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BATN restates commitment to the passage of a balanced tobacco bill

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British American Tobacco Nigeria (BATN) has restated its support for the passage of a balanced and evidence-based tobacco bill. The company, at the tobacco control bill public hearing organised by the Committee on Health of the House of Representatives in Abuja on Wednesday, said that the proposed strengthening of existing regulation in the industry is commendable and welcome. It, however, stated its belief that for the proposed regulation to achieve its objectives, it must be balanced and enforceable.

The company highlighted certain provisions within the bill, which it said was unclear and in need of better clarification.

According to the Director of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs, Mr Freddy Messanvi, the bill was drafted in a way and manner which will duplicate roles already being carried out by other regulatory agencies. Other issues highlighted during the hearing were concerns around the problem of illegal trade; an area which it believed has not been put into consideration by the proponents of the bill.

Messanvi said that “by unfairly restricting the legal tobacco industry with the opportunity to communicate with its business partners and aiming to provide a special liability regime outside of the general liability regime, the bill unfairly discriminates against the industry in the application of a constitutional protection, thereby making these provisions of the bill arguably null and void”.

The Tobacco Control Bill seeks to amongst other things provide for the regulation of the production, importation, advertising, promoting, sponsorship, distribution, sale and public space smoking areas. The bill was sponsored by Hon. Yacoob E.A. Bush-Alebiosu. It also seeks to introduce a new committee to oversee the affairs of tobacco businesses in the country. This will be in addition to an existing committee set up in the country to oversee tobacco control issues.

BATN stated that the constitution of another committee is an unnecessary duplication of what is already in place. A tobacco control desk which houses a similar committee exists within the Ministry of Health. The committee includes representatives from various regulatory agencies and ministries.

Messanvi stated that the composition of the members within the committee does not reflect a fair and objective representation of key stakeholder groups.

Amongst other organisations proposed to be part of NATOCC is NTCA, one of the foremost anti-tobacco groups in the country. It was, however, observed that there was no organisation representing the industry or organised private sector in the member composition of the committee.

NTCA consists of member groups which are currently been funded by international donor agencies or NGOs. They are known to have set anti-tobacco industry agendas. Such unbalanced membership constitution is felt to have pre-determined the proposed outcomes of the deliberations of NATOCC to the detriment of the industry.

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Oando Clean Energy, Cross River State, Sign MoU on Renewable Energy Infrastructure

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Oando Clean Energy (OCEL),  the renewable energy business subsidiary of Oando Energy Resources and the Cross River State Government have  signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the rollout of electric vehicles for mass transportation within the state at the ongoing 28th edition Conference of the Parties (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The move in setting up an electric vehicle (EV) assembly plant, is expected to create jobs for local indigenes as well as build a 100MW wind plant for power generation.

Representing the Governor of Cross River State, Bassey Otu at the MoU signing was the state’s Commissioner for Special Duties, Oden Ewa, saying the landmark agreement marked a significant step forward in the state’s journey toward a cleaner and more sustainable future. He said: “The MoU paves the way for the transitioning of our mass transit system to cleaner and less expensive fuels while also allowing for the use of our natural resource, wind, to provide electrification for our people.

“I commend Oando Clean Energy for their innovative solutions that address the impact of climate change in Nigeria and her citizens.”

According to Oando , it said,  as  a company, it has committed to ensuring that this journey to a cleaner and more sustainable energy future is as seamless and as easy as possible.

“This is by putting our confidence in, not only the technology but the partnership and ensuring that the Cross River State government and her people reap the benefits of generating power from sustainable sources”. The statement read.

Oando’s Clean Energy’s scope spans the entire 35 states of the federation and the federal capital, promising to create a cleaner, more viable energy ecosystem for Nigeria and the  people of Cross River.

In attendance at the side event were amongst others, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Abubakar Momoh;  Minister of the Environment, Abbas Balarabe;  Minister of State for Environment, Dr. Kunle Salako; Commissioner for Special Duties, Cross River State, Mr. Oden Ewa, among others.

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House Of Representatives Issues Warrant Of Arrest On Central Bank Governor, Cardoso, Accountant-General, 17 Others

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The House of Representatives’ Committee on Public Petitions has asked for a warrant of arrest to be issued on the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Olayemi Cardoso, the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Oluwatoyin Madein, and 17 others over refusal to appear before it to answer questions on their operations.

It was gathered that the issuance of the arrest warrant was sequel to the adoption of a motion moved by Fred Agbedi, representing Ekeremo/Sagbama Federal Constituency of Bayelsa State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the committee’s hearing on Tuesday.

Agbedi, while moving the motion, said that the arrest warrant had become imperative following the attitude of the invitees, adding that the parliament worked with time and the CEOs had been invited four times but failed to respond to the invitations.

Agbedi said that the CBN Governor, the AGF and the rest of the invitees should be brought to appear before the committee by the Inspector General of Police through a warrant of arrest after due diligence by the House Speaker, Rep Tajudeen Abbas.

The Chairman of the Committee, Micheal Irom (APC-Cross River), in his ruling said that the Inspector-General of Police should ensure the invitees were brought before the committee on December 14.
It was gathered that the petitioner, Fidelis Uzowanem, had earlier said that the petition was anchored on the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) 2021 report.

Irom said, “We took up the challenge to examine the report and discovered that what NEITI put together as a report is only consolidation of fraud that has been going on in the oil and gas industry.

“It dates back to 2016 because we have been following and we put up a petition to this committee to examine what has happened.

“The 2024 budget of 27.5 trillion that has been proposed can be confidently funded from the recoverable amount that we identified in the NEITI report.

“It is basically a concealment of illegal transactions that took place in NNPCL; they have been in a sink with some oil companies where some companies that did not produce crude were paid cash core, an amount paid for crude oil production.”

 

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FCTA uncovers illegal oil refining warehouse in Abuja

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In continuation of the city cleaning exercise, Authorities of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) with operatives of security personnel have uncovered an illegal oil refining warehouse in Mabushi, opposite Mobile filling station on Ahmadu Bello way in Abuja.

 

The Director, Department of Development Control, FCTA, Mukhtar Galadima after the operation on Thursday, said the illegal refining site was discovered during the continuation of the city cleaning exercise.

 

According to him, about three to four plot of lands designated for commercial purposes have been converted to an area where oil and diesel are being adulterated and circulated to other parts of the city.

 

Galadima explained that the city sanitation task force will look into the provision of the law and make necessary recommendations to the FCT Administration for further actions on the plots used for the activity.

 

He said there was no arrest but the items used in carrying out the illegal refining have been impounded.

 

Galadima said, “During the continuation of our city sanitation exercise in Mabushi opposite Mobile filling station on Ahmadu way, we discovered an illegal refining site where oil and diesel are being adulterated, we have done the needful by moving the items to Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps.

 

“From what we have seen so far, about three or four pilot of lands designated for commercial purposes have been converted to unapproved activities, which we believe the owners are fully aware, there will be consequences.

 

“We are going to look at the provision of the law and make necessary recommendations to the FCT Administration”

 

He said the administration will continue to go tough on activities being carried out without government approval,  especially revocation of the titles.

 

Collaborating, Head, operations FCT Directorate of Road Traffic Service (DRTS), Deborah Osho said the city management team during the exercise also discovered that most of the areas in the Nation’s capital have been converted to illegal car mart and motor parks.

 

She disclosed that fifteen vehicles have so far been impounded since the operation commenced about two days.

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