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PAP: Ndiomu’s appointment raises fresh expectations in Niger Delta

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By Allen Ibiba-Harry

The appointment of Major-General Barry Tariye Ndiomu (rtd), as the new Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), has raised another level of expectation among the people of the Niger Delta.

Ndiomu’s recent appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari, barely eight months to the end of his tenure, came as a shocker to most people from the region. The news brought some kind of mixed feelings among stakeholders.

Prior to the announcement, there was a popular school of thought that the tenure of Colonel Milland Dixon Dikio (rtd), the erstwhile Interim Administrator would be extended.

That sentiment was built around the peace and stability that the PAP has enjoyed under Dikio in the last two years. But being his prerogative to hire and fire, Buhari had other plans and so Ndiomu is the new helmsman.

Known to have a rich background in public policy formulation and administration,  Ndiomu hails from Odoni in Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa State and was admitted to the Nigerian Defence Academy as part of the 29th Regular Combatant Course.

He was commissioned Second Lieutenant in 1983. He held several command and staff appointments in the course of his successful military career. He retired in December 2017. He also trained as a lawyer and is an alumnus of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Administrative Staff College of Nigeria, Badagry, Harvard Kennedy School, and George C Marshall Centre for European Security Studies, among others.

Like his predecessor, Ndiomu is also not a stranger to Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) programmes. In the course of his shining and successful military career, he had a stint with it and so it is not in doubt his capacity to deliver. He is also conversant with the amnesty deal and knows the challenges that the region has faced for many years.

Perhaps all of that and being a true son of the soil had already made people of the region, particularly stakeholders to embrace him. Within the last two weeks of his appointment, the avalanche of solidarity and goodwill messages indicates the mass appeal he has.

The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), described Ndiomu’s appointment as well deserving and assured him of their readiness and commitment to work for the success of his new task.

National Spokesman of the IYC, Comrade Ebilade Ekerefe, however appealed to the new amnesty boss to “shun any divisive calls by known sycophants to derail him on the part of chasing shadows, but focus on building a more positive and proper inter-agency line of communication with the PAP beneficiaries across the region. Pay monthly stipends promptly, have regular interactive sections/engagements with stakeholders in the region”.

He said: “The new administrator should also provide the needed transition that is expected to sustain the existing paradigm shift on the programme in terms of relative peace across the region, change in mindset of ex-agitators, upward oil production, entrepreneurship and engagements with stakeholders.

“Managing ex-agitators is the most difficult job that can be given to anybody as available evidence has shown in the past, but with Ndiomu’s experience as an ex-military General and his love for his people, no doubt, the stability of the program in Dikio’s era will be sustained.

“Consequent upon this, Major General Barry Ndiomu (Rtd) has the full assurances and cooperation of the Ijaw Youth Council to achieving his ideas and purpose for the program and region at large, especially, in the areas of peacebuilding, security and development”.

Also, ex-agitators in the Niger Delta have applauded Ndiomu’s appointment as the new Interim Administrator, of the PAP, saying they are ready to work with him, to promote the peace and development of the region.

The National Secretary, First Phase ex-agitators, Pastor Nature Keighe, said they would give Ndiomu the same support they extended to his predecessor and also appealed to him to continue with some ongoing programmes initiated by Dikio which had helped to sustain the peace in the region.

Keighe, who is also the Chairman, PAP’s Strategic Communication Committee said “We want to formally appreciate Mr president for not allowing any vacuum in PAP.  We want to appreciate him for appointing Maj. Gen. Ndiomu as the new Interim Administrator, PAP.

“We want to use the opportunity to welcome our leader and father to the office of PAP. We will give him all the support he needs for the interest of the Niger Delta region.

“What we have begun to do with PAP under the leadership of Col. Milland Dixon Dikio, we will do it for his administration, with the focus of ensuring that the Niger Delta becomes a more peaceful environment for people to do business for development.

“We will bring to your notice, the various programmes we have been undertaking in the region to sustain the peace. We wish you all the best and pray to God to guide and give you the wisdom to pilot the affairs of the region.

“As ex-agitators in the region, our responsibility is to protect the region and every programme that is positioned to enhance the human capacity development of the region”.

In fact, there is no doubt that Ndiomu has the capacity to steer the ship of PAP to its required destination. The stakeholders are anxiously waiting for him to roll out his programmes and projects that will deepen the peace in the region in line with the overall mandate of PAP.

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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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