NDIC Pledges Improved Partnership With CBN To Strengthen Banking Sector

Mohammed Shosanya

Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC),has pledged to continue to collaborate with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ensure the resilience and stability of the Nigerian banking sector.

The Managing Director/Chief Executive of NDIC, Mr Bello Hassan who was represented by the Zonal Controller, Mrs Pamela Roberts, stated this on Friday during the NDIC special day at the 35th Enugu International Trade Fair.

He said: “In light of the ongoing global economic dynamics, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has stepped up regulatory efforts to ensure the resilience and stability of the Nigerian banking sector. A significant stride in this direction is the revision and pegging of higher minimum capital requirements for banks operating in Nigeria.

“Under this proposal, commercial banks would be required to maintain minimum capital levels of N500 billion, N200 billion, and N50 billion for International, national, and regional institutions, as well as N50 billion for merchant banks while national and regional non-interest banks are required to maintain N20 billion and N10 billion respectively.

“This strategic recapitalization initiative is in line with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration urge to grow Nigeria’s economy to the ranks of $1 trillion based economies. This will not only strengthen the banking system but would also enhance the sector’s ability to withstand financial shocks.

“As ever NDIC will continue to collaborate with the CBN in ensuring a seamless transition while safeguarding depositors interest,” he said.

He stated further that the NDIC has been unwavering in its commitment to promptly reimburse depositors affected by bank failures noting “Since the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) revoked the licenses of 179 Microfinance Banks and 4 Primary Mortgage Banks in 2023, the NDIC has continued to efficiently disburse insured sums to verified depositors of these closed institutions.

He said: “Notably, depositors who have undergone verification and have provided alternative account details have received their payments seamlessly within a record period of 5 working days.

“While It’s worth noting that depositors with amounts exceeding the insured limit will receive liquidation dividends once debts are recovered and assets of the closed banks are Disposed. Moreover, the NDIC strongly encourages depositors of the affected banks to come forward with their Bank Verification Number (BVN), proof of account ownership, proper identification, and/or alternative account details. Various channels are
available for claims, including visiting nearest NDIC offices in person,” he said

ECCIMA’s President Sir Odeiga Jideonwo,in his address,said NDIC remains a great confidence back up for Nigerian teeming depositors who had hitherto suffered dearly in the past prior to the establishment of NDIC by losing all their deposits whenever tsunami occurred in the banking sector with banks closing their doors permanently against depositors.

He commended NDIC for the role they are playing towards building confidence among bank depositors thereby helping to grow the Nigerian financial sector.

FG Explains Drop In Nigeria’s Oil Output In Q1

Mohammed Shosanya

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources(oil)Heineken Lokpobiri,says the drop in crude oil production in the first quarter of 2024 is due to challenges with the Trans-Niger pipeline (TNP) and the maintenance carried out by some oil companies.

He spoke in a statement signed by Nneamaka Okafor, his special assistant, media and communications, in Abuja on Friday.

The TNP, operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC), is a major pipeline capable of transporting about 180,000 barrels of crude per day to the Bonny export terminal.

Speaking on the decline, Lokpobiri said the federal government was intensifying efforts to restore the production to the previous level of 1.7 million barrels per day and also exceed it.

He clarifies that the reported “production shortfall was primarily due to issues encountered on the Trans Niger Pipeline, coupled with maintenance activities carried out by some Oil companies operating in Nigeria,” he said.

Lokpobiri said production is expected to return to its previous levels in the coming days.

He said his ministry is actively engaged in policy evolution aimed at maximising the utilisation of all available wells in Nigeria.

“This strategic approach will enable the country to ramp up production, thereby generating vital revenue to stabilize the nation’s foreign exchange reserves,” he said.

“The increased revenue will also empower the government to fulfill its commitments in providing essential infrastructure, as outlined in the 2024 budget.”

Lokpobiri also said his ministry remains committed to ensuring the sustainability and growth of Nigeria’s oil sector, which plays a crucial role in driving the nation’s economy.

Police Arrest Abductor Of Sen. Nwoko’s Legal Aide,1,340 Others

Mohammed Shosanya

Operatives of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has arrested a suspected kidnapper of one Barr Chris Agidy, the legal aide to Senator Ned Nwoko and Mr Sunday Yahaya Zakwai, the village head of Ketti Village who were both killed by him.

The suspect, Samaila Wakili Fafa AKA Habu Ibrahim, a kidnap kingpin was on the FCT Command’s wanted list with a bounty placed on him by the Honourable Minister of the FCT.

Addressing newsmen on Friday, during the parade of the suspects at the IRT headquarters, Abuja, the Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi disclosed that a total of 1,346 suspects were arrested by the police for various violent crimes in the five weeks.

He said: “Operatives of the FCT Command on 24th February, 2024, acting upon credible intelligence stormed Sardauna, Toto forests and arrested one Samaila Wakili Fafa AKA Habu Ibrahim, a kidnap kingpin on the Command wanted list with a bounty placed on him by the Honourable Minister of the FCT.

“He confessed to several killings done by himself and his gang, including the abduction of one Barr Chris Agidy, the legal aide to Senator Ned Nwoko and Mr Sunday Yahaya Zakwai, the village head of Ketti Village who were both killed by him.

“He led operatives to where he buried the remains of the Late Barr Agidy whose corpse was exhumed and deposited at Gwagwalada General Hospital.”

He also stated that, the NPF has made salient achievements in combating crimes across the country over the past five weeks in its bid to make crime less attractive and ensuring the safety of all citizens.

This,he said,led to the “arrest of 385 armed robbery suspects, 238 kidnapping suspects, 341 murder/homicide suspects, 87 suspects connected with unlawful possession of prohibited firearms, 143 rape suspects, 151 cultism suspects. Also, the police have recovered 143 firearms of various calibres, 741 ammunitions, and 72 stolen vehicles, as well as the rescue of 461 kidnapped victims across the country.

“Amongst the pivotal cases, on 4th Mach, 2024, a team from Operation Zenda Joint Task Force, acting on credible intelligence, invaded an arms manufacturing hideout at Amahundu, Nanev, Kwande Local Government Area of Benue State and arrested nine suspects including a Cameroonian.

“Exhibits recovered from them include 8 Barretta Pistols under fabrication, 1 AK-47 rifle, 10 AK47 live ammunition, 5 Barretta pistol ammunition, four (4) welding gas cylinders and other fabrication materials.”

In a related development, the Force Spokesperson noted that, “The NPF recognizing the essential role of officer welfare in enhancing service delivery, has taken strategic steps to ensure that officers and men of the Force are adequately catered for.

“Some of the recent activities of the Force in this regard include the swift disbursement of insurance packages to families of fallen policemen within the past nine months, amounting to 7.2 billion Naira, the Police Awards and Commendation Ceremony scheduled for April 15th, 2024, at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, the NPF Housing Summit scheduled for April 22nd to 23rd, 2024, with focus on viable housing solutions and the launch of the Police Fund to support officers’ accommodation needs.

“The Inspector General of Police, IGP Kayode Adeolu Egbetokun while emphasizing the importance of improving officer welfare and morale, as it directly correlates with effective service delivery and crime prevention, also urged all landlords and employers of domestic staff in the Federal Capital Territory, and by extension other states of the Federation.”

This, he said, will ensure they visit police stations within their areas to request for, and fill forms for proper profiling of intended employees/tenants for employment and tenancy purposes so as to strengthen the capacity of the NPF to identify and deter potential threats within the FCT.

Nigeria’s Energy Sector Needs Robust Collaboration

Mercy Salawu

The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), Nigerian Council,has called for collaborative efforts in addressing the challenges and opportunities facing Nigeria’s energy sector.

In a recent address at the opening ceremony of the 2024 edition of Oloibiri Lecture Series and Energy Forum (OLEF), the Chairman of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), Nigerian Council, Salahuddeen Tahir, highlighted the importance of collaborative efforts in addressing Nigeria’s energy sector challenges and emphasized the role of the Oloibiri Lecture and Energy Forum (OLEF) Series as a beacon of knowledge, innovation, and progress in the industry.

“This year’s forum focuses on the theme; Stability in the Nigerian Energy Sector: Integrated Strategies for Infrastructure, Transportation, and Security, which underscores the imperative of cohesive efforts to address challenges and harness opportunities in Nigeria’s dynamic energy landscape,” Salahuddeen Tahir, Chairman, SPE, Nigerian Council, said.

“Stability in the energy sector is paramount for sustaining economic growth, ensuring national security, and promoting environmental sustainability”, Tahir added.

Mr. Tahir also expressed SPE Nigerian Council’s support for country’s candidacy to host the headquarters of the African Energy Bank, citing the Nigeria’s potential and leadership in the energy sector.

In his keynote speech, the Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPC Limited, Mr. Mele Kolo Kyari, emphasized the critical importance of bridging the en­ergy access gap to the creation of economic prosperity of the country. To bridge the energy access gap in Nigeria, Kyari said NNPC Ltd was working on developing the right infrastructure to deliver oil and gas to drive prosperity for Nigerians.

“We are committed to develop­ing gas infrastructure across the country,” Kyari stated, stressing that the company’s commitment was not just a statutory require­ment of the Petroleum Industry Act, but a pledge to ensure energy security beyond fuel supply.

“We are dedicated to invest­ing in critical infrastructure to enhance economic prosperity by supplying gas to the domestic market, targeting at least 8 billion cubic meters,” Kyari added.

In his address, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri, represented by Engr. Busari Kamoru, stated that the federal government has identified transportation, infrastructure, and security as key priority areas in tackling energy deficit in the sector as these will bring about stability, growth, and sustenance of a better energy sector.

“Nigeria has the potential to transition towards a more sustainable energy future by improving on the key areas of infrastructure, transportation and security while also embracing research and innovations towards renewable energy and fostering collaboration between various stakeholders,” Lokpobiri said.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Gas), Hon. Ekperikpe Ekpo, represented by Mrs. Oluremi Komolafe, in his state of industry address, said that the shift towards gas is not merely an option but a necessity towards Nigeria’s economic resilience.

“Our enormous gas resources presents a unique opportunity to diversify our revenue streams to reduce dependence on oil to create a more robust and sustainable economic foundation”, Ekpo said.

NSCDC Uncovers Illegal Crude Oil Refinery In Rivers

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Antivandal Squad in Rivers State have uncovered an illegal crude oil refining site in Adobi-Akwa settlement, Etche Local Government Area of Rivers State.

Operatives of the corps uncovered the site hidden deep in the forest following a tip off,says statement by the Command’s Public Relations Officer, SC Olufemi Ayodele on Friday,

The Rivers State Commandant, Basil Igwebueze, who took newsmen across the thick forest which is about six to seven kilometers from the main town to inspect the site, said the suspects connected pipes to a wellbead belonging to a yet to be identified company and diverted the product to the illegal refinery.

Igwebueze,who was represented by the Head of Antivandal Squad, CSC Peters Ibiso, disclosed that the suspected vandals connected their galvanized pipes to several cooking pots, where they heat up the crude to produce Automotive Gas Oil (AGO).

He noted that the suspects upon sighting the security personnel, took to their heels and abandoned the site, adding that investigation had been launched.

“Upon receiving a tip off, the Antivandal operatives swung into action to uncover this illegal oil bunkering site, they were in this forest for two days having cordoned the area; unfortunately the perpetrators upon sighting our men took to their heels but investigation is still ongoing to effect the arrests of such defiant elements”.

The Antivandal Unit Head further narrated the operation techniques of the operators of local illegal refineries from the point of extraction of crude through vandalism of oil pipelines to cooking in various ovens where the content is subjected to high temperature and transmitted through pipes to reservoirs for storage and onward trans loading to buyers.

He hinted that the Command will not relent in the fight against illegal dealings in petroleum products and that the public should have more trust in the NSCDC by providing actionable intelligence that would enhance possible arrest of economic saboteurs in the State.

“Our commitment to continuously work in tandem with the prosecutorial mandate of the Corps in order to rid the State of economic saboteurs remains unchanged, we value our informants and most especially the intelligence driven tip off received from time to time.

“It is also our duty to ensure that our source of information are not disclosed so as to protect our informants, it is therefore our delight that the public will continue to have confidence and trust in us as we together protect the nation’s Critical National Assets and Infrastructure from daredevil vandals”,he said”.

Naira To Exchange Below N1,000 Per Dollar In Few Months-Report

Mohammed Shosanya

A report by Goldman Sachs economists,says with the appreciation rate of the Naira in the foreign exchange market, the currency may exchange below N1,000 per Dollar in the coming months.

The report stated that the Naira rallied 12 per cent against the Dollar in April, adding to its 14 per cent surge in March.

It described Naira as the best-performing currency this month (April), saying the currency will exchange below N1,000 per Dollar.

The group’s projection became a reality on Monday when the Naira exchanged at N1,230.61 at the official market and N1,200 at the parallel market.

With the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, intervening by selling foreign exchange to Bureau De Change operators at a revised rate of N1,101 per Dollar from N1,251, the Naira appreciated by N60, trading at 1,140 per Dollar at the Parallel Market on Friday.

In the past months, CBN has said the country has witnessed a surge in capital inflows on the backdrop of several policy interventions.

At its last Monetary Policy Committee, MPC meeting, the CBN raised the interest rate to 24.75 per cent, helping it retrace losses caused by two devaluations since June last year.

Better And Faster Results As Shell Introduces Unmanned Survey In Nigeria

By Precious Okolobo

It’s January 14, 2024, and Accession 500, a small Uncrewed Surface Vessel (USV) is riding the waves around Bonny into the history books of survey in the oil industry in Nigeria. Remotely controlled by personnel on shore, the USV runs along survey lines on a pipeline route powered by diesel engines, in the first crewless survey in Nigeria deployed by The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) Ltd.

The survey ran non-stop for 166 hours and the results came in real-time with better quality data. “We’re excited at the improvements in the new face of survey in Nigeria,” said SPDC’s Chief Surveyor and Head, Offshore Survey Operations, Steve Keedwell. “It would have taken greater time and effort and cost more money to mobilise personnel and materials for this type of survey with high energy consumption, safety exposure and the risk of low-quality data. The results came in faster with higher quality as the human element was reduced to its barest minimum.”

SPDC had these benefits in mind when it began efforts to introduce crewless survey in 2019 after the technology was successfully tested and deployed in other Shell Operating Units. The restrictions on physical presence at work sites at the time due to covid-19 restrictions helped to speed up the process. The company also saw an opportunity to further develop Nigerian content and worked with an indigenous vendor, Compass Survey Ltd which deployed the vessel with support from their technical partners, Unmanned Survey Solutions, UK.

Bonny was the choice for the first survey because of a project around the landfall area which required using a vessel with very shallow draft. An uncrewed vessel was the answer as it reduces exposure to health, safety an environment due to the shallow water area that needed to be surveyed.

Project manager Compass Survey Ltd, Joshua Oriero, who monitored the exercise said: “The Bonny deployment was a huge success. The team comprised pilots, surveyors, an engineer, data processors and an onsite remote operator for human intervention where necessary. The USV was operated and monitored remotely through a secure internet connection. The unit was set to travel to the survey location and it started running the survey lines already programmed into the autopilot system.”

There was a drastic reduction in carbon emission. For example, less than 27 litres of diesel were consumed per day, compared to more than 1,500 – 6,000 on traditional vessels depending on the size. The amount of energy saved would even be higher over the seven days of a typical deployment. Previously, human error during offset measurements and calibration posed significant challenges in surveys. Purpose-built USVs equipped with permanently mounted sensors eliminate these error sources, leading to improved data quality due to the reduction of noise from generators usually used on crewed vessels.

General Manager, Nigerian Content Development, SPDC ‘Lanre Olawuyi is happy with the prospects of the technology in Nigeria. “Despite concerns about job losses, crewless surveys will create new employment opportunities. The contractor and their technical partner have already trained a Nigerian remote operator in Bonny.

As this technology expands, more people will gain skills as engineers, remote helmsmen, data processors and online surveyors to support uncrewed surveys, along with USV maintenance personnel. SPDC will continue to support Nigerian companies to take advantage of the evolving opportunities through its vendor development programmes.”

SPDC is looking to apply the lessons from the Bonny exercise in future deployments. These include availability of spare parts to avoid delay in repairs, the need for a robust system to manage the large volume of data acquired in a short time and the presence of fishing nets on the survey route. But the main lesson is that, given the vast improvement in data quality and safety, coupled with flexibility and ease of deployment, the new face of survey in Nigeria has a bright future.

Kingmakers Select Olakulehin As Next Olubadan

Mohammed Shosanya

The Olubadan-in-Council,has appointed the current Balogun of Ibadanland, High Chief Owolabi Akinloye Olakulehin as the 43rd Olubadan of Ibadanland.

It would be recalled that High Chief Ajibola few days ago addressed the press, saying High Chief Olakulehin is not medically fit to occupy Olubadan stool presently, stressing that High Chief Olakulehin needs more time to feel better.

This outburst has been attracting critism in several quarters within, Ibadan, Nigeria and outside the country.

Those who faulted Ajibola’s claim stated that when does High Chief Ajibola become medical doctor to certify one’s health status.

However,on Friday all the High Chiefs present at Mapo’s meeting ratified Olakulehin’s appointment as the next Olubadan.

The position of Olubadan became vacant as a result of the passage of the 42nd Olubadan, Oba Mahood Olalekan Balogun who joined his ancestors last month.

The Olubadan-in-Council met at Mapo hall and nominated Olakulehin which was ratified by all other members present.

Olakulehin was nominated by the Osi Balogun of Ibadanland, High Chief Lateef Adebimpe, which was supported by all other members of the council.

The meeting was chaired by the Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland, former governor of Oyo state, High Chief Rasidi Adewolu Ladoja and was attended by High Chief Olakulehin.

Other High Chiefs who are also members of Olubadan-in-Council at the meeting are; Osi Olubadan, Eddy Oyewole Foko, Ashipa Olubadan, Abiodun Kola-Daisi, Ekerin Olubadan, Hamidu Ajibade, Ekarun Olubadan, Adebayo Akande, Osi Balogun, Lateef Adebimpe, Ashipa Balogun, Kola Adegbola, Ekerin Balogun, Dada Isioye and Ekarun Balogun, Abiodun Azeez.

Immediately after the ratification, the High Chiefs will send the name of Olakulehin to the state governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde for approval.

EKEDC Says More Customers Will Enjoy Minimum Of 20 Hours Power Supply

Mohammed Shosanya

More customers under Eko Electricity Distribution Company’s franchise area are set to experience and enjoy a guaranteed minimum of 20 hours of power supply daily in line with the newly approved Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO) as the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) approves the upgrade of 33 additional feeders to Band A.

Its General Manager, Corporate Communications of EKEDC, Babatunde Lasaki,who disclosed this in a statement on Friday,assured customers within the EKEDC network of ongoing efforts to improve the quality of service rendered to them.

The 33 additional feeders are; Adeleke Adedoyin, Ajeast, Annex, Army Resettlement, British America Tobacco, CIG, Coker, Dideolu, Droyers, Empire Court, Estate, Etim Inyang, Firro, Freeman, Glover, Heritage, M&K Express, Mega Plaza, Montgomery 1, Moore Road, Nest Oil, NIMR, Nipost, Osborne, Ozumba Mbadiwe, Palace Road, Rocky Estate, Rumens, Smith, Station Feeder (Nitel), Victoria Arobieke, DPR and Nitel.

The statement quoted Lasaki as noting that adding the 33 newly approved Band A feeders makes it 54 Band A feeders for EKEDC.

He said:“In our bid to serve our customers better, we are looking to even add more feeders to the list of our Band A feeders so that more customers can enjoy a guaranteed 20 hours of power supply daily. It is also our commitment to ensure that customers under other service bands, that is, Bands B to E also enjoy their guaranteed minimum supply hours while we work to improve our power supply. We are working tirelessly to eliminate supply downtime within our franchise area and achieve our goal of a stable and uninterruptible power supply.”

He further explained that the company has within its ranks a Rapid Response team available to take down any complaints and enquiries from customers regarding power supply which is available on the EKEDC website via www.ekedp.com.

He also urged customers to check the band they belong to by inputting their meter or account numbers on the same website through https://feederinfo.ekedp.com/.

He added that the EKEDC is dedicated to investing more in infrastructural capacity to improve power supply and is working with all the NESI stakeholders to ensure a minimum of 20 hours of supply is available to all its customers.