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Nigeria’s Petrol Price Lowest Compared To West African Neighbours’, Encourages Smuggling —- NNPC GMD

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Despite the complaint by Nigerians of the rising cost of petrol, the government says Nigerians still pay the lowest amount for the product in West Africa and that is encouraging large smuggling to countries in the sub-region.

The low pump price of petrol in Nigeria compared to what obtains in other countries in West Africa encourages unrestrained smuggling of the commodity from Nigeria, a senior official said Friday.

The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, who said this on Friday in Abuja, said about 80 per cent of the total volume of petroleum products currently being consumed in the region are smuggled illegally from Nigeria.

“The reality around us (Nigeria) today is that between 70 and 80 per cent of the petroleum products consumption in West Africa are from Nigeria. So, all the other 13 or so countries in the region account for just between 20 and 30 per cent.

“Many of these countries are unable to import petroleum products because they do not have the foreign exchange required to support it. Therefore, about 80 per cent of the petroleum products being consumed in West Africa originate from Nigeria,” he said.

Despite the government’s knowledge that the bulk of these products in the region are smuggled illegally from Nigeria, he said there was little or nothing the government can do to stop it.

“We have over 3,000 kilometres of border with neighbouring countries. We know the population of the security agencies in Nigeria and the resources available to them. I don’t see how it is practically possible to stop cross border distortions (that allow smuggling of petroleum products to neighbouring countries). It is very difficult,” he said.

Normalization Policy

Mr Kyari said the government was working to “normalize” the situation by turning it into a legal trading business that could benefit the country.

Critics say the normalization arrangement may be the government’s subtle way of telling Nigerians that the price of petrol will continue to rise till it becomes at par with what obtains in the other countries in the sub-region.

The NNPC GMD said, for a start, the security agencies are working with their counterparts in the Niger Republic to minimize the impact of the cross-border activities by converting them into a formal trading business between the two countries.

Also, he said the retail and trading arms of the NNPC were also liaising with their sister agencies in the Niger Republic to take advantage of the petroleum products market to bring benefits to the country.

He blamed the huge fuel price disparity between Nigeria and the other countries in the region to certain elements in the fuel pricing template in those countries.

Apart from the element of taxation on petroleum products, which does not exist in Nigeria, he said other factors affecting the high prices obtained in those countries include the distance from the location of the source of fuel supply and deliberate arbitrage in the petroleum distribution system.

Citing the example of neighbouring Niger Republic, Mr Kyari said a litre of petrol in a Total filling station in Niamey, the capital, where he visited recently, sold for about N464.

Compared with Nigeria, where petrol is currently being sold for between N160 and N170 per litre, he said the average disparity between prices in Nigeria and Niger Republic was about N300 per litre.

Global petrol prices as of November 16, 2020, showed a litre of petrol sold for N269.59 in Sierra Leone; Togo N295.64; Ghana N318.66; Liberia N321.43; Benin N351.29; Guinea N354.18; Chad N360.34; Ivory Coast N417.37; Gabon N420.86; Burkina Faso N424.33; Cameroun N438.25; Mali N466.76 and Senegal N539.10.

No Going Back On Removal Of Fuel Subsidy

Mr Kyari said despite the rising cost of fuel prices since fuel subsidy was removed in March this year, there was no going back on the policy.

“There is no provision for petroleum subsidy of any kind in the 2020 Appropriation Act and the proposed 2021 Appropriation Bill. As a country, we cannot afford fuel subsidy today. We don’t have the money to do this. The subsidy does not benefit the ordinary man. It is elitist,” Mr Kyari said.

With a subsidy regime that encouraged the maintenance of a government-approved ceiling price of N145 per litre since 2016, Nigeria had the least fuel pricing template in the whole of the West African sub-region.

Last March, the deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry was introduced to allow market forces of demand and supply to determine the retail prices of petroleum products.

Since then, the retail price of petrol has been adjusted for about six times, from about N145 per litre in April, to N125 per litre, before further reduction to between N121.50 and N123.50 per litre in May.

In July, the price was increased to between N140.80 and N143.80 per litre, before being increased to N151.56 per litre in September and N161 per litre in October. The latest price range is between N164 and N170 per litre.

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JUST IN: Drama As DSS, Police ‘Operation Burst’ Attempt To Arrest Sunday Igboho [VIDEO]

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There was pandemonium along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway on Friday when a joint team of policemen and the Department of State Services attempted to arrest Yoruba activist, Sunday Adeyemo, better known as Sunday Igboho.

According to a viral video, Igboho, who is topless, is seen with his men daring the security operatives to “do their worst” before they drove off.

According to a statement signed by a former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, Igboho was on his way to meet with 93-year-old Afenifere Chieftain, Ayo Adebanjo, when the incident occurred.

The statement read in part, “I just spoke to my brother Sunday Igboho. He told me there was a violent attempt to arrest him this afternoon by a joint team of soldiers, DSS operatives, and policemen numbering about 40 on the Ibadan/Lagos Expressway whilst he was on his way to see Baba Ayo Adebanjo in Lagos.

“I condemn this attempt to ambush and abduct him. It is not only reckless but also very dangerous. If the security agencies want to see him all they need to do is to invite him to their office. I am not aware of any crime that he has committed and I urge restraint on all sides.

“Let me also send a warning to the Federal Government that Sunday Igboho is a hero to millions of Yoruba and either killing him or detaining him unlawfully would be the biggest mistake they could make. Building bridges, dialogue, and the pursuit of peace is better than intimidation, threats, violence, and war. A word is enough for the wise.”

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#EndSARS: Lawyer Who Filed Complaint Against Sam Adeyemi, Adeyanju, Falz, 47 Others Alleged To Be Fake

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A lawyer, Kenechukwu Okeke, who filed a criminal complaint before an Abuja Magistrates’ Court over the actions of 50 artists, celebrities and pastor during the October 2020 #EndSARS struggle has been alleged to be fake, going by his conduct in court.

Our correspondent learnt that the Director-General of the Nigerian Law School and the Nigerian Bar Association had been contacted to authenticate Okeke’s legal status.

Activist, Deji Adeyanju, on behalf of the 50 persons in Okeke’s suit, had filed a case at the High Court and when the case was called for hearing today, it was stalled as the court held that Okeke should be ascertained with evidence if he was a lawyer.

At the hearing of the matter on Thursday, the case was called up and there were introductions by the applicant lead counsel, Samuel Ihenseksien and Okeke, who appeared as the first defendant, and as a counsel to himself.

The NBA Bwari Chairman, Bwari branch, Chukwuemeka Clement, also appeared in this case as amicus curiae (a friend of the court).

It was learnt that the NBA chairman and applicant’s counsel then applied for the court to inquire about the status of Okeke as a lawyer, after which all hell allegedly broke loose.

“He was visibly shaken as he was caught unawares. His right leg was moving uncontrollably as the judge ordered for further findings and for the NBA to formally join the matter and submit their enquiry to court,” a source said.

The case was adjourned to March 8, 2021, at which point Kenechukwu took off and wouldn’t grant an interview as he had promised.

The lawyer representing Deji Adeyanju and the 49 others, Samuel Ihenseksein, explained how Okeke was believed to be fake and why a verification letter was written to the law school and the NBA to confirm his status as a lawyer.

The defence counsel said, “The matter was adjourned to today for continuation of hearing and I was present in court and the NBA Chairman also put in an appearance because something of note came up. In a nutshell, we have had reasons before now to actually suspect that Okeke in different sessions and at different sessions held himself to be a lawyer.

“He has actually challenged so many celebrities and of note, he challenged Peter Okoye and so, we have had reasons to look at this critically. We know that there is a particular behaviour and his recent character which made us to verify if he was truly a lawyer.

“The court actually took it in good faith and ordered an inquiry. He was actually shaking and moving about and we now have a strong suspicion that he was not a lawyer. To confirm our fears, we have actually written to the Chief Registrar of the court. The one I have is the letter to the DG, Law School, to verify his status.”

Credit: Saharaporters

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Only 54 Students ‘Not’ Taken Away By Gunmen; Security Operatives, Vigilantes In Pursuit of Abductors —Zamfara Govt

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The Zamfara State Government has confirmed the abduction of female students of Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe in the Talata-Mafara Local Government Area of the state.

The confirmation was made by the Commissioner of Security and Home Affairs, Alhaji Abubakar Dauran in a brief interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Gusau on Friday.

The abductors in their hundreds invaded the town and took away the students at about 2 am.

“I can confirm to you now that we have sadly received the report on the abduction of the students of GGSS Jangebe and right now, I am on my way to the school.

“At this moment, l cannot say how many students were taken away by the gunmen until l get there, but we have already mobilized security men and members of the vigilantè who are now in pursuit of the abductors,” the commissioner stated.

A staff of the school who spoke to NAN on condition of anonymity said, “The gunmen in their hundreds invaded the town around 2 am on Friday, shot sporadically in the air to scare the residents before coming into the school.

“After taking away most of the students, we rounded up those that escaped or hid from the bandits and conducted a census where we counted 54 students and we are still searching to see if we can get more.”

Also, a resident who gave his name as Haliru Jangebe said the local vigilantes had tried to repel the invaders but were overpowered.

“The bandits were too many and they all seemed to be carrying heavy arms as we heard gunshots from all parts of the town and when the shots stopped, we heard that the students had been taken away.”

(NAN)

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