The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, says that no International Oil Company (ICO) is planning to exit Nigeria contrary to reports in some section of the media.
Kachikwu made this known while briefing newsmen after facility tour of ExxonMobil Erha Floating Production Storage and Offloading vessels (FPSO) in Lagos yesterday.
“I have confirmed that it is not true, there are going to be here for a long stay, they will be here over the next 50 years, they are looking for more, they are doing all kinds of things, they just begun the exploration campaign first time in four years because of the new cash call policies we put in place.
“That is not a sign of somebody who is exiting. But different from not exiting is to be aggressive. ExxonMobil needs to be more aggressive in terms of development policies,’’ he said
He added that ExxonMobil needs to be more aggressive with business as Bonga Southwest was almost on FID, Egina just kicked off and Agip is struggling to get Zabzaba online.
“So, I need to see a very robust development,’’ he advised
Mr Richard Laing, ExxonMobil Executive Director, Production commended the minister for making out time to visit the facility and reiterated that the company had no plans to exit Nigeria.
“We are happy with Nigeria, We have our differences, and we don’t agree on everything, we are happy and content. We are delighted over the minister’s visit and we are happy that he has come back to his spiritual home.
“As the minister said, the corporation has been here for many years, we intend to stay, we have ambitious growth programmes to build wealth and grow business to make more profit, key into the gas commercialisation project.
“We fully support what the minister said and we look forward to working with him,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has given conditions for the removal of subsidy on premium motor spirit, also known as petrol.
The conditions include: provision of alternative cushioning measures mutually agreed between stakeholders to protect the economically vulnerable members of the population.
Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed, stated this at the press briefing marking the end of the 2019 Spring Meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, IMF, in Washington DC, USA, yesterday.
She however said the Federal Government is yet to arrive at such measures.
She said there is no immediate plan to remove fuel subsidy, contrary to speculations that have led to the emergence of fuel queues in some parts of the country.
According to her, “At the IMFC meetings, the Managing Director requested for a mandate to pursue some negotiations with Governors for temporary financing options for ensuring that the Fund remains adequately resourced by maintaining the current resource envelope of the Fund through borrowed resources. This arose partly due to the delay in completing the 15th general review of quotas.
“While Governors endorsed this position, we called for an ambitious timetable for the 16th General Review of quota which should result in increased quota shares for dynamic economies in line with their relative positions in the world economy, while protecting the voice and representation of the poorest members.”
She further called for the normalisation of trade relations among the contending parties and called for concerted efforts to support multilaterism and avoid protectionist sentiments.
She added, “There is no imminent plan to remove fuel subsidy. We are here to discuss with the global community on various policy issues.
“One of the issues that always come up in the report, especially by the IMF as a corporate body is how we handle fuel subsidies. IMF is saying fuel subsidies are better removed so that you can use the resources for other important sectors.
“In principle that is a fact. But in Nigeria, we don’t have plans to remove fuel subsidy at this time because we have not yet designed buffers that can enable us remove fuel subsidy and provide cushions for our people. So there is no plan to remove fuel subsidy.
“We will be discussing with various groups . If we have to, what are the alternatives? We have not yet found viable alternatives . So we are not yet at the point of removing fuel subsidy.
“We also met with the World Bank Power Sector team and discussed the way forward on the Proposed USD1 billion Nigeria Performance Based Loan (PBL). We agreed to bring relevant MDAs together to ensure that we advance this in a timely manner.
“We will also discuss the Country Portfolio Performance of Nigeria which currently stands at $9.8 billion with the Nigerian Country team at the World Bank and how we could manage the portfolio for optimum results.”
Imo: PDP Seeks S’Court’s Reversal Of Verdict
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has knocked the panel of Supreme Court justices that delivered judgment in the Imo State governorship election.
The party asked for a review and reversal of the judgment and called on the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammad to step down.
At a media conference, yesterday, addressed by the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, the party asked the six other justices that delivered judgment on the Imo case to recuse themselves from the remaining election petition cases pending before the apex court.
Other governorship election petition cases pending before the apex court and in which the PDP is involved, are those of Sokoto, Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Plateau and Kano states.
Describing the verdict in the Imo case as recipe for crisis, Secondus said the judgement was a miscarriage of justice and a coup against the PDP and the people of Imo State.
The party chairman said, “That the Supreme Court, as presently constituted under Justice Mohammed Tanko, has become heavily compromised; lost its credibility and is now annexed to execute ignoble agenda of the APC-led Federal Government against the Nigerian people.
“That the judgment of the Supreme Court voiding the lawful election of Hon. Emeka Ihedioha (who scored 276,404 votes) and awarding fictitious votes to declare Hope Uzodimma of the APC, who scored 96, 458 votes as governor of Imo State, is highly irrational, unfounded, a provocative product of executive manipulation and a recipe for crisis, which should not be allowed to stand.
“With the verdict, the Supreme Court executed a coup against the PDP and the people of Imo State as well as other Nigerians, and such must not be allowed to have a place in our democracy”.
Querying the validity of the judgment, the party pointed out that the 127,209 votes added to the votes of the APC candidate, Hope Uzodinma by the apex court could not be justified.
Secondus said the added votes to the APC candidate shot the total votes cast at the election above the number of accredited voters, as contained in the record of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
According to him, while the INEC figure of accredited voters stood at 823,743, the apex court, through its judgment, shot the number to 950,952, which the party said was in excess of accredited voters in the election.
The party also queried the allotment of the entire votes in the disputed 388 polling units, saying that going by INEC records, election did not take place in those polling units as a result of violence and other disruptive activities on Election Day.
“The so-called results from the 388 polling units were rightfully rejected, in line with several decisions of the Supreme Court, by the Tribunal and Court of Appeal as it was merely dumped on the tribunal in a Ghana Must Go bag, by a policeman who had no mandate of the police to testify at the tribunal.
“The tribunal did not even open the Ghana Must Go bags as there was no basis to do so. It is one of the great wonders of the world how the Supreme Court opened the bag, counted the results and added them to only the APC candidate.
“What is more perplexing is the fact that INEC produced a schedule of reasons why results were not produced from the 388 units.
“Indeed, election did not even take place in most of the units for one reason or another, like violence, etc, and so, no result could possibly be obtained from those units. The results were not merely rejected or cancelled by INEC.
“None of the candidates or their counsel, except perhaps APC, as we speak, are aware of the number of votes scored by each party from the 388 polling units. The Tribunal or Court of Appeal did not mention or ascribe any figure from the units to any party in their decisions.
“In fact, in the cross examination of the APC candidate, Sen. Hope Uzodinma, he could not read any figure from the ‘Oluwole’ results. He said that the figures were not clear. And so it beats our imagination where the Supreme Court conjured and manufactured the figures it used in declaring Uzodinma/APC as duly elected”, Secondus added.
The party raised questions as to the propriety of the apex court to formulate and allocate votes as election results where such votes were not certified by INEC as required by law.
Knocking the apex court further, Secondus said, “The fact is that, the Supreme Court, as presently constituted under Justice Tanko, has lost its credibility and no longer commands the respect and confidence of Nigerians.
“If the people no longer repose confidence in the Supreme Court, then our democracy, national cohesion and stability are at great risk.
“The constitution of the panel that heard the appeal itself was a product of drama. The panel was changed three times and any judge that showed signs of not agreeing to murder democracy, in this case, was promptly removed by the CJN.
The result had to be unanimous to satisfy the script of rationality.
“But can any judge who sat on that panel go home and sleep well? Can any judge who sat on that panel face his Creator and swear that impartial justice was done? We think not.
“We had intelligence before the verdict on the Imo governorship that the hierarchy of APC had decided that they must use the Supreme Court to capture the states won and controlled by the PDP such as Imo, Sokoto, Bauchi, Adamawa and Benue.
“Can the PDP rightly trust the impartiality and independence of the panel headed by Justice Tanko Mohammed, the CJN, to adjudicate on the remaining cases involving the PDP like Kano, Sokoto, Benue, Bauchi, Adamawa, Plateau and others?
“Is the same fate awaiting the governors of these states that are controlled by the PDP and other states like Kano where the PDP clearly won and was robbed?
“Should Justice Tanko Mohammed and his colleagues on the Imo Governorship Panel not recuse themselves from the remaining cases involving PDP?
“The PDP firmly holds that if the flawed judgment of the Supreme Court on Imo governorship election is allowed to stand, it would be a recipe for anarchy, chaos and constitutional crisis not only in Imo state but in the entire country.
“Our party has it in good authority that Justice Tanko and his panel are working on instruction from certain forces in the Presidency to use the Supreme Court to take over states lawfully won by the PDP and award them to the APC.
“The PDP, therefore, advises Justice Tanko not to allow himself to be used to push our nation to the path of anarchy and constitutional crisis as any further attempt to subvert justice in the pending petitions on Sokoto, Bauchi, Benue, Adamawa as well as Kano and Plateau states will be firmly and vehemently resisted.
“In other to avoid an imminent breakdown of law and order, the PDP demands that Justice Tanko Mohammed immediately steps down as CJN and chairman of the National Judicial Council as Nigerians have lost confidence in him and a Supreme Court under his leadership.
“Justice Tanko must not head the panel to determine the remaining election petitions before the Supreme Court”, the PDP added.
Bandits Kill 29 In Zamfara
No fewer than 29 people were feared killed by bandits in Babban Rafi village of Gummi Local Government Area of Zamfara State.
An eye witness and an indigene of the village, Malam Musa Ibrahim, who escaped being killed, told our reporter on the telephone that the bandits arrived at the village on the early hours of Tuesday on motorbikes, carrying AK-47 rifles.
According to him, immediately they arrived at the village, they began to shoot sporadically and killed many people, while others scampered for safety.
Musa explained that the bandits later pursued those who ran away and killed some of them.
He said, “I was one of those who ran into the bush. I managed to escape because I was able to climb a tree where I could not be seen.”
He maintained that the bandits also carted away with many animals and foodstuffs when they discovered that there was nobody left in the village.
Musa explained that the villagers buried 21 bodies after the attack, while eight bodies were left on the ground as they were strangers.
“We buried 21 bodies because they were natives of the village but we left the other eight corpses because they were strangers who came from Niger State.”
Musa further told our reporter that the figure of those killed could be more than 29 as “many people were still missing and have not returned to the village two days after the incidence.”
Musa stated that the villagers informed the police and the Emir of Gummi of the unfortunate incident.
However, the state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Mohammed Shehu, said only 14 people were killed in the village.
In a signed statement the PPRO said, “Zamfara State Police Command has confirmed the killing of fourteen (14) people following an attack on the remote village of Babban Rafi in Gummi LGA near Danko in Kebbi State.
“The attack occurred on the 15th of January, 2020 where a large number of armed bandits suspected to have come from neighbouring Kebbi State stormed the village in the night and started shooting sporadically, a situation that resulted to the death of 14 people.
“Combined teams of PMF/CTU/FSARS attached to “Operation Puff Adder” in conjunction with men from “Operation Hadarin Daji” mobilized to the area with a view to trailing the perpetrators for arrest and to also avoid further attack on neighbouring villages,” the statement read.
Buhari Vows To End Girl-Child Marriage, Reduce Out-Of-School Children
President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, disclosed that the Federal Government would sustain the on-going efforts to end child marriage and improve girl-child education in the country.
Buhari also said it was the collective duty of all to ensure that mothers of today and tomorrow are educated, encouraged and empowered.
He made the remarks during the commissioning of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs Headquarters in Abuja, and was contained in a statement signed by his spokesman, Femi Adesina.
According to Buhari, ‘‘Our quest is to ensure that concerns of women, children, and other vulnerable citizens are given prominence and ultimately addressed.
“A key priority of our government is the development and implementation of social inclusion and economic sustenance policies. Our determination is to ensure that economic growth and prosperity are felt by as wide a circle as possible.
‘‘In particular, we are laying great emphasis on the education of the girl– child. The high level of young girls who are out of school or unable to complete school due to socio-economic pressures is disturbing and must be addressed.
‘‘The launch of the National Strategy to End Child Marriage, 2016 – 2021 has been the first critical step towards increasing children’s access to quality all-round education and enhancing the retention of the girl-child in our schools.’’
Buhari enjoined the ministry to continue to champion and coordinate all matters relating to the plight of Nigerian women and the most vulnerable citizens.
He assured Nigerian women of his continued support and determination to see that the ministry delivers on this mandate.
The president commended the ministry and other relevant government agencies for positive contributions in reducing human trafficking incidents and maternal mortality.
‘‘I expect this ministry to maintain its lead coordinating role on these, and other women’s related matters working with state governments as well as our regional and international partners,’’ he said.
He said that the quest for the administration was to make sure that women and children were given prominence, adding that he was determined to ensure that they feel economic growth and prosperity of his government.
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