Wike Remains My Boss-Gov. Fubara

Mohammed Shosanya

Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, Thursday said his predecessor, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike remains his principal.

He stated this in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, at the rededication service of the 2023/2024 Legal Year of the Rivers State Judiciary that was equally attended by Wike at the Saint Cyprian’s Anglican Church, Hospital Road in the state capital.

He described the recent political crisis in the state as a thing of the past, while calling for peace in the oil-rich state.

Fubara, who said that he had not sent anyone to reign insults anyone, noted that Rivers State would be peaceful if political actors and their supporters are peaceful.

He said, “My oga remains my oga. Whatever that has happened is in the past. I have not sent anybody to malign anybody.”

He explained that although it has been a trying time for the state, the current phase of political misunderstanding will pass and the promises his administration made to the people will be delivered.

He also warned those pledging support for him to stop using abusive words on perceived opponents, saying that he did not authorise them to malign anybody.

According to him, in trying to attain development, the devil will always attack, but that what is most important is to “identify the devil and push it out”.

It was the first time the two politicians who were the major characters in the recent political fight would be meeting each other in public in the state.

Wike,who is the FCT Minister arrived at the church service almost at the end and had a handshake with his successor before sitting on the same row with him while the service lasted.

At the beginning of his speech, Governor Fubara jokingly appealed to the congregants to suspend the recognition of guests in order not to commit another impeachable offence.

Guber Elections:Military Draws Battlelines With Troublemakers

Mohammed Shosanya

Ahead of the Saturday off season elections in Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa states, the Defence Headquarters (DHQ),has warned trouble makers who are planning to disguise in military gear to orchestrate havoc and disrupt elections in some areas.

The military authority also said there would be “injurious consequences” for such action, while announcing that own troops in the last one week have killed 113 terrorists, arrested 300 and 25 perpetrators of oil theft while rescuing 91 kidnapped hostages.

Speaking at the Defence Headquarters,
Abuja during the biweekly press briefing on Thursday,the Director of Defence Media Operation, Major General Edward Buba said, the DHQ is “aware of plans of some to disguise in military gear to cause havoc and disrupt elections in some areas.”

He said that, for the off season elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi States this weekend, “The military is deployed in strength for the election to emplace a safe environment for voters to peaceful come out and cast their votes.

“Our message to such a group is that there will be injurious consequences for such an action. The military will not fold it’s arms and watch it’s image dragged to the mud.”

He also stated that, the Armed Forces will continue to exert military pressure on groups that seek to derail any progress towards peace and security in the country.

He added:”There is no doubt that these groups must be defeated and are indeed being defeated. It is for these reason we are inflicting severe damage on the terrorist, insurgents and violent extremist through our operations across the country. Accordingly, we are targeting their leadership, infrastructure and foot soldiers.

“The coordination between the air and ground forces is like never seen before and yielding amazing results and achievements. We are expecting new platforms that would further enhance our capabilities to further root out the terrorist and destroy their military capabilities.”

The operations of the last one week, General Buba said resulted in “113 neutralized terrorists with 300 of them arrested. Troops also arrested 25 perpetrators of oil theft and rescued 91 kidnapped hostages. In the SS, troops denied oil theft of the estimated sum of N571,793,350.00 only.

“Furthermore, troops recovered 129 assorted weapons and 717 assorted ammunition. The breakdown as follows: one Unserviceable AA gun, one RPG tube, 5 RPG bombs, one GT3 rifle, 54 AK47 rifles, 8 locally fabricated rifles, one locally made rifle, 2 pistols, 2 pump action guns, 2 dane guns, 4 locally fabricated pistol, 3 skeleton of AK47 rifles, 9 hand grenades, one unserviceable AK47 rifle, 14 magazines, 321 rounds of 7.62mm special ammo, 40 live cartridges.

“Others are 53 rounds of 5.45mm x 39mm ammo, 35 rounds of 7.62mm NATO, 100 rounds of short gun, 11 rifle body, 7 breech block, 7 rifle butts, 8 rifle muzzles, 9 piston assembles, 210 springs, one drilling machine, hand filling machines, 10 magazine purges, IED making materials, 4 boafeng radios, 15 motorcycles, 20 mobile phones and the sum of N348,200.00 amongst other items.”

He also noted that: “Troops in the Niger Delta area discovered and destroyed 76 dugout pits, 35 boats, 95 storage tanks, 10 vehicles, 129 cooking ovens, 5 pumping machine, 13 speedboats, 6 outboard engine, one vessel, 3 motorcycles and 49 illegal refining sites. Troops recovered 514,640 litres of stolen crude oil, 339,315 litres of illegally refined AGO and 775 litres of DPK.”

He emphasized that the “AFN is a discipline and well trained force that conducts its operation within the ampit of laws governing human rights and that of armed conflict. We have rules of engagement that are followed in the course of our actions. Nevertheless, there are standing court martials to put on trial any erring personnel that is found wanting during operations.

“There is therefore the need for us to be circumspect of groups and organisations that embark on misinformation and disinformation to give the military a negative image. They have ulterior motives for their actions. For instance, the circulation old footages of incidences that occurred in yester years that have been tried at court martial as though, they were recent occurrences is mischievous. The public should be weary of such groups and their motive,” he said.

N2.17trn Supplementary Budget Bold Step To Tackle Nigeria’s Economic Challenges,FG Replies Obi

Mohammed Shosanya

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, has said the 2023 supplementary budget signed into law recently by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is not insensitive.

It’s rather a bold and pragmatic response to the pressing and economic challenges Nigeria currently faces,he said.

A statement by Rabiu Ibrahim
Special Assistant (Media) to the Minister of Information and National Orientation, also urged the 2023 presidential candidate of the Labour Party to take the time and effort to acquaint himself with the details of the N2.17 trillion 2023 Supplementary Budget.

This,he said,includes allocations for essential sectors: security, agriculture and food security, works and housing, wage increase for workers, student loan scheme and social safety nets, among others, all aimed at strengthening the country’s economic foundations and improve the living conditions of Nigerians.

“The broad provisions in the supplementary budget is a reflection of President Tinubu’s strong desire and eagerness to support the vital functions of government, address urgent security needs, and fast-track the country’s recovery process from the economic impact occasioned by the removal of fuel subsidy,” added Idris.

He urged the political opposition to be informed and balanced in the exercise of their right to differing opinions and refrain from misrepresentation of facts for political gains, explaining that the supplementary budget was derived from the active engagement and consultation with relevant stakeholders who ensured that the budgetary provisions aligned with the needs and expectations of Nigerians.

He emphasized that, in line with President Tinubu’s inclination to accountability and transparency in government expenditure, all items in the supplementary budget have been meticulously scrutinised to ensure efficient utilisation of public funds.

Governorship Poll: Police Declare Five Bayelsa LGs Volatile

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigeria Police Force has declared that the three senatorial districts in the state are politically volatile,ahead of Saturday’s governorship election in Bayelsa State.

The Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG) supervising South-South zone,Daniel Sokari-Pedro, made declaration during a meeting with election stakeholders at the Police Officers’ Mess in Yenagoa, on Thursday.

Sokari-Pedro, who is in charge of Election Management Security in the 2023 Bayelsa governorship polls, also said that the force had identified five local government areas as the most politically violence-prone council areas in the state.

He named the five local government areas as Nembe, Southern Ijaw, Brass, Sagbama and Kolokuma/Opokuma, adding that “almost all the local government areas are politically-volatile” as far as election was concerned.

Governor Douye Diri, who is the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is from Kolokuma/Opokuma LGA, while his All Progressives Congress (APC) counterpart, Timipre Sylva, is from Brass LGA.

Sokari-Pedro emphasized that the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Kayode Egbetokun, was committed to free and fair electoral process.

He assured the people of the state that the police would ensure a peaceful atmosphere before, during and after the polls through adequate deployment of men and officers in collaboration with sister-security agencies.

He said: “It is a known fact Bayelsa State is a peaceful state. Nevertheless, it is, election-wise, a volatile state. The three senatorial districts that make up the state are politically volatile. And some of the local governments and flash-points have been identified in the three senatorial zones.

“These include Sagbama, Nembe, Kolokuma/Opokuma, Southern Ijaw and, I think, Brass. Almost all the local governments are politically volatile. But the ones I have just mentioned are the most volatile. I mentioned Nembe, Southern Ijaw, Brass, Sagbama and Kolokuma/Opokuma.”

The DIG,who was accompanied by his deputy on election duty in Bayelsa, AIG Ebong Eyibio, and the AIG Zone 16 headquarters, Yenagoa, AIG Paul Odama, also read the riot act to troublemakers, particularly violent youths and their principals, warning them to steer clear of voting centres across the state.

He said: “Unfortunately, the youths have been identified as vanguards and merchants of elections savagery. And the so-called godfathers and principals have been known to be purveyors and patrons of those evil.

“You will agree with me that the trend of election brigandage is becoming a norm for two reasons. One, erstwhile, when suspects are arrested, they are treated with kid gloves. Secondly, the sponsors are likely not arrested. If arrested, they are not prosecuted. This encourages a culture of impunity.

“But we are assuring the peace-loving Bayelsans that in this election, not only the proxies will be dealt with, their identified principals will equally be dealt with. Take note. The fate that befalls the proxies will be visited on the principals.”

Sokari-Pedro also stated that as part of preparations for peaceful governorship polls, officers and men had been directed to carry out a show of force in all the local government areas on Thursday and Friday, 48 hours before election day.

He also warned that all arrested troublemakers would be put out of circulation for the duration of the election, and would be prosecuted afterwards.

“Any civilian that is armed and close to, or is at any polling centre, shall be promptly arrested. And failure to do so by the policeman himself or the brother-security agent who is responsible for such a lapse, shall be arrested. That will tell you we are not joking”, he added.

He also cautioned officers and men on election duty to be professional in their conduct, adding any policemen caught involved in electoral malpractice of any kind, including escorting very important personalities to polling booths and interference in the balloting process, would be arrested and made to stand orderly room trial.

ASR Africa Begins Construction Of N2bn  Housing Quarters For Nigerian Army

Mohammed Shosanya

The Abdul Samad Rabiu Africa Initiative (ASR Africa), the philanthropic initiative of the Chairman of BUA Group, Abdul Samad Rabiu, has commenced construction of 120 family housing units (Corporal and Below Quarters) for the Nigerian Army.

The groundbreaking ceremony of the construction waa held at the Muhammadu Buhari Cantonment Giri, in Abuja Thursday.

This grant forms part of the 10billion Naira Security Support Fund donated by ASR Africa in 2022 to the Nigerian Armed Forces and security agencies with 2billion Naira allocated to the Nigerian army.

At the event,the Managing Director/CEO of ASR Africa Dr. Ubon Udoh reiterated that this donation is to further support security agencies as there can be no meaningful development without adequate peace and security in the nation.

He further commended the leadership of the Nigerian Army for prioritizing the welfare of the men and women of the Nigerian Army, and promised continued support by the ASR team in ensuring the full implementation and delivery of the project.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, appreciated the Chairman of ASR Africa and BUA Group, Abdul Samad Rabiu, for his kind and rare gesture to the Nigerian Army.

He added that, this support will further boost the morale of the personnel in delivering adequate security to Nigerians.

The high point of the event was the laying of foundation for the 120 Units of Family Corporal and Below Quarters (CBQ) by the MD/CEO of ASR Africa, Dr Ubon Udoh and the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja.

ASR Africa is the brainchild of African Industrialist, Philanthropist and Chairman of BUA Group, Abdul Samad Rabiu. The Abdul Samad Rabiu Africa Initiative (ASR Africa) was established in 2021 to provide sustainable, impact-based, homegrown solutions to developmental issues affecting health, education and social development within Africa.

Imo Power Outage:We’re Helpless,Says EEDC

Mohammed Shosanya

The Enugu Electricity Distribution Company Plc (EEDC)says the prolonged power outage which has affected the whole of Imo State,due to the industrial action by organized labour is beyond its control.

The power company’s Head of Corporate Communications, EEDC, Mr. Emeka Ezeh, who expressed this in a statement on Thursday,described the situation as unfortunate

He explained that with EEDC’s source of power which is at Egbu Transmission Station shut down by the Labour Union, there was no way the company could get power to distribute to its customers in Imo state.

He said:“We can only distribute the power that we receive from TCN Stations, and in this case, the station catering for our customers in Imo State has been shut down by the Labour Union.”

He acknowledged the untold hardship and inconveniences this development has caused the company, its staff residing in the state and esteemed customers in Imo State and expressed hope that the parties involved will resolve the issue so that normalcy can return to the state.

He stressed that the company is handicapped, losing revenue running into millions of Naira, and cannot do much in this circumstance.

“As a distribution company, our primary source of supply is from the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) stations, and once there is disruption in the chain, we won’t be able to deliver service to our customers,” Ezeh explained.

He allayed the fears of customers who are concerned that they might be billed for the period they were out of supply, emphasizing that the company does not bill for service not rendered.

He added:“The impact of the power outage currently experienced will reflect on the December bill, which will be for energy consumed in the month of November.

“Whereas the November bill, which is for energy that has been consumed in the month of October, has to be paid for by the customers, as it has no relation with the current power situation being experienced.”

He urged customers to remain vigilant and ensure that the transformer and other electricity infrastructure serving them are protected, as vandals might want to take advantage of the outage to attack the equipment.

Scholarship:NDDC Conducts CBT Tests For Foreign Applicants

Mohammed Shosanya

The Niger Delta Development Commission, (NDDC) has commenced a Computer-Based Test, (CBT), for 5,000 applicants for its Foreign Postgraduate Scholarship programme, as part of its efforts to provide more opportunities for the youths.

At the Information and Communication Technology Centre of the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, where the tests are being conducted, the NDDC Director, Education, Health and Social Services. Dr George Uzonwanne, said that over 20,000 graduates registered on the Commission’s portal for the Foreign Postgraduate Scholarship programme, out of which the 5,000 applicants were selected for the test.

He observed that the scholarship programme, which started in 2010, was designed to produce top level professionals with technical knowledge, capacity and expertise to compete in the oil and gas industry, as well as other sectors.

He said: “The Scholarship Programme will equip our young people with relevant training and skills for effective participation in the local content programme of the Federal Government, as well as enable them acquire specialisation in their fields of study to compete globally in various disciplines.

“So far, the NDDC has sponsored 2,708 scholars at both Masters and Ph.D. levels since the inception of the programme in 2010. This year’s foreign postgraduate scholarship will be limited to the Master’s Degree category.

A statement by Pius Ughakpoteni, Director, Corporate Affairs, the Director,said that the Commission initially focused on disciplines related to the activities of the oil and gas industries.

He said:”However, with the challenge of climate change and pollution and the need to sustain our environment, we have added other disciplines that we believe have a sustainable market.

“The Niger delta has huge potentials for tourism and we want to prepare the crop of people that will run these industries.”

Uzonwanne, stated that development indices of any country depended on the level of education of its populace, adding that the NDDC had a duty to build human capacity in the Niger Delta region in those areas that hold the key to the future.

The NDDC Deputy Director, Education, Mrs. Idara Akpabio, explained that the successful applicants for the Computer Based Test were drawn from all the nine Niger Delta states and they were put through several test sessions spread over three days.

She noted that to be eligible for the scholarship, a scholar must hail from the Niger Delta region and have achieved a First Class Degree, Second Class Upper, or Lower Division.

She stated that the scholarship programme covered disciplines in engineering; including Biomedical, Software, Marine, Mechanical, Electrical/Electronic and Robotic Engineering.

She said:“Others are Information Technology, Artificial Intelligence, Math/Sciences, Medical Sciences, Hospitality Management, Law, Architecture and Environmental Science.”

The Project Consultant, Mr. Godson Ideozu commended the management of the NDDC for sustaining the NDDC postgraduate scholarship scheme and giving hope to the youths of the Niger Delta through the programme,

An applicant who participated in the NDDC Computer-Based Test, Mr. Firima Gbara, commended the Commission for giving the Niger Delta youths the opportunity of having an enriching global experience through education.

He commended the Commission for giving him the opportunity to participate in the test, saying that he was hopeful of going through to the next phase of the selection process.

NNPC,NUPRC,Others Remitted N14.38trn To  Federation Account In Two Years-NEITI Report

Mohammed Shosanya

The Federal government revenue generating agencies remitted a total of about ₦14.38 trillion as revenue from the extractive sector to the Federation Account (FA) between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021,the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), has said.

Its Executive Secretary, Orji Ogbonnaya Orji,disclosed this while releasing the NEITI 2020-2021 Fiscal Allocation and Statutory Disbursement Report in Abuja.

The revenue generating agencies include the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD), and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).

A breakdown of the remittances showed that mineral revenue accounted for ₦6.40 trillion (about 44.5% of total remittances) for the period, while other non-mineral revenue (excluding VAT) contributed ₦4.80 trillion (about 33.37% of total remittances).

These data are contained in the latest Fiscal Allocation and Statutory Disbursement (FASD) report published by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) which covered the period 2020-2021.

Presenting the highlights of the report, Orji stated that the information and data contained in the NEITI latest FASD reports reviewed processes that characterized all transactions within the sector. It looked at independent assessment of financial transactions in the areas of revenue receipts and payments and how the processes weighed on the scale of transparency and accountability in the oil and gas sector during the period under review.

Other areas that NEITI focused on, in this report, were projects executed, deployment to capital projects and recurrent expenditure and how these aligned with the core responsibilities of the agencies, the government and citizens expectations.

NEITI’s FASD Report examined total extractive industries revenue remitted to the Federation Account, tracked allocation and disbursement from the account to statutory recipients as well as utilization and application of the funds by beneficiaries between the years 2020 to 2021.

The audit covered four (4) federal revenue generating and eleven (11) beneficiary agencies that are involved in the management of extractive industries funds. It also covered nine selected states: Akwa-Ibom; Bayelsa; Delta; Gombe; Imo; Kano; Nasarawa; Ondo and Rivers states.

The beneficiary agencies include: Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund); Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF); Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC); Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB); Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Resources Agency (NMDPRA) – PEF Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Resources Agency (NMDPRA) – PPPRA. Others are: Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA); Development of Natural Resources Fund (DNRF); Stabilisation Fund; Ecological Fund; Excess Crude Account (ECA)

The report revealed that overall remittances to the Federation Account for the period increased by about 14%.

The Auditor General of the Federation Mr. Shaakaa Chira represented by the Director of Audits Mr. Sundung Eldad James stated that the FASD report is useful to the office of the Auditor General and it is also in fulfillment of the Agency’s mandate as enshrined in the Constitution of Nigeria.

He stated that the report will further assist his office when performing the Audit of the federation revenue, its collection, remittance, and disbursement process. Also it will aid periodic checks of deductions and transfers made before remittances and the FAAC Allocations” Mr. Eldad affirmed.

He pleaded with President Ahmed Bola Tinubu to give NEITI a Board.

Orji implored President Tinubu to either recall the previous Board or reconstitute a new Board for NEITI for proper oversights.

He said the absence of a Board makes NEITI look like an orphan with less care and directions from its parents.

In his goodwill, Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulations Authority (NMDPRA) Chief Executive Officer Mr Faruk Ahmed represented by the Director Operations Mr. Oseni Mukaila Adewale stated that the role being played by NEITI over the years include transparency in public and private sector businesses and even beyond the extractive industries. NEITI’s demand for accountability from stakeholders has increased sense of responsibility among agencies and government institutions towards enhancing revenue and maximum value for Nigerian people.

“Today marks an epoch making event, being that the vital information, data and crucial facts to be unveiled will provide opportunity for hind-sight so that we can have a better foresight on our national revenue profile, disbursement and utilization with implications for consolidation, improvement or possible review”. Mr. Oseni explained.

In his remarks,the Executive Director, African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD) and the global representative of the Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Mr. Monday Osasah who gave a goodwill message on behalf of the civil society organisations stated that NEITI has simplified the work of the civil society. He charged the CSOs to use the information provided by NEITI as a tool for advocacy.

The report was compiled by an Independent Administrator, Messrs Amedu Onekpe & Co., on behalf of the National Stakeholder Working Group (NSWG), otherwise called NEITI Board, in accordance with the NEITI Act, 2007 and the EITI Standard.

Other findings of the report are highlighted to include the fact that out of a total Mineral Revenue of N6.40 trillion, the report said the DPR now NUPRC accounted for the highest contribution of about N2.71 trillion, or 18.83% of the total remittances, followed by FIRS with N2.13trillion, or 14.81%, and NNPC with N1.55 trillion, or 10.8%, while the least contribution was from the Solid Mineral with N13.33 billion, or 0.09%.

The report revealed that the contribution by the NNPC declined significantly by 56%, along with the FIRS, whose contribution also dropped by 10%. The decrease in the revenue remittances by both the NNPC and FIRS was attributed to the decrease in revenue generated from crude oil exports in 2021.

Besides,non-mineral revenue of about N4.80 trillion (or 33.37% of total remittances, increased by N3.86 billion from 2020 to 2021, with the highest contribution of N2.69 trillion, or 18.71% coming from the Company Income Tax (CIT), followed with N2.025 trillion, or 14.08% from the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and N85.25 billion, or 0.59% from other tax sources.

While the revenue from CIT in 2021 declined by 5.25% from 2020, the report said the revenue realized by the NCS in 2021 increased by 40.55%, while other taxes significantly recovered from a deficit in 2020 to a positive balance in 2021.

But,the report said the remittances from royalty and other fee payments from the DPR and MMSD (solid minerals) increased significantly by 84% and 43% respectively for the corresponding years.

Receipts from VAT, which increased significantly for the two years period, resulted in the remittance of about ₦3.18 trillion (or 22.1% of total remittances to the Federation Account, while the revenue generated by the NCS increased by 41% during the period under review.

I Was Not Involved In Forex Scam-NUPRC Executive Commissioner

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigerian oil official mentioned in the $800,000 fraud case involving wind turbine energy giant Nordex, Dr Kelechi Ofoegbu,says he was not involved in any wrongdoing.

He implored both Nigeria’s Inspector General of Police and INTERPOL to investigate the matter further to prove his innocence.

In a written statement, Dr. Ofoegbu, who is the Executive Commissioner, Economic Regulation and Strategic Planning of NUPRC, said hackers used their email access to Mountain Crane and sent an invoice totalling $1.75 million to Nordex, which then unwittingly paid the hackers over $800,000.

According to him,thoe Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) which was notified of the transaction traced $50,000 of the money to an account operated by Dr Ofoegbu, an Executive Commissioner in charge of Economic Regulation and Strategic Planning at the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC).

Dr Ofoegbu, in a petition dated November 3, 2023, sent to the Inspector General of Police, denied any involvement in the fraudulent transaction. He stated how a legitimate transaction with registered Bureau de Change (BDC) operators in Abuja ended up with a transfer of money to his account from illegitimate sources.

The petition which had NPF-INTERPOL in copy gave a comprehensive explanation of how a legitimate transfer he made through Yahaya Shuaibu Mohammed and Musa Babangida Jubril operating a Bureau de Change business opposite Abuja Continental Hotel, in Abuja, to fund his account in the USA, eventually got entangled with the activities of fraudsters.

Dr. Ofoegbu, in the petition explained that in funding his foreign accounts he sometimes resorts to licensed BDCs who exchange the naira component for foreign currency from commercial banks in Nigeria since the Central Bank of Nigeria has prioritised the Investors and Exporters FX window and allows for FX trades to be made at market-determined exchange rates.

Maintaining that this process can be verified since courts in Nigeria have taken judicial notice of the same, Ofoegbu explained that he needed funds in his accounts in the United Kingdom and USA to pay his children’s school fees in those countries, which was why he approached the BDC in Nigeria to pay the dollar equivalent of the local currency he provided to his account in JP Morgan Chase.

Dr Ofoegbu said though his account in JP Morgan Chase was credited in two separate transactions on April 27, 2023, he was unable to access the money as the bank had placed a hold on the account in the sum of $50,000, even as it would not disclose the reasons for doing so until some investigations were concluded.

He maintained that he had nothing to do with the untoward transaction that followed after the Abuja transaction and “I have no knowledge whatsoever of the identity of the depositors in the United States of America, nor have I ever had any commercial dealings with anyone or entity in the USA.”

He indicated that he was only notified on July 27, 2023, through a letter dated July 20, 2023 from the FBI captioned “Notice of seizure of property and initiation of administrative forfeiture of proceedings,” that the sum of $50,000 traced to his account has been seized.

It also informed him of the intention of FBI to commence administrative forfeiture of the amount as an Affidavit deposed to by an FBI agent has already recommended the forfeiture.

Dr. Ofoegbu stated, that it became evident that he had been defrauded by Mr Yahaya Shuaibu Muhammad and Mr Musa Babangida Jubril, whereupon he is now seeking the intervention of the INTERPOL to investigate the matter thoroughly in Nigeria and liaise with the FBI to clear him of any wrongdoing as well as facilitate the return of his money by the two BDC agents.

Nigeria,Saudi To Deepen Partnership In Oil,Gas Industry

Mohammed Shosanya

The federal government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that aims to establish a robust framework for collaboration between the two nations in the oil and gas sector.

A statement by Nnaemeka Okafor,the Special Adviser to Minister on Media and Communication,noted that the Minister for State Petroleum Resources (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, and the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, led by the Energy Minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, MoU at the signing event.

Signing on behalf of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman,expressed optimism about the far-reaching impacts this strategic alliance would have on both countries’ energy landscapes.

He said,the key purpose of the MoU is to promote collaboration, information exchange and technology transfer, thereby creating a conducive environment for a mutually beneficial partnership.

“One of the primary benefits anticipated from this landmark agreement is the facilitation of technological exchange. With Saudi Arabia boasting advanced technologies in oil and gas exploration and production, Nigeria stands to gain significantly from this knowledge transfer.

“The exchange of technical expertise is poised to elevate the efficiency and effectiveness of Nigeria’s energy operations, ultimately contributing to increased production levels and global competitiveness.

He explained the MoU is expected to attract substantial foreign direct investment into Nigeria’s oil and gas sector. Saudi Arabia, being a key player in the global energy market, holds the potential to channel significant investments into Nigeria, thereby stimulating economic growth, job creation and infrastructural development.

According to him, this influx of capital will not only bolster the petroleum industry but also have a cascading effect on various sectors of the economy, contributing to Nigeria’s overall economic prosperity.

He added:”The cooperative framework outlined in the MoU extends beyond technological collaboration and financial investments. It encompasses joint research and development initiatives, knowledge-sharing platforms and capacity-building programs.

“This holistic approach aims to empower local talents within Nigeria’s energy sector, fostering a self-sustaining environment where indigenous expertise plays a pivotal role in shaping the nation’s energy future.

“Furthermore, the MoU outlines a commitment to environmental sustainability and responsible resource management. Both nations have agreed to work together on adopting and implementing best practices in environmental conservation, ensuring that oil and gas activities are conducted in an eco-friendly manner. This reflects a shared vision for a greener and more sustainable energy industry, aligning with global efforts to address climate change and promote cleaner energy alternatives.

“For the people of Nigeria, this MoU holds the promise of a brighter and more prosperous future. The anticipated increase in production levels will not only secure a more reliable energy supply but also contribute to reducing dependency on imports.

“This, in turn, is expected to stabilize fuel prices and enhance energy security, providing tangible benefits to Nigerian households and businesses alike.

“Moreover, the infusion of foreign direct investment is poised to create job opportunities and stimulate economic growth.

“The development of new infrastructure and the expansion of existing facilities will not only enhance the efficiency of the oil and gas sector but also contribute to the overall modernization of Nigeria’s economic landscape. As the energy sector thrives, its positive impacts will be felt across various industries, catalyzing a ripple effect that transcends the confines of the petroleum sector”