NMDPRA Shuts Six Petrol Stations For Cheating Customers

Mohammed Shosanya

Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), Warri Zonal Office has shut six petrol stations and an illegal gas refiling plant over sharp practices in Delta State.

The filling stations were sealed over offences bordering on under-dispensing and lack of operational licenses.

The defaulters were Bwede Filling Station, Pius A. Idoghor Oil and Gas, Eshegbe Oil, Fetega Oil and Sole Energy Enterprise all in Orhuwhorun Town, Udu Local Government Area.

Others were:Falcon Bay Oil at PTI Junction and another Falcon Bay Oil located at Ugbomro Junction, DSC Expressway both in Uvwie Local Government Area.

Speaking when he led surveillance team of the regulatory authority to seal the erring stations in Uvwie and Udu Local Government Areas of the state,Mr Goziem Chukwura, explained that one of the mandate of the regulatory agency was to ensure that the masses were not shortchanged by the marketers.

He added:”The purpose of this exercise is to ensure that consumers get values for their money. One of our mandate is that one litre should be one litre. Most of the petrol stations we visited were selling without operational licenses, we have to shutdown the stations and invite the owners to our office.

“We sealed six petrol retail outlets and an illegal gas plant for various offences ranging from lack of operational licenses and under-dispensing of petroleum products to the consumers.”

He implored consumers to report any petroleum marketer that indulged in sharp practices to the regulatory body for appropriate action.

He assured that the exercise would be a continuous one until the marketers comply with standards in the industry.

eNaira Safe,Reliable-CBN

Mohammed Shosanya

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says the adoption of the eNaira is not and never a threat to financial stability in the country.

The Director, Corporate Communications of the CBN, Isa AbdulMumin,said this on the heels of insinuation that the eNaira portends danger to financial inclusion.

He also said the country’s Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), the eNaira, indeed not only expanded financial inclusion but also was safe.

He added:“After reviewing the reports, which appear to have been syndicated, there seems to be a lack of understanding of portions of the Foreword, and some articles, in the bank’s recently released Economics of Digital Currencies: A Book of Readings. A recurring theme in the book is the interest of regulators, such as the CBN, in the role of cryptocurrencies as speculative investments, and the potential threat they harbour for financial stability.

“According to that, the articles in the book provide an in-depth understanding of CBDCs generally and the workings of the eNaira in particular, highlighting issues and challenges in implementation and adoption.”

He added: “One of the reports speaks of “concerns about Nigeria’s central bank digital currency, eNaira, indicating potential risks to financial stability despite its success in narrowing the country’s financial inclusion gap.”

He declared that the CBN does not join issues on reports on its activities, it is constrained to clarify the reports to ensure that misunderstandings do not fester.

He said that the eNaira structure continues to evolve and undergo modifications targeted at improving the user experience across all interfaces.

“We encourage Nigerians to embrace the technology for, amongst other things, greater financial inclusion,” he stated.

Nigeria Making Progress On Abolition Of Death Penalty-Lawyers Without Border

Mohammed Shosanya

Avocats Sans Frontières France (Lawyers without Borders France), has assessed Nigeria’s compliance with the global campaign against death penalty,saying the country has made progress on the abolition of the practice.

According to the group,between 2007 – 2016, there were seven executions in Nigeria with the last one occurring in 2016.

This action is a clear sign of progress in the movement against the death penalty in Nigeria, the Country Director of ASF France in Nigeria, Angela Uwandu Uzoma-Iwuchukwu,told a media conference in commemoration of the World Day Against the Death Penalty

She, however, said there must be conscious efforts to increase the voices in the advocacy against the death penalty to guarantee total abolishment of this practice in Nigeria.

She added:“The death penalty should have no place in our justice system. It is against the very principle of reformative and restorative justice. No state should have the power to take someone’s life. Today, we urge the Nigerian government to reflect on its continued use of the death penalty in Nigeria and take steps to join the other 27 African countries who have completely abolished the death penalty and other 14 de-facto abolitionist country in the continent. We recommend the establishment of an official moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolition”.

She re-emphasized that the death penalty should be completely abolished from all justice systems as it flagrantly violates the fundamental right to life.

According to her, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) acknowledges the inherent every right to life for every individual, thus, any attempt to end a person’s life in the name of justice even by a state is a violation of this right.

She said,the death penalty is also discriminatory pattern in its application worldwide, the death penalty is disproportionately used against disadvantaged people, particularly the poor.

She added:”This year’s theme emphasizes the concept of ‘irreversible torture’. The execution of the death penalty itself is an irreversible cruel act offering no room for amendments to verdict in light of new evidence. The death penalty also doesn’t serve as a deterrent, as countries that practice it continue to experience an increase in crime rates. The path leading to execution is usually paved with torture and psychological trauma for all parties involved including the detainee, lawyers, officials and most importantly the victim’s families”

ASF France in Nigeria commemorates this day with a panel discussion themed ‘death penalty: an irreversible torture’ and a movie screening of the movie ‘shepherds and butchers’. The activities are aimed at sensitising a critical mass of people on the death penalty and the dire need for its abolition in Nigeria.

Imo Guber: Uzodinma Would Respect Charter Of Equity Deal-Group

Mohammed Shosanya

A socio-cultural group, the Ndi Imo Defenders, has described as wicked and malicious the call by the candidates of the opposition parties that Governor Hope Uzodinma should forfeit his re-election bid for contestants from the Owerri Zone ahead of the November 11 governorship election.

The President of the group, Stan Ezugu, said in a press statement on Tuesday that such a call is capable of truncating the agreed Imo Charter of Equity among the elders and stakeholders of the state, which stipulates that the governorship of the state will rotate among the three senatorial zones of Orlu, Okigwe, and Owerri for eight years each.

The group reminded the candidates that the Imo Elders’ Council, in the policy statement, had urged other contestants for the governorship position in the November 2023 election to allow Uzodimma to complete Orlu Zone’s eight-year tenure, after which Owerri Zone will take over for seamless running of the policy.

Ezugu said the Imo State Charter of Equity is a political agreement that aims to ensure fair and balanced representation in the governance of the state. He added that this charter holds significant importance for the state’s political stability, unity, and the overall well-being of its diverse population, and any person or group of persons should not be allowed to truncate the novel policy.

He said that rather than scapegoating him, Governor Uzodimma should be commended for supporting the charter of equity, stating that it was the best declaration considering that such an arrangement had eluded the state for several years.

He said the Imolites must support Governor Uzodimma’s second term so that the charter of equity could be streamlined and bring development to the state.

“The Imo State Charter of Equity plays a crucial role in promoting fairness, unity, stability, and development within the state. By adhering to the principles of the charter, Imo State can harness the collective potential of its diverse population and work towards a more prosperous and harmonious future, and we strongly believe the potential this policy holds should not be allowed to be eroded by the greed of a group of people who don’t value the prosperity of Ndi Imo.

“The charter has provided a clear part for stability; the governor has stated clearly that he is committed to this arrangement, and that is why you will not see any candidate from the Orlu zone contesting for the governorship in 2027. It has been agreed that it will be the turn of the Owerri zone. The process will be streamlined so that the contest will be limited to a particular zone and political parties will only need to produce their candidates from that zone, and we are not going to have this rancour and lamentation of marginalisation again. This is an arrangement that should have been put in place a long time ago, and we have to commend Governor Uzodinma for endorsing the initiative by the Elders Council,” he said.

The group has also said Governor Uzodimma’s administration has not shown any form of lopsidedness in the appointments and distribution of developmental amenities such as health, education, and road infrastructure, among others.

“Uzodimma has pursued his shared prosperity agenda with vigour and equity; we have seen his signature all over the state in terms of infrastructure and project distribution. He cannot be seen to have favoured one zone ahead of others, not only in terms of projects but appointments too,” he said.

Rapid Response:Eko Disco’s Proactive Pledge To Zero DownTime

As the name implies, rapid response means attending to a particular situation in a timely manner. Rapid response teams are teams that work round the clock to react swiftly quickly to a situation thereby forestalling or preventing further damage. Examples of this are seen in other sectors like banking, engineering, firefighting, and police.

In Nigeria, the public demands a consistent supply of electricity, whether for industrial, commercial, or household uses.

Due to the possibility of power supply disruptions owing to weather conditions, human error, or even equipment or system failure, end-users will undoubtedly have complaints. Inefficient response to these disruptions may extend the time when essential end-users are without power, and in critical circumstances, leaving the public without electricity for lengthy periods.

As a leading and customer-centric power utility company, Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) has implemented further procedures to guarantee swift response to customer complaints and power supply outages. These are aimed at improving the quality of service to its esteemed customers.

By utilising cutting-edge technology and innovative processes, EKEDC’s proactive approach is aimed at minimising downtime – reducing the duration in which electricity supply is disrupted or unavailable. They have invested in various electrical assets and technologies to ensure zero or minimal downtime and set up the Rapid Response Squad to attend to outage and faults reports more swiftly.

The Rapid Response Squad (RRS) was created by the MD/CEO, Dr. Tinuade Sanda, in April 2022 as a unit under the Technical Operations department, primarily to oversee and ensure breakdown maintenance and faults are tracked and resolved within the stipulated Turnaround Time (TAT) as regulated by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).

The Head, RRS Nasir Gbadegesin, stated that EKEDC’s goal for fault clearance and resolution for 33 kV and 11 kV is ten (10) and six (6) hours, respectively, pursuant to the NERC Order. The RRS collaborates with the Power System Control, the District Operators, and the Protection and Testing divisions to resolve faults quickly and effectively without compromising safety.

Additionally, he noted that the crew responds to any faults on the 33 kV feeder at the injection sub-stations and, if necessary, helps the Breakdown Maintenance team at the various districts to resolve the faults. The eleven (11) districts that make up EKEDC’s service area are Agbara, Apapa, Ajah, Ijora, Ibeju, Festac, Lekki Mushin, Orile, Ojo, and Islands.

With the use of predictive maintenance and advanced monitoring systems, which are employed to continuously track the performance of the grid. They can detect anomalies, fluctuations, or failures in real-time.

The company has access to its distribution infrastructure, thanks to monitoring systems like the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition/Distribution Management System (SCADA/DMS), which was launched in 2020. This gives the Disco access in real time to information regarding the current state of its technological assets and the areas that require attention.

EKEDC uses data analytics as a predictive maintenance technique to anticipate equipment failures. By identifying potential issues before they occur, they can schedule maintenance or repairs to prevent downtime.

Alternatively, there is the use of redundant systems, and backup power sources that are built to ensure a seamless transition in case of equipment failure or power outages. This redundancy helps to maintain a continuous power supply.

Also, communication with end-users must be timely and transparent. Eko Disco has made it mandatory to notify its stakeholders of scheduled maintenance or unforeseen outages, as well as providing anticipated restoration timelines, via its various social media platforms and customer engagement channels, tagged “Power Update.’

Eko Disco is also making conscious and continuous efforts to invest in upgrading and modernizing its infrastructure that helps reduce the likelihood of failures and improves the overall reliability of its network infrastructure.

Conclusively, by implementing these measures, they have proactively worked to achieve zero downtime, or at the very least keeping downtime to the barest minimum, ensuring a reliable supply of electricity to their customers and therefore ensuring a cordial relationship with its stakeholders and maintaining a positive brand image for the Organization. Like their mantra goes, Eko Disco is truly poised to keep empowering quality of lives of their stakeholders.

Girlfriend Murder:Police Declare Benjamin Best Nnanyereugo Wanted

Mohammed Shosanya

The Lagos State Police Command hereby declares wanted Benjamin Best Nnanyereugo.

He is suspected to have murdered his girlfriend, 21-year-old Augusta Onuwabhagbe Osedion, on July 13, 2023 in his Oral Estate, Ajah home. Following the exhaustion of all available options to bring him in, he is declared wanted.

The suspect is 26 years old, approximately 5’9 ft tall and hails from Abia State. He is dark in complexion and speaks English, Igbo and pidgin English fluently, Benjamin Hundeyin, spokesman of Lagod State Police Command, said in a statement on Tuesday.

If seen, please contact the nearest police station or call 0803 688 5727,he added

Balyesa Guber Poll:Court Disqualifies Sylva As APC Contests Verdict

Mohammed Shosanya

A Federal High Court in Abuja,has disqualified the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Timipre Sylva, in the November 11 polls.

Okorowo disqualified Sylva in a judgement he delivered on Monday.

The suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/821/2023 was filed on June 13, 2023 by Deme Kolomo, a member of the APC.

Justice Donatus Okorowo ruled that Sylva having been sworn in twice and ruled for five years as governor of Bayelsa would breach the 1999 constitution as amended if allowed to contest again.

He also declared that Sylva was not qualified to run in the November poll because if he wins and is sworn in, he would spend more than eight years in office as governor of the state.

Citing the case of Marwa vs Nyako at the Supreme Court, Okorowo noted that the drafters of the country’s constitution stated that nobody should be voted for as governor more than twice and that the parties to the suit agreed that Sylva was voted into office two times.

He further stated that the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Marwa vs Nyako that nobody can expand the constitution or its scope. So, if Sylva is allowed to contest the next election, it means a person can contest as many times as he wishes.

Meanwhile,the Bayelsa State All Progressives Congress (APC) Gubernatorial Campaign Council, has faulted the judgement of a Federal High Court, Abuja, which disqualified the party’s candidate, Timipre Sylva from the November 11 election in the state.

The council in a statement signed by the Director, Media and Publicity, Mr Perry Tukuwei, re-assured the people of a landslide victory at the polls.

The APC campaign council stated that the verdict was “an already failed bid to dash the hopes of Bayelsans to have their preferred candidate, Chief Timipre Sylva as the next helmsman at Creek Haven by February 14, 2024.”

It said it would appeal the judgement as it had briefed its lawyers, and that it was confident the appellate court would overturn the ruling.

The statement read in part, “Sections 29 and 84 of the 2022 Electoral Act states that only persons who contested primaries of a political party that has the locus standi to file a pre- election matter to challenge the qualification of the party’s candidate in any election hence the suit filed by one Chief Demesuoyefa Kolomo, who is not a member of the All Progressives Congress, and didn’t contest our party’s governorship primaries do not have the locus standi to sue in the matter.

“Section 285 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution enjoins any aggrieved party to file a or election matter within 14 days of the occurrence of the event but this case was filed on the 13th of June 2023 whereas INEC published the names of the governorship candidates for Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi on the 12th of May 2023. Thus, the case was filed outside the constitutional prescribed 14 days thereby making the case statute barred. It is surprising to the party and Bayelsans that the court ignored the fact that the plaintiff lacked the locus standi to sue and went ahead to give judgement in their favour.

“Additionally, there is a practice directive by the Supreme Court that all pre-election matters be heard in the state where the primaries took place. To perfect their sinister act, the case was filed in Abuja. Is Abuja, Bayelsa?

“Subsequently, the Bayelsa All Progressives Congress can smell the coffee and sinister move by Governor Douye Diri to go through the back door, which is his usual practice, having realized that our governorship candidate Chief Timipre Sylva is coasting home to victory already following unrivaled acceptance in the eight local government areas of the state.

“The party has briefed its lawyers to appeal the judgement and it is confident that the Court of Appeal will overturn the judgement of the Federal High Court.”

Reps Probe Death Of Medical Doctor At LUTH

Mohammed Shosanya

The House of Representatives on Tuesday mandated its Committee on Health Institutions to investigate the death of Dr. Michael Umoh, a medical personnel at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH).

It said the probe is to ensure that medical personnel in Nigeria work under favourable conditions.

The Committee on Labour and Employment was also mandated to assist in the assignment.

The Committees are to report back within six weeks for further legislative action.

The resolutions of the House followed the adoption of a motion titled, “Need to Investigate the Untimely Death of Medical Personnel on Duty” brought by Hon. Adedayo Samuel Adesola, (APC, Lagos).

Moving the motion,Hon. Adesola noted the importance of medical personnel as the fulcrum of the healthcare delivery system.

“The House also noted that on September 17, 2023, a medical officer on residency programme in the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Dr. Michael Umoh reportedly died after spending 72 hours on duty in the Neurosurgery unit of the Institution;

“The House is aware of a recent related incident of a young female medical doctor who lost her life due to elevator failure in a general Hospital, which could have been avoided with improved working conditions;

“The House is concerned that there have been several other reports of medical personnel dying as a result of harsh working conditions and other forms of negligence, thus robbing the country of her best brains;

“Cognizant that such similar cases have reinforced the agitation of National Association of Resident Doctors, Nigeria Medical Association and other associated bodies for improved conditions of service as evidenced by the recent industrial strike embarked upon by Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) to press home their demands”.

Reps Move Against Indiscriminate Use Of Foreign Currencies As Legal Tender In Nigeria

Mohammed Shosanya

The House of Representatives on Tuesday mandated the Committee on Banking Regulation to investigate the use of the United States Dollar and other foreign currencies as legal tender for domestic transactions in Nigeria.

The House also implored the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to address the impact of the failing Naira against the Dollar and other currencies.

It urged the apex bank to implement monetary policy adjustments to stabilise the currency, address speculative activities in the forex market, and increase the withdrawal limit of the naira to reduce the pressure on dollars and other foreign currencies.

It further advised the Federal Government to formulate policies and structural reforms to reduce corruption and promote economic diversification within the nation’s economy.

The House urged the Federal Government to promote exportation and reduce importation by enhancing foreign investors’ Confidence on its Fiscal and Monetary Policies.

It mandated the Committee on Banking Regulations and National Security and Intelligence to interface with the Central bank of Nigeria with the purpose of initiating compliance strategies.

The resolutions of the House followed the adoption of a motion moved by Hon. Ismaila Haruna Dabo.

The House noted that in June 2023, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Bola Ahmad Tinubu through the Central Bank of Nigeria announced changes to the country’s foreign exchange market.

This, it said, was so that the foreign currencies can now be bought and sold at rates determined by the market and not by the CBN.

It also noted that the President’s intention is to allow market forces to determine naira value, but the alarming exchange rate has impacted Nigeria’s economy, causing untold hardship due to increased demand for dollars and a dollar shortage.

The House said about 90 percent of Nigeria’s total export earnings are from oil, which is the mainstay of the country’s economy, but changes in the price of oil around the world have a big impact on the country’s foreign exchange market.

This, the House said, explains why the naira has continued to depreciate.

The House said Nigeria’s foreign exchange inflows are lagging despite unification in June, with high demand for foreign currency and limited access to official markets incentivizing black market purchases.

The House said the naira has lost a greater percent of its value against the dollar, falling from N778.602/$ as of September 2023, and nearly N1000/$ at the parallel market.

The House said this makes it the first time Nigeria has lliberalised the foreign exchange market.

The motion reads: “The House is worried about inflation and the cost of living, depreciating naira makes imported goods more expensive, leading to higher inflation rates. This increased cost of living disproportionately affects the most vulnerable citizens, as they struggle to afford basic necessities, which are now glaring across the country.

“The House is also worried about the reduction in investment, as the value of the naira continues to lose value and depreciates against the dollar and other foreign currencies, foreign investors may be deterred from investing in Nigeria, fearing potential currency losses, which is capable of stunting economic growth and hindering the creation of new job opportunities for unemployed Nigerian youth.”

“The House is aware that a weaker and depreciating Naira could increase Nigeria’s external debt servicing costs, potentially reducing government spending on critical sectors like healthcare and education.”

“The House is also aware that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) frequently uses its foreign reserves to stabilise the naira, but this can deplete its reserves, making the country vulnerable to economic shocks.”

“The House is cognizant that addressing Nigeria’s financial challenges requires collective responsibility from all stakeholders, including Parliament, which has been the voice of the common man”

NESG Urges Stakeholders To Leverage Resources For Economic Recovery

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) has tasked stakeholders to leverage existing resources as a tool towards stimulating Nigeria’s economic recovery.

The Think Tank, whose 29th economic summit (NES 29) scheduled to hold from 23 – 24 October 2023 will be highlighting the subject as a sub theme, added that by optimizing resources, embracing innovation, and enhancing skill acquisition, Nigeria can shore up its domestic and global competitiveness.

Dr. Olusegun Omisakin, Director of Research, NESG, emphasised the urgency of attracting domestic and foreign investments into the economy, especially in infrastructure, education and healthcare. He explained that this strategy will not only stimulate economic expansion, but also generate employment opportunities, and drive sustainable development.

According to Dr. Omisakin, “Strategic trade expansion in non-oil sectors with a focus on exports will diversify external revenue sources, reduce reliance on the oil and gas industry and elevate Nigeria’s economic complexity on the global stage. Additionally, it will leverage the potential of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), build resilience against external shocks, and forge a more equitable, inclusive, and sustainable economy that benefits all Nigerians.”

The NESG had recently announced it will anchor its 29th summit on ‘Pathways for Sustainable Economic Transformation and Inclusion’, in light of the urgency of translating economic growth into improved and sustainable living standards for all citizens.

This year’s summit theme hints at Nigeria’s potential for sustainable development, leveraging innovative policies, robust institutions, strategic infrastructural investments, and human capital development.