Henceforth, one per cent of every contract awarded in the Nigerian oil and gas industry is to be paid into the Nigerian Content Development Fund (NCDF) in accordance with the Nigerian Content Act.
Mr Ernest Nwapa, the Acting Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Monitoring Board (NCMB), made the disclosure in Onne, near Port Harcourt, on Thursday, after inspecting the pipe threading yard of a private firm.
The Tide’s source reports that NCMB is an off-shoot of the Nigerian Content Bill recently assented into law by President Goodluck Jonathan.
The NNPC quoted Nwapa in a statement in Abuja on Friday as explaining that the NCDF would be deployed specifically for developing the capacity of Nigerian service providers in the oil and gas sector.
He said the fund would be managed by the board of NCMB and was different from the $350 million Local Content Fund which was put together by NNPC in 2007 to serve as a working capital for Nigerian companies that got service contracts in the industry.
Nwapa said: “In this case, you need to demonstrate the bankability of an investment and the board will begin to talk to you”.
“You are going to show a business plan and prove that the investment will be able to repay the loan”.
“The fund will not be managed by engineers or officials of the board. It will be managed by a proper fund manager with international best practices”.
“So, there is no question of utilising the fund for what it is not meant for.”
Nwapa said the vision of the NCMB was to grow the funds and use it to attract other financial players who would leverage on it such that Nigerian service providers would do business knowing that the fund was available for them to use.
He said the Nigerian Content Act was very robust as it was put together by legislators who understand the oil sector with inputs from members of the industry.
The chief executive called on Nigerian investors to take advantage of the immense opportunities which the Nigerian Content Act had created for them.
”Even if you create these opportunities and Nigerians do not take them, the board would not become manufacturers”.
“The board would only protect the rights of manufacturers, so Nigerians should take advantage of the law,” Nwapa said.
He also commended the management of Botro Marine & Oil Services, who he said took a risk to invest in the pipe threading yard in Onne in 2007 because of their confidence in the Nigerian Content Policy.
”This is the model we want to see because from cutting these threads, it is no longer in his hands.
“The next step would be how to think of manufacturing the pipes themselves because the time has come for us to do anything that can be done in Nigeria.
”Those machines are not made in Nigeria. The law allows you to bring machines from anywhere to work here and retain capacity in the country.
“It is important to our government and our people that we create opportunities for Nigerians to work here,” Nwapa said.
He said about 100 companies were operatiing at the Onne Free Trade Zone a few years ago, but the number had swelled to 150.
Nwapa said the government had the challenge to ensure that service providers at the Onne zone got jobs.
He said that with the Nigeria Content Act now operational, it was no longer at the discretion of officials to decide whether to give jobs to one or two companies.
”It is now law and they have a right to challenge anybody who does not give them jobs and rather takes it elsewhere outside Nigeria.
“President Goodluck Jonathan is bent on ensuring the successful implementation of the Nigerian Content Act.
“He did not keep that bill for more than two weeks before signing it into law and set up this board immediately.
“And, he has given us marching orders and already we have hit the ground running,” Nwapa said.
The source also reports that Nwapa, until this recent appointment, was the Group General Manager, Nigerian Content Division in NNPC.
NPC Warns Against Interfering With Pre Test Exercise
The National Population Commission, NPC, in Kwara State has cautioned stakeholders to refrain from undue interference in the second pre-test census exercise in the state.
The second pre-test census exercise is part of the preparations for the main census exercise billed to take place in May 2022.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the training of supervisors and enumerators for the exercise in Ilorin yesterday, the NPC Federal Commissioner for the state, Malam Abdulrazaq Gidado, also charged stakeholders to allow field functionaries to carry out their duties professionally for a good outcome.
The Federal Commissioner appealed to state and local governments concerned, traditional institutions, and communities to support the commission in carrying out the second pre-test census exercise by allowing unfettered access to facilities and places to be enumerated.
He said the pre-test exercise will be carried out in four local government areas of the state, namely, Kaiama, Ilorin South, Offa and Oke-Ero.
The Federal Commissioner explained that pre-test census exercise is usually conducted before the actual census and primarily aimed at testing the census methodology, questionnaires, data collection methods, and manual for fieldwork among others.
He assured Nigerians that all necessary steps have been taken to ensure that the commission’s field functionaries are properly kitted and trained to observe all Covid-19 protocols throughout the period of the exercise as prescribed by the Presidential Steering Committee, PSC, on Covid-19.
Man Jailed 15 Years For Stealing 16 Phones, Other Items In Adamawa
A man in Yola, the Adamawa State capital, has been sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for breaking into houses and stealing 16 phones and other items.
Abdulazeez Adamu, 22, from Nasarawo, Jimeta, was found guilty by Chief Magistrate Court 1, Jimeta, which established that he, along with two cohorts now at large, committed the offence at Bekaji, another residential community within the Jimeta axis of Yola.
The court established that Abdulazeez and the others, while armed with weapons, stole a TV set, an HP laptop, and 16 handsets valued at N734, 000 from a number of residents in their houses, namely Rebeccah Samuel, Rhoda Chiroma, Wedelo Pwamboki, Walia Hamman and Mary Zaro, all residents of Bekaji who jointly reported the thefts to the police on 11th November 2021.
The accused was said to have run out of luck during one of the operations with his cohorts in Karewa extension when they hit a security guard with a cutlass and injured him.
The guard, Muhammad Umar, raised alarm which attracted the occupants and his colleague who was on duty in a neighbouring house and who rushed to the scene, but by which time the convict and his accomplices had fled.
He was later trailed and arrested by vigilantes who were mobilised for the purpose.
During the trial, the prosecutor, Seargent Galeon Nimrod of the Karewa Police Division, called Umar as a witness.
The witness narrated his encounter with Abdulazeez who, under cross-examination, said the witness told the truth.
Consequently, Adamu was jailed for 15 years with the option of N150,000 fine for the offence of theft in a dwelling house and was sentenced to six months in prison without an option of fine for being in possession of dangerous weapons.
He is also to pay N500,000 as a compensation fee.
Reading out the verdict, Chief Magistrate Abdullahi Mohammed Digil said, “This court has sentenced you, Abdulazeez Adamu, to 15 years or you pay an alternative fine of N150, 000, for theft and also sentenced you to six months imprisonment for being in possession of dangerous weapons without an option of fine.”
JAMB Tasks Tertiary Institutions On CAPS
The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has warned against offering of admissions to applicants by higher institutions outside the Central Admission Processing System (CAPS).
JAMB said apart from distorting the statistics of enrollment into the nation’s tertiary institutions which it noted is required for national planning and development strategies, the conduct is also “a violation of ministerial directive on education policy.”
The JAMB registrar, Is-haq Oloyede, who said this on Tuesday at a stakeholders’ forum in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, noted that in spite of the constant warning against such conduct, Nigerian tertiary institutions offered a total of 706,189 ‘illegal’ admissions across universities, polytechnics, colleges of education and monotechnics between 2017 and 2020.
According to Oloyede, a total of 114 degree-awarding institutions including universities and colleges of education that are affiliated with them conducted 67,795 ‘illegal’ admissions within the period.
He added that a total of 137 National Diploma (ND) certificates awarding institutions such as polytechnics and school of health technologies offered a total of 142,818 ‘illegal’ admissions within the three-year period, while 37 institutions that are categorised as monotechnics offered 5,678 ‘illegal’ admissions.
The JAMB registrar said; “In 2017, the Board introduced the Central Admissions Processing System (CAPS) as a flowchart to ensure quality control, transparency and credibility of admissions. Among other reasons, it was also meant to completely eliminate human interference, which invariably led to abuse, in the processing of admissions into the nation’s tertiary institutions. The system allows institutions to only admit candidates that meet the requirements as prescribed by individual institutional proprietors and academic Boards/ Senates. The process entails: initiation of the admission of a candidate by the institutional admissions officer after having confirmed the satisfaction of the set criteria; recommendation of the candidate by the head of the institution; approval of the admission by JAMB; acceptance of the admission by the candidate; and printing of the admission letter by the candidate.
“All these are done without hassles or encumbrances. Any process outside this scheme is illegitimate and it renders the admission process null, void and ultra vires. It is rather disappointing that some institutions continue to defy this decision of the National Policy Meeting, ably chaired by the Honourable Minister of Education, that CAPS is the only platform for processing admissions to the tertiary institutions in Nigeria.”
According Mr Oloyede’s presentation, the top five universities with the highest number of ‘illegal’ admissions offered within the period are the Universities of Jos, Plateau State with 7,600 cases; Benue State University, Makurdi with 6,161 cases; Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago Iwoye, Ogun State, with 5,669 cases; Kwara State University, Malete with 4,281 cases and Novena University, Delta State with 3,432 cases.
Among the ND certificate awarding institutions, the Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin, topped the chart with a total of 45,471 cases within three years, and it is closely followed by Auchi Polytechnic, Edo State, with 37,828 cases and Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, with 30,856 cases within the same period.
Others are the Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Anambra State and the Federal Polytechnic, Nasarawa, Nasarawa State with 24,335 and 24,335 respectively.
Oloyede said apart from distorting the national statistics, candidates admitted through the irregular admission processes are made to go through difficult times in their efforts to climb the next rung of either their career or academic ladders.
“Sadly, this practice by our institutions has damaged the image of the country as statistics provided by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and similar agencies are rendered inaccurate by as high as 900 per cent in some cases. This distorts the statistics of the number of students in our tertiary institutions. JAMB is then made to supply radically different figures of entrants for the same year. In addition, misplaced pressure is annually mounted on JAMB to condone (or regularise) such illegal and improper admissions made three or four years earlier by the heads of institutions who in almost all the cases are not the incumbent ones.
“Another absurdity is that the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) for tertiary education which JAMB provides for the Federal Ministry of Education is fed into the global databank of tertiary institutions and Nigeria continues to publish a low GER record which is far from the reality on ground. Also, one of the unsavoury effects of the undisclosed admissions by tertiary institutions is that it makes planning difficult. As we all know, failure to plan is planning to fail and we cannot overemphasise the importance of proper planning.”
According to Oloyede, beneficiaries of such ‘illegal’ admissions upon graduation are made “victims of deprivations.”
“When the graduates of the illegitimate process need JAMB admission letters to pursue post-graduation endeavours like housemanship, scholarship, enrolment into the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), among others, they realise that they are out of sync. Some candidates had been forced in the past to seek Direct Entry into other universities after graduation just because their degrees were not recognised as a result of lack of admission letters at critical stages. The physical, psychological and mental strain on such candidates is better imagined than experienced. This could have been avoided if everyone played the game according to the rules,” Mr Oloyede added.
The JAMB registrar also expressed disappointment over what he described as massive fraud in the conduct of the two A Level entrance examinations in the country- Joint Universities Preliminary Examinations Board (JUPEB) and the Interim Joint Matriculation Board Examination (IJMBE).
“It is quite disappointing that some of our colleagues were arrested while conniving with various examination syndicates to compromise the noble objectives of these two examinations. The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Education (FME) conducted a sting operation the result of which is monumentally embarrassing,” he said.
As a way of finding a lasting solution to the challenge, JAMB said it has already proposed to the education minister, Adamu Adamu, the desire to establish both A-Level task team and A-Level Qualification Verification Databank, which he noted will serve as repository for verified A-level qualifications in the country.
Meanwhile, the examination body said it has approved the introduction of two more subjects in its examination to be added to the existing 23 subjects for possible combinations by candidates.
The addition of the two subjects- Computer Studies and Physical and Health Education, will “enhance the career prospects of students transiting to tertiary institutions.”
Oloyede said the subjects will be available for candidates taking the UTME examination in 2022.
JAMB said as part of efforts towards curbing some identified “unethical practices” by operators of the accredited computer based testing (CBT) centres, it has resolved to embed the centres’ approved N700 charges for registration purposes in its application form fees.
“These centres are allowed to collect only Seven Hundred Naira (N700.00) as registration charges but they use the opportunity to engage in conduct unbecoming, including extortion, during the exercise. In order to put a stop to such extortion, we propose to make UTME registration henceforth cashless. In other words, JAMB will now be collecting the approved N700.00 registration fee on behalf of the CBT Centres along with its UTME registration fees and then remit what is due to each registration centre to its bank account on a weekly basis or any time frame acceptable to the centre owners. This intervention will block all loopholes through which hapless candidates are extorted by unscrupulous service providers,” the JAMB registrar said.
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