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NBA seeks exclusion of corrupt INEC staff from guber polls

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Last Updated on July 18, 2023 by Fellow Press

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to exclude its staff engaged in malpractices during the Feb. 25 elections from participating in the March 11 governorship and State assemblies elections.

The NBA made the call on Wednesday in Abuja in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Akorede Habeeb-Lawal.

The association also advised INEC to fix all bugs or glitches that affected the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines used during the presidential and national assembly elections.

“The NBA urges INEC to ensure that all bugs or glitches in the BVAS machines and other election technology are fixed and improved.

“All INEC staff, including collation and returning officers, with proven cases of misconduct in the Feb. 25 elections should be excluded from the March 11elections,“it said.

The association urged the Inspector-General of Police to ensure the timely deployment of police officers on duty for the March 11 elections.

It also called on political parties to educate their members and supporters on the need to eschew all forms of actions in violation of the Electoral Act.

The NBA commended Nigerians for their resilience and perseverance in carrying out their civic duties, during the presidential and national assembly elections.

The association encouraged citizens to show same values and resolve in the upcoming governorship and state houses of assembly elections.

The NBA urged INEC to address some major challenges observed during the Feb. 25 presidential and national assembly elections.

“ These include the late arrival of INEC officials and ballot materials at the polling stations, malfunctioning BVAS machines, limited or non-transmission of the results from the polling units to the INEC Results Viewing Portal (IReV),“it said.

Other challenges are insecurity at some polling units, violent attacks on voters and officials, voter intimidation, snatching and destruction of among others.

The association said that findings from their observers indicated that, only a quarter of the electorate representing 27.1 per cent were impressed with the conduct of the elections.

“The majority of the voters representing 64.6 per cent said they are somewhat satisfied,“it said.

It also said its observers found out that only 8.2 per cent of the electorate rated the election poor or very poor.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that NBA Election Working Group deployed over 1,000 INEC accredited observers, drawn from 128 branches of the association to monitor elections across the 36 states and the FCT.

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Local Refining: Petrol price to crash to N300/Litre – Modular Refineries

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Last Updated on June 10, 2024 by Fellow Press

The pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, should drop to about N300/litre upon the commencement of massive production by the Dangote Petroleum Refinery and other indigenous producers, operators of modular refineries stated on Sunday.

However, they pointed out that this would be achieved when the government ensures the provision of adequate crude oil to local refiners, stressing that refineries abroad were ripping off Nigeria.

Speaking under the aegis of the Crude Oil Refinery Owners Association of Nigeria, they explained that what happened to the cost of diesel after Dangote started producing it, would happen to petrol price once it is being produced massively in Nigeria.

CORAN is a registered association of modular and conventional refinery companies in Nigeria.

“A lot of companies today benefit from the importation of petroleum products at the expense of Nigerians,” the Publicity Secretary, CORAN, Eche Idoko, stated.

He told our correspondent that “if we begin to produce PMS today in large volumes, provided there is adequate crude oil supply, I can assure that we should be able to buy PMS at N300/litre as the pump price.

“Why make Nigerians buy it at almost N700/litre when you know that if you allow refineries work the price will come down? Is it because you want to satisfy the global refiners abroad that are making so much from us?”

When told that there are arguments that it is not possible to have such a drop in price because crude oil, the raw material for PMS, is price in dollars, the CORAN official insisted that petrol price would crash once it is being produced massively by indigenous refiners.

He said, “We were selling diesel for N1,700 to N1,800/litre, but as soon as Dangote refinery started production he brought down the price to N1,200/litre. What other proofs do you need?

As I speak to you now there is every tendency that before December diesel price will drop further. The only reason reason why diesel is not doing below N1,000/litre is because of our exchange rate.

“If the exchange rate drops, diesel will drop below the N1,000/litre price. Now the exchange rate concern is because Dangote imports crude. If he is not importing, the exchange rate may not have so much effect, though he is still buying crude in dollars (in Nigeria) anyway.”

On May 18, 2024, The PUNCH reported that Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, stated that following the laid-down plans of the Dangote refinery, Nigeria would no longer need to import petrol starting June this year.

Dangote had also stated that his refinery could meet West Africa’s petrol and diesel needs, as well as the continent’s aviation fuel demand. He spoke at the Africa CEO Forum Annual Summit in Kigali, expressing optimism about transforming Africa’s energy landscape.

“Right now, Nigeria has no cause to import anything apart from gasoline (petrol) and by sometime in June, within the next four or five weeks, Nigeria shouldn’t import anything like gasoline; not one drop of a litre,” the billionaire had declared.

Also, Dangote had earlier in the year crashed the pump price of diesel to N1,200/litre when the commodity was selling at between N1,700 and N1,800/litre at the time.

He further dropped the price to below N1,000/litre, but could not sustain this price due to the rise in exchange rate. The refinery eventually returned the price to the initial rate of N1,200/litre.

Speaking on Sunday, the CORAN spokesperson stated that this was why the modular refiners had been calling for the sale of crude oil at the naira equivalent of the dollar rate.

“We have told them (government) that even the dollars that you are asking us to use and buy this product, it is detrimental to the country. Strengthen the naira. We will buy at the international market rate, but at a naira equivalent.

“These are the issues and they know these things but we can’t explain why they really can’t take decisions to change these concerns.

“Get crude to local refineries, allow crude purchase in naira equivalent, make the environment business-friendly and watch locally produced petroleum product prices crash,” Idoko stated.

Nigeria currently has 25 licensed modular refineries. Five of them are operating and producing diesel, kerosene, black oil and naphtha. About 10 are under various stages of completion, while the others have received licences to establish.

Operators of modular refineries earlier stated that aside from the five that are in operation currently, the remaining plants are embattled due to the major challenge of crude oil unavailability, a development that has stalled funding from financiers.

“Only about five of our members have completed their refineries. The others are having a major challenge.

“This challenge is that the people who are supposed to finance them have not disbursed financing for construction because they want some level of guarantee.

“A guarantee that if they finish the refinery, they are going to get feedstock, which, of course, is crude oil,” Idoko had explained.

Oil marketers also believe that the cost of petrol should be lower than its current price once its production begins in Nigeria.

They welcomed the comment of Dangote that his refinery should start pumping out petrol this month, and expressed hope that the cost would be less than the price which the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited currently sells.

“We expect a reduced price for locally produced PMS, as I’ve earlier told you,” the National President, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Abubakar Maigandi, stated.

Maigandi, while speaking from Saudi Arabia with our correspondent on Sunday, also stated no date has been communicated to marketers on when Dangote would release petrol to the market. Officials of Dangote refinery have remained mute on this.

“It is a welcome development if the refinery can start releasing PMS this month because as marketers we are currently set to start buying the product from the plant,” Maigandi stated.

The IPMAN president earlier stated that marketers were discussing with the managers of the plant, but not specifically on petrol pricing.

“We have been discussing, but not about the price of petrol yet, rather on other matters such as the registration of members for the purchase of petrol and diesel from the refinery.

“It is true that we have started buying diesel from them, but you have to register with the company first. So a general registration is ongoing,” he explained.

Maigandi, however, stated that though marketers had yet to receive the projected price for petrol from the plant, dealers would want to see a PMS price of about N500/litre from the Dangote refinery.

“We are looking at having it (PMS) at any price below the NNPC rate. The price which NNPC sells petrol is N565.50/litre, so we are expecting something below that price, maybe around N500/litre,” Maigandi stated.

The oil dealers also joined in the call for the provision of crude oil to local refiners, stressing that this would impact positively on the prices of refined petroleum products.

“Of course, it is important for crude to be made available to local refineries because this will surely affect petroleum products’ prices positively,” the IPMAN president stated.

Regulators speak

The spokesperson of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, George Ene-Ita, said he was sure that the government has guidelines for the provision of feedstock (crude) to indigenous refiners.

Ene-Ita promised to provide additional information on the matter, as he stated that he could not give further details at the time he was contacted by our correspondent.

Recall that the Chief Executive of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, Gbenga Komolafe, had earlier promised that the government would ensure that crude oil was supplied to domestic refiners.

He stated that in compliance with the provisions of Section 109(2) of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, the NUPRC in a landmark move, had developed a template guiding the activities for Domestic Crude Oil Supply Obligation.

“The commission in conjunction with relevant stakeholders from NNPC Upstream Investment Management Services, representatives of Crude Oil/Condensate Producers, Crude Oil Refinery-Owners Association of Nigeria, and Dangote Petroleum Refinery came up with the template for the buy-in of all.

“This is in a bid to foster a seamless implementation of the DCSO and ensure consistent supply of crude oil to domestic refineries,” Komolafe had stated.

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LP bows to pressure, renames Obidient Directorate

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Last Updated on June 6, 2024 by Fellow Press

Following a backlash over the naming and composition of the leadership structure of the “Obidient Directorate,” the leadership of the Labour Party (LP) has renamed the directorate.

The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Obiora Ifoh, announced the party’s decision in a tarse statement in Abuja on Thursday.

According to him, the Obidient Directorate will now be known and referred to as the Directorate of Mobilisation and Integration.

Ifoh said, “Following the controversies arising from the creation of the Directorate of OBIDIENT Affairs, in the party, the Directorate is hereby renamed the Directorate of Mobilisation and Integration.

“The inauguration will take place on Saturday, June 8, 2024, at the party’s National Secretariat, Utako, Abuja, by 10 a.m. Party members and the general public should take note.”

Recall that over 200 support groups, which make up the Obidient Movement, had denounced the LP leadership for setting up the directorate and naming some persons as directors.

The support groups, in a statement dissociating themselves from the new directorate, accused the National Working Committee (NWC) of the LP, under the leadership of Comrade Julius Abure, of trying to use the directorate to strip the movement of its independence.

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