Five things to know to start your Friday

Tompolo’s N4bn contract: Northern groups notify FCT police of protest plan

A northern group known as the Amalgamated Arewa Youth Groups (AARYG), which represents over 225 socio-cultural groups in the north, has sent a protest letter notifying the Federal Capital Territory police of its planned protest against the N4 billion pipeline surveillance contract award granted to ex-Niger Delta Militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo alias Tompolo, and the perceived neglect of the north by the military.

The contract granted to Tompolo was awarded by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to stop the massive oil theft happening in the oil-rich Niger Delta. The contract, which was granted during the administration of the past government but terminated when this present administration took over in 2015, succeeded in arresting pipeline vandalism and other forms of crude oil sabotage in the region.

The letter, which was signed by Mock Kure, the convener of the group and addressed to the commissioner of police for the FCT and dated August 22, 2022, said that it has concluded plans to assemble thousands of youth from the north to march to the NNPC headquarters to register their demands.

Chief among their demands is the perceived neglect by the military over the deplorable security situation in the north. A claim that the group said it had pleaded with the military to engage the services of mercenaries to help deal with the problem of terrorists.

But the most important aspect of their demand is granting a N4 billion pipeline surveillance contract to Tompolo, which the group frowned on.

The letter was made available to the press on Thursday and also demanded the scrapping of the amnesty programme in the Niger Delta. According to it, the program’s funding has refused to return peace to the creeks.

They resolved that they would call for the award of similar contracts to other geo-political groups in the country to protect their regions.

Read also: Pipeline surveillance contract to Tompolo raises concerns

Germany signs deal to give ownership of Benin Bronzes to Nigeria

An agreement to return many of the Benin artefacts in Berlin, Germany to Nigeria was signed on Thursday between the Foundation of Prussian Cultural Heritage (SPK) and Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM). The deal entails transferring the artefacts’ ownership from the Ethnological Museum in Berlin to Nigeria.

According to Reuters, the agreement, which is regarded as the most expensive transfer of museum artefacts from colonial times to date, covers the transfer of 512 objects that ended up in Berlin after the 1897 looting of the Benin kingdom. The looting that took place after the British conquered the Benin Kingdom.

This return follows the July return that the German government supervised in July this year.

The agreement between both parties entails the transfer of some artefacts to Nigeria this year, while a third of the treasuries will remain on loan in Berlin for at least 10 years and be exhibited at the Humboldt Forum in Berlin.

Read also: Returned Benin bronzes: Great. Now what?

Nike, NFF extends deal, open Lagos Mega shop

Nike and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) have extended their contract agreement until December 2026.

Amaju Melvin Pinnick, the President of the NFF, confirmed this development on Thursday, noting that negotiations had been ongoing for the past month before the extension.

Pinnick said that the new agreement lends credence to Nike’s faith in Nigerian football and what the executive board is doing as a federation. He encouraged other sponsors and partners to extend their agreements and also used the opportunity to plead for more players in corporate Nigeria to support the Nigeria game.

Nike also used the opportunity of its contract signing with the NFF to announce the opening of its mega-shop in Lagos. The impressive office, which is located in Ikeja Mall in Lagos, is part of Nike’s Africa expansion sales plan to open offices in strategically marketable areas in the country. The office would stock the best of Nike sports and casual wear for the everyday Nigerian.

The company also promised a similar shop in the coming days in Abuja.

Slain Yobe cleric: Lawan begs for ‘Speedy Justice’

Senate President Ahmed Lawan has pleaded with security agencies in the country to ensure “speedy justice” for the slain Islamic cleric in Yobe State, Sheikh Goni Aisami. The cleric who was allegedly killed by a soldier and some of his accomplices on Friday, August 19, 2022.

Pained by the gruesome murder of his dear friend who acted as his Special Assistant on Religious Affairs, Lawan made this appeal on Wednesday through a statement signed by his spokesman, Ola Awoniyi. An appeal that was registered after he paid a condolence visit to the family of the slain cleric in Gasgua, Yobe State.

After offering prayers for the repose of the late Sheikh, the Senate President assured journalists who spoke with him that, among other things, the security situation in the country would improve with our determination.

He promised that the legislature was working very hard to provide the needed support to the executive so that they could secure the lives and properties of Nigerians.

NPF seals off NNPP headquarters in Borno State

Some officers of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) acting under express instruction on Thursday sealed off the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) headquarters in Maiduguri, Borno State.

The action of security operatives was confirmed by the Rabiu Kwankwaso media office, which also provided virtual evidence of staff being chased out of the office.

A statement issued by Muyiwa Fatosa, media officer of the NNPP and confirmed by Channels TV said, “This morning a combined team of security operatives led by MOPOLS of the Nigerian Police forcefully shut down our state headquarters, destroying facilities, beating, injuring, and chasing out a group of staff, party members, and supporters.”

Fatosa accused the police of acting out a script, especially after the party presidential candidate, Rabiu Kwankwaso, planned a visit to the state to commission the office on Saturday, August 27, 2022.

Fatosa described the incident as sending a “wrong signal,” especially as we enter into a critical stage of the electioneering period.

He pleaded with the state government to intercede in this matter and asked the party supporters to stay calm as they explore all other avenues to resolve this issue.

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