The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, (AGF) Abubakar Malami on Thursday said that he has not been briefed on why the Chairman of Innocent Motors, Chief Innocent Chukwuma was arrested.
The Economic Financial and Crimes Commission, EFCC, two days ago had arrested Chief Chukwuma and took him to Abuja for allegedly refusing to honour invitation, which the Innoson Motors boss has denied.
Briefing State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council, meeting presided by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja on Thursday, the AGF said that he was yet to be briefed by the agency responsible for the arrest on the reason behind the action.
Asked to explain the circumstances behind the arrest of Chukwuma, he said, “Well in all sincerity I wasn’t privy to facts that led the stated arrest. I have not been formally briefed by the relevant agencies.
“One thing I know about Innoson is the fact that there has been a pending case between him and GTBank which is pending in court and is being prosecuted accordingly. Other than that, I am not privy to the fact and circumstances that led to the alleged arrest Wednesday. So until I am briefed by the relevant agencies, I am not in the clear position to make any disclosures relating to that.”
On the memo from his office to the Council he said, “Two memos were presented Thursday from the Federal Ministry of Justice and the first memo was a memo relating to copy right bill which is intended to be transmitted by the executive to the legislature which passes it into law.
“It is a Bill that relates to creative industry; it is designed to accord protection of creative works against piracy and protection of intellectual property rights.
“The bill was taken and was accordingly approved by the Council; the Attorney General has accordingly been instructed to transmit same to the National Assembly for passage into law and eventual assent if it is eventually passed.
“The second memo that was taken from the Federal Ministry of Justice was a memo relating to suppression of piracy and maritime offences act. The intention was to accord protection to the maritime industry against pirates and indeed, come up with a comprehensive policy provision accommodated into the bill which is intended to ensure that at the end of the day that the spirit of international conventions that have been ratified by Nigeria over time relating to maritime industry are indeed accommodated into the bill with a view to bring it in line with the international best practices and indeed ensure the protection of our maritime boundary.”
The bill approved by the Council will be transmitted to the National Assembly for passage and eventual assent by the President.
Speaking on the persisting fuel scarcity in the country, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said that all the relevant agencies including the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu were working to ensure the end of the fuel crisis.
Mohammed said, “We just concluded a very marathon Council meeting you take into consideration that it started Wednesday and it just ended this afternoon.
“As for the fuel scarcity, I can assure you that both the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Department of Petroleum Resources are working round the clock to ensure that this thing becomes a thing of the past.”
On his part, the Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jibril said his ministry presented two memos to Council and that one of the memos was taken on Wednesday.
He said, “The one taken Thursday is a policy memo aimed at seeking Council’s approval for the revision of the National Biosafety Management Agency.
“The National Bio-Safety Management Agency is an agency under the Ministry of Environment charged with the direct responsibility of monitoring and supervising the use of genetically modified organism in the country.
“Most of the time, people tend to mix this agency with another sister agency in the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, that is National Bio-technology Development Agency.
“While the first one under technology is charged with the responsibility of doing research work and making a breakthrough on many things in the country, the national biosafety under the environment ministry is a regulatory agency with the responsibility of checking the type of fuel that are genetically modified product that could come into the country to ensure that they are safe for consumption either for animals or humans and to ensure also that they do not displace our traditional products that are found locally in the country.
“This policy memo which was approved Thursday, the first one we had was in 2006 and this predate even the establishment of the agency because the agency was established by an act of parliament in the year 2015.
“So the policy has been in place before even the enactment of the law to establish the agency and because it has been around for more than a decade, we felt it is necessary to review it and bring it up to date and face the present reality so that as technology is developing rapidly, the policy framework that should be put in place to regulate and monitor effectively to ensure that our citizens are save is what motivated us to bring this and thank God, the Council has approved the policy memo.
“So we have a new policy and the Attorney General of the Federation will take the necessary steps to bring it into force.
“The first memo which was taken Wednesday was actually about the hydrocarbon remediation project in River State where approval was given for the engagement of the project management consultants as well as monitoring and evaluation to ensure that proper framework is put in place that will assist in supervising and actualising the clean-up and that was also approved yesterday.
On Sulphur in fuel, he said; “You are talking about fuel for vehicles which has Sulphur contents. This is something that cuts across two or three ministries and it has to do with Trade, Investments and Industries. It also has to do with Petroleum Resources through the NNPC because the products are brought in by NNPC and it is something that we started with the West African sub-region and agreed that the sulphur content in our fuel is extremely high and is injurious to human health and environment. Unfortunately, the refineries in this country are not designed to have low sulphur content but we are lucky the new refinery coming up from Dangote in Lagos probably this coming year will have the standard but for us we have agreed that we have to give sometime up to about two years for the refineries in this country to upgrade to the level where they can be able produce fuel with less sulphur content but the work is ongoing, we are working closely with the NNPC for they are the people who are directly responsible.
“We are concerned because we it is part of the pollutant that can pollute the environment and affect human health, that is why we are driving the process to ensure that they comply with regulations and in doing this we are getting support.”
The Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh said: “This afternoon we presented a memo to the Council relating to the Veterinary Council of Nigeria which has been in existence since 1953 and under the provisions of the law setting it up, the Council members meet from time to time to improve regulations on veterinary practice so that people not qualified to practice as Veterinary Doctors do not operate in the country.
“The regulations were made and submitted to Council and Council approved them for Mr. President to endorse so that those regulations can be put in practice with the protection of livestock and the improvement of the breed of livestock in the country.”