Hardship:Court Orders FG To Review Price Of Fuel, Others

Mohammed Shosanya

A Lagos Federal High Court, Wednesday, ordered the federal government to fix the price of goods and petroleum products within seven days from today.

Justice Lewis-Allagoa ordered the Nigerian government to fix the price of Milk, Flour, salt, sugar, bicycles and it’s spare parts, matches, motorcycles and its spare parts, motor vehicles and it’s spare parts as well as Petroleum products, which include: diesel, petrol motor spirit (PMS) and kerosene.

He gave the order while delivering judgment in a suit numbered FHC/L/CS/869/2023, filed by foremost human rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), against the Price Control Board and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), listed as first and second defendants.

Falana (SAN) had approached the court for the followings: “whether by virtue of Section 4 of the Price Control Act., the first defendant is carrying out its duty to impose a price on any goods that are of the kind specified in the First Schedule to the Price Control Act.

“A declaration that by virtue of Section 4 of the Price Control Act Cap, the defendants are under a legal obligation to fix the prices of bicycles and spare parts; flour; matches; milk; motorcycles and spare parts; motor vehicles and spare parts; salt; sugar and petroleum products including diesel, petrol motor spirit and kerosene.

“A declaration that the failure or refusal of the Defendants to fix the prices of bicycles and spare parts; flour; matches; milk; motorcycles and spare parts; motor vehicles and spare parts; salt; sugar and petroleum products including diesel, petrol motor spirit and kerosene is illegal as it offends the provision of Section 4 of the Price Control Act, Cap…., Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

“An order directing the defendants to fix the prices of bicycles and spare parts; flour; matches; milk; motorcycles and spare parts; motor vehicles and spare parts; salt; sugar and petroleum products including diesel, petrol motor spirit and kerosene not later than 7 days after the delivery of the Judgment of this Honourable Court.”

When the matter came up on Wednesday,Mr. Falana (SAN) informed the court that the motion on notice is premised on Section 4 (1) of the Price Control Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

He also told the court that the defendants in the suit have been served with the processes since it was filed in May, 2023, but refused and failed to file any response or counter to it.

Falana (SAN) consequently, urged the court to grant all the reliefs sought for since there is no any counter from the respondents.

Justice Lewis-Allagoa after hearing from the senior lawyer and perused through the court filed, observed that the defendants did not filed any counter to the suit after citing some plethoras of authorites held that: “all the reliefs contained in the motion paper are hereby granted as prayed.”

Birth Of 14,000bpd Akpo West Field Excited NNPC

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd),has announced the successful commencement of oil production from the Akpo West Field.

Olufemi Soneye, NNPC’s Chief Corporate Communications Officer,who announced this in a statement,said the milestone, which is the result of meticulous planning, strategic collaboration, and unwavering dedication from all stakeholders involved in the project, will add 14,000 barrels per day condensate to the nation’s production.

He noted that this will be followed up by the production of about 4million cubic meters of gas per day by 2028.

He added:”The development of Akpo West which is on Petroleum Mining Lease (PML) 2 (formerly OML 130) leverages the existing Akpo Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) facility via a subsea tie-back to keep costs low and minimize greenhouse gas emissions.

“The milestone was enabled by the strategic leadership of the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO), Mr. Mele Kyari, and the Upstream Directorate of the NNPC Ltd whose support played no small role in propelling the operators to actualise the short- and mid-term hydrocarbon production goal of the President Tinubu administration.

“Located 135 kilometres offshore, Akpo West is one of the discoveries on PML 2 with proximity to the Akpo main which started up in 2009 and produced 124,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2023.

“PML 2 is operated by TotalEnergies with a 24% interest, in partnership with CNOOC (45%), Sapetro (15%), Prime 130 (16%), and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd as the concessionaire of the Production Sharing Contract (PSC)”.

Corporal Punishment:Dangote University Lecturer Faces Disciplinary Committee

Mohammed Shosanya

The Management of Aliko Dangote University of Science and Technology, Wudil in Kano State has suspended a lecturer for subjecting students to corporal punishment.

A viral image had surfaced recently showing students of the university being subjected to corporal punishment for infractions such as tardiness or disruptive behavior in their classes.

A statement signed by the Deputy Registrar, Information and Public Relations Unit, Malam Sa’idu Abdullahi Nayaya, further announced that the erring Varsity Don would face the Senior Staff Disciplinary Committee for further action.

The statement titled,‘’Re: Viral video on students maltreatment,’’ reads in parts: “The management is hereby assuring parents and guardians and the general public that the welfare and safety of the students are topmost and any breach by whosoever will not be tolerated and go unpunished.’’

The statement emphasized the institution’s commitment to maintaining a conducive learning environment for all students.

“The immediate suspension of the lecturer is part of our efforts to address this situation and ensure that the welfare and rights of our students are upheld.”

The Students Union Government of the university has commended the university management for the prompt action it had taken against the lecturer.

“We urge all students to remain calm as the decisions made by the management are commendable and in the best interest of the university community.

“It is imperative for students to abide by the rules and regulations set forth by the school management, as we strive to uphold the highest standards of character and learning, ” the SUG president, Adamu Habibu Ado said in a statement.

Akwa Ibom:Man Gets Life Jail For Raping 4-Year-Old Girl

Mohammed Shosanya

A High court sitting in Ikot Ibritam, Oruk Anam Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State has sentenced a 32-year-old Akaninyene Sunday Ekwere to life imprisonment for raping a four year old girl.

Ekwere, a trader, reportedly lured the minor to his shop where he defiled the innocent girl, who is the last child in a family of five.

The mother of the victim was said to have reported the matter to the police upon discovery of bruises around the victim’s private part when she bathed her,

In his confessional statement, Ekwere, who hails from Ikot Ibritam and a neighbour to the victim, said he saw the minor playing outside the compound and invited her to his shop, where he rubbed vaseline oil on her private part and raped her.

Justice Nkereuwem Obot said Akaninyene Ekwere does not deserve to live in the midst of sane people as he is dangerous to society.

Obot found the accused guilty and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

The convict who is popularly called “Doctor” pleaded with the Court to have mercy upon him as he is a married man.

Reps Move To Probe Banks Over Breach Of CBN’s NOP Directive

Mohammed Shosanya

The House of Representatives has mandated the House Committees on Banking Regulations and Banking Institutions to go conduct an investigative hearing on the non-compliance by banks and financial institutions with CBN directives on the Net Open Position Limits.

The development followed the adoption of a motion of matters of urgent national importance on the need for banks to implement CBN’s policies on holding excess long foreign exchange and net open Position limits moved by Hon. Babajimi Benson at plenary on Wednesday.

He noted that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is saddled with the responsibility of regulating the monetary policies of the country as provided for by the CBN Act.

He added that in the performance of this duty, the CBN is empowered to make regulations and give directives for commercial banks and certain financial institutions to implement.

He noted that Section 8 (4) and (5) of the CBN Act requires that the CBN Governor is expected to brief the relevant Committees of the National Assembly during the semi-annual hearings as well as provide periodic reports on the performance of the economy to the National Assembly.

“There has been a steady rise in the rate of the dollar in comparison to the naira. It rose to N1,520 to the dollar in the last week. This astronomical rise has been caused by diverse market forces and certain economic policies adopted by the government, including the liberalisation of the dollar”

“Commercial banks and certain financial institutions in Nigeria usually hold back a large part of forex|they obtain either through purchase, borrowing or allocation from the CBN rather than lending to their customers with a view to selling it when the exchange rate is high”

The lawmaker further said that this speculative activity by commercial banks and certain financial institutions has further exacerbated the harsh economic situation in the country and led to difficulty by legitimate businesses to obtain forex for their business transactions.

“The CBN has intervened by introducing new monetary policies to check the rise in the rate of dollar among which are the Net Open Position Limits and holding excess long foreign exchange”

He recalled that commercial banks and certain financial institutions are reluctant to implement the monetary measures put in place by the apex bank to check this unwholesome practices by banks and other financial institutions in the country.

He stressed that unless drastic legislative measures are taken to enforce the implementation of these directives, the country will continue to experience dire economic hardship as a result of continuous rise in foreign exchange rates.

Shell,JV Partners’ FID On Iseni Gas Project Boost For Local Content,Says Ekpo

Mayowa Balogun

Minister of State Petroleum Resources (Gas), Ekperikpe Ekpo, has said the Final Investment Decision (FID) on the Iseni Project by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and its joint venture partners has opened up a new vista of opportunities for local content compliant contracts for Nigerian firms.

Shell had sealed the FID with the NNPCL, TotalEnergies and Nigerian Agip Oil Company, as joint venture partners, in a deal that will see the building of a dedicated upstream facility to supply 100 million standard cubic feet of gas per day to Dangote Fertiliser and Petrochemical Plant in Lekki, Lagos State for ten (10) years.

Ekpo commended Shell and its partners for commiting to the FID saying the development of the gas-rich Iseni field would go a long way in supporting the Federal Government’s aspirations for the Decade of Gas initiative.

He said: “I am extremely excited with SPDC, NNPCL, TotalEnergies,NAOC who worked assiduously for the realization of the FID on the Iseni project. 100mmscfd, which is capable of producing the equivalent of 400MW of energy, will be delivered into the domestic market when construction is completed. This is a significant milestone in our quest to achieving our aspirations of the Decade of Gas initiative.

“Following this FID, I expect local content compliant contracts to be awarded, thus creating jobs in the domestic economy and growing our GDP. This is in line with President Bola Tinubu’s commitment to unlock Natural Resources and stimulate continuous investment and growth of the Nigerian economy.”

The Iseni Project is a critical gas supply deal tracked by the Minister of State Petroleum Resources (Gas) as part of Nigeria’s Decade of Gas Initiative,he said.

Rivers:NSCDC Arrests Five Suspected Oil Thieves

Mercy Salawu

Operatives of the anti vandalism unit, Rivers State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), has arrested five suspects allegedly involved in illegal bunkering, impounds nine vehicles ladened with 15,000 litres of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) popularly called diesel.

At a press briefing on Wednesday, the State Commandant, Basil Igwebueze, assured that the command under his watch would not relent in its onslaught against oil bunkerers and their activities in the state.

He emphasised that it was high time suspected oil thieves turn a new leaf and engage in legal ventures, rather than sabotaging the wealth of the nation.

He identified the suspects as Abdulrasheed Nuhu, 25 years, Hussaini Ciroma, 24 years, Shamsudeen Umar, 23 years, Al-Amina Ismaila, 19 years, Ibrahim Usman, 23 years, adding that they were arrested at Alesa-Eleme Okrika road, Eleme Local Government for laying galvanized pipes close to NNPC/PPMC line right of way.

He that the suspects were caught with some galvanized pipes with which they would have used in tapping and siphoning crude oil.

He noted that preliminary investigation report revealed that the suspects planned to begin their operation in the dead hours of the night.

He said, “The arrests were made in different locations across the state; noting that the five(5) suspects named: Abdulrasheed Nuhu(M), 25 years, Hussaini Ciroma (M), 24 years, Shamsudeen Umar (M), 23 years, Al-Amina Ismaila(M), 19 years, Ibrahim Usman(M), 23 years, were arrested at Alesa-Eleme Okrika road, Eleme Local Government for laying galvanized pipes close to NNPC/PPMC line/right of way. The suspects were caught with some galvanized pipes to be connected and used for tapping crude oil.

“Other arrests were made at East-West road in Eleme LGA, Iwofe road, Rumuelimini in Obio/Akpor LGA, Station Road, Water Font in Elelenwo Community, Okehi Town in Etche LGA, Location Flyover Mgbuoba Community, New Road off Ada George and Eagle Island Jetty Port Harcourt.

“Preliminary investigation report however revealed that the suspects carried out the act with the intention of siphoning petroleum products from the pipeline at late hours of the night.”

Igwebueze identified the impounded vehicles and their contents as follows, “a Toyota Camry Car LAGOS EJ297LSD with 1600 itres of AGO, A red Mazda Saloon Car LAGOS DN 30 APP in conveyance of 1,000 litres of AGO concealed in cellophane bags, Toyota Sienna Car RIVERS NDN 797 GM conveying 2,500litres of AGO, a white tricycle bus with registration number BRR 553 XA conveying 500 litres of AGO.

“Others are a Blue Selica Saloon Car RIVERS PHC 506 HK abandoned with 1,700 litres of AGO concealed in a cellophane bag; a Blue & White coloured Volkswagen Saloon Car RIVERS PHC KNM 111 XA with 1,200 litres of AGO, a Black Nissan Pathfinder Jeep RIVERS PHC 853 KK WITH 3,000 litres of AGO, a Dark Grey Volkswagen Car RIVERS PBT 531 SY with 1,000 litres of AGO and a Green colour Toyota Camry ABUJA ABJ 611 JN laden with 2,500 litres of AGO.

The vowed that the suspects would be charged to court at the end of a thorough investigation while the contents and the mode conveyance would be forfeited and proceeds remitted to Proceeds Of Crime Account.

Reps Probe Ban On Sachet-Alcoholic Drinks

Mercy Salawu

The House of Representatives has mandated its Committee on National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to investigative the basis and circumstance surrounding the ban imposed the production of beverages in sachets and small bottles in Nigeria by the agency.

The resolution of the lawmakers was sequel to the adoption of a motion sponsored by Hon. Paschal Agbodike and Hon. Philip Agbese at the plenary, Wednesday.

Moving the motion titled, ‘Need to suspend the ban imposed by NAFDAC on production of beverages in sachet’, Hon. Agbodike noted that section 4(2) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), empowers the National Assembly to make laws for the order and good government of the Federation or any part thereof.

He noted that Sections 88(1) and (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), empower the National Assembly to conduct investigations into the activities of any authority executing or administering laws made by NAFDAC.

He recalled that NAFDAC had announced its decision to stop the registration of beverages in small sachets and bottles in January 2024 when the Director-General of the Agency informed the public that the agency will ensure that the validity of renewal of already registered products will not exceed January 2024.

He expressed concerns that the decision to ban the registration of beverages in small sachets and bottles runs counter to the spirit and letter of the Constitution and runs against the Economic Recovery Plan of the current administration.

He said that given the numerous economic challenges confronting poor Nigerians, the ban on the production of the said beverages will work more havoc and cause job losses for over 50% of the workers in Nigeria.

He said the House is aware of the need to encourage the sustainability of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria, hence NAFDAC’s policy to place a ban on the production of beverages in small sachets and bottles will be counterproductive.

He said the House is also aware that the decision to place a ban on the production of beverages in small sachets and bottles will encourage unscrupulous elements to go about the production of such drinks and products without recourse to NAFDAC.

He that the ban on the registration of beverages in small sachets and bottles will work more hardship on Nigerians whose livelihoods come from the production and sale of such beverages and will, in the long run, plunge more Nigerians into unemployment and economic hardship and cause them to suffer more in view of the current subsidy removal regime.

The lawmakers gave the committee four weeks to carryout the investigation and report back for further legislative action.

Killer Of Enugu Makeup Artist To Die By Hanging

Mohammed Shosanya

An Enugu State High Court on Wednesday sentenced Chiamaka Ifezue to death by hanging for killing an Enugu-based makeup artist, Ijeoma nweke.

The incident happened on November 16, 2020.

Justice Kenneth Okpe, in a two-hour judgement, found the accused guilty of killing the victim, noting that it resolved the issue against the defendant by the evidence placed before the court.

Justice Okpe said that, “This Court is unable to see the evidence that would have been against the prosecution’s case if the body of the deceased was exhumed and autopsy conducted. I therefore hold that the argument and submission in that regard was misconceived.

“In the whole, I hold that the prosecution by cogent and credible evidence proved the case against the defendant beyond reasonable doubt and as required by law. Accordingly, I hereby find the defendant guilty of the offence of murder.

“The defendant was in Count 2, charged under Section 274(1) of the Criminal Code Law of Enugu State Cap. 30, Revised Laws of Enugu State, 2004 which prescribes death sentences as punishment.

“This Court cannot therefore, notwithstanding the plea for mercy, return a lower sentence. In Lucky v. State (2016) LPELR-40541 the Supreme Court warned that where statute has prescribed mandatory sentences, the trial court will lack the power to exercise discretion. It must return the prescribed punishment.

“But before I do that, let me state that this defendant, though having a gentle mien, has a heart of steel. She carried on through the trial with a sense of fulfilment that the mission was accomplished and that her freedom was a matter of time.

“There was no remorse shown from the beginning of trial till judgment day. Not even on the day the then second defendant was discharged on the application of no case to answer did she feel bad.

“Of course, her counsel also did not help matters that day with their boast in open court, to immediately appeal against the ruling as it affected the defendant, shortly after the ruling was delivered. The main appeal and application to the Governor for pardon are options now available to the defendant.

“Meanwhile, I hereby sentence the defendant, Ifezue Chiamaka, to death by hanging until she is dead. May God have mercy on her soul.”

Lawyers of the defendant, Chuma Oguejiofor and N. Aro had pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy particularly as the defendant is a young person and a first offender.

But,lawyers of the state led by the Director, Public Prosecution Ngozi Okoye, agreed that there is no evidence of previous conviction against the defendant but reminded the Court that in the circumstance of the case, that the sentence is mandatory.

The corpse of the make-up artist was found in Maryland within Enugu Metropolis on Monday, November 16, 2020. Nweke had left home on Wednesday, 11 November, for a job but went missing afterwards.

Her supposed client, having refused to disclose the location for the job, asked the deceased to stop at the Enugu State Broadcasting Service (ESBS) bus stop, where she will then be taken to the venue.

Having perceived foul play, Nweke sent the client’s phone number to her brother via text. Her phones were unreachable after hours leading to suspicion that she might have been kidnapped.

This led to a frantic search for her by friends and relatives until early on Monday morning when her corpse was found at Maryland in Enugu. Eyewitnesses said that her corpse was mutilated with a substance suspected to be acid.

Liquidity Challenges Responsible For Nigeria’s Poor Power Generation-Kaduna Electric Boss

Mohammed Shosanya

The Managing Director/CEO of Kaduna Electric, Dr. Umar Abubakar Hashidu has attributed the abysmal power generation in the country over the years to severe liquidity challenges facing the power sector arising from poor remittance by Nigerian electricity consumers.

He disclosed this on Wednesday, in Kaduna when he received the Chief Medical Director, National Eye Center, Kaduna, Dr. Aminatu AbdurRahman in his office.

He said due to the widespread default by electricity consumers across the country, the distribution companies have been unable to discharge their market obligations, thereby denying all players in the sector of the needed resources for adequate investment in network rehabilitation, expansion and infrastructure upgrade.

Dr. Hashidu,who explained the dynamics of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry, from gas suppliers, generation, down to the distribution companies, disclosed that there is renewed effort by all relevant stakeholders to change the narrative.

He said that: “Nigerians must collectively accept the fact that those who continuously default or deliberately evade payment of their electricity bills constitute the clog on the wheel of the nation’s power sector development”.

He assured the National Eye Center CMD of the company’s resolve to ensure sustainable improvement in service delivery and prompt response to all their demands.

“We are adopting new mechanism and deploying relevant technology to increase visibility and endure that our staff live up to their responsibilities at all times”, he said.

In her remarks, the Acting Chief Medical Director, National Eye Center, Kaduna, Dr. Aminatu AbdurRahman expressed deep appreciation to the Management of Kaduna Electric for what she described as “uncommon consideration being given to the Center.

Dr. Aminatu AbdurRahman, who disclosed that the National Eye Center is the only tertiary eye care institution in Nigeria, promised to ensure that the National Eye Center’s obligations to Kaduna Electric are discharged in accordance with the agreed terms.

In a related development, the Managing Director/CEO of Kaduna Electric, Dr. Umar Abubakar Hashidu has assured the military high command of the unwavering commitment of the company to continue to provide steady electricity services to military formations in its franchise.

Dr. Umar Hashidu gave the assurance when the Commander of the Nigerian Air force, 453 Base Services Group, Kaduna, Air Commodore Mohammed Adamu Garba paid him a courtesy visit in his office today.

He disclosed that Kaduna Electric shall continue to give sufficient consideration to the Airforce Base and all other military formations in its franchise given the critical importance of such establishments to national security.

“As we pride ourselves as the home of the armed forces, we are delighted to be part of the success stories of the military and shall remain undaunted in our commitment”.

Speaking,the Commander, 453 Base Services Group, Air Commodore, Mohammed Adamu Garba thanked the Managing Director for granting audience to his team at short notice and pleaded for more collaboration with Kaduna Electric in addressing some lingering electricity challenges in the Base.