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The Federal Government on Monday, said items estimated at N3.5 billion have so far been apprehended with the partial closure of its land and maritime borders with neighbouring countries.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed this on Monday at Seme, a border town between and Benin Republic

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mohammed is among the Federal Government ministerial delegation on inspection and assessment of the potency of the border closure directive.

Other members of the delegation are, Ministers of Interior, Rauf , Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema, Minister of State, and National Planning, Clement Agba.

The National Security Adviser, Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd), Comptroller-General of Immigration, Mohammed Babandede and the Comptroller-General of Customs who was represented by a Deputy Comptroller-General are in the delegation.

Addressing newsmen after the inspection, the minister said no fewer than 296 illegal immigrants had been arrested during the ongoing exercise.

“In the area of security, the ongoing exercise has recorded a number of seizures and arrests that would have had grave security consequences.

“Some items seized include; 38,743-50kg bags of parboiled foreign rice, 514 vehicles, 1,012 drums filled with PMS, 5,400 Jerri cans of vegetable oil, 346 motorcycles, 10, 553 Jerri cans of PMS and 136 bags of NPK fertilizer used for making explosives.

“The estimated values of the apprehended items is about ₦3,5 billion,’’ he said.

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The minister said that the partial closure had so far curbed the smuggling of foreign rice into the country, in addition to other prohibited items.

He said that as a of the closure, Niger Republic had already circulated an order banning exportation of rice in any form to Nigeria.

“Our series of interactions and engagements with Rice Miller Association of Nigeria since the commencement of this exercise, has shown that the border closure has enhanced more production and milling of Nigerian rice.

“Patronage of Nigerian rice has increased and farmers are expanding their farms as well as engaging more hands.

“The border exercise has also curbed diversion of petroleum products from Nigeria to neighbouring countries.

“Furthermore, the border closure has impacted positively on revenue generation of the Federal Government which in turn will be used to build more infrastructure and develop critical sectors of the nation’s ,” he said.

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“The minister said that 95 per cent of illicit drugs and weapons being used for act of terrorism and kidnapping in Nigeria come in through the porous borders.

“He, however, noted that since the partial closure, the acts had been drastically reduced.

“Our conclusion is that, the arms and ammunition these terrorists and criminal elements were using no longer gain access into the country.

“In addition, the drugs which affect the health and the wellbeing of Nigerians have equally been reduced,” he said.

Mohammed said the exercise had provided a platform for the various participating agencies to jointly operate together thereby strengthening inter-agency collaboration and reducing animosity.

He recalled that the government took the measure in August to address the numerous trans-borders economic and security challenges confronting the nation.

“These challenges range from banditry, kidnapping, smuggling, illegal migrants and proliferation of light weapons among others.

“Meanwhile, the preference for foreign goods, especially food items like rice has continuously impoverished our farmers and adversely affected domestic government policies supporting the agricultural sector to enhance food security,” he said.

The minister blamed the neighboring countries for circumventing the ECOWAS protocol on transit.

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“For clarity, the ECOWAS protocol on transit demands that when a transit container berths at a seaport, the receiving country is mandated to escort same without tampering with the seal to the border of the destination country.

“Unfortunately, experience has shown that our neighbours do not comply with this protocol. Rather, they break the seals of containers at their ports and trans-load goods destined for Nigeria,” he said.

The minister assured that the government through diplomatic channels would continue to engage its neighbours to agree to comply with the ECOWAS Protocol on Transit.

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Abass Sulaiman Adegoke, well known as Adegoke is a student of Federal Polytechnic Ede studying Civil Engineering, He is a media enthusiast, loves traveling, and has a special interest in personal development.

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NERC orders DisCos to suspend new electricity tariffs for two weeks

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The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) on Tuesday ordered the 11 electricity distribution companies (DisCos) to suspend for two weeks the implementation of the new electricity tariffs they introduced on September 1.

The suspension order No. NERC/209/2020 dated September 28 was signed by the Chairman of the commission, James Momoh, and the Commissioner for Legal, Licensing and Compliance, Dafe Akpeneye.

The commission said the suspension order would last between September 28 and October 11 when it shall cease to have effect.

During the period, NERC said “all tariffs for end-use customers and market obligations of the DISCOs during the 14-day suspension shall be computed on the basis of rates applicable as at 31 August, 2020.”

New tariff regime

On September 1, NERC, pursuant to Sections 32 and 76 of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act, approved the Multi-Year Tariff Order 2020 for the 11 successor electricity distribution companies.

The commission said the primary objectives of the MYTO 2020 Order was to ensure that rates charged by the DisCos were not only fair to customers, but also sufficient for the DisCos to operate efficiently to recover the full cost of their activities, including a reasonable return on the capital invested in the business.

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The affected DisCos are the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company Plc, Benin Electricity Distribution Company Plc, Enugu Electricity Distribution Company Plc, Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company Plc, Jos Electricity Distribution Company Plc, Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company Plc, Kano Electricity Distribution Company Plc, Eko Electricity Distribution Company Plc, Ikeja Electric Plc, Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company Plc and Yola Electricity Distribution Company Plc.

Following the approval of the new tariffs by NERC, the 11 DisCos immediately hiked their electricity rates, which has now been in operation for about four weeks.

NERC had, however, said the hike would not affect consumers who do not get daily supply of electricity cumulatively for 12 hours a day for a month.

 

Applicable tariffs for customers in service band D and E (that is customers with a service commitment of less than an average of 12 hours supply per day over a period of one month) would be deferred for the period between September 1 and January 1, 2021.

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Labour threat to strike

However, on Monday, the 14 days ultimatum by the organised labour for the reversal of the hikes in the fuel price and electricity tariffs throughout the country lapsed.

To avert the strike, the government met with the Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC).

 

At the meeting, it was resolved that the review in electricity tariffs would be suspended for 14 days.

The resolution was to allow for further consultations and finalisation of negotiations between the parties on the issue of electricity tariffs hike.

Consequently, NERC said the decision to issue the suspension order was in compliance with Section 33 of EPSRA which states: “the Minister (of Power) may issue general policy directions to the Commission on matters concerning electricity, including directions on overall system planning and coordination, which the Commission shall take into consideration in discharging its functions under section 32(2), provided that such directions are not on conflict with this Act or the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

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Efforts to reach the DisCos on the NERC directive and its implementation were not successful.

The Executive Director of the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), Sunday Oduntan, who is also the spokesperson of the group, did not respond to calls and a text message sent to him on the matter.

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Kindergarten teacher sentenced to death for poisoning 25 children

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A nursery school teacher in China has been sentenced to death for poisoning dozens of children, one of them apparently fatally, in an act of revenge against a colleague.
A court in the central province of Henan said Wang Yun put sodium nitrite into porridge being prepared for her colleague’s students after a falling out with the colleague.
The attack in March last year made 25 children ill.Reports at the time said they began vomiting and fainting after eating their breakfast. One boy was severely ill for months and died in January, according to news reports.
The court said on Monday that Wang knew sodium nitrite was harmful and acted “with no regard for the consequences”.
Her “criminal methods and circumstances were exceedingly bad, with especially severe circumstances, and she should be severely punished in accordance with the law,” the court’s sentencing statement said.
The court said Wang and the manager of the nursery must compensate the children’s families.
It was not the first time Wang had used sodium nitrite to poison someone, authorities said. In 2017 she put some in her husband’s mug, causing minor injuries.
Sodium nitrite is used for curing meats but can be toxic when ingested in high amounts.
Credit: Guardian UK

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