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More knocks for NTA over faulty, unprofitable agreement with Startimes

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More knocks for NTA over faulty, unprofitable agreement with Startimes

The Senate again on Monday came harder on  Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) concerning its business venture agreement with Chinese media firm, Beijing Star Group, in 2008 known as NTA-Star TV Network that has yielded no revenue for Nigeria since it commenced in 2008.
The Senate position was predicated upon revelations that after 12 years of partnership between the NTA and Startimes the relationship has not recorded any profit but losses.
The Senator wondered how this could be possible in spite of huge funding to the tune of N10bn on the NTA by the FG.
Apparently piqued by the discovery by the federal lawmakers on Monday, that the business deal has been declaring losses instead of profits for the past12 years, they vowed to set up an adhoc committee to investigate the agreement and all past Director Generals to know where they have put the money.
The development has put NTA in the eye of the storm at the ongoing stakeholders’ interactive session on 2021-223 MTEF/FSP organised by the Senate Joint Committee on Finance and National Planning.
It would be recalled that last week the committee had uncovered an alleged multi-billion Naira fraud in the Joint Venture operations between, the Nigerian Television Authority(NTA) and a Chinese Satellite Pay TV, StarTime.

The Senate Panel said it was amazed to discorver that the multi-billion naira deal with StarTimes was not captured anywhere in the documents submitted to it as presented by the Director-General, Mallam Mohammed Yakubu

The committee subsequently demanded that the NTA returns on Monday to furnish it with the agreement of the joint venture, its management account and to present to it the debt profiles stating the name of the debtor, the agency or organization, amount, who gave the approval for the debt and the date the debt was incurred and the actual amount.
However the Director General failed to come up with what the committee demanded but rather demanded to be given more time.
Senator Gabriel Suswam interjected saying the NTA DG should present whatever was availlable so that they can take decision on those that he is yet to come with.
When quizzed yesterday on the joint venture agreement with the Chinese pay TV
Director-General of NTA, Mallam Yakubu Ibn Mohammed, disclosed that the business venture had not benefited the country in the 12 years of its existence.

“As a matter of fact, when I came on board in 2016, that was one of the first questions I asked. I wanted to know what accrued to NTA from the joint venture, and I was told the joint venture had not declare any revenue. They have been declaring losses every year,” Ibn Mohammed said.
Muhammed who appeared unprepared for the days business said he needed time to get all the documents the senators demanded.
He could not give the exact figure of what the debt profile of the NTA is.
The managing director of NTA TV Enterprises who was also present at the session said he was not informed to come with documents on the joint venture.
Consequently, a furious Adeola said, “It shows the NTA is here to confuse us. We will give you tomorrow to come again with the relevant documents – agreement Nigeria or NTA signed with Startimes, the management account. Bring them here tomorrow 11 o’clock.”
Senator Adeola added that the NTA management was hiding alot of information from Nigerians and the Senate which is putting a question mark on its integrity.
“We have something fundamental on the NTA and that has to do with the issue of the Starttimes and NTA,
Some people somewhere are being funny with that relationship we should not take it lightly.
“You can hear from the revelation coming from the DG of NTA, since 2008 till date the joint venture has not yielded a dime and they are using the equipments of NTA 2008 till date to transmit and  they have not even remitted a dime to the coffers of NTA.
“The DG here informed us that they have been declaring loses every year and today he is telling us that he has directed the MD to bring out all the books for him to appear with him.
“I think it calls for a lot of question on the integrity of NTA and that Organization.”
Senator Ayo Patrick Akinyerule said there must be something NTA was hiding for sticking their head with the agreement for 11 years when they know it was a bad business.
“This committee will investigate this agreement, this committee will set up an adhoc committee to investigate all the previous DGs to know where have they have kept the NIgerian money.
He said the engagement must be reviewed.
On the N1.8b debt he said, “This National Assembly approved N500b for COVID-19. NTA is a separate entity, like any other so charged.
“That N1.8b must be recovered from the Presidential task force on COVID-19.
“They can not because NTA is owned by Government they will be treating it as their baby and therefore what is due to them as income will be denied them.”
He therefore challenged the NTA management to raise the invoice for this N1.8b and go to the PTF and go to consolidated revenue account to get the money.
He said, “How can you be in a  joint agreement for 11 years, you are not getting anything from Start times agreement and you still continue, something is fishy this is unfair to Nigeria as a nation.
Senator Danladi Sankara said Star times is just running business in Nigeria illegally.
He said Startimes is 11 years and up till now they are not registered least to get license, with NBC.
“It means they are relying on NTA using NTA’s license which is improper.
He asked the NTA DG to Come with the documents today(Tuesday) and brief the committee on their relationship with Startimes

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Though we stand with #ENDSARS protesters we are not shutting down petrol intallations -NUPENG

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Though we stand with #ENDSARS protesters we are not shutting down petrol intallations -NUPENG

The National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) says thought it is in solidarity with with all well meaning Nigerians in the protest against police brutality, the union had not directed any shutdown of fuel stations or other oil installations in the country. 

It’s Chairman,  Lagos Operation of NUPENG,  Comrade Tayo Aboyeji confirmed this in a statement issued in Lagos on Saturday and made available to newsmen.

According  to him, “We wish to state that the leadership of NUPENG stands with all well meaning Nigerians in the protest against police brutality and bad governance however no organ of the Union has ordered the shutting down of fuel stations.
“We sincerely empathised with all victims of police brutality in the country.
Aboyeji expressed NUPENG’s  support for the Nigerian youths in their call for police reforms.

He said “NUPENG stands with Nigerian youths against police brutality and calls for immediate and far reaching police reforms as our members are as well victims of police brutality and abuses through extortion, detention, harassment and intimidation nationwide.

“Meanwhile, no organ of our union has ordered shutting down of fuel stations or oil installations.

“We sincerely empathise with all victims of police brutality, including our members across the country and we peacefully join all well-meaning Nigerians to say police brutality must stop!”

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Youths in Niger Protest Bad Roads, Poor Electricity Supply, Banditry

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Youths in Niger Protest Bad Roads, Poor Electricity Supply, Banditry

Hundreds of Youths on Saturday morning took to the major roads in Minna, Niger State capital to protested the poor supply of electricity by the Abuja Electricity Development Company (AEDC), and bad federal roads across the state.

The Youths also demanded for the reform of the Nigeria Police and putting an end to the lawlessness of men of the now dissolved Special anti robbery squad (SARS).

They equally challenged the governments to take tangible actions to stop banditry and kidnapping across the state.

They matched through the major roads in Minna the state capital carrying placards with different captions, chanting war songs and dancing.

Most of the barners have inscriptions such as #Save Niger State” with riders such as “End banditry”, “End, bad roads” “End “AEDC”.,” End Insecurity Now” “End rape” “End Bokoharam”.

The protest which was organised by “Coalition of Northern Youth Groups” Niger State chapter was later joined by some artists.

The convener of the protest one Mohammed Mohammed said their action was not in connection with the ongoing nationwide #EndSARS protest, but to “seek government’s attention in tackling the peculiar challenges that Niger State is confronted with.

“It is unfortunate that despite the contributions being made by Niger State to the federal government, particularly the four hydro power dams situated in the state, the presence of the federal government has not been felt in our state.

“Power supply has been erratic, thereby slowing down economic growth in Niger State as youths who are into entrepreneurship cannot sustain their businesses” Mohammed said while addressing the protesters.

He warned that if action is not taken Youths in the state will shut the three dams and block articulated vehicles from all federal roads in the state.

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Poor State Of Federal Roads: Buhari Has Failed Us In Niger – APC Chieftain Cries Out

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Poor State Of Federal Roads; Buhari Has Failed Us In Niger – APC Chieftain Cries Out

A Chieftain of All Progressive Congress (APC) and Special Adviser to Niger state Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello on political affairs, Mallam Nma Kolo has expressed concern over the deplorable condition of Federal Roads in the state.

He concluded that despite the overwhelming support the state gave the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) which saw the enthronement of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 and 2019, the state has not felt any federal presence, especially in the area of road.
“There is no better ward to put than to say that the President has failed the people of Niger state despite the overwhelming support he had enjoyed from state in 2015 and 2019 elections”.
Nma Kolo believed that after securing the votes of the people of the state in the two elections, the President decided to turn his back and has failed to fulfill any of his campaign promises to the people of the state.
Most worrisome, the Special Adviser pointed out is the condition of the federal roads that traverse the state which he said are in the worst state of disrepair, making lives miserable to motorists and commuters.
Nma Kolo who spoke to newsmen in Minna following the continued trailer and Tanker Gridlock on the Suleja-Minna and Minna-Bida highway, making lives miserable for both motorists and commuters, described Niger state as a “Key state” with 75,353 kilometers of federal roads, cutting across about 15 local government areas of the state.
He pointed out that “the deplorable conditions of the roads have continued to cause untold hardships on the people including commuters”.
According to him, “It is regrettable that despite the importance of its location, Niger State cannot boast of good road networks. Federal Roads or better still, Trunk A roads in the state have become death traps”.
Kolo described as unacceptable, the blind eyes Buhari has turned to the condition of federal roads, saying that the only federal roads passable in the state at the moment are those constructed by the Premier of the then Northern region.
“These scenario should not be happening in Niger state given its much importance and contributions to the development of the country.
“It is important for us to note that the federal presence for roads in Niger state is nothing to write home about” Kolo further declared.
Kolo observed also that many investors local and foreign that would have wanted to invest in the state as a result of the favourable climate created by the governor Abubakar Sani Bello government have continued to drag their feet because of the bad roads.
“We seek that Niger state should not be left alone to be taken over by flooding and bad roads which are endangering the lives of our people daily, the state has lost a lot due to this, investors will have more confidence with better road networks, there will be more connection for the country if Niger state works and this is our appeal to the government”
It could be recalled that Niger state government recently closed all its roads against articulated vehicles when these vehicles became serious obstruction to the construction of the Minna-Bida road but was later reopened to the intervention by the presidency.
The contractor handling the road project has already presented a bill of over N15m to the government as compensation for the damage done to the aspect of the roads it has already constructed and damaged by these articulated vehicles even when the federal government has not shown signs that it will honour the agreement reached with governor Abubakar Sani Bello before the roads were reopened
End.

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