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Encourage modular, develop “illegal refineries’’ – Sen. Enang

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  • As EFCC traces another Diezeani’s $1.5b to Swiss bank

Sen. Ita Enang, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), stressed the need for Government to not only embraced modular refining of oil, but also develop local capacity in the sub-sector.

Enang indicated this known while featuring on a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja, pleading that rather than destroy “illegal refineries’’, the operators should be more properly encouraged and regulated.

He highlighted that with plans by some developed economies to ban the use of petrol-driven cars in a few years, Nigeria should develop its refining capacity to stand up to any surprise that may come up.

He also explained that if the use of electric cars was actualised in the near future, the countries refining Nigeria’s crude may stop refining, leaving the country with no option but to refine its crude.

He therefore reasoned that it is expedient for Nigeria to think ahead by developing and integrating the modular refineries.

“Some countries of the world have given notice that they are no more going to use petrol and some petroleum bye-products in a very short while.

“You know it is what they stop using that they will send to the third world countries and when they stop using petrol cars, they may also stop refining for you.

“This makes it absolutely necessary for us as a country to develop our refining capacity by integrating the local refineries and stop calling them illegal.

“Let us think of the cost of sending soldiers to these creeks, the cost of accommodating and equipping them to destroy the refineries,” he said.

He, however, stated that some people were taking advantage of the situation to enrich themselves.

“Why do some big men want to be posted to be in charge of those areas? In fact, only few of those refineries are destroyed and shown on camera.

“So, we better face the reality and regulate them, give them the license and crude. If you do not give them the crude they will take it any way.

“These people do not break the pipeline for the oil to spill; they break the pipeline to take the crude, so, if you give them the crude they will not break the pipeline.’’

Enang said contrary to beliefs that the operators of the “illegal refineries” had no technical know-how; most of them were graduates with detailed knowledge on refining of crude and an organised chain of activities.

He noted that, “the operators of these refineries in the creeks have trainees. The graduates among them train the other ones. There are those who go for the crude.

“There are those who see to the refining, there are those who manage the post-refining disposal and there are those who manage the relocation of the products.

“Also, there are those who manage the security. That is, those that relate with the appropriate persons to know when security agencies are coming for them to know when to move to another location.

“Besides, the crude being refined by these local refineries is in the market, particularly in the South-South.

“Some people have two generating sets – one is called the NNPC generator and the other is for the locally manufactured product and they sell them officially.’’

The special assistant added that if the modular refineries were given licenses to operate legally, it would go a long way in protecting the environment as well as create job opportunities.

He stressed that local refineries polluted the environment because they produced in very frenzy circumstances.

Enang explained that if they were allocated land, given licenses to produce and given protection, and their products bought by government and sold to Nigerians, it would help to develop the economy.

“The current approach makes it in such a way that they run from soldiers, Navy and other security operatives.

“In the process of running, they move with the refined products and leave the waste to damage the environment.

“Do not forget that we trained these children in petroleum refining and engineering, petroleum technology and other relevant fields.’’

Enang commended Vice President Yemi Osinbajo for visiting Delta, Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari to announce Federal Government’s intention to integrate the local refineries into the system.

In the meantime, Nigeria is set to activate one of the agreements it signed with the United Arab Emirates to seize some mansions traced to former Oil Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke.

Nigeria’s former Minister of Petroleum Diezani Allison-Madueke

Besides, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has traced about $1.5billion believed to be proceeds of crime to a Swiss account as part of the ongoing probe of the former minister.

The anti-graft agency has allegedly linked the loot with the ex-minister and four of her business associates.

Four detectives on Friday left Nigeria for the United Kingdom with more clues on Mrs Alison-Madueke’s alleged loot.

The detectives have gained access to two exotic mansions belonging to the former minister in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), ahead of an Assets Forfeiture process by the Federal Government.

The properties are located in E146 Emirates Hill Dubai and J5 Emirates Hill Dubai.

According to a top source in the EFCC, about $1.5billion has been traced to the ex-minister and her business associates.

The source said the associates allegedly used two shell companies to sell more than $1.5bn worth of Nigerian crude oil.

The anti-graft agency claimed that the $1.5billion oil cash had been traced to a bank in Switzerland.

The top source said: “So far investigation revealed that the $1.5billion was laundered into an account in Switzerland after passing through the United States. We have the details of how the cash was wired into the account by some oil firms.

“Our investigation confirmed that the account was used to disburse the slush funds to make exotic purchases and acquire properties in Nigeria and other parts of the world.

“The US Department of Justice through its Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative is already seeking to recover $144m in assets from some Diezani associates.”

The team of detectives that went to the United Kingdom is the second this year.

Additional report from Nation

Economy

Lagos-Ibadan Expressway Rehabilitation: LASG announces traffic diversion at Old Tollgate/ Berger axis

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Lagos-Ibadan Expressway Rehabilitation: LASG announces traffic diversion at Old Tollgate/ Berger axis

In continuation of the ongoing rehabilitation of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway by the Federal Ministry of Works, the Lagos State Government has announced that traffic will be diverted at the Old Tollgate to Berger section of the road from Monday 30th January till Friday 15th April 2023.

In the notification received by the Lagos State Ministry of Transportation, it was disclosed that the construction will be carried out in short segments to minimize inconveniences for Motorists while traffic on the Ibadan-bound carriageway will be narrowed to two lanes to allow for the reconstruction of half of the Ibadan bound carriageway.

The Transport Commissioner, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde further stated that the U-turn in front of the Lagos State Emergency Centre will be temporarily closed to traffic, adding that Motorists on the Expressway will be diverted to the next U-turn at the Old Toll Gate by the traffic control point.

 In the same vein, Traffic from CMD Road intending to connect 7UP and Motorways on the Lagos bound carriageway will make use of the Old Tollgate/Traffic Point U–turn as well.

He equally stressed that trucks and heavy-duty vehicles will be diverted to Ojota Interchange. 

The Commissioner also explained that traffic on CMD Road inbound the Expressway will be diverted to the entry point beside the FMW weighbridge to access the Expressway on a contraflow as the exit route to the Expressway by Caleb International School will equally be temporarily closed, adding that CMD Road will be used as an alternative for the displaced Ibadan bound traffic.

Oladeinde appealed to the citizenry to shun indiscriminate stopping, waiting and parking along CMD Road as it will complement the efforts of the Traffic Management Team that will be deployed to manage vehicular movement. He also affirmed that signage with directions will be mounted along the road to guide Motorists.

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Economy

LASG Issues Travel Advisory Ahead Of Students Rave Event

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LASG Issues Travel Advisory Ahead Of Students Rave Event

… Says traffic will be restricted between Police Zonal Headquarters, Zone 2 and Onikan Roundabout from 7:00 am*** 

The Lagos State Government has advised Motorists to plan their movement around Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Old Onikan Stadium, Lagos Island ahead of the Students Rave 2023 event scheduled for Friday, 27th January 2023.

As a result of the above rally, the Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde disclosed that traffic will be restricted between Police Zonal Headquarters, Zone 2 and Onikan Roundabout from 7:00 am on the aforementioned day. He assured that Officers of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, (LASTMA) will be available to manage traffic flow.

Explaining the alternative routes, Oladeinde advises Motorists plying Island Club road by Police Headquarters Zone 2, Onikan to go through Ozumba Mbadiwe road inbound Falomo Bridge (Five Cowries Bridge) to link Alfred Rewane and Osborne road to complete their journeys.

In the same vein, Motorists from Bonny Camp according to the diversion plan can access CMS/Marina Bridge after Independence Bridge (Mekunwen Bridge) and loop it down towards Cathedral Church to connect Lagos Island proper through Odunlami Street for their desired destinations,

The Transport Commissioner also advises Motorists to utilize Force road beside Muson Centre to link J.K Randle Avenue (Race Course) or go through Onikan Roundabout to connect JK Randle Avenue/Water Board area to access CMS Bridge by the State House/Old NITEL Building.

He further explained that Water Board inbound Broad Street to Tinubu Square will be available to Motorists, adding that they can equally access Old Defense road/ Ganiyu Smith from Water Board to link Igbosere/Sandgrouse to Simpson Street and connect Third Mainland Bridge to continue their journeys to other parts of the State.

The Transport Commissioner reiterated that Security and Law Enforcement Agencies will be at all strategic junctions and intersections to ensure the safety and security of all road users and the free flow of traffic within the perimeter of the venue and alternative routes outside the venue.

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Economy

Aregbesola: Immigration Produced More than 1.7m Passports in 2022

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Aregbesola: Immigration Produced More than 1.7m Passports in 2022

…Agrees there are human-induced challenges***

Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, said in Abuja on Thursday that the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) produced more than 1.7 million passports in 2022.

Fielding questions at the 64th edition of the State House briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team, Aregbesola said the figure was a landmark achievement.

He rated the Ministry of Interior and its agencies as having scored above 80 percent in terms of performance.

“By Dec. 31, 2022, we produced more than 1.7 million passports.

“In the annals of Nigeria that has not happened before; as I am talking to you, we have more than 200,000 booklets in our store.

“We are not denying the fact that there are human-induced challenges if you look at the number of applications, vis-a-vis the number of passports produced.

“We are above 80 percent in performance; in any way, take it as given that we produced more than 1.7 passports in 2022,’’ Aregbesola said.

The minister said that a presidential directive had been issued with regard to the domestication of passport production.

He said the Ministry of Interior, in collaboration with the NIS, had impanelled a “project steering committee’ with a mandate to actualise the goal.

Aregbesola also said there was a major reformation and digitisation of passport issuance and administration as a temporary electronic passport had been introduced.

“We are digitising the process; my plan was to fully digitise the Ikoyi Registry in Lagos by Dec. 2022 but I could not fully achieve that.

“What does that mean? When this process is concluded, an applicant does not need to bring anything anymore; you complete your process online and by that time, you don’t need an agent.

“There can’t be racketeering. I am on it and I want to guarantee that we will do it before we leave.

“We have also concluded arrangements on the temporary passport issue; we have the passport, but we have some issues with our sister ministry – the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and we are solving it,’’ he said.

According to the minister, the temporary passport will facilitate a return to Nigeria for Nigerians living abroad if they need to get back in emergencies and did not have current passports.

Such Nigerians would return home, carrying their expired passports also, the minister said.

“Much as that won’t be a problem for us to take at our reception desk, some airlines could be difficult.

“I can even tell you that we are discussing with South Africa now; South Africa does not allow the use of expired passports as a nation contrary to International Civil Aviation Orgnanisation (ICAO) regulation.

“ICAO says that every citizen of a nation dead or alive cannot be denied entry to his home; which is logical anyway.

“The last time I treated a file from South Africa through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, they were insisting that if one’s passport is not current, one cannot be taken in or out of South Africa’s space.

“It is their policy; you cannot deny a nation its national policies and programmes.

“To avoid that, we introduced what is called temporary electronic passport; it is a one-way passport to return home,’’ Aregbesola explained.

He said that under the temporary passport regime, citizens who had the data pages of their expired passports could take them to Nigeria’s embassies to get the temporary electronic passport after paying the appropriate fees.

“The temporary electronic passports are almost exactly the same as their expired passports.

“It does not have more than one page to take you home; when you hold the electronic passport, you cannot go anywhere but home.

“We are still in negotiation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,’’ Aregbesola said.

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