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Nembe spill: Bayelsa kicks as probe is stalled

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From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa

The Bayelsa State government has kicked against the decision to exclude it from the Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) of the Nembe oil spill.

The state government’s reservation was an aftermath of the probe into the cause and volume of spill from the leak at Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29, which suffered a setback following the exclusion of the Bayelsa Technical Committee on the spill set up by the Bayelsa State government.

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According to investigations, the Bayelsa committee had protested the exclusion of the media from the JIV. Findings indicated that there was a disagreement between officials of Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production, operators of the OML 29, and the Bayelsa team over the inclusion of the media in the JIV.

It was gathered that Aiteo had opposed the inclusion of the media in the investigation, but the Bayelsa Technical Committee insisted that the inclusion of the press was needed to ensure transparency.

As it became clear that Aiteo was not willing to shift ground, representatives of Bayelsa Ministry of Environment and Bayelsa Government Technical Committee boycotted the JIV.

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Aiteo was said to have insisted on its position noting that the JIV comprised representatives of oil firms, regulators, state Ministry of Environment and impacted communities.

They maintained that they were not opposed to the participation of the State Technical Committee, but the inclusion of media was not allowed in the statue books that listed the statutory members.

Reacting to the development, Kemasuode Wodu, a senior advocate and the legal team lead of Bayelsa State described the exclusion of the press as unacceptable, as the Bayelsa State government urged the committee to ensure transparency.

“The Bayelsa government team on the JIV was barred by Aiteo and armed security deployed to the oilfields, so when they insisted that we drop our press crew, we became apprehensive of their motives and even our safety.

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“So we are not aware if they went ahead or not, but we were emphatic that the state government wants investigations to be conducted in a very transparent manner.”

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Google appeals $2.8bn shopping fine at EU court

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Google on Thursday appealed an EU court decision to uphold the bloc’s 2.4-billion-euro ($2.8-billion) fine for abusing its search engine dominance.

The tech giant said it would go to the European Court of Justice, the EU’s highest court, after the General Court confirmed in November a decision by the European Commission in 2017.

At the time, the fine was the European Union’s biggest ever. But it was later exceeded by a 4.3-billion-euro fine against Google over its Android smartphone operating system.

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“After careful consideration, we have decided to appeal the General Court’s decision because we feel there are areas that require legal clarification from the European Court of Justice,” a short statement by the company said.

The case centres on Google’s shopping service and is one of three against the search engine giant currently moving through the EU’s drawn-out appeals system.

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The new appeal could take up to two years to reach an outcome, stretching the case out to well more than a decade after the commission launched its investigation in 2010.

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The court confirmation on Google Shopping was a win for the EU’s anti-trust supremo Margrethe Vestager, who burst onto the scene in Brussels by scrapping her predecessor’s more conciliatory approach to the US internet giant.

Vestager had lost in the same court in a different major case, against Apple and Ireland, in which her teams had ordered the iPhone maker to repay 13 billion euros plus interest to the Irish taxpayer. The EU has appealed that ruling.

The fine for Google came after seven years of investigation launched by complaints from other price-comparison services that saw traffic plummet against Google Shopping.

AFP

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NSCDC busts recharge card specialist fraudsters in Osun

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By Olajide Idowu

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Two suspects, Adeyemo Mufutau, 26, and Oladiji Hezekiah, 27, have been arrested in Osogbo, Osun State for engaging in use of recharge cards to dupe people while pretending to be herbalists.

The suspects were arrested by operatives of Osun Command of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

While parading the suspect, Osun NSCDC Commandant, Mr Emmanuel Ocheja, explained how the herbalists initiated their fraudulent activities by calling members of the public on their phones, and pretending as old men/herbalists to defraud them.

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“They will send fake recharge cards to people, and then call the receiver that the person should help return the cards, and afterwards introduce one ‘baba’ ( an old man)/ or a herbalist as the person intending to send the recharge cards to his son.

“They will say the ‘baba’ wants to specially thank anybody who sends the recharge cards back to them.

“During the process, the suspects would introduce themselves as old men/herbalists who wanted to reciprocate the kind gesture of those that had sent back the recharge cards to them.

”The suspects would say they wanted to help solve the problems of their unsuspecting members of the public ,” he said.

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The commandant added that the suspects had confessed to the crime and would be charged to court.

Similarly, Ocheja said that two other suspects were arrested on Monday at a mining site within Ita Obi Community of Ilesa, for mining illegally while three others were also arrested on Wednesdsy for dealing illegally in petroleum products.

He said one Zainab Afeez was also arrested for allegedly assaulting and pouring hot water on her 11-year old biological daughter, while one Abdulrahman Ibrahim was arrested in connection with a stolen Toyota Camry, 1999 model, in Osogbo but recovered in Kano.

Ocheja said that all the suspects would be charged to court after the completion of investigations into their matters. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

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