A Federal High Court in Lagos
has discharged six men allegedly found in possession of three boats and 800 empty jerry cans on a Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) pipeline at Atlas Cove in Apapa in 2013.
The accused persons are Terry Towei, 20; Luke Etowei, 22; Isaac Ebezhe, 21; Gbatomiwi Isepe, 45; Owei Ebiwei, 25; and Precious Osuwo, 24.
They were charged before Justice Mohammed Yunusa on a two-count charge of conspiracy and illegal possession of materials on the right way of the NNPC.
Yunusa discharged the six men based on the request made by the counsel to the accused, Mr Seliwei Baidi.
Baidi told the court that the case had suffered several adjournments because the prosecutor and his witnesses had not been coming to court. He said that the accused were first arraigned on Nov. 15, 2013. According to him, they pleaded not guilty and were remanded in prison custody.
Baidi said the prosecutor only appeared twice in court and the accused had been in prison custody since they were first arraigned.
He said the prosecutor and the witnesses had since Jan. 30 abandoned the case which had suffered several adjournments. Baidi urged the court to strike out the case for want of diligent prosecution, citing Section 36 (5), (1) of the 1999 Constitution and Section 280 of the Criminal Procedure Act, Laws of the Federation.
According to him, these sections allow the court to dismiss the case, if the court deems it credible.
“I urge this court to dismiss this charge so that these men will join their families they left several months ago. “This court is not a dumping ground where cases will be brought and left unattended to.
“Whenever the prosecution is ready they can come back and begin the case afresh, but for now let these men enjoy their freedom,’’ Baidi ruled.
The judge consequently discharged the case. He said that the prosecution had refused to appear in court without an explanation.
The prosecutor, DSP Matthew Omosun, had on Nov. 15, 2013 told the court that the accused committed the offences on Aug. 18 at Atlas Cove, Apapa, Lagos. He alleged that the accused were found in possession of empty jerry cans, three wooden boats and rubber hoses.
Omosun said the offences contravened Sections 1 (19) and 3 (6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act 2004.
NNPC, UTM Seal Deal On First Indigenous Floating LNG Project
Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and UTM Offshore have signed a Heads of Terms (HoT) agreement for the construction of the nation’s first indigenous floating LNG project.
The agreement, described as a major step towards bolstering Nigeria’s energy security and promoting the utilisation of its abundant gas resources, was signed on July 20, in Abuja.
It covers the 1.5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) floating LNG project which is seen as a “must-do” initiative for Nigeria.
Signing the agreement, NNPC’s Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO), Mele Kyari, expressed the company’s readiness to secure gas feedstock towards the project.
Group Managing Director UTM Offshore Ltd., Julius Rone, who described the deal as a milestone achievement, said it showcased the capability of indigenous companies to collaborate with world-class energy conglomerates to drive growth in Nigeria’s energy sector.
Rome further explained that apart from significantly cutting down on gas flaring and supporting the country’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions, the project would also create over 7,000 job opportunities, contributing to the nation’s economic growth and development.
For this project, UTM Offshore awarded the contract for the conceptual design service to JGC Corporation back in 2021.
It would be recalled that in late 2022, the consortium of JGC and Technip Energies secured the front-end engineering and design (FEED) contract.
The project was also supported by $5 billion from the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank).
Earlier this year, however, NNPC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Norwegian Golar LNG, an owner and operator of marine LNG infrastructure, to build a floating LNG plant in Nigeria.
‘NNPC Spent N15b To Reconstruct Lagos-Badagry Expressway’
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd.) has disbursed N15 billion for the reconstruction of the Lagos Badagry Expressway under the Federal Government Road Infrastructure Tax Credit (RITC) Scheme.
The N15 billion represents a 100 per cent payment of the funding of the Lagos-Badagry Road rehabilitation under the tax credit funding of the NNPC Ltd.
Group Chief Executive, NNPC, Mr Mele Kyari, made this known when he led NNPC’s management team with some top government officials to inspect the ongoing rehabilitation and expansion of Lagos-Badagry Expressway (Agbara Junction-Nigeria/Benin Border).
The road under rehabilitation is being funded by the NNPC Ltd. under the Federal Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme.
The execution of the scheme is being carried out in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing as the supervisor and Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) for NNPC’s tax obligations deductions.
This is in response to address the plight faced by petroleum products marketers in transportation which affects nationwide distribution.
Kyari said the fund disbursed was part of the N621.24 billion earmarked for the reconstruction of 21 roads nationwide under the scheme.
He expressed satisfaction over the stage of the road development.
“We are covering 1,804.6mkm across the country and taking another set of over a trillion naira investment on infrastructure in Nigeria, believing that with the tax credit system which Mr President has put in place, very soon there will be massive change.
“NNPC as the enabler will consider from its cash flow and fund whatever FIRS and Ministry of works approve for the company”, he said.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, represented by the Director, Highways, Roads and Rehabilitation of the Ministry, Mr Folorunsho Esan, said the intervention of the NNPC sped up the reconstruction of the expressway.
Esan said the project was 40 per cent completed.
“In the next 12 months we should be able to deliver this project because the drainages are in place, just for earth works and pavement works, it cannot take us more than 12 months,” he said.
Speaking on the gridlock being caused by the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway project, he said the contractor would clear all impediments and move out of site by December 15 to make the highway free for Yuletide.
Oil Marketers Urge Buhari To Crash Diesel Price
Petroleum marketers under the platform of Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association of Nigeria (NOGASA) rose from their 2nd National Executive Council (NEC) meeting last week, within a plea to President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to make dollars available at official rate to oil marketers.
This, they said, will enable them import diesel, end petrol scarcity, and ultimately save the Nigerian economy from sinking, saying that dollar support should be available till Dangote Refinery comes on stream later in the year.
The association, among others, urged the National Assembly to immediately enact a Bill for the establishment of Energy Bank for easy transaction in petroleum products in the sector.
National President of the Association, Mr Benneth Korie, who briefed the media after the NEC meeting in Abuja, noted that the bulk of the operational challenge peppering marketers and depot owners spring from expensive diesel which hovers around N850/litre.
While thanking President Muhammadu Buhari for approving a higher bridging cost payment to transporters, Korie said the operators’ challenges were far from over as oil marketers and depot owners spend about N20 million weekly on diesel to power their operations, thus eroding their profits.
The association urges the National Assembly to review the policy of taxation as it affects petroleum products supply and distribution chain.
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