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NNPC Moves To Buy 20% Stake In Dangote Refinery With Bank Loans

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has concluded plans to raise bank loans for the acquisition of 20 per cent shares in the $12billion Dangote Refinery.

Contrary to speculation that the shares would be acquired through the Federation Account, the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, said negotiations were ongoing with the selected banks.

In an interview with Channels Television, yesterday, Kyari, said the bank loans would be backed by cash flows from the project.

He said the stake which might be worth as much as N19billion is still under valuation, while assuring that the investment would be viable, thus ensuring petrol products security for the country.

Specifically, he said, “The investment is sustainable and that is why the banks have come forward to lend to us, so that we can take equity in this. We are not putting anything at stake.

“The information in the public domain alluding that the investment is inappropriate is not correct. We are very proud that we did.

“This is good for our shareholders, which include 200million Nigerians, who would have also happily bought shares from this refinery.

“But have done so on their behalf. Ultimately, the value will come to the country.

“There’s no way you can watch a business of this magnitude, of this sensitive to run without an embodiment of the national oil company. No country does that.”

According to him, when the Refinery becomes operational with the NNPC owned refineries, the country will become a net exporter of petroleum products across the West African sub-region.

He also disclosed that having successfully awarded the complete rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt Refinery, the contracts for the Warri and Kaduna refineries would be awarded before the end of July, 2021.

Kyari, who acknowledged that the corporation has not managed the refineries well in the past, said when fully rehabilitated, the refineries would be managed by others in line with the agreement reached with banks funding the projects.

“We are not going to take any government money to overhaul these refineries. We are borrowing also on the back of the cash flows of these refineries.

“It means they can deliver commercially. Part of the requirements of the lenders is that we should not operate these refineries.

“We must have operations and maintenance contracts. Practically, these refineries will be run by the lenders”.

Already, the Dangote Fertilizer Limited, which is part of the project, has commenced commercial production of Urea.

Speaking at the commencement of production, June 5, 2021, President of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, had told visitors that the plant, with a capacity to churn out three million metric tonnes per annum of urea, has been classified as the biggest project in the entire fertiliser industry in the world.

Specifically, he had informed the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, and other bankers that, “this Phase 1 of the project, which is estimated to cost $2.5billion, is to manufacture 3mmtpa of urea per annum.

“This capacity will later be expanded to produce multi grades of fertilisers to meet soil, crop, and climate-specific requirements for the African continent.”

According to Dangote, the fertiliser plant would make Nigeria the biggest urea exporting country in sub-Saharan Africa and the biggest producer of polypropylene and polyethylene.

Responding, Emefiele, had also, said, “Nigeria needs between 1million metric to 1.5million metric tonnes of Urea to meet the local demand.

“So, we have the potentials to export at least three to 4million metrics tonnes of Urea to different parts of the world.

“With this latest development, Nigeria has become one of the major producers of Urea in the world. This for me is a story, which no one would have believed would happen in Nigeria.

“Nigeria now ranks amongst the leading countries in the production of Urea in the world. This, for me, is a story that no one would have believed will happen in Nigeria.

“Dangote has committed that mechanical completion will be achieved by the end of this year and we are expecting that the refinery will be completed by the first quarter of next year.”

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NDLEA Arrests 774 Suspects, Seizes 3,874.3kgs Of Drugs In Benue, Nasarawa, Plateau

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NDLEA arrested 774 suspects and seized 3,874.3kgs of various narcotics and psychotropic substances in Nasarawa, Benue and Plateau State in the first half of 2022.
The three states make the Zone D of the narcotics agency.
Zonal Commander in the zone Umoru Ambrose, said this in Lafia yesterday while marking the 2022 UN International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
He said 134 drug suspects were prosecuted during the period, while 378 drug users were counselled and rehabilitated.
He added that states in the zone had intensified their operations in the War against Drug Abuse and sensitisation.
Ambrose called on all stakeholders to get involved in curbing drugs menace in the zone.
In his remarks, NDLEA Commander in Nasarawa State, Peter Odaudu, said the celebrations underscored the need for access to proper treatment for people with drug disorders.
He stressed that the war against drugs must be intensified in Nasarawa State especially given its position as the second highest drug prevalence state in the North Central after Kwara.
“Statistics from the 2018 drug survey showed a very alarming trend, the involvement of females in drug issues.
“We have at least one female out of every four drug users; this development is worrisome and must be reversed,’’ he said.
Odaudu thanked Nasarawa State’s Governor Abdullahi Sule for his support for the NDLEA and solicited urgent intervention in the provision of operational vehicles and the construction of a rehabilitation centre.
Guest speaker, Mr Nwora Okpalaeke, who is coordinator of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria in Nasarawa State, said 494,000 users died of drug abuse in 2019.
He spoke on “Illicit Drugs in Health and Humanitarian Crises.’’
He said drug abusers suffered liver cirrhosis, stroke, hepatitis, kidney and heart failure, noting that 14.3 million Nigerians are drug addicts, while three million are suffering from drug-related disorders.
“Government should strengthen the system to prevent proliferation of drugs and pay attention to agencies charged with reversing the situation.
“Drug abuse affects economic growth; the higher the abuse the higher the level of insecurity and poverty,’’ he said.
Senior Special Assistant on Primary Healthcare to Governor Sule, Margaret Elayo, commended the NDLEA in the state and assured of partnership to curb drug abuse in Nasarawa State.
The theme for this year’s celebration of the Day is: “Addressing Drug Challenges in Health and Humanitarian Crises.’

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NDLEA Arrests 218 Suspects, Seizes 1,471.314kg Of Drugs In Imo

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The Imo State Command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has arrested 218 drug suspects made up of 171 males and 47 females.
The agency has also seized 1,471.314kg of drugs between July 2021 and June 2022.
The state commandant, NDLEA, Mr. Reuben Apeh, disclosed this while speaking to The Tide ahead of this year’s International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drugs Trafficking.
He said that 1,458.49kg of Cannabis Sativa, 1,0513kg of cocaine, 0.2077kg of Heroine, 3.896kg of Methamphetamine and 3.184kg of Tramadol were exhibits seized within the period under review.
Apeh disclosed further that cannabis farm in hectares was also destroyed in Imo State while 0.5278kg of Rohypnol and 2.5135kg of diazepam were among the seized exhibits.
He stated that some of the arrested suspects had been arraigned and convicted for drug related offences at the Federal High Court.
According to him, “Within the period covered, 51 were convicted and 145 were charged and their cases are still on going”.
Apeh described the drug situation in Imo State as worrisome, saying women have joined the illicit trade for financial gains.
He lamented that drug peddling was alarming among the younger generation in the state.
He, therefore, called on the stakeholders to partner with NDLEA to sensitize the society on the dangers of drug abuse.

By: Joe Nwachukwu, Owerri

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NDE Trains 750 Youths On Apprenticeship Skills In Imo

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The National Directorate for Employment (NDE) has commenced the training of 750 youths on various apprenticeship skills in Imo State.
Director-General of the NDE, Mallam Abubakar Nuhu-Fikpo, made this known while flagging off the training programme in Owerri, the Imo State capital.
The Tide reports that the training is captured under the Advanced National Open Apprenticeship Scheme (A-NOAS) and Basic National Apprenticeship Scheme (B-NOAS) of the Directorate’s Department of Vocational Skills Development (VSD).
The training skills include barbing, basic tailoring, hairdressing, welding, event planning, make- up, confectionery and auto mechanic, among others.
Nuhu-Fikpo, represented by the State Coordinator of the NDE in Imo State, Mrs Ngozi Ihenacho, explained that the trainees include youths and women drawn from the 27 local government areas of the state.
According to him, the intensive training programme will take place in the Directorate’s training centres, one in each senatorial district of the state, and last for three months.
He urged the trainees to utilise the opportunity provided by the training programme to acquire viable skills that would enable them become self-reliant, and thereby decongest the labour market, and reduce poverty and hunger.
“In today’s world, opportunities such as these are rare and hardly come on a platter and I  urge you, my dear beneficiaries, to take this opportunity serious, be punctual at the training venue with the aim of liberating yourselves from the chains of poverty and unemployment”, he advised.
Also speaking at the programme, Director of the VSD, Mallam Isa Abdu, explained that the training scheme would run simultaneously, with the beneficiaries receiving transport allowances for the duration of training.
Abdu, represented by a senior staff in VSD, Mr Onyekwelu Igwesi, said that expert trainers had been hired to conduct the training and urged the trainees to justify the opportunity given them to become employers of labour.
“All over the world, as the value of money depreciates, entrepreneurs are adjusting with the times, hence the need for viable skills that can drive the economy. Learn the skills and be your own boss”, he said.
One of the trainees, Miss Oluchi Uchenna, who responded on behalf of his colleagues, thanked the NDE for creating the opportunity for them to thrive in their quest to become economically independent.

By: Joe Nwachukwu, Owerri

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