Afrobasket Tourney: Nigeria’s D’Tigress Qualify For Final

Nigeria’s D’Tigress qualified for the final of the 2023 FIBA Women’s Basketball championship following their 31 points (79-48) ‘blowout) of host Rwanda on Thursday.

The team will play either Mali or Senegal in the final on Saturday.

Amy Okoro hit the double-double on points and rebounds leading the floor with 23 points and crashing the board 10 times to lead D’Tigress to victory.

Tomi Yemisi Taiwo added 12 points in the game that the duo of Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah and Elizabeth Balogun each contributing 10 points. While Kanaiyi-Akpanah grabbed 9 rebounds, Balogun grabbed just 2 rebounds.

For the host team, Destiney Promise Philoxy 21 points could not lift their team over D’Tigress. Janai Crooms Robertson added 11 points even as Hope Butera added 10 points.

NNPC Partners NIPCO On CNG Infrastructure Expansion

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited,has partnered NIPCO Gas Limited for the deployment for Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as alternative to Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise known as petrol.

Mele Kyari,the Group Chief Executive Officer, NNPCL,who spoke at a press conference in Abuja, on Thursday,said the decision was a directive from President Ahmed Bola Tinubu.

The move,he added,was part of efforts to cushion the impacts of petrol subsidy removal which significantly impacted on the fuel prices.

He added that the initiative was in addition to the phased deployment of 56 CNG stations planned by NNPC Retail across the country, adding that once fully operational, the stations can service over 200,000 vehicles daily, thereby significantly reducing carbon emissions and associated impact on climate.

According to him,the CNG infrastructure expansion initiative would be done in phases, adding that the initiative would service at least 200,000 vehicles on a daily basis.

He assured that the price of the CNG would be very affordable and Nigerian motorists would benefit from the project.

He said:”As part of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited’s commitment to reducing carbon footprint and providing cheaper alternative fuel to motorists, the company is happy to announce a strategic partnership with NIPCO Gas Limited to develop Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) stations.

“This landmark collaboration aims to expand our CNG infrastructure, improve access to CNG, and accelerate the adoption of cheaper and cleaner alternative fuel for buses, cars and Keke NAPEP, which will significantly reduce the cost of transportation and engender sustainable national economic growth.

“Under the NNPC-NIPCO strategic partnership, 35 state-of-the-art CNG stations will be constructed nationwide, including three Mother stations.

“Once fully operational, the stations can service over 200,000 vehicles daily, thereby significantly reducing carbon emissions and associated impact on climate.The project will be rolled out in phases. The first phase, comprising 21 CNG stations,

“It will support intra-city transportation and be ready by the first quarter of 2024; While the second phase, comprising 35 CNG stations, will support inter-city transformation and will be ready by the first quarter of 2025. To deepen and sustain this initiative, NNPC Ltd. has floated NNPC Prime LNG.

“NNPC is also collaborating with Miju Auto Gas, a leading CNG kit Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) based in India, to set up training and conversion centres to facilitate in-country conversion of vehicles from petrol to CNG.

“NIPCO Gas Limited is currently operating 14 CNG stations across Nigeria and has converted over 7,000 vehicles to run on CNG. NIPCO’s technical competency and field experience will bolster this initiative’s success and amplify its positive impact on the nation’s economy.

“This forward-thinking initiative will leverage Nigeria’s abundant natural gas resources to bring multiple benefits to Nigerians, including access to cheaper fuel, reduced cost of transportation, reduced carbon emission, create new business value chains and streams of job opportunities”.

Speaking,Najendra Verma, the Managing Director of NIPCO, expressed optimism the partnership would actualize the expectations of Nigerians with regards to providing economical fuel.

Mr Verma said working with NNPC Ltd would deepen gas utilisation on Nigeria

The company has 12 years experience in the distribution of auto CNG,he said,adding that it would continuously work with NNPC Ltd towards gas market expansion. End

L-R: Najendra Verma, MD NIPCO, Mele Kyari, NNPCL, GCEO, Mr. Adokiye Tombomieye, EVC Upstream, NNPCL, during the press briefing in Abuja Thursday

Nigerian Troops Kill 36 Terrorists, Arrest 137, Rescue 140 Victims

The Nigerian troops have killed 36 terrorists, arrested 137 gunmen, three gunrunners,two kidnappers and six collaborators in its renewed fight against terrorism in the country.

Besides,the troops also arrested fifteen perpetrators of oil theft and recovered the sum of N3,177,650.00 as well as rescued 140 kidnapped hostages.

Major General Edward Buba, the Director, Defence Media Operations (DMO),announced these on Thursday,while addressing newsmen on behalf of the Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Christopher Musa.

He said,in the course of operations across the country troops recovered a total number of 37 weapons and 370 ammunition.

He added: “The breakdown is as follows: 16 Ak47 rifles, 6 pump action guns, 6 dane guns, 3 fabricated rifles, 2 locally made pistol, 199 rounds of 7.62mm special, 6 rounds of 7.62mm NATO, 9 AK47 magazines and 2 G3 magazines, 8 vehicles, 45 motorcycles, 32 mobile phones, 925 machetes, 151 machete sharpeners.

“Others include 61 dugout pits, 32 wooden boats, 87 storage tanks, one speedboat, 32 cooking ovens, 3 outboard engine, one generator, 2 pumping machines, 36 illegal refining sites, 310,700 litres of stolen crude oil, 14,675 litres Automotive Gas Oil, 49,000 Dual Purpose Kerosine and 5 litres of Premium Motor Spirit.”

He assured that the troops will sustain the momentum in tackling the security challenges and shall continue to fight the perpetrators to submission.

He implored Nigerians to continue to support the military and stand with it with a view to flushing out criminals from Nigeria.

He added: “It is not enough “to see something and say something” as is popularly stated. There are more people that know things happening around them, than those who are waiting to see first before reporting. Consequently, “know something, say something and be assured the military will do something”.

Niger: Gunmen Invade Church, Kidnap Priest, Seminarian

Mohammed Shosanya

Gunmen suspected to be armed bandits has on Wednesday night invaded, St. Peters’ Catholic Church, Gyedna and abducted a Catholic Priest, Fr. Paul Sanogo (M.Afr) and a Seminarian, Mahinini Dominis from their residence.

Fr. Paul and Mahinini are pastoral workers serving at St. Luke’s Catholic Church Gyedna, Minna Catholic Diocese.

The Catholic Priest and the Seminarian were kidnapped at about 11pm Wednesday and efforts to contact them has proved abortive and the abductors are yet to contact the church for possible ransom.

Police Public Relation Officer (PPRO), DSP Wasiu A. Abiodun confirmed the abduction.

Abiodun said, “On the 2/08/2023 at about 2330 hrs, suspected armed kidnappers stormed St. Peters Catholic Church at Gyedna village, Tafa Local Government Area and abducted one Rev. Fr. Paul Sanogo and a Seminarian, Mahinini Dominis”.

“Police tactical teams led by the DPO, Tafa Division were dispatched to the scene. However, the location of the church was discovered to be at the outskirt of the town, which is about an hour drive from mountainous Sabon-Wuse”.

He added that the location of the church is that of difficult terrains that share common boundary between Niger and surrounded with mountains and forest, close to Kagarko area of Kaduna state which made it easy for the kidnappers to operate.

Oyo Moves To Unify Egungun Festival

Mohammed Shosanya

The Oyo state government plans to set aside a day in the year for a uniform celebration of Egungun Festival.

The Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Dr. Wasiu Olatunbosun,who disclosed this on Thursday when met Egungun Worshipers (Alagbaas) and other stakeholders in the state,explained that the new move is part of the present administration’s bid to set the tone for harnessing tourism and culture in Oyo Sunder Omituntun 2.0.

Dr. Olatubosun said tourism has become a focal point of Governor Seyi Makinde’s Omituntun 2.0 agenda.

He said that the grand Egungun Carnival will herald the commencement of various Egungun Festivals across Oyo State.

He explained that a unified date for this cultural festival would further promote the State’s culture and boost the tourism potentials of the State, by bringing tourists from all over the world to witness the festival.

The display by the various Egungun Worshipers would make the celebrations more attractive to the tourists,he said.

He added:“Oyo State being a Pacesetter State, would be hitting the ground running on this dignified cultural propagation and promotion, thus writing history for others to follow.”

The ‘Alagbaas’ in their response, unanimously agreed with the idea,promising to work in synergy with the Ministry to make the concept a success.

They also promised to rally their members to give unwavering support towards achieving the desirable outcome.

Lagos Assembly Reject Commissioners’ List

Mohammed Shosanya

Members of the Lagos State House of Assembly, on Thursday,faulted the list of commissioner-nominees sent to them recently by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for screening and confirmation.

Some lawmakers lamented the exclusion of parts of the state in the nomination,others urged the House to take another look at the list.They requested that the nominees’ local government areas should be attached to the list.

In a ‘Matter of Urgent Public Importance, Hon. Aro Moshood Abiodun (Ikorodu 2) told his colleagues that despite contributing to the success of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the last election, Ikorodu got one slot in the list.

Deputy Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Ademola Richard Kasunmu,expressed disgust over the absence of any nominee from Ikeja.

Hon. Nureni Akinsanya from Mushin, noted that the list did not come with the local government areas of the nominees. He also argued that the APC has technocrats who were not considered.

He was supported by Hon. Kehinde Joseph (Alimosho 2) and Hon. Temitope Adewale, who both urged the Governor to reconsider the nominations.

In his reaction,Hon. Femi Saheed said as a former secretary of the APC in Lagos,he was aware that the party has technocrats who could be nominated.

The Deputy Chief Whip, Hon. David Setonji, lamented that Badagry was not represented enough, Hon. Ladi Ajomale observed that the list was heavily one-sided in term of religious consideration.

But,Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa urged his colleagues to understand that all local government areas in the State cannot produce a commissioner.

He reminded his colleagues that Governor Sanwo-Olu has the prerogative to nominate those to work with him,while it is the duty of the lawmakers to screen the nominees and confirm them if they meet needed requirements.

Corruption Allegations Me Baseless,Frivolous- NUPRC Boss

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) has deplored the allegations of fraud leveled against its boss, Engr. Gbenga Komolafe by union executives in the commission.

The commission in a statement,described the allegations as baseless and frivolous designed only to seek cheap attention and disparage the integrity of the Commission Chief Executive for purely sinister motives.

It absolved Engr. Komolafe of any wrong doing declaring that the commission’s boss is not a sole administrator, but operates under the guidance of supervisory structures emplaced by the PIA 2021 and the Federal Government

The commission also picked holes in the allegations of recruitment of over 140 individuals without proper procedure and in violation of the Federal public service rules and the federal character commission’s policies on equal opportunities.

It maintained that the recruitment was done in compliance with all procedures and compliance certificate issued by the relevant organ.

The statement emphasized that by law (the Petroleum Industry Act 2021), the powers of appointment, promotion and remuneration are vested in the Board of the Commission, while statutorily the Federal Character Commission regulates compliance with statutory procedure with regards to recruitment into public establishments.

It further described as malicious and completely false the allegation of misappropriating N10 billion virement, donating N4 billion to political parties in the run-up to elections, challenging the purveyors to provide proof.

“This allegation is malicious, completely false, libellous and entirely unsubstantiated. The purveyors of the falsehood are challenged to publish details of the account of the commission from where the donations originated and the accounts of the political parties involved where the four billion naira and ten billion naira were deposited. Equally, the financial source documents (invoices) utilized to make the donations ought to be published.

“There is no way N14 billion can leave the coffers of the Commission without trace, especially given how funds are allocated to the commission.

“Considering the fact that the nature of legal disputes against the Commission are mostly connected with strategic national assets/interests in the upstream oil and gas industry involving very high stakes and potential impact on Federation revenue, the Governing Board of the Commission approved a sustainable template for the engagement and payment of external solicitors engaged by the Commission. Besides, the legal fees paid by the commission comply with the limit set by the Attorney General of the Federation who has the constitutional powers to issue such fiat.

“The framework has ensured that the very best lawyers are engaged by the Commission and the legal fees expended are a reflection of the complexity and high financial exposure of the cases involved” reads the statement in parts”

NUPRC Boss, Engr. Gbenga Komolafe

Fire Risks:Hyundai,Kia Recall 91,000 US Vehicles

Mohammed Shosanya

Hyundai Motor and Kia are recalling more than 91,000 newer vehicles in the U.S. because of fire risks and urged owners to park outside and away from structures pending repairs.

The recall covers Hyundai 2023-2024 Palisade, 2023 Tucson, Sonata, Elantra, and Kona vehicles and 2023-2024 Seltos and 2023 Kia Soul, Sportage vehicles. About 52,000 Hyundai vehicles and nearly 40,000 Kia vehicles are covered under the recall,the automakers said on Thursday.

According to the Korean automakers, electronic controllers for the Idle Stop & Go oil pump assembly may contain damaged electrical components that can cause the pump to overheat. Owners will be notified in late September and dealers will inspect and replace the electric oil pump controller as needed.

Kia said it has six reports of potentially related thermal events but no accidents or injuries while Hyundai has four similar reports. The automakers told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration a suspect part was eliminated from production in March.

GlaxoSmithKline Consumer To Exit Nigeria

Mohammed Shosanya

GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Nigeria Plc (GSK),Thursday told the management of the Nigeria Exchange Limited (NGX) and the investing public of its intent to clise operations in the country.

The company conveyed this in a statement issued and filed with the Nigerian Exchange Limited and signed by the Company Secretary, Frederick Ichekwai.

The planned closure is necessitated by the parent company, GSK Plc UK, strategic intent to cease commercialization of its prescription medicines and vaccines in Nigeria.

Besides,another of its partners, Haleon Group has separately informed the Board of its intent to terminate its distribution agreement in the coming months.

The statement added:“In our published Q2 results we disclosed that the GSK UK Group has informed GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Nigeria PLC of its strategic intent to cease commercialization of its prescription medicines and vaccines in Nigeria through the GSK local operating companies and transition to a third-party direct distribution model for its pharmaceutical products.”

The company promised to treat its employees fairly in compliance with all applicable legal and consultation requirements.

The statement said: “The Board is conscious that shareholders will have many questions; we have been working assiduously with our professional advisors to agree on the next steps and we will be shortly submitting to the Securities and Exchange Commission, a draft Scheme of Arrangement which may, if approved, see shareholders other than GSK UK, receive an accelerated cash distribution and return of capital.”

NCC Clears Air On MAFAB’s 5G Services

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC),says MABAB launched its 5G services early in the year

The Commission’s position was sequel to trending social media reports that MAFAB Communications, one of the companies granted Fifth Generation (5G) licences by the Commission is yet to roll out the service, nearly two years after obtaining a licence, and one year after the roll-out date.

MAFAB publicly launched its services in Abuja on January 24, and in Lagos on January 26, 2023,a statement by Reuben Muoka, Director Public Affairs, NCC, said.

It added:“MAFAB Communications is one of the two successful companies that won a 5G Licence during the globally-acclaimed transparent 5G Auction conducted by the Commission on December 13, 2021.

“Upon fulfilling the condition of payment for the fee of $273.6 million in February 2022, the company formally received the licence on February 22, 2022.

“Consequent upon the issuance of the 5G licence, and in line with the rollout conditions, MAFAB publicly launched its services in Abuja on January 24, 2023, and in Lagos on January 26, 2023. At launch, the services were targeted at six cities – Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Kano and Kaduna.

‘“The Commission has continued to monitor the progress of rollout by MAFAB and has been regularly briefed about the status of infrastructure deployment for service offerings as conditioned in its operating licence.“The public and all stakeholders should ignore the false and misleading information concerning the 5G rollout by MAFAB.”