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Diri Taps Investment Opportunities From Bahamas AFRIXIM Meeting

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Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has said his participation at the recent AFREXIM Bank’s Annual Meeting (AAM) in Nassau, The Bahamas, was part of efforts to attract investors to the state.
The four-day event had in attendance national and sub-national governments from across Africa and the Caribbean, political leaders and institutions from both regions as well as corporate organisations.
Diri stressed the need for people of the State to appreciate his administration’s initiatives at attracting development partners that would harness the economic potential of the state in order to create jobs and bring about economic prosperity.
He stated this on Wednesday during the 129th State Executive Council meeting in Government House, Yenagoa.
The Governor said he held fruitful meetings at the four-day event and that he has directed his team to follow up on them, noting that his travels out of the country were in the state’s interest.
“We will take our destiny in our hands and look for development partners across the world. We had fruitful meetings and l tasked my team to follow up on all the meetings so that we can have investors.
“Whenever l move out, l do so in the interest of our state. In my last trip, l put Bayelsa on the map of Africa. There were two governors, Bayelsa and Lagos, at the meetings”, he said.
He expressed appreciation to his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, and other members of the Executive Council for the smooth running of affairs of the state for the one week he was away.
Senator Diri also called on the people of Rivers State to give peace a chance in order to put the state on a steady path of development.
Describing Bayelsa and Rivers people as having a common heritage, the Governor noted that his administration needed to collaborate with Rivers to promote economic development and reduce poverty in the region.
“We call on all key actors to eschew bitterness and sheathe their swords in order to give peace a chance. There must be give-and-take so that the much needed development can take place and people will not suffer. We are all praying for peace to be restored in Rivers State”, he said.
The average cost of Brent, the global benchmark for crude oil in January was $80.12/barrel, but it moved up marginally to $81.75 in May, according to data from Statistica, an international statistical firm.

Also, the average exchange rate of the naira against the dollar in May, this year, was 1,434.1/$. The naira has been struggling since the Central Bank of Nigeria harmonised the country’s foreign exchange markets on June 14, 2023.

Based on the 5.43 million barrels crude oil production plunge, the price of Brent and the exchange rate of the naira in May, Nigeria lost an estimated revenue of about N636.3bn between January and May this year.

Meanwhile, it was further observed that while Nigeria produced 1.43mbpd of crude oil in January, this dropped to 1.32mbpd in February, crashed to 1.23mbpd in March, rose a little to 1.28mbpd in April, before falling to 1.25mbpd in May.

The continued plunge in Nigeria’s oil production has been blamed on the incessant vandalism of oil pipelines and crude oil theft.

Meanwhile, the government has been making efforts to address this issue, although it has not been as successful as anticipated.

On June 13, 2024, for instance, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited urged the judiciary to create a special court to try culprits of oil theft and pipeline vandalism.

NNPC’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Mele Kyari, made the plea at the National Judges Capacity Building Workshop on the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, organised by the National Judicial Institute and INVESTIN 234 in Abuja.

Kyari also urged the judiciary to accelerate hearings on offences related to crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism, according to a statement issued by the spokesperson of NNPC, Olufemi Soneye, at the time.

The NNPC helmsman further called for the support of the judiciary in tackling the twin challenges of crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism for the oil and gas industry to achieve its full potential as an enabler of national economic and industrial growth.

Recall that major oil companies lamented the impact of oil theft and pipeline vandalism on the availability of crude for local refineries.

The Director-General of the Lagos State Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dr Chinyere Almona, identified crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism as factors hindering the oil majors’ inability to meet their daily quotas.

She also explained that modular refineries were finding it hard to get enough crude.

She further identified low crude oil production in Nigeria as a factor limiting international oil companies’ capacity to supply crude to the Dangote Petroleum Refinery, and other modular refineries.

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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FG Launches Blueprint For Africa’s Digital Trade

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The Federal Government of Nigeria has launched a comprehensive strategy to spearhead Africa’s digital trade revolution, aligning with the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) framework.
The initiative, a key component of President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda, is aimed at leveraging trade as a driver of economic growth and continental unity in accordance with AfCFTA’s objectives.
According to Vice President Kashim Shettima, in his X handle (formerly twitter), “Nigeria is in a unique position to spearhead the continent’s technological transformation”.
He said the strategy includes implementing AfCFTA’s Digital Trade Protocol, developing technical talent hubs, enhancing digital infrastructure investments, and promoting innovation and entrepreneurship.
Shettima stated this while delivering a keynote address during a stakeholders’ summit with the theme, “Digital Trade in Africa: The Renewed Hope Strategy”, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The Vice President emphasised the need for public-private sector synergy and assured continued government investment in digital infrastructure and human capital development.
On his part, the Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijjani, highlighted the Tinubu administration’s substantial investments in all aspects of the digital trade protocol, aiming at harnessing opportunities both in Nigeria and across the continent.
He stated that innovative policies and programmes, such as the Three Million Technical Talent programme, the data protection policy, and increased investments in digital infrastructure, were equipping Nigeria’s young population for current and future opportunities.
Tijjani stressed the critical role of technology in facilitating trade across Africa, noting that the unprecedented opportunities within the single market area could be best leveraged through effective collaboration and networking enabled by digital technology.

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Oil Bearing Communities Okay Exploration In Ogoni Adopt Indigenous Company

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A body under the auspices of Ogoni Oil Bearing Communities has resolved that oil exploration should commence in Ogoni.
The body also adopted an indigenous company, Ogoni Royal Resources and Energy Limited, to operate the Ogoni oil fields located within the Oil Mining Lease (OML) 11.
The adoption followed a motion moved by a prominent community leader in the area, Chief Sylvester Kogbara, during a meeting of Ogoni oil producing communities, at Kpite, in Tai Local Government Area of the State.
The decision of the body to adopt an Ogoni indigenous company to explore oil in Ogoni was  taken by the stakeholders after a motion by Chief Sylvester Kogbara from Bodo Community, based on the provisions of the Local Content Act which empowers indigenous firms to participate in oil exploration activities.
Kogbara said: “That the Ogoni Royal Resources and Energy Limited has been adopted as the only indigenous company to mine, process, export and extract oil and gas from Ogoniland. I so move”.
In his address at the meeting, President of Ogoni Oil Bearing Communities (OOBC), Chief Donald Gberesuu, described as unfortunate, the plights and act of marginalisation of the oil bearing communities in the area in the scheme of things perpetrated by certain Ogonis he described as “greedy”, and the Nigerian government.
Gberesuu said: “The plights and act of marginalisation of the Ogoni Oil Bearing Communities in the scheme of things by certain greedy Ogonis and the Nigerian State, is quite unfortunate.
“The oil bearing communities are not subservient and shall not relegate our responsibilities to middlemen and interrupters who are fronting greed and usurpation of common opportunities.
“The Ogoni oil bearing communities hold title to our lands as individuals and as community who should decide the usage of their land, in respect of the oil beneat”.
The body cautioned against division in the rank and file of Ogoni and called for unity of purpose among the people to actualise the objectives of the Ogoni struggle.
Earlier in his remark, the host of the meeting, HRM, King  Samuel Nnee, had declared that the meeting was for the Oil bearing communities to deliberate on issues of development concern, especially on oil exploration resumption in Ogoni.

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Customs Alerts Nigerians On Online Auction, Recruitment Fraudsters 

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The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has warned the public to be wary of  fraudsters using the name of the Service to perpetrate illegal activities on the social media.
Speaking against the background of advertorials on the social media by some unknown persons indicating that the NCS is currently auctioning some seized items, including vehicles and essential items.
In a statement by the National Public Relations Officer, Abdullahi Maiwada, the NCS said the fraudsters have been exploiting public trust and ignorance to promote fictitious auctions and sham recruitment exercises supposedly endorsed by the Service.
It stated that, “The attention of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, has been brought to the escalating activities of fraudulent entities preying on unsuspecting individuals through social media platforms, falsely claiming association with the Service for purposes of auctions and recruitment.
“These individuals exploit public trust and ignorance, promoting fictitious auctions and sham recruitment drives supposedly endorsed by the our service.
“The Service wishes to clarify that auctions of seized/overtime goods are never conducted via social media platforms.
“Any such claims on social media should be treated as fraudulent and promptly reported. All seized/overtime goods have a laid-down Standard Operating Procedure, SOP, for disposal in line with the Nigeria Customs Service Act  2023.
“It is pertinent to state that the only portal for e-auction in NCS is http://auction.nigeriatradehub.gov.ng.
“For authentic updates about the operations of NCS, we strongly encourage the public to verify information exclusively through the NCS website, www.customs.gov.ng.
“Our commitment remains unwavering in protecting the public from fraudulent activities. We implore all Nigerians to exercise vigilance and prudence when approached with unverified offers or announcements as  regards NCS auctions or recruitment”.

“Any suspicious activities should be reported to any nearby customs formations”.

Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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