CNPP Backs Labour’s Calls on FG to Review Capital Oil and Gas Chairman’s Detention

The Conference of Nigeria Political parties (CNPP) has thrown its weight behind the call by the United Labour Congress (ULC) for the release the Chairman of Capital Oil and Gas, Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah, in order to pave the way for negotiation with company’s management.

The umbrella body of all registered political parties and associations in the country in a statement signed by its Secretary General, Chief Willy Ezugwu appealed to the federal government to consider the fate of the numerous workers employed by the privately owned company and release the detained oil magnet or charge him to court for prosecution.

“Like the ULC observed, federal government’s promise to provide jobs and its desire to tackle unemployment in Nigeria will be a mirage if actions or inactions of government lead to job loses or contribute to the widening of the unemployment gap.

“As at today, more jobs have been lost in the private sector than the federal government has created due to harsh economic environment in the country as a result of the current recession.

“Our fears is that the continued detention of the Capital oil and Gas chairman without trial will not only lead to the sack of over 5,000 workers directly and indirectly engaged by the company but will also send frightening signals to foreign direct investors that Nigeria is a country where the rule of law is scarce.

“No serious foreign investor would invest in a country with history of detention without trial”, the CNPP observed.

While calling on Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to intervene in the matter to halt impending massive job loss in the company and other sister companies owned by Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah, the political parties and associations said that the federal government must ensure that justice is seen to have been done in all cases involving its citizens at home and abroad.

“We are aware that the federal government is exploring diplomatic channels to intervene in cases involving Nigerians in some foreign lands. But it would amount to a joke taken too far if the same government detains its citizens involved in a mere commercial transaction dispute indefinitely without opportunity to defend themselves in a court of competent jurisdiction.

“Acting President Yemi Osinbajo must save the President Muhammadu Buhari administration from further damage to its reputation in the international community by releasing or charging Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah to Court.

“It will be very shameful for the federal government to be seen as directly or indirectly contributing to further job losses in the country”, the CNPP noted.

SOURCE: TheStreetReporters

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BREAKING: CNPP Backs Labour, Students, Vows to Resist Fuel Tax

The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has thrown its weight behind Nigeria’s organised labour over planned increment of prices of petroleum products, accusing the National Assembly of taking more anti-people decisions than resolutions that could better the lives of the already impoverished masses of Nigeria.

 

“We assure the Senate and the federal government that their proposed N5 be per litre of fuel tax will be resisted”, the CNPP vowed in a statement by the Secretary General of CNPP, Chief Willy Ezugwu on Sunday.

 

The Alhaji Balarabe Musa led umbrella organisation of all registered political parties and associations in Nigeria also warned the Presidency of the imminent consequences of adding to the pains of the ordinary people of Nigeria by raising the pump price of fuel under any guise.

 

“Our findings have shown that the bill titled ‘National Roads Fund (Establishment, etc) Bill 2017’, proposing that N5 to be paid per litre of fuel imported into the country is a ploy by the federal government to impose more hardship on Nigerians at a time the burden of recession in the country is becoming unbearable.

 

“We thought that the federal government should be thinking of reducing the already biting hardship in the country after failing to fulfil the promised increment in minimum wage and non-payment of arrears of workers’ salaries and allowances in the past two years.

 

“It seems that the current government at the federal level and their National Assembly collaborators enjoy inflicting more and more pains on Nigerian masses.

 

“We wonder why the Senate Committee on Works in its final report on the bill would make such proposal. Are they saying that the only way this government can raise funds is by increasing pump price of petroleum prices and punishing the masses?”, the CNPP queried.

 

The Nigerian organised labour, students and others have vowed to resist any attempt by government to indirectly or otherwise introduce a hike in the bump price of fuel, given the economic hardship in the country.

CULLED FROM: TheStreetReporters.com

Tanker Accident Kills 5, Injures 6 in Kebbi

tanker fireAs Nigeria battles increasing tanker;induced accidents, a fully-loaded petrol tanker on Saturday exploded at Dabi in Kebbi State, killing five people and injuring six others.

TheStreetReporters.com gathred that the tanker was heading to Mahuta in Kebbi before the driver lost control of the vehicle on hilly Dabai junction, which resulted in its fall and subsequent explosion.

No fewer that 12 houses were affected, including some vehicles parked along road, which were destroyed.

According to a report by Premium Times, the Dabai-Suru and Dabai- Mahuta road junction also serves as a market, especially for fresh fruits.

The online medium reports that the Kebbi State Deputy Governor, Samaila Yombe, who hails from Dabai, was among early visitors to the scene of the accident.

Yombe condoled with relatives of the victims, the Emir of Zuru, Sani Sami, and the Chairman of Zuru Local Government Area, Ibrahim Rumu.

He pledged to offset the medical bills of the hospitalised.

Yombe said the State Emergency Management Agency had been directed to provide prompt relief materials those who lost shops, household property, livestock and food crops to the inferno.

A resident of the area, El-Yakub Dabai, described the accident as unfortunate and hoped authorities would sensitise drivers of heavy duty vehicles on how drive through tricky terrain.

Presidential Debate: APC Shields Buhari’s Intellectual Laziness, Says Jonathan *Charges APC ‘Prove You’re a Party of Progressive Intellectuals At Debate’

The Presidential Campaign Organisation of President Goodluck Jonathan has accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of stopping its presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari from participating in a presidential debate being organised by the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) as a means of shielding the intellectual laziness and inability of the former military dictator to constructively engage contemporary national issues in a live television and radio debate from Nigerians and the international audience.

Jonathan who spoke through the Director of Media and Publicity of his Campaign Organisation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, stated that the APC knows that General Buhari will flunk it if he is subjected to the rigours of debate on national issues relating to governance and development.

Jonathan’s Campaign body said it was aware that the APC had already expressed its concerns, when approached by an international news channel for a debate, about the intellectual acumen of General Buhari, and had assured the news channel that it was only comfortable with its vice presidential candidate, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, who has capacity to feature brilliantly on the programme.

“We have just read a report in the media credited to the APC Presidential Campaign Organisation that the party would not allow its candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, to participate in the radio and television presidential debate organised by the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON).

“The APC accused the organisers of the debate of unhidden bias and campaign of calumny by some key organisers of the programme against the corporate political interest of the party and its candidates.

“Whilst we will not bother ourselves with the many reasons adduced by the APC, we wish to state that we see the APC decision as an attempt to shield its presidential candidate from displaying his intellectual laziness and inability to constructively engage contemporary national issues in a live television and radio debate.

“We had envisaged that the APC would be reluctant to expose General Buhari to the rigours of a live television debate because the opposition party knows that its candidate will flunk it.

“If the APC truly believes that it is ‘a party of progressive intellectuals’, as it claims it should allow General Buhari to prove that at the debate.

“Should the APC fail to participate in the debate, it would also show the disdain both the party and its candidate have for the Nigerian people, denying them the opportunity to make informed choices on the basis of what each candidate will articulate as propositions on issues that will be raised.

“We are convinced that General Buhari does not have what it takes to sustain a coherent argument on germane issues of governance and development.

“We challenge General Buhari to a debate on any national and international medium of mass communication and our candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan will be ready to participate.

“On the other hand, President Jonathan’s running mate, Vice President Namadi Sambo, is also ready to participate in the debate and any other debate.

“Our presidential candidate and his running mate will not raise flimsy and escapist excuses such as “unhidden bias” and the like, since we believe that they are well-rounded intellectuals who have been prepared by their experience in office to answer any question under the sun on the governance of our nation.”, Jonathan Campaign group noted.

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FG Reduces Fuel Price to N87 Per Litre

The Federal Government of Nigeria has announced the reduction of the fuel price of petrol from N97 per litre to N87 per litre.

The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, said at a press conference at the presidential villa, Abuja, that the new price regime would take effect immediately.

Mrs. Alison-Madueke said the N10 reduction in fuel price was necessitated by the reduction in crude oil prices in the international market.

The Trade Union Congress [TUC] had earlier on January 5 asked the government  to take advantage of the falling oil prices to reduce retail prices of petroleum products.

The TUC had argued that the best time to review the retail pump price of petrol was now, in line with the argument put forward by government in 2012 when the price was adjusted from N70 per litre to N97.

Details later

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#NigeriaDecides: Buhari is Clueless About How To Revive Economy, Can’t Remember His Phone Number, Says Jonathan

So Clueless? Can you imagine?

Pa Buhari can’t remember his phone number –Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday during a rally in Enugu said that the All Progressives Congress candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd), cannot remember his own mobile phone number.

Jonathan, whose unscripted address was mostly a response to previous statements made by Buhari, accused the APC presidential candidate of deceiving Nigerians by promising to revive the economy without explaining how he would achieve the feat.

The President wondered how Buhari would develop the country’s economy, a feat he could not achieve while he was in office as head of state between 1983 and 1985.

“Is it now that Buhari cannot even remember his own phone number that he can change the economy of the country.” Jonathan asked.

The Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate said that although he did not like to “go personal during campaigns,” “sometimes circumstances demand that certain things must be said.”

Jonathan said that Buhari belonged to the medieval age, adding that he (the APC candidate) intended to run the Federal Government as a medieval king.

He said, “We cannot run the government as if we are in the medieval age; we cannot run a government where somebody said he would throw people into jail.

“You are not a medieval king – a medieval king can throw you into jail but we have to follow the rule of law because we cannot go back to the old days.”

Jonathan, however, read the speech made by Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (rtd.) after overthrowing Buhari’s regime through a military coup on August 27, 1985 to justify his claim that the APC candidate does not keep his promises.

Babangida, in the portions of the address read by Jonathan, justified Buhari’s overthrow by pointing out that the latter did not live up to the promises he made to Nigerians when he ousted a democratically elected civilian government headed by Alhaji Shehu Shagari in a military coup.

Noting that Buhari “deceived Nigerians” from 1983 to 1985, Jonathan quoted Babangida as saying, “The initial objectives of Buhari’s intervention were betrayed as there was a general deterioration of standard of living in the country.”

The PDP candidate also pointed out that Babangida accused Buhari of being “too rigid in his attitude to national issues” and “became alienated from the people” in the course of his stay in power.

He, therefore, challenged Buhari to tell Nigerians how he intends to revive the economy.

Jonathan said, “They are telling young Nigerians that they are going to change the economy but they have not told us how they want to manage the economy more than us.

“If they say they want to change agriculture, they should tell us the weak links in the agriculture value chain and what they want to do about it.

“I said in Lagos that I want to work with young people, not to deceive people.

“I am not going to run the government based on my habits, I am going to run the government according to global best practices.”

Jonathan also insisted that he was committed to the campaign against corruption.

“There is no government that has fought corruption more than we do,” he said, noting that some previous administrations pretended to be fighting corruption while oppressing their enemies.

He recalled that Buhari jailed some prominent Igbo politicians while in office as head of state, including former Vice-President Alex Ekwueme and former governor of old Anambra State, Chief Jim Nwobodo.

Stressing that Buhari jailed politicians on trumped up charges, Jonathan said, “You can no longer carry people and put them in prison for 301 years.”

The President equally accused Buhari of having a wrong idea of corruption.

According to him, Buhari believes that every wealthy Nigerian is corrupt.

He said, “If a Nigerian businessman has a private jet, then you are corrupt but if a South African has a private jet then you commend him.

“If you have a good house, then you are corrupt, if you have a good car then you are corrupt – that is his definition of corruption.”

Jonathan accused his opponent of making spurious claims against him.

The President said, “They are saying that government is corrupt but they are not telling us what they are going to do to stop corruption. Let them go back to their consultants to coach them, then I will listen to them.

“They should tell us how they are going to manage the economy better than we do.

“They are saying we stole foreign reserves, nobody can steal foreign reserves – spurious allegations.”

He also reiterated his claim that Buhari did not equip the military while he was the head of state.

Jonathan said that he had done more than his predecessors to shore up the country’s defence.

“For 30 years, we had only one frigate, now we have four additional frigates,” he said.

In the same vein, he pointed out that Buhari did not find any woman worthy enough for appointment when he was the military head of state.

The President asked Nigerians to assess him and Buhari by looking at how they performed during their respective periods in office.

He said, “They have deceived us before and they want to deceive us again.

“Go and find out whether these people are deceiving you or are telling you the truth.

“People are assessing me because I have run this country for some years – they have run this country for two years.

“They came with promises but immediately they came in, what they did was to jail Jim Nwobodo for 201 years.”

PUNCH

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Jonathan Pledges to Implement National Conference Report

President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday thumped his chest for organising a successful national dialogue, saying he meant well for the country and promised to implement the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference, which officially closed Thursday.
Confab-report
The president made the pledge Thursday at the National Judicial Institute, NJI, ‎during the closing ceremony of the conference, where he also received the 21-volume report from the conference chairman, Idris Kutigi.

Mr. Jonathan also said the successful conclusion of the conference have proved cynics, who never gave the conference a chance, wrong.

He said some of the recommendations of the conference will be considered by the National Council of State, while the remaining ones will be sent to the National Assembly, the President said while formally receiving the 10,000 pages, conference report, with 600 resolutions.

Jonathan, however, took a swipe on the conference detractors, whom he described as prophet of doom who have been put to shame.

He also pledged that the report would be considered by the council of State before it’s passed to the National Assembly.

Former Petroleum Minister Rilwanu Lukman Dies a Month to his 76th Birthday

Reports indicates that former Petroleum Minister, Dr. Rilwanu Lukman say he is dead. He was born on August 26, 1938, he died about a month to his 76th birthday, early Monday morning in Vienna, Austria, his country of residence, after a brief ailment.

*Rilwanu Lukman
*Rilwanu Lukman

Dr. Lukman, who served as Secretary General of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) from January 01, 1995 to December 18, 2000, was born in Zaria, Kaduna State.

Details of his burial plans are yet to be announced.

However, a source at OPEC said Mr. Lukman remains would have to undergo a formal documentation by the hospital in line with the Austrian law before being released and brought back to Nigeria.

Mr. Lukman, was also the Chairman of the defunct Petroleum Industry Law Reform Committee, which later metamorphosed into the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, currently before the National Assembly.

He was a petroleum engineer who held several ministerial positions in both civilian and military administrations in the country.

He was Secretary General of OPEC between January 1, 1995 and December 31, 2000.

In his last tour of duty as minister, Mr. Lukman was, on December 18, 2008, appointed Minister of Petroleum Resources by the late President Umaru Yar’Adua, a position he held until March 2010.

He trained as a mining engineer at the College of Arts, Science, and Technology, Zaria (now Ahmadu Bello University), and then at Imperial College, London.

He earned a higher degree in mining engineering from the University of Mining and Metallurgy in Leoben, Austria (1967–1968); a degree in Mineral Economics from McGill University, Montreal in 1978, and an honorary doctorate degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Bologna in Italy.

Mr. Lukman was appointed Minister of Mines, Power and Steel (1984-1985) by the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

In 1986, he was appointed Minister of Petroleum Resources and Chairman of the Board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation till February 1990.

He was Minister of Foreign Affairs between January and September 1990 and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Electric Power Authority (1993–1994).

From 1986, he served eight consecutive terms as OPEC president and was elected OPEC secretary general on November 22, 1994.

When Olusegun Obasanjo came into office at the start of the Nigerian Fourth Republic the President retained direct control of the Oil Ministry. Lukman was appointed Special Adviser on Petroleum and Energy Matters to the President in June 1999, replacing Godwin Aret Adams, and Chairman of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

In July 1999 his office announced that 47 offshore Exploration and Production licences awarded by the government to local companies had been cancelled, including 11 highly attractive deep-water blocks given in March 1999 to companies with links to the military.

He said the blocks would be open to commercial tender from both local and foreign companies. He was in favor of restructuring the NNPC to make it a fully commercial enterprise, but did not agree that it should divest its controlling stake in the oil producing joint ventures, and at that time was not in favor of rapid deregulation of the domestic fuels market.

Lukman resigned in November 2003. The resignation was said to be due to a dispute over oil sector reform with the group managing director of the NNPC, Mr. Jackson Gaius Obaseki.

The friction had apparently been building up after Lukman completed his term as OPEC president in early 2002, and after Obasanjo moved control and administration of oil blocks from the Petroleum Resources ministry to the NNPC in June 2002.

He then became the Chairman of Afren Nigeria when it was established in May 2005. He is also a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) and served on the SPE board as regional Director for Africa. In 2007, Lukman became a member of the Supervisory Board of Dietsmann NV of the Netherlands, a leading International Operation & Maintenance company in the upstream energy sector.

Lukman was appointed Honorary (unpaid) Advisor on Energy and Strategic Matters to President Umaru Yar’Adua in August 2007. In December 2008 Lukman was appointed Minister of Petroleum Resources, and resigned from his position with Afren, putting his holdings in a blind trust.

In February 2010 there were rumors that Lukman had tendered his resignation after a shakeup in the cabinet by the new acting President, Goodluck Jonathan, but that it had not been accepted.

In March 2010, he warned that the scarcity of petroleum products in Nigeria would only get worse as long as the government held back on deregulating the industry. He left office on 17 March 2010 when Acting President Goodluck Jonathan dissolved his cabinet.

Lukman was made a Knight of the British Empire (KBE) in 1989 and Officer of the Legion d’Honneur of France in 1990, as well as being conferred with the First Class rank of the Order of the Liberator from the Republic of Venezuela. He was the first African ever to be honored with the Fellowship of the Imperial College, University of London.

Court Orders Reps to Pay Fine Over Alleged N10b Aircraft Charter Probe of Minister, NNPC

The Federal High Court, Abuja Division, Thursday ordered the House of Representatives to pay N21,000 as fine for want of diligent prosecution in the matter involving the alleged spending of N10 billion by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on chartered aircraft.

Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed ordered the House to pay the fine following the failure of its counsel, Mr. A.B. Mahmud (SAN), to respond to Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s application to amend the originating summons in the suit.

Counsel to the plaintiffs (Alison-Madueke and the NNPC), Mr. Etigwe Uwah (SAN), had filed an amendment to the court processes on June 9, 2014, seeking an order to “perpetually restrain the House of Representatives and the Senate who are second and third respondents respectively from investigating the plaintiffs.

But the defendant’s counsel, Mahmud (SAN), filed out of time, which necessitated the fine.

At the last hearing, the court had temporarily restrained the House from probing the minister and the NNPC pending the hearing of the substantive suit yesterday.

Mahmud had opposed the plaintiffs’ application to amend the originating summons.

He said: “It will set the process back and alter the course of proceedings.”
Subsequently, Justice Mohammed adjourned the matter to July 9 for hearing of the substance of the matter.

Meanwhile, the court had earlier issued a restraining order on the House Committee on Public Accounts ahead of its plan to carry out the probe on June 25, 26 and 27, 2014.

The order followed an application by the counsel to the plaintiffs, Mr. Etigwe Uwa (SAN), who asked the court for a preservative order pending the hearing of the suit.

He had urged the court to make the order, alleging that a letter dated May 23, 2014 by the House Committee on Public Accounts inviting his clients for the probe, constituted disrespect for the court.

The plaintiffs, through their substantive suit, are asking the court to declare that the Senate and the House of Representatives, which are the two defendants in the suit, lacked the power to summon them without the consent of President Goodluck Jonathan.

The judge in his ruling said the committee had no genuine reason to continue the probe on June 25, 26 and 27, 2014, having been aware of the pending suit seeking an order to restrain them from carrying out the investigation.

Court Stops House from Probing Petroleum Minister, NNPC Over Alleged N10bn Aircraft Charter

A Federal High Court in Abuja Thursday ordered the House of Representatives to stop its proposed probe of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), over allegation that she spent N10b to hire aircraft.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed in a ruling said that the order was to subsist till July 3 when the substantive suit would be heard.

The order came ahead of the plan by the House Committee on Public Accounts to carry out the probe on June 25, 26 and 27, 2014.

The minister’s counsel order  Mr. Etigwe Uwa (SAN), had asked the court for a preservative order pending the hearing of the suit.

He  urged the court to make the order, claiming that a letter dated May 23, 2014, by the House Committee on Public Accounts, inviting his clients for the probe, constituted a disrespect for the court.

SSS Uncovers Boko Haram Plot to Bomb Abuja with Petrol Tankers

The SSS today Wednesday June 18 said the Boko Haram sect is planning to bomb Abuja with petrol tankers within the next few days. The Coordinator of the National Information Centre, Mike Omeri, made this known at a briefing in Abuja alongside the Deputy Director of the DSS, Marilyn Ogar

“The Nigerian Security services had received intelligence report to the effect that insurgents intends seizing petrol tankers and plant improvised devices in the tankers and drive them to crowded places in Abuja.

“Against this backdrop, we hereby call on the Petrol Tankers Association to be on the red alert and advise their members to report any attempt or seizure of their vehicles to security agencies.

“In this wise, Nigerians are also advised to report any broken down tanker in any part of the territory to security agencies. Similarly, we are using this opportunity to appeal to the public to be on the alert particularly when they see any tanker driving dangerously.” He said

Alleged Missing $49.8B: Nigeria’s Senate Report Clears NNPC, Deziani, Says No Funds Missing

Nigeria’s Senate Committee on Finance which investigated the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over allegations of fraud leveled against it by the suspended Governor of the Central Bank, Mallam Lamido Sanusi, Wednesday submitted its report to the Senate saying no funds were missing.

Sanusi had spuriously claimed in a leaked letter to President Goodluck Jonathan that $49.8 billion in crude oil revenue was missing.

The detailed report according to sources at the Senate also cleared the NNPC and the Ministry of Petroleum of any wrong doing.

The report however directed the NNPC and the Ministry of Finance as well as other relevant agencies to reconcile a sum believed to be around $300 million dollars.

The Senate said the suspended Governor of the Central Bank was hasty and got his figures wrong.

The report further recommended the immediate passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) as the Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Deziani Allison-Madueke continues to sanitise the industry.

The Senate Committee on Finance is under the chairmanship of Senator Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi (Kaduna PDP). The committee took about 5 months to complete its assignment.

Part of the report said, “That the CBN Governor at the first hearing had out forwarded the future of $12 billion as monies to be reconciled and changed his position to $20 billion at subsequent hearing. At the conclusion of his written submission he posited it could be $20B, $12B, $19.8B or anything in between.

“That the CBN Governor orally or in writing never out rightly submitted that monies were missing but that monies were not remitted to Federation Account by the NNPC.

“That there was poor record keeping and non-challenging work attitude by the NNPC by both rendering returns on subsidy claims on monthly basis from January 2012 to date which contributed largely to creation of the problem in hand.”

In its findings, the committee stated that all parties i.e. CBN, NNPC, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Petroleum Resources had resolved through reconciliation undertaken by them that $47billion had been received into the Federation Account out of the total oil lifting value at $67b between January 2012 and July 2013.

That on the remaining $20b to be reconciled the committee finding are as follows:

“The amount deducted/withheld/ expended by NNPC on fuel subsidy between January 2012 to July 2013 was $5.254 billion (N814.892 billion). This was certified by PPRA. And the National Assembly has appropriated funds in 2012 and 2013 for fuel subsidy in the sums of N888.101billion and N971.138 billion respectively.”

In its recommendation to the Senate to accept the subsidy deducted by NNPC from January 2012 to July 2013 of $5.254 billion since it was certified by PPPRA and appropriated by National Assembly, it said it is without prejudice to the outcome of the forensic audit conducted by office of the Auditor General of the Federation and PWC.

The report further said: “President Jonathan should prepare and present to the National Assembly a supplementary budget to cover the over expenditure in the sum of N90.693 billion for PMS subsidy 2012 and the sum of N685.910 billion for Kerosene (DPK) subsidy expended without appropriation by the National Assembly in 2012 and 2013.

“That the Senate does accept the subsidy deducted by NNPC in the sum of $1.2 billion for fourth quarter 2011 since it was certified by PPPRA and appropriated by the National Assembly.”

The Senate Committee also moved for the scrapping of the Subsidy regime but advised that all stakeholders be consulted before stopping it.

Nigerian Senate Passes N4.6 trillion 2014 Budget

The Nigerian Senate on Wednesday approved the budget of N4.6 trillion as the government budget in 2014.
The budget proposal figure was increased by the legislators by relatively minimal 53 billion naira.

The sum of N4.642 trillion had been the budget estimate presented to the National Assembly by the Co-ordinating minister of the Economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in December 2013on behalf of President Jonathan.

Out of that sum, 3.54 trillion was slated for the recurrent expenditure while the remaining N1.1 trillion-the equivalent of 23.7 percent, was billed for capital projects.

The budget which is the lowest in three years, passed the second reading on February 4, 2014.

A third reading passage is expected by the House of Representatives before a harmonization of the bill, ahead of the president’s assent.

The opposition All Progressive Congress (APC) had insisted on frustrating the passage of the 2014 Appropriation Bill before the National Assembly.

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NNPC Missing $20 Billion: President Jonathan Denies Confirming Withholding of $10 Billion From Federation Account

Nigeria's President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan

Nigeria’s President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan

Following media reports that President Goodluck Jonathan has confirmed that the sum of $ 10 billion was not remitted to the Federation Account by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, on Tuesday stated that at no point in time did the President make such assertion.

Abati described the reports as “completely false” and “reckless”.

The presidential spokesman stated that “Reports in some domestic media today which quoted President Goodluck Jonathan as “confirming” in Amsterdam that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) wrongly withheld $10 Billion from the federation account are completely false and a total distortion of the President’s comments during his meeting with the Nigerian community in the Netherlands.

“At no time during the well-attended reception did President Jonathan also confirm any “irregularities” in the NNPC.

“Sensational reports in the media to that effect are reckless, mischievous and unprofessional misrepresentations of the President’s restatement to the Nigerian community of the Federal Government’s position on the allegation that $20 Billion is “missing” from the NNPC or the Federation Account, by reporters who were not at the event or even in Holland at all”, he said.

“President Jonathan’s verifiable words while responding to questions from members of the community on the allegation and other domestic issues were clear and unambiguous”, he added.

According to the presidency, after asserting that allegation that various sums – $49.8 Billion, $12 Billion or $20 Billion – were missing are inconsistent and lacked credence, the President’s exact words were as follows:

“As at the time, the Finance Ministry was saying they had not been able to reconcile only 10 billion dollars. There are issues in NNPC but we are on it.”, the statement quoted President Jonathan.

“President Jonathan went on to say that to reassure Nigerians of his administration’s continued commitment to openness, transparency and probity in the aftermath of the unsubstantiated allegations, the Federal Government had authorised a professional forensic audit of NNPC accounts to clear the air.

“The Presidency deplores the mischievous and unethical distortion of his comments in the media today.

“Once again, we urge the media to show greater regard for truth and accuracy when reporting on the President”, Abati counselled.

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Being the Text of Speech by the Governor-General (Sir F. Lugard) on the Occasion of the Declaration of the Constitution of the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria, January 1, 1914

You are all aware that His Majesty’s Government, after long and mature consideration, arrived some time ago at the conclusion that it would be to the great advantage of the countries known as Southern and Northern Nigeria that they should be amalgamated into the one Government, conforming to one policy and mutually co-operating for the moral and material advancement of Nigeria as a whole.‬

‪This policy had been strongly advocated by Sir William Macgregor as Governor of Lagos, by Sir Ralph Moor as High Commissioner of Southern Nigeria, and by myself as High Commissioner of Northern Nigeria about ten years ago. It has continued to be advocated by Sir Walter Egerton and my successors in Northern Nigeria.‬

‪The construction of rival railways in Northern and Southern Nigeria accentuated the necessity having a single railway policy, with a single administration, and over a year ago the Secretary of State decided that the time had come to give effect to the scheme of constituting a single Government for Nigeria.‬

‪Mr. Harcourt was pleased to select me to carry out this difficult task, and he appointed me in the first instance as Governor separately of the two distinct Governments of Northern and Southern Nigeria, with a view to informing myself of Local conditions and submitting to him my proposals for Amalgamation.‬

‪I had the honour to submit those proposals for his consideration on May 9th last. They were accepted in all essentials, and today they are to take effect. I desire therefore as briefly as possible to describe to you, and through you to the official and unofficial community of Nigeria the basis on which this Amalgamation is to be carried out, and the principal changes which will result.‬

‪The Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria will be placed under the control of a single officer upon will control of a single officer upon whom His Majesty has been pleased to confer the title of Governor-General, thus indicating the importance of this country among the Crown Colonies and Protectorates of the Empire.

That portion which has hitherto been Northern Nigeria will be known in future as the Northern Provinces, while the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria will be known as the Southern Provinces of Nigeria; each will be under the immediate control of a Lieutenant-General responsible to the Governor-General.

The Colony in view of its separate status and traditions will preserve a separate identity, under an Administrator of its own dealing direct with the Governor-General.

For the present, the Central Headquarters will remain at Lagos, and the Governor-General will divide his time between the Headquarter Stations of the Northern and the Southern Provinces. ‬

‪His Majesty, through the Secretary of State, has been pleased to confer on me the high honour of appointment as Governor-General, and I humbly hope that I may be enabled to discharge the functions of this office, the great responsibilities of which I deeply appreciate, in such a manner as to deserve His Majesty’s approval, and to the satisfaction and contentment of His Majesty’s loyal subjects and of all the people of Nigeria.

To succeed in such a task would be impossible unless I have the goodwill and co-operation of all classes, Official and Unofficial, irrespective of race or creed, and I take this opportunity of earnestly asking for that co-operation and loyal assistance, assuring you at the same time that, so far as in me lies, I shall not spare myself nor find any work too hard or arduous, if I can thereby advance the true interests of this country and of each individual person in it, whatever his race or creed, or however humble his rank.‬

‪For the high and responsible posts of Lieutenant-Governors of the Southern and Northern Provinces His Majesty has selected Mr. A. G. Boyle, C.M.G. and Mr. C. L. Temple, C.M.G. officers in whose loyalty and ability he has the highest confidence, and in whose hand the welfare of the Protectorate is assure.

As Administrator of the Colony the Secretary of State has selected Mr. F. S. James, C.M.G. whose long experience in the South marks him out as the most fitting officer for the post. I may be permitted to offer to these officers my congratulations, and to express my deep satisfaction that I am privileged to work with them as my colleagues.‬


‪Various schemes for the dividing of Nigeria into many administrations have been put forward in the Press and elsewhere, but it has been considered advisable to retain the old and well-known boundaries, at any rate for the present and until circumstances demand a change, more especially because the Northern and Southern Provinces are at present under two different sets of laws, the unification of which must necessarily be a task of magnitude which will take time to effect.‬

‪I had hoped to be able to recommend to the Secretary of State some scheme for a Legislative Council of Nigeria, but at present and until communications by railway are greatly extended the proposition is physically impossible.

The Legislative Council of Nigeria, if it is to represent the public opinion of Nigeria, must draw its Unofficial Members alike from Calabar and Lagos in the South, and from the Minefields and Kano in the North. To no place, however central, could the busy merchants and others find time to come in order to attend the Councils meetings.

It would be manifestly unjust to place the Mohammedan Emirates of the North and the Mining interests on the Bauchi Plateau under a Council sitting on the Coast, in which they could have no representation. The only alternative is that the Legislative Council of the Colony shall in the future limit its sphere to the guidance and control of the Legislature of the Colony.‬

‪And let me here remind you of the enormous extent of Nigeria, Its area comprises over 330,000 square miles – more than 5 times the size of England and Scotland, or one-third the size of British India.

The European population is scattered over this area. The largest community is probably at the Minefields in the Bauchi Province, the next largest at Lagos nearly 1,000 miles distant.

There are other centres widely separated from each other at Calabar and other Coast towns, at Zungeru and at Kano, while the Niger Company which has the largest capital of any single firm, has its headquarters at Burutu.‬

‪Other means than a single Legislative Council must therefore be right by which, on the one hand, not only local public opinion of the Principals of the Commercial and Mining.

Firms, and of other Institutions which have interests in the country, may be given an opportunity of expressing itself, and on the other hand, that the officers of the ripest experience and the most proved ability may be consulted regarding proposed Legislation and on affairs of moment.

To effect these objects the Secretary of State has approved firstly of an Executive Council for Nigeria which shall consist of the senior officers of the whole Administration, secondly, of a deliberative and advisory Council, to be called the Nigerian Council, which shall meet not less often than once a year, and thirdly, that all proposed Ordinances with a few necessary exceptions shall be published in the Gazette for two months prior to enactment, so that opinion may be freely expressed before a law is enacted. ‬

‪The Members of the Executive Council named in the Royal Instructions are:-‬

‪The Lieutenant-Governors of the Southern and Northern Provinces, the Administrator of the Colony, the Attorney-General,  the Director of Railways and Works, the Commandant of the Troops, the Director of Medical Services, the Treasurer, the Director of Marine and the Comptroller of Customs.‬

‪The official Members of the Nigerian Council will include the Members of the Executive Council and all 1st Class Residents or Commissioners, the Central Secretary, the Secretaries in the Northern and Southern Provinces and the Political Secretary.

The Unofficial Members will include a member of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and of any Chamber of Commerce which may be established in Calabar, and a Member of the Local Chamber of Mines, – all resident in Nigeria and to be nominated by those bodies together with four additional European and six Native gentlemen nominated by the Governor-General.

The former to be representative of Commerce, Shipping, Mining and Banking, the latter to be representative of the Native population both of the Coast and of the Interior.‬

‪The Official Membership of the Legislative Council of the Colony has been somewhat altered by the new Royal Instructions, in order that those officers whose work is especially concerned with the Colony may take part in the its deliberations.

The they will for the present by the Administrator, the Legal Adviser, the Municipal Engineer, the Senior Municipal Sanitary Officer, the Assistant Treasurer, the Harbour Master, the Commissioner of Lands and the Commercial Intelligence Officer,‬

‪The Official Members of the old Council have been re-appointed by His Majesty to the new Council with the exception of Mr. Millar and Dr. Johnson who have resigned and whose places have not yet be filled.‬

All three Councils will be presided over by the Governor-General.‬

‪Southern Nigeria was, as you know, divided into three provinces, the Eastern, Central and Western, each under a Provincial Commissioner. In future the Southern Provinces will be nine in number, each of the old Provinces being divided into three. Each Province will be under a Commissioner or Resident assisted by an adequate staff. Departmental officers will be directly under the Head of their own Department.‬

‪I come now to the Judiciary, concerning which there has I think, been some misapprehension. It was recognised alike by my …… and by the Chief Justice that the extension of Supreme Court jurisdiction into the Interior was inadvisable and, before I came to Nigeria, steps had already been taken to curtail its jurisdiction. Schemes were already under consideration for the creation of separate Courts in the Interior district. These schemes have now matured.‬

‪It is obvious that there can only be one Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, and for this high office the Secretary of State has selected Sir Edwin Speed, who has experience in both Northern and Southern Nigeria and has much longer in Nigeria than his colleague Mr. Willoughby Osborne, It gives me great regret that by force of circumstances, the country will lose the valuable services and ripe experience of Mr. Willoughby Osborne, and I am aware of the high estimation in which his services are held both here and at home.

In saying good-bye to Nigeria he will have the satisfaction of feeling that he has discharged the functions of his high office with distinguished success.

To His Honour Chief Justice Sir Edwin Speed I tender my congratulations on his appointment and I am confident that while he holds his high office, the proud traditions of British Justice will ever be worthily maintained.‬

‪The curtailment of the territorial jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, and the creation of Provincial Courts necessitates some changes in the existing law, and I am indebted to Sir Edwin Speed for the drafts of the new Ordinances which, with slight and unimportant alterations, will be enacted to give effect to his proposals.
They will involve for the present some diminution in the powers of the Native Courts, but it is my earnest desire to see those Courts advance in ability and to maintain their prestige under purely Native Judges guided and supervised by the Commissioners of Provinces.‬

‪The Scheme of Assizes and the method of conducting the business of the Supreme Court are in accordance with the proposals of the new Chief Justice.

In future there will be a Court vacation for four months during the rains, and for the remainder of the year the Court will be in Session with its full complement of one Chief Justice and three or more Puisne Judges.

The powers of the Provincial Courts are strictly limited and no sentence of over six months’ imprisonment is operative until it has been confirmed. A Magistracy, whose officers are Commissioners of the Supreme Court is set up for the Northern and Southern Provinces.‬

‪In the sphere of Departmental Administration there are some changes of interest. The Railway, Marine and Customs Departments have already, as you are aware, been centralised as common to both South and Northern Nigeria.

They remain outside the local administration of the Northern and Southern Provinces.

In addition to these three departments the Judicial, the Military, the Treasury and the Posts and Telegraphs” become Central Departments.

The Military Forces are organised into one Regiment with five Battallions and two Batteries under Colonel Carter, C.B, CMG as Commandant, with Lieutenant-Colonel,Cunliffe as Assistant Commandant. Mr. Dale takes charges of the Treasury, and Mr. Somerville of the Posts and Telgraphs.

A Director of the Medical Service and an Attorney General will act as Advisers to the Governor-General in their respective Departments.

In the former case the Medical Departments of the Northern and Southern Provinces will remain distinct, while two legal Advisers will assist the Lieutenant-Governors who with the Administrator of the Colony, will have separate……… of local business.

Mr. Cameron becomes the Secretary for the Central Administration, Major Moorhouse for the Southern and Mr. Matthews for the Northern Provinces.‬

‪His Majesty the King has been pleased to approve of a new Badge for the flag of United Nigeria and  of a new Seal. In future there will be only one Official Gazette.‬

‪This, in brief outline, is the scheme of Amalgamation which takes effect to day. The Gazette Extraordinary published this afternoon will to a large extent fill in the details.

It is impossible that any scheme which could have been devised should satisfy all the conflicting theories which have been propounded. The proposals I have made have the merit of simplicity.

They cause no great dislocation, which would have been most disadvantageous at a moment of transition when divergent policies and methods have to be reconciled.‬

‪I take this opportunity of publicly informing you that the Secretary of State has approved the construction of a new railway, which starting from the head of the Bonny estuary, will run northwards across the Benue river and join the Lagos Kano Railway where it crosses the Kaduna river some 50 miles South of Zaria. This important work will, I am convinced, enormously add to the wealth and prosperity of Nigeria.‬

‪Already the benefits of the partial Amalgamation, which has been in operation for the past year, have resulted in increased prosperity. The estimated Revenue of 1914 is almost exactly a million sterling greater than the estimated Revenue for 1912.

When my predecessor from this chair in 1906 announced the Amalgamation of Southern Nigeria and Lagos he stated that the Revenue of Southern Nigeria was just over a millions. The estimated revenue of Nigeria this year stands at 31 millions, and Trade has increased from 5 millions to nearly 15 millions in this period of under 8 years.‬

‪If we remember that it is only fourteen years to-day since the King’s Government assumed control of the greater part of the Interior from the Royal Niger Company, the progress which has been made is astonishing.‬

‪In maintaining and increasing that progress I look to the co-operation of the European and Native races, who must work together for the good of the country. It is and always has been my policy to support the Native Chiefs, and to work through them.

I have not invited any of them from the Interior to be present here because the announcement f the new changes which take place to-day is being made in the capitals of the various Provinces throughout Nigeria.‬

‪Today Nigeria enters on a new stage of its progress and we all join in the earnest hope that the era now inaugurated will prove, not only a new departure in material prosperity, but also that the coming years will increase the individual happiness and freedom from oppression and raise the standard of civilisation and of comfort of the many millions who inhabit this large country.

To these sole ends the effort of my colleagues and myself, with God’s help, will be devoted.‬

‪- F. D. LUGARD‬

*This document is culled from The Constitution, journal of constitutional development, a publication of the Centre for Constitutionalism and Demilitarisation, Vol. 13, No. 4, 2013, pp. 106-114.‬

‪‬

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Why Private Refineries Are Not Built By Austin Avuru

Unfavourable government policy, harsh economic environment and lack of adequate fund have been identified as some of the impediments to private sector participation in the refinery business.

The Chief Executive Officer, CEO, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Limited, Mr. Austin Avuru, stated this at the just concluded Nigerian Marginal Field workshop, held in Lagos.

According to him, “The reason why the private sector has not been able to invest in refineries is that you cannot go to the bank to borrow $1 billion to build a refinery when the commercial framework is unclear to your bankers. When you are selling the product in the same market as the government-owned refineries that are regulated; when government says you can only sell the product at N97 per litre.

“That is the reason why nobody has built refineries.”

The Seplat CEO spoke against the backdrop of the nearly 12 years after the former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration awarded 18 licences for private refinery operation, none has been built.

Avuru explained that it takes a lot of financial capability to venture into the capital-intensive refinery project, a situation many Nigerians cannot cope with.

He said, “If you have Aliko Dangote’s financial muscle, where you have the cash to build it, you can take the plunge and you will not lose money.

The reason is that marketers in Nigeria, as vendors, do not pay N97 per litre for the products they bring in.
“They pay about N150 and the difference is the famous subsidy we all know.

“It is the same thing. If you have a refinery here, you are not going to sell at N97 per litre.

“You are going to sell to the same marketers who would have imported their products at market price, at import parity price.

“It is their business to sort out the difference between what government says they should sell and what you are selling to them, which is subsidy.

“Dangote will not build a refinery and sell at N97/litre. He will sell at import parity price. People will deposit money in the bank before he gives them products. So, he loses nothing.

“Ordinarily, even if you have the courage to build a refinery today, you lose nothing, but you cannot raise the money because no bank will give you money under this kind of condition,” he said.

Avuru assured that with the entrance of Dangote into the oil and gas business, more Nigerians will venture into it such that in the next three years, the business will be dominated by indigenous companies.

“Once Dangote opens the floodgate and others come in, my projection is that at the end of 2017, the entire refining business in Nigeria will be controlled by the indigenous sector and some of them will also come from growth out of marginal field companies.

“At that point, people will have the courage to borrow $16 million and put in 5,000 to 10,000 barrel refinery around their fields and would not bother about shipping their crudes to some multinationals,” he added.

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$49.8b Missing Oil Money: Sanusi Ignorant of How Crude Oil Revenues Are Remitted To Federation Account, Says NNPC

Engr. Andrew Yakubu faults Sanusi's claim

Engr. Andrew Yakubu faults Sanusi’s claim

The Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Engr. Andrew Yakubu Friday faulted the claim by the CBN Governor, Mr. Lamido Sanusi that the NNPC has failed to remit the sum of $49.8b from the sale of crude oil saying his claim is borne out of lack of understanding of how revenue from crude oil sales are remitted into the federation account.

The GMD in a press conference addressed at the Protea Hotel Asokoro Abuja, insisted that the NNPC is not in the business of withholding proceeds of crude oil sales due to the federation account or any other statutory remittances

The full text of the press conference below:

As you are well aware, it is not in our character to join issues or trade blames with other agencies of government.

But considering the high level of publicity that the recent letter from the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to the President has generated, and the erroneous impression it has created among Nigerians.

It has become necessary to set the records straight.

The statement credited to the CBN Governor that NNPC has failed to remit the sum of $49.8bn representing 76% of total national oil receipts is borne out of lack of understanding of how revenues from crude oil sales are remitted into the Federation Account.

I will therefore explain the process and put the figures in perspective in order for you to understand and let the world know that NNPC is not in the business of withholding any crude oil receipts due the Federation Account or any other statutory remittances.

All NNPC crude oil liftings is made up of the following:

1. Equity Crude
2. Royalty Oil
3. Tax Oil
4. Volume for Third Party Financing, and
5. NPDC equity volume.

It is important to stress that remittances of proceeds from the above liftings are made according to statutory and production arrangements.  Accordingly, proceeds from Equity crude is paid by NNPC into the Federation Account which is held by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Proceeds from Royalty oil is paid to Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, whose designated account is managed by the same CBN.

Similarly, the proceeds from Tax Oil or Petroleum Profit Tax lifted by NNPC is paid directly into the Federal Inland Revenue Service, (FIRS) account also managed by the CBN.

In the same vein, Third Party Finance and Trial Marketing volume are paid into designated Escrow accounts, while NPDC equity proceeds are remitted to NPDC account.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it should now be clear to all that NNPC is by statutory requirement is responsible for direct remittances of only one stream of liftings, namely Equity Crude.

Analysis of the figures is as follows;

The CBN letter claims that for the period 1st Jan 2012 to 31st July 2013, total National crude oil liftings was 1.287 billion barrels.

Our records show that the total national crude lifting for the same period was actually higher at 1.330 billion barrels.

Furthermore, total NNPC liftings during the same period was again higher at 618.552 million barrels as against the 594.024 million barrels stated by CBN.

We further wish to state that the proceeds from the total NNPC liftings comprising Federation Equity, Royalty Oil , Tax Oil, Volume for Third Party Finance, NPDC equity and volume for Trial Marketing Period amount to US$67.12bn as against the $65.33bn that the CBN stated. 

At this point, we wish to categorically state that all the proceeds amounting to $67.12bn have been remitted as statutorily required.

NNPC remitted its portion which is $18.48bn into the Federation Account being the total proceeds from Equity Crude and gas sales. This represents 27.5% of total proceeds of $67.12bn as against the 24% declared by CBN.

On the issue of US$49.8 billion or 76% of total national liftings and the alleged unremitted funds, we would like to clarify that this represents the proceeds from Royalty and Petroleum Profit Tax liftings.

These, as I stated earlier, are remitted to the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) which are statutorily empowered to collect and remit same into the Federation Account.

For the benefits of those who may not be aware of the workings of the industry, it is imperative to state that the CBN, NNPC, FIRS and DPR meet regularly to reconcile liftings, sales and remittance of proceeds. 

Therefore, the data presented are jointly reconciled by CBN, NNPC, FIRS, and DPR.

The CBN further alleged that NNPC owes the Federal Government another N22bn in unpaid levies to the National Export Supervisory Scheme (NESS). 

It must also be noted that the levies under the NESS are paid to third party inspectors based on services rendered to the Federal Government. Payment to the NESS is update as per value of work done.

The current position is that NNPC has paid a total of $114.78 million from inception of NESS in 2009 up to October 2013 as against the total budget of $117.08 million for the same period.

These payments have been reconciled with the CBN, who are again the custodians of the NESS account that is operated on a draw-down basis by the CBN.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is NNPC’s position always that in carrying out our statutory duties we will continue to maintain the highest level of transparency and accountability.

Please be assured that NNPC remains available at all times to provide clarifications on these issues or any other matter relating to our responsibility to the Federation and the Nigerian people.

Thank you.

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How Nigeria Loses 3 Trillion Naira Annually To Maritime Crime

One of the biggest challenges facing President Goodluck administration remains tackling activities of maritime criminals, particularly the highly syndicated oil stealing, which is allegedly carried out in collaboration with foreigners.

According to Nigeria Navy official, the country is losing about N250 Billion (Naira) monthly to maritime crime.

This amounts to approximately N3 Trillion (Naira) annually, nearly the nation’s total 2013 appropriation of N4.987 Trillion.

Smuggling, piracy and bunkering are top on the list of the crimes described by Air Vice Marshal Eko Osim, during a television programme as economic sabotage.

At a seminar for the junior course 76 on how to Police the maritime environment held on Friday by the department of maritime warfare, Armed Forces Command and Staff College, in Jaji, Kaduna State of Nigeria, Osim, revealed that crime in the territorial waters of the Gulf of Guinea has become sophisticated as the criminals keep devising various means to beat the law.

Osim was represented by his deputy, Rear Admiral Sanmi Alade.

According to the Director, Department of Maritime Warfare, Commodore Kenneth Ati-John, the theme of the Seminar, “Multi Agency Cooperation: A Panacea for Enhanced Maritime Security,” was apt considering the lack of effective information gathering and sharing in the fight against maritime crime between the country’s security agencies.

Nigeria and other countries blessed with water resources depend on the sea for commerce and international trade, but in recent years, the Gulf of Guinea maritime environment has been increasingly threatened by a myriad of security challenges such as piracy, poaching, smuggling, oil theft, trafficking and other transnational crimes.

Other challenges include insufficient patrol ship to fight maritime crime, illegal ship to ship transfer, oil bunkering, pipeline vandalism, insufficient platforms and shortfall in manpower.

It is in the light of this that the college included maritime policing in its academic curriculum.

These challenges, the participants observed, could not be handled by the Navy alone.

They emphasised the need for synergy of efforts amongst other security agencies towards ensuring a safe and secure maritime environment.

In their separate presentations, some of the participants explained that the objective of the exercise was to improve maritime safety and security through internal and international security partnerships and at the same time developing trained and motivated maritime professionals.

In 2010, there were at least 45 cases, 2011 witnessed 64 cases and as at June this year, vessels had been attacked more than 32 times.

Oil vessels, foreigners, their goods, money and other valuables are targets.

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BREAKING NEWS: Explosive Fire Engulfs Area Near NNPC Building Abuja

Explosive fire rocks an Abuja fuel station, with nearby buildings around the offices of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in Abuja affected.

Eyewitnesses, reports say, disclosed that a petrol tanker discharging gasoline exploded at the Conoil filling station opposite the NNPC building in the Nigeria’s capital territory.

The huge fireball could be seen in areas around Abuja. There is no immediate report of casualty caused by the explosion.

More than 8 fire fighting vehicles have exhausted their content but fire still rages on.

Efforts to reach authorities at National Emergency Management Agency and other stakeholders is on before the this report.

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