Sunday, 21 January 2018
Items filtered by date: October 2017

The police have said the vehicle used to convey Tagbo Umeike to the hospital has been recovered from Davido’s Lekki residence.

This, the police said, proved that the popular Nigerian artist knew more than he initially told investigators.

Davido had, in a pre-investigation meeting, told the police he had left Shisha Bar for DNA Night Club in Victoria Island without the deceased and was only informed by mutual friends of his death while he was at DNA.

The police chief made it clear that this was an untruth, saying:

“However, investigation revealed that Davido’s white Toyota Hilux escort driver, Tunde Usutu, accompanied by one Agbeje Olaoye and one Idris Busari, both Davido’s friends, took the deceased to the General Hospital Lagos and abandoned him in his vehicle on the instruction of Davido.

“The CCTV footage at the hospital picked the escort vehicle abs the entire activity. The vehicle was recovered from Davido’s residence at 7, Awoshika Street, Lekki Phase 1.

“This completely debunks Davido’s claim that he did not know how the deceased got to the General Hospital. The interim autopsy report stated that the victim died of Asphyxia.”

Davido has been reinvited for questioning by the police after more information concerning the demise of his friend Tagbo was unveiled.

Published in Entertainment
Wednesday, 11 October 2017 22:00

Davido Lied About Tagbo’s Death – Police

Nigerian pop artist Davido has been invited again by the Lagos State command of the Nigerian police in connection with the death of his friend Tagbo Umeike.

The autopsy that was done on the deceased revealed that he died of suffocation.

The Acting Lagos Police Commissioner, Imohimi Edgal, stated at a briefing that Davido has been reinvited for questioning.

According to Edgal, the information Davido gave them was different from what was found after their investigation.

Apart from the autopsy report revealing that Tagbo died of asphyxia or suffocation, investigations also revealed that he was abandoned in his car at the hospital by Davido’s driver and two of his friends: Agbeje Olaoye and Idris Busari.

The Lagos police chief said a CCTV footage from the General Hospital where Tagbo was dumped revealed that Davido’s escort Hilux vehicle driver, Tunde Usutu, and his two friends took him to the hospital and abandoned him there.

Davido, according to Edagal, had stated earlier, during a pre-investigation meeting with the police, the deceased’s family, friends and Caroline Danjuma, that he had left Shisha bar where he had been drinking with the deceased for DNA nightclub in Victoria Island and was only informed by mutual friends of his demise.

Before his demise, Tagbo was said to have consumed a huge amount of alcohol. The bartender and CCTV footage confirmed that Tagbo had drunk as much as 40 shots of Tequila and exhibited signs of drunkenness.

Two of Davido’s other friends, DJ Olu and Chime, were found dead in a BMW Saloon car in an underground garage days after Tagbo’s demise. The autopsy done on them to confirm the cause of death is yet to be concluded.

Published in Headliners
Wednesday, 11 October 2017 03:17

Boy, 3, in coma, needs N9m to live

Three-year-old Caleb Popoola is on a hospital bed at the Paediatric and Child Care unit, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, Lagos. He is in coma on a life support machine. Master Caleb’s doctors have diagnosed him with ‘brain tumour’ and he needs N9million to survive.

A letter from LASUTH said Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) done on Caleb showed that he has a large Brainstem glioma with mild hydrocephalus.

His father, Akeem Popoola said Caleb, his first son, had been on a LASUTH hospital bed for three weeks.

He explained that the surgery would be done at Fortis Hospitals Limited in India.

He said: “It would cost N2, 711,250:00 ($7,500), while feeding and accommodation in India would cost N759, 150:00 ($2,100). Air ticket for Caleb would cost about N5million, because we cannot book normal air ticket for him, although we are still looking for something cheaper. He would be travelling on a stretcher; life oxygen and possibly the airline’s medical team would be on board to support him. My wife and I would also be traveling with him and we would need N860, 000 to buy air tickets, because ticket costs N430, 000 per person.”

Popoola noted that since the illness began last June 15, the family has spent about N1.8million on Caleb’s health, including, hospital bills and getting an Indian Visa.

He said the sickness started with Caleb limping on his right leg.

“He could not use his right hand and he was less active in school. We took him to a private hospital but we were told nothing was wrong with him; we later took him to LASUTH and we did all sorts of tests which all came out fine. It was when we did MRI test that we discovered that he had the ailment. We were told that where he had the tumour is very delicate and they cannot play around it. I was at University College Hospital (UCH) in Ibadan, Oyo State and Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital (OAUTH), all to no avail. I was told that his case was delicate and he cannot be handled in the hospitals due to lack of facilities. We are to spend a minimum of 42 days in India,” Popoola said.

He added: “We have taken him to various churches including The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in Mowe, and Mountain of Fire Ministries (MFM) for prayers.”

Popoola is appealing for financial assistance for Caleb. Naira donations can be made to Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB), account name: Popoola Akeem and account number, 0006748242.

Dollar donations can be paid to Standard Chartered Bank, account name: Popoola Akeem and account number: 0002492351.

He can be reached on 08056573117 or 08095827721.

Published in News & Stories
Wednesday, 11 October 2017 02:56

Kachikwu’s camp hits Baru with six posers

‘GMD’s response full of  distortions’

David-West: minister’s claims wild

Loyalists find gaps in NNPC’s position

POSERS FOR BARU, BY KACHIKWU’S LOYALISTS

 

•What becomes of Sections 130(2), 148(1) of the Constitution and Section 1(1) of NNPC Act?
•How can the NNPC Tenders Board appointed by Baru be responsible for approving
contracts in the light of Section 20(1) of the Public Procurement Act?
•What is the proof that Kachikwu as NNPC GMD did what Baru is doing?
•How can NNPC Board oversee budget without information?
•Why was Baru silent on the controversial appointments he made without briefing the board?
•Are there standards of transparency and due process when NNPC awarded contracts of
that magnitude without carrying NNPC Board along?

The crisis of confidence in the oil sector raged on yesterday, with some associates of the Minister of State, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, taking on the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru.

Kachikwu wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari, alleging that Baru

  • awarded $25billion contracts unilaterally;
  • ran a “bravado” management; and
  • made appointments without consultations.

Baru denied it all. He said no money was involved in the contracts and that the NNPC Tenders Board had no business reporting to Kachikwu and the corporation’s Board. The Presidency backed his position.

But Kachikwu’s “loyalists” have described Baru’s response as a potpourri of contradictions and distortions. To them, Baru’s and NNPC’s defence is “unconvincing”.

These verdicts were contained in a fact-sheet meant to clarify issues surrounding the disputed $25billion transactions by NNPC. 

The Nation stumbled on the fact-sheet yesterday. It may have been prepared against the backdrop of NNPC’s Monday statement, which described Kachikwu as a “liar” with his August 30 memo to President.

The loyalists of the Minister raised six posers for Baru and NNPC to answer.

The six posers, based on the 1999 Constitution, the NNPC Act and the Public Procurement Act, are as follows:

  • What becomes of Section 130(2), Section 148(1) of the 1999 Constitution and Section 1(1) of the NNPC Act if Baru said he did not have to consult the Minister and NNPC Board?
  • How can the NNPC Tenders Board appointed by Baru be responsible for approving contracts in the light of Section 20(1) of the Public Procurement Act?
  • What is the proof that Kachikwu as NNPC GMD did the same things that Baru is doing?
  • How can NNPC Board oversee budget without information?
  • Why was Baru silent on the controversial appointments he made without briefing the board? Did the silence confirm that the appointments were irregular or wrong?
  • Are there standards of transparency and due process when NNPC awarded contracts of that magnitude without carrying NNPC Board along?

The fact-sheet reads in part: “While not joining issues, it will be worrisome if relevant section of Nigerians and keen watchers of oil and gas industry are not put through on the response of the NNPC GMD, Dr. Maikanti Baru on policies on public procurement as enshrined in the relevant laws and regulations governing procurement in Nigeria, which include Public Procurement Act 2007 and Procurement Procedures Manual.

“The Public Procurement Act 2007 provides procurement guidance to all Federal ministries, extra-ministerial agencies, departments, agencies, parastatals, corporations and other public entities set up by the constitution or Acts of the National Assembly and /or whose funding derives from the Federation Accounts, their own internally generated revenue, the Federation share of the Consolidated Revenue Fund and special allocations in the federal budget or being entities outside of the foregoing description, derive at least 35% of the funds appropriated or proposed to be appropriated for any type of procurement described in the Public Procurement Act 2007, which NNPC is one.

“The procurement Act 2007 borders on Efficiency, Fairness, Transparency, Accountability and Ethical Standards, and way and manner such procurement shall be conducted, and the entities like Tenders’ Board with powers to do.

“And any procurement system that fails to take into consideration these relevant sections stimulated hesitation to compete, submission of inflated tenders containing a risk premium, or submission of deflated tenders followed by delayed or defective performance, collusion in bribery, bad value for money, and betrayal and abuse of the public trust for personal gain.

“Dr. Kachikwu’s leaked memo to the President sought among other things, to promote application of fair and competitive standard and ethical practices.

“But in his public response to the private memo to the President, it is clear to all fair-minded persons that the attempt of the NNPC GMD, Dr. Maikanti Baru, to defend himself is unconvincing, clear embarrassment to the person of President Buhari, his dream of sanctified institutions, and our dear constitution.

“The public response to the issues raised in the leaked memo to the President is a potpourri of contradictions, distortions, and clear breach of facts and logic.”

The loyalists faulted Baru’s claim that he did not need to consult the Minister and the Board on the alleged $25billion transactions.

They asked the NNPC boss to be more forthcoming on his non-consultation of the Minister and the Board in respect to the provisions of sections 130(2) and148(1) of the 1999 Constitution, and Section 1(1) of the NNPC Act

The fact-sheet  added: “The ministerial issue as viewed lacks substance. The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (3rd alteration) is very clear on the powers of the President of the Federal Republic.

“By virtue of Section 130(2) of the Constitution, “the president shall be the Head of State, the Chief Executive of the Federation and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation,” and by virtue of Section 148(1) of the Constitution, ‘the president may, in his description, assign to the Vice-President or any Minister of the Government of the Federation responsibility for any business of the Government of the Federation, including the administration of any department of government.’

“So by the enshrinement of that Section 148(1) above, and the supremacy of the Constitution, according to Section 1 sub-section (1),  Baru’s submission as regards Kachikwu’s role as an appointed Minister by Mr. President is wrong, null, void and inconsistent with the constitution to the extent of its inconsistency.

“Again apart from the fact that every Board of parastatals, extra-ministerial or corporations etc. are the supervisory entities of such, the NNPC Act in Sections below are clear

“S. 1(1) says: ‘There shall be established a corporation by the name of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (hereinafter in the Act referred to as “the Corporation”) which shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal and may sue or be sued in its corporate name.

(2) The affairs of the Corporation shall be conducted by a Board of Directors of the Corporation which shall consist of a Chairman and the following other members, that is (a) the Director-General, Federal Ministry of Finance and Economic Development;

(b) The Managing Director of the Corporation; and

(c) Three persons to be appointed by the National Council of Ministers, being persons who by reason of their ability, experience or specialised knowledge of the oil industry or of business or professional attain.”

“Sub-section (2) of the Act is clear that the NNPC Board has overall supervisory powers over the corporation. How can these supervisory powers not include some kind of oversight on contracts worth billions of dollars?”

The minister’s loyalists faulted Baru’s claim that the NNPC Tenders Board is the only legal body to approve contracts and not the NNPC Board.

The fact-sheet said: “Baru’s claim that the NNPC Tenders’ Board, not the NNPC Board, is the right body to approve such contracts in question is also false. According to Public Procurement Act’s Section below:

S.20. (1) The accounting officer of a procuring entity shall be the person charged with line supervision of the conduct of all procurement processes; in the case of ministries the Permanent Secretary and in the case of extra-ministerial departments and corporations the Director-General or officer of co-ordinate responsibility.

(2) The accounting officer of every procuring entity shall have overall responsibility for the planning of, organization of tenders, evaluation of tenders and execution of all procurements and in particular shall be responsible for.”

“Apart from the GMD as the appointor of the Tenders’ Board, which he also chairs, his duty is purely to plan, organise, evaluate, execute and supervise the conduct of ‘procurement processes’ and not to approve contracts above his threshold under the seal of the Corporation.

“He cannot plan, organise, evaluate, execute procurement process, approve and execute approved projects. He lacks the statutory capacity to be the sole determinant of due process in the corporation.

“But after the approval by the NNPC Board, President or FEC, it is worthy of note that the Tenders’ Board, according to Public Procurement Act in Section 22 (3), ‘shall be responsible for the award of procurement of goods, works and services within the threshold set in the regulations.”

“Under the seal of the NNPC Board, according to the First Schedule, Part A, Sections 11, 12 and 13 of the NNPC Act which says:

“11. The fixing of the seal of the Corporation shall be authenticated by the signature of the Chairman and any other person authorized in that behalf by the Board.

  1. Any contract or instrument, which if made or executed by any person not being a body corporate would not be required to be under seal, may be made or executed on behalf of the Corporation by any person generally or specially authorised to act for that purpose by the Board.
  2. Any document purporting to be a contract, instrument or other document duly signed or sealed on behalf of the Corporation shall be received in evidence and, unless the contrary is proved, be presumed without further proof to have been so signed and sealed.”

The loyalists claimed that it was not true that Dr. Kachikwu as NNPC GMD did what Baru is doing

The fact-sheet states: “At the inception of Dr. Kachikwu’s term as the GMD NNPC, there was no NNPC board in place, and this void Kachikwu bridged by briefing the President weekly on all key issues. All actions and activities were sanctioned by Mr. President.

“Beyond that, it is on record that Dr. Kachikwu as the then GMD of NNPC instituted a culture of transparency at all levels which culminated to monthly publications of the operational activities and briefings of stakeholders of the corporation. This practice, which is a key component of the oil and gas reform plan, has since ended with his exit as the GMD.”

The loyalists asked Baru to explain how NNPC Board oversees the budget without information.

They also challenged NNPC and Baru to explain their silence on some controversial appointments made by the GMD.

They said Baru could not hide behind illegality to justify wrong actions.

The fact-sheet said: “Baru admitted that one of the NNPC board’s statutory responsibilities is overseeing the budget. How can the board perform this function if it has no information or input about contracts to be executed?

“Why was Dr. Baru silent on the controversial appointments he made without briefing the board? It is noteworthy that Dr. Baru was silent on the appointments which he carried out without informing the NNPC board, and were not subsequently ratified by the board.  His silence confirms that his appointments were irregular and wrong.

“The truth is, there are no standards of transparency and due process that will allow NNPC to award contracts of that magnitude without carrying the NNPC board along. Due process is about being open, not taking refuge behind distorted and convenient interpretations of the rules.

” Due process is not just the letter of the law. It is also about the spirit of the law. People who have nothing to hide, welcome the opportunity to share information with relevant stakeholders. As they say, transparency is the best deodorant.”

Published in News & Stories

Watford’s Isaac Success downed two bottles of Baileys and repeatedly failed to score with the hookers

A PREMIER League ace and Nigerian international Isaac Success paid four hookers £2,000 for a hotel romp — but failed to score with any of them after drinking two bottles of Baileys. Watford’s Isaac Success, 21, was arrested after angrily demanding his money back.

He was arrested by the UK police for allegedly assaulting four sex workers in a Hertfordshire hotel.

Watford’s Isaac Success, 21, was arrested after angrily demanding his money back.

 Alexis Domerge was one of the escorts paid by footballer Isaac Success
Alexis Domerge was one of the escorts paid by footballer Isaac Success

Escort Alexis Domerge said the Watford star boasted of his prowess in the bedroom after paying the women £2,000 for a hotel romp.

But the 21-year-old, who has found the net only once in 19 Watford appearances, drank two bottle of Baileys — and then repeatedly failed to score with the hookers.

When the women decided to blow the whistle on Success’s lacklustre performance after 90 minutes, he angrily demanded his money back.

He was arrested in the hotel lobby after cops were called.

 Michaela Carter says the 21-year-old Success came across as shy and awkward
Michaela Carter says the 21-year-old Success came across as shy and awkward
 The Watford star became angry and demanded his money back after the girls called time on the romp
The Watford star became angry and demanded his money back after the girls called time on the romp

Alexis, 24, said: “He accused us of ripping him off and asked for his money to be returned.

“It was terrifying. He had paid four of us £500 each to party with him and we all got naked as soon as the money came through on our phone bank accounts.

“He was drinking Baileys straight from the bottle.

“He must have chugged at least two. I pulled off his shorts and got down to it with three other girls doing everything you could imagine.

 Michaela says she massaged the footballer for ninety minutes
Michaela says she massaged the footballer for ninety minutes
 Alexis says Success downed two bottles of Baileys
Alexis says Success downed two bottles of Baileys

“But he was getting frustrated. What do you expect if you drink two bottles of Baileys liqueur straight from the bottle?”

Fellow escort Michaela Carter, 30, said: “He had a nice body and all four of us massaged him for a full hour and a half — as long as a football match.

“He had been boasting to us all night about how much he earned and how much fun we were going to have.

“But it’s fair to say that Mr Success did not live up to his name during our night together.

“He seemed really keen on Baileys — swigging the stuff out of the bottle. It made me cringe because it’s so sickly sweet.

“He seemed a bit shy and awkward, probably because he’s only 21. After a bit of chat Alexis took charge and said it was time to get down to business.

 Success was arrested in the hotel lobby after cops were called
Success was arrested in the hotel lobby after cops were called
 Alexis says the Prem star became frustrated but blamed his performance on the booze
Alexis says the Prem star became frustrated but blamed his performance on the booze
 Alexis says the four escorts all got naked as soon as the money came through on their bank accounts
Alexis says the four escorts all got naked as soon as the money came through on their bank accounts

“She laughed and told him, ‘We want your money before the honey’.

“So he transferred £2,000 straight to one of the girls which was divided between the four of us.

“The partying started as soon as the money came into our accounts and we all stripped off.

“All five of us were squirming around on the bed but after a while we realised the Baileys had taken its toll.

“Eventually, I told him I couldn’t stay any longer and we couldn’t give him extra time. That’s when things started to get nasty.

“There was a lot of screaming which must have woken the entire hotel.

“At that point the police were called. We were all making a terrible racket.

“I ended up with a slight cut on my face and a bruise on my arm during the chaos.

“I don’t know how it happened. During the row I also stumbled backwards and broke the heels of my £600 Louboutin shoes. It meant I was already £100 down.”

 Michaela claims the footballer boasted about his high earnings
Michaela claims the footballer boasted about his high earnings
 Things turned nasty when the girs told Success they couldnt give him extra time
Things turned nasty when the girs told Success they couldnt give him extra time

Nigerian international Success, who earns £30,000 a week, booked the four girls after spending the night at a lap-dancing club in London’s West End.

In the early hours they were texted the details of the luxury Sopwell House hotel, Herts, where Success had hired a first-floor suite.

Michaela said: “We met him and a couple of his mates in reception but they left, leaving just Isaac and the four of us.

“We went up to his room. It was a nice room and I could tell he had lots of money because there were designer clothes in there and Christian Louboutin trainers which can cost £800 a pair.

“He offered us drinks then started boasting about how rich he was.

“He said, ‘You won’t believe how much I earn in 90 minutes’.”

Alexis, from Brooklyn, New York, said: “I was actually quite turned on by his body. He’s beautifully toned.

“Eventually, Michaela and one of the other girls broke it to him that they couldn’t stay any longer.

“But he then accused us of ripping him off and demanded his money back.

“Several police cars arrived really quickly and about five officers came in and cuffed his hands behind his back and took him outside.

“Success admitted that he had paid us for sex.

“But he also claimed we’d cheated him out of the cash, without mentioning the reason why he didn’t have sex.

“All this commotion was more than the hotel management could take and they ordered us out of the hotel — including him.

 The footballer paid the girls £500 each for sex in his suite at Sopwell House hotel
 
The footballer paid the girls £500 each for sex in his suite at Sopwell House hotel
 Isaac booked the four escort girls after spending the night at a lap-dancing club in West London
Isaac booked the four escort girls after spending the night at a lap-dancing club in West London

“It’s a really nice place and I guess this isn’t the sort of behaviour they tolerate.”

The hookers said Success later called his bank and had the payments to them stopped.

Alexis said: “We couldn’t believe it when he accused us of cheating him and got the bank to get him his money back.

“We made a deal and it wasn’t our fault he didn’t have a good time. His behaviour was off the scale.”

Success signed for Watford from Spanish side Granada for £12.5million last July — then a record fee for the Hertfordshire club. He has struggled to make the starting line-up since.

He sat out Watford’s 2-0 away win at Southampton on September 9 but went out on the town in London the following day before hooking up with the girls.

Alexis and Michaela and another 34-year-old escort were recruited by a fourth hooker, a friend of Success’s.

A Hertfordshire Police spokesman said: “Police are investigating an allegation of assault reported to have occurred at 6.30am at Sopwell House in St Albans on Monday September 11.

“A 21-year-old man was arrested and de-arrested and inquiries are ongoing.”

A representative for the player said: “We strongly refute all allegations against Isaac and will vigorously fight to clear his name.”

Published in Business and Economy
Tuesday, 10 October 2017 21:44

PHOTOS: Kachikwu, Baru meet

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe kachikwu, on Tuesday met the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru at the 23rd Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja.

Baru and kachikwu 1 Baru with Kachikwu Baru-Kachikwu-shake-hands2 Baru-Kachikwu-shake-hands3

Published in Headliners
Tuesday, 10 October 2017 04:24

Presidency backs Baru

  • NNPC on oil deals: no process breached

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Ibe Kachikwu’s future was hanging in the balance yesterday.

President Muhammadu Buhari is said to be weighing options on Dr Kachikwu’s fate, following his allegations against Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru.

Specifically, Kachikwu alleged that Baru

  • awarded $25b contracts unilaterally;
  • ran a bravado management; and
  • made appointments without consultations.

It was learnt that having found Baru not guilty of corrupt practices, the Presidency gave the GMD the clearance to release a fact-sheet in the matter to the public.

Kachikwu is said to be consulting his associates, stakeholders and colleagues on his next move. He has been cautioned against any act capable of being seen as confrontational, according to a source, who pleaded not to be named because of “the sensitivity of the matter”.

Kachikwu’s associates, it was learnt, cited the travails of ex-Minister of Petroleum Resources Prof. Tam David-West’s rough deals with the military administration of ex-President Ibrahim Babangida.

One of the alternatives being suggested by his friends is the possibility of voluntary exit from the cabinet “to preserve his integrity”. It was not clear last night the step Kachikwu would take after it was clear that the Presidency might have backed Baru.

The GMD of NNPC described the $25billion contract figure raised by Kachikwu as “humongous” because “no money was lost and no process has been breached.”

The President, The Nation learnt, felt scandalised by “unfounded allegations of corruption bordering on phantom $25billion contracts”.

The allegations allegedly attracted concerns from other nations and some oil producing countries.

President Buhari, who is said to have felt hurt, by the development, “refused to act on the spur of the moment because his image and the reputation of his administration were involved”.

A top government source said: “The Presidency directed the GMD of NNPC to provide facts and figures, which it got from Baru.

“Thereafter, the NNPC Act, the NNPC Handbook and Public Procurement Act were consulted on the responses of Baru to find out if infractions were committed by the corporation.

“Having been convinced that there were no infractions, the Presidency then directed NNPC to lay the cards on the table for Nigerians to see and judge.

“What was uppermost in the responses of the GMD was the fact that ‘there was no evidence of sharp practices, bribery, looting of funds and diversion of transaction cash’.

“The allegations of Kachikwu were rated as ‘wild, intentional and political in nature’ against the administration he is serving.”

It was learnt that the President met with Kachikwu last Friday to “be fair to the Minister and for record purposes”.

A Presidency source, who  spoke in confidence with our correspondent, said: “The President has not spoken on the next action. No one knows his mindset.”

Yesterday’s statement by the NNPC, which  was described as  an “assault” on Kachikwu by some of his associates, fuelled minister’s thoughts on his Option B which he did not state.

Some of Kachikwu’s confidants have, however, cautioned against any “hasty” decision, given the travails of a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Prof. Tam David-West, during the military regime of ex-President Ibrahim Babangida.

A highly-placed stakeholder said: “I am aware that the minister has been holding consultations and telling some vital players in the oil sector what transpired.

“Of importance to him is the allegation of alleged plot to sabotage the government of President Buhari with the leakage of the August 20 memo. He has maintained his innocence that he did not leak the letter.

“But it is tragic that no one believes Kachikwu’s story anymore in the Presidency.”

The GMD yesterday dismissed the allegations of award of contracts without regard to due process as “unfounded” and “unfortunate”.

He described the $25billion contract figure raised by Kachikwu as “humongous” because “no money was lost and no process has been breached”.

He explained that as a former chairman of the NNPC Anti-Corruption Committee, he would be the last person to breach the procurement process by disregarding extant laws and rules.

The GMD said the NNPC Act and the Public Procurement Act vested procurement powers in the NNPC Tenders Board, the President and the Federal Executive Council (FEC), depending on the cost threshold.

He said the NNPC Board had no role whatsoever in the process.

He said: “I know for those of you who are following what we are doing here, you know that there’s no money lost and no process has been breached.”

Baru made his views known while receiving the National President of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Comrade Francis Johnson, PENGASSAN members and members of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG).

The leaders of the unions were on a solidarity visit to Baru.

The unions’ visit came on the heels of the controversy sparked by Kachikwu’s letter to the President alleging non-adherence to due process by the Management of NNPC in some contract administration.

Baru said: “Our contracting process is perfect and we will continue to follow the process. The NNPC Board has no role, I repeat, has no role as far as the contracting process is concerned.

Baru said the NNPC Tenders Board was made up of the GMD as Chairman and the Group Executive Directors as members.

On the crude term contract and the DSDP agreements, he said: “These are not contract as such; they are essentially pre-qualification of off-takers of crude oil and in the case of DSDP, of those that will take crude and give us products in return. So there is no value to them.

“But humongous figures have been put forward mainly to incite the public, it is most unfortunate”.

On the allegation of lop-sided promotions, the GMD asked the union leaders if their members felt disenchanted to which the unionists chorused a resounding “no”.

He urged the union leaders to enlighten their members on the facts and encourage them to go about their duties without distraction.

Comrade Johnson said the unions’ support for the GMD was based on his ability to walk his talk since assuming office last year.

“The National body of PENGASSAN and all the NNPC in-house unions are here today to show our support for you. You have brought stability to the NNPC and we are happy today that staff morale is high. You were Chairman of NNPC Anti-Corruption Committee for over five years and that was what informed your appointment as GMD of NNPC. Today, all the bullets you are taking are on behalf of members of staff. We will continue to pray for you, God will continue to guide and shield you,” Comrade Johnson assured.

The PENGASSAN President called on Nigerians to be cautious of their comments on the controversy, adding that any wrong information was capable of discouraging investors from the oil and gas industry which is the highest foreign exchange earner.

The NNPC Group Chairman of PENGASSAN, Comrade Sale Abdullahi, who also spoke during the visit to the GMD, stated that their concern had to do with the need to protect not only the GMD but the NNPC as an institution.

He noted that Dr. Baru had streamlined the processes and procedures in the Corporation leading to the full restructuring which was beginning to yield positive results.

“Today, the GMD and NNPC Management receive input from staff and this gesture by Dr. Baru has given members of staff a sense of belonging. Today, our input are being implemented and we are highly motivated,” Comrade Abdullahi stated.

Supporting these positions, the Group Chairman of NNPC NUPENG, Comrade Udofia Odudu Benjamin, said the unions would continue to pray for divine guidance for Dr. Baru and the entire NNPC management

Earlier, the Chairman of NNPC Corporate Headquarters Chapter of PENGASSAN, Comrade Mathew Duru, reiterated the continued support of the unions for the Dr. Baru-led management.

“We just want to tell the GMD from the bottom of our hearts that we are with him and the Top Management; that we are behind the GMD who has done very well in turning the fortunes of the Corporation around”, the union leader said.

He said since Baru assumed office, he had succeeded in clearing the air of uncertainty that prevailed in the corporation because of visionless reforms that left NNPC on the brink of collapse.

He also said the GMD succeeded in resolving the NNPC Pension challenge that had led to disenchantment among staff.

He added: “We are with you. We want to let you know that you are not an orphan.”

Published in Headliners
Tuesday, 10 October 2017 04:13

Buhari’s wife: Aso Clinic has no syringe

  • ’No syringe in Aso Villa Clinic’

THE President’s wife, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, has lamented the poor state of healthcare services in Nigeria, including the State House Clinic, Abuja.

Her daughter, Zahra, through her Twitter account, had also condemned services rendered at the clinic few weeks ago.

Zahra had pushed for the management to give account of the N3 billion allocated to the clinic.

Reacting to the allegations of poor services at the clinic last week, the Permanent Secretary of the State House, Jalal Arabi, said the clinic was being repositioned for efficient services.

But confirming the state of services at the clinic yesterday, the first lady urged those in charge to do the right thing.

She spoke at a one-day stakeholders’ meeting on “Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn Child, Adolescent Health and Nutrition (RMNCAH+N)” at the old Banquet Hall of the State House, Abuja.

Lamenting the lack of drugs and equipment at the clinic, she said the management must explain the use of funds allocated to the medical facility.

Mrs. Buhari, who called out the State House Medical Centre’s Chief Medical Director, Dr. Hussain Munir, at the event, described Nigeria’s health sector as very poor.

She was angry that she could not get treatment at the State House Clinic few weeks ago when she fell sick and did not want to travel abroad for such ailment.

According to her, she was shocked that the x-ray machine was not working despite the huge funds allocated to the clinic.

She had no option but to make do with a foreign-owned hospital in Abuja as she wondered what would be the fate of an ordinary Nigerian in the states, who falls sick, if such circumstances could happen in Abuja.

She queried why the clinic management would be constructing new projects when medical items like syringes were not available for patients at the facility.

She said: “Before I commenced my speech, I will like to be realistic and say a few words concerning health and health delivery system in Nigeria.

“The Nigerian health sector is in a very, very, very poor sorry state to say the least. I am happy the CMD of Aso Clinic is here. Is he around? Dr.  Munir or his representative? Ok, he is around.

“Ok Dr. Munir, I’m happy you are here. As you are all aware for the last six months, Nigeria wasn’t stable because of my husband’s ill-health. We thank God he had fully recovered now.

“If somebody like Mr. President can spend several months outside Nigeria, then you wonder what will happen to a common man on the street in Nigeria.

“Few weeks ago, I was sick as well. They advised me to take the first flight out to London; I refused to go. I said I must be treated in Nigeria because there is a budget for an assigned clinic to take care of us.

“If the budget is N100 million, we need to know how the budget is spent. Along the line, I insisted they call Aso Clinic to find out if the X-tray machine is working. They said it was not working. They didn’t know I am the one that was supposed to be in that hospital at that very time.

“I had to go to a hospital that was established by foreigners in and out 100 per cent. What does that mean?

“So, I think it’s high time for us to do the right thing. If something like this can happen to me, no need for me to ask the governors’ wives what is happening in their states.”

Mrs. Buhari added: “This is Abuja and this is the highest seat of government, and this is Presidential Villa. One of the speakers has already said we have very good policies in Nigeria. In fact, we have the best policies in Africa. Yes of course, we have but the implementation has been the problem.

“So, we need to change our mindsets and do the right thing. I’m sure Dr. Munir will not like me saying this but I have to say it out. As the Chief Medical Director, there are a lot of constructions going on in this hospital, but there is no single syringe there. What does that mean? Who will use the building? We have to be good in reasoning. You are building new building and there is no equipment, no consumables in the hospital and the construction is still going on.”

According to her, the stakeholders meeting is to build alliances that will help strengthen advocacy for RMNCAH+N at the state level.

She said by creating a strong coalition, it would in turn increase awareness on the importance of improving RMNCAH+N, promote advocacy for better service and increased utilisation of RMNCAH+N services.

The event was organised by her pet project, Future Assured. It had state governors’ wives, development partners, primary healthcare coordinators and other stakeholders in attendance.

The highlight of the event was the investiture of governors’ wives as advocates of RMNCAH+N and their signing of commitment forms.

Published in Business and Economy

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Monday dismissed as untrue claims by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, that he was never involved in the award of major crude oil contracts in the country.

NNPC said in a statement the minister was expressly consulted by its Group Managing Director (GMD), Dr. Maikanti Baru,  and his recommendations taken into consideration in the crude oil contracting process.

It also described Kachikwu’s instance that major contracts were never reviewed or discussed with him as “mostly unfortunate.”

NNPC stressed that all it required to award a contract in the oil and gas sector was the approval of the Tenders Board and not the minister’s endorsement.

The state oil company’s response followed the report of alleged lack of adherence to due process in the award of contracts by Kachikwu in his August 30 letter to President Muhammadu Buhari.

The minister had claimed that several major contracts were never reviewed or discussed with him and the NNPC Board.

The President had since ordered Baru and the entire management team of the Corporation to respond expeditiously to the allegations.

The statement reads: “It is important to note from the outset that the law and the rules do not require a review or discussion with the Minister of State or the NNPC Board on contractual matters. What is required is the processing and approval of contracts by the NNPC Tenders Board, the President in his executive capacity or as Minister of Petroleum, or the Federal Executive Council (FEC), as the case may be. There are therefore situations where all that is required is the approval of the NNPC Tenders Board, while in other cases, based on the threshold, the award must be submitted for presidential approval. Likewise, in some instances it is FEC approval that is required.

“It should be noted that for both the Crude Term Contract and the Direct Sale and Direct Purchase (DSDP) agreements, there are no specific values attached to each transaction to warrant the values of $10billion and $5billion respectively placed on them in the claim of Dr. Kachikwu. It is therefore inappropriate to attach arbitrary values to the shortlists with the aim of classifying the transactions as contracts above NNPC Tenders Board limit. They are merely the shortlisting of prospective off-takers of crude oil and suppliers of petroleum products under agreed terms. These transactions were not required to be presented as contracts to the Board of NNPC and, of course, the monetary value of any crude oil eventually lifted by any of the companies goes straight into the federation account and not to the company.

“Furthermore, contrary to the assertion of Dr. Kachikwu that he was never involved in the 2017/2018 contracting process for the Crude Oil Term Contracts, Dr. Kachikwu was in fact expressly consulted by the GMD and his recommendations were taken into account in following through the laid down procedure. Thus, for him to turn around and claim that ‘these major contracts were never reviewed or discussed with me’ is most unfortunate to say the least.”

Published in Business and Economy
Monday, 09 October 2017 16:36

Ex- Army chief Victor Malu is dead

A former Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Victor Malu, is dead.

Malu, who was Army chief  during former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s  administration died on Sunday in a Cairo hospital in Egypt.
 
A relation of the deceased, Ben Adoor, who confirmed the development, said on the phone  “Yes, General  passed away  yesterday at the age of 70 in a Cairo hospital.”
Published in Headliners
Page 7 of 11

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