Nigeria’s Senate has introduced a bill seeking to establish an FG agency to check hate speech in the country. The bill, sponsored by a former Senate spokesperson, who is now the Deputy Senate Whip, Sabi Abdullahi, passed first reading on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday. Titled, “National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speeches (Earn, etc) Bill 2019, a similar bill sponsored by Abdullahi in the 8th Senate prescribed among others, death by hanging for anyone found guilty of the offence.
The Senate has asked the NNPC to refund ₦382 million the corporation claimed it spent on firefighting operations in Komkom, Rivers state, and Ijegun, Lagos state. The chairman of an ad-hoc committee set up to investigate the explosion in both locations, Abdullahi Gobir said that the NNPC (and NPSC) should refund the money and provide evidence of compliance to the committee on the downstream petroleum sector. In June, there was a pipeline explosion that killed up to 43 people in Komkom and a similar explosion in July in Ijegun which killed up to 11 people. To probe pipeline explosions in the two states, the Senate, set up an ad hoc committee chaired by Gobir. Presenting the report, Gobir said the vandals’ exposed pipeline to leak after “puncturing and siphoning petroleum products.” He said the NNPC and its contractors were aware of the pipeline leaks in Komkom and Ijegun but delayed in taking action.
The suspension of petrol supply to areas within 20 kilometres of Nigeria’s borders by the FG has triggered a petrol scarcity in border communities in Adamawa, Katsina, Lagos, Ogun and Sokoto states. According to The Punch, the order had led to petrol scarcity in communities such as Ihunbo, Ilase, Ajegunle, Idiroko and Agosasa in the Ipokia LGA of Ogun State. There were petrol queues at the Seme border in Lagos on Monday, as only two petrol stations were selling the product. Many filling stations within 20 kilometres to the border in Ipokia, close to the Benin Republic had been shut by the FG’s task force on border closure. Residents of Ipokia accused the security agencies in the area of sabotaging the economy of the country as a litre of petrol in the black market now sells at the rate of ₦600. Businesses, hospitals and firms in the areas are finding it difficult to power their generator sets due to the high cost of petrol.
A World Bank Enterprise Survey says that about 322 organised private companies were forced to close shop between 2009 and 2014. At least 1,136 said out of 5,833 firms sampled in the country within the period were reported to be at the risk of closing down. The Survey, which focused on emerging markets and developing economies, covered small, medium and large-scale enterprises in the non-agricultural formal private sector. It considered a firm to have closed down or exited if it is confirmed as ceasing operation. The study looked at the effects of factors such as trade, finance, labour, infrastructure, innovation, regulations, taxes and business licensing, crime, informality and corruption on business growth. The results of the survey identified the political environment and corruption as major obstacles to the survival of businesses in Nigeria and other African countries. Stifling business regulations were also identified as a major constraint to doing business, according to the study. Issues relating to tax rates, access to land, trade registration, tax administration, business licencing and permits and inadequacy of infrastructure, particularly transportation, electricity and telecommunication facilities affected the survival of the businesses and access to finance are among the constraints relating to business regulations. In the same vein, the report noted that conflict along ethnic and regional lines had stalled economic growth in Nigeria. The Registrar, Chartered Institute of Finance and Control of Nigeria, Godwin Eohoi, had said the harsh operating environment was responsible for the closure of many businesses in the country.