Five things to know to start your Friday


We’ve disbursed N15bn for Lagos-Badagry Expressway reconstruction – NNPC

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd.) has disbursed N15 billion for the reconstruction of the Lagos-Badagry Expressway under the Federal Government Road Infrastructure Tax Credit (RITC) Scheme.

The N15 billion represents a 100 percent payment of the funding for the Lagos-Badagry road rehabilitation under the tax credit funding of the NNPC Ltd.

Mele Kyari, the NNPC Group Chief Executive, revealed this on Thursday when he led the NNPC’s management team with some top government officials to inspect the ongoing rehabilitation and expansion of the Lagos-Badagry Expressway (Agbara Junction—Nigeria/Benin Border).

The rehabilitation of the road is being funded by NNPC Ltd. and is a part of the Federal Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme.

The rehabilitation of the road is being executed by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing and supervised by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

Read also: Nigeria records N16trn oil sales as NNPC remits nothing to CBN

More than 100,000 people to get electricity through mini-grid -minister

The Federal Government has said that its Nigerian Energy Support Programme (NESP) through its Mini-Grid Acceleration Scheme (MAS) is expected to provide more than 100,000 people with electricity.

Abubakar Aliyu, the Minister of Power, said this on Thursday at the third edition of the Civil Society Roundtable with Stakeholders in the Power Sector, which took place in Abuja.

The roundtable was organised by Civil Society Groups for Good Governance (CSGGG) in collaboration with the Ministry of Power.

Aliyu, who was represented by Titilayo Agbeyo, Director, Reform Coordination and Service Improvement Department, Ministry of Power, said that six solar photovoltaic (PV) mini-grids that were developed under NESP in 2020 are currently providing sustainable electricity to more than 15,000 people as of 2020.

Aliyu said that under NESP, electricity was supplied to 37 federal universities and seven university teaching hospitals across the country.

The minister listed the projects to include the provision of an independent power plant, upgrading existing distribution infrastructure and street lights to improve security within the University campuses.

He said the projects also include the development of world-class centres on renewable energy for each university, adding that the projects are classified into three phases.

“Phase one of the programme was fully funded by the Green Bond issued by the Federal Government, while subsequent phases are to be funded by the Nigeria Electricity Project,” he said. This is according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

Military denies mass ‘abortion programme’ of Boko Haram victims

Nigeria’s military has denied a claim by Reuters that it had conducted a years-long illicit programme targeted at carrying out forced abortions among women and girls who have been victims of Boko Haram and other armed groups in the northwest.

Reuters claimed on Wednesday that the Nigerian army operated a secret operation where women and girls impregnated by members of these insurgent groups were forced to undergo abortions.

“Since at least 2013, the Nigerian military has conducted a secret, systematic, and illegal abortion programme in the country’s northeast, ending at least 10,000 pregnancies among women and girls,” Reuters said.

According to the news agency, many of the women and girls who had been kidnapped, raped, and impregnated by armed fighters ran the risk of abuse if they failed to undergo abortion.

The report was based on witness statements from 33 women and girls, five health workers, and nine security personnel involved in the alleged programme, as well as on military documents and hospital records “describing or tallying thousands of abortion procedures.”

Ned Price, the United States Department of State spokesman said on Wednesday that Washington was looking into the report.

“It was a harrowing report… It’s a concerning report, and for that reason, we are seeking further information,” he said.

US extends export bans on three firms over illegal China exports

The US Department of Commerce will continue to deny three US-based firms’ export privileges, the government said, adding that the companies had illegally exported satellite, rocket and defence technology to China.

According to Al-Jazeera, the extension came after new concerns about Quicksilver Manufacturing Inc., Rapid Cut LLC, and US Prototype Inc., about which the Department of Commerce said in a June 7 order that they had sent technical drawings and blueprints from US customers to manufacturers in China to 3-D print satellite, rocket, and defence-related prototypes without authorization.

Since June, the Department of Commerce has found additional US companies that worked with the firms, involving the unlicensed export to China of firearm components and space technology details.

Such exports are viewed as harming US national security. The new order denies the companies’ export privileges for another 180 days and gives notice to other companies to avoid doing business with them.

US basketball star Brittney Griner’s months in captivity ends

U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner was released on Thursday by the Russian authorities after negotiations with the US government secured the release of notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

Griner, who had been released from a Russian penal colony as part of a prisoner swap, was transported first to Moscow and then to an airport in the United Arab Emirates.

Excluded from the deal was another high-profile US detainee, Paul Whelan, who told CNN by phone that he was “greatly disappointed” that more had not been done to secure his release.

Griner arrived in the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi by private plane from Moscow, just as Bout was flown in on a private plane from Washington.


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