P.M. NEWS Nigeria » Electricity, Oil and Gas http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com First with Nigeria News - Nigerian leading evening Newspaper - Wed, 27 May 2015 18:23:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Outcry Over Subsidy Removal http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/27/outcry-over-subsidy-removal/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/27/outcry-over-subsidy-removal/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 13:48:45 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=240626 Eromosele Ebhomele

Except the incoming Muhammadu Buhari administration wades into Nigeria’s oil crisis which has almost grounded the country, a repeat of the massive protest that occurred in 2012 against an attempted removal of subsidy may play out.

Many Nigerians, this morning, told P.M.NEWS that they would kick against any plan by the government to remove subsidy through any means other than to make the country’s refineries work.

They said if the refineries are working, Nigerians would not buy fuel for more than N50 per litre.

There have been reports that the outgoing government did not make any provision for fuel subsidy in the 2015 budget.

Those who spoke with our correspondent called the subsidy regimes of previous and the current administration of President Goodluck Jonathan a fraud, saying it is just another name coined to milk the suffering masses.

They also said it simply showed the inefficiency of government and its agencies to stop the fraud perpetrated by oil marketers and top government officials.

Comrade Debo Adeniran of the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, one of the groups that championed the 2012 protest at the Gani Fawehinmi Park in Lagos, told our correspondent that his organisation would continue to kick against subsidy removal.

“That would be like supporting government’s inefficiency,” he said. “It (subsidy removal or deregulation) would help corrupt oil marketers to continue.”

He recalled that diesel had been deregulated for years but that it had not led to any positive change in pricing, adding: “same would happen with the deregulation of petrol.”

He also recalled that SURE-P was established in 2012 after the protest, yet Nigerians have not benefited from it.

He warned Nigerians to stop comparing the oil sector with the country’s telecommunication sector as they are far apart.

Removal of subsidy, he said, would make the marketers form a stronger cabal that would hold Nigeria on its jugular while quoting Buhari and Tam David-West, who described subsidy as a fraud because the nation’s refineries, as dillapidated as they are, can still sustain Nigeria.

He tasked the government to be alive to its responsibility of monitoring fuel importation and discouraging round-tripping.

Comrade Denja Yaqub of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, said the position of the NLC on deregulation has not changed and that government should be held responsible for the scam in the subsidy regime.

“If my house is not protected and robbers come in, it does not mean I should become homeless. It means I should protect the house,” he said.

He said some of the oil marketers accused of fraud are friends of the outgoing President Jonathan, adding “it is the government that should be responsible. The fact that it has been most incompetent does not mean it should pass the buck to Nigerians.”

Barrister Festus Keyamo, a rights activist, simply said: “I will support revival of the refinieries, not removal of subsidy.

“Before removing fuel subsidy, revive the four refineries to be able to serve the nation and to even export. Then there would be no need for subsidy.”

Afolabi Gbajumo of the National Conscience Party, NCP, recalled how the late Gani Fawehinmi described the fraud in the subsidy regime in a book he wrote then.

He also recalled the protest of January 2012 and how the action by Nigerians unearthed a lot of scandals and secrets in the petroleum sector.

He said he was not in support of the removal but the prosecution of all those who had been fingered in the corrupt activities in the sector.

Yerima Shettima of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, AYCF, said there must be an alternative to the removal of subsidy and this should be the provision of refineries.

Taiwo Otitolaye of the United Action for Democracy, UAD, said the current fuel crisis is the outcome of a failed system.

“Our refineries must be made to function and new ones built. Subsidy is a tthieving language and with the refineries, fuel would not cost more than N50 per litre,” he said.

Abiodun Aremu, an executive member of a faction of the Nigeria Labour Congress, said rights activists in the country had never believed there is subsidy, adding that they are also opposed to deregulation.

“If our refineries are working, there is no way Nigerians would buy fuel for more than N50 per litre. The policy on deregulation is that government has no reponsibility for the people.

“The way subsidy is done now, it is a conduit pipe to milk the country and that is why the refineries are not meant to work,” he said.

Aremu said the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, was established to import fuel and sell to marketers and consumers, but that today, the reverse is the case.

He said is was shameful that with crude oil, the country is still witnessing such level of crisis while countries like Cuba without oil are doing well.

Cuba depends on sugarcane and is a leading country in terms of education and health.

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Power distribution historically pathetic, down to 727MW http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/26/power-distribution-historically-pathetic-down-to-727mw/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/26/power-distribution-historically-pathetic-down-to-727mw/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 08:49:29 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=240484 A power plant

It has only gotten worse, not better for Nigeria as electricity output crashed to an all time, historic low of 727 megawatts.

When on Friday, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Power said the output had plumetted to 1,327 MW, Nigerians thought they had reached the nadir. But now things have gotten even worse.

According to The Nation newspaper, the collapse at the Shiroro Power Plant was the cause of the latest generation plunge. Shiroro is a 600MW hydro electric plant on River Kaduna in Shiroro, Niger State.

Abuja, Kogi, Nasarawa and Niger states are experiencing an unprecedented load shedding. The Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) has only 15 Mega Watts (MW).

“Up to about 18.50hours (or 6.50pm), only sensitive installations within the Central Business District of Abuja are on electricity supply,” a source said.

The situation is the same all over the country. In Lagos, offices, including TheNews group have either shut down or scale down operations because they could not get diesel to power their generators. Where available, it is being offered at N500 per litres.

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) said 18 of the 23 power plants in the country are unable to produce electricity due to shortage of gas supply for the thermal plants.

NERC chairman Dr. Sam Amadi said : “At present, 18 of the 23 power plants in the country are unable to generate electricity due to shortage of gas supply to the thermal plants with one of the hydro stations faced with water management issue. This has led to loss of over 2,000 megawatts in the national grid.”

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FG defends Seplat over pioneer status controversy http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/25/fg-defends-seplat-over-pioneer-status-controversy/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/25/fg-defends-seplat-over-pioneer-status-controversy/#comments Mon, 25 May 2015 20:23:00 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=240465 Austin Avuru, CEO, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc

Austin Avuru, CEO, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc

The federal government has come out with a robust defence of indigenous oil and gas company, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc over a newspaper report that the company fraudulently obtained its Pioneer Status Incentive.

The defence was communicated via a newspaper advert in Thisday of Saturday May 23, 2014. According to the statement “The attention of the Federal government is drawn to a recent publication in Thisday newspaper of May 10, 2015 concerning allegation of purported wrongful grant of Pioneer Status Incentive to undeserving companies by NIPC between 2010 and 2014 and the resultant loss of revenue to the tune of $20bn.”

The statement which was jointly signed by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MITI), the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigerian Investment Promotions Council (NIPC), and the Revenue Mobilization federal government provided further insight into the process leading up to the granting of pioneer status incentives to deserving companies like Seplat.

“There is no established case of fraud in granting pioneer status incentive to companies by NIPC as alleged because the approval to grant Pioneer Status Incentive to Nigerian owned oil companies was duly approved by the federal government” a policy move which it said “is in line with the Local Content Policy of the government to promote Nigerian Content Development, local capacity and capabilities.”

Singling out Seplat for commendation, the statement pointed that “the motive behind the publication is difficult to understand, yet it remains very disturbing when one considers its negative impact on the reputation and integrity of the highly reputable Nigerian company, Messrs Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc that had attained the enviable feats of being listed and successfully trading in the Nigerian and London Stock  Exchanges.”

Continuing further it noted that “it has been established that the contribution of the indigenous oil companies to national oil production has increased from 3 per cent to 9 per cent as a result of the grant of pioneer status incentive.”

The joint statement which concluded by stating categorically that “the federal government will continue to support the growth of investment in Nigeria without compromising the need for enhanced revenue said there that “there is no such thing as revenue loss of $20million” a figure which the statement described as “unrealistic, speculative and lack any material basis.”

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Oil marketers call off strike, promise fuel in six hours http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/25/oil-marketers-call-off-strike-promise-fuel-in-six-hours/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/25/oil-marketers-call-off-strike-promise-fuel-in-six-hours/#comments Mon, 25 May 2015 16:02:43 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=240434 Fuel Queue

The major oil marketers association of Nigeria (MOMAN) has finally reached an agreement with the government to begin supplying country with much needed petroleum products.

Magnus Abe, the chairman of the senate committee on petroleum resources, informed press that a solution to fuel crisis has just been worked out during the meeting of MOMAN representatives, major stakeholders in the oil and gas sector, senate committee on petroleum resources, and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, minister of finance.

According to that decision, petroleum products delivery across the country will be restarted “in six hours”.

At the same time the Nigeria union of petroleum and natural gas workers (NUPENG) and the petroleum and natural gas senior staff association (PENGASSAN), which had suspended their activities previously, have also decided to call off their ongoing strike to end fuel crisis hitting Nigeria’s economy.

During the meeting, it was agreed that the department of petroleum resources has the right to revoke the license of those oil marketers which refuse to lift petroleum products across Nigeria.

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LCCI calls for deregulation of oil and gas sector http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/25/lcci-calls-for-deregulation-of-oil-and-gas-sector/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/25/lcci-calls-for-deregulation-of-oil-and-gas-sector/#comments Mon, 25 May 2015 11:45:47 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=240415 Remi Bello

Remi Bello

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Sunday called on the incoming administration at the federal level to deregulate the oil and gas downstream sector.

This was contained in a statement issued and signed in Lagos by the President of the chamber, Mr Remi Bello, on the current fuel scarcity and power supply situation in the country.

It said that deregulation of the sector would help to provide enduring solution to the recurring problem of scarcity of petroleum products in the country.

The chamber identified other challenges, apart from fuel scarcity, to include corruption in the subsidy regime, collapse of refineries, dwindling investment in the downstream sector and loss of jobs.

According to LCCI, options available to the incoming administration in this matter are very limited.

It stated that the current regime of subsidy and government’s direct involvement in the operations of oil and gas sector should be discontinued.

The chamber said that such step would help the sector and lead to normalcy in the nation’s the economy.

LCCI said that the step would also attract private capital, boost investments and create jobs.

“We appeal to the labour unions and the citizens to give the reform of the oil and gas sector a chance.

“The current model of managing the sector has done a colossal damage to the Nigerian economy.

“It is in the overall interest of the economy and the citizens that government should quickly deregulate the sector,” the chamber said.

The group said that the government needed to demonstrate accountability to the people through active engagement with stakeholders in the petroleum industry to bring an end to the crisis.

“The LCCI acknowledges that the current administration is winding down, but the impression should not be created that governance has been abandoned.

“The administration has responsibility for the management of government business till the very last day of its tenure on May 29.

“We call for an urgent intervention by President Goodluck Jonathan to bring a halt to the imminent collapse of economic and social life in the country,” the chamber said.

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Court stops AGF, Samsung, Total, others from implementing Egina FPSO contract http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/25/court-stops-agf-samsung-total-others-from-implementing-egina-fpso-contract/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/25/court-stops-agf-samsung-total-others-from-implementing-egina-fpso-contract/#comments Mon, 25 May 2015 07:15:31 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=240383 A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria has restrained the Attorney General of the Federation, National Petroleum Investment Management Services, Nigeria Content Development Monitoring Board, and two limited liability companies Samsung Heavy Industries Nigeria Limited and Total Upstream Nigeria Ltd, and their agents from taking any action towards the execution of the award of the contract relating to the Floating Production Storage and Offloading Unit (FPSO) in the Egina Field within OML130 pending the determination of the substantive suit.‬

The court also restrained the defendants and their agents from giving effect or implementing the award of the aforesaid Egina FPSO contract either by way of operating or executing same in any way whatsoever pending the determination of the substantive suit.‬

The presiding judge, Okon Abang gave the order after hearing the arguments and the submissions of the parties involved in the suit.‬

In an affidavit sworn to by a legal practitioner John Iyene Owubokiri and filed before the court by a Lagos Lawyer Barrister Olukayode Enitan, the plaintiff averred that the scope of Egina FPSO oil field which is expected to produce 200,000 barrels of oil per day as stated by Samsung Heavy Industries Nigeria Ltd is expected to create 50,000 jobs and is thus strategic to the future of the Nigerian economy.

Mr Owubokiri averred further that there are established guidelines by NNPC for tendering and award of fabrication projects in the oil and gas industry, but the guidelines were not complied with in the final award of the Egina FPSO to Samsung company, as there were alleged several irregularities and various breaches of extant laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the award of the contract to Samsung. The defendants breached provisions of the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD)Act 2010 and relevant laws guiding the fiscal regime of the oil and gas industry.

The NOGICD Act stipulates that Nigeria Content Development Monitoring Board established by the Federal Government of Nigeria for the supervision, coordination, monitoring and implementation of the Nigerian content plan in the Nigerian oil and gas industry shall approve advertisement, qualification criteria, technical bid document, technical evaluation criteria and the proposed bidders list in bids for project in excess of one million US dollars. The Egina FPSO contract is in the sum of 3,143,499,498 United States dollars.‬

It was further averred that Nigeria Content Development Monitoring Board established non-compliance with NOGICD Act in the technical evaluation criteria submitted by Total Upstream Nigeria Ltd Company and directed Total Upstream Nigeria to take corrective action before Nigeria Content Development Monitoring Board can grant the approval to proceed, but Total Upstream company ignored the directive of the Nigeria Content Development Monitoring Board. Consequently without approval, Total Upstream in contravention of NOGICD Act, proceeded to launch the commercial stage of the Egina FPSO contract, though Nigeria Content Development Monitoring Board did not approve the recommendation to award as prepared by the company regarding the Egina FPSO.‬

Mr Owubokiri, also contended that the covert launching by Total Upstream of its call tender without approval of technical stage and commercial template was in breach of the law, standard practice and the established process for tendering in the oil and gas industry.‬

Attorney General of Federation, Mohammed Adoke Bello

Attorney General of Federation, Mohammed Adoke Bello

The establishment of a fabrication yard in Bayelsa state was part of the Nigerian content plan put forward by Samsung Heavy industries Nigeria Ltd to secure the award of Egina FPSO contract which could have created thousands of job, enhance transfer of technology and skill acquisition for Nigerians.‬

However, after the award of the contract Samsung abandoned the establishment of the fabrication yard in Bayelsa state and now plan to carry out in South Korea the fabrication work meant to be carried out in Bayelsa state to the detriment of the Nigerian Economy.‬

National Petroleum Investment Company Management Services, a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation established to supervise the joint venture and profit sharing contracts operations of the NNPC and protect Nigeria’s strategic interest in joint venture companies did not recommend Samsung Heavy Industries to the Group Executive Committee of NNPC, therefore, in a way that totally subverted due process the Group Executive Committee of NNPC proceeded to recommend Samsung to the Board of Directors of the NNPC for the award of the Egina FPSO contract.‬

Consequently, the plaintiff, urged the court to restrain the defendants from implementing the award of the contract in order not to present the court with a fait accompli before determination of the suit.‬

In a counter affidavit sworn to by a legal practitioner, Olajide Oyewole, on behalf of Samsung Heavy Industries the deponent while denying some of the averments of the plaintiff averred that the plaintiff’s private rights have not been infringed as he has not shown that he has suffered any special damage peculiar to himself apart from the public. Consequently, he urged the court not to grant the plaintiff’s application.

In its own response, Total Upstream Nigeria Ltd in an affidavit sworn to by a Lagos lawyer, Chidiebere Ejiofor, urged the court to dismiss the application of the plaintiff on the ground that the Total Upstream, is challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the suit, and that the court ought to hear and determine the preliminary objection first, before entertaining any further motion of the plaintiff.‬

Attorney General of the Federation, National Petroleum Investment Management Services and Nigeria Content Development Monitoring Board did not file any response.

Justice Okon Abang in his ruling while adjourning till 28th May, 2015 for further hearing restrained all the defendants and their agents from implementing the award of the said contract in contention pending the determination of the substantive suit.‬

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Capital Oil ends oil marketers monopoly, set to dispatch 20,000 trucks http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/24/capital-oil-ends-oil-marketers-monopoly-set-to-dispatch-20000-trucks/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/24/capital-oil-ends-oil-marketers-monopoly-set-to-dispatch-20000-trucks/#comments Sun, 24 May 2015 19:52:44 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=240349 Ifeanyi Ubah, Chairman Capital Oil

Ifeanyi Ubah, Chairman Capital Oil

Capital Oil and Gas Ltd on Sunday commenced the loading of 13 million litres of petrol from its depot in Apapa for distribution to the various states to reduce the current scarcity.

The Chairman of the company, Ifeanyi Ubah, told newsmen in Lagos that more than 20,000 trucks would be loaded before May 29 to boost the country’s economic activities.

He said that the company’s facilities had the capacity to load 13 million litres of the product within the period. “This comes to approximately 500 trucks of petroleum products on daily basis; with this, it is our belief that once again our citizens will begin to smile and return to normal family and work life.

“We call on other petroleum marketers to follow suit and save our nation from this impending economic and social crisis,’’ he said.

Ubah said that the company on May 16 received a message ordering the suspension of loading activities in all depots from May 18.

He said that the company realised that the directive was the result of funds owed to transporters by oil marketers who in turn are owed by the Federal Government.

The chairman said that the development had resulted in immense hardship for the people.

“We believe that a better solution can be pursued to solve this problem in a way that does not adversely affect our dear citizens.

“We also call on striking bodies to call off the strike and let us work together for the betterment of our people.

“As we brief you this moment, our truck park, port reception facilities and our depot had been ordered open. We are ordering and resuming discharge of products from vessels at our berths.

“We have ordered our trucks to commence loading of products and move overnight to every state,’’ Ubah added

He lauded NNPC and PPMC for their steadfastness in ensuring the availability of petroleum products.

He said that the current PPMC stock level in the company’s storage tanks and buffer stock on vessels awaiting discharge were capable of meeting the nation’s demand for 15 days.

“We wish to emphasise that we have a total solution to the traffic menace on the Oshodi-Apapa expressway.

“In the coming weeks, we hope to engage the Federal Government, Lagos State Government and other stakeholders in the affected area.

“This will optimally utilise our truck park which has the capacity to accommodate 1,100 trucks at a time and 5,000 on a shift basis.

“Capital Oil and Gas continues to appeal to Nigerians to accept and support deregulation as this will curb corruption, enhance competition, lead to reduction of pump price for petroleum products and ensure constant supply to meet the demand.

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PENGASSAN, NUPENG to blame for electricity drop – FG http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/22/pengassan-nupeng-to-blame-for-electricity-drop-fg/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/22/pengassan-nupeng-to-blame-for-electricity-drop-fg/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 21:00:01 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=240194 Dr Godknows Igali, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power

Dr Godknows Igali, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power

The Federal Government on Friday in Abuja raised alarm over dwindling and epileptic electricity supply across the country and blamed it partly on the ongoing strike by Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG)

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power, Godknows Igali, made this known after a meeting with vice-president Namadi Sambo to State House correspondents in Abuja.

Igali, and Prof. Chinedu Nebo, Minister of Power, had briefed Sambo on the state of power generation, transmission and distribution in the country.

He said the ongoing strike by PENGASSAN and NUPENG had further worsened the power supply situation.

The workers were protesting the transfer of the operatorship of the Oil Mining Lease (OML) 42 to two indigenous companies, claiming the move would affect the fortunes of NPDC and its staff.

“With the strike which has gone on for one or two days there is dramatic turn as of this afternoon we have gone down for the all time low to 1,327 megawatts.

“So, if you look at it from 4,800 there is dramatic turn, the loss is terrible,” Igali said.

He said as at 12 noon May 22, 2015, Utorogu, CHEVRON ORE DO, OB EN gas plants were all shutdown while UGHELI and CNL ESCRAVOS were already isolated.

He said, “on the eastern axis Shell Gas, ALAKIRI has also been shutdown. This has led to the several power plants being stranded and shutdown.

“This includes EGBIN, OLORUNSHOGO I & 11, OMOTOSHO 1& 11, GEREGU I & 11, IHONVOR and SAPELE (NIPP) on the western axis and ALAOJI on the eastern end.”

According to him, besides, pipeline vandalism which has continued to have very negative impact on the power supply situation in the country, the ongoing strike by the labour unions in the oil and gas sector has added additional toll.

“The overall effect is that power supply which had started picking up steadily since the beginning of the week following repairs of various vandalised portions of the ELP Line and the Trans-Forcados Gas Pipelines, has fallen to all-time-unprecedented low of 1,327m was at 1:00 p.m. May22, 2015.

He, therefore, warned that “situation could get worse if the strike continues”.

Igali expressed the hope that the ongoing discussion between the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and, the labour unions, would end amicably.

“Indeed, it is hoped the labour unions will help restore supply of gas to the power plants even while negotiation are ongoing.”

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Kano Electricity Company decries dwindling power allocation http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/22/kano-electricity-company-decries-dwindling-power-allocation/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/22/kano-electricity-company-decries-dwindling-power-allocation/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 19:20:21 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=240182 Alhaji Jamil Gwamna

Alhaji Jamil Gwamna

The Kano Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO) has expressed concern over the dwindling power allocation to Kano from the National grid.

The Managing Director of the Company, Alhaji Jamil Gwamna, made the remark while briefing newsmen in Kano on Friday.

Gwamna lamented that the allocation being given to the company was between 30 megawatts and 40 mega watts.

According to him, 30 mega watts must always go to the Niger Republic directly and the company would be left with the balance to distribute to its customers in three states.

“The allocation for Kano is very low and the situation is very pathetic.

“If the situation continues the way it is going now, the entire system will collapse,” he said.

He, therefore, called on the customers in Kano, Katsina and Jigawa states to bear with the company as the fault was not its own making.

“We are not responsible for power generation, we only distribute what we are given,” the managing director said.

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Senate summons Okonjo-Iweala, Diezani as fuel scarcity worsens http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/22/senate-summons-okonjo-iweala-diezani-as-fuel-scarcity-worsens/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/22/senate-summons-okonjo-iweala-diezani-as-fuel-scarcity-worsens/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 17:59:40 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=240171 Kerosene Queue

The Senate Committees on Petroleum Resources (Upstream and Downstream) have summoned Finance Minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, to appear before them on Monday over lingering fuel scarcity.

According to a statement by the Chairmen of the committees, Sen. Paulker Emmanuel (PDP-Bayelsa Central) Upstream and Sen. Magnus Abe (PDP-Rivers South-East) Downstream, the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Managing Director, Petroleum Pricing and Regulatory Agency and the Director, Department of Petroleum Resources were also summoned.

The others were representatives of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria and the National Association of Road Transport Owners.

The statement explained that the Deputy Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Abdul Ningi (PDP-Bauchi Central), on May 21, drew the attention of the Senate to the lingering fuel scarcity in the country.

It added that Ningi had urged the Senate to look into the matter with a view to finding the causes and lasting solution to the problem.

The statement further stated that the committees were mandated by the Senate to investigate the matter and brief it on the outcome on Tuesday, May 26.

The joint committee said the invitation extended to the affected individuals, agencies and groups was to obtain adequate information that would help in the inquiry.

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Okonjo-Iweala urges staff to support incoming administration http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/21/okonjo-iweala-urges-staff-to-support-incoming-administration/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/21/okonjo-iweala-urges-staff-to-support-incoming-administration/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 20:42:22 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=240126 Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria's Finance Minister

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s Finance Minister

The Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Thursday urged members of staff of the ministry to support the incoming administration for the growth of the country.

Okonjo-Iweala said this at the send-off ceremony organised for her and the minister of state for finance at the ministry in Abuja.

She expressed joy over the achievements of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

She named some of the achievements to include the creation of 1.4 million jobs, the G-WIN programme, National Mortgage Refinancing Company, Nigeria Development Bank and Pension Transition Administration scheme.

She said the projects were beneficial to the growth of the country and should be continued.

Okonjo-Iweala further urged the youth not to be deterred by criticism but be focused in all their endeavour as it was the only way to success

She commended the heads of the various parastatals in the ministry and the staff for their efforts and support.

She said, “we have gone through hard times but they have pulled through”.

The Minister of State for Finance, Mr Bashir Yuguda, said the team had done its best as amiable as possible and would continue to serve the nation.

He noted that the ministry had also ensured and encouraged transparency in the administration by ensuring the publications of its activities.

The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mrs Anastasia Nwaobi, said Okonjo-Iweala and Yuguda had demonstrated patriotism in their work.

Nwaobi expressed appreciation to the minister for the humane and passionate way she had managed the economy.

She said the essence of the gathering was to commend their efforts towards the growth of the economy in spite of the various challenges.

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FG spends N373bn on ex-PHCN workers’ settlements http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/21/fg-spends-n373bn-on-ex-phcn-workers-settlements/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/21/fg-spends-n373bn-on-ex-phcn-workers-settlements/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 15:38:56 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=240096 Director General BPE, Benjamin Dikki

Director General BPE, Benjamin Dikki

The Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr Benjamin Dikki, said the Federal Government spent over N373 billion to settle former workers of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).

This was contained in a statement in Abuja on Thursday by BPE’s Head of Public Communications, Mr Alex Okoh.

According to the statement, the director-general disclosed the amount when members of the National Union of Electricity Employees of Nigeria (NUEE) paid him a visit.

It reported Dikki as saying that the money represented payment of 98 per cent of the workforce of the former officials of the power sector.

According to the statement, 46,744 of the 47,913 bonafide staff members of the defunct PHCN have so far been paid their entitlements amounting to over N373 billion.

“Only 1,169 of the 47,913 workers of the defunct PHCN are yet to be paid. The outstanding number includes workers that exited the company before the severance payment commenced.

“Also, 2,791 retired staff of the PHCN, representing 65 per cent of the retirees, have been paid N16.4 billion.

“The outstanding number of retirees is 1,516,” it said.

The statement appealed to the over 1,000 former workers that were yet to present themselves for verification, to do so, adding that government would not pay anyone that had not been verified.

It also urged the union officials to help next of kin of deceased staff members to obtain the appropriate court papers, to enable them to receive their entitlements.

The statement said a committee would be inaugurated by the BPE to ensure prompt payment of beneficiaries.

The statement noted that NUEE’s team, led by its National President, Mr Mansur Musa, had decried the non-payment of the severance benefits to some of the affected former staff members.

Musa said the delay in the payment had caused untold hardships on the yet-to-be-paid former staff of the company.

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Fears Over Removal Of Oil Subsidy http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/21/fears-over-removal-of-oil-subsidy/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/21/fears-over-removal-of-oil-subsidy/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 13:07:32 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=240077 Nigeria’s crippling fuel shortages are unlikely to ease any time soon and much-needed deregulation of the subsidised market would be a fraught process, the chief executive of energy company Sahara Group said on Wednesday.

Prospects for a removal of subsidies, and a change in government at the end of May, have created fuel shortages in the country which show no signs of abating.

Gasoline importers and stakeholders down the supply chain to the most remote independent retailer are owed something from the government, directly or indirectly.

“People are getting worried about whether they will get paid … If they are legitimately owed, they will get paid but the question is when,” Tonye Cole, chief executive of Sahara, told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference.

Africa’s biggest oil producer heavily subsidises gasoline and depends on imports for the bulk of its domestic demand due to an underperforming refining system.

But the cash-strapped government has already been forced to slash subsidies by 90 percent and the expectation is for a total phase-out.

Cole said the process of freeing the market would be fraught as adjusting to higher pump prices would be painful for about a year for the average Nigerian, particularly with a weaker currency.

Even for importers, the process of equalising gasoline station prices with import costs would be chaotic, as the many agencies that regulate every minutiae of the supply chain would have to be dismantled.

“They have to go after all those agencies but it’s the only way forward,” Cole said.

Sahara, which supplies gasoline through a crude processing agreement, was asked by the state agency regulating oil products to “pre-deliver” gasoline ahead of receiving its crude allocation as a stop-gap for the lack of product being brought in under the subsidy scheme.

But Cole said the early deliveries were stopped in May to avoid being caught out should the processing agreements, criticised for their opacity, be reviewed by the new government.

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Make public Excess Crude Account, CACOL dares Okonjo-Iweala http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/20/make-public-excess-crude-account-cacol-dares-okonjo-iweala/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/20/make-public-excess-crude-account-cacol-dares-okonjo-iweala/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 16:35:00 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=239996 Eromosele Ebhomele

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria's Finance Minister

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s Finance Minister

The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL, on Wednesday dared the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to make public the details of the Excess Crude Account, ECA.

This came on the heels of the face-off between the minister and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum on how $20 billion that allegedly accrued to the ECA was disbursed.

The forum had said in a statement it issued after its meeting recently that the said sum was paid into the ECA between June 2013 and April 2015.

But in her reaction, the Minister of Finance noted that the details of ECA are published every month along with the allocations to the three tiers of the government.

The minister also threatened that her ministry, in the interest of transparency and accountability, would publish details of the ECA for the last four years.

Chairman of CACOL, Debo Adeniran, while noting that the ECA is an illegal account, averred that Nigerians are eagerly waiting for the statement of the account.

In reaction to the claim and counter-claim, Adeniran said: “in the first instance, the Excess Crude Account is illegal. It is the recklessness of some politicians that necessitated the establishment of the account.

“The Minister of Finance should know that Nigerians could not wait any more to have the full details of the Excess Crude Account, not just for the last four years, but since the inception of this profligate government she oversees its economic team.

“It is a known fact that huge amount of money has been frittered away from the federal coffers by this present administration without anyone being queried or made to face the wrath of the law.

“It is also known this administration’s penchant for lying is so ridiculous that whatever said by any member of the government should be taken with a pinch of salt.

“Hence, we are calling on Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala to make good her promise by making public the details of the ECA as soon as possible.”

He also said Nigerians are “demanding the details of how their governors also used their monthly allocations.

“Nigerians want to know how much is accrued to each state from the Federation and Excess Crude Accounts and how each state expended its own share of the largesse because findings have shown that many of the states do not have much to show for the revenues.”

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PENGASSAN To Shut Down Oil Well http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/20/pengassan-to-shut-down-oil-well-2/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/20/pengassan-to-shut-down-oil-well-2/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 12:19:25 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=239962 Nigerian oil workers will go on strike to halt a small field if the government does not meet with them by the end of the week, a spokesman for Nigeria’s main oil workers’ union told Reuters on Tuesday.

The NPDC workers, who are represented by PENGASSAN and NUPENG, the blue collar union, are against the transfer of the operatorship of OML 42 from Shell to Neconde Energy Ltd. It was divested in 2013.

Emmanuel Ojugbana, the spokesman for white-collar oil union Pengassan, said the “shut down has not been done yet,” but that they would take action if the government does not meet with them by the end of the week.

“There is a plan for that if the government does not intervene and start discussions,” Ojugbana said.

Ojugbana added that if the workers do decide to strike, they will close OML 42, which produces around 10,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

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Court Stops Jonathan From Signing Oil and Gas Bill http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/20/court-stops-jonathan-from-signing-oil-and-gas-bill/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/20/court-stops-jonathan-from-signing-oil-and-gas-bill/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 08:10:57 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=239935 Akin Kuponiyi

President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria

President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria

A Lagos Federal High Court, on Tuesday, restrained President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, from assenting to the bill for an Act to Amend the Oil and Gas Export Free Zone Act.‬

‪The court presided over by Justice Saliu Saidu also restrained the National Assembly, the Clerk of the National Assembly from forwarding the Bill for an Act to Amend the Oil and Gas Export Free Zone Authority Act. Cap. 05 to President Jonathan for Assent.‬

‪The court also restrained the defendants, their agents and privies from prohibiting the usage of the plaintiffs’ facilities at Snake Island, Integrated Free Zone, for Oil and Gas cargoes destined for use in the free zone.

The order was sequel to a motion ex-parte, in a suit number FHC/L/CS/719/15, filed before the court by Professor Olanrewaju Fagbohun, on behalf of Nigerdock Nigeria Plc, SIMCO Free Zone Company and Nigerdock Nigeria Plc-FZE, who are plaintiffs in the suit.‬

‪The court presided over by Justice Saliu Saidu also restrained the National Assembly, the Clerk of the National Assembly, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, the Minister of Transport, and the Nigeria Ports Authority.‬

‪The Plaintiffs in an affidavit sworn to by Yusufu Abdullahi, a director of SIMCO Free Zone Company, the deponent, averred that Nigerdock Nigeria Limited is a promoter of Snake Island Integrated Free Zone, SIIFZ, and that SIMCO is a company saddled with the responsibility to develop, market, manage, operate, and administer SIIFZ.‬

‪The deponent averred that SIIFZ was approved as a privately owned and managed Free Zone by Presidential declaration in January 2005, was duly licensed by the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority, NEPZA, in April 2005.

He added SIIFZ is operated by SIMCO Free Zone Company, under the direct supervision and monitoring of NEPZA and that other regulatory agencies such as Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA, Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, the Nigerian Immigrations Service, NIS, the Nigeria Police Force, NPF, and State Security Service, SSS, are present within SIIFZ to ensure due compliance with all laws and that appropriate security is maintained.‬

‪Abdullahi also averred that at privatization, one of the representations that the federal government as beneficial owner made to the core investor who purchased the federal government share in the Nigerdock Nigeria Plc was that the federal government shall take all necessary steps to co-operate fully with the purchaser to ensure that the purchaser obtains all benefits under Nigerian Law as a strategic Core investor in the company.‬

‪He averred that in November 2014, the plaintiffs became aware that a Bill for An Act to Amend the Oil and Gas Export Free Zone Authority Act, Cap. 05, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, had been presented to the Senate of the National Assembly. And that the plaintiffs were not invited to the Public hearing that the Senate of the National Assembly had in respect of the Bill.

Notwithstanding, he stated that the plaintiffs submitted a petition to the Senate when they became aware that a public hearing had been conducted. He added that the petition was aimed at sensitizing the Senate on how the amendment will negatively undermine the plaintiffs and violate their constitutional rights.‬

‪The deponent averred that Section 5(3) of the Bill seeks to expand the powers of OGFZA such that it can without further assurance take over and perform the functions hitherto performed by NEPZA, while Section 10 of the Bill further seeks to confer the rights to handle oil and gas cargoes only at approved oil and gas concessioned ports, with freedom to investors to choose ports of discharge of their cargoes within designated terminal at Onne, Warri and Calabar ports.‬

‪He stated that the Bill did not define what constitute “oil and gas related cargoes”. And that this will give room to situations where cargoes intended for SIIFZ are wrongly classified as oil and gas related cargoes.‬

‪The deponent further averred that, it is a known fact that a total of twenty-four ports were concessioned to private investors, with 14 and 10 in the western and eastern zones of Nigeria Ports Authority respectively. And that only one of the ports Concessionaires, Integrated Logistic Services Limited, INTELS, operates in Warri, Onne and Calabar ports. And that the amendment proposed in Section 10 will confer a right of monopoly only on INTELS, which he said will be to the detriment of other port Concessionaires and free Zones.

Abdullahi stated that there are indications that the Senate has passed the Bill and is seeking to hurriedly present same to President Jonathan for assent.

He added that the hurried passage of the proposed Bill is meant to foist a situation of fait accompli on the incoming administration of the Federal level, and that unless the defendants are restrained by the court, the defendants will confer an undue advantage on ports being proposed to be designated as oil and gas Free Zone, and divert traffic from the Free Zone and Port Development operated by the plaintiffs with devastating social and economic consequences.‬

‪Justice Saliu Saidu has adjourned till May 26, 2015, for hearing of originating summons of the suit.

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PENGASSAN to shut down oil well http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/19/pengassan-to-shut-down-oil-well/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/19/pengassan-to-shut-down-oil-well/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 22:25:35 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=239903 Oil Workers

Nigerian oil workers will go on strike to halt a small field if the government does not meet with them by the end of the week, a spokesman for Nigeria’s main oil workers’ union told Reuters on Tuesday.

The NPDC workers, who are represented by PENGASSAN and NUPENG, the blue collar union, are against the transfer of the operatorship of OML 42 from Shell to Neconde Energy Ltd. It was divested in 2013.

Emmanuel Ojugbana, the spokesman for white-collar oil union Pengassan, said the “shut down has not been done yet,” but that they would take action if the government does not meet with them by the end of the week.

“There is a plan for that if the government does not intervene and start discussions,” Ojugbana said.

Ojugbana added that if the workers do decide to strike, they will close OML 42, which produces around 10,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

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Globacom out with Mobile Rhapsody http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/19/globacom-out-with-mobile-rhapsody/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/19/globacom-out-with-mobile-rhapsody/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 19:09:55 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=239883 Mike Adenuga Jr, Chairman, Globacom

Mike Adenuga Jr, Chairman, Globacom

Nigeria’s national carrier, Globacom, has said that the newly launched Rhapsody of Realities, a daily devotional mobile service on its network, will add value to the spiritual lives of Christians.

In a press release issued in Lagos on Friday, the leading telecommunications outfit disclosed that the innovation, which contains reading and voice contents, was designed for the spiritual edification of the Christian faithful.

According to the company, the materials in the daily devotional are based on the Rhapsody of Realities devotional published monthly by Christ Embassy Church, one of the fastest growing Pentecostal churches with large followership in Nigeria and South Africa. Rhapsody of Realities has been rated in some quarters as the number one daily devotional in the world with translations in various languages.

The ROR Mobile Service from Glo is a Value Added Service that offers subscribers the opportunity to receive Rhapsody of Realities content on their phone via Interactive Voice Response, (IVR) text message or WAP. According to Mr. Ashok Israni, Globacom’s Chief Regional Marketing Officer, the service is offered in English, Hausa and Pidgin English.

Israni explained that the service comes in the following versions – E-Rhapsody and Download, ROR Voice Services and the Daily ROR SMS service. The E-Rhapsody and Download is an electronic version of ROR in which a subscriber will receive a link to download a PDF version of ROR. Content will be in text format (PDF) supported by mobile OS, Androids, Blackberry, Windows phone, iPhone and any data enabled devices.

“The Daily ROR is SMS-based and the subscriber receives a text message, which will have a mini URL for more of the message to be read from Rhapsody of Realities WAP portal,” Israni explained .

ROR Voice Service is the voiced Rhapsody of Realities reading for the day. For ROR voice content, subscribers will get an out-bound call daily with content in the language subscribed for.

The subscriber can subscribe to the ROR voice service by sending the corresponding activation keyword to a particular short code. Israni said that for Voice ROR in English, subscribers are required to Text VROR to 55515; for Voice ROR in Pidgin, text VRORP to 55515; for Voice ROR in Hausa, text VRORH to 55515 and for ROR SMS, text ROR to 55515.

For E-download, the text is EROR to the short code 55515. Subscribers will only get the content for the service subscribed for. For instance, if one subscribes for ROR English, he will get the content in English accordingly.

According to Globacom, one can also dial 55515 on the IVR portal to listen to the IVR instructions on how to activate the ROR services. Israni disclosed that Subscription to the Rhapsody of reality voice is affordable with content costing N35 for 3 days or N70 per week.

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Gas Project: EFCC narrates how suspect squandered N2bn http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/19/gas-project-efcc-narrates-how-suspect-squandered-n2bn/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/19/gas-project-efcc-narrates-how-suspect-squandered-n2bn/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 17:40:09 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=239878 Adabanya Chidi: accused of spending N2bn meant for gas project

Adabanya Chidi: accused of spending N2bn meant for gas project

Afanda Bashir Emmanuel, the first prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of Chidi David Adabanya and 11 others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, today revealed how the accused persons squandered approximately N2 Billion meant for the Gbaran-Ubie gas project, among Shell Consultants and officials of the Bayelsa state Urban and Regional Planning Department.

At the resumed hearing on Tuesday May 19, 2015, Emmanuel, a staff of EFCC, who was led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, told the Federal High Court presided over by Justice Ademola Adeniyi, that the matter was reported to the Commission via a petition signed by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) alleging that the staff saddled with the responsibility to oversee the project conspired with some officials of Bayelsa state government and defrauded SPDC to the tune of approximately N2 billion.

Prosecution tendered the petition and attachments which were admitted as Exhibit 1.
Emmanuel further narrated how the disbursement of the money was unravelled by the Commission in the course of investigation.

According to him, “we reviewed the petition and decided to follow the money trail. My Lord, the money was paid to the account of Forstech Technical Company domiciled in Stanbic IBTC Bank. “While on the money trail, we found out that money was paid out from the account of Forstech Technical, and we invited the first beneficiary of the payment which was Alliance Autos Nigeria Limited located at Victoria Island Lagos.

“The money was for the purchase of a vehicle which investigations revealed was at the behest of one Ezekiel Bennett Hart, the 7th accused, for his wife despite his initial denial of any knowledge of Forstech to the Commission. Also transfers were traced to Benedicta, Hart’s sister. When she was questioned as to the source and purpose of the money, she revealed that it was from her brother for her to buy a car and take care of their ailing mother”.

The witness further told the court that when the 7th accused was invited to explain the source and reason for the payments and transfers to Alliance Autos and the UBA account of his sister, he claimed a colleague at SPDC, Chidiebere Adabanya was indebted to him and he asked him to pay him back through his sister’s account for convenience. Also, that the money paid to Alliance Auto was an unsolicited gift from Adabanya.

The witness revealed that during investigation the 7th accused’s email account was accessed, and mails emanating from Gastroil Ventures (3rd accused ) to the 7th accused giving instructions as to how monies were to be paid into different accounts were discovered.

In what appears to be a classic case of money laundering, the witness told the court how the money was disbursed to several companies’ accounts. The companies include Balloon Bureau De Change’s account in Finbank (now FCMB), whose owner Harley Halliday explained that the inflow of over a hundred million naira from Forstech was at the instance of the first accused, Adabanya, who wanted the dollar equivalent.

The witness said, Investigations revealed that the 7th accused and his wife owned the Standard chartered Account, to which 200, 000.00United State Dollars was traced. When questioned, he said the money was an unsolicited gift from Adabanya.

Bilquis Integrated Services, Fun Ala and Fambo limited belonging to officials of Bayelsa state were also beneficiaries of the bazaar, with no evidence of work done.

According to PW1, “We saw movement of monies in millions into Gastol Oil Ventures. A letter of enquiry was sent to CAC to find out the identities of the owners of Gastol Oil Ventures and Forstech. The owners were found to be Zubairu and Halima Muazu. The documents showed that their offices were at Warri, Delta State. A team of operatives was sent to Warri, to verify the claim, only for them to discover that no such offices exist.

Justice Ademola adjourned the matter to June 3rd and 5th for continuation of trial.

Adabanya a former employee of SPDC, along with some officials of the Bayelsa State Government allegedly obtained the sum of N1.9billion through a phony consultancy contract in the SPDC Gbaran- Ubie project in Bayelsa State. The other accused persons are Forstech Technical Nigeria Limited, Gastroil Ventures Limited, Uzoma Ibe, Andrew Feyaikebena Ebakpa, Kwokwo Ebiki Bina, Benneth Ezekiel-Hart, Bolouwenimo Kwokwo, Presley Ebakpa, Bikyiis Integrated Services Limited, Fun-Ala Nigeria Limited and Fambo Integrated Services Limited.

The accused persons were in November 17, 2014 re-arraigned before Justice Ademola Adeniyi of the Federal High Court Abuja on a 22-count charge bordering on money laundering.

They pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to them.

Count one of the charge reads: “that you Chidi David Adabanya, Forstech Technical Nigeria Limited, Gastoil Ventures Limited, Uzoma Ibe, Andrew Feyaikebena Ebakpa, Kwokwo Ebiki Bina, Benneth Ezekiel Hart, Bolouwenimo Kwokwo, Presley Ebakpa, Bikyiis Integrated Services Limited and Fambo Integrated Services Limited between February 2009 and September 2010 in Yenogoa, Bayelsa State within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court conspired among yourselves to do an illegal act to wit: money laundering and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 17(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004 and punishable under section 14(1) of the same Act.”

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Buhari meets petrol marketers over fuel scarcity http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/19/buhari-meets-petrol-marketers-over-fuel-scarcity/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/19/buhari-meets-petrol-marketers-over-fuel-scarcity/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 06:20:29 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=239798 Muhammadu Buhari

Muhammadu Buhari

Nigeria’s president-elect, Muhammadu Buhari may have been holding discrete talks with petrol importers on how to resolve the lingering scarcity confronting the nation.

News of the meeting was broken today by Tokunbo Korodo, the south west chairman of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG).

He said he had the information that the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketing Association (DAPPMA) is meeting with the President-elect on the subsidy issue.

“I think the outcome of that meeting may determine if DAPPMA will reopen the depots for loading or import more into the country.”

Korodo said the prevailing fuel scarcity may worsen if depot owners shut their depots to tanker drivers. According to him that no tanker driver had loaded petroleum products as at 1.30 p.m on Monday.

“What I was told was that the independent depot owners may have shut their depots to tanker drivers because of the over N200 billion owed them by the Federal Government”.

He said that the relocation of tankers from highways and the inability to load fuel at the depots were responsible for the free-flow of traffic in Apapa axis.

Tokunbo Korodo

Tokunbo Korodo

Korodo added that the recent directive by the Lagos State Government for tanker drivers to relocate from the highways within 48 hours had not yielded any result.

According to him, tanker drivers have vacated the highways but other heavy duty vehicles, especially container drivers have taken over.

“The government cannot chase tanker drivers away for other heavy duty vehicles to occupy the space.

“Lagosians should know that tankers have not been the problem of gridlock in Lagos.

“We occupied the road because we were told to pick fuel only at Apapa,” he said.

He urged the government to settle importers for calm to return to the sector.

NAN reports that the petroleum products’ marketers said on May 14 they would no longer import products except the Federal Government settle their subsidy claims.

The marketers said that the last meeting they had with the Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in Abuja ended in a deadlock.

The government had put the subsidy debt at N131 billion while the marketers insisted on N200 billion.

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