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Business News

NNPC vs. Kachikwu: More confusion as NNPC claims ill Buhari approved N640 billion oil contracts

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The ongoing saga between the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu and the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Maikanti Baru, has effectively split stakeholders and the general populace into two sides with supporters of Baru becoming more in number as well as louder and clearer in voicing their views. However, in the bid of defending the GMD, more intricate and potentially divisive matters are being brought to the fore.

For example, in its publication of its side of the story, the NNPC explained that it had obtained approval of the President, Muhammadu Buhari, on deals worth about $1.8 billion or about N640.8 billion. However, what is perplexing is that the NNPC claims to have gotten these ‘presidential approvals’ from a then-ill Muhammadu Buhari, who had even handed over presidential powers to the Vice-President and then Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo.

This revelation will come as perplexing but explanatory of the silence of the Presidency over the whole debacle. If true, while the legality of the President’s actions is still debatable, what becomes even more controversial is the ethical validity of the approvals. How will Buhari convince Nigerians that the approvals were made with full knowledge of the surrounding circumstances? He had left the country for several weeks and was down with an illness that kept him out about three and a half months. Yet, he had the ability to sign such huge contracts. Even if the contracts are all clean, these question will taint them.

What is more, the President could be seen as one of the reasons for the tussle between the 2 officials which seems to have been in the pipeline for some time as Baru had simply not gotten along with Kachikwu. This is evident from his refusals to acknowledge Kachikwu even in personnel matters. According to Premium Times, when Buhari was away, Osinbajo had to send Baru back to Kachikwu for input into personnel changes Baru sought to make. Even then, Baru did not consult Kachikwu, preferring to wait until Buhari’s return before making those changes- without Kachikwu’s knowledge.

With all these revelations, it seems that a can of worms has been opened with the leaked letter. The accusations and counter-accusations and the leaked letter itself all serves to show that big problems remain in the Executive. Whether this will be a call for the President to clarify matters and appoint a Minister for Petroleum or it would be another case swept under the carpet may well determine how sincere the country will view Mr. President’s anti-corruption efforts.

Chacha Wabara-Ogbobine is a Legal practitioner with over 9years post call experience. A research Consultant, professional writer and a blogger at heart,owner of four thriving websites with well over 10years of experience.Totally in love with keeping fit and coaching weight loss enthusiasts. I love my quiet time, being with my kids, watching TV series for hours on end.

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Energy

Agip shut oil facility in Bayelsa due to oil spillage, environmental pollution reported

Agip on Wednesday confirmed an oil leak, resulting in a shutdown.

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The Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) has confirmed the shutdown of its Idu oilfields at Egbebiri settlement within Biseni in Yenagoa Local Government Area in Bayelsa, due to an oil spillage.

A Joint Investigative Visit (JIV) report on the incident said that the leakage at the facility could be traced to equipment failure due to a rupture at the wellhead.

According to a report from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Eni, the parent company of NAOC, in a response statement, said the facility was shut down to prevent further damage to the environment.

READ: Shell wants oil spillage case tried in Nigeria, but victims say no 

What Eni is saying

An Eni spokesperson on behalf of the Italian Energy firm, in a statement, said, “As soon as the incident was reported, we activated our oil spill response, shut in the well, and notified government regulatory agencies.

“The Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) was carried out on 09/05/2021, with the participation of community representatives and the government regulatory agencies.

“The event occurred within the Company’s wellhead location which is paved and walled round. There is no significant third-party impact,” Eni stated.

READ: UK court ruling affects acquisition of Shell’s oil block by Governor Wike 

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Environmental Rights Group reports environmental degradation

An environmental rights group, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), however, said that the incident which discharged crude and associated gas had severely polluted the environment.

The Non-Governmental Organisation said that a visit to the spill site showed pictorial evidence of the crude spreading beyond NAOC’s right of way as nearby vegetation were affected as a result of the crude impact.

The Head of Field Operations at ERA/FoEN, Mr Alagoa Morris, in a field report on the spill said the Idu fields was notorious for frequent spills caused by equipment failure.

He said, “The people of Egbebiri in Biseni kingdom have experienced several oil spills over the years. And all the oil spill incidents documented by the Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) in this community environment have occurred as a result of equipment failure and on Wellheads.

“ERA/FoEN has had cause to visit the environment of Idu Well 5 and 11 located within the same place in the past and it has always been Idu Well 11 spewing crude oil into the environment.

“Available records from ERA/FoEN indicate that there have been previous oil spills from this particular Idu Well 11 operated by Agip. Before concluding this Field Report, ERA/FoEN confirmed that Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) was carried out on Sunday, 9th May 2021.

“This is why the official Spill Reference No 2021/LAR/028/058 is indicated in this report; sourced from the JIV report. Cause of spill was attributed to equipment failure,” ERA/FoEN stated.

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The report quoted a resident of the community simply identified as Georgie as saying that the spill incident of May 7 spilled oil from around 10 p.m till about 8 a.m the next day before the leak was stopped adding that the level of damage was enormous.

What you should know

It can be recalled that in a similar circumstance, Shell Petroleum Development Company reported an oil pipeline spillage at its Okordia-Rumekpe 14-inch crude truck line, discharging about 213 barrels of crude oil into the Ikarama community in Bayelsa State and polluting about 1.34 hectares of land.

This new leakage is the latest in a series of oil spillages by the multinational oil exploration and production companies, which has put them in conflict with the host communities.

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Energy

Nigeria records system collapse during holidays

Nigeria’s national electricity grid collapsed on Wednesday morning.

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Abuja, Ikeja Discos top list in collection efficiency in Q1 2020- NERC, Estates in Lekki increase electricity tariff to N105/kWh, Eko Electric, Ikeja and 5 others to face NERC sanction for non-compliance, CBN reveals framework for financing National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP), Nigeria ranks eight African country with well-developed electricity regulatory frameworks, as Uganda tops.

The Nigerian grid has experienced a partial collapse, dealing a blow for stay at home Nigerians during the holidays.

This was confirmed in a statement by the Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC), as seen by Nairametrics.

What EKEDC is saying about the grid collapse:

“Dear customer, there is a partial system collapse on the National Grid. Our TCN partners are working to restore supply immediately. Please bear with us.”

According to latest reports, partial restoration of power is already occurring across the country.

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