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Super User

Federation account allocation committee (FAAC) says it shared N906.955 billion with the three tiers of government in October 2023.

The figure represents an increase of N3.48 billion compared to the September disbursement of N903.48 billion.

The committee disclosed this in a communique issued on Wednesday at the end of its November retreat held in Asaba.

According to the statement, the N906.955 billion was drawn from statutory revenue of N423.01 billion, value-added tax (VAT) of N305.070 billion, N323.446 billion from electronic money transfer levy (EMTL), and N15.552 billion from exchange difference.

It also comprised exchange difference revenue of N202.887 billion and augmentation of N60 billion.

The statement said the total revenue of N1,346.519 trillion was available in October 2023.

“Total deductions for cost of collection was N53.483 billion; total transfers, interventions and refunds was N386.081 billion,” the communique said.

“Gross statutory revenue of N660.090 billion was received for October 2023. This was lower than the N1,014.953 billion received in September 2023 by N354.863 billion.

“The gross revenue available from the value added tax (VAT) was N347.343 billion. This was higher than the N303.550 billion available in September 2023 by N43.793 billion.”

According to FAAC, from the N906.955 billion total distributable revenue, the federal government received a total of N323.355 billion, the state governments received N307.717 billion and the local government councils (LGCs) received N225.209 billion.

A of N50.674 billion (13 per cent of mineral revenue) was shared to the relevant states as derivation revenue.

FAAC said from N305.070 billion in distributable statutory revenue, the federal government received N147.574 billion, the state governments received N74.852 billion and the LGCs received N57.707 billion.

“N24.937 billion (13 percent of mineral revenue) was shared to the relevant states as derivation revenue,” FAAC said.

Also, the federal government received N48.517 billion, the state received N161.723 billion and the LGCs received N113.206 billion from the N323.446 billion distributable VAT revenue.

 

The Cable

Nigerian authorities are closely monitoring and working to contain an oil spill that occurred during loading operations at the TotalEnergies operated Egina field on Nov. 15, the maritime agency said on Wednesday.

Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is collaborating with the spill detection agency and the oil industry regulator to contain the spill, though the volume is not yet confirmed, spokesperson Osagie Edward said in a statement.

A TotalEnergies spokesperson said the spill impact was minimal and production at the 200,000 barrel-per-day capacity oilfield was not affected. The company is working with local authorities to clear the resident sheen from the incident, he said.

Oil spills have blighted Nigeria's oil-rich Niger River delta region for decades, causing widespread environmental damage and negatively impacting the lives of millions of people in the local communities.

NIMASA said TotalEnergies is providing aerial surveillance and applying dispersant while considering further action to clean up the spill.

"Since the incident happened, our men have been liaising with other organs of government to ensure the pollution is effectively controlled and managed, to protect the marine environment and the communities close to the incident point," NIMASA chief Bashir Jamoh said.

So far, a reconnaissance survey of neighbouring areas shows that coastal communities across Andoni, Qua-Iboe terminals, Bonny Island, Opobo/Nkoro and Eastern Obolo have not yet been impacted by the spill.

Oil majors operating in Nigeria, Africa's top crude producer, have faced a string of litigation in the past over spills.

In May, Shell won a UK Supreme Court case over a 2011 oil spill off Nigeria's coast.

 

Reuters

Ahead of OpenAI CEO Sam Altman’s four days in exile, several staff researchers wrote a letter to the board of directors warning of a powerful artificial intelligence discovery that they said could threaten humanity, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The previously unreported letter and AI algorithm were key developments before the board's ouster of Altman, the poster child of generative AI, the two sources said. Prior to his triumphant return late Tuesday, more than 700 employees had threatened to quit and join backer Microsoft (MSFT.O) in solidarity with their fired leader.

The sources cited the letter as one factor among a longer list of grievances by the board leading to Altman's firing, among which were concerns over commercializing advances before understanding the consequences. Reuters was unable to review a copy of the letter. The staff who wrote the letter did not respond to requests for comment.

After being contacted by Reuters, OpenAI, which declined to comment, acknowledged in an internal message to staffers a project called Q* and a letter to the board before the weekend's events, one of the people said. An OpenAI spokesperson said that the message, sent by long-time executive Mira Murati, alerted staff to certain media stories without commenting on their accuracy.

Some at OpenAI believe Q* (pronounced Q-Star) could be a breakthrough in the startup's search for what's known as artificial general intelligence (AGI), one of the people told Reuters. OpenAI defines AGI as autonomous systems that surpass humans in most economically valuable tasks.

Given vast computing resources, the new model was able to solve certain mathematical problems, the person said on condition of anonymity because the individual was not authorized to speak on behalf of the company. Though only performing math on the level of grade-school students, acing such tests made researchers very optimistic about Q*’s future success, the source said.

Reuters could not independently verify the capabilities of Q* claimed by the researchers.

'VEIL OF IGNORANCE'

Researchers consider math to be a frontier of generative AI development. Currently, generative AI is good at writing and language translation by statistically predicting the next word, and answers to the same question can vary widely. But conquering the ability to do math — where there is only one right answer — implies AI would have greater reasoning capabilities resembling human intelligence. This could be applied to novel scientific research, for instance, AI researchers believe.

Unlike a calculator that can solve a limited number of operations, AGI can generalize, learn and comprehend.

In their letter to the board, researchers flagged AI’s prowess and potential danger, the sources said without specifying the exact safety concerns noted in the letter. There has long been discussion among computer scientists about the danger posed by highly intelligent machines, for instance if they might decide that the destruction of humanity was in their interest.

Researchers have also flagged work by an "AI scientist" team, the existence of which multiple sources confirmed. The group, formed by combining earlier "Code Gen" and "Math Gen" teams, was exploring how to optimize existing AI models to improve their reasoning and eventually perform scientific work, one of the people said.

Altman led efforts to make ChatGPT one of the fastest growing software applications in history and drew investment - and computing resources - necessary from Microsoft to get closer to AGI.

In addition to announcing a slew of new tools in a demonstration this month, Altman last week teased at a summit of world leaders in San Francisco that he believed major advances were in sight.

"Four times now in the history of OpenAI, the most recent time was just in the last couple weeks, I've gotten to be in the room, when we sort of push the veil of ignorance back and the frontier of discovery forward, and getting to do that is the professional honor of a lifetime," he said at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

A day later, the board fired Altman.

 

Reuters

Israel unveils what it claims is a major Hamas militant hideout beneath Gaza City's Shifa Hospital

The Israeli military on Wednesday unveiled what it claimed was a Hamas military facility under Gaza’s largest hospital, showing what appeared to be a subterranean dormitory to a group of foreign journalists who were given a rare glimpse inside the besieged enclave.

Dozens of soldiers escorted journalists through a narrow stone tunnel — which the military said stretched 150 meters (164 yards) — to a series of underground bunkers beneath Shifa Hospital in a shattered Gaza City.

The living quarters, located at the end of the tunnel, had an air conditioner, kitchen, bathroom and pair of metal cots in a room fashioned from rusty white tile. They appeared to be out of use.

Since Israel declared war against Hamas on Oct. 7, it has repeatedly accused the Islamic militant group of using Gaza’s hospitals as cover for military use. It has paid special attention to Shifa, saying Hamas has hidden command centers and bunkers underneath the hospital’s sprawling grounds.

Israeli military portrayed the underground hideout as its most significant discovery yet. Hamas and the hospital administration have denied Israel’s accusations.

“Shifa Hospital is the hugest hospital in Gaza, and it’s also the hugest terror facility of Hamas,” said Daniel Hagari, the Israeli military’s chief spokesman, as bombardment thundered nearby. “Hamas battalion commanders were conducting command and control, firing rockets from here.”

The Associated Press could not independently verify Hagari’s claims.

The AP was allowed access to Gaza on the condition that its journalist stay with the Israeli military convoy throughout the four-hour tour and submit all material to a military censor ahead of publication. There is no other way for foreign journalists to currently access the enclave.

The war was triggered by Hamas’ Oct. 7 cross-border attack that killed at least 1,200 people and took 240 others hostage. Israel’s intense aerial campaign and devastating ground invasion have leveled entire neighborhoods, and well over 11,000 Palestinians have been killed in the fighting, according to health officials in the Hamas-ruled territory.

Bent on toppling Gaza’s Hamas rulers, Israel describes the heavy toll as the inevitable cost of fighting militants who use civilians as human shields and fire rockets from densely populated neighborhoods. Israel says at least some of the hostages were brought to Shifa.

On Wednesday, Israeli soldiers showed the foreign journalists weaponry they said they found at Shifa, including dozens of AK-47 assault rifles, 20 grenades and several drones. Hagari said the cache was just a small sample.

The Israeli military has plowed through northern Gaza over the past month, leaving a trail of destruction in its effort to bomb Hamas’ tunnel network and other targets. Hamas fighters have used the underground network to ambush Israeli troops. In addition to the tunnel it showed journalists, the army says it had uncovered another two shafts near Shifa.

Although the trip was tightly controlled by the Israeli army, journalists could still catch glimpses of life in Gaza. From outside the hospital gates, at least a couple dozen exhausted Palestinians could be seen gathering their belongings, apparently ahead of an evacuation.

Hundreds of patients and doctors remain stranded at the besieged hospital. Thousands more who had been sheltering in its courtyard fled south last week as Israeli tanks drew close and fighting raged.

At one point, several Palestinians leaning out of a window at Shifa locked eyes with journalists. One man gave a thumbs-up. Others started to yell. Israeli soldiers shepherded the journalists away.

What remained on Gaza City’s ghostly streets were the ruins of collapsed buildings, spewing rubble onto streets. The facade of one abandoned building had been blown off, revealing furnished living rooms, glassware in cabinets somehow intact, mirrors still mounted on walls. Fortified bulldozers clawed through sand and gravel to clear the way for more tanks.

About 20 Israeli soldiers sat on the side of a road. They smiled and posed for the journalists’ cameras.

“There’s a great morale. Everyone’s ready to do what has to be done. Everyone’s ready to fight for the country,” said Staff Sgt. Oren, an Israeli soldier who said he is originally from Los Angeles. “Even when it’s hard, you sit with your friends and joke around a little bit. At the end of the day, you know why you’re here.”

The city’s coastal promenade that once bustled with cafes and coffee shops was gone. Instead, there was rubble and a single lifeguard hut. Recent bombing sent black plumes rising into the sky. Gunbattles could be heard rattling in the distance.

In the midst of the devastation, a line of Palestinian evacuees could be seen, carrying their bags and other belongings. As the journalists in the Israeli army convoy passed by, the men and women held up their ID cards to the armored personnel carriers. Some of them waved white flags.

 

AP

WESTERN PERSPECTIVE

Ukraine's Zelenskiy warns of 'difficult defence' in east as cold sets in

Ukrainian troops face "difficult" defensive operations on parts of the eastern front with bitter winter cold setting in, but forces in the south are still conducting offensive actions, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Wednesday.

Russian troops launched offensives on different sections of the front line in Ukraine's east this autumn, trying to advance on the devastated town of Avdiivka and in the northeast between the towns of Lyman and Kupiansk.

"Difficult weather, difficult defence on the Lyman, Bakhmut, Donetsk and Avdiivka fronts. Offensive actions in the south," Zelenskiy said on Telegram messenger.

The Ukrainian general prosecutor's office said one man died when Russian forces shelled Avdiivka, another in an attack on Chasiv Yar to the north and a third in the southern city of Kherson. In the town of Sedylove in the east, a third body was pulled from rubble after a hospital was struck on Tuesday.

Operations could be complicated by cold weather, with daytime temperatures of minus 5 degrees Celsius (23 degrees Fahrenheit) expected to dip as fighting moves to an attritional phase.

Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022 and now controls nearly a fifth of its territory. A Ukrainian counteroffensive, under way since June, has made no major breakthrough.

The front line has changed little in Avdiivka since fighting erupted in 2014 between Kyiv and Russian-backed militants, but the town has faced waves of attacks since mid-October, followed by temporary lulls, according to the Ukrainian military.

After one such lull the day before, the head of the "Tavria" military command said on Wednesday that Russian troops had "dramatically increased" the number of assaults and airstrikes.

"Our defenders are steadfastly holding the defence in the Avdiivka direction," Commander Oleksandr Tarnavskyi said on Telegram. Ukrainian forces continued the offensive on the southeastern Melitopol front, he added.

In its evening report, Ukraine's General Staff said 22 Russian attacks had been beaten back in and around Avdiivka.

Military analyst Oleksandr Musiyenko told NV Radio that Ukrainian forces had launched counterattacks near Avdiivka in the past week and "managed to push the enemy back from previous positions".

In an earlier battlefield report, the General Staff said troops were holding bridgeheads secured on the eastern side of the River Dnipro occupied by Russian forces in the early days of their invasion.

In his nightly video address, Zelenskiy said the latest gathering of military officials from Western countries helping Ukraine had set up a "coalition to develop air defence" led by France and Germany. Kyiv sees improving air defences as critical to its drive to evict Russian troops.

In its account of the fighting, Russia's Defence Ministry said its troops had struck Ukrainian troops and equipment near Bakhmut, another devastated town north of Avdiivka.

Reuters could not independently verify frontline reports.

 

RUSSIAN PERSPECTIVE

Ukraine feeling Western ‘conflict fatigue’ – FT

Kiev is “nervous” that Ukraine is losing Western support after the failure of this summer’s counteroffensive and urgently needs the US and the EU to double down on sending it money, weapons and supplies, editors of the Financial Times urged on Wednesday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin “may feel for now that the odds have shifted in his favor in his gamble that he can outlast the West,” the editorial said.

“The counteroffensive that Ukraine had hoped would begin to drive out Russian troops — and convince its allies that they were backing a winner — has not produced the hoped-for breakthrough,” the editors acknowledge. 

According to the FT, Ukraine faces a series of problems. The EU can’t seem to unblock its “peace facility” funding. In the US, the White House is having a hard time getting Congress to pass another aid bill. Meanwhile, the West’s attention – and resources – have been diverted by the Israel-Hamas war.

However, the outlet insisted that “support for Ukraine remains solid” in both the US and the EU, though it called the possible return of Donald Trump to the White House an “alarming” prospect for this policy.

Arguing that “in wartime, perception can be as important as reality,” FT editors proposed a series of measures the West could take “to convince Ukraine of their engagement for the long term,” from sending Kiev more money and weapons to a promise of EU membership.

The EU “must quickly find a way” to implement the €50 billion ‘Peace Facility’ funding, and “fast-track plans” to send Ukraine the profits from interest earned by frozen Russian assets, and invite Ukraine to start membership talks, according to the British outlet. 

FT also demanded more and better sanctions against Russia and more military production in Europe, so as to meet General Valery Zaluzhny’s “useful shopping list of the high-tech tools” needed by the Ukrainian military.

“On the military front, allies need to speed up the supply of fighter jets, and training of Ukrainian pilots, to provide vital air cover to ground forces. They need a more systematic approach to the supply of arms — rather than simply donating stocks of surplus and outdated weapons,” FT editors declared.

Since the hostilities with Russia escalated in February 2022, Ukraine has burned through most of its original tanks and armored vehicles, relying on donations of mothballed Soviet hardware from NATO members – and eventually NATO equipment like Leopard tanks and Bradley IFVs – to replace them. The US and its allies have largely run out of stockpiled ammunition and are struggling to ramp up new production, falling short of the deliveries they promised. 

Even if the West somehow managed to supply Kiev with all the weapons it wanted, Ukrainian officials told Time Magazine earlier this month, Ukraine would lack the manpower to operate them. According to Russian estimates, Kiev has lost more than 100,000 troops since its counteroffensive began in early June.

 

Reuters/RT

 

Sometimes you hear a fact that makes you think, "There's no way that can be true." And yet — it is.

Redditor u/BlackAfghaniRose recently asked the people of Reddit, "What’s a fact that sounds like a conspiracy theory?" Yes, sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction:

1. "JFK's brain was removed during the autopsy and stored in an archive. Its current whereabouts are unknown."

—u/AdMaterial9419

2. "The Church of Scientology had members secretly infiltrate US government agencies in order to destroy unfavorable documents and investigations into them."

—u/TripleThreatTua

3. "Ernest Hemingway suffered from ongoing paranoia that the FBI were surveilling him, which was thought to be a key factor in his suicide. Most chalked it up to mental illness at the time. Decades later, his file was released, proving he was under investigation for his ties to Cuba, his phones were tapped, and he was right all along."

—u/allbitterandclean

4. "In the spring of 1968, US President Lyndon Johnson announced that he would not seek election to a second full term. He gave no explanation, and everyone assumed that it was because of Vietnam and his resulting unpopularity, but it was far from the full story. Concerned that males in his family tended to die young, and having barely survived a heart attack in the 1950s, in 1967 Johnson had commissioned an actuarial study to determine his likely lifespan. The actuaries concluded that Johnson was unlikely to survive to age 65. Johnson realized he'd have a very short retirement if he ran and won in 1968, as he'd be 64 at the end of the term. This led him to decide against running. The actuaries were right, as Johnson died at 64. Had he served a second full term, he would have died less than 24 hours after the end of the term."

—u/prosa123

5. "Tax service companies such as Intuit spend millions of dollars a year lobbying to make sure the IRS does not make it easier to file your taxes."

—u/ktappe

6. "In the lead-up to the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico, the country was embarrassed by massive protests. At one of the large protests in Mexico City, they put snipers in some tall buildings near a large government building guarded by a line of police officers. When the protesters made it to the line of police officers, they continued to peacefully protest. The snipers opened fire on the police, making it appear that the protestors were shooting at the cops. The cops retaliated, mowing down countless protestors, thinking they were defending themselves. Protestors were killed and fled the scene. The government was ready, rushed in, and immediately cleaned up the scene. To this day, they have no idea how many people were killed at the scene, and no one knew about the plot to instigate the massacre of the protestors until years later. It worked, though — there were no more protests."

—u/BigMax

7. "In the 1960s and 1970s, thousands of Native American women were sterilized without their consent as part of a practice to sterilize poor and minority women to 'help their financial situation and their family's quality of life' by preventing unwanted pregnancies in poor communities. Some were not informed at all and had it done to them completely without their knowledge; others were threatened with having their healthcare taken away if they did not agree to have it done to them. Some studies estimate that as many as 25%–50% of Native American women were sterilized in the 1970s, representing tens of thousands of victims. This was essentially a modern day genocide in the United States."

—u/SendMeNudesThough

8. "Project SUNSHINE — in which the US government, in the wake of dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, ordered a major study to better understand the effects of radiation exposure and nuclear fallout on the human body. So an international network of agents was recruited to locate recently deceased children and steal body parts from them to use for testing."

—u/likelyadvancement

9. "There was ONE recorded homicide in New York City on September 11, 2001. The people who died because of the attacks weren’t considered part of the homicides for that day because a very high number like that is a statistical outlier that would throw off accurate record numbers. The one person who was murdered was a Polish immigrant named Henryk Siwiak, who was nowhere near the attacks. He was killed in the Bedford Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn at around 11:40 p.m."

—u/SuperdudeKev

10. "COINTELPRO is straight up conspiracy theory-sounding, but 10,000% true. They even sent letters to MLK telling him to commit suicide. No wonder people believe that the US government is probably doing other shady shit — because they probably are."

—u/Ksan_of_Tongass

11. "There are government-built bunkers dotted around the US that hold a total of 1.4 billion pounds of cheese. The government was buying excess milk to prop up the dairy industry, turning it into cheese and shoving it underground since the end of Prohibition up until the Reagan administration."

—u/DevinMeister

12. "Some time after World War II, the US was doing some pretty wild experiments, including trying to see if they could teach dolphins to talk. They believed this was only achievable by full immersion, so they built a house and filled it with water and had a researcher live with the dolphin."

—u/Skootchy

13. "Whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed in 2013 that the US National Security Agency was conducting mass surveillance on citizens, collecting data from internet communications, phone calls, and other sources."

—u/Euphoric-Beat-7206

14. "Everyone, even from Roman times, knew asbestos was bad for your health."

—u/the-software-man

15. "In two-thirds of all US states, EMS is NOT considered an essential service. As such, it receives next to zero government funding or support."

—u/Boogaloogaloogalooo

16. "The Pentagon has never been able to account for more than half its budget."

—u/Dune1008

17. "In 1919, the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcohol was prohibited. But instead of plummeting, alcohol sales soared. Speakeasies opened everywhere, and people in some neighborhoods were drinking even more than before. In 1926, the authorities asked manufacturers to add toxic substances to their alcohol. In New York alone, 1,200 drinkers were poisoned, and 400 died. A wave of deaths would eventually sweep across the country. This 'poisoning policy' was not stopped until December 1933."

—u/Mrnoword

18. "Operation Northwoods. The US government proposed having the CIA commit terrorist attacks in major US cities so we could blame them on Cuba and go to war. The proposals called for CIA operatives to both stage and commit acts of terrorism against American military and civilian targets, blaming them on the Cuban government, and using it to justify a war against Cuba. The possibilities detailed in the document included the remote control of civilian aircraft which would be secretly repainted as US Air Force plane, a fabricated 'shoot down' of a US Air Force fighter aircraft off the coast of Cuba, the possible assassination of Cuban immigrants, sinking boats of Cuban refugees on the high seas, blowing up a US ship, and orchestrating terrorism in US cities. The proposals were rejected by President John F. Kennedy."

—u/ThePresidentPlate

And finally...

19. There's a psychological reaction called 'The Backfire Effect' which essentially means that people, after they're given proof that what they think they know is absolutely wrong, will believe misconceptions or misinformation even more deeply."

—u/ZorroMeansFox

These entries have been edited for length and clarity.

Buzzfeed

The most emotionally intelligent people have the rare ability to acknowledge not just their own emotions, but also the emotions of others. They use this information to engage the people around them and bring everyone together.

As the author of “Emotional Intelligence Game Changers: 101 Ways to Win at Life & Work,” I’ve spent 20 years studying the habits of emotionally intelligent people. To grow and develop meaningful relationships, you have to communicate and read body language effectively.

Here are eight things people with high emotional intelligence never do when talking to others:

1. They don’t focus just on themselves.

Everyone appreciates being acknowledged for something they did well and have pride in.

Doing this with sincerity ensures that you will be remembered in a positive light — putting you in a category above all the people who haven’t seemed to notice.

2. They don’t force their opinions onto others.

When you argue with someone or make them feel coerced, they will naturally become defensive and erect barriers. This will work against your persuasive efforts.

Instead, allow the other person to feel that they are in control of the situation by inviting them to talk while you actively listen.

3. They don’t say, “It’s not my responsibility.”

Exceptional employees will not walk past a problem or something they could help with just because it’s not in their job description.

They’re always willing to share their time and knowledge. They view their role as a key part of larger whole and often look for ways to contribute to the organization.

4. They don’t waste their time with just anybody.

Mentally tough and self-aware people hang out with other positive-thinking individuals with whom they share common goals and aspirations. They support one another and celebrate each other’s achievements.

Negative people, on the other hand, will only drain your energy. When you’re around them, do your best to tune out the noise and limit your interaction.

5. They don’t let anything distract them when others are speaking.

Have you ever spoken with someone who was distracted, glancing at other people in a crowd, or checking their watch while you were speaking? You likely felt you were not important to that person.

Make others aware that you are focused by facing them squarely, smiling and making eye contact.

6. They don’t forget the little details.

When you meet someone for the first time, repeat their name and sprinkle it throughout the conversation.

Remember things that are important, such as the names of their partner, children, pets or favorite vacation spots. By doing so and mentioning them at appropriate times the next time you see them, you’ll stand out.

As your relationship deepens, consider taking note of important dates (e.g. their birthday or anniversary), and then send cards or call on those dates.

7. They stay away from offensive or tasteless jokes.

Simply put, if there is any possibility that someone may find a joke offensive, don’t say it. It is one of the quickest ways to turn people off, because it indicates a huge deficit of awareness and sensitivity.

8. They don’t do all the talking.

Emotionally intelligent people try to listen and discern more about a situation.

They ask questions that allow the other person an opportunity to better express themselves and understand how he or she is acting and feeling.

Your questions might open a pathway for more meaningful conversation and resolution.

** Harvey Deutschendorf is an emotional intelligence researcher and author of “Emotional Intelligence Game Changers: 101 Simple Ways to Win at Work & Life.” He has worked in the field of EQ for more than 20 years and is an active member of the ManKind Project and Toastmasters. 

 

CNBC

Service Chiefs on Tuesday in Abuja appeared before the House of Representatives at plenary on a sectoral debate for MDAs, recounting activities aimed at combating the surging insecurity challenges in the country.

Those present included the Chief of Defense Staff, Christopher Musa; Chief of Army Staff, Taoreed Lagbaja; and Chief of Naval Staff, Emmanuel Ogala.

Others were the Chief of Air Staff, Hassan Abubakar, and the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun.

In his submission, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Musa blamed the judiciary for releasing arrested Boko Haram suspects after being arrested by the military.

“I have been in the Northeast; there were a lot of Boko Haram elements that have been captured. We have kept them for five/six years. We the armed forces can arrest but cannot prosecute.

“Some of them have been found wanting, but no prosecution.

“We are keeping them for this lengthy period, everyone is accusing the armed forces in keeping them against their human rights, but we cannot prosecute.

“Another aspect of the judiciary is that you use all your efforts to make an arrest, you hand them over, and before you enter your vehicle, the man has been released on bail.

“Now you have risked yourself in doing that; by the time he is released, he goes to tell the people the person that arrested him. Now your family members or you are at risk,” Musa disclosed.

He said it was getting to a state where the security forces would not want to make any effort.

”We have the issue in the South-south, the last ship that was arrested, was arrested 10 years ago; the ship went and changed its name, changed its colour and came back again.

”By the time they handed over the ship and before you know it, it is released.” He said that this is an area that must be looked into.

“We must have a special court to look into it. That is why we arrest and destroy them because the longer we keep them, it becomes a problem,” said the CDS.

Musa said they often come under pressure to release them.

He said that at the moment, about 140,000 terrorists have surrendered and are awaiting disarmament, assuring that there is no single territory currently being occupied by Boko Haram insurgents.

Musa said activities of Simon Ekpa, spokesperson of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) currently hiding in Finland, were doing a lot of damage to the Southeast region of the country.

He alleged that Finland was protecting Ekpa, adding that there is a need for the government to engage the government of Finland and possibly invite its ambassador to Nigeria.

Musa said that while the military and other security agencies in the country were doing their very best to ensure peace in the Southeast region, comments and activities of Ekpa were sabotaging such efforts.

Lagbaja, highlighted some of the challenges facing the Nigerian Army, which include funding, logistics, and manpower.

On his part, Abubakar, said the major challenges facing the Nigerian Air Force in the conduct of air operations include the rising cost of aviation fuel.

Others include delay in funding release, targeting complexity, porous borders and manpower disposition.

Ogalla, urged the House of Representatives to ensure adequate appropriations for the service to acquire resources to enable it to achieve its mandate.

Ogalla said the resources were basically required in terms of fleet renewal, aircraft and support facilities.

“The Navy is just about 30,000 for now. We are making efforts to expand the size of the navy and train them adequately to be able to meet its objectives.

“With adequate support, we should be able to tackle activities of oil theft, pipeline vandalism and illegal refineries, irrespective of the weather. “

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, had earlier said they are focusing on security given the unprecedented challenges of the past decade.

Abbas said that over the last few years, the country has made significant progress in tackling insecurity through improved investment by the federal government.

He commended the gallantry and professionalism of servicemen and women while saluting the courage of the armed forces and law enforcement personnel.

The speaker emphasised that an appearance in person by all invited heads of MDAs was required throughout this sectoral briefing.

He added that the House would not accept proxy representation for any reason whatsoever, adding that notices were sent well in advance to forestall any excuses.

 

NAN

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has faulted verdicts of the Nigerians judges on the electoral disputes, saying three to five judges should not overturn decisions made by millions of voters during an election.

Obasanjo described the powers vested in the hands of a few judges as “totally unacceptable.”

The former President spoke in wake of the ongoing judgements of the Court of Appeal on the electoral disputes arising from 2023 elections in Nigeria.

Only last week, three governors were sacked in separate judgements delivered by the judges of the Court of Appeal.

The affected governors are, Dauda Lawal of Zamfara State, Abba Yusuf in Kano, and Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State.

The decisions have triggered reactions, earning the judiciary more knocks than kudos.

Speaking at the high-level consultation on Rethinking Western Liberal Democracy in Africa held at Green Resort Legacy, Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Obasanjo faulted what he labelled “cathedral pronouncements” by the judges.

Obasanjo said “I believe whatever form of democracy we have or whatever system of government we have, three or four men in the judiciary should not be able to overturn the decisions of millions that have voted. Now, we have to find a way to handle that. I don’t know what the way will be but, for me, I think it’s totally unacceptable that millions (of votes), maybe 10m on one side, maybe 9million on the other side. Then, you have five people sitting down, three of them agree, two disagree. And you come up and make cathedral pronouncements that cannot be changed, I believe that should not be accepted.

“How do we do it? I don’t know. But whatever form of democracy we have, we should look at how to handle this. If you say ‘go again for election,’ then, what happened to the previous election? I don’t know.

“So, I personally feel strongly about it. It does not matter what you say about the judiciary, but in fact only five people or seven will sit down. If they are five, three may agree, two may not agree, and the decision of three will be final. All that you have done comes to the decision of three or decision of four.”

 

Daily Trust

Nigerian and German companies on Tuesday signed two accords in Berlin that include a $500 million renewable energy pact and a gas export deal, further strengthening economic ties between the two nations, a presidential spokesperson said.

Union Bank of Nigeria and Germany's DWS Group signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on renewable energy. The agreement seeks to harness $500 million in investment in renewable energy projects across Nigeria, mostly in rural communities, spokesperson Ajuri Ngelale said in a statement.

A second MoU on gas export partnership was agreed between Riverside LNG of Nigeria and Germany's Johannes Schuetze Energy Import AG. Under the accord, Nigeria will supply 850,000 tons of natural gas to Germany annually which is expected to rise to 1.2 million. The first deliveries will be in 2026, Ngelale said.

The deal will help process about 50 million cubic feet per day of natural gas that otherwise would have flared.

Nigeria holds Africa's largest gas reserves of more than 200 trillion cubic feet, but flares, or burns off, about 300 million cubic feet daily due to inadequate processing facilities.

President Bola Tinubu, who is attending the G20 Compact with Africa conference in Berlin, welcomed the deals, Ngelale said.

On Monday German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Germany will invest 4 billion euros in green energy projects in Africa until 2030, noting these could in turn help Europe's largest economy achieve its own transition to carbon neutrality.

Germany will need to import large quantities of green hydrogen going forward, including from Africa, if it is to achieve its goal of net zero emissions by 2045, he said at a German-African business forum in Berlin.

The forum preceded the G20 Compact with Africa summit that aims to drum up investment in the world's poorest but fast-growing continent by coordinating the development agendas of reform-minded countries and identifying business opportunities.

 

Reuters


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