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UK warns against travels to 7 northern states

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From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja

The United Kingdom (UK) has advised against travel to seven northern states.

The states listed by the United Kingdom included Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Gombe, Kaduna, Katsina and Zamfara.

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Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) gave the warning in its travel advisory on northern Nigeria posted on its website.

“FCDO advise against travel to Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Gombe, Kaduna, Katsina, and Zamfara states. Violent attacks are frequent and there is a high threat of kidnap.

“On March 26, gunmen launched an attack against Kaduna airport, killing, at least, one airport official in a series of attacks by gunmen in the northern Nigeria.

“On the evening of March 29, an apparent improvised explosive device attack took place against a train travelling from Abuja to Kaduna. Reports suggest that a number of people were killed and that others were abducted by gunmen. Train services are now suspended between Abuja and Kaduna,” the FCDO said.

The FCDO further said there is a threat from extremists linked to Boko Haram or the Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states in particular.

“The threat level in North East Nigeria, including around Maiduguri is increasing, particularly around transport hubs, religious areas and large gatherings. Kidnaps have taken place on the roads in and out of Maiduguri. As the dry season starts in October, this risk is expected to increase even further.

“If the security situation in Maiduguri were to deteriorate any further, there is a significant likelihood that it could be extremely difficult for you to leave the city. We do not advise travelling by road.

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“FCDO advise against all but essential travel to: Bauchi, Kano, Jigawa, Niger, Sokoto states; and within 20km of the border with Niger in Kebbi State. There is a high risk of violent attacks and inter-communal tensions can lead to outbreaks of violence. There is also a threat of kidnap,” FCDO said.

FCDO also said anyone who travels to areas to which it advised against travel, that person is particularly at risk and will need a high level of security.

“If you’re working in northern Nigeria you should make sure your employers provide an adequate level of security where you live and where you work. Make sure they regularly review security arrangements and familiarise yourself with those plans. You should avoid regular patterns of travel or movement, and aim to travel only during daylight hours. Westerners have been kidnapped from protected compounds,” FCDO said.

The FCDO recalled that from September 3, 2021, the Nigerian Communications Commission mandated all telecommunication operators in Nigeria to stop extending services to Zamfara State.

“This included the suspension of all mobile telecommunications, including WiFi. A number of other state governments, including Kaduna, Katsina, Sokoto, Kebbi and Niger also implemented a partial shutdown of telecom services. There are reports that some of these restrictions have been lifted, with Nigerian media reporting that communications in Kaduna and Zamfara states have been restored as of December 2021.

“Despite the reported restoration of communications in some states, future shutdowns may happen at short notice and may also be extended to new areas without advanced notice.

“Although not officially included in the suspension, there is a possibility that areas of neighbouring states to Zamfara, including state border regions with Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger and Kaduna may also be affected by the telecommunications black-out.

“Regular military operations are ongoing in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states. If you live or work in Nigeria, you should monitor developments in these states and announcements by the state governments as there is an increased threat of retaliatory attacks elsewhere in Nigeria as a result of these military operations. There has been an increase in insurgent attacks in Borno State. Since October 2019, there has been an increasing trend of terrorist groups constructing illegal vehicle checkpoints on major supply and commercial routes in northern Nigeria and attacking vehicles travelling on major roads into Maiduguri, Borno State, including the A3 Maiduguri-Damaturu road. These attacks have directly targeted civilians, security forces and aid workers. Furthermore, 2020 has seen increased activity by terrorist groups and related violent incidents in the immediate vicinity of humanitarian hubs. A humanitarian hub was targeted during an attack on Monguno town on June 13, 2020. This was followed by negative propaganda about humanitarian activity in the North East. In July 2020, shots were fired at a UN humanitarian helicopter in the region. Local humanitarian staff were executed in an unrelated event.

“If you’re in the North East against FCDO advice, keep in touch with the authorities and the wider community on the security situation and make sure your procedures and contingency plans are up to date.”

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Nigeria Newspapers

President Buhari departs Abuja for UAE

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President Muhammadu Buhari will on Thursday depart Abuja for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to meet the new president of the country, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The president will meet the new President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to convey his condolences on the passing of the former president and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, His Highness, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The President will also extend his congratulations to the new President, renewing bonds of the longstanding friendship between Nigeria and the UAE.

Buhari, in an earlier congratulatory message to the new UAE leader, had reaffirmed Nigeria’s cordial relationship with the country.

He noted that the cooperation between both governments has helped Nigeria in tracking down illegal assets and tracing terrorist funds.

Under the new leadership, President Buhari looks forward to a bigger and stronger partnership for peace, stability, and prosperity for both countries.

President Buhari will be accompanied by the Minister of State Foreign Affairs, Amb. Zubairu Dada, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Pantami, the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Mohammed Bello, and the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika.

Other members of his delegation are the National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. Mohammed Monguno (Rtd) and the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Ambassador Ahmed Rufai Abubakar.

The President is expected back in the country on Saturday.

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Nigeria Newspapers

$200bn investments needed to access clean cooking gas by 2030-Sylva

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From Uche Usim, Abuja

With the global energy transition chants reaching a crescendo, the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva has said that an annual investment of around $25 billion in the next eight years could help 2.6 billion people globally access clean cooking by 2030.

He also canvassed for $25 billion annual investments for electricity so that 759 million Africans who currently lack it can enjoy it.

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The Minister, who said these at the annual Symposium and Exhibition of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), on Tuesday in Lagos.

However, the Minister stressed that with “approximately 208.62 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of proven gas valued at over $803.9 trillion and potential upside of 600TCF of gas, the most extensive in Africa, and in the top 10 globally.

“And in line with Federal Government’s declaration of years 2021-2030 as the ‘Decade of Gas’, we are taking steps to expand and develop the nation’s huge gas resources through

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enhanced gas exploration, development and utilisation schemes which will lead to gas reserves growth, increased gas production, maturation of the domestic and export gas market, as well as gas flare elimination,” he said.

His suggestions drew inspiration from the United Nations Commission for Africa’s (UNECA) report, which highlighted that Africa needs about $40 billion worth of investments every year if it is to meet its energy needs.

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The Minister, while making reference to the United Nations’ Department of Economic and Social Affairs report, noted that everyone in the world could have access to clean, affordable energy within the next nine to 10 years if countries modestly increase investments in the energy sector.

He said: “A major question that is yet to beanswered is whether Africa will benefit from an equitable share in this global

investment and growth or, will continue to fall further behind global standards as encapsulated in the UN’s 17-SDGs.

“Despite the long-term and required drop in demand for fossil fuels, short-term demand and prices remain robust, providing strong commercial justification for their extraction and a need to smooth the transition”.

Sylva added that the required investment represents only a small fraction of the multi-trillion-dollar global energy investment needed overall.

He noted that despite contributing less than 6% of world energy consumption and 2% of total global emissions, there is a need for the continent to shift to cleaner energy use.

With significantly untapped fossil fuel reserves, which could provide much-needed foreign direct investment and export revenue, Sylva said Africa has the ability to play a leading role and should play a leading role in the transition to a net-zero energy future. According to him, the continent’s enormous resources can be harnessed using clean energy technologies.

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Describing the PIA as a game changer, Sylva said the legislation will help support the continent to alleviate energy poverty.

He said: “The PIA has generous incentives to enable development, distribution, penetration, and utilisation of gas even as it incentivizes entry into the midstream, especially for pipelines with an additional 5-year tax holiday for investment in gas pipelines.

“The PIA is a supply-side enabler, capable of provoking and triggering commercial interests and investments in gas utilization as well as treating gas as a stand-alone commodity.”

“As a nation, we are following a transition pathway that combines technology, investment, business strategies, and government policy that will enable Nigeria to transition from its current energy system to a low-carbon energy system with natural gas playing a pivotal role over the next generation, roughly between now and 2060.

“Natural gas is a key resource for a just energy transition and has all the credentials to support Nigeria and indeed Africa meet up with her commitment with the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“As a major source of wealth and energy in Africa, the development of oil and gas resources proves critical for our

economic growth and revenue expansion,” he added.

The Minister insisted that there must be multiple pathways to the energy transition in order to ensure that no country is left behind in the process of achieving net-zero by 2060.

“As a continent, we need to be

intentional and recognize the need to develop hydrocarbon resources in environmentally and socially responsible ways.

“And as alluded to by the African

Union, we need to be realistic in choosing the energy transition pathways which addresses our unique requirements and circumstances. As well as enhancing policy, legislation and implementation approaches across national, regional, and continental level, to enable a favorable environment for development.

“We need to develop bankable projects to scale up access to funding and investment. And adopt a mix of energy solutions to address the needs of each country including solutions to high tariffs and accessibility to sustainable energy options.

“We need to promote energy efficiency which is necessary for energy transition and focus on building energy infrastructure and strengthening transmission corridors,” Sylva said.

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