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Reps committee assures NSCDC of support to protect national assets

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The Special Committee on Oil Theft/Losses of the House of Representatives,  has pledged to provide support for the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to protect critical national infrastructure.

The Chairman of the committee, Rep. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa (APC-Kano), made the pledge at a meeting of members of the committee with the Commandant-General of NSCDC, Dr Ahmed Audi in Abuja on Wednesday. 

Ado-Doguwa,  who was represented by the Deputy Chairman of the committee, Rep. Sesi Olawasegun, said that priority attention would be given to oil and gas assets to address oil theft and vandalism in the country.

The chairman said there was need to conduct a comprehensive review, audit and risk assessment to ensure the protection of the pipelines and other critical assets.

According to him, as the lead agency, the  NSCDC should as a matter of priority and in collaboration with other stakeholders,  develop a Critical National Security Assets and infrastructure (CNAI) Protection Response Plan that will designate roles and responsibilities for all stakeholders.

“These core responsibility of protecting Critical National Security Assets and infrastructure (CNAI) among others,  are so germane to solving the devastating menace of crude oil theft currently ravaging our country.

“May I also emphasise that the protection of critical assets and infrastructure is very vital to the continued existence of every nation globally.

“To that effect, the Nigeria’s National Security Strategy (NNSS) 2019, captured and emphasised the urgent need for safeguarding these assets,” he said.

Ado-Doguwa commended the commandant general,  officers and men of the  corps for outstanding commitment in delivering on institutional mandates, despite enormous challenges.

He said the special committee on Oil Theft/Losses have the mandate of the house to work with stakeholders to address the challenges of oil theft.

According to him, it is on record that the Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPCL, Alhaji Mele Kyari was reported to have decried the over 5,000 kilometres of oil pipelines not working due to pipeline vandalism.

He said the Presidential Special Investigative Panel on oil theft/losses in Nigeria also stated in their report that ‘crude oil theft and related pipeline sabotage have forced some companies to shut down production and/ or sell off their assets.

“Shell, Chevron, Mobil and other IOCs are divesting their land and shallow water assets, mainly because they  no longer see growth potentials in them.

“‘It is also the same for marginal field operators. They all cite the significance difference between what they produce at the wellheads and output at the terminals, as an operational challenge that occasions huge losses on their investments,” he said.

In his remarks, Audi expressed appreciation to the National Assembly for the support but said there was still so much that needed to be done to enable the corps effectively achieve its mandate.

He  announced that over 600 vandals had been arrested and more than 200 successfully prosecuted.

The commandant general said the corps had developed kinetic and non-kinetic measures to deal with the problem.

Audi said the NSCDC was working assiduously on its objectives but  greatly hampered by lack of funds among other problems.

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Ogun Assembly passes Assembly Commission Amendment bill

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The Ogun House of Assembly on Wednesday passed the State House of Assembly Service Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2024.

The passage of the bill followed  presentation of the Committee’s report by the Chairman, House Committee on Establishments and Public Service Matters, Mr Babatunde Tella at plenary in Abeokuta.

Tella moved the motion for its adoption, seconded by Mr Adeyanju Adegoke and supported by all the members.

The bill was later read and adopted clause by clause before the Committee of Whole.

The Majority Leader, Mr Yusuf Sheriff, moved the motion for the third reading of the bill, seconded by the Minority Leader, Mr Lukmon Adeleye and supported by the Whole House through a unanimous voice vote.

Consequently, the Deputy Clerk of the House, Mrs Funmilayo Adeyemi, took the third reading of the bill before the lawmakers.

The Speaker, Mr Oludaisi Elemide, directed that the clean copy of the bill be forwarded to Gov. Dapo Abiodun for his assent.

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Abuja court gives EFCC go-ahead to arrest ex-Kogi Governor, Yahaya Bello

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A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, ordered that a warrant be issued to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for immediate arrest of former Governor of Kogi, Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

Justice Emeka Nwite, in a ruling on EFCC’s ex-parte motion, held that after listening to the submission of commission’s counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, and reading the affidavit in support of the motion, including the exhibits and written address, he was inclined to grant the application.

It was earlier reported that a High Court sitting in Lokoja on Wednesday, restrained the EFCC from arresting, detaining and prosecuting Bello

Justice I.A Jamil, who gave the order in a two-hour judgment delivered in suit no HCL/68/M/2020, held that infringing on Bello’s “fundamental human rights is null and void.”

The judge, who dismissed the commission’s application challenging the jurisdiction of the court, said: “By this order, the EFCC is hereby restrained from arresting, detaining and prosecuting the applicant.

“This is a definite order following the earlier interim injunction given.”

However, in a ruling delivered by Justice Nwite on Wednesday, the judge ordered that a warrant be issued to the commission for Bello’s immediate arrest.

He also directed that the former governor be produced before the court on April 18 for arraignment.

“It is hereby ordered as follows:

“That an order of this honourable court is hereby made directing and/or issuing a warrant for the immediate arrest of the defendant for the purpose of bringing him before this honourable court for arraignment.

“That case is adjourned to 18th day of April, 2024 for arraignment,” he declared.

NAN reports that the EFCC, in the motion ex-parte marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/98/2024 dated April 16 and filed April 17, sought six orders.

These include “an order granting leave to the complainant/applicant to effect service of the charge together with the proof of evidence on the defendant by substituted means to wit; by pasting the charge at the last known address of the defendant within the jurisdiction of this honourable court being: 9, Benghazi Street, Wuse Zone 4, Abuja.

“An order directing and/or issuing an arrest warrant for the immediate arrest of the defendant for the purpose of bringing him before this honourable court for arraignment.”

In the alternative, the anti-graft agency sought an order issuing and directing the publishing of a public summons requiring/ commanding the defendant to appear before the court on a named date, among others.

The conflicting orders came after the EFCC had appealed against the initial order, and the appeal was scheduled for hearing on April 22 in Appeal No: CA/ABJ/CV/175/2024 between EFCC and Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

The Yahaya Bello Media Office had, in a statement signed by Onogwu Mohammed, alerted the nation to a siege on the former Governor’s Abuja residence.

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Zulum approves N1.3bn scholarship for 997 nursing, midwifery students

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Gov. Babagana Zulum, of Borno has approved the release of N1.3billion as scholarship for 997 nursing and midwifery students from the state.

Zulum stated this on Wednesday while inaugurating the scholarship programme at the College of Nursing and Midwifery, Maiduguri.

He said that out of the 1,080 nominations, 40 from each of the 27 local government areas of the state, 997 qualified to benefit from the scholarship.

He also announced that the 997 beneficiaries of the scholarship would receive automatic employment after graduation.

The governor said that the support was to encourage the students to complete their studies so as to bridge the workforce demand in the state’s healthcare system.

“The government has allocated  N1,305,189,000 for scholarship, with a breakdown of N124,149,000 earmarked for tuition fees, the remaining N1,181,040,000 will be disbursed as monthly stipend of N30,000 to each beneficiary throughout their studies,” Zulum said.

He added that N201 million bursary allowance would be given to 2,010 nursing and midwifery students who did not benefited from the scholarship, and directed that each of them should receive N100,000.

Zulum, who stated that ongoing construction of two colleges of nursing would be completed this year, inaugurated a lecture theatre complex and a 3,000-capacity multipurpose hall at the college.

Earlier, Lawan Wakilbe, the Commissioner for Education, said that the government had approved over N6 billion scholarship, out of which about N2.7 billion was disbursed to students from the state studying in higher institutions across the country.

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