Today’s Headlines: Real Story On Demolition Of Igbo Man’s Property – Wike, 28 Girls Abducted In Katsina Rescued, ‘Electricity Tariff To Rise By 300%’

Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Nyesom Wike, has revealed what transpired between him and the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the SNECOU Group Limited, Chief Nicholas Ukachukwu, who decried the demolition of his investment on 214 hectares of land in the Asokoro district of FCT.

Ukachukwu accused Wike of ordering the demolition without any court order despite pending valid two court orders from separate courts restraining him and the FCT administration from tampering with the property.

Speaking in a recent interview with Channels, the Anambra-born businessman called on President Bola Tinubu to intervene and save the multi-million-naira invested in the property.

The Katsina Police Command has said the 28 girls abducted at Kasai village in the Batsari Local Government Area of the state have regained freedom.

Recall that the girls were kidnapped by bandits on the outskirts of the village on Monday while fetching firewood.

In a statement on Tuesday, the state police spokesperson, Abubakar Aliyu, said the girls were released at about 10:40 pm on the same day they were abducted.

Aliyu said the state Commissioner of Police, Aliyu Abubakar Musa, swiftly deployed operatives to the scene and tasked them to rescue the victims unhurt.

The police spokesperson added that the command is committed to ensuring the security of the community and state.

The statement reads: “On the 1st of April 2024, at about 1030 hrs, about twenty-eight (28) girls who went to the outskirts of Kasai village, Batsari LGA, Katsina State, with intent to fetch firewood, were abducted by kidnappers.

“Upon receipt of the report, the commissioner of police, Katsina state police command, CP Aliyu Abubakar Musa, psc+, swiftly deployed operatives to the scene, tasked with the unhurt rescue of the victims.

“Thanks to the unwavering efforts and increased pressure exerted by the command, the victims, who were held against their will, have now regained freedom and are safe and sound.

“The collaborative effort of the dedicated rescue team, in conjunction with the strategic approach taken by the command, resulted in the release of all the abducted victims.

“The abductors, following the escalation of pressure and the concerted actions of the command in collaboration with all relevant security stakeholders in the state, ultimately released all the victims on the same day at about 2240hrs.

Power companies in Nigeria are set to increase electricity tariffs to N200 ($0.15) per kilowatt-hour from the current N68.

Bloomberg news agency reported this anticipated hike, noting that it would affect about 15% of the population, who are said to consume 40% of the nation’s electricity.

The decision to raise the tariffs nearly threefold within weeks is part of Nigeria’s strategy to attract new investment into the energy sector and reduce the substantial $2.3 billion annual expenditure on electricity subsidies.

According to the platform, sources close to the presidency, familiar with the developments, revealed that these measures aim to make the energy market more financially sustainable and appealing to investors.

Furthermore, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) recently announced an increase in the price of natural gas, which fuels over 70% of the country’s electricity generation.

The new 2024 base gas price has been set for power sector companies and commercial users, as stated by NMDPRA’s chief executive, Farouk Ahmed, marking a shift from the previous rate of $2.18 to $2.42 per one million British thermal units (MMBtu).

Since the privatization of its generation and distribution sectors in 2013, Nigeria has regulated electricity tariffs through the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).

Bloomberg said, “Power firms aren’t allowed to charge enough to recover the cost of distributing electricity, with the government paying the difference as a subsidy to companies in the sector.

“The government has in the past said that electricity companies are short of an estimated two trillion naira in capital and need new investors to revive the industry.”

Bloomberg quoted Bayo Onanuga, a spokesman for the presidency, as saying, “The regulator (NERC) will make a pronouncement based on its discussion with the distribution and generating companies.

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