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APC’s Fight against Corruption a Sham, Says Bugaje

A former National Secretary of defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Dr. Usman Bugaje yesterday said the federal government’s war on corruption “is a sham,” saying Nigeria “is slipping to the precipice as ethnic and religious conflicts continue unabated.”
Bugaje lamented the spate of insecurity in the nation, warning that the leadership did not need a soothsayer to see what is waiting to happen with over 70 per cent of the country’s population in the 16 to 40 years age bracket.
He expressed the view in a lecture he delivered to mark the 25th Anniversary of the Sarkin Fulani of Lagos, Dr. Mohammed Abubakar Bambado held at the Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos yesterday.
Bugaje, a former political adviser to President Olusegun Obasanjo, titled his paper, ‘Nigeria in Turbulent Times: Pathways to peaceful Co-Existence and National Cohesion’.
He said the fight against corruption, to say the least, “is profoundly disappointing, lamenting that the people running the affairs of Nigeria “are accused of big-time corruption.
“With the DSS and EFCC operatives in open street fight, apparently protecting an official accused of corruption, we must be worried not only about losing the war against corruption, but also losing our sense of shame.
“With the leader of a ruling party inviting people with corruption cases to join their party and be let off the hook and making good his promise, one would wonder what more is left of this fight.
“When persons with pending corruption cases get appointed to cabinet and expeditiously cleared by a Senate that they were part of, we must ask the question, what hope remains for any fight against corruption,” he queried.
Bugaje also lamented the spate of insecurity in the nation, warning that the leadership did not need a soothsayer to see what is waiting to happen with over 70 per cent of the country’s population in the 16 to 40 years age bracket, most of whom are largely unemployed,
Quoting an African-American writer, James Baldwin, Bugaje said the most dangerous person in any society “is someone who has nothing more to lose. It appears that we are busy producing these people in their number daily, making our society more dangerous by the day.”
Bugaje lamented that the level of insecurity “is so high that over 30 of the 36 states of the federation have men of the Nigerian Army deployed to keep the peace.
“Even with this, it is not abating, for the insurgency in the North-East continues to elicit heavy losses of lives and displacement of people daily despite the claims of government security agencies.
“The rural banditry in the North-West continues to be the major cause of death and displacement of an unprecedented number of rural communities.
“The farmer-herder clashes, ethnic and religious conflicts continue to rage unabated. Kidnapping has become such a huge industry that it appears to be employing the very uniformed men that are supposed to fight it,” Bugaje explained.
According to him, most of the challenges that nations face come under three issues – how to share the national resources, how to share power and how to agree on national identity.
He insisted that unless Nigeria “is able to get this right, it will continue to have problems. Nigeria can and should be able to surmount the challenges of nation-building and national development, just like many of its contemporaries have done.
“It should be able to craft peaceful coexistence, national cohesion and national development. What it requires most is appropriate leadership. At the moment, the current leadership recruitment process does not appear to be able to give this kind of leadership.
“We, therefore, need to start a new national discourse on how to create that appropriate leadership. In doing this

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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 Nigeria 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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