The Rivers State House of Assembly (RVHA), yesterday, threatened to issue warrant of arrest on the Managing Director of Halliburton Energy Services, in the Trans Amadi area of Port Harcourt, if he, again, refuses to appear in person before the House.
The Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi- Owaji Ibani, who gave the warning at the Assembly’s plenary session in Port Harcourt, also rejected the request of the representatives of the managing director of the company led by one Engr. Ferdinand Abara, to brief the House on behalf of the company.
It would be recalled that the Rivers State House of Assembly, over two weeks ago, had summoned the managing director of Halliburton Energy Services to appear before it to explain the alleged systematic marginalization against indigenes of the state in the company.
The Tide learnt that the managing director has turned down the invitation severally without reasons.
The speaker, who described the attitude of the managing director as an insult, alleged that it was a deliberate attempt by the managing director not to appear before the legislative arm by sending a representative to the House.
According to him, the House has nothing to do with any representative of the company on such a serious matter that concerns the livelihood of indigenes, who were alleged to be treated as slaves in the company.
In a motion to discharge the representatives of the company from the plenary session, the Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Martin Amaewhule, expressed dismay over the managing director’s negligence to the Assembly.
Amawehule said the attitude of the MD showed that the management of Halliburton did not have any respect for the state government.
Amaewhule also vindicated the petitioners against the company, saying that the tricky tactics of the Halliburton’s management toward the state government showed that the company was culpable.
It would be recalled that the Majority Leader of the 8th Assembly, Hon. Martin Amaewhule, had presented a petition from some of the employees of the company over what they described as systematic marginalization of Rivers indigenes in the company.
In the petition, the employees accused the management of denying them redundancy benefits, as well refusing to give permanent employment to many indigenes of the state in the company.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State House of Assembly (RVHA) has stated its readiness to update the state Abattoirs’ Laws to include prohibition of tyres in roasting meat for consumption in the state.
The Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, made this known, yesterday, at the Assembly’s plenary session in Port Harcourt, while addressing the two commissioners and Permanent Secretary summoned to explain the reason behind the continued use of tyres by butchers in abattoirs in the state.
According to him, Commissioner for Agriculture, Mrs Ominim Jack, and Commissioner for Environment, Prof Roseline Konya, and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Mrs Caroline Wali were invited to appear before the House to explain their level of implementation of relevant laws on abattoirs operations, especially the use of tyres in roasting meat for consumption.
He said, the Assembly expected firsthand knowledge on the level of compliance by the abattoirs to the rules and regulations guiding their activities, and the challenges they face in the implementation of the laws.
The speaker, who noted that there were less reactions by the relevant ministries and agencies regarding the use of tyres in burning meat, expressed optimism that the meeting with the commissioners would proffer solution and policy framework for a workable legislation on the issue.
Briefing the House, the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Mrs Caroline Wali, stressed the need for the Assembly to pass legislation to prohibit the use of tyres in roasting meat for consumption.
She said the existing law guiding the abattoirs does not include prohibition of tyres in roasting meat.
According to her, the main law being implemented presently was the Meat Inspection and Sale Law, which she said the ministries and the relevant agencies lack the powers to enforce, especially when it comes to the arrest of those using tyres for roasting meat.
The commissioner said over 33 abattoirs operating across the state often use tyres in roasting meat despite several measures applied by the ministry to stop the practice in their different locations.
On her part, the state Commissioner for Environment, Prof Roseline Konya, admitted that it was obvious that the use of tyres in roasting meat has serious implications on the environment and the health of the people.
According to her, tyres contained zinc, sulphur oxide, carbon dioxide, among other elements, which she believed to be dangerous to health.
She urged the Assembly to give legal backing to the operations of the abattoirs regarding the use of tyres in roasting meat.
Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Mrs Nemi Jack, said the 83 veterinary doctors deployed to take charge of over 33 abattoirs in Rivers State always have positive reports from their places of assignment on the health implication of the animals slaughtered for meat.
The permanent secretary also noted that some of the abattoirs violated the rules by slaughtering animals before inspection by the ministry.
She said, some slaughtered their livestock in the midnight before the arrival of the inspection team, which she described as one of the impediments in the proper compliance to the rules and regulations guiding their operations.
She supported the call for a new law to prohibit the use of tyres in roasting meat at abattoirs.
Declare Buhari’s Seat Vacant, Owuru Urges Court
The candidate of the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) in the last presidential election, Chief Ambrose Owuru, has approached the Federal High Court in Abuja, asking it to declare the seat of President Muhammadu Buhari vacant.
Owuru, who was among the four petitioners that went to tribunal to challenge Buhari’s re-election, in his fresh suit, sought for an order to restrain the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), from “undertaking or planning any other election into the office of the President”, in 2023.
The Plaintiff, in his suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/480/2021, maintained that Buhari is “an unlawful President that is illegally occupying the Presidential seat”.
It would be recalled that Owuru and his party, HDP, had in an earlier appeal they litigated up to the Supreme Court, insisted that the Justice Mohammed Garba-led Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, erroneously dismissed a petition they lodged against the return of Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as winner of the presidential election that held on February 23, 2019.
They specifically prayed the apex court to sack Buhari on the premise that he emerged through an illegal process.
According to the Appellants, INEC, failed to follow condition precedents stipulated in the Electoral Act, when it unduly postponed the presidential election that was originally fixed for February 16.
The HDP claimed that its candidate, Owuru, secured over 50million votes in a referendum that was conducted by both electorates and observer networks that were dissatisfied with the unilateral postponement of the presidential election by INEC.
However, in a unanimous decision, a five-man panel of Justices of the Supreme Court led by Justice Mary Odili, struck out the appeal for constituting “a gross abuse of the judicial process”.
Meantime, in the fresh suit, Owuru and his party argued that their suit against Buhari at the Supreme Court was inconclusive.
The Plaintiffs argued that the case was fixed outside the 60 days period that was allowed by the law.
Owuru asked the court to declare him the authentic winner of the last presidential poll, as well as, to issue an order for his immediate inauguration to take over from Buhari.
He prayed the court to declare that he is entitled to serve out a tenure of 4 years after his formal inauguration.
More so, the HDP presidential candidate, aside from asking for Buhari’s immediate removal from office, equally prayed the court to compel him to refund all salaries, allowances and emoluments he collected while he unlawfully stayed in office as President.
Owuru also asked the court to give an order that salaries, allowances and emoluments be paid to him from May 29, 2019, when he ought to have been sworn in, till date.
The Plaintiff further applied for, “An order of interlocutory injunction restraining the Respondents by themselves and acting through their agents, servants, privies and or proxies howsoever from any further organizing, undertaking or planning of any other election into the office of the President of Nigeria or any such other Presidential Election interfering, harassing and or disturbing the Applicant adjudged acquired right as unopposed and unchallenged winner of the original scheduled and held the February 16 Presidential Election thereof until the 1st Applicant unserved constitutional four years term of office is served pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit by this honourable court”.
Cited as 1st to 3rd Respondents in the matter were Buhari, the Attorney General of the Federation, and INEC.
Meanwhile, no date has been fixed for the matter to be heard.
World Bank Report Exposes Buhari’s Lies, PDP Affirms
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the report by World Bank that 7 million Nigerians have been pushed into poverty in the last year, has clinically belied the integrity posturing of President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The opposition party said the World Bank report came in the face of the recent claims by President Buhari that his administration has lifted over 10 million Nigerians out of poverty in the last two years.
The PDP asserted that the report by the World Bank has further vindicated its position that President Buhari runs an uncoordinated and clueless administration that thrives on lies, false performance claims, deceit, and perfidious propaganda.
The statement added that, “Nigerians can now clearly see why the APC and President Buhari’s handlers are always in a frenzy to attack our party and other well-meaning Nigerians whenever we point to the poor handling of the economy and on the need for President Buhari to always be factual on pertinent issues of governance in our country.
“Unfortunately, it indeed appears that Mr. President enjoys living in denial while watching millions of Nigerians go down in abject poverty, excruciating hunger, and starvation as our country now ranks 98th out of 107 in Global Hunger Index under his watch.
“Otherwise, why would Mr. President claim that his administration has lifted over 10.5 million Nigerians out of poverty while official figures even from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show worsening poverty rate with 142.2% growth in food inflation and over 82.9 million Nigerians being unable to afford their daily meals due to the failure of the administration to take practical steps to grow and protect the food sector?
“Under President Buhari, Nigerians are now subjected to the worst form of poverty and hardship, with collapsed purchasing power, occasioned by a voodoo economy management that has wrecked our productive sectors and pummeled our naira from the about N167 to a US dollar in 2015 to the current over N500 per dollar.
“It is unfortunate that Mr. President will choose to always bandy fictitious figures and false performance claims, when he has, in a space of six years, destroyed our national productivity and reduced our country to a beggarly nation, a laughing stock and object of pity among the comity of nations.
“The PDP invites Nigerians to note President Buhari and APC’s similar false performance claims in other critical sectors, including power, transportation, road infrastructure, health, education, agriculture, security, aviation among others, where the Buhari administration has been bandying fictitious figures with no tangible project to point at.
“Our party counsels President Buhari, his handlers as well as their party, the APC, to note that Nigerians have seen through their deceitful clams.
“The PDP, once again, urges Mr. President to end his false performance claims and get more competent hands to manage the economy before every Nigerian is turned into a street beggar.”
Amnesty Kicks As FG Pushes Social Media Regulation
Amnesty International has strongly opposed the call by the Nigerian Government to regulate the use of social media and online broadcasters.
It would be recalled that the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had urged the House of Representatives to include regulation of Twitter in the National Broadcasting Commission Act.
The minister made the call at the public hearing on a bill to amend the NBC Act organised by the House Committee on Information.
“I will want to add, that specifically, internet broadcasting and all online media should be included in this because we have responsibility to monitor content— including Twitter,” he said.
Reacting, Amnesty International, in a tweet via its Twitter account, yesterday, kicked against the motion.
It noted that when social media is regulated, authorities can arbitrarily have powers to shut down the internet and limit access to social media.
It further noted that criticizing the government will be made punishable with penalties of up to three years in prison.
“When social media is regulated, authorities can arbitrarily have powers to shut down the Internet and limit access to social media.
“Criticizing the government will be made punishable with penalties of up to three years in prison.
“Regulating social media in Nigeria could be easily abused to punish critics of government policies and actions, and anyone who asks difficult questions could find themselves liable for ‘diminishing public confidence in the government.’
“Seeking a law to prohibit abusive, threatening and insulting behaviour is open to very wide interpretation. This section would pose a threat to critical opinion, satire, public dialogue and political commentary,” the statement added.
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