The former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank, yesterday, described the silence of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government over the alleged $2.5billion stolen crude oil as evidence of complicity.
Documents recently unearthed showed how 48 million barrels of Nigeria’s Bonny Light Crude, valued at $2.5billion was allegedly stolen and sold in China by some officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in connivance with top functionaries of the Buhari’s government.
Frank, who made the assertion in a statement, said that the failure of the Presidency to condemn the heinous crime and act to bring the conspirators to book can only point to tacit support by the Federal Government.
He wondered why history seems to have repeated itself under Buhari as Minister of Petroleum Resources in the last five years.
He recalled the missing “53 suitcases saga in 1984 when Buhari was Military Head of State. Again, $2.8billion oil money disappeared in similar circumstances when Buhari was federal commissioner in charge of petroleum under the Olusegun Obasanjo regime in 1978.”
He added that now, another $2.5billion has again been allegedly stolen under the watchful eyes of Buhari as President in a democratic setting, “making it seems as if he has a penchant for missing money whenever he is in charge.”
The activist lamented that his earlier call on Buhari to sack, arrest and prosecute government officials responsible for the reprehensible act fell on deaf ears.
He insisted that the silence of Buhari and the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the NNPC, Mele Kyari, over the international embarrassment was a direct insult on Nigerians.
Frank vowed to mobilize both local and international mass protests against the Federal Government if it refuses to act, to ensure that “this crime against the Federal Republic of Nigeria, perpetuated by influential members of the present regime is not swept under the carpet as usual.”
Frank said: “It is almost a month since this international scandal against top officials of the present administration became public knowledge, yet, no action or reaction from the Federal Government as to seeking redress and sanction against perpetrators and their collaborators.”
He, however, called on the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), other labour unions and prominent civil society organisations to speak up against what he described as looting of the public treasury in the country.
“It is appalling to note that the Federal Government recently borrowed $3.4billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), yet it appears to see nothing wrong with a few officials pocketing $2.5billion stolen oil cash.
“Buhari, in his capacity as the ‘African Union (AU) anti-corruption champion’ cannot afford to keep quiet over this mind-boggling rape on the nation’s common patrimony, an organized criminal activity that has further ruined the reputation of the country in the comity of nations.
“Those who committed this daylight robbery must of necessity be brought to immediate justice so as to deter other criminally-minded appointees out to make the world believe that anywhere you turn under Buhari’s administration you see corruption.
“I dare say that Nigerians and future generations will not forgive Buhari and his cabal, if the humongous amount involved in this open plunder is allowed to go without lawful investigation, arrest, prosecution and appropriate punishment served on the perpetrators and their collaborators – including the full recovery of the amount now cooling in the pockets of few fraudulent officials.
“The Chinese Government cannot also afford to be silent on this continental malfeasance which appears to have been coordinated and consummated in their domain.
“They must also ensure that any of their officials found to have fraudulently aided the theft and sale of the $2.5billion Nigerian crude oil is made to face the law.
“I hereby call on Nigerians, wherever they are domiciled on the face of the earth, not only to condemn this brazen criminality but to demand urgent action from their elected representatives at all levels”, he added.
He urged them to organize mass demonstrations if the Federal Government neglects to act to recover the $2.5billion now fraudulently cornered by the officials entrusted with the exploitation and sale of the nation’s natural endowments – meant for the overall development and benefit of the masses of this country.
DPR Plans Maximum Economic Recovery Strategy For Oil, Gas Industry
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) says it is formulating a Maximum Economic Recovery (MER) strategy for Nigeria to attain maximum value delivery from its oil and gas resources.
The Director, DPR, Mr Sarki Auwalu, made the announcement during a keynote address at the 2021 Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Nigeria Annual International Conference and Exhibition (NAICE), yesterday, in Lagos.
The conference has as its theme, “The Future of Energy –A Trilogy of Determinants: Climate Change, Public Health, and the Global Oil Market.”
Auwalu said the industry initiative was one of the outcomes of the work of the National Oil and Gas Excellence Centre (NOGEC), Lagos inaugurated in January by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said, “Following an in-depth assessment of the status of the industry, the department identified the need to formulate the ‘Maximum Economic Recovery Strategy for Nigeria’.
“This is to guarantee the actualisation of sustainable resource optimisation and the economic benefits arising therefrom.
“The framework for this industry action plan outlines six pillars or building blocks.”
Auwalu said the pillars were: Reserves Maturation and Production Optimisation, Exploration and Resources Maturation, Improved Oil Recovery and Enhanced Oil Recovery, Implementation Asset Stewardship, Performance Evaluation and Rewards Risk Management.
According to him, the draft framework has been shared with the industry, including professional associations like the SPE and the National Association of Petroleum Explorationists.
He said this was in preparation for an industry collaborative workshop to co-develop and enunciate this strategy for immediate execution.
“We count on the contributions and buy-in of all stakeholders on this crucial national assignment for our overall benefit and industry sustainability,“he said.
Auwalu said Nigeria was rising to the occasion as the ‘trigger’ for continental growth and economic transformation using its oil and gas resources to drive value for national development.
He said the DPR would continue to foster innovative ideas and create opportunities for investments and sustainability in the industry.
Auwalu said, “As always, we are enthusiastic to collaborate with all relevant stakeholders, including the SPE, toward the realisation of government’s aspirations for the oil and gas sector.
“In our role as business enablers and opportunity providers, DPR will continue to promote efficiency to meet the needs of the industry, creating value, enhancing transparency, reducing barriers and transaction costs.”
Pensioners Urge PenCom To Implement Unpaid 15% Increment
Pensioners under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) have appealed to the National Pension Commission (PenCom) to implement their 15 and 33 per cent pension increment and other benefits.
The Contributory Pensioners Union of Nigeria (CPUN), South-West Zone, made the appeal,yesterday, during a peaceful protest held in Ibadan.
The CPUN President, Mr Joseph Idowu, while addressing newsmen said that PenCom has yet to implement the increment since 2007 and 2010 in spite of various promises.
Idowu said that their counterparts, under the Defined Benefit Scheme (DBS), had been enjoying the increment through the proactive stand of Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD).
“The new consequential adjustment in pension due to the latest increase in workers’ salaries and wages are also being enjoyed by pensioners under DBS, neglecting the CPS pensioners.
“No CPS pensioner has received any interest on their accrued benefits since 2007 till date.
“We require your urgent attention to ensure that arrears on this are calculated and paid at the Federal Government official rate, as at the time of retirement,” Idowu said.
The president said that his members were suffering as some of them collect as low as N3, 000 as their monthly pension which was not accepted.
Idowu also said that his members were not happy with the delay in the payment of their retirement benefits, which the commission now paid after one year of retirement, contrary to PRA Act 2004 (Amended).
He said that Section 16 (5) of PRA Act 2004 says pensioners should be paid not more than three months after retirement.
Idowu, however, commended the commission for prompt payment of their monthly pension, urging them to prioritise welfare of pensioners under the CPS.
Also, a member of the union, Mrs Clara Fumilayo, called on the Federal Government to assist the pensioners,
Fumilayo said that their monthly pension could no more buy any tangible things based on the situation in the country.
‘Only 29% Of Babies Breastfed Due To Reliance On Breast Milk Substitute’
A professor of Paediatric and Child Health, Alice Romoke-Nte, says the aggressive marketing of breast milk substitute by manufacturers was responsible for the gap in breastfeeding of children by mothers in Nigeria.
Nte, who is also the coordinator, Baby Friendly Initiative at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) said the advertising of these baby food weakens the confidence of the mothers and makes them feel that these breast milk substitutes are better off.
She said this has left only 29 percent of Nigerian babies breastfed as a result.
Nte said the UPTH, Rotary Clubs in Port Harcourt and other stakeholders were using this year’s World Breastfeeding Week to carry out aggressive campaigns to raise awareness for the need of exclusive breastfeeding.
She said the international code of marketing of breast milk substitutes would be included in steps to ensure full compliance of marketing these artificial body foods.
Rotary Clubs in Port Harcourt that joined in the rally yesterday morning for exclusive breastfeeding to mark the World Breastfeeding Week includes, Rotary Club of Port Harcourt Garden City, Top Health, Seaport, Eco, Atlantic City, and Golf Estate.
Others include, Rotary Club of Port Harcourt Gateway, City Valley, Passport, Creek View, Sky Waves, and Rotary Club of Port Harcourt.
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