Connect with us

Front Pix

JTF Destroys 802 Illegal Refineries …As Navy Impounds Belgian Ship, Arrests 15

Published

on

The Joint Military Task Force (JTF), has destroyed 802 illegal refineries, and impounded 21 vessels, 293 Cotonou boats and surface tanks with total capacity of 17, 501, 320 litres of petroleum products while 86 suspects were arrested.

Making the disclosure while briefing journalists in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, the Commanding Officer, JTF responsible for checking illegal bunkering and crude oil theft in the Niger Delta, Maj-Gen Johnson Ochoga, said the command had also lost five officers since it was transmuted from “Operation Restore Hope” to “Operation Pulo Shield.”

Ochoga said that the officers, who were attacked and killed along the Brass River in Bayelsa State, were with others on a routine patrol of some of the troubled spots where criminals engage in economic terrorism, when they were attacked and killed.

The commanding officer indicated that the JTF was living up to expectations in the discharge of its mandate, adding that one of the major challenges facing the command was the more daring affront and sophistication of crude oil thieves whom he said had  also devised various means of beating security operatives through their vast knowledge of the creeks.

The Tide reporter quotes the commanding officer as saying that in a bid to check this trend, a directive had been given to all vessels, barges and small boat owners to register them with the command before the second week of July.

According to Ochoga, “the transmutation not only occasioned the expansion of the area of responsibility to cover the nine oil producing states but also brought on board, beside traditional security agencies, other civil organisations such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), National Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), among others.”

He explained that the JTF had created two dedicated mobile telephone numbers for the public to volunteer information to the task force that could lead to the arrest of crude oil thieves and subsequent containment of the scourge of illegal bunkering and other related activities in the region, and gave the numbers as: 08032202684 and 08075265526.

Ochoga, therefore, solicited the support and cooperation of Nigerians, especially those from the Niger Delta to help in the renewed efforts to stamp out illegal bunkering in the region.

Barely 24 hours before President Goodluck Jonathan’s departure to Belgium,  to deliver an address at the Summit of World Customs Organisation in Brussels, tomorrow, the Nigerian Navy has confirmed the arrest of a Belgian ship, MT St Vanessa and her crew for alleged involvement in illegal oil bunkering in Bayelsa State.

The navy said the ship was arrested off the Brass/Akassa coast in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

Parading the crew members before newsmen in Yenagoa on Monday, the Flag Officer, Central Naval Command, Rear Admiral Johnson Olutoyin, said the vessel had 15 crew members on board.

Olutoyin said the crew comprising six Romanians and nine Philippines, were intercepted last Tuesday by men of NNS Zaria stationed at Brass.

He said between June 5 and June 18, the command’s Regional Maritime Domain Awareness Centres (RMAC) at the  coastline, spotted the vessel loitering aimlessly off the Akassa/Brass area, notorious for illegal bunkering and crude oil theft.

He said the MT St Vanessa, was reported to have departed Lome Port on June 5  and arrived at Akassa area on June 6 without any authority from Nigerian Ports Authority,  NIMASA or the Nigerian Navy, to enable it to operate on the Nigerian territorial waters.

Olutoyin said that “for about 10 days, the vessel kept moving between a location of 100 nautical miles off Brass/Akassa to another location about 10 nautical miles off Braas/Akassa.

“The vessel moves towards Brass/Akassa in the night and moves back into the deep ocean in the hours of the day as indicated on the RMAC print out attached.

“Consequent upon these observations, the vessel was deemed “as a vessel of interest” and a naval ship, NNS Zaria, was dispatched to intercept and arrest her.

“On Tuesday, June 19, 2012, at about 1520, NNS ZARIA intercepted the vessel and interrogated her. As the vessel could not give any reason for her suspicious movement in our waters, the naval ship intimated her she was under arrest.

“MT St Vanessa blatantly refused the arrest and instead decided to speed off. NNS Zaria commenced a hot pursuit and after about three hours, was eventually able to effect the arrest of the vessel.

 

Nelson Chukwudi

Vice President Namadi Sambo (right) in a handshake with Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State, during a committee meeting on Mass Transit at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, yesterday

Continue Reading

Front Pix

90% Of Money Laundered Via Real Estate, EFCC Reveals

Published

on

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says about 90 per cent of money laundering is done through the real estate sector.
The commission’s Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, stated this while featuring on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily, yesterday,
According to him, although the sector is monitored via the special control unit, more needed to be done.
According to Bawa, “One of the problems we have now is the real estate. 90 to 100 per cent of the resources are being laundered through the real estate.”
He said there are so many issues involved, but that they were working with the National Assembly to stop what he called “the gate keepers” as there would be reduction in looting if there is no one to launder the money.
Bawa, the EFCC boss, gave an example of a minister who expressed interest in a $37.5million property a bank manager put up for sale.
He said, “The bank sent a vehicle to her house and in the first instance $20million was evacuated from her house.
“They paid a developer and a lawyer set up a special purpose vehicle, where the title documents were transferred into.
“And he (the lawyer) is posing as the owner of the property. You see the problem. This is just one of many; it is happening daily.”
The EFCC chairman also revealed that he receives death threats often.
Asked to respond to President Muhammadu Buhari’s frequent “Corruption is fighting back” expression, Bawa said he was in New York, USA, last week, when someone called to threaten him.
“Last week, I was in New York when a senior citizen received a phone call from somebody that is not even under investigation.
“The young man said, ‘I am going to kill him (Bawa), I am going to kill him’.
“I get death threats. So, it is real. Corruption can fight back,” he said.
On corruption in the civil service, he said there were a lot of gaps, especially in contracts processing, naming “emergency contracts” as one.
Bawa said, “A particular agency is notorious for that. They have turned all their contracts to emergency contracts.”
However, he said, EFCC has strategies in place to check corruptions, one of which is “corruption risk assessments of MDAs”.
According to him, “I have written to the minister and would soon commence the process of corruption risk assessments of all the parastatals and agencies under the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to look at their vulnerability to fraud and advise them accordingly.”
Asked if the scope of corruption in the country overwhelms him, Bawa, the EFCC boss said, “Yes, and no.”

Continue Reading

Featured

We’ve Spent N9bn To Upgrade RSUTH, Wike Confirms

Published

on

The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says his administration has spent N9billion in upgrading structures and installation of new equipment at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH).
He said the fact that 40 per cent of the 2021 budget of the state is dedicated to provision of quality healthcare delivery was a further demonstration of the priority placed on the sector.
Wike made the explanation at the foundation laying ceremony for the construction of a Renal Centre at RSUTH, last Friday.
The governor said he made promise to Rivers people that the best would be provided to them in all sectors of the society within his capability because of the mandate they gave to him.
“As we came on here, I just looked around and I see the changes in this teaching hospital. I can say that we have put not less than N9billion in this teaching hospital.
“If you look at the budget, the health sector alone, what it’s taking from the Rivers State Government is not less than 40 percent of the 2021 budget.”
Speaking further, Wike said the state government cannot afford to implement free medical service programme in the present economic circumstance.
While dismissing the request for a subvention for RSUTH, Wike, however, commended the chief medical director and his team for their commitment to turnaround the fortunes of RSUTH.
“I have never seen anywhere that health services can be totally free. They’re telling me that people who come here can’t pay. I have never declared that this state is going to take over the health fees of anybody.”
Also speaking, the former Minister of Transport, Dr. Abiye Sekibo, who performed the flag-off, noted that Wike’s achievements in the health sector in particular, surpass what former governors of the state had done.
Sekibo said that the governor has given equal attention to every section of the health sector by providing complete health infrastructure that was positioning the state as a medical tourism destination in Nigeria.
Earlier, the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Prof Princewill Chike, lauded Governor Nyesom Wike for his interest in the health of Rivers people.
He noted that the renal centre, when completed, would become another landmark development project in the health sector that would handle and manage all kidney-related ailments.
In his remarks, the Chief Medical Director of the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Friday Aaron, commended Wike for approving the renal centre.
Aaron explained that chronic kidney disease was a major burden globally with estimated 14 million cases in Nigeria.
According to him, over 240,000 of these cases require renal replacement therapy in the form of dialysis and renal transplant.
The CMD said the building that would house the centre was expected to be completed in six months and consists of two floors.
The ground floor, according to him, would house the haemodialysis unit with eight haemodialysis machines.
He further explained that the first floor of the centre would house the surgical component where most of the sophisticated equipment for kidney transplant would be installed.
Aaron said Wike has released the funds required to build, equip the centre as well as for the training of personnel locally and internationally.

Continue Reading

Featured

Power Generation Falls 23% To 3,172MW

Published

on

Power supply in Nigeria has failed to improve on last week’s performance, as it fell by 22.9 per cent from peak generation of 4,115Megawatts on Saturday to 3,172.20MW as at 5pm, yesterday, latest data from the System Operator has shown.
According to the data, most power plants were operating far below capacity due to gas shortage with Olorunsogo Power Plant 335MW capacity; and Sapele Power Plant, 450MW capacity; completely out.
Egbin was generating at 746MW; Omoku 37.20; Omotosho (NIPP) at 105MW; while Afam was generating at 80MW.
The data showed that on the average power generation in the past seven days were 4,120.9MW on Sunday, June 6; 4,249.4 on Monday, June 7; 4,000.9MW on Tuesday, June 8; 3,720.7 on Wednesday, June 9; 3,517 on Thursday, June 10; 3,765MW on Friday, June 11; and 4,115MW on Saturday, June 12.
The International Oil Companies (IOCs), had last warned that despite Nigeria’s huge gas reserves a lot needs to be done to attract investment to the sector to develop gas reserves to boost power generation in the country.
Speaking at the just concluded Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, the Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria/MD SPDC, Osagie Okunbor, said with 203trillion Cubic Feet of gas reserves, what was needed in the country is to deliver projects that would produce the gas.
“The challenge is not just growing the reserves but in producing these reserves for the benefits of our country. Essentially growing the reserves and delivering on the production is a function of two or three elements.
“I like to see infrastructure that is required for the development of these resources at two levels. Soft infrastructure is often the one that is more important than and that is the one that is actually drives most of what you see at site.”
“Soft infrastructure refers to the enabling environment and nothing pleases me as much seeing both the Senate President and the speaker of the house give very firm commitments about trying to pass the PIB this month.
“That is probably the big one of the enabling environment to provide the kind of stability we also need all sorts of other issues we need to that we have discussed severally in terms of sanctity of contract, stable policies and collaboration and I think we are well on our way there”, he added.

Continue Reading

Trending