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#EndSARS: Sanwo-Olu Seeks FG’s Collaboration On Rebuilding Lagos

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Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has said the task of rebuilding the infrastructure destroyed in the state during the #EndSARS protest last October will take some time to achieve.

The governor, who spoke on Thursday to State House correspondents after a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja, said the state government had begun the rebuilding process with the tasks he described as ‘low hanging’, such as providing support to small and medium scale businesses caught up in violence during the period.

He said rebuilding major infrastructure would take a longer time to achieve.

Sanwo-Olu on Thursday sought collaboration from the Federal Government in rebuilding Lagos State following the aftermath of last year’s #EndSARS protests, hijacked by hoodlums, which led to the destruction of public and private properties and businesses in the state.

Governor Sanwo-Olu said the goal of ensuring Lagos State becomes Nigeria’s investment hub can only be achieved through economic collaboration between the State and the Federal Government.

Speaking to journalists after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Thursday, Governor Sanwo-Olu said Lagos State Government has started working on how it will make available all that is required by the Lagos State Police Command for the law enforcement agency to be more alive to their responsibilities.

Governor Sanwo-Olu, who submitted to President Buhari, the proposals for re-building Lagos State and identified economic opportunities for rebuilding the State during the visit, also explained the plans of the state to tackle the second wave of COVID-19.

He said: “We believe we can further collaborate with the Federal Government, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), on all the great work we all are doing. I think as a Commander-in-Chief, it is important for me to give him a head start.

“We also discussed other matters around some collaborative efforts that the state can enjoy with the Federal Government. They are win-win opportunities. We believe that the Federal Government can help accelerate and fast track some of those opportunities.

“Lagos is the commercial nerve center of the country and so we need to start up on economic programmes and activities that can improve not only our foreign direct investments but also make Lagos an investor destination in the country.

“I also briefed the president about the security situation in Lagos and how we can further enhance and make the place a lot more business-friendly. All the support we are currently receiving and how we can tweak and improve on all of the support especially with some Federal Government agencies.”

Speaking on his administration’s commitment to addressing the second wave of COVID-19 and increase in the number of cases of coronavirus infection in Lagos State, Governor Sanwo-Olu said the State Government has built about 10 oxygen plants and commissioned about four, and provided other facilities in a public building to meet the respiratory requirements.

He said the second wave seems to be a bit more infectious than the first one, considering the number of people who have tested positive to COVID-19 and the fatality rate around the country, especially in Lagos.

The Governor, therefore, urged the citizens to take responsibility and to know and appreciate that COVID-19 is real, therefore they need to obey all the protocols that have been set out for them to obey.

He said: “We have seen, unfortunately, the fatality rate around the country, even in Lagos. One of the things we have realized is that a lot more people require oxygen attention, they need additional breathing aid. So we have started building what we call oxygen tent, oxygen facilities; we are building about 10 of such facilities.

“We have commissioned about four of them and we are also building additional two oxygen plants in the state so that we can meet the respiratory requirements. We understand the virus more than how we did eight to 10 months ago, so we know what treatment should be. We are better positioned for that.

“We are also doing a lot more testing in Lagos than we were doing five to six months ago: we are doing almost 2,500 to 3,000 tests every day, so we are watching the rate of positivity that we have, which is also high. It has moved from the usual 10 to 12 percent and we are now seeing a positivity rate of about 25 and sometimes 30 percent. That is actually very disturbing.”

Governor Sanwo-Olu also disclosed to the journalists that the Lagos State government has supported some of those affected by the #EndSARS protests.

“We are carefully taking a proper study to know what we need to do, taking our time to get it right but we have started something. Businesses that were affected, somebody having a shop looted or burnt or something. We have been able to directly support such businesses, especially on a micro, small level using the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund.

“They have started intervening and supporting some of these small businesses, giving them grants, giving them soft loans, and making sure that they can come back together very quickly,” the governor said.

BIG STORY

BREAKING: Ex-Minister Aisha Al-Hassan ‘Mama Taraba’ Is Dead

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Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan, popularly known as Mama Taraba is dead.

She died at 61.

Alhassan reportedly died from an unknown illness.

She was a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) before defecting to the United Democratic Party (UDP) in September 2018.

She decamped after resigning from the Buhari administration.

Details Later…

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Oil License: Reps Issue 14 Days Ultimatum To NNPC, Threatens To Summon Buhari

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The House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum (Upstream) has given the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) 14 days ultimatum to appear before it. Should the NNPC fail to appear, the committee said, it will summon the Minister of Petroleum, President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to Premium Times, The committee is investigating the revocation and reversal order on the operating licenses of OML 123, 124, 126, and 137.

The oil assets have been the subject of dispute between Chinese-owned oil companies and the federal government. The dispute led to the revocation and restoration of the mining licenses by the Buhari administration.

On Thursday, NNPC, Addax Petroleum Exploration Nigeria Ltd, Kaztech Engineering Ltd, and Salvic Petroleum Resources Ltd all failed to appear before the committee. However, the Minister of Petroleum (State), Timipriye Sylva, and the Director of Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Sarki Auwalu, appeared before the committee.

Myrki Adar (APC, Sokoto), the chairman of the committee, issued the ultimatum and expressed readiness to summon the president if the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mele Kyari, should fail to appear before the panel.

He disclosed that the NNPC sent a letter to the committee that the matter was at the Supreme Court. However, Mr Sylva disputed the claim that the matter was in court.

While issuing the ultimatum, Mr Adar said the panel will not hesitate to summon the president, since he is the petroleum minister.

“Our message to all those that fail to appear before us as invited namely the NNPC, Addax petroleum company limited, Kaztech engineering ltd and Salvic petroleum resources limited.

“We are giving them two weeks from today. We would reschedule this meeting from now to two weeks to appear before this committee and continue our business.

“Unless they want us to invite President Muhammadu Buhari as minister of petroleum. If they do not come, we will not hesitate. Buhari is a minister. He appointed himself, approved by the parliament and he is doing his job. We would invite him. And I know as a law-abiding president he would come. If he comes, Nigerians should know that it is the failure of the NNPC to come that led him to appear before us.”

Background

On April 6, the DPR revoked four oil assets belonging to Addax, now owned by Sinopec, a Chinese state oil company.

A presidential panel headed by a former senator, Magnus Abe, had accused the oil company of “economic wastages.”

The DPR revoked the four Oil Mining Leases (OMLs) citing the inability of the firm to comply with agreed terms.

The assets were re-awarded to two indigenous companies; Kaztec Engineering Limited/Salvic Petroleum Resources Limited (KEL/Salvic) Consortium.

Less than two weeks later, the federal government in a statement by the spokesperson to the President, Garba Shehu, restored the mining right of OMLs 123, 124, 126, and 137 to the NNPC which has a Production Sharing Contract with Addax Petroleum; thus reversing its operations back to Addax.

Aborted motion
Last week, a motion to investigate the matter was listed on the Order Paper of the House.

The motion was in the name of Nicholas Ossai (PDP, Delta). However, the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, asked the motion to be stepped down.

The motion was stepped down and not considered by the House.

Minister Speaks

On Thursday, Mr Sylva said the NNPC wrote a counter-memo against his memo on the Addax assets. He added that he is yet to recognize the restoration order issued by NNPC.

“I wrote a memo to Mr President and it was approved, and NNPC wrote another memo against my memo.

“Having said that, the issue at hand is that no law was breached at all as far as Addax affairs are concerned. I am also not aware of any matter at the Supreme Court on this particular matter. I have just consulted the director of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) who also told me that he is not aware.

“The matter of Addax was not commenced by me, this asset has been sub-optimally managed from the beginning of the acquisition to this moment, it has not been optimally operated.

“When Sinopec group acquired this asset from Addax, production was 130,000 barrel per day, as at today, we struggle to produce 35,000 barrel per day, from this asset, because there are no new investments, and the asset has progressively declined. We believe that with the requisite investment, we would have probably taken the asset to beyond 130,000 barrels per day.

“Obviously, there was an issue of mismanagement of the asset. Now, in the wisdom of the attorney general of the federation, he wrote to the president to say that this asset has not been properly managed. The letter was forwarded to me by Mr President for me to review,” he said.

He added that “NNPC is not in a position to withdraw a revocation or advise the withdrawal or revocation.”

President Buhari is the substantive minister for petroleum and has been since 2015. However, back in December 2020, the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, had said that the National Assembly cannot summon the President.

 

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Probe Begins Monday As FG Suspends NPA Managing Director, Bala-Usman

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The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has suspended the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Bala-Usman, sources familiar with the development said on Thursday.

It was learnt that a panel of inquiry had been constituted to look into the matter that prompted her suspension, as well as other concerns. The panel begins its work on Monday.

It was, however, not clear what necessitated the suspension of the NPA boss, who was only reappointed in January this year by Buhari.

Senior staff members of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, the parent ministry of the authority, confirmed the development but insisted that there was no official statement on the matter yet.

The spokesperson of the ministry, Eric Ojiekwe, could not be reached for comments on the development, as he did not answer calls when contacted on Thursday night.

Bala-Usman was first appointed as the managing director of the NPA in 2016 and was reappointed in January this year for another five years.

On Wednesday, the suspended NPA boss led her organization to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Bureau of Statistics and the Nigerian Ports Authority to commence the production of statistical information and data analytics on port-related activities..

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