Sahara Group’s Director,Adesina Wins Private Sector Award

Sahara Power reaffirms expansion plans to support energy demand growth in  SSA - Businessday NG

One of the directors of Sahara Group, Mr. Kola Adesina, has been named the ‘Private Sector Icon of the Year’ by Vanguard Newspapers.


Adesina, who was honoured by Vanguard Media Limited, a foremost Nigerian and African new publication, is the Group Managing Director of Sahara Power Group, the largest privately owned vertically integrated power company in sub-Saharan Africa.


He was described as “a consummate entrepreneur with experience that traverses academia, insurance, finance, energy, trade and diplomacy”.


Commenting on the award, Adesina said: “It’s a great recognition for Sahara and our proud African heritage that continues to drive our success story for 25 years now and counting.  This represents a call to higher service and better energy solutions across the globe and I dare say that Sahara Group is equal to the task.”


Vanguard’s profile of Adesina noted that he “led and steered the strategy that facilitated the acquisition of the Group’s power assets; Ikeja Electric, the largest privately-owned power distribution business in SSA, Egbin Power Plc – the largest thermal plant in Sub Sahara Africa, SSA (with 1,320MW installed capacity with ongoing expansion plans to increase the capacity over two-fold, providing a quarter of the total generating capacity in Nigeria) and First Independent Power Limited.”


“At Sahara Group, he has overseen many initiatives, including nation-wide strategic management of the supply chain of fuel to the Emergency Power Plant of the defunct National Electricity Power Authority (now Power Holding Company Nigeria Limited), led the majestic oil delegation on the acquisition of the Sierra Leone Refinery, managed the crude oil contract of the Group in Cote D’Ivoire and served as the Director of Infrastructure, responsible for the acquisition of strategic assets in Africa.”


Sahara Group celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, having commenced operations in 1996 with an initial focus on oil trading. The energy conglomerate has grown remarkably over the years and now has over 4,000 employees and operations in over 42 countries.


Sahara provides electricity to Nigerian households and businesses through its Egbin Power Plant and Ikeja Electric Plc. It continues to lead the charge towards energy transition, environmental sustainability, energy security, and access to clean energy in Africa.


It continues to deploy innovative energy solutions that reinforces its position as a foremost conglomerate with a proud African heritage and vast operations in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

Former Oyo Governor, Akala Dies 

Former Oyo Governor Alao-Akala dies at 71 | Pulse Nigeria
The former governor of Oyo State, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala is reportedly died this morning at his Ogbomoso residence.
He died at the age of 71 years
He was said to have returned  from Abuja on Tuesday
The cause of his death is yet to be ascertained as at the press time.
He governed Oyo state between 2007 and 2011.
Born on the 3rd of June 1950, at Ogbomoso in the Ogbomoso North Local Government Area of Oyo State, Alao-Akala had his elementary school at Osupa Baptist Day School, Ogbomoso.
 Alao-Akala proceeded to the Kamina Barracks Middle School, 5th Battalion of Infantry in Tamale, Ghana.He passed Staff College (Psc) 1990, Diploma in Business Administration (1998), Doctor of Civil Law (DCL) Honoris Causa, LAUTECH, Ogbomoso (2006), Doctor of Science (Political Science) Honoris Causa, Lead City University, Ibadan (2008).
Alao-Akala was enlisted as Cadet Inspector of Police in June 1974, at the Nigeria Police College, Ikeja. He was recommended for overseas training at the Hendon Police College, in London.
He also attended the Administrative Staff College, Topo, Badagry; the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Victoria Island, Lagos; Police Staff College, Jos; Command and Staff College, Jaji. Otunba Alao-Akala has participated as a Nigerian delegate at two INTERPOL conferences in Nice, France and in Málaga, Spain.
Rivers State Responsible For Illegal Bunkering,Soot-APC

TENSION In Rivers State As APC Names Gov. Wike As The Man Responsible For Illegal  Bunkering In Port Harcourt - Mc Ebisco
The Rivers State chapter  of the All Progressives Congress has accused the state government of promoting illegal bunkering and soot in Port Harcourt
The Rivers State governor, Chief Nyesom Wike in a state-wide broadcast, had last week declared wanted those the governor said were ‘kingpins of bunkering and illegal crude oil refining activities in their communities’.
 He  also said that those behind illegal bunkering activities in Okrika communities, Port Harcourt Township, Rivers South-East and Rivers South-West Senatorial Districts and their names would be soon published and declared wanted, if they fail to voluntarily report to the police.’
 But the Senibo Chris Finebone,State Publicity Secretary, APC,in a statement,faulted the governor’s claims.
He said: “While it appears that Gov Wike has finally hearkened to the overwhelming criticism by Rivers people and other concerned Nigerians that accuse the governor of not feeling concerned by the death by installment which soot has constituted to residents of the state, deeper and critical inquisition into the circumstances surrounding the phenomenon which has bedevilled lives of residents of the State, particularly Port Harcourt City, has revealed indirect large-scale complicity by the Rivers State Government in the menace.
“Frm 2015 to date, most major projects by the Rivers State Government since its inauguration are being executed by Julius Berger Nigeria Ltd. At the present peak of Julius Berger activities in Rivers State, the company consumes on the average about 300,000 litres of AGO per day. This has undeniably become one single biggest AGO consumption volume in Rivers State. Sadly, the entire volume of AGO is sourced from illegal refiners of the product locally called ‘kpofire’ and the reason is that Julius Berger in Rivers State buys AGO at between N220 and N240 per litre, whereas, the official ex-depot price of AGO from NIPCO and other major importers range from N315 to N350 per litre. With Julius Berger buying the product from illegal refiners below market minimum prices, a huge demand has been created for the kpofire (illegally refined) products. This naturally has encouraged so many people (young and old) to join the illegal refining business because of a thriving and ready market. The result is a burgeoning illegal refining business which has, in turn, heightened the level of soot descending on residents of Port Harcourt and environs, causing all manner of health problems for both the young and old, in the present and for the future.”
He expressed deep worry over the anxiety that greeted  action of the governor in declaring some persons wanted and leaving out others,
He added:”This is typical of the kneejerk style of Gov Wike and will only scratch the problem on the surface without getting to its very roots with a view to stamping it out. The picture this action of the governor portrays is that of someone who is either not ready to act effectively and holistically or protecting some persons due to fear or self-interest. Who is the governor afraid of in declaring all suspects involved in the illegal business wanted in all the LGAs particularly those contiguous to Port Harcourt?”
The statement read further, “One of the altruistic attempts to stop the ravaging soot, once and for all, would have been for the governor to interrogate the supply chain management practices of its major contractor, Julius Berger, to ensure that it operates responsibly. However, we doubt whether the governor will act along that line as all the subcontractors who supply AGO to Julius Berger are linked to the governor who also recommended them to the company under local content participation.
“We have seen Gov Nyesom Wike, in his overzealous attempt to protect Julius Berger and their common business interests, brazenly sack his Cabinet Commissioner for Environment without replacement to this day.
“The roles of Messrs Juergen Fischer, Raymond Morisho & Samuel Ngbor
“Our investigations revealed that these three individuals anchor the procurement process and the liaison between Julius Berger and Gov Nyesom Wike regularly briefing the governor on the activities of Julius Berger in the State. Whereas the first two gentlemen are expatriates, the last, a Nigerian from Tai, Rivers State, acts as the PRO of the company and coordinates the company sub-suppliers. . Rather than undertake a poorly rehearsed declaration in the media, the governor should have used these individuals to ensure that Julius Berger, by their action, desisted from encouraging illegal refining by obtaining clean AGO from reputable dealers/suppliers instead of patronizing AGO sourced from the underworld at prices below market standard prices. What this means is that the more flyovers Julius Berger builds, the more soot we find in the air over Port Harcourt.
“For the ordinary residents of Port Harcourt, the story has remained that of increasing fear and uncertainty over the consequences of the ravaging soot on their health especially in the years to come. Rivers APC calls on Gov Wike to choose the protection of lives of residents of Port Harcourt and Rivers State over his interests in Julius Berger Nigeria Ltd and simply do the needful instead of embarking on cosmetic red herring with no purpose whatsoever.”
Eze Justifies Buhari’s Action On Electoral Act

Electoral bill: Buhari to make decision known to NASS soon – Presidency
Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress and erstwhile National Publicity Secretary of the defunct New People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, has thrown his weight behind the decision of President Mohammadu Buhari, declining assent to the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill.
Recall that the said bill was transmitted to the President on November 19, 2021 and the 30 days provided by the Constitution for signing or rejection of the bill expired on  Monday, 20th December 2021, and accordingly, the President has through a letter sent to members of the National Assembly, relayed his reasons for refusing assent to the bill.
In a statement made available to media houses in Port Harcourt, the party chief said as expected of every critical thinker and nationalist, President Buhari, acted in defense of the country’s political, economic and constitutional interests and to protect the very foundations of the nation’s nascent democracy.
According to President Buhari, “the conduct of direct primaries across the 8,809 wards across the length and breadth of the country will lead to a significant spike in the cost of conducting primary elections by parties as well as increase in the cost of monitoring such elections by INEC who has to deploy monitors across these wards each time a party is to conduct direct primaries for the presidential, gubernatorial and legislative posts. The addition of these costs with the already huge cost of conducting general elections will inevitably lead to huge financial burden on both the political parties, INEC and the economy in general at a time of dwindling revenues.”
Supporting the views of the President on the burdensome implication of assenting to the bill, on the economy and the lean purse of weeny political organizations, the party chief said an obligatory direct primaries will function to frustrate the chances of smaller parties to flow with the tide given the huge financial engagements which poses a threatening posture on the nation’s economy already affected by the global economic realities.
“If political parties struggle to sponsor candidates for election under the current regime that offers an assortment of methods for the selection of candidates for the general elections, adopting a system that provides a single obligatory method of primaries may force many of them into extinction and others into involuntary and valueless merger.”
As a matter of fact, the security situation in the country is already troubling and poses serious concern to Nigerians, consequently, direct method of primaries and its attendant challenges is not peace-oriented and thus is grossly amiss with the Nigerian political context and atmosphere and will only nourish a paroxysmal attack of pain, distress, disordered function of our body polity and total loss of public confidence in the political system.
“Assenting to that piece of legislation will throw the country back to the crude system practiced in the small ancient Greek city state where democracy was first practiced and where people gathered to directly select those on whom to trust public administration. Democracy has advanced and Nigeria must align and progress with the changing tides”.
He berated Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike and others who are trying hard to take advantage of the opportunity to paint their tainted selves pure by suddenly putting up a public countenance that suggests them to be more Nigerian than true Nigerians.
He recalled how Wike fought to frustrate the financial autonomy of local government and how he has continued to deny same status to the legislative and judicial arms of government in Rivers State, thus, stifling democracy and frustrating the optimum performance of these arms and the local government tier of government.
He said his state has continued to suffer irredeemably in all spheres as a result of his careless and ill-informed approach to critical issues of administration and counsel led him to concentrate on providing the services of leadership to the good people of Rivers State.
Eze  advised Chief Nyesom Wike to play down on propaganda and learn from Governor Ortom of Benue State and Governor Umahi of Ebonyi State on their choice of words while addressing this particular issue.
He implored members of the National Assembly who are promoting dissenting views on President Buhari’s stance on the Electoral Act (Amendment) bill, to ruminate extensively and understand the salient points canvassed by the President as reasons for his refusal of assent, noting that the economic and security situation of the country does not support the new features inserted into the amended bill.
Counseling lawmakers to jettison activating their veto power on the bill, Eze called and tasked them to channel attention towards proposing laws that will close all economic loopholes, create jobs and tackle armed banditry, terrorism and other menacing security challenges facing the country.
Seek Power To Improve Nigeria’s Fortune,Makinde Admonishes Politicians

Nigerians, not politicians, need prayer — Seyi Makinde - Vanguard News
Oyo State Governor, ‘Seyi Makinde, has implored politicians to seek power in order to add increased value to the growth of the country.
 He gave the admonition  while receiving the governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike and his entourage, who came on a condolence visit to the state over the demise of the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, Aje Ogunguniso 1,according to a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa.
 The  governor,who stated  that the unity of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) should be paramount to all members,added that Nigerians are waiting for the party to take over from All Progressives Congress (APC).
He said: “I want to welcome you all to Ibadan and thank you for identifying with us at this hour of our need and for deeming it fit to come down from your state.
“Let me also thank you, Governor Wike, for the recognition of the work we have done for the National Convention, but I make bold to say that even though we were the faces people were looking at, you provided a lot of support for us behind the scene. So, I want to thank and encourage you because leadership is a burden.
“You have shown leadership in piloting the affairs of Rivers State. You have shown leadership nationally and in pushing for what is right and just in the affairs of the party. We can only pray for more strength and good health so that you will continue to render your service, at least, till the end of your tenure in Rivers State.
“For us in Oyo State, we are following in your footsteps by giving dividends of democracy to our people. It is all about serving the people.
“You mentioned just now about individuals jostling for the Presidency of our country under our party’s banner and what they need to know. Well, you have demonstrated it, and this is what we are doing in Oyo State. It is not seeking power for the sake of wanting to be in power but for the sake of making our country and our state a little better than the way we have met it. This has been demonstrated time and time again, especially in Rivers State and that is what we are also doing here.
“The unity, especially that of the governors of our party is paramount and most of the successes we have recorded so far are really because we are together.”
According to Governor Makinde, 2022 would be a decisive year in the agenda to rescue Nigeria from the disaster brought upon it by close to seven years of APC leadership at the centre, hence the importance of the visit by Governor Wike and the unity among the PDP governors.
“This visit is timely and appreciated, because 2022 is the year when the political parties will take decisions on who would fly the flags of their parties, from the Presidency to even the lowest positions.
“This is a year we have to take serious decisions, because whatever we do and whatever the outcome is, Nigerians will have to live with that for the next four years.
“The past seven years have been a real disaster. If you look at the data, an economy that was growing at the rate of 5 to 6 per cent yearly before then suddenly became poor. We went into recession and we thought we were coming out but still went into another recession.
“Meanwhile, the population is also growing at an alarming rate. So, just like our party has been pushing, this is the time to rescue Nigeria. We have a serious role to play in that effort,” Makinde added.
Earlier, the Rivers State Governor said he came to commiserate with Governor Makinde and the people of the state over the demise of Olubadan of Ibadanland.
He said: “I am here with my delegation to, first of all, commiserate with the governor and the people of Oyo State over the passing of the Olubadan. Of course, we believe that God gives and He takes and there is nothing anybody can do. God will guide you, give you the wisdom and courage to install the new Olubadan, who will help you to pilot the affairs of Oyo State and Ibadan in particular.
“I also want to thank you and say that, sometimes, people don’t know certain qualities of some people until you give them a particular assignment. It is on record that, in the history of PDP, the last convention that you were the Secretary of the Planning Committee, came out to be the best of the best. It was not easy because these are first-time governors- Governors of Adamawa, Bayelsa and Oyo states. The three of them produced the best convention we ever had in the PDP. So, that is to tell you the kind of quality and stuff they are made of.
“We have also come to let you know that it is important for us as a party to unite a lot of Nigerians who are waiting for the PDP and we cannot afford to lose this opportunity. The governors must be united. It does not matter who would be the party’s presidential candidate.Once the party and governors are united, I can tell you that the victory is on our way. So, the unity of the governor is key to making sure the party gets it right.
“It was the way we were united that made us produce the National Chairman and the best National Convention, which got Nigerians surprised. We should also do the same by working hard to produce the presidential candidate, who will win the election for the PDP.This is because if we lose it this time around, Nigerians will not be happy with us.
“We cannot allow this evil they call APC to continue and that is why they cannot put themselves together.
So, God has used people like you to unite the party and to organise the best convention. Mine is going around telling our people to let us work together as a party so that we will be able to stand APC in the next general election. We must all rally round anybody the party produces to be the presidential candidate and make sure that we win the election.
“Forget about the people saying there should not be zoning. It is just a distraction. For me, those doing that are agents of the APC and they are not helping the party. Whichever way, we must sit down and take the best decision that will make Nigerians to be happy; that will make us to win the election.
“There is no basis for anything we do that won’t make us win the election, because it means we still want Nigerians to suffer and they cannot just continue to suffer.
They have suffered enough in the hands of APC and God will not forgive PDP if we don’t rescue Nigerians. And I believe you are one of the people doing well in your state. We must take a decision. Not taking a decision means that there is no leadership.
It is not like a situation we have in the APC where they will say one thing today and, tomorrow, they will say another thing. They don’t even know who is in charge. But you are in charge of Oyo State and you are doing well.”
Wike further  implored Governor Makinde not to be distracted by criticisms, urging him to continue to do well, while also charging his aides and residents of the state to keep supporting him.
Nigeria Clinches 2021 OGP Impact Award 

Extractive Sector: Nigeria Clinches OGP 2021 Award For Transparency |  Science Nigeria
The Open Government Partnership (OGP) Global Support Unit says Nigeria emerged winner of the 2021 OGP Impact Award for Africa and Middle East Region.
The country won the award on account of implementation of the Beneficial Ownership Transparency (B.O.T.) in the Extractive sector by the Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and broader Beneficial Ownership Transparency by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in the OGP National Action Plan (NAP).
Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, had directed the Nigeria OGP Secretariat to prepare and submit Nigeria’s entry for the 2021 OGP Impact Award to showcase Nigeria’s efforts to entrench transparency in the extractive industry and on the larger scale of the corporate space, with the establishment of a public register of beneficial owners of corporate entities.
Announcing Nigeria as a winner, the OGP Global Support Unit said opacity in the country’s  Nigeria’s extractive sector has decimated communities, destroyed lives and led to the rise of militancy in oil producing regions.
“The Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) was passed in 2020 – making it mandatory to disclose persons with significant control of companies in a register of beneficial owners to enhance corporate accountability and transparency.It will enable public authorities to track the proceeds of corruption and redirect the resources for national benefit.”
Speaking on behalf of the Nigeria OGP National Steering Committee, the Co-chairs – Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba and Dr Tayo Aduloju welcomed the recognition of Nigeria’s progress while acknowledging the long road ahead.
He said the “Beneficial Ownership Transparency will make more information about the individuals who own or control registered legal entities and arrangements available to those who can use it effectively.
According to him, by making Beneficial Ownership information available to authorities, businesses, and the public, Beneficial Ownership Transparency through the public register of beneficial owners can help disrupt the opacity on which criminals rely to perpetrate financial crimes.
 Through a public register of Beneficial Owners, information about beneficial owners of companies and entities will be made available for financial and regulatory authorities and the general public to access and make use of.
Agba thanked President Buhari for his political leadership that has allowed NEITI and CAC to aggressively implement this commitment.
In his comment,the Chief Operations Officer of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG) and Non State Actor Co-Chair, Dr Tayo Aduloju said the OGP impact award reflects what is possible when we mobilise the collective capacity of society to solve our most formidable challenges.
“The OGP Beneficial Ownership has taken us on a journey of national reform in which civil society, private sector and government have built the consensus for action.
“With the passage of the two landmark acts; CAMA 2020 and the PIA 2020, the comprehensive legal framework for not just open government, but open private sector has been established, and the achievement of significant compliance as envisaged by the OGP National Action Plan I and II for extractive industries transparency and broader corporate transparency for final beneficiary owners has commenced in Nigeria,” he said.
Speaking on the award, the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, stated that “Nigeria is among nine of the global EITI implementing countries of the Opening Extractives initiative.
Orji said: “The award is impressive and most encouraging, considering the political will and enormous resources the government has deployed to reposition the extractive industry to benefit all Nigerians.I want to thank the OGP National Steering Committee, sister agencies  especially CAC as well as Civil Society Organisations and donors for their support as well. Nigeria’s journey to beneficial ownership disclosure followed a trajectory.
“In December 2019, NEITI created a Beneficial Ownership Register for extractive industries companies and became the first in Africa to have such a register. In 2021, Nigeria enacted the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and made copious provisions for beneficial ownership disclosures. Nigeria is also among nine the global EITI implementing countries of the Opening Extractive initiative. When Beneficial Ownership is fully mainstreamed into Nigeria’s governance culture, there will be public trust, citizen’s confidence, and increased revenue growth.”
Besides,Registrar General of Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Alhaji Garba Abubakar, outlined the next phase of the implementation of BOT saying ” Corporate Affairs Commission is designed to be a part of history as Nigeria celebrates the award.
“This has been made possible by signing into law the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2020 by the President providing a legal framework for Beneficial Ownership Information Disclosure in Nigeria.
“The second phase of deployment will ensure compliance with the global requirements with emphasis on collection, storing, publishing and sharing quality Beneficial Ownership Data amongst implementing countries”
Afenifere Backs  Tinubu’s, Presidential Ambition

Afenifere Disowns Quit Yorubaland Ultimatum, Not Our Initiative -  TheNigeriaLawyer
Pan-Yoruba Socio-cultural group, Afenifere has supported  the declaration of interest by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to run for for the position of President in the country’s general election next year.
The group conveyed its support in a statement signed by Bayo Aina, its secretary general.
He  commended  the foresight, personal sacrifices and doggedness of all leaders across the length and breadth of Nigeria whose courage of conviction eventually put paid to the  evolution of APC in 2014.
He added:“We are happy that the South West zone wholly embraced the APC, since 2015 and this has enabled the zone to participate as an equal stakeholder with other zones in the affairs of the Nation. This has now placed the zone in a pivotal position to produce the successor to President Buhari.This development has vindicated our position when we asked the south west to vote for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015 and 2019 elections.
“Going forward, we have no doubt that many persons across the six geopolitical zones may also indicate an interest in contesting for the highest office in the land. We must all be ready to face this reality.We appeal to the various contestants to run the race with mutual respect, dignity, sportsmanship and genuine “Omoluabi” ethos such that Nigeria in general and the Southwest particularly will even be more united as we approach the 2023 election.We must avoid a fractricidal engagement by all means .
He  disclosed that his group will liaise  with traditional rulers, religious leaders and other major stakeholders to ensure that the Southwest remains united in the match towards 2023.
Why Illegal Wild Life Trade Thrives In Nigeria

UNODC World Wildlife Crime Report 2020: The COVID-19 pandemic has shown  that wildlife crime is a threat not only to the environment and  biodiversity, but also to human health
Nigeria is becoming a hub for illegal wildlife on trade owing due to lack of stiffer penalties for traffickers,conservationists say.
They lamented at a public lecture organized by the Pangolin Conservation Guild of Nigeria in partnership with the United States Consulate and the OOPL Wildlife Park,where they also emphasized the need  for  the federal government to step up its efforts in tackling illegal wildlife trafficking in the country.
Olajumoke Morenikeji, Chair, Pangolin Conservation Guild of Nigeria (PCGN),stated that trafficking of wildlife has serious implications including pollution, deforestation, and destruction of natural habitats, climate change, species population reduction, and extinction.
She said there is need for increased law enforcement, detection, and monitoring at all exit points to restrict the flow of illegal ivory and pangolins from and through Nigeria, corruption should be tackled.
According to her,endangered animals and plants are often the targets of wildlife crime and two of such animals are pangolins and elephants, adding that weak law enforcement has made the country an emerging transit route for many shipments of wildlife species and products.
She added that illegal wildlife trafficking can cause the spread of viruses, and bacteria, sighting how pangolins have been linked to the novel coronavirus, stressing that the illegal wildlife trade threatens the management of natural resources and rural livelihoods.
Speaking,Jennifer Foltz, Deputy Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Consulate Lagos, disclosed that wildlife trafficking remains a serious transnational crime that threatens security, economic prosperity, the rule of law, long-standing conservation efforts and human health.
She said that illicit wildlife trade is decimating many species worldwide and threatens species such as rhinoceroses, elephants, and pangolin with extinction.
She noted that consumers demand and transnational organized criminal networks are driving the illicit trade of wildlife and its products, adding that illegal trade has evolved into one of the world’s largest black markets and is valued at tens of billions of dollars.
To address wildlife trafficking, she said the United States works in priority countries that are sources of wildlife and wildlife products, transit points, or destinations for sellers and buyers.
To support the enforcement of wildlife trade laws, she stated that the United States supports countries building the capacities of rangers and scouts, forensic scientists, legislators, prosecutors, and judges to detect, arrest, investigate, prosecute, and adjudicate wildlife traffickers along this illegal supply chain.
“Through our work, partner countries can better fight the criminal networks that undermine development efforts, thereby better conserving their wildlife for future generations,” she said.
Mary-Ann Ajayi, lecturer, College of Law, BOWEN University in a presentation during the public lecture noted that wildlife protection laws are not effective in the country and as a result Nigeria has become a hub for illegal trade.
“Lax law enforcement agencies, insecure borders and easy access to large ports put the country at the centre of the illicit trade. Nigeria’s hydra-headed problems have contributed to the explosion of pangolin trafficking,” she said.
On tackling the illegal trade, she noted that the country cannot afford to allow its wildlife trafficking laws to be poorly enforced and prosecuted.
She urged the government to see illegal wildlife trafficking as a trans-national crime rather than a conservation issue, while calling for collaborative efforts to address the issue.
How Nigeria Can Narrow  Metering Gap-Balogun

Chairman, Momas Electricity Meter Manufacturing Company (MEMMCOL), Mr. Kola Balogun, has emphasized the need for Nigeria to narrow the metering gap in the country.
Balogun,who gave the advice in an interview with journalists, urged  the Federal Government has been urged to give nod to the quest of indigenous companies to sell prepaid meters directly to customers in order to bridge the huge metering gap in the country.
He  bemoaned the bureaucratic bottlenecks electricity consumers go through to purchase prepaid meters from distribution companies (DISCOs).
He added:“There are some people who cannot wait until the DisCos install meters in their premises. They have their money and want to buy meters but they are passing through a lot of bureaucracy in the hands of the DisCos. Many consumers are frustrated about the estimated billing system and want to get their meters as soon as possible. We have people who have made payments for meters but have not been metered because of various issues,” he said.
He emphasized  the government should select a few tested and trusted manufacturers that have the capacity and endorse them to sell prepaid meters directly to customers with a view to resolving the crisis.
 “We, as manufacturers want NERC to give us the room to sell directly to consumers who will take it to electricity Distribution Companies for installation. They can grant them licences just like banks, telecommunications and insurance companies. It is as simple as that because there is no meter that we produce that doesn’t meet the standard of Nigeria.
“So, if all our locally manufactured meters meet the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) certification, consumers can buy them and take them to the DisCos. This will fast track the metering process. It will be  a win win because it will not only close the metering gap and shore up revenue efficiency of the DisCos, but will also create huge employment opportunities for Nigerians.”
Balogun  lauded the Federal Government for the completion of the Phase Zero of the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) and the support given to local meter manufacturers.
Global Oil, Gas Investments To Hit  $628bn In 2022-Report

A report by  Norway-based energy research company,Rystad Energy,says  global oil and gas investments will increase more than 4.3 per cent annually to reach $628 billion this year as the industry recovers from the pandemic and the challenges  posed by the Omicron variant.
The report said the increase in investment will largely be driven by a 14 per cent year-on-year rise in upstream gas and liquefied natural gas investments in 2022, the independent energy research and data analytics company said.
According to the report,upstream gas and liquefied natural gas will be the fastest-growing segment this year, with investments rising to nearly $149bn, from $131bn in 2021.
This falls short of the pre-pandemic total but investment in the sector is expected to surpass the 2019 levels of $168bn in two years, reaching $171bn in 2024, Rystad said.
Upstream oil investments are projected to rise 7 per cent yearly to $307bn in 2022. However, the midstream and downstream investments will fall 6.7 per cent on annual basis to $172bn this year.
Rystad Energy’s head of energy service research, Audun Martinsen, said the pervasive spread of the Omicron variant will inevitably lead to restrictions on movement in the first quarter of 2022, capping energy demand and recovery in the major crude-consuming sectors of road transport and aviation.
He added:“But despite the ongoing disruptions caused by [the] Covid-19, the outlook for the global oil and gas market is promising”.
Global shale investments are predicted to surge 18 per cent to reach $102bn this year, almost $16bn more than last year, Rystad said.
The offshore investments are set to reach $155bn, up 7 per cent annually, while conventional onshore will jump 8 per cent to $290bn this year, it said.
This year’s investment growth is very much “pre-programmed” by the $150bn worth of greenfield projects sanctioned last year, up from $80bn in 2020, Rystad said.
Approving activity in 2022 is likely to mirror last year’s levels, with a similar amount of project spending to be unleashed in the short to medium term, it said.