Hundreds of support staff of Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company, have on Wednesday, July 3, 2019, shut down the commercial activities of the refinery in Ekpan, Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta State.
It was gathered that hundreds of youths drawn from across the Niger Delta States, joined the support staff over alleged failure of the management to regularise the support staff engagements.
The protesters accused the Management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) of reneging on an agreement to convert the contract staff into full staff of the company.
The casual workers, including members of the host communities (Ekpan, Ubeji, Aja-Etan, Ifie-Kporo, and Ijala-Ikeren), rebuffed efforts by security operatives, including policemen and officers of the Nigerian Army, to have them vacate the main entrance into the refinery.
While exercising the protest, the protesters vowed to continue their exercise and ensure that major activities at the refinery remain paralysed until the management of the NNPC wades in immediately to resolve the issue.
NNPC’s response to the protest: There seems to be some misunderstanding between the support staff and the NNPC, as the Corporation responded that it was unaware of any agreement to convert casual workers to full employees.
NNPC spokesman, Ndu Ughamadu, revealed that there was no discrimination in the Corporation’s recruitment process.
Ughamadu’s said, “We have been announcing the various stages for recruitment. In that advertisement, it was thrown open for all the staff and they were asked to apply. How many of them applied?”
“The casuals were also invited but that aside, we have engaged them. We told them that after this exercise, there is another stage.”
He further said that, “If they didn’t fall into the first category, they may fall into the second category. That is what we are on. We don’t have casuals only in Warri Refinery. We have casuals in all of our subsidiaries, including the Headquarters and many of them applied, and they are undergoing interviews now.”
“There’s no discrimination in the process. I am not aware if there was any agreement with them.
He concluded that, “I’m appealing to them to exercise restraint. We’ll continue to engage them to ensure that amicable resolution is reached.”
Price Watch: Consumers paid more for diesel and less for petrol in December
The December 2020 NBS report shows that consumers paid more for diesel and less for petrol than they did in November 2020.
The Price Watch report released by Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS) for the month of December 2020 revealed that consumers paid more for Diesel (Automotive Gas Oil) and less for Petrol (Premium Motor Spirit), compared to that of November 2020.
The average price paid by consumers for diesel increased by 0.28%, from N223.74 in November 2020 to N224.37 in December 2020, while the average price paid by consumers for petrol decreased by 0.94% from N167.27 in November 2020 to N165.70 in December 2020.
Key highlights of the report
- Consumers in Taraba (N266.00), Adamawa (N262.50) and Zamfara (N257.50) paid the highest average price for Diesel.
- While consumers in Kwara (N195.00), Gombe (N197.50) and Osun (N201.09) paid the lowest average price for Diesel.
- Overall, consumers in North West (N240.57), North East (N238.88) and North Central (N226.37) paid the highest average price for Diesel, while consumers in South West (N209.27), South East (N209.35) and South South (N216.25) paid the lowest average price.
- Consumers in Abia (N176.19), Kwara (N172.43) and Kebbi (N169.92) paid the highest average price for petrol.
- While consumers in Kaduna (N155.00), Katsina (N160.25) and Bauchi (N162.57) paid the lowest average price for petrol.
- Overall, consumers in South East (N168.04), North Central (N166.94) and South South (N166.53) paid the highest average price for petrol, while consumers in North West (N163.79), North East (N164.47) and South West (N164.92) paid the lowest average price.
Since a lot of manufacturing companies rely heavily on diesel to power their machinery and equipment, the increase would have added to their cost of operations, culminating in consumers paying more for goods and services.
Also, one would have expected that the reduced price of fuel in December 2020 would lead to lower transport fares for commuters during the festive season, but that was not the case.
COVID-19: FG to disburse N10 billion for local vaccine production
The Minister of Health has disclosed that Nigeria is exploring options for the licensed production of COVID-19 vaccine.
The Federal Government, through the Ministry of Finance, has announced the sum of N10billion for the production of vaccines in Nigeria, to fight the coronavirus.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, at the daily Covid-19 briefing by the Presidential Task Force on Monday in Abuja.
- “The Ministry of Finance has released N10billion to support domestic vaccine production. While we are working to develop our own vaccines, Nigeria is exploring options for licensed production, in collaboration with recognised institutions. We are also exploring the option of local production of the vaccines in the country.”
He also warned Nigerians to ignore news about vaccines being for sale in Nigeria, as the procedures to acquire vaccines have to pass through due process.
- “I advise all citizens to disregard these claims, as they are criminal. There are procedures for vaccine acquisition and use, which include appropriate regulations and certification by National Agency for Food and Drug and Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
- “I advise against fake vaccines, as there is no one approved for use in the country. The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) is the only authorised vaccine administrator in Nigeria.”
He also stated that as Nigeria is experiencing the second wave, the FG needs to change its response procedures through infection mitigations and vaccines.
- “There is no doubting the fact that we are deeply into the second wave of the pandemic which requires that PTF and FMoH review our strategies to respond to the challenge. The Federal Ministry of Health has outlined three approaches to confront the pandemic – Infection mitigation, Therapeutics and Vaccines.”
What you should know
- Nairametrics reported in November 2020, that the Health Minister announced Nigeria’s plans to set up a vaccine production company in Nigeria to boost local COVID-19 vaccine production.
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 18th of January 2021, 1,617 new confirmed cases and 14 deaths were recorded in Nigeria
The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 112,004 confirmed cases.
On the 18th of January 2021, 1,617 new confirmed cases and 14 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.
To date, 112,004 cases have been confirmed, 89,939 cases have been discharged and 1,449 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 1.17 million tests have been carried out as of January 17th, 2021 compared to 1.15 million tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 18th January 2021,
- Total Number of Cases – 112,004
- Total Number Discharged – 89,939
- Total Deaths – 1,449
- Total Tests Carried out – 1,172,234
According to the NCDC, the 1,617 new cases were reported from 18 states- Lagos (776), Kaduna (147) Kwara (131), FCT (102), Plateau (78), Edo (59), Ogun (53), Osun (45), Rivers (37), Taraba (36), Nasarawa (34), Adamawa (33), Kano (26), Delta (20), Ebonyi (16), Bayelsa (11), Gombe(11) and Borno (2).
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 41,400, followed by Abuja (14,700), Plateau (6,831), Kaduna (6,325), Oyo (4,695), Rivers (4,429), Edo (3,320), Ogun (2,912), Kano (2,617), Delta (2,122), Ondo (2,070), Katsina (1,723), Kwara (1,697), Enugu (1,583), Gombe (1,500), Nasarawa (1,335), Ebonyi (1,275), Osun (1,260), Abia (1,134), and Bauchi (1,107).
Borno State has recorded 867 cases, Imo (857), Sokoto (677), Akwa Ibom (667), Benue (657), Bayelsa (619), Adamawa (573), Niger (547), Anambra (515), Ekiti (473), Jigawa (425), Taraba (294), Kebbi (251), Yobe (211), Cross River (169), Zamfara (162), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.
Lock Down and Curfew
In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.
The movement restriction, which was extended by another two weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.
On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.
On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State announced the closed down of the Eti-Osa Isolation Centre, with effect from Friday, 31st July 2020. He also mentioned that the Agidingbi Isolation Centre would also be closed and the patients relocated to a large capacity centre.
Due to the increased number of covid-19 cases in Nigeria, the Nigerian government ordered the reopening of Isolation and treatment centres in the country on Thursday, 10th December 2020.