An Abuja High Court presided over by Justice Danlami Senchi, has fixed June 8, 2017 for the commencement of criminal trial against Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company Limited and others.
The others involved include: Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited, ENI SPA, former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dan Etete and former Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Mohammed Adoke.
Also joined in the case filed by the Federal Government are: Aliyu Abubakar, Ralph Wetzels, Casula Roberto, Pujatti Stefeno, Burrafato Sebastiano and Malabu Oil and Gas Limited.
In the three-count charge preferred against the 11 defendants, Shell Petroleum Nigeria Exploration Production Company Limited, Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited, ENI SPA and some directors of the oil companies were accused of giving out $801 million for the illegal acquisition of Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd.
The Federal Government also accused Mr Etete, Mr Adoke and others of illegally receiving the sum of $801 million to grant Oil Prospecting Licence 245 to Malabu Oil and Gas Limited.
Traditional leaders and some other indigenes of Nigeria’s Niger Delta have presented 16 things they are confident will end militancy and bring development in the region if the government will consider them.
They presented the requests to President Muhammadu Buhari at a meeting held on Tuesday in Abuja.
Addressing reporters after the two-hour meeting, the leaders of the group, the traditional ruler of Amanyanobo Kingdom, King Alfred Diete-Spiff and Mr Edwin Clark decried the lack of infrastructure, human resource, manpower and welfare of the people years after oil exploration began in the Niger Delta.
They want the government to empower its people through training, open up the economy of the region through adequate investment in infrastructure and cleaning up of oil spills that have affected their farmlands and waters among others.
President Buhari was also asked to pull the army out from the oil hub, order oil firms to move headquarters there and spend more on development to end militancy in the region.
King Diete-Spiff said: “The list also includes the withdrawal of the military in oil producing communities in the region.
“We don’t want the communities militarised”.
They also want firms to move headquarters to the region so unemployed youths – who often work for militants – could get more jobs. Foreign firms active in Nigeria are often based in the commercial capital Lagos.
The Niger Delta leaders also asked for more funds for the development and an amnesty plan for ex fighters which Buhari had planned to cut, which has upset the militants.
President Buhari had in May sent in army reinforcements to hunt down militants, a move that stoked anger, triggering more attacks on oil installations in the region, with a demand for more share of the oil revenue.
The meeting became necessary, after months of attacks on oil facilities, brought down crude oil output and dipped the nation’s revenue.
On his part the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, expressed joy that leaders in the region had come to put the demands forward, said that crude oil production in Nigeria had appreciated to 2.1 million barrels per day following the peace that was gradually returning to the region.
He has a responsibility to ensure that Nigeria meets its quota in the oil market and he observed that relative peace was necessary to achieve it.
The Niger Delta region has been described as the goose that lays the golden eggs.
But years of neglect have led to degradation of the region and subsequent administrations in Nigeria have done nothing about it.
Youths in the region have come in various colours of agitation, blowing up the pipelines, adding to the degradation of the region
But President Buhari’s administration may bring a turnaround to the region, if the agreement reached at the two-hour meeting of Tuesday would be implemented.
Also at the meeting were the Vice President, state governors, ministers, service chiefs and other well-meaning citizens from the Niger Delta.
Talks at the meeting also focused on how to end the constant destruction of facilities in the region.
Over six militant groups have sprang up in the Niger Delta region, the latest being the Niger Delta Avengers.
Reports from some of the groups indicate that they may not be part of the meeting called by the Federal Government, raising doubt as to full representation of all agitating splinter groups.
This is just one in the series of meetings the government has designed to bring a lasting peace to the Niger Delta region.
With the meeting and demands presented to the government, it is hoped that hostility in the region in form of attacks on oil installations would cease.
Channels Television’s correspondent, Chukwuma Onuekwusi, says the next few weeks will determine if indeed the youths of the area have agreed to sheathe their sword and let peace reign, as government works towards meeting the needs of the people.
A group that calls itself the Niger Delta Avengers that has claimed responsibility for most of the attacks had at a point announced a ceasefire decision and its readiness for negotiations with the Federal Government but later attacked an oil facility, saying it was a warning to military in the area to stop harassing youths and residents of the region.
The military had established two operations in the region, operation Delta Safe and Operation Exercise Crocodile Smile, to quell militant activities.
Nigeria may be set for a major gas revolution with the flag off of the Gas Industrial Park in Delta State, South South Nigeria.
This indication was given by the President Jonathan on Thursday while performing the groundbreaking of the project which he believes would generate much needed revenue for the country when it starts functioning.
Speaking at the ceremony, President Goodluck Jonathan said that the park would be designated a free trade zone, and is expected to generate large number of jobs for all Nigerians.
President Jonathan expressed optimism that the project, which is believed will be Africa’s biggest gas industrial hub, would be executed to international standard and attract many gas related industries from across the world.
The park is expected to consist of industries, which would produce fertilizers, petrochemicals, methanol and other related products.
Thursday’s groundbreaking comes after several attempts to kick-off the project were frustrated as a result of the tussle between the Ijaw and Itshekiri over the ownership of the land on which the facility is located.
Present at the ceremony were traditional rulers, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Maduekwe; Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga; Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, top government functionaries and member of the community.
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), may have to move into the field and enforce compliance with the new pump price of N87 per litre.
As most service stations located in interior areas in Lagos and Ogun States are still selling petrol at 97 naira per litre in spite of Federal Government’s directives.
Those who offered to speak to us off camera explained that the product they have is the old stock, and so it therefore cannot be sold for N87 per litre.
The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Dieziani Allison-Madueke had announced a drop in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly known as petrol from N97 to N87 due to the drop in global crude oil prices.
“As you may be aware, there has been a lot of volatility in the oil market in the past few months and due to this the importation prices of our petroleum products have been impacted.
“Therefore, with the approval and directive of Mr. President and by virtue of Section 6 clause 1 of the Nigerian Petroleum Act, it is my responsibility as Minister of Petroleum Resources to hereby announce a reduction in the pump price of Petroleum Motor Spirit (Petrol) from the current Ninety Seven Naira (=N=97) per litre pump price down to Eighty Seven Naira (=N87=) per litre pump price, effective from twelve (12) midnight Sunday, 18 of January 2015.
“Accordingly, I have directed the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to ensure strict compliance of this price adjustment by all marketing companies”, she said.
The Minister gave the directive during a press conference at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Sunday, January 18.
The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, has approved the release of 2015 Q1 allocation to marketers for the importation of petroleum products.
A statement issued by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), said the early release is in furtherance of the Minister’s resolve at ensuring continuous and robust products supply in the system.
According to the statement, the Executive Secretary of the PPPRA, Mr. Farouk Ahmed, while calling on motorists not to engage in panic buying, assured that, “there is ample supply of petroleum products in the country”, adding that “discharges and truck-out had continued in spite of the holidays and the festive periods”.
The PPPRA further explained that apart from facilitating an improved national Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) supply and stock build-up, the effort is also to enable marketers make adequate preparations towards products sourcing and importation early in the New Year.
“The Petroleum Minister had commenced a regime of early release of quarterly PMS allocations in addition to supplementary allocations to complement the national demand”, the statement added.
According to the PPPRA, the early approvals, “apart from providing additional imports to supplement the prevailing stock level in the system, is now responsible for the sustained availability of petroleum products across the country at regulated prices”.
The Federal Executive Council has approved thecontract for the procurement of insurance cover for assets of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria.
The insurance cover is required annually for the maintenance of the college’s Approved Training Organisation ( ATO) certificate issued by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority ( NCAA), which precludes the operation of any aircraft without valid insurance cover.
Approval was also given for the construction of Berth 21 at the Terminal E, Lagos Port Complex, and the Inland River Port at Makurdi, Benue State,
The FEC also approved the award of contract for the rehabilitation of the outstanding section of Onitsha-Enugu Expressway at the cost of N24.24 billion.
Briefing State House Correspondents after the council meeting, the Minister of Works, Mr Mike Onoleimemen, who joined the Supervising Minister of Information, Dr Nurudeen Mohammed, told journalists that the project upon completion will enhance transportation, improve the socio-economic activities and standard of living of the citizens.
Also approved is contract for the rehabilitation of Sokoto-Tambuwal-Jega-Birni Yauri-Kontagora-Makera Road in Sokoto, Kebbi and Niger States and Vandeikya-Obudu Cattle Ranch in Benue and Cross River State at the cost of N30.4 billion.
The Minister of Industries Trade and Investment, Mr Olusegun Aganga, also got approval for policy measures to reposition the Nigerian Cotton, Textile and Garment Sector.
The FEC congratulated the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Dezianni Alison Madueke, who was recently elevated to the position of president of all Gas Exporting Countries,just a few weeks after being elected as OPEC President.
The Federal Government has inaugurated a 13-man consultative committee to clean up and restore the hydro-carborn polluted areas of Ogoni land in Rivers State.
The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke, who inaugurated the committee in Abuja, said that the committee would develop a road-map for the restoration of the polluted areas of the Ogoni people.
The newly formed committee was set up as a result of failure of previous government’s efforts to clean up and restore the polluted lands in the area.
Agitations to restore oil polluted areas of the Ogoni land took a new momentum in 2006 when the United Nations Environmental Programme, UNEP, published its reports on the extent of damage done to the region.
Six years after that report, the Federal Government set up the Hydro-Carbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPREP) with a view to cleaning up all oil polluted lands in the Niger-Delta region, including that of the Ogoni people.
However, since its establishment in 2012, much result has not been felt in the region, hence this new committee.
Representatives of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People, MOSOP, believe that the new committee would produce results especially since it has the people’s representation.
The MOSOP President, Legborsi Saro Pyagbara, as well as the Ogoni Youth Leader, Marvin Yobana, were present at the inauguration.
It is hoped that the committee would produced the desired results for which purpose it was set up and minimise protests against environmental degradation in the region.
The Federal Government is to provide the sum of 213billion naira to the newly privatised power companies to facilitate the settlement of legacy debts worth 36billion naira and the settlement of shortfalls in gas supply to power plants.
The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Deziani Alison-Madueke, made the pronouncement at a world press conference she addressed on the efforts of government towards improving gas to power and electricity supply in Nigeria.
According to her, this provision, among other measures, would boost investor confidence and increase power stabilisation to 5000 megawatts in 2015.
She rose from addressing the unions over the recent fuel queues in the country which she said has been settled, to address the press on the progress made to give Nigerians steady power supply.
She enumerated the problems to include inadequate gas, electricity tariff issues and reduced income due to shortfall in revenue. She said that only the newly privatized companies have borne the brunt since handover in November 2013.
The solution, going forward, is the bail out.
She said that the private sector who are now in control would repay in ten years and that they must ensure that a minimum quantum of electricity produced by the generating companies get to the distribution companies. She also spoke about the security of the gas pipelines and measures put in place to mitigate the problems facing it.
The Chairman of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, Dr Sam Amadi, explained how the companies got to accumulating the debt from 25billion to 36billion naira. He also gave the guarantee that there would be no more debts.
The Federal Government believes that the recent measures would reset the power sector and Nigerians expect that there would be a better picture by the time they address the next press conference on power supply.
The Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson has urged both local and foreign investors to pitch their tents in the oil-producing State, noting that it is one of the most secure places to do business in Nigeria.
Dickson, who made the call at the on-going maiden edition of the Bayelsa Investment and Economic Forum, in Yenagoa, commended security agencies for doing a good job of keeping the peace in the State, thereby making it a choice destination for investors.
Investors and Government officials from both Federal and State levels, who had gathered for the ceremony, included the Vice President, Nnamadi Sambo, who represented President Goodluck Jonathan, Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison Madueke, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga.
While delivering his speech, Governor Dickson made a strong case for his state, urging investors to do business in the land as his administration had made plans to position Bayelsa as a major vibrant economy.
Dickson, who described Bayelsa as Nigeria’s best kept economic and leisure secret, noted that his administration was “working hard to lay the foundation for a vibrant economy,” he said, noting that the government had embarked on several projects in some sectors, including education, power, agriculture, fashion, tourism e.t.c.
“In the past 2 years, we have built schools and schools and schools,” he emphasized, noting that over 600 primary schools had been built, including teachers’ quarters.
He disclosed plans to have a school in every state House Constituency of the House of Assembly.
He further highlighted that education is free in the State and that the government also paid for external examinations, maintaining that “our goal is education for the economy”.
According to him, human capacity development is the nation’s greatest challenge, hence different schools for music, agriculture, language studies, driving, fashion, photography are being set up to develop the youths.
He also called on investors in the fashion and tourism sector to pitch their tents in the State as the government was already making preparations to train youths.
The governor also spoke about power generation, maintaining that “we are aspiring to be the number one in power generation” and since the State produced about 40% of the nation’s crude oil and mineral resources, “we are aspiring to be the nation’s power hub”.
He stressed that the government was also interested in palm oil production, as well as aqua-culture. He disclosed that the State was targeting production of 3000 tonnes of fish for local consumption and export.
Also, the governor stated that about 6000 hectares of land set aside for cassava planting as the largest cassava processing company was stationed in the State.
Governor Dickson also addressed people of the State to reduce their dependency on the government. “We have got to move away from over-dependence on government and into production,” he stressed.
“You the people of Bayelsa must also do your part… don’t live a life of dependence. Take responsibility for your livelihood,” he said.
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has asked the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts to address a news conference to correct the erroneous impression that the court issued an order restraining the House from investigating the Minister of Petroleum Resources and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
At the resumed hearing of the suit, lawyer to the plaintiffs, Mr Etigwe Uwa, berated the actions of the House of Representatives for stalling the hearing of the suit challenging the constitutionality of the House of Representatives’ summon to the Minister of Petroleum Resources and some parastatals under the ministry.
Lawyer to the House of Representatives, Abubakar Mahmoud, however, apologised to the court for the misrepresentation of facts by his client, saying that it was not done intentionally.
Efforts by the plaintiff’s counsel to move his application for an order restraining the House of Representatives from investigating the Minister of Petroleum Resources was turned down by the court as Justice Ahmed Mohammed promised an accelerated hearing of the suit.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed, after listening to all the parties adjourned the hearing of the suit to June 19 and ordered that all processes must be served before the date.
Also summoned were the Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Andrew Yakubu; Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Engr. Saleh Dunoma; the Managing Director of Pipeline and Petroleum Products Marketing Company, PPPMC, Mr Haruna Momoh; Vistajet International Limited and other stakeholders.
A legal practitioner, Mr Jiti Ogunye has urged the House of Representatives to put a hold on its probe on the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke, who has been answering questions over the alleged expenses of ten million naira on private jets.
Mr Ogunye argued that “when you submit a matter to adjudication, the law says that you must allow the court to determine the matter first before you take any step” insisting that this is so because our democracy is guided by the principles of separation of powers.
He said in as much as “Judges cannot take over the functions of legislators, legislators cannot also take over the function of the judicial arm of government”.
Also speaking during Sunrise, Mr Igho Akaeregha, agreed that the probe be halted by the House until it is decided by the court. He noted that “once a case is in court, it becomes compelling for all the parties to wait for the outcome of what the court will say” .
Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, on Thursday, instituted a fresh legal action against the two chambers of the National Assembly, challenging their powers to probe allegations that she spent N10 billion on chartered private jets.
The Minister filed the suit on a day the House Committee on Public Accounts invited her, the Group Managing Director of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu, and Federal Airports Authority (FAAN) to appear before it on June 15 to explain their roles in the alleged N10 billion jet scam.
The House of Representatives’ committee on Public Accounts on Tuesday summoned the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC) and its managing director, Mr Haruna Momoh, to appear before it, as it continues its investigation on the charter of the 850 challenger aircraft by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke.
The company was given one week to submit in written form all they know about the issue.
Despite the court case instituted against the House by the Minister to stop them from probing the alleged 10 billion Naira (about 62.5 million dollars) expenses on chartered jets, the House seems to be forging ahead with the investigation.
In a letter, the chairman of the committee, Solomon Olamilekan, said the committee issued the memo as a result of new information from Vistajet International Limited, one of the companies involved in the transactions which showed that the PPMC and its boss played a central role in the charter of the challenger aircraft.
The committee in the memo requested for the following; details of the financial transaction on the amount paid by NNPC/PPMC to Vistajet International Limited for the charter, maintenance of the 850 challenger aircraft and other related aircraft from January 2012 till date as well as details of any financial liabilities that may be currently outstanding on the charter among other issues.
The committee said that failure of both the organisation and its boss to submit the memorandum requested and appear before it on a date yet to be communicated would be treated as a criminal offence.
Last week, there were reports that an Abuja High Court issued an order of interim injunction restraining the National Assembly from compelling the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, to appear before it for an investigative public hearing on the lease of aircraft by the Minister.
But the court denied such decision, summoning the House of Representatives to explain how it came about the purported order.
In the heat of the controversy, the House of Representatives insisted that it would continue with the investigation, accusing the Minister of reckless use of public funds for personal businesses.