Benue to conduct LG poll on Nov. 30

Gov. Samuel Ortom
Gov. Samuel Ortom

By Emmanuel Antswen

The Benue State Government said on Tuesday said that it plans to conduct election into local government councils in the state on Nov. 30.

Gov. Samuel Ortom made the announcement at the inauguration of the state Local Government Service Commission, the state Planning Commission and a member of the State Independent Electoral Commission (BSIEC) in Makurdi.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the last local government poll was held in June 2017. The two years tenure expired in July 2019.

Meanwhile, the governor has appointed caretaker chairmen to the run the affairs of the councils before the election.

The governor said that the State Independent Electoral Commission had confirmed that it is ready to conduct the election on Nov. 30.

“I held a meeting with the state electoral commission; we agreed that tentatively, the local government election will hold in November.

“I am aware that the law requires the state to provide 40 per cent funds for the conduct of the election while the local councils provide the balance 60 per cent.

“We will ensure that the funds are made available for the exercise,’’ Ortom said.

He cautioned the service commission against use of federation allocation funds for overheads instead of executing projects.

“I want to know the exact staff strength of the local government councils. I also want to know the ghost workers in the local councils.

“If you go to Guma local council where I come from, you will see less than 20 people at the secretariat but the same council has over 900 staff in its payroll.

“Some people are working elsewhere but collect salaries as council staff. They are mechanics, business people, they don’t go to work but receive salaries monthly,’’ he said.

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ICPC seals NECAS headquarters, warehouse

ICPC Headquarters
ICPC Headquarters

By Muhammad Adam

The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offence Commission (ICPC) has sealed up the national headquarters of North East Commodity Association (NECAS) in Yola over allegations of fraudulent activities.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) learnt that the office was sealed on Monday night, while the National President of the association, Alhaji Sadiq Daware, is at large.

According to a competent source in ICPC office in Adamawa, the commission also sealed a warehouse holding 100  tractors believed to belong to NECAS.

“The commission in one of its operation arrested one Mr. Stephen Maduwa , the Adamawa State Chairman of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria .

“After the arrest of .Maduwa, three warehouses that are linked to him were searched at Bachure and Bekaji in Yola.

“After the search, the warehouses were found to be containing 164,000 bags of maize, 412, 401 bags of sorghum,  698 bags of rice and  508 bags of fertilizer,” the source said

The source said the commodities were estimated to be worth N2.10 billion.

The ICPC Commissioner in the state, Mr Idris Bakori, however, refused to comment on the .matter, insisting that the issue was still under investigation.

The Federal Government assisted NECAS to acquire 600 tractors and farm inputs for distribution to farmers in the Northeast region.

However, communities and farmers complained of the diversion of the items and called for the government’s intervention.

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Investment tribunal seeks jurisdiction beyond capital market transactions

 

Nigerian Stock Exchange
Nigerian Stock Exchange

By Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma

To ensure speedy resolution of  financial market disputes, the Investment and Securities Tribunal (IST) on Monday called for expansion of its jurisdictions beyond the capital market.

The Chief Executive Officer of IST, Mr Siaka Idoko-Akoh, made the call at the opening of the tribunal’s 2019/2020 legal year in Lagos.

Idoko-Akoh said that it had become necessary to ensure that the relevance of the body was not limited to the capital market.

He said that expansion of IST jurisdictions would engender speedy resolution of disputes in the financial services sector, away from the usual delays inherent in the regular court system with its attendant consequence for economic growth.

According to him, the tribunal’s panel comprises of persons of proven ability and expertise in corporate and capital market matters and experienced in securities and investments laws, practices, operations and procedures.

“We make bold to say that over the years, the tribunal has continued through its long line of well thought out judgments and rulings, to evolve a new and unique jurisprudence in the Nigeria capital market.

“It has become necessary however, to ensure that the relevance of the IST is not limited to the capital market alone.

“Leveraging on the IST success story, the idea has been mooted in some quarters of the need to enlarge the jurisdiction of the IST to encompass adjudication of disputes arising from dealings or transactions in the financial services sector of the Nigerian economy,” he said.

Idoko-Akoh added that over 70 judgements had been delivered in keenly contested cases across the zones within the statutorily prescribed time of three months from the date of commencement of hearing.

“This is exclusive of cases either struck out, withdrawn or resolved through our court settlement process, while about 24 cases are on-going,” he stated.

Responding, the Deputy Chairman of the House of Representatives Capital Market Committee, Mr Anayo Edwin, said that upon the inauguration of the committee by the speaker, the committee would consider the tribunal’s request.

“Arising from the chairman’s address, let me say that upon the inauguration of this committee by the honourable speaker, we shall consider your request for the expansion of the tribunal’s jurisdiction to cover other financial sector related cases and for other purposes”, Edwin said.

He, however, urged the tribunal to achieve sustainable growth of the financial sector through a harmonious and investment friendly capital market.

Edwin noted that this could only be attainable through the glaring manifestation of its core values of fairness, integrity, efficiency, professionalism and speedy dispensation of justice.

Also speaking, Justice Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa, President of the Court of Appeal, represented by Justice Tom Yakubu, said the importance of IST could not be over-emphasised.

“The importance of the IST cannot be over-emphasied, particularly in having to do with the timely dispensation of justice in the capital market.

“It is said that time is money and if people invest in the capital market and it goes through the old rules in litigation, you can imagine how people who are the operators in the capital market will not be willing to go there.

“And so, we see that the work being done by the IST is of utmost importance to the development and contribution to the Nigerian economy,” Bulkachuwa said.

She said that the Court of Appeal would partner the tribunal to ensure that cases that came to the court were timely dispensed off.

Dr David Ogogo, Registrar/Chief Executive Officer of the  Institute of Capital Market Registrars, said that IST was set up to enhance investor-confidence.

Ogogo pledged that the tribunal would remain committed to transparent and fair judgement.

“The reality on ground is that if there are no disputes, there would be no need to establish organisations like the IST and so things cannot always go smoothly.

“If there are disputes and they are to be resolved, then of course courage and patience will be required to handle things in the right way if you are to enhance investors’ confidence or impact positively on it.

“You must continue to render judgement given cognizance to be transparent, accountable, responsible and fairness.

“It is with this that I charge the IST to continue to be transparent and fair so that all judgements given are seen to be fair,’’ Ogogo said. (NAN)

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Shell deploys cameras to track spills, crude theft

 

Shell Worker

By Edeki Igafe

The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) says it has deployed state-of-the-art high definition cameras for quick detection and response to crude oil theft and spills from its facilities.

Mr Igo Weli, SPDC General Manager, External Relations disclosed this at a workshop on Monday tagged: “2019 Pipelines Right of Ways Media Engagement” in Warri.

Weli, who was represented by Mr Alaye Dokubo, said the cameras would also help in tracking vandalism of SPDC Joint Venture (JV) assets.

“The cameras are attached to specialized helicopters, which carry out daily overflight over our facilities. This measure has improved the surveillance of our Joint Venture assets,” he said.

The general manager also said that SPDC had implemented anti-theft protection mechanisms on key infrastructure, such as wellheads and manifolds to address constant attacks from vandals.

He noted that the development would prevent and minimize sabotage-related spills.

Weli said the daily loss of over 11,000 barrels of oil per day in 2018 and the threat to the integrity of the SPDC JV assets necessitated the approach to protect critical national assets.

“We collaborate with community leaders, traditional rulers, civil societies and state governments in the Niger Delta.

“This is to implement several initiatives and partnerships to raise awareness on the negative impact of crude oil theft and illegal oil refining.

“Such public enlightenment programmes on the negative impacts to people and the environment help to build greater trust in spill response and clean-up processes,” he said.

Weli said that SPDC would sustain its air and ground surveillance to complement the efforts of government security agents in checking crude theft, pipeline vandalism and illegal refining.

He commended the effort of the Operation Delta Safe in protecting critical oil and gas assets and appealed to other government security forces to intensify their activities around oil and gas facilities.

“In its June 2019 monthly report, NNPC, which controls Nigeria’s 55 per cent interest in the SPDC JV, reported a 77 per cent rise in oil pipeline vandalism.

“Also, 106 pipeline breaches were recorded in June, up from 60 in May,” Weli said.

Also speaking, SPDC’s General Manager, Safety and Environment, Mrs Chidube Nnene-Anochie, said majority of spill incidents on SPDC pipelines were as a result of sabotage.

Nnene-Anochie, who was represented by SPDC’s Compliance Monitoring Leader, Temitope Ajibade said the company was worried by the continuous increase in cases of sabotage and theft.

“Oil spills due to theft and sabotage of facilities as well as illegal refining, cause the most environmental damage from oil and gas operations in the Niger Delta.

“SPDC removed more than 1,160 illegal theft points from its pipelines between 2012 and end of 2018.

“The attendant spills from the theft points are sometimes made worse by challenges of access to the incident sites to investigate and stop leaks.

“We track the progress of our spill response from when we learn about the leak to when clean-up is completed and certified by regulators,” she said.

Nnene-Anochie said that one of the key priority for Shell companies in Nigeria remained to achieve the goal of no spills from its operations.

“No spill is acceptable, we work hard to prevent them. However, SPDC cleans and remediates areas impacted by spills from its facilities irrespective of the cause,” she said. (NAN)

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Agricultural value chain crucial for jobs, productivity – Osinbajo

By Chijioke Okoronkwo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says that the greatest value for jobs and improved productivity lies in the agro-allied value chain.

Osinbajo made the assertion while declaring open the 2019 Annual National Management Conference of the Nigerian Institute of Management (Chartered) on Monday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the conference is, “ Managing the Challenges of Democracy.’’

He said that the central question especially in the public sector was not the lack of talent or well researched policies but the weakness in implementation.

The vice president said that the implementation of policies and programmes to address the challenges of poverty and wealth creation, jobs for millions of young people required collective thinking and action.

According to him the Federal Government has created appreciable value in agriculture, with the Anchor Borrower programme by adding new jobs and acreage in paddy rice, sorghum, millet, cassava and yams.

“But we recognise that it is in the agro-allied value chain that the greatest value lies for jobs and improved productivity.

“So a crucial component of that is our mechanisation of agriculture programme with the Brazilian government where we intend to build service centers in every local government to render extension services, leasing of farm equipment, provision of improved inputs.

”In addition to that there will be six assembly plants for tractors and other equipment. The enhancing of commerce in agriculture by the building of rural roads for access to markets and commodity exchanges are also priority items.

“The expansion of opportunities in manufacturing with the completion of the first phase of the special economic zones in Enyimba City in Abia, Lekki Free Trade Zone in Lagos and the Funtua Cotton in Katsina are priorities and good progress has been made thus far.

“In addition we are in collaboration with the BOI in investing in infrastructure in small businesses and commercial clusters all over Nigeria.

“Leather works clusters, shoe making, food processing clusters, printer clusters etc are to benefit from the provision of power, equipment, and other infrastructure.’’

He said that the issues of capacity in human capital development, affordable healthcare for all, education, especially getting out-of-school children into the school system, education of girls, and relevant educational curricular were front burner issues.

Osinbajo said that healthcare for all could not come from budget allocations alone as the government had taken major steps in the provision of universal coverage policy.

He said that the next level would be the implementation of compulsory health insurance for all Nigerians on a co-payment basis with government.

“We are working at the level of the National Economic Council to achieve the President’s June 20 charge to state governors to ensure full implementation of free and compulsory education in the first nine years of the school life of every Nigerian child.

“The Home-grown School Feeding Programme which is now in about 30 states and feeding over 9.5 million children daily has helped to drive enrollment figures upwards.’’

The Vice president said that under the energising economies scheme, the Federal Government licensed and ensured the provision of power on a willing-buyer willing-seller basis to large and medium scale markets, such as Sabongari in Kano, Ariaria in Aba and Sura in Lagos.

He said that Federal Government’s Social intervention Programmes had greatly enhanced access to credit and improved the inventories of petty traders.

Osinbajo said that the programme recently won the African Development Bank prize for financial inclusion.

The Vice President said that efforts were being made to scale up.

He added that after the presidential policy dialogue preceding the inauguration of ministers, President Muhammadu Buhari developed a list of specific mandates for each ministry.

“The full and effective performance of their mandates is of course an implementation challenge. We look forward to your contributions on the journey,’’ he said.

Earlier in his speech, Prof. Olukunle Iyanda, President of the institute, said the conference always presented a platform to discuss topical issues of national interest with a view to proffering solutions. (NAN)

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Cane, German singer serving jail term sentenced again for insulting Erdogan

Cane, German singer serving jail term sentenced again for insulting Erdogan
Cane, German singer serving jail term sentenced again for insulting Erdogan

A Turkish court on Monday handed down a suspended sentence to a German-Kurdish singer for insulting President Recep Tayyip-Erdogan, according to her lawyer.

The court in Edirne, in North-Western Turkey, sentenced the singer, whose stage name is Hozan Cane, to one year and five months in jail.

According to her lawyer, Newroz Akalan, if the sentence is suspended, it means the singer will go to jail if she commits the same crime within the next five years.

Cane’s name was tagged in a Facebook post with a cartoon of Erdogan.

Akalan said Cane hadn’t expected to be sentenced since there were various Facebook pages in her name and she had no control over them.

Cane is already behind bars in Istanbul in another case.

In November, she was sentenced to six years and three months in prison for membership in the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The PKK is designated as a terrorist group by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU.

She was arrested in June 2018 in Edirne province after police stopped the campaign bus she was in for the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).

The singer, who is from Cologne, Germany, had supported the opposition HDP during its campaign ahead of parliamentary and presidential elections in 2018. (dpa/NAN)

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Tiwa Savage walks runway for Naomi Campbell

TIWA Savage on Naomi Campbell relief Show

By Anita Eboigbe

Afro-pop star, Tiwa Savage strutted the runway for supermodel, Naomi Campbell’s 2019 Fashion for Relief show.

Fashion for Relief is a charitable organization founded in 2005 that has raised funds for various environmental and humanitarian causes. It holds events in association with the London-based non-profit organization CARE

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the ’49-29’ singer showcased her modelling prowess at the British Museum where the event held on Saturday.

An excited Tiwa shared the news on her Instagram page @tiwasavage hailing Naomi for the chance to walk for a good cause. She said, “Thank you, Queen.”

Speaking with British Vogue about her experience, Tiwa noted that modelling was harder than it looked and she would only walk the runway for Naomi.

She said, “If she asks me, yes. Naomi is the only person I would do it for.”

“You prepare for so many hours and then in a few seconds, it’s done. It is definitely a different experience from singing.

“It was very quick, and it’s not as easy as it looks… I just found out.” On the experience working with Naomi, Tiwa said, “I still look up to her.

“I catch myself just staring at her and wondering how her skin glows like that. Naomi is a perfectionist, she knows what she wants and she gets it done.

“I admire that about her, she just works so, so hard… and she is so down to earth.”

NAN reports that Tiwa had also been part of Maki Oh’s show during the New York Fashion Week. The brand is owned by Nigerian designer, Amaka Osakwe.

The singer recently attended shows like Laquan Smith and Pyer Moss and performed at basketball player, Carmelo Anthony’s second collaborative collection, called Melo Made. (NAN)

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LPG usage hit 78,000mt in July – PPPRA

 

SON wants LPG plants in Nigeria certified
LPG usage hit 78,000mt in July – PPPRA

By Edith Ike-Eboh

The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) says that the utilisation of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), also known as cooking gas, has risen from 40,000 metric tonnes (MT) in April to 78,000 metric tonnes in July.

The Executive Secretary of PPPRA, Mr Abdulkadir Saidu, disclosed this in statement made available to newsmen in Abuja.

He said that the rise was a reflection of the fact that the combined efforts of government, industry operators and regulators in deepening LPG penetration was beginning to pay off.

Saidu expressed optimism that the volume of cooking gas consumed locally would further rise in the months ahead, as various initiatives taken by the government and investors to deepen LPG penetration began to yield fruit.

“While domestic utilisation ranged between 40,000 MT and 54,000 MT from January to April 2018, the July 2019 monthly utilisation hit 78,000 MT.

“This figure is expected to increase in the months ahead, as some of the government and industry initiatives take root.

“Correspondingly, there has been a steady decrease in kerosene utilisation within the same period, indicating that Nigerians are increasingly finding value in the switch to LPG from household kerosene, for cooking and other domestic purposes.

“The rapid growth in LPG utilisation is in fulfilment of the vision of the government to deepen LPG utilisation in the country, as encapsulated in the 2017 National Gas Policy,” he said

Saidu assured Nigerians that government, regulators, operators and other stakeholders would remain focused on the formulation and implementation of a stream of policies that would see to the actualisation of the 5 million MT cumulative target by 2022. (NAN)

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Desertification: NGO plants tree seedlings in Borno

Tree planting
Tree planting

By Rabiu Sani

A Non-Governmental Organization, African Climate Change Research Center (ACCREC), on Sunday began the planting of tree seedlings in Maiduguri as part of a comprehensive campaign to control desertification.

The Regional Director of the organization, Mr Usman Busuguma, who spoke at the inauguration of the exercise at Teachers Village Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp, said the campaign was designed to control desert encroachment in the state.

Busuguma disclosed that improved varieties of economic and non-economic tree seedlings would be planted in selected IDPs camps to enhance ecosystem in the metropolis.

He listed the selected areas to include Teachers Village, Bakassi and Gubio IDPs camps.

The director observed that there were lack of trees in most of the camps in the metropolis, a situation which made life unbearable to the displaced persons.

Busuguma added that the organization would expand its outreach to liberated communities in northern parts of the state, to enhance the campaign against desertification.

Also, Mr Kabiru Wanori, the state Commissioner for Environment, revealed that the state government would embark on massive tree planting to control desertification and protect the environment.

Wanori, represented by Bukar Zanna, the Director Planning, Research and Statistics of the ministry, added that the state government adopted practical measures to reintroduce tree planting exercise that was suspended due to the insurgency.

He noted that thousands of hectares of forest resources were deflated due to the conflict in the past 10 years in the state.

Also, Dr Mohammed Bello, an environmentalist at the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID), called on the people to imbibe the culture of tree planting to control desertification and protect the environment for sustainable development. (NAN)

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We didn’t attack S/Arabia, U.S’. claim false – Iran

Saudi oil facilities on Fire as Iran denies U.S.' claim it was behind the attack
Saudi oil facilities on Fire as Iran denies U.S.’ claim it was behind the attack

Iran on Sunday denied accusations by U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, that it was responsible for a drone attack on major oil facilities in Saudi Arabia.

Pompeo’s insinuations were absurd and inexplicable, and, therefore, of no effect, Foreign Ministry spokesman, Abbas Mousavi, told the ISNA news agency.

The attack on Saturday, which caused fires at two facilities operated by Saudi state oil giant, Aramco in the eastern province of Buqyaq, was claimed by Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

Yemen, one of the Arab world’s poorest countries, has been locked in a devastating power struggle between the Houthis and the Saudi-backed government since late 2014.

However, Pompeo disputed the Houthis’ claim of responsibility.

“Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia, while Iranian President Hassan Rowhani and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, pretend to engage in diplomacy,’’ Pompeo said in a tweet.

“There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.’’

Mousavi on Sunday claimed that the attack was a response by Yemeni rebels to war crimes carried out by the Saudi-led coalition.

“Because the U.S. policy of maximum pressure on Iran has failed, the Americans have now switched to maximum lies,’’ he added.

Even in times of extreme hostility, politicians’ statements should have “minimum credibility’’, he said, concluding that the accusation showed the U.S. and Iran were pursuing “very different goals”. (dpa/NAN)

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