Former Arsenal and Barcelona striker, Thierry Henry, has made a U-turn on the player that should win the 2021 Ballon d’ Or.
Henry had earlier this month backed Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema or Chelsea’s N’ Golo Kante to win the Ballon d’Or this year ahead of Paris Saint-Germain’s Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski and Chelsea’s Jorginho.
However, Henry has now picked Messi to win the Ballon d’ Or this year ahead of Benzema and Kante because he led Argentina to win Copa America this year.
“I cannot say it like that because I will always say that a French guy should win it [Ballon d’ Or] because I’m biased and I would have loved Benzema to win it,” Henry told CBS Sports.
“But in reality, Lionel Messi will, I think, because of his finally winning the Copa America with Argentina.”
Henry added, “Let’s be realistic, I hope it can be him [Karim Benzema] or N’Golo Kante. Robert Lewandowski would have been elected in 2020 if it had not been cancelled.
“We can also talk about Jorginho because he won everything [Champions League and Euro 2020]. And there is Leo [Messi] who finally won the Copa America.”
The winner for this year’s Ballon d’ Or will be announced next Monday.
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Direct Primaries: Reps summon INEC Chairman over N500bn cost
The House of Representatives, has invited the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, to appear before its Committees on Electoral Matters and Appropriation and brief lawmakers on the cost implications of conducting direct primaries by political parties in the country, estimated at N500 billion.
The National Assembly in the recently passed Electoral Act Amendment Bill, awaiting President Muhamadu Buhari’s assent, made provision for the compulsory conduct of direct primaries which has been subject of concern by stakeholders, especially the Governors.
Worried by this development, the House of Representatives at plenary on Thursday, demanded clarification from the electoral body on logistics implications of the provision with the view of not shutting out youths, people at the grassroots and majority of party members from political processes.
The House resolution followed the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance moved by the lawmaker, representing Yagba East/Yagba West/Mopa-Muro Federal Constituency of Kogi State, Leke Abejide.
Leading debate on the motion, Abejide called attention to the speculation making the rounds that it would cost over N500bn for political parties to conduct direct primaries ahead of the 2023
He said as the umpire supervising both the primaries of political parties and the main elections, the INEC Chairman would be the appropriate official to clear the air on the cost implications of
The lawmaker said: “The Bill is very critical to the sustainability of our democracy as the aspect of direct primaries will open up the Political space for the youths and largely the members of all Political Parties to participate in all electoral processes starting from primary elections to the general elections.
“Cognizant of countless complaints of the cost implications of direct primaries but the benefits to my mind outweighed the cost implications. However, it is pertinent to give opportunity to Chairman, Independent Electoral Matters Commission (INEC) to interface with both Committees on Electoral Matters and Appropriation in order for the Nation to know what will cost the country through INEC in order to put to rest the insinuations of different figures flying around that is so humongous to undertake direct primaries which may not be correct after all.”
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Electoral fraud: Court adjourns Prof. Uduk’s trial to December 14
An Akwa Ibom State High Court 9, sitting in Uyo, the state capital on Thursday, adjourned sitting in the trial of Professor Ignatius Uduk to December 14, 2021.
Uduk, a professor in the department of Physical and Health Education, University of Uyo, was arraigned by Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC on December 9, 2020 under charge no HU/240c/2020 on a three- count charge of abandonment of duties and unlawful generation of false scores during the Essien Udim state Assembly elections in 2019.
The trial judge, Justice Bassey Nkanang adjourned the case to seek direction on the pending ruling of the verbal objection raised by the defence Counsel.
Justice Nkanang before the adjournment asked the defence and prosecution counsels to file all their arguments, and replies respectively for adoption and ruling on the next adjourned date.
The former trial Judge, Justice Archibong, Archibong had adjourned for ruling on the objections raised by Mr. Abasiodiong Ekpenyong, Counsel to the accused person but before the adjourned date the Judge was elevated to a new Court.
Ekpenyong had raised verbal objections bordering on the authority of Mr. Clement Onwuenwunor, as a new counsel mandated to represent INEC in the case. Onwuegbuna replaced former INEC’s lead Counsel in the case, Kpobari Sigalo.
The defence counsel, Ekpenyong had also raised objection on why Onwuenwunor should take over half way into the case.
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Senate faults Saipem over alleged violation of Local Content Act on Gas project
The Senate Committee on Local Content on Thursday in Abuja berated Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited over alleged violation of Local Content Act on the execution of Train-7 Gas Project in the country.
The committee, chaired by Senator Taslim Folarin (APC Oyo Central), had sought explanation over an alleged award of higher percentage of contracts to foreign companies for supply of steels, rods, among other materials for execution of the project..
Specifically, Senator Folarin sought the explanation, when management of Saipem appeared before the committee to defend a petition against it over an alleged breach of lLocal Content Act in tender and contract awards to companies.
The committee had invited the organisation’ s executing the Train -7 Gas Project, following a petition on breach of local content act on award of contract for purchase of items for implementation of the project.
The companies, which include the Nigerian Liquified Natural Gas, NLNG; Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, NCDMB; Saipem and Daewoo had failed to appear before the committee on November 25.
The senate committee, consequently re-scheduled the meeting.
Senator Folarin, while making his remarks at the rescheduled meeting read out a section of the petition that indicated that Saipem awarded more contracts to foreign firms than Nigerian companies for supply of materials running into millions of Euros in breach of provision of the Local Content Act.
The chairman berated Saipem for violating the Local Content Act by not adhering to the 50 per cent threshold on utilisation of local content in award of jobs for the Train-7 gas project.
He said: “Can you explain, how you came about awarding the contract for the supply of steel for 4 million Euros, to TK Corporation, a Korean company, and 4.27million Euros, contract to another Korean company for pipes, 3.86 million euros to an Italian company and another 5.5 million Euros. All these are not Nigerian companies.”
Senator Folarin explained that the Local Content Act provided for 50 per cent Nigerian content in the execution of the project.
He, however, noted that the document presented by Saipem indicates that it has so far awarded 60 per cent of contracts to foreign firms.
Responding, the Managing Director of Saipem, Mr. Water Peviani said execution of the project by the company was based on contractual agreement, and documents presented to it by the NLNG and the NCDMB.
“Within the contractual documents, which we received, entailed a project Nigerian content plan and entry procedures for Nigerian companies compliance certificate.
“The Nigeria content plan we have received states the minimum set of materials that needs to be purchased in Nigeria with no exceptions.
“And then, there is a list of them and we have received them from our client, counter signed by NCDMB.
“A foreign vendor can not win a supply that should be supplied from a Nigerian vendor,” Peviani stressed.
He said the client had secured the export credit for the materials from companies in Italy and Korea.
According to him, the materials not to be bought in Nigeria, also entailed a minimum of Italian content and Nigerian content, as Nigerian vendors were responsible to source the materials from foreign countries.
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NCC denies moving 5G deadline after only MTN submitted bid
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says that its attention has been drawn to the front page headline of some popular national dailies of Thursday, December 2, 2021 with the title, “How NCC moved 5G deadline after only MTN submitted bid.”
The publication had alleged that “the Commission was forced to move the November 24 deadline for the submission of the bid and payment of the ten percent fee of $20 million after it emerged that only MTN Nigeria had complied with the requirement.”
However, in its reaction, the NCC said that it was pertinent to state that it maintains an unimpeachable record and reputation based on precedents of open and transparent spectrum auctions over the years, which had earned it both local and international recognition.
“For proper guidance of our stakeholders and the general public, it should be recalled that as part of the regulatory processes leading to the auction of the 3.5GHz spectrum, the Commission had carried out the following activities: October 7, 2021, the Commission exposed the Draft Information Memorandum (IM) on the auction of the 5G spectrum on its website (www.ncc.gov.ng) and issued a public notice in major media channels, including print, electronic and broadcast media,” the commission said in a statement signed by Ikechukwu Adinde, its Spokesman.
“Comments on the draft IM were received by the Commission up until October 28, 2021,” it said.
“On November 3, 2021, the Commission held a stakeholders’ engagement forum in Lagos at which comments received from a broad segment of stakeholders, including the major operators were exhaustively discussed and considered.
“On November 10, 2021, the Commission published the Final IM, and Stakeholders’ comments thereon, on its website and national dailies, and set the deadline for the submission of bids on Wednesday, November 24, 2021.
“On November 23, 2021, just a day before the deadline for the submission of bids, Air Traffic Controllers went on strike, disrupting flight operations in Lagos,” it explained.
“As a responsive regulator, and following concerns expressed by industry stakeholders and potential bidders for the 5G Spectrum, including MTN, about the possibility of meeting the deadline in light of the flight disruptions, the Commission’s Board approved an extension of the deadline from Wednesday, November 24, 2021 to Monday, November 29, 2021.
“Indeed, on November 23, 2021, MTN had communicated to the Commission via email, asserting its concerns about the air traffic controllers’ strike and how it is likely to impede timely submission of their bid.
“On December 1, 2021, the Commission announced that at the close of the bid submission date of November 29, 2021, three companies, namely MTN Nigeria, Mafab Communications Ltd and Airtel Networks Ltd had successfully submitted their bids in line with the requirements of the IM.
“The public must also be aware that all three bidders are existing licensees of the Commission under different license categories.
“The Commission would like to state that the Business Day story is replete with misinformation, which is capable of misleading industry stakeholders, the general public and undermining the integrity of the ongoing process for the auction of the 5G spectrum.
“For instance, the publication alleged that Mafab Communications is a relatively unknown operator in the industry, suggesting that it was not eligible to bid for the spectrum.
“The IM has clearly stipulated that new entrants into the industry can participate in the bid and if they are successful, the Commission will issue the entity an operating license in line with the extant provisions of the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003 and its licensing regulations.
“The Commission is consistently guided by its well-established principles of fairness, firmness and forthrightness and wishes to assure Nigerians that it is determined to ensure the successful implementation of the 5G Auction spectrum, which is set to take place on December 13, 2021.”
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Joseph Wayas: Saraki recalls moments with late predecessor
Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has mourned the passing of one of his predecessors, Joseph Wayas.
A statement on Thursday his spokesman, Yusuph Olaniyonu described the deceased as a patriot and father figure.
The former Kwara Governor consoled the family, the people of Cross River and Nigerians in general.
Saraki said Wayas led the Senate while his father, Olusola Saraki, served as Senate Leader between 1979 and 1983.
“Whenever Oloye visited Dr. Wayas, or Dr. Wayas came to our home, he always had a knack for wanting to ensure that everyone was carried along in the solutions to problems.
“During my time as Senate President, I consulted with him regularly on issues relating to the running of the Senate. He was a guest at a few events in the 8th Senate.”
Wayas served as third Senate President and was earlier a member of the Nigerian Constituent Assembly between 1977 and 1978.
He was Deputy Chairman of the 1994/1995 National Constitutional Conference Commission that organized the national confab.
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Buhari mourns ex- Senate President, Joseph Wayas
President Muhammadu Buhari has condoled with the family of former Senate President, Joseph Wayas, on the passing of the elder statesman.
Buhari in a condolence message released by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, on Thursday said Waya’s “influence contributed to Nigeria’s democracy.
He Buhari noted the sacrifices of Wayas, who started taking up leadership responsibilities at an early age, turning a Senate President at 38, and remaining vibrant and dynamic in mentoring leaders long after he retired from politics.
Buhari joined the National Assembly, Government and people of Cross River, friends and associates in mourning Wayas, believing his legacies would be approximated for posterity.
He prayed that his soul would find rest with the Lord
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Court orders DSS to release detained businessman after 6 months in detention
Justice Anwuli Chikere of the Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the Department of the State Service (DSS) to immediately release a Jalingo based businessman, Ntari Hassan Danladi allegedly clamped into detention more than six months ago.
The businessman was said to have been detained by the security agency over his alleged link with the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafran IPOB.
Danladi was specifically said to have been arrested on or about the 6th day of May 2021 and has been under the custody of the DSS without any complaint or any charge filed against him by the Federal Government.
Justice Chikere gave the order for his release while delivering judgement on a motion on notice marked FHC/ABJ/CS/450/2021), filed by Pius Danba Pius, on behalf of Danladi.
In an enrol order of the court obtained by judiciary correspondents on Thursday, Justice Chikere noted that the order to detain Danladi was made on the 24th day of June 2021 and that the order was to expire after ninety (90) days.
The court held that since the ninety (90) days detention order expired on the 22nd day of September 2021, “There is no application by the State Security Service for renewal of the detention order.
“That the order of detention having expired and there being no renewal, the 1st Respondent/Applicant is to be released from the custody of the State Security Service immediately” Justice Anwuli ordered.
The motion on notice dated 18th November 2021, and filed on November, 19, had prayed the court for an order directing the Respondent (SSS) to produce the applicant (Danladi) in court immediately and show cause why he should not be released unconditionally having been detained for more than 6 months without a criminal charge preferred against him.
Meanwhile, briefing judiciary reporters, counsel to the detainee, Mr Pius Danba Pius said Danladi is being unlawfully incarcerated in the detention facility of the DSS for allegedly having links with the outlawed Indigenous People s of Biafra.
He said Danladi was arrested in Jalingo by operatives of DSS, and since then, no charge has been preferred against him.
“We have obtained an order of the court for Ntari Hassan Danladi to be released immediately by the SSS.
“The order made on November 29, 2021, by Justice Anwuli Chikere has been served on the SSS through the Court’s bailiff.
“As at the time of this briefing, the SSS has refused to release our client, an action that is a flagrant disobedience to a valid order of court” Pius stated.
He called on the SSS to as a matter of urgency, respect and obey the order of a court of competent jurisdiction to release his client unconditionally.
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IPOB: Stop writing me letters on Kanu”s trial, Judge warns lawyer, shifts trial to Jan
Justice Binta Nyako of the federal high court in Abuja on Thursday issued a stern warning to Mr Ifeanyi Ejiofor, lawyer to the detained leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu to stop writing letters directly to her in respect of the trial of his client.
The Judge complained that the lawyer had written two lengthy letters to her directly as against the procedure of channelling such letters through the Registrar of the court.
Justice Nyako while making her position known in the open court, said she will not take kindly to a repeat of breach of procedure to reach court on such issue.
Although the lawyer did not react to the Judge’s warning, he sought to move two motions on notice on behalf of his client.
Kanu’s lawyer had approached the court with a motion on notice seeking abridgement of time to bring back the trial of the Biafran leader from January 19 next year to an early date either in November or December.
The Biafran leader was, however, not in court to witness proceedings as he was not brought by the Department of the State Service DSS where he has been on remand since his re-arrest by the federal government after jumping bail earlier granted him.
The federal government through its counsel Mr Shuaib Labaran informed the Judge that his client has filed a counter-affidavit to vehemently oppose the request to abridge time in the trial that had been fixed for January next year.
Justice Nyako who was taken aback by the motive of the motion told Kanu’s lawyer that there was no judicial time for her court to bend backwards the trial date.
In the drama that ensued, the case diary of the court was read to the lawyer to establish that the court has crowded cases to attend to.
However, following the persistent plea, Justice Nyako agreed to shift other cases slated for January 18 to accommodate Kanu’s trial which will last till January 19 and 20.
In another drama, Ejiofor sought to move another application by Kanu challenging the competence of the 7-count treasonable felony charges brought against him by the federal government.
The move was resisted by the federal government lawyer on the ground that the motion was not ripe for hearing and that the business slated for the day was the motion for abridgement of time only.
Justice Nyako agreed with the government lawyer and rejected the bid to bring the motion forward.
However, following another request on behalf of Kanu by his lawyer, Justice Nyako ordered DSS to allow Kanu to practice his faith, change his clothes and be given the maximum possible comfort in the detention facility.
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EPL: Man United’s top striker decides to leave Old Trafford after Rangnick’s arrival
Following the arrival of Raff Rangnick as Manchester United’s new interim manager, striker Edinson Cavani has decided to leave the club and to join Barcelona, The Times report.
The current contract of the 34-year-old Cavani will expire at the end of the season.
The Uruguay International is unsure if the current manager would have him in his plans being that the 63-year-old enjoys working with young players and plays pressing football.
The veteran striker was convinced by the recently sacked manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to sign a one-year extension at the very end of last season.
He has scored just once this term and has suffered from injuries, making just five appearances so far.
The Uruguayan has always made his desire to play in Spain public and he was on the verge of joining Barcelona’s rivals Atletico Madrid before Man United made a late move for him in 2020.
The Newspaper says the former Paris Saint-Germain star is planning on joining the Catalan giants next summer to fulfil his dream of playing in Spain.
Barcelona had expressed an interest in Cavani last summer when their superstar Lionel Messi’s dumped the club but Man United was not willing to listen to offers.
The arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo from Juventus further limits the playing opportunities of Cavani who scored 17 times in his debut season at Old Trafford.
The former Napoli man is currently sidelined with a tendon injury.
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Kano Police arrest 13 armed thugs for attacking Senator Barau’s campaign office
The Kano State Police Command has confirmed the arrest of 13 Armed Thugs among hundreds who attacked and set ablaze Senator Barau Jibrin Gubernatorial Campaign Office in Kano.
The spokesman of the Command, DSP Haruna Abdullahi Kiyawa said at about 0800hrs, Thursday, they received reports that thugs (Yan Daba) carrying dangerous weapons were sighted vandalizing the office of Barau Jibrin, a Senator representing Kano North Senatorial District along Maiduguri Road Kano.
He said the Commissioner of Police, Kano State Command, CP Sama’ila Shu’aibu Dikko, raised and instructed teams of Operation Puff Adder to move to the scene, restore normalcy and arrest the culprits.
Kiyawa noted, that the teams immediately swung into action, arrested the thirteen suspected thugs (Yan Daba) and recovered 34 dangerous weapons, 23 clubs (Gora), 2 gallons of suspected PMS (Petrol), 1 parcel and 30 pieces of dried leaves, suspected to be Indian Hemp, 24 sachets of Diazepam tablets, 4 pieces of red sun solution, 1 mobile phone, 2 ceiling fans and a bunch of charms.
“Normalcy was immediately restored and the situation under control. Investigations have commenced and suspects will be charged to court for prosecution.
The Commissioner of Police, has, however, warned that criminals will have no hiding place in Kano State. They are advised to either repent or leave the state completely. Otherwise, they will be arrested and face the full wrath of the law.
He thanked the people of Kano State for their prayers, encouragement, continuous support and cooperation, urging them to pray for the state, the nation and report incidences to the nearest Police Station and not take laws into their hands.
”Rigorous patrol and raids of criminal hideouts and black spots will continue throughout the State, as the Command will sustain the ongoing “Operation Puff Adder”, he said.
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Ibrahimovic reveals why he advised Mbappe to leave PSG for Real Madrid
AC Milan striker, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, has revealed why he advised Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe to leave the French Ligue 1 giants for Real Madrid.
Zlatan, a former PSG star, said he urged Mbappe to leave the club because he feels the 22-year-old needs a more structured environment like that of Real Madrid.
Mbappe has been heavily linked with a move to join Real Madrid.
The France international recently rejected talks to extend his contract with PSG.
The forward has only one year left on his current deal with PSG and he is expected to join Real Madrid next summer.
PSG recently rejected Real Madrid’s €220million deadline day bid for Mbappe despite the player’s contract expiring in a year.
When asked if it was true, he advised Mbappé to leave PSG, Zlatan told Corriere della Sera: “It is true.
“Mbappé needs a more structured environment, like that of Real Madrid. But then I told the PSG president not to sell him.”
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Man Utd vs Arsenal: Myth that Ronaldo cannot play in pressing team – Carrick
Manchester United caretaker manager, Michael Carrick, has said it is a “myth” that Cristiano Ronaldo cannot play in a pressing team.
Ronaldo’s role at Old Trafford has come under scrutiny following the appointment of interim manager Ralf Rangnick.
Rangnick has a reputation for demanding an intense, pressing style.
Ronaldo statistics this season and last campaign at Juventus suggest he does not close down defenders very often. However, Carrick insists the 36-year-old will be able to adapt to Rangnick’s demands.
“Maybe it is a myth. Maybe that is how it is. He’s played in enough teams over the years being successful to play in a variety of ways and kept scoring goals for every team.
“I’m sure he will continue to score goals, there is no doubt about that,” Carrick told a news conference on Wednesday.
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Olufon stool: Court restrains state govt, kingmakers from further action
An Osun State High Court sitting in Osogbo has restrained the state government, Orolu local government council, and Olufon kingmakers from making any further move on the installation of a new Olufon of Ifon-Orolu kingdom.
The judgment was delivered Thursday afternoon in Osogbo.
Details later …
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Kaduna SUBEB to sack 233 teachers for presenting fake certificates
Chairman of the Kaduna State Universal Basic Education Board (KADSUBEB), Alhaji Tijjani Abdullahi, on Thursday, hinted that 233 primary school teachers have been pencilled down for dismissal for gaining employment with fake certificates.
Abdullahi, who spoke at a press conference in Kaduna on Thursday, further noted that for the Board to be sure that the newly-employed teachers have the requisite qualifications, it went into secret verification of their credentials from various institutions attended.
According to him, the board has already verified 451 institutions they claimed to have attended, but only nine of them have responded so far.
He further added that the responses from the institutions showed that 233 teachers presented fake certificates.
He added that one of the institutions disowned 212 of the 233 fake certificates, adding that, the board would forward their files to the Ministry of Justice to initiate prosecution for forgery.
A visibly shaken Abdullahi noted that the Board will continue to check the integrity of the certificates presented by teachers to ensure that the teaching profession is not devalued by impostors.
“As part of our duty of transparency, the names of the 233 teachers found to have presented fake certificates will be uploaded on the website of the Kaduna State Government today,” he said.
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Senate berates Saipem over breach of Local Content Act on Train-7 gas project
The Senate Committee on Local Content has expressed displeasure at Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited, a company handling the Train-7 gas project, for what it termed “deliberate breach” of Nigeria’s Local Content Act.
The company’s management has been evading appearances before the Committee until Wednesday after the panel threatened to compel their appearance with sanction.
However, the panel, chaired by Senator Teslim Folarin, after inference from evidence made available to the panel, demanded an explanation from Saipem Contracting Company why the gas project company awards contracts to foreign companies for supply of steel, rods, among other materials for execution of the project contrary to local firms in clear breach of LCA.
According to the Committee, they have been flooded with petitions from the public over the sharp practices of the company in connivance with some Nigerians.
The Committee said it was based on that the Train -7 gas project was invited while pointing out the breach of the local content act on the award of contract for the purchase of items for the gas project.
The Committee however regretted the non-appearance of Nigerian Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG), Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Saipem and Daewoo, which they said their appearances would have deepened investigation on why foreign firms habitually shortchange the nation.
It rescheduled the meeting and asked the Committee Clerk to issue fresh letter of invitation to the absentee organisations.
Senators Folarin and Sabi Abdullahi in reference to a petition pointed out that Saipem management is aware of contracts to foreign firms than Nigerian companies for supply of materials running into millions of euros in breach of the provision of the local content act.
Teslim said: “Can you explain, how you came about awarding the contract for the supply of steel for 4 million euros, to TK Corporation, a Korean company, and 4.27million euros, contract to another Korean company for pipes, 3.86 million euros to an Italian company and another 5.5 million euros.
“All these are not Nigerian companies.”
He said the local content act provided for 50 percent Nigerian content in the execution of the project.
In his response, the Managing Director of Saipem, Mr Walter Peviani said execution of the project by the company was based on a contractual agreement, and documents presented to the company by the NLNG and the NCDMB.
“Within the contractual documents, which we received, entailed, a project Nigerian content plan and entry procedures for Nigerian companies compliance certificate,” he said.
Unfortunately, the Executive Secretary of the National Content Development Management Board was absent despite invitations, a development, the Committee said was deliberate and suspicious.
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