World Bank Denies Disagreeing With Adeosun On Foreign Borrowings

In a mail to the Minister by the Senior Communications Officer of the World Bank, Mr. Rachid Benmessaoud, the Bank averred that the media misrepresented and quoted out of context the comments made by its Senior Economist for Nigeria, Gloria Joseph-Raji, at an event in Abuja.

Benmessaoud said, “On October 11th, during the launch of Africa’s Pulse, the World Bank’s biannual analysis of African economies, World Bank Senior Economist for Nigeria, Gloria Joseph-Raji, was asked by a reporter to share her views on the Federal Government’s plan to increase external borrowing.

“At no point did she mention that the World Bank and the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) disagree on the need to rebalance the country’s debt portfolio. Where expenditures exceed revenue, governments will need to borrow.

“In doing so, the Federal Government is trying to rebalance its portfolio towards more external borrowing with lower interest rates and longer maturities.”

The World Bank Senior Economist was quoted by Benmessaoud to have commended the Nigerian Government’s effort to rebalance its portfolio in order to lower the cost of its borrowing, as outlined in its 2016-2019 medium term debt management strategy released last year.

“The use of IDA concessional financing, among others, is supportive of the FGN’s effort in this regard, with the added focus on poverty alleviation and building shared prosperity in Nigeria.

“The latest issue of Africa’s Pulse points out that growth is Nigeria is projected to pick up from 1.0 per cent in 2017 to 2.5 per cent in 2018 and 2.8 per cent in 2019. While Government debt in 2017 is projected to rise, it remains low in Nigeria,” Joseph-Raji was further quoted to have stated.

The World Bank spokesman expressed the Bank’s full commitment to help the Nigerian Government restore macroeconomic resilience as well as strengthen the ongoing economic recovery and achieve sustainable inclusive growth.

The Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, who led the Nigerian delegation to the 2017 Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group, had in Washington on Sunday, said the Federal Government would be prudent in the management of its foreign borrowings.

She noted that the Government adopted an expansionary fiscal policy with an enlarged budget in order to deliver a fundamental structural change to the economy, thereby reducing the country’s exposure to crude oil.

“Why are we borrowing? Mobilising revenue aggressively was not advisable, nor indeed possible, in a recessed economy. But as Nigeria now reverts to growth, our revenue strategy will be accelerated.

“This is being complimented by a medium-term debt strategy that is focusing more on external borrowings to avoid crowding out the private sector.

“This would also reduce the cost of debt servicing and shift the balance of our debt portfolio from short-term to longer-term instruments. This Government will be very prudent around debt. We won’t borrow irresponsibly,” Adeosun explained.

The foreign borrowings, which are at lower interest rates, according to her, will also prevent job losses.

“With Nigeria’s source of revenue dropping by nearly 85 per cent, the country had no option but to borrow.  The option before the country was to either cut public services massively, which should have led to massive job losses, or borrow in the short-term, until it begins to generate sufficient revenues, she said.

“We felt that laying-off thousands of persons was not the best way to stimulate growth. Also, when we came into office, about 27 states could not pay salary. If we had allowed that situation to persist, we would have been in depression by now.

“So, we took the view as a government  that the best thing to do was to stimulate growth and spend our way out of trouble, get the state governments to pay salaries, making  sure that the federal government pays and invests in capital infrastructure,” said Adeosun.

Buhari Approves Payment Of Pension To Retired Biafra Police

Succour has come the way of police officers who served in the defunct Biafran Police during the 30 months Nigeria Civil war as President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the payment of pension to the police officers who were granted presidential pardon in 2000.

The Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) Wednesday announced that about 162 of such retired police officers and 57 Next of Kin of those who have died will be paid their pension benefits in the first phase of the payment with effect from Friday, October 20, 2017 in Enugu.

A statement from the management of PTAD said after their pardon, a verification exercise was conducted for them by the defunct Police Pension office and recently by PTAD and the Police Service Commission.

The statement reads: “The general public would recall that Nigeria witnessed an ugly civil war between July, 1967 and January, 1970 and as a result of that unfortunate period in our history, some members of the Armed Forces, the Nigeria Police and paramilitary officers who took part with the Secessionist were dismissed from the service.

“The dismissal of those officers was commuted to retirement in the year 2000 through a Presidential Amnesty granted on 29th May, 2000 by the Administration of the then President, Olusegun Obasanjo.

“A verification exercise was conducted for the pardoned officers by the defunct Police Pension Office and recently PTAD on one hand and the Police Service Commission on the other.

“Despite the Presidential pardon and verification of these officers, many of them remained unpaid years after the pardon.  However, the present administration under the able leadership of President, Muhammadu Buhari has graciously given approval for the payment of pension entitlements to these officers and their Next of Kin.

PTAD is commencing the payment of pension benefits to the retired war affected police officers on Friday October 20, 2017 in Enugu.  162 officers will be payrolled and 57 Next of Kin who have also not been paid their death benefits will be paid in the first batch.

Atiku’s Son Remanded For Disobeying Court Order

For disobeying a court order, Aminu, the son of a former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, was on Wednesday remanded in the transit cell of Tinubu Chief Magistrates’ Court, Lagos.
Aminu was alleged to have disobeyed an order made by Chief Magistrate Kikelomo Ayeye on Oct. 11 over the custody of six-year-old Amir Abubakar, who he was alleged to have taken away from the custody of his enstranged wife, Fatimo Bolori.
Ayeye had earlier ordered the respondent in the suit marked FCL/29/2017, between U. F.  Bolori Vs M. A. Abubakar to produce  Amir Abubakar at the first hearing of the case.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that when the case came up on Wednesday for the discharge of “Emergency, Evacuation/Protection Order” made by the court, the court was informed that the parties were planning to settle out of court.
In response, Bolori’s lawyer, Mr Nwabuzor Okoh, denied receiving any notification from the respondent to settle out of court.
Consequently, Chief Magistrate Ayeye cited Atiku for contempt for disobeying court order issued on Oct.  11.
She ordered that the respondent should be remanded in transit cell and the case stood down pending when he would produce the boy.
NAN also learnt that both Fatimo and Aminu had divorced in 2011.
The children were living with their mother, Fatimo, with an arrangement that they should be allowed to spend their vacation with their father.
However,  when the children were on holidays in 2013, Aminu requested that they should be released to him to travel abroad for vacation and thereafter, refused to let them return to their mother.

Army’s 8 Division Formally Takes Off In Sokoto

The newly-established 8 Division of Nigerian Army, with headquarters in Sokoto, has formally taken off with the posting of Brigadier-General SO Olabanji as the pioneer General Officer Commanding (GOC).

Revealing this when he paid a courtesy visit to Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal at the Government House, the new GOC said all necessary arrangements have been put in place to ensure to ensure a smooth take off.
He said the bulk of the men and officers of the division were hitherto involved in internal safety operations in the North, but have now been mobilised to ensure the proper take off of the new division.
“As you may recall, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Yusuf Burutai announced the establishment of this division when he visited Sokoto earlier this year. I am to inform you that we have taken off and to solicit the support and cooperation of the people and governments under our jurisdiction,” the new GOC stated.
In his remarks, Governor Tambuwal assured the army authorities of total support to enable them achieve their objectives.
“We welcome you with open hearts. To us, the military are our friends. We will give you all the necessary support to achieve success. We owe you that much having given everything you have to protect us at all times.
“We will do everything we can to make your stay comfortable. As for the new GOC, we assure you that Sokoto is your home. Feel free to go to any part of the state anytime the need arises. We cherish our position of being the most peaceful state in the federation, and your arrival will make us strengthen that position,” he added.

Insights Into The NPA ?—? INTELS Contract Agreement

Abdullahi Abubakar
I read in some quarters that because of 2019 politics, Buhari has directed NPA to cancel Atiku’s INTELS agreement. To be very clear on this, the first letter challenging this agreement was initiated by past administration with a letter dated June 2016 written by former Executive Director of Finance to INTELS for a review of the Service Boats Pilotage Revenue.
This present management came into office in July, 2017. In essence, this is administration is only following up on the initial call for review. I will take you through the contract agreement between the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA and INTELS Logistics which is in two folds for you to judge the party that is being short-changed. The NPA engaged the services of INTELS basically;
1. As Managing Agent for monitoring and collections of revenue from Service Boats Operations in the pilotage districts.
2. Development of Port infrastructure at Onne Ports Complex.
Summarily, the first fold is a 10year contract agreement to manage, especially, logistics of vessels of Oil and Gas related activities amongst others (and over the years, INTELS have monopolized logistics of Oil and Gas related activities). To also collect all money invoiced for service boats operations and other relevant dues invoiced against vessels owners.
In view of the above, the NPA pays INTELS a commission of 28% of total revenue generated. Withholding tax, inclusive. This pricing is outrageous but quite surprising, the NPA hasn’t made it a major issue of contention. For a better perspective, commercial Banks also collect tax on behalf of the government and charge between 0.25% to 1% as commission.
NB: the 28% is deducted at source as dictated in the terms of the contract.
The second fold which is development of Ports Infrastructure at Onne Ports where in August 2013, the Authority, through the Federal Executive Council (FEC) engaged Deep Offshore Services Nig Limited, a sister agency of INTELS, to construct Port infrastructure at Onne Ports Phase 4B for the sum of $2.7bn for a 6years period. Term of this contract is that, recovery of project cost is through amortization process from port charges and Service Boats Operations revenue.
This means, NPA will also remit 60% balance of the 72% left (100% – 28%) for this port development.
Meanwhile, capacity of Phase 3 and 4A earlier constructed by INTELS is evaluated at less than 60% but at a cost 20% higher than initial contract sum because NPA pays cost of funds of Libor + 6 percent.
Important to note, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore and Dredging International Asia Pacific – Daelim Joint Venture signed a contract for $1.8bn for a new port wharf terminal Phase 1. This entails the construction of a new port terminal with 20 deep-water berths having a total capacity of 20million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUS) per annum.
On the flip side, Deep Offshore Services are constructing only 8 deep-water berths for the Phase 4B at $2.7bn. This is almost a billion dollar extra for less number of deep-water berths. Ridiculous!
Perhaps deliberate, there is no clause mandating INTELS to remit any percentage of the Service Boats Operations revenue collections to NPA and on a stipulated date. Hence remittances are based on mutual understanding between both parties. So from 2013, INTELS remitted an average of $3m monthly which represents only about 18% of average revenue collected. Remittance went all-time high in 2014 to an average of $5.6m monthly. It is a cause of worry to NPA that this remittance dropped to an average of $3.6m monthly in 2016. This called for a review by the former management which was followed through until recent approval to terminate the contract.
After reconciliation, Service Boats Operations revenue collected by INTELS from January 2014 when execution of Phase 4B commenced to September 2016 was $510m while sum of $162m which represents about 29% of the total revenue was remitted to NPA within the period.
Worthy of note also, the LAST remittance made by INTELS to NPA was in October of 2016 ?—? one year ago. However, INTELS is owed $674.8m as at December 2016 for executed project cost not yet amortized. The Managing Agent, INTELS is as well holding on to the sum of $128.3m being jointly reconciled revenue as at December 31st, 2016.
Since the Managing Agents, INTELS control the revenue, they went ahead to execute a project at the Onne Ports Complex worth $109m without any recourse to their principal, the NPA. Another thing is, the Managing Agent keep the balance at their disposal for, sometimes, months, with no interest element paid to the principal.
What is it in the reviewed agreement that INTELS is declining to affirm to? The following Standard Operating Procedures were drafted and reviewed for adoption;
1. The NPA is suggesting the balance of 72% be shared between NPA and INTELS in the ratio of 30:70.
2. Two transit accounts be opened with two commercial banks where individual boat operators pay their charges and funds be swept into the TSA account with CBN daily. INTELS get their 28% Commission within 7 days. In the event that NPA fails to pay the commission within the stipulated time, it shall pay INTELS a 0.15% for the outstanding.
3. Since capacity utilization of the completed phase 4B is very low, that further execution be formally stopped and the completed section be put to commercial use to generate revenue for the Authority.
Nothing spurs us to action, else the Civil Society Organizations and other pressure groups would be at the fore front demanding a repeal of this agreement and perhaps, demand a downright payment of outstanding balances.
Abdullahi K. Abubakar is on twitter as @abubakar47i

Kwara News: Birds Strike Plane With 222 Muslim Pilgrims On Board, All Safe

August 5, Ilorin International Airport: The aircraft with 222 Muslims from Nigeria was taxiing on the runway when a huge flock of birds attacked it, news in Kwara reports.

This occurrence happened in at the Ilorin – the capital of Kwara state. The passengers were going to Saudi Arabia for the yearly Hajj pilgrimage.

The pilot of the Boeing 767 managed to halt the take-off successfully and evacuate all the passengers without injuries.

Kwara news states that the Medview Airline coped with the incident professionally, organizing a new flight for the passengers so that their journey to Saudi Arabia wouldn’t be discontinued due to the incident.

Furthermore, the airline designated a group of engineers who went to the Ilorin International Airport to fix the damaged airplane.

The airline media consultant Obuke Oyibotha made an official statement, in which he said that the incident had been handled safely and professionally and stressing that the airline brought professional engineers to the airport the same night.

Kwara state news reminds that minister of health of Nigeria Isaac Adewole made the health agenda for the Hajj pilgrimage in 2017 publicly available.

According to it, Nigeria trained medical officers to support pilgrims during their trip to Saudi Arabia and ensure proper medical services if need be.

Approval Of Kaduna Loan: Coalition Of CSOs Give Shehu Sani, Senate 7 Days Ultimatum

Following delays in the approval of a loan of $350 million requested by the Kaduna State Government, a coalition of civil society organisations in the state has handed out a seven-day ultimatum to Senator Representing Kaduna Central, Comrade Shehu Sani to ensure the requests scales through, or face consequences.
The coalition expressed this during a press briefing in Kaduna on Monday, in which the text was jointly signed by its chairman, Comrade Zubairu Mukhtar and Secretary, Comrade Richard Augustine and read by the chairman.
“We are saying that Senator and his pay masters should as a matter of urgency hands off and reverse their position to stamp the Government of Kaduna State from accessing the loan. Kaduna State does not belong to any individual. We the people of Kaduna State stand in solidarity to the leadership of the State to acquire the loan of $350 million for our State development.
“After seven working days, we the people would mobilise ourselves in our thousands and match to the national assembly in solidarity to the leadership of Kaduna for the said loan to be granted in the collective interest of the people of the State. We so hope that Sen Shehu Sani would do the needful and address his committee members on the need to approve with immediate effect, the loan requested by the good people of Kaduna State.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we have resolved to expose Sen Shehu Sani act of injustices and evil plans to the Government of Kaduna State and the entire people of the state.
“We resolve to give Sen Shehu Sani seven working days to do the needful by respecting himself and hands off from trying to delay or deny Kaduna State access to the loan in his capacity as chairman Senate committee on foreign loans,” the coalition stated.
They argued that any differences Sen Shehu Sani has with Mal. Nasir El-Rufia has nothing to do with the over 12 million people of Kaduna State, as such any attempt to block the loan by Sen. Shehu Sani as the Chairman of Senate committee on foreign loans is a clear betrayal to the people of the state.
The group stressed that Senator Sani has lost focus, and should not be taken serious by any well meaning citizen of the state.
“You may have been aware of public outcry of the wicked and mischievous activities of Sen Shehu Sani to the people of Kaduna State. This situation and his actions has become very worrisome to the entire people of Kaduna State especially coming at a time where the state is in dire need of Economic and infrastructural development. We have watched very closely the activities of Sen. Shehu Sani that are anti-people of Kaduna state, Sen Shehu Sani has since lost focus in the discharge of his legislative duties to meddling into State executive Business, truncating democracy and hampering developmental dividends that the people of the state enjoy from the administration of Mal Nasir El-Rufia.
“As a civil society group conscious of our responsibility to identify with positive developments, we are  deeply saddened by the disposition of the Senator and his pay masters towards  the $350 million Kaduna State loan which  was part of varying amounts that all other States of the Federation,  have applied for and awaiting the endorsement of the National Assembly.
“We find the Senator’s pedestrian political style retrogressive to the people of Kaduna State.
 We make bold to say that our people did not sign for infantile game of politics that Senator Sani has been notorious for. Playing the Ostrich with Kaduna  State’s matter in this  case is clearly  a deliberate  attempt to undermine the wishes of the over two million people of this State,  who deserve  nothing short of a serious-minded lawmaker,  conscious  of the responsibility on his shoulders  as the eye and ear of Kaduna Central in  the  Upper Chamber.
“We cannot, at this stage allow for theatrics over such crucial matter. If the Senator and his pay masters think they can ride roughshod over the interest of Kaduna people on the matter of the $350million loan, they should have their heads examined immediately. Enough is enough of this playing to the gallery. After serially attacking President Buhari and the party in the media for nearly two years, we also note with dissatisfaction how he has serially attacked political appointees from the State he claims to represent as a means of getting media attention.  This is childish, undemocratic and it ridicules standard practice in modern political Kaduna State,” the group emphasized.
The coalition said that they are not just on their own, but represent a consortium of over 100 civil society organisations in the state to press forth their demands.
“We have made deep research and follow up on all the funds that were been received since the Mal Nasir El-Rufia administration came to power, even the very recent bailout funds that was giving to the State, how it was judiciously used to clear all outstanding workers salaries, arrears and pension to date, Apart from on-going project across the three senatorial zones. We therefore did not see any reason why a Sen. Shehu Sani would because of selfish, personal ambition try to sabotage the effort the State Government to access a loan of $350 Million Dollars.
“We put it very clear to the Senator and his pay masters that the loan in question is not for the personal use of Mal Nasir El-Rufia but the development of infrastructure and social deficit in the State. The public knows that Sen. Shehu Sani is so afraid that his dream of becoming the Governor of Kaduna State would be completely buried that is why he thinks he can use Federal might to deny the State access to these funds.
“Shehu Sani is very aware that Kaduna State would wear a new look if these funds come, and he would have nothing to campaign for. It will be counterproductive if we seat, watch and allow the Senator and his pay masters wrongly and deliberately misled the Senate committee on foreign loan,” the group said.
They said that this sort of conspiracy against the state’s positive economic trajectory is mischievous callous and retrogressive to democracy and future development.
“Our demands and prayers are very clear:
1. That Senator Shehu Sani has sold out by working against the hopes and expectations of the good people of Kaduna State, the citizens he is supposedly representing. This is backstabbing. We cannot also fathom why he is opposed to any popular government policy, especially that of socio-economic development.
“2. We find it so strange that Senator Shehu Sani is willing to support all other States of the federation, to enable them access the loan and shamelessly denying Kaduna State similar opportunity. This is outright sabotage and highly condemnable. There is no justification whatsoever for Senator Shehu Sani’s personal hatred against his constituency on the matter of $350million foreign loan.
“3. It is embarrassing that of all States of the federation, it is Senator Sani’s Kaduna that is being exposed to such theatrics, just because he has hidden ulterior motive of not wanting to see progress in Kaduna State. If he is using this to score cheap political gain, as he has always done, we dare say this is bad timing
“We are saying that Senator and his pay masters should as a matter of urgency hands off and reverse their position to stamp the Government of Kaduna State from accessing the loan. Kaduna State does not belong to any individual. We the people of Kaduna State stand in solidarity to the leadership of the State to acquire the loan of $350 million for our State development.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have resolved to expose Sen Shehu Sani act of injustices and evil plans to the Government of Kaduna State and the entire people of the state.
“We resolve to give Sen Shehu Sani seven working days to do the needful by respecting himself and hands off from trying to delay or deny Kaduna State access to the loan in his capacity as chairman Senate committee on foreign loans.
Any differences Sen Shehu Sani has with Mal. Nasir el-Rufai has nothing to do with the over twelve million people of Kaduna state. So any attempt to block the loan by Sen Shehu Sani as the Chairman of Senate committee on foreign loans is a clear betrayal to the over twelve million people of the State,” they submitted.

Nwankwo Kanu Launches N1bn Jackpot Lotto To Support Kanu Heart Foundation

LAGOS, Nigeria, October 16, 2017/ — Legendary Nigerian footballer and philanthropist, Nwankwo Kanu, is launching the biggest lotto in Africa to raise funds for the Kanu Heart Foundation (KHF) and help build a specialist cardiac hospital in Abuja.

The KHF lotto offers a jackpot starting at N1 billion and will be run in conjunction with AfroMillonsLotto. It offers twice-weekly draws with bigger jackpots than all the lotteries in Nigeria combined, as well as being the largest jackpot anywhere in Africa. Twenty percent of every ticket sold will go directly to KHF to help it continue its work ensuring underprivileged children across Africa with heart problems get the treatment they need.

Since its launch in 2000, KHF has helped not just people in Nigeria, but also paid for 538 children to be treated at facilities throughout the world. Commenting on the lotto initiative, Kanu said:

“We are excited to launch this major fund-raising initiative for the Kanu Heart Foundation and hope people support it by buying tickets, helping us to build a new heart hospital for Nigeria.”

“Not only could people change their own life with the potential to win the jackpot of over N1 billion, they can help to change the lives of other people by supporting our Foundation”.

The first KHF.AfroMillionsLotto.com draw takes place on Wednesday 18th October and the website also offers nine, ‘Candy Crush’ style, Instant Win games, which can be played for fun or to win cash prizes of up to N12 million. If there isn’t a jackpot winner, the prize money rolls over, increasing by N100 million with each draw until it reaches a maximum of over N2 billion.

President Buhari Hosts Three Young Admirers At The Presidential Villa

President Muhammadu Buhari Monday in Abuja received three young admirers in the State House, who have demonstrated high interest in his administration, and prayed for his recovery during ill-health.

Three-year old Maya Jammal became an internet sensation when her videoed prayer for the President’s recovery went viral, while 10 year-old Aisha Aliyu Gebbi penned a personal letter to President Buhari describing herself as his “biggest fan’’.

Nicole Benson, 12 years old, had contributed N5,785 to the President’s campaign in 2015, which was all saved up from her lunch allowance and pocket money.

“I am very impressed by what the children have been able to do,’’ President Buhari said, “I can see the little Maya is shy. I watched her video where she was praying for my recovery when I was ill.’’

The President attributed his victory at the polls to the contributions of good hearted Nigerians, like young Nicole, who is from Lagos State, and showed her support by sending her personal savings.

“Nicole, I congratulate you, and myself for being here today. Your contribution made a great impact. As you can see, I am here in the Presidential Villa. Thank you,’’ he said.

President Buhari told Aisha that her letter was heart-warming, noting that he felt re-assured knowing he had fans amongst the children.

“Thank you very much for the letter,’’ he said.

The President said he looked forward to more visits from the children. “I am hoping that it will not be the first and last time we will be meeting while I am here. We will continue to meet even after I have left here.’’

Speaking on behalf of the parents, Hon. Aliyu Ibrahim Gebbi, said the President’s gesture of inviting the children to the Presidential Villa was a dream come true.

Gebbi said the invitation also added to the President’s long standing record of good heartedness and fairness.

“In a nation with few legends and accuracy of truth, we look up to you, Mr. President, and our children are looking up to you,’’ he added.

Maya lives in the FCT, while Aisha came in from Bauchi State.

Femi Adesina
Special Adviser to the President
(Media & Publicity)
October 16, 2017

International School Debate: Gov Sani Bello Offers Scholarship To Four Students

…Says Education Remains Top Priority Of The Administration

Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello has offered scholarship to four secondary school students who represented the country from the state in this year’s President School Debate which took place recently in Czeck Republic for coming first in the competition.

Governor Sani Bello announced the scholarship package when the victorious students presented the laurel won at the Act of Europe International Debate Tournament to him in his office in Minna, the state capital.

The governor who was so elated by the superlative performance of the students at the global talkshop said the scholarship was to encourage the participants as well as other students in the state to put in their best in their academic performance.

The Governor commended the remarkable efforts of the students as well as the committee in charge of the competition and awarded each of the four students who represented the state with N50,000 as well as each member of the committee.

“Your remarkable effort has brought the state global recognition and its image on the pages of international media.

You have indeed made the state proud and my desire for you is to attain greater heights. That is why the state is offering four of you scholarship to enable you pursue your academic desire up to university level.

“I assure you of our full support and I guarantee you of the state’s participation in the next competition in Croatia, in July 2018,” he added.

Governor Sani Bello assured that his administration will continue to accord education a priority attention by ensuring that more schools are captured in the “Whole School Rehabilitation” in order to actualize education sector restoration agenda and to reposition it.

The National Coordinator of President School Debate, Elder Dare Oritu explained that the purpose of the debate competition was to promote democracy, enable youths interact with their counterparts and to also help them in conflict resolution.

The Director of Programmes, School Debate, Professor Benedict Emunemu who spoke on behalf of the team commended the Niger state debate team who represented Nigeria at the tournament for their outstanding performance in the competition, adding that their effort has guaranteed them a slot in next year competition in Croatia.

FIRS Seals Intels Headquarters As Panic Grips Expatriates

Latest reports reaching Newsdiaryonline  from Intels Headquarters in Onne, Nigeria’s Niger Delta said the FIRS has placed a seal  Monday on the property asking the company to pay  unremitted taxes.

But a much bigger trouble is that the Nigeria Free Zone Authority has fired a letter to Intels accusing the oil services company of operating illegally, within the zone .

A consequence of the letter from the Free Zone Authority, Newsdiaryonline learnt is  that the appropriate authorities such the Immigration Service may ask most expatriates operating at Intels to leave. This is because the expatriate quota Intels enjoys will be affected by this letter.

The fear among expatriates heightened because of the suspicion that FIRS may have acted against Intels based on the letter from the Nigeria Free Zone Authority .

But there are concerns that the latest “attack” on Intels may have unintended consequences on the Niger Delta,especially the host community as the company has youths from the region on its staff list. If Intels is crippled,  they resultant unemployment may trigger restiveness in the region some indigenes fear.

It could be recalled that NPA recently cancelled it’s contract with Intels. A statement by NPA said last week,  it acted based on advice by the Attorney -General of the Federation and Minister Of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN.


There Is No $25bn NNPC Contracts Anywhere – Presidency


Claims on social and traditional media that $25BN worth of oil contracts were awarded by the NNPC or that $25BN in NNPC funds is missing are both false.

According to Mr. Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, no contracts were procured by the NNPC based on the leaked memo of the Petroleum Resources Minister of State, even though such impressions have been maliciously created in the past few weeks.

While responding to media inquiries Sunday on the matter, Akande disclosed that a closer look at each of the said projects indicate clearly that “these are not procurement contracts.”

According to him, “when I tweeted on Thursday morning last week, I had indicated that the Vice President, while acting as President approved Joint Venture Financing arrangements. But for some curious reasons, a few media reports used that tweet to report that I said the then Acting President approved N640 Billion worth of oil contracts. Such reporting is both false and misleading and therefore ought to be completely ignored by all seekers of truth.”

What is more important, Akande submitted, is that “when you look diligently at the referenced projects/transactions one by one, you will see, as NNPC has shown, that none of them was actually a procurement contract.”

“Take both the Crude Term Contract and the Direct Sale, Direct Purchase (DSDP) agreements for instance, these are not procurement contracts involving the expenditure of public funds. Both transactions are simply a shortlisting process, in which prospective off-takers of crude oil and suppliers of petroleum are selected under agreed terms, and in accordance with due process. It is therefore wrong and misleading to refer to them as though they’re contracts involving the expenditure of NNPC funds, or public funds of any sort. As you now know, the Honorable Minister of Petroleum Resources himself has in fact clarified that he meant to focus on administrative and governance issues, not red-flag any fraud – because no fraud exists in this matter.”

For both transactions, Akande said it is not true and also inaccurate to attach $10B and $5B values on them. “Attaching monetary values to these contracts is an arbitrary act that completely distorts understanding of the situation.”

According to him, Nigerians ought to be informed clearly that “whenever there is a monetary value on any consignment of crude oil lifted in this country by any firm, the proceeds go directly to the Federation Account and not to any company. In fact, the Buhari administration in the implementation of the TSA has closed down multiple NNPC accounts in order to promote transparency and probity.”

Akande also explained that even in compiling the shortlisting for the prospective off-takers of crude oil and suppliers of petroleum under agreed terms, “there were public placements of advert in the mass media seeking Expressions of Interest (EoI). Bids were publicly opened in the presence of NEITI, DPR, BPP, Civil Society groups and the press. In some cases even, these events were televised live.”

“For the sake of emphasis let me state clearly that both the Crude Term Contract and the Direct Sale and Direct Purchase agreements are not contracts for any procurement of goods, works or services, and therefore do not involve the use of public funds. Instead, they are simply a shortlisting of off-takers. And unlike what has been reported in the media so far, it is important to set the records straight that the list of approved off-takers does not carry any financial values but simply states the terms and conditions for the lifting and supply of petroleum products.”

He also disclosed that the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Gas Pipeline Contract “is a contractor-financed contract which has not yet been finalized or awarded; it is still making its way to the Federal Executive Council, FEC.”

There were also three presidential approvals given on Joint Venture financing arrangements, meaning loans to cater for cash call obligations. One of these was okayed by the President in 2015, and two by the then Acting President in 2017, Akande noted.

Lastly, on the NPDC, he said there is no contract in the $3BN to $4BN range as reported in the media.

“You can then see from the foregoing that the $25BN being bandied in the media does not exist. There is no $25BN missing,” Akande concluded.

Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity
Office of the Vice President

15th October, 2017

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