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Fuel subsidy: FG, states set for showdown over planned N950bn FAAC deductions

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The Federal Government and the 36 states are set for a showdown over the planned deduction of N950bn from the allocation due to the states in 2022.

To this end, it was learnt that the commissioner for finance in all 36 states are expected to meet in the coming days.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, transmitted the 2022 Appropriation Act (Amendment) Bill to the National Assembly, seeking the approval of the federal parliament for a supplementary budget with estimates totalling N150bn.

Buhari also sought approval for another N2.557tn to extend payment for subsidy on petrol.

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan; and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, read Buhari’s letter dated February 10, 2022, in plenary.

Buhari’s letter read in part, “An additional provision of N2.557tn will be required to fund the petrol subsidy in 2022. Consequently, the Federation Account (main pool) revenue for the three tiers of government is projected to decline by N2tn, while FGN’s share from the account is projected to reduce by N1.05tn.”

This implies that about N950bn would be deducted from the accounts of the states and local governments.

The federal government had proposed an 18-month extension for the implementation of the petroleum industry law to cater for subsidy shortfall.

Chairman of the Forum of Commissioners of Finance and Benue State Finance Commissioner, David Olofu, on Tuesday, said that states of the federation will continue to have it tough with the decision to redirect huge amount of money meant for states to subsidy payment.

Olofu who analysed the opaque nature of the NNPC said that the country is in big trouble if Nigerians continue to allow the malpractices going on in the oil sector.

He said that with the manner the oil industry is being run under the present administration it shows that the institution (NNPC) is above the country and more powerful than the government.

Olofu also slammed the National Assembly which he said has constitutional oversight on the NNPC but had remained silent.

“The President is a minister of petroleum and there is nothing happening in the oil industry that he doesn’t have his approval.

“So we expect that he (President) should show some transparency in the operation of NNPC, particularly, the subsidy because he said during his campaign that subsidy in the country is a scam so why will he be president now and condone it?

“There is nothing needed to be said that has not been said either by the government of the day or opposition, it is now a national matter.”

When asked if states are not going to have it tough with the planned deductions from FAAC, the commissioner said, “States have always been having it tough and they will continue to have it tough”.

To get out of the logjam, Olofu admonished every Nigerian to now showing interest in what is happening in the oil industry, saying, “The National Assembly has oversight function but their silence over this issue is suspect.”

Also speaking, the Ekiti State Commissioner for Finance, Akin Oyebode, said on Tuesday that the position of any state on whether they agreed to the plan or not was meaningless because the Federal Government had already adopted it on their behalf.

Oyebode, who said the Federal Government did not allow debate on the issue, argued the proper thing was to have allowed debate on it, adding, “We have often said that states should be allowed to debate the merit of the decision or that the Federal Government should simply bear the burden from its own share of revenues.”

The commissioner maintained that a situation where Ekiti State, which consumes less than one per cent of the petrol consumed in the country, pays substantial part of the subsidy payment, goes against the principle of federalism.

“We all read the President’s letter in the media, but we shall be interrogating this at the next FAAC meeting. I personally would like to ask the question in specific details of what this budgetary provision entails. Is it covering the Federal Government’s portion of subsidy payment or all of the payments?

“In the event that it is only covering the Federal Government’s portion of the subsidy payment, where was the decision taken? Should it not be a decision that should be taken at FAAC so that the committee should be asked to deliberate whether or not subsidy payment should be deducted and from FAAC receipts?” he asked.

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Nigerian students’ association threatens to shut down all international airports over prolonged ASUU’s strike

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ASUU to begin fresh strike

The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) Southwest Zone D has threatened to shut down all international airports over the failure of the Nigerian government to address the lingering strike action of the Academic Staff Union of Universities and other staff unions.

Coordinator of the NANS Zone D, Adegboye Olatunji in a statement said the students had waited long enough for the government to resolve the crisis.

He added that students would take the bull by the horns and no longer keep quiet, pointing out that President Muhammadu Buhari’s position on the crisis could ruin their future.

The statement read, “It is timely and urgent to address this press conference today with a view to putting an end to the long lingering strike action of ASUU and ASUP (Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics), a total reformation of the educational sector.

“The Leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students Southwest (Zone D) in conjunction with the National Association of University Students Southwest (NAUS) has taken it upon herself to categorically stand against the dilapidated state of the educational sector in Nigeria.

“We are at a time when Nigerian Students have lost hope and do not know what’s next on the radar. ASUU strike has been on for over 3 months without forgetting the ASUP warning strike of 2 weeks.

“We have also waited for long to see if the Federal Government will dance to the music of Nigerian students who have been clamouring for an end to the ASUU strike but the reverse is the case. We’ve had several press conferences, granted several interviews, and held several meetings to plead with both ASUU and Federal Government. Our future is been jeopardised. We’re in a country where age is a key factor in labour market.

“Aviation unions gave a 2-day warning strike on shut down of flight operations. A meeting was scheduled by the Federal Government and strike action was called off in less than 24hours because the first-class citizens would be affected. But it is so obvious that none of them is affected by ASUU/ASUP Strike. They have their children all over the world enjoying a smooth educational system.

“On Monday, May 16th, 2022, the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris was arrested over alleged money laundering and diversion of public funds of at least N80 Billion by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Where is the integrity of the government preaching against corruption? How much of the public funds would have settled the educational sector and put an end to the yearly ASUU/ASUP Strike action.

“For so long, ASUU/ASUP strike has been ongoing and the Federal Government has not been showing concern through the Minister of Education.

“We are ready to take the bull by the horns as Nigerian students will not keep silent and watch our future being ruined by the prolonged ASUU/ASUP Strike.

“According to the Commandment of Solidarity, we’re on the last C of ALUTA which is Confrontation. This is the time to call on all Nigerian students across all zones to come out in mass to take over all international airports in the country. Nigerian students are tired of the long-overdue strike action.

“The leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students Southwest (Zone D) in conjunction with the National Association of University Students (NAUS) hereby declares a massive protest to shut down all international airports in Nigeria. We must state categorically to the Federal Government that all activities shall be shut down by over twenty-two million five hundred and twenty-seven (22,575,000) Nigerian students across Southwest Nigeria until ASUU / ASUP Strike is called off totally.”

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VIDEO: Tension as Okada riders, policemen clash in Lagos

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There is tension in the Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos over an attempt by policemen to enforce the state government ban on the operation of commercial motorcycle operators also known as Okada riders.

The state government had on Wednesday issued a total ban on the activities of the Okada riders in six local government areas of the state over the killing of a sound engineer, David Imoh, at Lekki.

Policemen from Onireke Police Station, Ojo, had impounded some commercial motorcycles for operating along the Mile 2 – Badagry expressway, an action which the riders resisted.

The riders attempted to overrun the station and possibly set free some of their members who were arrested by the policemen.

The riders set fire in the middle of the road, while the owners of vehicles abandoned them by the side of the road due to the chaos.

The crisis led to a stampede as pedestrians fled for fear of being caught up in the crossfire.

Moreso, the incident created heavy vehicular movement on both sides of the road.

While the policemen fired several shots into the air to disperse the commercial motorcycle operators, the riders themselves pelted the officers with stones, daring the policemen to come after them.

A yet to be ascertained number of persons sustained different wounds as they tried to run away from the trouble zone.

Presently, a combined team of anti-riot policemen and some soldiers have been deployed to return normalcy to the area.

WATCH THE VIDEO OF THE CLASH BELOW:

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Army Major commits suicide 3 days to court-martial verdict

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A former Battalion Commanding Officer who led the fight against Boko Haram in the North East, Major UJ Undianyede, is said to have committed suicide.

According to sources, he killed himself less than 72 hours to the verdict of a court-martial trying him for alleged military infractions during the war.

The sources, who confirmed the incident last night, said the Major killed himself on Monday on the premises of the Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA) in Kaduna, with his service pistol.

“I think he killed himself because of the judgment of the court-martial which has been fixed for tomorrow (today, May 19). We only learnt about his death today (Wednesday).

“In prosecuting the war, the Major with some of his colleagues allegedly committed some infractions for which he was being tried at the 1 Division in Kaduna,” one of the sources said.

The offences listed against the deceased officer by the court martial in the 1 Division included misappropriation of funds, abandonment of military post, insubordination, and desertion, among others.

Another source attributed the Major’s death to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), noting that he had been in the North East for some time battling Boko Haram terrorists.

The Major, a Course 55 Regular Officer and other members of his class, were said to be due for promotion to the rank Lieutenant Colonel this September.

When contacted, the spokesman of the Nigerian Army, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, said he had not been briefed.

However, the Public Relations Officer of the NDA, Major Bashir Jajira, dismissed the report, saying no officer of the academy was involved in suicide.

“No personnel of the academy was involved in suicide as reported, and in fact, our cadets are presently in Kachia for combat shooting training, they are not in the academy. So, no such training took place.”

In the same vein, the Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, 1 Division Headquarters, Kaduna, Major Musa Yahaya stated that he was not aware of any court-martial taking place in the division as earlier reported.

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