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Presidency Clarifies Buhari Stance on Opening Grazing

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Cattle farming

President Muhammadu Buhari is opposed to open grazing of cattle, the presidency said yesterday in an apparent effort to douse the rising critique of its statement on Monday, quoting the president as querying the legality of Southern governors’ ban on open grazing.

Presidential spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, while fielding questions on ARISE NEWS CHANNEL, said many people misconstrued Buhari’s views on the Southern governors’ resolutions at their May 11 meeting in Asaba, Delta State as an endorsement of open grazing.

Hours before the clarification from the presidency, the Monday statement had drawn flaks from the Southern governors; the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere; and some senior lawyers.

The presidency statement by Shehu had questioned the legality of the Southern governors’ resolutions, in which they, among others, banned open grazing of cattle in the South.

The statement quoted Buhari as dismissing the ban, while accusing the 17 Southern governors of not proffering any solution to the intractable farmer-herder conflicts, largely driven by open grazing of cattle.

The presidency announced Buhari’s approval for ranching and revival of grazing reserves nationwide.

But the Chairman of the Southern Governors’ Forum and Ondo State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, yesterday fired back at the presidency, warning that no land in the South will be ceded to those he described “as a band of invaders masquerading as herdsmen under any guise.”

The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) also maintained its earlier stance that the ban on open grazing was in the best interest of all Nigerians.

But Benue State Governor, Dr. Samuel Ortom, yesterday kicked against the presidential decision to revive grazing reserves, saying that the reserves, created when Nigeria had a population of 50 million have since been taken over by airports, schools, roads, hospitals and other infrastructure.

Some senior lawyers also faulted Buhari’s opposition to the open grazing ban, alleging ethnic bias.

However, in an effort to douse tension generated by his statement, Shehu told ARISE NEWS Channel that Buhari would want to see an end to the archaic practice of open grazing of cattle.

He added that the objective of the president and that of the governors fully align.

However, he stated that the only difference between the positions of both parties is the approach to achieving the aim, adding that the president is insistent that it should be done in an organised manner.

He said: “The president wants to see an end to open grazing; he wants to see ranching; but he wants it in a way that’s organised and he has a plan for it and the plan will take off in June.”

According to him, all the ongoing attacks on the president are from people who are in the mood for a public fight.

He said states that were able to meet the minimum requirements would be encouraged to embark on ranching, and expressed optimism that those opposed to ranching will change their minds when it becomes fully functional.

Shehu said the president viewed open grazing as old-fashioned and was looking forward to a replacement for the medieval practice.

But he reiterated that banning open grazing without an alternative is not a good approach to the issue.

He said the president was worried about the crisis generated by the matter, adding that the generalisation of every herder as criminals is not the right thing to do.

While admitting that the ranks of the nomads had been infiltrated with people now bearing AK-47 rifles to kill and maim, Shehu called for calm as the issue won’t be solved by public show of strength.

“Let us stop this shadow boxing. You just brought one or two people here who said things that nobody said from our own end. Did the president say he didn’t support…? He’s opposed to the way the governors have chosen to do it,” he said.

On state policing, Shehu said the president was initially concerned that governors who are unable to pay salaries to their workers want to give guns to police set up by them, adding that if it is what Nigerians want, the president would have no option but to support it.

“You hire a policeman. Give him a gun and for one year, you don’t pay salaries, like you are doing to your teachers, that’s a problem,” Shehu stated.

Besides, he added that to implement state policing will require amending the 1999 Constitution, and Buhari has never rejected constitution amendments.

On restructuring, he stated that the All Progressives Congress (APC) wasn’t against devolution of power, as that is the work of the legislature to do.

He also dismissed speculations that Buhari was interested in extending his tenure, saying that those raising doubts over whether or not elections will hold in 2023 are doing so because they are unelectable.

Shehu also said he was not aware of any shoot-on-sight order against Igbo, adding that the rumour is meant to provoke unnecessary public anger.

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Economy

U.S Senate Passes $749 Billion Inflation Reduction Act

The United States Senate has voted in support of President Joe Biden’s $749 billion Inflation Reduction Act expected to rein in America’s over 40-year high inflation rate, support American families by reducing everyday energy costs and compel the richest corporations in America to pay their taxes.

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The United States Senate has voted in support of President Joe Biden’s $749 billion Inflation Reduction Act expected to rein in America’s over 40-year high inflation rate, support American families by reducing everyday energy costs and compel the richest corporations in America to pay their taxes.

Explaining the significance of the bill, the President said it will reduce the federal deficit by over $300 billion and cap seniors’ out-of-pocket spending on prescription drugs at $2000 a year, no matter what their drug bills would otherwise be, seniors citizens will not pay more than $2000.

Also, 13 million Americans presently under the Affordable Care Act, will save $800 on their health insurance premium a year.

“This bill tackles inflation by lowering the deficit and lowering costs for regular families,” President Biden declared.

Americans earning below $400,000 a year will not pay any new taxes while the wealthiest corporations will now be paying 15% on income, estimated at $40 billion in 2020. The bill will ensure America invests $369 billion in clean energy and addresses the climate crisis.

“It also gives consumers a tax credit to buy any electric vehicle or fuel cell vehicle, new or used, and a tax credit for up to $7,500 if those vehicles were made in America.

“This investment in environmental justice is real. It also provides tax credits that will create thousands of good-paying jobs — manufacturing jobs on clean energy construction projects, solar projects, wind projects, clean hydrogen projects, carbon capture projects, and more — by giving tax credits for those who build these projects here in America,” President Biden stated.

Speaking on the milestone, President Joe Biden said “I ran for President promising to make government work for working families again, and that is what this bill does — period.”

President Biden would be expected to sign the Act into law once the House of Representatives passed it.

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Economy

NRC Suspends Train Service on Lagos-Kano, Ajaokuta Routes

The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has suspended train services on the Lagos- Kano and Ajaokuta routes.

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Lagos-Ibadan Train Services - Investors King

Following the recent terrorist attacks in various parts of the country, the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has suspended train services on the Lagos- Kano and Ajaokuta routes.

Also, train services were reported to have been suspended at Ajaokuta station along the Warri-Itakpe route by the NRC after the attack on some passengers by gunmen on Monday.

According to a statement from the Ministry of Transportation and the NRC, the train services would be suspended until the security of those routes is assured.

The Managing Director for NRC, Fidet Okhiria, who confirmed the news about the suspension, noted that the corporation did not stop train services on the Warri-Itakpe route.

Okhiria said: “We have not stopped (services), rather what we said was that we are not going to be stopping at the Ajaokuta station.

“This is because on Monday, while passengers were leaving the station with their private cars and buses, they had people shooting at them. So we said we will not stop there again for passengers.

“The train is still running, but for now we will not be stopping at Ajaokuta because they have some concerns there.”

Investors King recalls that the NRC had, on 29th of March, suspended train service operations on the Abuja -Kaduna axis as a result of a terrorist attack that left about 8 dead, injured many and led to the kidnap of about 200 persons.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has hinted that as soon as all security measures are put in place, train services for the Abuja -Kaduna axis would resume.

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Economy

Hard Times For Nigerians As Price Of Kerosene Rises to N800 Per Litre

Nigerians are again faced with a new dilemma, as the price of kerosene skyrocketed to N800 per litre over the weekend.

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Kerosene

Just a few weeks after adjusting to the new prices of petrol, diesel and gas, Nigerians are again faced with a new dilemma, as the price of kerosene skyrocketed to N800 per litre over the weekend.

Investors King recalls that as of last week, kerosene, which is used majorly in the average Nigerian household, was sold at the rate of N700 per litre.

However, a new market survey carried out by Investors King revealed that as of August 2, kerosene was sold between N800 and N850 per litre in some urban parts of Lagos, and in some suburb filling stations, the commodity was sold as high as N1000 a litre.

Speaking on the increment,  the National Operations Controller, Independent Petroleum Marketers Associations of Nigeria, IPMAN, Mike Osatuyi attributed the hike in the price of kerosene to the exchange rate.

While noting that Kerosene is a deregulated market, Osatuyi added that the petroleum product is subservient to change as a result of shifts in the market.

He said: “It’s a deregulated market. It is also a function of the dollar to naira rate and the crude price at the international market. Since cooking kerosene is deregulated, prices can go up, it can also come down”.

 Similarly, the Executive Secretary, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN), Olufemi Adewole, in an interview, disclosed that the ever-increasing exchange rate is one of the reasons for the rise in the price of kerosene.

Cooking kerosene is deregulated so prices depend on foreign exchange. A dollar is now 700 Naira from 600 Naira just last month, so prices will surely increase”, he said.

Meanwhile, an energy expert, Bala Zakka, attributes the reason behind this continuous sharp price increase to Nigeria’s inability to produce and refine its own petroleum products for local consumption, despite the abundance of crude oil within its borders.

Taking to social media, many Nigerians have continued to complain about the hike in price, as well as the country’s harsh economic situation.

Critics find it more appalling that Ghana which has no oil within its borders, sells kerosene to its citizens at the price of 12.044 GHS, an equivalent of 585 Naira per litre.

 To this end, many Nigerians have taken to their social media pages to complain about these hard times.

Investors King gathered that apart from the increment in the price of kerosene, the price of fuel also increased, as a litre is now being sold for N179.

However, if this trend continues, there are indications that feeding might be a challenge for the less privileged.

Recall that in July, the National Bureau of Statics (NBS), in a report, disclosed that the average price of Kerosene rose from 679.54 in May 2022, from 589.82 which it was in April, equating to a 15.21 percent increase.

The report further stated that the average retail price per litre of Household Kerosene paid by consumers in June 2022, increased by 12.09%, while the state profile analysis of average price in May 2022 varied with Enugu ranking first, as the state with the highest paying price of 868.75 per litre for kerosene, while other states juggled between N558 and N700 per litre.

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