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[ Masterweb Reports: Isiaka Wakili reports ] - The Chinese Exim Bank has agreed to pay the $550 million Nigeria needs to procure two new satellites, Communications Minister Adebayo Shittu said on Wednesday.
The minister disclosed this to State House correspondents after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.
Shittu said the Chinese bank agreed to this following the federal government’s inability to meet up with its 15 percent counterpart funding.
"Initially, the agreement was that they will provide the cost of the two satellites, $550m minus 15% which is the counterpart funding. Because we could not afford this 15%, we’ve renegotiated with the China EXIM Bank and the China Great Walls who are the manufacturers and they’ve happily agreed to pay the entire $550m to procure two new satellites.
"The two new ones will ensure that the Nigerian satellite company which is NICOMSAT can conquer the entire African continent with regards to the provision of satellite communication services. This is a very big business opportunity and I’m sure that the Chinese appreciate the potential market which is so vast and that’s why they’ve agreed that even without our ability to contribute 15%, they’re prepared to pay the entire sum of $550m for the procurement of the two new satellites for Nigeria," he said.
The minister said "it’s not a loan. It’ll be equity participation of the Chinese company into our business. NICOMSAT is a limited liability company owned entirely by the federal government. So, they’re paying that to finance these highly required facilities and we’ll agree on the percentage sharing. Of course, Nigeria has nothing to lose because we’re not putting anything into it in terms of financial resources."
Asked when will Nigeria launch the two new satellites, he said: "It takes two years to produce because it’s when we sign the papers they’ll start production. We hope that before the end of this month, we’ll sign the papers and then they’ll commence the production. It’s upon the completion of the production that the two satellites will be launched.
*Photo Caption - As seen.

[ Masterweb Reports: Press Release For Immediate Release ] - A group known as Enugu Youths Coalition has passed a vote of confidence on Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State. In his New Year message, the national coordinator of the coalition, Dr. Edwin Obune said, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has justified the mandate given to him by Ndi-Enugu to steer the ship of the state in the past few months, adding that the governor has used unprecedented performance to silence the activities of the opposition in the state.
He noted that the approval rating of the governor is second to none among the governors in Nigeria.
His word: ''This is the only governor in Nigeria that have paid workers who worked for 12 months, a 13 months salary despite the fact that Enugu is number three on the list of states in Nigeria with little federal allocation.''
He further noted that the intervention programmes of the governor in key areas like health, education, water resources, rural developments, urban renewal, security and commerce has put smiles on the faces of the people.
The leadership of the group also commended the governor for presenting a realistic budget of sustainable economic growth to the State House of Assembly for approval, saying the N98 billion budget for 2018 fiscal year would be judiciously implemented the same way the 2017 budget was implemented which resulted in the commissioning of 26 road projects and many other projects under construction.
The group expressed confidence in the governor and urged the people to give him their maximum supports and cooperation saying Enugu State is not only in God's hands, but also in a reliable, tested and safe hand.
While declaring Enugu an opposition-free state, the group said no force on earth can deny the governor his second term in 2019 as it is ready to defend every vote that went to the governor come 2019.
The coalition also warned Abuja-based politicians who have concluded arrangements to launch media war against the administration in the state so that they can gain access in to the state's electoral fortunes in 2019 to shelve such plan because it is ready to defend the governor and his administration from all kinds of negative publicity.
''Without trying to make mockery of endorsements enjoyed by the governor already, the coalition also endorsed the governor for re-election in 2019 noting that the governor is not only the "Ochili Ozua Gburugburu of Iwollo Omasi Kingdom, but also the Ochili Ozua Gburugburu 1 of Enugu State.
Dr. Edwin Obune,
National Coordinator,
Enugu Youths Coalition.
*Photo Caption - Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi

[ Masterweb Reports: Isiaka Wakili reports ] - The presidency has ordered a clampdown on killers suspected behind attacks in Rivers and Kaduna, calling it "reprehensible and unacceptable".Up to 20 were killed in Rivers, and gunmen also killed a traditional ruler, the Etum Numana, Dr Gambo Makama, and his pregnant wife in Sango Local Government Area of Kaduna State in the New Year.
The president, in a statement Tuesday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity Garba Shehu, directed law enforcement agencies in both states to intensify their current efforts in order to speedily bring the perpetrators to face the wrath of the law.
"I have always maintained that nothing justifies the taking of the life of an innocent person. People in our communities must learn to live peacefully," Buhari said.
He appealed to the communities affected not to embark on reprisal attacks, but allow the security agencies to carry out comprehensive investigations to properly punish the culprits.
The president commiserated with the families of the victims and wished the injured faster recovery.
*Photo Caption - As seen.

[ Masterweb Reports: Emma Elekwa reports ] - Anambra State Governor Willie Obiano has granted varying levels of pardon to 71 convicted prisoners. Fifty-eight of them had been serving various jail terms for criminal offences including stealing, assault, arson, malicious damages, kidnapping, rape and fraud.
Some of the convicts were to be released immediately, in accordance with the governor’s directive, as part of the activities marking the 2018 New Year celebrations.
According to a statement by the state government, the Anambra State Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy made the recommendations to Obiano.
Some of the pardoned include eight murder convicts whose sentences have been commuted to life, with two recommended for psychiatric homes.
Two of such offenders had spent 14 years each, one spent 10 years, two, nine years each, while one had spent five and another two spent three years each.
The convicts were among prisoners serving various jail terms at various federal prisons at Awka, Aguata, Onitsha and Nnewi.
The convicts who received reprieve also included four others, two of who were murder convicts and two convicts of armed robbery, currently serving their terms at the Enugu Prisons.
While three are to be released, one has his 21 year-term commuted to 10-year prison sentence, and one Chukwuma Chukwunwike convicted of manslaughter, and whose sentence is for life jail, is now to spend 21 years in prison.
*Photo Caption - Governor Willie Obiano

[ Masterweb Reports: Press Release For Immediate Release ] - APC Youths Renaissance has followed several comments and reactions of Nigerians since the unfortunate incident involving the first son of the country occurred.
While this statement is not to attack or criticise anybody, we dare say that it will be right if some persons should keep quite over the matter instead of transferring aggression to an innocent son simply because he is a son of Mr. President.
Hence, we commend our Muslim clerics who used the occasion of today's Jumma service to pray for the quick recovery of Mr. Yusuf Buhari.
We are also asking our christian members and all christians in the country to use the last Sunday of the year 2017 to pray for the quick recovery of the first son because the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Therefore, while we urge non-catholics to recite Jeremiah 30:17 for Yusuf Buhari, we urge our catholic brethren to do a novena prayer for him asking Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Jude to intercede for the first son of Nigeria.
Mr. Collins Edwin,

National Secretary,

APC Youths Renaissance
*Photo Caption - APC logo

[ Masterweb Reports: Obituary ] - The family of John Nwankwo Paul Okonkwo ( Eze-Ojenanwayo) of Igbo-ukwu, announce the peaceful transition of our beloved and esteemed father to heaven. Honourable John Nwankwo Paul Okonkwo which sad event took place on Tuesday, October 31, 2017. Honourable J.N.P. Okonkwo as he was popularly called was ......Read More


*Photo Caption - Late Honourable John Nwankwo Paul Okonkwo

[ Masterweb Reports: Isiaka Wakili reports ] - Presidency yesterday dismissed media report that Yusuf, the son of President Muhammadu Buhari, was flown to Germany for medical attention.
Yusuf broke a limb and sustained head injury in a bike accident Tuesday night around Gwarimpa in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in a text message sent to our correspondent, described the report that Yusuf was flown abroad as untrue.
"That is not true, please," the presidential spokesman said.
Shehu had disclosed in a statement Wednesday that the president’s son underwent surgery at a clinic in Abuja and was in a stable condition.
Meanwhile, a special prayer was held at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja yesterday for a speedy recovery of Yusuf.
*Photo Caption - Yusuf Buhari

[ Masterweb Reports: Brown Justice reports ] - Despite the fact that Nigeria is one of the major oil producing countries in the world, Nigerians still experience fuel scarcity during Christmas and New Year celebrations.
This development has forced this reporter to investigate the circumstances that drove the nation in to the current economic ragamuffin.
Hence, as a way of finding solution to the intermittent fuel scarcity in the country, the Nigerian government introduced what is called Offshore Processing Arrangement (OPA) and Crude Oil Swap regime which the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) allocates crude oil to oil trading companies in exchange for processed petroleum products.
But this reporter observed that the Crude Oil Swap regime now known as DSDP lacked total transparency as it only served vested interests as against national interest.
Investigation further revealed that the DSDP programme also lacked ethnic balancing as participating companies does not have national spread to distribute PMS to all parts of Nigeria.
This is probably why the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) accused the Federal Government of conspiracy against Nigerian Christians. The Christian body in a statement asked why is it that fuel scarcity only resurfaces during Christmas and New Year celebrations in the country?
In similar vein, analysts are of the view that Nigeria is at the losing end as it never get real value from the deals. For Instance, the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI), an extractive industry watchdog in its 2015 report estimated that Nigeria lost $966 million to crude oil swap deals between 2009 and 2012 as well as billions of naira in subsequent years until it was canceled in 2016.
Because of the criticism that trailed the oil swap regime, the NNPC in 2016 replaced it with a new import scheme called Direct Sales and Direct Purchase programme (DSDP) since the earlier OPA and crude oil swap regime short changed Nigeria.
However, critics are saying the new DSDP programme is like an old wine in a new bottle because the scheme which means direct sales of crude oil to refineries or consultants who in turn supply NNPC with the refined petroleum products is not effective and error free.
This year's DSDP contract kicked off on April 1st and is expected to last for one year. The worth is over $6 billion if the crude oil price remains at $45 per barrel.
No fewer than 128 local and international oil and gas companies in February submitted bid to participate in the programme, but only 10 companies were chosen. The yardsticks or parameters used in selecting the 10 companies as well as their terms of engagement remains opaque as there was no atom of transparency in the entire process.
The said agreement for the lifting of over 300, 000 barrels of crude oil per day in exchange for imported fuels was signed with a foreign company as a partner.
Whether the 10 chosen companies have the capacity to meet the 35 million litres of fuel needed nationwide on daily basis is a different story.
The companies are; Vitol - Varo Energy, Cepsa -Oando, Petrocam Trading - Rainoil Ltd, Trafiqura - AA Rano Nigeria, Totsa - Total Nigeria, Socar Trading - Hyde Energy, Mocah - Heyden Petroleum, Mercuria - Matrix Energy, MRS Oil/Gas - Litasco and finally, SIR Refinery - Sahara Energy Resources Ltd.
Despite the new import scheme coupled with the fact that NNPC gets 445, 000 barrels of crude oil per day for its local refineries, Nigerians still experience fuel scarcity!
Meanwhile, contrary to claims by the NNPC that marketers who hoard fuel commodity are responsible for the current fuel scarcity, the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPA) has come out to disprove the NNPC saying the scarcity is as a result of NNPC's inability to send refined products to their members.
According to DAPPA's Executive Secretary, Mr. Olufemi Adewole: ''Our members depots are presently empty. However, if the PPMC/NNPC can provide us with petrol, we are ready to do 24-hour loading to alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians and for the fuel queues to be totally eliminated.''
Mr. Adewole further stated that ''While all kinds of allegations have been made in the media, it is important to set the records straight as Nigerians first and as responsible business men and women who employs Nigerians ... As at today, NNPC has been the sole importer of PMS (fuel) in to the country.''
In similar vein, the Chairman, Integrated Oil and Gas Ltd, Capt. Emmanuel Iheanacho said '' The inability of NNPC to create a window for private importers to import petrol also contributed to the scarcity.''
The unanswered question is what is the essence of Crude Oil Swap now known as Direct Sales and Direct Purchase scheme when it cannot forestall fuel scarcity in the country?
What is NNPC doing with the 445, 000 barrels of crude oil allocated to it daily?
Why is our depots empty without fuel when we have NNPC and 10 other companies lifting crude oil from Nigeria?
How come the Depots and Petroleum Products Marketers Association whose members controls 65 percent market share in the down stream sector goes without fuel whereas some little known companies without national spread in their distribution capacities get the product at ease?
Until some of the questions raised here are answered by relevant bodies, Nigerians will still wallow in intermittent fuel scarcity without hope of elimination.
Brown Justice ( Email: ) reports from Abuja.
*Photo Caption - As seen.

[ Masterweb Reports: Evulocha Kemdi reports ] - There is no doubt that a new political paradigm is shapping the world of politics globally. Conventional or political establishments are fast losing their firm grip on power because of the re-awakened political consciousness among the electorates.
As a result, it has become a common believe among the electorates that members of the political establishments say one thing and often do another thing. This contradictory pattern of politics has become synonymous with members of the ruling class especially when they are running for political offices. Because they make promises they do not intend to keep, voters have become disillusioned with them because of the backlog of failed promises. As a remedy, the electors are now looking up to the ''political outsiders'' as better alternatives.
The electorates tilt towards the political outsiders because they believe they are more sincere and genuinely sympathetic to their plights than members of the establishments.
For Instance, in the run-up to the Republican primaries in the United States, despite the fact that Republicans or the GOPs are conservatives by ideology, members of the party embraced the message and personality of Donald Trump, an accomplished business man and political outsider over the choice Jebb Bush, a former governor of Florida and member of the political establishment.
Also, despite the fact that Jebb Bush, a son of a former President and a brother of a former President had more members of the political-action committee otherwise known as Super-PAC and donors than Mr. Trump, the GOPs still went for Mr. Trump despite being a political outsider.
One remarkable feature that was less pronounced during the GOP primaries was the fact that Mr. Trump spent lesser to win each primary conducted compared to Mr. Bush. In other words; where Donald Trump spent $40 per delegate to win the primary, Jebb Bush spent $1200 per delegate, yet Mr. Trump got the nomination of the Republicans before going to win the general election against his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.
The same scenario of rejecting political establishments and embracing political outsiders repeated itself in the last French Presidential election where Emmanuel Macron, an investment banker and another political outsider defeated his opponent, Marine Le Pen.
Hence, as Nigeria gears towards the 2019 general elections, political parties who are smart enough must key in to the wind of change blowing across the globe. This is because when change is on the move, it is better to align with it rather than try to resist it. Also, history has shown that those who tried to resist change only ended up becoming victims of change while those who aligned with it ended up becoming masters of change thereby moving them from the position of ordinary people to extraordinary persons.
In lieu of this, some political parties who really understands the melody of change have started reaching out to political outsiders to run for elective positions on their platforms.
For some months now, several parties have been reaching out to Dr. Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah, OON, President, Masters Energy Group to run for governorship election in Abia State on their platform since what can be called as Nigerian factor denied him victory in his first attempt, but the young oil magnate and industrialist with enormous goodwill have kept such rapprochement in abeyance because according to sources close him; the Abia-born billionaire is presently obsessed with thoughts of building solid political structures for the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the southeast region.
For example, Mr. Ogah confirmed this when he said: ''You know after the Supreme Court decision on the 2015 Abia Governorship election, I took time to rest and after careful consultations, I decided to finally join APC even though many political parties had approached me to join them.''
''I believe in change. As long as Abia State is concerned, the state needs a change for better governance and to achieve this, Abians voting for APC in 2019 is the answer.
Similarly, of the three governorship elections conducted since 2015 general elections, results have shown that Nigerians are tilting towards the political outsiders as against the mainstream politicians or the political establishments.
For Example, the Edo State governorship election where Godwin Obaseki, an investment banker and political outsider emerged victorious at the polls over a candidate of the political establishment is a classical case in point of outright embracing of political outsiders over mainstream politicians. This was because the people were fed-up with the politics of statuquo.
The same political trajectory was applied in the Ondo State governorship election where Rotimi Akeredolu, a lawyer and political outsider emerged victorious over his main challenger who is a product of the mainstream politics or political establishment. The exact political paradigm that played out in Edo State repeated itself in Ondo State.
However, the Anambra State experiment was different for APC because it fielded Comrade Tony Nwoye who is a bonafide product and member of the political establishment in Anambra State. In fact, since he left school, there had never been dull moments in Nwoye's political career as he has been moving from one position to another. Even after losing the Anambra election, Mr. Nwoye is still a member of the House of Representatives and has nothing to lose. That was why Anambrarians went for Chief Willie Obiano, a political outsider before becoming governor in 2013.
Perhaps, in about six months time, active political activities heralding the 2019 general elections will start in earnest, but APC as the party of progressives should avoid the type of mistake it made in Anambra State. Political outsiders like Dr. Uche Ogah OON should be fielded as candidates in other to win election for the party in the Southeast region. Apart from the fact that Dr. Ogah has the financial muscle to win election for APC in Abia State, his goodwill which is an intangible asset for APC will make the party to sweep the entire southeast region just like what the Trump and Macron effects are doing across the Atlantic, Ogah's effect will give leading advantage to APC in the Southeast thereby giving President Buhari full assurance of victory in the region come 2019.
Evulocha Kemdi ( Contact Email: ) reports from Aba, Abia State.
*Photo Caption - Uche Ogah

[ Masterweb Reports: Isiaka Wakili reports ] - Yusuf Buhari, a son of President Muhammadu Buhari had a bike accident last night around Gwarimpa in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, confirmed this in a statement on Wednesday.


Shehu said Yusuf broke a limb and had an injury to the head as a result. According to him, Yusuf has undergone surgery at a clinic in Abuja and he is in a stable condition.
Shehu said the president and his wife, Mrs Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, were thankful to Nigerians for the good wishes and prayers for their son.
"May God reward you all," the presidential spokesman added.
*Photo Caption - Yusuf Buhari