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NNPC Blames Pipeline Vandalism On Gas Shortage

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The Nigerian National Pe
troleum Corporation (NNPC) last Monday blamed the recent drop in gas supply for power generation on pipeline vandalism.
The Group Managing Director (GMD) of NNPC, Mr Andrew Yakubu, who stated this during a news conference in Abuja, said about N800 million had been spent on the ongoing repair of the pipelines.
Yakubu attributed the incident to outright sabotage of some crucial gas pipelines, which he said, had significantly eroded available gas supply to the power plants.
He said that as at last weekend, over 30 per cent (480 MMsf/d) of the installed gas supply capacity was out due mainly to vandalism.
The GMD said that the lost gas was equivalent to the gas requirement to generate about 1,600 MW of electricity.
He listed the pipelines involved to include the Escravos-Warri stretch of the Escravos Lagos Pipeline System (ELPS) which accounted for (190 mmcf/d) and the Trans-Forcados crude pipeline (230 mmcf/d).
“The remaining supply shortfall is due to maintenance issues at Utorogu gas plant (60 mmcf/d).
“The outage on the ELPS has been on for over six months due to willful acts of vandalism at various locations between Escravos and Egwa location,’’ the GMD said.
He said that an explosion rocked the ELPS and investigation revealed that a dynamite had been used on four ruptured points on June 25, 2013.
Yakubu said that engineers from the Nigerian Gas Company (NGC) were mobilised immediately to commence repair works, but as repairs progressed, more points of rupture emerged.
“At the last count, 20 ruptured points have been identified, all due to deliberate dynamite explosion.
“NGC completed repairs in November and on commissioning in December, rapid pressure loss was experienced indicating further rupture in weakened locations.
“We have since effected repair on these new points and re-commenced commissioning activities,’’ he said.
The GMD, however, gave assurance that gas supply would be reinstated in the next three or five weeks at the completion of various repairs, which is expected to bring a major improvement in power supply.
He said that the cumulative effect of the above interruptions was the degradation of power supply to Nigerians.
Yakubu said that the Ministry of Petroleum and NNPC would continue to make efforts to ensure gas supply in the difficult environment.
He also said there would be additional 450 mmcf/d supply from various ongoing projects to bridge the growing demand by the power sector between 2014 and 2016.
“By the end of Q2/Q3 2014, additional 200 mmcf/d of gas is expected from two NPDC projects at Utorogu and Oredo.
“In addition, with the planned completion of the Omoku and Alaoji NIPP power plants, further boost in generation is expected as both plants have gas supply available awaiting completion of the power plants,’’ the GMD assured. .
He said that many other projects were expected to mature progressively among which would be the East-West pipeline expected to be completed in 2016.
According to him this will bring a major boost in gas supply as over 250 mmcf/d of gas stranded in the East will be diverted to meet the growing power demand.

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Traders Protest FG’s Move To Restore Festac Town

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The move by the Federal Government to restore Festac Town in Lagos to its original status has sparked up protest among traders occupying Agboju Amuwo Planks and Building Materials Market.
The traders on Wednesday, protested at the FHA office in Festac Town against the demolition of their market, following the demolition of illegal structures by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) ahead of the restoration. 
The Tide recalls that there was a petition to the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, in 2020 about illegal structures that had taken over Festac Town.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting on the restoration of Festac town organised by FHA, last year, its South-West Zonal Manager, Mr Akintola Olagbemiro, said, “This year, we commenced the restoration of Festac town, following the consent judgement from the court against illegal occupants of Festac land.
“Our action is to save the residents from the insecurity that has taken over the entire Festac town as a result of illegal structures everywhere”.
The chairman of allottees of First Gate to Third Gate, Mr Kole Olatunji, in his remarks at the meeting said the land from First Gate to Third Gate was allocated between 1985 and 1999, noting that with the consent judgment, original owners of the land as allocated should take over their plots.
But the chairman of plank market, Muhammed Bello, protested the seven-day notice given to traders to vacate the place without alternative arrangements.  
Bello said: “How do they expect us to remove our wares in seven days?
“What we want is that they should allow us to remain there and we will pay whatever amount they ask us to pay”.
Speaking in the same vein, the chairman of Cane Chair and Furniture Association, Emmanuel Okoye said: “We need freedom. Let them tell us where they want us to stay. That place was swampy. We filled the place with several millions of Naira which we got as loans.
“We also rely on loans to do our business. Whatever the government wants us to pay; we are ready to pay to remain there. We have been there for 27 years. What we lost to the demolition is over N300 million”.

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Fuel Tanker Explosion Kills Five, Injures Two In Ogun

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No fewer than five persons were on Wednesday burnt to death, while two others sustained first degree of injury in a fuel tanker explosion at Ajilete, along Owode-Idiroko road, in Yewa South local government area of Ogun State.
Eyewitness accounts revealed that a truck bearing 33,000 litres of petroleum product was descending the steep portion of the road when its tank suddenly detached from truck’s body and tumbled to the ground with a bang.
The explosion, the witnesses said, killed five persons on the spot, while two other persons were injured.
The Tide learnt that the seven victims were all residents of the area where the accident occurred.
Confirming the incident, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Commander, Idiroko Unit, Akinwunmi Olaluwoye, said five deaths were recorded in the accident which occurred at about 8.15 am on Wednesday. 
According to him, the remains of the dead had been claimed by their families.
He disclosed that a bus and a motorcycle were also caught in a web of the explosion and razed.
He said, “no vehicle rammed into the tanker. The tank dropped off from the back of the tanker and exploded. The number of persons involved are seven; five dead, two injured.
“The driver had taken away the head of the truck as at the time we got there. But we have allowed the police to take charge and handle that aspect”.

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Travellers To Access $4,000  As CBN Boosts Forex Supplies

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Nigerians travelling abroad can now access a maximum amount of $4,000 foreign exchange from banks following the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) announcement to increase forex supplies.
The CBN had said in a recent statement that it had concluded plans to increase the amount of foreign exchange allocated to banks to meet legitimate needs.
This followed the warning by the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, to Deposit Money Banks to desist from denying customers the opportunity to purchase foreign exchange.
The purposes to access forex included Personal Travel Allowance, Basic Travel Allowance, tuition fees, and medical payments as well as Small and Medium Enterprises transactions or for the repatriation of Foreign Direct Investment proceeds, the CBN had stated.
Sources from some of the banks said those travelling on business trips could also access a maximum amount of $5,000 for each trip.
At a virtual Bankers’ Committee meeting last week, the bankers discussed how the CBN intended to assist with forex to ensure availability for the upcoming summer period and the return of students to school in September.
The CBN also said the BDCs would continue to have their weekly allocations.
The committee observed that the rates were going up.
It stated, “The CBN has said that all the banks must make availability at all times and anyone who wants to buy BTA, PTA, medical fees, student school fees and all the eligible invisible purchases to ensure that Nigerians are not forced to go and queue in the parallel market.
“So what the Central Bank is doing is to encourage all banks to make sure that there is available forex at all times, and that his information should be communicated on all our platforms.
“We are asking our customers to come to the branches and for BTA, for example, present the required documents, which are basically your international passport, your visa, your valid ticket and fill up the form in the bank.
“And what we have been instructed to do is ensure that we don’t turn anybody back and that we should request from the Central Bank once we exhaust the forex that we have.
“The idea is to have a hitch-free summer period and the resumption for children to go back to school. The idea is to ensure there is less pressure on the forex and then the rates will come down”.
Speaking during the virtual meeting, the Group Managing Director, Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, said, “I think again as part of the Central Bank’s role in terms of price stability and the need to support small and medium enterprises, there was highlight of the need for banks to go and support SMEs who import small raw materials for them to set up their businesses”.
The Managing Director, Ecobank, Patrick Akinwuntan, said, “All banks are available to ensure forex need is met.”
Managing Director, Sterling Bank, Abubakar Suleiman, said the CBN had provided sufficient foreign exchange to meet the needs of all legitimate Nigerian travellers and therefore, the idea of going to any other market should not arise at all.

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