Spain receives 600 migrants rejected from Italy, Malta

By NewsDesk,

No fewer than 600 migrants were reported to had been received by Spanish government on their arrival at arrived in port of Valencia on Sunday, after they were being rescued at sea and turned away from Italy and Malta.

The Aquarius rescue ship and two Italian Navy Vessels carrying 630 migrants from 26 countries, mostly Sudan, docked in the harbor in Valencia as interpreters and Red Cross workers were on the scene to offer support.

The Dattilo, one of the Italian coast guard ships, was the first to enter the port, carrying 274 migrants. It was followed by the Aquarius, which brought in another 106 migrants, before the second Italian ship docked with the rest of the migrants.

Spanish medical staff boarded the Dattilo to conduct preliminary health checks and police began registering the first immigrants at around 7 a.m. as they were allowed to disembark, according to the New York Times.

Some of the migrants are expected to be transferred to France, where the government welcomed passengers from the Aquarius.

About a week ago, Spain agreed to accept the migrants who were stranded at seas for days.

“It is our obligation to help avoid a humanitarian catastrophe and offer a safe port to these people, as such meeting with the obligations of international law,” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said Monday.

They had previously been ordered to standby about 30 nautical miles off the Italian and Maltese coasts, and were ultimately turned away.

Italy’s interior minister, Matteo Salvini, said two other ships bearing the flag of the Netherlands had reached the coast of Libya and warned Italy would also block their entry.

“These gentlemen know that Italy no longer wants to be complicit in the business of illegal immigration, and therefore will have to look for other ports where to go,” Salvini said.

Cloudy weather condition on prediction for central states

By NewsDesk,

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has informed that there was going to be cloudy weather conditions over Central States of the country on Monday, with chances of thunderstorms over Ilorin in the morning hours.

NiMet’s Weather Outlook by its Central Forecast Office in Abuja on Sunday also predicted day and night temperatures in the range of 27 to 36 and 20 to 24 degrees Celsius respectively.

It added that there were prospect of thunderstorms and moderate rains over Makurdi, Jos, Taraba, Kaduna, Adamawa and Nasarawa axis during the afternoon and evening hours.

The agency predicted that the southern states would experience cloudiness with prospects of thunderstorms over some places like Benin, Enugu, Osogbo, Abeokuta, Shaki, Asaba, Lagos, and Portharcourt axis in the morning hours.

It also predicted moderate rain showers over the southwest inland and coastal cities with chances of thunderstorms over the southeast inland and coastal cities later in the day.

NiMet further predicted the southern states would have day and night temperatures in the range of 30 to 33 and 20 to 24 degrees Celsius respectively through the forecast period.

According to NiMet, Northern States will experience chances of thunderstorm over Zaria and Maiduguri axis in the afternoon and evening hours while other cities are likely to remain under cloudy conditions throughout the forecast period.

“Northern States would also have day and night temperatures in the ranges of 33 to 43 and 20 to 26 degrees Celsius respective.

“Prospects of thunderstorms and rain showers over some part of the country with varying intensities are likely to prevail in the next 24 hours” NiMet predicts.

Power company shuts down six states’ stations, carrying out major repair

By NewsDesk,

No fewer than six thermal power generating stations have been reported to had been shutdown by Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), to enable Nigeria Gas Company (NGC) pipeline carry out repair work on a ruptured gas pipeline, the effect of which was confirmed to had a drop electricity supply across the country.

However, the General Manager, Public Affairs, TCN, Ndidi Mbah,  in a statement in Abuja on Sunday, stated that the drop in electricity affected a total of 1,087.6Mega Watts of Power nationwide and that the six thermal power generating stations were unable to generate electricity due to the gas pipeline and the and technical issues at the Shell gas wells.

Mbah listed affected power stations to include Ihovbor, Azura, Omotosho gas, Geregu gas, Olorunsogo gas, Sapele and the Egbin power stations, saying the six power generating thermals had managed to generate 60MW only on each of its units, losing a total of 211MW.

She said that  Afam VI power station was shut down so that Shell oil company could resolve its gas well issues to enable it commence gas supply to Afam VI power station.

“With a total loss of 1,087.6MW into the grid, the transmission system has become quite fragile and TCN is working hard to avert a collapse of the system, by engaging in load-shedding.

“Load-shedding, is to ensure that available generation is commensurate with what is allocated to DisCos nationwide, to create a balance and avert grid instability,” Mbah was quoted as saying in the statement.

She explained that the problem which necessitated the company to adopt a load shedding strategy to maintain stability of the grid, affected the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and other states of the federation.

According to her, the gas pipeline rupture and technical issues at the Shell gas wells occurred on June 15 and June 16 respectively.

The TCN spokesperson also indicated that NGC was making efforts to ensure that the gas pipeline issues are resolved to restore normal gas supply to affected power generating stations, to enable them generate into the grid.

She added that Shell had resolved its gas well issue and gas supply partially restored to Afam VI power station and there was no longer collapse of the grid as was reported in some quarters.

Mbah, who appealed for understanding residents and others, informed that engineers from the company were working hard to maintain stability of the grid, pending completion of repairs of gas pipeline by NGC and restoration of full gas supply to affected generating stations.

Presently, several parts of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) had been out of power supply in last two days due to interruption

The Head of Corporate Communication, AEDC, Fadipe Oyebode, attributed the non supply and load shedding in some areas to the limited allocation from the national grid to AEDC.

Oyebode said AEDC was only allocated 194.58MW from the grid on June 16, out of its total 11 per cent allocation hence its inability to fully supply to its customers.

He, however said that the situation has improved as AEDC’s allocation for June 17, stood at 330.44MW.

Social economic group drags Fashola to court over alleged power non-transparent expenses

By NewsDesk,

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sued Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, over an alleged failure to account for spending on electricity sector privatization.

Besides, the groups also accused the minister of not providing exact amount spent on post-privatisation for generation companies (GENCOS), distribution companies (DISCOS) and Transmission Company of Nigeria.

SERAP, which instituted the court action also wants Fashola to explain if such spending came from budgetary allocations or other sources.”

In the suit filed last week at the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos, SERAP was seeking an order for leave to apply for judicial review and an order of mandamus directing or compelling Mr Fashola to provide specific details on the privatisation of the electricity sector, the names of all the companies and individuals involved; and to publish widely including on a dedicated website any such information.”

However, the suit followed SERAP’s Freedom of Information request dated 7 May 2018 to Fashola, giving him 14 days to provide information on the status of implementation of the 25-year national energy development plan, and whether the Code of Ethics of the privatisation process which bars staff of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and members of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) from buying shares in companies being privatised were deliberately flouted.

The suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its counsel, Bamisope Adeyanju, stated: “Publishing the information requested and making it widely available to the public would serve the public interest and provide insights relevant to the public debate on the ongoing efforts to prevent and combat a culture of mismanagement of public funds, corruption and impunity of perpetrators.”

“Most of the companies that won the bids had no prior experience in the power sector and little or no capacity at all to manage the sector. The privatisation of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) have yielded the country total darkness. The gains of privatisation have been lost through alleged corruption, manipulation of rules and disregard to extant laws and lack of transparency in the exercise.”

“To further highlight the seriousness of the situation, several years after the country’s power sector was privatised, millions of Nigerian households particularly the socially and economically vulnerable sectors of the population continue to complain about outrageous bills for electricity not consumed, and poor power supply from distribution firms.

“Millions of Nigerians continue to be exploited through the use of patently illegal estimated billing by DISCOs. One wonders the essence of the privatisation if there has been no corresponding improvement in power for Nigerians.”

“Enforcing the right to truth would allow Nigerians to gain access to information essential to the fight against corruption and provide a form of reparation to victims of grand corruption in the power sector. The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in its General Comment 3 has implied that privatisation process should not be detrimental to the effective realisation of all human rights, including access to regular electricity supply.”

“SERAP has the right to request the information under contention on the basis of several provisions of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, 2011. By Section (1) of the FoI Act, SERAP is entitled as of right to request for or gain access to information, including information on post-privatisation spending by the Federal Government and accounts of spending on the private entities such as GENCOS and DISCOS.”

Information minister speaks on Buhari’s transformation results

By NewsDesk,

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has claimed that Presidenrt Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has continuously been transforming Nigeria through innovative measures that have been yielding positive results.

In a keynote address he delivered at the 2018 ‘Africa Together Conference’ at the University of Cambridge in the UK yesterday, Mohammad listed investment in people, changing business environment and building national infrastructure as part of areas in which the administration has made a great impact.

He stated that with education and skills acquisition been a major focus, the administration was addressing the need to create opportunities for the country’s teeming youth population.

”In my country, school enrolment is a challenge we face. And one of the main culprits is malnutrition. Government has stepped in: 8.2 million are being fed daily free meals in 45,000 schools. Not only does this increase attendance and provide children with a – in some case only – nutritious meal a day, it enhances learning efficacy in class and boosts cognitive development over the long term,” Alhaji Mohammed said

He disclosed that the government’s Home-Grown School Feeding programme had yielded other results, including that of employment of 80,000 cooks and a ready-made market for food crop farmers.

The minister indicated that skill shortages in labour pool were being addressed through several measures, including the four-pronged N-Power programme that was providing employment and vocational training for graduates and others, access to loans for medium and small business as well as conditional cash transfers to the most vulnerable members of the society.

He added that Administration was also changing the business environment for good, focusing especially on removing the red tape that makes it cumbersome for business and stifles innovation.

”Much of our programme has honed-in on business reform. Nigeria has moved up 24 places on the World Bank Ranking of Ease of Doing Business index – putting it amongst the top 10 global reformers, along with Zambia, Malawi and Djibouti. The two areas we have prioritised are starting a business and access to credit.

”In Nigeria, registering a business used to take months. Now it takes 24-48 hours. Unwrapping the bureaucracy and streamlining processes encourage an uptick in new official enterprises. We have introduced online registration, with features such as the electronic stamping of documents. And to ensure this brings with it the maximum benefit, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises clinics have been deployed across a variety of states to provide regulators a contact point with informal business and budding entrepreneurs to clarify any issues,” Alhaji Mohammed said.

Mohammed noted that the challenge of access to credit is also being frontally addressed by making it possible for MSMEs to register their movable assets, such as vehicles and equipment, and use them as collateral to raise loans and finance, thus removing the need for traditional assets (such as real estate, offices and factories).

The Minister informed audience that the two most critical impediments against business, decent transport connections and a reliable power supply, are also been tackled by ensuring better roads and train networks, so that goods and services can be moved around more cheaply and efficiently, and businesses can plan for the future, knowing they will not be hampered by energy outages.

”For instance, Nigeria earmarks 30 per cent of its annual national budgets for capital expenditure. That means 2.7 trillion Naira has gone towards our infrastructure in the last 2 years -unprecedented in our history. Power generation has climbed to 7000MW (from just over 2500MW), to which we hope to add another 2000MW by the end of the year. We have also laid down thousands of kilometres of road.

”Also, the Government has now signed a concession agreement with an International Consortium led by General Electric. This will breathe new life into the tracks, increasing capacity and speed. Not only will this allow for goods and services to be moved around cost-effectively, it will allow the prosperity of the nation to be more equitably spread through increased connectivity,” he said, adding that the government is also constructing a new standard-gauge railway.

Gay supporters march over fundamental right in Ukraine

By NewsDesk,

Protesters in support of guy have deified all odds to stage march to cast backings for the the group in Ukraine’s capital, the action of which was reported to had lasted minutes in spite opponents’ attempts to block them.

About 5,000 were on hand for the march, whose size was estimated at 2,000 by Ukraine’s Interior Ministry and up to 6,000 by organisers.

Sources reported that opponents tried to block the march on different occasions, but were moved aside by police.

Kiev held its first major pride march in 2016 after a pro-Western government that came to power sanctioned such events.

Some previous gay pride rallies in Ukraine have ended in violence.

In 2015, a gay pride march was called off when right-wing activists pelted participants with smoke grenades.

32 kill, scores injure after bombers attack Borno overnight

By NewsDesk,

At least, 32 people have been confirmed killed, while 84 others were injured when six suicide bombers detonated Improvised Explosive Devices(IEDs), in Damboa local government area in Borno state on Saturday night.

It was gathered that deaths arose from a misfiring by the Nigerian Army’s artillery, though the army denied the claim.

However, a witness, who identified himself as Buba Shettima, said that two separate bomb blasts occurred in Shuwari and Abbachari, at about 8:30 p.m.

He said that the whole of Damboa was shaken by the unfortunate incident and that residents were still scampering for safety as the blasts were coming from different directions.

“There were bodies everywhere.We suspected that the many deaths recorded were a result of the military artillery,”he said.

Mohammed Hassan, another local from the area who corroborated the claim, said: “At about 8:30 pm of on Saturday night, an attack suspected to be from an artillery killed 31 innocent people in Damboa Shehuri and Abachari.

The attacks came from two separate directions. My house was among some of the houses destroyed,”he said.

The Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj.-Gen. Rogers Nicholas, denied the claim that army misfired,  saying the killings were caused by suicide attacks and not military artillery.

“There was nothing like an attack from the military artillery. You can see the pictures of six female bombers who detonated their explosives and as a result, 20 persons were killed while others were injured,” he said.

Rogers urged people to disregard the claim that people were killed by the military and not by suicide bombers.

Modu-Zannah Maina, The District Head of Damboa, who described the incident as “shocking and disturbing” said the attack was perpetrated by female suicide bombers.

Maina lamented that a lot of people that were affected were mostly children, adding that many victims were injured.

“We are here in this hospital to check our people affected by Saturday’s bomb blasts. So far, the victims have been responding to treatment,”he said.

Meanwhile Demian Chukwu, the Borno Commissioner of Police, said that an explosion occurred at Abachari area, in the outskirt of Damboa L.G.A. of Borno State.

“At the sound of the explosion, personnel of the Nigeria Police and Members of the civilian JTF mobilised to the scene and discovered twenty dead bodies and 48 injured persons in a suspected terrorist attack.

“The wounded and the dead were evacuated to a hospital while the scene was sanitised by a deployment of police EOD unit.

“Investigation is ongoing to unravel the nature of the attack,”he said.

Hajiya Yabawa Kolo, the Chairperson of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), who also confirmed the incident, said the agency had deployed its personnels to evacuate wounded persons to the hospital for quick medical attention.

“Our team has been deployed to render life saving support to the victims of the blast. As you can see, they have been tirelessly working with ICRC since morning to evacuate the injured from the airport to the hospital.

“We are all saddened by the unfortunate incident that occured in Damboa,”said Kolo.

20 kill during suicide bomb attack in Afgan

By NewsDesk, with Agency report, 

No fewer than 20 people were reported to have killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowd in Afghanistan on Saturday.

Provincial health director, Najibullah Kamawal, confirmed the death toll but said 25 wounded had been taken to hospital.

The incident happened at a time when Afghan and Taliban, security forces, and civilians are celebrating an unprecedented ceasefire in the war-torn country.

The attack came as President Ashraf Ghani announced an extension of the government’s week-long ceasefire with the militant group after both sides agreed to halt hostilities for Eid.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast marking the suspension of fighting in Rodat district of Nangarhar province, but an Afghan security source said the Islamic State group was to blame.

“A suicide bomber detonated among people, security forces and Taliban who were celebrating the ceasefire,” provincial governor spokesman Attaullah Khogyani told AFP.

Ghani made his announcement in a rare televised address to the nation, in which he also asked the Taliban to extend their three-day ceasefire which is due to end Sunday.

“I order the security forces to remain on their defensive positions,” Ghani said, adding details of the extension would be released later.

The government’s ceasefire, which was due to end Tuesday, did not include IS.

On the first two days of Eid, Taliban fighters, Afghan security forces and civilians hugged and took selfies with each other across the country, in an outpouring of emotion over the ceasefire.

In the contested district of Bati Kot in Nangarhar, Taliban fighters carrying assault weapons and rocket-propelled grenade launchers travelled by car and motorbike, waving Afghan and Taliban flags.

Villagers also flocked around the insurgents, hugging them and happily taking selfies with the heavily armed fighters as they celebrated the Muslim holiday capping the holy month of Ramadan.



Airforce chases Boko Haram members out of Borno base

By NewsDesk,

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has attacked  Boko Haram terrorists base in Parisu and Takwala in Borno state, with operation LAFIYA DOLE, neutralising many of the Boko Haram fighters through successful air strikes.

The Director of Public Relations and Information, NAF, AVM Olatokunbo Adesanya, confirmed in a statement on Saturday in Abuja, that the operation was conducted on Friday and that the mission followed discovery of NAF Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) platforms, of activities of BHTs in the 2 locations.

” Consequently, the ATF detailed 2 NAF Alpha Jet aircraft, armed with rockets and cannons, to interdict the locations.

“Overhead the objective, the NAF fighter aircraft acquired and attacked the objectives with rockets and cannons.

” At the end of the mission, it was observed that the attack platforms successfully engaged the remnants of the terrorists hibernating within the settlements and consequently neutralized them,” He said.

Adesanya said that the NAF would continue to deploy its platforms to conduct intensive ISR missions aimed at discovering the locations of possible remnants of BHTs in the entire Northeast.

Kenyan president goes after public servant sources of wealth

By NewsDesk,

The Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, has brazed fight against graft by ordering relevant authority to go after public servants and undergo a compulsory lifestyle audit, such that would prove sources of wealth of people working across government offices.

However, the latest announcement follows financial scandals that have rocked the country with revelations that millions of dollars were lost in various government agencies through corrupt deals that involved government officials.

Kenyatta offered himself to be the first leader to undergo the audit that seeks to identify corrupt public officials, saying the lifestyle audits would control the misuse of public funds. He said public servants would be required to explain their sources of wealth with an aim of weeding out those found to have plundered government funds.

“You have to tell us, this is the house you have, this is your salary, how were you able to afford it? This car that you bought, (don’t try to put it under your wife’s name or son’s name, we will still know it is yours), where did you get it? You must explain and I will be the first person to undergo the lifestyle audit,” he said.

In the past month, various corruption scandals involving tenders and suppliers in government agencies have been unearthed. The corruption scandals as revealed have exposed the theft of hundreds of millions of shillings by state officials from several government bodies.

So far, more than 40 government officials, including businesspeople, have been arrested over the recent scandals.

Kenyatta has continued to express his frustration about the graft, which seems to have spiralled out of control since he came into office in 2013.

“This issue of people stealing what belongs to Kenyans, I swear to God it has to come to an end in Kenya,” Kenyatta said.

The president said the lifestyle audit will be key among other measures also put in place by the government to curb the vice.

Earlier in the week, Kenyatta issued an executive order requiring all government entities and publicly owned institutions to publish full details of tenders and awards beginning July 1, 2018.

“For example, if this road is being built, we want to know: Who won the tender for the construction? How much was the tender? Who came in second and third? Why was the first person awarded instead of these two? All these reasons, we need to know. Kenyans need to know so that it is out there, that this company was awarded this tender, belongs to a certain person, these are the directors, these are the shareholders. There will be no more hiding,” he said.

On June 1, Kenyatta ordered that all heads of procurement and accounting units be vetted again. He said the vetting would include subjecting the officers to polygraph tests to determine integrity.

Kenya scored 28 points out of 100 on the 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International. The Corruption Index in Kenya averaged 22.62 points from 1996 until 2017.