The hope of leaving the Kirikiri maximum prison by the convicted former board chairman of the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Captain Bode George (rtd) and five other members of the board last Friday may have suffered a setback after spending four days in prison as their bail application hearing was adjourned till November 9, 2009.
George and five co-convicts filed the bail application before the court urging the judge to grant them bail, pending the hearing of their appeal.
Part of the grounds cited by George for the bail application are that he is hypertensive, has arthritis, and that his appeal, which might take more than two and a half years, might be prejudiced.
The other five convicts are also asking for bail on several circumstances bordering mostly on their health.
Justice Olubumi Oyewole of a Lagos High Court had last Monday sentenced George and five others to 2 ½ years in prisonment over their role in contract splitting and disobedience to lawful order.
The others sentenced alongside George included former Managing Director of NPA, Architect Aminu Dabo, Captain O. Abidoye, Alhaji Aminu Tafida, Alhaji Zanna Maidariba and Engr. Sule Aliyu.
Oyewole had found George and his co-convicts guilty and sentenced them to six months jail term for disobedience to lawful order of constituted authority contained in circular No. F15775 dated June, 27, 2001 which pegged the contract approval limit of the board to N20 million.
The six former board members of the NPA were also sentenced to two years improvement each for abuse of office.
They were also found guilty of deliberately rejecting the directives of the circular and that they acted in manner that poses threat to the activities of the nation’s ports and its entire economy which is not in the best interest of Nigeria.
According to Justice Oyewole, all the accused persons in their evidence acknowledged receiving the said order from the ministry of transport but chose by their own volition to disregard the order.
He, however, held them not liable for contract inflation. During the trial which lasted for 15 month, one of the major prosecution witnesses, Engr Mustaphar Bukar, a director in the Federal Ministry of Transportation, who chaired a 7-man administrative panel instituted by the Federal Government to probe the activities of the NPA, said his panel discovered that about 29,526 contracts were awarded by the management of the NPA between year 2001 to 2003.
In his evidence, the witness said that some of the contracts were split and inflated before they were awarded to different contractors by the NPA management.
However, the witness, admitted under cross examination by counsel to the defendants that there was no evidence indicating that the contracts awarded were given out or signed by the Board of the NPA led by Chief Bode George.
DPR Plans Maximum Economic Recovery Strategy For Oil, Gas Industry
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) says it is formulating a Maximum Economic Recovery (MER) strategy for Nigeria to attain maximum value delivery from its oil and gas resources.
The Director, DPR, Mr Sarki Auwalu, made the announcement during a keynote address at the 2021 Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Nigeria Annual International Conference and Exhibition (NAICE), yesterday, in Lagos.
The conference has as its theme, “The Future of Energy –A Trilogy of Determinants: Climate Change, Public Health, and the Global Oil Market.”
Auwalu said the industry initiative was one of the outcomes of the work of the National Oil and Gas Excellence Centre (NOGEC), Lagos inaugurated in January by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said, “Following an in-depth assessment of the status of the industry, the department identified the need to formulate the ‘Maximum Economic Recovery Strategy for Nigeria’.
“This is to guarantee the actualisation of sustainable resource optimisation and the economic benefits arising therefrom.
“The framework for this industry action plan outlines six pillars or building blocks.”
Auwalu said the pillars were: Reserves Maturation and Production Optimisation, Exploration and Resources Maturation, Improved Oil Recovery and Enhanced Oil Recovery, Implementation Asset Stewardship, Performance Evaluation and Rewards Risk Management.
According to him, the draft framework has been shared with the industry, including professional associations like the SPE and the National Association of Petroleum Explorationists.
He said this was in preparation for an industry collaborative workshop to co-develop and enunciate this strategy for immediate execution.
“We count on the contributions and buy-in of all stakeholders on this crucial national assignment for our overall benefit and industry sustainability,“he said.
Auwalu said Nigeria was rising to the occasion as the ‘trigger’ for continental growth and economic transformation using its oil and gas resources to drive value for national development.
He said the DPR would continue to foster innovative ideas and create opportunities for investments and sustainability in the industry.
Auwalu said, “As always, we are enthusiastic to collaborate with all relevant stakeholders, including the SPE, toward the realisation of government’s aspirations for the oil and gas sector.
“In our role as business enablers and opportunity providers, DPR will continue to promote efficiency to meet the needs of the industry, creating value, enhancing transparency, reducing barriers and transaction costs.”
Pensioners Urge PenCom To Implement Unpaid 15% Increment
Pensioners under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) have appealed to the National Pension Commission (PenCom) to implement their 15 and 33 per cent pension increment and other benefits.
The Contributory Pensioners Union of Nigeria (CPUN), South-West Zone, made the appeal,yesterday, during a peaceful protest held in Ibadan.
The CPUN President, Mr Joseph Idowu, while addressing newsmen said that PenCom has yet to implement the increment since 2007 and 2010 in spite of various promises.
Idowu said that their counterparts, under the Defined Benefit Scheme (DBS), had been enjoying the increment through the proactive stand of Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD).
“The new consequential adjustment in pension due to the latest increase in workers’ salaries and wages are also being enjoyed by pensioners under DBS, neglecting the CPS pensioners.
“No CPS pensioner has received any interest on their accrued benefits since 2007 till date.
“We require your urgent attention to ensure that arrears on this are calculated and paid at the Federal Government official rate, as at the time of retirement,” Idowu said.
The president said that his members were suffering as some of them collect as low as N3, 000 as their monthly pension which was not accepted.
Idowu also said that his members were not happy with the delay in the payment of their retirement benefits, which the commission now paid after one year of retirement, contrary to PRA Act 2004 (Amended).
He said that Section 16 (5) of PRA Act 2004 says pensioners should be paid not more than three months after retirement.
Idowu, however, commended the commission for prompt payment of their monthly pension, urging them to prioritise welfare of pensioners under the CPS.
Also, a member of the union, Mrs Clara Fumilayo, called on the Federal Government to assist the pensioners,
Fumilayo said that their monthly pension could no more buy any tangible things based on the situation in the country.
‘Only 29% Of Babies Breastfed Due To Reliance On Breast Milk Substitute’
A professor of Paediatric and Child Health, Alice Romoke-Nte, says the aggressive marketing of breast milk substitute by manufacturers was responsible for the gap in breastfeeding of children by mothers in Nigeria.
Nte, who is also the coordinator, Baby Friendly Initiative at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) said the advertising of these baby food weakens the confidence of the mothers and makes them feel that these breast milk substitutes are better off.
She said this has left only 29 percent of Nigerian babies breastfed as a result.
Nte said the UPTH, Rotary Clubs in Port Harcourt and other stakeholders were using this year’s World Breastfeeding Week to carry out aggressive campaigns to raise awareness for the need of exclusive breastfeeding.
She said the international code of marketing of breast milk substitutes would be included in steps to ensure full compliance of marketing these artificial body foods.
Rotary Clubs in Port Harcourt that joined in the rally yesterday morning for exclusive breastfeeding to mark the World Breastfeeding Week includes, Rotary Club of Port Harcourt Garden City, Top Health, Seaport, Eco, Atlantic City, and Golf Estate.
Others include, Rotary Club of Port Harcourt Gateway, City Valley, Passport, Creek View, Sky Waves, and Rotary Club of Port Harcourt.
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