The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has warned against the implementation of Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
The bill, which was passed by the National Assembly last month, prescribes the allocation of 3 percent operating expenditure of oil firms to host communities.
The reduction of the percentage from five to three had sparked fierce argument among lawmakers.
But addressing journalists in Abuja on Wednesday, Spokesman of CNG, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, called for the immediate halt of the process.
He said the bill is capable of destroying the economy of the North as it will “hand over the petroleum sector to one region”.
Suleiman said the bill is merely an extension of the elite monopoly of the total available economic activity in the country at the expense of ordinary Nigerian citizens with dire consequences on the northern region in particular.
According to him, the coalition observed that the PIB suggests a total departure from the current trend where the NNPC will be commercialized and the Directorate of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) will be merged to form an authority that will regulate the oil business with the implication of total deregulation of the market.
He said, “The first concern here is, bringing together agencies with supervisory roles with an agency that implements policy is deliberately contradictory.
“Secondly a self-funded agency (consumers’ funds) to be merged with government-funded agencies is yet another deliberate contradiction.’
Apparently not impressed with the perceived role of the soon to become operational Dangote refinery in the bill arrangement,
CNG said it notes what it described as ”the growing suspicion around the involvement of a private refinery in Lagos said to be connected with influencing the processes for the passage of the PIB to ultimately allow its owner undue sole monopoly of operating a door-to-door oil business by which he refines and transports the products to the outlets across the country as he currently does with cement business.
“The cost of transportation of the products will be embedded in the pump price that will be decided by him alone without government input in a country where over 75per cent of the population lives below the poverty line.
“With this arrangement, the current oil marketers across the country will only serve as dealers/agents that will depend on commission after-sales.
“In such a situation, the major players of the downstream sector that own thousands of trucks, hundreds of filling stations, thousands of employees will be at the mercy of the refinery owner with the attendant risk of rising in inflation.
“By this, the private refinery owner would have invariably taken over the functions of the Petroleum Equalization Fund, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency and that of the Directorate of Petroleum Resources.
“It is also suspected that eventually the four Nigerian refineries will be sold to this individual, just like Benue cement and other public owned cement industries.”
The coalition noted that the current oil marketers will be crippled financially as their income will only be decided and regulated by a single umpire.
He said this will turn them to commission agents and most of their staff and subsidiaries will be out of business.
Suleiman said the passage and implementation of PIB would be the final nail that will permanently seal the fate of the North economically and socially.
“We demand the immediate halt of the process for the PIB in its present construction as it would invariably impact negatively on the livelihood of northern communities especially those of the far northeast and northwest who would be forced to buy fuel at a disabling inflated price.”
“Warn all northern representatives in the National Assembly that they will be held responsible for the mass sufferings that the PIB will force on northerners if they allow it to pass.
“To demand a comprehensive investigation into the alleged underhanded deals between the private operator of the refinery in Lagos and some members of the National Assembly to influence the success of the Bill which would hand the total monopoly of production, transportation, marketing and more dangerously, pricing of petroleum products.
“To invite the attention of all segments of northern leadership and the credible section of northern elders and all civil society organisations in the North to rise to defend the people of the region by rejecting the PIB.
“Declare that the CNG will not hesitate to go to any length to challenge the passage of the Bill including taking legal action.”
Nigeria Triumph In Dubai Spelling Bee Challenge Despite Sponsorship Woes
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.
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.
Akin Olu-Philips the executive director Of Peat Philips Foundation, led the team to a successful outing in Dubai.
Female Journalist Laments EFCC Night Invasion Of Her Bedroom, Kitchen
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).
“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…”
Yoruba Nation, Biafra Agitators, Two Others Protest As Buhari Addresses UN Assembly Today
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.
“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!”
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