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Reactions trail Onitsha fire as extent of damages become clear 

On Wednesday, fire gutted parts of Upper Iweka and Ochanja Market in Onitsha, after a tanker loaded with petrol fell and exploded.

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Reactions trail Onitsha fire as extent of damages become clear 

On Wednesday, October 16th, 2019, fire gutted parts of the popular Upper Iweka and Ochanja Market in Onitsha, Anambra State, after a tanker loaded with petrol fell and exploded. Some deaths were reported, even as many shops with very valuable goods were razed down in the inferno.

The incident, which is one of too many, has left many Nigerians in shock. Indeed, this is not the first time this kind of thing is happening in a major Nigerian city. In the city of Lagos, tankers loaded with inflammable liquids are constantly exploding. However, the people of Nigeria are tired and are now calling for an end to such incidents which could as well be avoided.

[READ MORE: Mixed reactions trail Innoson’s SUV, its replica design of Chinese vehicle]

Among those who have reacted to this development is Nigeria’s former Vice President and presidential frontrunner during this year’s General Elections, Atiku Abubakar. He stated that Nigeria had experienced way too many incidents of fallen tankers, implying that some urgent steps were needed to be taken to prevent future occurrences. He also extended his condolences to all those who were affected by the incident.

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The country’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, also sympathised with the victims. Meanwhile, knowing full well that sympathy is not all that is needed right now, President Buhari disclosed that he had given directives for immediate actions to be taken in order to “stem these frequent fatal disasters on public roads”.

Meanwhile, regular Nigerians have also reacted, most of whom basically shared pictures depicting the aftermath of yesterday’s horror. In most of these pictures, victims could be seen standing in front of the wreckages that used to be their shops and sources of livelihood. It is difficult to imagine how much these people have lost and the long to starting again.

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Also, many Nigerians have put the blame squarely on the government. This is because yesterday’s tragedy and many others like it could have been if the right political will was in place. Cheta Nwanze of SBN Intelligence is one of those sharing this line of thought. According to him, the government of the day really should do more towards forestalling these tragedies.

[READ ALSO: More reactions trail South Africa’s xenophobia as Nigerians retaliate]

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It is even sadder to think that as the fire raged through the stores, destroying goods and burning people alive, the ineffective fire service was unable to help the situation. That is another reason why people are enraged and demanding change.

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All of us over here at Nairametrics extend our condolences to all the businessmen and women who have either lost a lot as a result of this tragedy. We wish you all a quick recovery from this.

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Emmanuel is a professional writer and business journalist, with interests covering Banking & Finance, Mergers and Acquisitions, Corporate Profiles, Brand Communication, Fintech, and MSMEs.He initially joined Nairametrics as an all-round Business Analyst, but later began focusing on and covering the financial services sector. He has also held various leadership roles, including Senior Editor, QAQC Lead, and Deputy Managing Editor.Emmanuel holds an M.Sc in International Relations from the University of Ibadan, graduating with Distinction. He also graduated with a Second Class Honours (Upper Division) from the Department of Philosophy & Logic, University of Ibadan.If you have a scoop for him, you may contact him via his email- [email protected] You may also contact him through various social media platforms, preferably LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Energy

Nigeria’s Qua Iboe crude exports resume as ExxonMobil lifts force majeure

ExxonMobil has lifted a force majeure on Nigeria’s Qua Iboe crude oil exports as production resumes.

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ExxonMobil has lifted a force majeure on Nigeria’s Qua Iboe crude oil export terminal, as crude exports resume for the first time in almost six weeks after a fire at the terminal halted operations.

This is according to a company spokesman yesterday, who confirmed the company had lifted force majeure on Qua Iboe crude loadings.

Qua Iboe production started to ramp up to normal levels of 200,000 b/d in the past week, according to sources, with the release of both the February and March loading programs.

The VLCC Dalia was also in the process of loading a 1-million-barrel stem at the Qua terminal since January 21, 2021, according to data intelligence firm Kpler. This will be the first export of Qua Iboe since December 15, 2020, after a fire hit the facility and injured two workers.

The company has been under pressure since the closure and prices have taken a hit as a result of the disruption. S&P Global Platts last assessed the grade at a discount to Dated Brent of 50 cents/b, down from a premium against the benchmark in December.

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Bonny Light, a mainstay Nigerian crude which typically trades at roughly the same level as Qua Iboe, was last assessed 30 cents/b higher.

What they are saying

One trader said: “If you get a cargo of Qua now it could be 50 cents to a dollar below Bonny even – a January cargo is completely out of cycle and the reliability issues mean people won’t touch it.”

Another trader stated that: “[The return of Qua Iboe] is not what West African crude assessments (WAF) differentials needed.”

What you should know

  • Qua Iboe is one of Nigeria’s largest export grades, and is very popular among global refiners, with India, the US, Canada, Italy, Spain, Indonesia, and the Netherlands being key buyers.
  • Qua Iboe is light sweet crude, which has a gravity of 36 API and sulfur content of 0.13%. The crude, produced from fields 20-40 miles off the coast of southeast Nigeria, is brought to shore at the Qua Iboe terminal via a seabed pipeline system.
  • Indian demand has steadied following a buying spree late last year, and European demand has been hit by renewed coronavirus lockdowns in the region.
  • Prices for Nigerian crude have suffered in recent weeks, even with lower supply due to the outage.
  • February and March loading programs have been issued for Qua Iboe averaging 169,643 b/d and 153,226 b/d respectively.
  • Production of this key grade ranged between 180,000-220,000 b/d in 2020, according to S&P Global Platts estimates.

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Financial Services

CBN says revised new cheque book to become fully operational from April 1, 2021

The CN has announced plans to discontinue the use of old cheque books with effect from March 31, 2021.

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has in a circular to all Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), accredited Cheque Printers/Personalisers, and the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), stated that the revised cheque book will become fully operational from April 1, 2021.

The apex bank has directed all DMBs to enlighten their customers on the revised cheque book, introduced across all banks as full enforcement of its usage will commence on the stated date.

READ: CBN reviews minimum interest rates on savings deposit to 1.25%

The disclosure is contained in a circular that was issued by the CBN and signed by its Director Banking Services, Mr Sam Okojere.

The CBN in the circular noted that the clarification became necessary as some stakeholders had been interpreting the circular differently from the intended purpose.

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READ: CBN moves to ring-fence Disco collections

The CBN in the circular stated, ‘’Please refer to our circular dated 9th December, 2020, referenced BKS/DIR/CIR/GEN/02/042 on the above subject.

It has come to our notice that some stakeholders interpret the circular differently from the intended purpose. Consequently, it has become imperative for the CBN to issue the following clarifications;

  1. The parallel run, in which old and new cheques are allowed to co-exist, will end on 31st March 2021, and thus only new cheques would be allowed in the clearing system from 1st April 2021.
  2. Full enforcement of the second edition of the Nigeria Cheque Standard (NCS) and Nigeria Cheque Printers Accreditation Scheme (NICPAS) Version 2.0 will commence April 1, 2021 and the NCS/NICPAS 2.0. Sanction grid will be fully operational on April 1, 2021.
  3. All deposit money banks are (therefore) directed to actively enlighten their customers and ensure necessary provisions are put in place for a smooth migration to the New standard.
  4. The extension of full implementation date from Jan. 1 to April 1, 2021 is due to outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact it had on the Nigeria Cheque Standard (NCS) and Nigeria Cheque Printers Accreditation Scheme (NICPAS) Version. 2.

READ: CBN grants approval for banks to debit accounts of loan defaulters 

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What you should know

  • It can be recalled that in an earlier circular issued on the revised cheque book, the CBN had put the cut-off date for the parallel run of the old and new cheques at August 31, 2020.
  • This was further extended to December 31, 2020, with only new cheques intended to be allowed in the clearing system from January 1, 2021, due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and the impact it had on the project.
  • This further adjustment of the deadline gives room for more sensitization by the deposit money banks to their customers, taking into consideration the disruptions that have happened in the economy.

READ: CBN temporarily suspends cheque clearing during Coronavirus lockdown

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Spotlight Stories

Elon Musk to offer $100 million prize for best carbon capture technology

Elon Musk has announced a donation of $100 million prize money for the best technology that can capture carbon dioxide.

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Elon Musk needs $20 billion wealth gain to clinch world's richest man title

Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk on Thursday took to Twitter to promise a $100 million prize for the development of the “best” carbon capture technology.

Elon Musk wrote in a tweet, “Am donating $100M towards a prize for best carbon capture technology,” details next week.

Carbon capture technology is designed to prevent the release of CO2 generated through conventional power generation and industrial production processes by injecting the CO2 into suitable underground storage reservoirs.

According to Reuters, “Capturing planet-warming emissions is becoming a critical part of many plans to keep climate change in check, but very little progress has been made on the technology to date, with efforts focused on cutting emissions rather than taking carbon out of the air.”

Since the tweet was shared, it has garnered thousands of responses from people because of the jaw-dropping cash prize. A lot of people have started sharing their carbon capture ideas.

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The International Energy Agency said late last year that a sharp rise in the deployment of carbon capture technology was needed if countries are to meet net-zero emissions targets.

Newly-sworn-in U.S. President, Joe Biden has pledged to accelerate the development of carbon capture technology as part of his sweeping plan to tackle climate change. On Thursday, he named Jennifer Wilcox, an expert in carbon removal technologies, as the principal deputy assistant secretary for fossil energy at the U.S. Department of Energy.

Besides Tesla, Elon also heads rocket company SpaceX and Neuralink, a startup that is developing ultra-high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect the human brain to computers.

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