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2019 Election posponement: Melaye accuses INEC of acting the scripts of ruling APC

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2019 Election posponement: Melaye accuses INEC of acting the scripts of ruling APC

The senator representing Kogi West Senatorial district Dino Melaye has said that INEC is merely acting the scripts of the ruling APC in its role in the botched Saturday elwction Otherwise, how else can the colossal national embarrassment be explained?
This was contained in a press statement signed by Melaye and made availlable to the NationalUpdate in Lokoja today.
He called on the electoral umpire, to redeem its shaky image, not just in the eyes of Nigerians, but that of the International Community, by ensuring that it does not yield to the ungodly pressures from the ruling APC, as was witnessed in Ekiti and Osun State
“INEC should make the entire process as transparent as possible. INEC should not be seen to favour any political party against the others. INEC has started on a wrong note in its conduct of 2019 election.
“Nigerians must open their eyes to fake ballot papers on election day. Party agents must examine all ballot papers before giving them out to electorates. The time to redeem the already shattered image of INEC is now. After all, they say, “once beaten, twice shy”!
He described the postponement of the Presidential and National Assembly elections as being counter productive.
He said the news came to Nigerians and indeed the International Community as a rude shock.
He said it is very curious for INEC that issued the timetable and schedule all of the activities for the elections over one year ago precisely on 9th of January 2018 to now turn around and say they were not ready few hours to the polls.
“INEC had received adequate monies, for the conduct of the election. A total sum of N143.51 billion was budgeted and released to INEC for the 2019 election.

“Mahmood Yakubu was confirmed as the Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission on October 21, 2015. He had over three years to prepare for the 2019 election.
“He had announced the time table for the conduct of the 2019 election over a year ago on the 9th of January, 2018. Why then should the election be postponed just a few hours to its conduct, by INEC?”
He said the reasons adduced by the INEC Chairman as necessitating the late cancellation or postponement of the Presidential and National Assembly elections, are ludicrous.
“He said all the excuses are not enough for the National embarrassment, foisted on Nigeria and indeed Nigerians, by INEC’s postponement of the Presidential and National Assembly elections.”
Melaye said the fact that there are 40 different court orders against the Commission on whether to add or drop candidates should not also have constituted an excuse for the cancellation of the election.

Transportation of sensitive material to each state of the Federation ought to have been done earlier bearing in mind the weather conditions peculiar to each region of the federation. There are branches of the Central Bank of Nigeria, in each state of the Federation. These materials could have been transported either by air or land, weeks before the said election, and kept in safe custody of the Central bank.
INEC’s failure to conduct the election is akin to the failure of a man whose wife is pregnant, to prepare ahead of delivery, and who incidentally leaves his wife stranded in the hospital for lack of preparation. I condemn this postponement of the Presidential and National Assembly elections, by INEC, strongly.
He said INEC Chairman’s justifications for the postponement of the election is trifling.
“So many questions are begging for an answer with the postponement of the Presidential and National Assembly elections. INEC is not complaining of the inadequacy of budgetary provisions but other variables which ordinarily should have been reasonably foreseen and adequately provided for.
“The issue of the destruction of card reader machines and permanent voters cards are issues that INEC should have adequately provided for since they are reasonably foreseeable.
“Why did INEC fail to make contingency arrangements for additional card readers? Why did INEC fail to move the logistics or sensitive materials to all the locations they were needed before the postponed election?
“Why did INEC fail to make contingency arrangements in respect of pending court cases to which INEC itself was a party? Why did INEC wait till few hours to the election before announcing ignominiously, its cancellation?”

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Omo-Agege asks Niger Delta Agitators to sheathe their swords

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Omo-Agege asks Niger Delta Agitators to sheathe their swords

The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege has admonished members of the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers (RNDA) to put off their planned attacks on oil facilities in the region
This was contained in a statement issued by his special adviser, Media and Publicity in Abuja yesterday.

Omo-Agege said going ahead with their threats would create economic setback for the country and additional environmental degradation in the area.

His appeale came on the heels of recent threats by a coalition of nine militant groups in the Niger-Delta region expressing readiness to resume hostilities by attacking oil and gas facilities if Federal Government did not meet the demands of #EndSARS protesters across the country.
After an emergency meeting in Delta State last week, the militant groups under the aegis of the RNDA, also announced their preparedness to disavow the ceasefire accord with the Federal Government and engage military forces.

Specifically, they threatened to resume attacks on some identified oil facilities in the region if nothing was done to redress the issues of poor welfare, armed oppression and inequality in the standard of living between the citizens and political elite.
But speaking when he hosted a delegation of Oil and Gas Host Communities of Nigeria (HOSCON) in Abuja, led by elder statesman, Chief (Dr ) Wellington Okrika, the Delta Central lawmaker urged the agitators to sheathe their sword and allow peace to reign.

He assured that their demands would be tabled before The Presidency.
The senator stressed that with the nation still battling with the challenges posed by Covid-19 and the aftermath of #EndSARS Protests which was hijacked by hoodlums, it cannot afford another militancy problem at the moment.
“Whatever it is, we must maintain peace in the Niger Delta. I say this in view of the new agitations by the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers. We are just coming out of the #EndSARS protest which, of course, we all witnessed how a peaceful protest was hijacked by those with sinister agenda.
“We are all witnesses to what happened afterwards even when we must acknowledge that in a democracy, protest is a right provided those that do it do so peacefully without abridging the rights of others,” Omo-Agege said.
Speaking further, he urged HOSCON members to “go back to our people in the Creeks and tell them we are here for them. We are here to champion their request. We don’t want the peace of the Niger Delta to be disturbed or disrupted. We are here to protect the interest of our people.
“Yes, I may be the Deputy President of the Senate today but, I am first of all, a Senator representing my people. I am here and I am your own. I am your eye. We shall not disappoint you.

“Take this commendation to our brothers in the Creeks that they have done well in keeping the peace and we will table their request before the authorities as they have channelled that request through me. We shall ensure the right things are done”.

On the Petroleum Industry Bill currently before the National Assembly, Omo-Agege argued that the annual contribution of 2.5 per cent actual operating expenditure by oil companies to the Host Community Development Trust Fund would be increased to, at least, 5 per cent.

He also reiterated his call at the Second Reading of the bill on the floor of the Senate where he made a case for gas flaring penalties to be paid to the host communities and not the Federation Account.

He pointed out that the funds would be used to ameliorate the living conditions in Niger Delta communities, as they remain the ones that bear the burden of environmental degradation from the oil industry.

“That I come from the oil bearing communities is one of the reasons why I am DSP today given our contribution to the economy of the country. It is only natural that I champion anything that would promote the interest of the people of the Niger Delta.

“The PIB is a very crucial bill. If properly handled it would bring a lot of Foreign Direct Investments into the oil economy. This is the best time to take advantage of the oil we have and the best way to do so it to encourage FDIs and this can only be achieved when the Niger Delta is peaceful. That is why I am suing for peace.
“Let the Niger Delta Region begin to look like the region that produces the wealth of the country. The Host Community component of the PIB law is of utmost importance to us in the National Assembly and we believe it should be a win-win for all stakeholders. And so, we are determined to ensure that we have an improvement on what we have before. I am  also confident that we have made good impression with our colleagues and we would get something favourable for the oil bearing communities.

“I also believe Gas Flaring Penalty cost should come to the Host Communities and I am sure we have impressed it on our colleagues to allow that to stay. That money shouldn’t go to the Federation Account but to the people whose environment are impacted by gas flaring”, he added.

The bill is currently before the Joint Senate Committee on Petroleum Upstream, Petroleum Downstream and Gas for further legislative work.

Earlier, Chief Okrika, called on the Deputy President of the Senate to intervene in the issues brought before the Federal Government concerning the PIB, gas flaring, 13 percent derivation payment to the states instead of the oil bearing communities, the N98bn gas flare fund and the controversy surrounding the Pipeline Surveillance Contract.

He lauded the legislative interventions of the senator, adding that members were impressed with his contributions not only on issues concerning the Niger Delta but his general contributions on matters relating to national discourse.

Other members of the delegation include Dr Mike Emuh (National Chairman), Mrs. Josephine Odungide (National Women Leader), Princess Christy Ejeh, Anthony Oghenovo, Jonathan Osigho, Joy Richard and Ann Izi.

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VSF task force on COVID-19 insists, all of its palliatives got to targeted beneficiaries

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VSF task force on COVID-19 insists, all of its palliatives got to targeted beneficiaries

The Victims Support Fund (VSF) Emergency task Force has stated categorically that all its support items from its Phase 1 and 2 donations had been distributed to targeted beneficiaries by the State governments and CSOs.
This was coming against the backdrop of recent narratives that many States hoarded palliatives meant for the vulnerable groups to cushion the effect of the six months lockdown on account of the Coronavirus pandermic.
The Spokesman Victims Support Fund
Covid-19 Emergency Task Force Alkasim Abdulkadir in a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday said, the attention of the Task Force was drawn to stories especially on social media on the unsettling matter of government and private warehouses being broken into across the country.

He said in the first phase of their intervention, the Task Force identified six states including the frontline states, in addition to the Federal Capital Territory. “These were Lagos and Ogun States as epicentres of the pandemic in Nigeria. Others were four North East States (Borno, Adamawa, Yobe and Taraba) targeting the IDPs as the most vulnerable population needing palliative measures.
“The task force is therefore compelled by the happenings around the country to clearly state that:
The VSF Task Force on COVID was inaugurated by the Chairman of the Victims Support Fund, Gen. Theophilus Yakubu RTD Danjuma in April 2020 adding that it was set up as a vehicle to provide succour to vulnerable populations hit by the effects of Covid-19.
“The task force worked with State Governments and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to identify and distribute the palliatives to vulnerable households.
“All VSF Covid -19 Emergency Task force items are clearly branded ‘VICTIMS SUPPORT FUND COVID -19 EMERGENCY SUPPORT PROGRAMME’
He said the task force did not collaborate with any other organisation apart from the local CSOs
“The food items were identified and procured for distribution to households across the six states and the FCT.
“Each household received the following: rice, 10Kg; beans, 10Kg; garri, 10Kg (Lagos and Ogun States only); maize, 10Kg (FCT and the North East only); vegetable oil, four (4) litres, and salt two (2) Kg. “Other items that addressed hygiene like hand washing soaps, detergents, masks, Hazmat suits, goggles, boots, were also procured and distributed. All these were packaged in one 50kg bag.”
He said in the second phase, the focus of the interventions was on Edo, Delta, Enugu, Ebonyi and Ekiti States.
“Equally, the VSF also donated Video Conferencing facilities to the NCDC and ICT equipment and technical support to the Federal Ministry of Health.
“The next phase of the interventions which will commence soon, will focus on: Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara, Benue, Plateau and Niger states.”
He said it is worthy to note that the events were well publicised in the media and the Task Force was well received in all the States visited.

“VSF has set the pace in ensuring that the donations reached the beneficiaries in a timely manner.”

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Nigerians will wait for 41 years to get stable power -senate

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Nigerians will wait for 41 years to get stable power -senate
…Minister confirms none take off of $5.8billion Mambilla Power Project

The Senate on Monday raised the alarm that Nigerians may continue in the waiting game for the next 4 decades to experience the much expected stable power supply.
This it said is on account of gross underfunding of the power sector and apparent unseriousness being displayed by the Federal government in getting the sector fixed.


The senate Committee on Power was jolted by the submission of the Managing Director of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Engineer Mamman Saleh who disclosed that out of N165billion required for capital project in 2020, N4billlion envelope was approved while only N3billion was cash backed for the agency.
The committee therefore tackled the minister of power Mamman Kwagyang Saleh for giving hope on early provision of constant electricity in the power sector while Engineer Abdulaziz painted a gloomy picture at the budget defense of the ministry.
Senator Danjuma Goje a member of the senate committee expressed the concern that based on the presentation by the MD of TCN, N165B was proposed but the ministry handed them N4b envelope, hence he said it will take 41 years for TCN to deliver constant electricity when N165b is divided by N4b.
He said without ongoing projects being completed there is still no hope for stable transmission of power
“If you go by the ministers presentation that transmission gas increased from 5000 to 8000 megawatts, that is not enough, these are figures that you always dish out, that capacity has increased, transmission has increased, distribution has increased, Nigerians wants to see stable light in their homes and the manufacturers and industrialists want to have steady light.
“All these figures do not translate to electricity, what the MD TCN said is what you are supposed to tackle. You as minister should look at it. They need N165b to complete projects and you gave N4b envelope.
“We are not involved in this envelope thing, it is your duty as minister. The best we can do is within this ministry we take money from one parastal to another.
“We can not take money from outside. You as minister you are to go and defend TCN that N4b will take them 41 years when you divide N165b by N4b.
“By your speech minister, it gives us Hope but going by the speech of TCN the hope is very much slim.
This was just as the Minister of Power, admitted that the much acclaimed $5.8billion Mambilla Power Project is yet to take off .
Taking on the Minister over the Mambilla Power Project, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Gabriel Suswam (PDP Benue North East), and other members like Senators Shaibu Lau ( PDP Taraba North), Danjuma Goje ( APC Gombe Central )  James Manager ( PDP Delta South) etc, wondered why no dime was allocated for the project in the 2021 budget .
Specifically, Senator Lau told the Committee members that despite promises upon promises made on the project by the Federal government on yearly basis , no access road to the project site, no any indication of site clearance talkless of possible grand breaking .
“Nothing in the proposed 2021 budget that concerns Mambilla, showing that there is no commitment from government.
“The truth about the project going by glaring realities on ground over the last ten years, is that Mambilla will not see the light of the day”. he said .
The Minister in his response, admitted that the project is yet to take off but that he was still trying to convince Mr President on it .
Accordimg to him, special fund of $200million targeted for the project is still in the office of the Chief of Staff while the N850million expected from Nigeria as 15% of the contract sum is yet to be paid.
The 85% balance of the contract sum, he added, is to be financed by the Chinese NEXIM Bank .
The yet to commence project he explained further is a 3,050 megawatts Hydroelectric power project which after completion will be the largest power generating installation in the country.
Apparently piqued by his submission, the Chairman of the Committee and other members said solution must be found to the Mambilla issue as part of solutions to epileptic power supply in the country.
Senator James Manager in particular said, going by the submission of the Minister, no seriousness from government on the project which accordimg to him, is getting Nigerians frustrated.
However the TCN MD in his submissions before the Committee said the transmission capacity of the country, has increased from 5, 000megawatts to 8,000megawatts .
“Inadequate funding by  government on yearly basis,remains the major problem of the TCN and by extension, the power sector .

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