Category Archives: BREAKING NEWS

Nigerian Government Angry With Security officials Over Yusuf’s Power Bike Accident

President Muhammadu Buhari is reportedly unhappy with his security officials, for allowing his son, Yusuf, leave home at 8pm on Tuesday for power-bike racing.

Yusuf was reportedly racing with a friend when in an attempt to overtake a vehicle, he skidded off the road, sustaining injuries that made him unconscious.

The president’s only son was taken to Cedarcrest Hospital unconscious and doctors have been battling to stabilize him.

A source reportedly told Thisday: “The president was at the hospital on Wednesday night. He was very devastated when he saw his son, Yusuf, in a very critical situation. He was shaking his head, while looking at his son and thereafter angrily reprimanded his security officials for allowing Yusuf to leave home at that time of the day for power-bike racing.

“From the way the president spoke, it appears the security aides are in trouble. He spoke angrily. The Minister of Interior, Lt-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (rtd); his FCT Ministry counterpart, Alhaji Mohammed Bello; and the Senate President’s wife, Mrs. Toyin Saraki; stayed throughout the night of Tuesday till Wednesday at the hospital with Hajia Aisha Buhari.

“While the doctors were working to stabilise him, Dambazau kept appealing to the doctors to do everything possible to stabilise Yusuf, saying the president would find it very difficult to bear the pain if anything happens to his son.”

APC Statement on Yusuf’s Accident

The ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, has prayed for the speedy and full recovery of the president’s son, Yusuf Buhari.

This is contained in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Bolaji Abdullahi, on Thursday.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the first family following injuries sustained by Yusuf, the son of President Muhammadu Buhari in a motorbike accident.

“The APC family is relieved that accident was not fatal. We pray Yusuf makes a speedy and full recovery,” APC said.

Meanwhile, Aisha, mother of ailing Yusuf and wife of President Muhammadu Buhari was placed on bed rest at Cedar crest Hospital in the nation’s capital, Abuja.

The private health facility is where Yusuf was rushed to Tuesday night after his involvement in a bike accident.

Read also: More than 40 Companies bid for rehabilitation of NNPC ITD centres in Abuja

Crude Oil Price Hits $67 per barrel

Oil price wednesday hit $67 per barrel for the first time since May 2015, before dropping to $66.27 despite the supply disruptions in Libya and the North Sea.

The prices of both crude futures fell after hitting a near two-and-a-half year high in the previous session as analysts said the rally was gradually running out of steam.

While Brent crude futures dropped to $66.27 a barrel, after breaking through $67 for the first time since May 2015, the United States West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $59.53 a barrel.

WTI broke through $60 a barrel for the first time since June 2015 in the previous session.

On Tuesday, Libya lost around 90,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil supplies from a blast on a pipeline feeding Es Sider port.

Repair of the pipeline could take about one week but will not have a major impact on exports, the head of Libyan state oil firm NOC told Reuters on Wednesday.

The Libyan outage added to supply disruptions of recent weeks, which also included the closure of Britain’s largest Forties pipeline.

On Wednesday, Forties was pumping at half its normal capacity and its operator was pledging to resume full flows in early January.

The Forties and Libyan outages, which together amount to around 500,000 bpd, are relatively small in a global context of both production and demand approaching 100 million bpd.

Oil markets have tightened significantly over the past year thanks to voluntary supply restraint led by the Middle East-dominated Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC Russia.

Data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows that following rampant oversupply in 2015, global oil markets gradually came into balance by 2016 and started to show a slight supply deficit this year.

EIA data implies a slight supply shortfall of 180,000 bpd for the first quarter of 2018.

Read also: STABLE AND AFFORDABLE ELECTRICITY WILL BE AFRICA’S MAGIC

OPEC had at their November 30, 2017 meeting agreed to extend oil output cuts until the end of 2018 as part of the global efforts to eliminate excess oil supply in the international market.

The current deal, under which OPEC and non-OPEC producers are cutting supply by about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in an effort to boost oil prices, expires in March 2018.

But the organisation in their last meeting had agreed to extend the cuts by nine months until the end of 2018, as largely anticipated by the market.

The decision to extend the production cuts saw crude oil prices rising, with the global benchmark Brent trading briefly at a two and a half year high at $67 per barrel yesterday.

However, a major factor countering efforts by OPEC and Russia efforts to prop up prices is US oil production which has soared more than 16 per cent since mid-2016 and is fast approaching 10 million bpd.

Only OPEC king-pin Saudi Arabia and Russia produce more.

With oil prices rising above $60, Russia had expressed concern that an extension of the cuts for the whole of 2018 could prompt a spike in crude production in the United States, which is not participating in the deal.

Russia needs much lower oil prices to balance its budget than OPEC’s leader Saudi Arabia, which is preparing a stock market listing for national energy giant Aramco next year and would hence benefit from pricier crude.

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Read also: SOUTH AFRICA PLANS BUDGET CUTS AND FUNDS REALLOCATION TO TACKLE RECESSION

FG announces pricing for US$3bn Eurobond

FG announces pricing for US$3bn Eurobond: The federal government (FG) on Monday announced the pricing of its offering of US$3bn dual series notes under its US$4.5bn Global Medium Term Note programme. The notes, according to a statement by the minister of finance, Kemi Adeosun, comprise a US$1.5bn 10-year series and a US$1.5bn 30-year series. She added that the notes represented Nigeria’s fourth Eurobond issuance, following issuances in 2011, 2013 (two series) and earlier this year. (Source: Punch)

Niger Delta militants kill British hostage

One of the four missionary workers kidnapped by the Niger Delta militants in Enekorogha community, Burutu Local government Area of Delta State on October 13, Ian Squire, has been killed by suspected militants.

The BBC quoted the foreign office as confirming the tragic incident, saying the three others were freed.

The British High Commission and Nigerian authorities reportedly negotiated the release of Alanna Carson, David Donovan and Shirley Donovan – the other captives.

“The FCO said it had been a traumatic time for those involved,” BBC said in its report.

According to reports, the Donovans had lived in Nigeria for the past 14 years, running a charity called New Foundations, which gave aid to remote villages in the Niger Delta.

“Our thoughts are now with the immediate family and friends of Ian as we come to terms with his sad death.

“This has been a traumatic time for our loved ones who were kidnapped and for their families and friends here in the UK,” their family said in a statement issued on their behalf.

However, security sources told our correspondent that Squire died of asthma attack and was not killed by his  abductors.

Giving details of what transpired, senior military sources told our correspondent that the Briton was suffering from asthma and diabetes.

The sources added that the deceased died even before his colleagues were freed.

Though the security sources pleaded anonymity, findings revealed that unspecified amount of money was paid to the kidnappers before they freed their victims.

One of the sources said, “Unfortunately, one of the male victims who is asthmatic and diabetic at the same time, died while in captivity as a result of complications from his ailments. Squire was not killed by the militants. He died while in captivity around a bush within Bayelsa and Delta states. It’s an unfortunate situation. We’re not aware if any ransom was paid.”

Efforts to get clarification and more details from the Delta State Police Command proved abortive.

Officials of the Operation Delta Safe codenamed Joint Task Force could not also be reached for comment.

EFCC traces N950m to two ex-govs, detains Idris Wada

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Monday traced N860m to the immediate past governor of Kogi State, Idris Wada; and a former acting governor of Taraba State, Sani Danladi.

While N500m was traced to Wada, N450m was traced to Danladi.

The money was said to be part of the N23bn allegedly disbursed by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, through the then Director of Finance of the Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation, Senator Nenadi Usman.

It was learnt that Wada arrived the EFCC office around 12pm and was still in custody around 9pm.

The spokesman for the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed that Wada was detained by the commission.

He said, “Yes, he was invited by the EFCC over N500m Diezani money. He is still in our custody.”

The Gombe zonal office also quizzed Danladi in respect of the N450m collected by him through Senators Joel Dallami Ikenya and Mark Useni during the build-up to the 2015 presidential election.

Danladi, in his statement on oath, told interrogators that he chaired the eight-man committee that disbursed the money for Taraba State.

The EFCC stated, “He further stated that, he and the other members of the committee shared N36m among themselves while the balance of N414m was distributed to other stakeholders across the 16 local government areas of the state and one Development Area Council.”

Danladi was arrested and detained in Abuja last week and later released on bail to reliable sureties, but asked to report to the EFCC Gombe zonal office for further investigation.

Last week, the commission detained a former governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam, for his role in the disbursement of the Diezani sleaze.

It was learnt that at least 20 former ministers and governors who are members of the PDP may be detained by the commission

In the states which were ruled by the PDP, the governors were said to have taken possession of the funds while in states that had no PDP governors, the ministers handled the money.

Idris Wada

Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Monday traced N860m to the immediate past governor of Kogi State, Idris Wada; and a former acting governor of Taraba State, Sani Danladi.

While N500m was traced to Wada, N450m was traced to Danladi.

The money was said to be part of the N23bn allegedly disbursed by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, through the then Director of Finance of the Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation, Senator Nenadi Usman.

It was learnt that Wada arrived the EFCC office around 12pm and was still in custody around 9pm.

The spokesman for the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed that Wada was detained by the commission.

He said, “Yes, he was invited by the EFCC over N500m Diezani money. He is still in our custody.”

The Gombe zonal office also quizzed Danladi in respect of the N450m collected by him through Senators Joel Dallami Ikenya and Mark Useni during the build-up to the 2015 presidential election.

Danladi, in his statement on oath, told interrogators that he chaired the eight-man committee that disbursed the money for Taraba State.

The EFCC stated, “He further stated that, he and the other members of the committee shared N36m among themselves while the balance of N414m was distributed to other stakeholders across the 16 local government areas of the state and one Development Area Council.”

Danladi was arrested and detained in Abuja last week and later released on bail to reliable sureties, but asked to report to the EFCC Gombe zonal office for further investigation.

Last week, the commission detained a former governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam, for his role in the disbursement of the Diezani sleaze.

It was learnt that at least 20 former ministers and governors who are members of the PDP may be detained by the commission

In the states which were ruled by the PDP, the governors were said to have taken possession of the funds while in states that had no PDP governors, the ministers handled the money.

They were alleged to have received a minimum of N450m each.

Some of the former governors and ministers that may be picked up soon include  a former Minister of Power, Mohammed Wakil (Borno); and a former Minister of Science and Technology, Alhaji Abdu Bulama (Yobe).

Others are former governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu State (now a member of the All Progressives Congress), the immediate past governor of Kebbi State, Saidu Dakin Garin; former governor Ibrahim Shekarau of Kano State, former governor Ali Modu Sheriff of Borno State, former governor James Ngilari of Adamawa State; and a former governor of Zamfara State, Mamuda Shinkafi.

Also, a former deputy governor of Edo State, Chief Lucky Imasuen, and a former Secretary to the State Government of Edo State, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, may be re-invited for allegedly collecting N700m from the Diezani fund.

The source said many of the PDP chieftains had promised to return some of the funds but had failed to do so and therefore had to be invited.

HOW LAGOSIANS CREATIVELY COPE WITH POWER OUTAGES

In February 2017, Ikeja Disco, the electricity distribution company catering to suburbs around the seat of government in the megacity of Lagos announced a one-month no-light situation. After many complaints, residents of these areas turned to generators and inverters, their reliable backups. The younger social media-savvy ones like Makuochi Okafor, 27, were literally left to their devices and go to any length to charge them.

“When I need to work on weekends, I have to go to the Ikeja City Mall for 30 minutes”, said the 27-year old. “There I buy something (food) and charge my phone to work from the restaurant. Even though this means burning my time and money on transport, I have to go there because ICM is the one sure place I know to find power.”

During a recent visit to Lagos, 25-year old pilot, Susan Ekpoh, noticed the solar panels powering inverters in her friend’s house so they could swing into action while the power was out. “The inverters run all day as long as you don’t turn on the fridge”, she said, while lamenting the daily outages which sometimes last as long as 20 hours. “The fridge doesn’t work and neither do the air conditioners, so you have to battle the heat with just fans.”

These are but a few of an array of creative solutions that Lagosians, used to years of constant epileptic power supply, have come up with. In 2006, the National Electric Power Authority (nicknamed Never Expect Power Always by longsuffering Nigerians), was unbundled by the government of the day into the Power Holding Companies of Nigeria (also nicknamed Please Hold Candle Now). Seven years later, its’ 17 utility firms under PHCN were partly sold to private bidders.

NEW NAMES, NEW PROBLEMS

A change in name and administration did not significantly improve the power supply, instead, it ensured a transmission of the inefficiency of its predecessors. Cumulatively, the national grid has a total installed power output of 12,522MW but currently generates only about 4000MW in reality.

Analysts say the energy deficit is perhaps felt in Lagos, the pulse of the nation, more than anywhere else. “Being a commercial hub, Lagos requires a lot of power”, explains Dolapo Oni, head of energy research at the Ecobank Group. “We need say 2000MW at least but we get way less than that; roughly 400MW in all so this has to be rationed.”

Last Christmas, 12 plants accounting for a combined capacity of 2,035 MW of Nigeria’s total installed power output produced zero megawatts, according to statistics from The Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry, NESI. Nine months before on the afternoon of March 16, 2016, zero megawatts was generated by the system operator, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).

In January this year, Tony Elumelu, a foremost investor in the power sector lamented about the state of the power sector, describing it as a “walking corpse on the brink of collapse”. Transcorp Group, on whose board he sits as chairman, owns the largest fossil-fuel based power generating plant in the country and is being owed in the region of N50 billion (approx. $18 million) by the state-owned Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc for power generated. Last July, it announced it was shelving plans to build a 1,000-megawatt gas-fired facility as the economic downturn had made it harder to raise funds.

POWER TO THE PEOPLE

On Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999, sixteen years after a coup aborted the Second Republic and left a certain General Muhammadu Buhari in power, the man at the helm of affairs was another general, Olusegun Obasanjo. His ascent to the office was on the platform of the newly formed People’s Democratic Party (PDP), whose slogan ironically was ‘Power to the People’.

Successive governments have promised an overhaul but the action has not matched the talk. And as Africa’s largest economy and one of its top oil producers endures its worst recession in 25 years, things have been worsened by rampant attacks by restive militants on its oil installations in the Niger Delta.

Nevertheless, the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has insisted repeatedly that the target of 10,000 megawatts of electricity generation target set by the Buhari administration would be achieved in 2019.

In the interim, the responsibility of providing power for the people has fallen on the people themselves. On dark evenings in neighbourhoods without power, some of the residents crowd around barbershops and queue to charge their devices and discuss national problems away from the sweltering heat of their homes. For those who can afford it, they buy mini generator sets and rechargeable table fans to cope with the absence of light and the accompanying presence of heat, at night.

Folake Ajao’s fashion blog and PR business had been suffering from the epileptic power supply in her neighbourhood until she discovered a small café during a random visit to the mall nearby – and then she made it her home, working twelve-hour stretches on her laptop while sipping on just a bottle of water or latte throughout. “One day, the attendant rudely came to me and told me laptops weren’t allowed there anymore”, she said.

So she saved up money to buy a small ultra-low watt generator, the type popularly referred to as ‘I Pass My Neighbour’ – because it provides just enough power for a few appliances and its droning noise is a status symbol differentiating those with light from those without. “The shop owner told me it was 35,000 naira, more than 300% increase in the price from two years ago”, she laments. “I bought it because I had no choice.”

The desperation has aided businesses like that of Sunmonu Olanrewaju who does solar installations and rewires generators to use a cleaner and cheaper form of energy – liquefied gas – after fuel prices were increased last May.

Bunmi Kuku, an executive director at Ernst & Young believes in taking a holistic view on resolving issues affecting the power sector in Nigeria and a focused approach to overhauling the distribution and transmission infrastructure.

“There’s a huge level of investment required in the sector, which will impact the different players in the value chain”, she says. “At the bottom of the chain, the directive from NERC to meter all customers is yet to be fulfilled with non-maximum demand customers still receiving estimated bills. While we are starting to see an increase in interest from multilateral and other donor agencies to develop fiscal frameworks and guidelines for the sector, it is important to note that there is still a huge infrastructure deficit.”

In his time as the immediate past governor of Lagos, Fashola initiated and oversaw the installation of five Independent Power Plants (IPP) across the state. His successor, Akinwunmi Ambode is consolidating on that through the Light Up Lagos initiative, says a staff of the Lagos State Electricity Board who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“The past administration provided power through 5 IPPs but that was for state-owned facilities only and those establishments are powered off-grid”, she explained. “This current administration wants to make that power available to residents through Light Up Lagos. A committee has been set up with different energy stakeholders to make this happen. For now, things are still in the developmental phase as the investor companies are looking at a lot of details.”

“The IPPs were using captive power and different distribution systems but we want to switch to embedded power and integrate it into substations of the DISCOs (distribution companies). All of this is so that power generated in Lagos stays in Lagos so that regardless of the power situation across Nigeria, Lagos as a commercial hub will not be affected.”

Already, the government has embarked on a renewable energy drive for rural communities. “There are 11 health centres which are totally off the grid and 170 primary schools which use both solar panels and grid power.”

PEOPLE POWER

There are mounting concerns that by itself, Light Up Lagos may not be the lasting solution Lagosians have long hoped for. Oni explains that some consumers are cheating the system, thus making it hard for the DISCOs to recoup their expenses.

“Sometime last year, DISCOs were rejecting part of their power allocations because they could not pay for it and that’s because they have issues with collecting their revenue. For instance, there’s a highbrow estate in Lekki where residents bypass the meters and get free power for their heavy-duty appliances. It’s a bit of a chicken and egg issue but unfortunately, the average user wants to see power before he pays for it.”

In addition, it is not uncommon to see electricians hacking meters, bypassing them illegally for patrons from the next street after they had been disconnected as a result of their inability to clear their electricity bills. To this end, the Eko Distribution Company, one of the two DISCOs serving Lagos has instituted a whistleblowing campaign, offering 20% discount on tariffs to willing collaborators to out those circumventing the system.

“Even that might not work”, says Ajao. ”People like me just want power, we don’t care how.”

This story was made possible by the BudgIT Civic Media 2017 Fellowship.

Daddy Freeze, has continued his ‘attacks’ on Nigerian pastors, saying he decided to ignore Muslim clerics as none owns a private jet.

Controversial Lagos-based On Air Personality, OAP, Daddy Freeze, has continued his ‘attacks’ on Nigerian pastors, saying he decided to ignore Muslim clerics as none owns a private jet.

Daddy Freeze disclosed this in an interview on SaharaTV.

The OAP, in recent times, has been tackling Nigerian preachers for their ‘excessive display of wealth’ and asking their members to pay tithes while they (the preachers) seem to get richer from the money collected.

He also maintained that he is only trying to preach the truth about Christianity, and is after pastors who preach mostly about prosperity.

“Why the ‘Yahoo’ pastors appear to be filled with greed, as far as i can tell, no Muslim cleric in Nigeria actually owns a private jet like some of their Christian counterparts,” Freeze said.

The OAP, who backed up his claims against tithing from the Bible, said there was no evidence of Jesus and the 12 disciples collecting tithes from anyone.

 

Why Buhari turned down Okorocha’s invitation – Zuma

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has unravelled the mystery of his visit to Imo State without the company of his Nigerian counterpart, Muhammadu Buhari.

According to the South African leader, when he told his colleague to accompany to honour Governor Rochas Okorocha, he got the reply that ‘’he (Buhari) was indisposed.’’

Zuma made the clarification yesterday at the palace of the State Chairman of Council of Traditional Rulers, Eze Sam Ohiri, during the conferment of the chieftaincy title of ‘Ochiagha’ (war commander) on him.

However, scores have taken to the streets to condemn the erection of a N520 million statue for the South African leader.

The protesters, including the governor’s former aide and one-time member of the House of Representatives, Uche Onyeaguocha, retirees, Advocacy Against Corruption Initiative (AWACI), among others questioned the rationale behind the erection and naming of a road in a choice high brow area of Owerri after the South African president.

AWACI, in a statement, sought commencement of impeachment proceedings against the governor for alleged hosting of the South African leader with state’s resources and signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of Rochas Foundation College for Africa with Zuma Foundation.

Also, the Unified Nigeria Youth Forum condemned Zuma’s statue.

In a statement yesterday in Kaduna by its president, Abdulsalam Muhammad Kazeem, the body considered the development as a misplaced priority in view of the economic situation of the state where some workers and pensioners had not received their entitlements for months.

But Okorocha had explained that the visit would translate to economic gains to the state.

He mentioned education, Imo Industrial Park, Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport among others that would get direct benefit.

Okorocha accused those against what he termed good things coming to the state, as enemies of progress.

Countering the governor, Onyeaguocha, who represented Owerri Federal Constituency, said Zuma had no business coming to Imo, advising him to go back to his country and face the corruption charge against him as ruled by his country’s Supreme Court.

FG gets US$29bn from SPDC as NDDC gulps US$1.8bn in four years

FG gets US$29bn from SPDC as NDDC gulps US$1.8bn in four yearsShell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and its Joint Venture (JV) partners contributed US$29bn to the Nigerian government between 2012 and 2016. The company also said that it contributed US$1.8bn to the Niger Delta Development Company (NDDC) funds within the same period for the development of the oil-bearing communities in the Niger Delta region. (Source: Guardian)

Nigerians may repay US$5.5bn loan for 30 years, says FG

Nigerians may repay US$5.5bn loan for 30 years, says FG: The federal government (FG) has said its external borrowing plan, for which it is seeking the approval of the National Assembly, will take Nigeria between 5 and 30 years to repay. The government also insisted it would have to borrow more to complete a number of ongoing infrastructural projects. (Source: Punch)

Budget: FG to spend N1.2trn more in 2018: The country’s national budget will rise by N1.2trn (US$3.3bn) in 2018, according to projections contained in the 2018-2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy (FSP) submitted to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari. (Source: Punch)

Solar power: FG attracts investors with pioneer status

Solar power: FG attracts investors with pioneer status: The minister of power, works and housing, Babatunde Fashola, has said investors can now manufacture solar power systems in the country following the recent review of the pioneer status incentive. Fashola stated this in Lagos on Thursday, adding that solar power had become the energy for tomorrow, affirming the federal government’s (FG) commitment to encouraging investors in the space. (Source: Punch)

Shell Nigeria lifts force majeure on Bonny Light crude

Shell Nigeria lifts force majeure on Bonny Light crude: Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell, has lifted force majeure on the exports of Bonny Light crude oil, one month after it was declared. A spokesperson for Shell said the force majeure was lifted on Thursday. It was reported that Shell declared the force majeure last month following the shutdown of the Nembe Creek Trunk Line, one of the two main pipelines taking Bonny Light grade to the export terminal. Exports have been continuing via the Trans Niger Pipeline. (Source: Punch)

We’re on the same page with FG on borrowing – W’Bank

We’re on the same page with FG on borrowing – W’Bank: The World Bank says it is not in disagreement with the federal government (FG) on the need to borrow to finance infrastructure. In a letter to the minister of finance, Kemi Adeosun, in Abuja on Wednesday, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Rachid Benmessaoud, said the bank had commended the FG for efforts to rebalance the nation’s debt portfolio. (Source: Punch)

Nigerian regulator suspends Oando shares, orders audit: Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said on Wednesday it had ordered the suspension of Oando shares, citing concerns about possible insider trading and the oil company’s shareholding structure. (Source: Reuters)

House probes TCN’s US$1.5bn, US$500m foreign loans: The House of Representatives has queried loans totalling US$1.5bn taken from foreign creditors by the Transmission Company of Nigeria. This is in spite of a separate US$500m loan which the power firm is already negotiating with the Islamic Development Bank. (Source: Punch)

PowerGas, Delta collaborate on gas-to-power project: PowerGas and the Delta State Government have struck a partnership to develop gas-to-power projects in the state. A statement said the firm had come up with a sustainable solution to the power problem facing industries and other consumers with its gas-to-power infrastructure. (Source: Punch)

Agip pushes ahead with 150,000bpd refinery plan: The Nigerian Agip Oil Company, a subsidiary of Italian oil major, Eni, said it had begun feasibility studies for the construction of a new 150,000 barrel-of-oil-per-day refinery in the Niger Delta. (Source: Punch)

Lafarge Africa flags off National Literacy Competition ; 2030 Plan

Lafarge Africa flags off National Literacy Competition ; 2030 Plan

In line with its plan for 2030, Lafarge Africa Plc, a leading cement and building solutions provider has announced the commencement of its 4th Annual National Literacy Competition with regional run-offs in October and the Grand finale in November.

The competition is in line with the company’s sustainability strategy- The 2030 Plan –which stipulates its ambition for the construction –with a vision of enhancing the quality of life for all. State run-offs were held in the month of September and regional finals are taking place across the country this October.

The grand finale for this year will hold in November in Lagos where six winners (three boys and three girls) will be awarded national prizes. Public school students from the 109 senatorial districts in the country are taking part in the competition.

To evaluate the reading and writing abilities of the pupils, tests would be conducted on essay/summary writing and spelling bees. For the past four years, Lafarge Africa Plc has held the National Literacy Competition to support government efforts in raising the standard of English Language in public primary schools. Primary school students between the ages of 9 and 13 year sare the primary target for this competition. Since the inception of the competition, over 200,000 primary school pupils across 244 local government areas (LGAs) have been impacted.

The competition is being organized with support from the respective State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) and Lafarge Africa’s implementation partner, the Ovie Brume Foundation. The Director of Communications, Public Affairs and Sustainable Development, Mrs. Folashade Ambrose-Medebem while commenting on the vision of this initiative remarked: “We want to help create more literacy enhancement opportunities for several indigent students across Nigeria.

We have been doing this successfully for the past four years and we are quite pleased with the positive impact we have made so far. It’s all about touching the lives of all our diverse people in a sustainable way.’

Mrs. Ambrose- Medebem further stated that Lafarge Africa Plc understands the key role education plays in the development of any society hence the need to engage the leaders of tomorrow on critical literacy skills at an early stage.

Situating the Lafarge Africa National Literacy Completion in the overall sustainable development strategy of the company, Mrs Ambrose Medebem said: “this initiative is in line with the LafargeHolcim2030 Plan, which articulate our efforts to improve the sustainability performance of our operations focusing on developing innovative and sustainable solutions for better building and infrastructure”.

According to her, it goes beyond the company’s own business activities and plans toachieve this vision by focusing on four categories of action:Climate, Circular Economy, Water and Nature and People & Communities.“Each of these classifications have specific actions and targets to ensure we achieve our ambitions.

It is in our People & Communities category that our National Literacy Competition is making a difference”, she concluded..

Nigeria, Ghana sign MoU on maritime operations

Nigeria, Ghana sign MoU on maritime operations: The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ghanaian Maritime Authority (GMA) to optimally harness the natural potential in the industry. The highlight of the renewable MoU, which has a life span of four years, include knowledge transfer and sharing initiative between both agencies, joint capacity building initiative, cabotage enforcement joint study initiative, joint comparative research initiative and joint efforts to combat piracy and terrorism initiative. (Source: Guardian)