Mr Joseph Nwakwue, Chairman, SPE Nigeria, made the assertion while speaking with newsmen in Lagos, ahead of the group’s Nigeria Energy Industry Transformation Summit (NEITS) taking place virtually from Aug. 25 to Aug. 27.
Nwakwue decried the non-passage of the PIB bill for almost 19 years, stressing that it had led to uncertainties that negatively impacted Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.
He said: “We used to be a choice destination for investment but I am afraid we have lost that place over time.
“Key considerations for investors are resources endowment/density, fiscal terms, ease of doing business etc.
“We have slipped by most measures but there is scope for rebound if we get the PIB right.
“The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, has said hopefully it will be passed before the year ends; we are hoping and praying that this happens.’’
On the state of the nation’s four petroleum refineries, Nwakwue said they ought to have been privatised 10 years ago to become operational.
This, he said would have saved the huge funds being spent on them annually by government.
Nwakwue noted that the importation of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) was putting a huge strain on Nigeria’s foreign exchange, stressing that efforts must be made toward domestic refining of the product.
He expressed optimism that the Dangote Refinery, when operational would not only ameliorate the situation but it would help in creating employment for Nigerians in the petroleum industry.
The SPE chairman said other modular refineries that were springing up would also build the capacity of Nigerians, stressing that more investors should be encouraged to invest in the sector.
Nwakwue said: “Nigeria is in a pole position to develop a robust domestic and regional gas market given our location and resource endowment.
“My take is that we need the right policy, a policy that incentivises and encourages private sector leadership with clearly defined objectives and milestones, properly regulated to ensure desired expectation.’’
He said Sylva and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Mele Kyari, would join other industry experts across the globe in the summit.
“This summit will hopefully help in articulating policy prescriptions that will guide further development and growth of our industry and country,’’ Nwakwue said.
Edited By: Johnson Eyiangho/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
3-storey school building collapses in Lagos
A three-storey building of the Excell College, a private school in Ejigbo, Lagos, collapsed on Saturday, two days to reopening of secondary and private schools in the state.
The building is located at No. 15, Ansarudeen St., by Ile Epo Bus stop, Iyana Ejigbo.
Lagos State-owned tertiary institutions re-opened on Sept. 14.
The Director-General of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Dr Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, told newsmen that no person was trapped in the collapsed building.
He noted that the school had been under lock and key since March due to the COVID-19-induced restrictions.
According to the LASEMA director-general, the building, which collapsed at 8:15 a.m. on Saturday, is part of a conjoined (twin) three-storey building.
He said that the collapse was attributable to “visible distress”, adding that the collapsed portion affected the second wing, as shown by visible cracks on the walls, pillars and decking of the second portion.
“Distress calls received established that the building collapsed at about 8:15a.m.
“Information gathered from some officials of the school revealed that the building had previously shown signs of distress and the school was planning to renovate and refortify the structure.
“The three-storey building has two wings; the wing that collapsed seriously affected the second wing, as visible cracks can be seen on the walls, pillars and decking.
“Fortunately, nobody was trapped.
“Responders to the incident are LASEMA, Lagos State Building Collapse Agency and the police,” he said.
Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu/Ijeoma Popoola
Edo poll: Gov. Obaseki faults INEC preparations
Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo, said he expected better preparations from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the Saturday’s governorship poll, after queueing for over an hour before voting.
Obaseki, who is the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the election, stated this, shortly after he cast his vote at 11:48a.m, having joinied the queue for hand washing at 10:24a.m.
According to him, to wait for one and half hours on the queue before exercising his franchise is a bit disappointing.
“Given that this is a sole day election, I expected a bit more planning and preparation, and resources should have been put into this election.
“During the last presidential election in my polling unit, there were two polling points which helped the body on voters. You all are witnesses of how long this has taken.
“The card reader is working very slowly, and this is the situation in all the major voting centers in Oredo Local Government Area of the state as I speak.
“In Garrick Memorial Secondary School, I understand that over 500 voters are already stranded because they can’t vote because of the slow processing of the card readers.
“One would have expected that INEC will have deployed more card readers and more voting points in highly numbered polling centers,” he said.
On the issue of vote buying at polling units, the governor said that the security agencies were not doing what they assured Edo people and Nigerians of, before the election.
“The security agencies assured us that they won’t allow anybody who don’t have business of voting in a particular place to be there, but they are working on the contrary to what they promised us.
“You can see cars parked with a lot of cash being disbursed to people and it seems to be normal practice, but we are not perturbed. People know what to do; cash can’t buy their future,” he added.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Ejike Obeta
Flooding: Kebbi Gov’t assures farmers on dry season farming
Gov. Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi has assured farmers in the state of necessary support to engage in dry season cultivation, taking cognisance of areas affected by flooding.
The governor gave this assurance at the palace of the Emir of Yauri, Dr Muhammadu Zayyanu-Abdullahi, during a condolence visit to flood-hit communities in the Emirate.
Bagudu commiserated with the people on the losses they suffered, a statement made available to newsmen by his Chief Press Secretary, Abubakar Dakingari, on Saturday said.
He sympathised with them on the recent fatal boat mishap in the area, praying Allah to grant mercies to those who perished.
The governor also conveyed the sympathy of President Muhammadu Buhari, which he sent through the Ministers of Agriculture and that of Humanitarian Affairs, Muhammadu Sabo Nanono and Sadiya Umar Faruk, respectively.
The duo had led a separate delegation to Kebbi to reassure the flood-hit communities of the Federal Government’s commitment to bringing succour to the people.
Bagudu told the Emir that he used the opportunity of the visit to inspect facilities at the Gafara GB Food Factory and areas affected by the flood.
“I have approved the release of between N15 million and N20 million to the local governments affected by the disaster, according to the level of devastation.
“I commend the Emir for his continued support and loyalty to the incumbent administration and assure him that the government will continue to uphold respect to traditional institutions,’’ Bagudu said.
In response, the Emir thanked the governor for the visit and the provision of relief materials to affected persons, which he said, would help to cushion the effect of the flood.
The monarch also thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for his benevolence to the people of Yauri, especially with the establishment of an electricity sub-station in the town and ongoing roads construction.
“The electricity sub-station has improved economic activities in this area, and I know that the road will no doubt ease the transportation of goods and services.
“I, however, urge the Federal Government to fulfil its pledge of dredging River Niger from Baro to Yauri, to enhance operations of the inland waterways in the area,’’ Zayyanu-Abdullahi said.
He advised all relevant authorities to ensure that dams, rivers and lakes in the country are dredged annually, to remove obstacles hindering free flow of water that could result to flooding.
Edited By: Oluyinka Fadare/Idonije Obakhedo
Flood: 1 out of 14 passengers rescued in Sokoto mishap
One corpse was recovered out of 14 passengers in a vehicle that plunged into River Rima Bridge, along Tashar Illela on Sokoto-Kware-Illela road in SokotoState, due to flooding.
News Agency of Nigeria recalls that a commercial vehicle, carrying 14 passengers on Thursday, plunged into the river as water submerged the road including the bridge.
He said other officials were from Sokoto State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and Transport unions.
He explained that the rescue became tough due to high volume of water that flooded the whole area.
According to him, officials have to seek assistance from construction firms for heavy duty crane, local divers and canoe divers for the mission.
Ambursa said the passenger vehicle involved in the accident was spotted, but however, could not be removed because it was hooked to a deep hole and passing water was still much.
Another rescue official from the federal fire service, Muhammad Jibril, said efforts were still in progress to remove the vehicle along with human bodies.
A local diver, Muhammadu Sada, said they deployed different tactics to save the passengers’ lives, stressing that the high water level contributed to the mission’s difficulties.
Sada explained that the area had not recorded such flooding in a long while and cautioned road users to beware of crossing the bridge because of the magnitude of the flood.
A resident, Maccido Ibrahim, told NAN that the public voluntarily contributed money for local divers.
“We raised N8,000 from the contributions and a philanthropist, Alh. Ahmadu Maidoya, and others contributed about N80,000 for canoe and local divers,” he said.
When contacted, the Public Relations Officer of Sokoto State Ministry of Environment, Malam Abubakar Gani, said the Commissioner, Alh. Sagir Bafarawa, was not in town.
Gani said the ministry and State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) were aware of the situation, however, could not speak on their contribution to save peoples’ lives, being the responsibility of the ministry.
The PRO assured to update the media on the situation, noting that the ministry had earlier alerted residents on the possibility of the flood and advised people to use alternative routes.
A Public Analyst, Prof. Bello Bada, said the incident portrayed poor training and lack of techniques on disaster management and rescue operations by Nigerian officials.
Bada, from Usmanu Danfodio University Sokoto, said the situations could attract public demonstrations as obtained in other countries where they value human lives.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/ Maharazu Ahmed