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Excess Crude Cash And The Masses

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Over the years, the issue of sharing and disbursing excess revenue from the sale of crude oil to the various tiers of government has always been a subject of public discourse, and sometimes over-heating the polity.

Suffice it to say that during the Obasanjo-led government, the price of crude oil at the international market hit an upward trend following instability in supply due largely to crises in the Middle East. As a result of the development, the Federal Government at the time, raked in hundreds of millions of US dollars as excess revenue, accruable from the sale of crude oil.

But while the various tiers of government were awaiting the release and subsequent sharing of the excess crude oil money, the federal authorities slammed an embargo on the disbursement without any explicable reasons. Expectedly, the issue generated some palpable bad-blood between the federal authorities, state governors as well as the local government councils across the country.

As it were, a truce over the non-release of the excess crude cash was later reached between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the state governors, following the intervention of the National Council of States which spelt out the sharing formula for the excess oil money.

Sadly, the crisis reared its ugly heads again during the last lap of the Obasanjo administration, as the excess oil cash accruable from the high price of crude oil at the international market, was held in the nation’s foreign and domestic reserves by the past regime, in spite of the cries of the state governors and local government councils.

Explaining government’s position on the touchy national issue, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, the immediate past Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), said the over N1 trillion excess crude money was being saved in a base account for the states, and that the balance would be shared to the three tiers of government after reconciling debts owed by some states and the federal government. However, part of the excess oil money was released, but the issue was not resolved.

One can recall vividly that in a bid to demonstrate their sadness over the issue, the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, at a meeting with President Umaru Yar’Adua (on assumption of office) kicked against the stance of CBN that there would be a possible inflation in the country should the excess oil fund be released into circulation.

Happily, President Yar’Adua, apparently moved by the cries of the state governors and local government councils, has been disbursing (though in batches) the excess revenue from the sale of crude oil to the three tiers of government.

To this end, a fortnight ago, the CBN remitted $2 billion from the excess crude account into the various accounts of the three tiers of government. This follows the recommendation of the National Economic Council (NEC) to share $2 billion from the Foreign Excess Crude Proceeds Account.

The Minister of State for Finance, Mr. Remi Babalola, who dropped the news, explained that the federal government got the lion’s share of $841,911 million; the 36 states, $799,648 million, while the 774 local governments received $358,440 million.

Besides the $2 billion, the three tiers of government, also got N350,721 billion from the Federation Account. Statutory revenue accounted for N235,121 billion of the shared revenue from the Federation Account, while Value Added Tax and Budget Augmentation accounted for $36,529 billion and 51,192 billion, respectively.

Certainly, with the sharing of the $2 billion excess crude oil to the three tiers of government, there should be more cash in the system to enhance spending and rejuvenate the nation’s economy. It also means that funds are now available for on-going capital projects at the federal, state and local government levels.

It is imperative, therefore, to advise the Federal Government to prevail on the various tiers of government to formulate programmes that would spur socio-economic development, and tie the excess oil money to specific projects.

That is the only sure way for the masses (electorate) of this country to benefit from the disbursement of the excess crude cash to the three tiers.

Afterall, a large chunk of such fund earlier shared had always ended up in the private pockets of the privileged ones in government.

It is common knowledge that scores of the nation’s political office holders have the penchant for looting excess crude cash and statutory allocations from the Federation Account, disbursed to the various tiers of government.

Again, it is absolutely necessary to suggest to the beneficiaries of the current excess oil money at the various tiers to begin to prepare how best to spend the long awaited excess crude cash so that life would be made better for the citizenry.

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FG Alerts On Massive Flooding In Rivers, FCT, Others

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The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), an agency of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, has predicted more devastating floods from the end of August to early October in some states of the federation, including Rivers and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Already, the agency said in line with its earlier predictions, Lagos, Nasarawa, Anambra, Abia, Kwara, Kaduna, Rivers, Enugu, Borno and Ondo states had witnessed severe flooding as a result of heavy local rainfalls compounded by poor drainage system.
The Director-General of the agency, Engr. Nze Clement Onyeaso, in an interaction with some journalists in Abuja, yesterday, said all areas earlier identified as flood prone this year as well as those along the Rivers Niger and Benue might likely begin to experience more devastating flooding from the end of August.
“Nigeria is located within the River Niger Basin which is occupied by nine countries namely Benin, Burkina- Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Cote d’Ivore, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Nigeria. Nigeria is located at the lowest position of the Basin and this means that once the upper catchment of the Basin gets flooded, Nigeria should be prepared to experience flooding. The period of flooding in these upstream countries is August and September of every year,’’ he said.
The DG said his agency was monitoring the development as we approach these critical months, adding that it will also continue to monitor Cameroonian authorities with regards to flood scenarios in the upper catchment of the sub-basin.
Nze warned Lagosians against the practice of dredging and sound filling the Atlantic Ocean, to build what they usually call model cities like those in Lekki and Banana Island, saying such may, in the future, pose serious threats.
As part of the preparation for the expected floods, the DG called on Nigerians, especially the state governments to be fully prepared by ensuring cleaning of blocked drainage system and canals remove refuse, weeds, water hyacinths and floats on water channels.
The agency had earlier predicted that 121 LGAs in 27 states and FCT might experience severe flooding this year.

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Rivers Police Confirm Killing Of Disbanded OSPAC Leader In EMOLGA

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The Rivers State Police Command has confirmed the killing of one Alex Uwazuruike Isaac, the leader of disbanded OSPAC in Umudioga community in Emohua local Government Area of the state, last Tuesday.
The spokesperson of Rivers State Police Command, SP Nnamdi Omoni, who confirmed this in a telephone interview with The Tide, said the dismembered body of the victim has also been recovered and deposited in the mortuary for preservation.
The police spokesperson further stated that the police has restored normalcy in the community while the Commissioner of Police, Eboka Friday, has ordered for full investigation into the incident.
It would be recalled that gunmen suspected to be cultists, last Tuesday, invaded Umudioga community, and killed Alex Uwazuruike Isaac, who was said to be the leader of the disbanded OSPAC, a local vigilante group in the area.
A native of the community, who pleaded anonymity for fear of the unknown, disclosed that the gunmen, who were armed with sophisticated assault rifles, stormed the community in the afternoon and went for their target.
The source further revealed that the gunmen shot Isaac dead before beheading and dismembering his body, and later paraded the head of their victim in the community while urging natives not to panic as they came for the deceased and not for the community.
The Tide gathered that some other members of the disbanded OSPAC have already fled the community as a result of the killing of their former leader and fear of being attacked by the cultists who are hunting members of the defunct OSPAC in the area.
It was learnt that many suspected cultists were arrested and killed in the community while others fled during the reign of the deceased OSPAC commander in the community in 2019.
The Tide further learnt that the killing comes barely three weeks after the Chairman of Emohua Local Government Council, Dr Chidi Lloyd pronounced the dissolution of all vigilante groups in the LGA, and asked communities that make up the council area to submit five names of natives who would be screened and admitted into a new security outfit to be established and funded by the council in no distant time.

By: Akujobi Amadi

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JAMB Fixes Mop-Up UTME For 18,000 Candidates, Aug 6

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The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has rescheduled examination for more than 18,000 candidates who experienced biometric verification challenges and those who genuinely missed the just-concluded Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) as a result of a clash with this year’s National Business and Technical Examinations Board examination.
The mop-up UTME is scheduled for Friday, August 6, 2021, in some selected locations across the country.
JAMB Spokesperson, Fabian Benjamin, made this known in a statement, yesterday, titled, ‘Mop-Up UTME Holds Friday, 6th August, 2021…JAMB’.
The statement read, “Following detailed investigation and careful analysis of the highly-successful 2021 UTME, and with due consultation (resulting in gracious concession) with the National Examination Council (NECO) concerning the timetable of the council’s on-going SSCE, JAMB has scheduled a Mop-up UTME for Friday, August 6, 2021, in some selected locations across the nation.
“About 18,000 candidates slated for the examination are being notified through both text messages on their designated phone numbers and their JAMB profiles. In addition, the candidate can check using their registration number on http://www.jamb.gov.ng/2021mopup.
“For the avoidance of doubt, no candidate whose result has been duly released will be rescheduled for another examination.
“The rescheduled candidates are in the following categories:
“Candidates who could not be initially scheduled for examination owing to their inability to timely procure and supply their mandatory NINs or profile codes until after the close of the registration exercise and, therefore, had to purchase Bank Drafts (as against the usual vending of PINs) after the scheduled period for the examination and were later registered.
“Few candidates who encountered peculiar biometric verification problem, or who failed biometric verification on the examination date (and were recaptured) but were not allowed to partake in the examination. (Adequate screening arrangements have been made to re-verify such claims and any candidate found to be involved in any form of impersonation will be identified for prosecution).
“Candidates who were unable to sit for the UTME owing to the clash of timetables of the UTME and the then on-going NABTEB examinations and whose particulars have been verified and supplied directly to JAMB by NABTEB.
“Candidates who have been ascertained by JAMB to have experienced genuine rescheduling/technical problems as was the case in 30 of the 760 centres used for the examination.
“The rescheduled candidates are to print fresh examination notification slips containing the venue and time of the examination. The slips are to be printed from the JAMB website https://www.jamb.gov.ng using the candidates’ registration number from Sunday, August 1, 2021.
“The board strongly advises candidates to avoid supplying their vital information, including registration number to fraudsters who abound especially in cybercafe(s), tutorial centres springing up almost everywhere in the nation as a result of the illicit activities of examination syndicates. CBT centres approved by JAMB which are consistently monitored are relatively more secured for printing examination notification slips by candidates who cannot print such on their own.”

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