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Ayade Raises Alarm Over PIB, Rubbishes RMAFC

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Ayade

The Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) recently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari seeks to perpetuate injustices that Cross River State has suffered over the years, says Governor Ben Ayade.

 

 

Ayade said the law failed to address the concerns of the state in spite of the presentation he made to the relevant Senate committee on the legislation.

 

 

Governor Ayade stated this while receiving in audience some members of the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) led by the state’s representative, Ntufam Eyo Nsa Whiley.

 

 

Whiley said they were in the state to sensitize the government and the people on the forthcoming stakeholders meeting with the leadership of the commission to collate views with regards to reviewing the current revenue formula.

 

 

Ayade expressed scepticism that the new attempt at reviewing the current revenue formula would herald anything positive for the state, maintaining that he has no faith in RMAFC, as nothing concrete would come out of the exercise.

 

 

Recalling how the Senate Committee on PIB that toured the state failed to mirror the grievances of Cross River in the bill before it was finally signed into law by the President, the governor said the experience was enough “for us to express our deep and sincere distrust in the entire exercise and processes of RMAFC.”

 

 

Ayade who was visibly overwhelmed with anger said: “As I spoke to the Senate Committee on PIB then, I will choose same to communicate the position of Cross River State, which is that we do not have faith in this exercise, neither do we believe that it will end properly.”

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With particular reference to the PIB, Ayade lamented that “as far as we are concerned as a state, we have been reduced to want in body in spirit and in soul,” adding that “there is no indication whatsoever that the review of the revenue allocation will be based on the principle of jurisprudence, equity and fair play.”

 

 

 

He recalled that “when the PIB committee visited, I took my time and articulated in the best of professional grammar to explain to them that producing communities are not as delicate and sensitive as impacted communities. Cross River State bears the brunt of production, but today the PIB is signed into law, insensitive to the oil impacted communities to which Cross River State belongs.

 

 

“In the same PIB, 30% of revenue is set aside for frontier exploration, luckily the Calabar basin which they refused to recognize in that category which stretches from all the mountain basins, cutting across the whole of Bakassi, Biase Odukpani, Okuni, Ogoja, Yala is heavily impregnated with hydrocarbon. The geo-coordinates have been issued by myself since 2016 to the federal government. Today we watch and see how the 30% set aside for the frontier exploration will be managed. And we will see what will happen to the Calabar basin.”

 

 

 

Ayade queried a scenario “where Edo, Delta, Rivers, Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom States; and Cameroon all have oil and Cross River will not have oil? And you sit on this injustice and it goes on year after year after year?”

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According to the governor, “the principle under which RMAFC is set out and the way they are operating so far is inconsistent with the provisions of the law that established it. And I would like to have this on record that you have failed to use your mandate judiciously. You have failed to understand that the law empowers you to review the formula not based on obnoxious principles.”

 

 

 

The governor charged RMAFC to do what is fair, just and right, even as he expressed the worry that ”even as we come to articulate our position, if the majority of the people who are satisfied with the present situation, carry the day, we would have spoken in futility and in vain.

 

 

 

“It is clear that the law has taken all our rights and vested them on RMAFC, so no matter how we shout and scream, the buck stops on your table. Even the stabilization funds that are now being shared among all the states, that was not the spirit and intent of the stabilization funds. The basis for everything that the Constitution had envisaged to balance the financially disadvantaged states is being taken off and that is the role of RMAFC.”

 

 

Urging Whiley to be a good ambassador of the state, Governor Ayade enjoined: “Luckily we have our own son with a very rich Curriculum Vitae and if you are there and this revenue review is done without a specific focus on Cross River State, with an improved interest of Cross River State, balancing the injustice, then it will not be fair to us. Because we cannot continue to build prison yards when we can build farms and factories.”

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He announced the setting up of an adhoc committee to collate and articulate the position of the state at the South-South meeting with RAMFAC.

 

 

 

The committee, which has a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Barr Efefiom Ekong as chairman, has as members, His Royal Majesty Etim Okon Edet, chairman Traditional Rulers Council, Chief Gersh Henshaw, Prof Mike Okom, Stella Odey-Ekpo, Pastor John Ewa, Comrade Ben Ukpepi, Dan Obo, Betty, representative of the market women amongst others.

 

 

 

Earlier, the state’s representative in RMAFC told the governor that “The essence of this visit is nothing more than to know where we stand and how we stand and where we can improve in the sense of the revenue that accrues to Cross River.

 

 

 

“What my colleagues in the 36 States and I are doing is a directive of President Mohammadu Buhari to go round and sensitize their own states’ indigenes to know that it’s time for their revenue formula to be reviewed.”

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Nigeria Triumph In Dubai Spelling Bee Challenge Despite Sponsorship Woes

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Nigeria colours is currently flying high in far away United Arab Emirate, where her team came 1st in the senior category of an intercontinental Spelling Bee competition final held at the weekend.

Spelling Bee

 

Nigeria team featured in 2 categories of the 2021 Intercontinental Spelling Bee competition final held on Friday 24th September at the Best Western plus Hotel Deira Creek Dubai.

 

 

The team came 1st in the senior category courtesy Oni Inioluwa Daniel of the Ambassadors College, Ota and Nigeria also came 3rd with Olujobi Oluwadarasimi Opeyemi also of Ambassadors College, Ota, Ogun State.

 

 

In the junior category Pearl Koshi Etika-Matthews Eni Memorial High School, Calabar, Cross Rivers State came 2nd, whilst Nanret Adamu from St. Augustine College, DU, Jos, Plateau State emerged the most promising Speller in the Senior category.

 

 

The Nigerian Consulate in Dubai was ably represented by Consul Prince Wale Awolesi, who donated $500 of his personal funds to the over $4,000 left to settle their bill.

 

Peat Philips Foundation

Akin Olu-Philips the executive director Of Peat Philips Foundation, led the team to a successful outing in Dubai.

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Female Journalist Laments EFCC Night Invasion Of Her Bedroom, Kitchen

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A woman journalist, Mrs. Norah Okafor, has alerted authorities to the invasion of her home in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, by over 25 masked operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

 

 

The incident, she said, took place on Thursday between 1:36 a.m and 2 a.m.

 

 

 

“At exactly 1:36 a.m, I was alerted by my brother that there were armed robbers at my gate trying to make their way into the compound. Because it was an electric fence, I didn’t bother enough because I felt they could not make their way in. Alas, I was wrong. At 2 a.m prompt, they entered the compound, and they came prepared. There were over 25 of them in two Hilux buses. They were masked and dressed in all-black attire.

 

 

A huge member of the team climbed the fence with a pair of pliers and immediately cut off parts of the wires. He jumped into the compound and, with an axe, broke the gate key open to enable the team enter my apartment.

 

 

“As a nude sleeper, while they tried to make their way into the compound, I found something to wear while my brothers and I were thinking of a way of escape. The worst case scenario for me was that they would rape or take the only valuable available (a car key).

 

 

So, I prepared my mind. The next thing I realised was that about seven of them were in my room with shouts of ‘Lie down, face down; (switch) on the light. Where’s your phone? Where’s your car key?’ They asked for so many things and I became confused. Seeing over 25 hefty men with different kinds of guns, mhen, e don be, be that (It had finally happened, I presumed).

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“I handed the phone over to them with the key. Before then, they had taken my laptop. I turned to be sure if they were armed robbers.

 

 

They asked for my passwords to all the devices collected with masking tape to identify each. Still in shock, I heard someone destroying everything in the kitchen, my room, that of my brothers and all the drawers. I was still asking myself: what’s happening?

 

 

“They asked me to stand and follow them downstairs. Lo and beyond, they unmasked themselves. Hmmmm! Are these criminals? I asked. All my neighbours were already going through the same pain as I was.

 

 

They had given my brothers the beating of their lives, carried my neighbour downstairs and tried unlocking all the cars in the compound. And after searching all the phones and laptops, three of them walked in. Behold, they were from EFCC.

 

 

“What?” I screamed.

“Shut up” was the next thing I heard.

 

 

“When they couldn’t open my phone, they asked me to, and I did. After a while, I asked them: ‘Please, where is your office so I can come and pick up my things on my way to work?’ They asked me what I do and I said I’m a journalist. They asked my neighbour and he said ‘lawyer’; the other one a ‘doctor’.

 

 

 

“They looked at me, handed over the phones and said: ‘We just wasted our time.’

 

 

“Those fools spent over one hour molesting and destroying things in this compound. I feel so pained and embarrassed right now. “Is this how EFCC operates? How did we get here? Who is the informant? I am just confused right now. Thank God, my mum isn’t here…”

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Yoruba Nation, Biafra Agitators, Two Others Protest As Buhari Addresses UN Assembly Today

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Yoruba Nation

Three Nigerian groups On Yoruba Nation  are set for protests today at the United Nations headquarters in New as the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) addresses the UN General Assembly.

 

 

While two of the groups are protesting against the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), the third group will demonstrate in support of the ex-military leader.

 

 

One of the groups comprising Yoruba Nation and Biafra agitators, Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-Determination, is headed by Prof Banji Akintoye.

 

 

Also, activists under the aegis of TakeItBack movement have mobilised for a protest at UN headquarters in New York with demands.

 

 

PUNCH gathered that the last group would be holding a pro-Buhari protest tagged, ‘One Nigeria March.’

 

 

 

Akintoye explained that NINAS’ protest tagged, ‘Million-Man Freedom March,’ was to show the world “the crimes against humanity, attacks on press freedom, free speech and other criminalities being aided by the Buhari-led government of Nigeria.”

 

 

He also said the agitators “are demanding the conduct of a regional referendum so that the indigenous people can decide on their nationhood”.

 

The renowned historian accused the Federal Government of sponsoring the counter-protest at UN headquarters, alleging that black foreigners living in the United States of America were “hired at $500 per head.”

 

 

Akintoye, in a statement on Thursday by NINAS Director of Public Communications, Mr Maxwell Adeleye, said, “Irrespective of the material and financial superiorities of these Lions, there’s no way they can defeat United Foxes in a democracy.

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“The Friday Grand March in New York shall be historic; hence, the Nigerian government is jittery. The ring leader of government officials and a top Lagos journalist are now in New York to start hiring black people who will pretend as Nigerians to stage a pro-Buhari and One Nigeria protest to counter NINAS.

 

 

“But we refuse to be rattled. We shall not be intimidated. No oppressor has ever triumphed against the collective will of the people. The people are the government and power belongs to the people. The people make the constitution.”

 

 

 

TakeitBack Movement’s Global Director of Mobilisation, Gbola Owoborode, listed four demands for the activists’ protest, among which were that the leader of Independent People of Biafra and Yoruba Nation activists, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Igboho, should be freed.

 

 

He said, “The regime should also free Sowore, unconditionally and drop all charges, of which he has been falsely accused.

 

 

“We demand the immediate release of all political prisoners, including Nnamdi Kanu, Igboho and the over 300 #endSARS activists still under illegal detention, as well as an end to terrorism, kidnappings. and banditry that has completely ravaged the entire country.

 

 

“The resignation of the Buhari regime that is incompetent, lawless, despotic, nepotistic and corrupt.

 

 

It has failed to guarantee the security and welfare of Nigerians which is their primary responsibility as a government. The Buhari Junta must go!”

 

 

 PUNCH

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