A Pan Ogoni Youth Organisation known as Ogoni Youth Federation (OYF), has accused the management of the Hydrocarbons Pollution Remediation Project, (HYPREP) of using the Federal Government as a cover up to sabotage the Ogoni clean-up process.
The group which expressed this in a petition to the Office of the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, said what is on ground in Ogoni regarding the clean up process was a complete deviation of the UNEP report recommendation on the clean-up of the polluted environment.
The petition which was signed by the president of the body, Comrade Legborsi Yaamabana read in part;
”During the flag-off event,of the Ogoni clean-up, the Federal Government stated that the implementation of the Report will be done holistically and in a manner that ensures transparency, accountability, genuine partnership and proper representation of the people at the grassroots as well as guarantee job creation for young people and that Angro-allied industries required for processing agricultural. produce will be put in place.”
“More than three years after the flag-off and the laudable assurances given, we regret to state that the manner and processes for the implementation of the recommendations of the UNEP Report run completely against the assurances given by the Federal Government and more importantly, the very recommendations of the UNEP Report.”
The group regretted that the palliative measures identified by UNEP in their recommendations to alleviate the plight of the Ogoni people have been flawed which includes,
Provision of adequate sources of drinking water to the affected people, posting signs, in areas where hydrocarbons were observed on surface water, warning people not to fish, swim or bathe in those areas, ensuring that everyone who has consumed water from contaminated sources undertakes a comprehensive medical examination by physicians knowledgeable about the possible adverse effects of the hydrocarbons detected.
Comprehensive debommissioning of oil facilities that fail an ‘Asset Integrity Management Plan for Ogoni, setting up of an Integrated Contaminated Soil Management Centre comprisilig an Incinerator, Themial Unit, Soil Washing Unit and a Contaminated Water Treatment Unit. The centre, which should drive the clean-up, is expected to be a modern industrial enterprise in Ogoniland that would employ hundreds of people
Bringing all sources 0f ongoing contamination, including artisanal refining, to a swift end before the clean-up, and for the purpose, the sum of $10 million is recommended for the provison of alternative employment for those in artisanal refining, among others.
The body, in the petition also said; “ We consider it very sad and barbaric that, as we speak, not only has nothing being done about any of these emergency measures but also the national and international visibility of the Ogoni issue have been fraudulently exploited to score cheap political points at every opportunity.”
The body frowned against what it described as, the” complete alienation of the Ogonis indiginenes in the participation of the clean-up exercise, which sends a dangerous signal to the world that the clean up process is another gimmick designed to frustrate the Ogoni clean-up and send Ogoni to economic extinction.
While expressing confidence in the commitment of the Federal Government to implement the Ogoni clean-up to specification, the group called on the Federal Government to investigate the activities of HYPREP and save the Ogoni people from institutional sabotage by HYPREP.
Contributory Pension: PENCOM Gives Six States Clean Bill
Most states across the six geopolitical zones in the country are yet to fully implement the Federal Government’s Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), a report by the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) has revealed.
According to the report made available to The Tide, yesterday, only six states and the FCT had fully implemented CPS with regular and up-to-date remittance of pension contributions, establishment of pension bureau and enactment of pension law.
The report, signed by PENCOM spokesman, Peter Aghohowa, said that the six states which had fully keyed into the CPS as at September 2019 were Kaduna, Anambra, Ekiti, Ondo, Edo and Delta.
In the North-Cenral Zone, only FCT had established pension bureau and was up-to-date with remittance of pension contributions, while Benue, Kogi and Nasarawa states which had enacted CPS laws had no pension bureaus in place.
Although Niger State established pension bureau, it suspended implementation of the CPS in April 2015 and had since stopped remitting pension contributions, while Kwara and Plateau were yet to enact CPS law.
Five states in the North-East zone, comprising Borno, Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe and Taraba, were yet to commence remittance of pension contributions while Yobe was still operating Defined Benefits Scheme.
Also in North-East Zone, only Adamawa, Gombe and Taraba states had enacted CPS laws but none was yet to establish pension bureau.
In the North-West Zone, only Kaduna State had fully implemented CPS with regular and up-to-date remittance of pension contributions, establishment of pension bureau, registration of employees with PFAs and consistent funding of accrued rights with 5 per cent of total monthly bill.
Of all the North-West states, only Katsina neither enacted CPS law nor established pension bureau, while Jigawa and Kebbi which had pension bureaus, were only remitting portions of the pension contributions.
Kano without a pension board was deducting pension contributions under the management of the board of trustees and yet to transfer the pension asset to a licensed pension operator.
In the South-East Zone, PENCOM reports that except for Anambra State which was fully complying with the implementation of the CPS scheme, others such as Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo states had not keyed into the scheme.
The Commission said that in the South-West zone, Ekiti and Ondo states were remitting pension contributions, while Ogun and Osun states had huge backlogs. Lagos State did not provide information on its remittance, while Oyo State was yet to commence remittance of pension contributions.
According to PENCOM, all the South West States have, however, enacted CPS laws and established pensions bureaus.
In the South-South, Edo and Delta were up-to-date in their pension contributions, while Rivers and Bayelsa states were lagging behind in remittance of pension contributions.
In Rivers, contributions made under the repealed law were being refunded to exempted employees, while Akwa Ibom and Cross River did not even have a CPS law in place, PENCOM said.
The PENCOM spokesman, however, said that the commission did not release the report to undermine or embarrass any state but to intimate employees on the status of their states in terms of their pension contributions.
“With the information provided, workers can hold their states to do the needful in terms of paying their pension up-to-date to guarantee and protect their retirement,” he said.
According to him, the commission will continue to dialogue with the states to do the needful, as the law that established PENCOM does not empowers it to enforce the implementation on the states.
CAC Moves Against Defaulting Firms
Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) has called on companies operating in the country to file in their annual returns as provided for by the law or risk being de-listed from its register.
The Commission’s Head of Public Affairs, Mr. Moses Adaguusu, said in Abuja on Monday that the call became necessary in view of the need to keep the commission abreast of companies that were still in operation or otherwise.
According to him, a yearly return is a mandatory requirement every enterprise or incorporated trustees must file annually by delivering to CAC a return in the prescribed form containing specified matters related to the organisation in accordance with Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA).
“A very vital importance is that filing of the annual return by a company helps to simply keep the commission abreast that such company is still actively in operation and still engaging in business activities or otherwise,’’ Adaguusi said.
Emphasising that the Enforcement and Monitoring Department of the Commission would intensify efforts to ensure compliance, Adaguusi, however, urged companies to embrace voluntary compliance.
He said that although the commission does enforcement exercise, it is not keen on deploying task force team considering the harsh economic situation in the country.
“We want companies to embrace voluntary compliance so that there won’t be penalties.
“Penalties run into millions of naira and that is enough to close a company,’’ he said.
Adaguusu expressed concern that rather than comply with filing annual returns to the CAC, some companies seek for waiver on penalties.
According to him, in extreme cases, the commission considers waivers on penalty.
He also pointed out that companies need to be up to date with CAC to enable them get registered with the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).
Adaguusu said, “companies that execute contracts would have difficulties being paid if they are not registered with the BPP.
“Companies that want to do business must be on the Bureau of Public Procurement and before you are registered with BPP you must be up to date with CAC.
“This is another window that is encouraging companies to come and update with CAC.’’
He, however, pointed out that the process of delisting companies from CAC’s register for failure to file annual returns is an ongoing process.
“It takes a process and it is ongoing. In 2008, 10 companies were deregistered and in 2016, 38 companies were also deregistered; so, it is a continuous process and there will be no need to leave companies that are not complying on the register,’’ Adaguusi said.
AfDB, Investors Plan To Close $67bn Deals
Investors and partners of the African Investment Forum are working on closing investment transactions worth $67 billion at the second edition of the forum, which kicked off on Monday in Johannesburg.
The President, African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina, disclosed this at a press conference on Monday to announce the beginning of the forum.
The $67 billion worth of transactions is $24 billion more than the $43 billion projects that the first edition of the forum opened with in November 2018. The 2018 forum ended with $37 billion worth of deals, and Nigeria accounted for $7 billion transactions.
Adesina said 2,086 participants drawn from 109 countries across the world were participating at the forum, adding that 61 of the participating countries were not from Africa.
According to the AfDB boss, 59 transactions across several sectors, including energy, sanitation, water, infrastructure, agribusiness, private equity funds and ICT development, are expected to be sealed within the three-day duration of the forum.
He said investments were expected to happen in 29 countries that had submitted projects.
Adesina said, “We are trying to make sure that investments go into low-income and fragile states.”
Giving a regional analysis of the prospective deals, Adesina said $36 billion were located in Southern Africa; $14 billion in Central Africa; $10.5 billion in West Africa; $2.6 billion in North Africa, and $1.3 billion in East Africa.
He named Telo DB, a South African company, as the champion company for investment deals within the forum.
Answering a question on agriculture, the AfDB boss said although agriculture was a big business, it had been treated with little concern in the continent.
He said because of the special place agriculture should occupy in the continent, the AfDB would invest $25bn in the sector in the next 10 years.
In an opening remark, Adesina said, “We will work with our partners to syndicate more and leverage capital. Together, through the Africa Investment Forum, we will speed up the development of bankable projects, secure financing, and accelerate financial close for projects.”
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