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Sanwo-Olu Signs Anti-Cultism Bill Into Law, Approves 21-Year Jail Term For Cultists

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Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has signed the bill for the Prohibition of Unlawful Societies and Cultism of 2021 into law, approving a 21-year jail term for convicted cultists in the State.

The State’s House of Assembly, in February, passed the anti-cultism bill, which also stipulates a 15-year jail term for anyone found guilty of abetting cultists and residents who willfully allow their properties to be used as meeting points by cultists.

Sanwo-Olu assented to the bill at the swearing-in event for newly appointed members of the State’s Public Procurement Agency Governing Board and two Permanent Secretaries held at Banquet Hall in the State House, Alausa, on Monday.

At the event, the Governor also signed three other bills into law. They are the Lagos State Audit Service Commission (Amendment) Law of 2019, Lagos State Public Procurement Bill of 2021, and Coronavirus Pandemic Emergency Law of 2021.

The anti-cultism law repeals the Cultism (Prohibition) Law of 2007 (now Cap. C18, Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2015) and provides for more stringent punitive measures, as well as makes its application all-encompassing and applicable to the general public, as against the restriction of the previous law to students of tertiary institutions.

Sanwo-Olu said the State had suffered the negative effects of unlawful societies and cultism, stressing that the new law sought to make parents more responsible and show more interest in the upbringing of their children and wards to ensure that they do not become a burden to the society.

Speaking on the appointment of the procurement agency’s Governing Board members, the Governor said their selection was predicated on their track record of integrity, experience, and professional competence.

He said the Board’s duty was to oversee the procurement process, by ensuring that public funds were judiciously expended in a manner that would promote accountability, transparency, and value for money.

Sanwo-Olu said: “Your major responsibility as members of the Public Procurement Governing Board is to ensure strict adherence to the provisions of the State Public Procurement Law. You hold a crucial and strategic role in preventing wasteful spending and corruption in public procurement. The State Government and taxpayers count on you to keep the procurement process as transparent as possible.”

The Governor said the appointment of the two Permanent Secretaries into the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure as part of the move to restructure the ministry into two distinct offices, as necessitated by the need to engender improved efficiency and faster delivery of key projects under the purview of the Ministry.

“I challenge you to utilize your wealth of knowledge and experience for the expedited and seamless delivery of works and infrastructure projects; you must ensure that we achieve our purpose for restructuring the two offices,” Sanwo-Olu charged the appointed Permanent Secretaries.

The bill to amend the State’s Audit Law of 2015 was initiated by the executive to address observed flaws hindering the successful implementation of the extant Audit Law, Cap. A13, Laws of Lagos State, 2015.

With the amendments, the Central Internal Audit (CIA), which was a department in the Ministry of Finance is now a department under the Audit Service Commission. This is to bring auditors under one body for effective administration and independence of internal auditors in line with best global practice.

Lagos State Public Procurement Agency Law originally enacted in 2011, forms the legal bedrock for the public procurement regime in the State. The Law was based on the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) model which is a properly regulated procurement system standard on international best practice.

The Public Procurement Agency Governing Board members are the Commissioner for Finance, Dr Rabiu Olowo (chairman), Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr Sam Egube, Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo, SAN, Mr. Fatai Onafowote (General Manager), Mrs Foluso Onabowale, Mr Foluso Mustapha, and Mr Lanre Olusola.

Each Governing Board member has a term of three years to serve on the Board.

The two Permanent Secretaries are Arc. Adebayo Odusanya (Office of Works) and Engr. Rotimi Thomas (Office of Infrastructure).

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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