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BIG STORY

FG Slashes Year 2020 Budget From N8.41tn To N5.08tn, Benchmark Oil Price At $30 Per Barrel, Sends To National Assembly For Review

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The Federal Government has revised downward the revenue projection for the 2020 budget by N3.3tn from the initial approved amount of N8.41tn to N5.08tn.

The revised revenue projection is contained in a proposal sent to the National Assembly by the executive.

The reduction became imperative in view of the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which had led to disruptions to global supply chains, a sharp drop in global crude oil prices, turmoil in global stock and financial markets.

These outcomes have had severe consequences on households’ livelihoods and business activities, resulting from a drop in global demand, declined consumer confidence and slowdown in production.

Based on the revenue parameters underlying the revised proposal, the Federal Government revised downwards the oil price benchmark from $57 per barrel to $30 per barrel.

Similarly, the oil production volume was reduced from 2.18 million barrels per day to 1.7 million barrels per day.

The exchange rate was however raised from N305 to a dollar to N360 to a dollar based on the devaluation of the naira by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

An analysis of the revenue items showed that oil revenue suffered the highest reduction of N2.38tn from the initial approved amount of N2.63tn to N254.25bn.

Based on the proposal, the dividend from the NLNG was reduced from N124.26bn to N80.37bn while non-oil revenue would witness a decline of N269bn from N1.8tn to N1.53tn.

In the same vein, revenue projection from the signature bonus was revised downward from N939.3bn to N568.68bn, while revenue from stamp duty was reduced from N463.94bn to N200bn.

However, independent revenue from agencies of government was increased by N66.88bn from N849.96bn to N916.84bn.

On the expenditure side, the executive is proposing a reduction of about N321bn in spending from the initial estimate of N10.59tn to N10.27tn.

Based on the revised proposal, statutory transfers were cut by N152.67bn from N560.47bn to N407.8bn, capital expenditure was revised downward by N155bn from N2.78tn to N2.62tn while recurrent expenditure was reduced by N25bn from N4.49bn to N4.46bn.

A breakdown of some of the Nigerian expenditure items showed that anniversaries/celebrations were reduced by N3.08bn; computer software, N3.14bn; office buildings, N24.86bn; residential buildings, N479.6m; monitoring and evaluation, N10.8bn; land acquisition, N1.45bn; computers, N1.9bn; purchase of motor vehicles, N5.25bn and office furniture, N3.94bn.

Others are rehabilitation of office building, N49.52bn; repair of residential buildings, N1.07bn; research and development, N45.6bn; provisions of roads, N1.96bn; provision of water facilities, N650m; provision of waterways, N650m; repairs of public schools, N330.85m and purchase of power generating set, N555.96m.

There is also a reduction of N176.5m on purchase of motorcycle; computer printers, N151.48m; photocopying machines, N131.46m; purchase of trucks, N134.46m; purchase of buses, N485.78m and purchaser of scanners, N193.74m, among others.

A further analysis of the proposal showed that the drop in revenue has widened the fiscal deficit by N3.01tn from the initial approved about of N2.17tn or 1.29 per cent to N5.18tn or 3.43 per cent.

According to the proposal, the fiscal deficit is expected to be financed through fresh borrowing of N4.43tn as against the initial borrowing plan of N1.59tn.

Also, the executive is proposing to raise N126.04bn from privatisation proceeds as against the initial projection of N252.08bn.

In the same vein, about N424.95bn is being projected to be raised from multilateral/bilateral project loans. This is about N96.83bn higher than the N328.12bn which had earlier been approved when the budget was signed by the President.

BIG STORY

Rape Epidemic: 12-Year-Old Girl Gang-Raped By Four Masked Men In Lagos

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A 12-year-old girl, Blessing (not real name), is said to be experiencing trauma after she was allegedly gang-raped by four masked men at her residence in Abijo area of Ajah, Lagos State.

She was said to have been raped while playing alone in the compound around 2 pm on Thursday.

According to Saturday PUNCH, the victim, a secondary school pupil, was left bleeding from injuries she sustained in her private parts.

When our correspondent reached out to her mother on Friday morning, the victim was said to be asleep after receiving medical treatment.

The mother, identified simply as Anthonia, explained that she was not in the house when the perpetrators raped her daughter.

“I went to the office and was called (on the phone) and told that my daughter was raped in our house. I learnt she was having her online class when suddenly, there was a power outage. My husband rushed out to get fuel at a filling station so that she could participate in the class seamlessly,” the mother recalled amid futile attempts to control her emotions.

She stated, “Favour told us that while she was in the compound, four masked men jumped into the house through the fence. They took her inside and took turns to have sex with her, leaving her with multiple injuries.”

The distraught mother said incidentally in her office, she was listening to a radio programme about the recent wave of rape incidents in the country on the day her daughter was raped. Little did she know that her daughter would also become a victim.

“Immediately I received the call, I became so mad. I headed for the hospital where my daughter was rushed to. When I got there, I was told she suffered from ‘vaginal trauma’. The underneath of her clitoris was bruised and she had a deep tear that made her bleed severely,” Anthonia explained, painting a graphic picture of the cruel assault.

“She could have passed out if not that her dad got back home early. She lost a lot of blood. The bleeding stopped after the tear was stitched; although, she is still experiencing very severe pain,” the mother added.

Anthonia said the case had been reported at Ajiwe Police Station in Ajah.

She said, “I don’t think we are secure anymore because it seems like we are being monitored. They perpetuated their evil within the few minutes it took my husband to buy fuel.

“They could not enter through the gate because of ongoing construction at a building opposite ours. The site was crowded and that made them avoid entering through the front door. They scaled the fence. Some policemen followed us to the house and saw how the attackers scattered our things around.”

When our correspondent called Anthonia back on Friday evening, the victim was said to be suffering from trauma and could not speak on the incident.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Bala Elkana, said the command had been duly informed of the crime and investigations were ongoing.

He said, “The police have been duly informed of the atrocity and have commenced an investigation into the case. We are on the trail of the culprits. It’s a bit complicated because those guys wore face masks, which makes us suspect the culprits are people close to them. They probably covered their faces to conceal their identities.”

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BIG STORY

#JusticeForUwa: Students Protest In Benin, Demand Death Sentence For Sex Offenders

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Members of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) on Thursday occupied major streets of Benin City, the Edo state capital in protest.

The students demanded justice for Uwaila Omozuwa, an undergraduate of the University of Benin who was recently raped and killed.

They also demanded that a death sentence be pronounced for sex offenders.

The President of the students’ union, Danielson Akpan, spoke with Channels Television during the protest demanding justice for their late colleague.

The lawmaker representing Ovia Federal Constituency, Dennis Idahosa, who also joined the students in the solidarity march vowed that he would move a motion to support capital punishment at the floor of the house.

Meanwhile, the new Commissioner of Police in Edo State, Johnson Kokumo had earlier on Wednesday promised that efforts would not be spared in ensuring that the culprits involved in the circumstances that led to Uwaila’s death are apprehended and made to face the law.

Kokumo made the promise when he paid a condolence visit to the family of the deceased.

Uwa, a 22-year-old student of UNIBEN was reported to have been raped inside a church where she went to read at the Ikpoba Hill area of Benin City, Edo State Capital.

The hoodlums were reported to have struck her in the head with a fire extinguisher after raping her and left her for dead. She was rushed to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital where she later died.

The news of her death has continued to spark outrage with trends on social media demanding justice and an end to rape.

(Channels TV)

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BIG STORY

Buhari Is Not In Charge Of Aso Rock —- Wole Soyinka

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Wole Soyinka, Nobel laureate, says he does not believe that President Muhammadu Buhari is in charge of the country.

Speaking on Thursday during an interview on PlusTv Africa, the renowned writer said the answer to the nation’s problem is decentralization, adding that there’s a need for the people to be historically conscious.

Soyinka was reacting to an open letter written by Umar Dangiwa, retired colonel and former military administrator of Kaduna, to Buhari over the president’s knack for appointing people from his section of the country into office.

“First of all, I was appalled by the silence that followed this revelation. I think those who are responsible for this criminal lopsidedness should be punished. It is not sufficient just to discuss it. It’s criminal,” Soyinka said.

“I have said this before. I don’t believe there is really anybody in charge in Aso Rock. I’m sorry to say this. I’ve been studying the trend over the past year and a half and I believe this president is not in charge of this nation, in so many aspects and directions. I’m convinced he’s not really and totally with it.

“It’s so serious. It is not the fact alone, we know the history of this. We know what it has caused the nation and we know it isn’t over yet. And you say are launching an enquiry. That’s not enough. This man is not in charge.”

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