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Military destroys 23 illegal refineries, apprehends 42 oil thieves in N/Delta



Military destroys 23 illegal refineries, apprehends 42 oil thieves in N/Delta

… IPMAN says ‘We have enough petrol on ground’***

Troops of “Operation Delta Safe’’ discovered and destroyed 23 illegal refining sites and apprehended 42 suspected oil thieves in the Niger Delta in the last fortnight.

Director, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Musa Danmadami made this known on Thursday in Abuja at the bi-weekly news briefing on the operations of the armed forces.

“Troops also conducted patrols and buggy operations in the zone during which several illegal refineries, storage tanks, wooden boats, coking ovens, and dug-out pits were destroyed.

“Cumulatively, within the two weeks in review, troops discovered and destroyed 23 illegal refining sites, 87 wooden boats, seven-speed boats, 284 storage tanks, 160 coking ovens, three fibre boats and 18 dugout pits.

“Troops also recovered 2.5 litres of crude oil, 133,824 litres of diesel and 7,000 litres of kerosene.

“Also recovered were 16 tankers, one vessel, eight pumping machines, and two motorcycles.

“Forty-two criminals were arrested during the operations.

“All recovered items and apprehended criminals were handed over to the appropriate authorities for further action,’’ Danmadami said.

He said that troops continued to sustain aggressive patrols to curb crude oil theft and illegal bunkering within the Nigerian maritime environment to ensure the economic prosperity of the country.

He said troops also nabbed three suspected oil thieves who were tracked and monitored to the Adige, Urhiakpa and Mission Road in the Sapele Local Government Area of Delta on Oct. 6.

It was during the execution of “Operation Octopus Grip’’, he said.

He added that troops also impounded a vessel, MT DEIMA, with the capacity to hold 1500 tonnes of crude oil for illegal bunkering at the Sara area of Escravos Channel on Oct. 7.

The troops arrested the vessel’s eight crew members.

Danmadami said the vessel had six tank compartments loaded with an unspecified quantity of crude oil

He said also that troops and other security agencies had not relented in efforts in the fight against criminal elements in the Southeast zone.

He added that troops of Operation AWATSE and operatives of the NDLEA and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps destroyed 15 hectares of Indian hemp at Mabu village in Ogun on Oct. 7.

He added that troops also recovered 258 bags of 50kg smuggled rice, 220 jerry cans of 30 litres of petrol and four vehicles, just as they arrested two criminals and rescued two civilians, also in the Southwest.

“All recovered items, apprehended criminals and rescued civilians were handed over to the appropriate authorities for further action,’’ Danmadami said.

In the meantime, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), on Thursday said the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC)/Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC) have enough petrol on ground.

IPMAN said there are over 20 vessels of ships fully loaded with petrol on ground waiting to be discharged in Lagos.

IPMAN’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Alhaji Suleiman Yakubu, stated this in a telephone interview with the newsmen in Abuja while reacting to the current fuel scarcity and long queues of vehicles at filling stations in Abuja.

Yakubu said that the cause of the scarcity was a flood which affected the Lokoja bridge thereby hindering trucks from passing to their various destinations.

He said that the fuel scarcity was not an intentional act but was caused by a natural disaster, adding that the government is doing all it can to solve the problem.

“The flood has reduced now and the trucks are gradually passing, we need to be patient till it normalises which usually takes a few days.

Newsmen report that some retail outlets around Maitama, Wuse, Gwarimpa, Wuye and Kubwa Expressway were selling fuel with long queues of vehicles.

A motorist, Mr Eze Aku, who spoke to newsmen, said that black marketers are now selling at N350 per litre.

“The government should try and arrest those black marketers, they are part of the reasons why the scarcity will continue for their selfish reasons,” Aku said.

Another motorist, Adelabu Ige, urged the relevant authority to compel fuel stations with the product to sell with all their pumping machine nozzles.

“It is unfortunate that some of the fuel stations that have fuel will decide to be selling with just two or few nozzles anytime there is fuel scarcity.

“This is part of the reasons we have long queues in most fueling stations, making motorists to spend hours on queue just to buy fuel.

“This is unjust and unfair to fellow Nigerians who are already overstretched by the current economic situation,” Ige said.


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SON vows to checkmate quackery in management system practice



SON vows to checkmate quackery in management system practice

The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) says it has mapped out plans to get rid of quacks involved in management system practice in the country.

Its Director-General, Malam Farouk Salim, made this known on Thursday at a one-day stakeholders’ engagement for the National Register for Conformity Assessment Practitioners (NRCAP) in Lagos.

Salim said the move would put an end to unscrupulous individuals who shortchanged companies and individuals.

According to him, the quacks lacked the required competency to operate in the management system space.

Salim said that conformity assessment practice was central to the sustenance of commercial success and continuity in all sectors.

He said that management system practitioners were vital toward ensuring that practices carried out by the industries “are in alignment with the international best practice in terms of the expectations of existing conformity assessment standards”.

“It is in view of the importance of the authenticity and traceability of products and services to meet the requirements of relevant Nigerian Industrial Standards and other approved specifications.

“SON seeks to pursue the implementation of Part II, Section 4(d) and Part III, Section 5 of the SON Act No.14 of 2015.

“Via the operation of the NRCAP scheme, in order to establish a directory of verified and registered Conformity Assessment Practitioners in Nigeria for all laboratories, management system consultants, Training Service Providers, Certification bodies, inspection bodies, inspectors, auditors and assessors.”

He said that lack of regulation of activities of the practitioners over the years had negatively impacted the industry and country significantly.

Salim listed other impacts including: “poor protection of genuine practitioners, unhealthy competition, poor visibility and recognition of genuine and competent practitioners capable of attracting patronage.

“Others are poor value for money for unsuspecting customers patronising quacks who deliver poor services.”

He also said that lack of official register of competent practitioners to aid national planning and coordination of economic activities that border on standardisation and quality assurance was also a challenge to the growth of the economy.

“This engagement is guided by the strategic collaboration/partnership that SON shares with various organisations over time, especially with the SON Management Systems Certification and Training Services Departments with which you interface through your customers, of which you are expected to bring to bear, your wealth of experience to this national call,” he said.

The SON director-general said that the registration processes, including approved guidelines, expectations of benchmarking Conformity Assessment standards and interests while developing the documents, were taken into consideration to ensure that impartiality of the process was assured.

He said that adequate training was given to the practitioners to boost their service delivery.

Earlier, Bode Oke, the First President, Society for Management System Practitioners of Nigeria, said the group would join hands with SON to stem quackery in the system to ensure that consumers get value for money they spent.

Oke said: “We are here to gain more knowledge and to join SON in the registration of all management system practitioners.

“We are going to partner with SON to ensure that the exercise is successful because we have a lot of companies practicing management systems that are not trained and competent.

“We are working together with SON to ensure that we remove all those incompetent people from the system.

“So that whenever a client approaches practitioners for registration, the client will know that he will not be shortchanged and get value for the money spent,” he said.

Oke said that the roles of system practitioners were vital in business growth and development.

He stressed that the system practitioners were responsible for taking companies through quality management systems certification, environmental management system certification, occupational health and safety certification and food management system certification.

“The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) has established standards for all management systems.

“And, therefore, anyone that would lead companies to obtain this certification must be competent.

“This is why SON is regulating all the auditors, consultants and even, the certification bodies because we have some certification bodies coming from outside the country that are not competent, so competency is the key word here,” he said.

In her remarks, Patricia Solarin, a Consultant in the Quality Management System Practice, said that standardisation was germane for industrial development.

Solarin said: “There are so many briefcase-carrying consultants that are going around duping clients and most of these consultants did not even pass their audit test and examination.

“Without standardisation or regulations, it will be difficult to stop the quacks. A lot of companies are being shortchanged, because people taking them through certification do not really know much.

“So, SON is trying to register auditors and consultants, which is a welcome development to ensure that people get value for their hard money spent.”

She commended the leadership style of Salim for taking a bold step to tackle the challenges, urging the government to support SON to achieve greater feats.

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NECA wants FG to tackle challenges stifling businesses



NECA wants FG to tackle challenges stifling businesses

The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has urged the Federal Government to demonstrate commitment to addressing monetary and fiscal policy challenges stifling businesses.

The NECA Director-General,  Mr Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde,  made the call in a statement on Thursday in Lagos, listing such challenges as foreign exchange dichotomy, fuel subsidies, multiple taxations, among others.

He made the call, just as he commended the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and government for embracing dialogue to avert the nationwide strike by the workers’ union earlier scheduled to start on March 29.

“The quick response by the government to ease the cash liquidity and the corresponding immediate positive effect on the economy demonstrated that it has the capacity to address policies once it is determined to do so.

“Therefore, we call for similar determination and consultative engagements with the private sector and other relevant stakeholders to proffer solutions to business challenges in order to facilitate competitiveness and productivity, “ he said.

He commended the efforts of the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, and the Minister of Labour and Employment for personally getting involved.

He also lauded them for monitoring the disbursement to ensure compliance with the bank’s directive to end the cash crunch, of which the economic nerve centre and other areas had started witnessing improvement.

“The CBN has shown goodwill and true support for the ailing economy by immediately disbursing cash to the commercial banks.

“Also, by directing the banks to open beyond their normal working hours to ease the cash crunch in the nation: an action which could have been averted in the first place, “ he said.

Oyerinde, however, warned that the ripple effects of the cash swap policy would linger as it would take considerable time for businesses, especially the informal sector, to recover.

He said that many of them had closed due to low purchasing power of consumers.

The NECA chief said that business activities had stagnated in the last 10 weeks of the implementation of redesigning of the currency policy nationwide.

He said this had led to reduced productive output, high inventory and jobs cut, and impediments to personal and business transactions.

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Court Declares Activities of Kogi Transport Management Agency as Illegal



Court Declares Activities of Kogi Transport Management Agency as Illegal

…Says laws establishing KOTRAMA is inhuman***

A Kogi High Court on Thursday declared the activities of the Kogi Transport Management Authority (KOTRAMA), as illegal.

Justice Clement Kekere of High Court 10 made the order while delivering judgment in a case instituted against the agency by an Abuja-based lawyer,  Mr. Martin Atojoko.

Kereke, who faulted the law establishing KATROMA.

“By the evidence before the court, I hereby order that the Law establishing the agency be set aside forthwith.

“This is because the law made by the state house of assembly contravenes the Provisions of the Federal Road Safety Commission Act 2007.

“In all, the laws establishing KOTRAMA is inhuman, and is established to cause hardship on motorists,” the judge held.

The judge also awarded the plaintiff, N100,000 as general damages against the agency.

Atojoko had sued KATROMA and joined the Kogi House of Assembly, the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice and the state government as second, third and fourth defendants in the matter.

Atojoko had prayed the court to compel the defendants to pay him N10 million as general and exemplary damages for inter-alia the first defendant’s unlawful and illegal action of detaining and impounding his car.

The plaintiff had told the court in his originating summon that on June 22, 2022, he was stopped by officers of KOTRAMA over an expired driver’s licence while they impounded his Toyota Corolla car.

“My lord, I only got my car back the next day, after paying N10,000 in fines, an action which is but a contravention of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Law of 2007, ” he said.

Atojoko thereafter prayed the court to issue an order declaring that the second defendant could not make laws empowering the first defendant to exercise the powers of the Federal Road Safety Corp (Establishment) Act, 2007 in inspecting the driver’s license of motorists, issued by the FRSC and codifying same in Kogi Road Traffic Administration and Vehicle Inspection Law, 2018.

“A declaration that all the provisions of the Kogi Road Traffic Administration and Vehicle Inspection Law, 2018, empowering the first defendant to exercise the powers of the FRSC in the inspection of the driver’s license of motorists as invalid, illegal, unlawful, null and void ab initio.

“An order that the KOTRAMA cannot fine the plaintiff and impound his vehicle with registration No. 2T1BU4EE9AC312480, without first trying him and finding him guilty before a court of competent jurisdiction.

“An order that the act of the first defendant in impounding the vehicle and fining him without powers to do so is invalid, illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void, ab initio,” he pleaded.

But KATROMA and other defendants through their Counsel, Mr. B.O. Obenege, had debunked the claims of the plaintiff and said that the agency acted within the ambit of the law that established it.

Obenege claimed that the house of assembly Law that established KOTRAMA was not a duplication of the FRSC Law of 2007.

He prayed the Court to hold that the action of KOTRAMA has not contravened the Kogi Law or any other law, and the claimant was given a summary fine of N10,000, all in accordance with Section 1(3) of the Law.

“In conclusion, we urge your lordship to dismiss the case for lack of merit,” Obenege had pleaded with the court.

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