26 Governors Fail To  Account For FG’s N2bn Palliatives- PHI

Mohammed Shosanya

A non-governmental organisation,Policy House International (PHI), Monday disclosed that only ten states in Nigeria have been able to clearly account for the N2b so far released to each state by the federal government as part of palliative measures to cushion the effect of the removal of subsidy on petrol.

Taiwo Akerele, the Executive Director of PHI,told journalists in Benin City said this amounts to only 27.7of state governors accounting for the N72b so far released by the federal government.

He implored President Bola Tinubu to engage the governors on accounting for what they have received before releasing the remainder.

He said, “The federal government has released N72billion to all the 36 states of the country which accounted for 40 percent of the total pledged amount of N5bn per state but unfortunately, out of the 36 states, only ten states have come out with clear plans and ten states amount to only 27.7 percent so for us this is woeful, it is not a pass mark so we need to have the plans of the state governors on what they want to do with the N2billion that has been released so far.”

“From the ten states, food and transportation is their focus which is fine but they need to expand the windows and the basket of utilization that can reach out to more people in the states.

“Twenty six states are silent and this is not good for us and as we speak, the governors are agitating for the release of the balance N108 billion but unfortunately there is a gap because they have not accounted for what they have used the released N72billion for.

“We in Policy House International are of the view that Mr. President has to stand his ground to ensure that these resources are channeled to areas that affect the poor the most in these states and for Mr. President to release the balance funds, he has to sit down with the governors to agree on fund utilization; what do they want to use these funds for because the National Bureau of Statistics say that over 130 million Nigerians are poor and this is an opportunity for us to reach out to them.

“Based on our research, we are of the view that food production and its associated value chain is key so Mr. President has to stand his ground that most of these money should go into food production, then mass transportation support services and then basic health services; the governors need to invest in primary healthcare and its support staff, then of course school feeding and then support to MSMEs.

“There has to be an agreement on the social register that will be used to make cash transfers and aides to the poorest of the poor.The president has to stand up, hold the governors accountable and ensure that there is accountability for the resources released.”

Adelabu Unfit To Run Power Sector-NUEE

Mohammed Shosanya

The National Union of Electricity Employees,says the Minister of Power,Mr.Adelabu Adebayo is ignorant about the nation’s power sector.

His public display of ignorance since he assumed office convinced the workers that the Minister lacks the capacity to run Nigeria’s power sector effectively.

Dominic Igwebike,Acting General Secretary of NUEE,who conveyed the union’s displeasure in a statement sent to Premium News on Monday,said since his assumption of office, the Honourable Minister has not deemed it necessary to reach out to critical stakeholders in the Power Sector, with a view to engendering effective collaboration, optimizing productivity and increasing Power output and impeccable Industrial Relations atmosphere required to achieve them.

He lamented that the Minister has rather embarked on a Media frenzy to misinform Nigerians and openly threaten workers in the sector.

He disclosed that the power sector had not experienced any system collapse in over 400 days due to the industrious and hard-working members that make up the workforce.

He advised that the Minister should be guided to the effect that the power sector did not experience any System collapse during the two days warning Strike declared across the nation by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC)

He added:”He should be educated to the effect that he cannot decree Strike out of existence.
But the Minister has decided to play to the gallery; like some of his predecessors, by promising thousands of megawatts without any Roadmaps to achieving them. You cannot build something on nothing.

“In order to achieve impeccable improvements and rejuvenate the power sector, it is expedient that the Federal Government puts round pegs in round holes and not Appointees whose qualifications are Political considerations.

“The Honourable Minister should be concerned with outstanding issues which include: the refusal to issue prepaid meters to Nigerians who are being compelled to pay imposed crazy bills; while having less than 4,500mw output of electricity, refusal of most Generation Companies (GenCos) led by Egbin Power Plc who have flagrantly disobeyed all extant Labour laws since taking over in November 2013 and non-payment of 16 months arrears arising from severance; just to mention a few.

“Should the Honourable Minister fails to address these issues within two (2) weeks, he should preoccupy himself with recruiting NSA officials to run the sector.

39,526 Cases Pending In Appeal Court- President

Mohammed Shosanya

A total number of 39,526 cases are pending in Nigeria’s Appeal Court as at August 31, 2023,its President,Justice Monica Dongban Mensen,has said.

She disclosed this on Monday, at the official commencement of the 2023/2024 legal year of the Court of Appeal.

“The Court still has a total of 39,526 Appeals pending as at 31th of August, 2023. This is an increase from 34,037 pending in the Court in the 2021/2022 Legal Year” Justice Dongban Mensen stated.

She assured that the court will continue to discharge its responsibilities by ensuring that appeals are heard speedily with utmost dedication, commitment and diligence.

She revealed that during the period in view,the court encountered a deficit of 18 Justices, but nonetheless, the remaining Justices kept the wheels of justice rolling.

“During the 2022/2023 legal year, a total of 7,295 Appeals and 3,665 Motions were filed in the 20 Divisions of the Court. The Court determined 3,765 Appeals and disposed of 5,617 Motions. While 1,030 of these Appeals were dismissed and 10,381 were allowed, the PCA stated.

As a result of the shortfall of 18 Justices of the Court, special panels were convened to alleviate the strain on heavily burdened divisions, she explained.

According to the PCA, a total of 484 Appeals/Motions were taken in 10 Divisions of the court.

She added that she special panels disposed of 232 Appeals, while 128 Appeals were reserved for judgment.

However, Dongban Mensen stated that “Special Panels are a serious constraint on the resources of the Court”.

She maintained that the selection of cases for these special panels, particularly those of urgent and critical nature, demonstrated the court’s obligation to maintain the integrity of the country’s judicial system.

Besides,Justice Dongban Mensen disclosed that during the 2023 vacation, three special panels were established to address time bound appeals.

“The Hon. Justices were deluged with Election appeals from the various Divisions. Their Lordships heard and determined a total of 87 Election Appeals from the various Divisions of the Court, comprising of 8 pre-election appeals, 48 Interlocutory appeals from the Tribunals and 14 substantive election appeals” the PCA said.

She recalled that a total of 98 panels were constituted to hear election petitions across the country to handle a total of 1,209 petitions that were filed.

Among the petitions, five were filed at the presidential election petition court and have been concluded, while some of 147 filed at the Senatorial election tribunal have been delivered and 417 petitions from the House of Representatives election are also being attended to.

She revealed that a total of 557 petitions associated with the State Houses of Assembly, and 83 Gubernatorial Elections petitions are being disposed off.

Justice Dongban Mensen, expressed dismay that despite their commitment and hardwork, Justices of the appellate court are most often than not vilified and insulted.

“We endure hardship, gross underpayment of due entitlements, unwarranted intimidations, insults, etc yet we remain undaunted.

“We must not however be taken for granted. There is a limit to unappreciated endurance. We only ask for what is due to us and no more” the PCA warned.

The Attorney General of Federation and Minister of Justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) said that President Bola Tinubu’s administration will address the issue of shortage of Justices at the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

Also speaking, former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Kanu Agabi (SAN) said that Nigeria’s continued survival greatly depends on the transparency of judicial officers in the discharge of their judicial functions.

Speaking on behalf of the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN), Agabi noted that, in spite of the contributions and sacrifices of judicial officers to the survival of the country, they are still been unwarantedly attacked and criticized.

He warned that the country would be doomed unless the unjust attacks against judicial officers are stopped.

NNPC/SNEPCo Scholars Record Exceptional Performance

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) and Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo) said beneficiaries of the National Cradle-to-Career programme recorded outstanding performances in two secondary school examinations, as the initiative continues to offer opportunities for bright young Nigerians to achieve their educational ambitions.

Of the 103 students who sat for the Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations this year, the scholars recorded 100% and 98% pass rate in Mathematics and English language respectively. Master Salmanu Isa Musa from Premiere Academy, Abuja and Miss Orevaoghene Whiskey from TopFaith International Secondary School in Akwa Ibom State each recorded nine distinctions. Master Golit Gordon Golu, also from Premiere Academy and Miss Adedokun Nihinlolawa from Lead Forte Gate College, Lagos recorded eight distinctions.

According to a statement,Master Musa and Miss Whiskey also scored 347 and 340 respectively in the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination for admission into Nigerian universities out of the maximum 400 points.

In all, 76 students scored between 200 and 300 in the examination.

“Milestones such as these continue to justify the social investments of SNEPCo on behalf of the concessionaire, NNPC Limited and co-venturers across the country,” said SNEPCo Managing Director Elohor Aiboni.

The statement quoted the Chief Operating Officer, NNPC Upstream Investment Management Services (NUIMS), Mr. Bala Wunti,as saying that the National Cradle-to-Career initiative was an investment in the future of Nigeria, and commended the beneficiaries and their schools for the excellent results.

The National Cradle-to-Career programme which was launched in 2014 supports brilliant students, especially those from hard-to-reach communities with full boarding and tuition to study in nine top-rated private secondary schools across Nigeria. Some 700 scholarships have so far been awarded. Students with excellent academic abilities are automatically transitioned to the NNPC/SNEPCo National University Scholarship, which provides a grant, HMO coverage, and other benefits in support of university education.

In further support for education, SNEPCo constructed, furnished and delivered a 100-seat ICT Centre, at the Federal University of Petroleum Resources Effurun (FUPRE), Delta State last year. Work is currently in progress on a $10-million Geosciences Centre of Excellence for the University of Lagos, and a $5-million e-library project for the Niger Delta University, Bayelsa State.

Ondo Dep.Gov Goes To Court To Stop Impeachment

Mohammed Shosanya

Deputy Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa of Ondo State,has approached a court to stop the state House of Assembly from proceeding on the Impeachment process it commenced on Wednesday and not to serve him impeachment notice.

Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN, filed a motion on notice on behalf of the embattled deputy at Ondo State High Court sitting in Akure on Monday.

He wants the court to stop the State House of Assembly from proceeding with the impeachment proceedings against him pending the hearing and determination of the suit that he filed in court.

Aiyedatiwa sought “An order setting aside any purported process or notice of any allegation of Gross Misconduct against the Claimant on the ground that such process or notice is a violation of Section 188 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

The Assembly at a plenary on Wednesday had alleged the Deputy Governor of gross misconduct and abuse office.

According to suit No. AK/348/2023 filed at the High Court sitting in Akure, the deputy governor is seeking a declaration that the House of Assembly is not competent to proceed on his impeachment in breach of his constitutional and fundamental rights to fair hearing and that the sacking of his media aides and subjecting him to the Ministry of Information headed by a Commissioner amounts to a breach of his rights and privileges as a Deputy Governor.

He is also seeking a declaration that his office, tenure, status, rights and privileges are protected, guaranteed and secured by the Constitution, and the declaration that in the determination of his civil rights and obligations as a Deputy Governor of Ondo State by the House of Assembly, he is entitled to a fair hearing and that given the utterances and conduct of the House of Assembly so far, there is likelihood of bias against him in the impeachment process.

Alleging the state House of Assembly of conducting media trials against him without serving him with any notice of gross misconduct, the deputy governor said the House Assembly has constituted itself into accuser, investigator, prosecutor and judge.

He sought orders of injunction to stop the House of Assembly from initiating, continuing or proceeding with the process of his removal from office as the Deputy Governor of Ondo State.

He also sought an order to stop the Chief Judge of Ondo State from accepting or acting upon any request from the House of Assembly of Ondo State to set up any panel to investigate any acts of gross misconduct against him(the Deputy Governor.)

The respondents in the suit are the Ondo State Government, the Governor of Ondo State, Ondo State House of Assembly, Speaker of Ondo State House of Assembly, Clerk of Ondo State House of Assembly and Chief Judge of Ondo State.

According to the affidavit sworn to in support of the originating summons, it was stated that the House of Assembly embarked upon a media trial of the Deputy Governor purely to scandalize him and incite public opinion against him when indeed no notice of acts of alleged gross misconduct was served on him.

He also accused the House of Assembly of persecuting him without lawful basis in conspiracy with certain persons who are gladiators in political circles.

Adegboruwa, however, disclosed that all attempts made to serve the court processes on the House of Assembly have so far been rebuffed, as policemen at the gate denied access to the court bailiff and also counsel from the office of solicitors to the claimant.

PSC Raises Alarm Over Fake Face Book Account

Mohammed Shosanya

The Police Service Commission,has raised alarm over face book account in the name of the Commission.

The Commission discovered the account which as at Saturday, September 23rd, 2023 already have 22,000 members, and 1700 followers with one Prosper Stephen as the account owner.

The Police Service Commission has directed the Nigeria Police Force to immediately deactivate, arrest and prosecute fraudsters who opened a fake

The Commission wishes to state that the said Stephen is not known to the Commission and should not have anything to do with the Commission’s official social media accounts,
Ikechukwu Ani Head, Press and Public Relations,said in a statement on Monday.

The statement quoted that the Commission as expressing worry that the fake account is coming at a time the Commission is in the process of commencing the 2023 Police recruitment exercise as these fraudsters can use these fake social media platforms to compromise future recruitments by the Commission.

It added:The Commission wishes to advise Nigerians to avoid the temptation of falling into the hands of these fraudsters who may likely use the Facebook platform to defraud desperate job seekers.The Commission warns that it will not spare anyone found to be involved in this criminal activity.

“Nigerians are also advised to be skeptical of these dubious characters and report anyone demanding any payment for any programme of the Commission to the nearest Police station. The Commission will continue to operate within established laws of the land with equal opportunities to every citizen”.

NNPC, NCDMB, IOCs Ink Agreement On Reduction Of Contracting Cycle

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Oil Companies (IOCs) to reduce contracting cycle to an optimal level of not more than 180 working days.

The agreement,which was signed on Monday at the NNPC Towers in Abuja, was a demonstration of NNPC Ltd’s commitment to the efficiency mandate as enshrined in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), which is hinged on developing an industry framework for an optimized contracting cycle,a statement said.

It also said,the MoU also expected to contribute significantly to the double-digit economic growth rate agenda of the Federal Government and generate tremendous value for all the stakeholders which include investors, companies, host communities and the nation at large.

According to the statement,key benefits of the framework in the MoU include a reduction of the contracting cycle for open competitive tender, selective tender, and single sourcing tender to 180, 178, and 128 working days respectively compared with the current best effort performance of 327, 333, and 185 working days respectively.

At the signing ceremony,the GCEO NNPC Ltd., Mr. Mele Kyari said signing the agreement heralds exciting times for the nation’s oil and gas industry and stands as a bold testimony that the Company is plunging into the future of hope, productivity and success.

Kyari, who was represented at the occasion by NNPC Ltd’s Executive Vice President, Upstream, Mrs. Oritsemeyiwa Eyesan, added that with oil and gas as the bedrock of Nigeria’s economy, there is the need to get the contracting process in the Industry right so as to get the economy back on track.

The Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Wabote, described the MoU signing as a way forward and a critical step towards enhancing the nation’s crude oil production.

In their remarks, the IOCs, represented by the MDs/Country Chairs of Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron, TotalEnergies and ENI all pledged their commitment and support towards the implementation of the MoU for the benefit of all parties.

The framework is in line with the Nigerian Upstream Cost Optimization Program (NUCOP) and in consonance with Mr. President’s directive for NNPC Ltd. and NCDMB to engage the industry with the objective of improving the performance of the petroleum industry.

The development is also in line with the key mandates of NNPC Ltd under the PIA’s Article 53 (7) which empowers it to operate as a commercial entity in a profitable and efficient manner, as the National Energy Company.

The mandate for efficiency requires that NNPC Ltd. is committed to working with its partners in ensuring key processes, procedures, and timelines that drive major business activities such as contracting, are structured in a manner that engenders efficiency and drives profitability.

Olojo Festival:Ooni Commences 7-Day Seclusion

Mohammed Shosanya

The Ooni of Ife, Arole Oodua Olofin Adimula, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja ll, on Sunday kick started this year’s annual Olojo Festival celebrations by embarking on a 7-day spiritual seclusion.

While in isolation,the foremost monarch will seek the face of Almighty God(Olodumare) and ancestors of the land for the recovery of Nigeria’s economy and unity of the African people for prosperity.

He spoke to the press before being escorted on a procession to the ‘ILE MOLE’ ancient cult chamber located on Iremo road in Ile-Ife .

He lauded President Bola Tinubu over his sterling Pan-African speech recently during 78th UN General Assembly in the USA quoting him as saying “To the rest of the world, I say walk with us as true friends and partners. Africa is not a problem to be avoided nor is it to be pitied. Africa is nothing less than the key to the world’s future.”

He advocated the need for Africans worldwide to unite and be peaceful for the development and desired economic liberation. He urged relevant stakeholders in Africa to prioritize the unity of the African continent, saying pan Africanism is non-negotiable.

“President Bola Tinubu spoke very creditably well as a true Pan-African leader during the 78 edition of the UN General Assembly. I also respect Presidents Yoweri Museveni and William Ruto of Uganda and Kenya respectively for always consistently standing for Africa. I have met with them and we have always discussed Africa development.

“For the past 8 years that I been on the throne of Oduduwa, anytime I go into seclusion, there is nothing I ask the ancestors that doesn’t come into fulfillment. Therefore, I can rest assured that this time around, the actualization of Pan-Africanism will come to reality. “Ooni said.

Ooni,who lamented the suffering and hardship in Nigeria said there is a need for the ancestors to step in so that the administration of President Tinubu, will be the renewed hope in terms of friendly economic palliatives for the poor masses, good roads, uninterrupted power supply, affordable education, employment opportunities, and above all, actualization of the ideological oneness that all sundry in Africa have been hoping for.

He implored government at all levels to be more sensitive to the plight of the people, also urging all and sundry to support the president so as to move the nation forward for stable national security and economic advancement.

“I will pray for the unity of Africa. Things are very hard. We all know the economic challenges that people are facing.

“The issue of restiveness of our youths would not go beyond control, before this are sensitive issues that we need to address before it goes out of hand.

“My prayer also would be to pray for divine intervention for the government of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in order to turn things right because expectations of people are so high”, Ooni stated

Ooni,who doubles as Co-chairman, National Council Of Traditional Rulers Of Nigeria (NCTRN) praised President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil for his love for Africa saying the large turnout of the Afro-Brasilians and other diaspora Africans is an attestation that Olojo festival.is indeed a rallying point for connecting the Africans together.

Adesanya Risks Three-month Jail Term For Drunk-driving

Former UFC middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya, could face three months in jail after he pleaded guilty to drunk-driving charges in his home country, New Zealand.

The incident took place on August 19, when Adesanya encountered a Random Breath Testing unit in Auckland while returning from dinner with friends.

He was found with 87 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood in his system, meanwhile the legal limit in New Zealand is 50 milligrams.

He said in a statement:”I want to apologize to the community, my family and my team for the decision I made to get behind the wheel after drinking at a dinner.

“I am disappointed with my decision to drive, it was wrong. I know that people might follow me and I want them to know I do not think this behavior is acceptable.”

He could face up to a $2,680 fine and/or three months in jail and will be back in court on January 10 for sentencing.

LIRS Chief Clears Air On Stamp Duty

Mohammed Shosanya

The Special Adviser to the Executive Chairman of the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service, LIRS, Mr Tokunbo Akande has clarified the misunderstanding surrounding stamp duty,saying it is a revenue stamp and not a postage stamp.

Akande disclosed this.while featuring as a guest on The Tax Talk programme on Channels Television recently.

According to him,contrary to public opinion, stamp is not just for courier services as it is meant to certify the underlying transaction between two entities, whether they are corporate entities or individuals, thus, the framework for stamp duty is to verify the documents for underlying transactions and ensure that they are admissible in court in case any disputes arise.

He noted: “It’s interesting to note that stamp duty, a tax law that dates back to 1939, is still in effect today. Although it was reenacted in 2004 and has been updated over time through the finance act, the basic premise remains the same.

“Stamp duty places the responsibility on those involved in certain transactions to provide documentation that explains the details of the transaction. For example, if someone purchases an item from another person, a receipt is given to show the transaction. This receipt must be stamped to be considered admissible evidence in court in case any disputes arise. In the past, the postal stamp was used to denote the stamp duty.”

Akande,who noted that Stamp duty has contributed significantly to revenue generation in Lagos State, as the state has generated over N5 million from stamp duty over the past few years, said the agency believes there is still room for improvement.

Stating that the agency is considering the introduction of revenue stamps for wholesalers and distributors for receipts over N10,000 in the state, he noted: “This approach was previously utilized in the 1970s, and we are eager to revitalize it. We are fully committed to engagement and process improvement”

He said the agency has taken the step of digitizing its stamp duty operation by transitioning from manual to electronic processes.

He added:“The Joint Tax Board (JTB), which oversees all Internal Revenue Services (IRSs), the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), customs, immigration, and other related bodies, has been at the forefront of promoting awareness about stamp duty in general.

“LIRS (Lagos State Internal Revenue Service) has also made significant efforts in this area by holding town hall meetings, issuing public notices and guidance notes, and engaging with professional bodies. However, despite these efforts, the message has not been fully received. It is important to note that the law requires that all transactions between two entities must be stamped, and even items such as cheques have a small stamp on them. This is because they may be admissible in court. Therefore, it is your responsibility to ensure that any documents related to transactions above a certain level of expenses are properly stamped, as failure to do so renders them as ordinary paper.

He said LIRS has expanded its presence across various states, with offices conveniently located to better serve taxpayers as its officials are proud to offer assistance with legal proceedings and have desks located in all the courts of Lagos.

“Our team of experts ensures that all necessary documents are properly stamped and verified by the commissioner for stamp duty. We take record-keeping seriously, as it helps to ensure the authenticity of all documents that pass through our hands. Proper stamping of documents is essential, whether you’re borrowing money from a bank or renting a property. Failure to do so could render them inadmissible in court. We are here to help certify your documents and ensure they have the necessary stamps to make them legally binding,” Akande said.