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Crazy billing: 8 banks vie for N17.5bn meter loan deals



Crazy billing: 8 banks vie for N17.5bn meter loan deals

Eight commercial banks in Nigeria have put their hats in the ring for N17.5 billion pre-paid meter supply loan deals.

The loans, investigation by New Telegraph last weekend showed, cover meter supply for just one business unit in one of the 11 distribution companies in the country, Ikeja Electric.

The banks, further checks showed, include United Bank for Africa (UBA), Zenith Bank, Sterling bank, Keystone Bank, and Unity Bank.

Others are First Bank, Keystone bank, Polaris Bank, and WEMA Bank.

Managing Director of Mojec International, Chantelle Abudu, confirmed that her company and the banks had struck deals with Ikeja Electric to offer loans to 450,000 customers who are willing to secure the meters.

Mojec, she said, was the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) that will be metering customers for IE in Shomolu business unit, Lagos.

Single phase meter, Abudu continued, costs N38,350 each while the three-phase meter goes for N70,350 each inclusive of Value Added Tax (VAT).

“The government says the meters should be connected in 10 days after payment but this our partnership with Ikeja will make sure that you get metered in less than 8 days. We just want to make sure that in two to three days you get your meters sharp sharp,” Abudu stressed.

A senior personnel with Wema Bank, Abiola Afolayan, confirmed that his bank and others would offer loans for customers who desire to obtain meters.

At the cost of N38,350 each the banks will provide N17.5 billio for the 450, 000 meters offer, checks by this newspaper showed.

The aforementioned lenders like Wema, Afolayan said, were ready to provide the funds.

“We have different channels. Number one, you work into any of our banks branches and make payments. The banks also provide channels like outlet by alert and upon confirmation of customers’ credit worthiness/value, loans will be made available,” he said.

This, he added, was part of efforts to make estimated billing a thin of the past.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Electricity Market Operator has issued a second suspension order to Kano Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO), pulling it off the electricity market for not paying the May 2019 energy invoice in full.

Head of the Market Operator (MO), Engr. Edmund Amaobi Eje, who declared this in a document sighted by this newspaper, added that the default attracted the suspension which came into force in line with the market conditions/market participation agreements.

The MO had suspended Ikeja, Eko, Enugu and Port Harcourt for similar default in barely two months.

Kano DisCo was earlier suspended in late July through an order, TCN/ISO/MO/2019/005, for not posting security deposit to pay for ancillary services involved in the wheeling of bulk electricity to its networks for onward supply to customers.

KEDCO’s franchise area covers Kano, Katsina and Jigawa states.

Bulk power is also transmitted to Niger Republic through the franchise area on behalf of the Federal Government.

On the current suspension, the MO which is a section of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), said, “KEDCO refused to pay its May 2019 invoice in full, thereby breaching Section 45.3.1 (d) of the Market Rules.”

It said KEDCO was notified of the default in line with the provisions of the Rule and that it was expected that the DisCo would respond and remedy the default within five days or two business days after it issued the suspension notice to it on July 29, 2019.

“KEDCO did not respond to the ‘Notice of Intent to Issue Suspension Order (NIISO/2019/007)’ dated July 29, 2019 within the five days or two business days stipulated by the Market Rules,” the MO said.

The order allows the Transmission Service Provider (TSP), another section of TCN to disconnect some facilities of KEDCO as a punitive measure until the default is remedied and that is running concurrently with the previous suspension.

“The orders will be lifted at the same time the events of default are completely remedied,” Eje said in the notification.

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No police, army can stop anger against injustice in Nigeria –Rev. Gado



No police,  army can stop anger against injustice in Nigeria –Rev. Gado

Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Gado is a prominent Christian leader in Northern Nigeria. He was also a governorship aspirant in Gombe State during the 2019 generation elections. He takes a swipe at the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari while X-raying current challenges in Nigeria, in this interview with Tai Anyanwu




How do you feel about the state of the nation’s security?



The poem by W.B Yates “The Second Coming” describes how I feel about the state of the nation’s security. It says “turning and turning in the widening gyre, the falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall  apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence, is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity’’.



Late Professor Chinua Achebe used part of this poem to title one of his famous books Thing Fall Apart to describe the impact western culture had on the community life. The coming of Buhari has had an adverse effect on the security agencies of this country. The morale in the Army, the Police and DSS, and so on. is at its lowest ebb. The rank and file are doing their best with the antiquated arms and ammunition. His priority is on fulanization and Islamization. Look at how much he earmarked for the Fulani Radio Station and RUGA, see who he had or has for ministerial positions, National Security Adviser, and the Judiciary?



Who and who is being promoted, who is being appointed and who gets the contract and who and who is being prosecuted or not prosecuted?



The intention is clear, disarm the people and arm the herdsmen and the bandits so that the communities can easily be dislodged and taken over.



What is your take on the issue of Fulanisation and Islamization of Nigeria?



Fulanization and Islamization has been an open secret in Nigeria. Some of us have been shouting since college days. I am glad and thankful to OBJ for shining the spotlight on it even though OBJ and some of his powerful colleagues help Buhari get into office in spite of Buhari’s open confession for the implementation and expansion of the Sharia.



I am surprised though, at the reaction of Nigerians to the Fulanization and Islamization agenda of President Buhari. Fulanization and Islamization is alive and well. It has been going on before independence, at independence and after independence. Fulanization and Islamization is a done deal and we all are to blame for it from our military, political, community, religious traditional leaders and the electorate. Barely two weeks after our Independence, the Patriot Newspaper quoted Sir Ahmadu Bello Sardauna of Sokoto as saying “The new nation called Nigeria should be an estate of our grand-father Uthman Danfodio. We must ruthlessly prevent the change of power. We use the minorities of the North as willing tools and the South as a conquered territory and never allow them to rule over us and never allow them to rule over their future”.

Sardauna of Sokoto provided the blue print that has been meticulously and judiciously followed without a single error. At about the same the West African Student Union based in the UK wrote a letter to the conference of Northern chiefs asking them to support the constitutional evolution of Nigeria into an independent nation. In reply to this letter the Chiefs declared that “holding the country together is not possible except by means of the religion of the Prophet. If they want unity let them follow our religion.”



Under General Yakubu Gowon’s administration missionary schools were forcefully taken over while in many instances their names were changed to Islamic names. In 1990 all members of the Armed Forces Ruling Council were Muslims except for General Ike Nwachuku an Igbo whose mother was a Fulani Muslim. Also in 1997 all commissioners of police during Abacha’s government were Muslims. General IBB surreptitiously registered Nigeria as a member of the Organisation of Islamic Conference which up till today has not been changed.



When Rear Admiral Ebitu Ukiwe the then second in command told the world that he only heard of it in the media like everybody else. He was promptly removed and forcefully retired from the Navy. The same IBB hosted the first Islam in Africa Conference in Abuja and he donated funds from the Federal Government of Nigeria for operations including the vision of transforming Nigeria to an Islamic State and enthroning the Sultan of Sokoto as its “Supreme ruler”



I wished General OBJ, who raised the alarm did so in his second coming because between 1999-2007 the Sharia Code of the Islam law was re-introduced in the North in an expanded version, Islamic Police (Hisbah) was introduced. Christian girls were abducted, forcefully converted and forced into marriage. Buhari has never hidden his desire to fully introduce the Sharia. In 2001 or so he called for the introduction of “total” Islamic law. He said “I will continue to show openly and inside me the total commitment the Sharia movement that is sweeping all over Nigeria. God willing, we will not stop the agitation for the total implementation of the Sharia in the country”. If he said that while seeking for office, we would be foolish or naïve to think that he will not fulanize and Islamize Nigeria in office. Just look at his appointments in his first four years and the current list of ministers. Among the ministers waiting to be assigned portfolios is one who years ago led a riot in a higher institution against the Christian body in the school (Fellowship of Christian Students (FCS). The leader was killed and some Christian students expelled simple for trying propagate their faith.



Some ethnic groups have resorted to self-help to tackle the issue of insecurity. What is the import?



That means these ethnic groups no longer trust the government to protect them. It is a vote of no confidence and a serious disappointment in the administration. It’s like the days before the civil war broke out in 1966. Loss of trust led to people taking the law into their hands. Before the coming of the colonial government ethnic groups had their own defensive mechanism in place and it worked. They relinquished that because the colonial government protected them from physical attack that could come from another ethnic group.



Now that it seems the centre is failing to hold, ethnic groups have to fall back to what they knew best. If they fail, they have nobody to blame but themselves. That has been the call from well-meaning leaders of the country that communities should protect themselves. The number and places of attacks are too many for the securities to handle considering the fact that they provide security at political rallies, for governors, Senators, House of Reps, Ministers and commissioners and since more police are busy protecting government functionaries the people are left to source for their own security.



Besides that, there is a serious allegation that the army is colluding with the Boko Haram or the herdsmen and bandits. Wow, when the protector becomes a predator it is every community for itself and God for us all.



Buhari is slamming those who are critical of his government, accusing them of not being patriotic. What is you take on that?



My first take is that he should thank and commend them just as he did when he was sick and Nigerians prayed for him. The same people who prayed for him and wished him well when he was sick are some of the people criticizing his government.



My second take is that I am not surprised at all because that is what we should expect from a Sharia based administration. It is absolutist and fascist in nature. 34 years ago, August 1985, Buhari’s government was toppled in a coup by IBB. I remember that coup very well. I can tell you where I was and what I was doing. In his inaugural address to the nation, IBB said that one of the reasons they staged that coup was because Buhari was too rigid and uncompromising in his attitudes to issues of national significance and that his government arrogated to itself the knowledge of the problems and solutions of Nigeria.



To call critics unpatriotic instead of inviting them for a dialogue seems to suggest that Buhari has answer: I feel dehumanized, lied to, cheated and taken for granted. My dignity as a human being created in the image of God has not been treated with dignity especially when you factor the fact that these politicians and governments come in the name of God or claim to fear God. In the north alone we have over 13 million children who are rooming the streets and preyed upon by Boko Haran and herdsmen yet we have the richest man in Africa from the north and since Independence almost 60 years ago Nigeria has been mainly ruled by people from that area:- Tafawa Balewa, General Gowon, General Murtala, General IBB, General Sani Abacha, General Abdulsalam, General Buhari 1983-85, Musa Yar’Adua and now Buhari again; and 13 million children are out of school, why won’t people feel disenchanted? I have said it and I say it again the problem of Nigeria is failed leadership as we are currently witnessing.



The bill seeking to transfer control of water banks to the Federal Government has been resubmitted for consideration by the legislatures. Do you see any hidden motive in the executive bill?


Everything Buhari introduces now is suspect even when it is good intention. The government should stay away from taking any land or water ways until the country is restructured. You know when you lose trust and integrity, it is hard to regain it back. I pray he recovers. The quickest way to recovery is restructuring. If he does then and only then would he regain some of his cult-like figure



What is your opinion about the feud between soldiers and the police over the killing of the policemen on the trail of a notorious kidnapper, by soldiers?


First, I empathize with the families of the dead police officers.



Their good testimonies will follow them. Nigerians are grateful to you and we pray that God through Nigerians and fellow human beings arewill not forget their families.



On the feud between the army and the police, it is rather unfortunate. I read in the print media that the Captain who gave the orders that killed the police officers communicated with the alleged kidnapper 191 times or so. You see that is what happens when there is no king as in the days of Israel everybody did what is right in their own eyes. President Buhari is quoted as saying only the army, the police, the NYSC and DSS, is keeping Nigeria united so when two of the four units that is keeping Nigeria unified are at logger heads then Nigeria is in deep trouble. As I said earlier the morale in the army and the Police is at its lowest (unfair promotions, issues related to payment of salaries and allowances, inadequate equipment, injustice) and now you add feuding within and between the army and police spells doom. I pray justice and equity will prevail. Bad things happen to all of us the difference is in how we address it. Justice and equity must not only be done must be seen have been done. This is called the rule of law.



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Onucheyo: Nigerian has grown beyond RUGA



Onucheyo: Nigerian has grown beyond RUGA

The RUGA Policy of the Federal Government has generated uproar across the nation prompting threats of violence from a number of different groups. In this interview, Dr Emmanuel Onucheyo, a veterinary doctor and a specialist in livestock production, tells ONWUKA NZESHI that the controversy was unnecessary as Nigeria had advanced beyond policies like RUGA having embraced cattle ranching many years ago.



What is your view on RUGA, a recent policy of the Federal Government that has generated so much controversy in recent weeks?



Well, my understanding of the policy so far is that the government is eager to establish some kind of agricultural transformation and they are looking at both crops and livestock, particularly cattle. For me as a professional in animal husbandry, if you look at what we had done before, I do not see any reason why we should be having all these controversies. We have come a long way.



The British colonial authorities tried to work on our livestock sector by establishing things like grazing reserves and grazing routes and we actually went through some transformation to the extent that the government introduced ranching which is the modern system for rearing cattle. I thought that having gone that far, we had actually gotten a technical solution to the old system of nomadic pastoralism.



As a young person, even as a young graduate, I used to work on a cattle ranch. This country had reached a situation where there was no longer any need to be going about with animals on the streets or along the roads, looking for grasses and water.



We had also moved beyond where you find some people pursuing a cow on the streets because they want to take it to the abattoir to be slaughtered for the beef market.



Increased population and urbanisation has made things like grazing routes, grazing reserves, cattle colony or RUGA really problematic. I’m sure that the British themselves didn’t want to get into the complications of land use issues, hence they went for the easy solution of grazing reserves and grazing routes.



Modernity and population explosion has made such policies archaic and untenable in the 21st century.



How did this technical solution you spoke about work?




Cattle breeding was supposed to be in the far North; cattle fattening was supposed to be in the Middle Belt where you keep the animals for a short while not exceeding three months. The cows were supposed to be kept in ranches and later slaughtered and moved as beef to the markets across the country.



The ranching option came up because there was need to phase out the nomadic system of cattle rearing.



Even as a fresh graduate, my first job was on a small ranch in Kaduna. We used to call it Kawo Cattle Farm. It was situated around where you now have the Kaduna International Trade Fair.



When I started work there, it was during the drought and we were buying pregnant cows from the cattle breeders and rehabilitating them in the ranch to save the calves when they are delivered.



When I came back from my post graduate programme, I was hired to go to the Mokwa Ranch in Niger State. The ranch was located on 7, 000 hectares of land. It had all the facilities. The Germans ran it as a pilot project of the National Livestock Production Company. There was also another project in Manchock, Kaduna. I was looking after the two projects which also included a piggery in Minna.


There was also the Bauchi Meat Factory and to serve that meat factory, you had the Galambi Ranch which was also located in Bauchi.



The Audu Bako regime set up an abattoir in Kano and the cattle were supposed to come from the Bunkuri Ranch in Kano. There was also a trail ranch at Umuahia in the South East and another at Fashola in the South West. These were small holdings to warehouse cattle brought down to be slaughtered and pushed into the beef market in the South.



In the case of Mokwa, it was a two in one location. It was actually called Mokwa Cattle Ranch and Abattoir because we had modern facilities to slaughter a hundred animals per day in order to produce quality beef for the Nigerian market.



What do you mean by quality beef?



I have had the opportunity to travel to other countries like Argentina where they have ranches and export beef to Europe. When we say quality beef, we mean beef coming from well-fed and healthy cows. You would have provided them with the right pasture; they are fatter and have better meat quality.



You allow them to rest in the evening before taking them to the abattoir to be slaughtered in the morning. It’s not these ones that you force to trek thousands of kilometres in search of food and water. You know our normal meat here is strong and you always need tooth pick after eating it.




The meat from Mokwa was soft because they were well fed and rested before slaughtering. Mokwa was on the railway so we could easily bring in spent grains from the breweries and molasses from Bacita Sugar Company. These feeds made the beef very tender, juicy and tasty. People were rushing for Mokwa Beef at Kingsway Stores in those days.



If you came to Mokwa at that time, all the 3000 animals would be bulls; no females because you were not expected to be breeding cattle there.



Were these nomadic Fulani herdsmen part of this process of modernisation of livestock farming?



They were not part of the process directly because we dealt with major cattle owners located mainly in the cattle markets of Maiduguri, Mubi and other places in the far North. But the government at that time set up the National Animal Production Research Institute (NAPRI) in Zaria to reach out to the nomadic herders and encourage them to adopt modern methods of animal husbandry.



There were ingredients in the NAPRI mandate to support these herders who were mainly of the Fulani ethnic stock. For instance, NAPRI had a Pasture Research and Development Department to produce improved grasses for them. The institute also had a mandate to introduce improved breed of cattle to these nomadic herders. The idea was that instead of these herders carrying a hundred animals to achieve their business targets, with improved breeds of cattle, they may not carry more than fifty animals to achieve the same goal.



In other words with less number of animal, the productivity will even be higher when they introduce improved breeds into their herds.



Where is NAPRI now? Is it still in existence?



It is still in existence. It has the technical solution to the challenges we are facing today.



I am sure that NAPRI has done a lot of research over these years and what we ought to have been doing at this time is making their research findings available to these herders and encouraging them to adopt the innovations and improvements required in modern livestock farming.



Perhaps, our policy makers have chosen to ignore the technical solution and have decided to play politics with this issue.





Are the pilot ranches which you mentioned earlier still in existence?



I can say for Mokwa Ranch because I’ve worked around the area in recent years; that facility is dead completely. Even Manchok Ranch is also dead.



The sad story is that all those facilities, built at huge cost, are no more. In the 1970s while I was there, Mokwa was like the headquarters of agriculture in Northern Nigeria. You had the 7,000-hectare Cattle Ranch and Abattoir and you had the National Grains Production Company, a 4,000 hectare facility producing grains.



There was also the Institute of Agricultural Research (Station) owned by ABU National Cereal Research Institute (Farm) and Savannah Forestry Station. Sadly, all these projects are no longer there.




Why did Nigeria abandon these facilities and allowed the projects to rot away?



I can’t really tell but I think that changes in government policy on agriculture over the years must have led us to this sorry path. I told you that I was an employee of the National Livestock Production Company and to show you that ranching was a policy then, we had subsidiaries of that company.



One of the subsidiaries was the Nigerian Ranches Limited and their business was to set up ranches.



Then there was Nigerian Diaries Limited, a subsidiary of Nigeria Livestock Production Company. I believe that if the policy on ranching had been sustained through these years, we would not have fallen into this so called farmer/herder conflict which is threatening to consume the entire country.




If you were to meet with our policy makers who are promoting the RUGA policy, what would you tell them?



The thing is that we can’t run away from resettling the nomads. We cannot run away from it. But, resettling them where? I think that is the question that our policy makers have not been able to provide a   satisfactory answer to. Resetting them, where? If you are going to resettle them, you should resettle them where the environment is conducive even for the kind of agriculture that they practice.



If you want to embark on large scale maize production, do you go to the South? Is that the best place for such a crop? It is the same question we should be asking the policy makers who are pushing that grazing reserves, cattle colonies and RUGA should be taken to the South. Is the South the best place for the cattle?



Of course we are talking of increased agricultural activities in Nigeria but there are particular zones and places suitable for various agricultural activities. Our policy makers ought to look at the appropriate place for cattle. If you ask me, that scheme that was in place in the 70s where cattle breeding took place in the far North is still applicable because if you go to the far North, you have large expanse of land and numerous dams.



All you need to do is to utilize these dams by deploying them for irrigation of the land and planting improved varieties of grasses to feed the cattle in their natural habitat.



NAPRI has developed these improved varieties of grasses and what is left is for the cattle herders to embrace innovations instead of sticking to this old practice of nomadic cattle rearing.



Besides, if we really keep the cattle in their natural environment, we will not only prevent this perennial conflict between herders and farmers but the people in the far north will benefit from the process.



For example, if the herders embrace ranching it will create more business opportunities in the North because these ranches and abattoirs will employ hands to make the system work. The hides and skin business which is the foundation of the leather industry will bounce back. You will also have the blood meal and bone meal factories there and these will generate employment for the local people.



Around 2009, I was the Lead Consultant to the Senate Committee on Agriculture and we were investigating the cause of the food crisis at that time. We toured several agricultural infrastructures in this country. We were looking at the land, dams and silos. I remember at our last port of call in one of the far northern states where the Commissioner for Agriculture was escorting us and we were discussing. I told him that I know that the economy of their state is agrarian but from your own point of view: Is it crop or livestock? He said livestock. Then I asked him, you have the dams and large expanse of land, why are you not tapping into your area of your comparative advantage? Draw the water to the open land, plant your grasses and graze your cattle. You don’t even have to come to the Middle Belt to look for grass because you can grow your grass and feed your cattle, fatten them, slaughter them and retain all these job opportunities there.



If the governments of these far northern states are concerned about their local economy and want to create employment opportunities and generate revenue for their states, they should encourage their people to establish ranches in those states.



The beauty of it is that they can now become major producers and suppliers of beef to the rest parts of Nigeria. Right now, the way things are scattered we don’t know what each state is contributing to the national treasury.



Ordinarily, states such as Borno, Adamawa, Yobe, Katsina, Sokoto and Kano ought to be leaders in cattle breeding and beef production but they have not risen to the occasion.



Don’t you think that the oil boom and Nigeria’s over dependence on petro-dollars is responsible for the reluctance of these states to look inwards?



You know, when people blame it on oil, quite frankly, I think it is more than that. I have been to over 30 countries including Malaysia looking at agricultural projects and practices. Malaysia is in a rain forest region and they decided to utilise their forests for oil palm trees and rubber. They pursued the policy of agro-forestry. It is not as if they do not eat beef but they decided to concentrate on their area of comparative advantage.



Don’t we have oil palm trees here? Where are all our oil palm and rubber plantations? They are in the South East and South South regions and now we want to push our cattle there instead of making the North conducive for the cattle.



The West is known for cocoa and we want to send them cattle and set up RUGA settlements there.



Let the various states in Nigeria identify their specific areas of competence and comparative advantage and develop their productive capacities in such areas. By so doing, they will be creating jobs and contributing their quota to the national treasury.



Some states in Nigeria have their local economies anchored on crop farming. We know that states such as Benue, Plateau and Taraba produce most of the food that we eat because the people there are mainly crop farmers.

When you now insist on grazing cattle on their farms, you are disrupting food production as well as the cultural and economic activities of the people



What’s your final word on the RUGA controversy?



I maintain that there was a technical solution. We should go back to the ranching policy and end this conflict for good. I know ranching requires infrastructure and that is where the governments in those states where cattle rearing is a way of life should step in and make a difference by providing these facilities.



The primary facility is large expanse of land and where else do we have more land in abundance than in the far North? Water is the second most important resource and there are a lot of dams that successive governments have built in the far northern states. They should be put to use.



The moment you start pushing cattle down to the Middle Belt and Southern regions as we are doing now, you create suspicion and avoidable conflict. Land is a very sensitive issue across Nigeria. Even among people from the same community, village or kindred. There have been generational wars over land and we can’t afford to do things that would worsen the situation.



In countries like Zimbabwe and South Africa, we all know of the land disputes there. Why do we want to dabble into sensitive issues like land when we know the implications? Why do we want to set Nigeria on fire? We can still coexist as a heterogeneous country without necessarily disrupting the economy and culture of our neighbours.



It worries me that the various sections of our country are engaged in a heated argument about RUGA and cattle colony while the entire agricultural sector is suffering.



Nigeria has just signed on to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) but where are the agricultural products we have to offer the rest of Africa? We can’t export our yams or beef because we are not producing them and packaging them in a way that they can be marketable. We have neglected the real issues that can improve our agriculture and we are beating about the bush and fighting ourselves.



Nature has given us our own areas of comparative advantage but we have failed to seize the opportunities available in our country.



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NIMASA: Tackling plastic pollutants menace in waterways



NIMASA: Tackling plastic pollutants menace in waterways

As the world maritime community moves to tackle the dangers marine litter and microplastics pose to the ecosystem and the world marine life, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has, in conjunction with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Global Partnership Action (GPA), develop a national action plan on marine litter. PAUL OGBUOKIRI reports



Nigeria’s campaign against marine litter, microplastics



As NIMASA’s Marine Litter Marshal initiative and its draft report on the UNEP-GPA –NIMASA partnership on sustainable management of marine litter in Nigeria’s beaches and waterways continue to attract the global maritime attention; the agency has been appointed the chair of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Correspondence Group on Marine Litter and Microplastics.



The threat of marine litter and microplastics



Reports indicate that each year, more than 8 million tonnes of plastics end up in the oceans, wreaking havoc on marine wildlife, fisheries and tourism, and costing at least $8 billion in damage to marine ecosystems. Up to 80 per cent of all the marine litters are believed to be plastics.



According to some estimates, at the rate the world is dumping items such as plastics bottles, bags and cups after a single use, by 2050 oceans will carry more plastics than fish and an estimated 99 per cent of seabirds will have ingested plastics.



Experts say unless shipping companies and crew comply fully with rules being propagated by NIMASA on reducing marine plastic litter from vessels, the quantity of plastics in the oceans will outweigh fishes by 2050.



The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) said it had received warnings from some scientists on the huge problem in the oceans, and its future impacts on environment.



To guard against this, the IMO has, therefore, adopted an action plan, which aims to enhance existing regulations, and introduce new supporting measures to reduce marine plastic litter from ships.



United Nation’s Environment estimates, more that 15 per cent of marine litters floats on the sea’s surface, 15 per cent remains in the water column and 70 per cent rests on the seabed.



According to another study, 5.25 million plastic particles, weighing 268,940 tonnes in total, are currently floating in the world’s oceans.



However, IMO’s action plan stipulates actions to be completed by 2025, which relate to all ships, including fishing vessels. The concrete measures and details will be further considered by MEPC 74.



The reduction measures being targeted on behalf of the shipping industry include a review of the application of placards, garbage management plans and garbage record-keeping in MARPOL Annex V.



Threat to Blue Economy



As NIMASA and the global shipping industry continues to tackle the menace of plastic wastes on waters, facts have emerged that about $13 billion is lost to damage caused to the marine ecosystem by plastic pollution.



This, according to stakeholders is posing threat to the realisation of the Blue Economy agenda. The marine plastic litter recently hit the front burner, when the Africa Blue Economy Forum (ABEF) revealed that plastic pollution alone costs $13 billion a year in damages to marine ecosystems.



The forum in its documents detailing its preparation for the 2019 edition in Tunis, said: “90 per cent of ocean plastic wastes originates from Asia and Africa, mainly due to mismanagement of waste and can be traced to just 10 rivers, including River Niger.”



According to ABEF, oceans are increasingly being recognised as a major driver of the world’s economic development, but conservative estimates for the next 12 years suggest that the ocean economy would add yearly global value of around $3 trillion and contribute some 40 million direct fulltime jobs to the global labour market.



It noted that African governments have a major role to play in tackling ocean pollution and plastic waste in particular, noting that Africa is the second largest continent with 26,000 nautical miles of coastlines and maritime zones under its jurisdiction, totaling 13 million km2.



It said linking the issue of ocean pollution with the blue economy development approach could help meet its targets set out in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs and the Africa Union’s Vision 2063).



Founder & CEO, Blue Jay Communication, Mrs. Leila Ben Hassen, said among the important actions to achieve a sustainable blue economy was to strengthen pan-African partnerships and encourage more international collaboration.



“Hence we have decided to focus in this edition on developing more synergies between private and public sectors, between regional and international companies, attracting experts and investors in the blue economy sectors, and, ultimately, creating more job opportunities for Africa’s youth and women,” she said.



Implication on Nigeria’s economy



Its general implications for the Nigerian economy are also enormous, such as beach cleaning, loss of tourism and its negative impacts on the fishing industry. It poses a considerable threat to the health and productivity of marine ecosystems. No wonder



Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside said: “The presence of marine litter in our waters is impacting negatively on NIMASA’s strategic objectives, most notably the drive to make Nigeria a greener, wealthier and fairer, safer and stronger and healthier nation.”



Beached marine litter such as broken glass, medical waste, fishing line, and discarded syringes can harm beach users as well as the risks associated with the leaching of poisonous chemicals.



The Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms Hadiza Bala Usman said marine litter poses navigational hazards to all kinds of vessels such as submarines, passenger ferries, fishing trawlers and can result in loss of life.



The major risks to navigation from marine litter mostly during poor weather conditions, according to Ms Usman include: Fouling and entanglement of a vessel’s propeller in derelict fishing gear: reducing stability and the ability to manoeuvre; Blockage of water intakes by plastic bags; Subsurface debris can foul anchors and equipment deployed from trawlers and research vessels; Collisions can damage a vessel’s propeller shaft seal; Recovery procedures which require divers increases risk of personal injury



“Apart from the normal navigational hazards by pleasure craft and commercial ships, the same risks also apply to military activities which are active in the marine, submarine and inter-littoral zones. Marine litter can disturb the physical environment, affecting the ability to detect certain phenomena many of which are important to the Navy’s defence capability,” she said.



UN effort to rid oceans of plastic pollutants



The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on Thursday, February 23, 2017 launched a global campaign to eliminate major sources of marine litter – such as microplastics in cosmetics and the excessive, wasteful usage of single-use plastic – by the year 2022.



Launched at the Economist World Ocean Summit in Bali, Indonesia, the “#CleanSeas campaign” is urging governments to pass plastic reduction policies; targeting industry to minimise plastic packaging and redesign products; and calling on consumers to change their throwaway habits – before irreversible damage is done to the seas.



NIMASA launches Marine Litters Marshals



NIMASA inaugurated Marine Litter Marshals imitative to assist the agency in ridding the nation’s waterways and oceans of marine litters and microplastics.



Speaking during the flag-off ceremony of the first phase with 120 marshals held at the Nigerian Maritime Resource Development Centre in Lagos, Dakuku, charged Nigerians on the sustainable use of the ocean resources, adding that there are so many activities dependent on the ocean.



He said: “The state of health of the ocean is related to the state of our health and our economy. Therefore, we must stop the indiscriminate dumping of materials in our ocean.”



Dakuku noted that marine litter directly impacts on ocean life, marine habitats, human health, and navigational safety with potential impacts on socio-economic development of nations.



According to him, the marshals have been directed to go to the ports, coastlines and littoral communities and enlighten them on the need to maintain cleaner oceans; enjoin them to also keep watch and ensure that the right thing is done so that the ecosystem can be preserved. He further warned that the agency will not condone indiscriminate dumping of waste at sea.



He further stressed, necessitated the agency to collaborate with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Global Partnership Action (GPA) in 2015 to carry out a scientific study on marine litter challenge in Nigeria, thereby culminating to the development of the national action plan on marine litter and its campaign concept.



Also speaking, a marine environment expert and the President of the Waste Management Society of Nigeria, Professor Osinbajo Oladele, said there is the need to preserve the oceans as they hold a lot of opportunities in developing the nation.



Last line



According to Professor Oladele, as over 80 per cent of marine pollution originates on land, NIMASA must ensure it embraces multi-stakeholder partnerships, especially those from private firms in the Food and Beverages sector and Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs), to nip pollution of the seas in the bud.



“Solutions to this endemic problem must include reduction, reuse, increased recycling, tough litter abatement laws, and well-run municipal waste management systems.



“A voluntary commitment by the retail sector to reduce the use of plastic bags, in addition to a new recycling law with higher quotas for plastic waste, would also ensure the prevention of plastic waste in the oceans and seas,” she said.



To this end, the coordinator of Marine Litter Marshal and the Deputy Director, Marine and Environment Management of NIMASA, Dr. (Mrs.) Felicia Mogo, said the agency embarked on the initiative to ensure proper solid waste management and in particular prevent materials like plastic waste and other dangerous items from reaching the waters.



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Prices of tomatoes, rice, yam reduce in July



Prices of tomatoes, rice, yam reduce in July



he average price of major food items in Nigeria, like yam, rice and tomatoes, reduced in July, the Sunday Telegraph Commodity Survey team found out.



It was discovered that the average price of one kilogramme of tomatoes decreased from N317.67 recorded in June 2018 to N226.07 in July 2019 representing a 28.84 per cent reduction.



Also, the price of one kilogramme of tomatoes reduced from N249.52 recorded in May/June 2019 to N226.07 in July representing a 9.40 per cent decrease.



It was also discovered that the average price paid for one kilogramme of rice (imported high quality sold loose) decreased from N373.47 in June 2018 to N352.82 in June 2019.

The price of one kilogramme of rice decreased from N361.39 recorded in May/June 2019 to N352.82 in July 2019 representing a 2.37 per cent decrease.



Rice is considered a staple food for most households in Nigeria. Although its importation has been banned, imported rice, mostly through porous land borders, is still common across Nigeria.

Also, the average price of one kilogramme of yam decreased by 36.27 per cent when compared to N305.70 recorded in July 2018



The price of a tuber of yam, a substitute for rice in many Nigerian homes, decreased from N216.03 recorded in June 2019 to N182.15 in July 2019, representing a decrease of 15.68 per cent.



A similar reduction occurred in the unit price of eggs. The Sunday Telegraph team said the average price of a piece of a medium-sized egg when compared to the N41.38 recorded in June 2018 decreased by 5.01 per cent to N39.30.


When compared to June 2019, the unit price of a medium-sized egg decreased from N42.82 to N39.30 in June 2019 representing 8.20 per cent decrease.



The team further discovered that in arriving at the report, fieldwork was done by over 700 NBS staff in all states of the federation supported by supervisors, who were monitored by internal and external observers.



It said the prices were collected across all the 774 local governments across all states and the FCT from over 10,000 respondents and locations and reflect actual prices households state they actually bought those items.

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Electronics prices fall by 0.5%, others unchanged



Electronics prices fall by 0.5%, others unchanged



ealers in electronics gadgets in Idumota Market, Lagos Island on Friday said that they have reduced the prices of their wares last month by over 0.5 per cent, adding that the prices of other products in the market was stable in July. They however, complained that despite their sacrifice to make their goods affordable to consumer, they have continued to record low patronage.


According to some of the traders spoken to by Sunday Telegraph, the prices of electronics products which increased sharply in the market in 2018 have remained unchanged till June.



Sunday Telegraph leant that electronics products like Electric Oven 20 liters, which rose to N14, 000 from N9, 500 last year, has remained stable till June. Also, the 37 liters brand which rose to N18, 000 last year from N13, 500; has not recorded any increase this year.



In the same vein 43 inches television, which rose to N85,000 from N80, 000 in 2017; is stable while the  22 inches which started selling at N40,000 last year, has remained stable at that price throughout this year until the recent reduction to N38,000.



According to Emeka Ifejiani, an electronics products dealer in the market, though the price has been stable, it is still expensive for an average consumer. He added that the exchange rate problem is the reason why the price of electronics products is not coming down



He said:  “Anytime the exchange rate is high, the price of electronics gadgets will also be high, so we the sellers have no choice, but the implication is that we cannot sell”. That is why we are making this sacrifice to see if we can stimulate the interest of the consumers.”


He added that the increase in price of electronics between 2017 and December 2018 is over 38 per cent in most cases.



Meanwhile, Sunday Telegraph learnt that the price of a two 2kilogramme bag of Cassava flakes, also known as “Garri” has remained stable at N500 in the market last year, since the beginning of this year.



There is ‘Garri kila’ which is sells at N500 per ‘paint’, Garri Oyo’ is N400 per paint plastic, “Garri Cotonou” per paint plastic is N500.



A plastic (16 Derica cups) of ‘Drum beans’ is N3,200 and a plastic of “Modara beans” is N3,500 while ‘Oloyin beans’ sells at N4,000.

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NPA to partner Ondo on Deep Seaport project



NPA to partner Ondo on Deep Seaport project


head the efforts of the Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu to ensure that a deep seaport is constructed in his domain, the Management of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has expressed its readiness to work with the state government to bring the deep seaport into reality.



The General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications of NPA, Engr. Adam Jatto dropped the hint in Abuja, on Thursday, at the sideline of the House of Representatives Adhoc Committee enquiring why the Eastern ports are underutlised.



He said: “The government of Ondo State has already written to the Authority for the Ondo Deep Seaport project and we are following the progress they making in that direction and the Authority is prepared to collaborate with the state to realise that dream. Our Managing Director, Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman would soon meet the Governor of Ondo State for that purpose.”



Speaking earlier, the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms Hadiza Bala Usman has disclosed that the Authority has dredged Escravos Channel leading to Delta Ports from 3.4 to 7 meters to accommodate bigger vessels.



Ms Hadiza made this disclosure while explaining NPA’s contributions to making Eastern Ports function better during the public hearing by an Ad-Hoc Committee of the House of Representatives.



Represented by the NPA Executive Director in charge of Engineering and Technical Services, Engr. Idris Abubakar, Hadiza said that the Escravos Channel was last dredged 35 years ago before her administration embarked on it.



The MD said aside reduction in terminal charges to encourage patronage of the ports, her administration has embarked on corporate social responsibility to alleviate the plights of host communities and encourage entrepreneurship.



She told the lawmakers that the distance from the fairway buoys in the Eastern Ports are much longer than that of Lagos Ports and will require vessels in Eastern Ports to deploy more fuel and spend more time before berthing.



She added that the breakwater in Warri Port has given way for long while roads leading to the ports in different parts of the country require attention of the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing.



NPA according to her had written to the Ministry of Works since 2016 requesting that bridges in Taraba and roads leading from Calabar Port from the North East part of the country be fixed to enable cargo movement from Calabar to the north.



“We have installed Local Maritime Distress Surveillance System (LMDSS) Coastal Station. We are also running radio signals for over ten years to assist mariners calling at the eastern ports,” she said.

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Piracy: FG trains 298 military personnel on maritime security



Piracy: FG trains 298 military personnel on maritime security

Dakuku harps on capacity building for Deep Blue Project




he Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has graduated another 298 surveillance officers in basic training course for the implementation of the Integrated Security and Waterway Protection Infrastructure also known as the Deep Blue Project.



Speaking at the graduation ceremony held at the military base in Elele in Rivers State, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside noted that the capacity development component of the Deep Blue project is on course as the agency prepares to receive the land and maritime infrastructure component of the project.



Dakuku, who was represented by the Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services of NIMASA, Mr. Gambo Ahmed, stated that the land based intervention force  is expected to work closely with the command and control center to effectively police the Nigerian maritime domain, thus enhancing security in the Gulf of Guinea.



“Our vision of creating the critical force for intervention which is expected to work closely with the command and control center to effectively policing the Nigerian Maritime Domain is becoming a reality as they will bring to bear what they have learnt here,” he said.     



Dakuku used the opportunity to assure Nigerians that the project jointly implemented by the Ministry of Transportation and the Ministry of Defence will greatly curb criminality in the Nigerian maritime domain.


He said: “The present threats posed by insecurity to our maritime economy and the need to support economic renaissance of the nation led to the bi-ministerial collaboration of the Federal Ministries of Defence and Transportation under the supervision of the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) to the President to develop a robust maritime security architecture comprising all military and security Services that would ensure conducive and enduring maritime environment for the nation.”


In his speech during the ceremony, Mr. Micky Gnash of Homeland Security International (HLSI), the consultants to the project, gave the composition of the graduands as 110 officers and men of the Nigerian Army and 198 officers and men of the Nigerian Navy. “They were trained on combat related courses, ranging from physical training, sharp shooting techniques and ability to use their arms from a range, bare hands fighting in open terrain, built up areas and in the bush.” He also added that the training was tailored towards empowering them for the enormous task of safeguarding the Nigerian territorial waters.”



“With this basic training concluded, the officers will proceed on the advance training next month, which is expected to last for eight months,” he said.



The C4I Integrated Surveillance Systems Operation training is part of the human capacity building towards the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, which is a Federal Government initiative aimed at ensuring comprehensive Nigerian maritime domain surveillance and security.



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Prices of selected food stuff fall in July –NBS



Prices of selected food stuff fall in July –NBS


he National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said the average price of some selected food items in the country decreased in July.



NBS said this in its “Selected Food Price Watch (July 2019)” report released on its website.



It said the average price of one dozen of medium sized agric egg increased from N459.81 in June to N467.18 in July.



The bureau said price of a dozen of medium sized egg decreased year-on-year by -15.38 cent and increased month-on-month by 1.60 per cent in the period under review.



It said the average price of a piece of medium sized agric egg decreased year-on-year by -0.71 per cent and increased month-on-month by 0.06 per cent to N41.95 in June from N41.92 in July.



According to the report, the average price of one kilogramme of tomato decreased year-on-year by -11.14 per cent and increased month-on-month by 7.05 per cent to N257.25 in June from N240.30 recorded in July.



It said the average price of one kilogramme of rice (imported high quality sold loose) decreased year-on-year by 3.20 per cent and month-on-month by -1.20 per cent to N357.55 in April from N361.90 in July.



“Similarly, the average price of one kilogramme of yam tuber decreased year-on-year by -20.48 per cent and increased month-on month by 10.69 per cent to N222.36 in April from N200.88 in June,” it added.



The NBS said in arriving at the report, field work was done by more than 700 NBS staff in all states of the federation supported by supervisors who were monitored by internal and external observers.

It said the NBS audit team subsequently conducted randomly selected verification of the prices recorded.

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Nigeria is 2nd country that spends most time on social media –Survey



A   survey by market research group, Global Web Index, has said that Nigeria ranks only second behind Philippines for countries whose citizens spend the most time on the social media.


The organisation surveyed 46 countries, discovering that Nigeria’s youthful population are on social media for an average of three hours and 30 minutes, according to a report by The Cable.



The research attributes the likely reasons for the high social media presence to the youthful nature of the population and unemployment.


It notes that Nigerians have used different networking platforms on the web to sell commodities such as shoes, clothing, and to promote activities like dancing and comedy.


On the other hand, countries like Japan, spend only 45 minutes on networking platforms due to its ageing population.



The survey found that citizens of Russia, India, and China spend over two hours on social media daily, while those in the United States, United Kingdom, Spain, France, and Germany spend over an hour.


Residents of the Philippines stay on social media sites for up to 4 hours and one minute however.


The research was conducted across platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook Messenger,LinkedIn, Skype, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, among others.


The research also found out that social media usage shrunk in the first quarter of 2018 when compared with the same period the previous year.

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DVC Obi tasks FG to stop used cars import from China



Says presidency’s withholding of assent to NAIDP bill tragic




he commencement of sustained shipment of used vehicles from China to Nigeria is a development that may sound the death knell for the local auto industry unless government takes an urgent step to halt the invasion or impose heavy duties on the vehicles.



Chairman, Motor Vehicles & Miscellaneous Assembly Sectoral Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria {MAN}, Dr. David V. C. Obi, expressed this view with journalists in Lagos, the “Chinese gift” was not only shocking, but would also amount to opening the floodgates for used vehicles to submerge the local industry.



He said when the impending ‘Chinese used car Armada’ is viewed alongside the rejection of the auto policy bill by the Presidency, what has befallen the auto industry can be described as “double tragedy.”



Obi, who is the Chairman of DVC Group (which plays vital roles in the auto industry), warned that if allowed to flood the local market, the used vehicles from China would finish the damage the influx from Europe and America have been inflicting on the local industry over the years.



The Chinese Ministry of Commerce announced recently that a state-backed company in Guangzhou had officially shipped used cars to Cambodia, Myanmar and Russia with Nigeria as one of the major destinations for the first batch of 300 units.




The export, it was reported, was expected to deepen implementation of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), promote the stable growth of foreign trade, and increase demand for new vehicles in that country.



But, Obi warned that with the ban on production and sales of fossil fuel vehicles by Chinese provinces, European countries and other parts of the world, taking affect in a few years, Nigeria should not open its borders for the dumping of disused vehicles from industrialised countries.



China is said to have an estimated fleet of more than 300 million privately-registered vehicles, the largest in the world.



“I was shocked. I was alarmed,” Obi stated. “Everybody knows that once China joins the used vehicles shipment to Nigeria, we are finished. Moreover, the shipment is an official initiative of the Chinese Government and will be sustained over many years, which means that millions of vehicles driven in China will end their life-spans in Nigeria as the Chinese look forward to electric cars.



“Luckily for them, we are relieving them of the burden of disposing of vehicles they can no longer use. But, unfortunately for us, our government does not seem to know the implications of allowing this kind of dumping; one of which is stifling the efforts to promote local assembly, deepen auto technology and generate jobs.”



He lamented the refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the Nigeria Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP) Fiscal Incentive and Guarantees Bill, arguing that the Chinese are simply taking advantage of a loophole resulting from the lukewarm implementation of the auto policy.



“One of the many implications of lack of a legal framework for the policy and the imminent invasion of Chinese tokunbo vehicles, is that many renowned OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) who are afraid to invest in Nigeria because of our usual policy summersault, will remain reluctant because there is no assurance that their investments will be protected.



“It is also very ridiculous to hear the argument that tokunbo vehicles are not on the import prohibition list and therefore should be allowed to freely come in as long as they are not old. The emphasis should rather be on loss of jobs resulting from the present inactivity in the auto manufacturing sector.



“And there is no way the situation will improve if we continue to allow used vehicles to flood into the country while we take one step forward and two steps backward with the auto policy,” he said.



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