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The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on Sunday succeeded in breaking the ice of hostilities between his Ekiti State counterpart, Ayo Fayose and oil marketers who had been at loggerheads over the siting of some filling stations in the state.

The Ekiti State Governor commended the swift intervention of the Governor of Osun in resolving the lingering crisis which had led to acute scarcity of oil products in the state.

The truce reached on the intervention of Aregbesola led to the end of the three week old industrial action embarked upon by the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and
Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG).

NUPENG suspended the strike with immediate effect.‎

Fayose, in his remarks shortly after the communique was read and signed by parties involved, said the purpose of coming down to Osun to resolve the matter was to let the world know that the Yoruba nation can take care of its affairs.

He said the existing unity among the Yoruba has got to the extent that issues can be resolved in any part of the region be it Osun, Ekiti, Oyo, Ogun, Ondo and Lagos states.

Fayose said the idea was to further strengthen the existing unity and love among the leadership of the region regardless of political ideology.

According to him, resolving the matter in Osun was a clear demonstration that Yoruba people are one.

“I appreciate Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun for this peace process that we have been able to achieve.

“The government and the people of Ekiti state highly appreciate the swift intervention of Osun state government led by Governor Aregbesola.

“This is a manifestation of the spirit of togetherness, love, unity and harmony among the people of this region.

“This is done in the spirit of understanding of Yoruba nation as being demonstrated today that we are one nation and indivisible entity.

“What happened today shows that we have the capacity to resolve issues as states in the region without any external intervention.

“Some people will ask why the Ekiti state government has come to Osun to resolve the matter. But whether is Osun or Ekiti, what is important is that we have resolved the matter and reached a common ground.

“It shows that Yoruba people are one and as well remain indivisible.

“All parties involved have signed a communique and we are going to respect all what is in the communique and we will by the communique just as the committee will be given free hands to work to give a lasting solution to forestall such crisis in the future,” He said.

While reading the communique, the General Secretary, NUPENG Mr. Joseph Ogbebor said the union agreed to suspend the three week strike having reached a common ground with the state government.

Ogbebor reiterated that the two parties have agreed to set up an ad-hoc committee which will after the suspension of the strike oversee the need to find a lasting solution to the crisis.

The communique reads in part: “An ad hoc committee be constituted to fashion out in clear terms the conditions and guidelines for the establishment and operations of filling stations in Ekiti State.

“The committee comprising representatives of Ekiti State Government and oil and gas stakeholders shall commence work on Wednesday 7th June, 2017

“In the spirit of reconciliation, Ekiti State Government agreed to pleas for reversal of the revocation of some Certificates of Occupancy of landed properties on which filling stations are built, except the ones on waterways, canals and where there is no justification for such revocation;

“In that same spirit, the government agreed to stop further demolitions pending the outcome of the committee’s report.

“Consequently, the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and other related oil and gas unions hereby suspend the industrial action embarked upon by their members, with immediate effect.

The communique was Signed by: Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Peter Ayodele Fayose, his Osun State counterparts, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola,
NUPENG General Secretary, Joseph Ogbebor,
IPMAN Zonal Chairman, Alhaji Debo Ahmed
PTD NUPENG, National Vice Chairman, Comrade Solomon Kilanko

In his remarks, Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola commended the maturity of the leadership of NUPENG and IPMAN exhibited in resolving the crisis between them and the government of Ekiti state.

He expressed profound gratitude and high sense of understanding displayed by the leadership of the Ekiti state oil marketers, saying it has shown that dialogue remains the best method of resolving conflict.

Aregbesola added, “Since this matter has been resolved, I am happy that this brings a permanent peaceful coexistence between the two parties in the state.

“It is believed that this resolution will bring an everlasting and evergreen cordial relationship between and the unions.”‎

BIG STORY

Terrorism: Nnamdi Kanu in Fresh 15-Count Charges

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On Monday, the Federal Government (FG) filed a new 15-count terrorism charge against Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the self-proclaimed leader of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

The Federal Government upped the counts in the initial accusation it filed against Kanu from seven to fifteen in an amended charge filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja.

With the fresh charges, Kanu who has been facing a seven-count charge bordering on treasonable felony will now take a fresh plea to a 15-count amended charge marked FHC/ABJ/ CR/383/2015, signed by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) M. B. Abubakar.
The IPOB leader was scheduled to appear in court on January 18 (today) to argue his case in two separate applications contesting the competence of the earlier accusation leveled against him as well as the court’s authority.

Count one of the charges alleged that Kanu, sometimes in 2021, being member and leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra did commit an act in furtherance of an act of terrorism against the Federation Republic of Nigeria and the people of Nigeria by making a broadcast received and heard in the country with the intent to intimidate the population, and also threatened that people will die, the whole world will stand still, thereby committing an offense punishable under Section 1(2)(b) of the Terrorism Prevention Act, 2013.

Count 15 of the charge reads, “That you, Nnamdi Kanu, male, adult of Afaranukwu Ibeku, Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia state on diverse dates between the month of March and April 2015 imported into Nigeria and kept in Ubulisiuzor in Ihiala LGA of Anambra state, within the jurisdiction of this honorable court a radio transmitter known as Tram 50L concealed in a container of used household items and you thereby committed an offense contrary to Section 47(2)(a) of Criminal Code Act. Cap C45 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004”.

It would be recalled that the IPOB leader breached the bail conditions granted him by Justice Binta Nyako, before whom he was standing trial. He was however rearrested and brought back to Nigeria to continue with his trial.

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National Assembly To Resume Debate On Electoral Bill Rejected By Buhari

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As the National Assembly returns from its Christmas and New Year break, there are new discussions about the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, which President Muhammadu Buhari rejected over direct primaries.

Buhari did not assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill in a letter to the National Assembly dated December 13, 2021, titled “Withholding of assent to Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2021,” citing economic, security, and legal concerns.

The Federal lawmakers had proceeded on their recess after the president communicated to them the rejection of the amendments made to the 2010 Electoral Act.

While the Senate debated overriding the president’s veto before the recess, members of the House of Representatives stated that action on the draft law will be taken after the recess.

During a nationally televised interview, the president stated that he would sign the electoral act bill if lawmakers provided options for the holding of political party primaries. He listed the alternatives, which included indirect, direct, and consensus.

Stakeholders in the country’s political environment, including governors and civil society groups, have proposed solutions ahead of the National Assembly members’ resumption.

In their reactions, rising from their meeting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, the Peoples Democratic Party governors yesterday appealed to the lawmakers to immediately act on the electoral bill.

There are concerns that any further delay on the Electoral Amendment Bill 2021 being signed into law could constitute a big drawback for the 2023 general elections as the electoral law is expected to be in place at least a year before the election to direct the activities of INEC.

Stakeholders comprising members of the civil society, the organized labor, and media, among others, at a citizens’ town hall on “Electoral Bill 2021” held in Abuja on Sunday by Yiaga Africa and partners, were unanimous in urging members of the National Assembly to expeditiously conclude actions on the bill to ensure it becomes law.

In their various deliberations, they urged the lawmakers to remove the disputed provision on compulsory direct primaries by all political parties and resend the bill to the president for his assent.

A former Chairman of INEC, Prof Attahiru Jega, advised the lawmakers not to dissipate energies on trying to override the president, but should instead, remove the clause on direct primaries to allow the bill receive presidential assent without further delay.

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Insecurity: Police, Amotekun After Criminals On Lagos-Ibadan Expressway

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In response to public outcry and fears about kidnappings on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, the Ogun State Police Command has told the public that it has devised ways to outpace the kidnappers and chase them out of their axis of operation.

Three victims were kidnapped on Sunday morning in Ogunmakin, Onigaari, and Ishara, according to the axes.

DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi, the state Police Public Relations Officer, responded to the command’s move to stop the fresh kidnapping incidents by saying that the command was not merely initiating operations along the Lagos-Ibadan Highway.

“We have been everywhere along the road. We have our Operation Safer Highway, Federal Highway Patrol, and teams of anti-kidnapping units there. What just happened was just an opportunistic drive by the hoodlums who saw an opportunity to strike when they saw a broken down vehicle being fixed,” he said.

Oyeyemi recalled the killing of two of the kidnappers at the same axis two months ago, with the recovery of two AK-47 rifles, saying: “We are not resting on our oars because we are not oblivious of the fact that Lagos-Ibadan Highway is one of the busiest roads in the country, and it is our duty to protect the lives of commuters on the road.

“We are making every effort to make sure that the hoodlums are fished for and flushed out.”

The PPRO also disclosed that the state Commissioner of Police, Lanre Bankole, was at the place being used by the kidnappers to assess its security architecture, “and he has given the necessary directive to ensure that those hoodlums have no place to hibernate.

Oyeyemi added that operatives from the command also embarked on operations of combing the bush, saying “the forest is a very vast one linking Ogun and Oyo. We try as much as possible to involve border boundary security stakeholders such as vigilantes, local hunters, and others who know the terrains very well. And they have been assisting us. It was even through their efforts that we were able to locate their hideouts two months ago.’

“We are still carrying them along in this operation as well. And I’m very sure that very soon, our people will hear good news about our breakthrough in that axis. We are determined to flush the hoodlums out and we are going to achieve that.”

But in his response to the return of the kidnappers to the highway, the convener of Southwest Security Stakeholders Group and the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Chief Gani Adams said the attacks will go into oblivion if the police commands in Oyo, Ogun, and Lagos states, as well as Directors of Department of State Services (DSS) and security advisers to the governors in the states, approve a collaboration with group members to join police operatives in patrolling the axes and the vast forests surrounding them.

Adams, who spoke in a telephone conversation, made it known that nine groups, including OPC, Agbekoya, hunters, vigilantes among others, formed a unit of all relevant security groups in the Southwest.

“They were working with the Police. We started coordinating them and wrote a letter to all monarchs in the South West at the local government levels. We discovered that kidnappers have shifted their attention to the Lagos-Ibadan highway. And it is the busiest road in Nigeria.”

Meanwhile, the Director-General of DAWN Commission, Mr. Seye Oyeleye, has said that there is an ongoing joint operation involving the police and Amotekun in Ogun and Oyo states at identified criminal hotspots on the Lagos-Ibadan highway.

Mr. Oyeleye stated this during a conversation with the Nigerian Tribune on Monday evening. He said in particular, security agencies had identified the group of people terrorizing people plying the end of Isara to the Onigaari axis and were already closing in on them.

He said that with several high-level meetings and joint operations of security agencies, there would be no further attacks on motorists and passengers plying the Lagos-Ibadan highway.

Oyeleye said: “Yes, we have had two or three incidents, but our security agencies are on top of the situation. The security agencies have met and as I am speaking, there is a joint operation going on among the Amotekun in Ogun and Oyo states and the police.

“Yes, it is already one or two incidents too many because the Lagos-Ibadan road is a critical artery for the South-West and indeed, Nigeria, and, if we don’t move in quickly, God forbid, we may have the situation on the Abuja-Kaduna road on the Lagos-Ibadan road. There have been high-level meetings and the security agencies are working jointly.

“Largely, the entire stretch of the road has been secured. You find police presence, but there is that particular notorious point between the end of Isara approaching Onigaari.

“The security men have identified that this is a hotspot and there is a joint operation going on. ‘We cannot afford to have insecurity on that road; it will be a major disaster for the South-West. That is why the authorities are not folding their hands.

“From my office, I have personally spoken with the commandants of Amotekun and I know joint operations are ongoing to ensure that people can drive and travel safely on that road.”

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