Multiple taxes: Petroleum dealers in Anambra threaten shutdown, gives 21 day ultimatum



Petroleum dealers in Anambra have threatened to shut down operations in 21 days over alleged government multiple levies and indebtedness.

The operators under the aegis of NNPC Enugu Depot Community issued the warning in a communiqué issued after an all stakeholders’ meeting held in Awka on Tuesday.

Members of the community included the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Petroleum Dealers Association of Nigeria (PEDAN), Anambra Chapter, and Petroleum Tanker Drivers(PTD.

The communiqué was signed by Mr Chinedu Anyaso and Mr Emeka Iloafor, Chairman and Secretary respectively of IPMAN, Enugu Depot, Chief Cletus Okafor and Mr Peter Jideani, Chairman and secretary respectively of PEDAN and Mr Charles Ezeme and Mr Oliver Ekwueme of PTD Enugu Unit.

The Petroleum dealers said they had been harassed by different agencies of government under Internally Generated Revenue who distributed various demand notices for taxes and levies to their members against the existing agreed terms they had with government.

The dealers said that one of its members was indebted to the tune of N13. 6 million since 2017 and government had refused to pay him in spite of all entreaties.

They alleged that there had also been incessant harassment and attacks on petrol stations by the Police.

They tasked the Anambra government on operationalising a Petroleum Tanker Park in the state to stem the tide of incessant crashes and fire outbreak.

“At the end of the meeting, we resolve that Anambra government should direct the relevant agencies to withdraw all the demand notices, revert to previous arrangement already in place and stop harassing our members.

“Government should reach out to the Police authorities to stop forthwith the harassment and attacks on our petrol stations and advise them to focus on their surveillance on states and locations where petroleum products are loaded.

“That the payment of N13.6 million to be made in favour of the marketer concerned.

“Your Excellency Sir, we are expecting that government act on the above demands within 21 working days to avoid leaving us with no other option than to call for withdrawal of our services as we can no longer continue to operate under the present environment,” they stated.

In his reaction, Chief Peter Nwosu, Special Adviser to Gov. Willie Obiano on Oil and Gas promised to relay their message to the governor, whom, he said would address their plights.

Nwosu, who is also a patron of the group, said Anambra would continue to provide conducive business environment adding that the governor would not allow the state to shut down.

He said he was aware of the indebtedness and that it would be resolved in no distant time.

According to him, His Excellency will not allow the worst to happen, the issues will be resolved amicably.On the tanker park, he said that work was almost completed, so my and urged them to remain calm.

Edited By: Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)


NCDC, NIMR, partners to conduct COVID-19 antibody tests in 4 states




Abuja, Sept. 21, The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the Nigeria Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) and their partners are conducting anti-bodies household surveys in four states in Nigeria.

Speaking at the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on Monday in Abuja, the Director general of NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu ​​​​​​said the tests are being conducted to better understand the burden of COVID-19 infection in Nigeria.

“These seroprevalence surveys, which will be carried out in Gombe, Enugu, Nasarawa and Lagos states would provide the best evidence yet, on the extent of COVID-19 infection in the country.

“The seroprevalence surveys are used to identify the occurrence of disease in a population by estimating the presence of antibodies in individuals who have had the disease.

“This is done by testing blood samples in randomly selected households in selected states.

“For Nigeria’s COVID-19 seroprevalence survey, household members will answer a brief questionnaire, be tested for the presence of COVID-19 antibodies, as well as for acute COVID-19, if they consent.

“In addition to this, study participants will also have a rapid malaria test and receive treatment if the test is positive,” he said.

Ihekweazu, said, this is the first set of household surveys to be conducted for COVID-19 in Nigeria and as part of ongoing public health research activities.

“The surveys will increase the current understanding of COVID-19 transmission patterns, the burden of infection in the population, and the age groups most affected.

“This information will help inform COVID-19 response decisions by the Government of Nigeria and partners as part of measures towards ending the pandemic.

” The surveys will also estimate the proportion of people who have COVID-19 but are not showing any symptoms, that is asymptomatic.

“Through this, the country can identify risk factors for infection and measure the transmission of COVID-19 within households,” he explained.

By administering rapid malaria tests, he said, the surveys will also assess malaria infections and their possible relationship to SARS-CoV-2 infection.

The results from the surveys, he added, will inform the response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Nigeria.

He also stated that the United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (US-CDC) and the University College London (supported by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) are supporting the NCDC and NIMR in implementing these surveys.

He also said that while the United States CDC’s implementing partner, the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), would also support the State Ministries of Health with implementation.

The News Agency of Nigeria, reports that the surveys will be conducted between September and November, and preliminary results are expected to be released by December 2020.

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza
Source: NAN

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Osinbajo, UNN students discuss technology, innovation



Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday had a virtual interaction with students from both the university and the secondary school in the University of Nigeria, Nsukka(UNN) campus.

Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement in Abuja, said the Vice President featured at the virtual conference of the Centre for Lion Gadgets and Technologies, UNN.

The theme of the conference is “Technological Innovation for Holistic Sustainable Development.”

The Vice President said that deploying technology and innovation to address emerging challenges would be crucial to the country’s recovery from the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We must creatively imagine and pioneer our way out.

“We are in one of the worst health and economic crises in living memory and our recovery must be innovative – we must employ never-before-seen methods to fight the never-before-seen plethora of issues before us.

“Whether we are discussing the delivery of social services to vulnerable communities and promoting financial inclusion or we are talking about boosting agricultural productivity and promoting the security of our communities, how we harness technology is crucial.

“The future will be decided in groups such as yours, where young Nigerians are actively thinking about how to deploy technology in creative ways for problem-solving.”

Osinbajo said that such innovative ideas must be deployed in a manner that was inclusive and accessible to all Nigerians including the poor and vulnerable.

He said that recently, the Nigeria Climate Innovation Center concluded its Climate LaunchPad, and some very innovative ideas were unveiled.

According to him, one of the innovator companies, New Digits, generates power from water.

“The product uses water and conformed solar cells to generate energy for electricity and cooking.

“It actually works by collecting water automatically from any piping channel in the house, breaks down the water into Hydrogen which is used to cook and to power the entire house without the need for batteries of any kind.”

The Vice President also cited PowerStove Energy, founded by three young Nigerians, Okey, Abdulazeez and Glory.

He said that the trio produced a low-cost, clean smokeless cookstove.

“PowerStove Energy is the first clean cookstove to be fitted with self-powered Internet of Things (IoT) cloud system to monitor in real-time, every day that cooking is done, the amount of Co2 that is used and biomass saved, black carbon prevented and total electricity generated.

“All of that is monitored in real-time every day.’’

Osinbajo pledged the support of the Federal Government to universities especially in enhancing their capacity for research and innovation.

He said that the Federal Government was prepared but the university needed to do more by being proactive in the links with industry.

“Industry, as you know, is interested in commerce. If it will make profit and money, industry is interested.

“I think that a lot of the innovations we are seeing are certainly profitable and can be lucrative. But where government can come in is where there are needs for additional support to make the research easier or cheaper for the public to access.

“So, I certainly look forward to the cooperation between the Federal Government and the University of Nigeria.

“In education too, Covid-19 has showed us just how adaptive we can be and there are a number of ed-tech firms such as uLesson, where students can take lessons and tests on an app.

“If scaled, this could revolutionise how we approach challenges with access to education.’’

He said that the Federal Government had started the Students Innovation Challenge for all universities in Nigeria.

“We came as far as the University of Nigeria, Nsukka; there is a hub called the Genesis Hub where the competition took place for the South East.

“Three winners emerged from the University of Nsukka; and each of them got N1 million, and there were 25 of them that emerged winners at the competition.

“The Innovation Challenge is our commitment; we are committed to ensuring that innovation is done on a continuous basis,” he said.

Earlier in his remark, the Vice Chancellor of UNN, Prof. Charles Igwe, said the university had prioritised the deployment of technology in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Other participants at the conference included former Governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi, Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, the Most Rev. Paulinus Eze-Okafor, among others.

Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz
Source: NAN
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Niger governor calls for collaboration on maintenance of state roads



Gov. Abubakar Bello of Niger has urged articulated vehicle owners to cooperate with the state government on the issue of the state roads in order to safeguard the socio-economic activities of the Nation.

The state roads serves as a major link between the Northern part of the country and the South-West part through its Bida to Minna axis which is a state road.

Bello, who spoke on the background of the re-opening of the closed Bida-Minna road, said the weight of the vehicles was heavily affecting the state of roads in the state.

He added that currently the Bida-Minna road has finally given way and motorists especially the truck drivers are going through another state road; the Bida-Lapai-Paiko road.

The governor said articulated vehicle should stick to the agreed tonnes of 40,000 litres of those carrying petroleum products and 35 tonnes dry weight for other goods.

“One of the causes of the deplorable state of the roads is that overtime, no one has paid attention to trucks and trailers. So, tanker owners decided to increase the carrying capacity of their tankers from between 45,000 to about 90,000 litres. For dry cargoes, they carry 60 to 70 tons. I don’t think any of our Nigerian roads have been designed to carry such weight.

“So, within two to three years, we realised that most of the roads, especially in Minna town, from Chachanga Bridge to Kpakungu roundabout, have been destroyed by these trucks, not because of the volume of the trucks but the weight. The number of trucks that ply that road does not really matter, as long as they carry specified tonnage.

“Recently, we awarded the contract to Dantata Construction Company for the reconstruction of Minna-Bida road. Unfortunately, the contractors are complaining that the pace of work is so slow because of the volume of trailers that ply the route,” he said.

He explained that the re-opening of the state roads was to mitigate the negative economic hardship faced by people in the northern region due to shortage of petroleum products and food.

He added that since inception, the administration has been carrying out intervention works on some of the federal roads in the state, mainly to ameliorate the sufferings of its citizens in spite of lean resources.

The governor, however, said that the Federal and state government were taking remedial measures to forestall hardship and resolve the issue of bad road network in the state.

“The decision led to shortage of petroleum products up Northern Nigeria, as Niger State, particularly Minna-Bida road became the transit route for tankers moving premium motor spirit (PMS). Other heavy duty vehicles between the South to the North suffered similar fate and food shortages stared all in the face.”

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that a stakeholders meeting was convened in Abuja at the weekend, chaired by the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, with the Inspector General of Police, the Director General of the Department of State Services, the Managing Director of the NNPC and the Minister of Works in attendance.

Briefing the press after the meeting, Bello explained that the meeting looked at the shortage of the supply of petroleum products up north.

“We also looked at causes of why we are having problems today.

“Overtime, most of our highways have been ignored. We all know that the main road most people travel from the South-west to the northern part of this country is the Jebba-Mokwa-Tegina-Kagara-Birnin Gwari-Kaduna. That is a trunk ‘A’ road that has been abandoned and neglected for many years. It is not motorable at the moment.

“The option was to take Mokwa-Bida-Agaie-Lapai-Lambata, which also is very bad.

“I am glad today, in the meeting, we discussed this and agreed on 45,000 litres for PMS, which I believe is still too much but we can work with it, or 35 tons for dry cargo.

“The idea is, if we control the weight, the road will probably survive the rainy season. We will do some remedial works, meaning, the failed section will be maintained and the bridges, whose integrity test is questionable or show signs of weakness will be fortified just to survive the rainy season.

“I am aware, the minister of works is making arrangement to fund those contracts. His ministry has already awarded but at the moment, our major concern and challenge is to survive the rainy season. Once we are able to survive the rainy season, the contractors will go back to site.

“We did not close the Minna-Bida road to inconvenience people but to save and protect the only road that connects the South-western and northern parts of the country.

“My understanding is, while the state government is doing some remedial works on Farin-Doki up to Chachanga, City Gate to Minna town, then Pakungu to Bida road, the Federal Ministry of Works will concentrate on Lambata-Bida

“Hopefully, they will also concentrate on Mokwa-Kagara-Tegina-Birnin Gwari road. Once those roads are fixed, people in Minna will begin to see reduction in the volume of trailers passing through Minna town”.

On the measures put in place to ensure compliance with the new directive, the governor said: “First of all, we expect the depots not to load any truck that is more than 45,000 litres of petroleum products. We also expect, especially the cement companies not to load any trailer that is more than 35 tonnes”.

Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz
Source: NAN
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Anambra residents express confidence in Buhari on Edo election



Awka residents have expressed satisfaction with President Muhammadu Buhari’s neutrality in the Edo gubernatorial election which held on Sept. 19, throughout the state.

The election saw the incumbent Gov. Godwin Obaseki re-elected in a different political party from his former ruling party.

The News Agency of Nigeria , reports that the residents on Monday in Awka said that they were happy with the President’s mandate to the electoral umpires in their conduct during and after the election.

They described the president’s act as a hallmark of a true father of all.

Prof. Nnamdi Obikeze, of Psychology Department, Anambra State University, Igbariam, said that vintage President Buhari could not change from what he was known to be for the sake of grabbing power.

“I know Mr President can’t just change his hard earned reputation which he has built over the years for the sake of making his party to grab power by all means.

Mr Peter Nnatuanya, a retired civil servant called on other leaders to emulate President Buhari who had all it takes to have rigged that election but chose to allow the people’s will prevail.

“It is unheard of that a sitting governor will decamp from a ruling party the President belongs to, pitch his tent with an opposition party and still win,’’ he said.

Mrs Ifoma Abazue, a school teacher, on her part commended Buhari for staying clear of `editing’ election result.

According to her, the President has shown that he is a true leader.

Edited By: Cecilia Odey/Donald Ugwu
Source: NAN
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