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Nigerians responsible for persisting fuel scarcity, says NNPC boss

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Abuja—The chief executive of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPC), Mele Kyari has stated that excessive buying of petrol was causing the persistent scarcity but this will soon ease out with increased supply, News Agency of Nigeria reports.

“Typically in situations like this, people go to the fuel stations and buy in excess of what they need and this is what additional supply will resolve. I am very sure that very soon, we will see relief on this,” Kyari said to reporters on Wednesday after a meeting with the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and Petrol Tanker Drivers (PTD).

The NNPC boss announced that the company has commenced loading of trucks at all depots to clear current scarcity experienced across the country.

“This will ensure that scarcity created by panic buying will now be freed so that normalcy will return to filling stations,” he stated.

Kyari revealed that 1.7 billion litres of petrol was currently in stock and available for distribution. He said that this would relieve persistent queues which continued at the nation’s capital and other parts of the country with fewer stations dispensing the product.

“Currently, we have over 1.7 billion litres of PMS in our hands both in marine and on land.

“This means that we now have the capacity to load out excessively from all depots. We have put in place measures to ensure 24 hours loading in all depots.”

He said that neither the Federal Government nor the NNPC had any plan to raise the pump price of petrol.

Kyari urged marketers to ensure that they sell petrol at the price approved by the government.

The NNPC helmsman noted that following the meeting, the stakeholders had agreed that NNPC should carry out necessary sanctions on any found selling petrol above approved price including the refusal to sell PMS to stations or depots.

He equally noted that it would carry out necessary sanctions allowed by law on any defaulting depot owner to ensure that Nigerians would continue to buy the product at the approved price.

Kyari, however, apologised for the pains Nigerians were experiencing at fuel stations and appealed to consumers to avoid panic buying and to buy only the quantity they needed at fuel outlets. 

Others present at the meeting were the Depot and Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPMAN) and Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN).

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CBN limits cash withdrawals to 20k daily, 100k weekly

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Abuja—The Central Bank has directed banks and other financial institutions to ensure that cash withdrawals by individuals and corporate entities per week do not exceed N100,000 and N500, 000, respectively.

The directive is contained in a circular issued by the bank on Tuesday, according to TheCable.

These new directives is however set to be effective from 9th January 2023

“The maximum cash withdrawal over the counter (OTC) by individuals and corporate organisations per week shall henceforth be N100,000 and 500,000 respectively. Withdrawals above these limits shall attract processing fees of 5 percent and 10 percent, respectively,” the letter reads.

“Third party cheques above N50,000 shall not be eligible for payment over the counter, while extant limits of N10,000,000 on clearing cheques still subsist.

“The maximum cash withdrawal per week via Automated Teller Machine (ATM) shall be N100,000 subject to a maximum of N20,000 cash withdrawal per day.

“Only denominations of N200 and below shall be loaded into the ATMs.”

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Nigerian Navy accuses NNPC of deceiving Nigerians about figures of oil theft

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Abuja—The Nigerian Navy has stated that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited’s (NNPC) claimed figures of crude oil theft in the country are bogus and not substantive.

According to SaharaReporters, the Navy accused NNPC of reeling out exaggerated figures to save its face, noting that they are hiding the truth from the public.

This was made known by the Navy Chief of Training and Operations, Rear Admiral Solomon Agada, while speaking to the Senate Committee on Economic and Financial Crimes during an interactive briefing of the relevant agencies implementing the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act, 2022 at the National Assembly, as observed and reported by Sunday PUNCH.

Agada revealed that at several interactions with the NNPC, the Navy had explained the causes of fuel scarcity to the company and that there was no way anyone would steal 100,000 barrels of oil in a day, but the NNPC had deliberately continued to mislead Nigerians.

When Agada was asked why the Navy had not been able to stop oil theft, while claiming that the waterways were secure, he said, “The challenge is that because of the criminal activity inshore by the illegal refiners in tapping into the export lines, those export lines have not been in operation since early this year.

“The major terminals have not been able to process fuel for export since around February/March and instead of the NNPC telling the Federal Government that this product is not brought out to be able to process as export, they say the oil was stolen.”

He explained that the Navy had argued that the NNPC should tell people the difference between the oil that they have shut in and not brought out, and what is being stolen.

“The stolen produce that we have been dealing with among illegal refineries is nothing compared to what the NNPC is declaring as being stolen.

“If you’re talking about stealing 100,000 barrels a day, you need about five-tonne batches 20 times a day from the creek to the high sea, which is very unrealistic.

“I told them at the NNPC that if that were to be the case, even a blind man would observe that something was happening in Nigeria’s waters and we are there on patrol and not seeing this.

“The only reasonable explanation why the fuels are not coming out is because the Shell platform on Bonny Island is not exporting and the Chevron terminal in Escravos is also not exporting. All these things are very clear, but because it is easier to say these things are stolen, then they just come up with that.

“Let’s get someone who can do a proper analysis of these figures and we’ll find out that these claims are just bogus; there is nothing substantive about them.

“We have communicated appropriately with the NNPC; even at our last interface with them, they agreed with us; but when they come to the public, they say oil theft, hiding the fact from the public.”

Agada also responded to the alleged tapping of pressure pipe under the sea, from where crude oil was said to be transferred into vessels.

He said; “On the tapping of the vessel, I also visited that location with the Chief of Defence Staff and there is a directive by the President from the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to set up a committee on that particular incident.

“We are not indicting the NNPCL; we are just saying that let matters be presented correctly so that people can make informed decisions. The Navy has no hand in any stealing of oil in this country. I have no ship or vessel, nor do I know anyone who has; you can investigate me.”

The Navy boss further explained that the increase in diesel price was because of an ongoing operation to stop illegal bunkering on the waters.

“People who have been doing this illegal business will confirm to you that since we started this special task force operation in April, their business has gone sour.

“This is also responsible for the increase in diesel price in the country. Since we stopped the illegal diesel from coming to the market, the price has gone up, because once there is high demand and the supply is low, the price will go up.

“People who ought to import will cut corners and buy the illegal products, but now that they can’t import and the illegal ones are not coming, this has reduced the quantity in the country. But somehow, nobody is coming to share this information with the people.”

He added that the Nigerian Government had invested in infrastructure through the Maritime Domain Awareness Infrastructure, which had assisted the Navy in detecting and arresting illegal refiners and vessels that were usually handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for prosecution.

Agada stated, “And right from Abuja here, we have the capacity to see the entire Nigeria Exclusive Economic Zone. We have 24 hours watch on the exclusive economic zone. Any vessel that enters Nigerian waters that is not permitted to be is immediately arrested because we see their movement.

“Any vessel in the international waters is expected to have their automatic identification system on and that shows that you’re transparently operating; so, any vessel that switches off its identification system automatically becomes a vessel for the Nigeria Navy and we will immediately arrest them and thereafter investigate.

“So, as of today, there is no tanker that can enter Nigerian waters to carry anything without being noticed. All these things that happened now have sent a very strong signal to the international communities that Nigeria is now a place where illegal activities can’t take place anymore.”

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Oil can no longer feed Nigeria’s growing population—Obasanjo

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Abeokuta—Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said the oil and gas sector can no longer feed the growing population of Nigerians, according to Daily Trust.

Obasanjo spoke at the weekend when the leadership of the apex socio-cultural group in Tiv land of Benue State, Mzough U Tiv (MUT) paid him appreciation and friendship visit at his Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) Penthouse residence in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital.

He said only farming and agribusiness could tackle the nation’s growing population.

He called on people to focus on farming and agribusiness as an alternative to Nigeria’s oil-dependent economy.

“If Nigeria is ready to get it right, the 2023 election should be a turning point. We should not go for emotion that will destroy us,” Obasanjo, who was conferred with the title of a “Great Warrior” of Tiv land by the socio-political group, said.

Earlier, the President-General of the Tiv body, Chief Iorbee Ihagh demanded the former president’s intervention on the need for the establishment of a fruit juice industry in Benue State, agitation for inclusive national politics, herder’s attack on Tiv land and the power sharing formula.

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