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‘Don’t drag NNPC into politics’ – Kyari issues stern warning to Nigerians

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Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, has urged the public to be wary of attempts to drag the corporation into politics in the guise of requests for information under the Freedom of Information law.

The GMD made the call during a courtesy visit by the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, (NEITI), Mr. Waziri Adio, to the NNPC Towers in Abuja.

A press release by the corporation’s spokesman, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, quoted the GMD as saying that though the corporation was committed to transparency and accountability to the Nigerian people, a line must be drawn between genuine requests for information and malicious attempts to drag it into politics using the FOI law as a cover.

“As you are aware, sometimes the requests are brazenly malicious, and they are laden with political undertones. NNPC finds it difficult to respond to such requests because it is mindful of falling into the trap of being drawn into politics or maligning others”, the GMD explained.

He disclosed that in keeping with its commitment to be accountable and transparent, the corporation would publish its audited accounts soon.

On the disclosure of contracts and contractors as requested by the NEITI boss, he said the biggest contracts in the corporation’s portfolio currently are the products supply contracts under the Direct Sales Direct Purchase (DSDP) scheme, adding that details of the contracts and the contractors would also be made public within this month.

He promised to make the monthly financial and operations reports more accessible by publishing the soft copies of the reports from January to May, 2019.

On his part, the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Mr. Waziri Adio, congratulated Mallam Mele Kyari on his appointment, saying: “This is a big opportunity you have been given to shape the direction of this country in a positive way and I believe you have the capacity to do that”.

He said he was particularly impressed with the corporation’s robust deployment of modern information and communication platforms, especially the website, which he noted could be used as a transparency tool through pro-active disclosures.

He said he was committed to working with the NNPC because of the GMD’s track record of integrity.

“The GMD is somebody we can vouch for, he is a transparency champion and I can’t remember any GMD’s appointment that has elicited as much goodwill as your appointment has generated”, he said.

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Business

Ondo govt bans operations of Okada riders

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The Ondo State government has placed total restriction on the activities of commercial motorcycles, popularly known as “Okada”, in Ofosu and Ajebamidele axis of the Benin-Ore highway in Odigbo Local Government area of the state.

The state government, in a statement issued on Thursday by the Commissioner for Information, Donald Ojogo, stated that the ban became imperative on the stretch of the road which borders Edo State and Ogun State, due to what it described as the nefarious activities of the Okada riders.

In the statement, Ojogo maintained that their activities will henceforth be restricted within Ore town, pointing out how increasing crime rate in the affected areas are mostly perpetrated under the guise of those riding okada.

The statement read, “Government has observed with serious concern, the activities of some unscrupulous elements who have hidden under the guise of engaging in motorcycle business, popularly also known as Okada, to perpetrate crime on the Ofosu-Ajebamidele route along the Ore Expressway.

“Disturbed by the activities of these criminal elements which include armed robbery, kidnapping, their mode of operations as well as the heightening cases of loss of lives, the Ondo State Government has placed a total ban on commercial motorcycles (Okada) along the entire stretch of the route in question. This action is with immediate effect and shall suffice until further notice.

“By this development, all activities of commercial motorcyclists are henceforth, restricted to internal confines of Ore town and other communities in the area. Security agencies, especially the Nigeria Police, are consequently directed to apprehend forthwith, anyone who flouts this restriction order.

“Government appeals to the general public to co-operate with security agencies in the enforcement of this action in order to stem the growing rate of criminal activities along the area.”

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Miyetti Allah announces closure of livestock markets in Enugu

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The Northern Leaders, Livestock and Perishable Goods Market, and Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders’ Association of Nigeria, Enugu State chapter, has announced a two-day closure of livestock and perishable goods markets in the State.

To this effect, they will not be open for business on Wednesday and Thursday next week.

DAILY POST reports that within the period, the groups are to carryout sensitization visits to all the places of business and settlement of their members as part of their collaborative effort with the State Government and security agencies towards peace and security in the State.

This was announced at a press briefing jointly addressed by their leaders in Enugu, on Saturday.

The leaders, Gidado Siddki and Sarki A.Y. Sambo, who were flanked by others, said they were appreciative of the peaceful co-existence between their members and the people of Enugu State, and as such would not allow anyone to jeopardize it.

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Court Jails Bank MD 2 Years For Embezzling N195 Million

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Adetunji Abudu, a former managing director of New Prudential Mortgage Bank Limited, has been convicted and sentenced to two years imprisonment for N195m fraud.

Justice I.N. Buba of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos State gave the ruling following his arraignment and prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

According to a statement by the anti-graft agency, Abudu was arraigned on a four-count charge bordering on money laundering and embezzlement, in 2016.

The agency said his offence is contrary to the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) 2004, Section 18(8) and punishable under Section 18 (11) of the BOFIA LFN 2004.

Abudu was alleged to have obtained a N35 million loan and another N110 million loan without authorisation when he was the bank’s managing director.

The former New Prudent Bank boss also approved the setting off of a N50 million loan granted to Total Access Concept Limited by Addoser Micro-finance Bank, which was also not authorised in accordance with the bank’s policy and in contravention of BOFIA 2004.

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In the course of the trial, A.B.C. Oziokor, the lead prosecution counsel, called seven prosecution witnesses and tendered several documents that were admitted in evidence by the court.

On his part, Abudu called five witnesses.

Delivering his judgment on Justice Buba found the defendant guilty on counts one, two, three and four, as charged.

The judge said, “The court has considered the fact that the convict is a first-time offender, a family man, and a breadwinner. The court will be lenient, given that the convict is a first offender. But this will also send the right signal that it is this type of attitude that has led our financial institutions into trouble.

“This is a matter the convict should not have allowed going through the rigors of a criminal trial, having been given the opportunity to refund the money. But he still remained obstinate.”

The judge, therefore, sentenced the convict to two years on counts one, two, three and four, without an option of fine, with effect from the day of the judgment.

The sentences are to run concurrently.

The convict was ordered to make restitution to the complainant, in accordance with Section 321(a) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, “if the properties released cannot meet up the amount of exposure to the complainant”.

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