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Petrol Price Hike, Water Resources Bills Test Senate ’ s Representation Role

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images 36 2 Petrol Price Hike, Water Resources Bills Test Senate ’ s Representation Role

• Lawmakers Seek Open Debate On Contentious National Issues
As it resumes from a two-month end of session recess on Tuesday, September 15, the Senate is under immense pressure to demonstrate its parliamentary role of representation, particularly on critical issues that pitch the Federal Government against the people.
Agitations against the contentious Water Resources Bill, Hate Speech Bill, CAMA law, among others, as well as the recent hike in the price of petrol at a time electricity tariff was increased by over 300 per cent, have called the representational role of lawmakers in the National Assembly to question.
In parliamentary parlance, it is settled that in fulfilling the functions of lawmaking and oversight, parliamentarians must at all times represent those that elected them in principles and in deeds. And many believe that for a parliament to maintain legitimacy, it is critical that accountability to voters should take place systematically throughout the parliamentary term, rather than just at election time.
The Ahmad Lawan leadership, it was learned, is at the moment being put on the edge to allow a full debate on some critical national issues with a view to determining their acceptability by Nigerians.
A survey across several political and geographic caucuses in the Senate showed that the recent hike in the price of petrol and increase of electricity tariff, the controversial Water Resources Bill, as well as the much-criticised Hate Speech Bill and CAMA law, are among issues that would attract immediate attention.
Senate spokesman, Ajibola Basiru, and many other prominent lawmakers contacted, believe the senate would not shy away from addressing the issues, particularly to the satisfaction of Nigerians.
However, the agitations among senators for the convening of an emergency session might have been shelved following spirited efforts said to have been made by the leadership to persuade lawmakers against it.
A lawmaker in a key northwest state disclosed that because the timing of the emergency session was become close to the September 15 resumption of plenary, superior reasoning had prevailed and the decision among the majority of lawmakers was that every agitation is put on hold until the plenary is opened on Tuesday.
Similarly, a world press conference being planned by opposition lawmakers had been put off. The office of the Minority Leader of the Senate, Enyinnaya Abaribe, believes that at plenary on Tuesday, the contentious issues would be best addressed.
On the petrol price hike, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Sports, Obinna Ogba, could not wait for Tuesday plenary to announce his opposition.
He said the increases in electricity tariff and fuel price at a time the economy was yet to recover from the deadly effects of COVID-19 showed that the government is highly insensitive.
According to him: “The country and indeed the whole world is facing a serious problem right now because of the coronavirus pandemic. Therefore, these increases are not good at all. They are adding salt to injury.
“The government is just showing insensitivity to the plights of Nigerians because by increasing the pump price of petrol and electricity tariff, the suffering of the people will become worse. The whole thing is not funny at all.
“You cannot put the blame on the agencies, because there is no way any of the agencies can increase the price of its commodity or service without first getting directive from the leadership of the country.”
Another lawmaker disclosed that many senators had received serious complaints from their constituencies against the abrupt increase in the price of petrol and an increase in electricity tariff.
“I can tell you that legislators are more worried about these price increases because we are closer to the people and many lawmakers have been put under serious pressure by their constituents.
“That is the more reason the executive arm ought to have consulted and listened to us before embarking on this painful exercise,” he added.
The Water Resources Bill, which had put the senate under pressure since it went on holiday, would eventually be laid bare shortly after the plenary is opened.
A principal officer of the chamber said it is better to allow debate on the Bill and many other controversial Bills than keeping them.
The Water Resources Bill is attracting serious criticism, because, among others, it seeks to put the use of all waters, rivers, their banks, and their resources under the control of the Federal Government, at a time many are calling for restructuring, true federalism, and devolution of power from the centre to the states.
The proposed law, first sent to the parliament by the executive in the 8th National Assembly, was passed by the House of Representatives, but the Dr. Bukola Saraki-led senate put it abeyance because of heated criticism against it.
However, incumbent President of the Senate, Lawan, opened the wave of controversy when he openly declared that the Bill would be passed by the 9th National Assembly, adding that the mischief by critics was why it failed to pass in the last senate.
The Bill is a consolidation of existing laws, such as the Water Resources Act 2004; National Water Resources Institute Act; River Basin Development Authorities Act, and the Nigeria Hydrological Services Act

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FG , States , LGs Share N682 .060 Billion As Allocation For August , 2020

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images 79 2 FG , States , LGs Share N682 .060 Billion As Allocation For August , 2020

FG, States, LGs Share N682.060bn As Allocation For August, 2020
The Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) has shared a total of N682.060 billion August 2020 federation account revenue to the Federal, States and Local Government Councils and agencies.
This was made known after the monthly Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting for September 2020 held through virtual conferencing; chaired by Dr. Mahmud Isa-Dutse, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance.
The gross statutory revenue of N531.830 billion was received for the month of August 2020. This was lower than the N543.788 billion received in the previous month by N11.958 billion.
The gross revenue available from the Value Added Tax (VAT) was N150.230 billion as against N132.619 billion available in the previous month, resulting in an increase of N17.611 billion.
A communiqué issued by the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) indicated that from the total distributable revenue of N682.060 billion; the Federal Government received N272.905 billion, the State Governments received N197.648 billion and the Local Government Councils received N147.422 billion.
The Oil Producing States received N30.881 billion as 13% derivation revenue, while cost of revenue collection and transfers collectively had allocation of N33.205 billion.
The Federal Government received N251.948 billion from the gross statutory revenue of N531.830 billion; the State Governments received N 127.791 billion and the Local Government Councils received N98.522 billion.
N30.881 billion was given to the relevant States as 13% derivation revenue and N22.689 billion was the collective total for cost of revenue collection, transfers and refund to agencies.
The Federal Government received N20.957 billion from the Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue of N150.230 billion. The State Governments received N69.857billion; the Local Government Councils received N48.900 billion, while cost of revenue collection and transfers collectively had allocation of N10.516 billion.
The Communiqué stated that for the month of August 2020, Oil and Gas Royalty, Companies Income Tax (CIT), Import and Excise Duty and Value Added Tax (VAT) increased considerably, while Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) decreased significantly.
The balance in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) as at 17th September, 2020 was $72.409 million.

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Lokoja Tanker Explosion: Pupil, 9 Others Dead

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images 75 2 Lokoja Tanker Explosion: Pupil, 9 Others Dead

A primary school pupil died on Wednesday alongside nine persons after a petrol tanker exploded at Felele area of Lokoja, Kogi State capital.
It was gathered that the tanker lost control and rammed into oncoming vehicles before going up in flames around 8am.
Some of the victims are Kogi State Polytechnic students.
The emergency responders failed to attend to the fire for over one hour.
Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello in a statement by his spokesperson Onogwu Muhammed commiserated with the bereaved families.
“It is very sad to learn of the tragic loss of lives, many vehicles, property and other valuables in the petrol tanker fire,” he said.
He also urged students of the polytechnic to maintain peace.

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Nigerian Fraud Suspect , Wanted By FBI For $6 Million Scam Surrenders To EFCC

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images 66 2 Nigerian Fraud Suspect , Wanted By FBI For $6 Million Scam Surrenders To EFCC

A Nigerian, Felix Osilama Okpoh, who is wanted by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) for his alleged involvement in a Business Email Compromise (BEC) scheme that defrauded over 70 different businesses in the United States, has turned himself in to Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Mr Okpoh, 31, who allegedly conspired with five others to defraud their American victims of over $6million, was led to the Lagos office of the EFCC by his father, retired Colonel Garuba Okpoh and his mother Justina Okpoh.
A spokesperson for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, said the suspect surrendered on September 18 and that investigations into his case had since commenced.
Mr Uwujaren quoted Mr Okpoh as saying, during interrogation, that he decided to surrender himself to the Commission out of respect for his parents and his resolve to be morally upright.
The FBI accused the suspect of allegedly providing hundreds of bank accounts to Richard Izuchukwu Uzuh and other co-conspirators, Alex Afolabi Ogunshakin, Abiola Ayorinde Kayode, and Nnamdi Orson Benson, that were used to receive fraudulent wire transfers.
Bank accounts that Mr Okpoh allegedly provided to Mr Uzuh allegedly received fraudulent wire transfers from victim businesses totalling over $1million
On August 21, 2019, Mr Okpoh was indicted in the United States District Court, District of Nebraska, Omaha, Nebraska, on charges of Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud. On August 22, 2019, a federal warrant was issued for his arrest.
On June 16, 2020, United States Attorney Joe Kelly and Kristi K. Johnson, Special Agent in Charge of the Omaha field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced the unsealing of indictments charging the six Nigerians for their involvement in the fraud schemes.
“The schemes included individual victims and victim businesses both in Nebraska and other states,” the U.S.
Department of Justice said in a statement announcing the indictment. “BECs are sophisticated cybercrimes involving electronic transfer payments or automated clearinghouse transfers.”
“The indictments charge the defendants with one or more of the following violations of federal law: 1) Conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud, punishable by up to 20 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000; 2) Identity theft and access device fraud, each punishable by up to 10 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000.
“The Nigerian nationals charged and still at large are Richard Uzuh; Micheal Olorunyomi; Alex Ogunshakin; Felix Okpoh; Abiola Kayode and Nnamdi Benson. An indictment is a formal accusation returned by a grand jury upon establishing probable cause. The indictment is not evidence of guilt and defendants are entitled to a presumption of innocence. Two related defendants have entered pleas of guilty. Adewale Aniyeloye was sentenced in the District of Nebraska to 96 months’ imprisonment for wire fraud. Onome Ijomone received a 60-month sentence for conspiracy to commit wire fraud.”

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