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Buhari to finally send Petroleum Industry Bill to National Assembly next week

Sources in the Presidency have disclosed that the President may be presenting the bill to the National Assembly.

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President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to present the long-awaited Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to the Senate as early as next week.

According to Reuters, who were quoting 4 sources familiar with the development, the presentation of the bill to the National Assembly, follows its official approval by the president late last week. This is as the National Assembly has already formed teams of members that will work most closely on the individual portions of the bill.

Both chambers of the National Assembly must have to pass the bill after deliberating on it before it can then be passed on to the president for his final signature.

The PIB which is an oil reform bill has been in the works for about 20 years, is key to the repositioning of Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Industry under its post-COVID-19 agenda as the main laws governing oil and gas exploration have not been fully updated since the 1960s due to some contentious issues like taxes, payments to local communities, terms and revenue sharing within Nigeria.

The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), had disclosed that the delay and non-passage of the bill has made international investors to start losing confidence in the country’s oil and gas industry.

While revealing last month that the PIB will be presented to the National Assembly in the next few weeks, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, also said that the executive arm will be requesting the lawmakers to specially reconvene to receive and start deliberations on the bill.

These oil reforms and regulatory certainty became more pressing this year as low oil prices and a shift towards renewable energy made competition for investment from oil majors tougher.

The draft copy of the bill which was prepared by the Petroleum Ministry is a product of series of consultation between the federal government, oil and gas companies and other industry stakeholders.

Excerpts from the bill reported by Reuters include provisions that would streamline and reduce some oil and gas royalties, increase the amount of money companies pay to local communities and for environmental clean-ups alter the dispute resolution process between companies and the government.

It also included measures to push companies to develop gas discoveries and a framework for gas tariffs and delivery. Commercializing gas, particularly for use in local power generation, is a core government priority.

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ECONOMY & POLITICS

PDP Govs Declare New Police Act Unconstitutional

Kick against deductions for Police Trust Fund

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ Forum has called for a repeal of sections of the Police Act recently accented to by President Muhammadu Buhari, insisting that they breached the Nigerian Constitition.

This was contained in a communique issued yesterday after a Zoom meeting held by the PDP governors.

The communique was signed by the Chairman of the forum, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, who is also the governor of Sokoto State. The governors among other things, urged the president and the National Assembly to repeal Section 4(1) of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund (Establishment) Act, 2019 which “purportedly authorises the President to deduct 0.5 per cent of the total revenue accruing to the Federation Account for the benefit of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund.”

According to the governors, the said deduction is patently unconstitutional.

The communiqué read in part, “The meeting noted the signing of the New Nigeria Police Act, 2020 by Mr. President, Commander in Chief.

“While acknowledging the many important innovations in the new law, the Forum emphasised the need to make the Nigeria Police Council, which has Mr. President as Chairman and 36 state Governors as members, fully operational and the clearing house on all issues bordering on the organisation and administration of the Nigeria Police Force as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution.

“The Forum further observed the discrepancies in S.12(2) and S.12(4) of the Act on the appropriate authority with responsibility to deploy Police Commissioners to the respective States. Whereas S.12(2) gives the responsibility to the Police Service Commission, S. 12(4) gives either the Police Service Commission or Inspector-General of Police the same responsibility.

“This is even more regrettable as the Constitution gives this responsibility to the Police Service Commission (S. 215) (1)(b). We advise that the constitutional provision be upheld.

“Furthermore, the Forum canvassed for appropriate consultations with the Governors of various States on the deployment of Police Commissioners to the States since the Police is a common institution that executes the laws of both the Federal and State governments.

“The Forum implored Mr. President and the National Assembly to repeal Section 4(1) of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund (Establishment) Act, 2019 which purports to authorise the President to deduct 0.5 per cent of the total revenue accruing to the Federation Account for the benefit of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund, as it is patently unconstitutional.

“The beneficiaries of the Federation Account are the Federal, States and Local Governments only. More creative funding options should be explored.”

The PDP governors also expressed concerns over the controversy surrounding the Water Resources Bill, 2020.

“Towards this end, the governors called for greater consultations just as they referred the document to the body of Attorney Generals of PDP controlled states to study and advise accordingly,” it added.

Governors who attended the zoom meeting include: Tambuwal (Sokoto), Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Mr. Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom), Senator Bala Muhammad (Bauchi); and Senator Douye Diri (Bayelsa).

Others are: Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta); Mr. Dave Umahi (Ebonyi); Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu); Mr. Nyesom Wike (Rivers); Mr. Seyi Makinde (Oyo) and Mr. Bello Muhammad Matawalle (Zamfara).

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ECONOMY & POLITICS

Lauretta Onochie’s nomination is a shameful attempt to plant unscrupulous elements in INEC – PDP

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The Peoples Democratic Party PDP has kicked against President Buhari’s nomination of Lauretta Onochie, his personal assistant on social media, as the INEC Commissioner for Delta state.

Recall that the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, on Tuesday, October 13, read a letter from President Buhari, asking for the house to confirm Onochie as INEC commissioner for Delta state.

In a statement released by its publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party described Ms. Onochie’s appointment as a ”highly provocative assault on our national constitution and democratic process”.

Read the statement below

”The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) describes President Muhammadu Buhari’s appointment of his Special Assistant on social media, Ms. Lauretta Onochie, a card-carrying member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as a national commissioner in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as a highly provocative assault on our nation’s constitution and democratic process.

Indeed, from Mr. President’s public promises, one would have thought that he was desirous of leaving a legacy of credible elections, having failed in all ramifications of governance

However, this nomination of his personal staff, Lauretta Onchie, as INEC national commissioner, supports the position of the PDP that his statements were mere glib talks on electoral sanctity and clearly demonstrates that he has no plans whatsoever to leave a legacy of credible polls.

This ugly development is another shameful attempt to plant unscrupulous elements in INEC in order to corrupt and further desecrate the sanctity of the commission, undermine our electoral system and destabilize our democratic process ahead of the 2023 general elections.

We had hoped that, as Mr. President had professed in the past, he is truly running his second and final term in office. If that were so, then Lauretta Onochie’s nomination as INEC national commissioner clearly points to a totally different direction.

Indeed, her nomination dresses up Mr. President as having more than an interest in legacy building and portrays him as one who has a personal candidature interest in the 2023 election. The only way to prove otherwise is to quickly withdraw Onochie’s nomination before the Senate.

Moreover, being a card-carrying member of the APC as records shows (from Ward 5 Onicha Olona, Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta state), Onochie’s nomination is in clear violation of paragraph 14 of the 3rd schedule of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), which forbids a person involved in partisan politics to hold office as a member of INEC.

It is therefore surprising that having sworn to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mr. President is taking actions that are antithetical to the very constitution and democratic governance.

These actions are deliberate attempts by President Buhari to inflame social tensions, undermine our constitution and desecrate the sanctity of our electoral process, rather than finding solutions to the myriads of problems pervading our country.

On a final note, the PDP, standing shoulder to shoulder with Nigerians, will deploy every legitimate means possible in a democracy to stop the approval of this provocative nomination of Lauretta Onochie as INEC national commissioner.”

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ECONOMY & POLITICS

Akeredolu meets Buhari, demands deputy’s resignation

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Earlier today, Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, visited the President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Akeredolu, who secured his second term by winning last Saturday’s governorship election in the state, seized the opportunity of the visit to present his certificate of return to the President.

He was accompanied by the state deputy governor-elect, Lucky Ayedatiwa; and the governors of Lagos, Kebbi, Ekiti and Jigawa States.

In an interview with State House correspondent at the end of the meeting, Akeredolu called on his current deputy, Agboola Ajayi, to resign if he still has any honour in him.

Ahead of the election, Ajayi defected from the ruling All Progressives Congress first to the Peoples Democratic Party and later to the Zenith Labour Party.

He contested the election against Akeredolu on the platform of the ZLP and came third after Eyitayo Jegede of the PDP.

The governor said even if Ajayi refused to resign, his days are numbered since a new deputy would soon be inaugurated.

Akeredolu also said his earlier statement declaring some indigenes of the state as his enemies for life was a mere political statement, saying that having won the election, he has no reason to keep enemies.

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