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Buhari Alone Will Decide If COVID-19 Lockdown Will Be Extended, Says SGF

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Buhari Alone Will Decide If COVID-19 Lockdown Will Be Extended, Says SGF

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, says the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 lacks the power to end or extend the lockdown imposed by the President.

Responding to questions from reporters on Tuesday, the SGF who is also the chairman of the task force stated that only President Muhammadu Buhari could take a decision on the issue.

“He (Buhari) and he alone will make the decision as to when the lockdown would either be extended or it will stop at the expiration of 14 days,” Mustapha said at the briefing of the task force which held in Lagos.

He, however, noted that the President would have to review the recommendations of the team set up to monitor the various measures to curtail the spread of coronavirus and cushion its effects on the people.

The SGF explained that members of the task force were in Lagos to inspect the isolation centres in the state, as part of the responsibilities of the team.

He said, “We are looking at the objectives that were set when the lockdown or the quarantine declaration was signed by the President, and subsequently by several other states.

“Before the end of the week, we will do an evaluation and part of the trip here was to do an evaluation to see how the objectives that were set were being met and at the end of that exercise, we would have the responsibility of reporting to Mr President.”

Mustapha recalled that the President had in his declaration explained how he arrived at the decision to impose the lockdown in the two states and the FCT.

According to him, President Buhari took the decision on the advice of the Minister of Health and the health experts when eventually led to the signing of the Quarantine Declaration 2020.

The SFG said at the end of the task force’s evaluation, some recommendations and advice would be presented to the President after which the Nigerian leaders would take the next step of action.

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BREAKING: FG Proposes Extension Of Fuel Subsidy Removal By 18 Months, Seeks To Amend PIA

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BREAKING: NNPC Increases Petrol Price, To Sell For N170/Litre

The Federal Government is proposing to extend the period for the implementation of the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly known as petrol, by 18 months.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, announced this on Tuesday while briefing State House correspondents in Abuja.

He disclosed that the government has concluded plans to approach the National Assembly to amend the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).

“We are proposing an 18-month extension but what the National Assembly is going to approve is up to them,” the minister said. “We would approve an 18-month extension and then it is up to the National Assembly to look at it and pass the amendment as they see it.

“With assent by the President on August 16, 2021, the PMS subsidy removal was therefore expected to take place effective February 16, 2022. However, following extensive consultations with all key stakeholders within and outside the government, it has been agreed that the implementation period for the removal of the subsidy should be extended.

“This extension will give all the stakeholders time to ensure that the implementation is carried out in a manner that ensures all necessary modalities are in place to cushion the effect of the PMS subsidy removal, in line with prevailing economic realities.

“The President assures that his administration will continue to put in place all necessary measures to protect the livelihoods of all Nigerians, especially the most vulnerable.”

Sylva, who chairs the PIA Implementation Committee, stressed that the decision of the executive arm of government to seek an amendment of the law was not politically motivated.

Rather, he explained that such a move has become necessary to halt the potential suffering of the vulnerable in the society.

The minister believes other measures such as the Dangote refinery, the Port Harcourt refinery, and other modular refineries will have significantly come on stream by the end of the year.

According to him, the new PIA provides for unrestricted market pricing for PMS from the effective date.

Sylva, however, stated that the PIA also envisaged the potential for supply disruption with its resultant effect on the economy.

“Consequently, it provides for a window of six months from the effective date for the government to request the services of NNPC Limited as the supplier of last resort.

“This is to forestall supply disruptions and guide market readiness preparatory to migration to the deregulated pricing regime,” he added.

President Muhammadu Buhari, he stated, has assured Nigerians that his administration would continue to put in place all necessary measures to protect the livelihoods of the citizens, especially the most vulnerable.

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Former Lagos SSG Adenrele Adeniran-Ogunsanya Dies At 74

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Former Secretary to the Lagos State Government Princess Adenrele Adeniran-Ogunsanya has died after a brief illness.

It was learnt that Adeniran-Ogunsanya, who served as SSG under former Governor Babatunde Fashola, died on Tuesday.

She was reportedly in a comma for a few days at the Lagos State University (LASUTH) before her death.

The Ikorodu-born grassroots politician and daughter of chairman of the Nigerian People’s Party (NPN) in the Second Republic Chief Adeniran Ogunsanya was apex leader of the Lagos4Lagos movement which recently defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Her illness prevented her from attending the group’s official defection ceremony at the Tafawa Balewa Square on Saturday, January 22.

Details later…

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Alleged Money Laundering: EFCC Amends Charge Against Fani-Kayode

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday arraigned a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode on an amended 17-count charge of money laundering.

Fani-Kayode is standing trial alongside a former Minister of State for Finance, Nenadi Usman, a former Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Yusuf Danjuma, and a company, Jointrust Dimensions Nigeria Ltd.

The EFCC had earlier preferred a 17-count charge of N4.6 billion money laundering against the defendants before the former trial judge, Justice Mohammed Aikawa.

The defendants had each pleaded not guilty to the counts and were granted bail.

Hearing of the case had begun before Justice Aikawa and witnesses were being led in evidence before the trial judge was transferred out of the Lagos division of the court.

The case was subsequently assigned to a new trial judge, Justice Daniel Osaigor, and the defendants had to start the case from the beginning (de novo).

At Monday’s proceedings, the amended 17-count charge was read over to the defendants and they each pleaded not guilty.

After the plea, the prosecution counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo asked the court for a trial date.

The defence counsel, Ferdinard Orbih (SAN), however, asked the court to allow the defendants to continue on the existing bail conditions granted by the former trial judge.

In a short ruling, the court allowed the defendants to continue on their existing bail conditions. He adjourned the case to March 11, for trial.

In the charge, the defendants were alleged to have committed the offences between January and March 2015 in Lagos.

They were alleged to have at various times, unlawfully retained over N4.6 billion, which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of unlawful acts of stealing and corruption.

In counts 15 to 17, Fani-Kayode and one Olubode Oke, who is said to be at large, were alleged to have made cash payments of about N30 million to one Paste Poster Co (PPC) of No 125 Lewis St., Lagos.

The said payments were alleged to have been made in excess of amounts allowed by law without going through a financial institution.

The offences were said to have contravened the provisions of sections 15 (3) (4), 16 (2) (b), and 16 (5) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.

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