The Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, Mr Mele Kyari has given a ray of hope to the lingering scarcity of aviation fuel, saying it would end soon.
The came as the Director General, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Musa Shuaibu Nuhu said that airline operations might be forced to shut down due to high airfares.
Speaking at a special investigative meeting of the House of Representatives chaired by the Deputy Speaker, Hon Ahmed Idris Wase, yesterday, on the fuel crisis, Kyari said there was no excuse for the escalating prices.
The GMD, however, said it was not possible to reduce the price to N200 per litre as the mechanism was controlled by market forces.
The meeting was also attended by the House Committees on Petroleum Downstream and Upstream, Jet A1 marketers, and airline operators.
Kyari said “Why we didn’t act, all the supply data we have sufficient ATK in the country. This means that it may be in the wrong hands. The airline operators must also have the right commercial arrangement with their support petroleum products, particularly Aviation Turbine Kerosene (ATK).
“There’s frenzy in the market today, no one knows what the price will be tomorrow. That’s still not an excuse for escalation of prices; we will work with the relevant authority to ensure that if there’s no such thing. We will deal with it jointly as an industry. We will work together to ensure that this is resolved.
“It’s impossible to bring the price of the petroleum to N200 per litre because today the landing cost of ATK is N480, the price we have no control that’s what the international price says. The only way you can do this subsidise this, all the same, we will do everything possible to bring down these prices.”
Reacting to some concerns of the Parliamentarian on the current crisis in the energy sector despite the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), Kyra allayed the fears of Nigerians, saying the country would never regret enacting such law.
“The passage of the PIA is not a mistake, its history made and this country will never regret the passage of the PIA, it’s also our duty to ensure that we continue to implement the provision of this law to the benefit of our country and countrymen. Whenever there’s a supply gap it is our role to ensure that the supply gap is closed by NNPC, we will work with the authority and other stakeholders to ensure that if there’s any gap that’s existing we fill it”, he said.
In his remarks before the committee, the Director-General, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Musa Shuaibu Nuhu decried the sharp increase in the prices of aviation fuel.
“Over the last couple of weeks, we have seen a significant rise in the cost of aviation fuel. One year ago it was selling at an N190 per litre and as of this afternoon it has gone for N670 per litre, what this has done is has increased the cost of operations.
“This is a significant safety concern to us, if airlines cannot have enough financial margins to comply with all the mandatory requirements then we have to look at, God forbid I don’t want to come before this committee to explain why something happened. Every day, it increases I won’t be surprised tomorrow if it sells for N700 per litre. Considering the ticket price now, the airline industry cannot survive. It’s either we shut down because they cannot generate enough revenues to operate safely”, he said.
Earlier, the Executive Director, Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), Ogbugo Ukoha had guaranteed sufficiency in the supply of the aviation fuel to last for, at least, the next 32 days.
Noting the role of the agency in regulating the industry and issuing licenses to importers of the product, Ukoha revealed that the authority had issued licences to 28 companies for the importation of the product.
But the committee picked holes in this presentation, warning against sabotage in cahoots with a cartel.
Specifically, the Deputy Speaker, Hon Ahmed IdrisWase, questioned why there was a scarcity of the product if the authority had enough in circulation.
“This is a political era and elections are coming. We do not want anybody to sabotage the efforts that the government has put into revamping the economy so far because aviation is very important to the economy”, he said.
The deputy speaker also lampooned the Nigerian Consumer Protection Council for failing in their responsibility.
Speaking on behalf of the Airliners, the Chairman of Air Peace, Allen Onyema expressed surprise over Ukoha’s presentation.
He, however, appealed to the stakeholders to ensure the reduction of the aviation fuel prices.
“We are asking sir, that the NNPC should ensure that in the coming days to bring down aviation fuel to N200 per litre. That’s the only time we will be able to operate safely and ensure some running of the scheduled operations in this country. I don’t know how they will do it but they should, it will be good because even at N200 it’s a lot for the airlines. Not N400 or any other higher price, as we are talking now it will soon hit N700 and possibly N1,000.
“What happened in the last two weeks is alarming. From a price of N190 per litre two weeks ago, the price is now N670 as of today and we don’t know what it is going to be mater. The government has done so much for us in this industry with the president granting us waivers. We held a meeting and decided to shut down our operations because of the cost of operation. We are owing so much money and we don’t want AMCON to come after us. But we decided not to because we know the impact it will have on the economy.
“We cannot survive like this for another three days. We had to reduce our operations to 30percent because the product is not even available. So, I am surprised that the Executive Director said they have supplies to last 34 days. We are making so much sacrifice here. I am evacuating Nigerians from Poland and I had to pay three times the usual amount I am not asking for a refund. So, something needs to be done and done fast”, he said.
Publish Details Of Parties’ Financial Transactions, SERAP Tasks INEC
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, to publish the reports of parties’ accounts and balance sheets.
The body also wants details of the guidelines and steps being taken to prevent vote buying in the forthcoming elections and to prosecute vote buyers and other electoral offenders.
In a letter, yesterday, SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, noted that citizens have the right to know about the accounts and financial transactions of parties.
He said transparency and accountability would curb the influence of money in politics, promote a level playing field, and remove the risks to the independence of political actors and would-be public office holders.
The organisation insisted it is both immoral and illegal to pay citizens to vote for a particular political party or standard-bearer.
“Unpunished cases of vote buying would continue to undermine good governance, the rule of law, moral values, as well as hinder citizens’ participation in elections”, it said.
SERAP told INEC that when candidates buy votes, there are possibilities that they will disregard for democratic rules.
“Vote buying and related electoral offences encourage poor governance and weaken citizens’ capacity to hold their elected officials accountable for their actions.”
SERAP charged the electoral umpire to collaborate with anti-corruption agencies to ensure the effective prosecution of any outstanding cases of vote buying and related electoral offences.
The letter urged INEC to act within 14 days or face legal actions that would compel it to comply with the request.
RSG Recommits To Engaging Youth Positively
The Rivers State Government has said it was committed to engaging youths positively and empowering them.
The State Chief Executive, Chief Nyesom Wike, stated this during the opening ceremony of the Uplifting African Youth Through Basketball Programme in Port Harcourt, last Friday.
Represented by his Deputy, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, Wike said the issues of youths and young adults were very important to his administration, while expressing delight that youths were being built up with critical life skills in sports, communication, and entrepreneurial leadership skills needed for Rivers State, Nigeria, and Africa.
“This administration is very interested in youth engagements, we want to make sure that our youths are very inclusive, participate, play their roles, and be well mentored and well-motivated to be able to fulfill all of their potentials in life, educationally, in sports, morally and so we are here to support”, the governor stressed.
The governor expressed gratitude to the leader of the Organised Basketball Network (OBN) and his team, for their efforts and the support of the US Consulate, while urging them to visit the Real Madrid Football Academy in Port Harcourt, to appreciate the efforts of the state government in the area of youth engagement.
The youth friendly governor, said “I want to encourage our youths that as you walk together in the next two days, you would learn how to be tolerant with one another and to know that gender based violence is totally not acceptable and that it is inhumane, I know it is just two days, but a lot can be achieved that can be life time impactful”.
In her remarks, the United States Consulate’s Deputy Public Affairs Officer, Jennifer Foltz said the United States and Nigeria have very special and close relationship, adding that the Consulate feels this was the right time to do a sports programme.
“Sports diplomacy is part of what we do, it is part of some ways we build stronger relationships between our two countries, sports brings people together, and even if you do not speak the same language you can still play sports together”, Foltz stressed.
Earlier, the leader of the Organised Basketball Network, Obinna Ekezie said OBN was a platform founded for the development of grassroots basketball in Nigeria and Africa with a mission to develop the next generation of world-class African student athletes and consistently create opportunities to help them advance their careers overseas, through basketball scholarship.
He said the project uplifting African youths was a project to provide inclusion and opportunities for under privileged talented African youths to learn important life skills through basketball.
PDP Assembly, Reps Candidates Emerge In Rivers
Candidates for the House of Representatives and House of Assembly have emerged following the conduct of primaries by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, yesterday.
According to the official results, Solomon Bob emerged the party’s candidate for Abua/Odual/Ahoada East Federal Constituency while Victor Obuzor emerged the candidate for Ahoada West/Ogba/Egbema Federal Constituency.
Also, Awaji Inombek Abiante won the ticket for Andoni/Opobo Federal Constituency, just as Boma Goodhead returned elected for the Asari-Toru/Akuku-Toru Federal Constituency while Cyril Godwin Hart won Degema/Bonny Federal Constituency ticket.
The results further show that Felix Nwaeke emerged the candidate of the PDP for Eleme/Tai/Oyigbo Federal Constituency, with Boniface Emerengwa emerging winner for Ikwerre/Emohua Federal Constituency.
In the same vein, Kelechi Nwogu cruised to victory as the candidate for Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency while Dumnamene Dekor won Khana/Gokana Federal Constituency ticket.
Similarly, Kingsley Ogundu Chinda emerged the House of Representatives candidate for Obio/Akpor Federal Constituency, while Alabo Victor Tamunomiekaye won Okrika/Ogu/Bolo Federal Constituency ticket.
Chima Boms won Port Harcourt Federal Constituency 2 while Barrister Blessing Amadi is the winner of the primary election for Port HarcourtFederal Constituency 1.
For the Rivers State House of Assembly primary, Hon Dominic Iderima picked the ticket for Abua/Odual, Mrs Queen Williams picked the ticket for Ahoada East 1,Rt Hon Ehe Edison emerged the candidate for Ahoada East 2, while Hon Sokari Goodboy Sokari cruised to victory for Ahoada West.
Hon Major Jack won the ticket for Akuku-Toru 1, Hon Opuende Lolo Isaiah is the candidate for Akuku-Toru 2, Hon Ofiks Kabangs Christopher grabbed the ticket to represent Andoni, whileHon Tekena Wellington Granville got the ticket for Asari-Toru 1.
Also, a serving member, Enemi Alabo George easily won the ticket for Asari-Toru 2, just as Hon Victor Oko Jumbo got the nod to represent Bonny, while Hon Abbey Peter emerged the candidate for Degema.
Hon Igwe Obey Aforji emerged the PDP candidate for Eleme, Emohua will be represented by Mrs Justina Emeji, Hon Onwuka Ignatiuswon the ticket to represent Etche 1, while Hon Chimezie Nwankwor is the candidate for Etche 2.
The present member representing Gokana, Hon Dumle Maol, will retain his ticket for the seat, Prince Lemchi Nyeche emerged the candidate for Ikwerre 1, Mrs Barile Nwakoh won the ticket for Khana1, while Barrister Dinebari Loolo got the ticket for Khana 2.
In Obio/Akpor1, Hon Amaewhule Martin Chike was returned, just as Mrs Emilia Lucky Amadi emerged the candidate for Obio/Akpor 2, and Frankline Nwabochi will fly PDP flag for Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni1.
In the same token, Mrs Nkemuika Ezekwe will fight for Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni2 seat on the platform of the PDP, Davids Arnold Okobiriari won the ticket for Ogu/Bolo, a serving member, Somiari Steward Linda will return in Okrika, while Nwankwo Sylvanus emerged for Omuma seat.
Orubienimigha Adolphus grabbed the ticket for Opobo/Nkoro,Hon Gerald Oforji emerged for Oyigbo, Solomon Wami won the ticket for Port Harcourt1,Hon Tonye Smart Adoki will return for Port Harcourt2, Hon Azeru Opara emerged for Port Harcourt3, and Ngbar Bernard Baridamue won the ticket for Tai.
By: Nelson Chukwudi & Reward Akwu
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