Nigerian press focuses on approval of payments for power deal with Siemens, others

APA – Lagos (Nigeria)

The approval for the payment of €15.21m offshore and N1.71bn onshore as part of Nigeria’s counterpart funding for the power deal with Siemens AG of Germany and the accident involving two planes at the Muritala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos are some of the leading stories in Nigerian newspapers on Thursday.

The Punch reports that the Federal Executive Council on Wednesday approved the payment of €15.21m (N6,940,081,465.20) offshore and N1.71bn onshore as part of Nigeria’s counterpart funding for the power deal with Siemens AG, signed by the Nigerian and German governments in 2019.

The council also ratified the air transport agreement between Nigeria and the United States at its virtual meeting presided over by the President Muhammadu Buhari.

The decisions were taken at the virtual meeting of the council presided over by the President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, told State House correspondents at the end of the meeting that the council ratified the President’s anticipatory approval for the fund.

The newspaper also reports that a passenger plane belonging to the Middle East Airline was on Wednesday involved in a minor accident with a Turkish plane at the Muritala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos.

Eyewitnesses said the Turkish Cargo flight was parked on the tarmac when the Middle East airbus ran into it.

The spokesman for the Accident Investigation Bureau, Tunji Oketumbi, confirmed the incident but said that the bureau was yet to determine the level of involvement as of press time.

The Nation newspaper says that President Muhammadu Buhari has advised Nigerians, especially Muslims, to observe this year’s Eid El-Kabir celebration with caution, heeding protective directives by state and local authorities.

A statement issued by the Presidency on Wednesday, said the President would observe the celebration privately with his family, adding that the usual Sallah homage and visitation would not be entertained.

The statement, signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said the President decided to stay away from the usual loud celebration in obedience to the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic protocols and to help stop the spread of the disease.

The newspaper also reports that for the African Development Bank (AfDB) President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, his desire to stand for reelection for a second five-year term during the annual meetings of the bank scheduled for August 25-27 is now assured.

This followed the release of a much-awaited report by an Independent Review Panel, which completely exonerated him of ethical wrongdoings levelled against him.

Adesina, 60, became the first Nigerian to lead the AfDB in 2015, but a 15-page report earlier this year claimed that under his watch, the bank had been affected by alleged poor governance, impunity, personal enrichment and favouritism.

Since taking over the leadership of the bank, the highly honoured, global technocrat and respected development economist has introduced several innovative reforms, including a High-Five development strategy; a restructuring of the bank, including setting up offices in several African nations to get closer to its investors and customers; an Africa Investment Forum that has attracted $79 billion in investment interests into projects in Africa between 2018 and 2019.

The Guardian says that Nigeria appears to be getting the short end of the stick in its bilateral trade relations with China, as the Asian giant runs rings round Africa.

Statistics show that the historically lopsided trade relations may have worsened since the implementation of the Bilateral Currency Swap Agreement (BCSA) signed two years ago, as Nigeria’s export to China lags behind the huge yearly import volumes.

Nigerian Bureau of Statistics’ (NBS) data indicate that Nigeria’s share of the trade volume from 2013 to the first quarter of this year staggers at 11 percent.

The value of Nigeria’s total export for the eight-year period was N2.023 trillion as against the N16.2 trillion the country frittered away on goods brought in from China.

ThisDay says that the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has declared that more Nigerians are angry and losing faith in government at all levels.

The TUC, in its message on the occasion of Sallah celebration that was signed by the President of the TUC, Comrade Quadri Olaleye, and Secretary General of the TUC, Comrade Musa-Lawal Ozigi, said the congress was against government taking more loans when they could not account for the recovered looted funds.

“We want to seize this opportunity to unequivocally state here that Nigerians are worried and angry.

“We are fast beginning to lose faith in government at all levels. Of what good is this religious event to our leaders when they have deliberately refused to show love to fellow Nigerians?” it said.

The Vanguard reports that a member of the British House of Lords has joined a growing number of Nigerians in the Diaspora and others from three continents to petition the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to investigate “ongoing genocide” in parts of Nigeria, which had been likened to images from Darfur.

Baroness Caroline Cox of the British House of Lords, a consistent and outspoken champion of global human rights and religious freedom, added her signature to the petition.

The petitioners argued: “Till this date, your office has not identified and declared perpetrators of the terrorist genocide in Nigeria wanted, as you continue an endless ‘preliminary examination’, while atrocities continue on a daily basis.

“Nigeria has failed to adequately prosecute offenders or restitute victims. The same week of these atrocities, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari ‘reintegrated’ 601 Boko Haram terrorists and paid each N20,000, brand new clothes etc.’’


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