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Reps to probe suspension of NHIS boss

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The House of Representatives has resolved to constitute an ad-hoc committee to investigate the cycle of crisis over the suspension of the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof. Usman Yusuf.
The decision emanated from a motion under matter of urgent importance sponsored by Mr. Diri Douye (PDP, Bayelsa) during plenary on Tuesday.
Recall that on October the 18th, the Governing Council of the NHIS announced the suspension of  Prof. Yusuf over allegations of fraud and severe infractions, including but not limited to public procurement infringement, unlawful staff posting, willful defiance of Council directives, violation of Federal Government’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy and superfluous arrogation of projects.
The suspended official however showed up for work and caused a team of police escorts to break a resistance put by workers against his resumption.
Speaking on the motion, Mr. Douye revealed that the pandemonium is coming barely five months after the NHIS Executive Secretary was controversially reinstated by President Muhammadu Buhari from an indefinite suspension slammed on him by his supervising  Ministry of Health, in July 2017 over similar matters of alleged gross misconduct, corruption and nepotism.
According to him, the suspended Executive Secretary disputed the authority of the Council to suspend him and on Monday 22nd October violently broke into the Abuja Head Office of the Scheme, aided by almost 50 heavily armed police, overpowered the security men as well as staff at the premises, including women who were indiscriminately teargassed and manhandled.
“This very critical sector, on which the hope of our universal health delivery is hinged, far from being a theater of health has degenerated into a theater of war, with so many scandals in recent times”, he said.
Lawmakers in their contributions to the debate, condemned the crisis.
For Mr. Tobi Okechukwu (PDP, Enugu), “this government claims to come and fight corruption but it is so sad that this impunity is happening”.
On the contrary, Mr. Edward Pwajok (APC, Plateau) said since the motion is investigative, there should not be need to debate it.
However, the motion went in favour of the majority when put to voice vote by the presiding officer, Speaker Yakubu Dogara.
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I’ll recover my stolen mandate, says Atiku

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Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), says he is confident in getting his “stolen mandate” from the court.

He spoke on Wednesday during a courtesy call on the southern and middle belt leaders at the Abuja residence of Edwin Clark, a leader of the group.

Atiku, who lost to President Muhammadu Buhari, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), had rejected the result of the presidential poll and is currently challenging the validity of the election at the tribunal.

“This is a mandate that has been stolen from Nigerians. We believe justice would be done at the end of the day,” he said.

“As I had announced earlier, I have rejected the result of the election. As announced earlier, we have filed our petition before the tribunal or the courts because we believe this is a mandate that has been stolen from the Nigerian people. And I believe that the courts will do justice in this case.

“We still have confidence in our courts and we believe justice will be done. But the most important thing here is that between ourselves, we have been able to galvanize the people of this country to think alike and in unity.

“Of course, we have also come to realize and accept that the basis of our unity, our coexistence lies fundamentally on restructuring this country so that every part of this country can have a sense of belonging and also have opportunity to exploit their human and materiel resources for the development of the citizens while remaining in the same country.”

Thanking the leaders, Atiku said he believes this is a struggle that is achievable, and Nigeria has nothing to fear about restructuring.

In his remarks, Clark commended Atiku for heading to court, and assured him that the elders were behind him.

“We are happy that you are in court, you have already filed your papers, it’s not a question of saying am going to court. We are behind you. And by the grace of God, we will achieve what we are struggling for,” he said.

The group of elders comprising Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF), Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Afenifere, and Middle Belt Forum (MBF) had adopted Atiku two weeks to the election.

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NNPC confident of meeting 2019 oil production target – Baru

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has expressed confidence that it would meet the target of 2.3 million barrels of oil per day (MBOPD) benchmark used in the 2019 Midterm Expenditure Framework (MTEF).

This was according to the Group managing Director (GMD) of NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, who stated this while appearing before the Senate committee on Finance on Tuesday.

Baru, who was represented by NNPC’s Group General Manager, Corporate Planning and Strategy, Mr Bala Wunti, disclosed that the corporation has installed oil production capacity of over 2.5 Mbopd to support the yardstick used in 2019 MTEF.

Baru identified the major obstacle to achieving the planned production volume as the security situation in the Niger Delta region, which according to him, has seen considerable improvement.

The NNPC GMD noted that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s strong focus on “collaboration and effective community engagement for sustainable partnership” has significantly helped to douse the security challenge in the region.

Baru said the improved security situation in the Niger Delta has led to a corresponding improvement in crude oil production under the current administration. The GMD expressed optimism that the security situation will only further improve, adding that the “NNPC remains confident that Nigeria can achieve the 2019 budget production target of 2.3 Mbopd.”

Responding to questions on the impact of OPEC quota on the country’s oil production level, the GMD invited the Committee to note that the National production of 2.3 Mbopd is the national liquid hydrocarbon production which is not only crude oil but also includes condensate. The OPEC quota is an allocation for only for crude oil and not condensate. He explained that Nigeria’s condensate production oscillates between 0.4Mbpd 0.6Mbld out of the 2.3 Mbopd.

The GMD further disclosed that the NNPC mandates on the 2019 MTEF are premised on the 3 thematic assumptions of Production volume, Crude oil price and Unit Cost of Crude Oil Production. “The Corporation is glad to report that NNPC in collaboration with other relevant agencies have emplaced measures to ensure the attainment of these assumptions used in developing the 2019 MTEF,” he said.

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Stop the rumour! Dangote not part of ‘Kano Elders Committee’ on election postponement

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The social media had been awashed with information purporting the creation of a “Committee of Elders of Kano” to address the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Kano elections, which the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared as inconclusive

Investigations conducted by First-Weekly Magazine revealed that the news is fake as some of the alleged committee members such as Alhaji Aliko Dangote is currently out of the country on a business trip.

Moreover, we reliably gathered that Alhaji Aliko Dangote is apolitical and he has never been involved in politics in any form.

It was reported in the story that Alhaji Aliko Dangote was to be received by other eminent Kano elders on Tuesday, March 12, 2019  at the Kano International Airport and thereafter proceed to the Emir’s palace to discuss current political situation in Kano State.

Sources revealed that the Nigerian Industrialist, though an indigene of Kano State is primarily committed to developing African economies through his business footprints across 17 African countries and positively touching the lives of people across the continent and beyond.

“It is necessary to properly inform members of the public on this sensitive issue to counter the fake news and set the records straight.

“As a citizen of the country, Alhaji Aliko Dangote is interested in the development and progress of Nigeria and Kano State, but that does not mean that he would dabble into politics.

“He loves his fatherland and his homeland, but he is not the type that would dabble into a terrain that he is not familiar with as he is committed to establishing businesses and enterprises that would promote the economy of the country and provide employment for the teeming Nigerians, some of whom are gainfully employed in his companies and organizations,” said a source.

The source then urged members of the public to disregard the news and treat it as fake, saying that there was no way Alhaji Aliko Dangote, who is out of the country on a business trip, would be having meetings with some people in the country at the same time.

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