The 2015 Diary: JULY-AUGUST
July 1. Nigeria installs Africa’s first satellite optical image. Nigeria successfully completed the installation of an Optical Imager, said to be the first of its type in Africa.
* I stabbed Nigerian teacher not to kill him, says UK pupil. The 14- year -old pupil of Dixons Kings Academy, Bradford, who stabbed a Nigerian science teacher, Vincent Uzomah, in the stomach at the beginning of the subject on June 11, when asked to bring his phone, was to be sentenced in August 2015, for causing the 50- year –old man “a grievous bodily harm”.
July 2. Buhari appoints Lawal Musa Daura as DSS. President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Lawal Musa Daura as the new Director-General, Department of State Security Services (DSS). He replaced Ita Ekpenyong who was re- appointed for another term in 2014.
* Owoseni replaces Aderanti as Lagos CP. The Inspector- General of Police (IGP), Solomon Arase, redeployed Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Kayode Aderanti, to Force Headquarters. It might be connected with the spate of armed robbery and kidnapping incidents in Lagos State.
July 3. Obama’s grandmother to cook for him on Kenya trip. President Barack Obama’s Kenyan grandmother, known as Mamah Sarah, vowed to cook a traditional meal for her grandson when he visited in July, the East African nation, the birthplace of his father. “With regards to what food that I will prepare for Barack on his visit, I will prepare all the traditional food available”, she said in Luo language.
July 4. ‘Tinubu did not boycott APC meeting’. Contrary to the belief that he and his loyalists in the All Progressive Congress (APC), shunned the party’s National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, held on July 3, 2015, in Abuja, former Lagos State Governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu was not present, “because he had no business attending the meeting”.
July 6, FG approves fresh N414 billion for sharing. Financial relief was to come the way of states and local councils struggling to tame their aggrieved workers, who were owed many months of salary arrears. President Muhammadu Buhari directed the sharing of N413.7 billion (about $2.1 billion) between the states and the local government, and ordered a N250 billion special intervention fund to be packaged by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
* Editors Guild donates N1 million to NIJ. The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) donated N1 million to the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ), Ogba, Lagos. The cheque was presented to the NIJ provost, Gbemiga Ogunleye by the Vice President (West), Steve Ayorinde.
July 7. Controversy trails FG’s special funds for states. While the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) and the National Council of Muslim Youth Organisation(NACOMYO) commendes President Muhammadu Buhari’s reported release of N713.7 billion to bail out states, Governor Ayodele Fayose said Ekiti got N2.1 billion legitimate earning not bail out.
July 8. CBN spends $12.3 billion on restricted items in five months. At an average of $300 million spent on 41 items on its restriction list from subsidized official foreign exchange window, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) might have expended an estimated $12.3 billion between January and May, 2015 to subsidize imports of finished goods.
July 9.Chibok girls are inside Nigeria, says negotiator. A negotiator, Fred Enno, a human rights activist, involved in discussions with the Boko Haram terrorists over how to rescue the missing Chibok girls, said the girls abducted 452 days earlier, were certainly within Nigeria’s borders. Also, the then outgoing British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Dr. Andrew Pocock, said that the abducted school –girls were located, but rescuing them safely was practically impossible.
July 11. More knocks trail FG’s bail out to governors. The recent bailout by the Federal Government to governors of the 36 states of the federation continued to draw condemnations, with some analysts describing the over N713 billion gesture as bad precedence and a condoning of fiscal rascality. A rights activists, Ifeanyichukwu Okonkwo, gave President Muhammadu Buhari 14 days, from July 10, 2015, to return all the money he released to the governors or face court action.
* Gunmen kill Monarch, three others. In Nkanu East Local Government Area of Enugu State, yet-to-be-identified gunmen murdered the traditional ruler, His Highness, Igwe Peter Onuocha, and three members of the community.
* Serena Williams is the Queen of Wimbledon. Serena Williams overcame a slow start, herself, eight double faults and a very nervy finish, to see off Garbine Muguruza, 6-4, 6-4 claiming her sixth Wimbledon title, fourth Grand Slam championship in a row and record 21st major overall.
July 12. Naira crisis: Official, parallel markets’ forex rates widen. The Naira would remain unstable until Nigeria began to pay greater attention to local production, a professor of Financial Economics at the University of Uyo, Leo Ukpong, said, stressing that to halt the sliding value of the Naira, Nigeria must urgently stop importing what can be manufactured in the country and increase its export base.
July 13. Buhari names new NSA, Service Chiefs. President Muhammadu Buhari executed a massive purge of the top echelon of the military, appointing Maj-Gen Abayomi Gabriel Olonishakin as new Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). He replaced Air Chief Marshal Alex Sabundu Badeh. Maj-Gen. Tukur Yusuf Burutai, new Chief of Army Staff, replaced Lt-Gen Kenneth Tobiah Minimah.
Rear Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas replaced Vice-Admiral Usman Jebrin as Chief of Naval Staff, while Air vice Marshal Sadique Abubakar replaced Air Marshal Adesola Amosu as Chief of Air Staff. Also, Air Vice Marshal Monday Riku Morgan was the new Chief of Defence Intelligence, replacing Rear Admiral Gabriel Edmund Okoi. Maj-Gen. Baba Gana Monguno (rtd) was the new National Security adviser, replacing Col, Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (rtd). But a member of the House of Representatives, Nanna Igbokwe and the Labour Party faulted the appointments.
* President directs NNPC to review crude oil swap pacts. President Muhammadu Buhari directed Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to review existing agreements for swapping of crude oil for refined products with a view to injecting
more honesty and transparency into the process to reduce costs.
July 14, Put national interest first, Buhari tells APC leaders. President Muhammadu Buhari appealed of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to forget their differences and their personal ambitions in order for the party to achieve its campaigns manifestos of addressing security, economy, employment and corruption.
* JAMB okays new cut-off marks for varsities, others. Federal Government in conjunction with the JAMB and stakeholders in the tertiary education sector pegged the cut-off marks for 2015 admissions into Universities at 180, while polytechnics and colleges of education were placed at 150.
July 15, War against terror, others top Buhari’s agenda at US visit. On a four day official visit by President Muhammadu Buhari to the United States on July 19, 2015, topmost on the agenda for his trip was talk with President Obama on measures to strengthen bilateral and international co-operations.
* Joda’s recommendations: Buhari to save billions for slashing ministries to 19. If President Buhari finally implemented the recommendations of Ahmed Joda- led Transition Committee which prescribed the appointment of 19 senior ministers and 17 ministers of state, the governments would save more than N1 billion in four years.
* NNPC cuts July oil price to 10 –year low as 15 cargoes remain unsold. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) cut its July official selling price formulae for Bonny Light and Qua Iboe to 10 –year low. Nigeria was struggling to find buyers of its crude oil for some years without success.
* I am not a messiah, says Oliseh. New Super Eagles Chief Coach, Sunday Ogochukwu Oliseh warned Nigerian football fans against seeing him as the messiah that would single-handedly resuscitate the country’s football. To prove the confidence reposed in Oliseh, NFF was paying into his account three months of his salary in advance.
July 16. Why Buhari sacked Boards. President Muhammadu Buhari approved the dissolution of governing boards of federal parastatals, agencies and institutions with immediate effect, He also terminated the appointment of the Director- General/ Chief Executive of the Nigerian Maritime
Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr. Patrick Ziakeda Akpobolokemi.
*SSS operatives storm ex- NSA Dasuki’s home. Personnel of the Department of State Security Service (DSS) laid siege to the private residence of the immediate past National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki in Abuja and his family home in Sokoto.
July 17. Abuja residents besiege Buhari at Praying ground. Hundreds of Abuja residents overwhelmed security men deployed in the National Praying Ground along Airport Road to see President Muhammadu Buhari. The residents defied early morning rains to troop to the praying ground to offer supplications at the end of Ramadan.
July 18. 1.5 million birds killed by bird flu. Managing Director, Grand Cereals Limited, Mr. Layi Oyatoki said that 1.5 million birds belonging to 438 farmers were killed during the outbreak of bird flu early in 2015. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and National Resource indicated that the outbreak was recorded in 18 states, averaging 3,200 birds per farm. The infected birds were killed (farms depopulated) to avoid the spread of the disease.
July 19. Resist gay marriage pressure, Nigerians tell Buhari. Nigerians restated their resolve to defend the country’s anti-gay law as President Muhammadu Buhari met with his United States counterpart, Barack Obama in Washington DC.
July 21. Buhari ready for talks with credible’ B’Haram. President Muhammadu Buhari said his government was ready to negotiate with insurgents and could trade-off prisoners for the release of the captured Chibok girls “only after verifying the credibility of various Boko Haram leaderships claiming that they could deliver”.Buhari disclosed that during his visit to the US.
July 22. Buhari vows to recover stolen oil money. President Muhammadu Buhari confirmed evidence of massive looting and stealing of Nigeria’s crude oil by some government office holders. They included former ministers whose names were being compiled by relevant agencies for possible prosecution.
*100 pipeline vandals feared dead in Ogun. No fewer than 100 suspected vandals were burnt to death along Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) pipeline at Arepo area in Ogun State. The vandals were busy scooping fuel gushing from damaged pipelines when the fire suddenly started.
July 24. Buhari never accused Obama of helping Boko Haram, says Presidency. The Presidency denied media reports which said President Muhammadu Buhari accused his American counterpart, Barack Obama and indeed the United States Government of helping Boko Haram insurgents during his visit.
Synagogue: ANC leaders commend Lagos stance on coroner’s inquest. The leadership of the Africa National Congress (ANC), South Africa’s ruling party, paid a courtesy visit to the Lagos State Government, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, just as they commend the state government’s stance of the Coroner’s Verdict on the September 12, 2014 Synagogue building collapse in Lagos. The ANC Treasurer General, Dr. Zwelini Mkhize expressed appreciation to the state government for its effort on South African nationals who were repatriated to the country for burial.
July 25. Buhari vaccinates grand daughter, vows to eliminate polio. President Muhammadu Buhari declared that his administration would do all within its power to ensure that no Nigerian child was ever infected with polio again. He personally vaccinated one of his grand- children against polio to underscore his determination.
July 26. PDP challenges Federal Govt. to publish expenses since May 29. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to publish Federal Government’s expenditure since he assumed office on May 29, 2015. The All Progressives Congress (APC) described the PDP as lacking in capacity to provide worthwhile opposition. The party advised the opposition to desist from issuing hollow statements just to be in the news.
July 28. Buhari appoints retired Brig-Gen Boroh as Amnesty boss. The Federal Government appointed Brigadier – General Paul T. Boroh (rtd) as the co-ordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP). The appointment was to alleviate the problems of former Niger Delta militants.
July 29. Port Harcourt, Warri refineries begin production. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in Abuja said that both Port Harcourt and Warri refineries commenced preliminary production of petroleum products after successful test-runs, noting that while Port Harcourt Refinery Company, PHRC, was ramping up its operation to about 60 per cent of its 210,000 barrels per day, Warri Refinery Petroleum Company (WRPC) production was projected to hit 80 percent of its installed 125, 000 bpd capacity.
July 30. Ooni’s death report, ‘Wicked rumour’ chiefs tell Aregbesola. Crowds of Oba Sijuade’s subjects in Ile-Ife assembled in front of the palace, anxiously waiting to hear from sources they could believe about their beloved ruler. However, the crowd dispersed following repeated assurances from the palace and traditional chiefs that the Ooni was not dead.
August 1. After 22 years of legal tussle, village gets lanmark judgment. A chieftaincy dispute in Plateau State that lingered for 22 years in the courts was laid to rest, as High Court Judge, Justice David Mann, delivered a judgment in favour of Da Zang Jik of Loshom family.
August 2. EFCC sues Goodie Ibru, firms over alleged N1.8 billion fraud. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) filed an 11-count criminal charge totaling N1.8 billion against Goodie Minabo Ibru and three firms at the High Court of Lagos. The firms listed in the suit marked as LD/1711c/2015 were Associated Ventures International Limited, IHL Services Limited and Clean view Investment Limited.
August 4. Dangote oil refinery secures training grant from USTDA. The US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) signed a training grant agreement with Dangote Oil Refining Company to help the company develop the critical human capacity resources necessary to successfully operate and maintain its proposed greenfield petroleum refinery located in Lekki.
August 5. Goodie Ibru: Group commends EFCC, seeks action NSE, SEC. A coalition of 150 anti-corruption organizations –the Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) commended the EFCC for filling charges against Messr Goodie Minabo Ibru, Associated Ventures International Limited, IHL Services Limited and Clearview Investment Limited at the Lagos High Court.
* ‘Why banks reject foreign currency deposits’. Banks’ recent rejection of foreign currencies in deposits might be informed by the consideration that they were idle resources that yielded no benefit to them.
August 6. Egypt opens New Suez Canal amid celebration. President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and indeed all Egyptians made history by officially opening the 35 kilometers New Suez Canal which it termed “Egypt’s gift to the world”, in a grand ceremony that reportedly cost $30 million.
August 7. Buhari announces weapons production plan. President Muhammadu Buhari directed the Federal Ministry of Defence to produce an action plan for the establishment of a modest Military Industrial Complex (MIC) for the local production of weapons to meet some of the requirements of the country’s armed forces, in attempt to curb over reliance on arms importation in the fight against insurgency.August 8. Controversy over ‘Police investigation’ of Odigie-Oyegun. The Nigeria Police refuted report that it was investigating the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Jon Odigwe-Oyegun, over an allegation of forgery.
August 9. ‘Buhari won’t sell refineries. President Buhari was not in a hurry to sell Nigeria’s three refineries, because it might place the economy in the hands of the private sector and lay it open for possible exploitation which might bring hardship to poor Nigerians.
August 11. Treasury looters for trial. President Muhammadu Buhari gave assurance that the prosecution of those who stole the nation’s resources would begin in a matter of weeks. The President spoke at a meeting with members of the National Peace Committee at Abuja.
*NNPC shrinks top management staff from 122 to 83. The NNPC in a major move, announced the shrinking of top management staff of the Corporation from 122 to 83.
August 12. Four die in Lagos helicopter crash. Four people were confirmed dead by National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) officially, after a Bristow helicopter crashed into the Lagos lagoon at the Oworonshoki end of the Third Mainland in the state. Twelve people were on board of the aircraft.
August 13. President orders military to end terror in three months. President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the newly appointed Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Service Chiefs and the National Security Advicer (NSA) to work towards bringing to an end, all traces of insurgency, banditry and armed robbery in the country within three months.
* Ooni goes home. Following the official announcement of the passing away of the Ooni of Ife,Oba Okunade Sijuwade Olubuse II, the Ife traditional rulers council ordered the closure of all markets and shops in the ancient town, with immediate elect which would last for seven days as mark of honour to the deported monarch.
* Buhari sacks Ado Bayero as NPA MD. President Muhammadu Buhari terminates the appointment of the Managing Director of Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Alhaji Sanusi Ado Bayero, replacing him with his predecessor, Malam Habib Abdoulallahi.
August 15. Soldiers go on rampage in Benue. Soldiers in Markudi, the Benue State capital, unleashed terror on residents at the North Bank area of the city. The soldiers, said to belong to the Nigerian Army School of Military Engineering (NASME), Markudi, were protesting the alleged killing of one of their colleagues by suspecting cultists.
August 16. 54 feared killed as Indonesian plane crashes. The Triagana Air plane that went missing was found. Villagers reported seeing the plane, which was carrying 54 passengers and crew, crashed into a mountain.
August 18. Telecoms Operator bar 10. 7 million defective SIMS from networks. Holders of pre-registered Subscribers Identification Modules (SIM) cards on the network of mobile network operators in the country were to lose the privilege of access to and use of the network to stamp out this illegality. So far, the de-activation exercise led to the blocking of 10.7 million lines in the previous two weeks. By implication, the 10.7 million people who owned these lines were blocked from either making or receiving calls until they were able to regularize their details.
August 19. 10.7 million barred GSM users groan. Affected telecommunication service subscribers , in their thousands, besieged their network service centres across the country over the ban placed on their Subscriber Identity Modules (SIM) cards about 10.7 million telephones lines were barred both partially and in full.
August 20. NNPC, others insist on oil sector deregulation. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) re-iterated the need for deregulation of the industry to ensure efficiency, transparency and free enterprise in the country’s oil sector. The United States (US) and the Independence Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAT) pledged their readiness to work with the new management of the NNPC to achieve the Federal Government’s reform agenda in the oil and gas industry.
August 21. Co-pilot, Bello, laid to rest. The remains of the co-pilot of the Bristow Helicopter plane which crashed into the Lagos lagoon, Peter Kayode Bello, were interred at the Eyo Ita axis of the Hawkins Cemetery in Calabar, cross River State, amidst wailing and tears by family members and sympathizers.
*NERC orders DISC to refund N50 million over-billing charges to FCT consumers. The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) ordered Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (DISC) to refund about N50 million over-charged amount to its various consumers in the Federal Capital Territory. Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, gave the order in reaction to the query issued to his Commission by the Senate.
August 28. Buhari endorses $18.5 billion Centenary City Project. President Muhammadu Buhari endorsed the $18.5 billion Centenary City Project flagged off by former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015. He noted that skills, expertise and vast experience that would be brought into Nigeria to build the Centenary City on the Dubai Model, would also be of immense benefit to the country’s overall development.
August 29. Another air crash claims seven in Kaduna. Barely three weeks after a helicopter crashed in Lagos State killing six persons, a Dornier -228 plane went down in Kaduna State, killing all seven persons on board. The aircraft was on route Abuja from the Kaduna Military Airfield when it crashed few minutes after a 6.45 am take-off.
August 30. DSS warns of Boko Haram attacks in Southern cities. Cruel disregard for human life was yet to abate in the North-East as a gang of suspected Boko-Haram gunmen in a convoy of Toyota Hillux Vehicle and Motor-cycles laden with Improvised Explosives Devices (IEDS) attacked Badu Village in Nganizai Local Council of Borno States, killing 56 people.