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Probe $3.7bn repair cost on ‘dead’ refineries, Timi Frank urges EFCC, ICPC



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The nation’s anti-graft agencies should urgently probe alleged award of $3.7billion contract to rehabilitate dead refineries, former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank, has charged.

Frank in a statement in Abuja on Sunday condemned in strong terms the award of the said $3.7billion contract to rehabilitate the nation’s refineries as revealed by the House of Representatives Adhoc Committee investigating the state of refineries in the country.

He described the sum of the contract as an unimaginable heist and brutal looting of the nation’s financial resources under President Muhammadu Buhari’s watch in a country where average Nigerians can no longer afford one meal per day.

He also condemned the refusal of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, Mele Kyari and other officials from appearing before a statutory committee of the National Assembly to explain why and how such colossal amount were earmarked to service moribund

He called on the EFCC and ICPC to wake up from their slumber by arresting and prosecuting all those involved in the nauseating contract scandal.

He insisted that the sum has either been grossly mismanaged, outrightly stolen or about to be looted.

He wondered why cases of mismanagement, corruption and abuse of office will continue to recur under the watch of General Buhari, a self contest anti-corruption czar and who was in 2018 conferred with the African Union’s Anti-corruption Award.

“Since 2015 till date, Buhari has been the substantive Minister of Petroleum and he cannot claim ignorance of the award of this bizarre contract.

“It is benumbing that despite revelation by Mr Tony Elumelu that 95 per cent of oil production in Nigeria is being stolen, Buhari who is in charge as Minister of Petroleum has not deemed it necessary to go after the thieves or order anti-corruption agencies to go after the evil cartel stealing the nation’s crude oil.

“When will Buhari truly fight corruption in Nigeria? Will it be after he leaves office in May 2023?” he said.

He insisted that money being frivolous stolen by those in positions of authority in the name of maintaining apparently dead refineries and payment of subsidies since 2015 could have helped the country to build over three new modern refineries.

He said: “Today, Dangote is building a 650,000 barrels per day (bpd) oil refinery in Lekki at an estimated cost of $19billion. However, as at September 2013, it was estimated to cost about $9billion.

“Similarly, as at October 2013, Uganda announced that it plans to build a 60,000 barrels per day oil refinery at an estimated to cost $2.5billion.

“This means that between May 2015 and April 2022 that APC has been on the driving seat of governance, money spent to ‘repair’ the nation’s antiquated refineries, most especially the recent rehabilitation contract of $3.7billion and the N4trillion earmarked for fuel subsidy in the 2022 budget, would have been enough to build at least a new 100,000 barrels per day refinery in the country.

“Today, the price of crude oil has shot up due to Russia invasion of Ukraine, but Nigeria cannot benefit from the windfall being enjoyed by other oil producing countries because of its over dependence on refined products being imported with borrowed funds.”

He warned the House of Representatives against any form of compromise in its ongoing probe and urged it to employ all constitutional means to compel all invited officials to appear before it.

“This is one issue we will follow up keenly to ensure that it is not compromised or swept under the carpet. The National Assembly, especially the House of Representatives’ Adhoc Committee chaired by Hon. Ganiyu Johnson, must ensure that they get to the root of this monumental sleaze or else Nigerians will not forgive them should they decide to sell out to thieving officials to frustrate the probe,” he said.

He added: “This was how these same persons colluded and imported toxic fuel into the country that damaged millions of car engines and up till now nobody has been held accountable for that unpatriotic act.”

He wondered why monies always go missing anytime Buhari is in charge of Petroleum ministry.

“This was how a humongous amount went missing under his watch as then head of petroleum ministry. Today, $3.7billlion is being spent in suspicious manner under his watch,” he said.

He called on the President to ensure that those responsible are made to account for their deeds saying the next government would not fail to unravel the truth should he fail to act now.

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Senate passes for 2nd reading Tinubu’s bill seeking for re – introduction of old National Anthem




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An Executive Bill forwarded to the Senate by President Bola Tinubu seeking for re – introduction of the old National Anthem which starts with popular phrase of ” Nigeria, We Hail Thee’ received accelerated consideration as it scaled second reading
In giving the Executive bill, accelerated consideration, the upper chamber passed it for second reading during plenary on Thursday.
The Senate, after giving the bill, first reading, the Leader of the Senate, Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele (APC Ekiti Central ), made a lead debate on it for second reading.
The Senate Leader in the lead debate on the bill, said the Bill seeks to make provision for Nigeria to revert to its old National Anthem that would promote better symbol for unity, peace and prosperity – compared to the current one.
” The old Anthem if reintroduced, will inspire in us the zeal to build a fully integrated and indivisible nation, whereby all citizens will live in unity and harmony”, he said .
He explained further that the old National Anthem was more patriotism and Nationalism – driven.
His words : ” The Anthem, upon rendition, inspired and stimulated deep sense of patriotism in Nigerians. You will also agree with me that those who were around in the 60s and the late 70s, would attest to the fact that the Anthem played quite a significant and crucial role in shaping Nigeria’s national identity and unity, as well as engendered high sense of value and personal belonging amongst the citizenry.
“It was symbolic of Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage and nationhood. In retrospect, the Anthem served as regular and constant reminder of our journey, as a nation and provoked feelings of nostalgia and fond memories of the country’s early years.
“Mr President, my dear colleagues, at this momentous time in our national history, it is imperative that we utilise any platform that seeks to unite the country and promote patriotism amongst Nigerians.
“Accordingly, the old National Anthem, as a symbol of national pride, has provided insights for patriotic reflections on our aspirations, values and hope for a united and prosperous Nigeria.
“Finally, I implore you all, my Distinguished Colleagues, to support the expeditious passage of this Bill, as it is in line with the RENEWED Reorientation of our collective values and national conscientization efforts of the current administration.
“The rendition and musical accuracy of the Anthem, is better in content and context than the current one. On this note, permit me at this juncture, to reproduce the Anthem to serve as a reminder and reflection:
“Nigeria, We Hail Thee
Nigeria we hail thee
Our own dear native land,
Though travelling and tongue may differ
In brotherhood we stand,
Nigerians all, and proud to serve
Our sovereign Motherland
“Our Flag shall be a symbol
That truth and justice reign,
In peace or battle honour’d,
And this we count as gain,
To hand on to our children
A banner without stain,
“O God of creation,
Grant this our one request,
Help us to build a nation
Where no man is oppressed,
And so with peace and plenty Nigeria may be blessed.”
All the Senators who contributed to the debate , supported the bill and called for its expeditious consideration and passage .
Senator Tahir Monguno ( APC Borno North ) , described the bill as apt and germane.
In his own contribution , Senator Jimoh Ibrahim ( APC Ondo South ) , said the move made by the presidency to replace the current National Anthem with the new one was very apt and necessary.
According to him, Nigeria, We Hail Thee, is far more inspiring and Nationalistic than Arise O Compatriots.
Senator Victor Umeh ( Labour Party, Anambra South), also supported the bill by declaring that the wordings in the current National Anthem are vague.
The bill was accordingly passed for second reading on the strength of supports given it by all the Senators who contributed to debate on it , after which the President of the Senate , Godswill Akpabio, mandated the Senate Committees on Judiciary , Human Rights and Legal matters, Federal Character and Intergovernmental Affairs , to make further legislative inputs on it and report back very soon .

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30 CSOs denounce Lawyers who dragged EFCC chair before UN, UK, others




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***describe them as jobless detractors, paid hecklers, defenders of Injustice

Lawyers who dragged the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Olanipekun Olukoyede to the United Nations, United Kingdom and other international nations have been called out by 30 civil society groups

The lawyers had on Friday accused the EFCC boss of flagrantly disregarding valid court orders and breaching the constitutional rights of Nigerians.

At a press conference on Saturday, the Convener of the 30 Civil Societies and Chairman of Conference of Civil Society of Nigeria, Mr. Adams Otakwu, indicated that the allegation against the EFCC by the lawyers is a slap on the entire nation, aimed at distracting and derailing the ongoing war on corruption.

The Nigerian Civil Societies denounced the lawyers’ unfounded claims and “dismissed the group as jobless detractors, paid hecklers and defenders of Injustice unknown to the civil society.

“The assertions put forth by these lawyers, accusing the EFCC of flouting court orders and infringing upon the constitutional rights of Nigerian citizens, are not only devoid of merit but are also symptomatic of a deliberate attempt to impede the ongoing efforts of the EFCC to combat corruption and promote accountability within our nation.

“It is imperative to underscore that actions undertaken by Mr. Olukoyede are not personal endeavors but are emblematic of the steadfast commitment of the EFCC as an institution of the Nigerian people to uphold the rule of law and foster transparency in governance. Any insinuation to the contrary is not only fallacious but also an affront to the integrity of the EFCC and the Nigerian People.

“Furthermore, we categorically reject the insinuation that these self-proclaimed defenders of justice are acting in the interest of the Nigerian populace. On the contrary, it is evident that they are driven by ulterior motives, perhaps influenced by vested interests seeking to undermine the progress achieved by the EFCC and the watchful Civil Society of Nigeria in the last six months.”

The groups urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union not to listen to the so call lawyers.

“It is ludicrous to suggest that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of Nigeria, the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union should entertain the baseless demands of these individuals. Such propositions are not only preposterous but also reflective of a desperate attempt to garner attention through sensationalism and misinformation.

“We call on the international community to disregard these frivolous allegations and instead lend unwavering support to the EFCC and the Nigerian State in the noble pursuit of combating corruption and promoting good governance.

“The EFCC has made significant strides in the fight against corruption in the last six months, and the Nigerian Civil Society remains confident in the ability of the EFCC to steer our nation towards a future free from the scourge of corruption,” the groups said.

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Uphold virtues of Ethics, Civic Education, Akpabio charges Scout Association of Nigeria




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The Scout Movement of Nigeria has been admonished to inculcate in Nigerian youths virtues of national ethics and the need to be prepared for any eventuality in life all the time
The President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio gave the admonition when the Chief Commissioner of The Scout Association of Nigeria, Dave Padopads-Awunah led other executive members of the Association on a courtesy to him at the National Assembly.
The Association visited Akpabio as one of their own to brief him on the forthcoming Nigeria Scout Parade and President’s Award event coming up in Abuja from 17-21 May, 2024.

In his opening remarks, The Chief Commissioner of Scout of Nigeria, Dave Padopads-Awunah expressed their joy over the elevation Senator Godswill Akpabio to the position of President of the Senate of Nigeria, stating that Senator Akpabio’s quality as a young scout has propelled him to excel in his tasks as one of the best governors Nigeria ever produced and now his giant strides in his short stay as President of the Senate.

Padopads-Awunah further recalled the role the senate president played by paying for scouts and ensuring Nigeria Scouts were represented at the world scout jamboree in Japan during his period as governor.

In his response, Akpabio expressed his joy at the visit and recalled with nolstagia, his period as a young scout.
He highlighted the tenets of scouting which he said help in molding the character of persons who grow in good citizens of their country.
He stated his commitment to amending the Boy Scout Act of Nigeria and also assist the association in delivering on their core mission to the young people of Nigeria

A statement by the Special Assistant to the President of the Senate, Anietie Ekong quoted Senator Akpabio as having advised the Association on the need for discipline, continuous education on issues like climate change and artificial intelligence.

According to Senator Akpabio, “I don’t know at what stage that Nigeria stopped having organizations like yours in primary and secondary schools. In my time, we had Scout Movements in primary and secondary schools. We even use to have the female counterpart, The Girls’ Guide.

“These Movements inculcated right ethics and ethos on the young ones, getting them to know their country, the national pledge, national anthem and respect for national symbols like the national flags and currency.

“The Scout Movement should prepare the youths for leadership in all spheres of life and that is why the motto of the Scouts, “Be Prepared” appeals to me. You should be prepared for situations that are favourable, be prepared for the rainy season and dry season; be prepared for the season of bountiful harvest and even famine,” he said.

Senator Akpabio extolled the Scouts Movement as a disciplined organization which should be encouraged through training and retraining on contemporary issues like climate change and artificial intelligence and pledged the support of the National Assembly in their programmes.

Mr. Awunah who led the delegation intimated the Senate President on the forth-coming Nigeria Scout Parade and President’s Medal Awards, sought the collaboration of the National Assembly in executing their programmes that would ne of immense benefit to Nigerian youths.
The deputy senate president and other leaders of the senate were present at the event where the President of the senate was decorated by the Chief Commissioner alongside his colleagues

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