Daily Watch – Students abducted in S’South, Mali parties request election timetable

2nd April 2024

Gunmen have abducted an unspecified number of students travelling along the East-West road in Ughelli, Delta State. The driver escaped unhurt. The spokesman of the Delta State Police Command, Edafe Bright, said the travellers may have been students returning from their school in Calabar, Cross River State. He says no ransom has been demanded yet. Also, three students of the University of Calabar (UNICAL), Cross River, have been kidnapped by criminals from their hostels. The three students are Ojang Precious Ebejin, a 200-level student of the Department of Medicine and Surgery; Ugwu Chukwuemeka, a 300-level student of the Department of Genetics and Biotechnology; and Damilola Dickson, a final-year student of the same department.

The Kaduna State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress has suspended their Women’s Leader, Maryam Suleiman, for criticising Governor Uba Sani over the huge debt inherited from the previous administration. This was as Governor Sani’s spokesman, Alhaji Mohammed Shehu, told The PUNCH that the governor would not reply the son of the immediate-past governor, Nasir El-Rufai,  Bashir, after he accused Sani, of shying away from his responsibility and surrounding himself with incompetent aides. The governor had, on Saturday, said, “Despite the huge debt burden of $587 million, ₦85 billion, and ₦115 billion contractual liabilities sadly inherited from the previous administration, we remain resolute in steering Kaduna State towards progress and sustainable development.” However, the APC women leader accused Governor Sani of mismanagement and advised him to refrain from attributing his failures to El-Rufai.

Ghana’s National Petroleum Authority (NPA) will from April 2024 set the “floor” for the pricing of petroleum products in Ghana, which will prevent any industry player including the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) and Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketing (LPGMC) firms from pricing below that benchmark. In a letter to industry players signed by the Deputy Chief Executive of the National Petroleum Authority, Curtis Perry Okudzato, it advised all the Petroleum Service Providers to strictly comply with these guidelines. The move is part of efforts to deal with concerns about serious price undercutting in the industry. The National Petroleum Authority promised that it shall periodically furnish Petroleum Service Providers with the full pricing formula stating the specific taxes, levies and margins applicable for each pricing window in Excel format.

Political parties in Mali have requested a timeframe for presidential elections after the junta failed to organise polls within a promised 24-month transition back to democracy. The current junta seized power in a 2021 coup and later promised to take 24 months from March 2022 to restore civilian rule, with a start date of 26 March 2024 and elections in February. It passed a new electoral law in June 2022 but said in September last year that it would postpone the February elections for technical reasons. Some of Mali’s main political parties and civil society groups said, “We will use all legal and legitimate avenues for the return of normal constitutional order in our country,” in a joint statement, which has over 20 signatories, including a major opposition coalition and the toppled ex-president’s party.