Rights Violation: Court Orders Republic Of Benin To Pay Igboho 20m CFA

Mohammed Shosanya

The Community Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS),in Abuja, has ordered the government of the Republic of Benin to pay Yoruba nation activist Chief Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, a sum of 20 million CFA within three months for unlawful detention and violation of his fundamental human rights.

The court ruled that the government of the Republic of Benin must ensure that the money is paid to Adeyemo in three months, starting from the day the judgment to that effect is delivered.

The court announced this in a unanimous judgment delivered by Justices Gberi-Bé Ouattara, Sengu M. Koroma, and Ricardo Claúdio Monteiro GONÇALVES, in matter marked: ECW/CCJ/APP/15/22 Chief Sunday Adeyemo (aka Sunday Igboho) vs. Republic of Benin.

It further ordered the Francophone country to comply with its order to pay 20 million CFA to Adeyemo within three months and also report back to the court with the evidence of payment.

The verdict was sequel to the application brought before the court by Adeyemo against the defendant (Benin Republic), challenging his arrest and detention in the French-speaking country on July 21, 2021.

It was filed before the ECOWAS Court in Abuja, on February 10, 2022.

According to the court documents, “Orders sought wherefore Chief Adeyemo prays for the following from this Honourable Court: 1 “Pursuant to Article 59 of Rules of Procedure, an expedited procedure and hearing regarding the imprisonment and release of Chief Adeyemo;

“…2)An Order for the immediate and unconditional release of Chief Adeyemo, along with his Nigerian passport, pending litigation and determination of damages, and (3) Such orders as this honourable court may deem fit.”

Igboho and his wife Ropo were arrested on July 20, 2021, in Cotonou, Benin Republic, and detained at the request of the Nigerian government.

Foreign Prisoners Working In Nigerian Construction Companies-Senate

Mohammed Shosanya

The National Assembly,Wednesday said
that prisoners from foreign land are working in Nigeria as construction workers.

It also alleged that expatriates are stealing jobs meant for Nigerians in Nigeria

The joint committee of the Senate and House of Representatives on Interior, stated this during the budget defence session with the Minister of the Ministry , Hon Olubunmi Tunji – Ojo.

This is even as the Ministry of Interior disclosed that it surpasses its budgetary target of N600million revenue from issuance of expatriate quotas in the 2023 fiscal year by raking in, N1.195billion from January to October this year.

Lauding the Minister of Interior,the Chairman of the joint committee, Senator Adams Oshiomhole (APC Edo North) said that while it is heartwarming that the Ministry surpassed its revenue targets on issuance of expatriates quotas but its policy is giving room for expatriates to steal jobs meant for Nigerians in Nigeria.

He implored the ministry to regulate issuance of the quota, adding, “your Ministry needs to regulate issuance of the quotas very well as I have on good authority that prisoners from foreign land are working in Nigeria as construction workers .

He added:”This is even different from the age long fraud the oil companies have been carrying out in the country through the policy of expatriate quotas by making our own qualified engineers to work under foreign technicians.

“Many non Nigerians are in the country, some of them live inside containers. I even believe and dare say it that there are foreign prisoners, who are working in Nigeria. They were shipped to our country to serve their prison terms.

“They were being paid according to their country’s minimum wage by the construction industry that brought them. I don’t want to mention the company’s name but if I am provoked, I will mention them.

“Honourable Minister, this is a serious issue, prisoners are not expected to work in their countries if the product or whatever they engage in is meant to be exported.”

In his budget presentation to the joint committee, in 2022 and outgoing 2023 fiscal years, the Minister of Interior explained that the Ministry surpassed its budgetary revenue projections on expatriate quotas and marriage .

He said that while N600bmillion was targeted as revenue to be generated from issuance of expatriate quotas to deserving foreign firms in the country, N1.195billion, has as at October 31, 2023, generated from it.

He said: “Aside the projected revenue from expatriate quotas that had been surpassed by about N600m extra, the N380million projected revenue from marriage, has also been surpassed by over N500million with N892.774million realized as at October 31, 2023.”

The Minister assured the committee members that the Ministry had already come up with project for job protection for Nigerians .

How Divestment In Petroleum Sector Impacted Nigeria’s Economy-Seplat Energy Boss

Mohammed Shosanya

The Chief Operating Officer, Seplat Energy Plc, Mr. Samson Ezugworie has said that thedivestment story in Nigeria’s petroleum upstream sector has been a success case in terms of value creation, realisation and retention for the economy.

Whilst the International Oil Companies put their focus on deep water activities – courtesy of their divestment programmes – the indigenous oil companies should be supported to grow onshore shallow water assets,he said.

He said this during a panel discussion at the 12th Practical Nigerian Content Forum at Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) Headquarters, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State themed ‘Deepening Nigerian Content Amidst Divestments, Domestication & Decarbonisation’. The panel discussion was centered on the topic ‘Upstream Divestments: Outlining the Pathway to Success’.

“So, we need to enable the divestment opportunities that abound in the country today because that is the catalyst that will propel Nigeria to grow as have been set out by the current government,” he advised.

He explained that Seplat Energy has been part of the divestment journey in the petroleum upstream sector of Nigeria, and remains committed to driving excellence and advancing the fortunes of the Nigerian entity whilst impacting more lives and promoting national prosperity. Seplat Energy started this drive in 2009 leading to the acquisition of the Western Asset blocks in 2010, and today, Seplat Energy’s operations cover seven onshore blocks.

He attributed the successes recorded by Seplat Energy and other indigenous players to the potency of the local content advocacy, and urged Nigerians to be proud of the advancements and achievements thus far.

According to him, divestments activities do not only grow local potentials in the Nigerian energy landscape, but also tremendously boost capital development in-country, expand governments’ revenue base in the area of taxes and create jobs for Nigerian businesses and Nigerians.

“Divestments in Nigeria have been of great success and what we need to do today is to make the sky wide enough for all the birds to fly” he added, noting that funding remains very strategic, as the right balance must be struck between sourcing for funding locally and attracting foreign direct investments.

He said: “Governance and ethics are also critical to getting the right funding. There should be a clear and transparent commitment to ESG (Environment, Social and Governance); and shareholders in the business should get the right dividend which retains existing investors and attracts new ones.

“The future looks bright for Nigeria as we have quite a number of divestment opportunities in-country. Let’s enable those and allow the country to achieve organic growth.”

NLNG Wins NECA’s Investment In Societal Renewal, CSR Award

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has conferred on Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG) the Investment in Societal Renewal and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Award, in honour of the company’s commitment to CSR initiatives in Nigeria.

NECA also presented NLNG with the Elimination of Child Labour in the Workplace Award and a recognition award for its contribution to the conference.

At the 3rd Annual NECA Employers’ Awards held in Lagos recently,the association emphasised that NLNG clinched the awards after undergoing a rigorous evaluation process and surveys by the professional body.

NECA described this annual award as a ground-breaking initiative to promote and laud best practices in Corporate Performance, People Management, and Industrial Relations among Nigerian employers.

NLNG’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (MD/CEO), Dr. Philip Mshelbila,emphasized that NLNG’s unwavering commitment to CSR and excellent human resources practices aligned with its vision of being a globally competitive LNG company, helping to build a better Nigeria.

He underscored NLNG’s role as an inspirational national success story and a significant contributor to the overall development of Nigeria.

According to him,NLNG, driven by its core value of excellence and care, has pursued perfection and achieved remarkable feats in the realm of CSR.

He remarked:“NLNG’s CSR drive is anchored on four pillars – health, education, infrastructure development, and empowerment – all geared towards supporting sustainable development. We see ourselves as exemplary corporate citizens, fully committed to investing in the advancement of a better Nigeria. Yet, to accomplish this, we require the unwavering support and collaboration of all stakeholders in the country. I earnestly urge increased support from these critical stakeholders to help us achieve the pinnacle of CSR excellence for the country.”

NLNG’s flagship CSR projects include the Hospital Support Programme (HSP) and the multi-billion-naira 34-kilometre Bonny-Bodo Road, supporting healthcare infrastructural development in 12 teaching hospitals across the country and socio-economic activities in the riverine parts of Rivers State respectively.

These projects are ongoing.

In healthcare, NLNG is implementing its malaria elimination project on Bonny Island through the Bonny Island Malaria Elimination Project (BNYMEP) in collaboration with the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (US-PMI), the Rivers State government and the Grand Bonny Kingdom.

The company also established the Bonny Community Health Insurance Programme (BCHIP), a community-based health insurance partnership with the Rivers State Government and Bonny Kingdom, making healthcare services more accessible and affordable. It has over 12,000 subscribers on Bonny Island.

The company’s dedication to education was evident in its scholarship programs, benefitting over 4,000 Nigerian students at post-primary, undergraduate, and post-graduate levels.

Besides,NLNG’s commitment to bridging the gap in technical education was exemplified by the construction and equipping of the Bonny Vocational Centre (BVC), which has trained some 920 Nigerians in various vocational and occupational areas.

Other CSR projects also include the completed University Support Programme (USP), where NLNG constructed or rehabilitated engineering laboratories in six universities across the country; and The Nigeria Prize for Science, The Nigeria Prize for Literature, and The Nigeria Prize for Literary Criticism, with cash rewards of $100,000 each for the science and literature prizes, further demonstrating NLNG’s commitment to fostering excellence in education.

NNPC Ltd.Inks LNG Agreements For Domestic,International Markets

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited,has signed two major agreements to deliver LNG to the domestic gas market and the international LNG market.

The development was pursuant to further boost natural gas utilization in the country and enhance Nigeria’s gas revenue,a statement said.

The statement quoted that,during tge two separate signing ceremonies held on the sidelines of the on-going United Nation’s Climate Change Conference (also known as COP28), NNPC Ltd. signed an MoU with Wison Heavy Industry Co. Ltd, a Chinese company, for the development of floating LNG project in Nigeria, targeting the international LNG market.

Besides,NNPC Prime LNG Ltd.,an arm of NNPC Trading Ltd., signed a Supply, Installation and Commissioning Agreement with SDP Services, an independent oil and gas company, for a 421 tonnes per day LNG project targeting the domestic LNG market.

According to the statement,the Floating LNG MoU was signed by the Executive Vice President, Gas, Power & New Energy, Olalekan Ogunleye on behalf of NNPC Ltd and Mr. Kai Xu, Managing Director of Wison Ltd, on behalf of his company. Both parties agreed to work together to chart a roadmap for the project development that will lead to an investment decision.

The Small-Scale LNG (SSLNG) Project agreement was signed by the Managing Director, NNPC Trading Ltd., Mr. Lawal Sade, on behalf of NNPC Prime LNG Ltd. while Mr. Abhinav Modi, Managing Director of SDP Services Ltd., signed on behalf of his company.

The SSLNG Project, which will be located at Ajaokuta in Kogi State, Central Nigeria, will ensure the efficient supply of LNG to the Autogas/Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and industrial/commercial customers nationwide. The LNG Project is expected to be operational by December 2024.

Speaking after the signing ceremony, the EVP Gas, Power & New Energy, Mr. Olalekan Ogunleye said NNPC Ltd. is committed to delivering gas to industries nationwide and accelerating the company’s gas commercialisation efforts through the floating LNG Project.

“We see both projects as having enormous impact all over the country because they are central to the commercialisation of Nigeria’s abundant gas resources and ensuring that our country earns the much-needed foreign revenue from its abundant gas assets. It is also consistent with NNPC management’s drive to deliver on Mr. President’s gas and power aspirations across the country,” Ogunleye stated.

In his address after the signing, the MD NNPC Trading Ltd., Mr. Lawal Sade said the SSLNG Project will boost the domestication of LNG utilisation by supporting the growth of auto-gas initiatives across the country.

“We are looking at a timeframe of 12 months from execution to the commissioning of the project. The project will deliver about 420 tonnes per day of LNG per day into the domestic market, which will enhance efficient delivery of gas to the auto-gas/CNG and industrial customers in line with Presidential mandate,” Sade added.

Expressing their delight at signing the agreements,the partners pledged to work with NNPC Ltd. to deliver the projects within schedule and in the most cost-effective manner.

We’ve Completed 83% Of Nigerian Content Roadmap-NCDMB

Mohammed Shosanya

The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote announcing that the agency has completed 83 percent of the 96 initiatives it started under the Nigerian Content 10-year Strategic Roadmap.

He disclosed this at the 12th Practical Nigerian Content Forum 2023 got underway on Tuesday at the Nigerian Content Towers, Yenagoa.

Presenting the scorecard of the NCDMB at the PNC which is attended by over 700 oil and gas stakeholders, the Executive Secretary indicated that the Board’s focus would shift to the remaining initiatives, which according to him required some heavy lifting to bring them to fruition.

He disclosed that Nigerian Content level in 2023 stood at 54 per cent, just like in 2022,adding that the calculation is based on the Board’s monitoring and evaluation of industry activities.

According to him, “this performance is well above the minimum target of 47 percent Nigerian Content set for 2023 by the Board’s Project Management Office (PMO) just like we outperformed the 42 percent Nigerian Content target set for 2022 by achieving 54 percent Nigerian Content.”

He indicated that the top three performers of in-country spend are Shipping, Surveying/ Positioning services, and Inspection/ Testing and Certification with each at 100 percent NC level, while the bottom three performers are Modification and Maintenance at 26 percent NC level; Health, Safety and Environment at 31 percent NC level; and Materials and Procurement at 32 percent NC level.

He expressed concern that the stagnation of the Nigerian Content achievement at 54 percent raised questions on whether we had reached a point of stagnation or an inflection, leading to the decline in Nigerian Content level in the oil and gas industry.

The NCDMB boss reminded the top government functionaries and industry stakeholders that “getting the industry to this level of Nigerian Content is not a walk in the park,” and called on all stakeholders to “play their part to prevent the industry from rolling back to the dark days of implementing Nigerian Content as a token of consolation.

He cautioned that “The nexus between high Nigerian Content levels and the relative peace in the industry must not be lost on us,” noting that a “a lack of leadership backing at all levels opens the door for the practice to take the back seat.”

The Executive Secretary took the occasion to present what he termed “a reflection on the journey in the last seven and a half years of being in the saddle as the Executive Secretary.”

Citing data from the Board’s Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Joint Qualification System (NOGIC-JQS), he said registered indigenous industry operators have increased from 53 in 2018 to 114 in 2023, while indigenous service companies increased from 8,000 to 11,000 within the same period. Also, individual registrations surged from 140,000 to almost 400,000.

Under one of five pillars of the Roadmap, namely, Technical Capability Development, are other major accomplishments, one of which is the increase in in-country fabrication capacity from 60,000 tons per year to 250,000 tons within the aforesaid period.

Engr. Wabote disclosed that eight industrial parks being developed by the Board to support manufacturing and assembly of equipment and input materials required in the industry are at various stages of execution. He reported that the Nigerian Oil and Gas Park Scheme (NOGaPS) at Emeyal-1, in Bayelsa State, and a similar Park at Odukpani in Cross River State are due for commissioning in the first half of 2024.

In a goodwill message, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, commended the NCDMB for its outstanding performance in local content implementation, and for the ongoing PNC Forum.

He assured the industry stakeholders that the Federal Government is committed to promoting cleaner, more sustainable practices within the energy sector, even as the country continues with hydrocarbon extraction.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Senator Lokpobiri was represented at the PNC by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Ambassador Gabriel Aduda. He said Nigeria aligns with the global push for environmental stewardship and would explore all means of making production processes conform to cleaner technologies.

While drawing attention to the theme of the Forum, “Deepening Nigerian Content Amidst Divestments, Domestication and Decarbonisation,” the Minister called on stakeholders to “embrace the challenges that have been posed by divestment to actively promote domestication and steadfastly pursue the path of Decarbonization.”

The Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Alabo Gideon Ekeuwei, lauded the NCDMB and its Management for extraordinary successes and charged participants to explore avenues for collaboration, joint ventures, and partnerships that will help Nigeria to fully harness Nigerian Content potentialities.

Nigeria Inks Bilateral Air Services Agreement With Kuwait

Mohammed Shosanya

In order to boost trade, tourism and economic relations with the oil rich State of Kuwait, Nigeria at the ongoing International Civil Aviation Negotiation (ICAN) Event of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) holding in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, signed the legal instrument of BASA for the commencement of direct flights, passengers and cargo, between Nigeria and Kuwait.

Signing the BASA on behalf of Nigeria, the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Space Development, Mr. Festus Keyamo noted that the agreement would enhance the desired economic ties and cooperation between the two countries.

This, he explained was in tandem with the Renewed Hope Agenda of the current administration.

He underscored the important role which the Aviation Sector is positioned to play towards the successful implementation of the Renewed Hope Agenda which is aimed at bringing out over 50 million Nigerians out of poverty.

He urged the different players in the aviation sector of both countries to latch on the opportunities being provided with the signing of the BASA to derive maximum benefits from it.

Keyamo also held bilateral talks with respect to commencement of flight operations for passengers and cargo, between Nigeria and Iran, with the Aeronautical Authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran led by the President of Iran Civil Aviation Authority, Mr. Mohammadi Bakhsh.

Speaking at the occasion, the Acting Director General of Civil Aviation of the State of Kuwait, Engr. Emad Faleh Al-Jelwi , noted that the signing of the agreement on direct flights between his country and Nigeria signposted the beginning of a strong relationship in the areas of trade, commerce, tourism, education and other areas of socio-economic development which would be to the mutual benefits of the two countries.

He expressed confidence that Nigeria being the most populous and prosperous African nation would provide his country the desired inroad to the continent of Africa.

A statement by the Ministry on Wednesday said the minister urged both countries to maximally utilize the opportunities that are bound to come with the signing of the BASA.

On the Iran bilateral agreement Keyamo alluded to the fact that Iran and Nigeria had come along way and international politics should not be used as a barrier to stifle the harmonious relationship that existed between the two countries, as both countries are members of some international organizations and shared common world views and perspectives.

He assured the Iranians that he would work in concert with other government agencies towards ensuring the commencement of flight operations between the two nations.

Speaking earlier, Mr. Bakhsh had made reference to the exchange of BASA texts between both countries, which were initialed by the representatives of the Aeronautical Authorities of both countries in Tehran in 2021, and called for the operationalization of the Agreement.

He informed the minister that Tehran had designated Mahan Air for the operation of Tehran-Lagos route and requested Abuja to also designate its own carrier on the route.

He said he believed that Nigeria and Iran had a lot to benefit from the direct air service in view of their shared common interests.

He disclosed that Iran’s carrier, Mahan Air, fly to over 100 destinations in the world and that Nigeria could be a hub for cargo coperation for goods emanating from Tehran to Africa.

ICPC Arraigns Civil Servant For Signing-Off incomplete Project

Mohammed Shosanya

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has arraigned in court, a civil servant with the Border Communities Development Agency (BCDA), Mr. Suleiman Austin Adavize, for allegedly signing-off a contract that was not completed.

Mrs. Azuka Ogugua, the ICPC spokesperson in a statement said, Mr. Adavize was arraigned on Monday before Hon Justice Peter Kekemeke of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory on three-count charge bordering on false statement.

One of the counts read, “That you, Suleiman Austin Adavize (m) sometime in May, 2022 or thereabout at the Federal Capital Territory Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court while being an Architect at the Border Community Development Agency did make a false statement in your progress report of September 2021.

“That contract for the construction of ICT Centre at Gumel Local Government Area, Jigawa State awarded to Gare Investment Nigeria Limited was 100% complete when you knew it was false as you did not visit the ICT Centre and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 70 (1)(b) of the Public Enterprise Regulatory.”

Adavize pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to him and his Counsel, AG, Osayande applied that the defendant be granted bail subject to the overriding convenience of the court.

The counsel to the ICPC, Eno Ighodaro-Yahaya, did not object to the bail application for the defendant.

In his ruling, Justice Kekemeke stated that since there was no objection to the bail application by the Prosecutor, there was no reason to deny the Defendant his freedom.

“The application for bail is unopposed; the alleged offence is bailable so there is no reason why the Defendant should be denied bail. He is hereby granted bail in the sum of Two Million Naira (N2,000,000.00) and one surety in like sum.

The surety must be; 1: A Pastor in the Church where the defendant worships or the Chairman of the Estate where the Defendant lives or a Senior Officer in the defendant’s place of work,” he ruled.

Justice Kekemeke adjourned the case till February 22nd, 2024 for hearing.

ICPC had in July 2022 received a petition that an ICT Centre constructed by the Border Communities Development Agency in Gumel Local Government Area of Jigawa State had no required fittings as the Agency handed over a building structure with only five pieces of computers while there were three halls meant to house complete computer sets.

Tinubu Probes Military Bombing In Kaduna

Mohammed Shosanya

President Bola Tinubu has ordered a thorough investigation into the circumstances that led to bombing in Tundun Biri village in Kaduna state.

He sympathized with the families of victims, the people and government of Kaduna State over the incident that happened in Igabi Local Government Area of the state.

He describes the incident as very unfortunate, disturbing, and painful, expressing indignation and grief over the tragic loss of Nigerian lives.

A statement by Ajuri Ngelale, Tinubu’s media adviser said, “The President has directed a thorough and full-fledged investigation into the incident and calls for calm while the authorities look diligently into the mishap.

“The President has also directed swift and comprehensive medical attention for surviving victims while praying for the repose of the souls of the deceased”.

PDP Directs Members To Withdraw Litigations Against Party

Mohammed Shosanya

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has directed that all pending Intra-Party litigations across the country should be withdrawn forthwith.

The party National Working Committee (NWC) gave this directive on Tuesday at its 578th meeting after thoroughly reviewed the state of PDP.

PDP, in a statement by its spokesman, Hon Debo Ologunagba, said, “this decision of the NWC is pursuant to the provision of Section 58 (1)(l) of the Constitution of the PDP as amended in 2017 and in line with the spirit of unity and reconciliation in the party.”

The party urged all party leaders, critical stakeholders and members across the country to remain united and continue to promote the values for which the PDP is known as a truly democratic party.

Besides,the party NWC considered and approved the report of the establishment committee for the appointment of a substantive Director General of the Peoples Democratic Institute (PDI), adding that the successful candidate will be announced in due course.