Politics

Govt. officials conniving with pipeline vandals must be sanctioned,prosecuted-Lawan

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The President of the Senate, Sen. Ahmad Lawan, on Tuesday said officials of government conniving with criminals involved in vandalising oil pipelines should be prosecuted if identified.

Lawan stated this in his remarks after the consideration of the report of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Pipeline Explosions during plenary.

Accordingly, Lawan mandated the Senate Committee on Petroleum (downstream) to invite the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) with a view to ensuring a review of security measures for pipelines in parts of the country.

The president of the Senate also said the National Assembly would amend the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) Act to prevent the activities of pipeline vandals that lead to explosions and deaths.

He said: “Our Committee on Petroleum (downstream) should invite the NNPC with a view to know what they have been doing over the years to secure the pipelines; what measures are in place and whether there is need to review these agreements.

“This is a multi-billion dollar industry, people consciously do these things, and it’s not an accident.

“Those who are caught in the fires or who come to scavenge are the ones who end up losing their lives, this is not acceptable.

“There must be sanctions, somebody will have to pay the price and of course, after these resolutions are sent to the executive, our committee must follow it up.

“When we have to amend the NOSDRA Act, this is something that we have to do expeditiously.

“We should do it because it will help in preventing or minimising reoccurrence of these criminal acts.”

Earlier in his contribution to the debate on the report, Sen. Chukwuka Utazi (PDP ,Enugu State) blamed the activities of pipeline vandals on some officials of the NNPC.

The legislator called for the introduction of punishment for any official of the corporation caught conniving with pipeline vandals.

“If there is no punishment for any offence, the tendency that it will be repeated severally will be there.

“The people in NNPC must find those people and discipline them. I’m suggesting that the downstream committee should follow up this issue to make sure those people managing these pipelines face the music.

“We have to get these people and ensure they are punished,” Utazi said.

The lawmaker also called for the amendment of the NOSDRA Act.
“Let us get all these laws concerned with the regulation of the petroleum industry amended holistically,”he added.

Sen. Ibrahim Musa (APC, Jigawa North) said the government should “focus on the criminal rings responsible for the initial pipeline breakage”.

Sen. Rochas Okorocha (APC ,Imo) described pipeline vandalism as an act of economic sabotage and called on the Federal Government to subject the surveillance of oil pipelines to contractual arrangements with private firms.

Sen. Ibikunle Amosun (APC, Ogun), accused the NNPC of conniving with vandals to sabotage the economy by encouraging the activities of oil pipeline vandals.

“This is not an act of negligence but connivance. The NNPC knows what to do and cannot claim ignorance. The NNPC knows from their office when a pipeline is vandalised.

“I want to support my colleagues that they should be punished.”

The Ad-Hoc committee’s report states that the incidences of pipeline explosions in Rivers and Lagos State would have been avoided if NNPC and Nigerian Pipeline Storage Company (NPSC) and contractors monitoring the pipelines were proactive.

The Chairman of the Ad-Hoc Committee, Sen. Ibrahim Gobir, said both NNPC and NPSC and the contractor were aware of the Komkom pipeline leakage in Rivers two days before the explosion but delayed in taking necessary action.

The lawmaker disclosed further that both NC and the Oil service contractor were aware of the intended activity of the vandals and the leakage a week and a day respectively, before the Ijegun explosion in Lagos State.

He added that security personnel in connivance with NPSC staff collaborated with the vandals to siphon petroleum products from the pipelines.

The Senate, after consideration of the report on pipeline explosions, adopted all 16 recommendations by the Ad-Hoc Committee.

Accordingly, the Senate recommended that NNPC without further delay,  embark on Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) in re-laying pipelines especially in identified hotspots where erosion had exposed the pipelines to the surface.

The upper chamber also recommended that NNPC involve members of host communities in pipeline surveillance within their various areas as an interim preventive measure.

The Senate further recommended the deployment of modern technology in pipeline surveillance and detection of leakages as well as the introduction of “cathodic prevention of the pipelines.
It also mandated NNPC to refund to the treasury, the “outrageous” sum of N382,203,055.74 it claimed to have used in fire fighting operation in Komkom and provide evidence of compliance to the Senate Committee on Downstream Petroleum Sector.
KC/

Edited by Abiemwense Moru/Chukwudi Ekezie

Politics

Edo APC crisis “tragic and unfortunate”, says Oyegun

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Former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr John Oyegun, on Thursday spoke on the crisis rocking his party in Edo, describing it as “tragic and unfortunate”.

Oyegun, who was first Executive Governor of Edo, spoke with newsmen on the sideline of the 22nd investiture of the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM) in Lagos.

Oyegun said that the rift between Gov. Godwin Obaseki and APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomole, brought to fore the dangers of godfatherism in the nation’s politics.

When principles are involved in an argument, it is very hard to wade in, especially expecting that one party surrenders principle to another.

It is a good thing to mentor somebody, to have an elder, more experienced to help bring up the younger one.

But when you have mentored him, and he has attained maturity and growth, do not keep treating him like a child,” Oyegun said.

He, however, revealed that efforts were ongoing to address the matter and bring peace to the party’s affairs of the state.

Oyegun lauded the performance of the state governor and reiterated his support for the great stride the state was recording.

Edited by: Wale Ojetimi
(NAN)
(NAN)

Edited by: Abdullahi Mohammed/
(NAN)
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Politics

Sanwo-Olu wants more Nigerian professionals in politics

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  Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has called on Nigerian professionals to be more involved in politics to ensure sustainable national development.

Sanwo-Olu made the call on Thursday while delivering the 3rd University of Lagos, Faculty of Engineering Alumni Lecture in Lagos.

The governor spoke on the topic: ”Professionals in Politics: Panacea for Sustainable National Development.”

He urged professionals not to shy away from embracing their political nature, saying that politics is a big part of everyday live and existence.

Quoting ancient philosopher Plato, Sanwo-Olu said that “one of the penalties for declining to take part in politics is that people end up being governed by those inferior to them.

Politics in Nigeria definitely needs more professionals, more ‘outsiders’, not less.

Politics thrives best in the face of diversity; different professional callings bringing different skill-sets and perspectives to the table.

”If we complain that it is politics that has robbed Nigeria of many opportunities in its history then we must also be willing to concede that it is politics that will redeem us and set things right.

”Nigeria’s development will not happen outside of politics and political activity,” the governor said.

He said that most developed countries deployed political leadership to take decisions that set them on the path of development.

”I believe that we must reclaim the word ‘politics from negativity’. It is often given a negative coloration that it does not deserve, and that is misleading.

”As many people as want to go into partisan politics must be encouraged to do so.

We must stop seeing people as ”sell-outs” when they choose to fly the flag of partisan politics.

”We must acknowledge the power that politics has to shape our lives and our societies for good or ill. It is arguably the most potent tool that exists for influencing the course of a society.

”We owe, to a great extent, our happiness or unhappiness to the way politics is played on our behalf.

”We must educate ourselves about the way politics is played in our society – from the smallest level all the way to the top,” he said.

Sanwo-Olu said that politics could be viewed as a professional calling – similar to a religious calling, as professionalism in politics aided national development.

He said that many of the greatest politicians that Nigeria had produced came from various professional callings and walks of life.

The governor said that many of the founding fathers and first generation of political leaders in Nigeria were journalists who had made their name with their pens and writing skills.

According to him, Accounting, Law, Engineering, Business are all professions that have supplied and continue to supply considerable numbers of people at the highest levels of politics and political service in Nigeria.

In his address, Mr Titi Omo-Ettu, Chairman, UNILAG Faculty of Engineering Alumni Association (UNILAGFEAA), said that Nigeria had infrastructure deficit, hence, should adopt Chinese model of governance.

”For a country that has infrastructure deficit as challenge, the Chinese model of governance in which political leadership is selected on the basis that 80 per cent of those governing are engineers or persons of engineering background suits us.

”The electorate of Southwest states of Lagos, Ogun and Oyo, spoke clearly in the last election by voting for leadership that is engineers heavy.

”Your Excellencies, we see your election as a challenge to us as infrastructure providers and we are to remind you of this major responsibility on your shoulders and our determination to support you to succeed,” Omo-ettu said.

Edited by: Chioma Ugboma/Wale Ojetimi
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Politics

2023: Group demands for Igbo President

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The Equity Group, a combination of 45 political parties on Thursday called on the South–East and politicians of Igbo extraction to work together to produce the next president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, come 2023.

The National Chairman of the group, Mr Okey Chikwendu, made the call at a news conference in Abuja.

According to him, the total exclusion of Ndigbo from national leadership equation has become matter of grave concern to well-meaning Nigerians.

Chikwendu said the Igbo deserve visionary treatment and should be given space to produce the next president.

According to him, a president of Igbo extraction will work assiduously towards genuine national unity given their spread and investment in all the nooks and crannies of the country.

“Historically and geographically, Nigeria sits on a tripod namely: North, East and West.

“Under both variants of civilian/democracy and military government regimes that have ruled in the post-independence Nigeria (since 1960), Ndigbo of the present South-East Geo-Political Zone have literally been “political on-lookers’’.

“The apparent total exclusion of Ndigbo, an important part of the national tripod from the national leadership equation, has become quite a troubling matter of grave concern to well-meaning Nigerians,” he said.

Chikwendu called on all patriotic and well-meaning Nigerians to supports and partner the Igbo on this cause, come 2023.

In the same vein, one of the National Leaders of Equity Group, Mr Frank Igwebuike, stressed that to promote equity, justice and fairness it was the turn of an Igbo man to take over the mantle of power as the president comes 2023.

He said, “it is not within the power of the incumbent president to hand over power to anybody, it is the turn of the Igbo man to become the president putting into consideration many variables.

“We are calling on Nigerians to have a rethink. We must talk of the real unity in diversity,” he said.

Another leader of the group, Mr Godson Okoye, also stressed the readiness of the Igbo to take over the mantle of leadership by the end of the present administration.

“There is no disunity in the Igbo as perceived in some quarters; this must be achieved for us to say there is unity, equity, justice and peace in this country,” he stressed.

Edited by: Dorcas Jonah/Donald Ugwu
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Politics

Bill to check discrimination against female police officers passes second reading in Senate

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A bill to amend the Police Act 2004 by expunging the gender-discriminatory provisions on Thursday, passed second reading in the Senate.

This followed the presentation of the bill by the sponsor, Sen.Ezenwa Onyewuchi (PDPImo East) during the plenary.

Leading the debate on the general principles of the bill, Onyewuchi said that the bill was read for the first time on Oct. 10.

He said that that the bill sought to expunge the provisions of regulations122, 123, 124 and 127 from the principal act.

Onyewuchi noted that Regulation 122 restricts female police officers assigned to the General Duties Branch of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) to telephone, clerical and office orderly duties.

Regulation 123 prohibits women police from drilling under arms; Regulation 124 mandates female police officers to apply for permission to marry while the intending fiancé is also investigated for criminal records.

” It also stipulates that a police woman who is single at the time of enlistment must spend three years in service before applying for permission to marry,” he said.

The lawmaker enumerated the duties of the police to include prevention and detection of crime, apprehension of offenders, preservation of law and order among others.

”Analysis of the Police Act and other regulatory/policy documents governing the internal and external workings of the Nigeria Police Force reveals a preponderance of discriminatory regulations and workplace practices that reinforce gender discrimination.

” Many of the police regulations particularly regulations 122, 123, 124 and 127 are overtly discriminatory to female police officers,” he said.

He further said that specifically, the current regulations stated that “a woman police officer who is desirous of marrying must apply in writing to the commissioner of police for the State Police Command in which she is serving, requesting permission to marry.

” She is to also give the name, address and occupation of the person she intends to marry.”

He explained that there was need to expunge the regulations as it was not reasonably justifiable in democratic state like Nigeria which had domesticated the African Charter on Human and People Rights.

Supporting the bill, Sen.Istifanus Gyang (PDP-Plateau North) said that the bill was most welcomed as it widened the scope of mainstreaming women rights in the country’s statutes.

He said that exposure to discrimination was one of the factors that was used in rating and ranking the country on the index of best and worst countries for a woman to live in.

It is sad that women’s rights such as protection from sexual harassment, right to vote and be voted for,and right to hold public office are today a reality.

The quest for gender equality and equity in our clime will be further strengthened by the passage of this bill,” he said.

On his part, Senate Minority Leader, Eyinnaya Abaribe said that amending the law would give dignity to the female folk.

It is very strange to find such provisions in the Police Act which is discriminatory in the sense that the male counterparts don’t have the same restrictions,” he noted.

Also, Sen. Stella Oduah (PDP-Anambra North) urged the senators to give the bill accelerated second reading.

Sen. Smart Adeyemi (APC-Kogi West) said that Nigeria was a democratic society and there should not be any provision that made women be seen as second class citizen.

In his remark, President of the Senate Ahmad Lawan referred the bill to the Senate Committee on Police Affairs and report back to the chamber in four weeks.

Edited by: Kayode Olaitan
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Politics

Gov. Okowa signs 2020 budget of N395bn into law

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Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta on Thursday, signed into law the 2020 budget of N395 billion which was recently passed by the State House of Assembly.

The governor at the brief ceremony in Asaba said that the State Government would consolidate on ongoing projects in the education and road sectors of the economy.

Okowa said the 2020 budget was the first time the sum of N30 billion was allocated to the education sector, adding that adequate budgetary provisions have been made for roads and other projects.

The governor noted that his administration would continue to work within realisable budget circles with a view to ensuring high budget performance, saying that the state would ensure that revenue matches with expenditure in the implementation of the budget.

Okowa said that his administration would execute projects with positive impact on the lives of the people.

He reaffirmed the state government’s commitment to the development of Warri and Uvwie axis because of its value to the state’s economy.

The governor also said that the storm water drainage project in the areas which is expected to commence in January 2020 would cost more than N17 billion.

Okowa also said that his administration had resolved to build more technical colleges across the state to boost vocational education.

The governor while appreciating the speaker and members of the State House of Assembly for painstakingly going through the rigorous process of passing the bill especially at committee levels of budget defence, noted that the slight increment in the budget was aimed at boosting infrastructural development.

Presenting the budget to the governor, the Speaker, Chief Sheriff Oborowori said that the Recurrent Expenditure was N172 billion, while the Capital Expenditure was N223 billion.

He added that the budget showed an increased of N6.2 billion compared to what was earlier presented by the governor.

The ceremony was witnessed by principal officers of the House of Assembly and members of the State Executive Council.

Edited by: Ali Baba-Inuwa
(NAN)
(NAN)

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