It was a free-for-all-fight at the National Secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Abuja on Wednesday as drivers, security officials and supporters of the ruling party exchanged blows over a cash gift from Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi.
Umahi, who is also a presidential aspirant of the party, had come to see the APC National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, two days after he was screened by the John Odigie-Oyegun-led presidential screening committee in Abuja.
After the closed door meeting, which lasted over an hour, Umahi brushed aside questions from journalists and headed for his car.
As he made to enter, the governor turned and threw a bale of N50,000 crispy notes at the waiting crowd of party supporters and secretariat workers who were bidding him goodbye.
His action created a stir as many APC supporters, security details and drivers exchanged blows as they rushed to share the largesse.
Umahi was one of the 23 aspirants recently screened by the Odigie-Oyegun’s screening panel at the Transcorp Hilton in Abuja.
The other 22 aspirants included National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Senior Pastor of the Citadel Global Church, Tunde Bakare; former Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba; Jigawa State Governor, Mohammed Badaru; Senator Ajayi Borroffice; former Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun; former Senate President, Ken Nnamani and US-based Pastor, Nicholas Felix.
Others were the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan; former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio; former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole; Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello and Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade.
The remaining were oil magnate, Tein Jack-Rich; Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti; former Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Ogbonnaya Onu; former Minister of Information under the late General Sani Abacha regime, Ikeobasi Mokelu and embattled former Governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha.
The Tide reports that the outcome of the APC screening exercise which ended on Tuesday is still being awaited as at the time of filing this report.
The Tide also reports that the party’s presidential primary which was initially scheduled to hold on May 29/30 at the Eagle Square, Abuja, will now hold between June 6-8 at the same venue.
The main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), successfully concluded its presidential primary last Sunday with the former Vice President, Abubakar Atiku, emerging as the party’s flagbearer.
SON Destroys Substandard Tyres, Cables, Others In Lagos
Lagos Metropolis, on Wednesday, witnessed mass destruction of substandard electric cables, engine oil, LPG cylinders, stuffed new tyres, unapproved cigarettes and low grade roofing sheets by the Standard Organization Of Nigeria (SON).
Director General, SON, Farouk Salim, while destroying the substandard products, Wednesday, noted that the substandard products affected the nation’s economy negatively.
Mr Salim revealed that all the products destroyed were imported into the country and smuggled through the ports.
He, therefore, called for the return of SON to the ports to help minimise the damage done by substandard products to the nation’s economy.
According to him, the burning of the substandard products is to assure Nigerians that SON is actually destroying them after obtaining a court order to that effect.
“Most of these substandard products were captured in the market where they are ready to be sold to customers and the unfortunate thing is that they passed through our ports.
“It will be much easier for these substandard products to be detected if our employees are at the source of the import of these products”, he said.
Salim regretted that SON was not always invited for joint inspection, adding that invitations for joint inspection are rare and far between.
“I guarantee you that if our officers have opportunity to inspect these products, the moment they look at it from experience, they will be able to detect the substandard goods.
“Don’t forget that officers of the customs service are trained to check for duty, they have no idea of how to detect substandard products easily, and our personnel are trained on how to check these products”, he said.
The SON boss denied that its officers had no unfettered access as stipulated by the constitution.
“Unless the law is changed by the National Assembly, signed by the president, the law says SON must and should be at the port, not at the discretion of any organisation”, he said.
Assistant Chief Scientific Officer and Sector Head (Domestic Rubber), National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Lagos Liaison Office, Bisiriyu Adesewa said NESREA was present to ensure proper disposal of the products.
“We appreciate SON for ensuring that substandard products don’t enter the market, but we are particular about what happens to these things after the destruction.
“We understand that most of them are going to recycling companies and the only one not recyclable for now is the oil and we will link SON with a facility that can help them dispose it so that there will be zero waste.
“The disposal process here is in line with our rules and regulations. The first thing is to dismantle and seperate them, which they have already done, next is the recycling”, she said.
Also, Head, Federal Competition and Consumption Protection Commission (FCCPC), Lagos Office, Susie Onwuka, said the commission had a Memorandum of Understanding with SON and different sector regulators on removal of substandard goods from the market.
She commended SON for the massive seizures, noting that more work needs to be done.
The Assistant Commissioner of Police, Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Annex, Alagbon, Lagos, Lawrence Iwodi, said the police was working with SON to ensure that standard was met in relation to goods imported into the country.
Healthcare: Osinbajo Calls For Improvement, Cooperation Among West African States
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has called on West African countries to improve their levels of cooperation to better address problems of healthcare access and out-of-school children, among other human development indices.
Osinbajo said this at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday, when he received the Prime Minister of Guinea-Bissau, Mr Nuno Nabiam, ahead of yesterday’s ECOWAS Integrated Regional Human Capital Development Forum hosted by the National Economic Council.
According to a statement signed late Wednesday by the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, the Vice President thanked Mr Nabiam for honouring the invitation to attend the conference, saying, “The Human Capital Development meeting is very important, it is an opportunity to share experience and help each other”.
Prof. Osinbajo noted that Nigeria’s “National Economic Council has done a lot of work on Human Capital Development, focusing on various challenges including questions around out-of-school and healthcare access” and would “significantly improve the human development indices in West Africa”.
He, however, acknowledged that the indices show that a lot more work still needed to be done.
The Vice President commended President Umaro Embalo of Guinea Bissau for his strong support for Nigeria, describing him as a very good friend of President Muhammadu Buhari and the country.
He noted that Guinea Bissau and President Embalo had always supported Nigeria internationally and congratulated the country for recently warding off a coup détat that would have ousted his government.
On his part, the Prime Minister extolled the leadership qualities of President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo, stating, “What the President of Nigeria and Vice President are doing inspires us too”.
Fuel Scarcity: Stop Panic Buying, IPMAN Tells Nigerians
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has backtracked on the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petroleum.
The Association advised Nigerians to stop panic buying, saying its members would sell petrol at government approved price of N165 per litre.
President of the Association, Elder Chinedu Okoronkwo, spoke at a press conference on Wednesday against the backdrop of earlier indications by petroleum dealers that the pump price of N165 per litre was no longer sustainable.
The Tide recalls that the IPMAN Secretary in Lagos State, Mr Akeem Balogun, had on Monday, declared a PMS pump price of N180 per litre.
But Okoronkwo at the press briefing, reversed the declaration and urged members of IPMAN to maintain the “status quo ante” of N165 per litre.
He said the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) and the Petroleum Products Marketers Company (PPMC) had released petroleum products from their tank farms that could sustain the nation for the next 32 days, hence, there was no need for panic buying.
According to him, “The status quo ante must be maintained moving forward since the NNPC and the PPMC have responded positively by releasing products from their tank farms that can sustain the product needs of the country for 32 days”.
Explaining why the IPMAN Secretary in Lagos arrived at N180 per litre on Monday, the President said: “The decision was taken because its members could no longer operate at a loss.
“While the government had fixed N165 per litre as the pump price of petrol, the current realities in the market showed that the minimum the product should be retailed at the stations should be N180.
“I told you the cost of doing business has changed and my members in Lagos before they did what they did, they called me and told me that they are now getting this product at N162 to N165 per litre with transportation another N8.00, aggregating to about N170 to N173, even the N10.00 which is supposed to be our gain has been eroded, what do we do?
“Now you know and I know that it is only NNPC that imports this product into Nigeria. Some of these tank farm owners who have gone to collect this product, don’t blame them because the cost of doing business has also changed.
“It became so difficult for them to sell at N148.17, but yesterday (Wednesday), I want to tell you that NNPC and PPMC went to their tank farms and released products.
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