Osimhen Wins Serie A Best Striker Award 2022/2023; Tinubu Alone Can Fix Fuel Prices, Not NNPCL – Falana | 5 Things That Should Matter Today

  • Osimhen Wins Serie A Best Striker Award 2022/2023
  • Tinubu Alone Can Fix Fuel Prices, Not NNPCL – Falana
  • NLC Plans Nationwide Strike on Wednesday
  • Court Upholds Ayu’s PDP Suspension
  • EFCC Questions Tallen, Former Women Affairs Minister, Over N2bn Fraud

Across Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, these are the five top Nigerian news stories you shouldn’t miss

Osimhen Wins Serie A Best Striker Award 2022/2023

In a remarkable achievement, Napoli’s star striker, Victor Osimhen, has been honored with the prestigious Best Striker award for the highly competitive 2022/23 Serie A season. The announcement was made on Friday by the Serie A, recognizing Osimhen’s outstanding performance and triumph over fierce competitors, including Lautaro Martinez from Inter Milan and Rafael Leao from AC Milan.

Osimhen’s remarkable feat of scoring 25 league goals throughout the season, a notable four goals more than his closest rival Martinez, solidified his well-deserved claim to the award. With just one game remaining, the Nigerian talent emerged as the top striker, propelling Napoli to secure their first Serie A crown since the 1989–1990 season. This marks Napoli’s third domestic title, following their previous triumphs in 1987.

Notably, Osimhen is on the verge of etching his name in history as the first African player to claim the coveted top scorer accolade in Serie A. Earlier in the season, he surpassed the legendary George Weah’s record for the highest number of goals scored by an African in Serie A, reaching an impressive 47 goals.

While Osimhen garnered significant attention, he was not the only Napoli player to make waves on Friday. His strike partner, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, was honored as the Serie A Player of the Season. Kvaratskhelia’s contributions were highlighted by his impressive tally of 12 goals and 10 assists in the league, amounting to a total of 14 goals and 10 assists across 42 games this season.

Furthermore, Napoli’s Kim Min-Jae was distinguished as the best defender, showcasing his exceptional skills and defensive prowess. Lazio’s Ivan Provedel claimed the highly regarded best goalkeeper prize, reflecting his outstanding performances throughout the season. Inter Milan’s Nicolo Barrela was crowned as the best midfielder, further highlighting the remarkable talent on display within the league.

Tinubu Alone Can Fix Fuel Prices, Not NNPCL – Falana

Femi Falana, a prominent human rights lawyer, has asserted that President Bola Tinubu holds the sole authority to determine the pump price of petrol in Nigeria. His statement follows the recent adjustment in petrol prices by the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) at its retail outlets, which was said to be in line with market realities after Tinubu announced the removal of fuel subsidy.

However, Falana criticized this move, emphasizing that only the Federal Government possesses the power to fix the price of petroleum products. Given the current absence of a petroleum minister, Falana argued that the responsibility now falls upon President Tinubu.

Highlighting the transformation of NNPC into NNPC Limited, Falana contended that the company, similar to Total, Exxon Mobil, and Shell operating in the oil industry, lacks the authority to announce price increases for petroleum products. He referred to a Federal High Court judgment in Abuja, which stipulates that only the government has the mandate to determine petroleum prices.

Falana raised pertinent questions, demanding clarification from NNPCL regarding the source of their authority to raise petrol prices from approximately N185 to N540. He dismissed the argument that market forces dictated the new prices, asserting that the Nigerian Constitution and the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) do not grant market forces the power to determine petroleum prices.

Considering the current circumstances, with ministers yet to be appointed and the President overseeing the country, Falana maintained that only President Tinubu has the authority to make such decisions. He cited the Price Control Act and the PIA as the legal basis for the President’s temporary decision-making power.

NLC Plans Nationwide Strike on Wednesday

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has taken a firm stance by declaring a nationwide strike, set to commence next Wednesday. The decision comes in response to the fuel shortages experienced across the country following President Bola Tinubu’s inaugural speech, where he announced the end of fuel subsidy.

Joe Ajaero, President of the NLC, made the announcement after an emergency meeting of the union’s National Executive Council (NEC) in Abuja. Ajaero stated that the government, particularly the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, has until the specified Wednesday next week to revert to the previous price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), commonly known as petrol. Failure to meet this ultimatum will result in an indefinite protest throughout the nation.

During his inaugural speech on Monday at Eagle Square in Abuja, President Tinubu emphatically declared the end of fuel subsidy, asserting that the 2023 budget does not allocate funds for its continuation. He emphasized that redirecting resources towards infrastructure and other sectors would bolster the economy.

Tinubu’s pronouncement promptly led to a resurgence of fuel queues across the country, as Nigerians scrambled to secure the essential commodity. Despite receiving support from the NNPCL and the House of Representatives, the decision has encountered resistance from the NLC and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC). Organized labor argues that the President cannot unilaterally remove fuel subsidy without due process.

TUC President Festus Osifo also pointed out that the previous administration of Muhammadu Buhari deliberately left the “sensitive issue” for the new government to handle.

Efforts to resolve the impasse through negotiations proved fruitless on Wednesday, as a lengthy meeting between the Federal Government and the NLC ended without a consensus. The government delegation, consisting of Dele Alake (spokesperson for President Bola Tinubu), Mele Kyari (Group CEO of the NNPC), Godwin Emefiele (Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria), and former Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole, engaged with NLC President Joe Ajaero and TUC President Festus Osifo.

The NLC reiterated its demand for the Federal Government to revert to the previous fuel price before resuming negotiations. Ajaero emphasized that the government had not engaged in discussions regarding palliative measures for the Nigerian people, leading to the rejection of the latest announcement.

Court Upholds Ayu’s PDP Suspension

The Benue State High Court in Makurdi has ruled that Iyorchia Ayu can no longer hold the position of National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Ayu lost his membership of the party in his Igyorov Council Ward of Gboko Local Government Area, leading to a vote of no confidence passed on him by the ward executive committee. Conrad Terhide Utaan, a PDP member in Benue State, brought the case against Ayu.

In the suit (No: MHC/85/2023), Utaan sought a declaration that Ayu is no longer eligible to hold office as the national chairman of the PDP due to his loss of membership in his Igyorov council ward. He also requested an order restraining Ayu from acting as the National Chairman of the PDP. Ayu’s counsel, J.J Usman, SAN, filed preliminary objections questioning the jurisdiction of the court and the locus standi of the plaintiff.

The Chief Judge of Benue State, Justice Maurice Ikpambese, dismissed the preliminary objections and ruled in favor of the plaintiff. Justice Ikpambese held that Ayu ceased to be a member of the PDP when he failed to pay his subscription and membership fees. The judge also affirmed the power of the ward executive committee to discipline a member of the National Executive Committee, as provided in the PDP Constitution. Ayu did not challenge his suspension or prove that he had paid his membership subscription fee, leading the court to conclude that he had consented to his suspension.

Counsel to Utaan, Mike Assoh, praised the judgment and stated that it validated the action taken by the Igyorov ward executive committee against Ayu for his failure to pay his membership subscription fee. The ward executive committee had also accused Ayu of engaging in anti-party activities and not voting during the governorship and state assembly elections.

With the court’s decision, Ayu’s position as National Chairman of the PDP is effectively terminated, solidifying the actions taken by the Igyorov ward executive committee against him.

EFCC Questions Tallen, Former Women Affairs Minister, Over N2bn Fraud

Former Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs. Pauline Tallen, was subjected to questioning by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Friday. The ex-minister arrived at the Abuja Zonal Command of the Commission in response to an invitation and was interviewed by EFCC investigators from 12 pm until 8 pm.

While specific details regarding the allegations against the former minister remain scarce, a source familiar with the case disclosed that they pertain to allegations of corrupt enrichment amounting to N2 billion. It is alleged that a portion of the funds in question was diverted from the African First Lady Peace Mission Project.

Efforts to obtain confirmation from the EFCC’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, were unsuccessful.

This development follows the EFCC’s questioning of former Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, just a day prior.

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