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Breaking News Business Electricity Energy Power

MASS METERING ORDERED BY BUHARI IS A RUSE AND DOES NOT FUNDAMENTALLY ADDRESS THE PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH ESTIMATED BILLING

PRESS STATEMENT

CARE DEMANDS REVERSAL OF POWER SECTOR PRIVATISATION

It was widely reported that President Buhari had ordered the mass metering of Nigerians to end estimated billing. It was also reported that there will not be tariff increment except through ‘service-based principles’. The positions were made public through a tweet by James Momoh, the Chairman of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC). It is worthy to note and state with emphasis that the statement does not remove the clause that consumers are to pay for the metres as it is widely insinuated by many.

Coalition for Affordable and Regular Electricity (CARE) see these public pronouncements as mischievous, a ruse and lacking any concrete plan to resolve the very extortionist and exploitative estimated billing policy. The only thing government stated in response to estimated billing was the President’s approved waiver of import levy on meters, which is incapable of metering 5 million consumers. We want to remind Nigerians that the Meter Asset Providers (MAP) have been licensed by NERC and the federal government to sell meters to Nigerians at exorbitant prices and this policy is still in place. For instance, Ikeja Electric has hiked the price of meter from N39,765.86 and N72,085.68 for single-phase and three-phase metres respectively to N48,263.37 and N89,063.33. Going by these exorbitant and unwarranted charges, it is clear that the vast majority who are suffering under the weight of the rising cost of living engendered by anti-poor and neo-liberal policies will not be able to procure these meters.

We maintain our earlier position that the provision of meters is the sole responsibility of the Distribution Companies because it is a means of measuring supply and should not be the responsibility of the consumers who pay for electricity consumed. Besides, the cost of metering had been embedded in the tariff hike of MYTO 2012 that came into effect on June 1, 2012. How on earth the government and NERC turned 180 degrees and came out with a policy that unjustly forces the consumers to pay for meters is mindboggling? This shows the level of travesty and crude exploitation; President Buhari or NERC has not reversed the MAP policy and has not stated clearly how it wants to meter 5 million households either. This pronouncement is one of the many wishful thinking meant to play to the gallery and deceive Nigerians.

On tariff reviews, President Buhari and NERC have not reversed or canceled the new tariff but only suspended it till January 2021 on the persuasion of the National Assembly in June 2020. The service-based tariff principles being espoused by President Buhari and NERC is already being implemented by the Distribution Companies across the federation. For instance, Ikeja Electric runs a policy called Premium Power that gives much more regular electricity supply of 20 hours on the average and customers are made to pay as high as N55 per kilowatt. Premium Power targets rich neighbourhoods like Magodo, Hiltop Estate etc., while the poorer communities are condemned to darkness. Service-based principles negate the principles of fairness and equality, it is apartheid, it is discriminatory and it violates section 14, 15, 17 and 42 of the 1999 Constitution as well as Section 76 (2e) of Electric Power Sector Reform Act, 2005 which outlaws any form of undue discrimination between electricity consumers and other electricity consumer categories including discrimination of any kind.

The electricity sector had gulped over $25 billion public funds since 2005 without any meaningful improvement, most of these public funds have only fattened the bank accounts of the rich few, particularly the private electricity companies and the cronies in government. Should these huge funds be utilized efficiently, the power sector would have been improved considerably with its attendant drastic improvement in electricity supply and affordability in the tariff.

Coalition for Affordable and Regular Electricity (CARE) demands the reversal of the power sector privatization, because as usual, it serves the interest of a few at the expense of the vast majority; we demand affordable tariff; we demand mass public investment in the power sector and ISSUANCE OF PREPAID METERS TO ALL AT NO COST TO CONSUMERS.

To bring about transparency and efficiency, we demand the RENATIONALIZATION of the power sector under democratic control and management of workers and consumers.

SIGNED

Chinedu Bosah                                                                 ShoyomboMonsuru

National Coordinator                                                         National Secretary

Categories
Business Men Citizens City News Government Newspaper Owners Yoruba Nation

PDP cry to death not new to me – Jimoh Ibrahim 

 

Lagos Business man, Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim has sounded a death knell on the chances of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the forthcoming Governorship election in Ondo State.

The Ondo Gubernatorial poll is slated for October 10th and ahead of the election, the Harvard trained Business Administrator and Finance expert is being celebrated officially for joining the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State at a huge political event at Igbotako, his country home.

Barr. Jimoh Ibrahim in a chat with the press on the sideline of the event that marked his official defection from PDP to APC expressed his pity for the dwindling fortune of PDP in Ondo State, describing the party as one which has never shown seriousness about winning the Governorship seat in Ondo State.

He noted that the hue and cry of PDP in Ondo State is synonymous with the death gasps of a dying man who is at the end of his tethers, therefore the party deserves empathy of all well-meaning Ondo State people, stressing that most definitely the coffin of PDP will be nailed on October 10th in Ondo State.

“PDP’s cry to death is not new to me,” Ibrahim said excitedly. “As far as PDP is concerned in the Sunshine State, it is a dead party! The expected date of its burial is October 10th, 2020. Unfortunately, the dying party has no successor, so chances are it will die a natural death in Ondo State unsung.”

Expressing confidence in the superlative victory of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu in the October poll, Jimoh Ibrahim said, PDP will come a distant third at the poll. He said since PDP had crashed at the poll in 2016, the woeful party had lost its election operational data and ever since, the party had behaved like it is marooned in a political wilderness, quick always to make political mistakes that make them appear not cut out for political leadership in Ondo State. “Take for instance, in the last Primary of the jaded party, a serving Governor from state brought a hundred million cash to support one of the aspirants, otherwise, the party may not even have had a candidate. ”The Araba of Ikale Land dared the cash frittering Governor to bring all his billions to Ondo State for the October Gubernatorial poll, stressing that while the Governor will born his cash, the incumbent Ondo State Governor will win the poll with a convenient lead.

While announcing his defection to APC, Jimoh donated 51 Kia Picanto utility vehicles and campaign materials running into hundreds of millions to support Gov. Akeredolu’s second term bid.

Jimoh Ibrahim equally commended the supportive role of the Ondo State first Lady and wife of the Governor, Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu Akeredolu, describing her as a companion, whose productive and self-wrist programmes have rubbed off positively on her husband’s administration.

 

Ibrahim noted that Gov. Akeredolu should be grateful for having such an incredible wife and First Lady.

Categories
Breaking News Celebrity Citizens Leadership

PDP Candidate, Obaseki, will win a second term as Edo State Governor

 

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate in Edo State, Governor Godwin Obaseki, on Sunday received the full backing of leading activists, civil society groups, lawyers, journalists and political leaders from all parts of Edo State.

‘’Governor Godwin Obaseki is the best politician in the state’s current history. We’re looking forward to his reelection’’ the professionals said.

At a meeting to share perspectives and strategies on how to ensure the victory of the People Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State, the professionals vowed to retire All Progressives Congress (APC) former national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and the party’s gubernatorial candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu from Edo State politics.

‘’Governor Godwin Obaseki’s re-election is certain. The road ahead is so smooth”

Edo State Professional spokesman, Dr Joseph Alli, in a statement in Ekpoma, said the professionals extolled Obaseki for building strong communities, generating growth and creating opportunities for the good people of Edo State.

‘’Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu is not travelling well in public opinion polls, largely due to past records. He lacks a clear policy plan. His political appeal remains limited’’

The professionals praised Obaseki for fulfilling electoral pledges made in 2016, building roads, expanding business development and empowering the people.

‘’ Governor Godwin Obaseki is very committed to the future of Edo State. He will continue his efforts to make Edo State great’’.

They vowed to resist all attempts to drag Edo State backward by enemies of progress.

‘’Greed and envy have set in to becloud the sense of reasoning of some individuals in Edo State. A window of opportunity is still open to them to join Governor Godwin Obaseki. PDP is stronger than APC in Edo State’’

The professionals highlighted economic growth in rural communities, the welfare of workers in the state, investments in electricity, clean water and better health care.

They also emphasized a better educated, healthier and more prosperous Edo State.

‘’Nothing is more critical to our state’s future than urging Godwin Obaseki to continue in Government House’’

In 2016, Obaseki defeated Ize-Iyamu. Governor Obaseki is expected to cruise to victory in the September 19 governorship election despite opposition from Adams Oshiomhole, Pastor Ize-Iyamu and some individuals outside Edo State.

‘’We care about results. Obaseki’s standing in the polls is, in fact, formidable’’

Categories
APC Citizens City News Political Parties Politics

SERAP sues Buhari over ‘failure to publish details of N800bn recovered loot’

 

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against President Muhammadu Buhari over failure to “disclose information and documents relating to the names of people from whom N800 billion in looted public funds have been recovered, specific dates of the recovery, and details of projects on which the money has been spent.”

 

The President had in paragraph 78 of his speech to mark the occasion of the Democracy Day on June 12, 2020, stated that: “the government has recovered looted funds in excess of N800 billion. These monies are being ploughed into development and infrastructure projects.”

 

In the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1064/2020 filed last Friday at the Federal High Court, Abuja, SERAP is seeking: “an order for leave to apply for judicial review and an order of mandamus to direct and/or compel President Buhari to publish a comprehensive list of names of people from whom N800 billion in looted funds have been recovered, the details of spending of the money, and the specific dates of the recovery.”

 

SERAP is also seeking: “an order of mandamus to direct and compel President Buhari to instruct appropriate anti-corruption agencies to promptly, thoroughly and transparently investigate alleged payment of N51 billion of public funds into individual private accounts in 2019.”

 

Joined in the suit as Respondents are Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, and Mrs Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning.

 

In the suit, SERAP is arguing that: “The court ought to compel the Respondents to disclose the details and whereabouts of the public funds. There is no legally justifiable reason why the information should not be made widely available to Nigerians, especially as the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 (as amended) requires the government in section 15(5) to abolish all forms of corruption. That means ensuring transparency and accountability in the management of public resources and wealth.”

 

The suit followed SERAP’s Freedom of Information (FoI) request dated 13 June, 2020 to President Buhari, stating that: “The public has a right to know how recovered N800bn loot has been spent, and the details and purpose of the alleged payments of N51bn into individual private accounts. Transparency over transactions by the government is critical to ensuring public confidence in the integrity of management of public resources and wealth.”

 

SERAP is also arguing that: “Granting the reliefs sought will ensure transparency and accountability, as the information sought to be published will reveal the truth of where money is going and why it is there, and allow Nigerians an opportunity to assess the impacts of any projects carried out with the recovered loot and the alleged payments into individual private accounts.”

 

The suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers Kolawole Oluwadare and Opeyemi Owolabi, read in part: “As a signatory to the UN Convention against Corruption, the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Nigeria has committed to ensure transparent management of public resources, and unhindered access to public information. These commitments ought to be fully upheld and respected.”

 

“Transparency and accountability in governance is in the public interest. Publishing the details regarding the N800 billion recovered loot and investigating the alleged suspicious payments into personal accounts would be entirely consistent with Nigeria’s international anti-corruption commitments.”

 

“The authorities are required to set the highest standards of transparency, accountability and probity in the management of these resources and wealth, and the programmes that they oversee.”

 

“Disclosing the details of projects on which the N800bn recovered loot have been spent and publishing a comprehensive list of names of people from whom they have been recovered, as well as investigating alleged payment of billions of naira into individual private accounts, would be entirely consistent with the oft-expressed anti-corruption commitments by the government.”

 

It would be recalled that BudgIT, a civic tech organization, recently reported that “the open treasury portal by the federal government allegedly showed that payments totalling N51bn were made into individual accounts in 2019.”

 

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

 

 

Kolawole Oluwadare

SERAP Deputy Director

30/08/2020

Lagos, Nigeria

Emails: info@serap-nigeria.orgnews@serap-nigeria.org

Twitter: @SERAPNigeria

Website: www.serap-nigeria.org

For more information or to request an interview, please contact Kolawole Oluwadare on: +2348160537202

Categories
Abuja Africa APC Business Government

SERAP asks Buhari to revoke assent to CAMA, send it back to NASS or face legal action

SERAP asks Buhari to revoke assent to CAMA, send it back to NASS or face legal action

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari requesting him to “urgently rescind your assent to the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020, [CAMA 2020], and to send the legislation back to the National Assembly to address its fundamental flaws, including by deleting the repressive provisions of the Act, particularly sections 839, 842, 843, 844 and 850 contained in Part F of the Act, and any other similar provisions.”

The organization is also urging him to “instruct the Registrar-General of the Corporate Affairs Commission, Alhaji Garba Abubakar, and Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, not to implement or enforce the CAMA 2020 until the legislation is repealed by the National Assembly, and brought in line with the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), and Nigeria’s international human rights obligations.”

In the letter dated 22 August, 2020 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said: “With these provisions, the government now has overly broad and discretionary powers to arbitrarily withdraw, cancel or revoke the certificate of any association, suspend and remove trustees, take control of finances of any association, and to merge two associations without their consent and approval of their members.”

According to SERAP, “Rather than taking concrete measures to improve the legal environment and civic space that would ensure respect for human rights and media freedom, your government has consistently pursued initiatives to restrict the enjoyment of citizens’ human rights. These rights are protected from impairment by government action.”

SERAP said: “These restrictions, coupled with repressive broadcasting codes and Nigerian security agencies’ relentless crackdown on peaceful protesters and civil society, demonstrate the government’s intention to suppress and take over independent associations.”

The letter, read in part: “SERAP is concerned that the provisions would be used by the authorities to exert extensive scrutiny over the internal affairs of associations, as a way of intimidation and harassment, which would eventually unduly obstruct the legitimate work carried out by associations.”

“We would be grateful if the requested action and measures are taken within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, the Registered Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel you and your government to take these measures in the public interest.”

“Please note that SERAP has instructed its Legal Counsel Femi Falana, SAN to take all appropriate legal actions on our behalf should your government fail and/or neglect to act as requested.”

“Citizens’ decision to join with others in pursuit of a common goal is a fundamental aspect of their liberty. The right to freedom of association also plainly presupposes a freedom not to associate. This freedom is at risk if the government can compel a particular citizen, or a discrete group of citizens, to merge their associations.”

“Constitutional guarantees of freedom of association would be very limited if they are not accompanied by a guarantee of being able to share one’s beliefs of ideas in community with others, particularly through associations of individuals having the same beliefs, ideas or interests.”

“Similarly, freedom of association creates a forum for citizens in which they may freely seek, without any unlawful interference by the state, to move public opinion and achieve their goals. That “forum” cannot exist if the government is at liberty to treat one association as forming part of another or coercing one association to merge with another association.”

“By seeking to suspend and remove trustees, and appoint interim managers for associations, the government seems to want to place itself in a position to politicise the mandates of such association, and to undermine the ideas that the right to freedom of association and related rights are supposed to protect in a democratic society.”

“SERAP believes that the government granting itself the powers to suspend and remove trustees of legally registered associations and to take control of their bank accounts constitute an effective restraint on human rights.”

“Allowing the government to take control of the bank accounts of association would impact on the rights of the associations, and also seriously undermine civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights as a whole.”

“These rights are in fact parts of the attributes of citizenship under a free government. “Liberty” includes the right to enjoy the rights to freedom of association, expression and peaceful assembly. Our constitutional jurisprudence and international standards allow only the narrowest range for their restriction.”

“Combatting fraud, mismanagement, corruption, money-laundering and other modes of trafficking by associations is legitimate. However, it is not sufficient to simply pursue a legitimate interest, limitations need also to be prescribed by law and be necessary in a democratic society.”

“Under the Nigerian Constitution and international human rights law, controls need to be fair, objective and non-discriminatory, and not be used as a pretext to silence critics. Your government has legal obligations to create an enabling environment in which associations can effectively carry out their legitimate activities.”

“These restrictions have no legal basis, as they fail to meet the requirements of legality, legitimacy, proportionality and necessity. The Human Rights Council has called on States to ensure that any regulations of associations ‘do not inhibit the independence and functional autonomy [of associations]’”

“We have also sent a Pre-Action Notice of a lawsuit pursuant to Section 17[2] of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020, to the Corporate Affairs Commission to urgently initiate, promote and support deletion of Sections 839, 842, 843, 844 and 850 and any other repressive provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020.”

“In communication No. 1274/2004, the Human Rights Committee observed that ‘the right to freedom of association relates not only to the right to form an association, but also guarantees the right of such an association freely to carry out its statutory activities. The protection afforded by article 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights extends to all activities of an association.’”

“According to the Committee, ‘the existence and operation of a plurality of associations, including those which peacefully promote ideas not necessarily favourably received by the government or the majority of the population, is a cornerstone of a democratic society.’”

“Under international law, the use of the term “democratic society” places the burden on States imposing restrictions on freedom of association to demonstrate that the limitations do not harm the principles of pluralism, tolerance and broadmindedness.”

“The Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights has also called on states not to pass legislation that would ‘give the Government control over the right of associations to manage their own activities.’”

“Associations, as organised, independent, not-for-profit bodies based on the voluntary grouping of persons who pursue activities on a wide range of issues, such as human rights, democratic reforms, and social and economic development, are an integral part of democratic institutions.”

“The right to freedom of association is to be enjoyed alone or in community with others. Without this collective dimension, the effective realisation of the right would often not be possible. SERAP believes that the rights to freedom of association, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly to advance beliefs and ideas are inseparable aspects of the “liberty” assured by due process of law.”

“The right to freedom of association is interrelated with other human rights and freedoms, including the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly, protection of property, the private life and correspondence, an effective remedy, fair trials; and right to be protected from discrimination.”

“A genuine and effective respect for freedom of association cannot be reduced to a mere duty on the part of the State not to interfere. Therefore, it is incumbent upon your government and all public authorities to respect and protect this right, and to guarantee the proper functioning of an association, even when they annoy or give offence to persons opposed to the lawful ideas or claims that they are seeking to promote.”

“Any limitations on human rights, including the right to freedom of association must be proportionate to the interest to be protected, and must be the least intrusive means to achieve the desired objective.”

“Implementing or enforcing these repressive provisions will have a significant chilling effect on legitimate activities of associations, and would seriously undermine their independence and operations.”

“SERAP considers the CAMA 2020 the most repressive legislation in Nigeria’s history, especially given the unlawful and impermissible restrictions contained in Part F of the Act. Sections 831, 839, 842, 843, 844 and 850 of the Act are manifestly inconsistent with sections 36, 39 and 40 of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999.”

“Under section 831[i][ii], the government through the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) is empowered to treat any unregistered association as part of an already registered association, and without any lawful justifications whatsoever. The government also has the power to treat two or more associations as a single association on the flimsy pretext that the associations have the same trustees.”

“Section 839[1] and [7] of the Act also grants the government through the Corporate Affairs Commission the powers to arbitrarily and unilaterally suspend and remove the trustees of any legally registered association, and to appoint an interim manager or managers to run the affairs of any such association, if the Commission reasonably believes that there is “misconduct, mismanagement, and fraud” in the association, or on the basis of undefined “public interest.”

“The government will determine and decide what constitutes “public interest” in all cases. The exercise of the powers under section 839[1][7] is subject only to the approval of the supervisory Minister, a political appointee.”

“Similarly, sections 842, 843 and 844 grants the government through the Corporate Affairs Commission overly broad powers and discretion to arbitrarily, unlawfully and unilaterally regulate the finances of any association, and to take control and take over bank accounts lawfully belonging to legally registered associations under Part F of the CAMA 2020.”

“Further, section 850[2][e] empowers the government through the Corporate Affairs Commission to arbitrarily and unilaterally withdraw, cancel or revoke the certificate of registration of any duly and legally registered association.”

“These repressive provisions clearly and directly threaten and violate the rights to freedom of association, freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, privacy, property, and other human rights guaranteed under the Nigerian Constitution and international human rights treaties such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to which Nigeria is a state party.”

“SERAP notes that legally registered associations have also deposited their constitutions and other documents with the Corporate Affairs Commission under the now repealed and replaced CAMA 2004.”

“The Commission also enjoyed wide ranging powers under CAMA 2004 to regulate these associations, as the associations are required to periodically report to the Commission. Registered associations are also regulated under other existing laws, including anti-corruption and money laundering laws, the Criminal Code and Penal Code.”

Kolawole Oluwadare

SERAP Deputy Director

23/08/2020

Lagos, Nigeria

Emails: info@serap-nigeria.org; news@serap-nigeria.org

Twitter: @SERAPNigeria

Website: www.serap-nigeria.org

For more information or to request an interview, please contact Kolawole Oluwadare on: +2348160537202

Categories
Africa APC Citizens City News

PDP Berates Gbajabiamila For Frustrating Corruption Investigation In the House of Representatives

August 22, 2020

Press Statement

PDP Berates Gbajabiamila For Frustrating Corruption Investigation In the House of Representatives
..Asks Speaker to Step Aside

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) asserts that the decision of the All Progressives Congress (APC) leadership of the House of Representatives to shut down the sitting of various committees carrying out investigation on the executive is a deliberate design to cover the stench of corruption oozing out of the APC administration.

The party charges the Speaker of the House of Representative, Femi Gbajabiamila, to stop circumventing the statutory duties of the House of Representative and placing of wedges in the way of the fight against corruption by the legislature.

The PDP describes the shutdown order by the APC leadership of the House of Representatives as a clear example of corruption fighting back from within the government circle, which must be condemned by all Nigerians.

The party notes that such incursion into the activities of the committees is to quench the fight against corruption as well as to frustrate whistle blowers just because APC has become an ocean of corruption where the members are swimming.

It is clear that the shutdown directive is targeted at frustrating revelations from ongoing investigations on the $500 billion foreign loan from China, particularly as it relates to the mortgaging of our nation’s sovereignty to China.

This is in addition to the investigations into the humongous corruption in government agencies including the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) the N300 billion unremitted revenue to the federation account as well as allegations of corruption in government earnings and the expenditure in Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDA’s) under the APC.

It is therefore unfortunate that under the Gbajabiamila-led leadership, the basic responsibility of the House of Representatives, which is its oversight on the executive, has just been maimed through a forced holiday on the members of the respective committees and their Chairmen.

It is equally distressing that the APC leadership of the House of Representatives is breaching parliamentary rules, practices and procedures to shield APC leaders and their cronies who have been fleecing our nation.

Our party therefore holds that any parliament that deliberately frustrates its statutory responsibility to call the activities of the executive to question has lost the essence of its own existence. The leadership that led it into such constitutional suicide must be held culpable.

Indeed, never in our parliamentary history has committee activities been suspended or shut down on the ground of holiday or suspension of plenary.

For us in the PDP, it is shocking that the APC leadership of the House of Representatives could by any consideration shut down, its legislative investigation, which is exclusively vested on it under sections 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), on the guise of being on break.

Such an action is calamitous to our democracy.

The PDP however commends the members of its caucus and other minorities in the National Assembly for standing against corruption and striving to ensure that the APC does not sell Nigerians into slavery with its reckless foreign borrowings.

Our party urges the lawmakers not to be deterred but continue in their assignments, as they are only answerable to the Nigerian people.

The PDP therefore charges the Hon. Gbajabiamila-led APC leadership of the House of Representatives to immediately reverse itself as Nigerians expect nothing but seamless investigations without unnecessary interferences and incursions.

If the Honoruable Speaker is inclined towards allowing the covering of corruption, byagainst the purpose for which he was elected to lead the House, then, he should take a bow and step aside.

Signed

Kola Ologbondiyan
National Publicity Secretary

Categories
Africa APC Business City News

DEREGULATION OF THE OIL SECTOR WILL WORSEN THE ECONOMY

PRESS STATEMENT

DEREGULATION OF THE OIL SECTOR WILL WORSEN THE ECONOMY

SPN DEMANDS REVERSAL OF THE DEREGULATION OF THE OIL SECTOR, NATIONALISATION OF THE OIL SECTOR UNDER DEMOCRATIC CONTROL OF WORKERS AND CONSUMERS

Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) is strongly opposed to the deregulation of the downstream oil sector. The implication of a deregulated oil sector is a deepened private sector control with adverse effects and consequences for the working masses and the poor. Hence, deregulation engenders massive exploitation of the working masses and guarantees more profit for the dominant few. Though, this aspect of deregulation comes with government price regulation through the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), the prices will now be determined by the market forces of crude oil prices, exchange rates and profit interest of the so-called investors. This development entails that marketers who abandoned importation some years back can resume importation and sell at juicier prevailing market prices.

The Buhari-led government in March 2020 surreptitiously reduced the price of petrol from N145 to N125 in order to gain support for the obviously anti-poor deregulation policy. For the fact that the leopard cannot change its spots, the prices of fuel prices have gone up and currently at N148 per litre when the crude oil prices are still as low as $41 per barrel. In the event that the price of crude oil goes up to $90 per barrel and Naira loses more ground to the dollar, petrol price will most likely be selling for N250 per litre or more and the same for other petroleum products. This will worsen the already high cost of living. It is scandalous that Nigerian being an oil-producing country, the 7th biggest producer as a member of the OPEC, 11th largest proven reserves in the world and the 13th biggest producer in the world is still enmeshed in crises of unaffordable fuel prices and chaos in the distribution of petroleum products.

The problem with the oil sector is the lack of necessary infrastructure, endemic corruption and the dominance of profit over public interest. This is as a result of the failure of capitalism in Nigeria and the implementation of capitalist neo-liberal policies of privatization, liberalization, deregulation etc., in the last three decades which places premium on profit for a privileged few far and above the needs of the vast majority of the working people. This is the reason the four publicly owned refineries are being sabotaged and deliberately made to work abysmally, a conscious action that empowers importers to milk Nigerians as the private sector dominates distribution.   

Inevitably, the consolidation of the deregulation of the oil sector by Buhari government will usher in higher prices of petroleum products and this will increase the economic woes of the vast majority in terms of higher cost of transportation, production, services, etc. It is so because the Nigerian economy rest majorly on a backward economy, poor infrastructure, dilapidated refineries and massive looting, abysmal electricity supply etc. Even in the event of Dangote Refineries becoming operational, the prices of petroleum products will remain high because it will sell to make profits while marketers and other private sector players also ensure the continuation of high profit margin.

SPN demands the reversal of the deregulation policies, building of new refineries and repairs of old ones by the government and the nationalization of the entire oil sector under the democratic control and management of workers and consumers as the only way to guarantee affordable petroleum products prices and availability of products. We call on the working class, youth and the poor to join the SPN and build it into a pan Nigeria working peoples’ political party in order to defeat all anti-people bourgeois political parties and ensure the use of human and material resources of Nigeria for the benefit of all.

SIGNED                                                                                SIGNED

Abiodun Bamigboye                                                             Chinedu Bosah

Acting National Chairperson                                                  National Secretary

Categories
Art Breaking News City News Lifestyle Media Media Watch MediaGate Management and Consulting Limited News

Jemima Osunde, Olumide Oworu, others discuss finances, peer pressure, and showbiz on #WithChude

Jemima Osunde, Olumide Oworu, others discuss finances, peer pressure, and showbiz on #WithChude

 

One of the biggest shows of 2020, #WithChude broke its stride on International Youth Day with a special episode celebrating the hustling Nigerian youth. Bringing together 5 rising stars in the entertainment and social-preneurship spaces, host Chude Jideonwo spotlighted a pressing conversation in the heart of every young Nigerian.

Actors Jemima Osunde and Olumide Oworu; celebrity lawyer and social-preneur Lekan Bamidele, popularly known as King Pexxie; rising YouTuber Gbolahan Gaffar, known by many as Gaffy; PR expert Chidinma Nwaukwa; and media personality Temisan Emmanuel brought fun and authenticity to the conversation about the challenges of being young in Nigeria while trying to build a career.

In a country where just living is an extreme sport, succeeding and managing all the pressure and expectation that comes with it in an age of social media can be daunting. For a young star like Jemima Osunde who was just trying to build a career in the entertainment industry, stardom came with its own mountain of expectations.

Speaking on how she handled the pressure, Jemima revealed that,  “Having people who keep you grounded, people that know where you’re coming from, understand your dreams and aspirations, and can call you to order, especially when you’re this young is so important.”

On the topic of financial freedom as a young celebrity, Temisan told Chude, “Money is so important, you have to be at places, you have to show up and you need money. You don’t want to be that person that always has to borrow money from people.”

Olumide agreed and said that sometimes one has to “fake it till they make it” and that show business requires material things that help to facilitate whatever aspect of entertainment a person is involved in.

However, Kingpexxie brought a different perspective to the issue; he believes that people tend to go overboard by living above their means just to conform to societal standards for celebrities.

With unique viewpoints, the conversation revealed the plethora of challenges that young people in the entertainment industry face.

#WithChude is a special series of targeted multimedia conversations and investigations focused on narratives that enable and strengthen the mind, heart, and spirit. New episodes of #WithChude show every Saturday at 9pm on TVC Entertainment, and every Thursday on EbonyLife TV at 7:30pm. With an extended play podcast up on Spotify, iTunes among other podcast platforms every Wednesday at 10:00am, everyone can join the conversations.

Categories
APC City News Education Government Lagos Lagos Central Lagos East Lagos West

FASHOLA CHARGES UNIVERSITIES ON PREPARATION OF YOUNG PEOPLE FOR LEADERSHIP

FEDERAL MINISTRY OF WORKS AND HOUSING

Office of the Special Adviser on Communications

Headquarter, Mabushi P.M.B. 111, Garki – Abuja, Nigeria

PRESS RELEASE

FASHOLA CHARGES UNIVERSITIES ON PREPARATION OF YOUNG PEOPLE FOR LEADERSHIP

· As Committee of Vice Chancellors hails FG, Minister over interventions in 44 tertiary institutions, infrastructure development across the country

· Minister describes those who set up universities as “casting a stone of faith into the future”

· Also charges them on research and data collation to assist governments and businesses

The Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigeria has commended the Federal Government over interventions in 44 Federal tertiary institutions as well as the on-going infrastructure development across the country just as the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN charged the nation’s universities on the need to produce men and women of character worthy to take over the leadership of the country.

Fashola, who spoke when the Committee of Vice Chancellors/Association of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVC/AVCNU), paid him a courtesy visit, also stressed the importance of universities as a place where the characters of young people were finally shaped in readiness for leadership.

Stressing the importance of universities as platforms for character molding, among other functions, the Minister, who described investment in universities as “casting a stone of faith into the future”, said it was an investment that always yielded very enormous profit for any nation.

“It is a place where young boys and girls transit to becoming young men and women and that is where their characters are finally shaped in readiness to take over the leadership of the country”, he said adding that as overseers of the institutions, the Vice Chancellors have daunting tasks to accomplish.

Assuring the University dons of government support to ensure success, Fashola declared, “Somebody like me, I am a product of an investment of those who set up the University of Benin. Also there are many Nigerians who, like me, are products of that act of faith that happened in the 1970s”.

“I sit here today, and there are Senators, Senate Presidents and so many other professionals who were also products of that investment. And what is true of the University of Benin is also true of all other universities across the country”, he said.

The Minister, who also charged the Universities on the collation and use of data, said the world was now chasing data and there was, therefore, need for the universities to put in useful form the data they have accumulated over the years to assist governments and businesses in the country in national development.

“The world is chasing data, collating data. This data is sitting in our universities. Almost every lecturer I know asks students to write one research paper or the other. The data is there, but can we put it in a useful form to inform our governments, to inform our businesses, to inform our society?” he said.

Recalling his years as Visitor to the Lagos State University (LASU), Fashola, who noted that they had meetings which they christened “The Town and Gown”, with the Town representing Government and the Gown representing Universities, said his administration gained a lot in terms of research outcomes and development.

“It was a time when we had lectures, symposia, not just in LASU but in other universities”, he said adding that the University of Lagos Consult was one of the state government registered consultants which his administration used to do a lot of research and a lot of consultancy work.

The Minister, however, expressed regrets that not enough universities were investing in such consultancy today pointing out that there are many areas in which Nigerian universities could do research and consultancy such as on general elections and other political issues arising from elections across the country.

Noting that every government would be interested in such research results, the Minister asked, “How many universities have hosted Presidential Debates? You have the auditorium, you have the students, If you put it together you will have sponsors”, adding that governments and the universities could work together to ensure that the right persons were elected into office.

On collaboration between his Ministry and the Universities in infrastructure development in tertiary institutions, Fashola, who expressed readiness to work with the institutions to strengthen their infrastructure, however, urged them to come up with a structured plan adding that any such plan that would ensure security of investment would attract investors.

Assuring the university dons of his readiness to collaborate with them in infrastructure development in the tertiary institutions, Fashola asked them to develop a plan for such investment adding, “When there is a plan, money will come”.

“Let us start from hostels. Students are paying something or the other, but is there a structured plan to ensure that there is land, to ensure that the land is safe, to do a survey about students’ willingness to pay. What is the average size of rooms available? What is the market cost, transport cost that is safe? Those are the things that any investor would want to know”, he said adding that an investor would also be interested in knowing that the academic year would not be disrupted by strikes of either the academic or non-academic staff.

Expressing confidence that investments in infrastructure would happen in universities in the country, Fashola declared, “I offer myself willing and ready to work with you along this line anytime”, adding that the Ministry was currently in 44 tertiary institutions owned by the Federal Government, both Universities, Colleges of Education and Polytechnics building their internal roads.

“Some of those roads have not been touched for 20 to 30 year”, the Minister noted expressing dismay, however, that when people complain about the budget for education, they do not put into account such investment as road rehabilitations and other interventions from other sectors outside Education.

He told his guests, “We want the universities to come out and say, no this is also investment in education. So it is not only what you see in the Ministry of Education that is the sum total of the investment in Education”, adding that there is a lot that the universities could do.

Fashola also decried the proliferation and abuse of Honorary Degrees by universities in the country recalling that in his eight-year tenure as Governor of Lagos State and Visitor at LASU one of the things his administration did was to put on hold the award of any Honorary Degree for about two to three years.

“We said, look we are going to be different and for two or three years we did not award any Honorary Degree because truly the idea of Honorary Degree is an important building block of society and once we throw those blocks away or make them unviable then the purpose for it is lost”, the Minister said.

He recalled. “In my eight years in office I had 17 offers and I didn’t take one. I told them to wait until when I was out of office and if they still find me worthy they should then come. And when I was out of office only one came back”, adding, “The point I want to make is that we have to encourage our children to work hard. What have these honorees of the universities done to deserve the honour? What of those who have become undeserving, will you go back and tell them to return the degrees, that they don’t deserve it anymore?”

Noting that there was need to have an acceptable version of the History of Nigeria, Fashola charged the Committee to assemble the many professors of History in the universities and assign the task to them to produce such a version that would be a true History of Nigeria, acceptable by all Nigerians, including the Historians themselves.

“There is one thing you can do for Nigeria. Bring all these people together to start work on one acceptable version of Nigeria’s history. It is that version that can be thought in primary and secondary schools. Because that is what is happening in other countries. They fought wars too but they have written one final version of their history. When you have written that final version it will be thought in our primary and secondary schools”, the Minister said.

Earlier, in his opening remarks, the Chairman of the Committee, Professor Yakubu Aboki Ochefu, said the Committee had come to express gratitude to the Minister for the interventions in 44 tertiary institutions across the country adding that it was the first time government was undertaking rehabilitation of roads in the institutions.

Professor Ochefu, who also informed the Minister that the Committee was preparing a Compendium of Achievements as part of programmes being lined up to celebrate its 60th anniversary in October this year said the Committee had prepared a questionnaire for the Minister to fill that would give them an insight into his infrastructure development at the Lagos State University while he was Governor of Lagos State, which would form part of the Compendium.

Giving a brief background of the Committee, the Chairman said it was established in 1962 with eight universities, including the Universities of Lagos and Ibadan as members adding that the membership now stood at 174 consisting of 46 Federal, 48 State and 79 private universities. He noted that the Committee was working to improve the number of women Vice Chancellors in the country.

Professor Ochefu, who later handed a copy of the questionnaire to the Minister explained further, “We will devote a section of the Compendium to share with you how you turned the fortunes of the Lagos State University (LASU) during your tenure as Governor of Lagos State and Visitor to the University.

Also present at the occasion were the Minister of State, Engr. Abubakar Aliyu, Acting Permanent Secretary, Engr. Yemi Oguntominiyi, Directors, Special Advisers and other top Ministry functionaries while on the Committee’s side were three other executives including the Secretary General of the Committee.

HAKEEM BELLO

SPECIAL ADVISER,

COMMUNICATIONS

TO THE HON. MINISTER

19TH AUGUST, 2020

Categories
Anthony Village APC City News Lagos Lagos Central Lagos East Lagos West

LAGOS SUPPORTS 23 INNOVATORS, TECH FIRMS WITH N100 MILLION INNOVATION GRANT •Sanwo-Olu To Beneficiaries: ‘Justify The Opportunity’

LAGOS STATE GOVERNMENT

OFFICE OF THE CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNOR

PRESS RELEASE

LAGOS SUPPORTS 23 INNOVATORS, TECH FIRMS WITH N100 MILLION INNOVATION GRANT

•Sanwo-Olu To Beneficiaries: ‘Justify The Opportunity’

Twenty-three young innovators and tech firms have been awarded a total grant of N100 million by the Lagos State Government to pursue various technology-driven innovations across the six pillars of the development agenda of the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration.

The recipients are the first set of beneficiaries to be picked to benefit from the N250 million seed capital earmarked, last year, as Research and Innovation Fund by the State Government.

The awardees were selected through highly competitive process overseen by the Lagos State Science Research and Innovation Council (LASRIC) established in 2019 by Governor Sanwo-Olu, with the mandate to facilitate and encourage the development of innovative solutions to solve local problems, using cutting-edge technology.

The Governor congratulated the successful awardees of the research funds, urging them to apply the grant judiciously and use it to transform their ideas into reality.

Sanwo-Olu said his administration was born with the sole aim to solve contemporary challenges facing the State, stressing that the innovation grant was initiated with the objective to empower local innovators and thinkers with knowledge of context and peculiarities to create specific solutions for local challenges.

He said: “Last December, we inaugurated the Research and Innovation Council with a seed fund of N250 million in demonstration of our commitment to transform Lagos into a 21st century digital economy and Smart City. The body has a mandate to facilitate investment in science research, innovation, and STEM education throughout the State, and to encourage the development of innovative solutions to problems, using cutting-edge technology.

We are here today to match our words with action, by handing out grants from the LASRIC’s Research and Innovation Fund to successful applicants. I congratulate all awardees and beneficiaries of our very first set. As a Government, we believe in each and every applicant’s capacity to create and scale up ideas that can proffer solutions to our current challenges.

“We embarked on this unique project with the belief that local challenges are best solved by thinking that understands and appreciates local contexts and peculiarities. We believe in Lagos-supported solutions for Lagos-specific challenges. With the presentation of the grants, the responsibility now firmly rests on the recipients’ shoulders to justify the opportunity.”

Sanwo-Olu noted that science and technology remained key enablers to transform the socio-economic destinies of cities, observing that any serious Government must give total commitment to application of technology and innovation to drive improve service delivery in transport management, healthcare, education, waste management, security and governance.

He said Lagos was on a journey to properly identify, enable and build great human potential through flagship technology-driven projects, such as Metrofibre programme and Smart City initiative.

He said: “We are also working to transforming our civil service by encouraging innovative thinking and deploying technology tools and processes. Flagship projects such as the Metrofibre project and the Smart City initiative are key enablers for achieving this.”

The Governor urged unsuccessful applicants not to lose hope, charging them to re-apply for the grant in the next round of selection. He said the State Government would be increasing the grant to accommodate more innovators in the subsequent application.

The Governor’s Special Adviser on Innovation and Technology, Hon. Olatunbosun Alake, described the ceremony as “tangible development” in the history of governance in the State.

He said the awardees would be initiating innovation in key areas of manufacturing, food security and health management.

“The grant recipients represent key research initiatives and innovative startups ready and qualified to be resourced for the development of Lagos, and indeed the world. Today’s event is the first in many of this administration’s support and development of the science and technology ecosystem,” Alake said.

LASRIC chairman Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, said the event was a testimony of Sanwo-Olu’s commitment to the development of innovative solutions to challenges facing the State.

He said the Council would continue to assist the State Government to harness human and material resources of Lagos for problem solving, wealth creation and transformation of the State’s economy.

The high point was the presentation of cheques to the awardees by the Governor.

A beneficiary and founder of Price Pally, Luther Lawoyin, who received N5 million grant, praised the Governor for creating opportunities for tech startups to push forward their ideas. He said his business depended on data management, promising to invest the grant in improving food security.

 

SIGNED

GBOYEGA AKOSILE

CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY

AUGUST 19, 2020