There are strong indications that the Federal Government has succumbed to pressure to subsidize the cost of petrol in the country leaving the pump price of petroleum to the dictates of the product’s marketers.
Though it has not been officially announced that petrol subsidy is back in Federal Government’s economic plan, it was learnt that the Nigerian national Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has been offsetting for months the difference between the landing costs of petrol and the pump price.
Sources in the sector said that the landing costs per litre of petrol is higher than the price Nigerians pay at the pump.
According to a source, who is a staff of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, government being a listening one has been quietly bearing the differential.
“The landing costs hovers around N160 and N165. The marketers buy from us and so the government bears it because it feels it will be unfair to make the consumer pay the difference.
“With the current recession, the government will not want to burden the people with a price hike,’’ the source said.
Both the NNPC and the government are also concerned by the recent smuggling of petrol across the porous Nigerian borders to Chad and Niger, where a litre of petrol goes for over N400, compared to Nigeria’s N145.
A staff of the Petroleum Products Pricing Agency (PPPRA), who also preferred anonymity, said the marketers had no moral right to divert fuel meant for the people.
“For now Forex is a big issue,’’ the source said adding that “but the NNPC sells virtually everything it imports to them. So no marketer has any right to divert fuel.”
“If indeed the product is being sold for N400 in Niger Republic like you said, the Nigerian marketer has no right to look there.
“This is because NNPC is paying the difference just because it wants every Nigerian to have easy access to the white products.
“The fluctuating foreign exchange has not helped matters, but even the marketers cannot complain because government bears the brunt of the whole thing’’, the source reiterated.
However, a source at the NNPC fears that government may find itself overburdened by the subsidy as the economy is still caught in a web of recession.
“Soon the government may not be able to pay the price difference again because it runs into billions of naira”, said the source.
“Recall that at a workshop last year, an engineer with the corporation had said partial deregulation was unreasonable, he was right.
“The solution is full deregulation. Let the consumer feel it once and for all. This politics of walking around the problem won’t help at all’’.
On May 11, 2016 the Federal Government, through the PPPRA, had announced a new petrol regime of N135-N145 from its previous price of N97, which was heavily subsidised.
This increase led to various economic emergencies that affected all sectors and since Nigeria operates an oil-dependent economy, the impact was felt on external reserves, exchange rate, gross domestic product and inflation rate.
The Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, had at the time said he would prefer to use the word liberalization rather than deregulation.
Kachikwu said the major plan of the Federal Government was to stop importation of petroleum products in the long term.
The global oil benchmark, Brent crude, which was trading around $41 per barrel when the petrol price was increased, is now $55.64 per barrel.
Bandits Free 10 More Kaduna Baptist Students, Keep 11
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), yesterday, confirmed that 10 more students of Bethel Baptist School in Kaduna State have been released.
The Vice President of CAN (19 Northern States and Abuja) and its Chairman in Kaduna State, Rev. Joseph John Hayab, said this in a short WhatsApp message to newsmen.
He said, “Ten more students of Baptist High School were released this afternoon. We have 11 now with bandits.
“We are thanking all Nigerians for their prayers and support.
“We are trusting God that the rest will be released very soon. All have been reunited with their parents.”
Earlier, 10 students of Bethel Baptist School in Kaduna were released on Saturday, September 18, after spending 74 days captivity of terrorists, with 22 others still being held.
Hayab had said, “10 students were released this (Saturday) evening and have reunited with their parents. We are now hoping for the remaining 21 who are still with the bandits.”
#OurStateOurResponsibility# Essay Writing Contest Begins, Today
The Essay Writing completion as part of the programme of activities for the second phase of the Ministry of Information and Communications’ advocacy campaign, #OurStateOurResponsibility, begins, today, in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, with 15 contestants in their best states to clinch the coveted prize.
The 15 shortlisted contestants include, Jessica Hart, Samuel William, Ziga Paggo, Amarachi Chimezie, Jasper Dorcas, Jaja Tamunoimiegba Christian, and Sophia Oyibo.
Others are, Blessing Pepple, Anyiam Kelechukwu, Deborah Agbami, Gift Samuel, Okiche Golden, Orovwigwo Deborah, Okiche Miracle, and Otuka Goodluck.
A statement signed on behalf of the commissioner by the Director, Publications, Mr Valentine Ugboma, indicated that the essay writing contest would commence at 11am, in the third floor office of the ministry, Podium Block, State Secretariat Complex.
The statement reiterated the ministry’s earlier position that candidates for the essay writing competition should be between the ages of 16 and 25 years, insisting that the candidates would have to show proof of their declared ages for sighting on arrival for the contest.
It would be recalled that the ministry had kick-started the second phase of the advocacy campaign #OurStateOurResponsibility, on September 1, 2021, with a press briefing by the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, who charged residents of the state to prioritise and imbibe the shared responsibility of a progressive Rivers State led by Governor Nyesom Wike.
As major stakeholders in the Rivers State project, Nsirim said, they should seek to change the negative narrative of the vocal minority with their divisive and anti-democratic tendencies.
Nsirim restated that the essay writing would inculcate in the minds of the youths, the message behind the advocacy programme, which they would be expected to champion in the near future.
The second phase of the campaign also includes theme song, drama skit and short film competitions, which attract cash prizes.
By: Nelson Chukwudi
Obasanjo, Osinbajo, Wike, Others Bag CAN Awards
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Senator Rochas Okorocha, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, Emeritus Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and Mummy Esther Ajayi, were among prominent Nigerians who received awards at the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Sapphire awards in Abuja, last weekend.
Others, including Pastor Enoch Adeboye, Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie, and Chief Arthur Eze, also received awards at the event; while the kidnapped Dapchi school, Leah Sharibu, won in the Young Christian Achiever award category.
Former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, and Goodluck Jonathan, Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustafa, and some Christian governors, serving and past National Assembly members bagged awards.
The awards were part of activities for CAN’s 45th Anniversary Sapphire Celebration Dinner and Award Night.
Earlier in his welcome address, CAN National President, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, had said that the gathering was to celebrate 45 years of the church in Nigeria.
He said that Governance Category awards were for Christians in politics who had shown excellent and remarkable services.
“These include past presidents, serving governors and senators in our assessment that deserve such award.
“An award ceremony is applause of vision, personal discipline and determination; it is an event like this that makes people feel that their works are valued.
“The award is a catalyst that is expected to reinforce the awardees to serve humanity more and more,’’ he said.
The CAN president said it was heart breaking that majority of those in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps were Christians who were displaced by religious fanatics, bandits and gunmen in their territories.
He solicited the awardees’ financial support in fulfilling some of CAN’s obligations to fellow Christians and bringing to fruition the association’s projects.
Obasanjo, who was represented by the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, was the special guest of honour at the awards.
Obasanjo said that the award was significant in that it would encourage other citizens to serve humanity, adding “I will continue to do the best I can to uphold the principles of justice, love, equity, mutual respect, industry and the fear of God which epitomise the church of Christ until there’s no breath left in me.”
While showing appreciation to CAN on behalf of all the award recipients, VP Osinbajo said Nigerians needed to be more tolerant of other people’s views.
The vice president dedicated the award to those who, daily in different locations, distant and near, propagated the message of the love and reconciliation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, sometimes in difficult and life-threatening situations.
He said that the awardees were not necessarily the most deserving of Christians to be given any recognition but by the special grace of God which placed them in the high capacity they served.
He said, “As we have seen in the past few years, there’s a growing ethnic and religious chauvinism, and almost intemperate, vehement and violent dismissal of the views of people of other persuasions and faith without adequate consideration.
“At the same time, there is also the rise of cultural and identity politics. The answer to hate and intolerance and conflicts is the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must believe enough in it, to live it out as our article of faith.
“The gospel commands consideration of the views of others, treating them we would wish to be treated. Our words must be of grace, seasoned with salt.
“We must remain constant and relentless advocates of freedom of worship, respect for human rights, fairness, justice, rule of law because they are fundamental to peace and security. We cannot talk of peace and security without fairness and justice, and compliance with the rule of law.
“We are in the advantageous position that our contribution will be more easily noticed.
“So, this award is dedicated to the men who, daily in different locations, distant and near propagate this message of the love and reconciliation of the gospel of Jesus Christ in sometimes even difficult and life-threatening situations.
“And to many who have suffered deprivations, the families of those who have lost their lives by reason of their belief.
“And we are deeply grateful to the Almighty God for the opportunity and enablement to serve in the positions to which we have been referred.
“I bring, also, the very warm felicitations of the President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Government of Nigeria on the 45th anniversary of the birth of this foremost association of Nigerian Christians.
“CAN was formed to, among other objectives, nurture the unity of the church in Nigeria and to work with the leaders of other faith and persuasions to build bridges and forge understanding, peace and unity among the various people and faith in our nation.
“CAN has not only been continually faithful to its founding vision, it has become a veritable force for peace, for unity and for social justice.
“Pursuant to the gospel, CAN has consistently spoken up on behalf of the least of those in our society,’’ he said.
He said that the current and past leaderships of CAN had acted in full realiasation and recognition of their roles as pivotal stakeholders alongside the government and private sector in nation building.
Earlier, Senator Rochas Okorocha, who noted the dire financial condition of the umbrella Christian organisation in the country, advised clerics to tone down their criticism of those in authority.
He said, “I just want to caution some Christian pastors concerning the way we use our pulpit and the kind of fire of insults and abuses that comes from there. When you abuse those who will give you money where will you get the money.
“The Bible says to pray for those in authority. You need to draw your leaders close. When you draw us closer and tell us what your problems are, it will energise us to help. Money will flow more than you need.”
Also, Imam Abubakar Abdullahi, who sheltered no fewer than 200 Christians in Barkin Ladi, Plateau, during an attack, was presented with the Special Recognition award.
The late Obadiah Mailafia, former CBN Deputy Governor, was given a post-humous award of Spokesperson for Oppressed alongside Matthew Kukah, Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Sokoto and Human Rights Lawyer, Femi Falana.
Awards were also given to best candidates in the 2020 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination and Senior School Certificate Examination.
Highlight of the event was the cutting of the anniversary cake.
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