The news about the directive or rather order by the senate on the 11th of this month to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to suspend the fixed charge of N702.00, which it has been collecting from electricity consumers across the federation following unending complaints against the policy by Nigerians has been greatly applauded as the right step in the right direction, given its anti-people oriented and exploitative coloration. When this good news filtered into the public domain, many a consumer of power supply heaved a profound sigh of relief having been subjected to the fixed charge without proportionate benefit to show for the money they pay, especially for those who do not make use of pre-paid meters. Again, the Senate in a landmark resolution from a motion entitled: Unfair Trade Practices of Electricity Distribution Companies in Nigeria, which was sponsored by the duo of Senator Sam Egwu and Senator David Umaru, directed the NERC to urge Discos to discontinue the practice of compulsory bulk metering of villages and communities in the rural areas. As commendable as these directives are, it is only when the various private power/electricity distribution companies that cut across the geo-political zones of the federation are forced to implement and comply with the order will fairness be restored to the power sector as regards the outrageous, extortionate, slavish and exploitative electricity bills paid by consumers of electricity. Apart from the issues of bulk metering and fixed charge of N702.00, another issue that is giving the public a great source of concern, anger, and sadness is the continuation of the charge of electricity bills on services not rendered for. For example, there are places and residential homes that have been disconnected for months and the wires used for the connection taken away by the various private power/electricity distribution companies’ electricians for one reason or the other but the end users (electricity consumers) have continued to receive electricity bills for services that have not been offered. This is a clear case of daily light robbery, thievery, conscientiousness, and man’s insensitivity to man by these exploitative companies and its allies. Had it not been that majority of Nigerians who consume electricity are docile even when pushed to the wall especially on this issue of having one’s source of electricity disconnected and wires taken away by these power supply companies’ electricians or task force on disconnection, we would have been inundated with news of untoward actions meted out to those who deliver these undeserving electricity bills to those who do not supposed to pay for the bills. Similarly, there are homes and places that are connected to power supply but have not had electricity for months but these electricity companies still bill them for services not rendered. I believe the practice of making consumers pay for meters, poles and transformers, which by law, are properties of the electricity companies should not be paid for. No wonder the senate directed NERC to make a regulation to mandate the Discos to discontinue the practice of making consumers pay for meters, poles and transformers, which by law, are properties of the Discos, adding however that where consumers purchase those items, they should give notice of the purchase to the Discos, and should be entitled to recover their expenses from subsequent consumption of electricity. This unpalatable situation of things in the power sector should be investigated holistically by the National Assembly with a view to finding permanent remedies to the ripping off of consumers of electricity and to restore sanity in the system. A stitch in time saves nine. Nwaorgu Faustinus writes from, Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Email:email@example.com
Monthly Archives: August 2015
Woman kills 3 sons for being husbands favourites
A woman confessed to killing her 3 sons because she felt her husband loved them more than he loved their 3-yr-old daugher.
Brittany Pilkington was charged with three counts of murder and has been jailed, according to police in Columbus.
Pilkington calmly called 911 to report her baby son wasn’t breathing on Tuesday.
Hours later, she confessed to killing him and her two other young sons over the past several months because her husband ignored their daughter, authorities said.
Pilkington is accused in Tuesday’s death of 3-month-old Noah and in the deaths of 4-year-old Gavin, who died in April, and 3-month-old Niall, who died in July 2014.
No working telephone number for the family’s home could be found, and no attorney information was available for the mother.
Police said officers went to the family’s apartment on Tuesday morning after an emergency call from the mother saying Noah wasn’t breathing.
They said she calmly answered a dispatcher’s questions while the baby’s sleep apnea alarm beeped in the background.
The baby was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Logan County prosecutor, William Goslee, said he interviewed Brittany Pilkington and she confessed to killing each of her sons by placing a blanket over his head and suffocating him.
“In her mind,” Goslee said, “she was protecting her daughter from being not as loved as the boys were by their father.”
The daughter, 3-year-old Hailey, was taken into custody by a county child welfare agency.
Authorities were already investigating what happened to Niall and Gavin, whose causes of death haven’t been determined.
In each of those cases, their father, Joseph Pilkington, found them unresponsive when he got home from work.
“Our son’s not breathing,” Brittany Pilkington said meekly to a dispatcher when she called police on April 6 as her husband frantically gave Gavin chest compressions. “He’s turning white.”
Joseph and Brittany Pilkington were cooperative on Tuesday before she eventually confessed to killing all three boys, police said.
“The tragic deaths of Niall, Gavin and Noah leave a pit in our stomachs today,” police Chief Brandon K. Standley said in a statement. “Our condolences go out to the remaining family members who have supported this family through a very difficult 13 months.”
Brittany Pilkington’s uncle, Joe Skaggs said Hailey and Noah had been with Logan County Children’s Services after Gavin’s death and were returned to their parents this month.
“Why would you give them back after a little boy just died and when you’re in the middle of an investigation?” Skaggs, standing in front of his niece’s apartment, told the Dispatch.
Goslee, the prosecutor, said Hailey and Noah were given back to their parents after a coroner determined Gavin’s and Niall’s deaths weren’t suspicious.
The Pilkingtons’ neighbor, James Breaston, was home, across the hall from the family, when Gavin died in April.
He remembered consoling a distraught Joseph Pilkington but finding Brittany Pilkington unperturbed.
“He was crying, the tears were rolling, and she was just cold,” Breaston told the Dispatch. “She just stared like nothing happened.”
He said that when saw police arrive on Tuesday morning he thought, “Oh, there’s another baby dead.”
Guards Brigade partners NSCDC on security in FCT
The Commander, Guards Brigade, Nigerian Army, Brig.- Gen. Musa Yusuf, has pledged to work with the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to ensure adequate security in the FCT.
Yusuf made the pledge on Wednesday in Abuja when he paid a courtesy visit to the NSCDC, FCT Commandant, Mr Patrick Ukpan, as part of his familiarisation tour of security formations in the territory.
He said the Guards Brigade which was responsible for security in the FCT, under his leadership would work closely with other security agencies to ensure maximum security of lives and property in the territory.
He stressed the need for synergy and information sharing among security agencies to rid the FCT of criminals and miscreants in line with international best practice.
The commander also pledged to strengthen the existing synergy among the Guards Brigade and other security agencies in a bid to enhance its operational efficiency.
Earlier, the NSCDC, FCT Commandant, Mr Patrick Ukpan, assured of the NSCDC's support in ensuring a peaceful and secure FCT.
He said the NSCDC, FCT command had been doing a lot to ensure the security of lives and property, especially the security of critical infrastructure in the six area councils of the FCT.
Ukpan said that the command had stepped up its security and surveillance on oil pipelines, mainly in the outskirts of the FCT following the re-streaming of the Kaduna Refinery and other refineries in the country.
He solicited the support of the Guards Brigade in the area of more joint patrols of the pipelines and other power and telecommunications infrastructure.
"We still need your support, especially in the area of training of our personnel and joint patrols of our critical infrastructure," he said.
He declared total war on pipeline vandals and criminals and disclosed that three trucks with illegal fuel were recently arrested in the FCT with the culprits already charged to court.
Ukpan called on Abuja residents to remain vigilant and report any suspicious movement or individuals to the nearest security agency.
NIGERIA: Ex-Speaker turns down Fayose’s appointment
An ex-factional Speaker in Ekiti State, Dele Olugbemi has turned down Governor Ayodele Fayose's appointment as a member of the House of Assembly Service Commission.
Olugbemi failed to show up at the screening and confirmation of nominees on Tuesday and Wednesday, where four other nominees were confirmed by the Assembly.
Those whose nominations were confirmed were a former Speaker, Olatunji Odeyemi (Chairman), Bode Ajewole, Mrs. Lanre Fajuyi and Muyiwa Fadahunsi.
The motion for the amendment of the House of Assembly Service Commission Law 2003 was moved by Leader of Government Business, Olatunji Akinyele “to accommodate nominees from the three senatorial districts.”
This is the fourth time the Ekiti State House of Assembly Service Commission Law would be amended.
The House said the amendment is to ensure fairness to all the districts and to ensure equitable distribution of positions.
Speaking on Olugbemi's rejection of the appointment, the state Assembly Speaker, Kola Oluwawole, said accepting such offer is not by force.
He said, “If you offer somebody appointment and he says no, there will be a replacement because there are so many people yearning for this opportunity.
“People who are very intelligent and qualified are looking for this opportunity and government will ensure that another replacement is made.
“We stepped it down (on Tuesday) because we wanted to ensure that there is a balance in representation on the commission.
“It had to be stepped down to do some necessary adjustment to ensure equity and fair play because every segment of Ekiti State is made to feel a sense of belonging. It is a development we have to address and it has nothing to do with the fact that somebody declined the offer. If I am giving you an offer and you say no, you cannot be compelled to serve in a particular agency or commission, it is a matter of choice.”
It was gathered that Olugbemi did not answer calls placed to his telephone on Wednesday, and also ignored text messages sent to his line.
The former Speaker was among the six All Progressives Congress lawmakers that defected to the PDP after October 16 inauguration of Fayose.
NIGERIA: 1,959 flood victims get N50,000 each
Akwa Ibom Government has provided financial assistance to 1,959 flood victims in Eket and Uyo, according to Mrs Sylvia Ekpo, Permanent Secretary, Deputy Governor’s Office.
Ekpo told newsmen on Wednesday, August 19, in Uyo that individuals not families benefited from the financial assistance.
She said that each of the 1,959 victims received N50,000.
"The beneficiaries are those who made official reports to our office.
"The day after the flood, I and my boss went to the spot to assess the situation.
"In Eket we captured 1,670 names, while in Uyo we had 289 victims,’’ she said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), recalled that the flood was caused by torrential rainfall which occurred on June 29 that lasted for several hours.
Ekpo explained that victims, who reported their cases to the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) were the people eligible to benefit from the largesse.
"The government decided that instead of giving the victims relief materials, we should give them financial assistance,’’ she said.
She said that officials of SEMA visited the affected areas to assess the situation before capturing the victims that qualified for the assistance.
She advised officials of local government councils in flood-prone areas in the state to report to the Office of the Deputy Governor for mitigation and provision of relief materials.
Lawyer found dead in her home
Elizabeth Nnyanzi, 31, was pronounced dead at the scene around 5.55pm on Friday, August 14.
Until her death, Elizabeth who had studied medicine at Imperial College before switching to follow in her Ugandan father’s footsteps as a lawyer, worked at leading City firm, Herbert Smith, Freehills.
According to London Evening Standard, Elizabeth worked for a number of charities and fundraising activities.
Before embarking on her career she had volunteered for Mulaga Hospital in Uganda, where her solicitor father, Joseph, had grown up.
She also volunteered in 2005 at Freedom from Torture, a centre based in Finsbury Park with links to Amnesty International.
She was also part of the Model United Nations during her time at Imperial College.
Elizabeth was said to be a keen singer who had been asked to perform in an opera at the Royal Albert Hall.
A relative, who did not wish to be named, said:
“It’s horrible. She was a very young girl who was doing so well. I’m shocked because I have known her since she was a baby. She’s a lovely girl. So beautiful and doing very well. She was a very talented girl, a young star. It is a really big loss not just for the family but for society in general because she has always done good things for people.”
A Met spokesman said it was awaiting the results of a postmortem carried out on August 16 at Northwick Park Mortuary.
Officers from Harrow's Homicide and Major Crime Command are now leading this investigation under Detective Chief Inspector, Tim Duffield.
Meanwhile, 23-year-old Mechanic, Peter Kibisu, was charged this Monday, August 17, in connection with the murder.
He appeared in custody at Hendon Magistrates Court today and will make his next appearance at the Old Bailey on Thursday.
NIGERIA: Kogi Governor declares for second term
After months of speculations, Kogi State Governor Idris Wada finally declared his ambition to contest for second term.
Wada made his intention known on Tuesday, August 18, in his acceptance speech to the PDP stakeholders and Elders Advisory Council endorsement, said he had garnered enough experience to tackle the problem of the state and promised to consolidate on his first term achievement if elected.
He said: “The words of our elders are words of wisdom, but I have come to appreciate in the last few weeks that before elders speak, they must have employed experience, patience, candour and courage.
“It is indeed gratifying that our noble party men, women and youths have provided me a good opportunity to run again, so that we can finish the race that we all started.
"The advantage in the philosophy of continuity is that all these impactful projects highlighted above can add value to the lives of the people of our dear State if they are taken to a logical conclusion by our administration. The benefit is for everyone irrespective of the political affiliation of any indigene of the state.
“Conversely, there is a great risk of losing invaluable investment of these projects if other people that are not part of the vision inherit them. No vision can be driven better than the visioner.”
The Governor's party chieftains and members had persuaded him to consider a rerun upon expiration of his first term, but he did not public agree to the step until now.
Wada described his first term as challenging, occasioned by litigations and a drastic decline in the resources accruing to the state
“The last three and a half years have taken us through various seasons. We have experienced and survived a natural disaster that presented as flood, we have confronted and overcome legal challenges that presented as the assertion of rights.
'’We have walked through the valleys and mountains of industrial actions with their potential threat and eventual triumph. In all these, I am now better experienced, better equipped and better empowered to steer the vision on course.
"I am better trained to pursue the mission of our party, drive our transformation process to the altitude and land on a safe and firm ground that provides stability and sustainability for successive administrations and generations in our State.
According to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), governorship election will hold in Kogi State on November 21, 2015.
Polls did not hold in the state during the last April 11 governorship election because Wada's tenure had not ended.
Vice-President says past policy formulation, implementation not people-focused
The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), on Wednesday said some past polices and planning, including budgeting of government did not reflect the needs and the conditions of the majority of the citizenry.
Speaking at a courtesy visit by members of the Alumni Association of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPPS), at the State House, Abuja, Osinbajo noted that the people had become disempowered in the process.
According to the vice president, the important thing now is how policies can address the needs of the people, saying “this is the main challenge’’.
"Governments have not been accountable to the people, otherwise policies should have roots in the real conditions of the people."
He observed that in the past there had been “policies that do not seem to have solutions that truly reflect the understanding of the question of poverty in Nigeria.”
He, therefore, challenged the notion that a country could be described as rich when about two-thirds of "its people are extremely poor’’.
While expressing concern about extreme poverty in the country, Osinbajo said that records had shown that "we have 110 million poor people, representing two-third of the Nigerian population.’’
He expressed regret that the economic and social policies were reflection of the level of illiteracy in parts of the country.
"Some are extremely bad and some with cases of about 80 per cent or 90 per cent of children out of school, and other cases of unimaginable decayed infrastructure.”
Osinbajo said that one of the challenges of policy formulation was how to speak to the people and how to address their plights.
According to him, "the people are concerned about how do I get a meal, how do I get healthcare and how to send children to school.”
He said that budgets had often failed to address the needs of the people.
The vice president then challenged members of the Alumni Association to discuss how policy formulation ought to have root in the conditions of the people.
“I want the institute to think about this," the VP said.
Osinbajo welcomed the idea of a Policy Roundtable proposed to him by members of the association, noting that what had been lacking in government was a time to think, reflect and consider policy while still working at a fast pace.
The policy roundtable is intended to provide an interface between policy experts and makers on a governmental platform on how to address the needs and improve the living conditions of the citizens.
Earlier, the President of the Alumni Association, retired Maj.-Gen. Lawrence Onoja, expressed appreciation for President Muhammadu Buhari’s determination to fight corruption and reposition the economy.
He pledged the support of the association for the actualisation of what he called the Three-Point Agenda – Security, Corruption and Economy of the Buhari administration.
Onoja urged the administration to not only conduct a forensic audit of the government agencies but also jail all those found guilty of looting the country and seize their assets.
APC trying to convince ex-governor to dump PDP –Report
Duke has however not communicated his final decision to the APC leadership, according to ThisDay.
“The national leaders of APC and Duke have been talking, but I cannot really say what has been agreed. But, Duke’s former Chief of Staff, James Aniyom, will be received into the APC,” a source, who chose to remain anonymous, said.
APC leaders, including Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo will reportedly welcome PDP defectors from the state into the ruling party at the end of August.
Governor’s ex-aide arrested over lover’s death
The police in Osun State have arrested a former Senior Special Assistant to Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State, Mr. Bode Olugbore, following the death of 29-year-old, Kemi Arobieke.
PUNCH Metro learnt that Kemi, who the family claimed was Olugbore’s lover, was found dead in the ex-SSA’s apartment on Saturday, August 8.
Our correspondents gathered that Kemi, an event planner, came from Lagos to visit Olugbore in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, on Thursday, August 6, and promised to return on Saturday.
It was learnt that Kemi’s family, however, got a call on Sunday that the lady had been electrocuted in the ex-SSA’s apartment, and her corpse had been deposited in a mortuary.
It was gathered that the matter was reported at the Dada Police Division, and policemen from the station removed the corpse from the apartment, with the ex-SSA arrested thereafter.
The deceased’s elder brother, Ayoola, who confirmed the death of his sister to our correspondents on the telephone on Tuesday said, Kemi had known Olugbore for about four years, but the family initially did not know about their relationship.
He said he, Kemi and Olugbore were members of the same church in Lagos, adding that her sister told the family that the suspect had separated from his wife, who had three children for him.
Ayoola, said the explanation sounded illogical as there were no traces of burn either on her body or on the fan.
Our correspondents gathered that Olugbore’s lawyer’s said the ex-SSA was not in his apartment at the time of the incident, adding that Kemi’s death was a domestic accident.
The Arobieke’s family lawyer, identified only as Olayiwola, told our correspondents that the result of the autopsy was with the police, adding that both families would be invited by the police.
The Osun State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Folashade Odoro, confirmed the arrest.
She added that investigation was ongoing on the matter.
“I don’t know about who is involved, but the suspect has been arrested by the police. Investigation is also ongoing on the matter. When things like this happen, the first suspect is the owner of the apartment. So, he was arrested immediately.”
The governor’s media aide, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, when contacted declined to comment on the matter.