The Group Marketing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, has dismissed the criticism that followed the recent fuel price increase.
“The outburst is very understandable but I also believe very strongly that it is misplaced because Nigerians are not aware of the opportunities lost,” he said during an interview on Wednesday.
According to Kyari, the issue of subsidy has been a big issue in the country for many years but the government can no longer afford it because of the economic issues facing the country.
“And not only that, every corruption that you are aware of in the downstream industry is one way or the other connected to fuel subsidy,” the NNPC boss added.
Kyari is the latest government official to defend the decision to fully halt subsidy, a decision that saw the price of fuel surge from N48/litre to N60-61/litre drawing criticism from organised labour, the opposition and many Nigerians.
But the NNPC boss insists it is the right decision.
“It requires courage to make this decision, I can share this with you. Only a Buhari regime can make this decision,” he said, insisting the move would pay off in the long run.
According to the NNPC boss, contrary to what most people believe, subsidy is something that is beneficial only to the rich, not the average man.
“The subsidy in itself, is by every means an elitist thing and I can share this with you. It is only the elite that will have three, four, five cars in their houses, fill their tanks and also feel comfortable doing this.
“The ordinary man is not the beneficiary. First, he loses in infrastructure, hospitals are not built, schools are not built and ultimately, the brunt of the corruption in the downstream sector will be transferred to the ordinary man. So, overall, you lose everything.
“It is very understandable for people to get angry that prices have gone up. Just like the prices of every commodity, when it goes up, there can be difficulties and challenges that people will naturally face but once prices go up, the other natural thing that must happen is that your income needs to increase so that you are able to procure the things that are now delivered at higher prices.
“You can’t do this anywhere in the world if there is no productivity.
“And there will be no productivity except there is growth in infrastructural development, industries are able to work, therefore, there is a connection between production and consumption. What subsidy does is to remove that connection.
“When people get angry, this is coming from people who, practically are not aware of this situation and they are not aware of the loss that they have and most importantly they are being engineered into making those statements, and we understand this perfectly.
“We are the national oil company, it’s our role to ensure energy security. But you can’t do this until you are able to deliver cost. And that cost is lost daily as prices of crude oil goes up and you are unable to do many things”.
Plans for refineries
On the state of the nation’s refinery, Mr Kyari explained that plans are on the way to rehabilitate the four major refineries to maximum capacity.
According to him, this plan is expected to place Nigeria as the world’s biggest exporter of oil in the next three years.
Fuel price was increased on Wednesday last week for the second time this year after being reduced to N123.50 in April as coronavirus-induced lockdowns crashed global oil prices.
As economies across the world reopened and the price bounced back, the retail price in Nigeria shot back up to N148 in August before the latest increase.
Although the increase in fuel price has sparked outrage with various groups holding nationwide protests across the country, the Federal Government has stood by its decision.
On Tuesday, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) said it was no longer going to be releasing price bands for the sale of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS/petrol) at filling stations.
The agency reiterated that the price will now be fully based on the forces of demand and supply.
“It is based on bargain power,” the General Manager (Admin and Human Resources) of the PPPRA, Victor Shidok, said. “It is based on where you source your products.”
However, he noted that the government will ensure customers are protected from price-gouging and other ills associated with free markets.
“You could have a regulator that always stand and remain a watchdog to see how these forces are being played out, how the interest if both operators and consumers are being taken care of,” he said.
BREAKING: IGP Recommends Suspension of DCP Abba Kyari Over FBI Indictment
The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, has recommended the immediate suspension of DCP Abba Kyari, the Head of the Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT), from the Service of the Nigeria Police Force, pending the outcome of an ongoing internal investigations touching on him.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by CP Frank Mba, Force Public Relations Officer on Saturday.
According to Mba, the IGP, in his letter to the Police Service Commission, dated 31st July, 2021, noted that the recommendation for the suspension of the officer, is in line with the internal disciplinary processes of the Force.
The IGP further noted that the suspension is also expected to create an enabling environment for the NPF Special Investigation Panel to carry out its investigations into the weighty allegations against DCP Abba Kyari without interference. The suspension is without prejudice to the constitutional presumption of innocence in favour of the officer, the statement said.
The Special Investigation Panel (SIP), comprising four (4) Senior Police Officers, is headed by DIG Joseph Egbunike, the Deputy Inspector General of Police in-charge of the Force Criminal Investigations Department (FCID).
The SIP, inter alia, is to undertake a detailed review of all the allegations against DCP Abba Kyari by the US Government as contained in relevant documents that have been availed the NPF by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The SIP is also to obtain detailed representation of DCP Abba Kyari to all the allegations levelled against him, conduct further investigations as it deems fit, and submit recommendations to guide further actions by the Force Leadership on the matter.
Meanwhile, the IGP has reaffirmed the commitment of the Force to the rule of law and assured the public of the sanctity of the probe as well as the absolute respect for the rights and privileges of the officer throughout the period of the investigations.
Rice : WACOT Announces Major Investment in Kebbi State
The West African Cotton Company (WACOT), on Friday unfolded new investments in Kebbi State, just as the firm has been given a pat on the back for being part of the socio – economic development drive of the state and Nigeria in general .
This is according to a press statement signed by Sarki Yahaya, Special Adviser (SA) Media to Kebbi State Governor
The new investments include the second phase of the mega rice mill at Argungu, where the first phase of the large scale rice mill was established five years ago .
The second phase of the rice mill, is a multi million dollars new investment by WACOT in Kebbi State, which according to the Chairman, the current installed capacity is 120,000 metric tonnes and they are operating at 95 percent of capacity. The new investment shall double the capacity to 240,000 metric tonnes making it about the largest in Africa.
The Chairman of the firm, Alhaji Farouk Gumel disclosed this in Argungu , when the Kebbi State Governor, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and the Managing Director of First Bank Nig Plc, Dr. Adeshola Adedotun visited the company .
According to the Chairman, the firm will continue to invest and expand as they strongly believe in the robust economic policies of the state and federal governments.
He said that , the funding for the second phase of the rice mill has been secured from First Bank.
The WACOT Boss described the bank as an active partner of the company , saying ,” this is beneficial to us , Kebbi and Nigeria .”
He said that the delegation of the bank was visiting to see for themselves the dividends of hard work performed by the company.
” They are also here to appreciate the strategic importance they have given to agriculture, ” he explained .
The Chairman further acknowledged the tremendous support the firm was getting from the administration of Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu since its inception.
Also while answering Reporters’ questions, Bagudu expressed delight that Nigeria was now an investments hub and investments destination of choice globally.
According to the Kebbi State Governor, the plausible and beautiful policies of the Federal Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari were handsomely yielding fruits .
Bagudu added that , sequel to this happy development, no fewer than fourty seven new large scale rice mills had sprang up across Nigeria .
The Chairman of the APC Governors’ Forum further noted that , the good omen had positively impacted the state .
According to him, rice yields in the State and the nation had been bolstered , while rice production also shored up.
Bagudu expressed happiness that , more Nigerians were believing in Buhari by engaging in agriculture, especially rice production and eating what they produced.
‘ The mantra of President Muhammad Buhari, let us grow what we eat is working’, he averred.
Similarly, Bagudu stated that , other neighbouring African countries like Benin and Niger republics were now keying into Nigeria’s rice revolution .
Bagudu averred that, history will not forget the enormous contributions of the WACOT Rice Mill to Kebbi and NIgeria,especially the execution of Corporate Social Responsibility projects .
He said ,” the key to national emancipation is in more production and this is part of the laudable federal government policies aim to achieve .”
He also commended the CBN for its financial response to the Agriculture sector as well as the First Bank for supporting WACOT to expand its capacity.
The Managing Director of First Bank, Dr. Adeshola Adedotun expressed delight that , their partnership with WACOT was paying off as the firm has progressed steadily.
He noted that Nigeria was now happily a major rice producer as against her previous position of being a major rice importer .
According to him, Nigerians should give themselves enough credit as a country , noting that , great strides had been achieved in spite of the initial pessimism.
He assured that , first bank will remain very close to the company and Kebbi State.
Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu who is also the Chairman Presidential Task Force on Rice and Wheat Production in Nigeria is the Vice Chairman, National Food Security Council has earlier held a meeting with officials of WACOT Rice led by the Chairman of the company, Alhaji Farouk Gumel and the officials of First Bank,led by the Managing Director of the Bank, Dr. Adeshola Adedotun.
The governor accompanied by the officials of WACOT and First Bank Nigeria Limited went round to inspect the edifice.
Tension as Benin Republic Plots Igboho’s Deportation to Nigeria
There are strong indications that Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, may be deported to Nigeria.
Upon his deportation, operatives of the Nigeria Police Force would arrest him, a security source disclosed.
However, the activist’s lawyers have kicked against the move, saying that it was against international law.
Sources in Benin Republic disclosed on Thursday that Benin Republic was not ready to engage in a diplomatic crisis with Nigeria.
One of the sources, who works with Benin’s INTERPOL National Central Bureau, confirmed that charges against Igboho were punishable by deportation, fines, or imprisonment.
The security official revealed that “Our intelligence gathering showed that it is unhealthy to jail Igboho here (Benin Republic).”
The senior NCB officer added, “Yes, he was detained for fresh charges. While he was initially in the Brigade Criminelle facility, he made useful confessions. His lawyers also know that he is guilty of irregular migration.”
Another official said, “The least punishment Igboho can be given is to be deported to the country he came from (Nigeria) if found guilty. The Nigerian authorities can take over from there if they wish.”
An official of the Department of State Services confirmed to our correspondent that “Yes, he is wanted. We have the mandate to arrest him if he steps into Nigeria. That is not hidden.”
When contacted, counsels for Igboho warned Benin Republic against deporting the activist, stating that was dangerous and against international law.
One of the activist’s lawyers said he was aware that the FG is putting pressure on Benin Republic “through the backdoor to deport Igboho at a time that will only be known between the security operatives of the two countries.”
However, Pelumi Olajengbesi, a Nigerian-based counsel for Igboho, said the plan would fail.
He said, “I am aware that the Federal Government through the former Chief of Army Staff Tukur Buratai is making effort to get him deported. We can say that clearly.
“So far, the facts available before the court have nothing to do with the Nigerian government.
“We have nothing to worry about because the Benin Republic government has shown that it will operate within the precinct of the law. For us, we believe that Igboho is a criminal of conscience who has taken an effort to liberate his people.”
Also, Olasupo Ojo, the Coordinating counsel for Igboho, warned that deporting Igboho for Nigeria to arrest him was against international law.
“It is illegal under international law to send back somebody who escaped to save his life. You cannot send him to a country where there is ample evidence that his life is at stake, endangered. It will bounce back heavily on Benin Republic if they do that,” he said.
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