This week in Nigeria

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This week, Nigeria put a $44 billion lawsuit against three tobacco firms namely, British American Tobacco, Phillip Morris and international tobacco, on hold.
The government claims that the lawsuit is necessary to compensate smoking related diseases. A similar lawsuit was brought against tobacco companies in the United States in the 90’s.

Although some activists approve the lawsuit, critics say that the goverment has not spent anything close to that amount in a federal budget let alone healthcare.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Presidential Economic Adviser has disclosed that the country needs about $4 million to revive the infrastructural gap in its power sector in the next four years, an amount which is beyond present financial capacities. President Yar’Adua bemoaned the $10 million invested in the sector between 2000 and 2005 as not having translated into power generation, nor transmission, nor distribution. He also explained that as being the reason behind the non-allocation of power in the 2008 Appropriation Bill.

In other developments, the Nigerian President in a meeting with the Vice President of GE made him aware of his administration’s need to have the development of infrastructure in certain critical sectors fast-tracked. Stressing the need for a partnership to transform the country by 2020 and put it among the top 20 countries in the world. Targetted sectors are; power and energy, gas gathering, cleaning and downstream grid and railways.

A N300 million project following the endormsement by the Lagos state government to develop a comprehensive master plan on the Lekki Peninsula is to be delivered in five months by the firm, Dar-Alhandasah Consultants.

The Lagos State governor sees the area as the fastest growing real estate corridor in Africa, with the largest concentration of private estate developments. He also said that its liveability was becoming increasingly worrisome due to haphazard developments. The new master plan is to include a proposed internal seaport as well as a deep sea port.

In other news, Port Harcourt Ports, was tha scene of an explosion last Friday around 7 am.The militant group, The Movement of Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) claimed responsibility. This came after an appeal from the Vice President Goodluck Jonathan failed to hit home in a meeting with prominent Ijaw leaders, in which assurances had been made to rescind the decision to resume hostilities.

The director of press of the state governor, Rotimi Amaechi, Mr. Nweke, rebuffed the claim of responsibility saying that official investigation revealed that the blast was the cause of a faulty engine.

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