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Cracks In NBA As Splinter Group Form NNBA

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Swearing new SANs Cracks In NBA As Splinter Group Form NNBA

The controversy created by the dis-invitation of Kaduna Governor, Nasir El-Rufai by the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) as speaker at its recent annual general conference is getting messier as a splinter group, New Nigeria Bar Association (NNBA), has emerged.
The move has, however, elicited mixed reactions from legal practitioners.
In a statement by conveners of the NNBA, Nuhu Ibrahim and Abdulbasit Suleiman, both members of the Kaduna branch of NBA, yesterday, the group said wide consultation had started across northern Nigeria with senior lawyers to actualise the formation of the new association.
“Members of this association have commenced consultations with very senior lawyers of Northern Nigeria extraction and those practising therein with the view to constituting the trustees and for purposes of fixing date for formal inauguration of the association.
“The inaugural date of the association being apolitical and geared at taking and protecting the interests of lawyers of like minds shall be communicated.
“The recent rumblings from the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) is leaving much to be desired within the ranks of concerned lawyers, especially from northern part of the country.
“What has been happening recently has exposed the inability of the NBA to manage and contain the heterogeneity of its members as well as their various interests. Its penal powers has been deployed discriminatively on the basis of ethnicity and regionalism.
“As a body of lawyers who have undergone training towards ensuring the promotion and protection of Human rights and liberties, the NBA is supposed to live above sentiments, regionalism and discrimination on any basis and of any kind.
“Therefore, the NBA cannot afford to be seen not to be upholding the rights and freedom of its own members if at all, it should be seen to be practicing what it preaches. As the Hausa saying goes: “Idan Kura tana maganin zaho, ta yi ma kanta’ (If Hyena has cure for diarrhoea let her use it for herself).
“The New Nigerian Bar Association have been watching activities of the NBA, an association we all looked forward to joining with high hopes before being called to the Nigerian Bar, forcing idiosyncrasies of few on the majority of its members, especially in recent times.
“No wonder, NBA NEC, which is the highest decision-making organ of the association failed to uphold the fundamental principles of fair hearing which in itself, is the fundamental aspect of rule of law, on the allegations against the Executive Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai as were contained in a petition by Chidi Odinkalu Esq., a long time foe of His Excellency and a lawyer of eastern extraction, but the NBA failed to extend the same treatment to Southern invitees who were also petitioned and are also alleged to have committed similar or more human rights abuses than those alleged against Mallam El-Rufai.”
The group said NNBA members, gleaning from the above Constitutional provision feel their interests were no longer taken into consideration in major decisions of the NBA.
Reacting, Paul Ananaba (SAN) said NBA is better and stronger together.
“There are avenues for settling grievances rather than forming new associations. Besides, the issues at stake are not legal issues per se. What is the guarantee that similar issues will not sprout in the new association. It then means we may end up having over 10 Bar associations. I am against it and I advise the proposers to do away with the idea.”
For Dr. Babatunde Ajibade (SAN) and Abiru Akingbolu, the emergence of the factional group portends a bad omen.
On why the move should not be allowed to gain traction, Ajibade, presidential candidates at the last NBA elections, said: “If we fail to stand together as a profession, as we appear to be doing now, we will be unable to withstand the threats and challenges ahead.”
But senior lawyer, Mr. Seyi Sowemimo okayed the splitter group and described the action of the lawyers as a welcome development.
“I am not surprised; I know it will get to this. What will you expect if the leadership of an association is not transparent, association’s election being marred with fraud?”
To me, it is a welcome development, this will bring about healthy competition for the rivalry groups,” he said.
Bayo Akinlade, former chairman, NBA Ikorodu branch said members of the group were free to set up their own association but to be like an NBA, they need the National Assembly to give it statutory flavour.

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Why We Oppose Okonjo – Iweala’s Election As WTO DG – US

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images 2020 10 29T191931.329 Why We Oppose Okonjo - Iweala’s Election As WTO DG - US

The United States has explained why it is against the election of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the next director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
In a statement issued by the office of the US trade representative on Wednesday, the world power said the WTO is in dire need of reform and must be “led by someone with real, hands-on experience in the field”.
“The United States supports the selection of Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee as the next WTO Director-General,” the USTR, led by Robert Lighthizer (pictured above), said.
“Minister Yoo is a bona fide trade expert who has distinguished herself during a 25-year career as a successful trade negotiator and trade policy maker. She has all the skills necessary to be an effective leader of the organization.
“This is a very difficult time for the WTO and international trade. There have been no multilateral tariff negotiations in 25 years, the dispute settlement system has gotten out of control, and too few members fulfill basic transparency obligations.
“The WTO is badly in need of major reform. It must be led by someone with real, hands-on experience in the field.”
OKONJO-IWEALA: I’M A TRADE EXPERT
The argument against Okonjo-Iweala has always been that she has no direct trade experience. But while addressing the WTO in July, the former minister of finance in Nigeria refuted the claim.
“I am a development economist and you cannot do that without looking at trade. Trade is a central part of development. So, I have been doing it. My whole career at the World Bank, I was working on trade policy reform in middle and low-income countries at the bank,” she said.
“As finance minister, the customs service in my country reported to me. And that is all about trade facilitation. I helped my country’s negotiation with my trade minister on the ECOWAS common external tariffs. I don’t know how much more trade you can have than that.
“So those who say I don’t have trade, they are mistaken. I think the qualities I have are even better, because I combine development economics with trade knowledge, along with finance, and you need those combination of skills to lead the WTO. I think I have the skills that are needed. I am a trade person.”
On Wednesday, Okonjo-Iweala had won the popular vote to become the next DG and had the nod of the three ambassadors saddled with the responsibility of picking the next leader of the trade body.
But at a WTO delegates meeting to discuss the appointment, the US expressed opposition to her election — the US was the only country opposing her election.
Keith Rockwell, the spokesman of the WTO, said just one member country did not support Okonjo-Iweala.
“All of the delegations that expressed their views today expressed very strong support for the outcome, except for one,” he said.
The WTO reconvenes on November 9, 2020 after the US election to decide who becomes the next DG.

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NNPC : Nigerian Refineries Damaged Beyond Turnaround Maintenance

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images 2020 10 29T185910.284 NNPC : Nigerian Refineries Damaged Beyond Turnaround Maintenance

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) yesterday attributed the prolonged neglect of overhauling the refineries in the country to the delay in making them functional.
It declared the refineries as damaged beyond the usual Turnaround Maintenance (TAM).
However, to revamp them, the national oil is embarking upon total rehabilitation of the plants, which despite currently being non-functional, gulp about N10 billion monthly in payment of salaries and other in-built costs.
Speaking yesterday on the third day of the virtual Oil Trading and Logistics (OTL) Africa Downstream Expo 2020, on the theme “ Petroleum Refining Trends and Outlook for Tomorrow’s Energy Supply,” the Managing Director of the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KRPC), Mr. Ezekiel Osarolube, stated that the corporation had begun the rehabilitation of all the facilities.
He explained that there is now a private/public arrangement in the revamping of the refineries, adding that getting them back on stream remains a priority for the NNPC.
“The first phase of this project is to raise capacity and second phase is to upgrade and modernise to meet current trends; so, we need time to get there.
“There’s a difference between turnaround maintenance and what we are doing now. The traditional TAM, which the whole world knows is usually statutory, which is done two to three years, is to open and clean the system.
“But because of the long neglect, we have gone beyond that level of turnaround. What we are talking about now is comprehensive rehabilitation, which will involve replacing very obsolete equipment that can bring the plants back to optimum performance,” he stated.
According to him, the journey to make the plants resume production is ongoing, adding that the corporation has a roadmap, which it is following religiously to ensure all the slippages are rectified.
“These steps are going on in Warri, Kaduna and Port Harcourt and we have a roadmap we follow religiously.
“Every month, we have a stakeholders’ meeting to review where we are and if there is any slippages and how to recover because top management is focused on this project as the number one project of NNPC.
“We are dealing with people who are good in the business and they also want to recoup their money. All the fears will be taken care of and everyone will be proud of the NNPC,” he stated.
On his part, the Executive Secretary of the African Refiners and Distributors Association (ARA), a pan-African organisation for the African downstream oil sector, Mr. Anibor Kragha, noted that while the NNPC was on the right path, it should, however, focus on combining rehabilitation and upgrade to cleaner fuel specs to sell across Africa since there’s a huge market for it.
“We are going to have a population explosion in the next two decades and we are going to need an increased amount of energy to meet their demands.
“Renewables are going to grow during that period. Notwithstanding what happens, we are going to need a lot of crude oil but we need to focus on cleaner fuels. That’s why we are calling for Africa specific fuels by 2030,” he said.
He called for less emphasis on brown fuels and more on the green, noting that technologies for this should be made a priority, while the pursuit of gas as an alternative fuel should be encouraged.
Also in his intervention, Chairman, PEJAD, Nigeria, Mr. Anthony Ogbuigwe, said to make progress towards the attainment of cleaner fuel supplies, Sub-Saharan Africa must reduce the sulphur content of the fuels it consumes.
“The biggest refineries are in Egypt, but none of them meet the clean fuels specifications, but a number of them are carrying out revamping projects to improve the specification,” he said.

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WTO : FG Moves To Counter US Position On Okonjo – Iweala

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images 2020 10 29T185601.058 WTO : FG Moves To Counter US Position On Okonjo - Iweala

As the world awaits the outcome of the final consensus decision on the next World Trade Organisation, WTO, there are indications that Nigerian government may have started diplomatic actions to head-off opposition from the United States of America, USA, against the emergence of Nigeria’s Okonjo-Iweala for the job.
A source at the Ministry of Trade and Investment told Vanguard yesterday that the government was taking steps to prevent USA’s opposition from snowballing into adverse swing in the support base for Nigeria’s nominee.
Earlier, Okonjo-Iweala had received endorsement from the majority of the voting members of the WTO giving her a clear lead over the contending candidate, South Korea’s trade minister, Mrs Yoo Myung-hee.
But sources close to the WTO as well as western media outlets have indicated yesterday that the USA was drumming support in favour of Myung-hee, while advancing reasons why Okonjo-Iweala should not get the job.
When contacted by Vanguard yesterday, a top trade ministry source said, “the Ministry was aware of USA’s position long before now and we are not folding our hands”.
He also added, “we are confident that most of the countries that have expressed support would not back out under pressure from USA.”
He declined to give details of what the government was doing to ensure the support of the majority of the WTO Council members.
Okonjo-Iweala emerged winner of the highly competitive race, polling 104 endorsements out of 164 member countries at the final stage of the race earlier this week.
The process of picking WTO’s DG/ Chief Executive is based on consensus building where the voting members are expected to adopt any candidate that commands acceptance of the majority of the voting members.
However, where such consensus was not achieved, the Council members will resort to outright voting with the highest number of votes deciding who gets the job.
The endorsements, which still needs full WTO approval caps a more than four-month selection process involving intensive lobbying.
However, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative, Dennis Shea, said during a meeting of WTO delegates in Geneva yesterday, that his country would not support a consensus decision to appoint Okonjo-Iweala.
All WTO decisions are taken by a consensus of its 164 members, which means the U.S. move will act as a veto that disrupts the process.
The recommendation of Okonjo-Iweala was made by three WTO ambassadors, the so-called “troika”, after consulting with members in a series of closed-door meetings in Geneva as part of an intricate and opaque process that some have compared to a papal succession.
A WTO official said the organisation would continue to push for a consensus ahead of meeting of its General Council tentatively set for November 7, but a decision should be taken before that date whether by consensus or voting.

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