Some pipeline security and surveillance contractors under President Goodluck Jonathan have written an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari on the need to settle the debt the past government was owing them.
The letter made available to NewsDay on Monday was signed by the contractors who included the company names under which they secured the jobs.
They are Dr. Fredrick Faseun – New Age NIG. Ltd; Otunba Gani Adams – Donyx Global Concept Ltd; Alhaji Asari Dokubo – ATEF Nig. Ltd; High Chief Bibo Pere Ajube – Galery Security Services Ltd; Chief Joshua Machiever – Bajeros NIG Ltd; High Chief Omo O. – Close Body Protection Ltd and Izon Ibe Security Ltd
On assumption of office on May 29, Buhari kicked against the award of pipeline security to groups by Jonathan administration, insisting that the development undermines the duties of the Nigerian Navy.
Buhari, expectantly cancelled the contract few days after he assumed office.
But the contractors in the statement argued that they were in possession of valid and duly signed contract agreements with the management of the NNPC to protect the pipelines for a period of three months.
“Up on till now, the public perception of the NNPC Pipeline Security and Surveillance job was that former President, Goodluck Jonathan gave the job to the contractors on the platter of politics,” they noted.
The letter reads in full: “For the purpose of clarity, it should be noted that the contract was signed between the contractors and the management of the NNPC, an agency of government, as a way of finding lasting solutions to the incessant problem of pipeline vandalisation across the country.
“The terms and agreements of the contract were formulated and drafted by the management of the NNPC and was duly signed by all the parties, including the contractors and the legal department of the NNPC after several meetings and consultations.
“It is also necessary for the public to know that, against widely held belief that the contract was terminated by the Federal Government, it should be noted that the contract indeed ran its course, which was a period of three months, starting from March 15, 2015 and ended June 15, 2015.
“It is our belief that the contract agreement between the NNPC and the contractors is a public document and therefore can always be accessed by any member of public.
“At the same time, what we are demanding from the NNPC is for it to redeem its own part of the contract agreement and should not be seen as a favour and handout to any individual.
“By this, we have resolved that by the end of this month, if the NNPC fails to redeem its contractual obligation and refuse to pay us, we would be left with no choice but to take them to court , an action which we think may not do the credibility of the government any good because it is a case based on contractual agreement that was legally signed by a parastatal of government.
“It is also important to know that within the period of the contract, all the contractors experienced one form of loss or the other, either financially, death, physical injuries, or in most cases all the losses.
“It is on record that in the South West and South South, more than eight staff were killed by the vandals in their desperate bids to gain access to the pipelines, while more than 60 of our men received various degrees of injuries.
“Even as we speak, the bodies of one or two of our men killed by vandals are still lying cold in the morgue.
“As part of the efforts to monitor the activities and effectiveness of our men, each of the contractors submitted a weekly report to the NNPC and every month had a meeting with the management of NNPC at the Mosinmi Depot to evaluate events around the pipeline sites and take proper action where they are necessary.
“While we are determined to explore all peaceful and diplomatic avenues to get our dues from the NNPC, we once again want to plead with the management of the NNPC, the Federal Government and indeed President Muhamadu Buhari to ensure that all the contractors get paid for the services rendered to an agency of the Federal Government.
“Going by his promise to serve Nigerians irrespective of ethnic or religious inclination, we believe that President Muhamadu Buhari would use his good office to intervene in this matter in order to ensure that justice is done.
“As an important and foremost parastatal of the Nigerian government, we appeal to all those behind this obvious injustice being meted to us for answering a national call to serve father land.
“Your Excellency, we decided to toe this line of action because of our firm belief in your promise during your inauguration ‘to belong to everybody and belong to nobody’.
“Sir, we continue to believe in this highly spiritual promise made by you despite insinuations in some quarters that the delay in the payment by the NNPC may be politically motivated.
“However, we would like to repeat and let it be known and understood that failure by the NNPC to pay its debt to us, we would be left with no other choice but to seek legal redress in court.
“It is not in doubt that since our men left the sites after the expiration of the contract period, the pipelines have become porous and unsafe, leading to an increase in the activities of the vandals, who for obvious reasons are now having field days in their dastardly activities.
“While it disturbing that the price of oil has continued to fall in the global oil market, making rubbish of government’s budgets, but it is even more disturbing that vandals are allowed to steal what ordinarily would have made up for the shortfall as a result of the fall in price.
“Perhaps, the most unfortunate thing in all of this is the attitude of some of our political leaders who do not believe that anything good can come out of our people. Or how do you explain the public condemnation in some quarters when the job was given to the contractors to protect the pipelines.
“But the good thing is that all the contractors executed the job like a call to service and made sure that the activities of the vandals were curtailed significantly during the period of the contract.
“You will agree with us that in a country governed by the rule of law, failure to abide by a contractual agreement is deemed to be an offence which ordinarily should attract the attention of anti- corruption agencies like the EFCC and ICPC.
“We hope that Mr. President and the NNPC will do justice to this letter.”
Fire guts documents, furniture, others at Nigerian National Assembly
he management of the National Assembly has confirmed the fire outbreak at the new wing of the House of Representatives on Thursday evening.
The incident happened at a storeroom in the lower chamber’s section of the complex in Abuja.
Passers-by around 6pm who noticed smoke coming out from a store on the second floor of the New Building, House of Reps Wing of the Complex, raised the alarm.
The wing houses the offices of the lawmakers, committee rooms, banks and other private businesses.
The office of the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and principal officers are on the fourth floor.
Firefighters from the Federal Fire Service within the premises and other first responders rushed to the scene.
The inferno was later put out by the firefighters and other responders.
Agada Rawlings, Director, National Assembly Information in his reaction to the Incident in a late-night statement, said that the situation was immediately brought under control.
He said the fire was suspected to have resulted from an electrical fault which was noticed by one of the staff members working with the Clerk of the House of Representatives.
He said the employee quickly alerted the Federal Fire Service Unit in the complex.
Rawlings explained that the fire was put out with the assistance of staff members on duty who immediately broke into the affected office and used fire extinguishers before the arrival of the fire service officer.
He said; “There was a fire incident this evening (Thursday) in one of the Janitors, located on the 2nd floor, Room 227 in the new-wing, of the House of Representatives, suspected to have resulted from an electrical fault which was noticed by one of the Staff to the Clerk, House of Representatives, who promptly alerted the Federal Fire Service Unit stationed in the National Assembly Complex.
“Consequently, the combined prompt efforts curtained the fire to the affected office only and power supply to the wing put off to enable a full assessment and investigations into the incident.
“It is expected that after due assessment by the fire service and the Estate and works directorates, normalcy in the New Wings, housing all principal officers of the House of Representatives and Honourable members offices will be restored immediately.
“Management wishes to commend the prompt response/actions by the first responders particularly, National Assembly staff and the Fire Service Unit in helping to curtain the fire outbreak.”
El-Rufai writes Buhari, says terrorists creating ‘parallel’ govt in Kaduna
Terrorists are consolidating their grip on communities in Kaduna with a parallel government and permanent operational base, according to Governor Nasir El-Rufai in a memo to President Muhammadu Buhari.
El-Rufai in the memo, warned the president of the terrorists’ consolidation in a late July memo, according to online platform, Premium Times.
The terrorists belonging to Ansaru for short, are believed to have moved to Birnin Gwari in Kaduna State in 2012 when they broke away from Boko Haram.
In the memo, the governor laid bare how the terrorists have infiltrated and dominated communities and formed “a parallel governing authority,” exercising control over social and economic activities and dispensation of justice in the area.
He said the terrorists had advanced in their plans to make Kaduna forest areas their “permanent operational base” for the North-west region, citing a “series of intelligence reports.”
“Observed movement patterns and intercepted communications of migrating terrorists have shown a clear interest in setting up a base, with the stretches of forest area between Kaduna and Niger states strongly considered,” he wrote.
Law banning political activities
As the political activities towards the 2023 general elections pick up steam, the terrorists, El-Rufai told Buhari, have promulgated a law to ban residents from participating.
“The insurgents enacted a law in the District, banning all forms of political activity or campaign ahead of the 2023 elections, especially in Madobiya and Kazage villages,” the governor wrote.
The Ansaru terrorists are known to have an extremist ideological posture against democracy and secular authorities.
In 2021, the census enumeration exercise could only hold in two of the 11 wards that form Birnin Gwari due to the threat of armed banditry and terrorism, officials in both Kaduna State government and the population commission had said.
The ban on political activities, the governor said, followed a recent wedding ceremony involving the terrorists.
“According to actionable intelligence, members of the Jama’atu Ansarul Musulmina Fi’biladis Sudan (aka Ansaru) are hibernating in Kuyello district of Birnin Gwari LGA, which recently conducted a nuptial ceremony during which they married two yet-to-be-identified female residents of Kuyello village,” Mr El-Rufai wrote.
“The ceremony was attended by various Ansaru members and witnessed by residents of the area. After the marital rites, insurgents in attendance reportedly conveyed the brides to the dreaded Kuduru forest, in the same District.”
In the area of adjudicating disputes, Mr El-Rufai said the terrorists “fined one Mu’azu Ibrahim, a resident of Kuyello community, the sum of One Million Naira for selling plots of land without the consent of the owners.”
In addition, with the government becoming removed from rural communities, leaving them at the mercy of violent criminals, terrorists, Mr El-Rufai suggested, are manning the ungoverned space and extracting revenues from the people.
“Multiple reports also exist of bandits and terrorists exacting protection levies and similar taxes from farmers and communities, in return for permission to cultivate their fields,” the governor said.
Terrorism researchers say that revenues from taxes and levies forced on ungoverned spaces – created by the failure or limited capacity of the government – are a major source of financing and sustenance for terrorists.
Like the Kaduna situation described by El-Rufai, ISWAP terrorists based on the Lake Chad islands are also extracting huge revenues from the fishing activities and pastoralists operating in the area.
El-Rufai, when contacted, said he would not comment on this story because his correspondence was supposed to be confidential communication to the president.
In 2016, he wrote a similar confidential letter to the president, warning that the Buhari administration was losing momentum just about a year after coming to power
Soludo suspends LG Chairman over alleged killing of wife
Anambra State governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo has suspended the transition committee chairman of Nnewi North Local Government Area, Hon Mbazulike Iloka.
Iloka, who is popularly known as Mba Mba, was suspended over the circumstances surrounding his wife’s death last Sunday morning.
Iloka’s wife, Chidiebere, was said to have slumped and died on Sunday morning, after serving her husband breakfast.
But those who know the coupe insisted that Iloka may have killed his wife, as he has a record of consistently battering her.
Signs of violence was also found on her body, while a huge wound on her head aroused suspicion, leading to public outcry over her death.
In a letter of suspension, which was signed by Anambra State Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy and Community Affair, Tony Collins Nwabunwanne, the chairman was asked to hand over to the head of Local Government administration, to avoid interfering in investigation.
The letter read: “Following the sad news of the death of your wife, late Mrs Chidiebere Iloka on 7th August 2022, there have been a massive outcry over the circumstances leading to her death, including alleged possible homicide.
“While you are presumed innocent until the completion of investigations, it has become imperative that you step aside to allow unfettered investigation and justice.
“Consequently, you are directed to step aside and to hand over the affairs of the local government to the head of local government administration, not later that 12th August 2022, until further notice.”
Iloka has only recently been appointed chairman of the local government. He has only been in office for about a week before his eventual removal.
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