Reps Frown At Casualisation Of Workers

$1bn Insurgency Fund: Reps Ask FG To Pay Oil Producing States 13%
File photo

The House of Representatives Committee on Labour, says it will investigate the alleged casualization of young Nigerians participating in the Chevron Nigerian Limited vocational training programme.

According to Rep. Mayowa Akinfolarin, who sponsored the motion on the matter, said, that the Vocational Training Program (VTP) of Chevron Nigeria Limited is designed to train young Nigerians who are mostly from the Niger Delta and other geopolitical zones of the country and later be converted to permanent staff after 18 – 24 months of training.

He explained that participants are selected based on merit after being successful in the assessment and interview stages and are trained as Process Operators/Maintenance Technicians for Chevron’s Deep-Water (Agbami), Offshore and Onshore facilities.

The Programme has been going on since 2004 and Chevron has converted four sets of VTP Trainees having been converted in January 2014 and the duration of the conversions of those casual staff (VTP Trainees) to permanent staffs ranges between one and half years to two and half years.

He expressed concern over batches 5 and 6 of the VTP Trainees who have been working for Chevron Nigeria Limited in the last four to five years without being converted to permanent staff, a situation that Chevron is taking undue advantage of by keeping the participants working under unpalatable conditions.

The lawmaker said that Chevron Nigeria Ltd refused to regularise the status of the VTPs, which has left 101 VTP 5 trainees and the 50 VTP 6 trainees in limbo as they are neither permanent staff nor contract staff since they do not receive benefits either as permanent staff or contract employees.

In the action of Chevron Nigeria Ltd contravenes Section 17 (a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 which guarantees “equal pay for equal work and Section 7 (1) of the Labour Act, 2004 which provides that not later than three months after the beginning of a worker’s period of employment with an employer, the employer shall give the worker a written statement specifying the terms and conditions of the employment.

“Chevron Nigeria Ltd has continued to perpetuate the casualization of young Nigerian workers by increasing the period of the “training contract” in 2015 from the initial 18 – 24 months to six months’ period.

“Attempts by host Community Leaders to intervene over the years on the corporate slavery of VTP staff but the Chevron Management have refused to co-operate”.

However, the House committee is expected to determine whether Chevron Nigeria limited flouted labour laws and report back to the House within six weeks.

Reps Set Up Committee To Investigate Abduction Of Dapchi Girls

$1bn Insurgency Fund: Reps Ask FG To Pay Oil Producing States 13%
File photo

The House of Representatives has set up a committee to investigate in the abduction of female students from the Government Girls Science Technical College in Dapchi.

This was made known on Tuesday on the floor of the House.

The lawmakers have asked the Adhoc committee investigating the abduction to return with a report and recommendation that can be practically applied to ensure that such does not happen again.

This follows a few days after the Governor of Yobe State, Ibrahim Gaidam, blamed the abduction of the Dapchi schoolgirls on the withdrawal of security personnel from communities in the state.

He alleged that security checkpoints were withdrawn from Dapchi and other communities, few days before the attack, a development which he believes gave room for the incident.

“There was not any justification whatsoever to withdraw the military from that place, knowing fully well that there is a girls’ school there with about 900 of them and it’s a local government headquarters.

“They withdrew the military personnel last week, which was not even known to us,” he said.

But the military denied the allegation, describing it as unfortunate and far from the truth.

According to the military, troops earlier deployed in Dapchi were redeployed to reinforce troops at Kanama following attacks on troops’ location at the Nigerian border.

This was on the premise that Dapchi has been relatively calm and peaceful and the security of Dapchi town was formally handed over to the Nigeria Police Division located in the town.

The troops’ redeployment was therefore done in tandem with the exigencies of operation and not as misconstrued.

However, the House has resolved to mobilise every security apparatus necessary to rescue the innocent students and reunite them with their parents as soon as possible.

Reps Direct NNPC To Stop Maintenance For Refineries

 

$1bn Insurgency Fund: Reps Ask FG To Pay Oil Producing States 13%
File photo

The House of Representatives Ad-Hoc Committee investigating the state of the nation’s refineries has directed the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to halt the 1.8 billion dollars contract for the Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) at the facilities.

Addressing a media conference in the national assembly, the Chairman of the committee, Garba Mohammed, said the House has mandated the committee to ascertain the viability of continuing investment of public funds on the refineries and allocation of 445,000 barrels per day of crude utilisation for the same purpose.

Hon. Mohammed said during the course of the investigation, the committee would find a way of resolving the epileptic operations of the refineries.

The committee work is expected to be concluded within three months

Killings: Reps Condemn Exclusion Of Kaduna, Plateau From Osinbajo Committee’s Visitation List

Killings: Reps Condemn Exclusion Of Kaduna, Plateau From Osinbjo Committe's Visitation List

 

As Nigeria grapples with the herdsmen-farmers crisis which has led to the deaths of hundreds of Nigerians, two members of the House of Representatives have faulted the exclusion of Kaduna and Plateau states from the list of states to be visited by a committee.

The lawmakers made the claim on Thursday, February 8, while commenting on a motion brought by a member of the House, Sunday Katung, who represents the Zangon-Kataf/Jaba Federal Constituency of Kaduna State.

The point of order was supported by the lawmaker representing Kachia/Kagarko Federal Constituency of Kaduna State, Mr Adams Jagaba.

READ ALSO: Osinbajo Calls For Creation Of State Police

Mr Katung had in his motion drawn the attention of the House to a statement from the Office of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, saying a sub-committee had been constituted to visit states affected by killings on a fact-finding mission.

The 10-man working group set up by the National Economic Council (NEC) and headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to look into the herdsmen-farmers crisis, set up the sub-committee on February 1.

The sub-committee, which has Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State as Chairman, is however expected to visit Benue, Taraba, Zamfara and Adamawa states.

This decision did not go down well with the lawmakers who believe that herdsmen-farmers clashes in Kaduna and Plateau predate that of other areas.

Mr Katung said: “The crisis of the herdsmen has its bud in Southern Kaduna and if the visitation takes place in Kaduna and Plateau, a different story will be told because peace has returned to the Plateau and peace is returning strongly to Southern Kaduna.”

The lawmaker believes the states should be included on the visitation list as it would send a goodwill message to the people who he said are already reconciling at the grassroots.

Confirming that the crisis emerged from the southern part of Kaduna, Mr Jagaba disclosed that the number of deaths recorded was more than that of Benue State.

He also said that excluding the states from the list was unfair, noting that the committee would be treating the symptoms of the crisis and not the issues on the ground.

The lawmaker, who said “we need to be included,” alleged that the security agencies are aware of the whereabouts of the culprits in Southern Kaduna.

He further stressed the need for governance to be run in a way such that every citizen would be given a sense of belonging.

The motion was consequently adopted by the House while its Committee on Public Safety and Intelligence were mandated to liaise with the Office of the Vice President to ensure the inclusion of Kaduna and Plateau on the list of states to be visited.

The committee has also been asked to report back in two weeks’ time.

Reps Ask Buhari To Sack IGP Over ‘Failings’, Benue Incident

The House of Representatives has asked President Muhammadu Buhari, to sack and replace the Inspector General of Police (Ibrahim Idris).

The lawmakers are asking President Buhari to replace the IGP with a more professional officer.

They made the call during plenary on Wednesday, accusing the IGP of failing in his duty.

The lawmakers had earlier considered a motion demanding the immediate removal of the Police Public Relations Officer, (PPRO), Jimoh Moshood, for making derogatory remarks against the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom.

In the motion sponsored by Rep. Mark Gbillah which enjoyed the support of most lawmakers, the conduct of the police officer was roundly condemned.

The motion seeks to have the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, to provide an unreserved apology to the Benue state governor and also relieve the PPRO of his position.

Earlier, the Benue state Caucus of the House had addressed a press conference demanding the resignation of the PPRO over professional misconduct and partisanship.

According to the lawmakers, the statements of the Police Officer while appearing on the Channels Television Programme, Sunrise Daily, where he demanded the resignation of the Benue state governor indicates the partisanship of the Nigerian police as an agency.

Reps Demand Removal Of Police PRO

Reps Urge Osinbajo To Swear In Ministers-Designate
File photo

The Lawmakers in the House of Representatives are considering a motion demanding the immediate removal of the Police Public Relations Officer, (PPRO), Jimoh Moshood, for making derogatory remarks against the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom.

In the motion sponsored by Rep. Mark Gbillah which enjoyed the support of most lawmakers, the conduct of the police officer was roundly condemned.

The motion seeks to have the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, to provide an unreserved apology to the Benue state governor and also relieve the PPRO of his position.

Earlier, the Benue state Caucus of the House had addressed a press conference demanding the resignation of the PPRO over professional misconduct and partisanship.

According to the lawmakers, the statements of the Police Officer while appearing on the Channels Television Programme, Sunrise Daily, where he demanded the resignation of the Benue state governor indicates the partisanship of the Nigerian police as an agency.

After over an hour, the motion has been passed without amendment.

Mr Jimoh Moshood described Governor Samuel Ortom as a drowning man, when he engaged the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Terver Akase, in a heated argument over the series of violence that has left many to their early graves since the beginning of the year.

READ ALSO: Police PRO Calls Ortom ‘Drowning Man’ Angers Benue CPS

“And that is why we felt you don’t join issues with a drowning man,” he said in an apparent reference to the governor calling for the immediate resignation or sack of the IGP.

Things, however, did not seem to go down well with the CPS who interrupted him with a strong rebuttal, demanding a retraction of the statement.

At this point Mr Akase interrupts him, making it clear that he took exception to the statement, insisting that “the governor of Benue State is not a drowning man.”

 

Magu Appears Before Reps, Gives Details Of Recovered Funds

BREAKING: Magu Appears Before Reps, Gives Details Of Recovered Funds
Ibrahim Magu (middle)

 

Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, has briefed the House of Representatives on the efforts made so far in the recovery of looted funds.

 

Mr Magu gave the brief when he appeared at a budget defence session convened by the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes on Monday at the National Assembly in Abuja.

He informed the lawmakers that total asset recoveries by the anti-graft agency amount to more than N473billion, $98million, €7million, and £294,000 among others between January and December 2017.

Giving a breakdown of the figures, the EFCC boss highlighted the final forfeiture of N32billion and $5million to the coffers of the Federal Government by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources.

The monies also included the recovery and final forfeiture of N449million discovered at Legico Plaza in Victoria Island, Lagos, as well as the final forfeiture of more than $43million discovered in an apartment in Ikoyi area of the state.

Magu said the EFCC recovered more than N329billion from petroleum marketers in Kano while withholding tax of over N27.7 billion was retrieved from banks.

According to him, others include the Nigerian Ports Authority recovery of €6.6 million, recoveries of about N1.1billion on behalf of AMCON, and the recovery of subsidy fraud funds of more than N4billion.

The EFCC boss hinted the lawmakers that details of the recoveries had since been forwarded to the secretariat of the committee.

He also briefed the committee on the performance of the 2017 Budget of the anti-graft agency, as well as its budget for 2018.

Magu noted that the major challenge in the implementation of the capital estimates was the late and insufficient release of funds appropriated.

He lamented that funds have not been released for the furnishing of the new head office complex of the agency expected to be handed over in March and sought the intervention of the lawmakers.

Reps Divided Over Proposed Withdrawal Of $1bn To Fight Insurgency

$1bn Insurgency Fund: Reps Ask FG To Pay Oil Producing States 13%
File photo

A motion on the proposed $1billion to be drawn from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) to fight the Boko Haram insurgency generated an intense debate on Thursday on the floor of the House of Representatives in Abuja.

The motion, which led to a divided House, seeks to ensure that the 13% derivation due to the oil producing states is deducted from the amount before it is given.

Benefitting states include Akwa-Ibom, Rivers, Delta, Bayelsa, Cross River, Edo, Abia, Imo, Ondo, Anambra and Lagos.

On December 14, 2017, the Nigerian Governors’ Forum approved the deduction of $1billion by the Federal Government from the Excess Crude Account to fight insurgency during the meeting of the National Economic Council.

The decision had sparked mixed reactions while some governor, including Mr Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, rejected the approval and demanded their own share of the fund.

Leading a debate on the matter today, Ken Chikere from Rivers State told the House that while no amount was too small to spend for peace in the county, the provision of the Constitution must be obeyed for the sake of equity.

He urged his colleagues to ensure that the 13 per cent derivation fund was deducted and paid to the oil producing states as it would be needed to tackle some of their major challenges.

But his counterpart from Kaduna State, Shehu Mona, had a different opinion and disagreed with the motion.

Mona asked the lawmakers to consider the fact that fighting Boko Haram is not a regional problem and, therefore, the motion should be looked at from that point of view.

On his part, Henry Archibong from Akwa Ibom raised a point of order in Section 80 (2), asking if the money had been approved by the National Assembly.

The Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara, responded that the issue was not relevant at that point.

Also reacting, Aliyu Patigi (Kwara State) believes the motion relates to accounting and stated that it would be in addition to other charges if the President was requesting for $1billion.

Speaker Dogara then informed the House that the State Houses of Assembly would have to endorse a resolution giving the Federal Government approval to spend the money.

After further deliberation, the chairman of the House Committee on Rules and Business, Emmanuel Orker Jev, advised that the motion was stepped down as it was deprived of adequate information.

His position was, however, countered by Nnenna Ukeje from Abia State while the Speaker stepped down the motion.

Dogara consequently directed the House Committee on Finance to look into the matter and report back within four weeks.

The committee is expected to ascertain the actual amount in the Excess Crude Account and the amount due to the different parts of the Federating Units.

Federal Character: Reps Support End To Discrimination Against Married Women

Reps Urge Osinbajo To Swear In Ministers-Designate
File photo

 

Members of Nigeria’s House of Representatives on Wednesday threw their weight behind a bill they say will end discrimination against married women.

Married women in the country have over the years found themselves against a brick wall when it comes to issues of indigenous identity. They are hardly every accepted as indigenes of their husbands’ state and find themselves locked out of their state of origin because of their marriage.

Lawmakers, however, expect a bill that seeks to amend the Federal Character Commission (Establishment) Bill 2010 to help address the challenge.

The bill also provides for the establishment of the Federal Character Tribunal for the prosecution of violators of the Federal Character Act.

Sponsors of the bill informed the House that the amendment will address some legal issues confronting the Act, including allowing a woman to claim where her husband is from, after which the lawmakers gave it the thumbs up and allowed it to scale the second reading.

Some of the lawmakers who spoke in support of the amendment said the tribunal will appropriately sanction people in positions of authority who violate the Act and display ethnic sentiments during recruitment.

The Representative of Shiroro/Rafi/Munya Federal Constituency of Niger State, Abubakar Chika Adamu, said the amendment should take into consideration men who are married to more than one wife.

Although he ruled out dual indigeneship for women, he said, “For official purposes, a woman should be able to claim where her husband comes from.”

On a lighter note, he added, “I believe that the bill should not address that it is only my first wife that would claim where I come from.

“Other wives also have rights and the bill should be able to look at that aspect that my other wives.”

That way, he expects that there would be no problem when his wives find themselves in different positions of power at the same time.

“When tomorrow, my first wife is the Head of Service of where I come from, the second wife becomes the secretary to the state government and the third wife becomes the chief judge, people should stop complaining,” he said.

Reps To Investigate Alleged Revenue Loss Of $7.6trillion By NNPC

Reps Summon Kachikwu, Baru Over Alleged Fuel Subsidy Payment
File photo

The House of Representatives is to investigate the reasons responsible for Nigeria losing about 7.6 trillion Naira crude oil revenue to international oil companies.

In a motion sponsored by Rep. Sunday Katung, lawmakers were informed that the loss, which is from 1993, is partly due to government’s failure to implement the deep offshore and inland basin products sharing contracts act.

The ad-hoc committee, which will investigate the matter, is also expected review the products sharing contracts act, the joint operating agreement and other relevant agreements necessary to regularize all the anomalies that led to the loss of revenue.

On Wednesday, the House summoned the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr Maikanti Baru, to investigate the allegation of fuel subsidy payment by the corporation.

The summon followed a motion sponsored on Wednesday by a lawmaker from Kogi State, Honourable Sunday Karimi.

Mr Karimi was concerned that “the Federal Government claimed that it has stopped fuel subsidy payment and it is the NNPC that is paying subsidy through its routine trading activities.”

He was also worried about claims that such payment does not “require budgetary approval”, while motion gained the support of a majority of the lawmakers.

Reps Summon Kachikwu, Baru Over Alleged Fuel Subsidy Payment

Reps Summon Kachikwu, Baru Over Alleged Fuel Subsidy Payment
File photo

 

The House of Representatives has summoned the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr Maikanti Baru.

The summon followed a motion sponsored on Wednesday by a lawmaker from Kogi State, Honourable Sunday Karimi, who drew attention to the need to investigate the allegation of fuel subsidy payment by the corporation.

Mr Karimi was concerned that “the Federal Government claimed that it has stopped fuel subsidy payment and it is the NNPC that is paying subsidy through its routine trading activities.”

He was also worried about claims that such payment does not “require budgetary approval”, while motion gained the support of a majority of the lawmakers.

Kachikwu and Baru were consequently directed to appear before a Joint Committee of the House to explain the current subsidy payment.

Both men were also asked to account for the funds spent on subsidy payment since January 2017 to date.

The House, however, asked President Muhammadu Buhari to formally request for approval of budgetary provision for fuel subsidy in the 2018 Appropriation Bill, if there is a need for such.

Reps Adjourn Public Hearing On Ceding Of Waterways

Reps Adjourn Public Hearing On Ceding Of Waterways

The House of Representatives has adjourned the public hearing on the ceding of the nation’s waterways to some foreign companies till January 17, 2018.

The hearing was adjourned after the proceedings which lasted for about 30 minutes on Thursday at the National Assembly in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The House Committee on Public Petitions, led by Honourable Nkem-Obota Uzoma from Abia State, is probing the planned $195million concession of the nation’s waterways to foreign companies.

In the course of its investigation, the committee plans to question the Nigeria Navy, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and Federal Ministry of Transportation.

At today’s hearing, the Minister of Transport, Chibuike Amaechi, and the Director General of NIMASA, Dakuku Peterside, were among those in attendance.

Others include the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe, and some senior naval officers, as well as some representatives of civil society groups.

Responding to the allegation that the Navy has a responsibility of protecting the waterways and should be carried along in the concession process, Amaechi based the development on the provisions of the Armed Forces Act.

He quoted Part One Section Four of the act as saying: “… the Navy shall, in particular, be further charged with (a) enforcing and assisting in coordinating the enforcement of all Customs Laws, including anti-bunkering, fishes, and immigration laws of Nigeria at sea; (b) enforcing and assisting in coordinating the enforcement of national and international maritime laws ascribed and acceded to by Nigeria…”

The minister also defended the concession as it relates to the NAMASA laws, saying the Navy has a responsibility to regulate and promote maritime security.

He said the claims in the said petition are untrue, maintaining that it was not the responsibility of the Navy to deal with coastal waterways.

Amaechi admitted that the Ministry does not have the power to cede the nation’s waterways, except the National Assembly and the Presidency, adding that the President’s approval was gotten before such decision was taken.

He added that although NIMASA has nothing to do with the blue water (the sea), it was keenly interested in exercising its responsibility on the brown water which he said the law establishing the agency had provided.

However, one of the members of the committee from Bayelsa State, Agbedi Fredrick, was of the opinion that the naval team appeared not to be ready for the discussion.

Fredrick then move the motion for the adjournment of the public hearing to enable all parties involved in the petition to prepare adequately for deliberations on a yet to be decided date.

His colleague from Cross River State, Mike Etaba, seconded the motion as directed by the chairman of the committee.

But the committee chairman called the attention of the lawmakers to the fact that the minister and the naval chief might not be available at all times and suggested that fundamental questions should be asked in the meantime.

One of the lawmakers from Edo State, Ehiozuwa Agbonayinma, who recently defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) then took his turn to question the minister but he was interrupted.

Uzoma then informed Amaechi that the panel would have to serve the Navy and others present at the public hearing with copies of the documents he brought to study for further discussions.

After series of deliberations, the sitting was adjourned till January 17.

The lawmakers took the decision to probe the planned concession on December 7 after some civil society organisations petitioned the Speaker of the House, Mr Yakubu Dogara, over it.

Chairman of the Public Petitions Committee, Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, explained at the time that the petitioners questioned the merit behind giving the concession for the management and provision of security of the waterways to an Israeli security firm when the country had statutory agencies such as the Navy and NIMASA.