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NLC seeks FG intervention in ASUU strike



NLC Protest: Don’t abdicate responsibility to fund education, parents urge FG

… As Experts seek global collaboration, technology deployment to curb oil theft***

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called on the Federal Government to address issues that necessitated the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU) and other unions in tertiary institutions.

President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, made the call when he addressed newsmen shortly before going into a closed-door meeting of the Congress’s Central Working Committee (CWC) on Wednesday in Abuja.

Also read: ASUU strike: Varsity lecturers making negotiation difficult–Ngige

The newsmen report that ASUU embarked on a nationwide warning strike to press home its members’ demands from Feb. 14.

The lecturers’ demands include; funding of the Revitalisation of Public Universities, Earned Academic Allowances, University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) and promotion arrears.

Others are the renegotiation of the 2009 ASUU-FG Agreement and the inconsistency in the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS).

Wabba said the call was imperative in the interest of the Nigerian children who are from poor homes.

“In Nigeria today, we are facing a period of great injustice on the downtrodden of the society, the worse of it is that for more than three months, the children of the poor are actually at home and this is not acceptable.

“But instead of the politicians looking at the issues as a national disaster, they are discussing politics that is why there can never be equity and justice in such a system.

“As you are aware, we have communicated what we think would be able to resolve the issue with the government.

“Till date, we are yet to receive any formal information of any effort being made by them to look at that recommendation, we made to them,’’ he said.

On the upcoming political dispensation in the country, Wabba called on union leaders to defend democracy and the rights of the working class.

According to him, this time around, with what has happened with a lot of broken promises, I do not think any worker or union leader will actually sit down and watch.

“It is not a time to watch, because it is the political decision that will put food on your table, so therefore sitting down and waiting or watching certainly will not be our portion.

“Every Nigerian worker must be active to use our “charter of demand’’ to engage the politicians.

“We must try also to make sure that the agenda of the working class, the poor and the downtrodden finds space to be accommodated even in the political process,’’ he said.

The NLC president further said the CWC meeting would look at the next step to take if the government fails to respond to its recommendation on resolving the ongoing strike by unions in the tertiary institutions.

He also said the CWC would also look at key issues of the economy, major roles to bring about peace and respect to the sanity of collective bargaining in the education sector, among others.

In the meantime, some oil and gas experts have underscored the need for global collaboration, technology deployment and host communities engagements to curb oil theft in Nigeria.

The experts spoke on Wednesday at a webinar organized by NexTier Consultants with the theme: “Protecting Petroleum Pipelines: Strategy for Curbing Oil Theft in Nigeria.”

The newsmen report that the country’s oil output currently dropped to an average of 1.24 million barrels per day (bpd).

Nigeria lost about 3.5 billion dollars to crude oil theft in 2021, which was about 10 per cent of its foreign reserves.

Recent reports indicated that Nigeria lost most of its crude oil production to theft and vandalism.

Speaking on exploring pragmatic solutions to curb crude oil theft, Mr Joe Nwakwue, a petroleum sector specialist, said oil theft had become worst due to the response of the state to the challenges.

Nwakwue listed engagement of the host communities, application of technology (either satellite base or fingerprints) and collaboration with the global community as strategies to tackle oil theft issues.

He said international collaboration was paramount because there was a global trade in stolen crude oil products, adding that the issues had far-reaching complications for both investors and the government.

Nwakwue said Nigeria had witnessed overtime increasing amount of point of origin and terminal oil losses, with an average of 1.6 pbd in 2021 and an average of 1.2 pbd in 2022.

“Theft of this skill cannot go on without the complicity of the society at large; the host communities know what is going on and our processes are not transparent enough.

“The assumptions in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) is that it will attract investments, that’s why royalty and tax rates were reduced and on one hand crude theft is sending the wrong signal to the market.

It should be addressed, otherwise, we will not see gains of the PIA,” he said.

Also speaking, Mr Thomas Kieler, European Union (EU) Adviser on Security, who called for more engagements of the host communities said it was committed to ending the oil theft issues through support programmes and dialogues.

Kieler said the EU had an interest in solving Niger-Delta issues and was keeping a close eye on curbing the menace, adding that accountability, adequate manpower and investments were necessary.

Mr Sam Otobueze, former General Manager, Group Security Head, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd. (NNPC), said the decline in oil production was a huge concern and needed drastic measures because the sector accounted for 89 per cent of national income earnings.

Otobueze, the Chief Executive Officer of Abokus Integrated Security Ltd., said that the PIA could boost investors’ confidence if technology was deployed and issues of law enforcement and protection of the pipelines stakeholders addressed.

On his part, Dr Ndu Nwokolo, a social scientist, said there was a need for government to rebuild the trust of the host communities because they engage in such due to the unfair treatment from the state.

“Government should do enough to convince the people, rebuild their trust and allow them to join in protecting the assets,” he noted.

Earlier, the Convener, Mr Charles Achodo, Senior Director, NexTier, said oil theft had posed a threat to the nation, eroded revenue base, undermined national security, destroyed environment and biodiversity and stopped investments.

Achodo decried the fact that it militated against the country’s capacity to meet its quota given by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

He said the key discussion points would be documented to help policymakers and key stakeholders understand the status, gaps, challenges, and ways to mitigate the challenge.

According to the participants, the host communities are complicit, using the state of their communities for their gains.

They noted that collaborations between the community, civil society, International Oil Companies and security agencies were needed.

“If you have ever visited these oil-producing communities and see first hand the kind of poverty in these areas, you will understand why the issue is unending,” the participants said.



CUSTOMS: Arewa Economic Forum Pledges Support For Wale Adeniyi



…As CGC Vows to Enhance Trade Facilitation, Rejuvenates Northern Inland Dry Ports***

The Chairman of Arewa Economic Forum (AEF), Ibrahim Shehu Dandakata, has said the Acting Comptroller-General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi would enjoy solid support for the Forum, considering his notable commitment to enhance border security and trade facilitation in the North.

Dandakata made this known on Tuesday, 26 September 2023, shortly after they met with the CGC at the Customs Headquarters, Abuja; — emphasizing that the CGC’s “commitment to implement policies that will improve the region is one hundred percent absolute.”

The Chairman, who eulogized the Former Comptroller-General of Customs, Late Dikko Inde, for bringing numerous dividends to the region, expressed optimism that the current administration of CGC Adewale Adeniyi will exceed what the previous CGCs have done.

*The CGC, Adewale Adeniyi MFR, with the Chairman of Arewa Economic Forum (AEF), Ibrahim Shehu Dandakata 

“We raised an issue, and Mr Adeniyi quickly swung into action on the matter, and we had a great response,” he stressed.

“We are talking about fiscal policies and entrenchment of a regime that will create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive in Northern Nigeria, most especially in the agricultural sector; therefore, what CGC Adeniyi is doing will be sustainable and far-reaching”, he further said.

During the meeting at the CGC’s office, the Chairman appreciated the CGC for taking progressive steps to make things better in the North, highlighting that “Nigeria now has a very responsive government, and AEF is proud to have a very responsive CGC.”

According to him, the idea behind visiting the CGC was to bring new ideas that will help his administration to succeed, adding that the Forum is looking forward to witnessing the enhancement of cross-border trade in Ilela, considering its magnitude in boosting the region’s economy.

He, however, pleaded with the Comptroller General to look into the conditions of Inland Dry Ports in the North, which, according to him, “are essential in carrying out businesses in the region – and as it stands, they’re not functioning.”

The Chairman also seized the opportunity to invite the CGC for an Economic Summit slated to take place before the end of the year, assuring that the summit will revolve around creating awareness for people to invest in the North.

Responding, the Customs Comptroller-General, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, says his administration is up and doing to enhance trade in the North, considering its importance in boosting Nigeria’s economy and prosperity.

The CGC, who spoke about the current situation in the Niger Republic and how it affects trade in Nigeria, also said that “considering the significance of trade in Northern Nigeria, the Nigeria Customs Service finds it interesting to engage in trade talks, but can be achieved when there’s absolute peace in the area.”

He assured the entourage of Customs’ commitment to look into the matter of Inland Ports and consult the Federal Government to fast-track the process, adding that “Customs is willing to support the situation.”

As regards the Forum’s forthcoming Summit, the Ag. CGC said that NCS will watch out for the Economic Summit to attend, adding that “there’s so much economic potential in the North, which, if revamped, will contribute to the development of the country’s economy.”

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Presco Shareholders Approve N8.6bn Dividend For 2022



Shareholders of Presco Plc. have approved payment of a final dividend of N6.60 per share, indicating N6.6 billion, for the year ended Dec. 31, 2022.

The company had paid an interim dividend of 20k per share, which amounted to N2 billion.

The latest dividend brought the total dividend the company paid for the year to N8.6 billion, amounting to N8.60 per share.

Addressing shareholders on Friday at the company’s 30th Annual General Meeting held on Obaretin Estate, Benin City, the Chairman of Presco Plc, Mr Jean Van Gysel, said that the dividend payment represented an increment of 13.16 percent over what it paid in 2021.

Van Gysel said the final dividend would be paid on Oct. 3 to shareholders whose names appeared on the register of members as at the close of business on Sept. 13, 2023.

The chairman praised the shareholders and all stakeholders for their support during the period under review.

He said: “On behalf of the board, I would again like to thank all of our amazing people and teams across the business for all their commitment and hard work during the year.

*L-R: Jan Van Eykeren, Director; Patrick Uwadia, Company Secretary; Mr. Jean Van Gysel, chairman; and Mr Felix Nwabuko, Managing Director at Presco’s AGM on Friday.

“I thank my fellow directors very sincerely for the wonderful work they do for the company.”

The chairman said that the company,  during the period, recorded  N81.03 billion in revenue as against N47.43 billion it realised in 2021.

He noted that the figure represented an increment of 71 percent.

According to him, the company’s gross profit grew by 57 percent to N49.97 billion from N31.75 billion in 2021.

Van Gysel said that fresh fruit bunches harvested in 2022 amounted to 302,050 tonnes compared with 233,253 tonnes in 2021.

“Crude palm oil produced was 68,998 tonnes as against 53,775 tonnes in 2021,” he said.

The chairman added that the company produced 55,878 tonnes of Refined, Bleached, and Deodorized Oil (RBDO) in 2022, compared to 46,327 tonnes it produced in 2021.

He also said that the company produced 19,420 tonnes of Olein and Stearin in 2022 as against 17,912 tonnes in 2021.

“The year under review birthed another exciting news concerning our expansion and growth strategy.

“We concluded plans to commence, in 2023, the planned and necessary construction of a new palm oil mill to cope with the steadily increasing fresh fruit bunches harvests and have the same ready for commissioning before the end of the second quarter of 2025.

“When completed, installed capacity for palm oil milling capacity will increase to 170 metric tonnes per hour,” the chairman said.

The Managing Director of Presco Plc., Mr Felix Nwabuko, assured the shareholders of improved performance in the years ahead.

Nwabuko advised the shareholders to identify their registrars and fill out necessary forms as part of measures to tackle the issue of unclaimed dividends.

The President of the Capital Shareholders Association, Abuja, Mr Augustine Ezechukwu, praised the board of directors and management of the company for outstanding performance in the year under review.

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Zamfara: Governor Bans Illegal Mining, Orders Shoot At Sight For Violators



… As Military Uncovers Gun Factory, Recovers Weapons In Kaduna***

Zamfara’s Gov. Dauda Lawal on Saturday issued a ban on illegal mining in the state. He also ordered security agents to shoot violators of the order at sight.

The governor’s media aide, Malam Suleiman Idris, quoted Lawal as saying in Gusau that the order was part of measures to restore law and order.

The governor noted that illegal mining had fuelled banditry and other criminal activities in parts of Zamfara over the years.

“Illegal mining is undeniably one of the driving forces behind the rampant banditry plaguing Zamfara. “We must take swift and decisive action to curb this menace and restore peace and security to our communities,’’ Idris quoted Lawal as saying.

The governor ordered security agencies to take other stringent measures against those caught violating the order. According to him, it is time to end the destructive activity and implement measures to protect the safety and well-being of the people.

“The directive is necessary to ensure the safety and security of the people of Zamfara and deter potential wrongdoers. “It is also a swift action to enable the government to be in total control of the state’s resources and block activities that endanger the lives and properties of the people,’’ the governor said”

In another development however, Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), a military task force, maintaining peace in Plateau, Bauchi, and Kaduna States, has uncovered a gun factory at Kafanchan, Jama’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

Capt. James Oya, the Media Officer of the operation, disclosed this in a statement made available to newsmen, on Saturday in Jos.

Oya said that it had also arrested one Napoleon John, a suspected gunrunner and recovered various types of weapons and ammunitions.

He explained that the feat was possible owing to a week-long operation conducted by its troops.

”In line with our resolve to deal decisively with sponsors and perpetrators of crime as well as mopping up illegal weapons in our joint operation area, our troops have uncovered a gun manufacturing factory in Kafanchan, Jama’a LGA of Kaduna State.

”This followed a week-long intelligence operation that finally led to the capture of a wanted gunrunner, Napoleon John who has been on our wanted list.

”The suspect, who confessed to the crime, led troops to a concealed factory where arms of different calibre were sold by another miscreant identified as Monday Dunia.

”Dunia confessed to have been in the business for more than five years, fuelling the crisis in Kaduna State and neighbouring Plateau.

”A thorough search of the factory led to the recovery of 22 different weapons, including seven pistols, two locally fabricated AK-47 rifles, two military grade AK-47 rifles, and nine revolvers,” he said.

Oya said that its troops also recovered one submachine gun, rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition, machine tools, and a gas cylinder.

”In a follow-up operation held between Thursday night and early hours of Friday, troops raided another hideout in Adua 1 community of Kafanchan and recovered additional two AK-47 rifles, two revolver rifles, live rounds of 9mm and 7.62 ammunitions, six dangerous daggers, one hacker axe.

”Several empty cases of 7.62mm special rounds, two mobile phones, one fragmental jacket, two Police uniforms, one pair of military camouflage trousers, one ammunition magazine carrier, one pistol holster and one military grade camel pouch.

”We also recovered one police combat helmet, two masks, four identity cards, gunpowder, shrapnels, charms and amulets.

Oya said that the Commander of the operation, Maj.-Gen. Abdusalam Abubakar, commended the troops for the feat and urged them to do more.

He, however, warned sponsors and perpetrators of criminalities to abandon their evil ways and embrace lawful means of livelihood.

He thanked residents of the state for cooperating with the military and other security agencies and called for more support towards a peaceful Plateau

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