The Chairman of the South-South chapter of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Heavy Duty Trucks Unit, Mohammed Uwarigiwa, has raised an alarm over what he described as strange task force that operate and harass truck drivers in the night at the major entry and exit routes in Rivers State.
The NURTW officials made the complaint in Port Harcourt during a stakeholders’ meeting organised by the Rivers State Commissioner for Transport, Sam Soni Ejekwu, recently.
He alleged that the task force operatives used to ambush truck drivers on the road, demanding various permits and documents for which they make huge cash demands, up to N10,000 to N20,000.
He added that those who refused were sometimes brutally assaulted and their vehicles damaged.
According to him, “we are ready to cooperate with the state government to achieve its objective in the transport sector. But we have some challenges. From Eleme junction to Oyigbo Imo River, something is happening there; our drivers are everyday complaining, some drivers, their truck windscreen are broken. They beat and kill our drivers in that Imo River.
They are collecting monthly subvention which the state government ought to look into. So, before our drivers will cross the Imo River bridge at Oyigbo, they will spend as much as N35,000. Different types of illegal levies are going on there. So, all these receipts we have here, we want to know if Rivers State government is aware of it, some will collect N6,000, N7,000, N10,000 by force without any receipt, just by force. We brought this to the notice of the Hon Commissioner because we believe he can solve the problem”, the chairman said.
In his response, Hon Ejekwu said he was aware of the illegality going on at Oyigbo Imo Bridges, assuring that the ministry would investigate and come out with a better solution to the matter within one week.
According to him, “we will find out those that are issuing the receipts, we will interface with them and we will ensure that proper things are done so that your members will go about their business without further molestation”.
Nigeria To Take Favourable Positions At OPEC+Meeting
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, says Nigeria will take positions that will favour its economic forecast at the upcoming OPEC+Meeting .
Sylva gave the assurance in a statement he signed in Abuja, yesterday.
“As Minister of State for Petroleum, I will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on our and the global, economy.
“In our consultations with global industry stakeholders in the lead up to the OPEC+ meeting scheduled for April 9, the Nigerian Government will take a position that is in the best interest of our short term and long term economic forecast,” he said.
He assured Nigerians and International communities that the county was watching developments in the oil and gas industry with keen interest.
Specifically, Nigeria is very mindful and appreciative of the role of Saudi Arabia and other members of the OPEC family,” he added.
Sylva noted that Nigeria had always collaborated with key OPEC members such as Saudi Arabia in maintaining a balanced position that had helped to make OPEC one of the most successful global institutions in recent history.
According to him, Nigeria intends to maintain this team spirit even as it takes into account the position of OPEC strategic allies such as Russia.
“As always, the driving force of our OPEC policy is first the stability of our national economy as well as the stability of the global economy which is heavily dependent on OPEC and it’s strategic partners, popularly referred to as OPEC+.
“Nigeria, like the rest of the world, has been hit by the Global Pandemic COVID-19 and is prepared to join the rest of the world in making the necessary sacrifices needed to stabilize the crude oil market; and to prevent what is likely to be a major global economic meltdown,” he said.
The Tide reports that the virtual meeting, which was called by Saudi Arabia, comes after President Donald Trump suggested that massive production cuts could be on the way and Saudi Arabia called for an “urgent” effort to restore “balance” to the oil market.
Saudi Arabia last Thursday called for an emergency meeting of the OPEC and non-OPEC producers including Russia, saying it aimed to reach a fair agreement to stabilise oil markets that have crashed on the demand impact from the coronavirus pandemic.
Prices have also been crushed after Saudi Arabia and Russia failed to agree on output curbs in March.
FG To Back Integration Of Artisanal Refineries
The Federal Government says it will cooperate and support the integration and operations of artisanal refineries to reduce crude oil theft, lime fuel import and enhance revenue generation.
This was disclosed in a communiqué released at the end of the consultative meeting between the office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs and Lead federal government team in the oil sector.
The communique which was made available to The Tide on Sunday said that after a review of NNPC’s report on the inability of Nigerian three refineries to operate and NEITI’s report on crude oil theft and revenue loss, it was imperative for government to integrate artisanal refineries for economic growth and development
It noted that the integration would be subject to technical appraisal of each artisanal facility and upgrading to guarantee safety, technical quality of products, namely, petrol, diesel, kerosene and other products as well as environmental standards and protection.
“The Federal Government through the NNPC and other Agencies shall cooperate and support the integration and operations of Artisanal Refineries.
“That as a model, the Federal Government directs that operators may form themselves into cooperatives or business units, merge their operations and have a maximum of three sites per state where the NNPC may inspect, and proceed to support, encourage for the purpose of allocating products for refining,’’ it said.
According to the communiqué, government of the respective states will be brought on board on this matter and multi-sectoral Federal Government team will inspect each of the locations for the purpose of ascertaining their suitability.
It added that the PTDF and Federal University of Technology, Effurun, as well as the Department of Petroleum Engineering, Ahmadu Bello University, operating the modular refinery would provide and avail each of the model operators, technical expertise.
This, it said would be for the purpose of assuring safe operations as well as guaranteeing quality and standard of each product refined.
“The National Oil Spill Detection Response Agency (NOSDRA), Nigeria Environmental Standards Regulatory Agency (NESREA) and other environmental institutions shall monitor and certify the operation.
“NOSDRA and NESREA will arrest any operation not in consonance with environmental standard or in any manner prejudicial to the environment until rectified,’’ it said.
The communiqué further stated that the Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), HYPREP, NDDC, PTDF, NNPC shall pool funds together to perfect the operations of artisanal refiners and refineries
Electricity: Gas Shortage Stalls 10,362MW In Three Days
Gas shortage to thermal power plants stalled the generation of 10,362.5 megawatts of electricity, between April 2 and April 4, The Tide has learnt
The generation companies explained that gas shortage greatly hindered the production of electricity in thermal power plants.
Industry figures obtained by our correspondent in Abuja on Sunday showed that gas constraint stalled 3,393MW, 3,478MW and 3,491.5MW on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of April respectively.
It was further observed that gas shortage remained the highest constraint to power generation since the beginning of April.
In the three days under review, the sector lost N7.87bn due to gas, transmission and distribution constraints.
The Association of Power Generation Companies (APGC), an umbrella body for electricity producers in Nigeria, said there had been a great hindrance to power generation from thermal plants as a result of gas shortage.
The APGC’s Executive Secretary, Joy Ogaji, said Gencos were willing to support the Federal Government, particularly during the current COVID-19 challenge, but stressed that gas shortage had been a big hindrance to the generation of electricity.
She said, “There is a shortage of gas supply for thermal generation companies. Thermal power from gas and steam turbines accounts for about 80 per cent of Nigeria’s power generation.”
According to the Gencos, gas suppliers demand upfront payment before they make gas available and the power generators cannot afford to meet this request given the liquidity issues in NESI.
“From the Gencos point of view, we are willing to invest to increase the capacity of our power plants and provide necessary investments to cater for maintenance and the repair,” Ogaji stated.
She also said, “Generation companies are willing to work with relevant stakeholders such as the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, two critical stakeholders with oversight over gas resources, to develop novel approaches in making gas available for generation companies.
“If answers to Gencos most pressing/pertinent questions (such as, can we be fully dispatched? Can we get gas and who is paying for the power?) can be sorted out; then, power supply issues of the nation will be a thing of the past.
“Gas and transmission (evacuation) are critical and urgent needs outside the control of the generation companies and for this, it calls for urgent government intervention.”
The power firms noted that apart from gas molecules and transmission, Gencos had other challenges which government was actively engaging to resolve.
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