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I Never Breached NPA Rules,Exempted  Dangote From Statutory Charges-Hadiza Usman

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Dangote

Suspended Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, on Tuesday dismissed media reports ( not included) suggesting that the NPA management under her leadership breached NPA rules and exempted the Dangote Group of companies from paying certain statutory charges at the Onne Ports, River State.

 

“I wish to state with all emphasis that these accusations are false and mischievous,” she said in a statement.

 

According to her, “Even the letter dated February 5, 2019(published in the media report), communicating the Authority’s  decision on this subject to the management of Intels Nigeria Limited states in the last paragraph:

 

“Hence, the Authority therefore directs that all cargoes of Messers Dangote Industries Limited and INDEED ALL IMPORTERS BEING DIRECTED TO ONNE PORTS for customs clearance, specifically for these projects, and are multi-purpose in nature to be treated by applying the same operational rates used by other multi-purpose terminals.”

 

This paragraph is explicit about the fact that all multi-purpose cargoes diverted to Onne were expected to benefit from this directive.”

 

Giving the background to the directive, Ms Bala Usman said: “Until 2018 when the Authority wrote when the Federal Government approved the decategorisation of Onne Ports as the solely designated oil and gas terminal in Nigeria, only oil and gas cargoes called at the ports, contrary to global practices in the maritime industry.

 

“For reasons, which included national security, ease of doing business as well as the need for Nigeria to embrace international best practices, this oil and gas monopoly was removed in 2018, with the effect that all categories of cargoes could call at the Onne Ports.

 

This means that importers could choose and have their cargoes delivered at any of our port locations regardless of what their consignments were.

 

“With that decision, it followed that tariffs must be reviewed to reflect the specific category of cargo being imported as opposed to the rates that existed when the Onne Ports received only oil and gas cargoes.

 

“This reality got more urgent when the congestion at the two ports in Lagos became worsened by uncleared cargoes meant for construction at the Petrochemicals Refining Gas and Fertilizer project of the Dangote Groups at the Lekki Free Trade Zone.

 

At a point, the company wrote to inform the Authority that it was expecting 60,000 containers and 1,000,000 (One million metric tonnes) Break Bulk cargo. If these were allowed to proceed to Lagos, it would have turned into an emergency.

 

“To avert this situation and give the ports in Lagos some respite, the Authority advised Dangote and other importers to utilise the Onne Ports, which has then been decategorized from being an exclusive oil and gas facility.

 

“Let me reiterate that this decision, alongside every other one taken by the Executive Management Team under my leadership was in the best interest of Nigeria.

 

We also considered ensuring ease of doing business for people who transact business at our ports.

 

I consider it unfortunate that anyone would attempt to play on the intelligence of Nigerians by twisting the facts especially when they are harmed with the “leaked letter”.”

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Man With 39 Wives, 94 Children, Dies In India

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Children

The death of Ziona Chana, a 76-year-old patriarch in India who was recently recognized as head of the world’s largest family, has been reported by Indian authorities.

 

Ziona, who was the head of a local Christian sect that permits polygamy, had 39 wives and 94 children.

 

His demise was announced on Sunday by Zoramthanga, the chief minister of his home state, in Mizoram area of northeast India.

 

Zoramthanga broke the news via a tweet.

With a total of 167 members, the late Ziona’s family is the world’s largest, according to local media, although this depends on whether the grandchildren, of whom Ziona has 33, are counted.

 

Aside from Ziona, Winston Blackmore, the head of a polygamous Mormon sect in Canada, who has around 150 children from 27 wives – 178 people in total, is another personality who is close to matching his record.

 

Ziona lived with his family in a vast, four-story pink structure with around 100 rooms in Baktawng, a remote village in Mizoram that became a tourist attraction as a result, according to Zoramthanga.

 

The sect, named “Chana”, was founded by Ziona’s father in 1942 and has a membership of hundreds of families.

 

Ziona married his first wife when he was 17, and claimed he once married ten wives in a single year.

 

They shared a dormitory near his private bedroom, and locals said he liked to have seven or eight of them by his side at all times.

 

Despite his family’s huge size, Ziona told Reuters in a 2011 interview that he wanted to grow it even further.

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Igbo’ll Feel Less Marginalised If They Produce Next President, Says Ngige

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The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has said the South-East producing the next president will help in addressing the feelings of marginalisation in the region.

 

He, however, lamented that the 1999 Constitution doesn’t support zoning, which would have boosted the chance of the region in the 2023 presidential election.

 

Ngige who spoke during Channels Television’s Newsnight programme stated that what suits the current situation is the 1995 Constitution by the late General Sani Abacha.

 

“The people in the area have perceived that they are marginalised, that they are unappreciated, whether it was done by propaganda and brainwashing or not, that is now immaterial.

 

“So I agree with that proposal, unfortunately, the Nigerian Constitution does not have that. This is where I quarrel with those who authored the 1999 Constitution.

 

“I still believe today, tomorrow, the Abacha Constitution of 1995 that espouses rotational presidency into the six zones in Nigeria, a single five-year tenure in order to heal all the wounds; the wounds of civil war, and the wound of June 12.

 

“Now, that constitution would have been the best constitution for Nigerians to use for the next 30 years by which the six zones would have tested the presidency,” the minister stated.

 

 

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ECOWAS Court Fixes June Date On Twitter Ban Suit Hearing

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Twitter

The Community Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States has fixed June 22 for a hearing in the suit challenging the Federal Government’s suspension of the operations of the microblogging platform, Twitter, in Nigeria.

 

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project and 420 Nigerians, including a former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili and the co-founder of the #BringBackOurGirls movement, Aisha Yesufu, had filed a suit before the court, challenging the unlawful suspension of Twitter in Nigeria, criminalisation of Nigerians and other people using Twitter, and the escalating repression of human rights, particularly the rights to freedom of expression, access to information, and media freedom in the country.

 

In the suit number ECW/CCJ/APP/23/21, the plaintiff sought an order of interim injunction restraining the Federal Government from implementing its suspension of Twitter in Nigeria and subjecting anyone, including media houses, broadcast stations using Twitter in Nigeria to harassment, intimidation, arrest and criminal prosecution, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.

 

The plaintiffs stated, “The suspension of Twitter is aimed at intimidating and stopping Nigerians from using Twitter and other social media platforms to assess government policies, expose corruption, and criticise acts of official impunity by the agents of the Federal Government.

 

“The free communication of information and ideas about public and political issues between citizens and elected representatives is essential. This implies a free press and other media able to comment on public issues without censor or restraints and to inform public opinion. The public also has a corresponding right to receive media output.

 

“Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right and the full enjoyment of this right is central to achieving individual freedom and to developing democracy. It is not only the cornerstone of democracy but indispensable to a thriving civil society.

 

“The arbitrary action by the Federal Government and its agents has negatively impacted millions of Nigerians who carry on their daily businesses and operational activities on Twitter. The suspension has also impeded the freedom of expression of millions of Nigerians, who criticize and influence government policies through the microblogging app.

 

“The suspension of Twitter is arbitrary, and there is no law in Nigeria today permitting the prosecution of people simply for peacefully exercising their human rights through Twitter and other social media platforms.”

 

However, the court, in a notice to the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) and the respondent’s counsel Maimuna Lami Shiru, stated that the hearing would be virtual.

 

“Notice is hereby given that this application has been fixed for hearing of the Application for Interim Measure on the 22nd day of June 2021 at 10 am and will be heard on that day if the business of the court permits or otherwise on some adjourned day of which you may not receive further notice,” the court stated.

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