TotalEnergies, Dangote Refinery Seal Supply Deal

Mohammed Shosanya

TotalEnergies,has signed its first supply deal with Dangote Refinery in Nigeria, Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanne said on Friday.

The action took place during a meeting with Aliko Dangote, but without details of what the agreement entails.

“We met this morning, we made the first deal between both of us,” Pouyanne told a panel at the Africa CEO Forum in Kigali, Rwanda. “The two CEOs met with our head of trading and we found the way to convince them to make a deal,” he added.

Dangote has been trying to secure crude supplies for his 650,000 barrels per day (bpd) refinery, the largest in Africa and Europe when it reaches full capacity.
In May, the company put out a tender for two million barrels of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) Midland crude every month for a year starting in July, a tender document seen by Reuters showed.

The oil refinery, which started production in January, cost $20 billion to build. Dangote aims to reverse Nigeria’s reliance on imports for fuel and other refined products even though the country is Africa’s biggest oil producer.

Dangote said the refinery had enough gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel to supply the African continent and export to Brazil.

“We started producing jet fuel, we are producing diesel, by next month, we’ll be producing gasoline. What that will do, it will be able to take most African crudes,” Dangote told the panel.

“Our capacity is too big for Nigeria. It will be able to supply West Africa, Central Africa and also Southern Africa,” he added.

Burnt Tank Farm Not Ours, Says NNPC Ltd

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd),has clarified that the fire incident at a tank farm in Marine Beach, Apapa, Lagos, was at a depot belonging to HOGL Energy Ltd (Honeywell Depot), and not an NNPC Retail Ltd.’s facility .

Olufemi Soneye,Chief Corporate Communications Officer,NNPC Ltd, cleared the air in a statement obtained by Premium News on Friday.

The fire,which has since been extinguished, was as a result of petroleum products spillage within the perimeter of the tank farm,the statement added.

Meanwhile, NNPC Ltd and other depots in the area have resumed loading activities.

The company assured that the incident will,in no way, affect petroleum products supply and distribution across the country.

Auxillary: Oyo APC Seeks Probe Of Alleged Cover Up By State Govt

Mohammed Shosanya

The Oyo state chapter of All Progressives Congress,has implored the National Special Adviser, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, and the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Kayode Egbedokun,to carry out thorough investigation on the various allegations againstthe former boss of the Park Management System (PMS) in the state,Mr. Mukaila Lamidi with a view to unraveling his sponsors and other accomplices.

Lamidi,popularly known as Auxiliary was paraded on Thursday at the Eleyele, Ibadan headquarters of the Oyo State Police Command following his arrest by the officials of the Department of State Security last week.

The State Commissioner of Police, Adebola Hamzat, told press men during the parade that Lamidi would soon be arraigned in court on several charges which included; murder of one Rahmon which happened in Ibadan in 2021, possession of large cache of arms and ammunition among other crimes.

He was later arraigned same day and remanded at Agodi Correctional Centre.

In a statement issued on Friday and made available to journalists in Ibadan by its Publicity Secretary, Olawale Sadare, the party cautioned against selective justice “as could not have committed the heinous crimes all alone and without the sponsorship or support of the powers-that-be in the state in view of the fact that he was not only a chieftain of the ruling party but also an associate of the PDP governor.

“Arrest and prosecution of Lamidi was long overdue in view of the fact he has always been a thorn in the flesh of the residents of Oyo state and the good people of Ibadanland in particular. It is on this note that we commend the officials of the DSS who eventually got him arrested following a long time of distress calls from his numerous victims.

“Until recently when the bubble burst between him and Gov. Seyi Makinde, the same man (Lamidi) was untouchable as he got the full backing of the Agodi Government House landlords to run a separate government in the state.

“There is no denying the facts that Lamidi and his vicious gang have violated many innocent people’s right since May 29, 2019 when Gov. Makinde came into power. Also, it is an established fact that he had in his possession cache of arms and ammunition which no security agency in the state could boast of.

“He displayed these weapons at will just like he did on several occasions when he went on political functions and campaigns in company of Gov. Makinde. There are even claims from certain quarters that weapons meant for Amotekun Corps in Oyo state ended up in the hands of Lamidi and his gang members.

“Apart from the 2021 incident in which one Rahmon was killed, Lamidi followed the entourage of the governor to Kogi state, Osogbo in Osun state, Ekiti state, Igangan in Oyo state and many other place where he used the stockpiled arms and ammunition brazenly since he was under the state cover. The question on the lips of the people is; “why did Gov. Makinde keep Auxiliary so close to the seat of power for four good years only to part ways with him immediately he got his second term mandate?

“Many members and leaders of our great Party (APC) have fallen victims of Mukaila Lamidi’s reign of terror in the past but this cannot make us support selective justice. Both the NSA and IGP should wade into the matter and ensure that thorough investigation is carried out to unmask those who sponsored or backed Lamidi’s criminal acts in the state.

“With thorough and unbiased investigation, a lot would be revealed and all those responsible for political violence, thuggery and brigandage in the state on the last five years would be made to face justice.” Oyo APC stated.

Why EFCC Chairman Win Win War Against Corruption-Ooni

Mohammed Shosanya

The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi (Ojaja II),has said that the current chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,EFCC,Mr. Ola Olukoyede,will win the war against corruption in Nigeria.

He said attributed the development to Olukoyede’s total belief in community engagement and effective collaboration among relevant stakeholders who play pivotal roles in combating the menace of corruption”, he said.

He spoke in Ile-Ife, Osun State on Wednesday, while receiving the Acting Zonal Director of the Ibadan Zonal Command of the EFCC, Assistant Commander of the EFCC, ACE I Hauwa Garba Ringim who paid him a courtesy visit.

He said that the leadership Olukoyede is offering the EFCC would ultimately succeed in bringing corruption to its knees.

The monarch also commended the professionalism displayed by staff of the EFCC when carrying out their official duties and activities, adding that, “the internal repositioning of the EFCC under the present Chairman is evident and has obviously paved way for professionalism needed for the Commission to achieve its mandate.”

He implored Nigerians to stand up and support the EFCC in ridding the country of corruption that has undermined the economic growth of the nation for decades.

The EFCC cannot fight corruption alone,he said,adding the ownership of economic and financial crimes in the country must be taken by Nigerians in a sincere and dynamic ways.

He expressed worry over illegal mining activities in Osun State but assured the EFCC of his support in tackling the menace.

Speaking,Ringim thanked the Royal Father for accommodating her and her entourage despite his busy schedules pointing out that his gesture “reiterates the stance of the Ooni of Ife’s to always support the mandate of the EFCC deliberately, regardless of tribal affiliation”.

She appreciated the traditional ruler for believing in the leadership of the EFCC and assured that the EFCC under the leadership of Olukoyede will not give up the fight against corruption, illegal mining activities and cybercrime in Osun State and Nigeria at large regardless of how corruption fights back”.

Banks Recapitalisation: What’s in it For Us?

By Dayo Omoogun

Enhancement of banks’ capital base or restructuring of banks’ capital which is more popularly known in social parlance as bank recapitalization has become topical once again in the last few months ever since the Central Bank of Nigeria first hinted at it November last year and finally announced its decision to compel new capitalisation benchmarks for banks in March.

A similar exercise that readily comes to mind is the one midwifed by the Professor Charles Soludo-led CBN about 20 years ago, which stipulated an increase from 2bn to N25bn about 1200% hike. The benefits which accrued from that exercise are well documented.

Unlike the Soludo capitalization which stipulated N25bn minimum capitalization across board, the CBN, under Cardoso, has set different benchmarks for the various banks depending on their licence categories.

Under this policy, international banks such as Access, First, GTBank, UBA and Zenith Bank are to raise their minimum share capital to half a trillion naira, that is, N500bn. Banks with only national coverage are to raise a minimum of N200bn while regional banks are mandated to attain a baseline of N50bn.

Non-interest banks such as TAJ, Jaiz and Alternative Bank are to move to N20bn capitalization. This differentiated baselines are reflective of the level of exposure to risk and the needs assessment for their jurisdictions.

It is an undeniable fact that policies such as this usually trigger apprehension across the various segments and sectors of the society.

For example, following the Soludo recap, the number of banks operating in the country crashed by about 72% from 89 to 25 banks which clearly would have led to some job losses. It is therefore important for the promoters and the various publics to be at one, at least on a substantial scale, on a matter as crucial as this.

So what is in the recapitalization of banks for the various stakeholders and Nigerians in general that should make it elicit the approval and buy-in of all and sundry?

First, a noticeable reduction in banks tally is not envisaged this time around especially as there is the option for them to move downwards or upwards across categories. So job losses, if at all, will be minimal. Indeed conversely, it is likely that more hands and technology will be needed in the reinvented sector.

With a Tinubu administration that envisions a trillion dollar economy imminently, a strengthened banking industry that is globally competitive will be a major enabler for the realization of such vision. Perhaps there is a cynic somewhere asking why we need a trillion dollar economy in the first place. That will be a matter for another day.

There is no doubt that a stronger capital base assures greater capacity for lending and sufficient hedges against shocks as may arise from time to time.

After the Soludo recapitalization for example, Nigerian banks played a more significant role in the financing of oil and gas projects as well as in telecoms. The manufacturing sector has not benefitted sufficiently from the banking sector thus far.

Perhaps, a new day beckons from second quarter 2026 when the sector will begin to access the much needed support in terms of cheap funds it has always desired from the banking industry. Of course, this will result in mind blowing scenarios for catapulting the economy to heights yet unknown.

Prof Uwaleke, President of Association of Capital Market Academics in Nigeria, reacting when the apex bank first hinted at the plan in late 2023, had this to say, ”It goes without saying that capital is needed to finance big-ticket projects, especially when the government is targeting a one trillion dollar economy in a few years’ time.”

Dr. Ilias, an Abuja based Economist and Policy Analyst says, “when Soludo recapitalized (in 2004/2005) dollar to naira exchange was not like this, right now we are having serious liquidity problems. So the first advantage is that the Nigerian economy will have much more capital and the more the availability of capital the more the investment in Nigeria.

So if banks have more money it means more money to give the manufacturing sector and indeed MSMEs because that is practically the challenge we have in Nigeria which makes lending to be currently skewed in favour of a few Organised Private Sector (OPS) enterprises.”

Also, he says, the banks will be positioned for greater profitability as they are enabled to engage in greater volume of trade. Ilias adds that it is valuable for bragging rights among the comity of nations as well as for positioning for credit opportunities from Bretton Woods organisations, etc.

To ordinary Nigerians, especially the businessmen among them this is also good news as the banks will be on positioned to be more responsive in granting their requests for more affordable credit facilities.

Dayo Omoogun is a publisher and social commentator based in Abuja.

NUPENGASSAN Seeks Withdrawal Of Landing Charges On Helicopter Operators

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (NUPENGASSAN),has expressed concern over the new landing fees imposed on helicopter operators, especially those servicing the oil and gas industry in Nigeria.

Comrade Lumumba Okugbawa and Comrade Afolabi Olawale , General Secretary of NUPENGPENGASSAN,conveyed this in a recent statement,and picked holes in the decision by the Federal Ministry of Aviation to impose exorbitant fees on helicopter operators.

It said:“We strongly condemn this decision by the Federal Ministry of Aviation to impose exorbitant fees on helicopter operators during this period of economic hardship on businesses and the citizenry.

“These new charges, which include a 4% charge on the gross revenue of helicopter operators, as well as additional levies and taxes, pose a grave threat to the sustainability and viability of the helicopter transport sector that is critical to Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.

“We recall that a recent memo directed helicopter operators to compulsorily pay for helicopter landing fees at all Nigerian aerodromes’ helipads, airstrips, floating production storage, and offloading (FPSO) units, floating storage and offloading (FSO) units, and other oil platforms to generate more revenue to the federal government”.

This is very insensitive at a time the federal government is shopping for investors in the oil and gas industry and muting various incentives to make the industry attractive, the statement said.

It added:“The oil and gas industry is a critical component of Nigeria’s economy, and the helicopter operators serving this sector play a vital role in its success.

“These operators provide essential transportation services, moving personnel and equipment to offshore platforms and remote locations, ensuring the smooth and efficient operation of the industry.

“This unpopular decision has a detrimental impact on the sector, as this incremental cost is going to be passed on to the chartering companies who will in turn transfer the burden to the employees in the sector.

“We hereby demand the withdrawal of this policy immediately in the overall interest of the country.

“As Unions working for the growth of the Nation’s economy, we strongly urge the Ministry of Aviation to immediately withdraw the landing fees on helicopter operators servicing the oil and gas industry.

“This would not only provide much-needed relief to the sector but also demonstrate your commitment to fostering a business-friendly environment and supporting the growth and development of this crucial industry.”

CBN Unveils Strategy To Double Remittances,Grants AIP To 14 New IMTOs

Mohammed Shosanya

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has activated plans to double foreign-currency remittance flows through formal channels by granting 14 new International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) Approval-in-Principle (AIP).

The Bank’s Acting Director of Corporate Communications, Mrs. Hakama Sidi Ali, disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday.

She stated that the initiative will help increase the sustained supply of foreign exchange in the official market by promoting greater competition and innovation among IMTOs to lower the cost of remittance transactions and boost financial inclusion.

She added: “This will spur liquidity in Nigeria’s Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEX), augmenting price discovery to enable a market-driven fair value for the naira.”

She said that the CBN viewed increasing formal remittance flows— one of the major sources of foreign exchange, accounting for over 6% of GDP—as a means of reducing the historical volatility in Nigeria’s exchange rate caused by external factors, such as fluctuations in foreign investment and oil export proceeds.

The increase in the number of IMTOs is one of the primary actions initiated by the CBN’s remittance task force, overseen by Governor Cardoso as a collaborative unit pulling together specialists to work closely with the private sector and market operators to facilitate the ease of doing business in the remittance ecosystem in Nigeria.

The task force was established as a direct result of an executive learning session with IMTOs during the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings held in Washington DC, United States of America, in April 2024.

The task force will meet regularly to implement strategy and monitor the impact of its measures on remittance inflows.

FG Cracks Down On Illegal Miners,Arrests 10 Suspects

Mohammed Shosanya

The Federal Government has seized 10 trucks and pressed charges against suspects for the illegal possession and transportation of minerals.

Mining Marshals, deployed from the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, apprehended 10 suspects along the Itobe-Ajokuta Road in Kogi State.

The suspects were found with minerals lacking the necessary documentation, contravening the Minerals and Mining Act 2007 and Mining Regulations, 2011.

Investigations uncovered that these individuals had procured minerals from illegal miners in Kogi State without proper authorization, mining titles, or payment of royalties.

Besides,certain companies were discovered to have illicitly engaged third-party agents to procure minerals from the “Awulu” community in Ankpa LGA, Kogi State.

The apprehended suspects are currently facing legal charges and await arraignment.

The directors of implicated companies have been summoned for interrogation, with appropriate legal actions to follow.

Commander of the Mining Marshals, ACC Attah John Onoja, has pledged to intensify operations to ensure full compliance with mining laws and regulations. He stressed the importance of collective support from stakeholders to reinforce the Minister of Solid Minerals’ efforts in sanitizing the Nigerian mining sector.

This development signifies a significant stride toward restoring order in the nation’s mining industry, promoting adherence to legal frameworks, and safeguarding the responsible exploitation of mineral resources.

FG Gives Media Houses Single-Digit Loan

Mohammed Shosanya

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has directed the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, through the Bank of Industry (BOI), to extend its single-digit interest-rate financing to media organizations in the country.

This was disclosed in a statement by Rabiu Ibrahim, the Special Assistant (Media) to the Minister of Information and National Orientation.

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris stated this in Abuja on Wednesday when he received members of the Independent Broadcasting Association of Nigeria (IBAN) on a courtesy visit to his office.

According to him,the gesture is in keeping with the administration’s resolve to create an enabling business environment for the media to operate in Nigeria.

“Let me say that the Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation under my leadership, as part of our five pillars, will support all media platforms in this country, whether they are public or private.

“I can tell you that the President has directed the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment to extend financing to media organizations at single-digit interest rates. I think you need to take advantage of that,” he said.

He urged IBAN members to develop bankable proposals to access the financing facility being offered by the Federal Government.

The Minister also frowned at instances of willful violation of advertising industry payment standards, condemning the habit by some practitioners of failing to remit advertising payments to media organizations within the approved 90 days.

Idris said, henceforth, the Advertising Regulatory Commission of Nigeria (ARCON), would be mandated to ensure that all advertising revenues due to media organizations are released to them promptly.

The Minister advised the private broadcasters to key into the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Initiative of the Federal Government to bring down the cost of their operations through cheaper access to energy.

Idris said with the commissioning of three gas projects by the President and other initiatives of his administration, Nigeria aims to attain sufficiency in gas processing for local consumption and export.

In response to the request from IBAN regarding the resumption of the Digital Switch Over (DSO) rollout, the Minister, who expressed deep concerns over the historically slow progress of the DSO initiative, stressed the need for a renewed and vigorous approach to ensure timely completion.

He disclosed that the President has instructed the ministry to expedite the DSO project by adopting successful models from other countries that have effectively transitioned from analog to digital broadcasting.

In his remarks, the Chairman of IBAN, Alhaji Ahmed Tijjani Ramalan complained of multifaceted challenges confronting the broadcasting industry in Nigeria, and called for urgent steps to revitalize the sector to stimulate innovation and empower indigenous media owners.

“The Nigerian broadcast industry, a cornerstone of the nation’s information and entertainment landscape, faces significant challenges hindering its ability to reach its full potential. There is the urgent need to take the initiative with a design to revitalise the industry, stimulate innovation, unlock the potential media economy and empower indigenous media entities,” he said.

Sweden Moves To Return 39 Stolen Benin Artefacts

Mohammed Shosanya

The Swedish government has resolved to return 39 pieces of Benin Artefacts in her Museum to the Oba of Benin, Ewuare II.

The action followed the Federal Republic of Nigeria Gazette No. 57, Volume 110 at pages A245-247 issued on March 23rd, 2023, which recognized ownership and vesting Custody and Management of repatriated Benin Artefacts in the Oba of Benin.

The Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria, Her Excellency Annika Hahn-Englund, conveyed the Swedish government decision when she paid a courtesy visit to the Oba of Benin Palace in Benin City, Edo State.

Ambassador Hahn-Englund told the Royal father that Sweden and Nigeria, which is the second largest market in Sub-Sahara Africa, are trading partners, including infrastructure,telecommunication, energy and other businesses that supported the economies significantly.

The Swedish envoy, said, “also, I would like to mention that with cooperation, we have in Culture, Education with Nigeria; I would like to mention the decision of why the Swedish government has to return 39 Artefacts to Benin Kingdom.

“So, your Majesty, I am very honoured to be here tonight”, Ambassador Hahn-Englund said this while paying respect to Oba Ewuare II.

Responding, Oba Ewuare II on behalf of Edo people also welcomes the decision and expressed his deepest gratitude to the Swedish government for the intervention.

The Benin monarch recalled how he made a request through the Swedish monarch in 1998 to return Benin Bronzes in Sweden during his courtesy visit to him as Nigeria Ambassador to Scandinavian countries.

He disclosed that the federal government-backed Benin Royal Museum project is still on course, and commended partners for their support and devotion towards the project.

The Oba also commended the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), which is an agency of the Federal Government of Nigeria, responsible for the preservation, promotion, and development of Nigeria’s cultural heritage.

The traditional ruler who prayed for members of the Diplomatic Mission, shared a captivating tale of his Diplomatic exploits as Ambassador in the Scandinavian Countries, noting that the remarkable reign and enduring affection of the Swedish monarch, His Royal Majesty, Carl Gustaf Folke Hubertus remain indelible.

According to Oba Ewuare II, the demand for the return of looted Benin Artefacts has been on since the reign of Oba Akenzua II, “and you are here today telling me that it has been approved. This has been my request a long time ago. God’s time is always the best”.

The Ambassador in the company of her husband and a member of the Diplomatic Mission, presented a souvenir to Oba Ewuare II, who in turn gave a copy of the federal government Gazette on all Benin Artefacts to the envoy in appreciation.