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Security Agents In N’Delta Conniving With Criminals To Steal Oil, FG Admits

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The Federal Government has admitted that some security personnel deployed to fight oil theft were heavily involved in collaborating with those stealing the commodity in the Niger Delta.
Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, who spoke on a national television during a programme tagged, “Eagle Eye”, in Abuja, noted that the government was planning various layers to monitor the personnel paid to halt the menace.
“Definitely, there are collaborators. Even during militancy, we had this issue within the military. So, the government could not really enforce the law effectively because of the activities of these collaborators.
“If you have something like a crime that has gone on for this long and a joint task force is in place to actually exterminate this crime and the crime has even gone worse, then definitely whoever is in charge is probably not doing their job.
“But at this time, the Federal Government is giving a note of warning and there will be other layers on top of those who are actually operating to monitor them, because the problem is to send people to take care of the crime and if you just leave them on their own, then in many cases they become part of the crime,” he contended.
Sylva stated that the current incessant vandalism of oil and gas pipelines was a metamorphosis of the militancy in the Niger Delta region, which although led to the training of several youths in the region, has extended to the ongoing challenge.
The minister noted that oil theft was not a creation of the Muhammadu Buhari administration, stressing that it has been in Nigeria for decades.
He said that at a time there was some sympathy for the culprits, which aggravated the matter.
The minister stated that the situation is no longer sustainable; pointing out that Nigeria was currently losing a lot of its production, a development that spurred the president to act on the matter.
On the recent allegation by a businessman and Founder Heir Holdings, Tony Elumelu, that more than 95per cent of total oil production is stolen, Sylva said that the business leader was probably talking about his (Tony’s) asset and not the generality of the industry losses.
“I saw that tweet from Tony and I would say that Tony doesn’t have an overview of the whole industry. He is pumping his production into one particular pipeline, the TNP line and that is actually one of the most majorly impacted of our pipelines.
“There are other pipelines that are not as impacted as the TNP, so he was speaking from his own perspective and he is not in a position to speak for the industry. So, if you said he lost 90per cent of his production I understand, which is a very small production compared to the national production, but that figure does not apply to the whole country,” he declared.
He stated that although he couldn’t say exactly how much oil is stolen, since many conditions impact how much is taken at every point in time, it could be up to 200,000 bpd one day and change the next.
Describing the inability of Nigeria to meet its Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) quota, as a sad topic for discussion, he said that it was a combination of factors that were responsible, including lack of new investment as a result of the delay in passing the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).
In addition, he listed sabotage, vandalism and the challenge of restarting oil wells that were shut down to align with OPEC cuts in 2020.
“In trying to shut down 200,000 barrels, you might shut down up to 300,000 barrels because the production is not really mathematical,” he explained, adding that bringing back the pressure to begin pumping has become difficult.
He reiterated that there’s been some improvement, stressing that by the end of this year, production will be ramped up to pre-pandemic levels.
Sylva stated that the negative belief that people could sit down in their homes and have free money introduced by some members of the elite in the Niger Delta was also to blame for the current challenge.
He maintained that it was wrong to equate oil theft to artisanal mining in the North because those miners in the North dig for the commodities while the oil thieves break into readymade and already operational pipelines.
Insisting that it is purely a criminal activity, he made it clear that the government should not just go about destroying the facilities, but should target the arrest of individuals that are involved.
“It’s very misplaced and sometimes people equate it with artisanal mining. These are two different activities. Artisanal mining is a situation where men will go down with shovels and head pans and dig for the gold and they find it,” he noted.
He explained that the monster created by the elite was coming back to haunt them in the form of kidnapping, noting that they have now realised the impact of the wrong values inculcated in the youths of the Niger Delta.
Sylva argued that when the Federal Government sought the help of some leaders in the Niger to tackle the problem, they were rebuffed, but said that the recent efforts by the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, had brought to the fore the magnitude of the problem and how it affects everyone.
“It’s the same thing with the issue of soot in Port Harcourt. But initially, the state government was not very interested in resolving the issue. Because we tried to approach them, but of course, at every point in time, they rebuffed us. They said, this is their way of also getting access to the oil wealth.
“But today, the chicken has gone home to roost. Everybody knows that this problem is a problem that will kill all of us. So, all hands are coming together to fight the problem,” he added.

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FG Targets Production Of Locally Made Vehicles By Dec

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The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Doris Uzoka-Anite, has affirmed that Nigeria now has the capacity and materials to manufacture Made-In-Nigeria cars for local use and export.
With the enabling environment being provided by the government, she said manufacturers should be held responsible if the cars are not rolling out by December 2024.
Currently, Nigeria produces less than 10 per cent of the vehicles used in the country.
Last year, Nigeria’s vehicle assembling industry, estimated to be worth around N302billion, tanked to a new low due to increasing production costs and weakened demand for locally assembled automobiles.
According to the Manufacturers CEOs Confidence Index, activities of motor vehicles and miscellaneous assembly deteriorated further below the benchmark (50 points) from 48.6 to 46.7 points.
But speaking at the Automotive Component Manufacturers meeting in Abuja, she noted that the automobile industry is faced with both challenges and opportunities.
A statement issued last Friday by the Director of Information and Public Relations, Adebayo Thomas, said, “In a significant move aimed at fostering sustainable growth and development in Nigeria’s automobile industry, the Federal Government has issued a clarion call to all stakeholders, including manufacturers, dealers, regulatory bodies, and other players in the automobile ecosystem.
“The call comes as part of a broader strategy to enhance the sector’s contribution to the nation’s economy.”
Encouraging the stakeholders to key into the Nigerian Automotive Development Policy, the Minister said, “As far as we are concerned, the auto industry is now set to go.
“We are counting on all stakeholders to make that happen. If we do not produce made-in-Nigeria cars before the end of this year (December), it will be your fault, because I am sitting down here giving you all the assurances that this administration has created the enabling environment to make sure that the auto policy kicks off.”
Anite emphasised the need for collaboration among manufacturers, dealers, regulatory bodies, and other players in the automobile ecosystem, saying by working together, they can address challenges, streamline processes, and drive innovation.
She also urged stakeholders to maintain high-quality standards across the board, including vehicle manufacturing, safety features, emissions control, and after-sales services.
Stringent adherence to quality, she said, will boost consumer confidence and attract investment.
The minister assured all that the government would continue to encourage increased investment in research and development, adding that, innovations in electric vehicles, fuel efficiency, and alternative energy sources are critical for long-term sustainability.
On local content, she also emphasised the importance of promoting local content by sourcing materials and components locally.
By doing this, she said, the sector can create jobs, reduce import dependency, and contribute to economic diversification
In his introductory comments, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Nura Rimi, emphasised the significance of team action and shared vision as outlined in the Nigerian Automotive Development Policy.
He also urged stakeholders that the country “will overcome obstacles and unleash the full potential of Nigeria’s automotive component sector.”
He encouraged NADDC and other stakeholders to use the chance to form alliances, explore new areas of collaboration, and devise ways to catapult the automotive components manufacturing industry to new heights of success.
The statement added, “The government’s charge underscores the pivotal role stakeholders play in shaping its trajectory. Their commitment to sustainable practices will drive Nigeria’s automotive sector towards a brighter and more prosperous future.
“Environmental Responsibility: Stakeholders are reminded of their environmental responsibilities. Sustainable practices, recycling, and eco-friendly manufacturing processes are essential for a greener future.”

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Waive Tax On Electronic Imports, Women Engineers Appeal To Tinubu

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The Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN), Lagos Chapter, has called on President Bola Tinubu to exempt the importation of electronic components from taxation for inventive engineers.
Chairman of APWEN, Ms Atinuke Owolabi, said this a in statement yesterday in Lagos, in commenration of the 2024 World Creativity and Innovation Day, with the theme: “Step Out and Innovate”.
The Tide source reports that World Creativity and Innovation Day is a global UN Day, celebrated on April 21, to raise awareness about the importance of creativity and innovation in problem solving.
This is with respect to advancing the United Nations’ sustainable development goals, also known as the global goal.
Owolabi explained that such a measure would significantly enhance technological progress, support local innovators, and elevate Nigeria as a leading hub for innovation globally.
She stated that in a world marked by dynamic challenges and unprecedented opportunities, creativity and innovation stand as the driving forces behind progress and transformation.
According to her, women engineers recognise the critical role that innovation plays in shaping our societies and driving sustainable development.
”On this occasion, we affirm our commitment to fostering a culture of creativity and innovation within our organisation and the broader engineering community.
”Together, let us step out, innovate, and inspire the next generation of women engineers to reach even greater heights of achievement and impact.
”We believe that by stepping out of our comfort zones and embracing new ideas, technologies, and approaches, we can unlock innovative solutions to the complex challenges facing our world today,” she said.
According to her, the theme: ‘step out and innovate’, serves as a call to action for women engineers everywhere to break barriers, challenge conventions.
She noted that it would also pioneer groundbreaking solutions that would propel them toward a brighter and more sustainable future.
Owolabi disclosed that in celebration of the World Creativity Day, APWEN Lagos had inaugurated an artificial intelligence club tailored for female engineering students and young engineers.
She said that the proactive initiative aimed to inspire and equip young engineers with cutting-edge technological insights.
Th chairman said, “Additionally, we already have a 200-capacity hall to set up a resource, technology, and innovation hub to empower women and girls in engineering.
”This endeavour serves as a catalyst for encouraging aspiring female engineers to embrace innovation and stay abreast of emerging trends in the field.
”APWEN Lagos stands united in its dedication to promoting diversity, inclusivity, and excellence in engineering.
“We encourage all female engineers to seize this opportunity to unleash their creativity, explore new frontiers, and make an indelible mark on the world.”

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Pan-Igbo Group Hails Dangote Group For Reducing Diesel Price

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A pan-Igbo group, Ndigbo Unity Forum (NUF), has commended the Chairman of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, and his management for reducing the price of diesel from N1,600 to N,1000 per litre.
The Tide’s source reports that diesel is the major fuel used by heavy duty vehicles and generating sets to transport goods as well as run industries across the country.
The President of NUF, Mr Augustine Chukwudum, told The Tide’s source in Enugu, yesterday, that Dangote’s timely response to suffering masses of Nigerians, going through hell to get a meal a day, “is highly commendable”.
According to Chukwudum, Nigerians need to appreciate the patriotism of Dangote since what he has done will go a long way in reducing prices of goods, especially food stuff which has gone out of the reach of the poor.
He called on Nigerians, who wish and pray always for the betterment of the country, to appreciate and thank God for answering their prayer through Dangote’s move.
“It is clear that if Dangote Refinery starts fully and gets all the crude oil needed from Nigeria, the prices of petrol, kerosene and diesel will further reduce.
“We commend President Bola Tinubu for being a listening President and supporting the Dangote Group on our crude oil needs.
“We appeal to Tinubu to encourage Dangote by providing the company with crude oil at a reduced rate as we have been demanding,” he said.
Chukwudum said that this move and subsequent further reduction, would bring industries in comatose back to life, jobs created for unemployed youths and reduction in crime as well.
“We call on governors of oil-producing Anambra, Imo and Abia States to bring investors, who shall build refineries in each of the states to refine thousands of barrels of crude in commercial quantities,” he said.

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