We Won’t Back Down On War Against Crude Oil Theft-NNPC

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited,has assured that there is no backing down on the war on crude oil theft, until the menace is eradicated in the country.

The assurance was given against the backdrop of the company’s current victory against the act in the country’s oil-rich Niger Delta area.

The company said in a statement that its industry-wide security partnership in the war against crude oil theft in the Niger Delta continues to record remarkable progress.

According to the company,in the past week, 149 incidences were recorded across the Niger Delta.

It said:”In some areas of the Niger Delta, it’s become a warfare of sorts. In Osuobodo between 2 ANTAN flow stations south of Oguta naval base in Imo state, an oil bunkering site was uncovered. Far from the regular, these criminals have taken their activities a notch higher.

“In this camp, CCTV cameras have been installed on trees by the thieves to look out for security operatives. Mortar launchers and defence systems were also mounted by the oil thieves in various locations to eliminate any perceived enemy.

“This discovery was made possible after an invasion by the military following information gathered by an air surveillance carried out by Target Energy, Tantita security services, Operation Delta Safe and the Military in August. It’s a well orchestrated mission”

“The thieves are determined to live here and trade their stolen crude. A lack of electricity is no excuse. Generators are on standby to keep the camp’s operations afloat. Drums of crude oil feeding from an illegal connection, bags used for storing crude and more were discovered on the camp”

It said,between the 14th to 20th of October, 2023, 49 illegal connections were uncovered in Udu& Ogharefe in Delta State, Ohaji Egbema in Imo, Brass in Bayelsa and in Rivers state.

At this spot in Rivers state, oil thieves drilled a tunnel underneath the tarred road to insert their illegal connection,it said

The company also said 16 cases of Pipeline vandalism were recorded this week in Azuzu in Bayelsa state and Obodo Omadina and Ogidigbein in Delta state where a well head was vandalised.

It added:” In Ozuaku in Abia state, a vandalised pipeline is being repaired. 10 Facilities used for storing stolen crude were uncovered in various locations in the Niger Delta in the past week. In Ekpemu in Delta state, an interesting discovery was made.

“More storage facilities were discovered in Ogborode, Ugborodo and Kwale in Delta State, Tomble and Emuoha in Rivers state and Yenagoa n Bayelsa state.

” In Ozoro, Umuosonwu and Patani in Delta state, vehicles conveying sacks of crude oil, were arrested and their content confiscated . 5 vehicle arrests were made between the 14 and 20th of October, 2023.

“18 wooden boats conveying stolen crude were alsp apprehended this week in Rivers, Delta and Imo states. 9 of these incidents took place in the deep blue water, 23 in the western region l 67 in the central region and 50 in Nigeria’s Eastern Region”.

Sokoto:Troops Kill Several Terrorists, Recover Arms

Mohammed Shosanya

Troops of 8 Division Garrison on Tuesday launched a carefully planned offensive operation into Tukandu Village, Sokoto state.

Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, Director Army Public Relations, said in a statement to newsmen that, the attack was targeted at a “notorious group of terrorists, responsible for various atrocious and heinous activities in the general area.”

He said:”The troops’ fierce onslaught terminated many of the terrorists, while others fled with gunshot wounds. In the following mop up operations, troops recovered three AK-47 Rifles, one PKT Gun, 125 rounds of 7.62 mm Special ammunition, 2 Rocket propelled Gun Bombs and 9 motorcycles.

“The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja has lauded the troops, charging them to remain resolute and continue to escalate their operations against the terrorists to decimate and deny them the freedom of action.”

Subsidy:Makinde Seeks Upward Review Of 2023 Budget

Mohammed Shosanya

The Oyo State Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde has forwarded a bill for the upward review of year 2023 approved budget to the Oyo State House of Assembly.

The action was due to the recent removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and the floating of the exchange rates by the Federal Government.

The bill,which scaled first reading on the floor of the House on Tuesday,is seeking to revise 2023 approved budget for Oyo State from three hundred and ten billion, four hundred and thirty two million, five hundred thousand naira (N310,432,500.00) to three hundred and fifty two billion, two hundred and eighty two million, five hundred thousand naira only (N352,282,500.00).

According to the bill, there was the need to have a budget realignment as the twin policy measures of the Federal Government has changed the dynamics of macroeconomic environment in the country and affected the business activities of some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in Oyo State.

“The supplementary budget will help in achieving the roadmap for Sustainable Development Agenda 2023 to 2027 of the present administration in Oyo State, and will also ensure that the business activities of the MDAs can thrive in the context of the current macroeconomic challenges in the country.”

We Didn’t Indict REA Boss-Lawmakers

Mohammed Shosanya

The Deputy Spokesperson of the House of Representatives, Hon. Philip Agbese,has cleared air on the indictment rumour against the Chief Executive Officers of Rural Electrification Agency (REA) and Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund).

Responding to questions from journalists shortly after Tuesday’s plenary, Agbese said contrary to some perceptions about the Green Chamber, the House was meant for all Nigerians, saying, it was one thing to receive petitions against individuals and agencies, it was another thing to also give the accused fair hearing, do due diligence to the hearings and form a balance opinion and judgement, for fairness and justice.

The House of Representatives Committee on Anti-Corruption, in a letter dated 11th October, 2023, summoned the Managing Director of REA, Mr. Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad, over alleged multi-billion-naira fraud perpetrated under his watch.

The summon was sequel to a petition by a Civil Society Group, Centre Against Injustice and Domestic Violence (CAIDOV), alleging the perpetration of several improprieties by the Ahmad-led management team, including a purported N1.5 billion fraud in the electricity agency recently.

The Managing Director appeared before Hon. Kayode Moshood Akiolu-led investigative Committee, on allegations of fraud, criminal conspiracy and diversion of public funds levelled against him and about 15 others.

Agbese told newsmen that the 10th House was being guided by rules and regulations and it would be fair to all.

“The 10th House of Representatives under the leadership of His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Tajudeen Abbas, like you all know, is a House guided by rules and regulations. We have our procedure, like every other Parliament across the world, so when issues are raised, they are to be considered meticulously and of course, we will always ensure that justice is done.

“For instance, you mentioned the issue of Tetfund, the committee on Tetfund had actually done its investigation. They have submitted their report and for those of you who, one way or the other may have access to the report can see that the Tetfund was not indicted in any way.

“You mentioned the issue of Rural Electrification Agency, petitions were raised by members of the society, some of these petitions were directly sent to public account, public petition and even the committee responsible for the oversight of that agency.

“You see, for us in the 10th Assembly, we are not desperate to criminalize any individual for doing his or her duty as delighted by Mr. President.

“I think in the case of the REA MD, he has been able to appear before these individuals (committees), he has cleared himself before the public account, he has cleared himself before other committees like, anti corruption, crimes and all of that.

“So, if you come with your scorecard and you are able to demonstrate such before Parliament that you are not guilty of whatever thing that anybody has raised against you; then fine.

“Of course, we all know the principle that you cannot listen to one party to judge. Secondly, there is another Parliamentary principle of law that, when two persons are involved in an issue, you cannot listen to one party alone.

“The REA Managing Director has appeared before some of these committees; listening to both parties, I think we aligned ourselves with the judgement of most Nigerians, that this a young man who has actually been able to perform creditably well with the responsibility saddled on him by Mr. President. So, I just want to use this opportunity to tell Nigerians that we are not witch-hunting anyone. We are here for all Nigerians”, Agbese, who represents Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo Federal Constituency of Benue State,he added.

FAAC:FG,States,LGs Get N903.480bn In September

Mohammed Shosanya

The Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) has shared a total sum of N903.480 billion September 2023 Federation Account Revenue to the Federal Government, States and Local Government Councils.

A communique issued by the FAAC at its October, 2023 meeting indicated that the N903.480 billion total distributable revenue comprised distributable statutory revenue of N423.012 billion, distributable Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue of N 282.666 billion, Electronic Money Transfer Levy (EMTL) revenue of N10.989 billion and Exchange Difference revenue of N 186.813 billion.

Bawa Mokwa, the Director Press and Public Relations, in a statement, stated that a total revenue of N1594.763 billion was available in the month of September 2023.

Total deductions for cost of collection was N54.426 billion, total transfers and refunds was N347.857 billion and savings was N289.000 billion.

Gross statutory revenue of N 1014.953 billion was received for the month of September 2023. This was higher than the N891.934 billion received in the month of August 2023 by N123.019 billion.

The gross revenue available from the Value Added Tax (VAT) was N303.550 billion. This was lower than the N345.727 billion available in the month of August 2023 by N42.177 billion.

The communique stated that from the N903.480 billion total distributable revenue, the Federal Government received a total of N320.543 billion, the State Governments received N287.071 billion and the Local Government Councils received N210.900 billion.

A total sum of N84.966 billion (13% of mineral revenue) was shared to the relevant States as derivation revenue.

From the N423.012 billion distributable statutory revenue, the Federal Government received N190.849 billion, the State Governments received N96.801 billion and the Local Government Councils received N74.629 billion. The sum of N60.733 billion (13% of mineral revenue) was shared to the relevant States as derivation revenue.

The Federal Government received N42.400 billion, the State Governments received N141.333 billion and the Local Government Councils received N98.933 billion from the N282.666 billion distributable Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue.

The N10.989 billion Electronic Money Transfer Levy (EMTL) was shared as follows: the Federal Government received N1.648 billion, the State Governments received N5.495 billion and the Local Government Councils received N3.846 billion.

The Federal Government received N85.647 billion from the N186.813 billion Exchange Difference revenue. The State Governments received N43.442 billion, and the Local Government Councils received N33.491 billion. The sum of N24.233 billion (13% of mineral revenue) went to the relevant States as derivation revenue.

In the month of September 2023, Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) and Oil and Gas Royalties increased considerably while Value Added Tax (VAT), Import and Excise Duties, Electronic Money Transfer Levy (EMTL), Companies Income Tax (CIT) and CET Levies recorded significant decreases.

Cheerful Life Charity & Empowerment Foundation To Discuss Modern Parenting At Convention

Modern Day Parenting:Understanding The New Generation,is the theme of the this year’s annual convention of the Cheerful Life Charity and Empowerment Foundation

Tagged,Ilaji 2023, the event will hold at Ilaji Resort,Ibadan,between December 15th and 17th,2023

Dr. O. Otesile of University of Ibadan,the guest lecturer at the occasion,will speak extensively on the theme and how far modern parenting would help strengthen social values.

Disclosing the convention schedule in a statement,the chairman Central Working Committee,Mrs.Sola Gbadamosi Somosu,and the Secretary,Saka Yusuf Yinka,explained that the theme was informed by the group’s desire to change the narratives in modern parenting in the country.

The group said globalization and the increasing influence of pop culture in the world, make it necessary to develop strong mechanism that would give room for modern parenting to mould characters of the young ones and shape the world.

The statement quoted the group,as saying that it’s responsive to global and societal needs and would continue to explore ways to add value through it’s various interventions and campaigns.

According to the group,Nigeria must not lag in tuning the minds of parents to modern ways of nurturing the young ones with a view to reducing social vices and building a strong and virile youthful population.

The statement added:”We are aware of the importance of parents in building the society through instilling certain qualities in the young ones.We are also conscious of the emerging trends in modern parenting which behoves us to adopt for the benefits of the society.Majority of our members are not just parents,but also quality guardians,role models and tutors who have continued to impact lives.We need to continue to impact lives generally as a group,and particularly to tame some social vices being promoted by the youthful population.

“The theme of the confab is apt and speaks volume of the proactive thinking and aggressive campaign of our group to get parenting right and pass the right virtues to the young ones for the good of our country.We’ve invited a university don,Dr Mrs O. Otesile,to do justice to the topic and share insights on the value addition modern parenting would have on the growth of Nigeria”

The statement quoted that the convention will witness Jumat Service, visit to orphanage,beauty pageant,football match, seminar, awards, medical check up and Thanksgiving at the church.

The investiture ceremony of the group’s new patrons, Kabiyesi Oba Lukman Kuoye, the Olu of Imashai and Alhaji Mogaji Ibrahim Olaniyan shall take place on the 16th of Dec 2023,the statement.

Commenting on the convention,Vice chairman of Cheerful Life Charity and Empowerment Foundation,Prof Oyebade Francis,said Ilaji 2023 Convention promises to be more enlightening,educative and create avenue for the group to bring modern parenting to the front burner as well as set agenda on how right parenting can nip social vices in the bud.

He also said,with the Ilaji Resort ambience,members will be opportune to exchange ideas,interact,unwind and be treated to cultural music,while re-echoing the fundamentals of serving humanity through value addition.

He hinted that over one thousands of the group’s members in Nigeria and Diaspora have indicated intent to attend the convention

“Ilaji 2023 is here and promises to offer our members the best they could get in terms of enlightenment,networking,social interaction and expose to cultural music.We are prepared and desirous of living up to our mantra that Life is indeed fun.

“Cheerful Life Charity and Empowerment Foundation does not lower the bar in service to humanity and issues that make life livable and worthwhile.We will not rest on our oars to render more values that would outlive us”.

Impeachment:Ondo Dep Gov Tells CJ To Ignore Request To Constitute Panel

Mohammed Shosanya

The Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Lucky Aiyedatiwa,Tuesday,asked the Chief Judge of the state, Hon Justice Olusola Odusola to ignore the request of the House of Assembly to constitute a seven-man panel of investigators into allegations of gross misconduct.

This is contained in a seven-page letter written by legal luminary and leading counsel to the Deputy Governor, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN, submitted to the Chief Judge in Akure on Tuesday 24th October 2023.

The Assembly had written a letter to the Chief Judge on 23rd October 2023, asking him to constitute a seven-man panel to probe the Deputy Governor, claiming that the orders of injunction granted by the Federal High Court, Abuja, have expired.

In the letter delivered in the office of the Chief Judge on 24th October 2023, Aiyedatiwa through his lawyer criticized the position of the Assembly, which he said was based on conjectures, misconceptions, inconsistencies, undue desperation and misconstruction of the law.

According to him,the orders granted by the Federal High Court, Abuja on 26th September 2023 are still in force and they remain valid and subsisting, contrary to the erroneous conclusion of the Assembly that the said orders have expired by operation of law.

On Order 26 Rule 10 (2) and (3) of the Federal High Court Rules 2019, the Deputy Governor argued that the court in Abuja has been given a wide discretion to determine the nature, status and duration of any order granted and in this case, the Court directed that the Orders granted on 26th September 2023 should last till the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice for interlocutory injunction, which is still pending before the court.

He stated that based on the two proceedings of the Federal High Court, Abuja of 9th and 16th October 2023, the Court has not set aside the pending orders and the order cannot be extinguished by the application to set it aside since it was combined with the hearing of the substantive suit.

He drew the attention of the Chief Judge to the inconsistent action of the Assembly which on one hand is claiming that the Orders have expired whilst on the other hand it is pursuing an appeal against the said Orders.

He referred the Chief Judge to the Motion on Notice filed by the Assembly at the Court of Appeal, Abuja on 20th October, 2023 where it stated that the Orders granted by the Federal High Court are still valid and subsisting because they are tied to the hearing and determination of the Deputy Governor’s motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.

He queried whether the Assembly can approbate and reprobate at the same time by stating under oath in Court that the Orders are still valid and pending while at the same time writing a letter to the Chief Judge claiming that the Orders have expired.

He urged the Chief Judge as follows:”My Lord the Honourable Chief Judge is thus humbly urged not to accede to the request expressed in the letter of the Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly of 23rd October instant but to await the due determination of the various cases pending before the Courts and the appeal of the House of Assembly before the Court of Appeal”.

The Viruses Of Election Litigations

By Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN

There is an ill wind blowing through the fabric of our judicial system that may affect all of us ultimately, if not arrested urgently. In one way or the other, we are all potential litigants. Democracy is accepted worldwide as the best method of leadership recruitment, as exemplified by the secret ballot system whereby the electorate has the golden opportunity of choosing those who will govern them.

The 1999 Constitution prescribes a four-year tenure for all elected positions created under it. In further deference to democratic ethos, election itself has ceased to be the only means of choosing leaders.

Aggrieved persons now have the opportunity to deploy legal means to either challenge the process of leadership recruitment or indeed the outcome of the election proper. In Nigeria, this has been categorized into pre-election matters and election petitions.

Thus, it is possible that the people may elect a Governor through the ballot and he may still be disqualified by the Court, as was the case with Mr. David Lyon. He was elected by the people of Bayelsa State as the Governor but his running mate in the election, who was to be sworn in with him as the Deputy Governor, was disqualified on account of discrepancies in his documents.

Similarly in Kano State recently, the Governor who was declared as elected by the people was ordered to be removed by the court and the certificate of return issued to his opponent.

Under and by virtue of Section 285 (9) of 1999 Constitution, a person who has any reason to challenge the choice of any candidate for any election is at liberty to approach the court to seek any declaration. This is termed pre-election matters.

In the same vein, Section 285 (1)-(4) of the Constitution creates the regime of election tribunals with the exclusive mandate to entertain and determine petitions arising from the conduct of elections and the declaration of winners.

By this arrangement, courts and tribunals have become the final destination in the determination of the winner of any election. These cases are time-bound as they must be concluded within a specific period of time. This should not be an issue at all in normal circumstances where due process of law holds sway but in Nigeria, abnormal things do happen.

Very recently, the Guardian newspaper reported a very disturbing situation, in its October 18 2023 edition. According to the headline of the said report, “INEC Credibility Sinks as 94% Contested Posts Await Tribunal’, rolling out some alarming statistics to the extent that 1,209 out of 1,280 elective offices to be decided by court verdict, free, fair, credible elections held in only 71 polls, representing 5.55%, 24 out of 28 gubernatorial cases for court validation, umpire earmarked N3B to defend decisions in court, electorate blames INEC, politicians, lawyers for flawed democracy, etc.

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC is inundated with not less than 1,000 pre-election cases arising from or connected to the 2023 elections. INEC Director, Legal Drafting and Clearance, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Babalola confirmed this in her presentation at a two-day capacity workshop for journalists in Nasarawa State last week.

Substantively, over 1,200 cases are pending before various Election Tribunals for determination. The cumulative result of this is that the political class in Nigeria is very litigious, preferring to contest every electoral issue. This should ordinarily be good news for lawyers as it will keep them busy and bring more income.

But this is not about lawyers as Nigeria is greater than any group of professionals. The reality is that this has caused the political terrain to become uncertain and unsteady. As it happened in Bayelsa State, it is possible to remove a Governor-elect on the eve of his swearing in.

Not long ago, Senator Muhammad Bulkachuwa shocked the nation when he revealed that he had served as courier to assist his fellow legislators to secure some judicial favour to boost their electoral fortunes. Being the husband of the immediate past President of the Court of Appeal who was directly in charge of constituting and managing all election tribunals, the understanding of many is that Senator Bulkachuwa at different times during his tenure as a Senator assisted in influencing judicial decisions one way or the other, through his marital affiliation to a judge. Another Senator, Elisha Abbo accused the current Senate President of masterminding his removal and also plotting that of many others. These statements have been modified, in the usual Nigerian fashion.

Perhaps the most devastating confirmation of the contagious nature of the viruses of election litigations came from the President of the Court of Appeal herself, through the directive that she issued for all election-related appeals from the Northern States to be transferred to the Abuja Division whilst those from the Southern States should go to the Lagos Division. From reports monitored in the media, the directive was issued following allegations and petitions against state tribunal judges alleged to have been compromised by the governors whose tentacles may also extend to appeals pending in their respective states. In simple terms, there is palpable concern from the authorities of the Court of Appeal that election cases are likely to be compromised through corruption and corrupt practices, thus confirming the previous confession of Senator Bulkachuwa and the subsequent allegations of Senator Abbo on the subject matter viruses. Beyond the cold facts of the case and the industry of the lawyers therefore, it has become clear that there are other extraneous factors that determine the outcome of cases in court, especially those related to elections. We cannot throw up our hands in the air in despair but rather face the grim realities as they unfold. If we cannot determine the true winner of elections through the ballot, if the decision of the court on the election has become the buyer’s game, then we are in for trouble and better prepare ourselves for the war to come. One day, the people will revolt and the judiciary itself will cave in.

A virus is an infectious agent that helps to spread negative things, be it diseases in humans or malicious actions affecting data in technology. The two major viruses spreading from election-related cases are Corruption and Delay.

Upon the conduct of any general election, about 400 judges are selected across the nation, on national assignment as judges of election petition tribunals. This assignment takes on average six months to conclude, during which time the regular businesses of the judges are disrupted, suspended or canceled outrightly.

For other judges who are not on this assignment, they are to attend to pre-election matters which are given priority over and above all other cases. This is just for the High Courts. In the appellate courts, election-related appeals dwarf all other appeals and render them comatose.

In times past when we had uniform elections, it was possible to harmonize this regime and console ourselves that it comes once every four years. But we now have off-cycle elections and bye-elections as is the case with the upcoming elections in Kogi, Bayelsa and Imo States in November 2023.

The effect of this is that judges now work round the year in order to determine election-related cases. As a solution, some have suggested pulling out retired judges who are less than seventy years to handle election petitions while some others propose a Special Court.

Whatever the case, it is clear that there is an urgent need to convene a national dialogue on this matter comprising judges, lawyers and legislators, for the purpose of discussing and agreeing upon a workable solution. The diagnosis for now is that there is danger ahead.

The virus of corruption simply kills the judicial system and pollutes our body polity. It makes nonsense of our elections for if it is possible to influence the outcome of election-related cases, why would anyone bother to invest in rigorous campaigns when he can easily save money to buy the case? .

In this frightening scenario, anyone and everyone who has some means of connecting judges can easily be declared the winner. And it doesn’t require that he/she should have enough money to go round.

After all, with the largesse of security votes and limitless allowances surfacing in bank accounts that jump scrutiny, the “winner” can go round to settle when he/she assumes office. This is why politics has become a viable investment in Nigeria such that some banks give out huge loans to fund political ambitions because the return on investment is very sure and huge.

At the 11th convocation ceremony of Afe Babalola University held last week, its founder, Aare Afe Babalola, SAN lamented that politics has become the only lucrative and viable business in Nigeria. And this must be due to corruption and access to free funds. The clock is ticking so fast and something has to be done urgently to arrest the drift.

The political class cleverly amended the Constitution to ensure that political cases are given accelerated hearing, to the detriment of other cases pending in the courts.

The Court of Appeal is overburdened whilst the Supreme Court is thoroughly overwhelmed, now that the apex court has been depleted in the number of justices due to retirement and death.

In the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal, there is a blanket embargo on other cases not connected with elections as there are no hearing dates for these cases and those earlier fixed for hearing have been vacated so as to give room for election-related appeals.

I call upon the National Judicial Council, the Nigerian Bar Association and the National Assembly to urgently come up with an authoritative platform that will address these issues in order to create a workable solution that will save the judiciary and by extension, Nigeria. We must contain the viruses.

NESG Unveils Ernest Shonekan Centre For Economic Development

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigerian Economic Summit Group(NESG) has established and launched Ernest Shonekan Centre for Legislative Reforms and Economic Development, designed to promote economic competitiveness and improve the business environment in the country.

Speaking at the launch of the Centre at the on-going 29th Nigerian Economic Summit(NES 29) in Abuja, Chairman of the NESG, Mr. Niyi Yusuf, explained that the Centre would provide a unique platform for promotion of reforms to critical sectors of the Nigerian economy.

Explaining what necessitated the establishment of the Centre, Yusuf said: “At the 21st Nigerian Economic Summit in October 2015, appropriately themed “Tough Choices: Achieving Competitiveness, Inclusive Growth and Sustainability”, we acknowledged that Nigeria was at the precipice, the looming economic crisis and the fragility of our macroeconomic environment had affected businesses, leading to low productivity, declining FDIs and ultimately economic decline.

“Consequently, there was a need for the legislature to work with the private sector to define pathways for economic growth”

He said,in 2016, the National Assembly Business Environment Roundtable (NASSBER) was established in partnership with the Nigeria Bar Association’s Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL) as a platform for the legislature and the private sector to engage, deliberate, and act on a framework that will improve Nigeria’s business environment through a review of relevant legislations and provisions of the constitution.

According to him,in 2021,NASSBER engaged the Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria in a high-level dialogue to chart pathways to subnational economic growth.

“This engagement birthed the State Assemblies Business Environment Roundtable (SABER). In the same year, NASSBER collaborated with the National Judicial Institute (NJI) to provide bespoke training for judicial officers in an event tagged” The Role of the Bench in Economic Growth and Development in Nigeria”. This initiative was tagged the Judicial Capacity Initiative (JUCAP).

“We are quite encouraged by these activities and achievements, and we are now taking it further.

“Certainly, the Ernest Shonekan Centre for Legislative Reforms and Economic Growth provides a unique platform for which the three initiatives (NASSBER, SABER, JUCAP) strategically position the Centre to promote reforms to critical sectors of our economy.

“The Centre’s key objectives are achieving economic competitiveness and improving the business environment.”

He further identified some pressing issues such as the increasing cost of living, the burden of multiple taxes,high unemployment rate, poor economic outcomes, characterised by stagnation, low growth and inadequate investment, which have impeded progress in the nation’s quest for economic transformation, adding that the newly established Ernest Shonekan Centre
would “address critical issues about competitiveness and sustainability through enhanced synergy between the legislature, private and public sectors.”

Also speaking, Adebo Ogundoyin, Speaker of Oyo State House of Assembly, who commended NESG for the establishment of Ernest Shonekan Centre for Legislative Reforms and Economic Development.

Ogundoyin said the Centre would serve as a “significant stride towards fostering essential reforms in legislation and regulations, which are pivotal in attaining economic competitiveness and enhancing the business climate.”

“The establishment of this institution serves as a testament to the acknowledgment of the critical role played by laws and regulations in shaping the economic landscape.

“By assuming the role of a change catalyst, The Ernest Shonekan Centre aims to expedite impactful reforms that will unleash the complete potential of our economy and cultivate a favorable milieu for businesses to flourish.

“I commend the vision and dedication of all those involved in the establishment of this center.

“Your commitment to driving legislative reforms and economic development is commendable, and I have no doubt that your efforts will yield positive outcomes for our nation,” he said.

In her remarks, Mrs. Margaret Shonekan, the wife of Ernest Shonekan commended NESG for honouring her husband as well as sustaining the legacies that her late husband initiated at the NESG.

Wabote Says Nigerian Oil Industry On Steady Growth Trend

Mohammed Shosanya

The Executive Secretary Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote has said that Nigerian oil and gas industry is growing steadily across several fronts despite reduced investments due to the global quest for cleaner energy and divestments of some onshore and shallow assets by a few international oil companies

He disclosed this on Monday while delivering the keynote address at the 3rd Biennial International Conference on Hydrocarbon Science and Technology, organised by the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) in Abuja, with the theme “The Future of the Oil and Gas Industry: Opportunities, Challenges, and Development.”

He identified the industry’s positive trends to include the growth of oil reserves, gas production, gas utilisation, local refining, and skills acquisition, noting that they “portend great opportunities for the future of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria.”

He was quoted in a statement as suggesting that the manifestation of these trends and projections could lead to Nigeria achieving zero crude oil export and becoming a gas-powered economy, which translates to the socio-economic development of the nation.

He maintained that achieving zero crude oil export would mean that Nigeria fully refines all the oil produced from our fields and exports excess refined products, noting that the impact on in-country value addition will be massive on the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

He expressed optimism that Nigeria would meet the target in view of the various refining investments such as the 650,000 barrels per day Dangote refinery, the Bua group refinery project, Waltersmith modular refinery, Duport Midstream refinery, OPAC Refinery, Edo Refinery, Aradel Holdings refinery as well as the existing 445,000 barrels per day capacity from the Kaduna, Warri, and Port Harcourt refineries.

The realization of these projects would culminate in Nigeria achieving a combined refining capacity of approximately 1.5 million barrels per day by 2025, he added.

Speaking on the growth trends in gas, the Executive Secretary stated that Nigeria’s proven gas reserves stand at 208.83 TCF, although the nation’s gas production had dropped from an average of 4.8 billion standard cubic feet per day in 2020 to 4.3bscf/day in 2022.

He stated that the renewed focus on gas production and utilization of gas within the declared Decade of Gas program, coupled with the various upstream and midstream gas development projects would turn the tide and lead to a 50% increase in the volume of gas that will be produced and utilized in-country. Some of the projects on the cards include H-block gas development projects, NLNG Train 7 project, UTM Offshore Limited’s Floating LNG project, and other mini-LNG and CNG projects.

This envisioned outcome, he said, would lead to the nationwide adoption of gas for power generation, domestic cooking, Autogas, and utilization in methanol, fertilizer production, and other industrial applications, with Nigeria harnessing the vast potential of its natural gas reserves.

In his remarks at the event, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri challenged participants at the conference to develop homegrown solutions to the challenges facing the Nigerian oil and gas industry, some of which are pipeline vandalism and low productivity.

He mandated all the agencies in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to collaborate closely to invent relevant technological solutions needed to address challenges in the industry.

He reiterated that all efforts must be directed towards increasing Nigeria’s crude oil production and enhancing revenue from crude oil sales.

In his presentation, the Secretary General of the African Petroleum Producers Organisation (APPO), Dr. Farouq Ibraham recognised that the energy landscape was evolving and emphasized the dual imperatives of sustainability and innovation.

He articulated the pivotal role that the oil and gas industry must play in shaping a responsible, low-carbon energy future while navigating a dynamic world of opportunities and challenges.

The APPO scribe further underscored the significance of collaborative research and development among African oil-producing nations, with the goal of driving transformative solutions and ensuring safe, efficient, and environmentally conscientious hydrocarbon operations.