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Fuel price to reduce to N500 as Porthacourt Refinery commence Production.

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The Federal Government, on Thursday, confirmed the commencement of operations at the Port Harcourt Refining and Petrochemical Company in Rivers State.

It announced that the facility commenced operations on December 20, 2023, as the first phase of work at the plant had been completed, adding that refined petroleum products would start flowing from the refinery after the Christmas break.

The government had earlier in the year repeatedly stated that the Port Harcourt refinery would begin operations before the end of 2023.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, who led members of the Refinery Steering Committee to inspect the facility, congratulated the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited and Nigerians in general for the feat.

Nigeria’s refineries in Port Harcourt, Kaduna, and Warri have been dormant for decades, as the Federal Government has spent several billions of naira to revamp the facilities.

“The meeting today coincides with the commencement of operations at the Port Harcourt refinery,” Lokpobiri stated at the refinery.

He added, “This is to announce to Nigerians that in fulfillment of our pledge to complete phase one of the Port Harcourt refinery by the end of 2023, and the subsequent streaming of phase two in 2024, we happily announce the mechanical completion of flare start-up on December 20, 2023.

“This heralds the commencement of the production of petroleum products after the Christmas break. We want to thank Nigerians for their patience and trust in the NNPC to deliver on our promise and mandate in the rehabilitation of our refineries.”

Also, the Group Chief Executive Officer, NNPC Limited, Mele Kyari, said the employees of the company worked day and night for over 9.6 million man-hours to get the refinery back on stream.

On April 7, 2021, The PUNCH reported that the NNPC officially signed a contract with Tecnimont SPA for the $1.5bn rehabilitation programme of the Port Harcourt Refining Company.

 

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How $6.2m Stolen From CBN Within 24 Hours Was Shared

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The sum of $6,230,000 allegedly stolen from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on February 8, 2023, was shared and invested into real estate, according to court documents.

The $6.2 million, according to the special presidential investigative team, led by Jim Obaze, that probed the tenure of the immediate past CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, was removed from the apex bank’s vault under the guise of paying election observers.

Emefiele is standing trial on an alleged 20-count amended charge, preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He was alleged to have engaged in criminal breach of trust, forgery, conspiracy to obtain by false pretence and obtaining money by false pretence when he served as central bank chief.

In the court documents, investigators described the theft as an insider’s job, allegedly effected by mainly, CBN officials with the connivance of two outsiders, identified as Adamu Abubakar and Imam Abubakar.

According to the documents, investigators claimed that Odoh Eric Ocheme, Emefiele’s personal assistant, received $3,730,000 of the funds, with three other people splitting the remaining $2,500,000.

Ocheme was said to have justified his lion’s share by claiming he had to pay other interests he had within the apex bank.

In one of the court documents, it was revealed that some of the beneficiaries invested their shares of the loot, estimated at about N1.4 billion in real estate, part of which has now been recovered.

In an affidavit filed along with an extradition charge pending against Adamu Abubakar, Imam Abubakar and Odoh Eric Ocheme before a Federal High Court in Abuja, one of the investigators, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, gave details of investigators’ findings and progress made so far.

Adamu Abubakar, Imam Abubakar and Ocheme are said to be at large and are believed to have fled the country.

This informed the initiation of extradition proceedings against them before the Federal High Court in Abuja.

The Deputy Superintendent of Police was quoted to have said: “We commenced investigation into the case and obtained copies of the withdrawal slip as well as the accompanying documents, Central Bank of Nigeria memos, dated 07/02/2023 and 31/01/2023 respectively, staff identity card of one Jibril Abubakar, letter dated 2/01/2023 purportedly written by Muhammadu Buhari to Boss Mustapha and letter dated 20/01/2023 purportedly written by Boss Mustapha to Mr Godwin Emafiele, which the Central Bank of Nigeria, Abuja Branch relied on in making the payment.

“Investigation at the office of the President as well as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation in the Stale House revealed that the letters purportedly written by Muhammadu Buhari and for Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha did not emanate from the offices respectively, while Jibril Abubakar, whose identity card was used to cash the money in question is not a staff of the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

“We watched the Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) footages of the 08/02/2023 being the day the money in question was cashed, and the payee (Jibril Abubakar) could not be identified by the staff of either the CBN or that of the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, where he falsely represented himself to be working.

“A further study of the Closed-circuit Television (CCTV) footage revealed that a staff of the Abuja Branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria, identified as Abdulmajeed Muhammad received the impostor (Jibril Abubakar) at the gate of the bank when he arrived on the fateful date: 08/02/2023.

“Abdulmajeed Muhammad was consequently arrested and in his statement made on 15/12/2023, he admitted helping the impostor into the Abuja Branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria, but claimed that he did that innocently, the impostor having been referred to him by Bashirudeen Maishanu; a Senior Staff of the CBN.

“Abdulmajeed Muhammad further revealed that prior to 08/02/2023 when the impostor came to cash the money in question, he (Abdulmajeed Muhammad) had been invited by Bashirudeen Maishanu to explain the procedure of public officials making cash withdrawal from the CBN as those persons claimed to be officials from the office of the SGF and that the then president had approved certain fund for official assignment.

“We visited Kuje Correctional Centre, where we interviewed Godwin Emefiele, who purportedly approved the memos authorising the payment, as then CBN and he denied seeing, talk less of approving such memos.

“We also arrested some concerned staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria, who denied any involvement in the crime, before we finally arrested Bashirudeen Maishanu, who corroborated the account of Abdulmajeed Muhammad and further confessed to have been involved in the crime which, according to him was perpetrated by himself and the first to third defendants/respondents – Adamu Abubakar, Imam Abubakar and Odoh Eric Ocheme.

“Bashiru Maishanu further confessed that himself, the first and second defendants/respondents (Adamu Abubakar and Imam Abubakar) shared the sum of $2,500,000.00 from the stolen money, while the third defendant/respondent (Odoh Eric Ocheme), being a fellow staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria, kept the balance of $3,730,000.00 claiming that he had other interests to settle in the CBN.
“Bashirudeen Maishanu further confessed that both himself, and the first and second defendants/respondents jointly invested the United States dollars equivalent of the sum of N1, 440,000,000.00 into real estate business of Afrolyk Global Ltd.

“The Managing Director of the said Afrolyk Ltd, Aminu Lawal has been arrested and he confirmed the investment by Bashirudeen Maishanu, Adamu Abubakar and Imam Abubakar, and already refunded the sum of $200 000 00 to the Special Investigator’s team as part of the money he (Aminu Lawal) received as part of the purported investment.

“Cash of about $400,000 00 has also been voluntarily returned by Bashiru Maishanu from part of his remaining share of the money in question. The money (the $6,230,000) was received in cash from the Central Bank at Nigeria and also shared in the same cash by the defendants/respondents and others, making it difficult to trace the monies without arresting the defendants/respondents.

“It was later revealed that the third defendant – Odoh Eric Ocheme – was the Personal Assistant to Godwin Emefiele as the CBN governor while the first and second defendants (Adamu Abubakar and Imam Abubakar) are businessmen and associates of Bashirudeen Maishanu.”

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Nigerians not the only ones facing poverty — President Tinubu

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President Bola Tinubu has stated that while poverty and suffering exist in the country, Nigerians are not the only ones facing these challenges.

The President said this in Lagos when he received a delegation from the National Assembly who came to felicitate with him on the occasion of Eid-el Kabir on Monday evening.

The delegation, led by the President of the Senate, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, included the Deputy Senate President, Sen. Jibrin Barau, and deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Benjamin Kalu, among others.

“Yes, there is poverty; there is suffering in the land. We are not the only people facing such, but we must face our challenges. We must find a way to eliminate banditry and terrorism so that farmers can bring out food from the farmland.

If you do not have good roads to bring the food to the population, even if you grow the food and you are losing 60–70 per cent to damages, you will pay the price,” said Tinubu.

Tinubu also restated his commitment not to turn his back on the country despite the challenges. “Good economics at a harsh time is the challenge that we must face. As I said in my speech, no matter how difficult it is and how challenging it can be, I will not turn my back on Nigeria,” Tinubu said.

He challenged citizens to have a change of mindset about Nigeria if the nation is to overcome its current challenges. “The need (for some citizens) to change the rent-seeking mindset and become more productive to the economy is a challenge. There is a need to stop smuggling and all economic sabotage. Why should we have people removing rail tracks and all that, stealing electric cables, and sabotaging the economy?

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Clarifications on the Donation of Security Vehicles: IMSG Did Not Buy Brand New Security Vehicles

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– The State Only Rehabilitated Broken/Abandoned Security Vehicles.

My attention has been drawn to some mischievous and false information spread by the defeated opposition party members in the state, particularly the PDP, to discredit the government and the #PeoplesGovernor regarding the recent donations of refurbished police vehicles.

Their latest antics involve using one John Okoye, a freelance staff member of a PDP-sympathetic radio station in Owerri, BizzyBody Fm, to spread disinformation and propaganda.

They claim that the #PeoplesGovernor purchased and donated tens of brand new security vehicles a year ago and is doing so again — barely one year later — portraying the governor as wasteful.

It is unfortunate that someone like Mr. John Okoye, considered an intellectual, could be so intellectually lazy as to not even read a common news piece, and worse, spread disinformation and ignorance through the media.

For the benefit of the general public and those who may have been misled, I clarify as follows:

1. The #PeoplesGovernor did not purchase or procure brand new security vehicles for the security agencies.

2. At no point did any state government communication or the governor himself say that the state government procured brand new vehicles. In fact, the governor stated, “We have delivered 11 REFURBISHED Armored Personnel Carriers and 32 operational vehicles to the Nigerian Police Force, Imo State Command.”

3. Rather, the #PeoplesGovernor, being a prudent man who does not encourage waste, rehabilitated old and abandoned security vehicles that were lying idle at various police commands.

4. This decision encourages a maintenance culture among public officials, as broken police vehicles were repaired instead of being abandoned for brand new purchases.

5. The #PeoplesGovernor acknowledged that the vehicles were dilapidated and damaged due to use over time and undertook to repair them so they could be deployed across the state to protect lives and property and fight crime.

6. Just as we take our personal vehicles to the mechanic for repairs, the governor undertook the repairs of broken police vehicles for effective policing.

7. Our governor deserves commendation for being proactive and alive to his executive duties of protecting Imo people’s lives and property, which has made our state relatively peaceful. Any one who has contrary view on this must be viewed and seen as an enemy of the state who is unhappy with the achievements recorded in the security of Imo people in the last few years.

8. Thank you.

Ambrose Nwaogwugwu.

June 19, 2024.

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