National Economic Council commends FG on prosecution of subsidy suspects

The National Economic Council (NEC) on Thursday commended the Federal Government on its decision to arrest and prosecute all the oil marketers who were wrongly paid subsidy money.

Briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the NEC meeting, the Anambra state governor, Peter Obi said from the report made available to the Council some of the oil company have started refunding the subsidy money they had fraudulently collected and that those who have criticised the administration should now know that what the government was crying about was not in vain.

“The Council commend the Federal Government on its present stand of prosecution of those who were wrongly paid subside money and on the need for them to return same fully,” Mr Obi said.

“The Council also supports the Federal Government on its commitment to privatization on power sector,” he added.

According to him, the Council maintained that the petroleum sector needs to be cleaned up.

Vice President Namadi Sambo, who presided over the NEC meeting, which deliberated on good governance, the 370,000 jobs promised Nigerian youths, urged state governors to key into the vision of the current administration and to ensure that jobs are made available to Nigerians in their respective states.

Another issue which drew the attention of the Council was the need to organise a nonpartisan good governance publicity tour to showcase federal and state projects across the six geo political zones of the country.

The Council recommended that the tour should be organised by the Minister of Information.

Speaking on this issue, the governor of Akwa-Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio said the essence of the tour is to “highlight the good thing that is happening in democracy in Nigeria.

According to him, this tour “has nothing to do with the platform within which somebody was elected. So whether it is an ACN state or a PDP state or an ANPP state is immaterial. What is material is the fact that this tour is going to highlight those good things that are happening, the dividend of democracy that are being delivered to the people.”

The Council also deliberated on the soft loan the federal government is collecting to repay in 40 years. The loan will be used to fight erosion problems in the country. The Council insisted that so far, it is comfortable with the loans collected.

What may be important is what it is doing with such money, hence the need for good governance tour across the country.

South African Brewery to commission plant in Nigeria

The South African Brewery (SAB) has made its entry into the Nigerian beer and beverage industry with its construction of a production plant in Anambra State.

The governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi, while answering questions from journalists, said that the SAB production plant which will be commissioned before the end of the month, welcomed the South African company for building the brewery he described as the biggest in sub-Saharan Africa in his state.

The governor observed that foreigners’ perception of Nigeria was at variance with the true situation in the country, saying “the perception of Nigeria by foreigners is far worse than it is in reality. The truth is issues about Nigeria are usually over exaggerated by foreigners.”

“The South African Brewery, if they show you their report and perception about Nigeria before coming to build their plant in the country, they wouldn’t have invested in the country.”

He said Africa and the Middle East contribute 11.5 per cent of Heineken’s global income, “out of this 11.5 per cent, six per cent comes from Nigeria. Today, Guinness derives 6.1 per cent of its global income from Nigeria. In fact, Guinness sells more in Nigeria than its home country.”

This will tell you that despite the challenges we have, which the Ministry of Trade and Investment is working with state governments to address, Nigeria still remains the best investment destination for genuine investors across the world,” he said.

Meanwhile, SAB operates seven breweries and 40 depots in South Africa with an annual brewing capacity of 3.1 billion litres.

Its portfolio of beer brands are Carling Black Label, Hansa Pilsener, Castle Lager, Castle Lite and Castle Milk Stout.

Its full brand portfolio includes 10 brands of beer and five flavoured alcoholic beverages.


Police raid kidnappers hide out in Anambra

Governor Peter Obi of Anambra state has shut down a hotel in Nkpor, Idemili North local government area where about four kidnap suspects were arrested last Sunday.

The governor ordered the Arthur Gardens Hotel at Umusiome to be sealed off when he visited the area where the suspected kidnappers were found.

He warned that the Anambra state government will not tolerate any form of criminal activity, and property owners who allow their facilities to be used for criminal activities will bear the brunt.

Obi swears in new commissioners and special advisers

The Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi, on Monday swore in five new commissioners and four special advisers in the Exco Chambers of the Government House, Awka.
The swearing in followed the successful screening of the appointees by the Anambra State House of Assembly.
The five new commissioners brings to 17, the number of commissioners in the cabinet.

In his speech on the occasion, Mr Obi said more commissioners and special advisers would be appointed to increase the executive council members to 30.
He said his administration would bring a lot of changes to the state in the next one year and urged the Exco members to brace up for hard work.

John Okoh Akirika is now the commissioner for Lands while Chuba Okoli is the new commissioner for Science and Technology.

Uju Okeke, who in 2009 resigned as Mr Obi’s Senior Special Assistant, is the new commissioner for Education; Ngozika Okoye is the new commissioner for Finance; while Ndubisi Menakaya is the commissioner for Social Duties.

George Molokwu was re-appointed Special Adviser on Security while Fidel Okafor is now the Special Adviser on Political Matters.

Vivian Nwandu is the Special Adviser on MDGs while Godfry Moutulu is the Special Adviser on Chieftaincy and Town Union Matters.

Supreme Court upholds Okadigbo’s widow’s election as senator

The Supreme Court on Friday declared Margaret Chuba-Okadigbo, widow of former Senate President, Chuba Okadigbo, as the duly elected senator for Anambra North

Mrs Okadigbo had been locked in a three-way battle with Alphonsus Igbeke and John Emeka over who of the trio should occupy the seat, won by the Peoples Democratic Party in the April 2011 election.

None of the trio had occupied the seat since.

Her late husband was elected to the seat in 1999 and went on to become Senate president.

The senatorial district had not had any  form of representation at the upper legislative arm of the National Assembly owing to the series of controversies that trailed the conduct of primary election for the selection of the PDP’s  candidate by various factions of the highly fractured party in the state.

The Supreme Court panel led by Justice Chukwuma Eneh held that Mrs Okadigbo emerged winner of the primaries conducted by the legally recorgnised faction of the party.

The court also held that the appellant, Mr Emeka who brought the suit before it does not have the locus to have instituted the appeal challenging the Court of Appeal’s decision which returned Mrs Okadigbo since he did not participate in the primary.

However the court decline to order for the swearing of Mrs Okadigbo on the grounds that it was not part of the reliefs sought by Mrs Okadigbo.

The apex court advised Mrs Okadigbo’s lawyers to file further processes to obtain such an order.


Economic Management Team order agencies to stop fake products

The federal government has directed regulatory agencies in the country to work quickly to address the menace of sub-standard products in the country.

The directive was issued after the Economic Management Team’s meeting, presided by President Goodluck Jonathan at the state house on Tuesday.

Noting that sub-standard products whether manufactured locally or imported could be detrimental to consumers, the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who spoke to journalists after the meeting said the team took presentation from three agencies to address the detrimental effect of sub-standard products and therefore concluded on stamping out the menace.

President Jonathan and the Economic Management Team met for over eight hours to discuss how to support the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) in the enforcement of set-down regulations in the control of substandard products.

Dr Okonjo-Iweala, also noted that the government’s decision is about how to protect local manufacturers from unhealthy competition with those who import inferior products.

Commending the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the Finance Minister noted that the agency has brought down the prevalence of fake drugs down to 6 per cent from the 16.7 per cent it stood in the past.

In his address, the governor of Adamawa state, Mr Murtala Nyako, said the team was satisfied with the presentations made by the regulatory agencies and suggestions were offered to them to improve on their activities.

Also speaking, the governor of Anambra state, Mr Peter Obi said curtailing sub-standard products and dumping of goods into the country would help in growing the local industries.

The 24 man Economic Management Team was inaugurated by the president in 2011 to generate programmes and policies aimed at achieving government’s transformation agenda.

60,000 Pregnant Women Die Yearly – Health Experts

Health authorities and experts have disclosed that 60, 000 pregnant Nigerian women die yearly, thus, putting Nigeria’s maternal and infant mortality rate among the highest in the world.

The disclosure was made in Anambra by health expert and consultant, Prof. Bryan Adinma of the College of Medicine, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi while speaking at a workshop on Women Reproductive Health and Rights.

Adinma, who was the former Anambra State Commissioner for Health, and consultant to some agencies of the United Nations and the World Bank,  emphasised that every expectant mother should register at a health institution, “not prayer houses or with quacks under whatever name”, for proper and close attention from conception till delivery.

The National President of Umu-Ada Igbo Nigeria, Dr. Kate Ezeofor, who was also in attendence, bemoaned the current statistics that shows a maternal mortality rate of 1000 to every 100,000 live births in the southeast geo-political zone. Whereas 34,000 women die yearly in the country from illegal abortion, obstructed labour and hemorrhage. 

PDP state congress returns all excos in Benue, Niger and Plateau

The ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) state congresses that held over the weekend recorded a similar result in most of the states with the party’s delegates returning all the state executive of the party in Benue, Niger and most in Plateau states.

Senate President Senator David Mark reminded the newly elected People’s Democratic Party (PDP) officials in Makurdi, Benue state that leadership is a sacrifice and a call to service to humanity and not an opportunity for self-aggrandizement. The party’s state congress returned all the former executive members led by Dr. Agbo Emmanuel, unopposed.

Speaking to the officials after Saturday’s congress, Senator Mark said leadership requires the ability to manage human and material resources effectively for the general good.

He canvassed that all party members should be carried along to avoid disaffection.

Senator Mark said the PDP has demonstrated that it has the capacity to conduct its internal affairs democratically.

Dabin retains PDP chairmanship in plateau

The PDP congress in Plateau state re-elected Haruna Dabin as the chairman of the party at the just concluded congress held in Jos, north central Nigeria.

According to the electoral committee chairman, Bappah Haruna Disina, the incumbent chairman defeated his sole contestant, Gideon Barde with over 700 votes, scoring 730 votes as against 19 votes while Michael Dachom defeated Nathaniel Wettem to clinch the post of organising secretary.

Contestants for other positions in the state executive were unopposed following agreement amongst the delegates, leaving the positions of chairman and organising secretary to contest for.

820 delegates from the 17 local government areas of Plateau state converged to elect the executive committee members of (PDP) in the state after the wards and local government delegates have been elected.

The state governor Jonah Jang led the party to cast his vote after accreditation by the electoral committee in which 4,390 total votes were cast in the exercise that lasted for more than ten hours.

PDP return all executives in Niger state       

All 28 members of the executive council of the Niger state chapter of the People’s Democratic Party have been returned unopposed at the state congress of the party in Minna

The chairman of the congress monitoring team from the party’s headquarters Alhaji Halilu Gilma commended the members of the party in the state for the family-like way the congress was conducted.

He however appealed to the executive of the party in the state to run an open door policy and move the party to the next level.

The re-elected chairman while thanking the members of the party for the confidence reposed in the leadership of the party appealed for continuous support.

INEC’s official who monitored the event gave a pass mark to the conduct of the election but said she will still submit a report to the commission’s headquarters.

Police halts PDP congress in Anambra

The Anambra state Police Command has stopped a faction of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) from holding their scheduled state congress.

The officers say they were enforcing a court order obtained by another faction to stop the congress.

Senator Timothy Aduda, chairman of the congress committee however, told journalists that he was not aware of any court order.

A founding member of the party, Mr Peter Uyanwa as well as former state chairman, Honorable Tony Nwoye say the ward and local government congresses that were held were not done in accordance with the PDP constitution and guidelines.