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Economy

Fuel Crisis: Senate suspends recess, summons Kachikwu, NNPC’s GMD, others

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Senate probes N2.5bn NDDC Water Hyacinth Project

…Abuja motorists get more free fuel as NNPC, DPR, seal stations***

In a bid to end the ongoing fuel crisis and the untold hardship it is presently unleashing on Nigerians, President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, on Thursday, directed the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) to cut short its recess and immediately convene a meeting with industry stakeholders.

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), Senator Kabiru Marafa, who disclosed this in Abuja, said following the directive, the Committee has summoned the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mr. Maikanti Baru and other relevant stakeholders in the petroleum sector to a crucial meeting on Thursday, January 4, 2018.

He further added that the meeting, which will be held in the Senate Hearing Room 221 and its proceedings aired live on the Nigerian Television Authority, is meant to address the lingering fuel scarcity bedevilling the nation in the last few weeks with a view to putting a complete stop to the unsavoury development.

The Senate, which is presently on Christmas and New Year break is billed to resume Committee work for budget defence on January 9, and commence plenary on January 16.

Meanwhile, some motorists in Abuja on Wednesday got more free petrol as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) sealed more stations.

The team had sealed the Khalif Civic Centre and Investment Limited at Kubwa, a suburb of Abuja on Tuesday.

”This is an effort of government to continue to identify all those who are a hindrance to the supply of petroleum products.

”Incidentally, this filling station is owned by the same perpetrator of yesterday and to our dismay, not only is he selling to people at N250 per litre, but he’s also under-dispensing at half the volume as testified by one of the motorists.

”DPR confirmed yesterday that he did not have licence and they have handed over the station to civil defence for appropriate action.

”Today, this one has more volume about 15,000 litres so we are dispensing 5 litres to every motorcycle and 20 to every car and this will continue,” Maikanti Baru, NNPC boss, said.

He said there were also vehicles that had refurbished tanks and could take more than 300 litres, thereby depriving other motorists the oportunity to fuel on time and ration available product.

”They go and siphon the tank and come back. The civil defence has arrested several and will continue to do so.

”Those who are in the habit of instaling extra tanks should beware.

”As at noon, we have gotten 110 trucks distributed to Abuja and environs,” he said.

He said about 24 marketers that had diverted products had been apprehended and it would be a continuous exercise.

The Abuja Zonal Operations Controller, DPR, Mr Mohammed Abba, advised that the station should be demolished.

”We have advised the civil defence to apprehend him, they have put that in motion but he is in hiding.

”If you look at this station, it is an illegal station, there is no way we will give licence to a station within a community because it has not satisfied all the requirements.

”Look at the power lines and high tension cables all around.

Moreover, when we spoke yesterday we gave him a concession but I think the owner of this filling station does not need pity from any government.

”The way he situated this, if there is any accident, the amount of lives that would be lost would be massive.

”We advise that instead of giving this fuel free, the station should be demolished, it should not exist at all.

”Under no circumstance should the station be allowed to exist within this community because it is very dangerous.

” We call on development control that its Certificate of Occupancy should be revoked.

Mr Aminu Abdullahi, Assistant Commandant-General, Operations of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps told newsmen appropriate action was being taken against illegal dealers.

”Any body who is dealing illegally is a saboteur and we are going to try him under the Petroleum Distribution and Sabotage Act and if found guilty, will be charged.”

He said outside Abuja, distribution was being monitored and despatches were made to ensure sanity.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reliably gathered that more filling stations were going to be sealed until the situation with fuel queues cleared.

Additional report from Punch

Economy

Sanwo-Olu Urges Use of Innovative Technologies in Solving Challenges

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Sanwo-Olu Urges Use of Innovative Technologies in Solving Challenges

Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has called for the use of innovative technologies in resolving the economic and social challenges of the country.

Sanwo-Olu said this on Wednesday during the pioneer graduation of the Lateef Jakande Leadership Academy (LJLA) at Konga Place in Lekki.

He said that the new platform of globalisation and Internet of things must be significantly employed to resolve new challenges encountered in the course of improving the living standards of citizens.

30 students, 15 men and 15 women, between 18 and 35 years, graduated from the academy after a one-year course and mentorship in leadership.

The Lagos Leadership Summit (LLS) is a pivotal platform dedicated to empowering Nigeria’s young professionals with the skills and insights essential for success in various leadership roles.

With a focus on leadership excellence, ethical governance, and youth inclusion in governance, the summit offers a unique opportunity for participants to engage with renowned leaders and industry experts.

” You have to be able to innovate for us, you are here as leaders of not tomorrow but today. Proffer solutions that the government can use as a tool, to solve the challenges that we are facing today but more importantly to solve global issues.

“And that is why we started the Lateef Jakande Leadership Academy. For us as a government, we felt how well can we honour a man than for us in public sector to set up a cream of new leaders.

“So we set up this school that has the first set, the one-year fellowship, who indeed have not only shown us that we took the right step, they have been outstanding individuals,” the governor said.

The guest speaker and former governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola, noted that it was important for followers to trust their leaders for a successful outcome.

“The people need to trust the government, they must know the capability of their leaders so that when issues beyond human expectations happen, the followers can show empathy to the plight of their leaders.

” I have always been an advocate that believes that the process is as important as the result, the end shouldn’t justify the means, the process is crucial, it serves as a blueprint for others coming behind,” he said.

Similarly, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, Deputy Governor, who spoke on “Leadership And Community Engagement”, stated that to achieve effective leadership in Nigeria, there was the need to navigate complex political, economic and social landscapes.

Hamzat urged the citizens to be involved in governance while stressing the need for collaborations with private stakeholders and the public sector.

According to him, community engagement with government at all levels is pivotal to the nation’s development.

In her address, Mrs Ayisat Agbaje-Okunade, LIJA’s Executive Secretary, noted that the challenges faced required leaders who are not only capable but compassionate, visionary, and adaptable.

According to her, leadership must transcend rhetoric and manifest tangible outcomes.

“We need leaders who inspire confidence, foster unity, and drive transformation.”

Agbaje-Okunade urged the participants to embrace the responsibility that comes with leadership and pave the way for a generation of new leaders.

The keynote speaker, Mr Abubakar Suleiman, Chief Executive Officer, Sterling Bank, said that leadership is about leading people on a new purposeful journey.

Suleiman said being a strategic thinker and a transformational leader was what makes leadership different from management, adding that the future is being crafted in leadership.

“In essence, as a leader, you must be able to lead people to the future hence, you must be convincing for people to be bold to follow you, able to trust and believe in you.

“For one to be a leader, the people must be able to believe and trust you to take them to the future where you have never been to,” he said.

Also speaking, Mr Tunbosun Alake, Commissioner, Innovation, Science and Technology, stressed that leadership had nothing to do with being young or old but having good values and character.

The commissioner advised the participants to pursue excellence in their various career paths to succeed in life.

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Economy

Eid-el-Fitr: Tinubu Urges Sacrifice, Integrity For National Rebirth

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Eid-el-Fitr: Tinubu urges sacrifice, integrity for national rebirth

 President Bola Tinubu has urged Nigerians to continue to make sacrifices and exhibit integrity for national development.

Tinubu said this after observing the Eid-el-Fitr prayer at the Eid Ground at Dodon Barracks on Wednesday in Lagos.

The President also called on Nigerians to continue to have faith in his government and remain patriotic citizens.

Tinubu said that the Renewed Hope Agenda of his administration, aimed at bringing prosperity to Nigerians, was being diligently implemented.

Encouraging Muslims to extend the values of sacrifice and resilience beyond the fasting period, Tinubu emphasised the need for Nigerians to prioritise the exhibition of love for their country.

‘’The resilience and sacrifice that we have shown and made during these months should be preserved.

“Be a kind and cheerful giver. We must love our country more than any other country because this is the only one we have.

‘’We must continue to protect the integrity of our government and leadership. The Renewed Hope Agenda is alive, well and fine, and Nigerians should continue to be very hopeful. Without hope, there is no salvation.

“Without hope, there is no development. Without hope, there is no life. Eid Mubarak,’’ the President said at the end of the prayers led by the Chief Imam of Lagos State, Sheikh Sulaiman Abou-Nolla.

Earlier in his sermon, the Chief Imam urged Nigerians to shun all acts of violence, ensure peaceful co-existence, and continue to have faith in the country.

He asked those in leadership positions to remain faithful to their oaths of office and work towards alleviating the suffering of the less privileged.

‘‘Let us not forget our brothers and sisters in Gaza and other areas of conflict,’’ the Chief Imam said.

He offered prayers of God’s guidance, wisdom, and protection for the President and the Lagos State government, as well as for peace and stability in the country.

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Economy

Lawmaker Secures Release of 4 Persons Involved in Illegal Arms Manufacturing in Delta

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Lawmaker Secures Release of 4 Persons Involved in Illegal Arms Manufacturing in Delta

Sen. Ned Nwoko (PDP-Delta), on Wednesday, disclosed that he had secured the release of four family members involved in manufacturing arms at the Onicha-Olona Illegal Arms Factory in Delta.

Nwoko representing Delta North Senatorial District, who disclosed this in an interview in Abuja, said that the release of the four persons was through collaborative efforts.

On March 12, troops of 63 Brigade, Asaba, uncovered an illegal arms manufacturing factory in Onicha-Olona, Delta North Senatorial District and arrested eight family members in connection with the crime.

Nwoko disclosed that efforts have been made to ensure fair treatment for those involved, balancing justice with the opportunity for rehabilitation and contribution to society.

“Following my recent visit to the headquarters of 63 Brigade, Asaba and productive discussions with the Brigade Commander, I am pleased to announce progress in addressing the situation regarding the illegal arms factory discovered in the Onicha-Olona community, Delta.

“Efforts have been made to ensure fair treatment for those involved, balancing justice with the opportunity for rehabilitation and contribution to society.

“I am pleased to reveal that through collaborative efforts, I have successfully secured the release of four family members implicated in the illegal activity.

“However, our commitment to upholding the law remains unwavering, and endeavours continue for fair judgment and potential pardon for the remaining four individuals,” he said.

The lawmaker stressed that the underlying issue highlighted by the discovery, however, remained of paramount importance.

“We must seize the opportunity to redirect the talents demonstrated by those involved towards lawful and productive endeavours.

“The young man in the family, known for his passion and ability to build drones, exemplifies this potential.

“His skills should be harnessed and put to good use,” he said.

Nwoko added that the Industrial Revolution served as a pertinent historical precedent where individual efforts catalysed transformative change and made possible by governments that created conducive environments.

“We can emulate this model here. We can provide support and opportunities for talented individuals like the young drone builder, and stimulate a new wave of innovation and economic growth in Nigeria.

“As previously stated, Nigeria’s economy faces significant challenges exacerbated by escalating imports, particularly in the realm of arms and weaponry.

“Therefore, we must harness our indigenous talents for the greater good and bolster our local industries,” he said.

Nwoko further said that the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), as well as the Ministry of Science and Technology, have crucial roles to play in this regard.

According to him, by engaging with individuals possessing such skills, we can offer them legal avenues for their expertise to flourish.

“The aim is not only to prevent the proliferation of illegal arms or other weapons manufacturing but also to channel these talents towards legitimate industries for national development.

“I reiterate the need for the government to support and integrate such offenders with specialised skills and talents into the formal economy.

“This initiative should focus on recognising their capabilities and providing opportunities for them to contribute to the development of our local indigenous technology.

“As noted earlier, an individual capable of modifying an AK-47 magazine, originally designed to hold 30 rounds, to accommodate 60 rounds using rudimentary equipment, holds immense potential for greater achievements.

”Such individual can do more with proper legal support and access to adequate resources.”

He disclosed that he was committed to proposing or supporting a new law aimed at assisting talented and skilful individuals involved in illegal activities and also partnering with law enforcement agencies in these endeavours.

“I am committed to proposing or supporting a new law aimed at assisting talented and skilful individuals involved in illegal activities and also partner with law enforcement agencies in these endeavours.”

“They have the intelligence and insights of the potential beneficiaries of this “amnesty” drive towards creating a new cadre of indigenous technologists.

“This law would establish an agency dedicated to providing government support and resources to rehabilitate and engage these individuals in legal and productive activities.

“I tentatively suggest naming this proposed law the “National Talent Rehabilitation and Integration Act”.

“This legislation will not only focus on rehabilitation but also on harnessing the skills and talents of offenders for the benefit of society.

“By providing a structured environment and necessary support, this agency will facilitate the transition of individuals from illicit activities to lawful and productive ventures.

”And they will be contributing to both their personal rehabilitation and national development,” Nwoko added.

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