PIB passage, kerosene subsidy report suffer setback


The defection of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal, from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party to All Progressive Congress, and the subsequent adjournment of sitting of the lower house to December 3, may be a major setback to the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill and the presentation of the kerosene subsidy report.

The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Mr. Dakuku Peterside, told our correspondent that the kerosene subsidy report had been prepared, and would have been presented this week but for the adjournment.

In an interview on Tuesday this week, he also disclosed that the PIB had been harmonised, and would likely scale through before the end of the year.

However, talking to our correspondent, Peterside, who did not expect the house adjournment, expressed surprise.

Prior to the adjournment, Peterside had in Lagos said, “We are working on the bill and we are conscious of the fact that it is very critical to the economy of Nigeria, and so we are not taking it lightly. I want to reassure you again that we are taking the PIB very seriously and I am very optimistic that the bill would be passed before 2015.”

According to him, the PIB is critical to the survival and growth of the oil and gas sector and by extension the economy.

On the kerosene subsidy report, the legislator had told our correspondent last week that members of the House of Representatives would this week know the extent of malpractices in the kerosene subsidy scheme.

The probe of the kerosene subsidy scam by the legislators, our correspondent learnt, became necessary due to the irregularities that had been discovered in the scheme, where the government had continued to pay subsidy on the product without Nigerians benefiting from the arrangement.

Under the subsidy arrangement, Nigerians are meant to pay N50 per litre for the product; but that has not been the case as people are buying the product for N120 and above in filling stations nationwide.

Another legislator from the South-East geo-political zone told our correspondent in confidence that placing a December date for the passage of the PIB was becoming more unrealisable given the level of distraction in the polity and the abrupt adjournment of sittings.

He said it was very likely that campaigning among candidates could steal the show when the house finally would reconvene in December.

He also described the situation as unfortunate, saying it would take extra commitment on the side of the legislators to address pressing issues like the PIB and kerosene report holistically before the end of the current National Assembly.

The PIB has been in the works for the past six years. It first found its way into the legislature in 2008 when the administration forwarded the PIB 2008 to the sixth National Assembly. After making some progress, the bill suffered setbacks in 2011.

In 2012, the technical committee and a special task force on the PIB were set up by the new administration. The committee was to harmonise the various versions of the draft bill, while the task force was saddled with the responsibility of incorporating all changes made by the committee, among other things.

The process which culminated in the PIB 2012 was sent to the current National Assembly.

In February this year, Tambuwal said that available records indicated that the Federal Government spent over N1tn on kerosene subsidy between 2010 and 2013.

Tambuwal said in spite of the expenditure not having the approval of the National Assembly, the product was not available for Nigerians to buy.

“Curiously, since there were no budgetary provisions for subsidy on kerosene, the people of Nigeria would obviously be interested in knowing the source of funding of kerosene subsidy and on whose authority such money was appropriated,” the Speaker had said.

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Pirate Bay co-founder jailed in Denmark

The Swedish co-founder of file-sharing website The Pirate Bay was sentenced to three years and six months in jail Friday in the largest hacking case in Denmark’s history, AFP reports.

Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, 30, was sentenced at a Copenhagen district court a day after he was found guilty of “hacking and aggravated vandalism”.

The prosecutor had requested a six-year jail term for Warg, and two years for his co-defendant, a 21-year-old Dane, who received a six-month sentence instead.

The court in Frederiksberg, in central Denmark, said Warg’s “piracy was systematic, intensive and long-term.”

“In addition, significant amounts of highly sensitive personal information were downloaded,” the court said.

The court said they hacked into the Danish systems of IT giant CSC and illegally downloaded police files and social security information between February and August 2012.

Warg had denied all charges saying that his computer had been used remotely to carry out the attacks, but the court dismissed his claim.

Warg was handed over to Denmark in November 2013 from Sweden, where he was serving a one-year sentence for hacking into the computer systems of contractors working for the national tax authority.

The Pirate Bay, which Warg created with another computer nerd in 2003, has evolved into one of the most visited sites for sharing copyrighted works.

In 2009, Warg was sentenced to one year in jail and ordered to pay criminal damages to the music and film industry for his part in founding the website.

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36 killed in fresh clashes in Benghazi

Clashes between the Libyan army, backed by the renegade general Khalifa Haftar, and Islamist militias in the eastern city of Benghazi, killed 36 people on Friday and Saturday, according to medical and military sources.

“The center has received, in the last 24 hours, 21 dead bodies killed in clashes and random shooting,” a medical source in Benghazi medical center said.

“The remaining 10 include two women and a child killed by random shooting. Libya Croissant Society team found three dead bodies, including two journalists assassinated, as well as military soldiers killed in battles,” the source added.

Another medical source in the hospital of Al-Marj, some 100 km east of Benghazi, said that the hospital “received 15 bodies of army soldiers on Saturday.”

Since the outbreak of the battles in mid October, nearly 254 people were killed.

“The army forces are progressing in southeast of the city after taking control of Benina area, where Benghazi International Airport is located,” said a spokesperson for special forces and thunderbolt battalions.

“A unit of the army elite arrived on Friday to its main camp near the airport, which is controlled by the Islamists since last July after violent clashes,” the source added.

Colonel Ahmad Al-Mismari, official spokesperson for the army, said that “the eastern axes of the city is totally secured and controlled by the army.”

Libyan army, reinforced by gunmen loyal to Haftar, have been waging a street war since mid July, against Islamic militants in the city of Benghazi in an attempt to regain control of the city, which fell into the hands of Islamists since last July.

Benghazi was the birthplace of the 2011 protests that toppled Libya’s former leader Muammar Gaddafi. The city has witnessed a drastic escalation of violence and become a major extremist base in North Africa since the U.S. ambassador to Libya was killed in 2012.

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Moses scores first goal, Chelsea survive scare


Victor Moses

Nigeria international Victor Moses got his first goal of the season on Saturday as Stoke City were held to a 2-2 draw by West Ham United at the Britannica Stadium.

The on-loan Chelsea winger bundled home from close range in the first half and Mame Biram Diouf doubled the advantage from Jonathan Walters’ cross shortly after the break.

West Ham, however, pulled one back on the hour mark before levelling score in the 72nd minute when Downing drilled in a shot that Asmir Begovic could not keep out.

The draw sees West Ham drop to fifth spot in the Premier League while Stoke slip down to 12th.

Chelsea were able to preserve their four-point lead in the Premier League with a narrow 2-1 win at home to local rivals Queens Park Rangers courtesy of an Eden Hazard’s penalty.

Oscar had given Chelsea the lead, latching on an assist from Cesc Fabregas, but Charlie Austin equalised for QPR just after the hour when he beat Thibaut Courtois with a clever back-heel from Leroy Fer’s cross-shot to claim his third goal in two games.

Hazard gave Chelsea victory in the 75th minute when he calmly beat Rob Green from 12 yards after he had gone down under a challenge by Eduardo Vargas.

Southampton are second in the log after beating Hull City 1-0.

Kenyan midfielder Victor Wanyama scored the game’s only goal in the third minute at the KC Stadium, brilliantly lobbing Eldin Jakupovic from 40 yards after the Hull goalkeeper scuffed his clearance. Arsenal climbed into the Champions League places after Alexis Sanchez scored twice in a 3-0 success at home to winless bottom club Burnley.

Defender Calum Chambers crossed for Sanchez to head Arsenal in front in the 70th minute and smashed home his first senior goal two minutes later after Tom Heaton parried a shot by Danny Welbeck. Sanchez added a third in injury time from a Kieran Gibbs cross.

Arsene Wenger’s side, who welcomed Theo Walcott back from a long-term knee injury, moved into fourth place at the expense of West Ham United, who came from two goals down to record a 2-2 draw at Stoke City.

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We won’t support Jonathan in 2015 —Northern elders

As President Goodluck Jonathan declares his intention to run for second term in 2015, leaders of the North, under the auspices of the Northern Elders Forum, have expressed their decision to support any presidential candidate presented by the All Progressives Congress in the 2015 election.

They expressed their grievances with the ruling Peoples Democratic Party over the automatic ticket issued to President Goodluck Jonathan to seek a second term in the election. This, the elders said, had prevented aspirants from the North from contesting on the platform of the party.

The national leadership of the PDP, including the Board of Trustees, the National Executive Council and the National Working Committee, had unanimously adopted Jonathan as the consensus presidential candidate of the party.

In separate interviews with our correspondent on Friday, the Deputy Chairman of the NEF, Dr. Paul Unongo and spokesperson of the forum, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, stated that despite Jonathan’s power of incumbency and the deployment of state resources at his disposal, he would not win the election if the region voted against him.

He said, “Our position has not changed. We don’t mind him contesting, but we are not going to work for him to become president of this country again because we don’t believe that we have had any president that has been so divisive; that has heightened religious tendencies, hatred, ethnic militancy, high rate of impunity and a tremendous amount of insensitivity.

“The majority of northerners and the majority of Nigerians will decide for us and for the APC. We are not into party politics, but the APC has shown respect and deference to the North by allowing the North to produce its (presidential) candidate. But the PDP shut the door, saying there is nobody else but Jonathan; that he is the best for Nigeria. That is a lie.

“If not from the North, let somebody else come to contest; we will support him.”

The Second Republic Minister of Steel decried the abduction of over 200 Chibok schoolgirls by Boko Haram on April 14 and that they remain in captivity over six months after.

He said despite the claim by the Federal Government that it had reached a ceasefire deal with the sect and that the girls would be released, the insurgents had continued to launch attacks and kidnap more people.

Similarly, Abdullahi stated that the NEF would carry out its threat to frustrate Jonathan’s re-election bid, as the President had failed to secure the release of the Chibok girls before the end of October.

The Presidency had dismissed the ultimatum issued to Jonathan by the forum on August 11, 2014 to produce the Chibok girls or forget about his 2015 ambition.

Abdullahi said, “We did not even put ‘if.’ He should just forget about 2015. We cannot support him for 2015 for whatever reason. What we said would only confuse those who doubt; we have never doubted his failure. We have always believed that the man is incapable of running this country.”

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Another Terrorist attack in Borno hours after a cease fire was announced

Channels news which was the first to report the ceasefire agreement between the Nigerian Government and the Boko Haram sect even before the Nigerian Government announced it, is reporting a fresh terrorist attack in Borno state barely a day after.
Some of the report
“At least eight people have been killed in separate attacks suspected to have been carried out by Boko Haram militants in two villages in Borno State, north-east, Nigeria.
The attacks are coming barely a day after the Federal Government announced a ceasefire agreement with the members of the sect.
The insurgents were said to have attacked the village of Abadam on Friday night, killing at least one person, while a second attack on the village of Zhur in Hawul Local Government Area this morning, left at least seven people dead.
The latest attacks appear to confirm the doubt that have been expressed by some Nigerians regarding the sincerity of the terrorist group in agreeing to a ceasefire which was announced on Friday by the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh.
Part of the agreement is to enable the release of the Chibok girls, whose abduction in April caused international outrage.”

UK Home Office allegely Bans Bishop Oyedepo from entering the Uk

From Sahara reporters:
According to the source, the ban arose from
preliminary investigations by Britain’s Charity Commission that determined that monies donated to Bishop Oyedepo’s church for charitable purposes were funneled to Nigeria to fund the preacher’s flamboyant lifestyle.
Bishop Oyedepo owns a plush private jet and
has a fleet of expensive cars, among many
other astonishing personal assets.
Bishop Oyedepo was barred from entering the
United Kingdom in July. However, when
SaharaReporters contacted Nicola Kelly, a press officer at the immigration desk at the UK Home Office, she declined to comment on the case. The same day, our reporter spoke to one Emmanuel Igban, a media aide to Bishop
Oyedepo, but he denied that the high-flying
preacher had been banned.
But our British source asserted that Bishop
Oyedepo and one of his sons had been aware
of the probe of church finances for at least
three years now. He added that the probe was
triggered after the British Charity Commission found out that the wealthy pastor had taken out more than £16 million from the UK since 2009.
He added that the commission closely monitors
any repatriation of church resources, disclosing that any repatriation of funds of that size was most likely illegal.
According to the source, Bishop Oyedepo
claimed that he was running a not-for-profit
religious organization, “but the commission
determined that he was diverting funds to
engage in a series of profitable ventures.”
Bishop Oyedepo, who recently turned 60, is
believed to be Nigeria’s richest pastor and is
widely regarded as one of the richest
televangelists in the world.
The UK government has distributed notices
warning airlines that operate flights to the UK not carry the bishop.
Mr. Oyedepo’s private jet is also barred from
entering the UK airspace with him on board.”