… As FG/IFAD-VCDP distributes livelihood support to 160 indigent women in Niger***
The All Progressives Congress (APC) Legacy Awareness and Campaign Group says President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is driving unparalleled reforms in the country’s oil and gas sector.
The group, which is a voluntary think-tank of the APC, said this in a statement jointly signed by Mr Ismail Ahmed and Mr Tolu Ogunlesi, its Co-ordinators, on Tuesday in Abuja.
It noted that Buhari as the pioneer chairman of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) between 1977 and 1978, recorded great and enduring achievements.
It recalled that combining his position as NNPC chairman with his role as Federal Commissioner of Petroleum and Natural Resources was one of the first public offices he held that brought him to national attention.
“During that period, he laid the substantial groundwork for the national infrastructure that helped develop the industry: pipelines, refineries and depots, among others, and helped midwife the vision for a Liquefied Natural Gas plant.
“Forty years later, the task has fallen upon him again to spearhead unparalleled reforms in the corporation he helped establish, ” the group said.
It added that under Buhari’s watch, since 2015, the National Oil Company had achieved a lot, including publishing audited financial statements for 2018, 2019 and 2020.
According to the group, this is the first published audited financial statement since the NNPC came into existence 43 years ago.
It said the Buhari administration also commenced clearing the backlog of cash call arrears owed International Oil Companies (IOCs), inherited from previous administrations amounting to more than five billion dollars.
“The administration completed the Escravos-Lagos Pipeline System (ELPS) Phase 2, doubling its capacity to 2.2 billion cubic feet of gas and commenced construction of the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Gas pipeline, Nigeria’s biggest-ever domestic gas pipeline project.
“It also commenced the total revamp of the Port Harcourt refinery, which is another industry jinx being broken.
“The administration resolved a 12-year-old dispute surrounding Oil Mining Licence (OML) 118, unlocking more than $10 billion of potential investment held up by the dispute,” it said.
According to the group, the crowning achievement of the administration in the sector has been the presidential assent to the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), after two decades of unsuccessful attempts.
It added that with the emergence of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), a new chapter definitely commenced in the Nigerian oil and gas sector.
The group further said the new industry regulatory agencies had been established, to provide the necessary oversight befitting the new status quo.
“And the President has received National Assembly approval for his nominees to the management teams of these new agencies. It is truly a new dawn for the oil and gas sector in Nigeria.
“The president’s promise to bring long overdue efficiency and transparency to the management of Nigeria’s oil and gas resources is being backed by action.
“And the journey has only just started, President Buhari will not slow down or relent in his NNPC reform efforts.
“One of the many transformational legacies that will be associated with his administration will be the rebirth of the National Oil Company, and a repositioning that will set it on the path to becoming a world-class institution,” the group stated.
In another development, the Federal Government and the International Fund for Agricultural Development Programme (IFAD) assisted Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP), on Tuesday, distributed livelihood support to 160 indigent women in Niger.
Dr Mathew Ahmed, the State Programme Coordinator (SPC) IFAD-VCDP, made this known while inaugurating the exercise in Mokwa Local Government Area of the state.
Ahmed said that the programme, under the VCDP Additional Financing (AF), would ensure balanced diets for the families of vulnerable women, thereby uplifting their living standards.
“The IFAD-VCDP called for AF to be able to reduce malnutrition among children by 15 per cent.
“The VCDP AF is to support the vulnerable among women, such as widows, the physically challenged and the financially handicapped, to be able to provide balanced diets to their families, thereby uplifting their living standard.
“This year we are supporting 20 women from each of the benefiting eight Local Government Areas of Bida, Borgu, Katcha, Kontagora, Mokwa, Shiroro and Wushishi, making a total of 160 beneficiaries,” he said.
He explained that ten out of every benefiting 20 would get one local cock, one local hen and N10,000 to multiply the birds.
While the other ten would be given horticultural crops including two suckers of plantains, two suckers of bananas, five seedlings of moringa plants, five seeds of fluted pumpkin seeds, two seedlings of citrus and N5,400 to improve the farm.
The Coordinator said that the project had committed N2 million to support the women, adding that the VCDP had also developed a monitoring mechanism, with its extension agents, to check and advise the beneficiaries on weekly basis.
He said that when the project’s finances improve in 2022, it would target a different set of 50 vulnerable women from each of the eight local government areas, to also benefit from the livelihood support.
Also speaking, Alhaji Yahaya Sheti, the local government council Chairman urged the beneficiaries to utilise the livelihood support items for the successful implementation of the programme.
Sheti, who assured of the council’s support for the programme, lauded the VCDP for the gesture.
Similarly, Mr Ndagi Isah, Director of Agriculture in the Council, said that the programme was a platform for the women to venture into agri-business to support their families.
Mrs Moses Grace, one of the beneficiaries, who expressed happiness for the support, assured that the items would be utilised to ensure continuity of the intervention programme.
Earlier, Mr Lawal Mohammed, Agricultural Production Officer, VCDP, in the state, encouraged the beneficiaries to always seek the assistance of the extension staff, when necessary, in order to succeed.