Friday, January 20, 2012

SUBSIDY: EFCC probes beneficiaries

Nigeria - The EFCC has already been mandated to investigate all the subsidy beneficiaries, which include Oando, Integrated Oil and Gas, MRS, AA Rano. A-Z Petroleum, ASB, Arcon Oil, African Petroleum, Aminu resources, Con Oil, Avante Guard, Avido, Boffas and Brila Energy.

Other are D Jones Petroleum, Downstream Energy, Dosil Oil Inco Ray, Eternal, Folawiyo Energy, Frado International, First Deepwater, Heden Oil, Honeywell Petrol, AMP, Channel Oil, Fort Oil, Bovas, Obat Oil, Ipman Investment, Atio Oil, AMP, and Ernac Oil.

President Goodluck Jonathan who is insisting that there must be no sacred cows is spearheading the Hunt for all those who have defrauded Nigeria through subsidy. Sources hinted that some members of Jonathan's kitchen cautioned that going after the subsidy cabal could hurt his Petroleum Minister, but the President maintained that whoever was involved should be taken down.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government through the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has given Capital Oil owned by Ifeanyi Uba 60 days to pay back N5 Billion being rogue proceeds he made from Kerosene subsidy or risk arrest and prosecution. Capital made N22.4 Billion from petrol subsidy. NNPC allocated to Uba’s Capital Oil 75% of kerosene supplies to distribute to the entire country at N50 pump price. But the cheapest of the product at the depot is N120 per litre & N135 at the filling stations while Capital Oil makes more than N70 on each litre of kerosene sold. 

A Trendy Africa Media Report.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Labor Strike Commences just as GEJ inaugurates 1,100 mass transit buses

President Goodluck Jonathan has inaugurated 1,100 of 1,600 mass transit buses at the Eagles Square, Abuja, as part of the palliative measures he promised Nigerians to cushion the effect of the removal of fuel subsidy. He also said the scheme was not put in place because of the removal of subsidy as “deregulation or no deregulation, we need a mass transit scheme” in order to bring down cost of transportation, pointing out that the increase in the cost of transportation due to the subsidy removal was an over-reaction to the policy and regretted commuters were being made to bear the brunt.

The president noted that wagons and small buses were not suitable for mass transit and therefore makes the cost high, hence the desire to introduce the mass transit buses which he said were not being bought or run by the government.  Jonathan, who appealed to Nigerians to be patient as the pains engendered by the deregulation of the downstream sector would be temporary, said that the policy would usher in an enduring gain that would transform the economy.

Meanwhile, members of the civil societies and Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) began mass protests against the removal of fuel subsidy. Protests which grounded the whole of Lagos also affected most state capitals throughout the country, including Abuja, where security agencies battled to control the situation. The Police was reported maintaining presence at every major civic centre where protests were targeted by members of Labour and civil societies.

a trendy africa media report

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Bolts and Nuts stolen from Niger Bridge

My approach to the historical River Niger Bridge, the main link between the West and the East of Nigeria was a great relief after spending close to ten hours on a journey that would usually be done in three. The Niger bridge links the Oil rich Delta State with the vibrantly commercial city of Onitsha in Anambra State. Even though I still had to spend another three hours (normally a 10 mins journey) to cross into Onistsha and link the Owerri road, one really wondered why after all these years a second or twin bridge had not been built. I recently stumbled on the following interview with the current Minister of Works in Nigeria;

What are the challenges confronting the building of the Second River Niger Bridge?

Work is in progress and we are confronting the challenges of the River Niger Bridge that I mentioned earlier. Sometime ago, we heard rumors that the bridge was giving way and we sent a team of consultants there to do some investigation on the bridge. Surprisingly, one of the major challenges we had with our roads and bridges is the issue of abuse.

The Niger Bridge has been heavily abused by Nigerians with over 1,100 bolts and nuts removed by Nigerians. And that is why at a time, if you were driving on the Niger Bridge, you could feel the vibration. When this was discovered, the ministry moved in quickly and contracted Setraco to do some maintenance work on the bridge. As I speak, over 1,100 bolts and nuts have been replaced on that bridge, but it is saddening when you reflect on the fact that those bolts and nuts were removed by Nigerians, who are more interested in their pecuniary gains without even thinking about the general well being of the people that make use of the bridge.

This abuse of our bridges is not limited to the Niger Bridge. If you look at the picture of the Third Mainland Bridge today, many of the metallic hand rails have gone. They were not removed by spirits, they were removed by Nigerians; if you go to the Benin/Ore Road now, there is a spot where accidents regularly occur, where vehicles always fall into the river, each time you are travelling past Ore.
It is normal to hear that a bus has plunged into the river and 16 people died. Given this scenario, we have also responded to this challenge by insisting that in all our bridges, balustrades should be made with concrete, and we are now putting in place concrete balustrades. If you go to the Gwagwalada New Bridge that we just constructed, the balustrades are no longer made of iron, but concrete, although they hardly add the same aesthetic value as the other previous metal ones, but prevailing circumstances have forced us to use this to meet those challenges. This is proof of the fact that Nigerians lack aesthetic values.

Yes, we have a master plan for the Second Niger Bridge, as we speak, in the next couple of weeks we shall be running an advertorial on the Second Niger Bridge. Work on the bridge is obviously in progress; we have initiated discussions with the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank, as we are talking. We are just at the preparatory stage; when we come to the construction stage, then it becomes an issue that should be considered beyond the ministry. I can assure you, the Second Niger Bridge will take off next year.

“Excerpts from an interview with Honorable Minister Mike Onolememen”

source: thisdaylive

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Nigerians Set to Demonstrate in Washington DC

Demonstrations protesting the removal of the gas subsidy in Nigeria will take place at the World Bank on Monday, January 9th at 11am to 1pm and at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Friday, January 13th at 10am to 2pm in Washington DC.
"Since being elected into office, the current Nigerian Government has been extremely harsh and insensitive towards the basic needs of its citizens. The Government has turned a deaf ear to the cries of Nigerian citizens. The majority of the Nigerian people cannot afford the removal of this gas subsidy and the domino effect this will cause (the price increase on other goods and services)," Harrison Nwozo, protest organizer said.

This is a part of the Occupy Nigeria movement (Occupy Nigeria DC) which is a series of protests that started in Nigeria on Monday, January 2nd in response to the gas subsidy removal by Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday, January 1st.
On Monday, January 9th, an indefinite nationwide strike will commence in Nigeria until the gas subsidy is reinstated. Protesters in Washington, D.C. are urging the IMF to encourage the reinstatement of the subsidy. Recently, the World Bank and IMF advised African countries to remove all subsidies to reduce their national debts.
 photo: Trendy Africa

“We are conducting this protest in Washington, D.C. because we want to show our solidarity to our Nigerian brothers and sisters back home. The removal of the gas subsidy has not only affected gas prices in Nigeria but has caused a chain reaction on the rest of its economy. Nigeria is a nation where 50% of the people live on less than $2 a day so for the government to not think about our unique challenges before this policy was changed is thoughtless and inconsiderate,” Chika Uwazie, protest organizer said.
Protests have also been reported in other countries including London.  In addition to the reversal of the gas subsidy ban, Nigerians want better infrastructure and the elimination of corruption.

The protest on Monday will begin at 11am with a march at McPherson Square to World Bank Headquarters located at 1818 H Street, NW, Washington, D.C.   The demonstration will end at 1pm. The protest on Friday will begin at 10am at the International Monetary Fund located at 700 19th street NW with a march to the second International Monetary Fund building at  1900 Pennsylvania Ave NW.

"As far as Nigeria goes, I have never been able to cast a vote. So, what this protest means to me is something very personal. It means an opportunity to be part of something bigger than me; an opportunity to stand with other Nigerians and stand against EVERYTHING wrong with Nigeria. This, for me, is not a choice, it is an obligation," Ifeanyi Nwoko, protest organizer said.
Local protests are being organized by various groups and organizations including Let There Be Light In Nigeria - Nigerian Million March and African Diaspora Institute.  

For more information about the protests please contact:

Christians Flee Northern Nigeria

Hundreds of Christians have begun to flee northern Nigeria after dozens were killed in a series of attacks by Islamist militants who issued an ultimatum to Christians to leave the mainly Muslim region or be killed, witnesses said Saturday. A Nigerian newspaper Tuesday published a warning from Boko Haram, a movement styled on the Taliban, that Christians had three days to get out of northern Nigeria.

Since the expiry of that ultimatum, attacks in towns in four states in northeastern Nigeria have left at least 37 people dead and hundreds of Christians are fleeing to the south, according to residents and aRed Cross official. Gunmen armed with Kalashnikovs have targeted church congregations and a group of mourners in a church hall.

Witnesses said some shops run by Christians from the Igbo ethnic group in towns hit by the violence, including Yola and Mubi, were closed Saturday and residents started to pack their belongings onto buses heading to southern regions.
There are fears of reprisal attacks on Muslims. Christian groups have asked their followers to remain peaceful but they concede that there is a risk of further violence.
"We are very worried by the persistent killings. We have asked youths to remain calm. We stand for a united Nigeria but there is a limit to human tolerance," a spokesman for the Christian Association of Nigeria told Reuters.

President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in the northeast and two other regions in Nigeria on December 31, in a bid to contain a growing insurgency by Boko Haram, which says it wants to apply Islamic sharia law across the country.
Heavily armed troops and tanks have been patrolling parts of northeast Nigeria since Jonathan made the announcement but it is a vast, remote region that has proven difficult to secure.
President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria

Gunmen opened fire in a hall in Mubi in Adamawa state on Friday where a group of Christians had gathered to mourn the deaths of those killed in an attack the previous day. The death toll in those attacks has reached 21, the Red Cross said on Saturday.
"Unknown gunmen in Mubi attacked and killed 3 people on Thursday night and Friday as people gathered to mourn the deaths, the gunmen believed to be the same attackers killed 18 people, totaling 21," said Red Cross spokesman Umar Mairiga.
Adamawa state is just south of Borno state, the homeland of Boko Haram, which has been behind almost daily attacks in recent months.
Local residents in the Adamawa state capital Yola said gunmen had fired on Christians leaving church Friday, killing eight people. The police confirmed the incident but were not able to give further comment or a death toll.
A spokesman for Boko Haram told reporters by phone that the sect was behind many of the attacks, including a shooting at a church service in northeast Gombe Thursday, which killed at least six people.
"The Gombe attack on the Deeper Life Church and the attack on Igbos in Mubi and that of Yola were all carried out by us," Abu Qaqa said by telephone to reporters.
Elsewhere, a Christian couple were shot dead Friday in the Mairi ward of Maiduguri, the capital ofBorno state and the nucleus of Boko Haram's violence since an uprising in 2009.
"A Christian husband and wife have been killed in the night (Friday) in Maiduguri," said Colonel Victor Ebhemele, operations officer in the Borno joint task force.
In Yobe state, which sits on borders with Borno state and neighboring Niger, police said it killed some members of Boko Haram in a gun battle Friday night.
The Red Cross official said members of the Igbo ethnic group, who are usually Christian and a minority in the mainly Muslim north were fleeing the northeast. Most of the people killed in Mubi were Igbo, local residents said.
Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is forbidden," claimed responsibility for a series of bomb attacks across Nigeria on Christmas Day, including one at a church near the capital Abuja that killed at least 37 people and wounded 57.

Nigeria's population of around 160 million is split roughly equally between Christians and Muslims. Most Christians live in the south and most Muslims in the north, but many communities are mixed, and the majority live side by side in peace.
The persistent violence adds to growing problems for Jonathan, who has been criticised for not getting a grip on Boko Haram's insurgency. Nationwide strikes are planned Monday against the government's decision to end fuel subsidies from January 1, which caused the pump price to double.



At least 20 more people were killed at the weekend in fresh attacks suspected to have been carried out by the terrorist Boko Haram sect in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno States. The terrorists attacked the Christ Apostolic Church, Nasarawo Parish, Jimeta-Yola in Adamwa State, on Friday evening, killing over 12 persons. They also shot and killed four persons in another raid in Lamurde, about 80 kilometres away from Yola, the Adamawa State capital. In another attack in Potiskum, the Yobe State capital, Boko Haram members killed two persons and raided four banks.
On Saturday, sect gunmen also shot and killed two Christian students who attend the University of Maiduguri in Borno State, the state Police Commissioner Simeon Midenda said.
The fresh attacks in Adamawa State bring to 30 the total number of persons killed in the state in the last two days. Fourteen persons lost their lives in a similar attack on Thursday in Mubi town which borders Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, and the hotbed of Boko Haram’s terrorism.
Over 30 other persons were also admitted in various hospitals in Adamawa State where they are being treated for gunshot wounds.
The spate of attacks in the last two days compelled the Adamawa State governor, Alhaji Murtala Nyako, to impose a dusk-to-dawn curfew on Yola and Mubi to check possible reprisal attacks.
He has also placed a N25 million bounty on the heads of the killers in a bid to encourage members of the public to squeal on them to facilitate their arrest by law enforcement agents.
The attacks, especially on churches and Christians, have prompted the Christian Association of Nigeria to warn that Christians would be forced to defend themselves against being made sitting ducks if the government cannot guarantee their safety. (8th Jan, 2012)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

SAG parleys with AGN in Los Angeles

The Screen Actors Guild-SAG in the USA recently hosted the Actors Guild of Nigeria-AGN in California. The trip by AGN which ran between the 10th - 21st Oct 2011was to facilitate future cooperation’s with SAG in an effort to globalize Actors guild of Nigeria and bring it to the fore.
Prof. Ken Howard and Segun Arinze
The delegation was received in Los Angeles by the President of Screen Actors Guild, SAG, Prof. Ken Howard and members of the Executive Council and members of the Board. In his welcome address, Prof. Howard tagged the visit as Nollywood Meets Hollywood and revealed that it was the first time ever that SAG would be meeting any Guild/Association involved in film production from Africa.
SAG's Pamela, Kathy, Segun, Duncan
The meetings also aimed at building an inter guild partnership where trainings, workshops, seminars and more will be held to further improve on the standards of movie productions in Nigeria. AGN was recommended by federation of international Actors-FIA to SAG.
Uchenna Nnenna, Kingsley Ogbonna, Obi Osotule, Kanayo O. Kanayo, Ken Howard, Segun Arinze, Emeka Rollas, Bob Manuel Ndokwu, Ejiro Okurame
We are affiliates of the FIA. AGN members took time out to visit Universal studios on a facility tour. The team was led by AGN National President Segun Arinze with other members of the entourage including the National Secretary, Ejezie Emeka Rollas, Kanayo O. Kanayo, Bob Manuel-Udokwu, Kingsley Ogbonna, Ejiro Okurame, Uchenna Nnanna, Obi Osotule and renowned film maker, Kingsley Ogoro. 
L. Scott Caldwell, Emeka Rollas, Ned Vaughn
AGN's trip to LA USA was sponsored by the Ifeanyi Ubah Foundation and Capital Oil with additional support by Sifax group.
Photos courtesy of Getty Images