Lightning Kills Three Students In Anambra

Tragedy struck a secondary school in Awka South local council area where lightning killed three students on the spot,leaving six others hospitalised.

The tragedy occured at Tansi International College Okpuno, on Saturday while the students played football barefooted in the rain.

Witnesses said the lightning struck nine of the students while playing football, leaving three of them dead on the spot.

According to witnesses, the students were Senior Secondary School (SS3), and were being trained by their coach ahead of a forthcoming football competition.

The coach had ended the training session before rain started, but some of the students stayed behind to continue with the game.

According to the witnesses, “lightning, accompanied by claps of thunderstorm suddenly enveloped the area and the boys were struck in the process.

“A teacher heard the students screaming and running. He ran to the field and saw at least nine students trembling and jerking on the turf.

“That was when he raised the alarm and people gathered to help. The boys were immediately rushed to the school clinic, from where they were taken to hospital in Awka”.

Six of the nine boys, it was learnt,were resuscitated and are currently receiving treatment in an hospital, but three did not survive and their parents have been contacted.

SERAP Drags Tinubu To Court Over Failure To Investigate Missing Oil Revenues

Mohammed Shosanya

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sued President Bola Tinubu over “the failure to probe the grim allegations that over US$15 billion oil revenues, and N200 billion budgeted to repair the refineries in Nigeria are missing and unaccounted for between 2020 and 2021.

The allegations are contained in the 2021 report by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI).

In the suit number FHC/L/CS/2334/2023 filed before a Federal High Court in Lagos, SERAP is seeking: “an order of mandamus to direct and compel President Tinubu to probe the allegations that US$15bn of oil revenue, and N200bn budgeted to repair and maintain the refineries in Nigeria are missing and unaccounted for.”

Joined in the suit as respondent is Mr Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.

SERAP is also seeking: “an order of mandamus to compel President Tinubu to direct appropriate anti-corruption agencies to probe allegations of corruption involving the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Limited, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NPDC) and State Owned Enterprises (SOE).”

SERAP is also seeking: “an order of mandamus to compel President Tinubu to use any recovered proceeds of corruption to enhance the well-being of Nigerians.”

According to the suit, SERAP argues that: “There is a legitimate public interest in ensuring justice and accountability for these serious allegations. Granting the reliefs sought would end the impunity of perpetrators and ensure justice for victims of corruption.”

SERAP is also arguing that, “The allegations of corruption documented by NEITI undermine economic development of the country, trap the majority of Nigerians in poverty and deprive them of opportunities.”

According to SERAP, “Unless the President is directed and compelled to get to the bottom of these damning revelations, suspected perpetrators would continue to enjoy impunity for their crimes and enjoy the fruits of their crimes.”

SERAP is arguing that, “Many years of allegations of corruption and mismanagement in the spending of oil revenues and impunity of perpetrators have undermined public trust and confidence in governments at all levels.”

SERAP is also arguing that, “The findings by NEITI suggest a grave violation of the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended], national anticorruption laws, and the country’s obligations under the UN Convention against Corruption.”

The suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers, Kolawole Oluwadare, Andrew Nwankwo, and Ms Valentina Adegoke, read in part: “The Tinubu government has a constitutional duty to ensure transparency and accountability in the spending of the country’s oil wealth.”

“SERAP is seeking an order of mandamus to direct and compel President Tinubu to put in place mechanisms for accountability and transparency in the oil sector.”

“Section 13 of the Nigerian Constitution imposes clear responsibility on the government to conform to, observe and apply the provisions of Chapter 2 of the constitution. Section 15(5) imposes the responsibility on the government to ‘abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power’ in the country.”

“Under Section 16(1) of the Constitution, the government has a responsibility to ‘secure the maximum welfare, freedom and happiness of every citizen on the basis of social justice and equality of status and opportunity.’”

“Section 16(2) further provides that, ‘the material resources of the nation are harnessed and distributed as best as possible to serve the common good.’”

“Similarly, articles 5 and 9 of the UN Convention against Corruption also impose legal obligations on the government to ensure proper management of public affairs and public funds, and to promote transparent administration of public affairs.”

“The UN Convention against Corruption and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption obligate the government to effectively prevent and investigate the plundering of the country’s wealth and natural resources and hold public officials and non-state actors to account for any violations.”

“Specifically, article 26 of the UN convention requires the government to ensure ‘effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions’ including criminal and non-criminal sanctions, in cases of grand corruption.”

“Article 26 complements the more general requirement of article 30, paragraph 1, that sanctions must take into account the gravity of the corruption allegations.”

“Nigeria is also a participating state of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which aims to foster greater governmental accountability for the use of natural resource wealth through the creation of a set of international norms on revenue transparency.”

“EITI also aims to tackle corruption, poverty and conflict associated with natural resource wealth. Nigeria has the obligations to implement the EITI Standard, which sets out the transparency norms with which participating States including Nigeria must comply.”

“According to the 2021 report by NEITI, government agencies including the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NNPC) and the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NPDC) failed to remit $13.591 million and $8.251 billion to the public treasury.”

“The NNPC and NPDC failed to remit over 70% of these public funds. NEITI wants both the NNPC and NPDC to be investigated, and for the missing public funds to be fully recovered.”

“The report also shows that in 2021, the State Owned Enterprises (SOE) and its subsidiaries (the NNPC Group) reportedly spent US$6.931billion on behalf of the Federal Government but without appropriation by the National Assembly. The money may be missing.”

“The NNPC also reportedly obtained a loan of $3 billion in 2012 purportedly to settle subsidy payments due to petroleum product marketers but there is no disclosure of the details of the loan, subsidy and the beneficiaries of the payments.”

“The report also shows that N9.73 billion was paid to the NNPC as pipeline transportation revenue earned from Joint Venture operations but the money was neither remitted to the Federation nor properly accounted for. The NPDC in 2021 also failed to remit $7.61 million realized from the sale of crude oil.”

“The report documents that about N200 billion was spent on ‘refineries rehabilitation’ between 2020 and 2021 but ‘none of the refineries was operational in 2021 despite the spending.’ NEITI wants the spending to be investigated, as the money may be missing.”

NDIC Leads In ICPC’s Ethics,Integrity Compliance Ratings

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has secured the top position in the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) 2023 Ethics and Integrity Compliance Scorecard (EICS).

Bashir Nuhu, the Director, Communication and Public Affairs, in a statement,explained thatthe development is a remarkable achievement which marks the second time that NDIC has achieved the prestigious first place, previously having been ranked first in the 2021 EICS.

The ICPC’s Ethics and Integrity Compliance Scorecard (EICS) is an annual assessment tool designed to evaluate Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) in Nigeria for their adherence to institutional ethics and integrity requirements.

The assessment encompasses the measurement and monitoring of key performance indicators in categories such as Management Culture and Structure, Financial Management Systems, and Administrative Systems,the statement said.

In the 2023 EICS, which took place between March and July 2023 and involved 404 MDAs, the NDIC excelled with a score of 91.30%.

The EICS report emphasizes the ICPC’s commitment to mitigating abuse of office and corruption by promoting ethics and integrity benchmarks within government agencies, ultimately contributing to more effective service delivery.

According to the statement,the NDIC’s consistent first-place ranking is a testimony to the Corporation’s zero tolerance policy for corruption and benchmarking its operations with standard best practices.

It would be recalled that the Corporation in September this year earned 3 ISO Certifications having complied with the requirements following a rigorous audit by MSECB, a leading international provider of Audit and Certification services.

These achievements have been possible due to Corporation’s effective and ethical operational procedures aimed at instilling transparency and accountability. The NDIC’s Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit (ACTU) played a pivotal role in the process, collaborating closely with the ICPC.

This collaboration included sensitizing NDIC staff, identifying and enhancing internal controls to prevent fraudulent practices, and ensuring strict compliance with established policies and procedures by the Corporation’s management

The NDIC’s outstanding performance in the 2023 ICPC Ethics and Integrity Compliance Scorecard underscores its unwavering commitment to upholding the highest ethical standards and serving as a beacon of integrity within the Public Service. The Corporation remains dedicated to ensuring the safety of deposits and contributing to the stability of the financial system.

CBN Will Add Value To Lives Of Nigerians-Cardoso

Mohammed Shosanya

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Olayemi Cardoso, says the bank will focus mainly on the core mandate of price stability under his leadership

He disclosed this while playing host to the Impact Investing Community, led by the 14th Emir of Kano and Khalifa of the Tijaniyyah Sufi order of Nigeria and the neighbouring countries, Muhammadu Sanusi II, who is also a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Mr. Cardoso said he and his team were determined to change the narrative about the Bank and make the Bank more impactful in the lives of Nigerians by curtailing inflation.

He said:“At the end of our tenure, we want to look back and see that our policies have positively impacted people’s lives.”

Speaking further, Mr. Cardoso thanked the Impact Investing Community for visiting the CBN, noting that the community represented an excellent future for Nigeria and has the potential to transform the country’s economy by tapping into the investment opportunities available across the country and the world.

Commending the quality of leadership at Impact Investing Community and its effort to create awareness as well as build partnerships, the CBN Governor assured them that the Bank would collaborate with them in the direction of putting in place frameworks that will encourage investments that will positively influence the lives of Nigerians and contribute to economic growth.

In his remarks, Khalifa Sanusi expressed happiness at visiting the new CBN Governor. He noted that the bank’s activities had a massive impact on the lives of Nigerians, adding that many people often “do not know the impact of a Central Bank’s works until a Central Bank fails.”

Expressing concerns about the inflation rate, he urged the new leadership at the CBN to work persistently at driving down the rate, which he noted had severely impacted the wealth of individuals.

He also acknowledged the importance of long-term planning by the CBN in achieving its goals, just as he emphasised the need for the fiscal authorities to focus on agriculture and education, especially for the girl-child.

Khalifa Sanusi pledged his continued support, along with the Impact Investing Community, to the CBN in achieving its goals.

Speaking, the Chair of Impact Investing, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, said they were at the CBN to register their willingness to support what the Bank and the Federal Government were doing in terms of changing Nigeria’s investment climate by redirecting resources to areas where they will make the most positive impact.

According to her, over $200trillion was available around the globe as investment funds, with $1trillion of it with impact investing.

She further stated that Impact Investing, with a presence in over 41 countries, was willing to blend with traditional investment practitioners to make an impact in the country. While stressing the importance of social investment, she sought the support of the CBN to enable the body to achieve its goal.

Group Sues FG,Customs Over Restriction Of Fuel In Ogun Communities

Mohammed Shosanya

The Incorporated Trustees of All Youths Re-Oriented Initiative (AYRIN) has instituted a suit against the Federal Government through the Nigeria Customs Service at the Abeokuta High Court over the Custom’s directive to prevent movement of fuel and petroleum products in communities close to the borders of the country.

The defendants in the suit are the Nigeria Customs Service Board and the Comptroller- General of Nigeria Customs Service.

In the suit No FHC/AB/CS/87/23 filed by Izunya Izunya and Co on behalf of the plaintiff, the plaintiff in the originating summon is asking the court to decide “Whether it is not discriminatory, illegal and unconstitutional for Nigerians residing in communities of any distance from Nigeria border to be deprived of buying, selling or having access to the use of fuel and all petroleum products within and outside their communities in Nigeria.

“Whether the circular issued by the 1st & 2nd defendant preventing petrol tankers from dispensing fuel in communities in Nigeria within twenty (20) kilometers from Nigeria border is not illegal, unconstitutional and contrary to section 42 and 43 of 1999 constitution of Nigeria (as amended) 2023.

“Whether the prevention of fuel from entering 20 kilometers within boarder area has not caused untold economic, social and psychological pain, hardship and suffering on Nigerians residing within border area and any other order or further orders as the Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances.

The plaintiff’s counsel, Izunya Izunya & Co in the suit is seeking a declaration by the court that the circular No.027 issued by the 1st and 2nd defendant dated 6th day of September 2019 preventing petrol tankers from taking fuel to filling stations, selling and buying fuel within twenty kilometers from Nigeria Borders with other countries, is illegal, unconstitutional, null and void for being contrary to section 1 (1) & (3) and section 42 of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria As Amended) 2023.

“That members of the plaintiff and other Nigerians residing within any border villages/community whether near or far are entitled to use buy. sell and bring fuels and other petroleum product from anywhere within Nigeria by use of vehicle, tanker, gallons and any other fuel conveying object.

“That the defendants have no justification under any law to issue a circular that will discriminate against the members of the plaintiff and persons residing within border area and for such further Order or Orders as the Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstance”.

The suit was supported by an affidavit by one Oguntoyinbo Olufemi Ajadi, who is the President of the applicant.

In the affidavit Ajadi stated that he has the consent of the Trustees of the plaintiff and members of the plaintiff to depose to the affidavit; that the plaintiff is a non-governmental organization duly registered with Corporate Affairs Commission.

“That the filing of this suit is within the aims and objectives of the plaintiff as contained in exhibit B of paragraph 3 above; that the plaintiff has members within all areas affected by the act of the defendants and outside Ogun State and that the members of the plaintiff are not in one location but spread across different local governments, villages, towns and cities in Ogun State including but not limited to llaro, Afon, Owode-idiroko, Ajegunle Ajilete, Wasimi-Okuta, Iwoye, Okeagbede, Idofa, Imeko etc”.