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FG’s N24bn Monthly Oil Subsidy Fictitious -PDP …Decries Harassment Of Members, Supporters …Criticises Buhari Over Taraba Visit

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The Federal Government is trying to cover a “huge fraud in the presidency by declaring it spends N24 billion monthly (N774 million per day) to subsidise fuel in the country,” the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has alleged.
The party described the figure as “fictitious and cleverly fabricated to retire the already exposed stealing of trillions of naira by the presidency cabal and All Progressives Congress (APC) interests in secret oil deals.”
PDP’s National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement, yesterday, said: “It is duplicitous for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to claim a sudden surge in fuel purchase expenses at the same time the nation faced the harshest fuel shortage across the country, with Nigerians paying exorbitantly for the product.”
According to the PDP, “The APC-led presidency is drawing its deceptive proclivity and concealment of fraud too far. And to think that such is hatched in a sector that is under the direct supervision of President Muhammadu Buhari as Minister of Petroleum Resources is most disheartening.
“This is the same presidency that claimed to have abolished fuel subsidy payments and even accused the immediate past administration of alleged corruption in its subsidy management. It is, therefore, strange that the same government can pull out unimaginable figures and claim it is the cost of subsidy enjoyed by Nigerians.”
The party further queried: “How come that with such humongous sums, Nigerians are still paying as high as N250 to N300 per litre on fuel in various parts of the country? We have since charged the Buhari-led presidency to come out clear on the administration of subsidy under its watch. The question is, why is the Federal Government cloaking the subsidy regime in secrecy, if not to conceal its duplicity?”
The PDP said: “Nigerians need to know who in the presidency approved the spending of the said N774 million per day as fuel subsidy and who the benefiting companies are. Is the subsidy captured in any appropriation instrument of the National Assembly? What is the cost of landing imported fuel to the depots and at what exchange rate? Where are the details of the subsidy payout and the negotiating options and contracts?
“In reeling out its figures, the presidency has forgotten that Nigerians are still waiting for its explanations on the leaked memo showing alleged corrupt oil contracts at the NNPC to the tune of N9 trillion ($25 billion dollars). The presidency has also refused to offer explanations on the alleged involvement of its officials in various sneaky oil subsidy deals and reported diversion of N1.1 trillion worth of crude, last year, to service APC interests.”
As if finally out with a solution to fuel importation and the attendant subsidy payments, the NNPC has said it is targeting the reduction of capital flight in procurement and cost of producing a barrel of crude oil.
Speaking in Abuja, yesterday, NNPC’s Group Managing Director (GMD), Maikanti Baru said the corporation is working smart to bring more money into the coffers of the federation.
“The more we bring down the cost of producing oil and gas, the more money we bring into the pockets of federal, state and local governments. We are driving the Nigerian content agenda to essentially bring down cost. We have brought down the cost of production of a barrel of oil to about $20. Our target is $15. And we will continue to march towards that,” Baru said.
The GMD, who was represented at the 2018 edition of Technology and Innovation Expo by Chief Operating Officer, Gas and Power, Saidu Mohammed disclosed that the corporation has domesticated engineering, procurement, construction and most of the major activities in the oil and gas industry.
He said: “We have collaborated with the Nigerian Content Development Board. We have also got Nigerians who are innovative to go into fabrication. What we want to do is make sure that we domesticate the big chunk of where we spend the money, which is procurement. We have fabrications going on. We have also gone into the fabrication of vessels. What we are doing is to support all sorts of innovation.”
Commenting on the Ajaokuta-Kaduna and Kano pipeline project, the GMD said the pipelines were fully domesticated in accordance with the local content policy of the Federal Government. He added that Nigerians would do all the pre-commissioning and commissioning services.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has decried what it described as the continuous harassment, arrests and detention of its members in various parts of the country by agents and officials of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-controlled Federal Government, calling on the international community to intervene. The party said its members in Edo, Rivers, Kaduna, Kogi, Borno, Adamawa and other parts of the country are being hounded by the ruling party just because its members spoke against the despotic tendency of the APC government.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan yesterday, the party said the lives of its members and supporters “are increasingly at risk as the government is becoming more intolerant of opposition, particularly, having realized that its chances of getting re-elected in 2019 has dimmed as the people have rejected it due to its abysmal performance in the nearly three years of misrule.”
PDP also said Nigerians now live in fear as the APC-led government frequently violates their fundamental human rights and also uses aggression and cruelty to stifle opposition voices in the country.
It however called on “all good-spirited Nigerians and the international community to stand up and condemn” what it described as the undemocratic acts, rights violation and corruptions perpetrated by the APC government. The statement said,”
The PDP is alerting the entire world of the increasing aggression and cruelty against opposition members and perceived opponents of government by the APC-led Federal Government, which is now using the apparatus of state power in their desperation to cow and subjugate opposition, suppress constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech and association in our country.
“Today, there is thoughtless abuse of human rights in our country and the people now live in fear. Opposition members are now being arrested, manhandled and detained, with some of them having their family houses demolished for holding and expressing opinion even under a democracy.
“Currently, our members and supporters in many states including Edo, Rivers, Kaduna, Kogi, Borno, Adamawa and others are being hounded for expressing opinion, particularity on the exposed corruption, abuses, constitutional violations and incompetence of the APC administration.
“As we speak, our Edo state Chairman, Chief Dan Orbih, was summoned, questioned and his personal freedom curtailed by the police in Edo state for daring to speak against corruption in the state, an action which the unscrupulous officers at the command boasted will teach him and PDP members in the state, a lesson.
We commend Chief Dan Orbih for his forthrightness even in the face of harassments and intimidation by the APC. “In Kogi state, there are reports of APC agents attacking and destroying property belonging to opposition members and supporters.
Nigerians have not forgotten how the APC government in Kaduna state demolished property belonging to opposition members and perceived political opponents; how the PDP secretariat in Borno was destroyed and how our property and those of our supporters were destroyed by agents of government in Adamawa state.
“We decry this raging intimidation of our party officials, members and supporters and call on all good-spirited Nigerians and the international community to stand up and condemn this drift towards a stone age despotism.
“Nigeria is a democratic state and we reject any attempt by anybody to suppress the constitutionally guaranteed rights of the people, particularly regarding the choice of how they can be governed.
“The APC has failed and should not be allowed to vent its frustration on innocent Nigerians,” the statement concluded
Similarly, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said a recent statement made by President Muhammadu Buhari during a visit to Taraba state, where he compared the number of deaths through killings in affected states, was not only morbid but ill-thought.
It also said the President’s planned visits to states affected by bloodletting and violence was an after-thought and not altruistic.
The President last Monday visited Taraba state to condole with those affected by recent violence caused by herdsmen/farmers clashes.
In Taraba, Mr. Buhari hit the nerves of many critics when he said the number of persons killed in violent clashes in Mambilla Plateau, Sardauna Local Government Area of Taraba State, was more than “those killed in Zamfara and Benue States combined”.
The PDP said the “ill-thought remark” has vindicated its position that the scheduled trips to states “where Nigerians are being killed by marauders is cosmetic and a political afterthought that did not come from Mr. Buhari’s heart”.
The party in a statement yesterday by its national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, expressed disbelief at the president’s dismissal of public criticism over his delay in visiting the troubled areas.
“Nigerians wondered why President Buhari did not put figures to the tally since what appears to be of interest is the morbid comparison of how many Nigerians were killed from state to state.
“The party is however not surprised by President Buhari’s comments as well as the failure to visit the victims to directly assure them as the APC-controlled Federal Government had always exhibited thoughtless disdain towards the feelings and well being of the masses.
“When well-meaning Nigerians said the visits were cosmetic and a political gambit, some apologists of the APC dismissed it as a mere political statement. Now, the action and comments by the President during his whistle stop visit to Taraba state have bared it all.”
The party also flayed the president for “not directly visiting the families affected” during his visit to Taraba.
“Not only that our dear President holed himself in the comfort of the Taraba State Government House for a brief meeting with few government officials, he did not visit the victims to directly commiserate and allay their fears with assurances of steps to ensure justice and end the carnage, as his allusions almost re-opened old wounds.
“Is it not surprising that the same president who, last Saturday, had all the time at a wedding ceremony in Kano state did not even spare a minute to visit victims of a carnage where a soothing word from him would have been the balm for justice and peace?
“Furthermore, the President’s declaration that Nigerians should not expect him to “always go out to the field” not only negates his promise to lead from the fronts, but also shows that he has become distant from the real feelings, demands and sensibilities of the people.
“Also, Nigerians were shocked by the President’s claims of having performed in providing security in the country, even in the face of the daily bloodletting in the land. Perhaps, he was not aware, as usual, that while he was in Taraba, marauders were having a field day slaughtering women and children in neighboring Benue state.
“It is clear to all that this Presidential roadshow serves no purpose to the people, but merely designed as a gambit to score cheap political point and falsely portray the administration as caring, particularly seeing that the 2019 election is around the corner.”
“The party is however not surprised by President Buhari’s comments as well as the failure to visit the victims to directly assure them as the APC-controlled Federal Government had always exhibited thoughtless disdain towards the feelings and well being of the masses.
“When well-meaning Nigerians said the visits were cosmetic and a political gambit, some apologists of the APC dismissed it as a mere political statement. Now, the action and comments by the President during his whistle stop visit to Taraba state have bared it all.”

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Nigeria Needs Effective Leadership To Be Great -Wike

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has said that Nigeria needs effective leadership for the country to achieve the dreams and aspirations of its founding fathers.
He stated this during the Juma’at service in commemoration of the 62nd Independence Anniversary of Nigeria, held at the JIBWIS Directorate Headquarters, Central Mosque, Bonny Street, Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The governor, who was represented by the Special Adviser on School Sports, Dr Okiri Mohammed, said despite the numerous challenges bedevilling the country, Nigerians must collectively resolve to make the nation great.
“Remember we have one country Nigeria, and we must make it great. For us to make it great, we must see it as our duty.”
The Rivers State governor said the task of nation building was the responsibility of every citizen of the country, and the 62nd Independence anniversary celebration should be seen as a time for stocktaking.
He emphasised that Nigerians must collectively continue to demand for probity and accountability from the leadership in order to move the country forward.
“Let us continue to ensure that there is probity and accountability in this country. We need effective leadership in this country before it will go forward.”
The governor charged Muslims to continue to preach the message of peace and join hands with other Nigerians to reduce crime and poverty in Nigeria.
”As Muslim you are charged to preach peace in your various homes. We have to make sure we collectively reduce poverty and crime. We have to make sure that this country is better.”
The governor pointed out that the country is at a critical juncture, and charged Nigerians to participate effectively in the 2023 general election.
“We don’t have another country apart from Nigeria and so, all of us collectively and individually have a duty to make this country better.”
Delivering his sermon, the Imam of Bonny Island, Yusuf Lamis, charged Nigerians to be patriotic and contribute to the development of the nation.
He said the earnest prayer of every Muslims in the country is for God’s intervention in the emergence of credible political leaders in the 2023 general election.

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Wike Intervenes In Ula-Ehuda, Julius Berger Dispute

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Hope for the speedy completion of the dualisation of Ahoada-Omoku highway has been rekindled, following the intervention of Rivers State Governor, Chief NyesomWike, in the face-off between Ula-Ehuda community and the Julius Berger, the construction company handling the project.
Wike, who visited Ula-Ehuda, yesterday, to assess the progress of the ongoing construction work and to settle the disagreement between the community and Julius Berger, advised youths in the community to learn how to channel their problem appropriately to the government.
The governor, who was accompanied by the Rivers State Commissioner of Works, Dr. Dakorinama George-Kelly; former Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Chibudum Nwuche; Deputy Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Ehie Ogerenye Edison; the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) standard bearer in Rivers State, Sir Siminialayi Fubara; and others, said his administration takes exception to disruption of construction work in any part of state.
He admonished community leaders in the state, irrespective of their political leanings, never to politicise the issue of development, as this could be detrimental to the progress of their people.
“I tell people: don’t be a curse to yourself. And I’ve always told people too: don’t bring politics in the development of a place. If you bring politics, you’ll suffer it. None of you put pressure on us to say we must dualise this road.”
The governor explained that his administration took the decision to dualise the road in recognition of the fact that it would promote access to economic and social services, generate increased agricultural incomes and productive employment opportunities and reduce poverty in the state.
Wike, who urged the community to support the state government’s effort to improve infrastructure in the area, cautioned that government would, henceforth, not tolerate any disruption of the ongoing dualisation work.
“If you have problem, channel your problem appropriately. But don’t come and begin to use your young boys and young girls to stop the road construction.”
The governor assured the community that the concerns raised would be adequately addressed, adding that the government would not allow anyone or group of individuals to derail the progress of the area.
“We have come to open up your community to be like a city, and you want to send your community backwards, it will not work. Support us to do what we are doing.”
Earlier, the Chairman,Ula-Ehuda Community Development Committee, Monday Princewill Evergreen, thanked Wike for the project, and appealed for the inclusion of drainage in the Ula-Ehuda section of the Ahoada-Omoku highway.
“We are grateful that you brought this project to our community, not just our community, Ahoada East. For long, we had envisaged that this road will be dualised and constructed. It was until you came that that dream was realised, and the community and the entire people of Ekpeye are eternally grateful to you.”
Earlier, the Rivers State Commissioner for Works, Dr. George-Kelly D. Alabo, had advised some protesting youths at the Ula-Ehuda axis of Ahoada-Omoku Dual Carriageway to shun obstructive means of demonstration at the project site, because if the project,was not completed as a result of their actions, the people of the area would be the ones to lose and not Julius Berger.
George-Kelly advised them to allow the construction giant to continue with their work while he makes an arrangement for a round-table talk between all parties involved to find an amicable solution to the contentious issue on drainage before the end of the week.
Residents of Ula-Ehuda in Ahoada East Local Government Area were addressed by the commissioner, who was accompanied by the Chairman of Ahoada East Local Government Council, Hon. Ben Eke, to inspect the Ahoada-Omoku Dual Carriageway project, last Tuesday.
“I am not here to blame anybody but to solve a problem. I am here to provide a solution that will be good for the community, the government, and the contractor. If we must tell ourselves the truth, stopping them from working will not solve the problem, it would even put you at the disadvantaged end because if this project is not completed, it is the people of this area that will lose, not Julius Berger.
“Please, do not make the mistake some youths of a particular local government area made. They stopped two projects of the state government in their area over frivolous demands, the state government made several attempts to persuade them to allow the construction of the projects to continue, like I am doing now, but they refused. Contractors left sites, and the projects were abandoned. Two years after, the contactors are yet to resume work for excuses of community disturbances. When the contractors eventually go back to sites, the projects may become more expensive for government, given the current fluctuations.
“The best thing to do now is to allow the contractor to finish the initial scope of the project first.Maybe, before the commissioning, you can make this other demand, and we will forward same to the governor. Please, realise that even in your demands, due process has to be followed.
“I am appealing to you to allow them complete this work on schedule so that it can be commissioned by or before December. By Friday this week (yesterday), I’ll be having a meeting between the ministry, the council chairman, representatives of Julius Berger, the project CLOs, and Ula-Ehuda community leaders. I will like the community to include, at least, two indigenous civil engineers in their delegation so that they can understand and interprete to you some technical details that would be discussed in the meeting,” the commissioner added.
Also, the commissioner inspected the 8.020km Akpabu-Itu-Omudioga Road project, phase 1 in Emohua Local Government Area.
Checks show that asphaltic binder course had been completed for the entire road length and 700m asphalt wearing course had been done so far.
The project is 75percent completed and in progress.

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Catholic Bishops Vow To Work For Credible Polls In 2023

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Bishops of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja have pledged to work with relevant stakeholders to ensure free, credible and transparent general elections in 2023.
The commitment is contained in a communiqué jointly signed by Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, the Archbishop of Abuja and Very Rev. Fr. Sam Tumba, after the 3rd General assembly of the Archdiocese.
In the communique issued on Saturday in Abuja, the bishops enjoined Parishes, families, Church societies and groups to dedicate special moments to pray for a hitch-free election.
“We call on Catholics and indeed all Nigerian citizens to be consciously and actively involved in the electoral processes at all levels.
“Voter registration, collection of Permanent Voters Card, casting votes on election days with a firm and clear conscience to elect credible leaders who will bring about the true dividends of democracy”, they said.
The bishops commended President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the Electoral Act into law to enhance the sanctity of the electoral process.
“We task the Independent National Electoral Commission to ensure political fairness and transparency, to consolidate the trust reposed in them by Nigerians.
“Parishes and Catholic institutions within our Archdiocese are encouraged to arrange and organize voter awareness programmes, seminars and workshops guided by the Justice, Development and Peace Commission, to better equip our people for greater political responsibility.
“We remain open and willing to collaborate with relevant government agencies, electoral bodies and security operatives to ensure peaceful and credible election processes in the coming year,” the communique added.
The bishops cautioned politicians not to regard the election as a ‘do or die’ affair, adding that they must also refrain from money politics, manipulative and divisive practices along ethnic, social and religious lines to win elections.
“Even though we decry the hard economic situations in the nation, we strongly discourage all Catholics and especially our youths from lending themselves as easy recruits for political thuggery and other criminal activities to enthrone selfish and incompetent aspirants into electoral offices.
“We discourage and condemn any form of vote buying or selling and other electoral malpractices during the elections,” the bishops said.
The bishops advised catholic politicians from all political parties within the Archdiocese to participate in Church activities, so as to be better known by the faithful.
They called on all people of goodwill to cooperate with security agencies to root out criminal elements within communities.
The bishops, however, urged security agents to remain professional in discharging their duties and resist any attempt to be used to intimidate the people by corrupt politicians.
The communique called on Catholics across the country to match work with prayer, for peaceful electioneering process.
They called for sustained prayers for the country, adding: “Nigerians should take courage and be of ardent hope, for the storms will soon be over.”

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