· Vows To Take Legal Action Against Publishers
House of Representatives former Speaker, Hon. Yakubu Dogara has threatened to institute legal action against publishers of online news blog Wikki Times over defamatory and libelous story published against him.
In the said libelous story published on June 28, 2021 the online blog alleged that the former Speaker “connived” with the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) to squander a fictitious sum of N1 billion meant for renovation of schools in his federal constituency.
Dogara, a member of the House representing Bogoro/Dass/Tafawa Balewa federal constituency addressed and delivered the letter of his demand to Publishers of Wikki Times Media, and Publishing Limited, dated July 2nd, 2021.
The letter was written by his counsels, Barristers Ahmed A. Accanny and S. N. Yusuf from Baushe Chambers Bauchi, demanding for immediate retraction of the defamatory story and written apology to Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara within three days from the date of the receipt of the letter or risk legal action.
It reads in part, “Your disingenuous publication purported to elicit information from some named persons one of whom is one Mr. Gideon Gambo, whom your spurious publication claim is an uncle to our client and NUT.
“Chairman of Bogoro Local Government. Your publication went on to recklessly quote the said Mr. Gideon Gambo, a fictitious uncle to our client”.
“It is very glaring that nowhere in your ignoble publication other than the sensational headline did you trace the release of the sum of 1 billion naira to UBEC for the construction of Model schools which UBEC undertakes at 250 million naira and have constructed same in many states across the country”.
“Since you have categorically failed to state whether the purported sum of 1 billion naira was released and to whom, how therefore did you arrive at the conclusion that our client in conjunction with UBEC has squandered a nonexistent sum of 1 billion naira? It is crystal clear that you have left no intelligent person in doubt as to the fact that your mendacious publication was just meant to defame our client”.
“As though the foregoing was not enough, you went on to personally state that the proposed ICT centre in the community has been converted to an APC warehouse used by Dogara. The building which has an APC Logo, the political party of Dogara, is behind his house.” Our client finds it shocking that you went to great lengths to starkly defame him without a shred of evidence and had to resort to base conjecture and suppositions”.
The letter added, “In sharp contrast to what your unfounded publication would have the world believe, our client has no uncle dead or alive that bears the name Mr. Gideon Gambo in which by virtue of your publication is the acclaimed principal of Gwarangah Secondary School and chairman of NUT, Bogoro L.G.A”.
Counsels explained that their client was not aware of the release of the sum of 1 billion naira to any entity by UBEC for the construction of schools in his constituency other than a budgetary line of 1 billion naira for the construction of Model Schools in Dass Central Primary School, Tafawa Balewa Central Primary School, Bogoro Primary School and Gwarangah Primary School at the cost of 250 billion naira each.
It however said that there wasn’t any budgetary release of the monies appropriated for the proposed projects to have been undertaken, stressing “It is also noteworthy that contrary to the letters of your defamatory publication, no project was ever listed in the budget for Junior Secondary School in Gwarangah”.
“Our client is baffled by the fact that you opted to feign ignorance of the fact that the responsibility of fixing and rehabilitating schools lies with the state government and not on our client who as a legislator merely but concertedly nominates the schools where the projects will be carried out”.
Letter similarly recalled, “The grossly unfounded claim that books meant for school children are stashed in our client’s house at Gwarangah and that the ICT centre at Gwarangah bears the APC logo are not only fantastic lies but seem like a carefully crafted scene of a fictitious movie”.
“Our client is equally marveled and mortified by your publication’s insinuations that he works for UBEC and superintends over their projects all in a bid to defame him”.
Counsels therefore gave publishers of Wikki Times 72 hours from the date of service of the letter to retract the defamatory publication against their client and unequivocally apologize for the same through the same medium.
They argued that failure to abide by the conditions, would have no option other than to proceed to seek legal redress against publishers of Wikki Times before a competent court of law in the course of which they shall claim substantial damages against it.
Refineries Not Created To Reduce Petrol Price, Kyari Tells Senate
Forty eight hours after being summoned by the Senate, the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, Mele Kyari, has now appeared before the joint committee on appropriations.
The Senate had issued a 24-hour ultimatum on Wednesday to the NNPCL boss after an observations that he had in previous occasions, shunned summons by the Senate to appear before its ad-committee probing over 11 trillion naira expenditure on turn around maintenance of refineries in the country between 2010 and 2023.
Responding to questions by the senate committee on appropriations on the potential drop in pump price of petroleum owing to the expected functionality of refineries, Kyari clarified his comment after he was interrogated again. He explained that it might be possible to have a reduction, but it is not the main objective of the refineries.
He buttressed that maintaining the energy security target has fostered the confidence that in 2024, Nigeria will become a net exporter of petroleum products.
The NNPCL boss affirmed that no subsidy is charged to the federation, adding that the NNPC has contributed 4.45 trillion naira as direct revenue into the federation in a combination of taxes, royalties and dividends and paid 406 billion naira as dividend to Federal Government’s account from July 2023.
According to him, Nigeria does not have credible data for PMS consumption in the country because of the absence of the instrument to measure.
The Chairman of the Senate Appropriation Committee, Senator Adeola Olamilekan, had on Wednesday, directed Kyari to appear before the committee in 24 hours.
Olamilekan, who asked Kyari to appear in company of the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), warned that failure to appear undermines the legislature and sabotages the process.
They are required to present the list of all individual companies operating with OML licenses in Nigeria as well as total production output approved on a daily basis.
The lawmaker expressed concerns that some of the revenues required to drive the 2024 budget was attributed to the NNPCL, which according to him, was owned by the Federal Government and responsible to it, and by extension the three arms of government. Channels TV.
Labour Leaders Meet To Work Out Living Wages
Ahead of the expected resumption of negotiation between the Federal Government and the organised labour on the new Minimum Wage, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, is meeting in Abuja to brainstorm so as to arrive at a living wage that is commensurate with the prevailing cost of living.
This came as the NLC has vowed not to be deterred by the recent assault on workers and their leaders in Imo State, which it said poses a grave threat to freedom of association and collective bargaining as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and the ILO Conventions 87 and 98 on Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining.
These were contained in the welcome address by the NLC President, Mr. Joe Ajaero, at the Opening Session of the NLC 2023 Harmattan School with the theme: “Building Workers’ Skills for Policy Engagement” in Abuja.
Ajaero, represented by the Congress Deputy President, Benjamin Anthony said: “In the face of adversity and brutality encountered while advocating for the rights of workers to earn their legitimate income and benefits, our resolve remains unwavering. We are motivated to continue our efforts towards achieving decent work and improving working conditions in the formal and informal sectors of the economy.
“The recent assault on workers and their leaders in Imo State poses a grave threat to freedom of association and collective bargaining as enshrined in Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and the ILO Conventions 87 and 98 on Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining, and should unequivocally be condemned by all people of goodwill.
“The only thing that can assuage our pains is for the Imo State Government to address all labour issues and return the so called ‘ghost workers’ to their jobs, pay all outstanding salaries and pensions and call back all victimized workers to their jobs.
“It has become very necessary for governments at all levels to recognize that life and living conditions are exceedingly difficult, especially for working people in both the formal and informal sectors of the economy.”
“The removal of subsidy on petroleum products has further exacerbated the challenges faced by working people, unleashing severe pain and contributing to galloping inflation and increasing inequality and poverty.
“We must reckon that a well-motivated and well-remunerated workforce has a positive impact on productivity and national development,” he added.
He implored participants to approach the training programme with a quest and thirst for knowledge through asking of questions and sharing of experiences with the facilitators and with one another.
He thanked the representative of the Minister of Labour and Employment, the Country Director of the ILO for the English Speaking, West African Countries, the Director General of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, NECA, the Resident Representative of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, FES, Country Director of the Solidarity Centre, members of the NAC, CWC and NEC of the NLC for finding time to attend the Opening Session of the 2023 School.
Operatives Of NDLEA Uncover Illicit Drugs Concealed In Dolls, Local Soap, Milo Tins
Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have uncovered illicit substances bound for Europe, United Arab Emirates and Asia.
Disclosing this in a statement on Sunday, NDLEA spokesman, Femi Babafemi, said the illicit substances intercepted included various quantities of methamphetamine and opioids concealed in hems of new jeans trousers, dolls, buttons, local soap and tins of milo beverage.
Noting that the operation was carried out by operatives of the Directorate of Operations and General Investigation (DOGI) at courier houses in Lagos, he said some of the items seized included tramadol 225mg concealed in hems of new jeans trousers heading to Cyprus; shipment of cannabis sativa hidden in heads of dolls going to Dubai; sachets of tramadol 225mg buried in tins of milo beverage going to UAE; and another set of same drug hidden in local soap also going to UAE.
Others were a consignment of methamphetamine concealed in buttons heading to Hong Kong; and a shipment of another illicit substance coming from Florida, USA.
“Operatives in Lagos on Friday 1st December also arrested a drug kingpin, Okechukwu Ogala, 56, who specialises in exploiting and recruiting young citizens to export meth to Asian countries.
“He was arrested at Blue Moon Hotel in Okota area of Lagos with 60 wraps of methamphetamine weighing 1.009 kilograms.
“In another operation in Lagos, operatives on Friday 1st December recovered 393kgs of cannabis in a shop at Akala, Mushin while a suspect, Justin Enuonye, who deals in Canadian Loud was arrested by the police at Victoria Island and transferred to Lagos Command of NDLEA on Friday 1st December with 154 parcels weighing 92kgs.
“A team of NDLEA operatives also intercepted a vehicle at Oyingbo area of Lagos and recovered 108kgs of cannabis from it, while 675 kilograms of the same substance were recovered from the store of a wanted dealer, Wahab Olota at Adedoja area of Mushin, Lagos,” Babafemi said. Channels TV.
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