Five things to know to start your Thursday


EFCC arrests NDDC director of finance in connection with N25bn fraud

The operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have confirmed the arrest of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Director of Finance and Account, Eno Ubi Otu.
According to the anti-graft agency, Otu is currently being questioned with regard to the alleged N25 billion fraud.

An investigation by the EFCC showed that the director had played a role in the diversion of over N25 billion in tax remittances.

His arrest is a part of a larger investigation into the forensic audit report of the NDDC.

FG approves N718m contract to secure Abuja rail tracks

In its latest move to provide premium security on the rails, the Federal Government has approved the sum of N718.19 million to secure the 45-kilometer Abuja rail tracks and stations.

This information was made available by the Minister of the FCT, Mohammed Bello, on Wednesday after the Federal Executive Council meeting held in Abuja.

“In the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting of today, I presented a memo and the council approved a contract to two companies for the provision of security services for the Abuja Light Rail Mass Transit System,” the minister told reporters during the briefing.

“These companies are Messrs Al-Ahali Security Guards Limited and Messrs Seaguard Security and Protective Company Limited.”

“They are going to provide security to the entire 45 kilometres of track, including 12 stations,” he added.
The successful companies are expected to protect the key infrastructure on the rail tracks, the signalling and communication equipment, as well as the electrical system.

This action is the latest move by the FG to secure lives and property along the railroad following the March 2022 Abuja-Kaduna railroad attack by terrorists where innocent Nigerians were taken hostage.
Painfully, some hostages still remain in the custody of the terrorists, just waiting for money to bail them out.

The minister said that Al-Ahali Security Guard Limited is going to secure 27.4 kilometres of the track, covering eight stations at a cost of N407,214,000 over a two-year period, while Seaguard Securities and Protective Company Limited are going to secure 18 kilometres of the rail tracks, including four railway stations, at a cost of N310,979,250.

Read also: Abuja-Kaduna train: We met all terrorists demands they failed to release all victims – FG

Joyce Oduah reinstatement, victory for rule of law – Ayo Ogunleye

Following a recent ruling by the Judiciary to reinstate Joyce Oduah as the General Secretary of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Ayo Ogunleye has hailed the judgment as a victory for the rule of law.
The ruling set aside her suspension by the Olumide Akpata-led executive, which accused her of unilateral withdrawal of notices for the amendment of the NBA constitution, among others.

Ogunleye, while speaking on Arise TV on Wednesday, said that the ruling by the judiciary does not only promote the rule of law but gives hope to the common man.

“In 2022, the worst case of this violation occurred on Sunday by no less a body than the Nigeria Bar Association being led by Mr. Olumide Akpata, and we are happy that this is happening now,” he said.

“Because the NBA is one of the most respected voices in terms of the defence of the rule of law, cushioning the nation to ensure that things are done appropriately and respected both locally and internationally.”

“And so when the Olumide Akpata-led administration decided to resort to self-help and take a decision to ratify a suspension which was the subject of litigation, the judiciary came to its defence and that decision came under the gavel yesterday where it was set aside.

“Indeed, it was a triumph for the rule of law; it is a triumph for democracy; it is a triumph for constituted authority. All persons in a democratic nation like ours in Nigeria—a nation that has hope and is gravitating daily towards a glorious return—it must be the case that we must protect our courts. ” He concluded, acting excited over his team’s victory.

Osinbajo launches FG’s energy transition plan

Nigeria’s vice President Yemi Osinbajo, said that the increasing gap in Africa’s energy sector needs an urgent and purposeful collaborative effort to address it.

The vice president said this on Wednesday during his speech presentation at the global virtual launch of Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan, a plan targeted at dealing with the twin problem of energy poverty and climate change.

“For Africa, the problem of energy poverty is as important as climate ambitions. Energy use is crucial for almost every conceivable aspect of development. Wealth, health, nutrition, water, infrastructure, education, and life expectancy are significantly related to the consumption of energy per capita,” he said.

He added that for the country to achieve both its development and climate change objectives, it would need to spend at least $410 billion to enable the country to deliver its Transition Plan by 2060, which translates to about $10 billion per year.

He informed all that the country is currently engaged in discussions with some partners to get an initial $10 billion support package ahead of COP27 along the lines of the South African Just Energy Transition Partnership announced at COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland.


Sanctions responsible for record low of British imports from Russia

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that Britain’s imports of goods from Russia fell to their lowest level in June since records began 25 years ago. A situation that was driven largely by sanctions on Moscow in response to its invasion of Ukraine.

According to Reuters, the ONS reported that goods imports from Russia totaled 33 million pounds in June, a 96.6 percent decrease from the average monthly imports in the 12 months preceding the invasion in February this year.

It was also revealed that the country also imported no fuel from Russia for the first time ever. Russia was the UK’s largest supplier of refined oil in 2021.

As part of the British government’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the government placed a ban on the import of some Russian products and hiked tariffs on others. It has also said it will phase out imports of Russian oil and oil products by the end of 2022.

While these economic sanctions on Russia likely drove the fall in trade, businesses’ “self-sanctioning,” or voluntarily seeking alternatives to Russian goods, was also a likely factor, the ONS said.

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