NNPC/Shell JV Commences Oil Exploration In Ogun

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL), is set to commence oil and gas exploration in Ogun State

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri,
Managing Director, Shell Petroleum Development Company Ltd, Mr. Osagie Okubor; Chief Executive, Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, Engr. Gbenga Komolafe and the Group Chief Executive Officer, NNPC Ltd, Mr Mele Kyari,visited Ogun State on Friday on plans by the Federal Government to commence oil exploration in the state.

Speaking,Hon. Lokpobiri,said Ogun State has always been part of the Dahomey Basin with prospect of having huge deposit of hyrdro-carbon.

The Minister added: “We decided that we are going to resume exploration in the different Basins; we decided to come to Ogun State to reassure the people that we have very high potential of discoveries here. Ogun has always been part of the Dahomey Basin and our presence underscore the seriousness the federal government attaches to the exploration activities that we want to carry out in Ogun State.”

Hon. Lokpobiri,who said that oil and gas remain the quickest way to Nigeria’s economic prosperity, explained that his team is in the State in continuation of the campaign for exploration activities.

According to him,the visit was also to demonstrate the seriousness and commitment of the federal government to shore up its revenue through the oil and gas sector.

“Today we are here to tell the people of the federal government’s commitment to ensuring that we continue our campaign and exploration activities across the country. We are doing this exploration activities in several places across Nigeria and today we are in Ogun after which we will proceed to Sokoto State,” he added.

Also speaking,the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited,(NNPCL) Mr. Mele Kyari, said Ogun State is blessed to be in the Dahomey Basin corridor with expected high deposit of oil, assuring that the corporation is coming back in ernest to commence exploration activities, even as he expressed the hope that oil would be found in commercial quantity.

The Chief Executive Officer, Nigerians Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, Mr. Genga Komolafe, said the coming of the team to Ogun State is to further demonstrate the commitment of the Federal Government to grow the oil reserves and enhanced federation revenue.

“We all understand that Nigeria is very prolific in oil and gas, but then there is still need to grow the reserves through exploration activities given our huge hyrdro-carbon as a bench mark,” he noted.

He informed that the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) makes provision for the funding of the development of the Frontier Basins, adding that in line with the commitment and the aspirations of the government, the Nigerian Petroleum Regulatory Commission is working in synergy with the NNPCL to leverage on the PIA to aggressively carry out oil exploration in the Dahomey Basin.

“The Dahomey Basin stretches up to Delta, Edo, Ogun and Ondo states. We intend to in the course of this exercise, cover all those states leveraging on the provision of Section 9, Subsection 4 of the PIA. This is good opportunity for the people of Ogun State and it would be complementary to the reforms and transformation initiatives of the governor. We want to congratulate the governor and the people for being the beneficiaries of this initiative,” Komolafe said.

In his remarks,Governor Abiodun said Ogun State is part of the OPLs 302,303 306, 307, saying the acreages present unique opportunities for the qualification as a Frontier Exploration State as defined in the PIA.

He observed that the history and studies over the years allow any investment under the frontier exploration basin funding to not only realize the oil and gas potentials, but also acquire data that would aid Bitumen exploration and exploitation in Nigeria.

Abiodun maintained that the country holds the second largest resolves in the world of 42,b tons, adding that a lot of studies have shown the potential of the basins, which brings Ogun State to the fore and projecting it towards becoming a beneficiary to achieve commercial success and derive economic benefits from exploration and production within a minimum time schedule.

“It is noteworthy that this is a region of the country that provides ease of access, low entry and operating costs, a safe and welcoming community and a very active state government support and participation.

“Ogun State therefore presents some unique opportunities towards the realization of the full intentions of the PIA section 9 on frontier exploration as it will contribute to guarantee additional petroleum production of additional petroleum products for the country and afford more supply to potential refineries in the area.

“As a low hanging result, this area also presents the opportunity for Bitumen extraction, thereby reducing import dependency and bringing with its savings in foreign exchange expenditure on this single line item,” governor said.

AEDC Threatens To Disconnect Customers Over Unpaid Bills

Mohammed Shosanya

The Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC),has threatened to disconnect electricity service to customers who fail to clear their bills in 72 hours.

Adefisayo Akinsanya, the Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications, who conveyed this in a statement, said AEDC gave Monday, June 3, 2024, for debtors to clear their bills or will face disconnection of their electricity supply.

He added:”AEDC is notifying all customers with outstanding bills to settle their accounts immediately to avoid service disruption.

“To this end, customers who are yet to settle their outstanding bills within the next 72 hours, by Monday, June 3, 2024, will face disconnection of their electricity supply.

“AEDC emphasizes the importance of adhering to payment deadlines to ensure efficient and reliable service.

“The timely payment of electricity bills remains crucial for the continued operation and enhancement of AEDC’s infrastructure, which is essential for delivering uninterrupted service to the community.

“Deadline for Payment: All outstanding bills must be paid within 72 hours of this notice, by Monday, June 3, 2024” .

Army Goes After Terrorists Who Killed Five Soldiers In Abia

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigerian Army has hinted that it will retaliate against the death of five soldiers by terrorists in Abia State.

Five soldiers and six civilians were said to have lost their lives during a clash between troops of the armed forces of Nigeria and suspected IPOB/ ESN terrorists in Abia state.

The Director, Defence Media Operations, Major General Edward Buba in a statement, on Friday to newsmen,said:The military would be fierce in its response. We would bring overwhelming military pressure on the group to ensure their total defeat.”

He disclosed that troops of OP UDO KA deployed at Obikabia Junction Checkpoint in Obingwa Local Government Areas adjourning Aba metropolis in Abia State were attacked and sadly killed by terrorist of IPOB/ ESN.

He said:”The troops deployed to enforce peace in the area and protect the citizens were massed attacked by the terrorists.

“The terrorist in three tinted Prado Toyota SUVs and others from builtup areas surrounding the checkpoint, sprang a surprise attack on the checkpoint.

“The attack sadly took the lifes of five personnel of the armed forces killed in action while six civilians were killed in the cross fire.

“The armed forces mourns the death of these troops as each and every soldier lost in battle is a terrible loss. Meanwhile, investigation are ongoing concerning the attack.

“Overall, it must be reinterated that the lifeline of the terrorist is the people and this situation is no exemption. Winning the war without the support of the people is close to impossible.”

Buba emphasized that the IPOB capitalised on this to perpetrate attacks on the troops. The situation, he added “leaves more to be desired.”

British Airways Opens Luxurious Lounge In Lagos Airport

Mohammed Shosanya

British Airways has opened a renovated luxurious lounge in Lagos airport following a six-month refurbishment.

The space has been designed to give customers more room to enjoy an upgraded food and beverage experience,a statement said.

It allows customers to relax, dine or work in a premium space, while also proudly exhibiting local art from Akoje Gallery.

According to the statement,customers will be transported into a new contemporary lounge as soon as they pass through the grand entrance with floor to ceiling glass.

Following significant investment, the airline has created zones throughout the 360 square metres of space to cater for different customers’ needs.

It added:”For those who want to dine ahead of the evening flight to London, there is a self-serve dining area with a wide selection of freshly made dishes. The food and drink menu offers a range of Nigerian classics and British inspired dishes which will change regularly.

“Customers can also pull up a chair at a newly built bar where a bartender will serve drinks including cocktails, wine, and soft drinks. Champagne and canapes will also be offered to customers travelling in First”.

To mark British Airways’ strong association with Nigeria, art from local artists will be displayed across the lounge.

The airline has launched a partnership with Akoje Gallery – founded by Maro Itoje and Khalil Akar – to curate an innovative new in-lounge exhibition featuring and celebrating guest artists. The first showcase of works is themed ‘New Beginnings’ to celebrate the lounge opening. The selected artists will centre their works around the chosen theme.

The first artists are:

o Olawunmi Banjo: Two paintings titled The Wait I and II

o Qozeem Abdul Rahman: A Large painting titled The Guardian

o Steve Ekpenisi: A large metal sculpture titled Ulaga

The newly imagined lounge space features a quiet room with day beds, while the main area features relaxing comfy sofas and clusters of tables and chairs.

Customers needing to work can take advantage of new printing facilities,the statement said.

Calum Laming, British Airways’ Chief Customer Officer, said: “We’re focused on investing in the entire customer journey, not just on board. For many of our customers, lounges are an important part of their experience, and the re-design of our Lagos lounge is a key part of our transformation strategy across our lounges around the world.

“We’re delighted to open our doors to this stunning lounge in Lagos and we’re confident customers will enjoy spending time in this cleverly created space.”

The lounge is open to customers travelling in Club World (business) and first, as well as Silver and Gold Executive Club Members.

Khalil Akar, The Akoje Gallery adds: “We are honoured to partner with British Airways and give local Nigerian artists the chance to showcase their talents in the brand-new Lagos Lounge. We hope British Airways passengers enjoy the immersion in Nigerian culture and the artists’ contribution to their local art community.”

Rivers: Police Arrest Suspect Who  Raped Pastor’s Pregnant Wife To Death

Mohammed Shosanya

The Police in Rivers State have arrested a fleeing suspect, identified as Emeka, accused of raping and strangling Mrs Chigbewejim Steward, the pregnant wife of an assistant pastor in Abarikpo community, Ahoada East Local Government Area of Rivers state.

He was apprehended by operatives of the Ahoada Divisional Police headquarters in the state on Thursday after fleeing for 15 months upon committing the heinous crime on February 12, 2023.

Speaking on the circumstances that led the tragic death of his wife, the husband, Mr Lawyer Steward, An assistant Pastor of the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Abarikpo community,said deceased had a minor altercation with the suspect, where his wife addressed the suspect as a wicked man.

He added that after the quarrel, the suspect mobilised his gang, broke into their house around 1am and whisked away his five months pregnant wife to their forest hideout, where the poor woman was gang raped to death.

He said:“Yes Mr Emeka,he is the mastermind of the death of my wife. After having a quarrel with my wife that morning, my wife called him a wicked man.

”He told my wife you called me wicked man, you will see wickedness today.And that night around 1am breaking Sunday morning 12th February 2023,those bad boys came to my house and broke the door and take my wife away.

“Emeka and his gang raped my wife who was five months pregnant and strangled her to death, Police arrested him last week Thursday. Now he is in the Police custody, I have gone there to give a statement.”

Mr. Steward,who confirmed the arrest of the suspect, begged the government to ensure justice in the matter and not allow the suspect to go scott free.

“I want the Government to intervene so that justice will prevail.”

The husband of the deceased disclosed that his wife’s corpse was discovered close to a fishing pond several hours after she was abducted with multiple bruises and bleeding from her private part.

Mr. Steward noted that the corpse of his wife had been deposited in morgue, added that his late with until her death had fearlessly condemned criminal and cult related activities in Abarikpo community.

When contacted, the Public Relations Officer for the Rivers State Police Command, SP Grace Iringe-Koko confirmed the arrest of the suspect.

LG Autonomy:FG’s Legal Action Against Governors’ Reckless Abuse Of Power Represents  New Dawn For Nigeria’s Local Councils

Ishowo Olanrewaju

In a significant move towards reinforcing democratic principles and ensuring genuine representation at the grassroots, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN as well as National Assembly (NASS) leaders have collectively called out state governors for their manipulation of local government councils.

To demonstrate its commitment towards the revitalisation of LG administration in the country, the Federal Government, last week, dragged the 36 state governors before the Supreme Court, seeking the enforcement of full autonomy of local governments in Nigeria.

Among the injunctions,the Federal Government is urging the apex court to issue is an order prohibiting state governors from embarking on unilateral, arbitrary and unlawful dissolution of democratically elected local government chairmen, and constituting caretaker committees in their place.

It also prayed the court to make an order permitting the funds meant for the LGs to be directly channelled to them from the Federation Account in line with the provisions of the Constitution as against how the governors take the advantage of section 162(6) at the detriment of the third tier of Government in their respective states.

These actions almost make it to be alleged unlawful joint accounts. The AGF shouldn’t go back on his radical approach to unboundle this alleged controversial section.

According to media reports,the case is slated for hearing today, May 30, but it is not clear if the state governments who have always opposed moves to enthrone independence of LGs, have filed their defence before the court.

This move by the incumbent administration of Tinubu marks a decisive shift from the previous administration’s approach and shows commitment to local government autonomy, which has long been undermined by political interests at the state level.

One of the key issues the Tinubu government wants to address is the unlawful practice of appointing loyalists or “stooges” to local government positions by state governors. This undemocratic trend is particularly evident in states like Kwara, where Governor Abdulrahman has been prioritizing his political interests over the will of the people.

By handpicking his loyalists to man local councils, the governor has in the last five years stifled the democratic process, depriving the masses of their fundamental right to choose their representatives.

This practice not only erodes public trust in the electoral process but also diminishes the quality of governance at the local level. Local governments, which are supposed to be the closest to the people and most responsive to their needs, are rendered ineffective when they are led by individuals who owe their allegiance to the governor rather than the electorate.

President Tinubu’s call for genuine local government elections is a commendable departure from the approach taken by his predecessor.

The former administration’s lack of decisive action on local government autonomy allowed state governors to continue their manipulative practices unchecked. Tinubu’s administration, however, is signaling a clear intent to rectify this imbalance and restore power to the people.

In a recent statement, President Tinubu emphasized the importance of local governments in promoting grassroots development and delivering essential services to citizens. He stressed that for local governments to function effectively, they must be led by individuals who are truly representative of their communities, not mere extensions of the governor’s office.

While President Tinubu’s stance is a critical step forward, it is imperative that the National Assembly takes concrete legislative actions to support this vision. The laws governing local government elections must be amended to ensure that these elections are conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) rather than state electoral authorities. This change is crucial to eliminating the undue influence that state governors currently wield over the local election process.

NASS leaders have a significant role to play in this regard. By amending the constitution to transfer the responsibility of conducting local government elections to INEC, they can help safeguard the integrity of these elections and ensure that they are free, fair and reflective of the people’s will. This legislative change will be a significant stride towards achieving genuine local government autonomy and enhancing democratic governance in Nigeria.

In states like Kwara, where the governor’s manipulation of local government elections has been particularly egregious, the impact of such reforms would be profound.

Notwithstanding that I have reservations on the uprightness and independence of INEC, but allowing the national electoral body to oversee these elections would ensure a level playing field for all candidates and restore the people’s confidence in the electoral process.

By advocating for INEC’s oversight of these elections, they are championing the cause of local government autonomy and ensuring that the voices of the masses are heard and respected. It is now up to the National Assembly to translate this vision into reality through timely and decisive legislative action.

In doing so, they will not only uphold the principles of democracy but also pave the way for more effective and responsive governance at the grassroots.

This is a momentous opportunity for Nigeria to reaffirm its commitment to democratic ideals and empower its citizens to choose their representatives freely and fairly.

However, it’s important to recognize that the National Assembly has never been the primary obstacle to local government autonomy. The real problem lies within the State Houses of Assembly, which are predominantly controlled by their respective state governors.

These governors exert considerable influence over the legislative processes at the state level, effectively stalling any progress towards genuine local government autonomy.

The State Houses of Assembly, often aligned with the interests of the governors, have consistently failed to pass necessary amendments that would empower local governments.

This entrenched power dynamic requires the need for a systemic overhaul to ensure that local government elections are truly democratic and independent of state level political manipulations.