International oil companies (IOCs) operating in Nigeria have been accused of complicity in the theft of the country’s crude oil.
Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin, made the accusation while speaking at a meeting of the top leadership of the Navy and the managing directors/chief executive officers of the IOCs in Abuja on Wednesday.
He also said that the Navy would not pretend about the involvement of the oil firms in crude oil theft.
Jibrin said it took him seven and a half months since his appointment to call the first meeting between the Navy and the firms to discuss serious issues of concern in the oil sector, which included oil theft and illegal bunkering.
The Navy boss also explained that he made it clear that the CEOs should attend the meeting in person without representation because of the need to discuss the issues, which he described as disturbing, but regretted that the request was ignored.
Jibrin said some of the oil firms had deliberately left the manifolds of their oil wells open for years without conscious efforts to close them in spite of the fact that only experts had the capacity to reopen closed manifolds.
He warned that the Navy would ensure the arrest of executives of the IOCs who decided to leave the manifolds of their wells open for years without closing them.
He also threatened to deal with any naval officer found to have been involved in the criminal theft of the nation’s oil resources in accordance with the laws guiding the Armed Forces of Nigeria.
The CNS warned that the Navy would go beyond accusing the firms to mentioning names of those suspected to be involved in the theft of the nation’s resources.
Jibrin wondered why the oil chiefs had not given the expected cooperation in the bid to seek a concerted solution to the raging issue of oil theft.
He said the time had come for the oil firms and the security agencies to seek solutions to the issue of oil theft in the country.
Jibrin said, “This is the first meeting I am having with the oil firms to discuss the issue of oil theft and illegal bunkering. It took us seven and half months to call this meeting, and specifically, we said we don’t want representation.
“We have a serious challenge and we need the commitment of the CEOs to discuss oil theft. It has become worrisome that we have not been able to check the issue of oil wells. It has got to a point that instead of pointing accusing fingers, we will mention names, including those of the major stakeholders.
“We cannot pretend that the oil companies do not have a hand in some of these illegalities; pretending is to allow it to continue. We will not pretend. I can start by citing some examples; some companies have left their oil wells opened for years and have done nothing to close them up. Because of the technical nature of the manifolds, once they are closed, only the experts can open them. Why have they been left open for years?”
He added, “I have pictures here. Why is it that all of us cannot sit down at a round table and provide a solution? Why are we denting the image of this country? It has come to a point that we must meet, discuss and provide solutions to issues pertaining to oil theft.
“Government is worried and those of us who are agents of the government are also worried. On my part, if any of my personnel is involved, they will be dealt with adequately in accordance with the existing law of the Armed Forces.
“I have decided that I will take some steps that if the manifolds are left open for years and our attention is drawn to the need for it to be closed, we will look for and start arresting officials of the oil companies who own that and left them without taking appropriate action.”
He said that the government was taking the issue of oil theft seriously because of the loss of revenue and the inimical effects of oil theft on the environment.
Responding on behalf of the firms, the Chairman, Oil Producer Trading Services, Mr. Ayobami Olubiyi, said that the companies had also taken steps to curb the threat of oil theft.
He recalled that the Federal Government set up an ad-hoc committee on the subject, with some funds released to address the pressing issues some months ago.
He said that men of the Nigerian Navy were involved in securing the operations of the oil firm in the Niger Delta and Lagos.
Olubiyi said, “It is not just the Nigerian Navy but all who have been supporting our business. And I also want to assure you that concerning oil theft, we have taken a lot of steps. That is why in the last couple of months, an ad-hoc committee was set up by the Federal Government to look into this, and I am aware that some money had been released to help curtail this situation.
“We will continue to advocate a true platform; and as you are aware, we have a number of your officers and men who have been supporting our operations in the Delta, including Lagos. They have been very professional in the way and manner they carry out this operation; and together with the CNS, I am sure we will all be able to work to ensure that we mitigate this very unfortunate situation in our country today.”
CBN Releases N756bn To Over 3m Farmers To Boost Food Security
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), says it has released the sum of N756.51 billion to 3,734,938 small holder farmers, cultivating 4.6 million hectares of land, to boost the Federal Government’s food security initiative.
Mr Godwin Emefiele, the CBN Governor, made this known while presenting a communiqué from the bank’s recently held, 280th meeting of its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).
Emefiele said that N120.24 billion of the sum was extended for the 2021 wet season to 627,051 farmers for 847,484 hectares of land, under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP).
“The sum of N121.57 billion was disbursed to 32,617 beneficiaries.
“For the Targeted Credit Facility (TCF), N318.17 billion was released to 679,422 beneficiaries, comprising 572,189 households and 107,233 Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs),’’ he said.
Emefiele revealed that the apex bank also expended huge sums in its youth investment scheme, to empower Nigerian youths, and to reduce unemployment by providing to the creative sector and Information Technology.
“Under the National Youth Investment Fund (NYIF), the Bank released N3.0 billion to 7,057 beneficiaries, of which 4,411 were individuals and 2,646 SMEs.
“Under the Creative Industry Financing Initiative (CIFI), N3.22 billion was disbursed to 356 5 beneficiaries across movie production, movie distribution, software development, fashion, and IT verticals,’’ he said.
The CBN Governor also revealed that the apex bank had invested close to N1trillion to boost the real sector of the economy, covering 251 real sector projects.
He said that the bank’s intervention also spanned health sector support initiatives and electricity distribution.
“Under the N1.0 trillion Real Sector Facility, the Bank released N923.41 billion to 251 real sector projects, of which 87 were in light manufacturing, 40 in agro-based industry, 32 in services and 11 in mining.
“On the N100 billion, Healthcare Sector Intervention Facility (HSIF), N98.41 billion was disbursed for 103 health care projects, of which, 26 are pharmaceuticals and 77 are in the hospital services.
“Similarly, the sum of N232.54 million was disbursed to five beneficiaries under the CBN Healthcare Sector Research and Development Intervention (Grant) Scheme (HSRDIS) for the development of testing kits and devices for COVID-19 and Lassa Fever.
“On the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP), N36.04 billion was disbursed to 17 Meter Asset Providers to nine Distribution Companies (DisCos), for the procurement and installation of 657,562 electricity meters,’’ Emefiele said.
Siat Assures Host Communities Of Fair Deal … Offers 15 Varsity Students Scholarships
As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility to its host communities, an agro-allied company located in Rivers State, Siat Nigeria Limited, has assured that it would continue to cater for the wellbeing and needs of the indigenes of the communities where it is doing business even as it has offered undergraduate scholarship awards to 15 students from the areas.
The company, which gave the assurance during the presentation of scholarship awards to the students at its corporate headquarters in Ubima Community in Ikwerre Local Government Area recently, said it would continue to promote a harmonious working relationship with its host communities and strive as much as possible to contribute to their growth and development.
The Managing Director of the company, Mr Felix Nwabuko, who gave the indication in an address during the company’s this year’s undergraduate scholarship programme, said the scholarship initiative is just one of the corporate social responsibility lined up by the company for its host communities.
According to him, the university scholarship award is intended to assist and encourage students of the host communities in the areas of Agriculture, Agricultural Economics, Accounting and Engineering.
While congratulating the beneficiary students on their success during the scholarship examination, Nwabuko noted that they are by this award, ambassadors of not only their communities but Siat Nigeria Limited, and urged them to exhibit good behaviour throughout the duration of their university education.
“It is our fervent belief that the beneficiaries will avail themselves of this singular opportunity and study hard to become good citizens of not only the communities they came from but the society at large”, he said.
Nwabuko commended the government at both the state and local levels for providing the enabling environment for the company’s operations as well as the peace the firm has enjoyed from the host communities.
He noted with delight that despite the Covid-19 pandemic, and its associated harsh economic effects, Siat Nigeria Limited did not lay off its workers like other companies including banks, stressing that it was because the company took into consideration the excellent relationship and goodwill it has with the host communities.
The beneficiaries of the scholarship were drawn from the company’s Ubima and Elele estates.
The first round of the scholarship programme took place in 2016 and the beneficiaries, according to the company, have all graduated.
By: Donatus Ebi
AKK Project Will Enhance Gas Utilisation For Industrialisation – Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari says successful completion of the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano, AKK Project in 2023 would enhance domestic gas utilisation as the mainstay for national industrialisation.
Buhari stated this at the opening ceremony of the 2021 Gas Sector Stakeholders (AKK) Forum organised by the Gas Aggregation Company Nigeria (GACN) yesterday in Kano.
He was represented by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva.
“Today’s event reinforces our commitments to realizing the inherent potentials of gas usage as a national catalyst for achieving economic diversification from crude oil and as transition period to the renewable energy,” he said.
He revealed that the project would also increase government revenue and create more jobs opportunities for the unemployed Nigerians.
The President said that many companies had been shut down due to power supply problem across the country.
He explained that it would take two to three years to reactivate those industries to their optimal performance.
Buhari also said that the Federal Government has reduced the price of gas from 2 dollars 50 cents to 2 dollars 18 Cents.
“Let me use this medium to announce that following successful negotiations between Federal Government of Nigeria and organized unions, the price of gas has been reduced from $2.50 Cents to $2.18 Cents, with immediate effects,” he said.
He said that all the relevant stakeholders had been communicated on the issue.
Also speaking, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mr Mele Kyari, said that the AKK project had been on the drawing board for the past 30 years.
Kyari said when completed, it would provide enough gas for both domestic and export purposes.
“Nigeria has huge gas resources, gas means prosperity and delivering gas is an opportunity creation,” he said.
He pointed out that the project would revive about 232 industries along AKK corridor.
In his remarks, the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado-Bayero, commended the Federal Government for the project, which he said, would also assist to enhance socioeconomic activities in the state.
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