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Reps Commence Investigation Into NNPCL Joint Venture Businesses From 1990 To Date

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….. Summons Ministers of Justice, Chairman FIRS, CEOs of Oil Companies, others

By Gloria Ikibah

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The House of Representatives has commenced investigation into the structure and accountability of the Joint Venture (JV) businesses and production sharing contract of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) from 1990 to date.

During the investigation the lawmakers summoned the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mohammed Nami and the Chief Executive Officers of oil companies to appear before it, on Friday with the necessary documents.

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The Chairman of the ad-hoc committee, Hon. Hassan Fulata, gave the summon at the inaugural hearing due to the non appearance of the Heads of the relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

The lawmakers queried the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation for saying it cash-call accounts are not part of the federation account.

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The Director Audit monitoring in the Office of the Accountant General, Chize Onochie-Peter, while speaking before the House Ad-hoc committee, said the cash-call accounts domicile with the CBN are solely ran by the NNPC independent of the Accountant General.

His position however provoked lawmakers who questioned why the office of the accountant general of the federation does not have records of such accounts when it is the custodian of all government’s remittances.

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Fulata said: “The documents we are asking must pass through you. The account general even for record keeping doesn’t have something like this? No wonder we are experiencing these leakages in our revenues, our investment is not tracked. We are looking for money left right and center. You should able to get these documents. You should have these kind of records in your system”.

A member of the Committee, Hon. Mark Gbillah questioned if the Office of the Accountant General has anything to do cash calls disbursement, or if they are handled by NNPCL?

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Reacting to his disclosure, Gbillah accused NNPCL of operating as a quasi government on its own.

He said, “So you’re saying that there’s a separate cash call account that even the accountant general has no access. This is a serious issue, this committee needs to look into it. NNPCL seems to be operating as a quasi government on its own.”

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In his ruling, Committee Chairman Fulata said while they wait for NNPCL GMD to appear before it, the Central Bank of Nigeria should submit details of the JV cash calls accounts domiciled in the apex bank.

Earlier, the Speaker of the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, decried that the JV agreements and PSCs which were supposed to protect the interest of all parties, are being observed in branch and that Nigeria is being short-changed.

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According to him, the investigation has became necessary due to the serious allegations that operations for which NNPCL is a party and representing Nigerian interest have over the years been conducted with highest degree of opaqueness to the extent that Nigeria government and her citizens have been deprived of the value of their investment in the oil and gas sector.

The Speaker added that the investigative hearing will be fair to all parties such that the collective interest of all parties will be protected.

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Elderly Woman Falls On Her Knees To Pray For Peter Obi In Jos Rally

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As political campaigns for the 2023 general elections commenced on Wednesday, a elderly woman has been captured praying for the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, during a solidarity rally held in Jos, Plateau State.

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The Director-General of the Obi-Datti Campaign organization, Doyin Okupe, in a tweet on Wednesday disclosed that the LP candidate and his vice, Datti Baba Ahmed, will attend the Jos rally although the party is yet to commence campaigns officially.

”Today in Jos, HE Peter Obi & his running mate Datti-Ahmed, will honour an invitation from the Middle Belt forum to attend a solidarity rally. We are yet to commence our own campaigns.

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To comfort our students, We urge the FG to quickly resolve the lingering ASSU Crisis,” the tweet read.

Amongst persons seen at the venue to welcome the LP flag bearer was an elderly woman on her knees in the midst of other supporters praying for Peter Obi at the Rwang Pam Stadium Jos, Plateau state.

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UNIBEN releases post-UTME, DE screenings date

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The University of Benin has fixed dates for its Post Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination and Direct Entry screenings for 2022/2023 session.

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The university in a notice by its Registrar, Ademola Bobola on Wednesday in Benin, said the exercise would hold between Nov. 14 and 25.

Bobola said the screening would be conducted in designated centres at the Ugbowo main campus of the institution, using the Computer Based Test mode.

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“Only candidates who applied through JAMB for the 2022/2023 UTME and Direct Entry admission and chose the University of Benin as First Choice and scoring 200 and above for UTME candidates are eligible for this screening exercise,” the registrar said.

Bobola, however, referred admission seekers to the institution to the university’s official website.

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Presidency denies authorising Katsina security outfit to carry arms

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The Presidency has denied that any state has been issued authorisation to procure automatic weapons for its security outfit.

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Last week, Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu had accused the Federal Government of bias in refusing to allow the Western Nigeria Security Network Agency, also known as Amotekun Corps, to carry sophisticated firearms, while allegedly granting approval to the Katsina State security outfit to carry sophisticated firearms.

That was as the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba said that quasi-security outfits established by state governments have no legal basis to function during the 2023 general elections.

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In a statement on Tuesday, the Presidency said the possession of automatic weapons and AK-47 remains illegal in the country.

“The Presidency wishes to strongly assert that there is no state, not Katsina, not any other state in the federation, that has been authorized to procure automatic weapons for their security outfits,” the statement reads.

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“Under this administration, the President has repeatedly made it clear that nobody is allowed to illegally carry AK-47 or any other automatic weapons and that they must surrender them”.

The Presidency however said neither Katsina nor Ondo is allowed to purchase automatic weapons for security outfits.

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“Under the existing regulations, only the Office of the National Security Adviser can issue such authorization, upon proper clearance by the President and Commander-in-Chief and as it is at this moment, no such approvals have been issued to any state government.

“In the specific Katsina State often cited, the Governor, Aminu Bello Masari wrote to explain that the administration invited the Provost of the Civil Defence Training College in Katsina to train their vigilantes for a five-day period….

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“in the handling and operations of Pump Action Rifles,” emphasising that “the vigilantes were not trained to take over the responsibilities of the security agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria but to assist them”.

The Presidency added that it “appreciates the active involvement of states with security matters. As they continue to expand their capabilities as well as their active collaboration with law enforcement agencies of the federation, the joint efforts continue to yield good results, thwarting attempts of terrorists to wreak havoc and destruction on communities”.

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President Muhammadu Buhari was quoted as saying he has received reports “of acts of utmost bravery and professionalism” by operatives of state security outfits.

“He thanked them for their alertness that is helping to defeat nefarious plots against targets at grassroots levels”, the statement added.

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Furthermore, the Presidency called on leaders at various levels “to exercise restraint in their speech, even as we are in a political season”.

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