Connect with us


/">

BIG STORY

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

Avatar

Published

on

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.

BIG STORY

Six Foreigners, Nigerian Jailed Seven Years For Oil Theft In Rivers [PHOTOS]

Gbemileke Ajayi

Published

on

The Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State has convicted and sentenced six foreigners and a Nigerian to seven years imprisonment for oil theft.

Justice Kolawole Omotosho gave the sentence yesterday after three years of prosecution of the convicts by the Port Harcourt Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

They include Mohammed Ejaz and Nasser Khan – Pakistanis; Oleksandr Nazarenko and Oleksandr Kashernvi – Ukrainians; Romeo Annang – Ghanaian, Fredrik Omenu – Indonesian; and David Otuohi – Nigerian.

The convicts were arraigned for oil theft alongside four other persons – Victor Mikpayi (Beninois), Francis Ahorlu and Kwesi Attah (Ghanaians), and Victor Azebiri (Nigerian).

But the four others were discharged and acquitted by the court.

They were all docked alongside a company – Asztral Shipping Corporation SA, and a Vessel, MT. TECNE (also known as MT STAR), on four counts of conspiracy, dealing in petroleum products without a license, and tampering with oil pipelines.

When the charges were read to them, all the defendants pleaded not guilty to them.

Their pleas prepared grounds for their trial that lasted three years during which the EFCC presented evidence and witnesses who testified against the defendants in court.

In his judgment yesterday, Justice Omotosho found the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eleventh defendants guilty of all the four charges and sentenced them to seven years imprisonment, with an option of a fine of N2 million each.

According to the court, the sentences run concurrently from their date of arraignment.

On the other hand, the first, eighth, ninth, and tenth defendants were discharged and acquitted on the ground that “they were not linked to the commission of the crime”.

The company involved in the crime – Asztral Shipping Corporation SA – was wound up by the court while the vessel carrying the offensive crude oil was forfeited to the Federal Government.

The suspected oil thieves ran into troubled waters when their ship was intercepted by the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) DELTA on April 25, 2017, at Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Afremo ‘A’ Terminal, South East of Escravos in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State.

The ship was seized for illegal loading of petroleum products suspected to be crude oil.

Members of the crew, according to the EFCC, connived with Victor Azeberi, one Peter Ala, and David Ogoma (who is at large), to siphon about 1905.836 cubic liters of crude oil.

The ship had no clearance from relevant Nigerian maritime agencies to navigate in Nigerian waters and all the foreign crew on board the ship had no valid documents to enter the country.

Continue Reading

BIG STORY

BREAKING: Court Orders Arrest Of Maina’s Son, Summons Surety

Peter Okunoren

Published

on

The Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday revoked the bail granted Faisal Maina, the son of Abdulrasheed Maina, and ordered his arrest for jumping bail in his trial on money laundering charges.

Justice Okon Abang also ordered that his trial on money laundering charges would proceed in absentia pending when the security agencies would be able to arrest and produce him in court.

The judge also summoned his surety, a member of the House of Representatives, Sani Umar Dangaladima, representing the Kaura-Namoda Federal Constituency of Zamfara State, to appear in court to show cause why he should not forfeit the N60m bail bond which he signed for Faisal.

The order for Faisal’s arrest came barely six days after the same court, on November 18, issued a similar order against his father, Abdulrasheed Maina, a former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reformed Task Team, who is facing separate N2.1bn money laundering charges before the court.

On Monday, Justice Okon Abang, sent Maina’s surety, Senator Ali Ndume, to jail for his inability to produce the fleeing defendant in court.

Earlier on Tuesday, following the judge’s November 18 ruling, Maina’s trial held in his absence with three prosecution witnesses testifying behind him and his legal team.

At the resumed hearing of Faisal’s trial on Tuesday, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s prosecution counsel, Mohammed Abubakar, said both the defendant and his surety had not attended court since June 24, 2020.

Neither Faisal, his surety, nor his lawyer was present at the Tuesday’s proceedings.

Abubakar, therefore, applied the revocation of his bail and his arrest citing section 184 of the Administration of the Criminal Justice Act.
The prosecution also applied for the court to order his trial in absentia as provided by 352(4) of ACJA.

“My third application is for the issuance of summons on the surety, and for him to show cause why he should not forfeit the bail bond,” Abubakar added.

The judge granted the prayers and adjourned till Wednesday.

Continue Reading

BIG STORY

#EndSARS: CNN Dares Nigerian Govt, Releases Second Report On Lekki Shootings [VIDEO]

Avatar

Published

on

Amid threats of sanction from the Federal Government over its investigative report on the shootings at Lekki toll plaza during the #EndSARS protests, CNN has released a second report on the incident.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had last week described CNN’s report on the Lekki shootings as poor journalism, adding that the network deserved to be sanctioned.

Mohammed also followed up the threat with a letter addressed to the management of CNN in Atlanta.

However, the network on Tuesday did a second report with more damning footage showing soldiers shooting at unarmed protesters on October 20, 2020.

The fresh report also shows the Commander, 81 Division, Brig. Gen Ahmed Taiwo, admitting before the judicial panel in Lagos that his men indeed took live ammunition to the tollgate.

The CNN report also highlights the fact that Brig. Gen Taiwo’s claim is at variance with the minister’s who had claimed last week that the army fired blank bullets.

The fresh report also shows protesters running as soldiers open fire at the tollgate.

The National Broadcasting Commission, which is overseen by the information minister, had last month slammed hefty fines on three Nigerian television stations for daring to use some of the footage which CNN has also used.

The Federal Government has been receiving flak from members of the United Kingdom Parliament and Amnesty International over the killing of protesters.

 

Video Credit: CNN

Continue Reading

Most Popular