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Court orders NNPC to pay N10.6m to veteran journalist over unlawful barricade

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A Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday awarded the sum of N10.6 million damages against the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for unlawfully blocking the highway in front of its Corporate Headquarters in Abuja, which led to a ghastly motor accident.

The amount was awarded in favour of a veteran journalist, His Royal Highness, Eze Geo Anika, whose Peugeot 406 with registration number DP 41 EKY was damaged beyond repairs in 2012 as a result of the unlawful blockade.

Delivering judgment in a suit instituted against the NNPC, Justice Babatunde Quadiri agreed with the plaintiff that the NNPC was negligent in blocking the highway without road signs as required by law.

The Judge held that the evidence of the witnesses to the monarch that concrete barriers were placed on the highway by the NNPC to avert an attack from Boko Haram terrorists were not faulted.

Justice Quadri further held that the claims of the plaintiff regarding the accident and the documents tendered to support his claims were not controverted by the NNPC or its witnesses.

The Judge rejected the claim of the NNPC that the federal government, through the National Security Adviser NSA, was responsible for the placing of the concrete barriers around the NNPC towers without road signs, adding that throughout the proceedings, no single witness was invited to substantiate the claim.

Justice Quadri further rejected another claim by the NNPC that recklessness and over speeding on the part of the plaintiff was responsible for the accident.

The Judge said that the totality of evidence from the side of the police indicated that the accident was caused along with four others by the unlawful placement of concrete barriers on the road the same day.

The Judge, therefore, awarded N5.1 million in favour of the Eze as the cost of a damaged vehicle, another N5 million as special damages, while N500,000 was granted as the cost of litigation.

The veteran journalist had dragged the NNPC to Court for illegally blocking the highways within its multi-billion Naira Towers in Abuja without notifications or road signs or warnings.

The traditional ruler in the suit instituted on his behalf by his counsel Mr Malachy Nwekpe had prayed the Court to compel the NNPC to pay him a sum of N50m as damages for allegedly causing him a fatal accident.

In an amended statement of claims, the veteran broadcaster sought N44m as special damages, N5.1m as cost of his damaged car and another N.5m as cost of prosecuting his case against the NNPC.

In the claims, the former FRCN Judicial Editor wanted the Court to hold the NNPC responsible for the fatal accident as a result of an alleged act of utter negligence and disregard to highway control.

In his statement of claim, the veteran broadcaster claimed that on April 1, 2012, he drove on the highway in front of the NNPC towers to his Radio House office without any form of concrete barriers on the road.

He averred that while returning from work on the same day around 11 pm, his Peugeot 406 car with registration No. DP 41 EKY was involved in a ghastly accident caused by the concrete barriers allegedly placed on the road by the NNPC officials to safeguard the towers at the expense of the road users without any road signs or warning signal.

The plaintiff claimed that it took the intervention of the spirited public Nigerians who rushed him to a General Hospital while the car got damaged beyond repairs by the concrete barriers.

He further contended that all efforts to make NNPC compensate him for the incurred medical expenses and damage to his car were rebuffed by the corporation.

The plaintiff further averred that instead, the NNPC wrote his counsel claiming that it was the security agents of the federal government that placed the concrete barriers on the road and should be held responsible.

He claimed that soon after the accident, he retired from public service and could not replace his car or meet expenses on further medical treatment of his chest.

Elder Anika, therefore, prayed the federal high court to hold that NNPC was responsible for the placement of the concrete barriers without any warning signals to unsuspecting road users.

He also sought a court declaration that the sudden placement of the concrete barriers without relevant signs and warnings was wrongful.

The veteran journalist also asked the Court to declare that the NNPC and federal government, which is a joint defendant in the suit, were vicariously liable for the accident and consequent injury and damage caused him by the wrongful placement of barriers.

He, therefore, claimed N5.1m as the cost of the car, N44.1m as special damages and another N500,000 as the cost of the litigation.
(Daily Post)

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Tinubu Directs Immidiate Implementation of Oronsanye Report

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* Misgivings in Aviation Sector over Proposal to Merge some Agencies

. . .

After 12 years of dilly dallying by successive governments, the much vaunted Orosanye Report that strongly recommended a drastic reduction in the cost of governance, has seen the light of day, after all.

The Federal Executive Council (FEC), on Monday, rose from its weekly meeting, and announced the approval for the adoption and implementation of the Orosanye Report.

The report was submitted to the Federal Government under President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in 2012 but neither him nor his successor, President Muhammadu Buhari, had the political will to adopt and implement its lofty recommendations.

But briefing State House correspondents at the end of the FEC meeting, which was presided over by President Bola Tinubu, the Minister of Information and National Orientation Minister, Mallam Mohammed Idris, said Council had approved the adoption of the report.

This, according to him, means that some agencies, commissions and departments of government have been scrapped, merged, subsumed under some others and others moved to new ministries where they are supposed to perform better.

“In a very bold move today,” said the Minister, “this administration, under the leadership of President Bola Tinubu, consistent again with his courage to take very far-reaching decisions in the interest of Nigerians, has taken a decision to implement the so-called Orosanye Report.

“Now, what that means is that a number of agencies, commissions, and some departments have actually been scrapped, some have been merged, while others have been subsumed. Others, of course, have also been moved from some ministries to others where government feels they will operate better.

“Like I said, this is a very far-reaching decision. It is aimed, one, to fine-tune or to restructure government operations as a whole. Secondly, it’s in line also with decision of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to reduce the cost of governance.”

The Minister, however, explained that the adoption of the report did not mean people working in the affected agencies and departments will lose their jobs.

Orosanye

Highlights of Federal Executive Council decisions on Monday 26 February

 

Here are some of the highlights of the far reaching decisions taken today at the Federal Executive Council meeting, chaired by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

 

1. FEC approved construction of Lagos-Port Harcourt-Calabar Coastal Superhighway to Messrs Hitech Construction Africa. The First phase made up of 47 kms will begin in Lagos.

2. Social security payments to the vulnerable households to begin immediately. Recipients will be those with NIN and BVN.

 

3. Social security payments to be extended to graduates from NCE and upwards

 

4. Consumer Credit to be established very urgently. Chief of Staff to lead a committee that includes Budget Minister, Attorney-General, Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Finance, to make the scheme a reality.

 

5. The Council in order to enhance efficiency in the Federal service, and reduce the cost of governance, decided to implement the recommendations of the Steve Oronsaye panel on the restructuring and rationalisation of Federal agencies, parastatals and commissions.

 

The implementation involves merging, subsuming and scrapping agencies with similar functions.

 

The Oronsaye report was submitted in 2012 to the Jonathan administration. In 2014, the Jonathan government released a white paper on the report. The Buhari administration after re-examining the white paper also released a second white paper in August 2022, but did not implement the report.

 

However, the Tinubu administration has decided to confront the monster of high governance cost by implementing elements of the report.

 

An eight-man committee has a 12-week deadline to ensure that the necessary legislative amendments and administrative restructuring needed to implement the reforms are effected in an efficient manner.

 

The committee comprises Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Head of the Civil Service, Attorney General and Justice Minister, Budget and Planning Minister, DG Bureau of Public Service Reform, Special Adviser to the President on Policy Coordination, Special assistant to the president on National Assembly. The Cabinet Affairs Office will serve as the secretariat.

 

Key recommendations for implementation:

 

1. National Salaries, Income and wages Commission to be subsumed under Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission. The National Assembly will need to amend the constitution as RMAFC was established by the constitution.

 

2. Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission to be merged with Bureau of Public Enterprise and be rechristened as `Public Enterprises and Infrastructural Concession Commission

 

3. National Human Rights Commission to swallow Public Complaints Commission

 

4. Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate(PTAD) to be scrapped and functions to be taken over by Federal Ministry of Finance

 

5. NEMA and National Commission for Refugees to be fused to become National Emergency and Refugee Management Commission

 

6. Border Communities Development Agency to become a department under National Boundary Commission

 

7. NACA and NCDC to be merged

 

8. SERVICOM to become a department under the Bureau for Public Service Reform(BPSR)

 

9. NALDA to return to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.

 

10. Federal Ministry of Science to supervise a new agency that combines NCAM, NASENI and PRODA

 

11. National Commission for Museums and Monuments and National Gallery of Arts to become one entity that will be known as National Commission for Museums, Monuments and Gallery of Arts.

 

12. National Theatre to be merged with National Troupe.

 

13. Directorate of Technical Cooperation in Africa and Directorate of Technical Aid Corp to be merged under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

 

14. Nigerians in Diaspora Commission to become an agency under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

 

15. Federal Radio Corporation and Voice of Nigeria to be one entity to be known as Federal Broadcasting Corporation of Nigeria

 

16. National Biotechnology Development Agency(NABDA) and National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology to be emerged into an agency to be known as National Biotechnology Research and Development Agency(NBRDA).

 

17. National Institute for Leather Science Technology and National Institute for Chemical Technology to become one agency.

 

18. Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency and National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development to become one agency.

 

19. The National Metallurgical Development Centre and National Metallurgical Training Institute will be merged.

 

20. National Institute for Trypanosomiasis to be subsumed under Institute of Veterinary Research in Vom, Jos.

According to the President’s Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga who released the details, the list is not exhaustive.

* Unease in Aviation Sector

Meanwhile, there’s an uneasy calm in the nation’s aviation sector over the proposed merger of some agencies as some experts believe that such an action will go against International Civil Aviation Organisation regulations.

The trio of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Nigerian Metrological Agency (NIMET) were recommended to be merged into a new body to be known as the Federal Civil Aviation Authority (FCAA) and their respective enabling laws amended accordingly to reflect the merger.

Chris-Aligbe, a former image maker of the defunct Nigerian Airways, in an earlier interview, has faulted the plan by the Nigerian government to merge the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency and the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, saying it is not the best thing to do.

Mr Aligbe said that each of the agencies proposed to be merged had its specific function under the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

“I was shocked to the marrow when I heard it. the decision is funny,” he said.

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is the regulatory body for aviation in Nigeria. It became autonomous with the passing into law of the Civil Aviation Act 2006 by the National Assembly and assented to by the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Act was further amended in 2022.

The Act not only empowers the authority to regulate aviation safety without political interference, but also to carry out oversight functions of airports, airspace, meteorological services as well as economic regulations of the industry.

While the NCAA is the apex regulatory body in the country, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) is an air navigation service provider with a mandate to manage the Nigerian airspace to a level consistent with the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organisation standard and recommended practices.

The agency is also designed to increase Air Traffic Management (ATM) capacity in order to manage the increasing air traffic volume and simultaneously reduce delays, to enhance service quality and reduce cost for airspace users.

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) came into existence by an Act of the National Assembly – NIMET (Establishment) Act 2003, enacted on May 21, 2003, and became effective on June 19, 2003 following presidential assent. The Act was also amended by the immediate past government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

It is a Federal Government agency charged with the responsibility of advising the government on all aspects of meteorology; project, prepare and interpret government policy in the field of meteorology; and to issue weather (and climate) forecasts for the safe operations of aircrafts, ocean going vessels and oil rigs.

The Act also makes it the responsibility of the agency to observe, collate, collect, process and disseminate all meteorological data and information within and outside; co-ordinate research activities among staff, and publish scientific papers in the various branches of meteorology in support of sustainable socio-economic activities in Nigeria.

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FAAC SHARES N 1,149.816 BILLION JANUARY 2024 REVENUE TO FG, STATES AND LGs

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Accountant General of the Federation, Mrs Oluwatoyin Sakirat Madein

By Elizabeth Okwe

The Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) has shared a total sum of N1,149.816 Trillion January 2024 Federation Account Revenue to the Federal Government, States and Local Government Councils.

The revenue was shared at the February 2024 meeting of the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) chaired by the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Wale Edun

According to a communique issued by FAAC, the N1,149.816 Trillion total distributable revenue comprised distributable statutory revenue of N463.079 billion, distributable Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue of N391.787 billion, Electronic Money Transfer Levy (EMTL) revenue of N15.922 billion and Exchange Difference revenue of N279.028 billion.

Total revenue of N2,068.154 billion was available in the month of January 2024. Total deductions for cost of collection was N78.412 billion, total transfers, interventions and refunds was N639.926 billion and savings was N200.000 billion.

Gross statutory revenue of N1,151.808 billion was received for the month of January 2024. This was higher than the sum of N875.382 billion received in the month of December 2023 by N 276.426 billion.

The gross revenue available from the Value Added Tax (VAT) in January 2024 was N420.733 billion. This was lower than the N492.506 billion available in the month of December 2023 by N71.773 billion.

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Former Deputy Governors, Others Call for Yahaya Bello’s Prosecution over Theft of N100 billion

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Alhaji Sule Iyaji, former Deputy Governor of Benue State

Two former Deputy Governors, Alh. Sule Iyaji and Elder Simon Achuba of Benue and Kogi States respectively on Monday called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and other anti-graft agencies to arrest and prosecute former Governor Yahaya Bello for allegedly stealing and embezzling well over N100 billion from Kogi State coffers.

This, they stated, will serve as deterrent to other public servants within and outside the state.

The group also wants the anti-corrupt agencies to beam their searchlight and bring the former Governor Yahaya Bello to account for misappropriating over N1 trillion that accrued to the state as according to them, in his 8 years of maladministration.

Addressing the media at the stakeholders meeting in Abuja, Iyaji who spoke on behalf of the group, said the meeting was prompted by series of infractions, abuse of power, intimidation and encroachments on the rights of the people in the state by the previous and present administrations.

Yahaya Bello
Kogi Stakeholders want him arrested and tried for corruption

“That EFCC should assist in the recovery of Kogi state Assets in various locations that former Governor Bello sold to himself at giveaway prices vide his cronies and agents acting at his behest.” They said.

In a unanimous declaration, they added: “We, the stakeholders noted with dismay the wanton corruption, extra judicial killings, crass misappropriations of the over N1 trillion that accrued to the state as revenue throughout the tenure of the administration of the former Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, the promotion of thuggery and brigandage, rent seeking, absence of visible and tangible developments in the state and promotion of ethnic politics in the state leading to the imposition of his cousin, Governor Ododo on the state as his successor.”

While condemning the eventual declaration of Alh. Usman Ododo as the purported winner of the said election, they condemned killings of indigenes of Kogi East and takeovers of some fishing and agrarian communities in Omala and Dekina Local Government Areas by herders.

Iyaji said the Illegal sales of Kogi state Government properties in kogi East, other parts of Kogi state, Abuja, Lagos and Kaduna by the administration of former Governor Yahaya Bello was deliberated and a source of concern to the stakeholders.

 

On the urgent need for the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to call the the Kogi State Commissioner of Police (CP), Mr. Bethrand Onuoha to order, they averred that the continuous retention of of the CP who has alledgedly and confessed to extra judicial murder of their compatriots and serving police officers at the behest of the ormer Governor Yahaya Bello.

 

They said: “The stakeholders also noted the unlawful acts of dethronement of four (4) traditional rulers across the state by the former Governor, Alh. Yahaya Bello in one day and the threat by Governor Ododo to replicate same in kogi east and other parts of Kogi State.

 

“The meeting moved against illegal mining activities all over Kogi East and other parts of kogi state by armed thugs of former Governor Yahaya Bello.”

 

According to them, Governor Ododo has demonstrated his poor sense of history and judgment by taking on the Ata Igala, Mathew Opaluwa Oguche Akpa 11, in his first action as Governor of kogi state, adding that the Ata, represents and he is the alter ego of an ancient tradition and people that dates back to the 13th century and hence should not and must not be ridiculed against the established protocol by anyone, not to talk of Governor Ododo whose emergence is a sham, and the position being strongly contested in court.

 

They added: “We noted with horrific amazement the abandonment of governance and decency by a bench warmer like Ododo, who recently declared himself unfit for the high office of state Governor, and unconstitutional establishment of the office of immediate past governor, now attempting to denigrate the ancient traditional institutions by claiming to forget to acknowledge the presence of the number one traditional ruler in the state at his inauguration as Governor.

 

“The stakeholders cautioned that, Ododo should retreat from the back of Yahaya Bello who was driven by vendetta and irresponsible use of constitutional powers wherein he dethroned four (4) first class rulers in a single day, just few hours to the end of his tenure without any just cause.”

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