Nigerian lawmakers on Wednesday disclosed that they are now trying to establish whether or not the management of state-owned oil company — the Nigerian National Petroleum Commission (NNPC) — improperly withdrew the total sum of $2.2 billion from NLNG.
Based on this latest disclosure, it is apparent that the Senate Committee in charge of the probe has considerably expanded the scope of the investigation from the initial sum of $1.05 billion to now $2.2 billion.
It was just last week when senators in Nigeria’s upper legislative chamber decided to investigate NNPC’s alleged improper withdrawals from the coffers of NLNG.
Note that the NLNG is NNPC’s joint venture with a number of foreign oil companies including ENI, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Total SA. The company produces liquified natural gas for exportation purposes.
Withdrawals were made without approval
At the heart of this controversy is the allegation that the management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Commission withdrew billions of dollars from NLNG without following due process. In other words, they acted solely without obtaining the necessary approvals from the appropriate quarters.
The man in charge of the probe, Senator Bassey Akpan, had asked officials from both the NNPC and the Central Bank of Nigeria to provide documents detailing the various withdrawals which were supposedly made between 2016 and 2018.
Although Akpan’s Committee had initially surmised that the total amount withdrawn by the NNPC during that period stands at $1.05 billion, he said Wednesday that new findings indicate that it is actually more than that.
In the meantime, this information is coming out now ahead of a hearing into the matter which has been slated for November 22nd, 2018.
Why did the NNPC withdraw the money?
The Nigerian National Petroleum Commission (NNPC) used parts of the NLNG funds for the purpose of fuel importation. This was done, even though the NNPC knew fully well that the NLNG fund was specially dedicated to be passed down to state and local authorities.
The upper chamber had last month commenced an inquiry into a $3.5 billion fund that was supposedly expended by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation for the purpose of petrol importation. The corporati
Nigerian Governors who have tested positive for Coronavirus
Six Nigerian governors have contracted the novel coronavirus, but some have recovered.
On Saturday, July 4, Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19. This makes him the 6th Governor to have tested positive for the virus that has infected over 11 million and killed no less than 532,000 people globally.
Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El- Rufai was the first governor confirmed to have been infected and recovered in April.
Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, was also infected in March and was reported to have recovered on the 9th of April.
Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, announced that he tested positive on 30th, March, 2020 and his recovery was reported on the 5th of April.
Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, tested positive last week on June 30th and Delta’s Ifeanyi Okowa announced that he and his wife had tested positive on July 1.
So far, the governors who have tested positive for COVID-19 are:
1. Nasir el-Rufai
2. Bala Mohammed
3. Seyi Makinde
4. Rotimi Akeredolu
5. Ifeanyi Okowa
6. David Umahi
Earlier this weekend, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom announced that his wife, Mrs. Eunice Ortom, their son, and some of the wife’s aides had tested positive for COVID-19.
With Nigeria and the rest of the world still battling to contain the dreaded virus, the total number of confirmed cases has risen to 28,167 from 148,188 tests carried out as at Saturday, July 4, 2020. In addition, while 11,462 have recovered, 634 persons have died.
BUA cement to build power and cement plants in Adamawa state
BUA Cement’s newest plant in Sokoto is expected to be operational in 2021.
BUA Cement has announced plans to build a 50 megawatts power plant and 3 million metric tonnes cement plant in Lamurde and Guyuk local governments in Adamawa States.
BUA Cement which is Nigeria’s second-largest cement producer by volume with plants in Sokoto and Edo States, with the projects wants the boost the country’s power supply and increase the local production capacity for cement.
This was disclosed by the Chairman of BUA Cement, Abdul Samad Rabiu, in a press statement on Sunday, July 5, 2020, in Lagos.
The BUA Cement Chairman who led the company’s management team on a courtesy visit to the Adamawa State Governor, Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, after preliminary findings showed that Guyuk and Lamurde areas had quality limestone.
According to Rabiu, “Preliminary findings show that the two local governments of Guyuk and Lamurde are reputed to have good quality limestone deposits and BUA Cement is ready to begin the investment in the state.
“BUA will use new technologies to supply power to the proposed cement plant and communities of Guyuk and Lamurde in addition to providing three thousand direct and five thousand indirect jobs.
“Guyuk Cement Plant will be a major investment in the North-East by BUA, while we solicit the support of Gov. Umaru Fintiri to set up the factory in Guyuk.”
He added that while the company has invested billions of dollars in various sectors across Nigeria, it has taken a decision to source its raw materials locally and therefore urged the Adamawa state government to support BUA to actualize the GUYUK Cement project.
The Adamawa State Governor, Ahmadu Fintiri, in his response assured the Chairman and management team of BUA, that the state government would provide all the necessary support and make available whatever was needed to make the projects a reality.
BUA Cement’s newest plant in Sokoto is expected to be operational in 2021 and expects that its total production capacity will get to 14 million metric tonnes of cement per annum upon the completion of Guyuk Cement Plant.
BUA Cement has been having a running battle with Dangote Cement over the ownership of 3 mining sites in Obu and Okpella in Edo State. The mining sites have been subject of legal tussle between the 2 biggest cement companies in the country.
GSK, Sanofi to agree $624 million deal with UK for COVID-19 vaccine
Both GSK and Sanofi said that they are placing more priority on quality rather than speed.
British and French pharmaceutical giants, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Sanofi are close to reaching a $624 million (500 million pounds) deal with the United Kingdom (UK) government for the supply of 60 million doses of coronavirus vaccine as many countries move for possible COVID-19 treatments.
Reports suggest that the UK was considering an option to buy the vaccine should the human trials, which are due to commence in September 2020, turn out successful.
The funds would be paid in stages as the vaccine progresses, with the final payment made on delivery.
In order not to be left behind, the UK government has been engaging a wide range of companies both at home and abroad to negotiate access to vaccines. They said that the right announcements of these arrangements will be made as and when agreements with any of these companies are finalized.
The British business ministry’s spokeswoman, who confirmed that the ministry is handling Britain’s supply of potential COVID-19 vaccines, said talks were going on with different parties about access to possible vaccines but didn’t confirm if GSK/Sanofi project was one of them.
According to the ministry official, ‘’The Government’s Vaccines Task Force is actively engaging with a wide range of companies both in the UK and abroad to negotiate access to vaccines.”
“Appropriate announcements of these arrangements will be made as and when agreements with any of these companies are finalized and signed.”
Sanofi is presently working on 2 possible COVID-19 vaccines, one of which uses an adjuvant made by GSK to potentially boost its efficacy. The timeline for its clinical trials is behind the likes of Moderna Inc, the University of Oxford in collaboration with AstraZeneca Plc and an alliance of BioNTech and Pfizer Inc, whose projects all made headlines by moving to human trials as early as March.
Both GSK and Sanofi said that they are placing more priority on quality rather than speed in developing a vaccine.