TOP 10 NEWS MAKING THE ROUNDS IN NIGERIA TODAY, MONDAY
1. Buhari Dragged To Court Over Electricity Tariff Hike
President Muhammadu Buhari has been charged to court over his failure to reverse the increase in electricity tariff, and to probe the spending of public funds as ‘investments and bailouts’ to DisCos and GenCos since 2005.
Socio-economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) filed a lawsuit against the Nigerian president, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), and the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading PLC.
The electricity tariff was reportedly hiked in mid-December 2022, but both the Ministry of Power and NERC are yet to confirm the hike.
SERAP in the suit number FHC/L/CS/99/2023 filed last Friday at the Federal High Court, Lagos, asks the court to “compel President Buhari to direct the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission to reverse the unlawful, unjust and unreasonable increase in electricity tariff.”
The organisation had in a letter dated January 7, 2023, noted that the increase in electricity tariff would exacerbate the extreme poverty across the country, and undermine the ability of millions of Nigerians to satisfy basic human needs.
2. Weeks Before 2023 Elections, United States Speaks On Preferred Presidential Candidate
The United States of America has declared that it does not have any preferred presidential candidate for the forthcoming 2023 elections in Nigeria.
The United States Consul General, Will Stevens made the position of his country known on Saturday during a town hall meeting which was organized by the Niger-Delta Open Observatory (NOGO) in Asaba, Delta State.
The US official while reiterating that the American government would not support any candidate or party over the others, added that his country will deny politicians who engage in political violence visas.
He insisted that the only interest America has in the 2023 election is how to ensure Nigeria conducts free, fair, and credible elections.
3. APC Opens Up On Yahaya Bello Dumping Tinubu For Atiku
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has denied reports that Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has tactically withdrawn his support for the party’s presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The APC in a statement on Sunday signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Felix Morka, described the report as ‘fake news.’
Reports had emerged claiming that Yahaya Bello had withdrawn from the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council and his willing to back the ambition of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
A source that spoke with Sunday Tribune disclosed that the stand of Governor Bello might be because of the permutations in the state ahead of the November governorship election.
The source noted that Bello who is the National Youth Coordinator of the Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council has allegedly withdrawn from supporting the presidential candidate of the party, Bola Tinubu because the lawmaker representing Ikeja Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, James Faleke, may contest for the governorship ticket of the party.
Reacting, the ruling party described the story as maliciously false and a figment of the imagination of its author and sponsors.
According to the APC, Governor Yahaya Bello is a solid, resourceful and committed campaigner for Tinubu.
4. Over 300 Passengers Stranded As Train Derails Inside Kogi Forest
Scores of passengers have been left stranded inside a forest in Kogi State after a train heading to Itakpe from Warri derailed on Sunday.
Over three hundred passengers were on board the train when it derailed.
The accident was caused by the action of some criminals who had cut a part of the track forcing the train to derail when it got to the affected spot.
The passengers reportedly abandoned the train immediately after the accident and fled into the bush due to the fear of getting kidnapped.
It was gathered that the train left Warri early Sunday and got derailed at around 12pm inside the forest between Ajaokuta and Itakpe.
5. Atiku: Keyamo Intimidating Govt Agencies, Sack Him Now – PDP Reports Minister To Buhari
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo of using his office for selfish ambitions.
The PDP, therefore, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the Minister from office.
The major opposition party made the call during a press conference in Abuja on Sunday through the spokesperson for the Atiku-Okowa Presidential Campaign Council, Daniel Bwala which was also attended by Dele Momodu.
The PDP said Keyamo is using his office and the privilege of his position to intimidate government agencies.
The party stated this in its reaction to the step taken by Keyamo in filing a case against the PDP presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar over allegations of using phony companies to siphon government money during his time as the Vice President of the country.
Keyamo took the matter to court after initially calling on the nation’s anti-graft agencies including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), and others to arrest and prosecute the former Vice President.
But reacting through Bwala, the PDP said: “We hereby call on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the minister for abusing the privilege that he has.”
The Minister was also accused of using taxpayers’ money for personal interests.
6. NNPP Presidential Campaign Council Speaks On Kwankwaso Stepping Down
The presidential campaign council (PCC) of the New Nigeria Peoples Party has dispelled the report that its presidential candidate, Rabiu Kwankwaso is planning to step down.
The party on Sunday noted that the former governor of Kano State is still in the presidential race and would not step down for anybody.
The campaign council claimed that the reports were being masterminded by jobbers seeking to sell expired drugs to a sick Nigeria.
The Spokesperson of Kwankwaso/NNPP-PCC, Ladipo Johnson, stated this in a statement released in Abuja titled, “Is Kwankwaso still in the race? Is he running to win?”
7. NDLEA Seizes Over 1.7 Million Tramadol Pills In Lagos
Over 1.7 million Tramadol pills have been recovered by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) from a warehouse at Greenfield Estate, Amuwo Odofin area of Lagos State.
A statement by the Director, Media & Advocacy of the NDLEA, Femi Babafemi on Sunday said that the Agency on January 18, also discovered 110.75kgs of cannabis Indica concealed in a 2011 Toyota Sienna and a 2011 Honda Pilot SUV on a container marked TCLU 7799237 from Montreal, Canada at Sifax Okota Bonded Terminal in the state.
“Deliberate efforts to cut access to illicit opioids by the Agency again paid off on Tuesday when a consignment of Tramadol NDLEA operatives have been tracking for some months was eventually traced to a warehouse at Greenfield estate, Amuwo Odofin area of Lagos. When the store was opened, a total of One Million Six Hundred and Forty Five Thousand Five Hundred and Sixty (1,645,560) pills of Tramadol 100mg, 200mg and 225mg were recovered.
“Another 60,000 pills of Tramadol 250mg were equally recovered from a wanted drug dealer, Diugwu Alphonsus in Bariga area of the state same day while raids carried out in Akala area of Mushin on Wednesday 18th and Friday 20th January led to the recovery of 781.7kgs of cannabis,” the statement said.
8. APC North-West Chair Speaks On Working For Obi
The All Progressives Congress (APC) North-West Zonal Chairman, Salihu Lukman on Sunday denied working for the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi.
Lukman said it absurd for anyone to believe that he abandoned his responsibility in the ruling party to support Obi.
The APC chieftain stated this in a statement titled ‘Fallacious Politics of 2023’ released through his media aide.
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The statement was released hours after a Director in the Tinubu-Shettima presidential campaign council, Naja’atu Muhammad dumped the party.
Lukman in his reaction denied dumping the ruling party and supporting Obi.
9. COVID-19: Buhari Govt To Reactivate Isolation Centers
The Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government may reactivate isolation centers established to curb the spread of Covid-19 across the country to prepare against the outbreak of an “unknown deadly flu” reported in China.
This was made known in a memo from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of Federation addressed to the Minister of Health, Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency.
The memo stated that the “deadly flu” in China portends danger” for Nigeria.
The memo dated January 16, 2023, and signed on behalf of the SGF by the Permanent Secretary at the OSGF, Aliyu G. Mohammed, said: “I am to draw your attention to a report which revealed that the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC), on 13th December 2022 raised concerns over the outbreak of an unknown deadly flu, following the death of some residents which included three (3) Nigerians.
“The initial clinical analysis ruled out COVID-19, but the symptoms of the fatal flu include dry throat, fever, and difficulty in breathing. Hospitals in Guangzhou have been inundated with patients having the disease, with seven (7) Nigerians said to be in critical condition result of the flu.”
The SGF had also stated that “Considering the potential danger of this outbreak to human beings, there may be a need to note the development with a view to emplacing measures to reactivate COVID-19 centres across the country.”
10. Buhari Has Killed More Innocent Herdsmen Than Jonathan, Obasanjo, Others – Gumi
A prominent and controversial Islamic cleric, Sheikh Abubakar Ahmad Gumi has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of killing more innocent Fulani herdsmen than any other former president.
Gumi, who is known for his contact with bandits and herdsmen terrorizing the North-West and North-Central parts of Nigeria, stated this in an interview with Vanguard.
The cleric dismissed reports that claims President Buhari is sectional and doesn’t want to do anything that will harm noble Muslims, especially Fulani.
Gumi said: “Oh, it’s the opposite. It is just a wrong perception. If there is any President that has actually killed innocent herdsmen in the forest, it is Buhari. In all these bombardments, innocent people, women and children all die.
“It started during Jonathan (administration). I’m telling you most of the herdsmen are reacting to the overuse of armed forces. Their children were scattered and displaced. This is what happened and what is happening. They are just fighting back. And what I was able to do is to sit down with them and hear their grievances.
“But when we came out, we didn’t have anything — nobody was trying to listen. Even the press is not receptive.
“The press was very hostile. Like what you said when the BBC had its interview, the government was hostile. When we went in, we were accused of trying to give publicity to these people. Just imagine the Ansaru people behind the train attack, we later learnt that eight of their children were incarcerated.
“So no matter how criminally-minded you are, what has that to do with your children? So we’re pushing them into criminal activities.”