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Emmanuel Kachikwu Defends Fuel-Price Increase Amid Strike Threat

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Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Emmanuel Kachikwu

Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Emmanuel Kachikwu defended the government’s decision to increase the price of gasoline as averting an even larger fuel shortage and financial crisis, as the country’s main unions threatened indefinite strikes over the increase.

“If we did not do what we are doing now, the queues will be back in very full force, there’ll be complete social disruption,” Kachikwu told lawmakers in the capital, Abuja, on Monday. “Governors will not pay salaries, the federal government in fact will not pay salaries, probably members of this honorable house” will be affected also, he said. “That’s simply the reality.”

Last week Kachikwu increased the cap on the gasoline price last week by 67 percent to 145 naira ($0.73) per liter (0.26 gallon). The move was necessary to attract private importers, who will be able to recover their costs and help end fuel shortages that have persisted for months in the OPEC-member country, he said during the announcement.

Nigeria’s two main union federations have threatened an indefinite strike to shut down offices and businesses by May 18 if previous gasoline prices aren’t restored. The unions accused President Muhammadu Buhari, who won elections last year pledging not to increase the price of fuel, of betraying his promises.

Militant Attacks

When Buhari’s predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, attempted to raise fuel prices and end subsidies in 2012, he was faced with a crippling national strike by the unions and civic groups until he partially reinstated them.

A major oil-exporter, Nigeria relies on fuel imports to meet more than 70 percent of national supply as the four state-owned refineries with a capacity for 445,000 barrels of crude per day produce only a fraction of that because of poor maintenance and mismanagement.

Kachikwu told Parliament the cap only applies to fuel supplied by the National Nigerian Petroleum Corporation, which he also heads, while other retailers can sell fuel for higher.

A resurgence in militant attacks in Nigeria’s oil-producing Niger River delta region has cut output by as much as 600,000 barrels a day to 1.4 million a day, Kachikwu said. The nation’s output hasn’t fallen this low on a monthly-average basis since 1989, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“Our budget is based on 2.2. million barrels a day,” he said. “It’s critical for this government that we get back to these numbers as fast as we can.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Government

UK Government Has Approved Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine

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The United Kingdom on Wednesday Approved Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine

British government on Wednesday became the first country to approve Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use, according to the UK government.

The vaccine will be rolled out from next week and the first dose could be administered as early as December 7th, stated people familiar with the matter.

Last week, the UK government announced it had ordered 40 million doses of Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 and appointed Nadhim Zahawi, the current junior business minister, as the minister responsible for the deployment of the vaccines.

British government on Wednesday morning said, “The Government has today accepted the recommendation from the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to approve Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for use” 

“The vaccine will be made available across the UK from next week.”

Matt Hancock, Health Secretary, revealed that the programme would commence early next week.

“It is very good news,” Hancock said.

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Government

Zabarmari Massacre: Buhari to Provide More Resources for the Nigerian Military

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President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to provide more resources to the military in the aftermath of the Zabarmari massacre.

On Saturday, Boko Haram killed 43 people with around 70 people still missing in Zabarmari, a village in Borno State.

Reacting to the massacre, Buhari, through his official Twitter handle @MBuhari said “Nothing is more important than ensuring the security of lives and property of Nigerians. Everything is secondary when security is at stake. I will ensure that more resources are made available to the military and other security agencies to prosecute the war against terrorism.

“As we mourn all the lives lost in Zabarmari, the Armed Forces have been given the marching order to take the fight to the insurgents, not on a one-off, but on a continuous basis, until we root out the terrorists.

“We will intensify our cooperation with neighbouring countries on bilateral and multilateral levels, to ensure that there is no hiding place for the terrorists.

“As I noted earlier, the massacre by Boko Haram in Zabarmari is nothing short of senseless, barbaric, gruesome and cowardly. It reinforces our resolve to root out all forms of insurgency and insecurity not just in Borno but everywhere across Nigeria.”

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Boko Haram Kills Rice Farmers in Borno State, Northeast Nigeria

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Rice farmers were killed on Saturday morning in the Northeast Nigeria by suspected Islamist militants, Boko Haram, according to a Reuters Report.

The report also noted that 30 of the people killed were beheaded while over a dozen others were still missing.

However, resident of the Zambarmari Village where the attacks took place said a total of 70 people were feared dead.

Another resident and Amnesty International were quoted as saying at least 10 women were among those missing.

In another statement by Edward Kallon, the United Nations’ humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, it was armed men on motorcycles that led the brutal attack on civilians harvesting their fields.

Armed men on motorcycles led a brutal attack on civilian men and women who were harvesting their fields,” Edward Kallon stated.

“At least 110 civilians were ruthlessly killed and many others were wounded in this attack,” he added, noting that several women are believed to have been kidnapped.

“The incident is the most violent direct attack against innocent civilians this year. I call for the perpetrators of this heinous and senseless act to be brought to justice,” Kallon said.

On Sunday, Governor Babaganan Umara Zulum of Borno State, who was at the burial told journalists that at least 70 farmers were killed on Saturday.

The Governor, therefore, called on the Federal Government to recruit more Civilian Joint Task Force members, Soldiers and civil defence fighters to protect farmers in the region.

He added that people are facing desperate choices.

In one side, they stay at home they may be killed by hunger and starvation, on the other, they go out to their farmlands and risk getting killed by the insurgents,” he said.

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