Enclosed herewith are the following
- Police Recover Unexploded IEDs At Owo Church
- Owo Church Attack “Targeted At Turning Yorubaland Into A War Zone” – Ooni Of Ife
- [JUST IN] Owo Massacre: Tinubu Extends Philanthropic Gesture, Donates N75m To Victims, Church
- Front page “Business Day” newspaper 8th June 2022.
Headline: “FOR BRIBING NNPC OFFICIALS, OTHERS, US KEEPS GLENCORE $1.2 BILLION FINE.
“The United States has fined Swiss-based oil trader Glencore the sum of $1.2 billion as penalty for bribes paid to corrupt officials in Nigeria and other countries, in a move that rewards a country that suffered no damage from the company’s crime.
Glencore routinely gets awarded crude lifting contracts by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC).
Following prolonged investigations by Brazil, the United Kingdom, and the United States, two Glencore subsidiaries pleaded guilty May 24 to multiple charges of market manipulation and bribery, including corruption related to the company’s oil operations in Africa and South America.
Glencore’spenalties to the US alone for violating the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and manipulating commodity prices is about $1.2 billion. The company is registered in the US, hence the investigation.
According to the investigating countries, Glencore’s corrupt actions included more than $100 million in bribes to officials in Brazil, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, South Sudan, and Venezuela between 2007 and 2018.
Last year, a former staff of Glencore confessed that he paid bribes to intermediaries on the understanding that it would be passed on to NNPC officials to influence the government’s crude oil allocation during Alison Diezani Madueke’s tenure as petroleum minister.
Anthony Stimler, currently helping US Justice Department investigators into the company and former colleagues, said for a dozen years, he had paid millions in bribes to African officials and intermediaries.
“When I made requests for payments to intermediaries, I was aware that other Glencore traders who worked with me were doing the same thing by directing our intermediaries to make bribe payments to government officials,” Stimler told a federal judge in New York, according to a transcript of his guilty plea.
“I intended that a proportion of the payment to intermediaries operating in Nigeria were to be passed on to Nigerian state-owned oil company officials. The purpose of the payment was to influence those officials’ decisions regarding the Nigerian government’s allocations of crude oil cargo.”
Most of these fraudulent transactions occurred when Madueke was petroleum minister in the government of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
US prosecutors said two associates of the minister set up companies shortly after she took office and were awarded contracts to sell large allotments of oil on global markets.
The pair were awarded dozens of crude cargoes worth about $1.5 billion, according to the prosecutors. Nigeria received little of the proceeds of those sales, which prosecutors say were diverted for Madueke and her associates.
They say that over the course of 2013 and 2014, Glencore bought 15 cargoes totalling 7 million barrels from the men, paying more than $800 million. Of that, they contend, roughly a third — $272 million — was diverted into an account at a Nigerian bank used for the purchases for Madueke.
Following Buhari’s election in 2015, Madueke fled Nigeria and has been living in London. She has been charged with corruption by Nigerian authorities but has so far successfully evaded extradition, and she is under investigation by UK authorities as well.
“The scope of this criminal bribery scheme is staggering,” said US Attorney Damian Williams for the Southern District of New York. “Glencore paid bribes to secure oil contracts. Glencore paid bribes to avoid government audits. Glencore bribed judges to make lawsuits disappear. At bottom, Glencore paid bribes to make money – hundreds of millions of dollars. And it did so with the approval, and even encouragement, of its top executives.”
According to the US Department of Justice release, in the DRC, Glencore admitted that it conspired to and did corruptly offer and pay approximately $27.5 million to third parties, while intending for a portion of the payments to be used as bribes to DRC officials, in order to secure improper business advantages.
Glencore also admitted to the bribery of officials in Brazil and Venezuela. In Brazil, the company caused approximately $147,202 to be used, at least in part, as corrupt payments for Brazilian officials. In Venezuela, Glencore admitted to conspiring to secure and securing improper business advantages by paying over $1.2 million to an intermediary company that made corrupt payments for the benefit of a Venezuelan official.
Following the US decision to fine Glencore and keep the proceeds, the African Energy Chamber is calling on the US government to use the $1.2 billion in penalties Glencore is paying to empower Africans.
“They’re the real victims of Glencore’s malfeasance and mistakes,” the group said.
According to AEC, Glencore’s penalties should go to organisations like Power Africa, a public-private partnership formed by the US to help address energy poverty in sub-Saharan Africa — a goal shared by the African Energy Chamber.
Glencore’s corruption and state capture have undermined efforts to make energy poverty history. Directing money to Power Africa will help change living conditions for more than 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa who currently go without reliable electricity, the group said.
Alternatively, the group said African countries need trillions of dollars to finance their transition to renewable energies in support of international climate goals and the funds could go a long way.”
- Front page report “ThisDay” newspaper of June 10, 2022.
Headline: “COURT DISCHARGES, ACQUITS WIFE OF FORMER PPMC MD, FIVE OTHERS OF ALLEGED MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES”
- Orders immediate unfreezing of bank accounts, unsealing of properties.
“Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court yesterday freed Mrs .Ochuko Momoh, wife of a former Managing Director of the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC), Mr Haruna Momoh and five others in a money laundering related charges.
Justice Taiwo in a judgment delivered held that the prosecution failed to prove its allegations against the defendants.
The court accordingly discharged and acquit them from the charge.
The court in addition ordered that all her bank accounts as well as that of her companies frozen as a result of the case be immediately unfrozen, “upon service” of the judgment on the plaintiff and the affected banks.
The court also ordered the prosecution to immediately unseal all properties both immovable and movable belonging to Mrs. Momoh.
The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) had in 2020, arraigned the defendants on a 22-count criminal charge bordering on alleged money laundering running into billions of naira.
They pleaded not guilty to all the charges and were admitted to bail so as to prepare effectively for their defense.
Besides Mrs.Momoh, other defendants included Blessing Azuka-Agozi, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, Energopol Nigeria Limited, Blaid Construction Limited and Blaid Farms Limited.
The prosecution had accused the defendants of laundering the sum of $700 million while HarunaMomoh held sway at the PPMC between 2011 and 2015.
They further alleged that Mr.Momoh through his wife’s firms laundered another sum of N249 million.
Before yesterday’s judgment, the prosecution led by Osuobeni Akponimisingha, called seven witnesses and tendered several documents to prove its case against the defendants.
However, delivering judgment in the suit yesterday, Justice Taiwo remarked that in a criminal case, it was the duty of the prosecution to prove the allegations of crime, adding that where there was a doubt, the court must resolve the issue in favour of the defendants.
According to the judge, the case of the prosecution was unreliable because it was built on mere speculation and conjecture.
Justice Taiwo stated that the prosecution failed to prove that the transaction leading to the deposits of the monies in the accounts of the 5th defendants were from illegal activities.
According to the judge, evidence before it showed that the N249 million was payment made to the 5th defendant for the contract it carried out for the PPMC.
In addition, the court held that the prosecution failed to prove that the 5th defendant was given undue advantage over other companies that bided for the contract, or was not qualified to be awarded the contract.
The judge stressed that the prosecution ought to have even check whether the contract was executed by the defendants in the first place before making allegations.
The judge noted that witnesses called by the prosecution stated that they did not have reason to suspect the monies from Mrs.Momoh because of the nature of her business (poultry), adding that all transactions were done in line with the guidelines of the Central Bank of Nigeria and other financial regulators.
Similarly, on the allegation that the second defendant refused to honour plaintiff’s invitation in respect of the suit, the court held that it is untenable in law for the prosecution to have made such invitation orally.
“The case of the prosecution is weak and unreliable”, the judge said.
“Consequently the prosecution haven failed to prove the allegations the defendants are hereby discharged and acquitted from all the 22 criminal count charge”, Justice Taiwo added.
Following request by Mr. Ade Adedeji, SAN, counsel to the 1st, 5th and 6th defendants, the judge ordered the immediate unfreezing of the accounts of Blaid Construction and Blaid Farms belonging to Mrs. Momoh.
The interim order of forfeiture was made by Justice InyangEkwo pending the determination of the criminal case.
Recall that Justice BintaNyako of the Federal High Court had in a judgment delivered on July 4, 2019, ordered the ICPC to vacate attachments placed on the assets of Mrs. Momoh and ordered them to also erase all inscription such as, “keep off, under investigation by ICPC.”
The judge held that, “where there is no prosecution for 12 months all seized property should be released to the owners.”
Speaking to journalists shortly after the judgment, Mrs. Momoh’s lawyer, commended the court for ensuring that justice was served at the end of the day.
“After four years, indeed more than that, justice has been served with what happened today.
“Our client has been discharged and acquitted on all the 22 count charge which were fabricated, which were not proved, which were conjectures.
“We thank the court, we thank the judiciary for their thoroughness, for their hard work, for their painstaking efforts to see that indeed justice was served,” he said.
Adedeji, however, urged the prosecution to always do their job diligently and ensure that they commence prosecution only when they have real facts and are convinced that they have a case against anyone.
Hon Justice Taiwo Taiwo observed that the court in July 2019, had earlier ruled through Hon Justice BFM Nyako that investigations by any government agency should not and cannot be in perpetuity. And the view of the court remains the same in this matter. Therefore, the matter should be put to rest at this point.”
- Front page of “BusinessDay” newspaper of 8th June 2022.
Headline: INFLUX OF ARMS ENCOURAGING PIRACY IN THE GULF OF GUINEA -Agwai
“Martin Luther Agwai, Nigeria’s former chief of defence staff, says the influx of small arms and light weapons has heightened piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
Piracy has become increasingly sophisticated with the influx of small arms and light weapons in the hands of pirates and criminals on waterways and high on seas, he said on Tuesday, in Abuja.
Agwai was speaking at the launch of a Counter-Piracy and Response project in the Gulf of Guinea.
The launch was organised by the Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peacekeeping Centre (MLAILPKC) in collaboration with the UNDP.
Agwai is the chairman, board of trustee of MLAILPKC. He noted that the maritime domain had remarked a critical route for human interactions and trade and brought about human interconnectivity and relationships between nations.
According to him, in contemporary times, sea interactions have brought about global economic prosperity and increased the relationship between nations and cultures.
“The maritime domain accounts for the movement of most global goods and services through different sea passages like the China Sea, the Strait of Singapore, the Gulf of Mexico, Gulf of Aden and Gulf of Guinea amongst others.
“Some of these sea passages have, however, continued to experience hijacks, kidnappings, robbery and piracy,” he said.
Agwai said also that reported cases of piracy and other maritime crimes in the Gulf Guinea had continued to threaten the ease of moving goods and services.
He added that incessant pirate attacks had also resulted in increased maritime insurance costs, higher prices of goods and merchandise, including oil and gas resources.
There had also been the growth of regional illegal markets in clandestine goods and services, he noted.
According to him, costs associated with piracy and other crimes are ultimately passed on and borne by final consumers.
“The Gulf of Guinea which extends from Senegal in the west to Angola in the South remains a very critical socio-economic nexus between the Americas, Middle East and Asia.
“I cannot but state that the launching of the project would herald the Centre as a regional hub for Anti-Piracy Training toward mitigating the negative impacts of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea,” he said.
In his remarks, the commandant, MLALIPKC, AuwalFagge, noted that piracy in the Gulf of Guinea had been discouraging foreign investment.
He said that weakened control of offshore areas had slowed deployment of blue economy and encouraged illicit freight and illegal fishing.”
- Front page editorial in “BusinessDay” newspaper on 9th June 2022.
Headline: “SAVING THE PLUMMETING NAIRA”
“The nation’s currency, the naira, is facing serious pressure from all directions. From unbridled imports to low crude oil exports, the naira is not getting the support it deserves.
Another pressure point is the electioneering period that is getting more intense by the day. In the last few days, political aspirants were said to have given delegates the almighty dollars. This must have compounded the current problems of the naira.
Investors, businessmen, tourists, and other users who need it for their legitimate business activities are the ones bearing the brunt of this worsening naira. Some have postponed their investment plans, while others may have cancelled outright their projects in view the off-dollar scarcity.
One of the sources of the US dollar to the Nigerian economy is on the platform of exports. It should be noted that the Nigeria’s trade balance stood at N2.23 trillion in 2019 as a result of the annual imports of N16.95 trillion compared with the exports of N19.19 trillion. On the export side, crude oil dominated while on the import side, the purchases of refined petroleum products, industrial raw materials and food items dominated the list.
In 2020, exports plummeted. Nigeria ended that year with a negative trade balance of N178.26 billion. The situation got worse in 2021 as the nation’s negative trade balance rose to N1.94 trillion. Specifically, from January to March 2021, and from June to November of the same year, monthly negative trade balance rose from N63.6 billion to N873.01 billion.
Momentarily, Nigeria has recorded a positive trade balance in the first quarter of 2022. But this has not saved the naira. This is because the other complementary sources of the dollar are not living up to expectations. Capital importation is dwindling just as the desires of Nigerians to preserve their wealth in US dollars is gaining more traction among the political and economic elites.
Capital importation declined by 17.5 percent to $1.57 billion at the end of first quarter of 2022 on a year-on-year basis. The declining trend has been there since 2014, when capital importation peaked at $20.75 billion. From 2015 to 2018, the highest capital importation was $16.81 billion. A momentary relief was received in 2019 with the importation of $23.99 billion. Thereafter, capital importation has continued to nose-dive.
This investment inflow outlet is another means of providing relief to the naira as it gives the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) the requisite flexibility to meet the foreign exchange needs of businesses and other legitimate users.
Another investment that declines while the naira is plummeting is the foreign participation in equity trading as this relates to the nation’s capital market. At the moment, local investors have become the largest owners of most of the listed equities in Nigeria.
For instance, in 2021, foreign investors controlled only 21.3 percent of the equity trading on the Nigerian Exchange. Also, as of April 2022, foreign investors controlled only 17.4 percent, much lower than the level it was in the previous year.
The above has confirmed the general belief that the sources of foreign exchange into Nigeria, which could provide succour to the Nigerian currency are drying up. This is the reason why the naira keeps plummeting against other major currencies.
For Nigeria to grow, the exchange rate must stabilise. The current situation has already affected Nigerian manufacturers significantly. For instance, how do manufacturers who import raw materials plan in a regime of volatile exchange rates? In some of the interactions we had with manufacturers, they complained bitterly about how the plummeting exchange rates affected their planning, and put them in a difficult situation.
It is more worrisome to them because not all the costs incurred could be transferred to the final consumers. The situation has ensured that most made-in-Nigeria products are not competitive in the international market.
The highly expensive political system Nigeria operates is not helping the naira. For instance, presidential aspirants under the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) paid a minimum of N100 million to obtain the party’s presidential form. The opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) paid N40 million. At the just concluded PDP convention, it was reported that delegates were paid in the dollars.
Meanwhile, the electioneering period has just begun, and now the naira is exchanged for N600/$ at the parallel market. Evidently, more money will still be injected into the political space in an election season like this. Therefore, there is no certainty that the exchange rate will not depreciate further.
Pressures on the naira are coming from many sources. Consequently, all of them require the urgent attention of government and the CBN. Nigeria must devise means to have value-added exports that will not be subject to the treatments currently meted out to agricultural produce at the international market.
The concerns that make capital importation to dwindle must be addressed. Also, ways must be devised to attract foreign investors into the nation’s capital market. The problem requires a multi-pronged solution, and it is achievable if more seriousness is attached to it.”
- Front page editorial on June 6, 2022 in “The Nation” newspaper.
Headline: “IMF’S ALARM ON NIGERIA’S DEBT
- Federal Government should tread with caution on this seeming existential issue.
“The International Monetary Fund [IMF]
- “The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its latest Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Economic Outlook report, would again highlight the elements that have become recurrent as to be only too familiar; yet nonetheless underscore the grave tragedy that has come to define the so-called largest economy on the continent. These are the broad issues of the national revenue, and, the management of the national debt – which the IMF aptly framed as the albatross of debt service, low revenue and fuel subsidy, but are more appropriately the derivatives of the crisis of governance – poor governance.
The summary as captured by IMF latest Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Economic Outlook report presented last week is that the country may be spending 100 per cent of its revenue on debt servicing by 2026. Currently, it spends 89 per cent of its revenue on debt. Added to this grim reality is low revenue, which the IMF’s
Resident Representative for Nigeria, Ari Aisen, described as an ‘existential issue’ for Nigeria. He specifically mentioned the nation’s inability to take advantage of the current global high oil prices to build reserves; and then of course, the fuel subsidy payments, which at the current N500 billion monthly level is projected to hit a record N6 trillion by the end of the year. All of the above, he surmised, threatens to push the economy to cliff.
To be sure, in none of the above can Nigerians be fairly accused of either playing the ostrich or feigning indifference. Take for instance the issue of the fuel subsidy now said to constitute an albatross on the economy. Long before the problem was allowed to metastasise, and perhaps long before the IMF woke up to that realisation, Nigerians are on record to have spoken loud and clear on the need not just for the government to fix the nation’s four refineries but also to expand the refining capacity; ditto the ancillary infrastructure that serviced the national fuel distribution system on which the nation had heavily invested.
Of course, successive administrations, for reasons best known to them, chose to do nothing until the ensuing disruption and subsequent collapse of the entire system left the space open to rentier fuel merchants and transporters to run the show. Clearly, if we expected the MuhammaduBuhari administration with its promise of a new broom to cleanse the sector to make a difference, things would appear to have gotten worse with the subsidy burden growing in leaps and bounds in the aftermath of the recovery of oil prices.
Now, the administration needs a whopping N6 trillion to subsidise the price of fuel in this year’s budget alone. But sadly, it is not just the burden of subsidy that is proving too high to bear; the massive, industrial-scale theft of crude, whose cost to the treasury, according to the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) is put at $3.27 billion annually has, under the Buhari administration, also proven nigh impossible to crack, hence the embarrassing situation in which OPEC’s supposed fifth-largest oil producer is unable to meet its modest 1.8 million barrels per day quota.
We do understand where the IMF is coming from. Unfortunately, raising the alarm on issues that are at best symptoms of problems that are deeper and are of a more fundamental nature, which the IMF routinely does, merely begs the issue. Now that it has spoken, it seems about time it also learns to pay attention to the concerns of Nigerians.
To begin with, will there ever be an end to the fuel price spiral after the subsidy removal, given that the twin factors of high oil prices and shrinking naira value at the heart of the costs are beyond Nigeria’s control? Will this not further compound the woes of businesses at a time the cost of energy and other operating costs are already at a choking point? What about the impact on inflation, unemployment and ultimately the level of poverty? And then of course the other grim possibility – recession – already a major issue in the more developed economies said to be inextricably linked to the high oil prices. Did the IMF factor this in too?
These issues, far from being academic, are some of the concerns that Nigerians have spoken about; needless to state that the issues are such that would require far more than the scare-mongering statistics of the IMF to assuage. In the circumstance, we can only urge the Federal Government to tread with utmost caution.”
- “WORRISOME EARNINGS”
“We are worried that the profit earnings of leading banks in the country do not reflect the state of Nigeria’s economy. While the economy grew at about 3.11 per cent in the first quarter of 2022, leading banks in the country, according to the Vanguard Newspaper report have about 24.7 per cent and 18.6 per cent growth in revenue and profits, respectively, within the same period. Yet, the banks’ financial wellbeing is supposed to reflect the economic health of the nation.
Perhaps the banks are more interested in profiteering from the economic challenges facing the country than helping the nation’s economic development. The banks reviewed by the report include First Bank (FBN Holdings Plc), Zenith Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Guaranty Trust Holdings (GTCO) Plc, Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc, Access Holdings Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc, Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN) Plc, Wema Bank Plc, Jaiz Bank Plc, Sterling Bank Plc, FCMB Group Plc and Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) Unity Bank Plc.
According to the report, the banks recorded a combined N371.9 billion in pre-tax, an 18.6 per cent increase, compared to over N313.5 billion posted in first quarter of 2021. Comparatively, the Nigerian economy, according the National Bureau of Statistics grew at 0.51 percent in the first quarter of 2021, and 5.01 per cent in the second quarter. In the entire 2021, the national economy grew at 3.40 per cent, which was the best since 2014.
While it will be unfair to blame only the banks for the poor growth rate of the economy, it is strange that while the banks’ profits are growing astronomically, the nation’s economy is doddering. We consider it an abuse of the economic intermediation role of the banks, for them to be mercantilist, without development in their philosophy. Ordinarily, their growth rate is supposed to come from the return on loan facilities given to customers, but rather, they keep their monies in their vaults, and seek duplicitous means to earn income from customers.
Without engaging in economic activities, banks levy customers all manner of charges, which the Central Bank frowns at sometimes. It is because the banks make huge profits from such distortions that they are not interested in giving loan for real economic activities, which bear elements of risk. The banks engage in such excess and fraudulent charges because they know that most customers would not follow the tedious process of getting redress either from the courts or the Central Bank.
It is because the commercial banks are not willing to play their role that the Central Bank engages in all manner of interventions, to make loans available for economic operators. Of course, the apex bank, not being well positioned to engage in direct lending to retail customers, still relies on the unwilling banks to give out the loans and recover them. The result has been huge gaps in the performance of those loans, since the monies are not owned by the intermediary banks.
Again in their unwholesome determination to earn higher profits, most banks engage temporary staff to do the work of permanent staff. Disregarding the huge risks involved in such unfair business practice, the banks’ only interest is increase in the bottom-line. It is also sad that despite the huge earnings in profits, the banks’ Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is pathetically disappointing. The huge profits ordinarily should reflect in scholarships, research grants, community-based projects, but instead, the reverse is the case.
If the nation’s economy is to grow as the banks’ earnings are doing, the government must use policy measures to force the banks to direct their attention to the real sector. Such a policy will also benefit the banks in the long run, as they cannot survive in isolation.”
- Front page report in “Sunday Punch” of June 12, 2022.
Headline: “ANNULING JUNE 12 ELECTION WAS THE LAST STRAW ANY DEMOCRAT COULD TAKE” -General Alani Akinrinade.
Question: “But even in the military that you mentioned, there are still cases of corruption. Does that not show that Nigeria’s case is beyond redemption?
Answer: Optimism is the basis of life. I don’t think I can give up at all, but, however, the condition which you have stated now is a very sad condition. We walked into this thing gradually without knowing; we didn’t do enough to watch our recruitment, training and promotion, and gradually, we lost
some ground. Secondly, when people start misbehaving and we didn’t hold them with strong hand; we didn’t see it coming. I am very ashamed to hear that a military officer stole money because I stayed long in the army and served so long in the Ministry of Defence. I know you cannot steal a kobo without writing or approving or to know how money got to the command and how it is spent. We had people there who were trained and knew what to do, they knew the procedures and they followed it. So, how a military is able to get into the treasury and make away with our money, I have no idea and I don’t think anyone of my age in the military will ever understand what it is all about, but the military has never suffered in Nigeria like the civil servants.
Our salaries and entitlement were good. We had barracks with accommodation and beyond that, if you wanted to buy a car that was befitting of your rand and you didn’t have money, the government would give you allowance to buy it and pay back in 10 years and the life of the car was more than four years. You could also queue up for housing loan because you were entitled to it, now, all these institutional safeguards have disappeared. So, how we intend to make people live on the wages they earn now is what I am not aware of. For instance, in Osun here, some people were paid half salary for years, and I ask myself, where are the sociologist, the economist? They should let us know how those people lived at the time. Even the full salary cannot pay your bills and now, you are getting half of it and you are still coming to work. I want to know how.
This is how we have promoted corruption and people are living well above their means and nobody is asking questions, and since nobody is asking questions, it will continue but as I told you, I am eternally ashamed that military officers will ever get involved in some of the cases that we hear of. While in the Army, I witnessed a case of a Lieutenant Colonel, who moved from one station to another, and when he was parking from his quarters, because then it was government quarters, which was furnished by the Ministry of Works. In each house, there is a law that guides what you have inside it. When the officer left, he left with one baby cot and because of that, he was court marshalled; he had to hire a lawyer to defend him. Because of that, he was called “Colonel Baby Cot”. It wasn’t his house and at that time, it was all wooden furniture, no one was doing sofa as of then. The institutions are dying and people are pretending as if the institutions are still strong.”
Question: “What about the regimes performance in economic development?
Answer: “Talking about the economy; in fairness, if you look around
the whole world, everybody is groaning about one thing or the other; inflation, lack of this and that. That is going on all over the world, especially after this pandemic (COVID-19) struck and depleted all the treasury of every government. But seven years later, this government is still importing fuel and people are complaining about the pump price. Crude oil is sent 6,000 miles away and returned as fuel; who pays for the transportation? None of the refineries is working and that bothers me as a person and makes me ask, what can we do well on our own? We have all these fineries long time ago and by now, I expect them to have made enough money to change their equipment to state of the art.
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The equipment installed 25 years ago is already obsolete. We met the Port Harcourt refinery a little bit damaged during the (civil) war, but we located a young person who had worked there as administrator or in their administrative section. He was from the University of Ibadan. We just grabbed him and said this refinery would work. We knew he was not an engineer, but within two weeks, we found all the people and we returned to Eleme and in one month, we were no longer taking fuel from Lagos. That refinery started working. There were no expatriate left in Port Harcourt at the time. It was mainly people from Rivers State, because we had only liberated Port Harcourt and we found enough people to restart that refinery. In no time, we were pumping (fuel) into barges and taking it to Lagos from Eleme. What really went wrong? And we are now talking about subsidy for refined fuel and none of us is paying for that. That is akin to colossal failure for any government to have watched that happened for seven years, especially for a President, who have been Minister of Petroleum.
He knows OPEC like the back of his hands.”
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