Nigerian News24 as it happens

Pro-Biafra leader, Nnamdi Kanu, 2 others charged for treason; Olisa Metuh secures N400m bail; Buhari vows to deal with pipeline bombers, oil thieves; I didn’t collect money from Dasuki – PDP chairman; Oil Drops Below $28 for First Time Since 2003 . . .

Biafra: Nnamdi Kanu & 2 others charged for treason

Nnamdi Kanu

The pro-Biafra activist, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and founder of the pirate ‘Radio Biafra’, Nnamdi Kanu (photo: above), has been produced in court for his arraignment on treason charges and other offences bordering on his agitation for the secession of the Republic of Biafra from Nigeria.

Kanu was arraigned along with two others – Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi – before Justice James Tsoho.

The three were, in counts four and five, accused of assisting in the management of unlawful society and unlawful possession of firearms.

The charges against the three accused persons reads, inter alia, below:

“That you, Nnamdi Kanu and other unknown per sons, now at large, at London, United Kingdom, between 2014 and September, 2015 with intention to levy war against Nigeria in order to force the President to change his measures of being the President of the Federation, Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation as defined in Section 3 of the Constitution of the Federal Re- public of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) by doing an act to wit: Broadcast on Radio Biafra your preparations for the states in the South- East geo-political zone, South-South geo-political zone, the Igala Community of Kogi State and the Idoma/Igede Community of Benue State to secede from the Federal Republic of Nigeria and form themselves into a Republic of Biafra, and thereby committed an offence punish- able under Section 41(C) of the Criminal Code Act, CAP C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

That you, Nnamdi Kanu and others, now at large, between 2012 and September, 2015 at South-East geo-political zone and the South-South geo-political zone of Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this honourable court manage an unlawful society with more than 10 members to wit: unregistered with the Corporate Affairs Commission or any other registration authority to wit. The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) thereby committed an offence which is punishable under Section 63 of the Criminal Code Act, CAP C38, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

That you, Nnamdi Kanu between the months of March and April, 2015 imported into Nigeria and kept in Ubulusiuzor town in Ihiala local Government Area of Anambra State within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, a radio transmitter known as TRAM 5OL concealed in a container which you described as containing household items, which you so declared and that, you thereby committed an offence punishable under section 47(2) (a) of the Customs and Excise Management Act.

That you Benjamin Madubugwu in the month of April, 2015 at Ubulusiuzor town, Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State of Nigeria within the juris- diction of this honourable court assisted in the man- agement of an unlawful society known as the In- digenous People of Biafra (IPOB) by doing an act to wit, accepted and kept in your residence a container housing a radio transmit- ter known as TRAM 50L, with knowledge that the said transmitter belongs to an unlawful society (known as IPOB) and that you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 63 of the Criminal Code Act, CAP C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.”

Olisa Metuh secures N400m bail

The Federal High Court sitting Abuja has granted bail to the embattled National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Mr. Olisa Metuh, to the tune of N400million.

Metuh brought to court today in handcuff

Olisa Metuh in handcuffs

In a bench ruling this afternoon, trial Justice Okon Abang ordered Metuh to produce two sureties who must deposit the sum of N200m each.

The court maintained that the sureties must not only be residents in Abuja, but also owners of landed properties within the Maitama district of the FCT.

They are to submit the Certificate of Occupancy of the properties to the Chief Registrar of the court for verification, as well as submit their three years tax clearance.

According to the court, the sureties must swear to an affidavit of means and also submit two recent passport photographs.

More so, Justice Abang ordered Metuh to surrender his international passport to the Chief Registrar of the high court.

The PDP spokesman who was remanded in Kuje Prison last Friday, was brought to court this morning in handcuffs.

He was brought to court in a prison bus with registration No. PS-682-AO.

Crude Oil . Oil

Buhari vows to deal with pipeline bombers, oil thieves

President Muhammadu Buhari has stated that his administration will effectively deal decisively with the seeming resurgence of oil theft, pipelines vandalism and insecurity in the Niger Delta.

Niger Delta militants had on Thursday attacked the Escravos-Warri-Abuja-Lagos pipelines.

The militants also blew up the Chevron Nigeria Limited’s Utunan-Makaraba crude oil pipeline on Friday and proceeded to bomb the Olero gas pipeline on Saturday.

The attacks were suspected to be aimed at crippling the nation’s crude oil production.

But the President said while the Nigerian Armed Forces had already dealt “deadly blows” on Boko Haram, the activities of oil thieves and vandals will also soon be brought to an end.

According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the President spoke during an interactive session he had with members of the Nigerian Community in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

“The oil thieves and abductors are a less problematic target. We will re-organise and deal with them,” Buhari was quoted as telling the Nigerians.

Naira . notes

Naira firms up at parallel market

The naira yesterday made a sudden recovery in the parallel market, following the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN’s) easing of forex policies. The naira appreciated to N295 against the dollar from N305 on Friday, after the apex bank lifted the ban on dollar transfers and allowed dollar deposits into domiciliary accounts.

The local currency has remained stable in the official market, exchanging for N199 to a dollar.

Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) President Aminu Gwadabe said the naira was exchanging at N291/293 against the dollar in the morning but closed later at N295.

He said although the CBN did not supply dollar to the market, its relaxation of forex restrictions that allowed banks to accept dollar deposits and transfer foreign currency deposits has helped shore up the value of the naira.

CBN Spokesman, Ibrahim Mu’azu, said the apex bank decided to reverse the policy because its finding shows that currency substitution by customers which made it enforce it in the first place has been tackled.

PDP . Uche Secondus

I didn’t collect money from Dasuki – PDP chairman

The Acting National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Prince Uche Secondus, has said that he didn’t collect a dime from the former National Security Adviser, Lt.Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.).

Secondus was reacting to the insinuation in some quarters that he also benefited from the money, which was meant for the purchase of arms to fight terrorism in the North-East in particular and in the country as whole, but was shared to politicians by Dasuki.

Some members of the party are currently being tried by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission for alleged corruption and money laundering because of their involvement in the sharing of the money.

Four national officers of the main opposition party had called on those involved to separate their cases from the party since they got the money from Dasuki, using their individual company accounts.

They also called on those holding offices in the party to quit in order for them to have time to face the court cases instituted against them.

Among those involved, two are holding national positions in the party.

They are the Acting Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Haliru Mohammed and the National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh.

Buhari . PMB in UAE

Nigeria signs bilateral agreements with UAE on recovery of stolen funds

President Muhammadu Buhari led Federal government, on Tuesday, signed different bilateral agreements with the United Arab Emirates, UAE.

President Buhari was received by Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed- 3rd Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates.

The agreements were essentially on trade, finance and judicial matters.

While the agreement on trade was to promote investments and business dealings amongst the two countries, the judicial bilateral agreement would also enable the country to extradite, or transfer sentenced persons.

The signing of the agreement in Abu Dhabi was witnessed by President Buhari and the Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

A statement by the special adviser to the President on media and publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina from UAE stated that Nigeria’s Ministers of finance, Trade/Investment, and Justice singed the respective agreements on behalf of Nigeria’s government.

“Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun and the UAE Minister of State for Financial Affairs, Obaid Attayar signed the Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement, while the Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr Okechukwu Enelamah signed the Agreement on Trade Promotion and Protection with the UAE Minister of State for Financial Affairs.

“The Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami and his counterpart in the United Arab Emirates, Sultan Bin Saeed Albadi signed the Judicial Agreements on Extradition, Transfer of Sentenced Persons, Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal Matters, and Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal and Commercial Matters, which includes the recovery and repatriation of stolen wealth”, the statement said.

Oil Barrels

Oil Drops Below $28 for First Time Since 2003

The price of Brent crude fell below $28 per barrel monday for the first time in 12 years, as oil traders braced for Iran’s return to the global oil market after years of economic isolation as a result of international sanctions over its nuclear programme.

The development potentially presents more trouble for Nigeria, as the federal government’s 2016 budget is predicated on an oil price of $38 per barrel.

This is coming as the imminent return of Iran to the market also threatens the export of Nigerian crude oil to South Africa, as Nigeria was said to have filled the supply gap when South Africa stopped importing Iranian oil due to the international sanctions lifted at the weekend.

UK’s Financial Times reported that Brent crude fell as much as four per cent yesterday to a 12-year low of $27.67 a barrel and extended losses since the start of 2016 to more than 25 per cent. Prices later recovered to above $28 a barrel as traders banked profits on bets against the price.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate fell to $28.36 yesterday — the lowest since 2003.

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which controls more than a third of world output, said yesterday that the average price of a basket of members’ crudes had already fallen below $25 a barrel – barely a quarter of the level it averaged between 2008 and 2014.

But as the oil market battles with an estimated 1.5 million barrels per day excess inventory, Iran said it would swiftly take more crude to the market, after Western sanctions were lifted, despite the threat of adding to a glut that has already crashed prices by almost 75 per cent in the last 18 months.

The US agreed at the weekend to lift sanctions targeting Iran’s oil industry after Tehran implemented steps designed to curb its nuclear ambitions.

Sanctions on Iran had cut its exports from 2.5 million barrels a day (mbpd) in 2011 to a little over 1mbpd, putting severe strain on its economy.

Satellite tracking data and industry sources indicated that Iran already has a flotilla of more than 20 very large crude carriers (VLCCs) loaded off its coast, allowing it to potentially push as much as 50 million barrels of heavier crude and ultra-light condensate oil quickly into the market.

By the end of 2016 Iran said it would be able to get exports back to 2mbpd, lowering the chance of Saudi Arabia, Iran’s chief regional rival, agreeing to lead any kind of output reduction to shore up the price.

Before the sanctions were imposed on Iran, the country had dominated crude oil exports to South Africa.

But with the sanctions, South Africa stopped importing Iranian oil and switched over to Nigeria and Saudi Arabia.

However, with the potential return of Iran, which is the fifth biggest producer among OPEC producers, it is expected that the country will regain its lost position and displace Nigeria and Saudi Arabia in supplying crude to South Africa.

The Executive Director of the South African Petroleum Industry Association (SAPIA) Avhapfani Tshifularo confirmed to Bloomberg yesterday in an e-mailed response to questions that “the re-emergence of Iranian crude oil provides options for those willing to buy from Iran”.

“Iranian imports are likely to displace the Nigerian and Saudi Arabian crudes, since they seem to have filled the gap since South Africa stopped importing Iranian crude oil,” Tshifularo said.

SAPIA compiled the nation’s crude import data from its member refiners and the South African Revenue Service.

India, Spain, Netherlands, South Africa and Brazil are some of the current destinations of Nigeria’s crude.

Despite the continuing decline of oil prices in the global markets, the Nigerian naira continued to firm up against the United States dollar on the parallel market monday where it appreciated to about N286 to a dollar in Lagos, compared to N294 to the dollar at which it sold last Friday.

The development was a reflection that confidence was gradually returning to that retail segment of the forex market following a meeting between the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Association of Bureau De Change of Nigeria (ABCON) at the weekend.

The central bank had assured BDC operators present at the meeting that it would ensure that there is enough supply of the greenback from the autonomous market sources.

However, the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Ifeanyi Emefiele, reiterated the CBN’s decision not to sell dollars to the BDCs any longer.

BDC operators who spoke to THISDAY said the meeting with the CBN governor had helped to restore confidence to the parallel market, hence the appreciation of the local currency against the greenback.




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