The Federal High Court has restrained the Federal Government and her agencies from deducting funds meant for Rivers State in respect of the Mbede and Akiri Oil Wells.
Justice Tawo Tawo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, gave the ruling, yesterday, in an Originating Summons filed by the Attorney General of Rivers State against the Attorney General of the Federation, the Attorney General of Imo State, the Accountant General of the Federation, Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission and the Minister of Finance.
The Attorney General of Rivers State moved the Originating Summons: “Pursuant to Order 3 Rule 6, 7, and 9 of the Federal High (Civil Procedures) Rules 2019 Section 7 of the National Boundary Commission (Establishment) Act Section 162 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and the inherent jurisdiction of the Federal High Court as preserved by Section 6 (6) of the 1999 Constitution.”
The immediate past Imo State Governor, Hon Emeka Ihedioha had written to the President demanding revenue from the Federation Account in respect of the Mbede and Akiri Oil Wells.
But the Rivers State Government went to court over the matter.
Ruling in the matter, the court declared that Rivers State Government is entitled to continue to receive and retain revenue from the Federation Account and other accounts maintained for the purpose in respect of revenue derived from oil wells within the territory of Rivers State based on the 13 per cent derivation formula currently applied by the 4th Defendant.
The Federal High Court further declared that the Rivers State Government (represented by the Plaintiff on record) is entitled to receive and retain revenue from the Federal Account as provided for under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) in respect of revenue drive from the oil wells generally referred to as Akiri and Mbede Oil Wells located within the Rivers State territory.
Justice Tawo declared that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, represented by the 1st Defendant on record), are not entitled to give directives to the 4th Defendant with regard to distribution of public revenue from the distributable pool account, including the Federal Account and that they are not entitled to interfere in any manner whatsoever with the distribution of public revenue from the distributable pool account, including the Federation Account.
The court held that the Government of Imo State (represented by the 2nd Defendant) is not entitled to alter or cause to be altered, to deny or cause to be denied, whether through the instrumentality of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (represented by the 1st Defendant) or any manner howsoever the revenue due to the Rivers State Government in accordance with the principle and formula for distributing public revenue for the time being under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Justice Tawo further declared that until the conflicting claims over Akiri and Mbede Oil Wells by Rivers State and Imo State (represented by the 2nd Defendant in this suit) are resolved by the National Boundary Commission, the 4th Defendant cannot deny the Rivers State its due share of public revenue under the Constitution (as it is currently being distributed), or in any manner after the sharing formula or reduce the share of public revenue due to Rivers State on account of the claim of Imo State (represented by the 2nd Defendant) to the said Akiri and Mbede Oil Wells.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Executive Council has directed the Rivers State Waste Management Agency (RIWAMA) to develop a comprehensive plan to rejig the sanitation arrangement in the state.
The State Executive Council reached the decision at a meeting presided over by the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, yesterday, at the Government House, Port Harcourt.
The Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim told journalists after the meeting that RIWAMA has two weeks to submit its report.
Nsirim said: “Rivers State Executive Council reviewed the sanitary condition of the state capital after an interaction with the sole administrator of Rivers State Waste Management Authority (RIWAMA), and directed the sole administrator of RIWAMA to develop a comprehensive plan that will rejig the sanitation arrangement in the state.
“The RIWAMA boss has two weeks to present his comprehensive plan to the council.”
He also stated that the Rivers State Executive Council set up a committee to outline the modalities for the implementation of the owner-occupier policy for judges.
“The State Executive Council also set up a committee to work out modalities for the owner-occupier government policy for judges who will retire from service.
“This is to ensure that judges who retire from service in the state have decent accommodation. That committee is headed by the Secretary to the State Government, attorney-general of Rivers State is secretary, commissioner for housing, commissioner for finance, commissioner for social welfare, the permanent secretary, Ministry of Lands and Hon. Justice Adolphus Enebeli, representing the judges, will be members.
“That committee has two weeks to submit its report,” he said.
Join Fight To Defeat COVID-19, Wike Urges Rivers People …Extends Curfew To 24 Hours …Monitors Level Of Compliance
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has appealed to the people of the state to continue to support the efforts of the state government to check the spread of Coronavirus.
Speaking at the Government House, Port Harcourt, when he received food donations from Dufil Prima Foods Plc, producers of Indomie Noodles, Wike said it was better to be alive, than to die seeking food.
Wike was represented by the Rivers State Commissioner for Special Duties, Hon Bariere Thomas.
He said: “We are aware that the COVID-19 is what we didn’t expect, but as Christians we are prayerful believing that the situation is not going to last forever. So, we are calling on our people to cooperate with the government and remain at home.
“It is better to stay hungry and be alive than to die while eating. We expect our people to cooperate with government even as we remain prayerful.”
Wike said the food donations will get to the less privileged.
“We want to assure you that the materials will be distributed to the needy. We also want to say that your company and other non-governmental organizations are equally expected to join hands with the government ensure that the hard time they face is handled.
“Let me on behalf of the governor of Rivers State and the good people of the state thank the Dufil Prima Food Plc for responding timely to the situation we have at hand”, he stated.
The governor said that he understands the hardship the people pass through, but pointed out that the sacrifice is necessary to defeat Coronavirus.
He said: “We are all aware of the order of government for our people to stay at home. The government is not equally unaware of the hard time we are facing as a result of this order, that is one of the reasons why we are most grateful for your company for considering this donation.”
The Head of Administration of Dufil Prima Foods Plc , Mr Chinedum Wali said that the food donation is aimed at assisting the less privileged as they sit-at-home.
He said: “We are all aware about the Coronavirus that is spreading across the country and the world. On behalf of the management, we have brought a token to assist and support the less privileged.
“With the situation and the lock down, we brought this to assist the needy. We have one thousand cartons of noodles and five hundred cartons of pastas.”
Meanwhile, The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, yesterday, extended the curfew imposed on some parts of Port Harcourt City and Obio/Akpor local government areas of the state capital, warning that failure by residents of affected areas would be met with severe consequences.
Wike spoke yesterday, while monitoring the level of compliance of the curfew imposed by the state government on some densely populated areas, particularly, Obiri-Ikwerre Junction (Ozuoba, Rumualogu) to Choba and from Education Bus Stop to Agip Junction.
The curfew was aimed at ensuring that residents of the areas observe the sit-at-home directive to check the spread of Coronavirus in the state.
Wike imposed curfew on Obiri-Ikwerre Junction (Ozuoba, Rumualogu) to Choba and from Education Bus Stop to Agip Junction after residents of the area failed to comply with government directive closing markets across the state as part of measures to obey the social distancing rules.
Accompanied by Security Service Commanders, Wike started the monitoring exercise at Education Bus Stop up to Agip Junction.
The governor made his observations to the service commanders and operational service operatives on ground before proceeding to Obiri-Ikwerre Junction (Ozuoba, Rumualogu) to Choba where he made further observations on making the curfew effective to check the spread of Coronavirus.
It would be recalled that, yesterday, the Rivers State Government, had clarified that the curfew imposed at Education Bus Stop to Agip Junction, Ikwerre Road and Obiri Ikwerre Junction to Ozuoba, Rumualogu and Choba was for 24 hours with effect from March 31, 2020 till further notice.
During his state-wide broadcast, last Monday, Wike stated that the Rivers State Government would continue to take necessary measures to check the spread of Coronavirus.
He said: “Let me reiterate that this government will continue to do what is right no matter who is involved. As you are all aware, no conventional war has grounded global life and economy like Coronavirus has done.
“Everybody is affected. Therefore, all hands must be on deck to defeat Coronavirus. I want to sincerely express my heartfelt gratitude to our health professionals on the frontline of this fight. Let me also thank all the security agencies, individuals and organisations who are collaborating with us to make Rivers State safe.
“I am confident that with our collective resolve our dear state will contain the spread of this virus”.
Also speaking, the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, clarified that the 24-hour curfew was meant to reinforce government’s desire to contain the spread of the virus in the state.
A statement by the commissioner, yesterday, said the measure was an improvement from the dusk-to-dawn curfew earlier announced by the governor.
He explained that it was in its quest to further prevent infection of the Coronavirus in the state, that the Rivers State Government imposed 24-hour curfew in identified key areas of the state with high human traffic.
The statement reads in part: “This is to inform members of the public that the curfew imposed at Education Bus Stop to Agip Junction, Ikwerre Road and Obiri Ikwerre Junction to Ozuoba, Rumualogu and Choba is for 24 hours with effect from today, March 31, 2020 till further notice.
“It has also come to the notice of the state government that some banks are closing down in the state. The curfew is targeted at only some parts of the state. Therefore, banks have no excuse to shut down their operations.
“Any bank that is found to be closed will find it very difficult to reopen for business in the state”, the government warned.
COVID-19: NCDC Set To Increase Test Capacity To 1,500 Daily …As Confirmed Cases Of Coronavirus In Nigeria Rise To 139
The Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, said, yesterday, that the centre would increase its capacity to test for the Coronavirus to 1,500 per day in the country.
Ihekweazu stated this at the Presidential Taskforce Briefing on COVID-19 in Abuja, yesterday.
He said the focus of NCDC efforts was to improve the number of people that could be tested for the disease.
He said: “Last week, we had the capacity to test 500 per day, by the end of this week we will be at 1000 a day.
“By next week, we are hoping to get to 1,500 a day.”
Ihekweazu, however, said that Nigerians need to reduce the demand side of the testing to those who really needed it.
He noted that the more the people force themselves into being tested, the less NCDC would have the capacity to test those who really need the screening.
In a related development, the Minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Sadiya Umar Farouq, said that the ministry was unrelenting in its school children feeding.
She said the ministry would liaise with the state governments to work out the modalities to know how to go about the programme, despite the stay-at-home directive.
Farouq also disclosed that the ministry has about 2.6 million poor and vulnerable households on its social register.
However, the Federal Government has said it will be reaching more than 11 million Nigerians with palliatives to cushion the harsh effects of the measures set to fight back outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Also, the government has said it will continue to increase capacity to test for cases of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) on weekly basis.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouk, while reacting to questions, yesterday, at the daily media briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja, also disclosed that internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the North-East part of the country already received two months rations of relief materials.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian government has announced four new cases of COVID-19 in the country.
This brings the total number of cases so far confirmed on Tuesday to eight. Four cases were earlier confirmed Tuesday morning.
The total number of confirmed cases in the country is now 139 at the time of this report.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said of the four new cases reported in Nigeria, three are in the FCT and one in Lagos.
The public health agency said “as at 08:00 pm 31st March there are 139 confirmed cases of COVID19 reported in Nigeria. Nine have been discharged with two deaths.”
Of the eight new cases reported on Tuesday, so far, three are in Osun, three are in the FCT, one in Lagos and one in Ogun State.
It said all new cases have mild to moderate symptoms and are currently receiving care.
A breakdown of cases by states show that Lagos is the epicentre for the COVID-19 in Nigeria. Cases have also been on the rise in FCT, Osun and Oyo states.
Although there has been an increase in the number of cases across the country, more are expected in days to come.
The government has intensified contact tracing to identify those who have been in contact with persons who tested positive to COVID-19. They have also improved the testing capacity by adding more laboratories to the ones available.
This implies that more diagnosis would be carried out daily.
The Director-General of NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, said in Abuja Tuesday that efforts are on to test more people for the virus.
“Last week we had the capacity to test 500 per day, by the end of this week we will be at 1000 a day.
“By next week we are hoping to get to 1500 a day,” he said.
Also, a multi-sectoral national emergency operations centre (EOC), activated at level 3, continues to coordinate the national response activities.
2019/20 European Season Could Be Lost -UEFA
UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin has said that the current football season could be lost if it cannot be restarted by the end of June.
Most leagues in Europe are suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic, with this summer’s Euro 2020 tournament postponed for another year.
Ceferin says seasons could be finished behind closed doors.
“If we don’t succeed in restarting, the season will probably be lost,” the Slovenian said.
He told Tidesports source, “There is a plan A, B and C.
“The three options are to start again in mid-May, in June or at the end of June.
“There is also the possibility of starting again at the beginning of the next [season], starting the following one later. We will see the best solution for leagues and clubs.”
As it stands there are nine games to be completed by the majority of Premier League clubs, and up to 12 in the Football League.
All football in England is suspended until at least 30 April.
Ceferin says that playing remaining games behind closed doors would have to be an option across Europe.
“It’s hard for me to imagine all the matches behind closed doors, but we still don’t know whether we’ll resume, with or without spectators,” he said.
“If there was no alternative, it would be better to finish the championships.”
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