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FG ’s Budget Faces Crisis As OPEC Paints Gloomy Outlook For 2021

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Despite the stability of oil prices at $50 per barrel in recent times, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has painted a mixed oil market outlook for 2021.
In his opening remarks at the 47th Meeting of the Joint Technical Committee (JTC), yesterday, via videoconference, OPEC Secretary General, Mohammad Barkindo, said, “Amid the hopeful signs, the outlook for the first half of 2021 is very mixed and there are still many downside risks to juggle. We are only beginning to emerge from a year of deep investment cuts, huge job losses and the worst crude oil demand destruction on record.
“Curbs on social and economic activity remain in place in a number of countries, and there is concern about the emergence of a pernicious new strain of the virus. Last night I saw on the news there are now about 30 countries that have reported this new strain.”
According to him, “Though the ongoing restrictions are necessary to combat the pandemic, they have chipped away at business sentiment and consumer confidence in some of the world’s biggest economies. It is too early to tell how quickly key sectors will bounce back to their pre-pandemic growth trajectories even if the vaccines defeat this terrible virus.
“Mr Chairman, sectorally, travel, tourism, leisure and hospitality continue to be affected. Our projections show that there will be rebound in the second half of 2021 with upside potential.
“However, it could be another a couple of years before these sectors bounce back to pre-Covid-19 levels, with corresponding lagging impact on oil demand.
“The Christmas Eve trade agreement between the United Kingdom (UK) and European Union (EU) is a promising development for the recovery process after months of very difficult and rancorous negotiations. Stimulus packages have clearly helped prevent deeper economic contractions and continue to lend crucial recovery support.
“The EU and US have now approved measures which, taken together, provide nearly $2trillion in additional support for those economies. It is worth noting that fiscal and monetary stimulus packages in the G20, including bank guarantees, have reached $25trillion, corresponding to more than 20 per cent of the global economy.”
Barkindo said, “Tomorrow, we begin a new chapter in the Declaration of Cooperation (DoC) with the start of monthly OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meetings to evaluate the market. It was only one year ago that the DoC participating countries began to introduce adjustments of a then-astonishing 1.7million b/d, with additional voluntary contributions pushing that number to 2.1 million b/d.
“These adjustments, as agreed at the 7th OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting in December 2019, were a pre-emptory response to support continued stability in 2020, actions that were welcomed widely as the market rang in a new and promising year. Looking back at the projections provided by the JTC, I don’t think anyone could have done a better job.
“In retrospect, those efforts taken at the end of 2019 pale in comparison to the scope and scale of the actions we have carried out since a series of ground-breaking Ministerial Meetings in April, June, and culminating in the visionary decisions taken at the last meeting one month ago today. The outcome of the December 3, Ministerial Meeting paved the way for a gradual return of 2million b/d to the market over the coming months, while the participating countries stand ready to adjust these levels depending on market conditions and developments.”
Barkindo said, “Collectively over the last nine months, we have delivered an unprecedented response to an unparalleled market shock and continue to lead the industry on the road to recovery. We are witnessing the very early stages of Covid-19 vaccinations and the progress so far has injected optimism into the economy. These promising developments, in parallel with the Declaration of Cooperation’s market leadership during the crisis, have contributed to a healthier oil market outlook for 2021.
“Following the last Ministerial Meetings, the price of Brent crude inched above $50 per barrel for the first time since early March, while Brent crude and US West Texas Intermediate experienced their longest stretch of advances since June. After the unprecedented shock experienced last year, the economic forecast calls for brighter days ahead.
“Our analysts expect the global economy to grow by 4.4 per cent in 2021 compared to a sharp contraction of around 4.2 per cent last year. The Covid-19 vaccinations provide upside potential for the economic outlook and may help usher in a strong rebound in the second half of 2021.
“Furthermore, we continue to see upward momentum in Asia, especially China, which remains on course for positive growth in 2020 – a singular achievement among the world’s biggest economies. China’s broad-based recovery forecast stands at about 6.9 per cent for 2021 and provides a beacon of hope for other economies, in the region and beyond. Our analysts in the Secretariat anticipate that crude oil demand will shift from reverse to forward gear and rise to 95.9million b/d this year, a gain of 5.9million b/d from 2020. The non-OECD will be in the driver’s seat with growth of around 3.3million b/d”, Barkindo added.

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Fund Police Recruitment, Training Adequately, Reps Tell FG … Plan To Probe Face-Off Between PSC, IGP

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The House of Representatives has urged the Federal Government to make provision for the adequate funding of recruitment and training of police personnel in the country.
The lawmakers also resolved to investigate the standoff between the Police Service Commission (PSC) and the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, over the 2024 police recruitment.
The lawmakers’ resolution was sequel to the adoption of a motion on urgent public importance moved by the member representing Ogbia Federal Constituency, Bayelsa State, Hon. Mitema Obordor, during yesterday’s plenary.
The House called on the Federal Government to provide adequate funding and resources necessary to support the recruitment and training of police officers.
The House also impressed on the Federal Government to increase the number of police personnel to be recruited and in doing so, ensure that the federal character provisions as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution are strictly adhered to.
This is as the Green chamber urged its Committee on Police to investigate the cause of the lingering dispute between the PSC and the IG with the aim of resolving the dispute, and proceed with the recruitment process without further delay.
Titled, “Urgent need to investigate and settle the lingering police recruitment dispute halting the 2023/2024 police recruitment exercise,” Hon. Obordor stated that in view of the population of Nigeria and the security situation in the country, the ideal police-to-citizen ratio in Nigeria ought to be one police officer to 200 citizens.
He lamented, however, that “The country currently has a ratio of one police officer to 650 citizens, indicating a significant shortfall in the Nigerian police strength, and far below the United Nations recommendation of one police to 450 citizens.”
Obordor recalled the lingering dispute between the PSC and the IG, which he said, has resulted to an impasse, and regrettably halted the ongoing recruitment process for almost 10 months.
He added, “The lingering dispute between the Police Service Commission and the Inspector-General of police which has resulted to a halt in the 2023/2024 recruitment process exacerbates the existing shortage of police personnel, undermining the police’s capacity to effectively respond to security threats.
“The House recognizes the critical need to strengthen the Nigerian Police Force by setting a ratio of one police officer to 200 citizen, or adopt the United Nations recommendation of a ratio of one police officer to 450 citizens to address the escalating security challenges facing our nation;
“The House recognises that the resolution of the lingering dispute between the police service commission and the Inspector-General of police, and the recruitment of additional police officers are crucial to bolstering Nigeria’s security and ensuring the safety of citizens.”
He further noted that the shortage of police personnel has reduced police presence in communities, “thereby, leading to a surge in crime rates as criminals take advantage of the situation especially in Bayelsa State, compromised public safety, eroded trust in the police force and the government’s ability to ensure security.”
He added that the House “is also worried that the dispute between the Police Service Commission and the Inspector-General of Police which has resulted to a halt in the police recruitment and the attendant capacity shortage and weakness of the Nigerian police may have a far-reaching national security implications, potentially emboldening terrorists, bandits and other criminal elements.”

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Youths’ll Find Expression In Our Sporting Competitions, Fubara Assures …Showers Cash Gifts On Laurel-Winning Talents, Teams

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has announced that annual sporting tournament will commence immediately in the State to provide platforms for youths to horn their talents and actualise their dreams.
The Governor has, therefore, directed the State Commissioner for Sports, Barrister Christopher Green, to design the structure of the competition, and liaise with his office in order to kickstart the tournament, adding that those who perform excellently will be celebrated at an award ceremony in December, 2024.
Governor Fubara made the announcement at the official presentation of trophies and medals from the Rivers United Under 17 Youth League, Rivers Hoopers Basketball Club, Rivers Angels Football Club, Rivers Table Tennis Team, Judo, Chess, Volleyball, Paralysis and Hockey teams at the Banquet Hall of Government House in Port Harcourt on Wednesday.
The Governor expressed delight over the number of trophies that have been presented to him by the various teams, and said he feels the most lucky representative of the State at a time like this.
Governor Fubara said: “You are making us proud. We will be encouraged to support you the more. We will support you to ensure that you go places.
“Let me say this: it is not about the money that is being pledged to you to encourage you. It is the spirit and the love that you have for our State that has enabled you to represent us, and also make us win in the comity of states.
“So, I want you to leave here, and be encouraged more. Continue to do the best you can to promote sports in our State. The only thing that brings people together is sports, and I think and believe that if we spend and invest in sports, it will go a long way to engage our youths, and reduce crime and criminality.”
Governor Fubara stated: “So, I am here authorising that the Commissioner for Sports should immediately commence a sports programme or festival that can engage our youths within this period.
“Be it football or whatever, but I want you to come up with a tournament that will engage our youths between now and December. I want the programme to be a programme that by December, we should be gathering to honour the winners of the tournament.”
Governor Fubara explained the essence of his decision, saying that instead of using the State’s resources to equip youths with explosive devices to cause mayhem or hire people for daily protests, it is better to spend it on a path that will further advance the good and peace-loving people of Rivers State.
He said, “Let me first of all congratulate, very specially, everyone of you that has worked tirelessly to make Rivers State proud. I want to specially appreciate the Commissioner. One thing is spending money, another one is getting results for the money. I think when it comes to issue of results, he brings results.
“And, he is not bringing the results because he is the Commissioner, he is getting these results because he is working with dedicated team players.
“I want to appreciate you people for everything that you have done, for your determination, because if you are not determined to win, we are not going to flog you: it will just be try again. But, you want to be winners, and that is why we are celebrating today.”
Governor Fubara, who also appreciated the management of the various teams, urged them to continue to do their best in making the State proud because posterity will not forget their contributions.
He announced cash gifts of between N2.5million and N30million for the individual and group winners of all the teams, including the Supporters’ Club.
In his speech, Rivers State Commissioner for Sports, Barrister Christopher Green, explained that the competitions were tough but with the support given by Governor Fubara, and determination of the players, gold, silver and bronze medals were clinched in different games played by males and females alike.
Barrister Green, who also said that new sporting records were created by Rivers teams, particularly in the Open Chess game, said a number of Rivers athletes emerged as most valued players and highest goal scorers, particularly in the U17 tournament played by Rivers United Football team.
On his part, Chairman, Governing Council of Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Chief Adokiye Amiesimaka, acknowledged that the feat being celebrated is not only profound but novel in the sporting history of Nigeria.
Chief Amiesimaka, who thanked Governor Fubara for his support to the teams, which served to boost their morals, urged the players not to rest on their oars but strive for more laurels.
Also speaking, a notable sports administrator in the State, Dr Sam Sam Jaja, said it is easier to be a champion but more demanding to sustain that posture, and charged the players to get more focused on beating the world.
He charged the laurel-winning sports talents to continue to sustain the momentum, in order to keep the State on the global sporting map as leading champions.

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Alleged Misappropriation: Judge Orders Ganduje’s Trial Must Continue In Absentia

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A Kano State High Court yesterday, insisted that the trial of the Chairman All Progressive Congress(APC), Dr Abdullahi Ganduje, charged with alleged bribery and misappropriation must continue even in his absence.
The Tide’s source reports that the state government instituted an eight-count charge bordering on bribery allegations, misappropriation and diversion of public funds running into billions of Niara against the defendants.
Ganduje, alongside his wife,Hafsat Umar, Abubakar Bawuro, Umar Abdullahi Umar, Jibrilla Muhammad, Lamash properties Limited,Safari Textiles Limited and Lasage General Enterprises Limited are charged with eight counts of bribery , misappropriation and diverting public funds.
The source reports that the court had on June 5, granted an order seeking to serve Ganduje and seven others through substituted service.
In a ruling Justice Amina Adamu-Aliyu, dismissed the application of the state government seeking bench warrant on the defendant.
She entered a plea of not guilty on behalf of the defendants and refused to strike out the charge.
“The trial of the defendants continues even in their absentia,” she held.
Adamu-Aliyu adjourned the matter until Oct.23, and 24, for hearing of the preliminary objection and the main charge.
Earlier, Mr Adeola Adedipe SAN, told the court that service of court processes had been effected on the defendants and affidavit of service filed June 6.
“My lord the 1st, 2nd,3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th respondents are not in court nor represented only the 6th respondent.
“The court should enter a plea of not guilty on behalf of the defendants who refused to answer the complaint in the charge pursuant to section 278(1)(2) of Kano State Administration of Criminal Justice Law(ACJL) 2019”
He urged the court to make an order pursuant to section 388 of Kano State ACJL on a bench warrant of arrest on the defendants.
“My lord the essence of arrest warrant is for the santity of the court because an order have been made for the defendants to appear before it and they refused”
Adedipe opposed the 6th respondent application on preliminary objection, affidavit of service and notice of appeal for stay of execution pending the hearing and determination of the case.
Counsel to the 6th respondent, Mr Nureini Jimoh, SAN, told the court that service was not effected on the respondent.
“We filed a notice of preliminary objection on jurisdiction of the court and filed an application for stay of execution before Court of appeal, restraining the prosecution from publishing any charges against the 6th respondent”
Jimoh urged the court to dismiss the prosecution’s application on warrant of arrest and plea of not guilty on the respondent

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