The Landlords of Korokoro Oil Wells and Flow Stations in Tai Local Government Area of Rivers State have petitioned the Federal Government over the activities of Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) in the ongoing remediation works at oil well sites in the area.
The petition dated July 11, 2019, and signed by a lawyer representing 26 landlords of Korokoro oil wells I.E. Oru (Esq) berated HYPREP for non-involvement of the people in the ongoing remediation works at the various sites of the oil wells and flow stations
In the petition tilted, “Complaint of Neglect, Non-Involvement, nonpayment of Homage to Oil Wells and Flow Stations Landlords in Korokoro Field in the ongoing Remedial works by HYPREP”, called on Federal Ministry of Environment to prevail on HYPREP to involve the people and fulfill the earlier demands of the host communities of the oil field in the area.
According to the petition, the landlords of oil field demanded N30,000,000 per well by each contractor handling the project at the sites.
The landlords also want the contractors to give 40 percent labour employment quota at the sites, including contracts for supply of food, materials and all the necessities required at sites to the people.
It would be recalled that the landlords through their representative and agent, Chief Vincent, Kamanu, wrote a letter dated 18th June, 2019 to HYPREP, demanding payment of homage due to landlords of oil wells and flow stations in Korokoro Field in regard to the ongoing remediation works at the sites.
“The landlords demands N30 million per well, contract to supply materials and foods to workers at the sites, and inclusion of landlords in the environmental clean-up training,” he wrote.
According to them, HYPREP turned down all the demands of the landlords, which necessitated the demand on the Federal Government to call HYPREP to order.
North Can Live Without VAT Accruals, NEF Boasts …Backs Wike, Southern Govs On Fiscal Federalism, Restructuring
The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has boasted that the North was a rich region, and can survive on its resources without the “billions” accruing to Southern states.
The NEF Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, made this known, yesterday, when he featured on Arise TV’s ‘The Morning Show’ breakfast programme.
He was reacting to the tussle between states and the Federal Government on the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT).
VAT is a consumption tax paid when goods are purchased and services are rendered, and charged at a rate of 7.5 per cent.
Although Rivers and Lagos states have started the process of collecting VAT within their territories, the Court of Appeal, in a ruling on September 10, ordered that status quo be maintained pending the determination of an appeal filed by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) against the judgment of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt.
Apart from Lagos and Rivers states, Ogun State has also started the process of passing a bill on VAT in its House of Assembly.
At the Southern Governors’ Forum meeting in Enugu, last Thursday, the 17 governors insisted that they have the constitutional mandate to collect VAT, and vowed to ensure that the rule of law prevails in the matter.
While some northern governors like Aminu Masari (Katsina), Yahaya Bello (Kogi), amongst others, had kicked against the move, the 17 Southern Governors led by Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) had unanimously supported the position that “the collection of VAT falls within the powers of the states.”
Speaking, yesterday, during the television programme, Baba-Ahmed said, “I will advise that we wait to hear what the court says. However, even the fact that it has become an issue suggests that we really do need to address the fundamentals and the manner in which the federation works.
“We have always supported restructuring. We have always asked that a major and genuine shift initiative either by groups or the National Assembly so that matters like this be addressed properly.
“If we don’t do that now, then, we should get a leader that would do that in 2023. This administration appears not to understand the importance of restructuring; we do in the North, we recognise the fact that we need to change the manner in which we generate wealth and allocate (it).
“The thing is: the North wants restructuring; the North wants fiscal federalism. We are a rich region, and we can live on what we have, even if we don’t have the billions that accrue to others states. Our poverty is not a kind of problem that we would break this country over.”
According to him, the VAT war is a wake-up call to northern governors who need to recognise the fact that VAT or no VAT, they need to develop their resources and develop the human capital of the North.
The NEF spokesman added, “North, you said you have many people but you are under-developing your own people – the biggest liability of the North is that we have a huge population that is under-developed. You need to develop the human capital that you have.
“We need leaders; the current governors don’t recognise this. Otherwise, they won’t be involved in this argument; allow the court to decide.
“But for goodness sake, (they should) begin to think — what else can we do if the court decides now that Rivers State is right, Lagos State is right, and the Southern states are right, and they won’t be getting all these billions coming in from VAT? What happens?”
Baba-Ahmed said the Northern governors at this stage should not be sleeping, noting that the North is “sitting on wealth, we have massive resources in this country, we have to fight insecurity first, and the Federal Government has to help us, we need to clear the bushes, the forests and all the criminals that are there, and we need to go back to farming.
“Agriculture is a major asset; we have land, we have water, we have livestock, we have minerals that are literally begging to be picked from the ground but our governors are too focused on the pittance that they are getting. This is wrong”, he argued.
Editors’ Confab Excites Corporate Bodies, Security Agencies
A few weeks to the 17th All Nigeria Editors’ Conference (ANEC), many corporate organisations and security agencies, including, Tony Elumelu Foundation, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Globacom, Air Peace, Zenith Bank Plc, Access Bank Plc, Department of State Security (DSS), and others, have backed the conference.
The Nigerian Guild Editors (NGE) confirmed this in a statement signed by its President, Mustapha Isah, and General Secretary, Iyobosa Uwugiaren.
The editors’ conference, which is the largest gathering of Nigerian editors and owners of mass media: newspapers, magazines, radio/television stations, and online newspapers in Nigeria, is scheduled to hold between October 21 and 22 at the NAF Conference Centre, Abuja.
This year conference, which will focus on the current security challenges in Nigeria, with a theme, “Media In Times Of Crisis: Resolving Conflict, Achieving Consensus”, is aimed at achieving consensus among media owners, managers and senior editors on what role the media can play in helping to resolve the seemingly intractable conflict enveloping the nation today.
‘’The annual conference also attracts our foreign partners: World Editors Forum (WEF), West African Editors Forum (WAEF), African Editors Forum (AEF), International Press Institute (IPI) and World Association of Newspapers (WAN).
‘’This year annual conference will attract top security officers, governors, lawmakers, academics, chief executive officers in private sector, members of the international community, leading non-governmental organisations and others’’, the statement added.
The editors said the conference, which is designed to be ‘’intellectually engaging’’ – with several experienced resources persons, will also feature an executive session with state governors and security chiefs.
‘’The executive session will provide a huge opportunity for governors and security chiefs to share with owners of newspapers, radio/television stations and editors, the challenges of managing insecurity in their states and the progress they have made so far’’, the statement added.
Over 500 editors and media owners – both within and outside the country, are expected at this year conference.
By: Nelson Chukwudi
Expose Terrorism Sponsors, PDP Dares Buhari, APC
The Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, said the refusal by the Muhammadu Buhari-led Presidency to expose sponsors of terrorism in Nigeria, vindicates its position that the All Progressives Congress (APC) government has been providing official cover for terrorists and bandits pillaging the nation.
The party was reacting to a comment credited to the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, where he said that Presidency was not interested in naming and shaming terrorism sponsors, whose names were allegedly sent to the Federal Government by the Government of the United Arab Emirates.
In a statement signed by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP held that, “the decision of the APC-led government to cover the identity of sponsors of mindless mass killings, maiming, raping, kidnapping of our compatriots as well as the endless violent marauding of our communities under the APC watch, validates our stand that such individuals have connections with the APC.”
The statement further read, “This unpatriotic stance by the Buhari Presidency raises serious national anxieties of high-level complicity in the administration and further explains the reported compromising of our security system in the escalated killings and acts of terrorism in our country in the last six years under the APC.
“Nigerians can see why the APC-led administration has failed to take decisive steps to tackle terrorism, why it prefers to negotiate with terrorists and even makes case for them, instead of apprehending and prosecuting them, as witnessed in the beheading of rice farmers in Borno State.
“The PDP had always alerted of a connection between the APC and terrorists ravaging various parts of our nation and how the APC, as a party, had always failed to forcefully condemn acts of terrorism in our country.
“APC has failed to account for the bandits, thugs and hoodlums it imported from neighbouring countries to unleash violence on Nigerians and muscle the 2019 elections.
“If the APC and its administration have nothing to cover, our party challenges them to immediately publish the names of the sponsors of terrorism given to it by the UAE, instead of this vexatious desperation to provide official cover for them.”
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