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FEC approves award of contract for Oloibiri Museum and Research Center

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…Project to kick off Q1 2023, finish in 30 months

SIXTY-six years after the discovery of crude oil in commercial quantities at Oloibiri, Bayelsa State by Shell D’Arcy, the Federal Government through the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday awarded the Phase-1 Engineering, Procurement & Construction contract for Oloibiri Museum & Research Centre (OMRC) in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State in favour of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc with a completion period of 30 months.

The FEC meeting, which was chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari, further approved the scope of work which would include a masterpiece museum and a research center. This is expected to close a major gap in the nation’s quest for home grown technology inputs required to service exploration and production activities in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.

The establishment of OMRC has been at concept stage for over three decades and the inability to progress to the construction phase is viewed as an historical oversight as an operational museum and research center would preserve the heritage and developments in the oil and gas sector similar to what obtains in other oil producing nations.

Details of the project indicate that it has four development partners, comprising the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) and the Bayelsa State Government (BYSG), and each entity would contribute to the development of the monument in the ratio of 40, 30, 20 and 10 percent respectively.

The project team for the symbolic project was first launched in August 2020 by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, with the inauguration of key project committees and setting of delivery timelines.

The project is approved as part of President Buhari’s signature programs that would leave behind enduring legacies, and impact the oil and gas community, the people of the Niger Delta, and the entire nation.

The historical essence of the project is to convert the location where first oil was discovered into a monumental edifice that would preserve the heritage and developments in the oil and gas sector. The socio economic impact of the project includes employment generation, tourism, research & technology development and integration of oil and gas host communities into mainstream developmental narrative of the country.

With the contract approval, the groundbreaking ceremony is expected to be held within Quarter 1 2023 and will mark the beginning of the upliftment in the quality of life of the immediate host community, Bayelsa State and people of the Niger Delta.

Commenting on the approval, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Sylva commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his special love for the Niger Delta region, recalling that he granted his first approval for the project amid the COVID-19 pandemic and its socio-economic impact.

He explained further that the project consists of the construction of a Museum where historic developments, data, equipment, and tools used in the Nigerian oil and gas industry will be stored for posterity and the construction of a functional Research Center where prototypes can be tested and validated in fulfillment of the requirement for approval of new technologies.

To ensure sustainability, the project adopted a development model that will leverage the benefits of public-private partnership, inter-agency collaboration, and inter-governmental alignment, to optimize resource utilization and ensure that the Oloibiri museum meets international standards, Sylva explained.

To ensure timely execution, the project created two committees and five project teams to provide necessary support and supervision essential to deliver the OMRC project. The committees include the Steering Committee, which would be responsible for providing leadership and steer and the Coordinating Committee, responsible for providing oversight on activities of all the project teams, which include Construction, Funds mobilization and management, ​Community Relations, Health, Safety & Environment and Secretariat, which is situated in NCDMB Head Office in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

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3 injured as 2 armed drones from Lebanon explode in Israel

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Two unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from Lebanon carrying explosives exploded in northern Israel on Tuesday, lightly injuring three people, Israeli authorities said, amid heightened tensions between Israel and Iran and its allies.

The Israeli military said in a statement that the armed drones crossed from Lebanon into Israeli territory and exploded in the area of Beit Hillel in the Galilee.

Three people sustained light injuries, Israel’s state-owned Kan reported.

The drones did not trigger air raid sirens, and the military said the incident was under review.

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CBN expresses commitment to harnessing digital technologies

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The Central Bank of Nigeria says it is committed to harnessing the power of digital technologies to enhance financial inclusion.

Mr Yemi Cardoso, CBN Governor, said this on Tuesday in Abuja, during a strategic institutions tour by participants of Senior Executive Course 46 of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS).

Cardoso, who was represented by Dr Bala Bello, Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, said that digital technologies would also boost productivity and create an enabling environment for innovation and entrepreneurship to thrive.

According to him, the apex bank has already deployed robust digital technologies in driving most of its processes towards achieving optimal performance.

He said that NIPSS, as a foremost national policy think-tank, had made invaluable contributions to the socio-political and macroeconomic development of Nigeria.

“We are, therefore, not surprised at the apt and relevant choice of your research theme.

“The CBN and NIPSS have had a long-standing and robust working relationship since the establishment of the institute. This has culminated into positive mutual benefits for the two institutions.

“The CBN, on the one hand, has provided infrastructural support to the institute through construction of an auditorium and a hostel, in addition to the provision of technical support.

“On the other hand, NIPSS has supported the technical capacity of the CBN through the training of some personnel both at senior executive course level and intermediate course cadre,” he said.

The Director-General of NIPSS, Prof. Ayo Omotayo, said that the study visiting would be representing the institute in getting information from operators of the apex bank on the relevance of digital technology to developing jobs for Nigerian youths.

According to Omotayo, a lot of progress has been made globally in using digital systems to run the economy.

“The more of our activities that we can put in digital format, the more we get the opportunity of providing employment access to a whole lot of the 120 million active Nigerians.

“We at NIPSS always knock at the frontiers of knowledge, checking what is going to happen in the immediate future.

“We are working towards a system where we believe that almost every service can be delivered digitally,” he said.

The Acting Director, Monetary Policy Department of the CBN, Dr Lafi Bala Keffi, commended the NIPSS study group for its interest in the apex bank.

She urged the participants to explore the time-tested culture of NIPSS, which is to diagnose national, profer practical solutions and recommend ways of making such solutions realisable.

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NCAA suspends licences of 3 private jet owners

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Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has suspended licences of three Permit for Non-Commercial Flight (PNCF), otherwise known as private jet owners, over alleged failure to comply with regulatory requirements.

Acting Director-General of NCAA, Capt. Chris Najomo, disclosed this to newsmen on Tuesday in Lagos.

Najomo said that after issuing a stern warning to the PNCFs in March, the authority deployed its men to monitor activities of private jet owners at airport terminals across the country.

He said that consequent upon the heightened surveillance, three private operators were found to have violated the annexure provisions of their PNCF and Part 9114 of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations, 2023.

Najomo further stated that NCAA would be carrying out a re-evaluation of regulatory requirements compliance of all PNCFs owners within the next 72 hours.

This, he said, this was in line with the authority’s zero tolerance for violations of regulations.

“In line with our zero tolerance for violation of regulations, the authority has suspended the PNCF of these operators.

“To further sanitise the general aviation sector, I have directed that a re-evaluation of all holders of PNCF be carried out on or before April 19, to ascertain compliance with regulatory requirements.

“All PNCF holders will be required to submit relevant documents to the authority within the next 72 hours,” he said.
Najomo recalled that in 2023, the use of private jets for commercial purposes had gotten the attention of the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr Festus Keyamo (SAN), who issued marching orders for cessation of such acts.

He said that in March, NCAA issued a stern warning to holders of the permit for non-commercial flights, PNCF, against engaging in the carriage of passenger cargo or mail for hire and reward.

Najomo said that the riot act was also directed at existing Air Operator Certificate (AOC) holders who utilised aircraft listed on their PNCF for commercial charter operations.

“It must be emphasised that only the aircraft listed in the Operation Specifications of the AOC are authorised to be used in the provision of such charter services.

“Any of those AOC holders who wish to use the aircraft for charter operations must apply to the NCAA to delist the affected aircraft from the PNCF and include it into the AOC operations specification.

“NCAA wishes to reiterate to the travelling public not to patronise any airline charter operator who does not hold a valid AOC issued by the NCAA, when they wish to procure charter operation services,” he said.

The NCAA boss, thereafter, encouraged legitimate players in the aviation industry to promptly report such illegal activities to the authority for necessary action.

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