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FG Moves To End Fuel Scarcity, Raises 14-Man Panel Chaired By President Buhari



In its quest to put an end to the ongoing fuel scarcity, the federal government, on Tuesday, approved the constitution of a 14-man committee on petroleum products supply and distribution management, which will be personally chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari.

This is contained in a statement signed by Horatius Egua, Senior Ad­viser (Media & Communications) to Minister of State for Petroleum Re­sources, and made available to jour­nalists in Abuja on Tuesday.

It noted that the steering committee, which has the minister, Chief Timipre Sylva as Alternate Chairman is expected to among other things ensure transparent and efficient supply and distribution of petroleum products across the country.

Other terms of reference, the statement said, are to ensure national strategic stock management, visibility on the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC), refineries rehabilitation program, and end-to-end tracking of petroleum products, especially petrol, to ascertain daily national consumption and eliminate smuggling.

To further ensure sanity in the supply and distribution across the value chain, Sylva said that he had directed the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) to ensure strict compliance with the government-approved ex-depot and retail prices of petrol.

The minister further directed the NMDPRA to ensure that NNPC limited, which is the supplier of last resort, meets the domestic supply obligation of petrol and other petroleum products in the country.

The statement stated that the interest of the ordinary Nigerian should be protected from price exploitation on other deregulated products such as diesel, kerosene, and gas.

“The federal government will not allow misguided elements to bring untold hardship upon the citizenry and attempt to discredit government’s efforts in consolidating the gains made thus far in the oil and gas sector of the economy,” Sylva noted.

Other members of the committee are the Minister of Finance, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, National Economic Adviser to the President, Director-General, Department of State Services (DSS), Comptroller-General, Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and Commandant-General, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

Others that made up the steering committee are the Authority Chief Executive, (NMDPRA), Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Group Chief Executive Officer, NNPC Limited, Special Adviser (Special Duties) to Sylva, while the Technical Advisor (Midstream) to the HMSPR will serve as Secretary.

Meanwhile, Sylva has said that the unprecedented and sustained Declaration of Cooperation (DoC) with 10 non-Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) oil-producing countries remains an unparalleled feat in the history of the oil industry.

The DoC saved the oil industry from total collapse due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as helped in the recovery of the global economy following the devastating pandemic, Sylva stated.

The minister spoke when Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons, Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, visited him in Abuja.

Sylva explained that it is now widely acknowledged that, had OPEC not existed over the past 60 years, the global oil market would have been in perpetual chaos.

“Many countries would not have been able to develop their oil industry due to stiff competition. The collaboration between OPEC member countries enabled the participation of all players, whatever the level of production. This underpins the importance of OPEC membership.

“It is remarkable that the current 13 members of OPEC – accounting for about 80 percent of the global proven crude oil reserves, 38 percent of production, and 48 percent of exports – include seven African countries – Algeria, Angola, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Libya, and Nigeria.

“ It is likewise remarkable that Africa is producing the 4th President of OPEC Conference in consecutive years. This is a demonstration of Africa’s capability to lead and direct global affairs, and to take its rightful place among the comity of nations on global issues,” Sylva stated.

Sylva also alluded to a pertinent challenge that currently threatens the oil and gas industry in Africa.

“This has to do with dwindling investments. With the fastest-growing population in the world and an unimaginable prevalent energy poverty level across the continent, Africa’s energy needs will continue to grow in leaps and bounds over the foreseeable future.

“It is estimated that about 640 million Africans have no access to electricity, while about 900 million Africans have no access to clean cooking fuels. While taking cognizance of the current global drive towards renewable energy, Africa will undoubtedly need to continue to utilize its abundant oil and gas resources for the continent to be delivered from the shackles of perpetual energy poverty and stunted economic growth.

“Africa has an enormous proven crude oil reserve of over 125 billion barrels and over 630 trillion cu foot (TCF) of natural gas reserve. Investments required in the medium term to sustain oil and gas production in the continent was recently estimated at an average of about $40 billion annually,” the minister said.

Sylva implored the minister from Equatorial Guinea to use the opportunity of his presidency tenure to promote the cause of Africa and attract more investments into the oil and gas industry in the continent.

“ I am of the opinion that local content should be at the driver’s seat for investments in Africa’s oil and gas industry, for the continent to witness sustainable development. In this context, the ongoing move to establish an African Energy Bank is a right move in the right direction.

“Nigeria will continue to lend full support to the efforts of both OPEC in its quest to balance and stabilize the energy market for the benefit of all, as well as strengthening our shared values and protecting our common interest,” the minister added.


Tanzania Announces Outbreak Of Deadly Marburg Virus Disease (MVD), Same Virus Family As Ebola



Tanzania has announced its first outbreak of the deadly Marburg virus disease (MVD), after five fatalities and three further cases were reported at a hospital in the country’s north-west Kagera region.

Through contact tracing, approximately 161 people have been identified as at risk of infection, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The government has deployed an emergency response team to the area and neighbouring countries have stepped up surveillance. No cases have yet been reported outside Kagera.

“The efforts by Tanzania’s health authorities to establish the cause of the disease is a clear indication of the determination to effectively respond to the outbreak,” said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s regional director for Africa. “We are working with the government to rapidly scale up control measures to halt the spread of the virus and end the outbreak as soon as possible.”

Patients displaying symptoms of the disease were first detected last week in two Kagera villages, according to a health memorandum on Tuesday by the Tanzanian health minister Ummy Mwalimu.

MVD was first discovered in 1967 in Marburg and Frankfurt in Germany and Belgrade, Serbia. It is from the same “virus family” as Ebola and causes a severe hemorrhagic fever, while fatality rates have varied from 24% to 88%. There have been several outbreaks since its discovery, with the worst being Angola in 2004-2005, where there were 252 cases and 227 deaths.

The virus is initially transmitted to people from fruit bats, and then from person to person through body fluids or contaminated objects. Family members and health workers are particularly vulnerable to infection.

Symptoms of the disease can range from fever, nausea and rash at the onset, to jaundice and severe weight loss as the disease progresses. It has an incubation period of up to 21 days.

There are no vaccines or treatments for the virus, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, alleviating symptoms by rehydration or managing the patient’s blood and oxygen levels, can increase the chances of survival.

The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) is also supporting efforts to contain the outbreak. Tanzania is battling the virus for the first time, just a month after Equatorial Guinea confirmed its first case.

“These emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases are a sign that the health security of the continent needs to be strengthened to cope with the disease threats,” said Ahmed Ogwell Ouma, the director of Africa CDC. “We urge members of the public to continue sharing information in a timely manner with the authorities to enable a most effective response.”

Tanzania’s health ministry has called on citizens to take general precaution and follow health directives until the situation is brought under control.

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Tinubu Jets Out To France In Preparation For Inauguration As Nigeria’s 16th President



Indications that countdown to the swearing-in of 16th president of Nigeria and preparation for the ceremony is in full gear, the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, has left Nigeria for France to start engaging needed hands and foreign investors that would make tasks ahead easier for him as he aims to hit the ground running on good notes immediately after May 29.

It was gathered that Tinubu’s trip to France would enable him to share quality time with his team in studying how his government would be able to address issues of insecurity, revamp the economy, engage younger people, and also restore unity in the country.

The Guild learnt that the president-elect has lists of engagements that would preoccupy his short stay in Paris while on other hand, his also expected to be fully involved in preparation for his inauguration back home in Nigeria.

Whereas, findings by The Guild indicated that Lagos State former governor’s trip to France may not yet be disclosed to public and large number of his associates who may have been seeking to see Tinubu for political gains after governorship election.

Speaking to a female aide that accompanied Tinubu on the trip, she told The Guild that campaign was over and that the president-elect needed quality time with his team to study Nigeria’s challenges and know how they could be tackled decisively.

They indicated that the task ahead of Tinubu is huge and needed special attention in dealing with the problems on ground and that the concentration cannot be achieved if the president-elect remains in Nigeria till inauguration day.

Other sources on Wednesday explained that Tinubu’s team has lists of engagements for the president-elect to go through on daily bases and throughout the period of time he would be staying in France, including meeting with experts and both local and foreign investors.

As for the 2023 electoral crisis, another source stated that Tinubu had concluded plans to meet political leaders and their supporters, especially those that were not satisfied with the 2023 presidential poll outcome, to address all issues on the ground and to be able to forge ahead and bring everyone irrespective of their tribe and faith together.

While the President-elect was considering plans to unite all aggrieved candidates, they individually approached the Presidential tribunal to demand that the presidential election be either canceled or order a rerun between him and the President-elect, Bola Tinubu.

The candidates, including the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and his Labour Party (LP) counterpart, Peter Obi, also suggested to the tribunal that they should be declared winner of the February 25 poll, arguing that the president-elect as not the choice of the people.

However, Tinubu has appealed to Atiku, Obi, and other aggrieved candidates to accept the outcomes of the poll and join him to build a Nigeria that will be prosperous for everyone irrespective o their status in the country.

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BREAKING: Labour Party’s Alex Otti Wins Gubernatorial Election In Abia State



Labour Party Candidate, Alex Otti has won Gubernatorial Election in Abia State.

It was gathered that Alex Otti has claimed that Labour Party won by landslide but PDP is trying to manipulate Abia Governorship election results.

The governorship candidate of the Labour Party in Abia state, Alex Otti, has raised an alarm alleging manipulations of original polling booth results by the ruling People’s Democratic Party during the collation of results at some local government councils across Abia state.

Speaking to Channels Television at his country home in Isiala Ngwa Local Government Area of the state, he called on the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, to bring the leadership of the electoral body in Abia state to order so they do not subvert the will of the people.

“Virtually all the results that have been uploaded and released, Labour Party won by a landslide.,” Otti insisted.

“Unfortunately, the PDP government has refused to allow some of the results to stand, and they are doing this with the active connivance of some compromised INEC staff and security agencies.”

“The local governments involved are Obingwa where the outgoing governor comes from, Osisioma, Aba North and Aba South where we won overwhelmingly. Obingwa is a very interesting case because, in the majority of the wards in active connivance with INEC, the BVAS was not used.”

Otti further alleged the PDP’s scheme was to flood the collation centre with counterfeit results.

“So they are making efforts to push fake results to the collation centre in Obingwa local government.”

He also called on the Inspector General of Police to intervene as quickly as possible to prevent any breakdown of law and order in the state if the will of the people is subverted.

“I want to use this opportunity to call on the Federal Government and particularly the INEC Chairman to ensure that the right thing is done in Abia State. INEC had indicated clearly that the BVAS will be used for voting in this election and BVAS was used,” he said.

“I expect that any result that is not coming out from BVAS accreditation will not be accepted. So, I like the INEC Chairman to prevail on the REC and all other officials of INEC to give peace a chance and do the right thing.”

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