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Illegal pipelines are linked to churches, mosques—NNPC

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.. promises to stop importation of fuel products by next year June

Abuja—The Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO)of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, (NNPC) Limited, Melee Kyari, on Tuesday, said some illegal petroleum products piplelines has a link to churches and mosques, according to reports by Vanguard.

He also said the shutting down of pipelines in the country was deliberate.

Kyari added that the reason for shutting down the refineries include the challenge of not operating as a business, thereby making them to incur loses.

Speaking when he featured at the ministerial briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team at the State House, Kyari noted that the authorities of the NNPC borrowed one billion US dollars from the AFREXIM Bank to put in place the refineries.

He added that the management of the company was confident that it was restoring the company for about 90 percent efficiency.

He further noted that the repayment of the borrowed money was tied to the productivity of the refineries, boasting that NNPC would deliver on the rehabilitation exercise.

He also assured that there would not be any importation of petroleum products by the middle of next year.

While lamenting on the level of loses on the nation’s pipelines, he said that the nefarious business of pipeline vandals cuts across different regions and religious organisations where the pipelines pass through.

According to Kyari, some of the pipelines are illegally connected around Churches and Mosques.

The CEO said that the NNPC management is building National Reserve Company.

Maintaining that the issue of crude oil theft is real and happening, he said the company was not helpless as its efforts were paying off.

He said that 295 illegal connections were discovered in one line, in less than 200 meters, and that the company with the help of the security agencies and the directive of the Chief of Defence Staff, they were able to intervene.

He said so far, 30 Speed Boats, 179 Wooden Boats, 37 trucks have been impounded, but that the authorities have taken the decision not to arrest any longer but to burn such confiscated products.

Besides, he said, 122 persons comprising highly placed individuals have been arrested between April and August and that some of them have been handed over to the Econonic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

He said 739 ovens for the illegal crude oil theft have been discovered and some destroyed, 344 reservoir created and 355 cooking pots also discovered, stressing that the level of the illegal business was enormous.

“It simply means destruction of environment. We have lost revenue,” he declared.

On the alleged contract to the former Niger Delta agitator, Government Ekpemupolo also known as Tompolo, the NNPC CEO said that the contract was not awarded to Tompolo as a person, but a company he has interest in.

He explained that it was not the first time that individuals within the Niger Delta region were awarded a contract for pipeline surveillance, noting that the contract was for the interest of the people.

He said it was his belief that the Federal Government has taken the right decision to hire private contractors to man its oil pipeline network nationwide.

Kyari argued that although the security agencies are doing their part, end-to-end pipeline surveillance would require the involvement of private entities and community stakeholders.

He said: “We need private contractors to man the right of way to these pipelines.

“So we put up a framework for contractors to come and bid and they were selected through a tender process. And we believe we made the right decision.”

According to earlier reports, one of those selected is a former Nigerian militant commander of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, Government Ekpemupolo, predominantly referred to as Tompolo.

Fielding further questions on the contract, Kyari explained that although the Federal Government is not dealing directly with the former creek warlord, it has signed a contract with a company in which Tompolo has interests.

“We have taken the right decision,” he said.

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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