Saudi Government Pledges Investment In Nigeria’s Refineries

Mohammed Shosanya

The Government of Saudi Arabia has pledged to invest in the revamp of Nigeria’s refineries, as well as provide financial support to sustain the government’s foreign exchange reforms.

The country’s Crown Prince, HRH Mohammed bin Salman made these pledges at a bilateral meeting with President Tinubu on the sidelines of the Saudi-Africa Summit in Riyadh, according to a statement by Mohammed Idris, the Minister of Information and National Orientation .

The Crown Prince hinted that the refinery investments in Nigeria will be led by the Saudi state-owned oil company, Saudi Aramco, with the revamp to be completed within a two- to three-year timeframe.

He also expressed appreciation to Nigeria for its active participation in, and support for OPEC+.

The country will support Nigeria Central Bank’s ongoing reforms of Nigeria’s foreign exchange regime,as well as make available a substantial deposit of foreign exchange to boost Nigeria’s forex liquidity.

Prince bin Salman commended the economic reforms being implemented by President Tinubu, and expressed the commitment of the Saudi Government to supporting these reforms, and enabling Nigeria to reap the full benefits.

According to him, Saudi Arabia is very eager to see Nigeria thrive under President Bola Tinubu, and realize its full potential as the economic giant of Africa.

Besides,Prince bin Salman also highlighted agriculture and renewable energy as areas of investment interest for Saudi Arabia, in Nigeria, to help the country attain food and energy security, respectively.

President Tinubu thanked the Saudi leader for the proposed investments, and pledged that Nigeria would ensure judicious management and oversight. The two leaders vowed to work together over the next six months to develop a comprehensive road-map and blueprint to deliver on the agreed investments and outcomes.

Also, President Tinubu and Crown Prince bin Salman spoke on the need to strengthen security cooperation to mitigate terrorism, illegal migration and other crises, not just in Nigeria, but across West Africa and the Sahel region.

The two leaders further discussed existing economic and socio-cultural cooperation between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia, and agreed to open new vistas in bilateral relations.

Grammy Awards:Burna Boy, Davido, Asake,Others Bag Nominations

Nigerian stars shone in various categories of nominations for the 66th Grammy Awards which were released on Friday.

Grammy-award winner, Burna Boy, bagged four nominations while Davido got three nominations. These marked his first Grammy nominations.

Besides, Asake, Olamide, and Ayra Starr also made their Grammy nomination debut with one nomination each, according to the list published on Grammy Awards website.

Asake and Olamide’s ‘Amapiano’, Burna Boy’s ‘City Boys’, Ayra Starr’s ‘Rush’, Davido and Musa Keys’ ‘Unavailable’, and Tyla’s ‘Water’ were the nominees in a newly created category, Best African Music Performance.

Burna Boy’s other nominations include; ‘Sitting On Top of the World’ featuring 21 Savage for Best Melodic Rap, ‘I Told Them’ for Best Global Music Album, and ‘Alone’ for Best Global Music Performance.

Davido’s other nominations include Timeless’ for Best Global Music Album, and ‘Feel’ for Best Global Music Performance.

PTD Chair Seeks Resignation Of NUPENG’s President,Scribe

Mohammed Shosanya

The National Chairman of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) Branch of NUPENG Comrade Lucky Osezua has asked the President and General Secretary of NUPENG Williams Akporeha and Afolabi Olawale to resign from office to allow fresh air and stability in the union.

The action was conveyed in a statement signed by one Preye Odede-Graham on behalf of the PTD leadership of Comrade Osesua

He blamed the recent woes befalling NUPENG on the alleged lacklustre attitude of the President as well as intimidation, victimization and harassment of the members of PTD by the General Secretary which is at variance to the extant rules of the union and human dignity.

He maintained that they no longer want to be used as attack dogs against the Federal Government and other players in the industrial ecosystem.

The aggrieved PTD members also accused Afolabi and Williams of carrying out activities that are contemptuous to the court which would further plunge them into shame and legal punishment. PTD described sneaking into the premises of PTD Secretariat by Afolabi and Williams and their ilk as a show of ignominy.

They also accused them of failure to carry elders and veterans of NUPENG along, adding that if the duo were allowed to continue in office their joint presence could drag the union into total extinction.

They implored stakeholders in trade union, media, civil society, legal profession, etc to support them to commence the re-engineering of NUPENG by showing Afolabi and Williams exit doors from the union.

PTD also expressed disappointment over the abandonment of the founding father of NUPENG, Chief Frank Ovie Kokori who is languishing in the hospital bed, noting that the current leadership of NUPENG are insensitive to the plights of the rank and file members, staff, elders and veterans of the union.

Below is the statement in full:

“The Show Of Shame By Williams And Afolabi

“How are the mighty fallen! The story of Williams Akporeha and Afolabi Olawale is currntly a show of shame and disappointment. Meanwhile, after watching the world press conference of our prudent National Chairman, Comrade Lucky Osesua, who credibly emerged as the National Chairman of the people by the people and for the people, one will simply conclude that the era of fresh air has arrived and will permanently stay in the PTD Branch of NUPENG.

“This new breather for the tanker drivers in the union is also signaling a total end to all forms of manipulation, extortion, intimidation and harassment by the Williams Akporeha and Afolabi Olawale led administration in the union.

“Our National Chairman’s broadcast is not ordinary, but firmly rekindles the hope for the hopeless. Petroleum Tanker Drivers are not mere servants for some egocentric leaders of NUPENG who only use us as attack dogs against the Federal Government and non complying businessmen. We have observed that the interest of drivers is being compromised and worst still, relegated to the background and most annoying is that these hardworking members of PTD are being tagged common drivers. We are grateful to God that this has been put to a total halt under the leadership of Comrade Lucky Osesua.

“Let me take on Afolabi and what he represents, he is one person whose interest is to enrich himself and display a high level of heinous activity to subjugate other union members and staff. A salary earner of NUPENG, whose primary scope of work is to mind the secretariat has now turned himself into a monster. Under him, all NUPENG positions have prize tags, all for his selfish purpose. The liberation mantra has started, and I thank God and men that kick-started this struggle. May the almighty God bless you all.

“Another shameful act which we discovered was that some vicious leaders in NUPENG as currently constituted used operatives of Police and DSS to hoodwink and harass our people to support them against their wish. Let me also announce that we will challenge all these shenanigans in Court and expose everyone involved in this arbitrary use of state powers. My sincere advice to Williams and Afolabi is to resign their positions forthwith to enable us to redirect our union, they’ve lost every essence of trade union leadership. They should also turn-in themselves to proper Police investigation and hand over the union’s properties in their possessions.

“Afflilate members of NUPENG should pass a vote of no confidence on the duo. They have failed us. The time is now for NUPENG to start charting a new course to enable us to face and mitigate the challenges of deregulation in the petroleum sector.

“The PTD election shows clearly that the duo can not be able to handle the affairs of NUPENG. The union is too big for them. They should honorably resign immediately, especially now that their reputation is dwindling woefully.

“Meanwhile, to our surprise the duo and their ilk dishonorably sneaked into the premises of the PTD secretariat like a thief in the night to display shame and proof that they are unrepentant in abuse of office and flagrant disregard for the rule of law. Elders of the union have been relegated to the background for trying to ask relevant questions on the well-being of the members, but Afolabi has consistently warned these elders to keep their advice.

“Our past leaders and elders who have suffered for the union are dying in the hospitals and seeking help, but the current leadership of NUPENG turned deaf ears to their calls. We therefore appeal to all our members not to be despaired, let us join hands together and win the battle against these common enemies and stop them once and for all, these multidimensional nonsense and slavery must be hurriedly to stop. United we stand.”

PEEF:Experts To  Explore Solutions To Procurement Hitches In Steel Sector

Mohammed Shosanya

The People Expertise and Excellence Foundation,will holds its annual conference in Abuja on November 23th,this year.

At the confab,industry experts,including the media and CSOs,will explore wide-ranging solutions to corruption procurement hitches in the country’s steel sector.

The experts observed that the gathering was timely and necessary,as the gesture would strengthen the steel sector with a view to enabling it contribute immensely to President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope agenda.

A statement obtained by Premium News on Friday, said the conference will be hosted under the theme: “Accelerating Steel Sector Development in Nigeria – Achieving Zero Corruption in Procurement Management”.

Besides,Minister of Steel Development, Prince Shuaibu Abubakar Audu, who will deliver keynote address on the theme, while the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation, Alh. Abdullah Bukar will serve as chairman of the event.

The statement quoted that experts invited to speak on the steel sector and procurement issues include the Sole Administrator of
Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited, ASCL, Engr. Sumaila Abdul-Akaba, the National Coordinator and Chief Executive Officer of Strategy Implementation Office for the Presidential Executive Order 5, Engr. Ibiam Oguejiofo, the Director-General of Imo State Bureau of Public Procurement, Chief Paschal Egwim, and the Director-General of the Institute for Governance and Leadership Studies in Africa, Dr. Lanre Adebayo.

According to the statement,the conference will also feature stakeholders from anti-corruption agencies, such as the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, legislators from the National Assembly, and private sector leaders across the board.

The statement also quoted Nigerians are enjoined to participate at the conference in-person and virtually by zoom registration.

PEEF is a non-profit organization comprising reputable professionals focused on proffering practical solutions to skills and management challenges in Nigeria and beyond.

Oyo/Osun Customs Rakes In N11bn,Renews War Against Smuggling

Mohammed Shosanya

Oyo/Osun Customs command raked in the sum of ₦11,679,732,583.91k
between September and October,2023.

Its Area Commander,Ibadan,Comptroller Ben Oramalugo,disclosed this in his maiden press briefing at the command headquarters in Ibadan,on Friday,

He disclosed that since my assumption of duty on 18th September 2023, several laudable achievements have been accomplished and aimed at enhancing trade facilitation, and revenue generation and suppression of smuggled, and prohibited items within the Command’s area of responsibility.

He said: “During the period covering September to October 2023, the Command through its rigorous enforcement measures and strategic initiatives has contributed to the economic growth of the Nation by collecting the sum of ₦11,679,732,583.91k, as revenue into the coffers of the Federal Government.

He also noted that when added to the revenue collected for the period covering January to August 2023, the Command has collected a Sum of ₦59,087,983,670.64k (Fifty Nine Billion, and Eighty Seven Million, Nine Hundred and Eighty Three Thousand, Six Hundred and Seventy Naira, Sixty Four Kobo).

He said:”This feat is made possible by our resolve to continue to prioritize trade facilitation, religiously enforce provisions of our extant laws aimed at facilitating legitimate trade, implementation of various measures to simplify Customs processes, reducing bureaucracy within the system with the aim of promoting legitimate trade and foster a conducive business environment for Excise traders operating within the Command’s area of responsibility.”

Speaking on anti-smuggling operations of the command under his watch, Comptroller Ben,said, “During the period under review, the Command with use of intelligence and continuous patrol operations has made series of interceptions comprising 1,248 (50kg) bags of Rice with duty paid value worth
N27,456,000.00, 425 kegs of 25 litre of petroleum (PMS) with duty paid value worth N2,125,000.00, used clothings and used bags, 24 Bales of used clothing’s worth duty paid value of
N4,320,000.00, N180,000.00 respectively, 492 pieces of Used tyres with duty paid value of N2,952,000.00, 64 sacks and 150 wraps of cannabis sativa (weighing 777.5kg) with duty paid value of
14,138,460.00 and One (01) Dane Gun
9,000.00, all totalling at N51,180,460.00.”

Oyo Govt Shuts  Illegal Mining Sites

Mohammed Shosanya

The Oyo State Mineral Development Agency has sealed some mining sites, operating without consent letters and community development agreement in the state.

The Director General (DG) of the Agency, Mr Abiodun Oni,who disclosed this on Fridayin Ibadan,explained that the decision was to restore order by stopping all illegal activities in the mining sector for the good of the State.

He added that the sites sealed are Sequia Mining Industry and Eminent Quarry.

He said before the action,the agency requested for the consent letters, community development agreement and other relevant documents that legalize the operation of every mining industry in the state.

Oni stated further that the state government under the leadership of His Excellency Engr Seyi Makinde is ready to partner with all stakeholders to sanitize Oyo State mining sector as contained in the Mining Act and all relevant Laws.

He said this was the reason for the verification of the relevant documents, by the Oyo state government.

He maintained that the agency will not condone any act of illegality, adding that the governor has signed an executive order, which gives the agency the power to seal any mining industries that fails to comply with the rules and regulations guiding the sector.

NLC,TUC Can’t Embark On Strike-Court

Mohammed Shosanya

President of the National Industrial Court, Justice Benedict Kanyip, Friday,stopped the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) as well as other affiliate unions from going on any form of nation wide strike from November 14.

The two leading labour unions were stopped from going on with the planned strike through an exparte order secured by the Federal Government on Friday on Friday evening.

The motion was filed by and moved by the Federal Government and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice.

The Federal Government and the AGF through their lawyer, Tijani Gazali SAN, had in the ex-parte motion asked the court to restrain the labour unions from embarking on the planned industrial action in order not to unleash untold hardships on innocent law abiding citizens and their businesses.

Gazali drew the attention of Justice Kanyip to series of hardships suffered by Nigerians on Thursday alone when the labour unions blocked entrances to the main Airports in the country.

He told the court that if the planned strike action is not stopped, there may be likelihood of breach of peace and tranquility in the country.

Justice Kanyip invoked sections 17 and 19 of the National Industrial Court Act to issue the restraining order against the labour unions.

The Judge, persuaded by the government arguments in a short ruling said that it was within the power of the court to intervene by way of restraining order to ensure peace and tranquility.

He proceeded to grant all the reliefs of the Federal Government as set out on the motion paper.

Besides, Justice Kanyip held that the restraining order be pasted on the wall of the Labour House being the last known address of the two defendants to draw their attention to the Court’s order.

Besides,the Judge stated that the order along with the originating and other processes be served on the defendants by publication in two major national dailies.

Privatization: EKEDC Targets Full Customers’ Metering,Zero Accidents In Next Decade

Mohammed Shosanya

Eko Electricity Distribution Company,says its goals for the next decade will be 100% metering of its customers, zero electricity accidents and fatalities, improved customer service and zero downtime in power supply.

Its Managing Director, Tinuade Sanda,who disclosed this recently in her address to mark the company’s 10-year anniversary,commended the entire workforce for their resilience, innovative and disruptive commitment towards providing a safe, constant, and reliable power supply to the customers.

She noted that technological integration is the bedrock of its performance as it deployed superior business processes backed by state-of-the-art technology in line with global best practices.

In a statement signed by the General Manager, Corporate Communications of EKEDC, Babatunde Lasaki, quoted his boss as describing the 10-year journey as incredible and laudable with lots of learning points and room for improvement.

She said: “We are indeed happy to have attained 10 years of empowering the quality of lives of all our stakeholders and we are grateful to our customers for their patronage. They have supported us since inception and have kept on being our pillar of strength. They stand by us when we do incredibly well and keep us on our toes even when we fall short, to become better.”

“In the last ten years, we have deployed Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition/ Distribution Management System (SCADA/DMS) that allows for remote access and control of our infrastructure, the first of its kind in the distribution side of the power sector in Nigeria, we have moved our metering process to an automated system, and we have metered our feeders and transformers for efficient monitoring and accurate billing to reduce billing disputes. We have also attained global certification to help to manage the information assets entrusted to us.”

“Our staff are behind the scenes making all our dreams come to fruition. They go above and beyond to ensure our customers are satisfied. And they are the engine room driving the wheel of our success and the accolades we have received in the last ten years. In all these, we have stayed committed to our CSR pillars,health and wellness,sports and entrepreneurship,education and capacity building, environment and safety.”

The statement also quoted that the most notable challenges the company experienced in the last decade includes managing the increasing energy demand, maintaining the grid’s resilience, revenue collection issues and meeting up with metering all customers.

Sanda affirmed that these are all surmountable challenges, and the Company is poised to face it head on and overcome.

“We are looking forward to a future where all our customers are metered, where there is minimal downtime and zero incidents”,she added.

The organization celebrated its 10th anniversary with an address to staff by the Managing Director/CEO, Tinuade Sanda, who commended the staff for their dedication and charged them to continue to contribute immensely to the growth of the power sector at large.

She also paid her tributes to her colleagues who passed away in the line of duty. She further commended the efforts of her predecessors for laying the foundation for the growth being currently experienced.

She further assured them of the company’s dedication to their wellbeing and development. She encouraged the team to enjoy their annual games event, Ekolympics – an internal sports contest between its business districts where all staff come together to enjoy the thrill of competition and collaboration.

NNPC Foundation Train Corps Members On Financial Literacy

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Foundation,in partnership with Kudimata Nigeria Limited, a financial education outfit, have trained the Batch C members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in basic financial literacy skills.

The training, which aligned with the objectives of Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) scheme of NYSC had its maiden edition featuring Batch B stream in the past months. So far over 118,000 youth corps members have been trained in financial literacy, while about 70,000 are being trained across the 37 NYSC orientation camps in the country.

The Managing Director, NNPC Foundation, Emmanuella Arukwe,who spoke during the training described financial literacy as not only the bedrock of all successes in the ever-competitive labour market, but a journey towards attaining self-actualization, thereby heralding the trajectory to sustainable prosperity of the nation.

She implored the corps members to leverage on the knowledge garnered from the training to avert white collar job syndrome,adding that the NNPC Foundation is committed to impacting the youth corps members to become employers of labour.

“We are partnering with both NYSC and Kudimata to bring financial literacy to the corps members, as this will help them make better-informed decisions. We are very passionate about young people and NYSC is a veritable ground as it cuts across 20 to 30 years old youth, thus, making it the right demography.

“This programme cuts across the 36 states of the country including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). This is the first step towards a series of programmes that will culminate in instilling entrepreneurship in the Corps members. After this training, those who pass the examination by 70 percent will move to the next stage. The next stage will keep them better informed on how to run businesses to ensure success in their businesses. Thereafter, we will do a pitching where those who are properly trained will be selected and be given start-up kits to go ahead and be on their own”

Addressing unemployment as the greatest problem of young graduates, she said, “We are aware of unemployment as a challenge plaguing young graduates and we recognize the need to empower the youths through capacity building of this magnitude for them to empower the whole nation. This training will help reduce unemployment and underemployment in Nigeria, thereby making the corps members employers of labour.”

In her remarks, the FCT Coordinator, NYSC, Shokpeka Winifred expressed her profound gratitude to both NNPC Foundation and Kudimata Nigeria Ltd for their unwavering support to empower the corps members to enable them to become self-reliant individuals and wealth creators.

Winifred described the training as a platform for young people to learn the best ways of managing their finances, while also grooming them to become good managers of resources.

“Going forward, I’m confident that they will put what they have learnt to use by utilizing their funds well as they are now aware of how to earn, maintain and multiply their finances. We are striving to see them becoming business owners tomorrow through further mentorship,” the Coordinator added.

One of the corps members at the NYSC orientation camp in Abuja, Prudence Enema said: “I’m thrilled that the NNPC Foundation took their time to train us on financial literacy, we are aware that financial literacy is very important, and we have learnt a lot on how to multiply our money in order not to suffer in the future.”

Another corps member, Okeke Ugochukwu revealed that the training was worthwhile as the importance of saving and categorization of finances were taught effectively.

Wabote Advises Indigenous Firms On Corporate Governance,Nigerian Content Compliance

Mohammed Shosanya

The Executive Secretary of the NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote,has advised Heritage Energy Operational Services Limited (HEOSL) and other indigenous oil and gas companies have been advised to adopt strict corporate governance guidelines in their operations if they want their firms to grow sustainably.

He also implored the companies to comply with the provisions of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act and to consult regularly with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).

He gave the advice on Thursday when the Chief Executive Officer of HEOSL, Mr. Ado Oseragbaje, and other key officials of the firm visited him at the Board’s liaison office in Abuja.

A statement quoted Wabote as identifying lack of corporate governance as the biggest drawback of most indigenous oil and gas companies and deplored the situation where owners and directors of indigenous operating oil and gas firms serve as contractors to their company, thereby contravening corporate governance procedures and delivering poor services.

He warned that the prevalent negative practice,could negatively affect the divestments of assets by some international oil and gas entities to indigenous firms.

He commended the management of Heritage Energy Operational Services Limited for turning around the fortunes of their company and advised that they employ competent hands to manage sensitive positions, while also instituting corporate governance guidelines.

He underscored the need for oil companies to always comply with the provisions of the NOGICD Act, including the remittance of one percent of the value of contracts to the Nigerian Content Development Fund (NCDF) as mandated by section 104 of the NOGICD Act.

He reiterated that NCDMB serves as an enabler of business, emphasizing that the agency’s regulatory decisions are always taken from a pragmatic point of view.

He encouraged oil and gas companies to approach the Board regularly for discussions, even when they have challenges with complying with the NOGICD Act. He assured that “when you hold quarterly meetings with the key teams of the Board, we will support and guide you and there will not be any hitches.”

In his remarks, the CEO of Heritage Energy Operational Services Limited (HEOSL) explained that the visit was initiated so they could brief the Board on the steps the company had taken to address some of the Nigerian Content noncompliance and other regulatory issues that had flouted in the past.

Some of the steps the company has undertaken include executing the Nigerian Content noncompliance remediation programme and the launch of Nigerian Content Research and Development projects at Akwa Ibom State University and Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State.

He remarked that HEOSL is the operator of the OML 30 Joint Venture between NNPC Exploration and Production Limited and Shoreline Natural Resources Limited Joint Venture (NEPL/SNRL JV).

He announced that the joint venture partners had approved a drilling campaign on the asset, the first time such an activity would be carried out since Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) divested the asset. He said: “We will be drilling four wells and the project could go on for 4 years and would include a lot of projects, such as facility expansion, water treatment, among other activities.”