Nigeria has mismanaged relations with Asian oil firms thereby failing to capitalise on deals which could have helped it develop its infrastructure, and leaving $20 billion of investment at risk, think tank Chatham House said on Monday.
Former president Olusegun Obasanyo sought partners in China, India, South Korea and elsewhere to buy oil blocks before leaving office in 2007 in return for billions of dollars of infrastructure and downstream investment.
But neither has there been a single barrel of oil produced by Asian national oil companies in Nigeria, nor has any downstream commitment been started, leaving the Nigerian economy with no tangible benefit, the London-based organisation said.
“President Obasanjo’s stated grand design to achieve a ‘development dividend’ through the oil-for-infrastructure scheme with Asian national oil companies has fallen apart,” it said.
“With it went the impact that it might have made on the Nigerian landscape,” Chatham House said in a 60-page report.
Five decades of oil extraction in Africa’s most populous country has enriched a small elite, but the vast majority of he country’s estimated 140 million people still live on two dollars a day or less.
Chatham House blamed the lack of progress on political interference in what should have been purely business decisions.
“The scale of the corruption, mismanagement and non-execution of projects in the Obasanjo years has sent shock waves through Nigeria,” the report said.
“His intentions were good but officials failed to spell out the full implications of the scheme. And many used the scheme for private profit. It might have been a good idea on paper but the spirit was breached in the implementation.”
The administration of President Umaru Yar’Adua, who took office in May 2007, has been reviewing deals struck under Obasanjo, cancelling the sale of oil retineries and reviewing oil licensing rounds.
Yar’Adua in January revoked two oil exploration licences awarded to Korea National Oil Corp (KNOC), saying the Korean firm had failed to pay the investment pledged.
KNOC, which says it met its obligations, has taken the case to court and the outcome is being closely watched by an industry concerned that rights awarded by one Nigerian government can easily be overturned by the next.
Chatham House said, following the cancellation of a Korean gas pipeline project and a contract with China to build a railway from the commercial hub Lagos in the south to the city of Kano in the North, $20 billion of investment promised by Asian national oil companies in 2005/06 was at risk.
Chatham House contrasted the Nigerian experience with that of Angola, where it said President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos’ almost 30-year tenure had boistered a stable central government and helped create a functional national oil company, Sonangol.
That stability had helped Angola emerged as the second largest supplier of oil to China last year and helped the African country secure at least $13 billion in oil-backed loans from Beijing to help finance essential post-war reconstruction.
Emirates Resumes Flights To Nigeria, June 23
The UAE carrier, Emirates Airlines, would start carrying passengers from South Africa, Nigeria and India from June 23, the UAE Embassy said as it announced revised rules on Covid-19.
“We look forward to facilitating travel from these countries and supporting various travellers’ categories,” the airline said in a separate statement, yesterday.
“Residence visa holders from India and travellers from South Africa should’ve taken two doses of a vaccine approved by UAE authorities and carry RT-PCR tests reports from labs approved by the federal governments of these countries.
“But for Nigerians vaccination is not made mandatory but all other conditions apply.
“In addition to the above, Indians have to take a rapid PCR test four hours prior to their travel.
“While there are four vaccines in the UAE for use on eligible individuals against the Covid-19 infection – Sinopharm, Pfizer-BioNTech, Sputnik V and Oxford-AstraZeneca, it is unclear if the UAE has approved vaccines administered on Indian, South African and Nigerian citizens in their countries,” it stated.
“All travellers are also required to present a negative Covid-19 test result taken within 48 hours before departure.
“UAE citizens are exempted.
“Only QR coded PCR test result certificates are accepted.
“All passengers must take a rapid PCR test four hours prior to flight departure.
“All passengers must undergo a PCR test on arrival at Dubai Airport.
“Passengers should undergo institutional quarantine until they receive their PCR test result, which is expected within 24 hours.
“Passengers should produce a negative PCR test certificate with a QR Code from labs approved by the Nigerian government.
“All passengers must undergo a PCR test on arrival to Dubai Airport.
“Transit passengers should comply with entry protocols of final destinations.
“Entry will now be permitted to residents who have received two doses of UAE-approved vaccines,” the state said.
The revised procedures for travellers coming from the Republic of India, South Africa and Nigeria were issued by the Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management in Dubai.
They are effective from June 23, the Dubai Media Office said.
It said the updates are part of the committee’s keenness to protect passengers and ease hassles for them without compromising on Covid-19 preventive measures, said the Chairman of the Supreme Committee, Sheikh Mansoor Al-Maktoum.
The Media Office announcement said the updated travel protocols are part of a normal process of revising and optimising preventive measures based on the latest local, regional and international developments.
Bagudu Vows To Lead Rescue Operation Over Yauri Abduction
Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State last Saturday vowed to lead the rescue operation of teachers and students abducted from the Federal Government College (FGC), Birnin Yauri, in Ngaski Local Government Area of the State.
Bagudu, who is also Chairman, Progressives Governors’ Forum, spoke when local hunters visited him.
Reports had that the Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, and his Jigawa State counterpart, Alhaji Badaru Abubakar, also paid a solidarity and sympathy visit on Gov. Bagudu.
Bagudu assured that some other governors and stakeholders will join him in the ongoing search operations for the abducted students and staff of the school.
According to him, he will discuss with his colleagues and security agencies in this direction, so as not to jeorpardise the ongoing commendable operations to rescue the abducted students and staff.
He said: “But, we will go out there and like I promised, the day we will move out, I will not be in the office because we will join you in the field.”
The Kebbi State Governor said that this would be done barring all consequences in a bid to rescue the abductees.
Bagudu argued: “It is not weapons that win wars, but it is the will that bad people cannot triumph and we will show that, we have enough will power .
“President Muhammadu Buhari and the security agencies have been doing the best they could with limited resources.
“But, we also need to mobilize, kit ourselves and take on these bandits. Our various scriptures as Muslims and Christians allow us to put our lives at risk in defence of our honour, property and our faiths.
“In what the bandits are doing, they have challenged all of us, so, we can’t let them.”
Bagudu asked the hunters to go back and fully mobilise, pending when he gets the necessary clearance from the security agencies, adding, “we will meet in the field.”
The governor maintained that governors were not sworn in only to sit down in the office and work.
He stated that they are aware that one day they would be required to lead in the field, even though they are not military or police personnel.
He said that if hundreds of thousands of people can be mobilised during campaigns, same should be done now to join the search party.
He said: “What happened in Birnin Yauri should be the last straw. We should follow these bandits wherever they are and take them on.”
Bagudu also described the abduction as very callous, even as he lauded the security agencies, management of the school, ‘Yan Sakai and vigilantes for their heroic efforts since the bandits struck at the college.
Govs, Others Task Security Agencies On S’East
South-East governors and leaders have requested security agencies in the zone to respect the rights and privileges of all those living in the zone.
They made the call on Saturday in Enugu after a meeting attended by political leaders, socio-cultural organisations, clerics and the traditional leaders.
The Chairman, South-East Governors’ Forum, Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State, who addressed reporters after the meeting, condemned the killing of civilians in the zone by security agencies.
Umahi urged them to discharge their duties within the law and in accordance with their rules of engagement.
The Ebonyi governor reaffirmed the commitment of the region to the corporate existence of the country.
Umahi, however, said that such union must be based on love, mutual respect and equality of rights irrespective of one’s religion, ethnic group, political inclination and creed.
The governor said the various secessionist groups from the region were not speaking for the people of the area.
He said the leaders from the zone had set up a committee to engage the agitators to allow elders of the region to address their fears.
“We have come out publicly on many occasions to speak against such agitations,” he said.
Umahi said the meeting was in fulfilment of the June 11 agreement they had with a federal government delegation led by the Minister of Defense, Bashir Magashi, a retired major-general.
“Consequent upon that, we scheduled our own meeting today to discuss and articulate our positions.
“This is to enable us not only engage the presidential team but also engage our people over all burning issues,” he said.
The governor said leaders from the region had noted with concern threats against the Igbo people by some groups in other regions.
“The meeting pleaded with leaders of other regions to note such threats to our people, address it and protect our people,” he said.
He said that governors from the South-East had assured people from other ethnic nationalities of their safety in the region in spite of the prevailing circumstances.
The leaders condemned the killing of security personnel and burning of government infrastructure in the region.
He called on National Assembly members from the region to support the creation of state police in the ongoing efforts to amend the constitution.
The governor said the meeting endorsed the South-East joint security unit called EbubeAgu, and requested the personnel to work with statutory security agencies.
Those present at the meeting included Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu.
Anambra and Imo states were represented by the deputy governors, Nkem Okeke and Placid Njoku respectively.
Others were the Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe; Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige; Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Uche Ogah, and President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, George Obiozo.
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