Abia State Government has debunked reports that Abia is among states that were yet to implement the new minimum wage.
The state’s Honorable Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, made this known in a statement made available to DAILY POST on Saturday.
Kalu said that the Abia State Government led by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, commenced implementation of the new minimum wage in January 2020 with the least paid worker in the state workforce earning above the minimum wage of N30,000.
According to him, Abia State is the first in the southeast region to have commenced payment of the new minimum wage to workers.
He further urged the national leadership of NLC and The Guardian to immediately verify and correct the misrepresentation of facts and apologize to the government and people of Abia State for the incorrect publication
“Our attention has been drawn to a publication in a national daily of Saturday, 13th March, 2021 which cited a document purportedly obtained from the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and corroborated by the Deputy General Secretary of NLC, Bello Ismail, to the effect that Abia State is among states that are yet to implement the new minimum wage and wish to state that the report is false and without bearing to facts as it concerns our state.
“Abia State Government led by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, PhD, commenced implementation of the new minimum wage in January 2020 with the least paid worker in the state workforce earning above the minimum wage of N30,000.
“Indeed, the state is the first in the southeast region to have commenced payment of the new minimum wage to workers. We are therefore lost as to how the national leadership of NLC is not aware of this fact which is verifiable and available within the media space including previous publications by The Guardian.
“The least expected from the national leadership of NLC, before relying, compiling and publishing from the cited document on the status of the state with regard to the payment of the new minimum wage was to have called or cross checked with the local chapter of NLC or any state worker to verify the status.
“We hereby urge the national leadership of NLC and The Guardian to immediately verify and correct the misrepresentation of facts and equally apologize to the government and people of Abia State for the false publication,”the statement said.
The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), on Friday, denied that it has increased fuel price from N162 to N212 per litre, as the new retail price.
The agency described the news as mere speculations stressing that the initial price posted on its website was, “only indicative of current market trends,” thus the news report was reportedly “misconstrued and misleading.”
In a statement signed by Abdulkadir Saidu, the PPPRA Executive Secretary, the agency does not determine the market prices of the PMS but its solely determined by the market forces through the Market Based Pricing Regime for PMS Regulation 2020.
One of the conditions for the implementation of the new pricing regime for petrol is the monthly release of the guiding price to reflect current market fundamentals.
It could be recalled that due to the forex challenges, otherwise dollar scarcity which prevented oil marketers from importing petrol into the country, only the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) currently imports fuel into Nigeria for local consumption.
The statement reads in part, “The attention of the PPPRA has been drawn to speculations about the increased pump price of PMS.
“The PPPRA by this release wishes to state clearly that the Guiding Prices posted on our website was only indicative of current market trends and do not translate to an increase in the pump price of PMS. However, publications by the media to this effect have been misconstrued and thus misleading.
“The Agency wishes to remind the general public of the introduction of the MarketBased Pricing Regime for PMS Regulation 2020 as gazetted by the federal government. Based on this regulation, prices are expected to be determined by market realities in line with the dictates of market forces.”
It added that PPPRA “is not unaware of the challenges with the supply of PMS due to some concerns leading NNPC to be the sole importer of PMS. PPPRA is also mindful of the current discussion going on between the government and the organised labour on the deregulation policy. While consultation with relevant stakeholders is ongoing, PPPRA does not fix or announce prices and therefore there is no price increase. The current PMS price is being maintained while consultations are being concluded.”
Though it acknowledged the gradual increase in petrol price in the past few months, however, the agency noted that pump price has remained the same and it is currently monitoring the situation across retail outlets nationwide.
While assuring the public of adequate products supply, the agency restated its commitment to performing its statutory function by ensuring easy access to the product.
The Anambra State police command has denied alleged attempt to cover up a murder case involving a woman who was arrested for beating her house help to death.
In a statement on Thursday, the command's spokesperson, Haruna Mohammed, described the allegation made by a human rights activist, Gwamnishu Emefiena Harrison, as false.
Haruna said the 25-year-old woman, identified as Nmesoma Okafor, was still in police custody and would be charged to court next Monday, after an autopsy had been conducted.
He said Gwanmishu should have cross-checked facts with the police in such a sensitive matter before publishing.
The statement read: “The attention of the Anambra State Police Command has been drawn to a misleading report on Instagram credited to one Gwamnishu Emefiena Harrison that police have refused to charge to court one Madam Nmesoma Okafor 'f' aged 25 of Nkpor in Idemili North LGA of Anambra State over alleged torture and murder of her teenage house help who died in the hospital while receiving treatment on 16th February, 2021.
“The report was absolutely false and unfounded. In fact, the suspect in question is still in police custody and will be charged to court on Monday, 15/3/2021 after conducting an autopsy.
“The command wondered why the author could not cross-check his facts with the police in a sensitive matter such as this before publishing.
“In view of the foregoing, the Commissioner of Police, CP Monday Bala Kuryas, fsi urges the public to disregard the report and further assures them that justice will be served on the matter.”
Prof. Jeffrey Barminas, Director-General (D-G), National Research Institute for Chemical Technology (NARICT) Zaria, has denied allegations of corruption and abuse of office made against him by the Network For Justice, an NGO.
The D-G told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Zaria that the allegations were false and only meant to distract the NARICT management from discharging its duties.
The NGO on Jan. 25, petitioned the Minister of Science and Technology and the Chairman Code of Conduct Bureau, alleging corruption and abuse of office in NARICT.
A copy of the petition, signed by one Auwalu Musa an official of the NGO obtained by NAN, alleged that the D-G was involved in unlawful acts amounting to an abuse of office that contravened public service rules.
The petition also accused the official of corruption and use of ethnic and religious sentiments in running the affairs of the institution.
The NGO alleged that the NARICT boss had applied partiality in the institution’s promotion exercise, non-remittance of internally generated revenue, witch hunting in the transfer of staff and irregularities in contract awards.
According to the petitioners, the actions of the D-G contravenes the provisions of the Fifth Schedule, Part One, Sections One and Nine of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999), as amended.
The petitioners appealed to the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology to set up an administrative inquiry into the activities of the NARICT boss, to save the institution from collapse.
However, the DG said the petition was not new, adding that he had received several petitions since his assumption of office in 2017 and some of them by faceless persons.
Barminas said the petition from Network for Justice was similar to previous petitions against him, which were false.
The D-G disclosed that he had responded to the petitions to both the Minister of Science and Technology and the Chairman of NARICT Governing Board in letters with reference numbers NARICT/CON.74/VOL.VII/783 dated Oct. 12, 2018.
“And NARICT/ADM.559/CGB/HRM/1/37 dated May 23, 2019, and NARICT/CON.74/VOL.XII/34 dated Feb. 26, 2021, respectively.”
He explained that when he assumed office in 2017, he met only three functional outstations and had to create additional three outstations to reflect the six geopolitical zones, with the approval of the minister.
“In effecting the transfers, skills and competencies of the staff were considered incongruent with the natural resources of the zone.
“There is also a need for certain specific cadres in the outstations such as researchers, marketers and administrators.
“Dr Musa Mohammed was posted to Amasiri, Ebonyi to drive the utilisation of indigenous Technologies in Salt Project.
“Dr Haruna Musa as a Chemical Engineer, was transferred to Langtan to drive our solid minerals development programmes and Mr Bala Danladi was posted to Kano to handle commercial activities of the institute,’’ he said.
On the allegation of non-remittance of monthly staff rent to TSA, Barminas said: “the claim is a fabrication of lies as the petitioners fail to attach any evidence to support the allegation.”
He said that rent was considered “as Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and N7, 529.732.50 million being the remittances from staff salaries from 2017 to 2020 had been paid to Treasury Single Account (TSA) as required by law.”
On alleged diversion of budgetary funds, the D-G said the petition did not explain how the budget was diverted looking at the period he took over in 2017.
“There is a huge difference between how budget funds were utilised before the period of my administration. I had to set up a Transition Committee on the assumption of duty in the absence of handing over notes.
“The investigations report from the Anti- Corruption and Transparency Unit (ACTU) gives a clear picture of the financial and budgetary infractions by my predecessors in office,” he said.
According to him, the alleged financial infraction as indicated against ACTU/NARICT included misapplication/misappropriation of budget funds, non-implementation of approved projects with cash backing and movement of the institute’s property without documentation.
Meanwhile, the federal ministry of science and technology said the petition was receiving attention.
The ministry in a response to the NGO, issued by M .E. J. Bassey, Director, Department of Chemical Technology, on behalf of the minister, and obtained by the NAN, read in part:
“I am directed to acknowledge the receipt of your petition dated January 25 on the above subject matter.
“Kindly note that your petition is receiving the needed attention,” Bassey said.
The Lagos State Government has denied the allegation that it is tacitly condoning the violation of its physical planning laws by some developers in Osborne Foreshore Phase 2 and Peace Valley Estate, Magodo.
This follows an accusation in a post that has gone viral on social media by one Yacoob Abiodun, who claimed to be an Urban Planner/Planning Advocate, accusing the state government of allowing physical planning infractions in these areas.
The disclosure was contained in a statement issued by the Lagos State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr Idris Salako, on Monday, March 1, 2021, refuting the insinuation.
Salako stressed that the claim by Yacoob Abiodun that residents of Osborne Foreshore Phase II and Peace Valley Zone, Magodo, were crying foul over the illegal activities of some developers is totally untrue and fabricated.
While expressing his displeasure at the twist of facts by the writer, the Physical Planning Commissioner said that it became necessary to correct the misinformation peddled in the social media report in order to disabuse the minds of Lagosians by setting the records straight.
Salako retorted that contrary to insinuations, the residents of Osborne Foreshore Phase II had influenced the increase in height of structures in the area from the original 4 or 5 to 10 floors, while Phase I still remained a maximum of five floors.
He explained that a review of the Approval Order for Osborne Foreshore was precipitated by the continuous agitation of the residents, as original allottees had brought about an increase in the height of buildings and density of the Estate while the government came in to ensure a proper review for the benefit of all concerned.
Dismissing the allegation of non-involvement in the review, he stated that the ongoing review process, which was borne out of several consultations and engagements with the residents’ association, was in line with the extant regulations guiding development planning in the State.
The Commissioner maintained that the review could not have been more inclusive, having met and discussed with residents of the Estate over 10 times before the Ministry encouraged the residents association to engage a consultant, explaining further that Messrs. MOA Planners prepared a revised plan along with the review sent by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing.
Salako said, “It is, therefore, disheartening that despite repeated dialogue, the latest of which was held with the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, three weeks ago, the best that the Osborne-Foreshore Residents Association Phase II (OSFRA) could do was to resort to social media to intimidate and embarrass the Lagos State Government.’’
He averred that the writer’s portrayal of the incident at the Peace Valley Zone, Magodo, was not less misleading than the entire writeup as it attempted to denigrate gallant officers of the Nigeria Police who were in the estate on lawful assignment, noting that the Police officers were not only professional and diligent but they acted with the utmost respect for the rule of law and engagement.
Dr. Salako, who was present at the scene, intervened alongside the former Prelate of the Methodist Church, Pa Sunday Ola Makinde to restore order and get the understanding of the Police on the arrest warrant, expressed his dismay at the erroneous social media report which exaggerated the incident and glorified some people who claimed to have thwarted the arrest of the Estate Chairman.
Noting that it had become apparent from the unwarranted social media outburst that some people were out to take advantage of the online platforms and information technology for personal ends, the Commissioner emphasised that no amount of pressure would compel the government to outsource its responsibility for Physical Planning to groups or individuals.
What you should know
Debt Management Office (DMO) has denied the receipt of N2.2 trillion in its 2018 budgetary allocation.
The Office said the money was not released to them but managed by the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation.
DMO’s Director of Finance and Accounts, Mrs. Feyi Olumide-Akinyemi gave the testimony at the ongoing investigative hearings into financial activities of Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs by the House of Representatives Public Accounts Commitee, PAC occasioned by audit query from the Office of Auditor General of the Federation.
The DMO said although the figure was appropriated to them, they were only accountable for the sum of N721, 251, 798 allocated to them.
Olumide-Akinyemi said it was the Accountant General that was responsible for the fund, adding that they had made a case that the money be separated.
She however added that the funds must have featured on their account due to a projection of cost the office made.
“It does not come to our books. It does not come to our account. It does not reflect anywhere in our books. We do not have access to the other one and that is why we always say it should be separated.
“During each process the budget office requires the DMO to give them a projection of interest payments, so these are the interest projections we made that the government will bear on our domestic and external debts and then a provision to take care of local contractors which is the sinking fund,” the DMO official who appeared with a colleague said.
Giving details of the N721, 251, 798 the Office recieved, Mrs Olumide-Akinyemi said that N435, 768, 793 was for personnel cost, N110, 883, 005 was for overhead cost while 174, 600, 000 was earmarked for capital expenditure.
She added that in the year under review, the Office received 89.74 percent of the personnel cost appropriation which she said was released through the office of the Accountant General.
She also said that N64, 000, 000, representing 58 percent of overhead cost was received while the remaining amount from both items were mopped up automatically at the end of the fiscal year.
Earlier, members of the committee had picked holes in DMO’s presentation.
Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Oluwole Oke was curious that the DMO could not account for the amount that was appropriated for it which he stated did not also appear in the Accountant General’s books.
“We should hold you liable to the actual sum released to you. If it is in the law that the DMO had a budget of N2.2 trillion. Now, where is the money? Who got it? Was it released? This is a law and the law says that 2.2 trillion had been given to DMO. Was the money given to the DMO? No. Who took the money? Accountant General? Why? If you are not the manager then it should not appear in your books but the books of the Accountant General of the Federation,” he said.
The Committee also wondered where the figure had originated from.
“Are you saying this figure did not come from your office to the National Assembly for approval? Somebody put this figure in your budget and you just saw it here at the National Assembly? Are you now saying that there is a budget provision in your agency that you cannot account for it?” The Committee queried
To this end, the Committee directed its Clerk to write to the Accountant General, demanding the records of payments, the releases and management of the fund, frowning at late rendition of DMO’s financial reports.
The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) has denied the legality of a nongovernmental organisation, Concerned Nigerians for the Protection of Human Rights, being operated by Deji Adeyanju because it is an unregistered entity and is unknown to law.
CAC in a letter dated February 18, 2021 made the confirmation, reiterating that “Concerned Nigerians being operated by one Deji Adeyanju is an unregistered entity and was never registered with the CAC.”
This status according to a group of civil society coalition makes Concerned Nigerians an illegal entity that is not recognized by law and cannot maintain an action in law
According to an Abuja based human rights lawyer, Osuagwu Ugochukwu Esq., the implication of the illegal standing is that “Concerned Nigerians being an unregistered association is not a legal association and cannot maintain an action in law. An unregistered body or association is not recognised under Nigerian law. It cannot enter into legally binding contracts; it cannot sue or be sued in the name of the association save where each individual member or principal officers of the association are sued or sue others in their individual capacity.
“To assume legal protection, every association must be registered under Nigerian law. Thus in Anyaegbunam v. Pastor Okudili Osaka (2000) 5 NWLR (Part 657) 386, the Supreme Court held that “an unincorporated association does not legally exist. Thus the existence of Concerned Nigerians is contrary to Part F of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020 particularly Section 863.
“Section 863(1) of CAMA 2020 specifically provides as follows: (1) A person or association of persons shall not carry on business in Nigeria as a company, limited liability partnership, limited partnership or under a business name without being registered under this Act. Section 863(2) CAMA 2020 now makes such un-registration an offence with punishment. It is submitted that the law will take its natural cause in the circumstance,” Osuagwu stated.
The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has told corps members to disregard reports that their February salaries won't be paid until the end of March.
In a statement released on Sunday, February 28, 2021, the agency said the claim going round that the fund had been used to settle bandits is false.
NYSC said the claim was the work of mischief makers that shouldn't be paid any attention by the general public.
"Management admonishes the originators of this falsehood to refrain from such criminal action," the agency said.
The NYSC said the welfare of corps members will continue to be accorded top priority.
The Commissioner for Works and Transport, Kebbi, Alhaji Abubakar Ladan, has refuted claims of selling the Ahmadu Bello International airport to a private Individual.
Ladan who made the disclosure to newsmen on Thursday in Birnin Kebbi said the Federal Government has taken over the Airport, NAN reports.
According to him,” There is no iota of truth in the rumour going round that the state government is planning to sell the Sir Ahmadu Bello International Airport to a private individual.”
“All the airports in the country are in the exclusive list. There is no way any state government can convert them as their own or sell them to individuals.
“I don’t know how the story came about that the airport (Sir Ahamdu Bello International Airport) had been sold.
“Who was it sold to? I want to use this occasion to tell you the true story of the airport.
“The aviation sector is in the exclusive list and any state that wants to construct an airport must get a clear approval from the federal government.
“So, once you construct the airport, you only have the manager, but the technical crew handling the airport is the federal government’s staff and those of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
“You do not have the right to regulate the airport. We only agreed to allow the federal government to take over the airport because of management issue and other things.
“It is not the issue of sales; the federal government took over the airport of Kebbi State, and we demanded that the amount we used to construct it be refunded to the state,” he said.
Abdulrasheed Bawa, who was nominated for the position of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission chairman, Wednesday said he has never sold any asset recovered by the commission.
“I never sold a single truck at the Port Harcourt office; the head office handled that at the time,” Bawa said on the Senate floor during his screening on Wednesday.
“Anybody that is familiar with the processes of the EFCC knows that the chairman doesn’t have the power to sell an asset but the secretary of the agency.”
Bawa’s nomination was followed by allegations that he was involved in a theft while heading the anti-graft office in Port Harcourt.
Peoples Gazette, in a publication alleged that Bawa, was arrested and detained by the Agency under former Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, over illegal sale of 244 forfeited trucks to proxies in Port Harcourt.
The publication claimed that the illegal sale was uncovered by the suspended Secretary to the Commission, Ola Olukoyede, who alerted the former chairman, Ibrahim Magu, leading to Bawa’s detention and subsequent redeployment to the EFCC Academy, Abuja.
The commission also denied this allegation stating there was no such case against Bawa.
Bawa insisted that his tenure at the Port Harcourt office of the agency saw an uptick in the number of convictions recorded by EFCC.
“I took over the Port Harcourt office, they had 34 convictions but when I got there, we recorded 216 convictions,” Bawa said.
He said as head of the Port Harcourt zonal office, he did not have the power to sell any asset recovered under his watch, noting that the power to dispose of any asset lies with the secretary of the commission.