We are in the dying phase of this insurgency.”

Okupe said there was no way the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Keneth Minimah will obey last Wednesday’s order by the Senate Committee on Defence to relocate his office to the 7th Division of the Nigeria Army, Maiduguri, Borno State so as to give verve to the war against Boko Haram insurgents.

The Presidential aide said there was no way the army chief would honour the order because, according to him, the Army cannot take orders from civilians.

According to him, “They (military) can only take order from the President who is their Commander in chief. The army does not take order from civilians.”

He said the leadership of the army had been visiting the site of the war against the extremists on their own and that “they don’t need you and I to tell them” before doing that.

He appealed to Nigerians to be patient, adding that the military was well trained to handle the challenge.

Okupe said, “We only need to have confidence in the people that are working for our country, unless you don’t have confidence in the process that produces them.

“But by the time a man left the NDA, he became a Major General, he became Chief of Army Staff, you have to defer to his opinion on military things.

“Things may not be working, but that does not mean people are not doing what they are supposed to do.”

Senator laments B’Haram attacks on Nyako

Senator Mohammed Jibrilla Bindo (APC, Adamawa) on Friday said the attack on Governor Murtala Nyako “has now demonstrated that nobody is safe in Nigeria” and called on the security agencies to change their operational strategies.

He described as instructive, the resolution of the Senate committee on Defence on Wednesday directing the relocation of the army headquarters to the 7th division in Maiduguri in order to tackle the Boko Haram sect.

He said, “I condemn in strongest terms the attack on Governor Murtala Nyako. The governor was on an assessment and condolence visit to areas recently attacked by insurgents when he came under attack.

“This shows that nobody is safe and even after the recent attack, security is still not tight even as there is state of emergency in place.”

Bindo assured the general public that “the National Assembly will continue to do all within its power to help the security agencies defeat the Boko Haram sect”. He urged Nigerians to intensify prayers for the restoration of peace in the country.

East-West Road may not be completed this year -Minister

Supervising Minister of the Ministry of Niger Delta, Mr. Darius Ishaku, on Friday doubted the earlier assurance given by his immediate predecessor in office, Mr. Godsday Orubebe, that the 338km East-West Road project, which started in 2008, would be completed by the end of this year.

He told the Senator James Manager-led committee on Niger Delta Affairs while defending the ministry’s 2014 budget estimates at the National Assembly that completing the project this year would be a mirage.

Orubebe had in February, shortly before his removal as minister, told the Senate Ad-Hoc committee on Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme, that the East West Road would be completed and inaugurated by December this year.

The former minister however, hinged his assurance on the release of the N113bn to the ministry which was needed to complete the project.

But his successor declared before the senate committee, saddled with the oversight functions of his ministry that “with just N46bn allocated to the ministry for capital projects execution in the 2014 Budget out of which a paltry sum of N8.73bn is allocated for continuation of work on  the East West Road project, completing the project this year,  would be a mirage”

The minister insisted that  “for the project to be completed and inaugurated this year, N111bn would be needed to be sourced elsewhere or extra fund added to the N8.73bn already earmarked for continuation of work on the project in the approved 2014 budget of the ministry.”

Ishaku said, “Out of the N349.8bn estimated for the project, a total of N238bn has so far been expended on it by the ministry and other intervention agencies like Sure-P and loans sourced from the African Development Bank  leaving the balance of N111bn to be sourced for completion of the project.

“We would not be able to commission (sic) this project by December 2014 as earlier promised by the former Minister unless we get additional funding from all available sources to the tune of N111billion”

A member of the Committee, Senator Nurudeen Abatemi (PDP Kogi Central) had asked the minister why the ministry had not collapsed its entire capital votes in the 2014 Budget for the project alone.

But Ishaku said “even if the total budgetary allocation of  N49.193 bn proposed for the ministry in the 2014 budget estimates had been spent on the project alone, it cannot complete it.”

He said, “The entire N49.193bn 2014 budget profile of the ministry was made up of N46.8bn for capital projects, N1.183bn for overhead costs and N1.130bn for personnel expenditures.

“Apart from the  N8.73 bn allocated for continuation of work on the East West Road project, another N8.7 bn was set aside for continuation of work on other roads being handled by the ministry in the Niger Delta Area and N6.15bn for completion of work on the Skills Acquisition centre.”

Manager and other committee members nevertheless, berated the ministry for not been able to complete and inaugurate a single project since 2008 when it was established and described the development as very disturbing.

Specically, Manager Said, “It very worrisome that your ministry has not completed and commissioned (sic) a single project since 2008 when it was established.

“Yes, going through the records, your allocations have been reducing on yearly basis since 2010, but that is not enough for the ministry not to be able to complete a single project since it was established about six years ago.

“The little money you have available, it is my utmost view that you use it to complete those projects that are about 70-75 percent completed so that you can have credit for that.”

Strategies against B’Haram not working – Govs

Nigeria governors under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors Forum have said the current strategies against the Boko Haram insurgent is not working.

They therefore asked the Federal Government and the security agencies to review their tactics in order to make it achieve maximum result.

The governors also condemned the spate of killings in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States .

They particularly said they were alarmed at the killing of students in Yobe and what they described as unproved attack on the civilians by the attackers.

A statement by the Chairman of the NGF, who is also the Governor of Rivers State, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi in Abuja on Friday, also commiserated with the families of the students.

However, he said that time has come for the Federal Government to comprehensively review the strategies with which it is fighting this insurgency.

He said, “The current approach is definitely not working and it is important that all of us are humble and sincere enough to accept this reality and then work out a stronger and more workable strategy.

“Of course the Federal and state governments should not be left alone to fight the terrorists.

“Citizens need to help our security agencies with accurate and timely information. But government itself needs to engage new allies wherever they may be in the world.”

He urged the Federal Government to continue to support affected states in the bid to check violence and that the Federal Government should remain focused and continue to provide leadership until every part of Nigeria is rid of violence and insurgency.

Amaechi added that the governors were alarmed with the killings of students and others during the attacks.

He said, “We in the Nigeria Governors’ Forum hereby condemn the recent spate of killings in some parts of our country – Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states – by the Boko Haram sect. We are alarmed by the slaughter of 29 pupils at the Federal Government College in Yobe and the unprovoked attacks against defenceless people in those states.

“We commiserate with the people and government of those states, the families of the victims, and pray God to give them and indeed every Nigerian the fortitude to bear the loss.

“This is a very difficult period for our country and its people and we must collectively pray and rally round families, friends and fellow citizens affected by these tragedies. We must provide whatever support and save the lives of those still alive.”

Amaechi said that while security agencies should continue to do their jobs as professionally as possible, he appealed to all aggrieved individuals and groups in Nigeria to appreciate the fact that violence can never be a solution to any problem.

He said Nigerians should know that they have no other country to call home and that it was important that “we understand the danger and futility of destroying our land in the pursuit of a selfish agenda.”

He added that it was gratifying that government – Federal and State – were working hard to get to the root of the killings and nip these orgy of violence in the bud.

He also commended the security agencies for the selfless sacrifice he said they were making in the interest of all Nigerians to restore calm to all parts of our country.

Boko Haram: Gov Nyako escapes attack

YOLA – Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State Friday escaped death by the whiskers when he was attacked by gunmen suspected to be members of the Boko Haram sect at Shuwa, Madagali local government area of the state.
Madagali has witnessed series of terrorists attacks recently and the governor had gone to the area to commiserate with the people when unknown gunmen fired gunshots into the air as the governor was addressing the people.

Eyewitness account said that moments after the Governor had received the microphone to address the people, two gunmen in military uniform emerged from the crowd and shot thrice into the air.

According to the eyewitness, before then people have started shouting ; They are coming! They are coming!! They are coming!!! referring to the Boko Haram insurgents.

In the ensuing confusion, the governor was quickly rescued and ferried away by his security aides as some vehicles in his convoy rammed into one another.