We’ve Powers To Deduct Running Cost From Source, NNPC Tells Reps
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, has said that the monetary deductions made from the 2015 operations of the corporation had legal backing.
Kyari gave the explanation while responding to the audit query from the office of the Auditor General of the Federation over dwindling government revenue from 2014 till 2020 at the Public Accounts Committee, PAC of the House of Representatives, yesterday.
The committee had invited the GMD to defend deductions from source of the sum of N865billion from N2.4trillion generated by the corporation in 2015.
The NNPC was to also explain the non-remittance of N3.8trillion of domestic crude oil sales; the non-collection of gas receipts for some months in the year; and the issue of refund of N450billion, among others.
It will be recalled that Auditor General had in the query said the act violated Section 162 of the Constitution which provides that all revenue proceeds should be paid to the Federation Account.
Meeting with the committee, Kyari said that NNPC act, a certain judgement of the Supreme Court judgement and approval of the Attorney-General of the Federation empowered them to make deductions of their running cost from source.
“What we do is backed by the provisions of the law. First, the NNPC Act is very clear that we should submit revenues net of our cost.
“There is also an informed decision of the Supreme Court and also the Attorney General of the Federation, that that position is correct and supported by the provisions of the law,” Kyari said.
In his remarks, the Committee Chairman, Hon. Oluwole Oke, said that NNPC as an agency of government was accountable to the people and ought to make remittances to the federation account.
Reserving ruling on the matter, Oke said the Committee will constitute a subcommittee to enable them re-examine the legal provisions to ascertain the tenacity of Kyari’s submission.
“Let us compare the provisions of the NNPC Act with Section 88, 81 of the constitution. We need to read the provisions of the NNPC Act along with section 80, 81 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to be able to decide which is superior, and which we are to follow.
“We would set up a sub-committee of legal minded members to read through the judgment of the Supreme Court on this matter vis-a-vis the letter from the letter of the Attorney General. We need to make an informed position of the matter.
“If the Supreme Court has taken a position, we need to be mindful of such. If we are in disagreement, the best option we have is to go into legislation, because it means the court has clearly interpreted the provisions of the law. Sources of law are judicial precedents.
“That is the way we can come up with an enactment, amendment, or repeal. So, I want to suggest that we reserve ruling on the query bordering on deductions at source. Let us study the provisions of the Constitution and the Act setting up NNPC along with the submission of the Attorney General and the Supreme Court judgment and we come back and make a ruling,” Oke said.
JAMB Decries Use Of Fake Results For Admission
The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has decried the high level of forgery of A Level certificates used for the registration.
JAMB Registrar, Professor Is-haq Oloyede, who raised the alarm, recalled that the Board had commenced the 2023 Direct Entry registration on Monday, 20th February but immediately suspended it following the discovery of the plethora of devices and machinations to circumvent and compromise the standard of A ‘level qualifications required from DE candidates.
He disclosed that out of 148 candidates verified by Bayero University Kano (BUK), only 6 were found to be genuine.
“By implication 142 of the results were forged. Oloyede said. Bayero University, Kano (BUK) has also consistently brought to the fore the high rate of forgery of A’Level qualifications for DE.
“It was discovered that in previous years, some candidates used unacceptable and forged A’ level certificates/ qualifications to register for Direct Entry and eventually got admitted. For example out of 148 candidates verified by BUK, only 6 were found to be genuine. By implication 142 of the results were forged.
“The Board, concerned stakeholders and institutions are working assiduously to detect such and the ones already found are being dealt with according to the provisions of the law.
“In order to further checkmate the anomaly and to also prevent recurrence of such irregularity, the Board has decided that the 2023 DE registrations will not only be restricted to JAMB (Professional Test Centres (PTCs) but will also be done under strict supervision,” Oloyode said.
“The Board has provided additional guidelines to all DE registration outlets (JAMB-owned centres), Officers of the Board and candidates on the 2023 Direct Entry registration exercise:
“At the point of registration, all candidates must fill in Registration/Matriculation Number of the previous school attended where the qualification was obtained; Subject(s) of qualification; Awarding Institution; Institution actually attended”, he said.
‘Nigerians Have Lost Confidence, Trust In INEC’
As post-election crisis gathers momentum, the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) to Nigeria’s 2023 general elections has declared that Nigerians have lost confidence and trust in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) owing to lack of transparency and operational failures.
The EU EOM Chief Observer, Barry Andrews, made the assertion at a Media Briefing to present the Mission’s second preliminary reports, in Abuja, Monday.
Andrews noted that although Nigerians had great appetite for democracy and keen to engage in various civic activities, their expectations were dashed.
According to him, the apathy recorded at the governorship and states House of Assembly elections conducted last Saturday was a clear consequence of failures by political elites and “unfortunately, INEC.”
Andrews said: “Obstruction and organised violence limited the free expression of the will of the voters, despite efforts by civil society to promote democratic standards.
“Throughout the Mission, we saw that Nigerians have a great appetite for democracy and are keen to engage in various civic activities. However, in many parts of the country, their expectations were not met.
“Many were disappointed and we witnessed voter apathy that is in part, a clear consequence of failures by political elites, and unfortunately, also by INEC.
“Positively, INEC introduced some corrective measures ahead of Saturday’s polls, allowing a timely delivery of sensitive materials and improved use of election technologies, yet, the institution continued to lack transparency.”
The Mission also observed that voting started early with INEC ad-hoc officials present and ready to serve voters, but the exercise was unfortunately, disrupted by “multiple incidents of thuggery and intimidation of voters, polling officials, observers, and journalists”.
The Mission noted that Lagos, Kano, and other States in the Southern, Northern and Central parts of the country were mostly affected, adding that the election was equally characterised by casualties, fatalities, as well as vote-buying, which according to the observers, further detracted from an appropriate conduct of elections.
“EU EOM observers also saw misuse of administrative resources, including through various financial and in-kind inducements to voters, giving an undue advantage to the party in power.
“Furthermore, the protracted deadlines for candidacy disputes created uncertainty for voters and electoral contestants alike, while clear underrepresentation of women as candidates demonstrated a stark lack of internal party policies to support constitutionally prescribed inclusion
‘Youths To Benefit From Climate Change Innovation Hub’
The Clerk to the National Assembly (CNA), Sani Tambuwal, has expressed optimism that the recently established National Climate Change Innovation Hub would help in harnessing the potential among Nigerian youths towards addressing climate issues.
The CNA stated this during the commemoration of the 2023 Commonwealth Day with the theme ‘Forging A Sustainable And Peaceful Common Future’ held at the instance of National Assembly management, in Abuja, Monday.
Represented by the Deputy Clerk, National Assembly (DCNA), Barrister Kamoru Ogunlana, Tambuwal observed that the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and other climate issues in the world if not properly managed, would posed great danger to world peace and a sustainable future.
He assured that Federal Government had put measures in place to address some issues on climate change through the establishment of youth climate change hub to harness their ideas and include them in decision-making process as well as develop long-term vision for zero gas emissions.
In her presentation, Mrs. Rabi Audu stressed the need for concerted efforts from all stakeholders towards forging a sustainable and peaceful environment.
Audu also urged the youths to engage in activities and programmes that would promoter innovations and inclusivity for all.
According to her, governments and parliaments have to increase opportunities for schools across the Commonwealth countries, adopt higher education partnerships and development programmes that would lead to economic growth, social inclusion and environmental conservation.
While noting that the establishment of more programmes like the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) would aid the attainment of these, Audu further stressed the need for Commonwealth member countries to establish technical and vocational education that would help in gainfully equipping the youths with skills to further tackle high rate of youth unemployment.
Some of the students who participated in the programme tasked parliaments across Commonwealth member States on the need to hold their governments to account particularly on the areas of public spending, international crisis, investment sustainability and promotion of the benefits of inclusive and diverse representation in truly open societies.
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