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PIGB Rejection; President Buhari Acted Rightly – SOCIAL ACTION

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The recent refusal of the President, Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, PIGB, has been described as a right step in the right direction.

The Head of the National Advocacy Centre of Social Action and Director of Programmes, Ms Vivian Bellonwu-Okafor, made this assertion while reacting to the rejection of the bill by President Buhari. According to Bellonwu-Okafor, teeming Civil Society Organizations and Community Groups including Social Action, had earlier raised alarm on the gaping holes and major shortcomings in the bill and the potential danger these held for the environment, the lives and livelihoods of Oil – bearing (host) communities’ residents as well as the Industry itself.

She stated that “…as we speak, presently, the entire atmosphere of a State in the Niger Delta, Rivers State, is enveloped in a black deadly soot, masking every object or item in that place and stealthily decimating the lives of the millions of people living there and inhaling the pollution of which experts have attributed to combustion of fossil fuel, Petroleum. It is therefore appalling that the National Assembly, against all well-meaning pleas to bring back the comprehensive Petroleum Industry Bill, the PIB, and jettison the piece-meal PIGB, which did not even make any pretense to care about or recognize the lives cum rights of host communities or the the environment and at best simply authored confusion and double-standards in establishing petroleum regulatory institutions for the Industry; went ahead and passed it.

Bellonwu-Okafor pointed out that Social Action has therefore lauded the President for his foresightedness in taking step to forestall what would have been a major setback to both the people and the environment of the oil-bearing region adding that any bill for the industry must recognize the environment and lives/rights of the host area(s) as fundamental and therefore legislate on it firstly before commercial entities and interests.

The Advocacy chief therefore called on the National Assembly to do what she said was “the needful and rightful”, by bringing back and passing the comprehensive PIB in the interest of equity, justice and the environment.

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Bauchi Assembly passes bill for the management of its funds and two others bills

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The Bauchi State House of Assembly has passed the bill in to law for the management of its funds.

The Chairman House finance Committee Mr Abdullahi Abubakar disclosed this in an interview with Newsmen in Bauchi on friday.

“After a clause-to-clause consideration of the bill, the Speaker, Mr.Kawuwa Shehu Damina invited the Clerk of the House, to read the bill for the third time signifying its passage,” he said

He said the bill was signed in to law at a plenary session on Wednesday to provide the management of funds accruing to the Bauchi state House of Assembly from the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) of the state.

“In order to ensure accountability, transparency, effective and efficient utilisation of the fund,” Abubakar said
He stated that the bill will give effect to the forth alteration bill to the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria that provided for the autonomy of the state Assembly and judiciary.

Abubakar explained that the bill would ensured that any amount standing to the credit of the legislature in the CRF of the state will be paid directly to the statutory account of the legislature where monies received from CRF will be deposited.

He said that the causes contained in the bill are sufficiently enough to provide modalities for the smooth, effective and efficient implementation of financial autonomy in the house.

Meanwhile the house pass other 2 bills which pass the third reading at plenary on Thursday.

The speaker Mr Damina mentioned tha the bills for a law to establish the Bauchi state Market Advisory Council and for connected purposes.

“The second one is a bill for a law to harmonize the activities of development partners in the state, to provide for the establishment of directorate in planning commission for administration of donor partners support.

The speaker Damina after house deliberations then ordered the Clerk to the house to read the bill for the third time signifying its passage.

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‎NGO trains 1000 vulnerable women, PLWHA on skills acquisition in Bauchi

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A Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) in Bauchi Rahma Women Development Programme has trained 1000 vulnerable women and persons living with HIV/AIDS on various skills acquisitions.

Mrs Miriam Iliya the Executive Director Rahma Women Development made this known at the inauguration of Board of trustees in Bauchi on Friday.

“We embarked on the trainings in collaboration with the support of some international partners, the training was conducted within the period of nine months.

“The NGO was committed to make the trainees to become employers of labour in the future and be self reliance.

“The beneficiaries includes the People Living with HIV/AIDs and other vulnerable women whom were trained on different skills acquisitions such as Tailoring, Knitting, Barbing, Hair dressing saloon, Pomade and soap making and baking.

“We also give counselling to (PLWHA) to let them know that being positive is not the end of their lives and also disabuse their mind on the stereotype,”she said.

She however reminded the newly inaugurated board members that they are the custodians of the NGO and always to ensure right things goes in the right direction.

Earlier speaking the the Chairman Board of Directors Rahma Women Development Alhaji Bello Inuwa said the NGO had implemented several projects through international partners in various sectors that impact positively to the lives of people of Bauchi state.

“We carry out interventions in different various sectors such as health, education, water sanitation and hygiene, and micro finance credit facilities to women,” he said

Bello urged government at all levels to support local NGOs to improve the lives of the citizens: nothing that is only the NGOs that interact much with the grass roots people for implementation of projects.

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School teacher assaulted, manhandled by officers at Mabushi station

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A serving teacher with Dominion International School, Jabi, Abuja, Iorember Doolumun, recently reported that he was maimed by two men of the police force from Surveillance Unit, Mabushi Divisional Police Station while having breakfast in Gishiri Village.

Mr. Doolumun who revealed that he was still in a devastated mood, told journalist that he had only gone for a tea break in Gishiri Village when two armed men stormed the spot to order everyone to lie flat on the floor but despite his decent quest to ascertain the reason for such an assaultive invasion, he got loads of slaps and kick boots from the officers, who told him he was speaking too much grammar, noting that they were also graduates, before conveying him to the Gishiiri Police station in hand cuffs, to get two more slaps for explaining that he had asked a simple civil question.

He further disclosed that he was forced to append to a statement titled, ‘An assault on a police officer’, after which a fine of N10, 000 was paid by friends as ransome for his release, as he cautioned the federal government to quiz the status of such security men for the future of Nigeria, mostly as the 2019 elections are around the corner. He said:

“I went out to eat that morning at a spot in Gishiri village and it was barely minutes when I entered the place that two policemen from Surveillance Unit at Mabushi Divisional Police station invaded the restaurant and ordered everyone to lie flat on the floor.

“I politely asked why they had to assault innocent citizens but in response, they pounced on me with slaps on my ears and kickings all over, telling me they were also graduates before conveying me to the station, where the officer in-charge gave me two more slaps, saying I had assaulted police officers on duty.

“I was forced to write and sign a statement titled, ‘An assault on police officer’, before I was released on bail after payment of a N10, 000 as fine, and I can barely hear well with my ears even as I speak to you, and my limbs are even swollen from the battering.

“It’s very worrisome to think that these are the same supposed custodians of peace in the country and will be the ones to be used as security in the forthcoming elections.

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