Super User

Super User

PRESS RELEASE

Despite Afenifere's March 2nd 2024 initial public demand for transparency of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway contract awarded to Chagoury’s Hitech Construction Company, and ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar further probing last week, the government has failed to answer the calls for transparency, and continues the nearly twenty years wastage on the Lagos-Epe corridor.

Afenifere demands more clarity on the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway Contract, especially the Lekki-Epe corridor that has been a source of controversy since 2008, when it was awarded as Private Public Partnership contract to Craneburg Construction of 29 Bourdillion Avenue, President Bola Tinubu's neighbours with obscure directors, to the recent N1.06 trillion PPP contract to Hitech.

Minister of Works, Dave Umahi in his April 10th 2024 response claimed that Hitech Construction was the only construction company capable of building such a project, but in the same response alluded to the fact that when underwater reconstructive engineering of the Third Mainland was required, Julius Berger was called being the only construction company that could handle it. So, what experience does Hitech Construction have in building a coastal Highway with huge portions over water and mangrove swamps?

In an alarming U-Turn, Umahi reversed his September 23th 2023 statement made when announcing the award of the contract that it is a Public Private Partnership that won't cost the government anything, to now state that the government would share up to 30% cost. Under Tinubu's Lagos State government the Lagos-Epe expressway was initially billed to be a Private Public Partnership but was later reversed to a project that cost Lagos State government and the public an arm and a leg, and still remains uncompleted nearly twenty years afterwards. Just as Lekki-Epe expressway was wrongly labelled by Tinubu's Lagos State government as a PPP with no cost to Lagos taxpayers, once again it is being labeled a PPP by Tinubu's federal government despite earmarking  N1.06 trillion for the same 40 mile long  5 mile wide corridor.

The Lekki-Epe expressway initially slated in 2006 as a PPP with no cost to Lagos taxpayers, but over time, not only did Lagos State government commit US$42 million of taxpayers’ money to the project, but syndicated loans from African Development Bank ($85m/N85billion), First Bank of Nigeria and United Bank for Africa (US$80 million), yet Lagos commuters were made to pay tolls of undisclosed billions. Standard Bank and its local subsidiary Stanbic IBTC Bank alongside the Lekki Concession Company closed financing for the US$426 million (N50.1bn), which was criticized as being 300% overpriced, costing over N4.15 billion per kilometer compared  to N1.3 billion per kilometer for the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. Now once again, we are not sure of the total cost even after awarding contract as Umahi claims the government would bear between 5% to 30% of the cost, while loans and tolls will pay the rest. But from experience, we know the contractor won't get the loans unless the government guarantees it or pays directly.

Therefore, it is audacious to award the same Lagos-Epe corridor for N1 trillion, which comes to a rate of about N15 billion per kilometer, even though the Minister claims there were alerations and additions to the size of the project like doubling the amount of lanes and type of shoulder that made it about N4bn. Also, the initial Lagos-Epe road included the construction of alternative coastal roads, so the government needs to clarify if, where and why the roads overlap.

In addition to the basic questions of why there was no competitive bidding, there is a need to justify the economic implications of the Coastal Highway. Why does the highway start at Chagoury's Eko Hotel and destroys billion of dollars of tourist attractions, yet stops at no significant town of economic importance in Southwest? Why leave the single most important economic empowering infrastructure, the Lagos-Calabar railway, sabotaged by APC government in 2015, to build the world's first and only coastal highway that majorly passes through sparsely populated swamps?

The Minister alluded to the possibility of providing a divider that a train can run, which just shows that he has a myopic view that only sees road and rail as mere transport from point A to B, not the huge economic multipliers underlying their construction.

Contrary to media spins, the US Pacific West Coast I-5 highway is on solid ground and inland like our current East-West Road, neither are the USA East Coast I-95 Highway nor United Kingdom M1 motorway coastal Highways. Highways are to link the most towns in order to stimulate economic growth, and there is no economic sense to build highways over water except to avoid city center traffic like the Third Mainland bridge! Just like main highways spurs feeder routes and local businesses like food, beverages and mechanics, railways also spurs growth of feeder routes, iron works, haulage, logistics and trade along land routes.

There are also serious ecological issues of killing our natural coastal fauna, especially our mangrove swamps that form a strong natural defense against tidal waves and flooding. What is the ecological costs of a project with less economic value than the East-West Road, when it can not stimulate the local economy but disrupt and destroy fishing villages and canoe houses!

The nearly N20 trillion being wasted could have been wisely used to build the three Lagos-Calabar, Ilorin-Yola and Sokoto-Maiduguri East-West railways, which will stimulate an accelerated railway development that is universally acknowledged to be the launchpad of heavy manufacturing industrialization, to provide millions of jobs and a new income stream. Railways is USAs most profitable industry with 50% profit margin from a $68.8 billion revenue in 2020 compared to the $20.43 billion Nigerian oil revenues of the same year.

Unlike Lagos State, essentially a one party state that Tinubu has run like a fiefdom for the last twenty four years, Nigerians will not fold their arms while our economic future is frittered away between business and neighborhood friends.

Afenifere is therefore not only imploring the federal government to be more transparent, but calling on legislators, lawyers and good governance activists to ensure Nigeria is not run like a one party banana Republic.

Signed:

Justice Faloye,

Deputy Publicity Secretary,

Afenifere

ISRAELI REPORTS

EU sanctions Hamas, PIJ military wings over sexual violence on October 7

EU countries have put the military and special forces wings of Hamas and the armed wing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad on the bloc’s human rights sanctions list for their responsibility for widespread sexual and gender-based violence in the October 7 attack on Israel.

The EU countries say the Qassam and Al-Quds Brigades and the Nukhba Force are now subject to an asset freeze and a travel ban to the EU. The provision of funds to them, directly or indirectly, is now also prohibited. Hamas and Islamic Jihad were already designated as terrorist organizations by the EU.

** IDF: The IDF and ISA eliminated a Hamas military operative responsible for internal security operations in Jabalya; the 162nd Division continues precise operations against terrorist operatives and infrastructure in the central Gaza Strip

On Thursday, in a joint IDF and ISA operation, an IAF aircraft eliminated Ridwan Mohammed Abdallah Ridwan, a Hamas military operative who was responsible for the terrorist organization’s internal security operations in the area of Jabalya. Ridwan gave orders to Hamas operatives and was responsible for directing armed terrorists to take control of humanitarian aid trucks in the northern Gaza Strip. His elimination degrades Hamas’ capabilities to attack and take control of humanitarian aid in the area of Jabalya.

In addition, yesterday (Thursday), the IDF eliminated Hamed Muhammad Ali Ahmed, a Hamas military commander who was also responsible for the terrorist organization’s internal security operations in the area of Jabalya, as well as another Hamas operative in its Jabalya Battalion.

The 162nd Division is continuing a precise, intelligence-based operation to eliminate terrorist operatives and strike terrorist infrastructure in the central Gaza Strip. Over the past day, the IDF killed a number of terrorists in both engagements on the ground and aerial strikes. IDF troops struck underground launch posts and a number of ready-to-fire launchers used by terrorist organizations. A targeted raid on terrorist infrastructure was also conducted, where the troops located military equipment belonging to the Islamic Jihad.

Over the past day, IDF fighter jets struck over 60 terror targets in the Gaza Strip, including underground launch posts, military infrastructure and sites in which armed terrorists operated. In parallel, IDF artillery struck terrorist infrastructure in the central Gaza Strip.

Attached are photos of IDF activity in the Gaza Strip: https://IDFANC.activetrail.biz/ANC120420242083

** IDF: In accordance with the decision of the government of Israel, the first humanitarian aid trucks transporting food entered through the new Northern Crossing from Israel into the Gaza Strip yesterday (Thursday), coordinated by the IDF and COGAT, as part of efforts to enhance the humanitarian aid corridors to the Gaza Strip in general, and to the north in particular.

The trucks underwent thorough security checks by the security authorities of the Land Crossings Authority of the Ministry of Defense at the Kerem Shalom crossing, and were accompanied by IDF soldiers.

Attached is related footage:

https://bit.ly/43VqDM4

Attached are related photos:

https://IDFANC.activetrail.biz/ANC12042458

** IDF: Discovery of weapons and explosives in classrooms; footage from the operations of the 162nd Division in central Gaza Strip

The 401st Brigade, Nahal Brigade, and additional units under the command of the 162nd Division continue their targeted raid to eliminate terrorists and destroy terrorist infrastructure in the center of the Gaza Strip.

As part of the operation, the Nahal Brigade carried out targeted raids on several buildings used by the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist organizations, and located terrorist infrastructure. The forces located and neutralized several large armed explosive charges that were hidden in the classrooms and the schoolyard of the 'Ibrahim Al-Makhadmeh' School in the center of the Gaza Strip. In addition, the soldiers located an observation post used by the Hamas terrorist organization for terrorist activities and threatening IDF soldiers.

Attached is footage from the operations of the 401st Brigade and the Nahal Brigade in the center of the Gaza Strip:

https://bit.ly/4aVwyDn

Attached is an aerial photograph of the 'Ibrahim Al-Maqadma' school with the explosives found in it:

https://IDFANC.activetrail.biz/ANC1204202412344562

Attached is a picture of weapons found in the area:

https://IDFANC.activetrail.biz/ANC85269

Attached are related photos:

https://idfanc.activetrail.biz/ANC89657

** IDF: A number of launches were identified crossing from Lebanon into the Upper Galilee in northern Israel today (Friday). No injuries were reported. The IDF struck the sources of the fire.

Following the sirens that sounded in the Upper Galilee regarding a suspected infiltration of a hostile aircraft, it appears to have been a false identification.

A short while ago, IDF fighter jets struck Hezbollah military compounds in which terrorists were operating in the area of Ayta ash Shab in southern Lebanon, as well as an additional Hezbollah military compound in the area of Taybeh in southern Lebanon.

Attached is a video of IDF strikes in southern Lebanon:  https://bit.ly/4arIfBI

 

HAMAS’ REPORTS

Hamas:

- Intensive bombing of residential neighborhoods in the Nuseirat camp, which comes as part of a military operation that the fascist occupation army announced to be carrying out in the central region of the Gaza Strip, which is crowded with displaced people from various regions of the Strip. It is a new episode of the Zionist war of genocide against our Palestinian people, as the camp has been subjected for two days to a barbaric attack that targeted civilian facilities and citizens’ homes, resulting in dozens of martyrs and wounded among our people.

This fascist operation is a clear expression of the Zionist disregard for all international and judicial resolutions and demands to stop the criminal war of extermination on the Gaza Strip, which is being carried out with the full cover of the American administration.

The international community and the United Nations must work immediately to force the Zionist enemy to stop its fascist aggression against our Palestinian people.

** Hizb allah:

In support of our steadfast Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip and in support of their valiant and honorable resistance, and in response to the enemy’s attacks on the steadfast southern villages and civilian homes, most recently on the towns of Taybah and Aita al-Shaab, the Mujahideen of the Islamic Resistance bombed at 20:00 pm on Friday 12/04/ 2024 Enemy artillery positions in Zaoura with dozens of Katyusha rockets. ‏

 

Times of Israel/Israel Defense Forces/Hamas Brigade al-Qassam

WESTERN PERSPECTIVE

US says China is boosting Russia's war machine in Ukraine

China is backing Russia's war effort in Ukraine by helping Moscow in its biggest military buildup since the Soviet era, providing drone and missile technology, satellite imagery and machine tools, senior U.S. officials said on Friday.

However, the Chinese Embassy in the U.S. said it has not provided weaponry to any party, adding that it is "not a producer of or party involved in the Ukraine crisis."

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said U.S. President Joe Biden raised the issue with Chinese President Xi Jinping in their recent phone call and that it is a topic of discussion with U.S. allies in Europe and around the world.

One official said Chinese materials are filing critical gaps in Russia's defense production cycle and helping Moscow undertake its "most ambitious defense expansion since the Soviet era and on a faster timeline than we believed possible early on in this conflict."

"Our view is that one of the most game-changing moves available to us at this time to support Ukraine is to persuade the PRC (China) to stop helping Russia reconstitute its military industrial base. Russia would struggle to sustain its war effort without PRC input," the official said.

A Chinese embassy spokesperson told Reuters that normal trade between China and Russia should not be interfered or restricted.

"We urge the U.S. side to refrain from disparaging and scapegoating the normal relationship between China and Russia," Liu Pengyu said.

Some of the information provided by the U.S. officials in a small briefing with reporters was based on declassified intelligence. They sketched a wide array of ways China is helping Russia's two-year war against Ukraine without providing lethal assistance.

President Joe Biden has been pressuring Republicans who control the U.S. House of Representatives to approve a major infusion of funding for providing weapons to Ukraine as it struggles to fend off the Russians.

The U.S. and its allies have also been more blunt about confronting Chinese aggression in the South China Sea and against self-ruled Taiwan.

China complained about what it viewed as anti-China rhetoric emanating from Biden's talks this week with the leaders of Japan and the Philippines, prompting a denial from the White House.

The Russians have likely used machine tool imports from China to increase its ballistic missile production, the officials said. They cited Dalian Machine Tool Group, one of China’s leading machine tool manufacturers, as one company supplying Russia.

In 2023, 90% of Russia’s microelectronics imports came from China, which Russia has used to produce missiles, tanks and aircraft, the officials said.

They said that Chinese companies such as Wuhan Global Sensor Technology Co, Wuhan Tongsheng Technology Co Ltd and Hikvision are providing Chinese optical components for use in Russian systems, including tanks and armored vehicles.

In addition, Russia has received military optics for tanks and armored vehicles that Chinese firms iRay Technology and North China Research Institute of Electro-Optics manufacture, they said.

The officials also said China has provided Russia with drone engines and turbojet engines for cruise missiles, and that Chinese and Russian entities have been working to jointly produce drones inside Russia.

Chinese companies are likely providing Russia with nitrocellulose to make propellants for weapons, helping Russia rapidly expand its capacity to make key munitions like artillery rounds, they added.

The U.S. officials also said China is helping Russia improve its satellite and other space-based capabilities for use in Ukraine, increasing the Russian threat across Europe. And they said the U.S. has information China is providing imagery to Russia for its war on Ukraine.

 

RUSSIAN PERSPECTIVE

Russia pounds Ukrainian energy, military-industrial sites in precision strikes over week

Russian troops delivered 48 precision strikes at Ukrainian energy and military-industrial sites, army and mercenaries’ deployment areas over the past week in the special military operation in Ukraine, Russia’s Defense Ministry reported on Friday.

"On April 6-12, the Russian Armed Forces delivered one massive and 47 combined strikes by air-launched, seaborne and ground-based precision weapons and unmanned aerial vehicles against Ukrainian fuel and energy and military-industrial sites in retaliation to the Kiev regime’s attempts to inflict damage on Russia’s oil and gas industry and energy installations. In addition, the strikes targeted maintenance bases and temporary deployment sites of Ukrainian special operations forces and foreign mercenaries," the ministry said in a statement.

"All the designated targets were destroyed," it stressed.

 

Reuters/Tass

Nuca, a new deepfake camera, is an art project that shows how artificial intelligence can undermine reality and privacy, taking photos of subjects and completely ’nudifying’ them in just 10 seconds.

German artist Mathias Vef and designer Benedikt Groß thought it would be a great idea to create Nuca, a consumer compact deepfake camera capable of generating nonconsensual naked photos of its subjects. They are right—not because of pervy reasons but because it serves a higher purpose: to highlight once again that we are so very screwed. Generative artificial intelligence is destroying reality. And now it can do it almost in real time, right in your very own hands, right in front of your very own eyes, at the touch of a button.

In an email interview, Vef tells me that he and Groß studied speculative design at the Royal College of Art in London, where they explored the future of technology and its implications. “When we met last year in summer for a reunion, we had quite an extensive chat about generative AI, which we both worked with for a while. And then the topic of deepfakes came up,” he says.

That’s when they thought of the worst possible consequences of the technology and came up with the idea to create this “nudifying camera.” Although in university they usually worked with props rather than actual technology in different projects, something as advanced as Nuca was now possible. “As we learned to think very critically about [this] technology, it seemed very tempting to realize it,” Vef says.

Publicly available tools

Nuca uses artificial intelligence to process an image captured in the cloud, reconstructing a nude from the real-world subject. Its design follows the format of a standard compact camera that vaguely reminds me of an old Nikon reflex. Its 15-ounce body is 3D-designed and printed. Equipped with 37 millimeter lenses, the deepfake camera has a mobile phone for guts that captures the image and acts as the viewfinder.

The software displays the input image as well as other data, like the subject’s pose, in real time. When you press the shutter button, the deepfake camera sends the photo to the cloud for processing. There, the image gets into a workflow that studies the pose, body landmarks, and face, analyzing 45 identifiers such as gender, age, ethnicity, expression, and body shape.

The information is sent to a Stable Diffusion engine that runs one of the many public diffusion models specialized in creating nudes that are available in the popular Civitai. The model interprets this information and generates the base nude. The resulting image gets processed using a “deepfake” tool that seamlessly adds the face of the real-world subject onto that naked body.

“The processing time is quite short, 10 seconds,” Vef tells me. “One of the challenges was to reduce the time for the generation of the images. We used mostly tools that are publicly available, but to combine them in a very efficient way and put it in a working device is something that hasn’t been done before.”

Uncanny

For now, Nuca is a working prototype created as an artistic experiment to demonstrate how we are progressively getting closer to an apocalyptic fate of unreality. You will be able to experience it in real(?) life only at a nüüd.berlin gallery exhibition this summer. But I wouldn’t be surprised if, at some point in the very near future, something of similar features will actually be easily available to consumers, either as a simple app for your phone or as a dedicated gadget—perhaps a real deepfake camera, some sort of Mission Impossible X-ray glasses, or hacked cyber-eye contact lenses.

Nuca was made to provoke us, but the project has already been far surpassed by real web applications that are used for all things bad. Undressing people to humiliate or bully them, manipulate the masses with fake everything, scam hundreds of thousands with deepfake video chat or voice, or just literally bring the end of reality as we know it.

So far, many of these tools are out of reach for all but the most technologically gifted users, but it’s likely that one-touch reality fabrication way better than Nuca will be available sooner than we think. In a way, even big companies like Apple are already doing this, subtly training us for what’s coming: Products like Vision Pro or AirPods Pro actively process the analog reality that we perceive naturally into new synthetic realities. It’s only a matter of time before we fall into a black hole that we are not going to be able to escape. 

Will we learn any lessons?

Which takes us right back to AI itself.

Still, Vef and Groß believe that their artistic provocation may push us into thinking about the perils. “We both think the debate is only about to begin because the possibilities seem endless. We are only at the beginning of this journey,” Vef points out. “It is very important to us to be both critical and explorative, as we need to know what’s coming to be able to discuss possibilities and their implications. Our camera is a way to do that.”

I’m betting all the Bitcoins I don’t have into the idea that no lessons will be learned from this experiment and we will be able to buy something like Nuca on AliExpress—or worse—soon.

 

Fast Company

Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 election, Atiku Abubakar, has described as wasteful and a highway to fraud the claim by Works Minister Dave Umahi that the 700km Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway will tentatively cost N15.6 trillion.

Atiku also knocked Umahi for altering the project’s initial plan after Gilbert Chagoury’s Hitech had been awarded the contract without any competitive bidding.

He said, “Umahi had announced that Hitech would fully fund the project, and based on this, there was no competitive bidding. He (Umahi) then said that Hitech could only raise just 6% of the money for the pilot phase. This smacks of deceit.”

Umahi had, during his media rounds at select TV stations on Thursday, said the road project would cost N15.6 trillion ($13bn at an exchange rate of N1,200/$1) while the rail which will pass through the road would be costed separately.

The minister also said the project would not be PPP but that the government would be providing 15%-30% counterpart financing.

Responding to Umahi’s revelation, Atiku said the tentative cost was the equivalent of the total budget of all 36 states of the federation combined.

He said, “The total budget of all 36 federation states for 2024 is about N14 trillion. If you add that of the FCT, the entire budget of all sub-nationals is N15.91 trillion. This is scandalous. Worse still, they have already awarded the contract but are still not sure of the level of the counterpart funding component of the federal government!

“Umahi had said in September 2023 that Gilbert Chagoury’s Hitech had the money to construct the highway and would be PPP. Hitech was to build, operate, and transfer it back to the Nigerian government after years of tolling.

“It was reported by every media organisation, including those owned by Tinubu. It was based on this proposal that Hitech was picked. Why did Umahi then turn around to claim that it was not to be a PPP but that the government would pay 15%-30%?”

The former Vice President noted that in the 2024 budget, the project was captured as the Lagos-Port Harcourt coastal highway and was put at a cost of N500m.

“Although the National Assembly approved N500m for the project this year, the Tinubu administration has released N1.06tn. That is more than 200 times what is in the Appropriation Act. This is what happens when the National Assembly fails in its duties,” he added.

Atiku said it was curious that the N15.91 trillion announced by Umahi did not include the cost of the railway component. He, therefore, wondered how much the project would cost if the railway component is included.

“If N15.6 trillion is for the road component alone, then the total cost could be far higher when the railway is included. We want to know the cost of the railway,” he said.

The PDP presidential candidate also lambasted Umahi for admitting that the project was given to Gilbert Chagoury’s Hitech construction company without competitive bidding.

He asked Umahi to stop trying to deceive Nigerians with the claim that only Hitech was competent enough to do the project, wondering if it is the same that has been grappling with the execution of its projects in Lagos.

The former vice president stated, “The essence of competitive bidding is so that Nigerians can get the best value for money. It is so that you can compare prices and pick the company that can afford the project. It is wrong for him to have concluded that only Hitech could handle this project when such a project has been done by other reputable firms in the United States, China and South Africa.

“He claims he didn’t know there was a business relationship between Gilbert Chagoury and Tinubu, but this is another lie because Tinubu has publicly acknowledged this fact.”

Atiku also accused the works minister of attempting to deceive Nigerians as regards the appropriation for the project.

He called on members of the National Assembly to be alive to their responsibilities instead of acting like an annexe of the presidency.

The PDP candidate stated, “Until I exposed the dubious nature of this project, no member of the National Assembly thought it wise to investigate. The total cost was never made known until now. The fact that there was no bidding was never made known until I blew the whistle.”

The former vice president also knocked Umahi for claiming that no money had been released yet to Hitech, which he described as another lie.

“On March 31, 2024, Umahi came on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics programme where he pointedly said that N1.06tn was released to Hitech. Only for him to say on TVC on April 11 that the same money had not been released. Which one is true, and which one is false?”

Signed:
Atiku Media Office
Abuja
11th April, 2024.

One week after the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) increased electricity tariff for Band A customers to N225 per kilowatt hour from N68, electricity distribution companies are finding it hard to sustain the 20-24 hour supply to their customers on the band.

It would be recalled that NERC had on April 3 increased the tariff for electricity customers that enjoyed a minimum of 20 hours electricity supply daily with the aim of attracting investment into the sector and freeing the government from the continuous payment of subsidy for rich customers.

But it was observed that one week after the increase, there has been a daily post of apologies by at least one DisCo or the other for not meeting the contractual agreement for supplying electricity to their customers as provided in the new Multi-Year Tariff Order, MYTO, April supplementary order.

Checks on the X profile of the 11 DisCos showed that since the tariff review, the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution has made 10 apologies for its service shortfall to its Band A customers with the latest being yesterday, April 11.

The apology explained that the DisCo failed to meet its contractual service from the 9th and 10th of April affecting Amika, Oyigbo and Bristol Band A feeders.

It noted that the reason for poor service was a load shedding from the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) as well as loss of supply from the Afam Generating plant.

The apology message promised to “Assiduously work with TCN to address these challenges and restore regular power supply to the affected areas promptly.

“We apologize for any inconveniences caused and appreciate your patience during this time.”

The same situation occurred with the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) with the latest apology coming yesterday, with five cases of apology posted on its X handle.

The affected feeders are 7UP 11KV feeder, Joyceb/Tatcon 11kv feeder and Top Success 11kv feeder while blaming faults on the 33kV lines for the reduced service.

Kaduna Electric also made five apology posts in the past week with the latest being yesterday affecting its 33kv on airport road.

It blamed the TCN System load shedding (six hours) and five hours tripping from Kaduna Electric circuit.

Benin Electricity Distribution (BEDC) made six apology posts on its X handle with the latest being yesterday, it blamed Amukpe, Delta and Effurun feeders tripping and rainfall for the drop in electricity supply.

For Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC), 20 out of its 44 feeders experienced low power supply ranging from one to three days during the day.

The latest was yesterday with 10 feeders affected; it blamed TCN and itself for the low supply.

Only two were reported on the X handle of the Yola Electricity Distribution Company (YEDC), the latest on April 10 affecting two feeders at New Wukari and Wukari feeders all blamed on loss of supply from TCN.

While the Kano Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO) did not post an apology for not meeting agreed supply to its customers, a weekly report on the daily electricity supply to its feeders showed there were days the company did not provide the minimum of 20 hours supply to its band A customers. The report did not state the reason for the shortfall.

For Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), nine apology posts were made to various feeders on power outages they faced. The company blamed TCN and technical faults for the issues.

For Jos Electricity Distribution Company (JED), the company did not post any information on its power supply to customers under its franchise areas.

DisCos violate NERC’s order

It was observed that only Kaduna Electric provided a daily report on the electricity supplied to its Band A feeders, while KEDCO and EEDC provided information on the weekly report on their Band A feeders.

This nondisclosure violates the new order by NERC that requires the DisCos to publish a daily performance report on its feeders.

According to the order, “DisCos are obligated to publish daily on its website a rolling seven-day average daily hours of supply on each Band A feeder no later than 9am of the next day.”

The order also noted that “Where the DisCo fails to deliver on the committed level of service on a Band A Feeder for consecutive two days, the DisCo shall on the next day by 1am publish on its website an explanation of the reasons for the failure and update the affected customers on the timeline for restoration of service to the committed service level.”

It added that if “the DisCo fails to meet the committed service level to a Band A feeder for seven consecutive days, the feeder shall be automatically downgraded to the recorded level of supply in accordance with applicable framework.”

 

Daily Trust

Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) says Nigeria’s average daily crude oil production dropped to 1.23 million barrels per day (bpd) in March 2024.

OPEC disclosed this in its monthly oil market report released on Thursday.

The oil alliance said the production data was based on direct communication with Nigerian authorities.

OPEC receives data on crude oil production from two sources: direct communication — which is from members of the group; as well as secondary communication, such as energy intelligence platforms.

The oil cartel said the current output figure represents a 6.88 percent decrease from the 1.32 million bpd recorded in February.

The latest figure also means that Nigeria’s output has steadily reduced since the start of the year — from 1.42 million bpd recorded in January.

Consequently, the country lost its position as the biggest oil producer in Africa to Libya (which produced 1.24 million bpd in the month under review).

Algeria was the third-largest oil producer with 907,000 bpd in the month examined, the group said.

Meanwhile, OPEC’s secondary sources put Nigeria’s crude production at 1.398 million bpd — a 5.28 percent fall from the 1.476 million bpd reported by the oil alliance in February.

“According to secondary sources, total OPEC-12 crude oil production averaged 26.60 mb/d in March 2024, 3 tb/d higher, m-o-m” the statement reads.

“Crude oil output increased mainly in IR Iran, Suadi Arabia, Gabon and Kuwait, while production in Nigeria, Iraq and Venezuela decreased.

 

The Cable

Oil prices rose in early trade on Friday on heightened tensions in the Middle East, where Iran has promised to retaliate for a suspected Israeli air strike on its embassy in Syria, which could risk disruptions to supply from the oil producing region.

Brent crude futures climbed 34 cents, or 0.38%, to $90.08 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 44 cents, or 0.51%, to $85.45, at 0033 GMT.

The gains erased some losses from the previous session, which was dominated by worries about stubborn U.S. inflation that dampened hopes for an interest rate cut as early as June.

Suspected Israeli warplanes bombed Iran's embassy in Damascus in an April 1 strike for which Iran has vowed revenge, ratcheting up tension in a region already strained by the Gaza war.

Israel has not said it was responsible but Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said on Wednesday Israel "must be punished and it shall be" for the attack.

The U.S. expects an attack by Iran against Israel but one that would not be big enough to draw Washington into war, according to a U.S. official. Iranian sources said that Tehran has signalled a response aimed at avoiding major escalation.

Israel is keeping up its war in Gaza but is also preparing for scenarios in other areas, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday.

"The geopolitical risks remain elevated," ANZ Research said in a note, adding that oil prices have jumped almost 19% also supported by improving economic conditions and supply cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, together called OPEC+.

In Europe, where the labor market has begun to soften and growth is stagnating, central bankers left the policy rate unchanged on Thursday but signalled they remain on track to cut rates as soon as June.

"The European Central Bank's decision to leave policy rates unchanged ... was expected, but accompanying statements open the door for near-term monetary easing," S&P Global Market Intelligence said in a note.

However in the U.S., Federal Reserve officials signalled on Thursday no rush to cut interest rates, as sticky U.S. inflation remains a concern.

 

Reuters

A Russian military cargo plane has brought a team of instructors and various equipment to assist the Nigerien army with counter-terrorism training, according to the West African nation’s media reports.

The Russian instructors arrived in the country on Wednesday night, public broadcaster Radio Television du Niger (RTN) reported late Thursday, airing footage of a military plane unloading cargo.

“We are here to train the Nigerien army... to develop military cooperation between Russia and Niger,” said a man in camouflage interviewed by RTN.

“We have a lot of experience in fighting terrorism. And we are here to share this experience with our friends,” another Russian specialist told Sputnik.

“The African corps here will be building relationships and jointly forming and training the Nigerien army," he added. “We brought with us the educational and material base for the training of various specialists.”

The Russian Defense Ministry has yet to confirm the scope of the mission, but RTN claimed in a Facebook post that the instructors will also install an air-defense system in Niger.

Niger’s transitional leader, Abdourahamane Tchiani, and Russian President Vladimir Putin committed to coordinating efforts to combat terrorism in the Sahel region last month. According to the Kremlin, the issue was discussed when the West African nation’s leader called Putin to express solidarity with Moscow following a terrorist attack at Crocus City Hall.

Since taking power after the ouster of pro-Western President Mohamed Bazoum last year, the new leadership in Niamey has taken measures to sever ties with former partners, citing their failure to quell jihadist violence in the Sahel, which had been the goal of their engagement.

France completed the withdrawal of its troops from Niger in December after Niamey ordered them to leave, accusing the former colonial power of internal meddling.

Washington, however, has ruled out disengagement from Niger for now, even after Niamey revoked an agreement with the US on March 16 that had allowed some 1,000 American troops and civilian contractors to operate in the landlocked nation. 

 

Russia Today

ISRAELI REPORTS

IDF rains down on multiple Hamas targets in central Gaza Strip

The IDF conducted a targeted operation in central Gaza on Wednesday night while fighter jets and aircraft attacked dozens of terror infrastructuresabove and below ground, the IDF announced on Thursday.

Furthermore, combat teams of the Brigade 401, Nahal, and other units under the 162nd Division operated in central Gaza on Wednesday night, eliminating terrorists and destroying terror infrastructure.

Before entering the area, Israel Air Force jets, in coordination with Brigade 215, struck dozens of terror infrastructures above and below ground in the central strip.

The joint operation of ground forces and the air force was based on precise intelligence indicating the presence of terror infrastructures and numerous terrorists in the area.

IDF: ”We are constructing the Northern Crossing: a new land crossing from Israel into northern Gaza, to enable more aid to flow directly to civilians in the areas that have been challenging for trucks to access״

The IDF, via the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Unit (COGAT), is continuing efforts to facilitate the transfer of hundreds of trucks containing food supplies and humanitarian aid to the residents of the Gaza Strip every day.

Since the beginning of the war, over 22,000 trucks containing over 400,000 tons of humanitarian aid have passed through the Kerem Shalom and Nitzana border crossings to the Gaza Strip, after undergoing security checks. In addition, approximately 3,961 food packages have been airdropped in 64 airdrops to distribution points across the Gaza Strip. As part of the humanitarian effort, yesterday (Wednesday) 298 humanitarian aid trucks entered through the crossings and 353 food packages were airdropped.

Furthermore, yesterday (Wednesday), the Coordination and Liaison Administration for the Gaza Strip, together with the IDF Southern Command, coordinated the entry of 28 trucks carrying humanitarian aid to the northern Gaza Strip.

The IDF will continue its efforts to facilitate the entry of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip by land, air and sea in accordance with international law.

Attached is a video announcement by the IDF Spokesperson, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari regarding the expanding of humanitarian aid:

https://bit.ly/3JaKf5s

Attached is an infographic with data on the humanitarian aid that has entered the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the war: https://idfanc.activetrail.biz/ANC100424684984

Attached is an infographic with data on the humanitarian aid that entered the Gaza Strip over the past day: https://idfanc.activetrail.biz/ANC10042465498

Attached is an infographic detailing future steps to expand humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip:

https://idfanc.activetrail.biz/ANC1004245487

Attached is footage of the humanitarian aid trucks at the Kerem Shalom Crossing: https://bit.ly/3Wcassb

** IDF: The IDF and ISA eliminated the terrorist Nasser Yakob Jabber Nasser. As a part of his activities in Hamas' military wing, he was responsible for funding a significant part of Hamas' military activities in Rafah. Last December, he transferred hundreds of thousands of dollars to Hamas for its military activities.

In addition, over the past few days, IDF troops conducted precise operational activities in the area of Shejaiya in the northern Gaza Strip. The troops eliminated terrorists and struck terrorist infrastructure. In one of the activities, the troops conducted a targeted raid on a Hamas post used for training exercises. Following the raid, an IAF aircraft struck and destroyed the post.

Attached are photos of the IDF activities: https://IDFANC.activetrail.biz/ANC1104202422

** IDF: A short while ago, IDF fighter jets struck three Hezbollah military compounds in the areas of Meiss el Jabal, Yarine, and Khiam, along with a Hezbollah military observation post in the area of Marwahin in southern Lebanon.

Throughout the day, IDF artillery fired in order to remove a threat in the area of Abou Chach.

Attached is a video of the IDF strikes in southern Lebanon: https://bit.ly/3TW0xnv

 

HAMAS’ REPORTS

Latest developments from north of Nuseirat camp:

The battles between the resistance and the occupation forces are concentrated in the Wadi Gaza Bridge area, north of Nuseirat, in the central Gaza Strip.

- There is no further Israeli advance on this axis, and no incursion into Nuseirat, and the bridge and its surroundings have witnessed occasional clashes for about 10 hours.

The occupation uses artillery shelling and drone bullets in the clashes area north of Nuseirat.

** Clashes and heavy shooting in the town of Al-Mughraqa and the area north of the Nuseirat camp, amid intense flights of Israeli reconnaissance aircraft.

** Al-Quds Brigades: We shot down a Zionist quadcopter plane and took control of it while it was carrying out intelligence missions in the skies of the central Gaza Strip.

** Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades - Tulkarm:

With God's help and strength, our fighters fought fierce clashes today at dawn with the Zionist occupation forces and their military vehicles, storming the city of Tulkarm from several fronts, with machine guns and explosive devices.

#Al-Aqsa Flood

** Hezbollah: We targeted the Bayad Blida site with missile weapons, and hit it directly.

** A little while later... scenes of a Zionist quadcopter aircraft controlled by the Al-Quds Brigades in the skies of the Central Governorate.

** Member of the Hamas Political Bureau, Zaher Jabareen:

The occupation fails to achieve its goals, and the Zana ambush is the best evidence

We will resist the occupation until it disappears from our land. We have no choice but to resist. We are a movement and a people who want to live like other nations without occupation.

- Children of Hamas leaders in the first ranks of sacrifice

- Commander Ismail Haniyeh is a model of a patient and patient leader

- The assassination of Haniyeh’s sons and grandchildren inside Gaza nullified the words of the negligent and normalizers

** Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades: Our brigades are engaged in violent clashes with the occupation forces storming the Al-Faraa camp with bullets and blessed devices.

 

The Jerusalem Post/Israel Defense Forces/Hamas Brigade al-Qassam

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