The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has assured the public of adequate supply of petroleum products during the Easter celebration even as residents of Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, and its environs are currently experiencing fuel scarcity as long queues have returned to filling stations.
The Group Managing Director of the corporation, MrMaikantiBaru gave the assurance yesterday in Enugu at the ongoing 30th Enugu International Trade Fair.
Baru said that the NNPC would provide petroleum products to all parts of the country.
He said that no fewer than 55 depots across the country were fully stocked with petroleum products, including Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).
“To make the Easter holidays pleasurable, the NNPC has put all the necessary arrangements in place to berth two vessels of 50 million litres of petrol daily.He said: “I am delighted to inform you that NNPC has ensured that all the nook and crannies of the country are kept wet with Petroleum products. As I speak, on fewer than 55 depots across the country are fully stocked with petroleum products including premium motor spirit otherwise called petrol. These depots include 23 in Lagos, seven in Port Harcourt, 11 in Warrior, 6 in Calabar and 8 in Kaduna.
“Also to make the Easter holiday that is fast approaching pleasurable, NNPC has put all the necessary arrangements in place to berth two vessels of 50million litres of petrol daily.
Baru who was represented by AniboKragha, NPC Chief Operating Officer, Refineries and Petrol Chemicals cautioned depot owners or terminal operators against selling petrol above the official ex-depot price of N133.28 noting that price of petrol remains N145 per litre in the country.
“Any station which sells the product above the regulated price should be reported to the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the Industry regulator or to any law enforcement agency,” he urged.
“I caution depot owners or terminal operators against selling petrol above the official ex-depot price of N133.28k per litre.
“Consumers of the product should be informed that the price of petrol in the country remains N145 per litre,” he said.
Baru warned that any station that sold the product above the regulated price would be reported to the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
Motorists in Port Harcourt are made to spend several hours on the queues before buying petrolsince Monday this week.
The scarcity has led to less traffic on the road, making school children and other passengers to face serious difficulties going about their businesses.
Motorists who could not wait patiently for their turns now patronised black-marketers, buying petrol at N250 per litre while some filling station have begun to sell the product at N150 and above using hand calculators.
The cost of transportation within the city had also risen due to the situation.
A N150 taxi fare for some destinations went up to N300 while bus charges for a distance which used to be N50 is now N100.
A commercial bus driver, Levi Okorie, said that the government should not allow the situation to linger for a long time.
Jacob Nze, a taxi driver, said that the difficulties faced by the citizenry during petrol scarcity period are indescribable.
“Government should do something quickly; this is having negative effects on all of us,” he said.
Also speaking, another commercial driver, Isaiah Jaja, said that the situation would affect productivity in places of work.
There are reports that the current scarcity is caused by non-importation of products due to the government’s failure to remit funds.
As of 10am yesterday morning, most of the filling stations were still locked up as the owners refused to sell, hoping that the scarcity would force an increase in the pump price of petrol.
At the Karibi filling station on Iwofe Road in the Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, fuel was sold at the normal price as the queue continued to build up.
A commercial tricycle rider, who identified himself simply as James, told our correspondent that the scarcity was as a result of the rumour that the depot in Port Harcourt was no longer distributing fuel.
“Immediately the rumour got to these fuel dealers, they began to close their filling stations. The few ones that opened did not believe the rumour. That is what is causing this scarcity,” James stated.
When contacted, the Media Officer, Port Harcourt Refining and Petrochemical Company, IkennaOkpani, said he was not aware of any fuel scarcity, adding that there was no reason for dealers to close their fuel stations.
“I am not aware that there is any fuel scarcity. There is no reason for such because from our end here, we are producing,” Okpani said.
CAS Lauds Troops For Exceptional Performance In South-East Operation
Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar, has lauded Nigerian Air Force (NAF) troops for exceptional performance in ongoing Joint Task Force in the South-East code-named “Operation Udo Ka II”.
Abubakar said this yesterday in Enugu during his maiden visit and tour of operational and training assets and facilities within NAF Ground Training Command (GTC), Enugu.
He noted that NAF troops had done exceptionally well and recorded series of success in the joint operation meant to keep the South-East safe and secured for all.
The CAS noted that the GTC Command was highly important to NAF as it housed the ground component (non technical component) as well as a unit of air component necessary to ensure the attainment of the mandate of NAF.
He said: “Today, we are in Enugu, which is the host of the GTC Command in our maiden visit and we are here to interact with the NAF personnel, see the facilities and infrastructure on ground.
“We are also here to encourage the personnel to continue to do the good job they had been doing before now.
“The GTC Command and the Air Training Command are key to all of our activities in NAF and the two commands ensure we have the adequate and skilled manpower for all our activities and operations.
“I am also here to strengthen our activities within Operation Udo Ka II, which Enugu is the headquarters, and see how we can achieve greater successes more than what we are having now and ensure that South-East is totally secured.”
He disclosed that 750 personnel were currently undergoing training and would be graduating between December 2023 and January, 2024.
“These training are important to us in terms of our operation; and the current number is very significant amount of manpower to be injected into our operations and other activities in the country,” he said.
On the inspection in the new GTC Command Headquarters, new 553 Base Services Group (BSG) Headquarters and BSG Annex; Abubakar said that he was quite satisfied and impressed with the pace, level and quality of work done already.
“I have taken out time to inspect the projects and asked questions about the projects and I tell you that I am satisfied with what are on ground and all our assets and facilities are well maintained and protected,” he said.
The NAF boss commended NAF officers, airmen and airwomen in GTC Command for “doing a good job and keeping the flag flying high” as well as extolled their sacrifices and commitment to duties as well.
“I am very happy for their performance. We at the NAF headquarters, we are doing all we can to make sure they have all the necessary support and equipment as well as welfare and accommodation to carry out their jobs effectively,” he said.
He assured NAF personnel of doing more by providing all necessary infrastructures to ensure the maximum working of the GTC Command.
The CAS also inaugurated a renovated airmen’s club and new Mrs Rakiya Abubakar Children’s Park as well as inspected the water treatment and reticulation system and the hospital within NAF Base, Abakpa in Enugu.
UNIBADAN Lecturer Wins Best Thesis Dollar Prize
The Institute of African and Diaspora Studies (IADS), University of Lagos, has announced Dr Muhammad Ribadu as winner of this year’s Rahamon Bello Best Ph.D thesis in African Studies award.
The Director of the institute, Prof. Muyiwa Falaiye, made the announcement in a statement issued to newsmen yesterday in Lagos.
Ribadu, of the University of Ibadan, will be rewarded with a total of 1000 dollars, a plaque and a certificate.
Falaiye said a total of 18 entries for the 4th edition of competition were received from various universities in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa
He gave the title of the winning thesis as: The Social Context of Gentrification in Lagos State; Ph.D (Jan. 2023) Department of Sociology, University of Ibadan.
“The first runner up for this competition was Oluwaseyi Popogbe, currently a lecturer at the Department of Economics, Crawford University in Ogun.
“The title of his thesis is: Social Exclusion and Poverty in Selected Coastal Slum Areas in Lagos State; Ph.D (Dec. 2022) Department of Economics University of Lagos.
“The second runner up position went to Dr Charles Akwen, currently a lecturer at the Department of English, University of Lagos.
“Akwen’s thesis is titled: Notions of Identity in the Literary Creativity of Odia Ofeimun and Yang Mu; Ph.D (Dec. 2022) English Literature, University of Lagos,” the director stated.
He said that both the first and second runners up would be awarded plaques and certificates in recognition of their contributions and hard work.
Falaiye noted that the competition was in honour of Prof. Rahamon Bello, who was the 10th Vice Chancellor of the university, at the time the institute was inaugurated.
The prize money is usually donated every year for the award by friends of Prof. Bello.
Falaiye said that Dec, 6, had been fixed for the presentation of the awards.
The Tide source reports that the award was first presented in 2020.
States, LGs Lack Infrastructure To Manage Ecological Fund, Shun Queries – Perm Sec
The 36 states of the federation and the 774 local government councils have no structure in place to manage Ecological Fund.
The declaration was made in Abuja, yesterday, by the Permanent Secretary, Ecological Project Office, Malam Shehu Ibrahim.
Ibrahim made the declaration at an interactive session with the House Representatives Committee on Ecological Fund.
He said since states and local governments began to share the fund with the Federal Government they had not been able to put structures in place to manage their share.
The Ecological Fund is an intervention fund by the Federal Government to address the multifarious ecological challenges in various communities in the country.
Ibrahim told the house committee that the sharing of the fund among the three tiers of government followed a court decision.
He said governors and local council chairmen never welcomed queries about how they deployed the ecological funds.
“It is a `no-go’ area,’’ he quipped.
“They don’t want to see officials of the Ecological Project Office near them; so we cannot ask them how they spend the money,’’ he added.
Ibrahim said also that all motions by the National Assembly regarding intervention on ecological project matters had been treated.
“The Ecological Project Office acts expeditiously on documents sent to it to solve problems; it looks at some of the gaps within the motion and tries to fill the gaps, and we have had more than five of such motions.
“ The Ecological Project Office does not handle funds; it only appraises projects and makes recommendations to the president,’’ he said.
The permanent secretary explained that it is the Ministry of Finance that manages the fund and the projects.
He stressed that it was a misconception that the Ecological Project Office is in charge of funds and at liberty to decide on where projects would be sited with the money in its coffers.
He said whenever there were interventions; the Ecological Project Office informed affected communities and went with the contractor to hand over the projects to the community.
This is to enable the community to take ownership of the intervention and communicate their observations to the project office.
Responding, Rep. Sani Jaji (APC-Kaura Namoda/ Birnin Magaji), chairman of the committee, said there should always be stakeholders engagement before embarking on ecological fund intervention projects.
He noted that the projects were stakeholders’ projects and failure to include the stakeholders would always lead to security breach.
“So many things happened with UNICEF’s polio vaccine rejection; but when it included stakeholders, people began to accept the vaccine.
“It is critical to involve stakeholders and ensure equity. Security cannot be the reason why you won’t execute projects in certain parts of the country.
“The perception about your office is that there is money out there; so you need to change that perception and let people know that you have limitations about the execution of projects,’’ he said.
Jaji challenged the Ecological Fund Project Office to provide the needed advice to the president to enable him to take the correct steps.
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