The main headlines from mainstream newspapers, today, Friday, May 25, are focused on the debate between Prof Wole Soyinka and some northern leaders over the former’s categorisation of herdsmen killings as ethnic cleansing; the split between senators regarding the executive bill on control of water resources; the crisis within the APC arising from the rift between the nPDP faction and the party’s leadership; the controversy over the $16 billion power projects in the country and plans by International Oil Companies (IOCs) to compel the federal government to change its fiscal policy on the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill.
Vanguard is focused on the heated debate between Prof Wole Soyinka and some northern leaders over the former’s categorisation of herdsmen killings.
According to the publication, the Nobel laureate described the killings as ‘ethnic cleansing’, and charged President Muhammadu Buhari to cry out for help from the international community. He expressed regret that instead of treating the malaise as a deadly cancer, the current administration was handing it as a ringworm.
However, some prominent northern leaders including Second Republic lawmaker, Dr. Junaid Mohammed; former governor of old Kaduna state, Alhaji Balarabe Musa; and Second Republic presidential adviser on National Assembly matters, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai; did not agree with Soyinka’s categorisation of the troubles in Benue state as ethnic cleansing.
Meanwhile, Punch is reporting that senators have been divided across regional lines, over an executive bill which seeks to concentrate the control of water resources in the hands of the federal government.
Southern senators are reportedly opposed to the bill, while their counterparts from the north support it.
Opponents of the bill pointed out if passed into law, the bill would further centralise power and the nation’s resources; and this would counter the current move towards devolution of powers, which is currently skewed in favour of the federal government.
The bill had been presented by majority leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan, as customary for executive bills; after President Muhammadu Buhari sent it to the legislature in 2017.
On its part, This Day is reporting that there are strong indications that the last-ditch attempt to settle the rift between the defunct nPDP and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) arising from complaints of the former of marginalisation and maltreatment of its members by the leadership of the APC is headed for the rocks.
This is because there have been allegations that members of the nPDP were excluded from the party’s upcoming national convention subcommittees.
According to the publication, it was discovered, last week, that members of the nPDP were schemed out from being part of the APC convention’s sub-committees; a development which further infuriated the group, provoking its members to begin considering other options ahead of the 2019 election.
The development also widened the already existing gulf between the faction and the leadership of the ruling party.
Away from the crisis in the APC, The Nation is reporting that the controversy over the $16 billion power projects in the country raged on on Thursday, May 24, as a highly-placed source linked with the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NPDHC) claimed that between $8.4 billion and $8.58 billion, out of the projected cash, was allocated.
The $8.58 billion was released between 2005 and 2018; a time span under the administrations of ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo, ex-president Umaru Yar’Adua, ex-president Goodluck Jonathan and President Muhammadu Buhari.
The cash backing had included $2.2 billion from 2005 - 2007; $600 million in 2008; about $5.37b released from 2010/2011 to date; $150m-$200m made available to NNPC by CBN; and about $80 million for Ibom Plant.
It was also learnt that the 25 percent contribution by the federal government to Mambilla Hydro-Power Plant , amounting to about $1.8billion- $2billion, was not released, until President Muhammadu Buhari resolved the challenge.
Switching things up again, The Guardian is reporting that the federal government may be compelled into changing its fiscal policy on the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), by International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the country, which deem the policy as being unfavourable to deep water projects.
In order to achieve their plan, the IOCs have deliberately put on hold, the Final Investment Decision (FID) on five offshore oil and gas projects.
Already, the FID on the 225,000bpd Bonga Southwest-Aparo project; 120,000bpd Zabazaba-Etan project; 140,000bpd Bosi project; 110,000bpd Uge project and 100,000bpd Nsiko deepwater project has been delayed.
The projects were expected to assist the federal government achieve a 40 billion-barrel target and daily production of four million barrels per day (bpd); and they have been estimated at $23.5 billion.
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