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Reps Grill MRS, Emadeb, Jay Maikifi, Others Over Bad Fuel

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The House of Representatives, yesterday, began the probe of importers and suppliers over the contaminated fuel that has caused chaos and scarcity across the country.
The House grilled two companies, MRS and a consortium of four companies, including Emadeb, Hyde, Jay Maikifi and Brittania-U, who were fingered as the suppliers of the fuel by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company(NNPC) Limited.
Chairman of the House Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) handling the probe, Hon Abdullahi Gaya, at the session, said the probe as mandated by the House was necessary to ascertain the circumstances of the importation of the toxic fuel and evolve measures to forestall future occurrence.
Appearing before the committee, MRS denied importing contaminated fuel into the country.
Represented by its Chief Executive Officer, Mrs Amina Maina, the company said they were certified by NNPC on the importation.
“We received a letter, inviting us to this public hearing in regards to the alleged contamination of fuel imported into the country. So, that’s the reason why we are here.
“We are here to clarify the issues regarding the importation of fuel. I think the MD of NNPC was here, and he did clarify that the fuel which we imported was not out of the specification or adulterated.
“Yes, there has been a lot of conversations regarding whether or not we brought in fuel which is contaminated.
“Let me state that there is an approved specification of PMS which is imported into Nigeria.
“That specification is in the product we brought in. And I think the GMD of NNPC, attested to the fact that the product which we brought was tested, and it met Nigeria’s specifications.
“On arrival, it was tested by the NNPC inspectors, and it met the specification before the vessel was discharged.
“The normal procedure is that the NDMPR would normally have their own inspectors to test and certify what was discharged, and all of that was done, and certified Ok before the vessel was discharged.
“So, we did not bring in any adulterated fuel,” Maina said.
In his ruling, Gaya asked the company to produce all relevant documents backing up their oral presentation.
“I think in our letter we said you should give us all relevant documents from the beginning to the end.
“Honourable colleagues, this is just to engage the NNPC and the downstream for them to explain and give us documents.
“We have already informed them that after going through the documents, we are going to invite them again to come, so that if we have any other thing to verify, they will have to tell us.
“For now, it is just for them to explain and give us the document. If there is need to call her back, then, we will call her back,” he said.
Also testifying before the panel, the leader of the Consortium, including Emadeb, Hyde, Jay Maikifi and Brittania-U, Mr. Adebowale Olujimi, said that Britannia-U handled the importation.
He said: “On June 16, 2021, the Consortium members executed a consortium agreement, which defined the rotational responsibilities of members, sequential alternate crude lifting/petroleum product delivery and indemnification of other members against liabilities, claims, etc., that may arise during a member’s underperformance or failure to perform under the DSDP contract.
“The Consortium was awarded the DSDP contract on June 22, 2021 by NNPC.
“The delivery of the petroleum product and crude lifting have been done strictly on a rotational basis by the respective consortium members.
“Some of the Consortium members – Emadeb/Hyde and AY Maikifi— immediately engaged a reputable international company for delivery of all PMS cargoes and prompt loading of crude oil; while Brittania-U chose to engage a different entity for her own supplies.
“Brittania-U also preferred to liaise directly with NNPC and took responsibility for all her transactions without recourse to the other consortium members.
“All evidence to substantiate Brittania-U’s position are attached for references.
“The other consortium members — Emadeb/Hyde and AY Maikifi— have successfully delivered 270,000 Metric Tonnes (MT) of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), while Brittania-U also delivered 90,000MT PMS.
“The PMS alleged to be Methanol-Blended was solely delivered by Brittania-U via MT Torm Hilde in January, 2022.
“The other Consortium members — Emadeb/Hyde and AY Maikifi — were not privy to the arrangements for the delivery of the aforementioned PMS and documentary evidence relating to the PMS.”
Explaining herself to the panel on the circumstances of the importation, the Chief Executive Officer, Brittania-U, Uju Ifejirika, said that their product met the approved specification.
“We have a DSDP contract with NNPC. We have done that for two and half years. This is our 10th cargo and none of our cargos were off-spec, and this particular one was not off-spec.
“Before a cargo will come in, there will be a test at the port of loading which they did.
“Whoever that is importing for us, we must give that document to them, and based on that, they will do their own sample and our supplier do their sample, and they gave us the sample result, which we handed over to NNPC and NNPC confirmed it was Ok.
“Now, the second point of test; the cargo arrived at offshore, Lagos, the vessel tendered NOR.
“We transmitted that to NNPC, and they now appointed their inspector. That’s GMO while we have SEBOD. They now went offshore to test the product.
“When they finished testing the product, there is a joint certificate given by GMO, that is NNPC-nominated cargo inspector and our own.
“You can’t bring in the cargo without NNPC inspector jointly carrying out the test, and we presented it and it met specification. NNPC tested and gave us certificate, saying that the product met specification.
“Our product came in 4th of January, and there is no state that 77million litres will not finish it in our week.
“The normal legal position is that when you bring in a cargo and it moves from mother vessel to daughter vessel, custody transfers and at that point, we do not have any legal control over the product. And we have all our certificates.
“Now, they are saying that we brought in off-spec. At what point? You cannot have 90,000 metric tons and you came out with a press release on the February8, which was more than a month after this project came in.
“Did anybody call us? Was there any joint test between us and the NNPC? There was none.
“They did an independent inspection. What is the test result? We don’t have the test result as we speak today.
“We have all our documents and it met the Nigerian specification,” Ifejirika said.
Ruling on the matter, Gaya asked her to tender all relevant documents detailing her presentation.

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World Bank To Fund $30bn Projects In Nigeria, Others

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The World Bank has said it is set to disburse a total of $30billion to fund existing and new projects in Nigeria and other countries as part of a global response to combat the ongoing food security crisis.
According to the bank, it is working with countries on a $12billion new projects fund for the next 15 months.
It said the projects are expected to support agriculture, social protection to cushion the effects of higher food prices, and water and irrigation projects.
It added that most of the funds would go to Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and South Asia.
The global bank disclosed this when it announced how it plans to be part of a comprehensive, global response to the ongoing food security crisis.
It stated that it intends to roll out this fund in existing and new projects in agriculture, nutrition, social protection, water, and irrigation.
It said, “This financing will include efforts to encourage food and fertiliser production, enhance food systems, facilitate greater trade, and support vulnerable households and producers.”
World Bank Group President, David Malpass, said, “Food price increases are having devastating effects on the poorest and most vulnerable.
“To inform and stabilise markets, it is critical that countries make clear statements now of future output increases in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Countries should make concerted efforts to increase the supply of energy and fertilizer, help farmers increase plantings and crop yields, and remove policies that block exports and imports, divert food to biofuel, or encourage unnecessary storage.”
The bank added that its current existing portfolio includes balances of $18.7billion in projects with direct links to food and nutrition security issues, covering agriculture and natural resources, nutrition, social protection, and other sectors.
It stated, “Altogether, this would amount to over $30billion available for implementation to address food insecurity over the next 15 months. This response will draw on the full range of Bank financing instruments and be complemented by analytical work.”

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FG Postpones FAAC Meeting Over AGF’s N80bn Probe

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The Federal Government has announced the postponement of May, 2022 Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting.
The sudden postponement may not be unconnected with the ongoing investigation of the suspended Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, over alleged fraud to the tune of N80billion.
The FAAC meeting is a monthly meeting where the federation allocates monthly revenue among the three tiers of government.
The meeting had earlier been scheduled to hold virtually between May 18 and 19, 2022.
The Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, said this in a letter signed by Director, Home Finance,Stephen Okon.
The ministry said the meeting was postponed due to “certain circumstances.
“I am directed to inform you that the Federation Account/Allocation Committee (FAAC) meetings earlier scheduled to hold/virtually on the 18th and 19th May, 2022 have been postponed due to/certain circumstances,” the circular reads.
“In view of the foregoing, I am to further inform you that the new date for the meetings will be forwarded to you in due course.
“While we regret the inconveniences this change might cause you, please accept the assurances of the Minister’s warm regards,” the letter read in part.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had on Monday arrested and detained Idris over an alleged N80billion fraud.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, announced indefinite suspension of Idris, last Wednesday.
Ahmed said the suspension “without pay” was to allow for “proper and unhindered investigation” in line with public service rules.

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Nigerian Out-Of-School Children Hit 18.5m

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Nigeria has 18.5million out-of-school children (OSC), the highest number in the world, and out of the figure, 10million are girls, the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has said.
The Chief of UNICEF Field Office in Kano, Rahama Farah, stated this at a media dialogue on ‘Girls’ Education under the Girls’ Education Project 3, GEP 3’, funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), and implemented by UNICEF.
“For those lucky to be in school, their condition is also not enviable given the situation of public schools in the country. Only recently, the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), said 50per cent of schools in Nigeria lack basic furniture”Farah said.
The Executive Secretary of the commission, Hamid Bobboyi, said this in Abuja at a one-day civil society organisations’ CSO-Legislative Roundtable Meeting where some National and State Houses of Assembly members were present.
According to him, emerging constraints in basic education delivery in the country may necessitate an increase in the consolidated revenue funds from the current two per cent to four per cent.
He buttressed his position for an increase in funding on the security challenges bedevilling the country, insisting that rising student population also poses urgent need for teaching facilities.
Also speaking, the Chairman of Senate Committee on Basic Education, represented by Senator Frank Ibezim, decried the failure of State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs), to sustain some UBEC-initiated projects such as classrooms and libraries earlier introduced by the commission in all constituencies in the country.
While commending UBEC over the construction of classrooms in schools across the country, he lamented the poor maintenance culture, noting that there is no school in the country that does not have a dilapidated block.
A representative of MacArthur Foundation, Mr Dayo Olaoye, called on stakeholders to review the impact of the country’s annual budget on education, stressing that it was not enough that the country is increasing its budget to the sector.
“As we think about reforms, let us think beyond buildings that have been delivered, let us start thinking about how many children have been brought to school,” he said.
“If classrooms are dilapidated, and there are not enough furniture, what about teachers and the quality of the ones available? The Registrar, Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), Prof. Josiah Ajiboye, said there are over 300,000 unqualified teachers in the system.
“Education is very important to be left in the hands of quacks and that is why at TRCN, we are stepping up efforts at ridding the system of unqualified hands. We implore teachers and their employers to take advantage of the various windows TRCN is providing to improve the quality of teachers in the country so as to get better results from our education system,” he said.
For the General Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Dr Mike Ene, there is need for better funding of the education sector.
He noted that in many states, teachers are overwhelmed by the number of pupils and students they handle.
“In so many states, there is inadequacy of teachers. Some states have not recruited teachers in the last 10 years and yearly, teachers are leaving the system through retirement, resignation or even death. Worse hit by poor staffing are schools in the rural areas. Such schools are called hard-to-staff schools.”
It is in that regard that the welfare packages announced by the Federal Government are very much necessary,” he said.
Also speaking on the issue, the National President of the National Association of Parent-Teacher Association of Nigeria (NAPTAN), Alhaji Haruna Danjuma, decried the manner some state governments are implementing the Basic Education Policy of the government whereby pupils and students in primary and junior secondary schools are to enjoy free education and are given textbooks in some core subjects.
“Some states are not doing well in that respect. They have abandoned the programme. They are not funding education as it ought to be funded. Even counterpart funds that some states should put down to complement the funds from UBEC are not provided. Some states have even misused UBEC funds and are suspended from getting further grants.
“We are talking now about our tertiary institutions that are grounded by workers’ strikes, the basic education level, which is the foundation, is not faring better too. Something urgent must be done to redress the situation before the sector collapses finally,” he noted.

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