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Nigeria loses almost half a million barrels of crude to theft daily—Sylva

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Owerri—The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, has said the country loses 400,000 barrels of crude daily via oil theft.

The Guardian reports that Sylva said this on Monday when he paid a courtesy visit to Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo at the Government House, Owerri.

The minister while describing the development as a “national emergency” expressed regret that the nation had fallen short of OPEC daily quota, from 1.8 million barrels to 1.4 million barrels, due to crude theft.

He warned that such a huge economic loss was capable of crippling the nation’s economy, if not given the seriousness it deserved.

He expressed concern that the menace had persisted, despite the efforts by the Federal and State Governments to arrest it, saying the problem of crude theft could not be handled in Abuja alone.

“It is a national emergency because the theft has grown wings and reached a very bad crescendo.

“This is because the thefts are taking place in the communities that host the oil pipelines.

“As a result, it has become necessary to involve the stakeholders, especially the host communities.

“And because of the height and orchestrated nature of the menace, Nigeria could not take the advantage and opportunities that abound in the gas production.

“This is because no investor would want to invest where there is incessant insecurity and vandalism of the infrastructure,” he said.

The former Bayelsa state governor therefore, appealed to the stakeholders to collaborate to solve the problem.

He however, commended the governor for his efforts to ensure that Imo remains safe and the economy is not shut down.

In a remark, the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, who was in the entourage, thanked Uzodimma for supporting the Armed Forces in the fight against the escalating criminality in the oil-producing areas in the South-East.

Irabor called on the State Government, stakeholders and communities to “be involved in the fight against oil theft to a reasonable percentage and leave the rest for the army”.

Responding, the governor gave assurance that his administraton would sustain its efforts to arresting the economic sabotage being perpetrated by pipeline vandals.

He described the consequences of crude theft as ‘’very alarming and too much to be tolerated”. He said that the problem did not only result in the drop in oil revenue for the government but also created environmental pollution and other health hazards for the host communities.

He therefore called for cooperation among the stakeholders, including the Federal and State Governments, NNPC and host communities to effectively fight the scourge.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting was part of the nationwide intervention efforts to curb crude oil theft.

Others in the entourage were the Minister of State for Education, Mr Gooduck Opiah, and Group MD/CEO of NNPC Limited, Mele Kyari.

The meeting was attended by a cross-section of traditional rulers and other representatives of oil-producing communities in the state.

OPINIONS/OTHER NEWS ARTICLES

NSA Inaugurates Ndiomu as Chairman of panel to probe oil theft

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Abuja—The National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd), on Tuesday, inaugurated an 11-man special investigative panel to probe oil theft in the Niger Delta region of the country, Daily Trust reports.

The panel, comprised of retired top military brass and police officers as well as some administrators, has the Interim Administrator, Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Major General Barry Ndiomu, as its chairman and Mr. David Attah as Secretary.

Inaugurating the panel in Abuja, Monguno said that Nigeria was facing a monumental loss of revenue that ought to have accrued from the sale of crude oil.

He noted that pipeline vandalism and theft of crude oil had led to a significant decline in production.
Read also: Cash withdrawals limits: PoS operators get waiver
The Terms of Reference (ToRs), according to NSA, are to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the illegal insertion into the Trans-Escravos Pipeline (TEP) around Yokri area in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State

On his part, the Permanent Secretary, Special Services, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Aliyu Yerro, said the menace of crude oil theft had greatly impacted the nation’s revenue growth.

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Senate seeks clarifications on new cash withdrawal policy, set to grill CBN chiefs

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Abuja—The Senate will on Friday grill two deputy governors of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over the cash withdrawal limit policy unveiled by the apex bank on Tuesday, according to the Punch newspaper.

The red chamber planned to seek clarifications on the new directive which restricts over-the-counter cash withdrawal by individuals and organisations to N100,000 and N500,000, respectively, per week.

It also limits cash withdrawals via point-of-sale machines and automated teller machines to N20,000 daily and N100,000 weekly, respectively.

According to a memo signed Tuesday by the CBN’s Director of Banking Supervision, Haruna Mustafa, withdrawals above the thresholds would attract processing fees of five per cent and 10 per cent, respectively, for individuals and corporate entities going forward.

In addition, third-party cheques above N50,000 shall not be eligible for OTC payment while extant limits of N10m on clearing cheques still remain.

The circular also directed banks to load only N200 and lower denominations into their ATMs and restricted withdrawal to N20, 000 per day from ATMs.

The policy which will become effective on January 9, 2023, had generated criticisms but the CBN clarified on Wednesday that PoS operators could apply for waivers.

Deliberating on the policy on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday, senators said there was a need to debate the policy on the floor of the red chamber.

However, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, directed the Senate Committee on Banking to grill the two re-appointed deputy governors of the CBN, Aisha Ahmad, and Edward Adamu, who will be screened on Friday, on the new cash withdrawal policy.

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2022 Flooding: Bayelsa govt directs fresh distribution of items to communities, acknowledges donors

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Yenagoa—Bayelsa State government has acknowledged donations from international agencies, state governments, political parties and their presidential candidates, individuals and corporate organisations in the wake of the 2022 flooding that ravaged the state.

Governor Douye Diri in his opening remarks at the weekly state executive council meeting in Government House, Yenagoa, on Wednesday disclosed that the government received donations in form of cash, foodstuff and other materials from well-meaningful individuals and corporate organisations during and after the floods.

According to a statement by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Alabrah, Diri restated his administration’s commitment to transparency and assured the people that they would not be left in the dark as regards the flood donations.

He listed the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, the Akwa Ibom and Lagos state governments, which donated N100m and N50m respectively, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar (N55m), and his counterpart in the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Adewole Adebayo (N10m) as some of the donors.

Other donors are Dr. Azibapu Eruani of the Azikel Group, who he said has started redeeming his pledge of N350million worth of items, and the Chief Executive Officer of the Century Energy Group, Chief Ken Etete (N50m).

The governor also disclosed that the South Korean Ambassador to Nigeria donated $100,000, Access Bank N100m, Zenith Bank N20m, Linkage Assurance N20m, Sterling Oil N15m, Paache Construction N10m and AITEO N50m.

According to Diri, organisations that donated items include the Tompolo Foundation 440 cartons of noodles, 595 bags of 50kg rice, 35 jerrycans of 25kg palm oil, groundnut oil 180 cartons, garri 40 50kg bags, beans 20 100kg bags as well as 500 tubers of yam.

Others are Globus Bank 70 bags of 50kg rice and 100 cartons of noodles, Stanbic Bank 146 4×6’ mattresses, 148 pillows and 150 plastic buckets.

The rest are Julius Berger 100 bags of 50kg rice, Redeemed Christian Church of God 100 bags of 50kg rice, Brass Petrochemical and Fertiliser Company 100 bags of 50kg rice, 100 bags of 50kg garri and 100 bags of 100kg beans.

Diri directed the task force on flood mitigation and management and the Bayelsa State Emergency Management Agency (BYSEMA) to immediately resume distribution of items in the warehouse to all affected communities in the state.

He also assured that the donations will be prudently used and urged people of the state to exercise patience with the process of distributing the relief materials to victims.

He further stated that the process will be devoid of political colouration.

His words: “We never played politics with the flood and the relief items for victims. The whole world saw it. Those who came to play politics, the whole world equally saw them.

“In all that we did, we never discriminated against any political party. And we commend particularly our people that bore the brunt of the flood.

“As a government, we will take decisions in the best interest of our people. Everything should not be politicised.“

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