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PIA: We Did Not Receive $10m Bribe, Lawan Debunks Reports

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Senate President Ahmad Lawan
Senate President Ahmad Lawan
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President of the Senate Ahmed Lawan has debunked reports suggesting that members of the National Assembly were bribed to the tune of $10 million to pass the three per cent allocation to host communities as stipulated in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).

Lawan told State House correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday that he took exception to the spread of falsehood propagated to mislead the public.

“That is funny but also very serious,” the Senate President said of the allegation. “I really want to take this opportunity to take exception to those kinds of unwarranted, unprovable, false and fake information being fed to the Nigerian public.”

His comment is the latest development in the controversy that has followed the National Assembly’s decision to shun calls for five per cent allocation to the host communities in favour of the three per cent allocation when they passed  the Petroleum Industry Bill 2021.

President Buhari signed the bill into law on August 16, three days after returning from his trip to the United Kingdom, a move that further fueled debates over the choice of three percent allocation to the host communities.

Beyond the debates, reports emerged claiming the lawmakers’ decision in passing the bill was influenced by kickbacks, reports the Senate President says are part of a dangerous trend.

“The danger people will face with this is, you cause unnecessary damage to the reputation of people,” he said.

Such allegations, Senator Lawan said, amounted to slander.

“I had an occasion to take someone to court because of this kind of thing previously, about three months ago,” he added, signalling his willingness to take legal action when necessary.

While urging Nigerians to speak the truth at all times, he gave the assurance that the Senate was working in the best interest of the people.

Meanwhile, the President’s assent has led to the emergence of the Petroleum Industry Act which provides legal, governance, regulatory and fiscal framework for the Nigerian petroleum industry.

Under the act, host communities are expected to get three per cent of the operating expenditure of oil companies, while 30 per cent of the revenue is set aside for frontier exploration, an agreement which some, especially those from the South-South, have vehemently frowned at, demanding a higher allocation.

The host communities allocation debate, argued on the pages of dailies, and in parliament, has continued even after the National Assembly settled for three per cent mid July and the President’s assent to the bill, the birth of a much-anticipated Act.

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Rivers Crisis: Police Barricade Of LG Secretariats To Continue, Says IGP

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The Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kayode Egbetokun has directed the continuation of the police barricade on local government secretariats in Rivers State to prevent a breakdown of law and order.

IGP Egbetokun gave the directive while fielding questions from journalists in Abuja on the sideline of a Conference with Commissioners of Police and other Senior Officers.

He said the police will continue to occupy the secretariats until a court of competent jurisdiction delivers judgment on the local government crisis in Rivers State.

The IGP who also spoke on the controversy over the recruitment of constables and the allegations by the Police Service Commission (PSC) said the management of the Force will not sit idly and watch questionable and untrainable persons recruited into the police.

Egbetokun maintained that the Nigeria Police Force is a specialised institution that is not meant for all Nigerians.

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Eid-el-Kabir: Senate Leader Felicitates Muslim Faithful, Canvasses Patriotism

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Senate Leader, Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele
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The Leader of the Senate, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele on Sunday urged Nigerians to demonstrate more patriotic spirit and keep hope alive amid diverse strategic measures the federal government had been taking to guarantee fiscal and monetary stability.

Bamidele, representing Ekiti Central in the Senate, also pleaded with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) to accept whatever the federal government offered them above N60,000 as the new minimum wage.

He made the call in an Eid-el-Kabir message released by his Directorate of Media and Public Affairs on Saturday, highlighting some achievements of the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR.

While felicitating all Muslim faithful nationwide, Bamidele noted that Nigerians, regardless of religion and tribes, should team up with and rally support for the Tinubu administration to safely steer the ship of the nation into a successful end.

Bamidele further emphasised that no nation could travel the journey of national rebirth alone without the unwavering support of its citizens not minding their political, cultural and social backgrounds and orientations.

He assured that the current administration would leave no stone unturned in alleviating the economic hardship most Nigerians “are currently grappling with and ensure stability in our macroeconomic environment.

“The administration might have taken some measures affecting nearly every citizen. The measures were meant to subject to hardship and penury. Rather they were taken in the best interest of our dear country. But with courage and tenacity in implementation, the measures will soon yield desired outcomes.”

On this note, Bamidele passionately appealed to the NLC and TUC to toe the path of dialogue and peace in the negotiation of a new minimum wage, which the President had promised to duly address without delay and within the capacity of the federal government.

Bamidele said the federal government “has conceded to N60,000, which obviously translates to a 100 percent increase. However, the organised labour turned down the 100 percent increase offer, the highest wage increase since the birth of the Fourth Republic.

“In the interest of public welfare, the federal government has agreed to make more concessions in this respect. As the federal government reveals its new offer, I plead with the organised labour to accept it in the national interest. The economy will not remain in this condition forever. Collectively, we are taking multi-pronged measures to reverse negative economic indicators.”

In the spirit of the season, the Leader further urged all Muslims to emulate love and good neighbourliness exemplified by Prophet Mohammed during his time and how he related very well with people of other faiths and nationalities.

He appealed that the ongoing reengineering initiatives of the Tinubu administration could only yield democratic dividends in an atmosphere devoid of insecurity, but where lives and property are protected.

He said: “Just to mention a few among ongoing projects like the 700 kilometres Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway, the establishment of N50 Billion Pulako Initiative and annual recruitment of 30,000 new police personnel are Key Performance Indicators of this government.

“Only recently, this government declared a state of emergency in agriculture and launched the National Agricultural Development Fund with N100 billion, in addition to the Dry Season Farming Initiative and the Green Imperative Programme to ensure food security across the land.

“All these and other components of the 8-point Renewed Hope Agenda require the patriotic support and prayers for their deliverables to multiply at the doorsteps of Nogerians in the remaining three years of the first term of this government.”

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OSUN GOVERNMENT TO HOST INDUSTRIAL INVESTMENT SUMMIT IN SEPTEMBER, 2024

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Osun State Gov Ademola Adeleke
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The Osun State Government under the leadership of Governor Ademola Jackson Nurudeen Adeleke has concluded arrangements to host an Industrial Investment Summit, come September 2024.

This is contained in a press statement by the Summit Consultant, Prince Rotimi Awelewa, in Osogbo on Thursday.

The Industrial Investment Summit is expected to hold at the Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding, Cultural Centre, Abeere, Osun State.

It will be recalled that the State Governor, represented by the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Rev. Bunmi Jenyo, in May this year inaugurated the Central Working Committee for the Osun Industrial Investment Summit, 2024.

According to the statement, the State will be hosting a 3-day “Industrial Investment Summit 2024 from September 11 to September 13,2024 with the theme ‘Connecting Progress with Purpose’ which will focus on the bid to position Osun State as a major industrial and Commercial hub in Nigeria and West Africa.

The Osun State Investment Summit 2024 is packaged to showcase bankable opportunities and strategic matchmaking platforms, convening stakeholders to Osun Industrial ecosystem to facilitate partnerships and investments in the State.

According to Prince Awelewa, “the principal objective and focus of the Summit is to set an economic policy agenda for accelerated industrial investments in Osun State, Nigeria, underpinned by sustainable and inclusive development”.

“Through focused discussions and deliberations, the Summit seeks to identify and address the key challenges and opportunities for transforming Osun State economy, with a particular emphasis on the role of Agriculture, Industrial Advancement, Manufacturing, Tourism and Capital Investment”, he said.

The Summit is also expected to focus on driving double-digit industrial investment and economic growth across every nook and cranny of Osun State.

“This year’s Summit will create and expand channels for leveraging the qualitative Industrial, Agricultural, Mining, Tourism and ICT potentials of the State, for inclusive and sustainable wealth creation for the people and the nation”, the consultant said.

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