TOP 10 NEWS MAKING THE ROUNDS IN NIGERIA TODAY,  WEDNESDAY 

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TOP 10 NEWS MAKING THE ROUNDS IN NIGERIA TODAY,  WEDNESDAY 

1. Fuel Scarcity: President Buhari Heads 14-Man Committee

A 14-man Steering Committee has been constituted to find lasting solutions to the problems surrounding the supply and distribution chain of petroleum products in the country.

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The committee which was set up by President Muhammadu Buhari would be chaired by himself and co-chaired by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva.

The development was contained in a statement issued by the minister’s Senior Adviser on Media & Communications, Horatius Egua.

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According to Egua, the committee has the mandate to among other things ensure transparent and efficient supply and distribution of petroleum products across the country.

This comes after months of lingering fuel scarcity in most parts of the country as oil markers have continued to lament the shortage in the supply of fuel.

The Steering Committee as noted in the statement is also expected to ensure national strategic stock management, and visibility on the NNPC Limited refineries rehabilitation programme and ensure end-end tracking of petroleum products, especially PMS to ascertain daily national consumption and eliminate smuggling.

The committee is as well saddled with the duty of ensuring sanity in the supply and distribution across the value chain, as the minister has directed the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) to ensure strict compliance with the government-approved ex-depot and retail prices for PMS also known as petrol.

2. Senate Gives CBN Fresh Directive On Deadline For Old Naira Notes

The Senate has asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to extend the deadline for the circulation of old naira notes by six months.

The lawmakers during plenary on Tuesday said the apex bank should shift its deadline till July 31, 2023.

The CBN had introduced the redesigned N200, N500, and N1000 notes on December 15, 2022, and set January 31st, 2023 as the deadline for the withdrawal of old notes.

Despite the challenges faced by Nigerians in securing the new notes, the CBN has on several occasions insisted that there is no going back on the January 31st deadline for the withdrawal of the old notes from circulation.

However, during a debate on a motion sponsored by Senator Sadiq Suleiman Umar (APC, Kwara) at Tuesday’s plenary, the lawmakers pointed out that the new notes were not enough in circulation, and the January 31st deadline was not feasible as it could lead to chaos in the country.

The Senate, therefore, asked the CBN to extend the deadline by six months to allow Nigerians especially those in rural areas more time to change their old notes.

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3. National Assembly Sends 35 Constitutional Bills To Buhari For Assent

The National Assembly on Tuesday disclosed that thirty-five constitutional amendment bills have been passed by state assemblies.

The 9th senate led by Ahmad Lawan asked the clerk to transmit 35 bills out of the 44 constitutional amendment bills to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent.

Among the proposed legislations not approved by the state assemblies are bills seeking financial and legislative autonomy for local governments.

The resolution to transmit the bills to Buhari for assent was passed at Tuesday’s plenary following the adoption of a motion by Ovie Omo-Agege, deputy senate president, and 66 other lawmakers.

Opeyemi Bamidele, lawmaker from Ekiti, who presented the report on the bills, said the 35 bills have been considered by 27 state houses of assembly.

The lawmaker said the 27 states that have passed their resolutions on the bills to the national assembly are Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, and Edo.

Others are Ekiti, Enugu, Imo, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kogi, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Rivers, and Yobe.

The legislator said the 35 bills have satisfied the provisions of the constitution for passage into law because it has been approved by not less than 24 state houses of assembly.

The upper legislative chamber asked Gombe, Jigawa, Kebbi, Kwara, Oyo, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, and Zamfara state houses of assemblies — which are yet to send their reports on the bills — to forward their resolutions.

4. PSC Directs DIGs, AIGs, CPs, Other Officers Due For Retirement To Proceed

Ahead of next month’s presidential election, the Police Service Commission (PSC) has directed all senior police officers due for retirement to proceed.

The directive was given in a statement on Tuesday by the PSC spokesman, Ikechukwu Ani.

He said the commission would not extend the tenures of the retiring senior police officers, stressing that all existing laws, the Police Act, PSC Act, and the constitution of Nigeria constrain the Commission from elongating the tenure of retiring senior police officers.

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Ani noted: “The Commission took a decision that it will not extend the tenures of the retiring senior police officers, stressing that even when requested, it cannot do so as it is against all existing laws, Police Act, Police Service Commission Act and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Ani, following a management meeting on Monday, assured Nigerians that there is an institutional succession plan in the Nigeria Police Force, especially with the current injection of 10,000 Constables and several other thousands of cadet Assistant Superintends of Police (ASPs) from the Police Academy every year.

He stated the ongoing campaign for the extension of the tenures of some Deputy Inspectors General (DIGs), Assistant Inspectors General (AIGs), Commissioners (CPs), and other senior police officers is unnecessary.

He described it as an affront to all existing laws in the country guiding entry and exit into the public service.

5. No Extension Of Deadline For Old Naira Notes – Emefiele Insists

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has said that there is no going back on the date set to withdraw the legal tender status of the old naira notes.

Emefiele made this known on Tuesday during the first Monetary Policy Committee meeting of 2023 after the Senate’ bid to extend the deadline for the circulation of old naira notes by six months.

Emefiele said that 90 days is enough for everyone who still has the old currency to deposit it in the banks.

According to him, the apex bank stopped banks from paying new notes over the counter because they were not paying to the vulnerable people that needed the new notes.

6. Buhari Seeks Senate Confirmation For Arase As Police Service Commission Chairman

The President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari has written to the Senate, seeking the approval of the lawmakers on the appointment of Solomon Arase, as the chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC).

The President’s request was contained in a letter read before the legislators during Tuesday’s plenary by Senate President Ahmad Lawan.

Arase is a former Inspector-General of Police (IGP)and retired about one year after President Buhari assumed office.

Quoting sections 153 (1) and 154 (1) of the constitution as amended in his letter, Buhari asked the upper legislative chamber to confirm Arase as the PSC chairman.

7. CBN Increases Interest Rate To Control Inflation

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has increased the benchmark interest rate to 17.5 percent on Tuesday.

CBN’s policy-setting committee increased the monetary policy rate (MPR) from 16.5 percent to 17.5 percent at its first meeting of the year in Abuja earlier today.

Every other interest rate employed in an economy is based on the monetary policy rate (MPR), which serves as the foundational interest rate for the whole economy.

The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, who announced the new interest rate while reading the communiqué from the meeting, said the committee decided to increase the interest rate to “aggressively” control inflation.

Nigeria’s inflation rate decreased marginally in December, going from 21.47 percent to 21.34 percent.

Emefiele stated that the committee thought that despite a little decrease in inflation in December, the economy still faces the prospect of high inflation, which would hurt the overall standard of living.

He argued that lowering the rate would defeat the purpose of reducing the accumulated aggregate demand that drove inflation.

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8. Senate Approves Buhari’s Reappointment Of Seven ICPC Commissioners

The Senate has confirmed President Muhammadu Buhari’s nomination of seven National Commissioners of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for reappointment.

Buhari had last Tuesday written to the Senate asking the Upper Legislative chamber to consider and approve the seven nominees for reappointment.

The letter read: “In accordance with Section 3(3) and (7) of the Corrupt Practices ans Other Related Offences Act 2000, I write to forward for confirmation by the Senate the under-listed names of seven (7) persons for reappointment as members of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).”

Those nominated for reappointment by Buhari include Justice Adamu Bello (rtd) from Katsina State to represent North West, Hannatu Mohammed (Jigawa state) to represent North West, Mrs. Olubukola Balogun (rtd) from Lagos State to represent South West and Dr. Grace Nkechiyere Chinda from Delta State to represent South-South.

Others are Obiora Samuel Igwedibia from Anambra state to represent South East, Abdullahi Maikano from Niger state to represent North Central and Prince Dauda Yahaya Umar from Nasarawa state to represent North Central.

Following the consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Anti-corruption and Financial Crimes, the red chamber confirmed their reappointment.

9. Reps Summon Banks Over New Naira Notes Scarcity

Deposit Money Banks also known as commercial banks have been directed by the House of Representatives to appear before lawmakers on Wednesday over the scarcity of new naira notes.

An ad hoc committee of the House led by the Majority Leader, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa will meet with the Managing Directors/Chief Executive Officers of the banks, under the auspices of the Bankers’ Committee.

The banks were invited at the plenary on Tuesday to explain the alleged supply shortage from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The lawmakers, thereafter, would invite the leadership of the CBN for questioning.

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The House further resolved that the window for swapping the old notes with the new ones be extended by six months.

The resolution followed the unanimous adoption of a motion of urgent public importance moved by a member of the House from Katsina State, Sara Soli, at the opening of the session.

Soli noted that the CBN was insisting on the January 31 validity deadline for the new N1,000, N500 and N200 notes despite that Nigerians have limited access to them.

10. End Your Court Case, Let Us Talk About It In Our Sitting Room – Tinubu Begs Former Minister, Uche Ogah

Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu has pleaded with the former minister of state for Steel and Mines Development, Dr. Uche Ogah to put an end to all court cases he filed over the Abia state governorship primaries and come and meet him to talk over the matter.

Ogah had earlier filed a suit challenging Ikechi Emenike as the governorship candidate of the party.

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Weighing in on the differences between the two men at the Abia State APC presidential and governorship campaign flag-off at the Umuahia township stadium on Tuesday, Tinubu explained that his position over the governorship dispute is clear to all as Chief Ikechi Emenike has gotten the governorship flag of the party and should be supported to win the election.

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