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California Governor makes historic appointment of Nigerian

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Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, has appointed a Nigerian, Uduak-Joe Ntuk, as the State Oil and Gas Supervisor, responsible for managing the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR).

Ntuk is the first Nigerian-American to hold the position in California’s history.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that DOGGR uses science and sound engineering practices to regulate the drilling, operation and permanent closure of energy resource wells.

The division prioritises protecting the public and the environment in its oversight of the oil, natural gas and geothermal industries within the largest state in America.

A statement from the governor’s office said that Ntuk had served as the Petroleum Administrator for the City of Los Angeles, the second largest city in the United States of America.

“In Los Angeles, he was responsible for oversight and policy of oil fields, gas storage facilities, petroleum refineries and pipeline franchise agreements.

“Prior to joining the city of Los Angeles, he had worked for several companies, including Tyco, General Electric and Chevron.

“Being a technical professional with both public and private sector energy experience, he provided technical advice to the Mayor, City Council, and various City Departments.

“A Nigerian-based Oil and Gas Consulting Company is exploring the possibilities and has initiated discussions regarding building a business relationship between the Nigerian oil and gas industry and the state of California through Mr Ntuk.

“He is the first Nigerian-American to hold this position in California’s history and his family is from the Port City of Calabar, Cross River State,” said the statement.

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National News

Court dismisses rape suit against COZA Pastor, Fatoyinbo…fines Bisola Dakolo N1m

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An Abuja High Court sitting in Bwari, Thursday dismissed the rape case instituted by a socialite Mrs Busola Dakolo, against the Senior Pastor of Commonwealth of Zion Assembly, COZA, Biodun Fatoyinbo.

The court in its judgment absolved Pastor Fatoyinbo from the alleged rape on the ground that the case of the plaintiff is purely sentimental and empty.

Justice Othman Musa while dismissing the rape suit awarded a cost of N1,000,000 against Busola Dakolo to be paid to the Pastor.

Busola, wife of popular artist Timi Dakolo had accused Pastor Fatoyinbo of raping her while she was a teenager.

She approached the court to demand for justice and compensation.

Precisely, Busola Dakolo accused Pastor Fatoyibi of raping her in the year 2002.

On his part, the COZA Senior Pastor filed an objection to the suit and supported it with an affidavit claiming that Busola’s statements were false and concocted to embarrass, scandalise and ridicule him.

He said in the affidavit that from the inception, the plaintiff sought the attention of the media and press and brought the civil action even while the Police investigation was ongoing.

Accorsing to him, her false claims were stale and an abuse of judicial process.

After parties argued their briefs, Justice Musa held that the matter amounts to an abuse of judicial process.

He further held that the case is purely sentimental and empty, having no concrete facts known to law and legs to stand upon.

Justice Musa awarded costs of N1,000,000 against Busola Dakolo and held that it would have been 10 times more but resisted it because there are women with legitimate claims who may approach the court for justice.

According to the court, the case carries more of cruelty in it than justice.

Before the judgment was delivered,
Fatoyinbo had described the suit as frivolous and statute barred.

Fatoyinbo, through his lawyer, Dr. Alex Izinyon, SAN, in a preliminary objection dated 20th September, 2019, said the reliefs sought by Busola in the suit are not grantable, which makes the suit incompetent.

According to the objection filed at a high court of the federal capital territory, Dr. Izinyon said the court
lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the suit adding that the suit is frivolous and a palpable abuse of court process

In an affidavit deposed to by
Ademola Adetuberu, Executive Senior Assitant to Pastor Fatoyinbo, he said the substratum of the claimant’s suit is the mere purported allegation of emotional and psychological distress as a result of the said purported mere allegation of rape against the Defendant.

He further said in the affidavit that the said purported mere allegation of rape is still a subject of investigation by the Police.

Deponent said in the affidavit, ”That a suit of this nature is statute barred after a period of three years. The reliefs claimed by the Claimant in the suit clearly fall within the limitation law”.

Busola had last month approached the court to seek redress in the allegation made against pastor Fatoyinbo.

In the substantive matter, Mrs Dakolo, through her lawyer, Pelumi Olajengbesiis sought the order of the court to compel Fatoyinbo to publish a clearly worded apology to her on the front page of at least two (2) National Newspapers and two National Televisions for seven days running consecutively.

Plaintiff had two months ago made a shocking revelation in a detailed interview with Chude Jideonwo, a lawyer and journalist, of how the Abuja-based cleric allegedly raped her as a teenager.

She claimed that Fatoyinbo had sexual intercourse with her on September 23 and September 26, 2002, caused her continuous emotional distress and amount to intentional infliction of emotional distress.

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Sowore: DSS denies opening fire on protesters

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The Department of State Services (DSS), Wednesday denied the allegation making the rounds that its operatives opened fire on protesters who had stormed its facility November 12.

However, DSS also said it was a normal global security practice for its operatives to stand in defence of their facility when some group of persons made unruly attempts to forcefully break into the place and effect the release of Omoloye SOWORE.

DSS spokesman, Peter Afunanya said this in a statement in Abuja.

Part of the statement reads, “Despite serial and unwarranted provocations, the Service, as a professional and responsible Organisation, did not shoot at the so called protesters. It could not have done so.

“For emphasis, the Service reiterates its avowed readiness to release SOWORE once the processes are concluded. It maintains that the appropriate persons have still not turned up to take delivery of SOWORE.

“While all those that have so far shown up are not directly concerned with the matter and therefore unqualified, many others have either chosen to grandstand or politicise it to achieve hidden interests.

“In the last few days, the Service has continued to witness deliberate campaigns of calumny, threats and aspersions against it. It will not, for any reason, join issues with its mudslingers. The media is called upon to be neutral and remain champions of the truth.

“It is only appropriate that those who stood surety for SOWORE present themselves and have him released to them. It is even more disappointing that Femi FALANA, who is a senior lawyer, would wrongly guide his client and supporters. He is rather playing to the gallery and mobilizing miscreants to subvert the Service and other state authorities.

“He has excellent relationship with the DGSS. But in the circumstance, he has refused to reach out to him over the case like he had on previously related ones.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Service restates its commitment to the rule of law and particularly respect to the Court. It, therefore, calls for calm but states that it will not be intimidated or harassed into hasty actions.

“It reassures the public that it will not waste a second to release SOWORE if the proper processes are followed. And FALANA, sure, knows what these are”.

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Rivers Assembly okays MTEF 2020 to 2022

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The Rivers State House of Assembly has adopted the Medium Term Expenditure Framework 2020 to 2022 sent by Governor Nyesom Wike to the House.

This followed a debate on the documents presented during Tuesday plenary.

Governor Wike in a letter addressed to the House urged the lawmakers to consider the MTEF for adoption.

The MTEF contains the fiscal revenue projection, as well as the expenditure profiles and parameters which the 2020 budget is anchored on.

In the same vein, the Rivers State House of Assembly has given first reading to Rivers State contributory health protection program bill sent to the house by governor Wike for consideration and passage into Law.

The bill proposes to establish a, “Contributory Health Protection Program to ensure that residents of the state have access to effective, quality and affordable healthcare services, pursuant to the promises by the state government to improve the health and living conditions of residents of the state”.

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