Good morning Nigerians, welcome to EGALITARIAN VOICE NEWS roundup of top newspaper headlines in Nigeria for today, Thursday, 22nd December 2022.
1. Port Harcourt-Maiduguri Rail Line Can’t Be Ready Before We Leave Office – Buhari Govt
The federal government on Wednesday conceded that it can’t complete the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri eastern rail line before the tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari ends in May 2023.
The Minister of Transportation, Muazu Sambo gave the update while fielding questions from newsmen after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.
Sambo was questioned on what is causing the delay in the completion of the railway project as promised by the current administration when he gave the update.
According to him, the inability to secure foreign loans that will make 85 percent of the funds needed to execute the project available is responsible for the non-completion of the work as promised to Nigerians.
He added that the part of the project that is already implemented was financed through budgetary allocation.
2. 2023: Buhari Will Campaign For Tinubu, Others — Presidency
The Presidency on Wednesday confirmed that President Muhammadu Buhari will campaign for the presidential campaign of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu and other candidates of the party.
The statement was released by the presidency on response to concerns in some quarters that President Buhari has not been attending APC rallies, since the launch in Jos, Plateau State.
The Presidency further stated that even though Buhari is committed to APC, the functions and duties of the President will take precedence.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, revealed this in a statement titled ‘President Buhari ready to campaign for Tinubu and all APC candidates with energy and conviction.’
Citing the President’s remarks to the Nigerian community in Washington DC in the course of his recent visit to the United States, the Presidency said Buhari “is ready to campaign for the party’s victory in the general elections next year.”
The presidency noted that the APC campaigns have so far been the most aggressive in recent history.
3. Buhari Seeks N1trn Cash Advance From CBN
The 9th Senate led by Senate President, Ahmad Lawan on Wednesday received a request from President Muhammadu Buhari asking the upper chamber to approve the advance of N1trillion to the Federal Government by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Newsmen had earlier reported that Buhari in another request also urged the legislators to approve N819,536,937,813.00 as Supplementary Appropriation Bill for 2022.
President’s requests were stated in two letters read by Lawan at plenary on Wednesday.
Buhari in his letter titled: “Restructuring of Ways and Means Advances” wrote: “The Ways and Means Advances by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to the Federal Government has been a funding option available to the Federal Government to cater for short term emergency finance to fund delayed government expected cash receipts or fiscal deficits.
“The Ways and Means Balances as at 19th December 2022 in the sum of N22,719,703,884,306.90 is hereby attached as annexture one.
“The detailed breakdown of the additional N1trillion to be advanced by the CBN is attached as annexture two.
4. CBN Increases Cash Withdrawal Limit For Individuals, Corporate Organizations
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Wednesday announced the increase of the maximum weekly limit for cash withdrawals across all channels for individuals and corporate organisations.
In a letter addressed to bank branches today, the apex bank said the withdrawal limit has now been increased to N500,000 and N5 million for individuals and corporate organizations, respectively.
The apex bank said it made the decision based on feedback received from stakeholders.
The letter quoting all Deposit Money Banks (DBMS) and other Financial Institutions [Payment Service Banks (PSBs), Primary Mortgage Banks (PMBs), Microfinance Banks (MFBs), Mobile Money Operators (MMOs) and Agents], as stakeholders said customers should be encouraged to use alternative channels (internet banking, mobile banking apps, USSD, cards/POS, eNaira, etc) to conduct their banking transactions.
5. Osinbajo Visits APC Presidential Candidate, Tinubu
The Vice President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday visited the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu and his running mate, Kashim Shettima.
Osinbajo since his defeat to Tinubu in the APC Presidential primary has not been involved in the campaigns of the ruling party.
The presidency, however, stated that it was President Muhammadu Buhari that directed Osinbajo and the Secretary to the Government Boss Mustapha be excused from campaign activities so they can focus on governance.
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There had been speculations that Tinubu and the Vice President had fallen out due to Osinbajo’s stand to contest against him in the presidential primary.
6. Again, Hoodlums Attack INEC Office In Imo
Again, hoodlums have attacked another facility of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Imo State.
Egalitarian Voice News learnt that the latest attack was carried out in the Isu Local Government Area of the state on Tuesday.
In a statement dated December 21, 2022, INEC lamented that yesterday’s attack made the fourth by hoodlums in Imo in less than three weeks following previous attacks in the Orlu and Oru West Local Government Areas and the State Headquarters in Owerri.
It said the incident had been reported to the police and other sister security agencies for further action while the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Imo State, Sylvia Agu, was informed of the situation also.
National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, confirmed that eight windows were smashed and burglary proofs removed.
He, however, noted that hoodlums could not access the building, adding that movable and immovable equipment and other sensitive election materials were not removed or vandalized.
7. Buhari Proposes N819.5bn Supplementary Budget, Blames Recent Flood
A supplementary 2023 Appropriation Bill of about N819.5 billion has been transmitted to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday.
According to the president, an additional N819,536,937, 813 would be needed for next year due to the recent flood that destroyed several lives and properties.
It was learnt that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, read out the content of the cover letter on the bill to members on Wednesday sitting.
8. Polls: EU deploys Election Observation Mission to Nigeria To Monitor 2023 Elections
The European Union (EU), in response to the invitation by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has decided to deploy an EU Election Observation Mission (EOM) to observe the general elections scheduled for 25 February and 11 March, 2023.
A statement on Wednesday, said the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, has appointed Barry Andrews, Member of the European Parliament, as Chief Observer for the EOM to Nigeria, recalling that the EU previously deployed Election Observation Missions to Nigeria for the 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019 elections.
9. China: More than a million could die from COVID in 2023
With crematoriums working 24/7 and 1.6 million predicted deaths, where is the Chinese government’s medical response?
According to the viral video sighted by EGALITARIAN VOICE NEWS, report have it that more than a million could die from COVID in 2023.
10. Hajj: Saudi cancels age limit, PCR tests for pilgrims
The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has removed the age limit and cancelled Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test for the next year’s pilgrimage.
The Director General in charge of Hajj Missions in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, Bahauddeen bin Yusuf Alwani, announced this during a preparatory meeting for next year’s Hajj (1444 AH) via a video conference with the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Alhaji Zukrullah Kunle Hassan.
Alwani said the ministry had restored Nigeria to the allocation the country enjoyed before the COVID-19 outbreak.
The ministry, he added, had also granted NAHCON the Right of Choice of package for pilgrims’ services from the Mutawwiffs of African Non-Arab countries, the company responsible for the tent, feeding and transportation arrangements at the Mashair.
Those are the top Nigerian newspaper headlines for today. Read more Nigerian news on Egalitarian Voice News. See you again tomorrow.