Category: World

FG increases varsities courses to 17

The Federal Government announced on Monday that it has increased the number of disciplines in the Nigerian University System to 17.

This was made known in a breakdown of the disciplines exclusively obtained by a source in Abuja on Monday.

GOGAN TV had earlier reported that the government, through the National Universities Commission, would inaugurate a committee of experts drawn from various disciplines in Nigerian universities in 2021 to design the new core curriculum and minimum academic standards for universities.

The Core Curriculum and Minimum Academic Standards, which were brought about after a comprehensive review of the Benchmark Minimum Academic Standards currently in use, were unveiled to the public on Monday.

The Executive Secretary of the NUC, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, said, “The radical re-engineering of the curricula in Nigerian universities is tailored to meet global standards and international best practices towards preparing Nigerian graduates for relevance in the fourth industrial revolution world economy with the skills needed for the future.”

“The Benchmark Minimum Academic Standards has been revised to Core Curriculum and Minimum Academic Standards.

“The CCMAS, which will soon be unveiled to the public, provides 70 percent of what should be taught along with the expected outcome, while the university will provide 30 percent based on its contextual peculiarities and characteristics.”

GOGAN TV reports that before the unveiling on Monday, there were 14 disciplines in the NUS.

However, with the introduction of the CCMAS, the number of disciplines has been increased to 17.

The earlier existing disciplines are Administration and Management, Agriculture, Arts, Basic Medical Sciences, Education, Engineering and

Technology, environmental sciences, law, medicine and dentistry, pharmaceutical science, social sciences, and veterinary medicine

The new disciplines are Allied Health Sciences, Architecture, Computing, and Communications and Media Studies.

Giving his final remarks, Rasheed said, “The CCMAS documents are uniquely structured to provide for 70% of core courses for each program while allowing universities to utilize the remaining 30% for other innovative courses in their areas of focus.”

In addition to the overall learning outcomes for each discipline, there are also learning outcomes for each program and course.

“In general, programs are typically structured such that a student does not carry less than 30 credit units or more than 48 credit units per session.

“Consequently, the commission is optimistic that the 2021 CCMAS documents will serve as a guide to Nigerian universities in the design of curriculum for their programs with regards to the minimum acceptable standards of input and process, as well as a measurable benchmark of knowledge, 21st-century skills, and competences expected to be acquired by an average graduate of each of the academic programs for self, national, and global relevance.”

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Depreciation of the Naira increases foreign debt by N9 trillion

The value of the naira to the dollar fell from N196.92 in June 2015 to N414.72 in June 2022, worsening Nigeria’s foreign debt burden.

Within the seven years under review, the naira depreciated by 52.52 percent against the US dollar.

The Monthly Average Exchange Rates of the Naira (Naira Per Unit of Foreign Currency) for 2015 document obtained from the website of the Central Bank of Nigeria shows that the one dollar was N196.92 for Inter-bank Foreign Exchange Market.

The exchange rate for one dollar as of June 30, 2022, was N414.72, according to the figure provided by the CBN.

GOGAN TV recently reported that Nigeria’s total external debt rose from $10.32 billion as of June 30, 2015, to $40.06 billion as of June 30, 2022.

This showed that there was an increase of 288.18 percent in seven years, according to the external debt stock reports by the Debt Management Office.

A breakdown shows that in 2015, states had $3.27 billion in external debt while the federal government had $7.05 billion.

By 2022, states’ external debt had risen to $4.56 billion, while the federal government’s external debt was $35.5 billion.

The debts include those from multilateral sources such as the World Bank, the African Development Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, as well as those from bilateral sources such as China, France, Japan, Germany, and India.

They also include debts from commercial sources, which include Eurobonds and Diaspora bonds.

If the CBN average exchange rate for June 2015 was used to weigh the country’s current $40.06 billion foreign debt, Nigeria’s external debt in naira terms would have been N7.89 trillion.

However, with the exchange rate of N414.72 as of June 30 this year, the total external debt in naira terms was N16.61tn, showing a difference of N8.72tn.

By implication, it will cost Nigeria N8.72 trillion in naira terms if the country decides to pay back the $40.06 billion in external debt in 2022. If this same debt had been incurred in 2015, Nigeria would have spent N8.72tn less, given the then exchange rate of N196.92/$.

Reacting, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Cowry Asset Management Limited, Mr. Johnson Chukwu, said that high external debt would impose a huge debt service on the economy.

He said, “This will impose a huge debt service on the economy, particularly at a time when we have low revenue from oil sales.” If the revenue from oil sales does not improve, then the government will be struggling to meet that debt service obligation to foreign lenders.

However, he noted that Nigeria could service its foreign debt at its current level, but a constant increase in debt without a corresponding increase in foreign currency earnings could put the country in a difficult position.

In a bid to manage the value of the naira, the CBN introduced several policies, such as stopping 41 items from accessing forex at the official market, offering N5 for every $1 of funds remitted to Nigeria through internal money transfer organizations, and banning the supply of forex to Bureau de Change, among others.

However, these policies have not been able to guarantee naira stability.

The World Bank has said it disagrees with the CBN on how it tries to achieve price stabilization of the naira, adding that the local currency should be allowed to respond to real pressures and not be bottled up by the CBN.

It added that the country’s exchange rate strategy discouraged investors and increased inflation risks.

A Global Finance Report has also said that the CBN has failed to curb rising inflation and stop the naira from sliding against the US dollar.

The International Monetary Fund recently said that the long-term rate of the depreciation of the naira equated to a loss of 10.6 percent of its value annually since 1973.

According to the IMF, this rate was 1.5 times higher than the long-term rate of the currencies of other emerging markets and developing economies at 7.2 percent and sub-Saharan Africa at seven percent over the same time period.

The IMF said, “Its exchange rate underwent more persistent depreciation.” Nigeria’s long-term rate of currency depreciation (on average 10.6 percent annually since 1973) was 1.5 times higher than both EMDE (7.2 percent) and SSA (seven percent). “Given limited availability of long-term data, it is difficult to estimate the exact reasons.”

The Bank of America recently said Nigeria’s local currency unit was set to weaken further next year as its current exchange rate to the dollar was well above fair value.

According to a report by Bloomberg, “Three indicators, the widely-used black-market rate, the central bank’s real effective exchange rate, and our own currency fair value analysis, show the naira is 20 percent overvalued.”

“We see scope for it to weaken by an equivalent amount over the next six to nine months, taking it to as high as 520 per USD.”

During a workshop on tax expenditure organized by the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja, financial experts advised that Nigeria and other West African countries should move away from reliance on foreign assistance to finance developmental projects in the region.

According to them, overdependence on financial aid and external loans might affect long-term prosperity for the entire region.

The Special Advisor to the Director (Custom Union and Taxation in ECOWAS), Gbenga Falana, while emphasizing that the debt profile of most of the countries in the sub-region was mounting, stressed the need for West African countries to look inwardly and finance local projects through effective domestic resource mobilization.

Most experts who spoke with a source described the current situation as “naira devaluation,” rather than “depreciation.”

While depreciation is driven by demand and supply, devaluation is often a policy measure employed by the central bank to achieve certain economic outcomes.

A member of the Monetary Policy Committee, who spoke in confidence with our correspondent, said certain demand and supply factors were triggering the devaluation.

The source said, “The issue of devaluation is a function of demand and supply factors.” If the value of a currency is depreciating, it means the demand is greater than the supply.

On the issue of supply, he said that the country was not exporting enough and that foreign investments into the country were dropping.

“If we are having issues with supply, it is either because exports are not growing or because foreigners are not investing in the country.”

“Our export is mainly oil, but there are issues like sabotage in Niger Delta areas.” Our volume has not been increasing as it should, and then there is subsidy, as part of what we earn is also spent on subsidizing refined products.

“Also, our non-oil export is not growing, which means that we have not been diversifying the economy sufficiently to move away from oil to non-oil,” the source said.

The source also said that the pandemic, insecurity, and certain policies contributed to the devaluation.

He said, “Also, the pandemic has affected remittances, and there has been a decrease in capital flow, especially due to insecurity.” Foreigners are also not happy with the policies that we practice. There is risk in the system, which discourages investors. All of these contribute to the failure of supply.

On the issue of demand, the source said there had been the issue of people buying dollars to use as bribes and to keep. This, among other things, had led to more demand than supply, he noted.

“On the demand side, people demand foreign currencies to import raw materials, final products, or capital goods.” In Nigeria, we also see that the dollar has become the currency that people use to bribe. There are also those who buy dollars to keep them. “This makes the growth in demand higher than that of supply, affecting exchange rates over the year,” the MPC member said.

The source added that the government needed to restructure the economy, reduce dependence on oil, address the issue of oil subsidies, and control speculators buying dollars to keep.

A Professor of Economics at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, Prof. Sheriffdeen Tella, said there were certain political and economic issues triggering the naira’s devaluation.

On the economic side, he said the increase in imports over exports and illicit capital flows had been major reasons for the naira’s depreciation.

He said, “The devaluation is caused by both political and economic issues.” The economic issue is that we continue to import goods and are not exporting much beyond oil. Also, the non-oil sector is not doing very well, and we are still importing more.

“There is also the issue of illicit capital flow.” That is, people taking foreign currency without caution. “The coronavirus has also affected output.”

He also said that the CBN had been intentionally devaluing the naira in order to increase the funds given to state governments.

“On political grounds, the CBN, probably with collusion from the Ministry of Finance, has been devaluing the value of the naira officially to increase the amount of naira given to the state government.”

“The official devaluation of the naira has taken place twice, and that is a political thing.” “They are doing it to satisfy fiscal expenditures,” he added.

He urged the government to address these issues to achieve naira appreciation.

A professor of economics and public policy at the University of Uyo and chairman of the Foundation for Economic Research and Training, Prof. Akpan Ekpo, condemned the intentional devaluation of the naira by the CBN.

He said, “When you devalue, you are hoping that the goods you export will be cheaper.” You can export more and earn more revenue. However, our major export is crude petroleum, and we don’t control the price or output. “So, we don’t get anything from the government’s outright devaluation.”

Ekpo urged the government to boost production and ensure the country had a strong, productive economy.

“The only way we can stop the devaluation of currency is through production.” We need to produce more goods and services and export them to earn foreign exchange. That is our basic problem in Nigeria: we consume what we don’t consume.

“The government needs to build an economy that is strong and doesn’t rely on one commodity,” he told our correspondent.

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Tinubu campaign train arrives UK; Atiku campaign storms Lagos

The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the 2023 general elections, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, took his campaign to London, United Kingdom, on Monday, where he revealed his plans to rebuild the nation’s economy, security, and foreign policy if elected president.

This came as the presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, stormed Lagos and urged Lagosians to change the APC government, which he said had been dominated by one family.

Tinubu, who spoke at the Chatham House in London, shared his thoughts during an address titled “Nigeria’s 2023 elections: Security, economic, and foreign policy imperatives.”

He said, “The challenges that have manifested themselves with regard to our national and regional development as well as security trajectory are very well known to all of us here: radical extremist violence, terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, human trafficking, trafficking in weapons, trafficking in drugs, climate change, and resource-driven conflicts.”

Tinubu was accompanied to the lecture by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; Governors Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Abubakar Bello (Niger), Ben Ayade (Cross Rivers), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), David Umahi (Ebonyi), as well as the former governor of Ekiti State), Dr. Kayode Fayemi, and ex-National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole.

Others were former deputy governor of Lagos State, Chief Femi Pedro; former Lagos State Commissioner for Information, Dele Alake; PCC Finance Director, Olawale Edun; Senators Tokunbo Abiru, Musiliu Obanikoro, and Tokunbo Afikuyomi; former deputy governor of Ogun State, Chief Segun Adesegun; Hadiza Bala-Usman; and a Lagos APC chieftain, Alhaji Mutiu Are.

The APC candidate also reiterated his desire to consolidate the gains of the current administration, especially in the areas of agriculture and infrastructure.

Tinubu also expressed his willingness to engage the private sector actively if he wins the February 25, 2023, presidential poll.

He stated, “I guess my name is Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and the current president is Muhammadu Buhari.” There is nowhere in the constitution that says the current administration can’t be in continuity. This doesn’t mean removal from adaptation to my own developmental policies. I did it in Lagos.

“The present administration has invested heavily in agriculture, providing loans and expanding the country’s total acreage of cultivated land.” “We will build on this, but our focus will be on using technology and expertise to accelerate growth and development by providing the critical infrastructure necessary to achieve the commodity transformations in the agriculture value chain.”

He added, “Roads, rail, access to ports, and storage infrastructure are what we require to radically transform the agriculture sector and increase its value to the nation.” Providing these will be the areas of our focus so that the full potential of our agro-economy can be achieved, and we can reap the benefits in jobs, improved economic opportunities and increased prosperity.”

The former Lagos State governor also unveiled plans to fix the energy sector crisis.

He said, “Fixing the perennial riddle of energy supply is another priority.”  There is no version of the world where Nigeria’s ambitions can be achieved without solving the problem of how to provide energy to homes and businesses across the country.  It is time to recognize that the centralized approach to energy policy and infrastructure is not an optimal arrangement and is unlikely to improve with mere tinkering around the edges.

“The Federal Government as regulator, operator, and price fixer is a broken model and one that we fully intend to fix if elected.”

In a related development, Kaduna State governor, El-Rufai, spoke on how Tinubu presidency could tackle the perennial challenge of insecurity and shortage of manpower in the country.

El-Rufai, who was delegated by Tinubu to react to a question raised on Nigeria’s security issue, expressed concerns that the problem goes beyond economic activities.

He said, “Security has been a big issue in Nigeria in the last few years, and that has affected not only real economics but agricultural production, commerce, and everything else.” The Bola Tinubu administration will address these challenges in at least three ways.

“First, in terms of policing, Nigeria has about 300,000 policemen for a population of over 200 million.” We need at least twice that number. That will be achieved by amending the constitution so that policing can be done at the federal, state, and community levels.

“With an increased security footprint, there will be fewer criminal activities.” The second step is to look at our armed forces and security architecture. Nigeria’s armed forces are not more than 200,000 in size, including the Army, Navy, and Air Force. While some countries have a large military, we are struggling with just 200,000 members of the armed forces.

“The numbers, equipment, skills, and training of the armed forces will be scaled up; they will be increased rapidly to meet the asymmetric nature of the security challenges that we face.” This is because today the armed forces are not fighting with other countries. They are fighting with non-state actors, and the doctrine, training, and numbers must change.

“In 1967, the total size of the Nigerian army was only 10,000 because of the civil war. Within a year, we ramped it up to 250,000, so it can be done, and what we are facing in Nigeria today—banditry, terrorism, and oil theft—requires a new approach. We will ensure that our country is not only safe internally but also not a threat to our neighbours.

“Thirdly, the issue of the proliferation of small arms following the collapse of Libya, which is by no means our fault, will have to be addressed through collaboration with countries like Mali, Niger, Sudan, and Chad.” “This has already started but will be deepened under the leadership of a new security team under the Bola Tinubu administration.”

Meanwhile, the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku, urged Lagos residents to liberate themselves from the rule of a family government and replace it with the people’s government by voting for the party in the forthcoming elections.

The former vice president spoke on Monday during the PDP presidential campaign rally held at the Tafawa Balewa Square on Lagos Island.

Atiku, who was present with his wife, Mrs. Titi Abubakar, promised to restructure the country and empower youths with small and medium enterprises if elected president.

However, it was observed that the former Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, Olabode George; the Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde; the party’s Deputy National Chairman, Taofeek Arapaja; and the former Ekiti State governor, Ayo Fayose, among other leaders of the PDP Integrity Group led by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, were absent from the rally.

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FCDA repossess Ghana, Malaysia, Thailand plots

The Federal Capital Development Authority has withdrawn the plots provided to Ghanaian, Thai, and Malaysian embassies for impeding the building of a significant motorway in the nation’s capital, a source reported.

The FCDA’s Executive Secretary, Shehu Ahmad, acknowledged the development over the weekend while updating the media on the organization’s efforts to deliver essential national infrastructure.

He asserted that the properties in question, which are in Abuja’s diplomatic district, were designated for a replacement many years ago to make room for the Ring Road One interchange’s development on the busy Inner Southern Expressway.

Ahmad said replacement plots were offered at some of the new layouts, which the authority was developing at Guzape ll, to assuage the embassies affected by the major infrastructural project.

He noted that the issues had been resolved at the diplomatic level, with the affected missions accepting the offer of replacement plots to pave the way for the construction of an interchange on that section of road.

“We had some challenges with diplomatic plots. At Ring Road One, we were supposed to have an interchange there, but we had challenges there due to diplomatic plots.

“When you have an issue with an embassy, it is like having an issue with the government of that nation.” “There were a lot of diplomatic moves made to ensure the resolution, but we have replacement plots and they have indicated their readiness to accept this, and we will soon develop our interchange there,” Ahmad said.

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Navy accuse NNPC of insincerity, exaggeration over oil theft figures

The Nigerian Navy has accused the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited of not revealing the true cause(s) of crude oil theft in the country but instead reeling out exaggerated figures to save its face.

This disclosure was made to the Senate Committee on Economic and Financial Crimes by the Navy Chief of Training and Operations, Rear Admiral Solomon Agada, during an interactive briefing of the relevant agencies implementing the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act, 2022, at the National Assembly. Our correspondent exclusively observed the proceedings.

Agada revealed that, at several interactions with the NNPC, the Navy had explained the causes of fuel scarcity to the company, saying there was no way anyone would steal 100,000 barrels of oil in a day, but the NNPC had deliberately continued to mislead Nigerians.

He made the disclosure when the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Suleiman Kwari, questioned him on why the country continued to experience cases of oil theft if the waterways were secured as Agada posited.

Kwari queried, “The oil theft issue has been a very worrisome one to every Nigerian, and more importantly, it has negatively impacted our economy.” “How come the Navy hasn’t been able to solve the issue of oil theft, and if the Navy is claiming that the waterways are secured, why are there still cases of oil theft?”

Agada explained in his responses, “The challenge is that because of the criminal activity inshore by the illegal refiners in tapping into the export lines, those export lines have not been in operation since early this year.”

“The major terminals have not been able to process fuel for export since around February/March and instead of the NNPC telling the Federal Government that this product is not brought out to be able to process as export, they say the oil was stolen.”

He explained that the argument of the Navy had been that the NNPC should tell people the difference between the oil that they have shut in and not brought out and what is being stolen.

He added, “The stolen produce that we have been dealing with among illegal refineries is nothing compared to what the NNPC is declaring as being stolen.”

“If you’re talking about stealing 100,000 barrels a day, you need to transport about five-ton batches 20 times a day from the creek to the high seas, which is very unrealistic.” I told them at the NNPC that if that were to be the case, even a blind man would observe that something was happening in Nigeria’s waters, and we are there on patrol and not seeing this.

“The only reasonable explanation why the fuels are not coming out is because the Shell platform on Bonny Island is not exporting and the Chevron terminal in Escravos is also not exporting.” All these things are very clear, but because it is easier to say that these things are stolen, then they just come up with that.

“Let’s get someone who can do proper analysis of these figures, and we’ll find out that these claims are just bogus; there is nothing substantive about them.” “We have communicated appropriately with the NNPC; even at our last interface with them, they agreed with us; but when they come to the public, they say oil theft, hiding the fact from the public.”

Senator Yusuf Yusuf noted that at an oversight function, the NNPC said crude pipelines were being tapped from the pressure pipe under the sea, and crude oil was usually transferred from there into vessels, and this had been happening for nine years.

“Is the Navy aware or not of the taping going on under the sea?” Yusuf asked.

Agada responded, “On the tapping of the vessel, I also visited that location with the Chief of Defence Staff, and there is a directive by the President from the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to set up a committee on that particular incident.”

“We are not indicting the NNPCL; we are just saying that let matters be presented correctly so that people can make informed decisions.” The Navy has no hand in any theft of oil in this country. “I have no ship or vessel, nor do I know anyone who has; you can investigate me.”

The Navy boss further explained that the increase in diesel price was because of the operation in stopping illegal bunkering on the waters.

He said, “People who have been doing this illegal business will confirm to you that since we started this special task force operation in April, their business has gone sour.”

“This is also responsible for the increase in diesel prices in the country.” Since we stopped the illegal diesel from coming to the market, the price has gone up because once there is high demand and the supply is low, the price will go up.

“People who ought to import will cut corners and buy the illegal products, but now that they can’t import and the illegal ones are not coming, this has reduced the quantity in the country.” But somehow, nobody is coming to share this information with the people.”

He added that the Federal Government had invested in infrastructure through the Maritime Domain Awareness Infrastructure, which had assisted the Navy in detecting and arresting illegal refiners and vessels that were usually handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for prosecution.

Agada stated, “And right from Abuja here, we have the capacity to see the entire Nigeria Exclusive Economic Zone.” We have a 24-hour watch on the exclusive economic zone. Any vessel that enters Nigerian waters that is not permitted to be there is immediately arrested because we see their movement.

“Any vessel in the international waters is expected to have their automatic identification system on and that shows that you’re transparently operating; so, any vessel that switches off its identification system automatically becomes a vessel for the Nigeria Navy and we will immediately arrest them and thereafter investigate.

“So, as of today, there is no tanker that can enter Nigerian waters to carry anything without being noticed.” “All these things that have happened now have sent a very strong signal to the international communities that Nigeria is now a place where illegal activities can’t take place anymore.”

Earlier in his speech, the chairman of the committee noted that the session was an oversight function of the Senate to oversee the agencies and check on their revenue generation.

Kwari said, “As part of our oversight duties, it has become imperative to ascertain your organization’s level of compliance with the specific provisions of this Act with due respect to the actual laid down procedures on how you are to handle and dispose of forfeited assets.”

“A cursory look at the submissions so far indicated a wide gap between the reserved prices and competitive bid offers if the items were exposed to the general public through licensed auctioneers. “This disposal process is meant to generate revenue for the government and should be seen as such.”

The Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Garba-Deen Mohammad, could not be reached for comment.

He did not take calls placed to his phone and had not replied to a text message sent to him on the matter as of the time of filing this report.

The NNPC has 21 depots, which are meant for the storage of petroleum products, particularly Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called “petrol,” but all of them are not functioning.

It was gathered that the facilities had been redundant, just like the four refineries also under the management of the NNPC.

Oil marketers told our correspondent that the pipelines that were also used to supply or evacuate products to the depots were either vandalized or obsolete, stressing that this was why the NNPC had been employing the services of private depot owners.

The NNPC is the sole importer of petrol into the country, a task it has shouldered for more than four years now. Other marketers stopped importing the commodity due to the difficulty in accessing foreign exchange.

The secretary of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Abuja-Suleja, Mohammed Shuaibu, described the situation as precarious.

He said, “We are in a very precarious situation.” The government has to wake up to its duties because, as you know, none of the four refineries is productive. They are more or less obsolete.

“We also have 21 depots across the country, nine in the North and 12 in the South.” But these depots, which are supposed to be storage facilities, are not productive because the pipelines that supply products to them are old or are vandalized.

“So, the only way to get petroleum products into Nigeria today is through imports.” That is only done by the NNPC, and when it imports the product, it dumps it in private depots, which now take charge of the product.

“But right now, the private depots have raised the price of the product.” This is making everyone apprehensive. Those who paid the government-approved price may wake up to find out that they can no longer buy the product.

“As it is now, all the northern parts of Nigeria have been affected, and the depots that are supposed to be the storage facilities do not have the product.” Everybody now relies on going down south to bring in the product.

“And when you go there, you are not even sure of getting it.” Some tankers spend weeks on roads before they arrive at their destinations due to the bad road network in Nigeria.”

He said a lot of retail outlets owned by independent marketers had been shut down due to a lack of PMS to sell, giving rise to the activities of black marketers of petrol.

“Many petrol stations have been closed.” These outlets were built to sell petroleum products, but when you don’t have the products, what do you do? “This is why you see black marketers selling gasoline in jerry cans everywhere,” Shuaibu stated.

On his part, the National Public Relations Officer, IPMAN, Chief Ukadike Chinedu, said the dysfunctional nature of the NNPC depots had caused private depots to raise the cost of PMS stored in their facilities.

He said some private depots were selling the commodity at N210 per litre, whereas the approved NNPC rate was N147 per litre.

Ukadike, however, explained that the charges incurred by the private depots, such as paying rent for vessels in dollars, among others, were factors that led to the hike in the cost of petrol at the depots.

“This is why we are pleading with the government to bring back the depots under the management of the NNPC, so that we can access the product at the approved rate,” he stated.

Industry sources stated that the concerns in the downstream oil sector had led some people in the industry to profit from the lapses as they urged the NNPC to address the challenges fast.

Meanwhile, officials of the NNPC stated that the vandalism of pipelines that transport and evacuate PMS from depots was the major obstacle to the functionality of the facilities.

An official said, “You can’t be battling with crude oil theft as a result of pipeline sabotage, and you now add that of PMS theft through vandalism of pipelines.”

“You know that this will be very dangerous because PMS is highly flammable, and vandalizing a pipeline that conveys such a product may cause severe damage to the host communities.”

The NNPC spokesman, Muhammad, did not respond to inquiries.

The inadequate supply of daughter vessels required for evacuating Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called “petrol,” from mother vessels on the high seas to depots is another reason for the fuel shortage currently being witnessed across the country.

It was gathered on Saturday that the inadequate supply of the daughter vessels had further triggered the increase in the amount paid as rent by oil marketers for the services of the few available vessels.

Oil marketers told one of our correspondents that the cost of renting daughter vessels rose by 163 percent within a short period, stressing that this reduced the purchasing power of many dealers.

“Therefore there must be a review of all the rates.” It is not the making of ship owners or the making of ships. “It is what the world is demanding.”

He said the smaller vessels that collect the cargoes could not take more than 15,000t.

This, he noted, was “because there are restrictions in some of our ports or depots, such as in Calabar, Oghara, Warri, etc., which are all very shallow-draft ports with not more than six or 6.5 meters of draft.”

Speaking further on pricing, Onyung argued that shipping was an export product, stressing that most exports were priced in dollars.

The SOAN president added, “Shipping is an international business that is priced in dollars; if you want to dry-dock a ship, you are going to pay dollars in a shipyard.”

“If you want to buy a ship or its spare parts, you pay in dollars.” If you go to ports, you also pay in foreign currency. So, shipping is priced in US dollars.

Meanwhile, a source close to the Nigerian Ports Authority denied the allegation that Apapa ports could not accommodate bigger vessels.

“They can’t tell us that Apapa ports can’t take bigger vessels; the largest vessel in West Africa came to Apapa ports a few years ago.” So the story that the Apapa ports can’t take bigger vessels is not correct. “If it is Calabar ports, yes, everyone knows the story of Calabar ports,” the source stated.

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Terrorism a threat to 2023

The Tony Blair Institute of Global Change has called on Nigerian authorities to take seriously the dangers that the Indigenous People of Biafra, bandits, and Boko Haram/Islamic State pose to the 2023 general elections in West African Province.

The organisation warned that these groups are more likely to step up their attacks to scupper the 2023 elections.

The group explicitly cautioned that the one million INEC employees, observers, and journalists run the risk of being targeted by IPOB, bandits, and terrorists in a report released on Thursday.

The report partly read, “Three of the most active violent groups in Nigeria – Boko Haram, bandits and IPOB – threaten the 2023 election in different ways. Boko Haram’s factions will try to endanger the election because this is one of the group’s publicly declared ideological objectives.

“They will do so by stepping up attacks, including bombings in major cities while displacing some communities and ensuring remote ones are inaccessible for campaigning or holding elections. While bandits are not purposely anti-democratic, their attacks on villages and displacement of more than a million people are set to disenfranchise many Nigerians.

 “Meanwhile, IPOB targets critical election infrastructure and threatens candidates and voters while attacking northern residents of the South-East region. Additionally, all three will actively target the one million election workers who will be transported across Nigeria as well as the thousands of journalists and observers who will monitor the election.

“Boko Haram will attack on ideological basis, bandits will carry out kidnaps-for-ransom, and IPOB will seek out journalists and observers to send its separatist message while demonstrating its control over the South-East.

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Full Last 16 Fixtures, Date and Time for Qatar 2022

 

Following a sensational end to the group games of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup on Friday, the round of 16 games will immediately follow up on Saturday (today).

The group climaxed with Group H games that saw Ghana and Uruguay bow out even though the South Americans won 2-0. South Korea also joined Portugal in the next round courtesy of a late winner by Hwang Hee-chan.

While highly rated teams like Germany, Belgium, and Uruguay failed to make it out of the group stage, Japan, South Korea, and Morocco pulled surprises to top their respective groups.

As there is no break after the group stage games, the second round gets underway on Saturday with games between the Netherlands and USA as well as between Argentina and Australia.

Full Last 16 Fixtures for Qatar 2022 World Cup +Plus Time

See the complete second-round FIFA World Cup 2022 schedule below:

Match 50 – Saturday, 3 December Argentina-Australia, Time: 20:00

 Match 51 – Sunday, 4 December England-Senegal, Time: 20:00

Match 52 – Sunday, 4 December France-Poland, Time: 16:00

Match 53 – Monday, 5 December Japan-Croatia, Time: 16:00

Match 54 – Monday, 5 December Brazil-Korea Republic, Time: 20:00

Match 55 – Tuesday, 6 December Morocco-Spain, Time: 16:00

Match 56 – Tuesday, 6 December Portugal – Switzerland, Time: 20:00

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Osinbajo Travels to Vietnam For Bilateral Talks

 

The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, is scheduled to depart from Abuja on Saturday for the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to engage in high-level bilateral activities in the Southeast Asian nation.

The engagements will include meetings with the President of Vietnam, President Nguyn Xuân Phc; Vice President Vo Thi Aah Xuan; Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh; other government officials; and the business community.

This was contained in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande.

According to the statement, the Vice President’s five-day visit comes after former Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam Vuong Hue visited Nigeria in October 2019 in view of the trade and bilateral relations between both countries.

During the visit, Hue was said to have met with Osinbajo and other senior Nigerian government officials and interacted with the Nigerian-Vietnam Business Association.

“The VP’s reciprocal visit to Vietnam will further strengthen trade and bilateral relations between both countries,” the statement added.

“Although Nigeria and Vietnam have maintained long-standing diplomatic relations since 1976, Vice President Osinbajo will be the second Nigerian high-ranking incumbent government official to visit the Southeast Asian country after President Olusegun Obasanjo, who visited in 2005.”

“While in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the Vice President is expected to witness the signing of Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) and Agreements on Investment between Nigeria and Vietnam.”

Osinbajo is also expected to hold high-level diplomatic discussions with his Vietnamese counterpart, Vice President Vo Thi Aah Xuan, and the Prime Minister on issues of trade, commerce, agriculture, technology, and innovation, among others.

He will later participate in a business forum with the Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce, with representatives from both countries.

Read the full statement below:

IN HIGH LEVEL VISIT TO VIETNAM, OSINBAJO TO MEET PRESIDENT, VP, PRIME MINISTER, OTHERS

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, departs Abuja today for the Socialist Republic of Vietnam for high-level bilateral engagements in the Southeast Asian nation, including meetings with the President of Vietnam, President Nguyn Xuân Phc; Vice President Vo Thi Aah Xuan; Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh; other government officials; and the business community.

The VP’s reciprocal visit to Vietnam will further strengthen trade and bilateral relations between both countries.

Recall that in view of the trade and bilateral relations between both countries, the then Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam, Vuong Hue, visited Nigeria in October 2019 and met with Prof. Osinbajo and other senior Nigerian government officials, as well as interacted with the Nigerian-Vietnam Business Association.

As the then Deputy Prime Minister, who was accompanied to Nigeria by senior Vietnamese government officials and businessmen, noted, Nigeria is Vietnam’s largest trading partner in Africa. Indeed, trade between both countries stood at US$280 million in 2014 and increased to over US$500 million in 2019.

Although Nigeria and Vietnam have maintained long-standing diplomatic relations since 1976, Vice President Osinbajo will be the second Nigerian high-ranking incumbent government official to visit the Southeast Asian country after President Olusegun Obasanjo, who visited in 2005.

While in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the Vice President is expected to witness the signing of memoranda of understanding (MoU) and agreements on investment between Nigeria and Vietnam. He will also hold high-level diplomatic discussions with his Vietnamese counterpart, Vice President Vo Thi Aah Xuan, and the Prime Minister on issues of trade, commerce, agriculture, technology, and innovation, among others.

Prof. Osinbajo will later participate in a business forum with the Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce with representatives from both countries.

With the opportunities existing in agriculture and technology in Nigeria and Vietnam, discussions would focus on the mutual benefits of effective collaboration in particular economic sectors so as to deepen the friendly and trade relations of both countries.

The VP will conclude the visit to Vietnam on Wednesday.

Laolu Akande

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity

Office of the Vice President

3rd December 2022

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Orji Kalu Says Tinubu Postponed US Trip, Was Never Denied Visa

 

Senator Orji Uzor Kalu has debunked rumours making the rounds that the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, was denied a visa to the United States of America.

Describing the story as fake news in a Facebook post on Saturday, the former Abia State Governor said Tinubu postponed the trip himself and was never denied a visa.

He said as the election draws closer, the opposition will spread more fake news against their presidential candidate and urged the party’s supporters to always ignore it and keep their eyes on the ball.

Orji Kalu claimed that the State Department of the US confirmed to him that Tinubu would be received in the third week of December.

He wrote, “As the election draws closer, the opposition will spread more fake news against our presidential candidate, but we should always ignore it and keep our eyes on the ball.” The news that Tinubu was denied a visa to the USA is as fake as other fake news.

“Tinubu postponed the trip himself and was never denied a visa. The State Department of the US confirmed to me that Tinubu will be received in the third week of December. As the presidential candidate of our party with an outstanding personality, he will be warmly welcomed in the United States. OUK.”

The APC Presidential Campaign Council had in a statement last week said that Tinubu will embark on foreign trips from December 4 to meet global leaders and pitch his Presidential aspiration.

In the statement posted on its Twitter handle, the campaign council disclosed that Tinubu and his delegation will be in London, the USA, France, and key European Union member states to share their vision and plans and to also solicit the support of the Western powers for the democratic process that will usher in the new administration in Nigeria on May 29, 2023.

It also stated that while in London, Tinubu will address Chatham House, the United Kingdom’s elite Foreign and Policy Think-Tank institution, where he will speak on security, economy, and foreign policy on Monday, December 5, 2022.

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Oliseh lauds Morocco, Senegal historic World Cup achievement

Former Super Eagles coach and member of the FIFA Technical Study Group for the 2022 World Cup, Sunday Oliseh, has hailed Senegal and Morocco for reaching the knockout stage of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Morocco edged past Canada to top Group F and reach the World Cup knockout stage for the first time in 36 years.

Morocco finished on seven points, two more than runners-up Croatia, to advance from the group stage of the tournament to the next for a second time, 36 years after they became the first African country to do so at the Mexico World Cup in 1986.

The Atlas Lions, whose previous trip to the last 16 came in 1986, finished above 2018 finalists Croatia, while Belgium, ranked second in the world, are out after finishing third in the group.

Oliseh was impressed with the performance of the two African sides at the World Cup.

“The euphoria here in Qatar is infectious as my in-laws, Morocco, achieve a historic second round World Cup qualification. First, Senegal; now this. What a World Cup for Africa with African coaches! “I feel more is coming.” Oliseh said on Twitter.

He also applauded Mohammed Kudus for his creative display in Ghana’s 2-0 defeat to Uruguay, adding that the future of the Black Stars is bright.

“Just watched Mohammed Kudus, a superstar on which Ghana can rebuild a top Black Stars team. A skilful, fast creative, humble, strong, sharp, shooter, hardworking with leadership “on pitch” qualities.

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