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Lawmakers Pass PIGB with Five Per cent Fuel Levy, Await Buhari’s Assent

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Nigerians will have to pay more for fuel as the National Assembly yesterday passed the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) with five percent levy on fuel sold across the country.

According to the lawmakers, the five percent levy will be used to fund the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) as reflected in the new bill.

The passage followed the consideration and adoption of the conference committee report on the bill.

Going by Section 36 (1) (a) of the bill, “There shall be established the Petroleum Equalisation Fund into which shall be paid all monies payable to the Equalisation Fund by way of a 5 percent fuel levy in respect of all fuel sold and distributed within the Federation which shall be charged subject to the approval of the Minister (of Petroleum)”.

Other sources of financing the PEF, as stated in the bill, include subventions, fees and charges for services rendered, as well as net surplus revenue recovered from petroleum products marketing companies.

The Bill empowered the Equalisation Fund to collect all revenues and levies charged; determine the net surplus revenue recoverable from any oil marketing company and accruing to that company from the sale by it of petroleum products at such uniform prices as may be fixed by the Minister;  determine the amount of reimbursement due to any oil marketing company for purposes of equalisation of price of products among others.

It also seeks to provide for the governance and institutional framework for the petroleum industry.

One of the major highlights of the bill is one seeking to unbundle the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), provide for the establishment of Federal Ministry of Petroleum Incorporated, Nigerian Petroleum Regulatory Commission, Nigerian Petroleum Assets Management Company and National Petroleum Company and Petroleum Equalisation Fund.

The regulatory bill also seeks to replace the NNPC with the National Petroleum Commission.

If it eventually becomes law, existing agencies, like the Petroleum Inspectorate, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) will be abolished.

Their functions will then be transferred to a new agency -the Nigeria Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NPREC) as provided in the new bill.

The bill empowers the NPREC ‘to administer and enforce policies, laws and regulations relating to all aspects of petroleum operations.

It also empowers it to monitor and enforce compliance with the terms and conditions of all leases, licences, permits and authorisations issued in respect of any petroleum operations.

It will also define and enforce approved standards for design, construction, fabrication, operation and maintenance for all plants, installations and facilities utilized or to be utilised in petroleum operations.

Similarly, it is empowered to establish, monitor, regulate and enforce health and safety measures relating to all aspects of petroleum operations; establish the framework for the validation and certification of national hydrocarbon reserves; advise the Minister on fiscal and other issues pertaining to the petroleum industry; undertake evaluation of national reserves and reservoir management studies.

It also empowers the body to issue licences, permits or authorisations for downstream gas, petroleum products, storage depots, retail outlets, transportation and distribution facilities for the industry.

President of the Senate Bukola Saraki urged President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the bill into law.

Saraki said, “I hope with this, we will get the assent of Mr President and hopefully open a new page for the petroleum industry”.

At the House of Representatives, there was a concurrence as the report of the conference committee on “A bill for an act to provide for the Governance and Institutional Framework for the Petroleum Industry (PIGB)” was considered and adopted.

The next step is the transmission of the bill to the President for assent and if signed into law, the NNPC will be unbundled into smaller independent companies.

Also, the House moved closer to its resolve on the stoppage of the sales or concession of  the Ajaokuta Steel Company.

At the Committee of the Whole House, chaired by Speaker Yakubu Dogara, the House considered and adopted the report of a bill to provide for the withdrawal of $1b from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) for the completion of the 98 per cent completed steel company.

The bill was sponsored by 301 members of the House.

If signed into law by the President, after scaling the Senate huddle for concurrence, the Presidency will be empowered to withdraw $1b from the ECA to complete the project.

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PDP Condemns Attack on Buhari in Kano, Blames Tinubu, Ganduje

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The Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Council, has blamed the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and the governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, for the attacks on the convoy of President Muhammadu Buhari, during a visit to the state on Monday.

The spokesperson of the campaign council, Dino Melaye, who shared one of the videos from the reported attack, wrote, “The fight between Tinubu and Buhari is entering a new dimension. The attack in Kano was properly coordinated and funded allegedly by Asiwaju.

“The meeting to push Buhari to submission or face sponsored attack in the north was said to be hatched in Bourdillon. Me, I am busy with Atiku.”

A political activist, Deji Adeyanju, who shared another video of the reported attack, said, “They are showing Buhari and APC Shege in Kano and many northern states.”

Similarly, the PDP in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, on Monday also blamed Tinubu and the Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, for the attack.

According to the party, the attack was designed to undermine the Presidency, cause confusion, trigger violence in the country, disrupt the conduct of the 2023 general elections “and derail our democracy having realised that he cannot win in a peaceful, free and fair electoral process.”

The statement read in part, “The PDP invites Nigerians to note how Governor Abdullahi Ganduje attempted to abridge President Buhari’s movement and even tried to stop him from visiting Kano State.

“More disquieting is the fact that the APC Presidential Campaign sought to humiliate and harm President Buhari while performing his official duties in Kano.

“It should be noted that the APC presidential candidate has been displaying open aversion and making inciting statements against President Buhari since Mr President’s declaration, in line with democratic best practice all over the world that Nigerians should freely vote for any candidate and party of their choice in the 2023 general elections.

“The apparent frustration of Asiwaju Tinubu to resort to encourage or condone violence is fueled by his entitlement mentality, that it is his turn to be President, despite his numerous ineligibility and disability baggage.”

Ologunagba reminded Nigerians about Tinubu’s infamous statement in London where he declared to his supporters that “political power is not going to be served in a restaurant, it is not served a la carte.”

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Organ Harvesting: Ekweremadu Battles for Freedom, Appears in Court Tuesday

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A former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, will on Tuesday appear again in court in the United Kingdom where he has been accused of human trafficking.

The lawmaker was in June 2022 arrested at Heathrow Airport in London after Staines Police Station received a report from a young man claiming to have been trafficked into the UK.

The young man, who made the report shortly after arriving in the UK from Nigeria, also alleged that he was made to undergo some medical tests, none of which he consented to.

Ekweremadu was immediately arraigned before a Magistrate’s Court for bringing a child into the UK to harvest his organs.

While the lawmaker had been in custody since June 23, his wife, Beatrice, who was arrested with him, was granted bail by a criminal court in London shortly after their arrest.

Monday (today) makes it 221 days since Ekweremadu was placed in the custody of UK authorities.

The case against the lawmaker which had been slated for May was later scheduled for January 31.

The 60-year-old, who denied the allegations against him, will again appear before High Court Judge, Mr Justice Johnson.

His daughter, Sonia, had on November 7, 2022, appeared in court to defend the accusation of trafficking a homeless man into the UK to harvest his organs for herself.

According to Daily Mail, the 25-year-old, who is battling a kidney-related illness, pleaded not guilty to the charge level against her when she appeared again in court on January 13.

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Tinubu, Naja’atu and the Damning Confessions

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By Eric Elezuo

The chances of the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in the forthcoming February 25 presidential election, continue to grow slimmer as the D-day approaches with more damning evidences of ill-health, especially tending to mental disability. The latest revelation of the former governor’s inability to run the affairs of men again is contained in a confession made by Hajia Naja’atu Mohammed, a former chieftain of the party and director of the party’s presidential campaign council. Hajia Mohammed’s confessions are aftermath of the Peoples Democratic Party’s indictment of the APC candidate of massive drug and fraud related felonies.

Hajia Mohammed, a former Director in the Presidential Campaign Council PCC of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Hajia Naja’atu Mohammed said everything about the presidential candidate of the party, Asiwaji Bola Tinubu is motivated by money, and that explains how he was picked as the presidential flag bearer of the party.

The former director of APC PCC, whose assertive facts were made during in an interview on Arise Television’s The Morning Show a few days ago, following an exclusive interview by The Whistler, has maintained in subsequent chats that her statements were accurate. This is even as the APC has denied her as former staff who was sacked for being a mole and incompetent, to which she replied, “Not just that, as far as my expulsion from the APC is concerned, what took them so long? They should have told the public before I resigned, but they kicked me out unfortunately because they are so silly, they are saying after my resignation, they actually kicked me out.

She alleged that Tinubu was the sole pivot through which every aspect of the party primary held in June 2022 revolved.

“This is the first time that I know that governors do not even sponsor the presidential campaign. Normally the governor sponsors the presidential campaign in his state, but this time around, it is Asiwaju that is doing it.

“Everything about Asiwaju is about money, there’s nothing like honour. For God’s sake what do we want? Can we continue to wallow in this, can we continue to deceive ourselves, who are we lying to? We are only lying to ourselves. We see these things. The truth has been written on the horizon. Why are we now turning the other eye?”

Mohammed had resigned from the campaign council and the APC, claiming that developments in the political and democratic space have made it impossible for her to continue participating in party politics, adding that her conscience would not allow her to continue in the APC PCC. Apart from the money politics, she accused the APC flag bearer of, she had also said Tinubu was too sick and possibly suffering from Alzheimer’s disease as he could not hold a teacup when she visited him in London some time ago. She said Tinubu does not have the presence of mind to be the president of Nigeria

In the resignation letter, addressed to the National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, she said recent developments in the political and democratic space have made it impossible for her to continue participating in party politics.

She stated that the challenges facing the country today “require me to continue championing the struggle for a better country with a clear conscience as I remain absolutely loyal to Nigeria,” adding that the problems required “the consolidated efforts of competent and patriotic leadership across every level of governance.”

Speaking to The Whistler on what informed her decision to dump the Tinubu campaign, she said that the APC presidential candidate had demonstrated clear symptoms of dementia when she visited him for a private meeting in London, stressing that if for any reason, Tinubu wins the election, he will be like an invalid as his hangers on, led by his wife, will be in charge of leadership of the country.

“Let me tell you why they are following Asiwaju. They know that he’s incapable. They know that he can’t decipher. They know that there is something seriously wrong with his brain. It is like they say in Hausa: somebody will hold the horns of a cow, and you will be milking it. So, all of these people talking all this nonsense know that he’s incapable. They know that he’s handicapped. But they also know that there’s already a cabal that they can depend on for the piece of a pie. No more, no less. And let me tell you, I have not spoken to anyone, both in or outside APC from up North, that I know that has told me or that believes Asiwaju is capable. But all they are saying is that you know we have to get something out of it—that’s all.”

She added: “Asiwaju that I sat with for two hours, he slept most of the time, it was Bisi Akande that I was really talking to. Most importantly he is not only physically unfit, he is mentally unfit, whether we want it or not, this is the truth. It’s not that I hate him, I respect him because I have heard of one or two people that he assisted which is good.

“But when you talk of leadership of over two hundred million people you know that if you remove tribal sentiments, you know that he is incapable, those that will rule are those around him. This is the reality. He is – I said it!

“I sat with him for two hours in London, when you talk of green, he will give you an answer of red, he can’t even decipher, he has very serious dementia, I believe he has Alzheimer’s because he cannot even hold a cup of tea.

“If you remove tribal sentiment, if you remove the Lagos/Ibadan press, if Tinubu were not a Yoruba man, he will not dare contest election because they will crucify him, but people are all there to defend him because he is Yoruba, it’s egbe omo Oduduwa over everything else.

“I was in the campaign for Yola, and we had to beg them to take the mic from him, everything about Tinubu is based on lies. Imagine he is an Hausa man, will he contest elections with all these gbese on top of him? In this campaign, nobody should talk of corruption because they are corruption personified.”

Mohammed denied quitting politics, maintaining that she quitted the APC to join the Atiku Abubakar. She said “I did not say I’m quitting, people don’t read very well, I said party politics, party politics is different from quitting politics, all I’m saying is that I should not be caged to a particular party. I have God-given ability to mobilize, I cannot cage myself to APC, that is why I left the APC, but I’m still very much in politics.

She also took a swipe at President Muhammadu Buhari, saying the president was another stooge, who cares less about the country he is leading. He said Buhari was not actually in charge, but blamed a certain Tunde, who is calling the shots in the business of governance.

She said: “In the first place, Buhari does not care about anything. He had never cared. He doesn’t care about the country, nor is he really in charge. He has thrown the country to the dogs. He has a prime minister in the name of his nephew—grandnephew Tunde. Whether we want to believe it or not, Tunde is the de facto president. I know that even the service chiefs report to him. Tunde is Sabiu. Do you know him? He’s called Tunde because he was named after Tunde Idiagbon.

“Let me tell you, there are times, on a few occasions when I had cause to see the president, that I had given him in black and white some of the atrocities that are taking place in terms of corruption, theft of billions of naira. All he does is to frown and that’s the end of it. He doesn’t care. Sometimes, he tells you, ‘I don’t know’. But how do you know? How do you know if you don’t want to know? He doesn’t want to know. He doesn’t care. There was a time in early 2015 that Buhari said, when he came into office, he said, ‘I’m relying on the newspapers to guide me’. He said that. And the newspapers—a lot of them—have been consistent in speaking out. Even if the service chiefs or others don’t tell him the truth, the newspapers are there. Is he not reading the papers? Why is he not reading the papers? And there was also a time when Buhari first came in, and he locked up Sambo Dasuki for a couple of years. What was the offence of Sambo Dasuki? According to Buhari, Sambo Dasuki had spent billions of security money.”

Naja’atu also revealed how Tinubu manipulated the electoral process to clinch the APC presidential ticket:

“There is nothing like democracy in this democratic system. The whole thing is a hoax. I will tell you, for instance, what happened in their primary election. People were given ballot papers with Asiwaju written on it. That was what happened. And we saw a clip in which governors were collecting money. It’s so shameful. What a disgrace! Governors collecting money; sharing money given to them by Asiwaju. It is such a disgrace. It is the first time that I have heard or seen such. At least in this dispensation. I have been in politics for decades, I was born into politics. But this is the first time that a presidential candidate will be sponsoring governors to support him. This is what is happening. Asiwaju is synonymous with money. For God’s sake, if all it takes is money, then what else will he do when he takes over power? It’s for him to retrieve his money.

“Look, this is not even about Egbe Omo Oduduwa. Osinbajo is even more Egbe Omo Oduduwa than Tinubu. He’s a professor. He’s brilliant. He knows what he’s doing. For the few weeks that he was given this country to run, he did a great job. But the Lagos-Ibadan press villainised him. They said all sorts of things against him because Tinubu controls the strongest propaganda machine in this country, which is the Lagos–Ibadan press.

Naja’atu was unequivocal when she stated that Tinubu purchased the ticket from the governors. “There’s no doubt about that,” she said.

She said everyone backing and singing Buhari’s praises know the vegetable state he is in, but have prefer to remain mute because of selfish interest .

“The problem is this: it’s extreme selfishness. All these people that you are talking about are thinking of themselves as individuals. They are thinking of their personal interests. They don’t have the country at heart. That is why I said I have to follow my conscience because I cannot afford to continue to pretend and remain silent. In fact, to be silent is criminal. This is my position: anyone who refuses to talk when they are supposed to talk is either a hypocrite or a coward or both. So, that is why I took the position I took. These people that you are talking about, in Hausa, we say they are the plugs, from North to South. But they are an insignificant minority. And the fault of the generality of Nigerians is that they have allowed themselves to be pulled by the nose, most out of ignorance, some out of tribal or religious sentiments.

Let me tell you what our Prophet said— when they said Muslim-Muslim ticket, I stated it’s a hoax because Islam is explicit on the question of leadership. What it says is a chosen atheist is better than an unjust Muslim, which is the injunction. The first law given by God, according to the Quran, is the law which Allah put on himself. The first law was he had denied himself the right to oppress. That is the law given to God to himself. And then he went on to say that he had denied injustice within ‘my creation’. So, what are we talking about? What the hell about Muslim-Muslim? Who cares about that?

However, the APC, in denying the allegations levelled against Tinubu, called Naja’atu a political jobber, who was sacked for incompetency. Special Adviser on Public Affairs at the Tinubu Media Office, Mahmud Jega in a statement in Abuja said although Mohammed deceived the gullible public by claiming that she resigned, “her sack letter with ignominy from the campaign and the party had just arrived at her desk”.

Jega stated, “Her desperate, fact-free, machination-filled and imaginary utterances since her sack from the campaign has proved beyond doubt that she was unfit to serve in the first place, until it was discovered that she was actually a mole.

“Not being a medical doctor but whose profession in the last three decades was as a political jobber and expert name-dropper, she nevertheless issued a pseudo-medical report on our presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, after a brief meeting in London.

“Even the association of native doctors would sack her for quackery and for reaching a medical conclusion without any test”, he stated.

He said despite his position as the clear front-runner in the 2023 presidential race, Tinubu has been running the most punishing campaign schedule of any of the presidential candidates and has already visited many parts of the country with an almost non-stop schedule of rallies, town hall meetings and meetings with professional, community, business, and religious groups and associations.

“Naja’atu claimed that when she asked Asiwaju what plans he had for the North, he answered that he had none. This is strange and questions the integrity of the woman and her story.”

“Asíwájú has unfolded an Action plan for the whole country, in which problems bedeviling the North got very comprehensive attention. Asiwaju also attended the Arewa Summit last year, at which he unfolded and elaborated on these programs.

“As conclusive proof of her unstable and unreliable character, Naja’atu said in her pre-emptive “resignation letter” that she was quitting party politics as the political parties have no ideological differences and her values and beliefs no longer align with party politics.

“Within a day, pictures surfaced in the media showing her meeting with the PDP presidential candidate and declaring her support for him.

“All Nigerians must be wondering what kind of “values and beliefs” she has apart from opportunism, selfishness and greed.

“We were least surprised about her dramatic exit, coming after she went on TV to disparage our party and President Muhammadu Buhari. Only a mole could behave in such a manner.

“We urge our supporters all over the country to ignore the antics of this political soldier of fortune and concentrate on the job of delivering the Tinubu/Shettima ticket at the polls in barely a month from now”, Jega added.

“It’s a lie,” Naja’atu countered, adding that “You know, Asiwaju himself wanted to come to my house. They met my mentor Wamako, and they spoke with a lot of people for me to ceasefire. Then, last (Monday) night, I decided that we would ceasefire. But then I saw this (APC’s PCC’s statement alleging she was sacked from the council). Asiwaju himself wanted to come to my house to plead with me—I swear to God almighty! They were already running helter-skelter—going from pole to pillar—for certain people that I respect to prevail on me to ceasefire. As of last night, I agreed to ceasefire. But when I saw their statement this morning (Tuesday), I sent it to Farouk, and I sent it to Omar Farouk. I also sent it to a few other people that were pleading with me. I told them: ‘Ceasefire gone!’ The conversation continues. Everything about them is paralysed. When did they sack me? Could they have written a backdated letter? When you base everything on lies—I swear: yesterday (Monday), I was feeling so bad as so many of them were pleading with me. It’s not good to be arrogant. We must always be humble.”

What sort of meanness is this that these people want a man who is clearly unfit to be president? Naja’atu fired at some state governors and political hangers-on, who are bent on pushing Tinubu to the presidency.

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