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.
Again, RSG Begins Unveiling, Flag-Off Of Nine Key Projects, ’Morrow
The Rivers State Government has rolled out the drums to herald another phase of official commissioning of key projects embarked upon by the Governor Nyesom Wike-led administration in the state.
A statement by the state government said that the process is in continuation of the commissioning and flag-off of projects by Governor Nyesom Wike.
It indicated that Rumuola flyover would be commissioned tomorrow, while the GRA flyover would be commissioned on Saturday.
The also stated that the government would commission the Ezimgbu Road on Monday, December 13, 2021; with another commissioning of Tombia Road Extension scheduled for Tuesday, December 14, 2021.
The statement said that the governor would commission the Safe Home, Borikiri, Port Harcourt on Wednesday, December 15; while on Thursday, December 16, 2021, the governor would commission the Odokwu internal roads.
Also, the governor would continue the flag-off of key infrastructure projects with Chokocho-Igbodo Road slated for Monday, December 20, 2021; Oyigbo-Okoloma Road on Wednesday, December 22, 2021; and Magistrates’ Court Complex, Port Harcourt on Thursday, December 23, 2021.
$418m Paris Club Debt: Again, Court Stops FG From Deducting States’ Funds
A Federal High Court in Abuja, yesterday, refused to vacate its order restraining the Federal Government from deducting monies accruing to the 36 states from Federation Account to settle $418 million judgement debt in relation to Paris Club Refund.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, who declined to grant the plea by counsel to the defendants in the suit, adjourned the matter until December 13.
Ekwo held that since the order was made based on the plaintiffs’ motion on notice filed before the court, all pending applications would be taken on the next adjourned date.
The judge had, on November 5, made the order after counsel to the 36 state governments (plaintiffs), Jibrin Okutekpa, SAN, moved an ex-parte motion, seeking for an order of interim injunction, restraining the Federal Government from deducting any money accruing or due to all or any of the 36 states of the federation.
The court had also ruled that the restraining order would subsist pending the determination of the substantive suit.
While the 36 states Attorneys-General are the plaintiffs, some of the defendants listed in the suit include the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Accountant General of the Federation and Ministry of Finance.
Others are Central Bank of Nigeria, Debt Management Office, Federation Account Allocation Committee, Incorporated Trustees of Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), among others.
According to the motion dated and filed October 27, 43 defendants are sued in the matter.
At the resumed hearing, counsel to the plaintiffs, Okutekpa told the court that the matter was slated for hear.
He said he had two motions which he intended to move.
He told the court that though most of the defendants had responded by serving on them various applications, the 9th defendant (Dr Chris Asoluka, who does business under the name and style of NIPAL Consulting Network) had refused to receive their court processes.
“We have a motion ex-parte to serve the 9 defendant an originating process. The process dated December 6 was filed on December 6 and it is praying for an order of substituted service on the 9th defendant,” he said.
The judge then granted prayer one of the motion and ordered that the service be made on the 9th defendant within three days through pasting of the notice on his address.
The senior lawyer told the court that the second motion was an application praying the court for an extension of time to file and serve their counter affidavit and all other processes in response to the defendants’ applications.
Ekwo also granted prayer one of the motion and granted prayer two in part subject to the service of the motion on the two counsels who appeared for 15th, 16th, 10th and 11th defendants.
The two counsels had opposed the motion on the ground that they had not been served with the copy.
Okutekpa then asked for a date for hearing.
However, Oyin Koleoso, who appeared for the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 6th defendants (President of Nigeria, AGF, Ministry of Finance Incorporated and Debt Management Office), informed the court that a motion asking the court to vacate the earlier order made had been filed.
Wole Olanipekun, SAN, who appeared for the 14th defendant (Dr Ted Iseghohi-Edwards), also urged the court to set aside the order.
He argued that he made the plea based on the Supreme Court and Appeal Court decisions under which the judge took the application.
Olusola Oke, SAN, who is lawyer to 12th and 13th defendants (Riok Nigeria Ltd and Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu), also supported Olanipekun’s submission.
Oke, who told the court that his clients were affected by the order, urged the court to take their application seeking for the order to be vacated.
Orji Orizu, who appeared for himself in the suit as 18th defendant, backed Oke’s statement.
He argued that since an ex-parte motion lasts within 14 days, the lawyer prayed the court to discharge the order.
“That is what we are here for. A motion ex-parte is something done without the presence of the other parties and it Is the first thing the court ought to do before adjournment,” he added.
Idumodin Ogumu, who represented 15th and 16th defendants (Panic Alert Security Services Systems Ltd and Dr George Uboh), said he aligned himself with submissions of other counsel.
He argued that based on the rule of the court, the order granted by the court was deemed to have elapsed and no longer had effect.
However, counsel to the plaintiffs, Okutekpa, disagreed with the defence submission.
He referred the court to the order which its made.
The senior lawyer argued that it was an order of interim injunction restraining the Federal Government, acting through its agencies also joined in the suit, from deducting the plaintiffs’ monies pending the determination of the motion on notice.
He said the order was also made in compliance with the rule of the court.
“Your Lordship was aware of the rule when you were making the order.
“What I am saying now is that all we are doing now is a nullity because I am yet to serve the 9th defendant.
“This is not an application that your lordship should hurriedly take. Let other defendants be here so that it will not be taken piecemeal,” he enjoined.
After taking all the arguments, Ekwo noted that the restraining order was made subject to the motion on notice filed by the plaintiffs.
Wike To Launch Emblem Appeal Fund, Today
The Secretary to Rivers State Government, Dr. Tammy Danagogo has confirmed that the 2022 Emblem Appeal Fund Launch would now hold today.
Speaking during the Central Planning Committee meeting, yesterday, in Port Harcourt, the SSG who is also the Chairman of the Central Planning Committee, affirmed that Governor Nyesom Wike, would be the special guest of honour and chief host of the ceremony as he enjoined corporate organizations, philanthropists and free spirited individuals in the state to join hands in support of the veterans, widows and children of fallen heroes.
He said, “The Armed Forces Remembrance Day Ceremony will hold on January 15, 2022. In furtherance of this remembrance, it is the tradition to raise funds to support the legionnaires, widows of fallen heroes and their children called the Emblem Appeal Fund which holds tomorrow, Wednesday, December 8, 2021 at the Banquet Hall, Government House.
“The men and women who served in the military and fought wars for us are now retired and weak, it is now our turn to also support them.
“The funds go directly to the legionnaires, and widows and children of the fallen soldier”.
The January 15, 2022, Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration would hold at the Isaac Boro Park Cenotaphs, Port Harcourt.
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