The five-man panel of justices led by Mohammed Garba has passed its first ruling on a motion filed by INEC, which had asked that Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo be joined alongside Buhari as a party in the petition filed by Atiku. The commission had said Osinbajo deserves a right to fair hearing as a co-winner of the election.
But in a unanimous judgement the tribunal dismisses the motion as filed by INEC.
Citing section 178 of the constitution, Garba says there is no need for Osinbajo to be joined in the matter. “The vice-president was nominated by the presidential candidate,” the lead justice adds.
Meanwhile, some of those present in the court room from President Muhammadu Buhari’s side include, APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, some ministers Babatunde Raji Fashola (Works and Housing), Abubakar Malami (Minister for Justice and Attorney-General), Dr. Chris Ngige (Labour), Festus Keyamo (SAN) (Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs) and Osita Okechukukw, DG of Voice of Nigeria (VON) amongst others.
Also present is Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abba Kyari, who was one of the seven witnesses called by the president during the court sittings, and a former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu.
The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus is also at the Tribunal, which is packed to the rafters.
Buhari to address UNGA today
President Buhari Muhammadu Buhari will, today, address world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly on the progress being made by Nigeria in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The President departed Abuja for New York, United States of America on Sunday to participate at the 74th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President, Femi Adesina had, in a statement, explained that Buhari, during the event, would underscore his administration’s commitment to building on the achievements of its three-point agenda following the renewal of his electoral mandate by majority of Nigerians.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, in an exclusive interview, shortly before his departure, told New Telegraph that few issues, including the current insecurity challenge in parts of the country and the level of the implementation of the SDGs, would feature in the President’s presentation to the world leaders.
He said: “There are many things that Nigeria hopes to get from the United Nations. Peace and security is one of them, illicit financial flows is another one of our priorities; implementing our Sustainable Development Goals agenda is one of them, especially the Lake Chad area and also the climate change issue is another area that we are focusing on, ” he noted.
Onyeama continued: “The theme is of course, inclusiveness, poverty alleviation and education. Those are also areas that we will be pushing and meeting with different actors in New York during the General Assembly to achieve all our objectives.”
The presidency has, however, confirmed that during the event, President Buhari will also reaffirm Nigeria’s position on salient global issues.
These include: SDGs’ Integration – Bridging the policy planning – Budget gap for the achievement of SDGs, organized by the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals; promotion of international cooperation to combat illicit financial flows and strengthen good practices on assets recovery and return to foster sustainable development, organized by the Office of the National Coordinator/CEO.
Others are: African Union Development Agency-New Partnership for Africa’s Development/African Peer Review Mechanism (AUDA-NEPAD/APRM) in collaboration with the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other anti-corruption bodies.
President Buhari will also hold bilateral meetings with other world leaders, as well as chief executive officers of large companies with interests in investing in Nigeria.
President Buhari is accompanied to the UN meeting by the Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule; Kebbi State governor, Atiku Bagudu; and Osun State governor, Gboyega Oyetola.
Others members of his delegation are the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of Environment, Muhammad Mahmoud; Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire; Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sa’adiya Farouk; Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu; and Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu.
How retiring NASS’ civil servants fleece FG
- It’s speculative, says Assembly’s Information Director
Retiring top civil servants at the National Assembly have been accused of duping the Federal Government of millions of naira through some last minute office furniture contracts.
The special purpose contracts are designed as in-house deals meant to deliver the furniture procured for the office to the home of the retiring staff.
New Telegraph investigations at the weekend, revealed how retiring management staff of the National Assembly used to scheme to cart away office property at their time of retirement.
However, the Director of Information, National Assembly, Comrade Rawlings Agada, has denied knowledge of the deals, describing the allegation as speculative.
He said that he was not aware that such a thing was happening in the legislative institution.
But an aggrieved senior staff of the National Assembly, who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity, for fear of victimization, said the corrupt furniture contracts were real and have become a tradition which must be exposed along with other corrupt tendencies of the management staff of the parliament.
The source, who said that he was sick of the quantum of corruption going on unchecked at the National Assembly, said that senior staff, who were due for retirement, usually applied for refurnishing of their offices, two to three months before their retirement dates.
The source hinted that such requests were usually granted and the offices in question fully furnished with property worth millions of naira, when their occupants were already on their way out of service.
He further said that officers, whose offices had been furnished would, again, ask the management to allow them take away these new furniture as their own property, as that was their original motive for refurnishing the office in the first place.
The source also noted that such requests were usually granted by the management and the retiring officers would “sweep” the offices, carting away every single item in those offices for their personal use, when they proceed on their terminal leave.
New Telegraph learnt that items usually taken away by the retiring staff include complete sets of office furniture, computers, photocopiers, printers, television sets, refrigerators, water dispensers, sound systems, electric kettles and rugs, among others.
The source said that immediately after the retirees had packed all the items, fresh requests would be made from the relevant units or departments for the affected offices to be furnished again.
According to the source, when other concerned persons raise questions as to what happened to the items recently procured to equip those offices, no answers would be given, and yet the supplies would be made to refurnish the offices.
It was, however, further learnt that this fraudulent practice was not a new development as the scam was said to have become an entrenched tradition in the National Assembly over the years.
The source stressed that the civil servants working at the National Assembly were worse than the senators and the members of the House of Representatives in terms of corruption.
He further asserted that the lawmakers could never succeed in perpetrating any fraudulent transaction or activity without connivance with the civil servants, particularly those at the management cadre.
He said: “Corruption in the National Assembly starts from us, the civil servants. We are worse than politicians when it comes to corruption.
“Mark my word, politicians can never succeed in carrying out any act of corruption without the connivance of the civil servants.
“One of the corrupt practices happening in this National Assembly is that, when a management staff wants to retire, he or she will ask for refurnishing of his or her office, with millions of naira.
“The way they do it is that this request usually comes two to three months to the retirement date of the person. Then, when the retirement is due, the person will request that he or she should be allowed to pack the newly supplied items as a way of assisting him or her for retiring from service.
“This request is usually granted by the management and the person will sweep; I mean, ransack if you like, and then thoroughly sweep the office, and pack all those newly purchased items to his or her home, and start using them as personal property.
“Then, there will be a fresh request for refurnishing of the same office for the new person, who will replace the one that retired.
“When someone asks, “was it not just two months or three months ago that the office was furnished?” nobody will answer that question, and yet orders will be placed and supplies will be made for new items.
“People don’t even know the level of corruption that is going on here. If they open your eyes to the kind of corruption that goes on in the National Assembly, especially at the management level, you will weep for this country.”
The source, who was highly embittered by the rot in the federal parliament, revealed that those responsible for this high level fraud usually engaged their cronies to execute the contracts, while they collect their negotiated percentage without people noticing or suspecting their involvement in the scam.
Confirming this allegation, another senior staff of the National Assembly, who also spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity, said that the information was true but lamented that nobody would punish anybody since the fraud was happening at the topmost echelon of the bureaucratic ladder.
“It is true. Though I am not a management staff, I know that it has been happening over the years and there is nothing you can do about it because those who are supposed to take punitive action against the culprits are actually the culprits themselves or indirect beneficiaries of the fraud”, the source said.
When contacted by our correspondent, the Director of Information, Comrade Rawlings Agada, urged the public to discountenance the issue as a mere speculation, saying that he was not aware of the practice.
He, however, observed that certain privileges were attached to certain offices to appreciate and encourage officers, who have meritoriously served the nation in various capacities.
According to him, if certain privileges were extended to staff of the National Assembly bureaucracy, it should not be seen as a fraud.
“The information you are seeking to clarify is purely speculative. I am a director and about to retire very soon, but I am not aware that such a thing is being done. So, like I said, it is speculative.
“But there are certain privileges that are attached to certain offices which are purely internal issues. Some of these things are done to appreciate officers who have served meritoriously as an encouragement to them and even to those who are still in service.
“My appeal to the media is that we should focus on discussions that will help us to move the country forward. There are many issues that we can engage in, in order to move the entire system forward rather than discussing such issues that can better be described as petty talks,” he appealed.
FG requires $3trn to close infrastructure gap -Ahmed
The Nigerian government would have to commit about $3 trillion into infrastructural investment for the next 30 years to close the infrastructure gap, according to the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed.
She said that only by such quantum of investment, would Nigeria be able to match the pace of her rapidly growing population, and increase the current infrastructure stock from 30 per cent of the GDP to at least 70 per cent by the year 2043.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja at a one-day workshop on Maximizing Finance for Development (MFD) of Infrastructure in Nigeria organised by the World Bank Group, Ahmed added that, “it is estimated that $3 trillion infrastructure investment would be needed for the next 30 years, and provides the framework that will guide interventions, investments, as well as budgetary allocations to the sector for the period”.
“Nigeria requires an estimated sum of $3 trillion to bridge its infrastructure gap over a 30-year period. This amount to roughly $100 billion per year, with a total federal budget of less than $30 billion for 2019 and the dependency of Nigeria’s income on oil revenue with unpredictable global price fluctuation, Nigeria no doubt, lacks the fiscal space to self-finance the required infrastructure investment”, she stated.
Ahmed said that despite all the comparative advantages in natural and human resources, Nigeria’s ability to fully actualise its economic growth potential is repressed by the country’s huge infrastructure gap, recalling that it was in an effort to address the issue that the Nigeria’s National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan (NIIMP) was approved in 2014 as a policy document which was designed to provide the roadmap for building a world class infrastructure that would guarantee sustainable economic growth and development.
Giving an overview of Nigeria’s infrastructure gap, the Honourable Minister said that Nigeria’s core infrastructure stock is currently estimated at 30 per cent of the GDP which falls far short of the international benchmark of 70 per cent. The effect of weak infrastructure, she noted, is most striking in the energy and transportation sector. The two sectors, according to her, are key to national and economic development due to their multiplier effect across all sectors of the economy.
“Nigeria has an average electricity consumption per inhabitant of 150kwh (kilowatt/hour) as against over 3000kwh world average (WBG). The current power generation of less than 10GW (Gigawatt) is less than half of the projected 20GW of generation capacity by 2018 which is expected to be increased to 350GW by 2043. To achieve this target, an excess of 10GW of generation capacity is expected to be added every year for the 30 years’ period of NIIMP (2014-2043)”.
On road network, she said Nigeria is ahead of the West African average, but behind the international and the Britain, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) benchmarks.
“Looking at the individual sectors, the largest investment needs are in energy and transport, which represent more than 50 per cent of the required infrastructure investment”, she said further.
Considering the financing plan with the infrastructure gap in mind, the Minister stated that the investment is planned to be financed through both public and private sector participation.
“The private sector is expected to cater for about 48 per cent of the investments which will account for assets that are fully owned and financed by the private sector itself. The remaining 52 per cent of the required investment is expected to be financed from a combination of public and private sector for the first phase of the implementation. The private sector is expected to play a key role in providing critical infrastructure, either directly through privatization or in collaboration with the government under public private partnership (PPP) arrangements,” she said.
She identified four primary financing options which include, governments’ budgets; public debt; other public sources (e.g. Sovereign Wealth Fund, Public Pension Fund); and PPPs, available for financing the investments.
Border closure: 500 trucks trapped at Seme –Freight Forwarders
- Customs warns comptrollers against sharp practices at ports, borders
More than 500 trucks laden with perishable goods are currently stranded at Seme since last one month.
The trucks were denied entry following the joint-border security exercise, code-named ‘Ex-Swift Response’, which led to the partial closure of the country’s borders.
The security exercise, which commenced on August 19, 2019 is being jointly conducted by the customs, immigration, police and military personnel and coordinated by the Office of the National Security Adviser to checkmate banditry, smuggling of illegal arms and ammunition, unwholesome drugs, foodstuffs and the cross-border movement of undocumented, illegal persons into the country.
The Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANCLA) said yesterday that some of the importers of the goods who had paid their duties to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) had incurred losses.
According to Seme Border Chapter Chairman of association, Mr. Bisiriyu Fanu, the stranded goods belonged to genuine importers.
He said in Seme that the trucks were parked at the border with the perishable goods.
Fanu lamented that the importers were expected to take delivery of the goods through the border when the trucks got stuck by the government policy.
The chairman explained that the partial border closure had impacted negatively on the country’s economy.
Fanu said: “The impact of the closure is enormous. If you go to some markets in Lagos like Balogun, Idumagbo, Idumota and Oyingbo, people from neighbouring countries, who always patronize them, are no more coming. Everything as at now is at stand still even in Lagos markets.”
He called on the Federal Government to take physical examination of the trucks at the border post and allow them into the country.
Fanu said that genuine traders that had their goods at the border post for 34 days were suffering.
He appealed to the government to free the trucks to enable importers take delivery of their goods.
Fanu said: “We are begging the government to release the trailers so that the people that borrowed money from banks will be able to pay back the loan and still remain in business.”
Meanwhile, Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col Hameed Ali, has warned area commands over undervaluation of cargoes at port and borders.
He noted that some officers were engaging in undervaluation of high duty cargoes in order to evade duty payment.
As at the time of filing this report, the Public Relations Officer of the service failed to respond to a message sent to find out why the goods were not released at the border.
In a circular issued by the Customs headquarters on 4th September, signed by the Deputy Comptroller General, Tariff and Trade, Isa Talatu, the service said it had uncovered misapplication and undervaluation of high duty cargoes for the purpose of duty evasion in most of the area commands.
Apparently disturbed by the trend, Alli, through the DCG Tariff and Trade, in the circular titled “T&T/2019 circular No 10. Re: Misapplication and Undervaluation of Cargoes” warned that any officer caught in the act would be severely dealt with.
It reads: “I am directed to refer to the above subject matter. Intelligence had confirmed the misapplication of classification and under valuation of high duty cargoes for the purpose of duty and levy evasion in most Area Commands.
“This act has the potential of impeding negatively on revenue generating efforts of the Service.
“In consequence, all CACs are requested to intensify and ensure 100 per cent inspection of imports. Any officer found complicit or working at cross purpose would be sanctioned in accordance with the appropriate sections of the Public Service Regulations (PSR).”
Messi wins record sixth FIFA Best Player award
Lionel Messi has been named the Best Men’s Player at the Best FIFA Football Awards, beating Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil van Dijk to the annual prize.
Messi has another 12 months to celebrate but again found the game’s top prizes out of his reach. Barcelona won La Liga once again as Messi was the top scorer across Europe and provided the most assists in Spain’s top flight.
However, a semi-final second-leg collapse at Anfield saw Barca miss out in the Champions League once again as Liverpool scored 4-0 to seal a remarkable 4-3 aggregate win.
On the international stage, Messi suffered another semi-final exit as Argentina lost 2-0 to Brazil in the Copa America in July before beating Chile in the third-place play-off.
After nine years at Real Madrid, Ronaldo moved to Juventus last summer in a deal worth £100million looking for a new challenge at the age of 33 and was named Serie A’s most valuable player 10 months later after winning the Scudetto.
Ronaldo finished as club’s top scorer in every domestic competition he competed in before leading Portugal to UEFA Nations League glory over the summer.
The forward scored a hat-trick in the semi-final win over Switzerland before captaining the final win over Netherlands in Porto.
Van Dijk is widely regarded as the best centre-back in the world and since he joined Liverpool, the club have been transformed from a vulnerable defence to among the best in Europe, culminating with their Champions League triumph in June of this year after finishing as runners-up 12 months prior.
Heavy marijuana use could reduce sperm quality
Scientists from Denmark said heavy cannabis users were more likely to have poor quality sperm due to the way tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in cannabis interacts with the endocannabinoid system in the body.
These are the findings of a new study published in the journal ‘Scientific Reports’.
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects. It acts much like the cannabinoid chemicals made naturally by the body, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
An estimated one in seven United States (US) adults uses marijuana. With more and more states legalising medicinal and recreational marijuana, it’s important to understand the effects of cannabis on sperm and if these changes hinder healthy fetal development.
Whether or not marijuana use causes fertility problems and negatively affects sperm remains inconclusive as studies on the topic were mixed.
Research has shown that moderate cannabis use can increase sperm counts, but another study found that THC in cannabis can lead to pronounced genetic changes in sperm.
In the new study, the researchers analysed testicle tissue from 15 men and pieces of the cannabis system were found within the tissue samples.
The researchers said that heavy THC use may overwhelm cannabis receptors and disrupt signaling crucial to healthy sperm development.
In contrast, moderate cannabis users may see some benefits, but heavy use could counter these benefits and lead to lower quality sperm in men.
According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), sperm defects include too few sperm, sperm that don’t move well (motility) or low-quality sperm.
There are a lot of factors that involve a man’s overall health that turn out to impair sperm production.
The study provides new evidence supporting observations that recreational cannabis can have possible deleterious effects on human testicular function,” the researchers stated in the study.
Making NYG, NSF count for development
The National Youth Games was concluded in Ilorin, Kwara State last week Monday. A total of 3,893 athletes from 33 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) competed in 34 sporting events.
A total of 238 up and coming athletes were discovered and they are to be nurtured by the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports. We strongly hope this will happen.
However, Delta State emerged overall champions at the games with 104 medals to win for the record fifth time. Team Delta won 41 gold, 32 silver and 31 bronze medals. And so, Delta has won all five editions of the game since its inception in 2013.
Team Lagos placed second in the medals table after garnering 72 medals which comprise 22 gold, 36 silver and 14 bronze medals. Bayelsa came third with 45 medals after 17 gold, six silver and 22 bronze medals.
Akwa Ibom placed fourth in the table with 41 medals comprising 16 gold, 12 silver and 13 bronze medals.
We commend Delta State for its consistency in the past five editions of the games. The exploits of the state did not come as a surprise. We are aware that over 12 stadia are scattered all over the state with elite and young athletes springing up at every national event. It is sad that in the past seven years, the National Sports Festival, which is an upgrade of the National Youth Games, has only taken place once. Many talents could have been lost due to the long period the event was in limbo. Abuja 2019 National Festival took place because the ministry was eager to end the long wait. The last games before that took place in Lagos in 2012. We charge the ministry to avoid a repeat of such which was largely due to financial problems from the prospective host.
Going forward, it is important to determine how these athletes are transiting from one age grade to the other. We charge the national coaches in the geo-political zones in the country to make the grassroots competitions count. The over 200 young athletes discovered in Ilorin should be exposed and taken to another level to serve as back-up for the current elite athletes.
We make bold to say youth development is a key vehicle to drive growth in the sports sector. Administrators of sports look up to the youth to prepare for the future in the country in terms of grassroots development and talent discovery.
Unfortunately, the situation is not the same in Nigeria as administrators are in a hurry to record instant results and so there is little or no place for the youth. The transition through the age groups that many Nigerians clamour for in football is also not prevalent in other sports in the country.
Coaches prefer a quick fix situation to prosecute competitions and to achieve results for the national teams. Rather than project to have some players in the national team fold in four years, the coaches prefer looking for athletes who can immediately make an impact in their respective teams.
What has been missing in the sports sector is a policy template to help in the general operations of the industry. The fire brigade approach of prosecuting competitions has become a normal practice. There should be national coaches and scouts in all youth developmental competition. This has nothing to do with whether the competition is staged by the federations or not. We make bold to say there is nothing wrong in national coaches attending a competition staged by private bodies to scout for talents.
For example, the Higher Institution Football League, which is a private initiative, is ongoing but the NFF has not shown interest to look in that direction to get talents. This is wrong. We recall that in the past, there was a Manuwa Adebajo Football Competition for all higher institutions. The event produced many notable players for the Flying Eagles. Adeolu Adekola and Nosa Osadolor were in the Chile ’87 and they earned the call up to camp from the Manuwa Adebajo tournament.
We recall that the Africa Wrestling Championship was hosted by Rivers State last year and there was a junior cadre where close to 100 wrestlers represented Nigeria. Those talents should be further exposed to prepare them for future challenges.
Athletics, table tennis and boxing are traditional sports where talents abound in the federations and there should be a deliberate effort to fish them out and expose them for future challenges.
For example, a developmental competition, the Zenith Bank/Delta Principals’ Cup, is billed to start on September 30 in the 25 local governments in Delta State. This is the number one state in the country in sports and we expect NFF or state football federation scouts to keep an eye on players that could be invited into the Future Eagles camp or the Eaglets.
It is good that the new Sports Minister Sunday Dare is passionate about grassroots development and we expect him to woo the corporate Nigeria to enable the ministry take advantage of all developmental events in the country. It is important to identify budding talents at tender age and take them to the next level in terms of exposure.
FG overwhelmed by insecurity, say Catholic Bishops
he Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has expressed concerns over the continued insecurity in the country, saying that the Federal Government appeared overwhelmed by the development.
The episcopal body, which noted that various security challenges have made living in Nigeria very precarious, called for proper decentralization of security agencies for effective results.
Rising from the CBCN second plenary meeting held in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, the bishops said in a communiqué that there can be no stability and enabling environment for meaningful development without adequate security of lives and property.
The communiqué, titled “Moving beyond precarious living in Nigeria,” was jointly signed by the CBCN President, Most Rev. Augustine Akubeze and the Secretary, Most Rev. Camillus Umoh.
It observed that the nation’s democracy was fast derailing, noting that the qualities of accountability, transparency, independence of the judiciary, respect for fundamental rights, observance of the rule of law, and fair and credible electoral process were still lacking.
It appealed to the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration not to allow ethnic or religious hegemony to prevail in the country, adding that there should be fairness in appointments to positions of national importance, sharing of resources and distribution of social amenities.
While acknowledging efforts being made to fight insecurity in the land, the Catholic bishops declared that a lot more still needs to be done.
The CBCN urged governments at all levels to provide the enabling environment for the creation of job opportunities for teeming youth population, noting that this would minimise the menace of insecurity in the country.
The body also called on the government and security agencies to do all they can to secure the immediate release of Leah Sharibu, the remaining Chibok girls and all other persons still in captivity.
The communiqué partly read, “There are, unfortunately, still many instances of killings as a result of banditry, kidnapping, assassination, armed robbery, reckless use of force by security agencies and lynching. Lately, too, there is an upsurge in the cases of suicide, even among our youths.
“Furthermore, the clashes between herdsmen and communities, and the activities of Boko Haram insurgents have continued, in which many innocent people lost their lives. These make living in Nigeria very precarious.
“We recognise the efforts being made by the government to fight insecurity in the land. However, we emphasize that a lot more still needs to be done in this regard.
“We observe that the Federal Government, in which the power to control the major security agencies is vested, is overwhelmed. There is, therefore, need for proper decentralization of these agencies for effective results.
“We call on all citizens to be law abiding and vigilant, be one another’s keeper, live by sound moral principles and, above all, obey the commandments of God. We urge governments at all levels to provide the enabling environment that would make it possible for both the government and the private sector to create job opportunities for our teeming youth population. This would certainly minimise the menace of insecurity in our land.
“We thank God for making it possible for our country to continue to exist as a sovereign nation. Yet, much effort is required from both government and citizens in order to have a nation in which everyone and every part, irrespective of differences of tribe or religion or political affiliation, will have a sense of belonging.
“We note with dismay that many months after the general elections, many parts of our nation are still in disarray. The country is badly divided. This is evident in appointments to positions of national importance, sharing of resources and distribution of social amenities.
“We urge especially the Federal Government to ensure that it does not allow ethnic or religious hegemony to prevail in our multi-religious and secular state. No one religion should be favoured over another.
“There should be fairness, justice and neutrality in relation to all religions and ethnic groups, for where there is no justice; there can be no peace, unity and development. We, therefore, enjoin all Nigerians to see themselves as one united people and work for justice in order to ensure a peaceful and united nation.
“While praying for solutions to our problems, we must endeavour to be just in our dealings with others, work hard in fulfilling our duties, and collaborate with others in the social transformation of our country.
“We, therefore, urge all politicians, businessmen, religious leaders, public servants and, indeed, all citizens to live out the values of their faith for the common good.”
The second plenary meeting was held between September 11 and 20 at the Divine Mercy Pastoral Centre, Agbamaya, Obada-Oko, Abeokuta.
OML 65: FG targets fresh $6.35bn taxes, royalties
- NNPC signs $875.75m alternative financing deal for oil bloc’s expansion
he Federal Government, yesterday, declared its plan to increase royalty and taxes from the oil sector with a fresh $6.35 billion.
The government declared this through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), maintaining that the target would be met through the expansion of Oil Mining Lease (OML) 65.
The corporation announced the closure of $875.75 million alternative financing deal for the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) operated OML 65 through the funding and technical services agreement with CMES-OMS Petroleum Development Company (CPDC).
A statement from the NNPC said that the Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Umar Ajiya, disclosed that the project, which scope cuts across exploration, development, production and provision of facilities with incremental first oil targeted for Q4 2020, was estimated to have potential reserves of 800 million barrels of oil equivalent (mboe) with an ultimate recoverable reserve of 244mboe and cumulative production of 44mboe from the Abura Main and Abura SE fields.
Ajiya explained that, “over the project’s life, it was expected to generate over $6.35 billion in taxes and royalties to the federation to support government’s medium to long term economic development agenda,” the statement issued by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs division, NNPC, Ndu Ughamadu, read.
Speaking at the closing meeting with the financing partners in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Ajiya described the contract financing model as an innovative approach by NPDC to funding its operations in response to the challenging economic environment, saying the approach would fast-track the development of NPDCs’ under-developed assets.
He informed that the project was expected to ramp up production at OML 65 from 900barrels per day to 60, 000 barrels per day with an average production over field life at 40,000 barrels per day.
Throwing more light on the financing strategy, the CFO explained that the package entailed comprehensive financing solution that addresses the complex issues involved in growing NPDC’s production, minimises its cost of capital, and maximises its value preservation, adding that it also strikes a balance between risk and reward, which gives investors a rate of return that is commensurate with funding a brownfield project that has significant exploration risk.
He said the expectation was that this collaboration between NPDC and CPDC would translate in real terms into efficient execution of scope of activities for the optimal development of the OML 65 asset within cost and schedule, whilst maximising value to all the stakeholders.
He said it was projected that the collaboration would enhance operational and financial performance strictly guided by the pre-agreed Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), which remains critical to determining incentive payment due to CPDC.
On CPDC’s right to provide technical services, the CFO listed the field of consideration in this regard to include drilling and completion services, building capacity and technology transfer, generating employment opportunities for youths with attendant positive multiplier effect on the nation’s economy, among other considerations.
FG suspends Nigeria’s auto policy plan
… to unveil new automotive policy
The Federal Government has finally announced the suspension of the controversial National Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP) in the country.
This is following mounting pressures from the members of the Organised Private Sector (OPS) and auto stakeholders for review the six-year-old auto policy for industrial purposes.
Also, President Muhammadu Buhari may have dropped the auto policy bill passed by the 8th National Assembly by refusing to assent to the bill following negative feedbacks received from auto stakeholders and private sector operators. They had argued on its severe implication to the country’s economic growth and development if signed into law.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, made these known in Lagos on Friday. He said that government was already planning to send a fresh auto policy bill to the National Assembly that would contain the inputs and views of auto stakeholders, private sector operators and interests of Nigerians in a bid to achieve inclusive industrialization growth in vehicles manufacturing in Nigeria.
The minister explained that the six-year-old auto policy promulgated under the previous’ administration of former President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has failed to achieve the desired outcome for the country’s industrialisation bid in vehicle manufacturing and impact positively on businesses of auto manufacturers.
Rather, he said that it continues to generate uproar among the auto operators in the sector.
Adebayo said that there is going to be a new auto policy soon, designed for the sector that would capture all stakeholders’ views and inputs and that of government which would revolutionise the sector and make it productive and strategic for the country’s economy.
He noted that that President Muhammadu Buhari refused to assent to the recently passed auto policy bill by the 8th National Assembly following pressure from the OPS and auto stakeholders on the implication for the country’s economy, especially since the old auto policy already adversely impacted on the cost of doing business, welfare of the people, government’s revenue and the capacity of the economy to create jobs, including causing massive trade diversion to neighboring countries.
According to him, since he resumed as the country’s Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment, he has been inundated with public outcry, stiff opposition from the OPS for a review of the country’s auto policy since the one decreed by the Jonathan administration in 2013 was long overdue without any meaningful impact on the development of vehicles manufacturing in the country.
He stated that government is committed to having a new auto policy that will not only ensure abundant vehicles manufacturing, but also allow Nigerians to buy vehicles at cheaper and affordable prices.
“When this new administration came in this year, and I was appointed as the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, the automotive policy is one of the things my ministry looked at. Unfortunately, a bill has been prepared by former administration and it has been brought to the attention of Mr. President to sign it by the previous National Assembly, having passed the bill. Then when Mr. President received it, he passed it out to the stakeholders and from the responses he received from them, he felt that it was not well received and accepted by them. That is why he refused to assent to it.”
He continued, “What we have decided to do in my ministry is to engage all the stakeholders and we are going to start a fresh auto policy and get it right. The last one that was done was not gotten right and we want to get it right this time around.
“So, we are going to engage all the stakeholders. Within the next couple of weeks, I want to visit all assembly plants in the country and call a meeting of all the owners of such plants for us to deliberate on a new auto policy for the country.”
Adebayo added: “This government is desirous in seeing to it that cars can be gotten by citizens at affordable and cheaper prices. So, we need to sit down with you (owners), we need to engage you and what can be done so we can produce cheap vehicles that Nigerians can buy and use.
“So, that is where we are as a government and I can assure you we are going to engage you and you will advise us on the direction to go. You are the people who are going to prepare whatever policy we want to come up for the auto sector. So, we need you and we need to benefit from your experience.”
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