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Bayelsa: Group Expresses Confidence in APC Candidate

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By John Onah, Abuja

A non-governmental organisation, Next Level Movement for David Lyon, the Bayelsa APC governorship candidate, has expressed confidence that he can turn around fortunes of the state if elected governor of the state.

Director General of the organisation, Mr Tonbra Ekiotenne,

in statement yesterday in Abuja, declared the readiness to work closely with APC leaders in the state.

Lyon recorded victory at the APC primaries winning with 42, 138 votes followed by former Police Commissioner Diseye Poweigha with 1, 533 votes.

According to Ekiotenne, Lyon has the capacity and experience to reposition and facilitate infrastructure development of Bayelsa.

Ekiotenne said: ”We as support group are set up to deploy social media tools in communicating the Next Level campaign agenda, economic policy and political activities of Lyon to achieve targets.

“We resolve to provide Nigerians and Bayelsa in particular with credible information on the activities of the APC candidate in Nov. 16 election.

“Our intention is to provide accurate information to achieve our aim; we have set up structures in the eight local government areas in Bayelsa with coordinators appointed for each.

“Our target is to use social media to garner support in the rural areas and every part of the state to ensure an overwhelming and unprecedented victory for Lyon in the governorship election.”

He said that the organisation had planned, strategised and carried out community campaigns since August for Lyon to win more voters confidence, bypass plethora of fake news to achieve desired goals.

Ekiotenne further congratulated the former governor of the state, Mr Timipre Sylva, Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, Mr Godswill Akpabio and Mr Festus Keyamo on their political appointments.

He, however, canvassed support from members of the organisation by urging them to embrace the cause for realisation of the Federal Government’s Next Level policies and programmes in the state.

Lyon would face the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Sen. Douye Diri in the election.

The Next Level Movement is an online support group designed to create awareness on the need for conduct of free and fair election to promote good governance.

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POLITICS

Edo guber: Appeal Court Affirms Ighodalo as PDP Candidate

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The Appeal Court sitting in Abuja has rejected an appeal to nullify the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primary election that produced Asue Ighodalo as its candidate for the upcoming Governorship Election in Edo.

The appellate court, in a unanimous decision by a three-member panel led by A.

M Lamido, on Monday, dismissed the appeal filed by the embattled Deputy Governor of the state, Philip Shaibu.

Shaibu was earlier impeached from office but recently got reinstated by the court.

While dismissing the appeal marked: CA/ABJ/CV/642/2024, for want of merit, Lamido held that it found no reason to set aside the May 27 judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja.

The court further ruled that the trial court was right for refusing to invalidate the outcome of PDP primary election based on the suit by the appellant.

It awarded a N1million cost against the appellant.

Justice James Omotosho of the Federal High Court had, in his judgment that was affirmed by the appellate court, held that Shaibu lacked the legal right to seek to nullify the outcome of the primary poll.

Omotosho further held that the plaintiff did not meet the condition precedent to confer such a legal right on him.

According to the court, no evidence was adduced to establish that he participated in the primary election he sought to nullify its outcome.

Omotosho held that it was a basic requirement of the law that a plaintiff must take part in a disputed election to be able to challenge its outcome in court.

He said that there was overwhelming evidence that the plaintiff was never physically present at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City, where the primary election of February 22 took place.

Report says that Shaibu had in the suit prayed the court to issue an order stopping the INEC from accepting or recognising Ighodalo
as the gubernatorial flag bearer of PDP in the election.

He contended that the primary election that produced Ighodalo was not conducted in compliance with both the Electoral Act and party Constitution.

He prayed the court to, among other things, compel the party to conduct a fresh primary election in the state.

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Senate, Women Society Push for Domestic Staff Inclusion in National Wage Scheme

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By Eze Okechukwu, Abuja

The Senate and National Council for Women Society (NCWS), have sought for the inclusion of domestic servants in the proposed N70,000 National Minimum Wage Scheme.

The Senate and the Women group made the call yesterday at the national assembly during a public hearing on a bill seeking for an Act to provide for the Domestication and Registration of Domestic workers and Employers in Nigeria.

The public hearing on the bill sponsored by Senator Babangida Hussaini (APC, Jigawa North West) was organized by the Senate Committee on Employment, Labour and Productivity and was chaired by Senator Diket Plang (APC, Plateau Central).

The Senate’s call for the inclusion of domestic servants in the National Minimum Wage Scheme specifically came from Senator Osita Izunaso (APC, Imo West) during his remarks at the public hearing.

“As a member of this Committee, I feel strongly that part of the provisions to be included in this bill is the domestic workers; be it house maid or servants in the proposed N70, 000 National Minimum wage law.

“As N70, 000 is being planned to be the lowest wage for the lowest public workers, so should be the case for the least domestic workers.

“We are going to put it in the bill for implementation by all employers”, he said.

Senator Izunaso however suggested that instead of domestication and protection of domestic workers and employers, the intent of the bill should be changed to registration and protection of domestic workers and their employers.

In a similar call, the Acting National President of NCWS, Mrs Geraldeen Etuk aligned with the Senate’s position for the inclusion of domestic servants in the proposed National Minimum Wage law.

Speaking from the sidelines, the sponsor of the bill, Senator Babangida Hussaini said though he was elated by the general support the bill got from the various stakeholders; from the Minister of Labour to other relevant stakeholders he expressed reservations on the practical implementation of the additional scope of inclusion of domestic workers in the national minimum wage.

“There is no point making a law that cannot be implemented. However, i’m happy that the generality of stakeholders at the public hearing supported the bill and by extension, the proposed law”, he said.

Earlier in his remarks during the session, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Diket Plang said an agency will surely be set up for the implementation of the proposed law. But in the interim, the Ministry of Labour and Productivity will drive the operation from the onset.

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Reps Probe Non-availability of Crude Oil Supply to Domestic Refineries

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By Ubong Ukpong, Abuja

The House of Representatives, on Monday, commenced a forensic investigation into the alleged production and importation of substandard/ adulterated petroleum products, as well as the non-availability of crude oil supply to Dangote and all other domestic refineries.

Delivering a keynote address at the inauguration of the joint Committees on Petroleum Midstream and Downstream, in Abuja, Speaker Tajudeen Abbas tasked Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum.

Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) and Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) on the need to “guarantee that all petrol imported into this country is rigorously tested in laboratories to meet the standard sulphur and octane levels.

Abbas who was represented by his Deputy, Hon. Benjamin Kalu urged the Committee on the need to stand on the side of Nigerians who are suffering and want results by protecting their interests, rather than the interest of any other parties.

Speaker Abbas also harped on the need to address the issue of infrastructure for quality assurance that enables robust testing of petroleum products with the standard practice for manual sampling fully adhered to, just as he urged the Committee to carry out investigations on the quality and the number of laboratories that both the NMDPRA and SON have or use for their tests and return with actionable feedback.

In his remarks, Lead Chairman of the joint Committee on Midstream & Downstream, Hon. Ikenga Ugochinyere explained that the Committee was mandated to ‘carry out a legislative forensic investigation into the resurgence of fuel queues in petrol stations, allegations of high cost of PMS, unavailability of fuel stock for downstream domestic refineries, disruption of distribution of PMS products, unfair subsidization of PMS and other petroleum products, racketeering and favouritism in the Pro Forma Invoice System regime.’

While reeling out the joint Committees’ itinerary, Ugochinyere said: “Our investigation will proceed in phases, beginning with the investigation of allegation of alleged production and importation of Substandard Petroleum Products and the non-availability of Crude Oil to Domestic Refineries.

According to him, some of the stakeholders to be engaged by the joint Committees are: regulatory bodies, State Oil Companies, Petroleum Products Refining Companies, IPMAN, PETROAN, independent oil producers, international oil companies (IOCs), importers, marketers, depot owners, among others.

Ugochinyere who reiterated the 10th Assembly’s resolve towards ensuring the integrity and security of Nigeria’s petroleum sector, applauded the House leadership for its “desire and unstoppable drive to see a competitive, efficient, transparent and sustainable Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Resources sector that will be the foundation for advanced economic revolution that will help solve our present challenges in line with the Federal Govt Renewed Hope Agenda.”

He pledged the Committee’s resolve towards ending the menace of indiscriminate issuance of licenses and importation of refined petroleum products, alleged return of PMS price intervention, allegation of product unavailability to marketers from NNPC Retail, endless shifting of timelines for refinery rehabilitation, and the nefarious activities at petrol depots.

According to him, the committee will also conduct ‘A legislative forensic investigation into the presence of middlemen in crude trading, indiscriminate issuance of licenses, alleged unavailability of Intl standard laboratories to check adulterated products, influx of contaminated products into the country, the allegation of non-domestication of profits realized from crude marketing sales in local banks, abuse of the PFI regime, importation of products already being produced in Nigeria and use of international trading companies to resell fuel stock to local refineries at high mark up prices.

The joint committees are also posted towards carrying out a legislative forensic investigation into the allegation of importation of substandard products and high-sulphur diesel into Nigeria, the alleged production of substandard diesel and other petroleum products by some domestic producers, alleged anomalies in the importation and distribution of pms by the state oil company, the economic viability of the alleged sale of petroleum products below fair market value and its impact on downstream and local refineries and revenue generation as well as the source of funds for such price interventions, quantity imported, amount spent and why the products are still high in the retailing market, the alleged failure of some of the regulators to enforce compliance on standards; the lack of support to local crude refiners, issuance of import license, despite local production.

He also pledged the Committee’s resolve to ensure “a thorough and transparent investigation, the committee will undertake detailed laboratory investigations at all local refineries, marketers, and Importers facilities, and regulatory agencies, State Oil Company and other players in the sector.

“We will visit various filling stations, depots, and tank farms to take samples in line with intl standards, verify the quality of imported products, and assess the testing capacities of all refineries and all refined product handling outfits. The collection of samples will be done transparently and in line with global best practices and will be in 4 specimens for independent testing in a different standard, accredited Laboratory including that of all stakeholders involved in refining and importation of refined petroleum products.

“The committee will select different locations, including filling stations, depots and even currently discharging ships. Samples shall be taken in the presence of Representatives of NMDPRA, refinery representatives, Marketers/Importers, and the Committee. After collection, the samples will be tested jointly and also independently by the committee and the stakeholders to ascertain the contents.

Components to be tested for as listed as follows: Sulfur Content, Density, Distillation, Flash Point, Octane number (for gasoline), and Cetane number (for diesel).

He also unveiled the joint Committee plans to inaugurate Zonal interaction Committees to ensure swift movement to different parts of the country to interact with stakeholders and take samples from stakeholders/facilities such as depots, farm tanks, filling stations, and refineries, for immediate laboratory analysis.

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