Oyo Government Shuts Six Health Facilities Over Quackery

Mohammed Shosanya

The Oyo State Government, has shut six health facilities across the state over quackery.

The shut facilities committed various offenses, including recruitment of unqualified personnel to provide medical services and engage in illicit practices.

Among the facilities sealed were the New Jobi Memorial Hospital; Omolara Clinic & Maternity Home Iped Amazing Grace Medical Clinic; Emiloju Clinic and Maternity Centre Ogbere and Safeway Clinic, Gbaremu; Emilagba clinic and Maternity Centre, Ibadan.

Speaking during an inspection and monitoring exercise held within the Ibadan metropolis, the State Antiquackery Task Force Committee Chairman, Dr. Adekunle Aremu said the team carried out the operation as part of the government’s efforts towards protecting the health and well-being of residents.

He said the Oyo state government would not tolerate any form of quackery or substandard practice in the health sector.

He added that anyone found culpable would face the full wrath of the law.

He urged the public to report any suspicious or illegal activity in any health facility to the Ministry of Health or the nearest security agency.

He also advised the public to patronize only accredited and registered health facilities in the state, adding that they must ensure only qualified personnel attend to them.

He appealed to health workers to abide by the ethics and standard of their profession.

He also urged residents to cooperate with the government in its quest to provide quality and affordable health care to the people.

He said: “The goals remain clear, Oyo state government is dedicated to upholding rigorous standards and prioritizing the health and safety of every resident.

“The government ensures that healthcare services consistently meet the highest benchmarks for quality and safety, so citizens can trust their well-being”.

FG Withdraws Charge Against Sowore

Mohammed Shosanya

The Federal Government has withdrawn the charge it filed against rights activist, Omoyele Sowore and Adebayo Olawale aka Mandate.

The withdrawal of the charge was sequel to a notice of discontinuance filed at the Federal High Court Abuja, where Sowore and his co defendant are being prosecuted.

The Notice of Discontinuance, dated February 15, 2023, was signed by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi SAN.

“By virtue of the power conferred on me under Section 174 (1) (c) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended, Section 107 (1) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 and all other powers enabling me in that behalf, I, Lateef Fagbemi SAN, the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice tend to discontinue Charge No: FHC/ABJ/CR/235/2019, between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Omoyele Sowore, Adebayo Olawale aka Mandate.

An Abuja based legal practitioner, Pelumi Olajengbesi Esq, has commended the decision of the AGF to discontinue the trial of Omoyele Sowore in court, where he was charged by the Government Republic of Nigeria for alleged staging a revolution.

Olajengbesi said the decision reflects a commitment to upholding the principles of justice and fairness within the country’s legal system.

“By discontinuing the trial, the Attorney General has demonstrated a willingness to review cases objectively and prioritize the protection of citizens’ rights.

In a statement on Thursday, Olajengbesi said the action Prince Fagbemi has reinforced the importance of safeguarding freedom of expression and ensuring that individuals are not unduly persecuted for exercising their rights.

“I applaud the Attorney General for his discernment and for taking proactive steps to promote a legal environment that respects fundamental human rights.

“This decision sets a positive precedent for the administration of justice in Nigeria and reaffirms the government’s dedication to upholding the rule of law.

“As advocates for justice and equality, I stand in support of such principled actions and urge continued adherence to the principles of fairness and accountability within our legal system” Olajengbesi stated.

AfCFTA: NCDMB Advocates Simplification Of Cross Border Deployment Of Labour

Mayowa Balogun

Following plans to implement the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA),the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has advocated the removal of visa restrictions among African nations, the creation of a database of available skills, and the simplification of cross border deployment of labour.

The Executive Secretary of the NCDMB, Engr. Felix Omatsola Ogbe made these recommendations in the keynote address he delivered on Monday in Lagos at the Nigerian Local Content AfCFTA Energy Summit organised by the Board in partnership with the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN).

Represented by the Director of Corporate Services, NCDMB, Dr. Ama Ikuru, the Executive Secretary harped on the need to unlock barriers that are inhibiting free intra-Africa trade and advised African leaders to create unified codes and standards for goods and services, reform the services sector, and enhance trade facilitation programmes.

He assured that the NCDMB will continue to partner with stakeholders such as PETAN, the African Petroleum Producers Organisation (APPO), and other continental and regional bodies to position Nigerian oil service providers to take advantage of the big market opportunities that AfCFTA offers.

Speaking,the Director of Monitoring and Evaluation, NCDMB, Mr, Abdulmalik Halilu urged oil-producing countries to specialise in different manufacturing and service areas of the oil and gas industry and develop their competencies to the right specifications, so they can trade among themselves.

Citing an example with the manufacturing of complex equipment where the critical components are produced by different original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and assembled at a designated factory, Halilu explained that such a model will ensure that each African country develops a competitive advantage and can contribute effectively to the African oil and gas industry.

He mentioned that Nigeria had already completed two Oil and Gas Parks where manufactured components or services can be assembled at competitive costs. He stressed the need for close collaboration among African oil-producing countries as well as between African OEMs to enable the success of AfCFTA. He listed other critical factors as trade liberalisation, uniform standards, measurements, and enforcement tools.

The Secretary General of the African Petroleum Producers Organisation (APPO), Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim, while making his comments, advocated for synergy among African countries, hinting that no African oil-producing country can provide the financial, technological, and marketing resources that it needs to be self-sufficient. He added that “if resources are pooled together, African countries can go far”.

He advised Nigerian oil and gas companies to be diplomatic when engaging their counterparts from other African countries and to coopt other nationals when planning to operate in foreign jurisdictions.

He said: “You need to have diverse shareholding and include nationals from other countries when you move to other African countries to operate. Do not create the impression that you want to dominate.”

The APPO scribe announced that the African Energy Bank will start operations in 2024 and would have $5bn capitalization and the 18 member nations of APPO have started paying up their shareholding, which is $83m per country.

He affirmed that the African Energy Bank would be a veritable platform to fund oil and gas projects within the continent and mitigate the withdrawal of international financiers because of the clamour for renewable energy.

He also confirmed that APPO was working to establish international research centres of excellence in different regions of the continent, which would cater to the research needs of oil companies operating in Africa and curb their dependence on international research centres for research solutions.

He stated that APPO is working to enhance the market for African oil and gas resources and ensure that crude oil and gas resources that are produced in Africa get consumed within the African continent. This is important because of the threat of energy transition, which is expected to substantially shrink the demand for crude oil and gas resources internationally, he said.

Speaking at a panel session at the summit, the Director of Finance and Personnel Development, NCDMB, Dr. Obinna Ofili expressed worry over the financing prospects of some key initiatives of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

He also observed that the ongoing geopolitical conflicts were affecting the inflow of international funding into the African oil and gas industry.

He recommended that APPO should develop a financial strategy for its strategic plans and should mobilize funds from different sources, including from international financiers. He also advised other African oil-producing countries to set up a financing programme like the Nigerian Content Intervention Fund (NCI Fund), to support the growth of their local supply chain.

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigerian government has claimed it Nigeria cannot continue to subsidise electricity because of huge debts already incurred,the Federal Government has said.

The Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu,who disclosed this a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday, said the country must begin to move towards a cost-effective tariff model, as the country is currently owing the tune of N1.3trillion to generating companies.

According to him, N450billion was budgeted for subsidies this year,despite the fact that the ministry requires more than N2trillion in subsidies, adding that state governments would now be able to generate power independently to supply power to their respective states.

He added that the grid had collapsed six times between December 2023 and now due to a lack of gas, ageing machines in the grid value chain, insufficient capacity to evacuate generated power, and the destruction of power stations in some parts of the country’s North-East geopolitical zone.

He mentioned that over N50 billion has been set aside in the 2024 budget to establish small grids to provide power to remote locations.

He warned power distribution businesses (DisCos) should sit up, or those found wanting will have their licence revoked.

The minister also stated that he had contacted Nuhu Ribadu, the National Security Adviser (NSA) to assist with the protection of power infrastructure.

Bonga: Shell To Upscale Investments In Deep Water,Renewables

Mohammed Shosanya

Energy giant, Shell says it’s working to extend the life of the Bonga Floating, Production, Storage, Offloading (FPSO) vessel for another 15 years to handle more production from Nigeria’s first deep-water development which came on stream in 2005.

The Bonga Main Life Extension Project comes as the company explores opportunities in deep-water, gas and renewables in Nigeria where it pioneered oil and gas production more than 60 years ago,a statement said.

“Shell is committed to developing its robust portfolio in Nigeria,” Managing Director, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (SNEPCo,) Elohor Aiboni,was quoted as saying this at a panel discussion at the ongoing 8th Sub-Saharan Africa International Petroleum, Exhibition and Conference (SAIPEC) in Lagos organised by the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN.)

She added:“We are maturing numerous projects planned to come onstream in the short, medium, and long terms with the right fiscal and regulatory framework.”

Bonga produced the 1 billionth barrel of oil last year and SNEPCo has stepped up efforts for additional volumes from existing assets with more to come on stream in 2024 and beyond.

Other opportunities in deep-water include the Bonga North as well as Bonga South-West and Nnwa Doro projects on which SNEPCo is collaborating with the Nigerian government and partners to implement. Shell is also expanding its gas portfolio with both SNEPCo and The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd (SPDC) maturing several projects to deliver gas from their onshore and deep-water assets.

Shell Nigeria Gas is currently serving more than 130 industrial and commercial customers, and looks to expand its gas distribution network with the aim to deliver over 1,000MW equivalent of energy to industrial parks and manufacturing companies in Nigeria.

Mrs. Aiboni explained on investments in renewables: “Off-grid solutions are the quickest way to improve energy access in remote communities, so our investments in this area will provide millions of Nigerians access to reliable and sustainable electricity.”

Shell Nigeria is driving uptake in renewable energy through two companies — All On and Daystar Power Solutions. All On has facilitated more than 80,000 off-grid connections in the 36 states in Nigeria including the federal capital territory, with nearly 200 underserved communities and 560 new businesses powered with clean energy. Daystar plans to increase its installed solar capacity to 400MW by 2025 to become one of Africa’s leading providers of solar power solutions for commercial and industrial businesses.

She added: “Over the years, Shell has proved to be a reliable partner in the development of Nigeria through our range of business and mainly the energy we produce. We will continue to look for innovative ways to help reduce cost and drive efficiency in our business. We want to remain highly competitive and relevant in the oil and gas business and still stand tall in spite all the challenges.”

L-R: CEO, Aftrac Limited and Founding Member and VP Upstream, Women in Energy Network (WIEN), Patricia Simon-Hart; Managing Director, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (SNEPCo,) Elohor Aiboni; Managing Director & Chief Executive, TotalEnergies EP Nigeria Limited, Matthieu Bouyer; Director of Deepwater and PSCs – Nigeria/Mid-Africa, Chevron International Exploration & Production, Michelle Pflueger and Chief Executive Officer, Radial Circle, The Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN), Ranti Omole… after a panel discussion at the ongoing 8th Sub-Saharan Africa International Petroleum, Exhibition and Conference (SAIPEC) in Lagos organised by the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN.)

Kwara: Group Seeks Action,Accountability On Mining

Mohammed Shosanya

The Kwara Sustainable Development Advocacy Forum (KWASDAF),has advocated the need for the Federal and State Governments to come out accountable and transparent on mining in Kwara State.

The development was sequel to the seizure of 12-truck loads of Lithium by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). This led to the arrest of over 40 people.

Musa Idris Buko,coordinator of the group,said in a statement that fear is now crippling into the mind of the populace on the potential rise of insurgency in some regions of Kwara where mining activities take place.

The pro-democracy group advised the Federal Government to prioritize Kwara State in her efforts to develop the mining sector in line with global best practices.

The statement also implored the state government to appoint a substantive Commissioner for Ministry of Works and Transport, with a view to allowing the current Hon. Commissioner for Mines and Solid Minerals,who doubles as the Supervising Commissioner for Works and Transport to squarely face his job in the Ministry he was appointed to man.

“Beyond the potential insurgency illegal mining could breed, there are issues of pollution covering land, air, and water, environmental degradation and health hazards. Political consideration for 2027 should not be the only priority for Kwara North, rather, the area and the State must live in peace to witness 2027 and beyond. However, with the increased number of illegal miners in about two years, there is need to sit and think critically about the stability of the state”,it added

According to the coordinator,the state government definitely reserves the right and power to contend with the effect of the exploration activities in Kwara State.

The group maintained that the urge to seek for increased revenue for government has led to massive attention in mining, and the State must ensure that within the capacity it has, it designs a framework that can contain the imminent threat illegal mining posesses.

It added:”Zamfara was deep in insurgency connected to illegal mining, before deploying plans for local police, Kwara State Government does not need to wait until it is late before drawing maps for local safety and policing.

“This is an advocacy for immediate action, if illegal mining in Kwara North is allowed to thrive, it will affect food security and production, the effect can only be imagined now, reality may make us wish we took a more solid ground when we had the opportunity.

“The state government should also kindly come accountable and transparent on the derivations received on mining of mineral resources in Kwara. The amount of Lithium and other resources being mined calls for serious account and transparency.

Extortion:Rivers Police Dismiss Inspector,Recommend Two ASPs For Sack

The Rivers State Police Command has dismissed an Inspector, identified as Michael Odey following his involvement an extortion of $3,000 from two Aba-based businessmen.

The Command also recommended the dismissal of two other Assistant Superintendents of Police (ASPs), Doubara Edonyabo and Talent Mungo, after the police confirmed their involvement in the extortion.

The Police Public Relations Officer for the state Command , Grace Iringe-Koko, in a statement on Wednesday, said the dismissal of the Inspector was a fallout of an orderly room trial he was subjected to, adding that all three officers remained in custody pending the conclusion of investigation into two additional cases of similar nature involving them.

The statement said: “The Rivers State Police Command is issuing an update regarding an ongoing investigation into an extortion incident involving three Police Officers. As part of our commitment to transparency and accountability, we are providing the following information:

“After a thorough investigation, two Officers have been officially queried and recommended for dismissal as per established procedures. This recommendation has been swiftly forwarded to the Force Secretary (FORSEC) for necessary action.

“Inspector Michael Odey’s case has progressed with the conclusion of Orderly Room Proceedings. The findings have been reviewed by AIG Alifa Omata, the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone 16, Yenagoa, who has upheld the recommendation of dismissal from the Force and has been relieved of his duty, Effective 7th February 2024.

“It is important to note that all three Officers remain in custody as investigations continue into two additional cases of similar nature. Updates on these investigations will be provided in due course.

“The disciplinary process for Assistant Superintendents of Police (ASPs) Doubara Edonyabo and Talent Mungo involves review by the Inspector General of Police and the Police Service Commission, ensuring a fair and just resolution.”

The statement quoted the state Commissioner of Police, CP Olatunji Disu as encouraging residents of the state to always promptly report any misconduct by law enforcement agents.

Disu,however,assured that all reports logged with the Police by members of the public would be handled with the utmost seriousness, stressing that appropriate actions would be taken to uphold fairness and justice in all cases before the command.

Kaduna Electric Raises Staff Salaries By 10%

Mohammed Shosanya

Kaduna Electric has announced a 10% increase in salaries across all staff categories.

The increment takes effect fromthis month,Dr. Umar Hashidu, the Chief Executive Officer, said during a recent meeting with the management team.

According to a statement,the salary adjustment comes as a strategic response to the imperative of motivating the staff, aimed at elevating the company’s overall performance despite the considerable challenges it currently faces.

The statement quoted Dr. Hashidu as underscoring that the decision also addresses the prevalent cost of living crisis in the country.

Dr. Hashidu emphasized the Board and Management’s conviction that this salary increment will serve as a catalyst, inspiring staff to redouble their efforts to navigate the company through its current challenges.

He reiterated the Board’s unwavering commitment to prioritizing staff welfare as highlighted by the Board’s Chairperson,Ms. Rahila Thomas, when she led other Board members on a visit to the company recently. He hinted that this initial salary adjustment is part of a broader initiative.

He acknowledged the precarious state of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI), describing it as being on life support.

Kaduna Electric faces challenges in meeting market obligations and has shown a lackluster performance in compliance with NERC performance indices.

Despite these challenges, Dr. Hashidu expressed confidence that the issues confronting Kaduna Electric are surmountable with collective effort.

He urged all staff members to approach their duties with diligence, citing the positive growth trajectory observed in energy sales during January as a promising indicator.

He implored staff to maintain this momentum until the company achieves a positive turnaround.

FIRS Boss Seeks Discontinuation Of N2.59trn Tax Credit Scheme On Road Construction

Mohammed Shosanya

The Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Zacheus Adedeji has described as unlawful the three year old N2.59trillion Tax Credit Scheme introduced by former President Muhammadu Buhari administration for road construction across the country.

The FIRS boss has also called for the discontinuation of the scheme.

This is even as the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited ( NNPCL), explained the $3.3billion loan facility secured for the Central Bank of Nigeria ( CBN) for stabilization of Naira in the foreign exchange market.

These developments came up when FIRS and the Chief Financial Officer of NNPCL, Umoru Ajiya, appearance before the Senate Committee on Finance.

President Buhari had introduced through Executive Order 7 of 2021, the N2.59trillion Tax Credit Scheme.

The Senator Sani Musa led Committee had invited the duo, to shed light on implementation of the scheme vis – a vis, the poor state of Federal Roads across the country.

While the NNPCL Chief Financial Officer praised the scheme that it is helping to fix the dilapidated roads across the six geo political zones in the country with N664billion spent so far, the FIRS boss stated otherwise, adding that the scheme should be discontinued.

He said: “The Mandate of FIRS lumped with execution of Tax Credit Scheme for road construction is to access, collect tax and remit it into the federation account and not to appropriate it for any purose through executive order .

“It is not the duty of FIRS and NNPCL to be paying contractors. The Ministry of Works should be in line with its core mandate, allow to award road contracts and pay for them.

“The scheme to people serves as faster way for road reconstruction or rehabilitation across the country, but we should stop increasing speed towards wrong direction.

“As a way of stopping the wrong approach, FIRS and CBN are holding meeting with the Ministry of Works Friday this week, where stock would be taken of what have be done through the scheme and thereafter, to the right path.

“We should in a nutshell, not continue in the wrong trajectory,” he said.

The Chairman of the Committee, who was impressed by his submission, said relevant provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), are against the scheme, because monies NNPC and FIRS are being made to spend on the roads through tax credit, supposed to be remitted into consolidated revenue fund .

“We are waiting for outcome of meeting of the three agencies involved in the scheme, before deciding on how to help the present government to correct mistakes of the past,” he said.

On the $3.3billion loan facility, NNPCL informed the Committee members that it was secured to support CBN to suppress foreign exchange volatility.

It said $2.2billion had already been secured for the apex bank while the balance of $1.05billion, would be credited the apex bank before the end of the month .

Insecurity: Police To Launch Special Intervention Squad

Mohammed Shosanya

Inspector General of Police, IGP Kayode Adeolu Egbetokun has stated that Bauchi state has been selected as one of the states of the federation to kick-start the Special Intervention Squad as an intervention to handle crisis situations.

The IGP,who stated this on Wednesday when he paid a courtesy visit to Governor Bala Mohammed at the Government house in Bauchi,said the police under his leadership will be establishing the Special Intervention Squad in all the 36 states of the federation,but will be first launched in 10 pilot states of the federation.

According to him,members of the squad will be officially selected, trained, equipped and specially motivated, adding that they will not engage in routine anti-crime patrol, but will be housed, fed and adequately taken care-off.

He explained that the mission of the squad is to respond to all crisis in their respective domains and return to base to continue training, stressing that with the establishment of the squad in all the states of the federation, activities of armed bandits will be reduced to the barest minimum.

“If we have this kind of squad in all the states of the federation, from our experience, we find out that if we face a particular state that is troubled by bandits, as we are chasing the bandits away from a particular state, they are moving into a neighbouring state and if you go to that state again, they will move to the next state.So we want to stop that, if we have this squad in all the states, as we are chasing them, they will not have another place to run to” he said

Responding to the visit, the Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed said that security is the priority of his administration, pointing that the selection of Bauchi State as one of the states of the federation to have a Police Special Intervention Squad was a welcome development.

“The Special Intervention Squad that you are establishing, we very happy that you are including Bauchi state and definitely whatever support you need, we are going to give it because security is the main thing we need.Security is what we need to go to school, farm as we are peasants here with a very large state. Our geography is difficult to manage, we have gulleys, rivers, valleys, ungoverned spaces, large forests and the demographics is not helping us, people are coming into the state because of the relative peace”

“We are a gateway to seven states and all the zones within the north.The North-East, the North-Central and the North-West and some of the activities of the federal government in the North-West is affecting us because you can see how intellect is deployed, as you are fighting them in the Northwest and the bandits are running into the North-East and this is the root which is Bauchi state”.

“We don’t have bandits in Bauchi state, what we have are informers and they are doing that because of poverty, poverty of mind and lack of community engagement.However, we don’t have technology to combat insecurity, we have written severally to the presidency, we need the Monitoring and Evaluation, we need the drones so that we can manage our country.It is unacceptable, we will employ the presidency to help you with the resources to deploy technology to complement the deficient we have in the area of human capital ” he said