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Buhari’s appointee sued for keeping two public offices, receiving double salaries



Mr Joshua Okah, who is Senior Legislative Aide to a member of the House of Representatives, Mr Ben Igbakpa, has dragged the Chairman-elect, Mr Salisu Zuru, before a court for allegedly occupying two public offices and receiving salaries from them.

Okah is raising an accusation against Zuru, who recently won NASSLAF’s recent chairmanship election, for refusing to quit his earlier position as a member of the board of the National Orientation Agency before taking another appointment as SLA to Senator Sahabi Ya’u, who represents Zamfara North.

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The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), had in December 2017 appointed 209 chairmen and 1,258 members of the governing boards of departments, agencies, parastatals and corporations of the Federal Government, some of whom were later confirmed to have died before the appointments.

In the suit filed in the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory on October 26, 2020, with Number FCT/HC/BW/CV/311/20, Okah joined other legislative aides who played various roles in the conduct of the election, as defendants, Punch reported.

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They are Idris Ejima Aruwa, Mon-Charles Egbo, Olushola Olugbani, Oyorokoto Ogheneruemu, Ndudi Nwagbara, Jackson Collins Ette, Haruna Abdullahi Kure, Bamidele Ajibola, Garbriel Garba Silas, Umar Farouk Ahmed, Yakubu Shano Garba and Okwudili Nwankino.

Among other reliefs, Okah is praying the court to issue an interim order directing Zuru to step aside as NASSLAF’s chairman-elect and/or substantive chairman, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.

Okah is also praying for an order of Interim injunction restraining the 2nd to 13th respondents, as well as the Clerk to the National Assembly, Olatunde Ojo, from “acting on or taking further steps in respect of the chairmanship election of NASSLAF held on 16th October, 2020, and/or accepting or giving any further recognition to the 1st defendant/respondent (Zuru) as the NASSLAF chairman-elect or substantive chairman or otherwise however called and/or issuing the 1st defendant/respondent a fresh Certificate of Return…”

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The petitioner told the court, “The 1st defendant is a Senior Legislative Aide appointed by the National Assembly Service Commission on the recommendation of Senator Alhaji Ya’u Sahabi on the 27th of August, 2019, and also currently a member of the Board of National Orientation Agency appointed by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the 29th of December, 2017. Sequel to the above, he has been receiving emoluments from both offices and the 1st defendant is a public servant and bound by the extent provisions of the Public Service Rules, 2009.

“It is not lawful for the 1st defendant to receive and/or be paid emoluments in respect of his office as Senior Legislative Aide appointed by the National Assembly Service Commission and at the same time as a member of the Board of National Orientation Agency appointed by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“The 1st defendant, who was elected as Chairman of the NASSLAF at the delegates election held on 16th October, 2020, has put himself in a position where his personal interest as Senior Legislative Aide appointed by the National Assembly Service Commission conflicts with his duties and responsibilities as a member of the Board of National Orientation Agency appointed by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and, therefore, he is, in the eye of the law, not eligible to participate and/or contest in the NASSLAF Election 2020.”

Ukah argued that the chairmanship elections were void and ought to be nullified, adding that a fresh election should be conducted for the remaining chairmanship candidates.

The plaintiff, in the affidavit he deposed to, stated that upon appointment by the NASC, all legislative aides, as part of their conditions for appointment, are entitled to emoluments such as salaries, allowances’ payment of first 28 days in lieu of accommodation upon assumption of duty, severance gratuity at the rate of 300 per cent of annual basic salary for the completion of each tenure, and trainings among others.

The SLA also noted that all the 13 defendants had been receiving the emoluments except severance gratuity, while those who served in the 8th National Assembly had been paid all their entitlements.

According to him in reports by Punch, as of the time Zuru contested the NASSLAF election, he remained a member of the NOA board. He also attached a copy of a letter from the Office of the Director General of the NOA, dated October 19, 2020, confirming the 1st defendant’s membership of the present board of the agency, as well as a photograph taken by the board’s members on April 5, 2018.

The affidavit partly read, “That the 1st defendant deliberately refused, failed and/or neglected to disclose the above stated facts of his membership of the board of NOA to the 2nd to 13th defendants during screening all in his desperation for power. That had the 1st defendant disclosed the facts under reference, he would not have been screened and/or cleared to contest for the NASSLAF chairmanship election.

“That the NOA is in Category ‘B’ under the categorisation of board of federal parastatals. Since inauguration of the board since 2008 to date, the 1st defendant, being a member, has sat four times and the fifth meeting in 2020 was done virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the 1st defendant has been receiving emoluments from the agency.”

A member of NASSLAF, who is an aide to one of the leaders of the National Assembly, told Punch’s correspondent that many members of the forum were aggrieved with how the electoral exercise was conducted. According to him, the electoral committee for delegates’ election is an equivalent of indirect primary by political parties.

The source, who spoke to Punch on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, also alleged that Zuru was the preferred candidate of the National Assembly management, which did not go down well with some members.

The aide said, “There are over 4,000 aides in the National Assembly but only 48 delegates voted to determine the new chairman. There is a division among members. Since the suit was filed, the situation has become worse as some members want Okah to pursue the case to a logical conclusion, while others are warning against allowing the matter to degenerate into a crisis.”


NNPC Raises Petrol Depot Price, Marketers To Sell At ₦168 – ₦170 Per Litre



The Petroleum Products Marketing Company, a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, has increased the ex-depot price of Premium Motor Spirit, also known as petrol, to N155.17 per litre from N147.67 per litre Punch reports,

The PPMC disclosed this in an internal memo with reference number PPMC/C/MK/003, dated November 11, 2020, and signed by Tijjani Ali.

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The memo, a copy of which was seen by our correspondent, said the new ex-depot price would take effect from Friday.

The ex-depot price is the price at which the product is sold by the PPMC to marketers at the depots.

In its PMS price proposal for November, the PPMC put the landing cost of petrol at N128.89 per litre, up from N119.77 per litre in September/October.

It said the estimated minimum pump price of the product would increase to N161.36 per litre from N153.86 per litre.

The National Operation Controller, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr Mike Osatuyi, in a telephone interview with our correspondent, said the over N7 increase in ex-depot price would translate into an increase in pump prices.

He said, “The implication of the increase in the ex-depot price is that there is going to be an increase in the pump price. We are expecting the pump price to range from N168 to N170 per liter.

“Crude oil price is going up,” he said, noting that the Federal Government has fully deregulated petrol prices.

Following the deregulation of petrol prices in September, marketers across the country adjusted their pump prices to between N158 and N162 per litre to reflect the increase in global oil prices.

Petrol price band had also risen from N121.50–N123.50 per litre in June to N140.80-N143.80 in July and N148-N150 in August.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, said in September that the government had stepped back in fixing the price of petrol, adding that market forces and crude oil price would continue to determine the cost of the product.

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[Parody Account] ASUU urges undergraduates to acquire skills, travel, and have fun



A parody account of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU has given undergraduates seven pieces of advice on how to spend their time because of the union’s indefinite strike.

“Here are 7 ways you can make the most of this period.

1.Intern or get a small-time job
This may be a great time to draft your CV and pitch yourself to employers. Already, there are a couple of opportunities since the announcement of this strike.

2.Join the family business
Some of us have ‘family businesses’. This the business our parents have been doing for some time. It can be a big-time company or a small supermart. Whichever one it is, it’s not a bad idea spending holiday working here. It’s one way to give back and also add to your professional experience.

3. Learn a new skill
I have an engineer friend who makes a living today from graphics design. He learnt it while we were in school. There’s almost no limit to the skills you can learn during holidays. If anything, start with learning basic and intermediate computer operations(if you don’t know that by now). Code schools are also popping up
everywhere so you can join one. You can also join the growing community of Nigerian freelancers and hone your skills.

4. Be active in church or mosque, other groups
Refuse to be an onlooker anywhere you find yourself. Be a part of people who make things work. Join a group in church, your community, and be active in it. These experiences also contribute shaping the person you’ll be in the future.

5. Travel
There’s no harm in travelling if you can afford it. Travelling is also a form of learning. If you happen to have relations scattered around Nigeria and abroad, consider travelling. Life’s too short to not explore more places.

6. Read books
We don’t mean only course-related books. Take up a novel, read a book on investment, study Nigerian history, look up spiritual books. Read far and wide.

7. Have fun
Well, you still have to catch some fun. Plus, it’s perfectly okay to spoil yourself a little. You can binge watch your favourite TV series, play football, go to more events etc etc.

*Story re-edited to reflect that the advice is from an ASUU parody account.

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10-Year-Old Boy Burnt In Ebonyi For Stealing Cups Of Rice



Traders burn 10-year-old boy for allegedly stealing food

A 10-year-old boy, Ifeanyi, was on Saturday thrown into a fire for allegedly stealing a small measure of uncooked rice in a market at Inikiri Benard village, Effium community, in the Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.

PUNCH Metro gathered that the lad’s mother was late, while his father was mentally-challenged.

A community source said, “The boy was thrown into a fire by two traders who accused him of stealing rice from a shop at the market to cook for himself and his father.”

The Chairman of Human Rights Defenders, Ebonyi State chapter, Mr Sam Nweke, condemned the inhuman act meted out to the kid.

He said, “HURIDE got a call from one Mr George Etamesor, on the grave abuse of this poor boy. This was because he was caught trying to steal some rice in their village market. They tied him up, threw him into the fire in a refuse dump in the market and allowed him to roast like a goat.

“The perpetrators are from the village. After committing this evil and seeing the critical condition of their victim, they still abandoned him to groan to death.

“It took the intervention of sympathisers to rush him to AMURT Hospital in Effium. But due to the severe nature of the injuries, boy was denied treatment. Efforts were thereafter made to take him to the Alex Ekwueme Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, where he is currently struggling between life and death.”

Nweke added, “When we inquired from the perpetrators why they went that far in maltreating the boy, they said he had the habit of stealing cassava, yam and others. So this time, they caught him stealing their rice and they decided to teach him a lesson so that he would not come back to steal their food again.

“They said it was not their intention to burn his whole body. They said they only tied him up and after beating him, they tried to roast his toes in the fire, but because he was struggling, he slipped off their hands and fell into the fire and got burnt beyond their expectation. We have reported the incident to the police.”

The state Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Mrs Loveth Odah, said though she was aware of the incident, the police had yet to receive an official complaint on the matter.

She said, “I heard about the ugly incident as a person; it is painful. But the command has not been officially communicated.

“We wanted to arrest those who did this evil thing to the small boy, but the attitude of the human rights group which drew my attention to the incident is not encouraging. The HURIDE people told us that we should not arrest them for now because they want them (the perpetrators) to first take care of the boy’s medical bills in the hospital. I don’t know why they keep doing this.”

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