Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - The commencement of the big reform in the power sector, devastating floods and the return of First lady Dame Patience Jonathan from "medical treatment" abroad highlighted reports in the Nigerian papers in the past week.
"Abdulsalami’s group wins Ikeja, Ibadan PHCN firms" was the screaming headline in the NATION on Wednesday, with the rider 'Fed Govt makes N197.25b from sale of 10 electricity distribution companies'. (US$1=157 Naira).
The story said Integrated Energy Distribution and Marketing, a firm owned by former military head of state Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar Tuesday emerged the core investor of the Eko, Ikeja, Ibadan and Yola electricity distribution companies.
The Chairman of the Technical Committee, National Council on Privatisation (NCP), Mr. Atedo Peterside, broke the news in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, during the opening of the commercial bids of the privatisation of the successor distribution companies o
In the case of Kaduna Distribution company, he noted, “neither of the two bids received was technically qualified.
“Therefore, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) will invite fresh bids from all the pre-qualified bidders, in accordance with the ‘Plan’ approved by the NCP in respect of the privatisation of any unsold successor company. Plan B entails inviting fresh bids from all the shortlisted bidders that paid the required US$ 20,000 fee for the bid documents.”
The PUNCH ran the same story on Wednesday with the headline "Bidding: Abdusalami’s company to get biggest electricity firms."
It is no longer news that Nigeria was hit recently by flood, but what is news now is the devastation and destruction that accompanied it as X-rayed in the SUN, THISDAY and THE NATION newspapers.
The SUN Tuesday had the screaming headline "President Jonathan’s house bows to flood" with the rider '…As Dickson orders evacuation of Otuoke natives".
According to the SUN, Governor Henry Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State in Southern Nigeria Monday ordered the immediate evacuation of President Jonathan's kinsmen in Otuoke, the Ogbia Local Government Area of the South South Bayelsa State, even as the President’s country home was not spared by the rampaging flood that has submerged the community.
The concerned residents were sacked by the flood which in the last three weeks rendered thousands of people in the state homeless, and property, worth millions of naira, destroyed.
Assessing the level of damage during his visit to the affected areas, the Governor, through his Deputy, Rear Admiral Gborubiogha John Jonah (rtd), ordered the evacuation of the affected residents to one of the relief camps in the community.
The NATION, under the headline "My personal house now under water", also quoted President Jonathan as saying his country home was submerged up to window level.
The papers also reported that the flood victims, apart from losing their farmlands and homes, have been subjected to another form of hardship.
The headline, "Rapists invade flood victims’ camps," told the story of how security agencies are battling with increasing rape cases at the various relief camps established for victims of flood in Bayelsa.
According to investigations, the security agencies were investigating five rape cases.
Sources at the camp said their assailants who exploit the poor coordination at the camp to rape their victims, whom they ambushed in the dark.
Writing on the same issue, THISDAY newspaper headlined its story "19 Women Raped in Benue Camps for Flood Victims".
The story said it was double jeopardy for 19 female refugees at various resettlement camps in Benue State who were raped by men who were not bothered by the discomforting displacement they are suffering as a result of the flood.
Cases of rape have been reported in four of the designated camps.
The NATION summed up its story with the headline "Flood Pushes up Food Prices as Inflation Eases to 11.3%", reporting that the Composite Consumer Price Index (CPI), which gauges the level of inflation in the country, eased to 11.3 per cent in September from 11.7 per cent in August.
But the drop in inflation is not reflective of the marginal rise in prices of food items as a result of the flood, which ravaged many parts of the country in the period under review.
The relative stability of the Naira within the period as well as crop harvesting exercises, which began late July and early August, helped to mitigate the severity of the impact on food price hike, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Wednesday.
On a brighter note, the papers reported the return to Nigeria of Dame Patience Jonathan, wife of President Jonathan, from medical check and treatment in Germany.
Dame Patience Wednesday returned to Nigeria to a carnival-like reception at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.
Mrs. Jonathan left Nigeria about six weeks ago without her office or the President’s saying where she was or the reason for her trip.
Most of what Nigerians knew about her trip were media speculations that she went abroad for medical treatment, which the State House denied.
The GUARDIAN ran the story under the headline "Pomp as Patience Jonathan returns" while the the NATION covered it under the headline "First Lady: God has given me a second chance".
-0- PANA VAO/SEG 21Oct2012