Contrary to claims by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) that oil bunkering started 20 years ago, the crimes had been on for more than five decades, Niger Delta leader and First Republic Federal Commissioner for Information, Chief Edwin Clark, clarified, yesterday.
While advising the Federal Government to institute a judicial inquiry to investigate the criminal act of oil theft, Clark blamed government cartels and appealed that jobs should be provided for the teeming unemployed youths.
He said, “Crude oil theft is definitely part of the universal corruption that is killing Nigeria.
“The Federal and State Governments do not seriously tackle the issue of eradication of corruption in our country. The stealing is not only done through pipelines; both onshore and under water, and even the oil terminals where the export of crude oil is carried out.
“The investigation to this matter must be full, open and comprehensive, if there is sincerity to unravel what is going on.”
He also suggested that modular refineries should be built to replace the illegal refineries being currently operated and which do not only affect the economy of the country but also devastating the Niger Delta environment.
Clark made the observations during a press conference which held in Abuja titled, “A call for judicial inquiry into the criminal act of oil theft now sabotaging our national economy.”
He said, “Although, the NNPCL think these have been going on in the past 20 years, some of us have always insisted that this oil theft has been going on for much longer, for about 50 years. I am therefore using this opportunity, to again, appeal to my fellow Nigerians who have taken over the ownership and management of the oil industries in the Niger Delta, the NNPCL in particular, to employ our youths into the various department of the oil industries, and not to make them beggars in their own home.
“The unity of Nigeria can only be kept if the citizens are all equal, and everybody had the opportunity to climb to the highest office in his/her country. I also want to use this medium to commend Chief Government Ekpemupolo (Tompolo), and his company, Tantita Securities Limited, for this huge discovery and exposure of such criminal act against the state. It definitely has proved that the award of the surveillance contract to him, was not misplaced.
“Finally, I want to advise the Federal Government to institute a judicial inquiry to investigate this criminal act of oil theft. And also, to once again, appeal that jobs should be provided for the teeming unemployed youths; modular refineries should be built to replace the illegal refineries being currently operated, and which do not only affect the economy of the country, but is also devastating the Niger Delta environment.
“The international oil companies should be directed, once again, this time with sincerity of purpose, to relocate their operational headquarters to the Niger Delta region, if there is a genuine desire to end this menace.”
The elder statesman was reacting to the recent discovery of a large scale and sophisticated oil theft machinery going on at the deep swamps at Yokri, close to the Forcados terminal.
According to reports, high powered technological engineering expertise is applied to steal crude oil from the Forcados line, and transported through a four-kilometre pipeline to a platform in the sea, which belongs to the NNPCL, and its partners.
The report also stated that as much as 200 barrels of crude oil were being stolen from there every day, and that this has been going on since 2014.
According to NNPCL, this is part of the 470,000 barrels of crude oil that is being lost every month, amounting to $700million.
But Clark said the crime had been on since 1972.
He said, “In retrospect, my visit to Forcados oil terminal in the company of AlhajiShehuShagari, then as Federal Commissioner of Finance in 1972, while I was the Commissioner for Finance of Mid-West State, was quite revealing. During that visit, we clearly observed that there was no proper accounts or records of what is been exported through the Forcados terminal.
“The news that there is an illicit four kilometres pipeline, through which crude oil is being siphoned, goes to confirm what I have always said over the years, and what the leaders of the Niger Delta have been shouting about, that the issue of oil theft is being perpetuated by some mafia-like groups, with the connivance of some people in the oil industry, using sophisticated engineering methods to carry out their nefarious act.
“Even, more disturbing is that these activities have been going on over the years under the watchful eyes of the military and security personnel; security personnel who are supposed to be protecting these oil pipelines with the large numbers of gun boats to patrol the area, are unfortunately alleged to be involved in these criminal acts.
“The host communities, from where these oil explorations are carried out, but who are victims of the activities, since they cannot dictate to the oil companies and security officials, have always raised the alarm that the quantum of oil theft going on, is nothing compared to what the artisanal refinery operators are doing. What is going on is a sophisticated criminal act, carried out by a syndicate”.
2023: Rivers’ll Soon Decide Which Presidential Candidate To Vote -Wike
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has informed that the decision on the presidential candidate to vote in the 2023 general election in the state would soon be made known.
He said when the decision would be taken, Rivers electorate, who have enjoyed good governance under his watch and already desirous to reciprocate the gesture, would be told which presidential candidate to vote.
Wike made the position known while inaugurating the Rukpokwu-Rumuapu-Izo-Ogbodo-Igwuruta Link Road, which took place in Rumuapu community in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, yesterday.
The governor said, for what his administration has done in terms of performance and provision of critical infrastructure, Rivers people were already home with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He then charged the electorate to cast their votes only for PDP gubernatorial candidate as well National Assembly and State Assembly candidates.
“Then, the other one (presidential), I will come and tell you where we will vote. These ones (governorship, senatorial, Reps and State Assembly candidates) I mentioned now, make sure you come and vote for them. Very soon, we’ll meet in our houses and a take decision where we are going to.”
Wike mocked governorship candidates of other parties in the state, who he said are not in touch with the people at the grassroots.
According to him, these candidates, he stated, do not also have any follower, no traditional or political opinion leaders who can help galvanise the support of the electorate for them.
Such candidates, Wike noted, were only desperately going about collecting money from people in the guise of preparing for election when they know that they are not in the race to win the election.
Wike said Rivers electorate would vote the party that has come to their aid, supported and made them happy while also sustaining the peace in the state.
“You will work for a party that has come to your aid, a party that has brought dividends of democracy. If the people of Rukpokwu are not happy, will they be here. Governance is all about the happiness of the people. When the people are happy, we are happy. So, if I come here to address you everybody will listen to me.”
The Rivers State governor boasted that his administration has attended to every area of development concern in Apara Kingdom, particularly on the provision of roads.
He has, therefore, challenged any person within the kingdom in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area to dare mention any that has been left unattended.
On the issue of security, the governor said with the inauguration of the Police Intelligence and Surveillance Centre in Port Harcourt by the Inspector General of Police, last Monday, criminals involved in kidnapping would be easily arrested for prosecution.
“Yesterday (Monday), the Inspector General of Police came and we commissioned the Intelligence and Surveillance Centre. I want to tell all of you who may be thinking of kidnapping. The time is over. As it is now, in that Intelligence Centre, we will be watching you on screen. Anywhere you are on the road we are seeing you. That period is over when you think you will commit a crime and runaway.”
In his address, Rivers State Commissioner for Works, Dr Dakorinima Alabo George-Kelly, stated that the Rukpokwu-Rumuapu-Izo-OgbodoIgwuruta Link Road connects the Obio/Akpor and Ikwerre local government areas.
The road, he said, was 7.6km in length, 7.3meters in width with 7km of drains, which has been delivered in the best quality specified, adding that it has already enhanced the ease of doing business in the area.
The Chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, Barrister George Ariolu, who commended the governor for his aggressive infrastructure development, assured him that the people of the council would be fully mobilised to vote for the state PDP candidates in the 2023 general election.
Buhari Links Rising Terrorism In Lake Chad To Russia-Ukraine War
The ongoing confrontation between Russia and Ukraine, together with other violent incidents in the Sahel region of West Africa, has made the Boko Haram terrorist activity in the Lake Chad Basin region even worse, President Muhammadu Buhari, has said.
He made the disclosure, yesterday, in his opening address at the 16th Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, held at the State House Conference Centre of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Buhari, who is also the summit’s chairman, asserted that fighters and weapons are already entering the region via Russia and Ukraine, escalating the spread of small arms and light weapons.
He said this situation necessitates a reawakening of border security in the region’s member states.
The President also pointed out that despite significant efforts to weaken Boko Haram and other violent extremist organisations in the area, terrorist threats continue.
“I am glad to inform my dear brothers that in keeping with that decision, the MNJTF has since then, successfully conducted three major operations: Ops‘YANCIN TAFKI (I&II) and Ops Lake Sanity I, with, the fourth one, Ops Lake Sanity II, being planned. The next phase of the operation will take cognisance of lessons learnt from previous exercises and effectively consolidate the gains attained by preceding Ops.
“I am glad to note that during the execution of Ops Lake Sanity I, regrouping terrorists in the Lake Chad Islands were effectively decimated.
“It must, however, be stated that despite the successes recorded by the gallant troops of the MNJTF and the various ongoing national operations in the region, terrorist threats still lurk in the region.
“Regrettably, the situation in the Sahel and the raging war in Ukraine serve as major sources of weapons and fighters that bolster the ranks of the terrorists in the Lake Chad Region. A substantial proportion of the arms and ammunition procured to execute the war in Libya continues to find its way to the Lake Chad region and other parts of the Sahel.
“Weapons being used for the war in Ukraine and Russia are equally beginning to filter to the region.
“This illegal movement of arms into the region has heightened the proliferation of small arms and light weapons which continues to threaten our collective peace and security in the region. There is, therefore, the urgent need for expedited collaborative actions by our border control agencies and other security services to stop the circulation of all illegal weapons in the region”, he said.
Buhari stressed that government presence must be positively felt in the area to restore the confidence of citizens in the ability of the state to protect them and provide basic infrastructure for all.
He said: “It is in view of the foregoing, that the implementation of the Regional Strategy for the Stabilization, Recovery and Resilience of the Boko Haram affected Areas of the region must gain further traction without any delay.
“I am glad to note the development, costing and validation of the territorial action plans for the eight Boko Haram most affected territories of the region.
“These action plans which are the basic building blocks for the implementation of the strategy for the developmental needs of the people of the area. While we commend these initiatives, we must immediately commence efforts at their operationalization.
“In this regard, I urge our partners to continue to support us as we redouble the ongoing efforts at developing the region, to win the hearts and minds of the citizens in the area.”
He emphasised further that the region around Lake Chad is, indeed, dealing with a complicated security scenario that is highly dynamic, continuously changing, and increasingly influenced by the effects of climate change and other causes, including, tragically, some external ones.
Due to these reasons, he said, “it is essential that we routinely evaluate the development and anti-terrorism policies in place in the area.
“We must continue together to proffer ingenious solutions to the challenges confronting us. We must, through the commission, continue to make concerted efforts to provide the desired leadership, and ownership and ensure that our experts and troops are adequately motivated and supported to achieve our objectives.
“We must strive to continue to view our region through the lens of equity, fairness, diversity, and inclusion. It is imperative that we all see ourselves reflected in the kind of leadership we provide for the region. We must continue to support and contribute to the success of the organisation. We all must rise and face the challenges of the region headlong in order to deliver the bright future we envisage for our region.”
He noted that although budgetary concerns remain a challenge for all member countries, considering the declining global inflows and increasing demands, “we must, however, never lose sight of the vision of the Founding Fathers of the commission. We must continue to strive and make collaborative efforts at upholding the ideals for which the LCBC in its near 60 years of existence has continued to pursue.”
He applauded the gallantry of the troops in the field, ensuring the safety and stability of the region, stating: “We recommit ourselves to sustaining the ongoing counterterrorism efforts by providing you with the requisite needs to function optimally. I wish to assure you that your welfare would continue to remain our priority. I urge you all to rededicate yourselves as we take the final push towards eradicating terrorism from our region. Together, we shall restore and transform the Lake Chad region to its former glory.”
Meanwhile, in his welcome address to the Summit, the Executive Secretary of the LCBC, MammanNuhu, disclosed that Nigeria had remitted a total of $209,075,748 to the funding of the MNJTF between 2015 and 2021.
“I want to avail myself of this opportunity to express our deep appreciation to your Excellencies for your unwavering support to your respective MNJTF sectors, regardless of other challenges that equally demand similar support from you.
“Special thanks also to the chairman of the summit, for his tireless support to the MNJTF, the last remittance of the sum of $10,500,000 on April 6, 2021, brought the total direct disbursement of Nigeria to the MNJTF to $209,075,748 from 2015 to 2021”, he disclosed.
The event had Presidents and Heads of State of the six member-states in attendance, with the exception of President Paul Biya of Cameroon, who was represented by one of his ministers.
Those in physical attendance were President of the Central African Republic, Prof. Faustine Archange Touadera; President and Head of State of Niger Republic, Mohamed Bazoum; President of the Republic of Benin, Patrice Tallon; President of the Transition Military Council of Chad, MahamatIdriss DebyItno; President of the Republic, Head of State, Mohamed Al-Menfi; chairman, Presidential Council of Libya.
FG Approves Paternity Leave For Civil Servants
The Federal Government has approved a 14-working-day paternity leave for federal civil servants in the country.
The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, made this known via a circular dated November 25, made available to newsmen, yesterday.
The circular with ref no HCSF/SPSO/ODD/NCE/RR/650309/3 was titled, ‘Computation of Leave Based on Working Days and Approval of Paternity Leave in the Public Service’.
Yemi-Esan, in the circular addressed to the Chief of Staff to the President, Ministers, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Clerk of the National Assembly, and Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), among others, said the approval of the paternity leave was in line with the provisions of the Public Service Rules, 2021 Edition, adding that the computation of all leave shall be based on working days.
The HoS stated that the period of the leave shall be 14 working days and shall not be more than once in two years, and for maximum of four children.
“Government has also approved Paternity Leave for serving male officers whose spouse delivers a baby. The period of the leave shall be 14 working days.
“The leave shall not be more than once in two years, and for maximum of four children.
“Where the family of a male officer adopts a child under four months old, the officer will similarly enjoy Paternity Leave for a period of 14 working days,” Yemi-Esan noted.
She said the request for such leave shall be accompanied by the Expected Date of Delivery’s (EDD) report of the officer’s wife or evidence of approval of the adoption of the child by the relevant government bodies, adding that the effective date of the circular was November 25, 2022.
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