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Senate Okays Redrafted PIGB, Tobacco Regulation Bill …Approves College Of Education For Bayelsa

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The Senate, yesterday, passed the re-drafted version of the much-anticipated Petroleum Industry Governance (PIG) Bill 2019.
The passage followed the recommendations of the technical committee set up to redraft the bill after President Muhammadu Buhari’s declined to sign the initial Bill into law.
In a communication to the Senate to that effect, Buhari had raised concerns over the implementation of the bill, if signed into law, and urged the National Assembly to consider the issues raised.
At plenary, Senate Majority Leader, Ahmed Lawan, who reintroduced the re-drafted bill, noted that the technical committee of the Senate had reworked the affected clauses according to President Buhari’s observations.
The redrafted Bill was then considered by the Committee of the Whole and passed.
President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, directed the National Assembly secretariat to take note of observations and corrections made by lawmakers in the Bill.
At the plenary, the long-awaited draft of the National Tobacco Control Regulations was also passed.
The tobacco control bill, by its provisions, is to empower the Federal Ministry of Health to implement most provisions of the Tobacco Control Act which requires regulation.
Similarly, the Federal Capital Territory Administration’s (FCTA) bid to reintroduce the banned park-and-pay system by motorists in Abuja has finally received the backing of National Assembly.
The FCTA got the empowerment, yesterday, sequel to the passage of a bill for concurrence on the “FCT Directorate of Road Traffic Administration Service Bill, 2019” by the Senate and House of Representatives.
The Bill provides the legal force for the FCTA in collaboration with the territory’s Internal Revenue Service to embark on the overall enforcement of parking rules in the nation’s capital.
The Bill, when signed into law, before the expiration of the 8th Senate, will among others, review the parking fees and enforce the parking laws in the FCT.
The park-and-pay system became a controversial issue about five years ago before a court judgment stopped the FCTA from further collection of fees from residents for on and off the street parking within the territory.
The agency, according to the provisions of the bill, is to produce and administer vehicle and drivers’ licences in collaboration with relevant federal agencies.
The specific functions of the FCT Traffic Management Service as contained in the bill are, regulating road traffic management and motor vehicle administration within the FCT.
The agency would also regulate, register, revoke, license and renew motor vehicle documents and issuance of vehicle identification number plates in the FCT.
Similarly, it would conduct road worthiness test and issue road worthiness certificates to all categories of vehicles for the purposes of ridding the FCT of non-road worthy vehicles.
The agency would also be responsible for the training and testing of drivers to ensure competence for issuance of driver’s licence in the FCT.
It was also planned to regulate and enforce the use of bus stops and bus terminals, and the activities of the commercial motor vehicles as well as register and enforce and accredit driving schools and enforce the ban on the use of motorcycles as a means of public transport in the FCT.
The officers of the new agency, as contained in the bill, have been mandated to arrest and book any person who commits traffic offences like wrong overtaking, traffic light violation, and driving with expired documents or without driving licence.
They are also to arrest anyone that drives right-hand vehicles, drivers who exceed driving limit, drives against the traffic or obstructs traffic through illegal parking, among others.
Meanwhile, the Senate, yesterday, approved the establishment of Federal College of Education (Technical) in Aghoro, Bayelsa State.
The passage of the establishment bill followed the consideration of report of its Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND, chaired by Senator Jibrin Barau at plenary.
Presenting the report, Jibrin recalled that the bill on establishment of the institution, sponsored by Senator Foster Ogola, PDP-Bayelsa West, was referred to his committee on May 30, 2018 for further legislative inputs.
According to the report, participants at a public hearing organised by the committee on March 14, this year, agreed that the college, when established, “will facilitate educational and technical development of the state, particularly in the development of middle level manpower for primary and secondary schools”.
The committee chairman also noted that “Bayelsa State does not have a Federal College of Education”, adding that its establishment would “address this challenge”.
“The establishment of the institution will assist in addressing the shortage of teachers in the country, reduce unemployment, improve the livelihood of the people and also play a vital role in human and economic development of the state.
“Also, Aghoro community is prepared to make available sufficient expanses of land to accommodate the proposed Federal College of Education, Aghoro”, Jibrin stated.
The committee, therefore, recommended the establishment of the institution by the Senate, saying this “will help in producing the desired manpower and expertise needed for the teaching profession”.
In his contribution, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, APC-Niger North, commended the committee for a job well done, and supported approval of the institution by the Senate in view of the importance of technical education in the country.
Unanimously, the lawmakers, in a voice vote, approved the establishment of the college.
Other institutions endorsed for establishment by the upper legislative chamber are the Federal University of Aquatic Studies, Ogbaru, Anambra State, Federal University, Uga, and School of Mines and Geological Studies, Guyuk, Adamawa State.

 

Nneka Amaechi-Nnadi, Abuja

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Wike Gives Taskforce Marching Orders On Street Trading, Illegal Markets

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has inaugurated the state’s Task Force on Street Trading, Illegal Markets and Motor Parks, with a charge to the task force to sanitise the streets and return Port Harcourt to its Garden City status.
Inaugurating the committee, last Wednesday, at the Government House, Port Harcourt, Wike said that the task force was a product of law, following his assent to the Rivers State Street Trading, Illegal Markets & Motor Parks (Prohibition) Bill No. 8 of 2019.
The governor, who had earlier in a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Electronic Media, Simeon Nwakaudu, appointed with immediate effect, Mr Bright Amaewhule, as the Special Assistant to the Governor and Coordinator, Task Force on Street Trading, Illegal Markets and Motor Parks, said that all the operatives of the task force have been profiled by the Department of State Services (DSS) and the police, while those found wanting have been flushed out.
Wike insisted that henceforth, every appointment that he would make, must pass through security checks, adding that this would enable him have thorough knowledge of the security profile of whoever he would be giving appointment.
He said: “Every appointment I will make now must pass through security. I want to know who is who”.
Wike explained that the reason government sent the task force members to the State Security Services and the police for screening was for proper identification and to ensure that government did not take people who will put it in trouble, and assured that more appointments would be made into the task force to replace those screened out by the security agencies.
He said: “All of us love the state and we must love it fully. Not in half measures. When we build roads, before you know what is happening, the roads are taken over by street traders and illegal motor parks.
“The task force has the responsibility of cleaning up the streets. Ensure that nobody trades on roads. You must wear your vests and identity cards during your work period”, he emphasised.
He said that mobile courts have been established on a zonal basis, and directed the task force operatives to take arrested street traders, mechanics and illegal motor park operators to the mobile courts were offenders would be tried, jailed or fined.
The work of the members is to arrest offenders and take them before the mobile courts in each zones.

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CACOL Faults EFCC’s Raid On Ambode’s Residence

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The Executive Chairman, Centre for Anti-corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), Mr. Debo Adeniran, has faulted the action of the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in allowing themselves be used by some perceived political enemies to raid the country home of former Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode in Epe area of Lagos.
Adeniran spoke, yesterday, during an interview on Arise TV’s Morning Show, where he picked holes in the selective method of the investigation by the anti-corruption agency.
It would be recalled that, last Tuesday, EFCC raided the residence of Ambode in Ikoyi and Epe over allegations of corruption, but could not find anything incriminating.
But Adeniran said, “That account we were told is the account of the Lagos State Government. It is not a functional account for the former governor or anybody in that government, and that is because it has to be operated. Nobody is above the law actually, and we are not saying that if any corruption issues are developed against the former governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, that he should not be investigated or brought to justice.
“The reason why we have to believe that you have to connect with it is that, that is the only corruption allegation that has been levelled against the former governor. And we don’t have anything against that, if on reasonable ground that have reasons to believe that maybe the cash is starched in that house just like that found in Osborne’s house, Falomo, Ikoyi or shopping complex. They could raid the place and they can break it down if they refuse to open the place. But then, you have to have reasonable reasons to do that too zealous to protect one of their own, that might be the reason.

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INEC’s Claim Of Not Having Place For Data Storage, Laughable -PDP

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The Executive Chairman, Centre for Anti-corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), Mr. Debo Adeniran, has faulted the action of the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in allowing themselves be used by some perceived political enemies to raid the country home of former Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode in Epe area of Lagos.
Adeniran spoke, yesterday, during an interview on Arise TV’s Morning Show, where he picked holes in the selective method of the investigation by the anti-corruption agency.
It would be recalled that, last Tuesday, EFCC raided the residence of Ambode in Ikoyi and Epe over allegations of corruption, but could not find anything incriminating.
But Adeniran said, “That account we were told is the account of the Lagos State Government. It is not a functional account for the former governor or anybody in that government, and that is because it has to be operated. Nobody is above the law actually, and we are not saying that if any corruption issues are developed against the former governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, that he should not be investigated or brought to justice.

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