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C’River: Assembly stops Ayade’s land acquisition for protest



C’River: Assembly stops Ayade’s land acquisition for protest

Cross River State House of Assembly has stopped the move by Governor Ben Ayade’s decision to take over about 9,000 hectares of land across the three senatorial districts of the state, demanding explanations on why the land is being acquired.

The governor, who was said to have been out of the state for about two weeks now, New Telegraph learnt, was bent on acquiring land across the state, claiming it was for infrastructural development across the state.

But, the lawmakers, who seemed to have suspected a foul play in the governor’s claim in the wake of RUGA controversy and in view of the large land mass being acquired, calling on the committee set up by the governor on acquisition of land across the state to halt the move.

The lawmakers were also said to have summoned members of committee to appear before the House on July 23.

Meanwhile, the member, representing Boki 1 Constituency in the House, Hon. Itam Abang, who had brought the matter before the House, told the lawmakers that her constituents drew her attention to a proposed acquisition of several hectares of land in the constituency “allegedly for agricultural purposes.”

“With the current security challenges in the country, there is need for the House to investigate the matter with a view to allaying the fears of the people of the state,” she said.

This was as the lawmakers observed that considering the timing, there was the need for the people to be adequately sensitised to forestall unnecessary speculations and possible conflicts by affected communities.

The Speaker, Hon. Eteng Jonah Williams, directed that all Land Acquisition Committees set up by the governor in the three senatorial districts should be invited to appear before the House on June 23.

But, a coalition of civil society organisations, led by one Anthony Bisong of Grassroots Advocacy for Good Governance and Accountability, yesterday stormed the House to demand that the lawmakers should call the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to probe the governor’s acquisition of the people’s ancestral land.

The group in their protest letter to the House added: “We are seizing this historical moment to let you know that questions regarding all the economic trees fell by your administration in the name of the Super Highway Project across the length and breadth of the state have re-emerged.

“The state government is attempting to acquire our ancestral land and we do not know the state of those economic trees that they have fallen. We wish to know the state of those fallen economic trees; where they are and if they have been sold, we wish to know the dealers involved and the amount of money raised as well as where such funds are currently being used.

“We condemn the lack of transparency surrounding the felling of the economic trees, the attempt to acquire our land with great biodiversity and economic importance. All the people of Cross River want to know.”

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FAAC: FG, states, LGs share N769.523bn for July



FAAC: FG, states, LGs share N769.523bn for July

Three tiers of government – federal, states and the 774 local government councils – shared N769.523 billion as revenue allocation in July.

A meeting of the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) approved the sharing yesterday in Abuja, during FAAC session, which had states’ commissioners for finance, auditor generals and representatives of revenue generating agencies in attendance.

The N769.523 billion comprised revenue from value added tax (VAT), exchange gain and gross statutory revenue. 

The gross statutory revenue for the month of July 2019 was N674.365 billion. It was higher than the N652.949 billion received in the previous month by N21.416 billion.

For the month of July, revenue from VAT was lower than what it was in the preceding month.

Gross revenue of N94.159 billion was available from VAT as against N108.631 billion distributed in the preceding month, resulting in a decrease of N14.472 billion.

Exchange gain yielded total revenue of N0.999 billion. 

A communique issued by FAAC confirmed that from the total revenue of N769.523 billion, the Federal Government received N299.799 billion, states received N190.381 billion and the local government councils shared N143.569 billion.

The oil producing states received N42.917 billion as 13 per cent derivation revenue and the revenue generating agencies received N92.857 billion as cost of revenue collection.

From the N94.159 billion VAT revenue, the Federal Government received N13.559 billion, the states received N45.197 billion, the local government councils received N31.638 billion and the revenue generating agencies received N3.766 billion.

The balance in the excess crude account stood at $274.407 million as at 22nd August 2019.

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Okorocha, Ihedioha fight dirty over Imo funds



Okorocha, Ihedioha fight dirty over Imo funds


  • Governor: He mismanaged N1trn state money
  • Ex-governor: You spend N2.8bn monthly on sanitation



Imo State Governor, Emeka Ihedioha and his predecessor, Senator Rochas Okorocha are enmeshed in a battle and all the gloves are off.

With weeks of allegations and counter-allegations, Governor Ihedioha has described the administration of Okorocha in the state as a “wicked heist.”

Ihedioha, yesterday, alleged that Okorocha stole over N1 trillion from the state coffers.

The governor said this while reacting to allegations by Okorocha, claiming that the Imo State government under Ihedioha was spending about N2.8 billion on monthly sanitation exercise.

Ihedioha described the allegation as mischievous, baseless and unfounded.

A statement by the Special Adviser, Media, to the Governor, Mr. Steve Osuji, described Okorocha’s claim as unfortunate, explaining that only about N25 million was used for the monthly sanitation exercise in the state.

According to him, “the administration of Emeka Ihedioha is very prudent and sensitive to the plights of the people of Imo State, unlike Okorocha who was notorious for unbridled fiscal recklessness in his time. He diverted billions monthly on phony projects, including sanitation, but left Imo in very dirty and miserable situation.

“Available records show that in eight years, former Governor Okorocha mismanaged about N1 trillion belonging to Imo State. We are taking our time in unveiling the numerous atrocities of the last administration and, certainly, he must answer for all the evil he did against the people of Imo State.”

Ihedioha expressed dismay that a person of the stature of Okorocha could resort to juvenile pranks to score wrongly perceived political points.

His words: “It is very strange that a former governor could sit and concoct lies. How could Governor Ihedioha spend N2.8 billion on sanitation? What was it used for? Okorocha’s problem is that he is so used to lies that he no longer knows the difference between lies and the truth.

“The state spends only about N25 million on sanitation and the bulk of the funds come from support from corporate organizations as part of their corporate social responsibility.

“Okorocha also alleged that Governor Ihedioha has, within two months in office, built a hotel in Abuja and new houses in Owerri and his village. This further shows that the man, Okorocha is sick. As at today, Governor Ihedioha operates from his private residence in Owerri, following the pillage and vandalism of Government House by former Governor Okorocha and his cronies. How could he say the governor is building new houses, when he owns a palatial residence in Owerri, where he operates from and mansions in his village, built many years ago?

“The question is: are houses built in two months? Only Okorocha can build a house in two months and it collapses after a short while. Imo people already know that Okorocha is a habitual liar and should not be taken seriously.”

The governor maintained that his predecessor wrecked Imo State and that all he is doing is to divert the attention of Imo people.

On Okorocha’s claim that Ihedioha did not win the last election, he said: “He cannot get over the fact that his puppet in-law failed; he is also in pains that he has not been able to extend his dynasty in Imo.

“But no amount of falsehood will deter the people’s governor, Ihedioha, from fulfilling his electoral promise of rebuilding Imo State. The present administration shall remain on course in its efforts to recover Imo people’s funds and property looted by Rochas Okorocha and his cronies.”

Okorocha had accused Ihedioha of being in a hurry to steal because “he didn’t win the governorship election.”

The former governor stated that he spent N200 million on clean-up exercise, on which Ihedioha is allegedly spending N2.8 billion.

“The governor in just three months is building his own houses in Owerri and in his village. He is also building a hotel, but has not done anything for the state. They should work for the people of Imo State.

“All the bad politicians I retired in the state have all been brought back. And kidnapping, ritual killings, armed robbery, missing of people have all come back.

“The clean-up exercise I was doing with less than N200 million, they are today using N2.8 billion to do that. The government is in a hurry to steal because they know that they never won election,” Okorocha had said.

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CBN donates N7bn edifice to ABU



CBN donates N7bn edifice to ABU
  • Buhari: We’ve committed N1.3trn to education


The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has donated buildings named ‘CBN Centre of Excellence’ worth N7 billion to Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria.

CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, said the project was part of the apex bank’s intervention in education.

This is as President Muhammadu Buhari reiterated his administration’s commitment to accord education its rightful place through funding and other logistic support.

In keeping faith with the commitment, Buhari said over N1.3 trillion had been advanced to develop education sector in the past four years.

The amount, the president said, excluded overhead and personnel costs.

Buhari and Emefiele spoke yesterday at the commissioning of the newly completed Post-Graduate Centre of Excellence at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, donated to the school by CBN.

Before unveiling the commemorative plaque to formally inaugurate the edifice that sits on a total floor area of 34,102.81sqm, President Buhari said the construction of the project was a testimony to his administration’s effort at supporting qualitative learning from primary through to tertiary level.

The president said his administration, in its second term, will continue to accord education priority by ensuring adequate funding for the sector to make it affordable, qualitative and competitive with what was obtainable in more developed countries.

While commending the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for supporting the Federal Government’s investments in the education sector as well as other keys areas of the economy tied to overall national development, he urged the apex bank to sustain such funding support for research and overall economic development.

Welcoming the president to the complex earlier, Emefiele said the bank’s involvement in the funding and infrastructural support in the education sector was borne out of the conviction that an educated workforce played a critical role in the advancement of the Nigerian economy and the society in general.

He said the bank’s analysis of the factors responsible for the growth of successful economies indicated that investment in education played a prominent role in driving innovation and growth in advanced and emerging economies, while also contributing to significant reductions in inequality.

Hence, he said CBN, being a knowledge-driven organization, had to ensure the sustenance of improvements in institutions of higher learning across the country.

According to Emefiele, the Centre of Excellence project was also designed to accommodate the Central Bank of Nigeria Collaborative Postgraduate Programme (CBN-CPP), which he described as a child of necessity in the bank’s intervention programme in the education sub-sector.

He explained that the project was conceived to produce a critical mass of skilled professionals that will be able to apply their knowledge towards supporting growth and continued innovation in our nation’s financial sector and the economy in general.

“This was against the recognition that the dearth of skilled manpower constituted a binding constraint towards making Nigeria the number one hub for economic activity in Africa,” he added.

The CBN governor also disclosed that the three first generation federal universities in the country across the six geo-political zones (Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, University of Ibadan (UI) and the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), were selected under the first phase of the intervention programme.

He added that the programme was later expanded to cover six other tertiary institutions across Nigeria, which is nearing completion.

According to him, the project was mainly to ensure that students at post-graduate levels in economics, accounting, banking and finance, business administration and statistics study in a serene environment that would stimulate effective learning, with a view to building human capacity for the financial services sub-sector.

Emefiele assured that CBN, working closely with all the participating universities, had taken steps to ensure that this investment yields considerable benefits.

Specifically, he said the curricula for the target disciplines had been reviewed and harmonized across board to ensure students are provided with the optimum level of knowledge relative to their peers in other parts of the globe.

“We believe that the Centres of Excellence will help support government’s efforts towards reducing the incidence of brain drain and curtail the huge foreign exchange being spent on school fees for Nigerians studying in other countries,” Emefiele said.

While disclosing that the three Centres of Excellence in Zaria, Enugu and Ibadan will commence operation in October 2019, he said CBN expected the universities to take maximum advantage of the world class facilities provided by the bank to challenge their counterparts in London, New York and Dubai in the provision of training programmes in banking and finance-related disciplines for the global business community

The Post-Graduate School project, similar to the project inaugurated by President Buhari at the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus (UNEC) in January 2019, comprises a Faculty building and a block of rooms, as well as a 544-seater auditorium, four lecture and four tutorial rooms, traditional and e-libraries, and a telepresence room.

Meanwhile, the CBN governor has disclosed plans by the bank, in the near future, to also provide funding support for the health sector, through the establishment of six diagnostic centres across the geo-political zones of the country.

He said the decision of the bank to support the health sector was based on the realization that education and health formed the bedrock of development in any society.

On his part, the Vice-Chancellor of ABU, Prof. Ibrahim Garba, said the CBN Centre of Excellence was the single largest intervention project the university had ever received, adding that it would enhance learning, especially at post graduate level.

“The school is racing to upgrade itself. We’re working on taking the post-graduate school to the next level,” he assured.

He said the centre had given the university the opportunity to establish a Business School to offer economics, accounting, banking and finance, business administration and statistics in post graduate studies.

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Traders, travellers stranded at Seme Border



Traders, travellers stranded at Seme Border

Hundreds of traders and travellers without valid documents were stranded yesterday at Seme border post following restriction of movement around the country’s frontier with Benin Republic.

The exercise, code-named ‘Ex-Swift Response’, was being jointly conducted by the Customs, Immigration, Police and military personnel and coordinated by the Office of the National Security Adviser at the nation’s borders.

The Seme border, which is between Nigeria and Benin, is the major West African commerce corridor.

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) said that the decision of government to tackle terrorism, armed banditry and smuggling informed the security control at the nation’s land borders.

Most of the affected people were foreign traders returning to their countries.

Customs source at the border said that only people with valid documents were allowed to move out or come into the country after proper checks.

Also, he said that some transit cargoes, which were not prohibited by government, were allowed to enter Nigeria after proper examination by the Customs.

The source, however, said that the scrutiny of both travellers and transit cargoes had brought hardship and inconvenience to Nigerians and nationals of neighbouring countries, who were returning to their countries after business transactions.

A freight forwarder, Mr. John Akinwale, told our correspondent that nobody could ascertain whether the borders were closed or not because there had been partial movement of people and vehicles.

He explained that Customs and Immigration officials did not explain why they were conducting checks.

Akinwale said that those who arrived at the border on Wednesday were still finding it difficult to cross.

“This is against ECOWAS protocol,” he said. “Yesterday, both importers and travellers were apprehensive over government’s decision.”

Also, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)’s correspondent who visited Seme reports that incoming travellers and vehicles were thoroughly searched by the additional security officials drafted to the border, causing long delays.

Many commercial vehicles conveying passengers into the country were ordered to pull over at the new border post for several hours while hundreds of Nigeria-bound trucks were parked across the border.

Mr. Christopher Lawal, a passenger on Chisco Bus Transport, told NAN that their vehicle had been stopped for inspection for several hours.

“We don’t know what is happening. Our bus was stopped for inspection since 12 noon, they just asked us to wait. We have spent close to three hours now and nobody is telling us what is happening.

“We are not aware of the restriction, we went on excursion to Ghana and coming back to the country, they just asked the driver to wait,” he said.

Mr. Daniel Avoseh, a coconut trader, said that his four trucks of coconut coming from Ghana were stuck at border post since the exercise started on Tuesday.

“Up till now, they did not allow the trucks to pass. I am not aware of any restriction before I went to buy coconut in Ghana,” he said.

Customs spokesman, Joseph Attah, had, in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja, said that the joint border security exercise would be conducted in 25 states across the South-South, South-West, North-Central and North-West zones and urged the public to cooperate with the officials.

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‘Antibiotics increase colon cancer risk’



‘Antibiotics increase colon cancer risk’

Researchers in the United States (US) said taking certain antibiotics, especially multiple times or for long courses may put affected persons at risk for colon cancer.

Their report was published online in the journal ‘Gut’.

The researchers found that as people’s antibiotic use increased, their odds of being diagnosed with colon cancer increased.

According to the findings, patients who had received antibiotics prescriptions were at slightly higher risk of colon cancer – nine per cent higher if they had been on antibiotics for a total of two weeks, versus no prescription. Similarly, people who were on the medications for more than 60 days total had a 17 per cent higher risk.

Specifically, the risk was tied to antibiotics that kill anaerobic bacteria — which include common drugs like penicillins and cephalosporins such as Keflex.

Previous studies also showed a link between antibiotics and colon cancer.

According to Senior Researcher, Dr. Cynthia Sears, who is a Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, antibiotics affect colon cancer risk through its effects on the gut microbiome.

This is the vast collection of bacteria and other microbes that naturally populate the colon. Recent research suggests that the balance of microbes may have broad effects on health such that disruptions in the gut microbiome could make way for the growth of bacteria with cancer-promoting potential.

Research has suggested that certain bacteria, such as E. coli, might contribute to colon cancer in some cases.

Against this background, the research team advocated for judicious antibiotic use. “Antibiotic overuse is a problem, and education is needed on both the patient and doctor’s side,” said Sears.

That means not taking antibiotics for viral infections like the common cold. (Antibiotics target bacteria, not viruses, Sears pointed out.) And long courses of antibiotic treatment should be avoided whenever possible, she added.

The study results are based on over 166,000 middle-aged and older primary care patients whose information was collected between 1989 and 2012.

Nearly 29,000 were diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer at some point; each of those patients was compared with up to five others who remained free of the cancers,” the ‘Newsmax reported.

The researchers looked at any antibiotic prescription patients received from the time they enrolled in the study, up until a year before a colon cancer diagnosis.

The researchers advised that antibiotics should be used for a valid medical reason, but urged individuals to engage in regular exercise, maintain a healthy weight, avoid smoking, limit alcohol, and eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and fiber-rich grains. In addition, Sears recommended colon cancer screenings.

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Aregbesola to NSCDC: You’re not lead security agency



Aregbesola to NSCDC: You’re not lead security agency

Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, yesterday asked the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to focus on intelligence gathering, since it was not the lead agency in internal security.

This was as the former Osun State governor said that one of his fundamental objectives would be to improve internal security.

Aregbesola dropped the hint during a familiarisation visit to the headquarters of the NSCDC in Abuja.

He said: “Since you are not the lead internal security agency, you must improve your intelligence gathering. The early warning capacity your agency provides to others will help reduce threats.

“My emphasis is on early warning part of security that will help sister agencies work better. Rather than being reactive, we will be proactive,” Aregbesola said.

Meanwhile, the newly-inaugurated minister had said that the ministry under his watch would key into the policy thrust of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

Accordingly, he unfolded three focal points, which includes Security, Economic improvement and Transparency (SET), as the operational framework for agencies under the ministry.

“We must adopt Buhari’s slogan in the way that it’s best suited for us. So, we will adopt ‘SET’ in this ministry, which means security, economic improvement and transparency,” Aregbesola noted.

Earlier, Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mrs. Georgina Ehuriah, expressed the hope that the minister would deliver on the ‘Next Level’ agenda of the administration.

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Knocks, kudos for Buhari over ministerial portfolios



Knocks, kudos for Buhari over ministerial portfolios

Four months after assuming office for his second term, President Muhammadu Buhari finally consolidated his cabinet on Wednesday by swearing-in 43 ministers that will pilot the affairs of the administration with him.

While retaining himself as the minister of petroleum resources, he also brought back some of the old hands in his first term to continue where there left the affairs of their ministries at the dissolution of the former cabinet.

Prominent among those brought back are Rotimi Amaechi (transport), Babatunde Fashola (works and housing), Ogbonanya Onu (science and technology), Chris Ngige (labour), Zainab Ahmed (finance), Osagie Ehanire (health), Adamu Adamu (education), Hadi Sirika (aviation) and Lai Mohammed (information and culture), among others.

While a section of the public has commended the president for finally inaugurating and attaching portfolios to the ministers, some stakeholders in the corporate world are, however, concerned about the choice of the president as regards those manning some of the key ministries.

Reacting to the development, a frontline capital market operator, Mr. Mike Eze, described the reappointment of Ahmed as finance minister as faulty.

Eze, who is the Managing Director, Crane Securities Limited, said the inauguration was a step in a right direction, though it came very late, stressing that the swearing-in would play a positive role in the direction of the economy, including the stock market.

“Now that they have been inaugurated, it is expected that it will jump start the economy from the comatose situation. Today, the stock market rose partly in reaction to the event,” he said.

On his part, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, BIC Consultancy Services, Dr. Boniface Chizea, said there were a few surprises regarding the portfolios assigned to the ministers.

He said: “For instance, there were one or two nominees that had background in the petroleum sector that we thought would have been appointed petroleum minister. But the portfolio was given to a former Bayelsa Governor, Timipre Sylva. I think it was a good decision, as Sylva has the resources and capacity to be able to effectively engage with the entrenched interests in the Niger Delta region.

“The finance minister is returning to a familiar terrain given that it was her former portfolio. In recent times, the finance ministry’s role has been that of book keeping. However, it has a lot of key agencies such as the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and so on, reporting to it. The minister is a gentle lady and one feels that the position requires someone who can handle the rough and tumble that the job requires.

“Fashola is no longer in charge of the Ministry of Power. I think it is clear that poor power supply is still an issue and the president needed to appoint someone with fresh ideas. However, virtually all the former ministers that were reappointed retained their portfolios. This is obviously a vote of confidence in them.

“But we hope that the cabinet will deliver, because the administration has not hit the ground running; the president was sworn in on May 29 and it is almost at the end of August that he is swearing-in ministers.”

Also taking on Buhari, a development economist, Mr. Odillim Enwagbara, said Ahmed was not suitable for the portfolio of a finance minister

According to him, “the minister of finance isn’t the right person for the position. I was thinking President Buhari would have looked for a serious technocrat to be in charge of finance, because the economic problem of this country is very complex. He needs somebody who understands the complexity and who can take the bold moves that are needed to deepen the economy.

“So I’m not really happy that she is brought back. He needed a technocrat who is sound on macroeconomic issues; an economic manager who should push Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to increase its tax revenue, because the country is in short-change of tax revenue by bringing technology into tax collection.”

Also speaking on the suitability of Ahmed as finance minister, Advisory Lead Consultant on Private Sector Development to the ECOWAS Commission, Prof. Ken Ife, believes she deserves to be retained to consolidate on gains recorded.

He, however, advised the new minister to act as a tax collector by ensuring that all MDAs remit their funds to the consolidated revenue account without delay.

He said as a coordinating minister for the economy, she should be in the vanguard of implementation of Federal Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).

President of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Babatunde Ruwase and Director-General, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Segun Ajayi-Kadir, explained that private sector operators were keenly waiting for the new ministers to resume and change the economy for the better.

Ruwase explained that LCCI was not surprised with the ministerial portfolios since many of them were reinstated to their former positions, saying that the onus was on them to perform and meet the expectations of Nigerians.

According to him, the private sector is not satisfied with the present economic performance of the country’s gross domestic product.

He said: “One thing that is good about the whole ministerial appointments is that a lot of the ministers are going back to where they were. This will check a situation of spending more money to learn the ropes or know the new environment.

“If we have not been able to achieve our set objective in the economy, it’s not because of those people we have as ministers in those key sectors, but it’s more of lack of political will.”

On his own part, Ajayi-Kadir explained that it was a welcome development to have the ministers back after three months, saying that it was time to buckle up and work assiduously at revamping the economy.

Speaking on the reappointment of Amaechi as Minister of Transportation, the Rector of Certified Institute of Shipping of Nigeria (CISN), Prof. Alex Okwuashi, said his reappointment was a mere compensation by President Bahari.

He noted that a maritime technocrat should have been appointed to drive the industry forward.

Notwithstanding, he said that Amaechi should be able to learn from what he did not do well during his first term in office.

However, a former President of Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Greg Ogbeifun, said that any well-meaning stakeholder in the industry should be happy with Ameachi’s appointment.

Ogbeifun said that the stakeholders were expecting that he would continue with the good job he started in the industry, particularly when the ministry has been strengthened with a minister of state, in person of Senator Gbemisola Saraki.

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NNPC targets gas production surge to 3bn scuf daily



NNPC targets gas production surge to 3bn scuf daily

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has heightened the hunt for investments as it declared plans to surge the country’s gas output for the global gas market to three billion standard cubic feet (scuf) daily.

Group Managing Director of the Corporation, Mele Kyari, who declared this at the annual conference organised by the National Association of Energy Correspondents (NAEC) in Lagos, yesterday, maintained that gas is the needed catalyst for national development.

“All hands must be on deck to ensure that, using the realistic government policies, gas is fully utilized domestically to power industries and fast track the nation’s march towards industrialization,” he said.

Part of what should be done, according to Kyari who was represented at the event by the Chief Financial Officer, Umar Ajiya, is “to open up the midstream, complete all critical gas development projects targeted at delivering about 3Bscfd to gas market, ensure the closeout of investment decision on NLNG Train 7 and improve domestic utilization to boost power generation and industrial growth.”

Speaking on the conference theme: ‘Harnessing Oil and Gas Potentials for National Development,’ the NNPC’s boss said: “Our concerns should be, among others, on what we need to do to harness Nigeria’s oil and gas potentials towards national development, more so, in the face of mounting challenges facing the industry.

“From NNPC’s point of view, we are working tirelessly to achieve that. Today, with our partners, we are driving the aspiration to grow the national reserves to 40 billion barrels by 2025 and improve crude oil production to three million barrels/day during the period. To achieve these targets, we are not oblivious of the fact that huge investment is required across the entire value chain.”

In the downstream sub-sector, Kyari said: “Nigeria is still a net importer of petroleum products due to the current state of our refineries and the long absence of private investment in the refining sector. Thus, we require more investment to revamp and expand our domestic refineries and associated infrastructures to support the growth of the downstream sector and guaranty energy security to the nation.

“In this respect, NNPC under my purview, would leave no stone unturned to ensure our 445,000-barrel refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna work to an appreciable level or capacity.”

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Ijaw congratulate Amaechi, Sylva, Akpabio, Keyamo, others



Ijaw congratulate Amaechi, Sylva, Akpabio, Keyamo, others

The Ijaw nation in Delta State has congratulated members of the newly inaugurated federal cabinet, especially the ministers from the Niger Delta region and other oil producing states.

The people, who spoke through one of the Ijaw leaders, Sheriff Mulade, at a press conference, yesterday felicitated with Festus Keyamo (SAN) from Delta State; Timipere Sylva (Bayelsa); Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom); Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers); Osagie Ehanire and Clement Agba (Edo); Emeka Nwaduba (Imo); Godwin Jedi Agba (Cross Rivers), Tayo Alasoadura (Ondo), and Uchechukwu Samson Ogah from Abia State.

The people, however, urged them to attract uncommon governance and development to the grassroots in the Niger Delta region and their states.

According to Mulade, seven ministers from Niger Delta and three from other oil producing states (Ondo, Abia and Imo) were among the 43 ministers in the federal cabinet inaugurated and assigned portfolios on Wednesday by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja.

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Imo elders caution Okorocha against distracting Ihedioha



Imo elders caution Okorocha  against distracting Ihedioha

Immediate past governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha has been advised to desist from ‘sensationalizing his failure’ and stop distracting Governor Emeka Ihedioha.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Elders’ Council gave the advice in a press briefing held at the party’s secretariat, Owerri, yesterday.

Speaking on behalf of the body, Peter Mgbenwelu, Ambrose Ejiogu and Osita Nwaneri said they would be compelled to make Okorocha “politically uncomfortable” should he refuse allow Ihedioha to work in peace.

They further warned the ex-governor to desist from heating up the state and constituting a distraction to the state government.

They said: “We as custodians of conscience of this party, the Imo PDP, and we will not allow any ostentatious politician to distract the present PDP government of Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha in the state.

“We want to let Okorocha know that we are old enough to know and that we know enough to be able to make him uncomfortable politically and in other spheres of his life.

“As elders, we are saying this as the first and last warning for him to desist from his reckless and baseless utterances and his constituting himself into a nuisance through his parade of hoodlums and questionable characters across the state.”

Okorocha had through his Special Adviser on Media, Sam Onwuemeodo in a recent statement described Ihedioha as being too small to govern Imo state.

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