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Senate Probes NNPC Over $396m Refinery Maintenance Fee …Urges Isolation Of Travellers From China, Others To Check Coronavirus

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The Senate has directed its Committees on Petroleum Resources to investigate the expenditure of over $396million on the Turnaround Maintenance (TAM) of the nation’s four refineries between 2013 and 2015.
This move followed a motion titled: “The moribund refineries in the country,” sponsored by Senator Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf, representing Taraba Central Senatorial District.
Yusuf, in his lead debate, noted that the country has four petroleum refineries with two located in Port Harcourt and one each in Kaduna and Warri, respectively.
He noted that the refineries were established to adequately supply and serve needs for Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK), Automotive Gas Oil (AGO), Low Pour Fuel Oil (LPFO), High Pour Fuel Oil (HPFO) and Aviation Turbine Kerosene (ATK) for both local consumption and exports.
He lamented that despite the alleged spending of $396million for TAM of the refineries between 2013 and 2015 there is no tangible result to show in terms of local production.
He insisted that the amounts being expended on TAM of the refineries in the last 25 years notwithstanding, Nigeria is still solely dependent on importation of petroleum products for domestic use.
He said that the country will likely slide into recession once again if the humongous amount for TAM is added to the huge ‘under recoveries’ presently being incurred by the NNPC in the importation of petroleum products, put at over N123.25billion.
“The country through NNPC has in the past 25 years spent billions of US dollars in Turnaround Maintenance of the refineries, the latest being over $396million spent between 2013 and 2015 without meaningful result,” Yusuf said.
He added that “the refineries have remained in moribund state in the last 15-20 years and is almost reaching total collapse due to lack of proposer maintenance of the facilities with a poor average capacity utilization hovering between 15 percent and 25 percent per annum.”
Senator Yusuf said “despite the huge spending on turn-around Maintenance of refineries, NNPC recently announced a cumulative loss of N123.25billion in 10 months (January to October, 2019), putting the total revenue of facilities at N68.82billion, while total expenses incurred was N192.1billion within the same period.”
He warned that “such huge wastage and slippages amidst the nation’s tight economy, if not addressed, may lead the country back to recession.”
“Such losses, when averted and combined with the huge expenditures in ‘under recovery’ on fuel pump price and properly channelled into full rehabilitation and construction of modern refineries, would positively impact on the economy and save the country from the embarrassment of importation of petroleum products and its ripple effect,” he said.
In his contribution, Senator Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun Central) said one of the challenges confronting the country is lack of maintenance culture.
He said it was not the first time attention was being drawn to the near collapse of the refineries in the country.
He urged his colleagues to do a thorough job during the investigation process.
“Oil should be a blessing to us but in Nigeria, it makes a lot of establishments lazy. We should be concern about it.
“The refineries are bad and people are now taking the crude outside the country and bringing back refined products to the country on exorbitant prices,” Amosun said.
In its resolutions mandated the Committee on Petroleum Downstream, Upstream and Gas to carry out a holistic investigation on the Turnaround Maintenance expenditures and the current state of the refineries as well as convoke stakeholders’ conference with the aim of finding ways to revamp them.
Meanwhile, worried by the recent outbreak of the deadly disease – Coronavirus in China, which has spread quickly to some other countries, the Senate, yesterday, advised the Federal Ministry of Aviation to immediately take steps to ensure that all persons arriving from China, especially Chinese citizens, be self-isolated for, at least, two weeks to ascertain their health status before mixing up with the public.
The Senate also extended the call for self-isolation to travellers from other countries that had recorded incidents of the infection.
The upper chamber also advised the Nigerians who intend to travel to Asian countries to put all arrangements on hold until the Coronavirus outbreak is eliminated.
The lawmakers further called on the Federal Government to allocate more funds to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to enable it be at its best to ensure the safety of the people.
These resolutions, among others, came sequel to the consideration of a motion titled: “Coronavirus Outbreak and Preventive Response Towards Stemming it’s Spread in Nigeria”, sponsored by Senator Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu North).
Utazi, in his presentation, explained that the virus was spread through the air by coughing or sneezing, close personal contact, touching a contaminated object or surface, and rarely by facial contamination.
He added that the human Coronavirus was previously reported to cause severe symptoms such as acute respiratory syndrome, following the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCov) outbreak that began in Wuhan, China.
Utazi recalled that in response to the outbreak of the killer virus, “China put millions of people in three of its cities on lockdown in an effort to contain a Coronavirus outbreak that has killed 170 and infected more than 7,000 persons.”
According to him, “Health officials fear the number of infected people will rise rapidly as hundreds of millions of Chinese people travel within China and abroad during the weeklong Lunar New Year which begin on Saturday.”
The lawmaker commended the efforts already being made by the Federal Ministry of Health through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in monitoring the outbreak of the respiratory tract infection caused by the Coronavirus.
According to him, the aviation regulatory agencies recently stepped up surveillance across operating airlines and international airports nationwide, as well as issued a travel advisory in a bid to contain any case of the Coronavirus pandemic.
In his contribution to the motion, Senator James Manager (Delta South), raised alarm that Nigeria and other countries are at risk of experiencing an outbreak given what he described as the uncontrolled influx of Chinese nationals from one country to another.
Manager, who likened the Coronavirus to the deadly Ebola virus, urged Nigerian authorities to rise to the occasion, warning that “almost all powerful countries in the world are already affected.”
In his remarks, Senator Jibrin Barau (Kano North), described the motion as a wake-up call for health officials across the country to deploy early preventive measures.
His words, “I was thinking whether our health officials are doing everything possible to prevent the coming of this disease into the country.
“This motion is a wake-up call to our health officials to deploy preventive measures.
“We should find a way to send a message through this motion to make sure the proper thing is done to a safeguard the health of citizens and the nation,” the lawmaker advised.
While the lawmakers advised Nigerians to maintain good personal hygiene by constantly washing their hands with water and soap or through the use of liquid sanitizers, they also urged Nigerians with any reported cases of likely infection or with symptoms similar to those associated with Coronavirus to visit hospitals for urgent health check.

 

By: Nneka Amaechi-Nnadi, Abuja

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Rivers’ll Ensure Safe, Secure Environment For Economic Growth -Wike .

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has said that his administration would continue to support security agencies in the state to ensure a safe and secure environment for the economic prosperity of citizens.
He said the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps, the Operation Sting and the revitalised C4i security outfits were set up to help provide security to stimulate growth and prosperity of all in Rivers State.
The governor spoke through the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Tammy Danagogo, at the 2021 Conference/Annual General meeting of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, Rivers State chapter, in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
“This administration has embarked on aggressive infrastructural development and a very deliberate urban renewal efforts around the capital to attract local and foreign investors to stimulate our economy.
“We have also opened up local governments through quality road networks. Upgrade of various social and recreational facilities in various local government areas,” he said.
He commended the state chapter of the NIPR for the choice of the theme of the conference: “Nigeria’s Security Situation: A Factor in Reputation and National Development”, adding that stakeholders must begin to act in a very different, drastic and positive strategy to remedy the already battered reputation of Nigeria.
He urged the NIPR to use its expertise and experience to thrive to galvanise and stimulate the populace and government at various levels for the resuscitation of citizens sense of pride and responsibility of whatever was left of the nation’s image and reputation.
“All hands must be on deck, especially reputation managers to call on government at all levels to begin to act in ways and manner that will help to revive the battered image of this country,” he added.
Welcoming guests and participants to the conference, the Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, who is also the state chairman of NIPR, commended the cordial relationship existing between the institute and the state government under the leadership of Governor Wike who is a honorary fellow of the institute.
“Governor Wike has been very supportive of all the activities of the Institute. That is what you also get from a visionary leader who has changed the landscape of Rivers State with infrastructure, with various developmental projects that touch the lives of the ordinary man,” he said.
Nsirim said the state chapter of NIPR was proud to associate with Governor Wike for the giant strides he has recorded and would continue to record until the end of his tenure in 2023.
“As a chapter that is responsive to the development of Nigeria, we have chosen the theme for this year’s conference as our own way of contributing to the national discourse,” he said.
He said the conference would produce a blueprint that would guide national discourse and urged participants to contribute robustly to the conversation.
“It is expected that the fallout of the conference will re-engineer national security and national development with the aim to put our country on the path of rapid growth,” he said.
In his speech, the President and Chairman of Governing Council of NIPR, Malam Mukhtar Sirajo, emphasised on the need for all Nigerians to collaborate to fight insecurity currently confronting the country’s economic and political stability.
He welcomed the theme of the conference, saying that it was coming at the time the institute had gotten sufficient worry about national security, peace and economic development.
In his keynote address, Dr. Ike Neliaku, chronicled the increasing violent crimes that had claimed thousands of lives in the various parts of Nigeria, and submitted that the rising insecurity situation in the country had impacted and would continue to impact negatively on corporate and national reputation.
He said the worrisome development would have concomitant consequence on individual and national development.
Chairman of the conference, Chief Felix Otuwarikpo, said the conference was put together to dissect the current carnage affecting the Nigerian nation.
“As an institute, we will leverage on the conference to proffer solutions to the security challenges affecting the nation,” he said.
The conference also featured the presentation of awards for good public relations and community development to some distinguished members and organisations.

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Church Of Nigeria Honours Wike, Sanwo-Olu, Akeredolu, Others

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The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has bestowed awards for exemplary leadership qualities in a challenging economy and dedication in the service of God and humanity on the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike; Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, and Ogun State Governor, Adedapo Abiodun.
Also honoured is the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof Emmanuel Abayomi, with an award for quality and equitable healthcare delivery.
The awardees were honoured at the standing committee meeting of the Church of Nigeria, at the Diocese of Lagos, Archbishop Adebola and Oluranti Ademowo Resource Centre, Faith Plaza, Bariga, Lagos State.
The Primate of All Nigeria Anglican Communion, the Most Rev. Henry Ndukuba, who conferred the awards on the recipients, said the political leaders were considered for the award for their outstanding role, courageous leadership, and standing firm in defense of Nigerians against insecurity, provision of basic infrastructure to the citizenry and the fight against Covid-19 pandemic.
Addressing the congregation on the state of the nation and the role of the church, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, admonished the leadership of the church to encourage its members to be part of the governance process in the country.
The governor noted that a situation whereby Christians leave governance for politicians alone is no longer obtainable.
According to Wike, the effect of bad leadership will also affect the church if they remain passive to the issue of governance.
“You must be part of choosing leadership. Don’t say you have no role, you have a role. When you don’t participate, bad leaders will emerge and when bad leadership emerges, you are part of it.
“You must encourage your people to be part of leadership. I didn’t go to any school to study leadership.
“So, nobody should say that as a Christian you cannot be a governor, no. The head of SUBEB in my state is a priest and you can see the leadership he has given to that agency today. You will feel proud about it. That used to be the most corrupt agency, but today it is headed by a priest and you can see the difference.”
Wike decried the inherent injustice that has characterised the Nigerian State, and urged the church to speak against socio-political issues adversely affecting the progress of the country.
“We say we are all one Nigeria. We went to World Bank to borrow money to do specific projects. One of the states that make up Nigeria I hear is Rivers State. And I also know in paying this money back to World Bank, money that comes from the resources of my state will be used in paying back this money. But my state was denied to have projects from that loan.”
The Rivers State governor said a situation where states depend on the Federal Government to survive can no longer be tenable, and insisted that states must be allowed to collect revenues such as Value Added Tax (VAT) to enable them improve the welfare of their people.
“You have gone to take loan and I am one of those states that will pay back those loan and you deny me to benefit from the projects that that money will be used for. I have no problem with that.
“Allow me the one (VAT) the Constitution says I am entitled to, let me collect that one and develop my state.”
He regretted that some governors in Nigeria have refused to think out of the box on how to boost economic activities in their states.
“There is flood in my state, it requires N200millon, I will go to Abuja to beg. Even as a governor, I will knee down before a DG of an agency of government. You will knee down for a director just because of N300million. That is the status of some of the governors of some states.”
In his remarks, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, commended the church for its support, and announced the waiver of N2billion for land acquired by the Church of Nigeria in Lagos State.
The governor stated that Nigeria and the rest of the world are going through difficult times amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, and used the occasion to canvass for mass vaccination of the citizens.
The Primate of All Nigeria Anglican Communion, the Most Rev. Henry Ndukuba, while speaking on the theme of the conference: “Abiding in Christ: God’s Panacea in an Unstable World”, lamented that Nigeria was fast becoming a land flowing with tears and blood because of the impact of terror, banditry, herdsman attacks on communities and kidnapping.
He said a situation in which communities that are predominantly Christians are targeted one after another in some parts of Kaduna State and North-Central of Nigeria was unacceptable.
“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to brand the bandits and herders attackers as terrorists and let them be treated as such.”
The Primate urged Nigerians to avail themselves the opportunity 2023 general election offer to exercise their right to choose new leaders.
He appealed to the Federal Government to urgently address the free fall in the value of the country’s currency because of the attendant impact on the store of value and confidence of investors.

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Rivers Begins Process To Check Flooding

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The Rivers State Government has said that it was working with relevant agencies to roll out the process that would check perennial flooding in the state.
The state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, disclosed this at a media briefing in Port Harcourt, last Wednesday.
Nsirim, therefore, called on those living and doing business in the state to play their part in line with the programme that would be executed by government to address the problem of flooding.
He frowned at the situation where residents of Port Harcourt had turned the drainage systems into refuse bins, and warned that “that is not what it should be.
“The present administration under Governor Nyesom Wike is desirous to make Rivers State a destination of choice and that is why the government has embarked on massive infrastructural development in line with its urban renewal programme.
“So, what is expected of those living and doing business in Rivers State now, is to co-operate with government to ensure that the urban renewal programme and the plan by government to make this state a destination of choice is realised,” he said.
He noted that the state government could not do it alone as it required the support of corporate organisations, civil society groups, religious organisations and the media to enlighten their publics on the need to behave as responsible citizens.
He called on the media to embark on massive enlightenment programmes along the line of the roles of citizens in checking flooding in the state.
“We believe that if the citizens cooperate with government, as government is out to ensure that everyone living and doing business in the state does so in a healthy environment, we believe that in the next few days or weeks we will find a solution to this (flooding),” he said.
Nsirim also announced the names of entrants selected for the essay competition on the title, “Our State Our Responsibility” introduced under the second phase of the #OurStateOurResponsibility advocacy campaign of the ministry launched at the beginning of this month.
He said those shortlisted were expected to be at the conference room of the ministry by 11am on Monday, September 27, 2021, for a physical test to ascertain their original ownership.
Those shortlisted are: Jessica Hart, Samuel William, Amarachi Chimezie, Jasper Dorcas, Jaja Tamunoimiegba Christian, Sophia Oyibo, Blessing Pepple, Anyiam kelechukwu, Deborah Adegbami, Gift Samuel, Okiche Golden, Okiche Miracle, Orovwigwo Deborah, Otuka Goodluck and Ziga Paago.

By: Beemene Taneh

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