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Fuel scarcity: CDS, IGP, Customs, NNPCL, Oil Marketers, others brainstorm

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Limited) on Tuesday engaged with the oil marketers and security agencies to find ways of addressing the lingering fuel crisis in the country.

The engagement, held in Abuja at the instance of the NNPC Limited had in attendance the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba and Comptroller General, Nigeria Customs Service, retired Col. Hameed Ali.

Others in attendance were Authority Chief Executive, Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), Farouk Ahmed and leadership of oil marketers including Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN).

Also at the meeting were the leadership of Depots and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN), Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) among others.

Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO), NNPC Ltd., Malam Mele Kyari said the fuel distribution crisis was of a monumental proportion, which had resulted in a number of issues and taken a different dimension.

Kyari decried the fact that Nigerian fuel was being smuggled to other countries and could only be done either by the people in the industry or those connected or buying from the operators including in marine containers.

“We have evidence that some of our customers are actually smuggling the vessels to other countries but we will get to the root of this and appropriate agency will deal with it.

“We are not dealing with a supply problem, as we speak we have 831 million litres in marine and in various depots we have 738 million litres that are documented in platforms of the industry regulators. We do not have AGO problem for truck movement.

“Any time the evacuation figure goes beyond 60 million litres in the country we have a problem. Early in 2022 due to the contamination fuel, evacuation came down to 56 million then we had a crisis, then we ramped up and achieved normalcy.

“In October 2022 when the flooding happened trucks could not go to destinations particularly South to North, so evacuation went beyond 60ml and since then we have done possible things to keep it above.

“Therefore, there is no shortage of fuel in the market, they may be in the wrong destination,” he said.

He said that there were change in some dynamics, transportation issues, logistics on vessels and handling charges which arrived at ex-depot price of Lagos -N172, Warri/Oghara – N183, Calabar – N185 and Port Harcourt – N180 but no one kept to this.

“Instead, we had a countered submission of N186, N192, N198 while some depots  range from N172 to N260 as ex-depot price. There is simply no way independent marketers will buy and not sell at prices seen across the country.

“This is the reality we are dealing with and the end results are queues. if it is not handled at the depot level, it cannot be controlled at the station level,” the he said.

He also decried the fees and levies imposed on the product that were not supposed to be which added up to overall pain of Nigerians.

The GCEO  said  the issues on pricing were receiving attention to avoid Nigerians being exploited, while framework was being put in place to monitor products to get to actual destination.

“With the volume that we are pushing into the market and understanding we are reaching with the marketers not to sell with greed it will ease the situation, we regret the situation and apologise to Nigerians,” Kyari said.

In his remarks, Irabo said the involvement of the defence and security establishment and the resolution of the crises in the oil and gas were paramount.

“The challenge of availability of fuel across the country has risen to a proportion that it had become a concern for the defence and security of our country. The government is not handicapped and I need to indicate that there are alternatives and nobody is indispensable.

“I believe that the solution lies within the remit of the framework that you will be establishing and if there is no solution, I pray it did not get to a level where the alternative will be activated,” the CDS warned.

Also speaking, IGP Usman Baba describe the situation as an issue of being patriotic and increasing the monitoring process of the oil distribution which posed a major problem.

“And if the distribution process has loopholes to be exploited there is an alternative to increase the level of monitoring and supervision and to that effect it is our role to assist the NNPC in monitoring process for lead way,” Baba said.

In his remarks, Ahmed said NMDPRA had sanctioned seven erred depots two weeks ago to serve as a deterrent and also had the mandate to suspend any licence from operating without hesitation.

He urged the oil stakeholders; including IPMAN to collaborate with them to tackle the on-going constraint which bordered around pricing and logistics, thereby frowned at speculations that the authority was not sanctioning depots.

MOMAN President, Adetunji Oyebanjo who explained that the industry did not invest appropriately to things needed across the value chain for distribution, described the situation as a critical one which had allowed sharp practices.

DAPPMAN President, Dame Winifred Akpani, while pledging commitment expressed dissatisfaction over the distribution and supply chain, adding that it was needless giving product to marketers who exploit and would not get it to stations.

Akpani also appealed to the Federal Government to deregulate the product.

IPMAN President, Elder Chinedu Okoronkwo however urged the NNPCL to designate certain depots for its members to manage, monitor and load to ease the distribution problems.

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CBN disowns notice on cryptocurrency transactions

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The Central Bank of Nigeria says a notice circulating on social media about the risk of cryptocurrency is fake news.

The Apex disclosed this via its official X account, urging the public to disregard the purported notice for all Deposits Money Bank, Non-Bank Financial Institutions, and other Financial Institutions.

The notice reminded “Institutions that dealing in cryptocurrencies and facilitating payments for cryptocurrency exchanges is prohibited”.

However, CBN said the content doesn’t originate from it.

“This information does not originate from the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“For authentic updates, please visit the official website,” CBN wrote.

Recall that the CBN governor, during the Bank’s 293rd Monetary Policy Committee meeting, said over $26 billion funnelled through Binance.

On Tuesday, the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ola Olukoyede, said the anti-graft agency froze about 300 accounts to ensure the safety of the foreign exchange market.

The Nigerian government had continued clamping down on Binance and other cryptocurrency platforms amid efforts to defend the Naira in the foreign exchange market.

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Biden says U.S. will begin sending weapons to Ukraine

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U.S. President Joe Biden wants to start delivering of weapons and equipment to Ukraine this week.
The president said this shortly after the U.S. Senate approved billions of dollars in new aid for the country under attack from Russia.
“I will sign this bill into law and address the American people as soon as it reaches my desk tomorrow so we can begin sending weapons and equipment to Ukraine this week,” Biden said.
By passing the legislative package, which also includes billions of dollars in aid for Israel and Taiwan, the U.S. Congress has demonstrated the power of American leadership in the world, Biden added.
“We stand resolutely for democracy and freedom, and against tyranny and oppression.”
There is an urgent need for support for Ukraine, which is being subjected to relentless bombardment from Russia, Biden said.
The bill also contains aid for Israel, which has recently faced unprecedented attacks from Iran.
“This critical legislation will make our nation and world more secure as we support our friends who are defending themselves against terrorists like Hamas and tyrants like Putin,” Biden said.
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NSCDC deploys personnel to JAMB CBT centres in Anambra

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The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), said it has deployed personnel to ensure a hitch-free 2024 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) in Anambra.

The state Commandant, Olatunde Maku, stated this after monitoring the conduct of the exams across CBT centres in Awka, on Wednesday.

Some of the centres visited are, Integral Development Konsult on Enugu/Onitsha Expressway, White House in Awka, JAMB Centre located inside JAMB office in Amawbia and Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.

Others are St. John of God ICT Hub, Awka and Kachukwu Ventures Staff Development Centre, behind Government House in Awka.

The examination centres take candidates in three batches: 7 a.m., 10 a.m. and 12 p.m.

Maku said that the synergy between NSCDC and the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) had yielded positive results in reducing exam malpractice.

He said that the monitoring of the centres would continue till the end of the examination period, to ensure a seamless conduct of the exercise and promote transparency.

“We are firm in our determination to protect critical national assets and infrastructure including JAMB centres.

“Which was why the NSCDC deployed personnel to JAMB CBT centres in the state to ensure security and so far they have been professional in carrying out their mandate,” he said.

Maku advised candidates writing the 2024 UTME to be law abiding and avoid being in possession of prohibited or incriminating items during the examination.

He warned unauthorised persons against loitering around designated exam centre, adding that anyone found wanting would be arrested and prosecuted.

Also speaking, Mrs Jema Iheme, JAMB Coordinator, Anambra state, commended NSCDC for their support and for ensuring security of candidates and staff at the exam centres.

Iheme said that the swift response of NSCDC to emergencies and enforcement of exam rules and regulations was contributing to a smooth and secured exam process so far.

NAN also reports that about 1.9 million candidates are expected to write the JAMB UTME, which commenced on April 19 and would end on April 29.

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