It’s no longer news that President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, overruled the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and approved the restoration of permits on Oil Mining Leases (OMLs) 123, 124, 126 and 137 to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Addax Petroleum Exploration Limited.
The NNPC had been in a Production Sharing Contract (PSC) with Addax Petroleum, a subsidiary of SINOPEC, the national oil company of the People’s Republic of China, on these oil blocks.
According to a report from Thisday, the decision to return the operating license on the 4 oil blocks was taken by the President to avoid any major face-off with the Chinese government which is assisting the Federal Government with huge loans for its various infrastructural projects across the country.
The revocation done without due process and consultation with NNPC
The report states that the matter was escalated to President Buhari after an analysis of the diplomatic implications, as well as the image problems that the revocation would have caused, which would make investors see the Nigerian business environment as being operated at the whims and caprices of certain individuals, rather than adherence to rules.
Also, the report said that the NNPC, which Addax was directly partnering in the PSC, was ignorant of the processes leading to the cancellation, adding that the President also considered the legal implications if the matter eventually ended in court.
According to Thisday, the source said, “The revocation was not even done with any consultation with the direct party, the NNPC. That was a big blunder which they should have known because if those guys go to court, they would win because, in reality, they do not have any contract with the DPR, but with the NNPC.
Ordinarily, it is the NNPC that should have communicated to Addax, as the contractor, to say we are terminating this contract, and there are steps to it.
So, it would have become an embarrassment to Nigeria even both in diplomatic terms, because China will feel slighted that we can’t even follow our own rules and considering the number of projects like the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano gas project they are assisting us with, they would have just messed things up.’’
It stated that if due process was followed NNPC should have communicated the decision to Addax on the prompting of the DPR, the regulator, a step that wasn’t taken.
The source also stated, “It would have been embarrassing if the Chinese withdrew from all the projects in retaliation because once they find you can’t even obey your own laws, they too can renege on some of the partnerships they have with us.”
An insider at Aso Rock said the Federal Government’s decision to restore the assets back to NNPC was based on the fact that the state oil giant had a PSC agreement with Addax and the revocation was done without consulting them.
This made Addax to write to DPR and NNPC threatening to utilise all government, diplomatic and legal means to seek redress, describing the exercise as an attempt to expropriate its interests in Nigeria.
In case you missed it
It can be recalled that the Presidential Media Aide, Garba Shehu, in a statement issued yesterday, announced that President Muhammadu Buhari has restored the 4 OMLs to NNPC in line with the current administration’s commitment to the rule of law, fairness and to enable a stable business climate for investment.
The OMLs were revoked by DPR and were in the process of being awarded to Kaztech/Slavic Consortium, owned by Emeka Offor and chaired by Oye Hassan-Odukale respectively before the president’s intervention.
Lagos says Lake rice will soon be back in the market
The Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture blamed flooding and the COVID-19 pandemic for the disappearance of Lake rice from the market.
The Lagos State Government has said that Lake rice, which is a collaboration between the Lagos State and Kebbi State Governments, is still in existence and will soon be back in the market on a big scale.
This follows the sudden disappearance of the Lake rice due to the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and last year’s devastating flooding, which wreaked havoc on rice plantations in Kebbi and other northern states.
This disclosure was made by the Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya, during a ministerial briefing to commemorate the second year in office of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, admitting that 3 years of seamless record of providing the rice for Lagosians was broken last year, as the brand disappeared from the market.
What the Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture is saying
Olusanya in her statement said, “It is not that Lake rice is missing to the extent that it will not surface again. Lake rice is still in existence. I think we need to go back to a lot of things that happened last year. Lake rice was available last year in January and February, COVID-19 hit us in March and subsequently, we had issues around flooding, particularly in Kebbi.
The impact of the flooding was grave on rice farms in the state. So, it is not so much about why it is not available, it is a function of why in the producing state there were so much issues of production and supply, for them to process and send to us,” she said.
The commissioner further stated, “Kebbi is the number one producer of rice in Nigeria, so it only makes sense for Lagos to partner with the state to get processed rice.
But part of the agreement also is that if Lagos State is setting up its own rice mill, the agreement is going to shift from receiving processed rice to receiving paddy rice for us to process in our mill. So, it’s not that the partnership has been terminated.”
She announced that once the state mill in Imota, Ikorodu is completed, the state would have its own brand adding that the 32 Metric tonnes per hour capacity integrated rice mill under construction is the biggest in Nigeria and in West Africa and at full capacity is capable of producing approximately 2.4 million (50kg) bags of rice for the over 22 million people in the state and for Nigerians as a whole.
Olusanya said that the mill will further create employment of approximately 267,580 jobs in the state at different stages of the value chain, reduce the cost of rice locally, enhance food self-sufficiency and revenue generation in the state and the country at large, as well as, ensure a sustainable supply of wholesome rice at an affordable price to the people in Lagos and its environs.
What you should know
The Lagos-Kebbi Rice christened Lake rice stemmed from the collaboration between Lagos and Kebbi State Governments and was launched at the Lagos House, Ikeja, Lagos on December 21, 2016, by the former Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode and his Kebbi State counterpart, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu.
The partnership which culminated in the launch was not only designed to ensure food security but also to showcase Nigeria’s ability to become a rice-producing nation. The partnership was also part of initiatives aimed at helping Lagos State succeed in its goal of achieving 40% food security and self-sufficiency status by the year 2023 in addition to being less dependent on other states for food production.
CBN, others move to stop rejection of Nigerian crops by other countries
CBN, government agencies and private firms have moved to stop the rejection of crops produced in Nigeria by other nations.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in collaboration with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), government agencies and private firms have moved to stop the rejection of crops produced in Nigeria by other nations.
This follows the adoption of appropriate technologies for the reduction of aflatoxin in our crops, food, feeds and livestock which is expected to help achieve zero rejection of commodities exported from Nigeria.
This disclosure is contained in a communique issued at the end of a one-day workshop organised in Abuja by Harvest Field Industries Limited and IITA, aimed at sharing results of aflatoxin levels in maize sampled nationwide under the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme 2020 Wet Season Project.
The workshop’s theme was ‘Scaling Solutions to Control Aflatoxin in Nigeria’s Crop Value Chain: The test results under the CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme 2020 Wet Season Project.’
What the CBN, IITA, Others are saying
The communique partly reads, “Also, it (the workshop) is to prompt concerted efforts towards the adoption of appropriate technologies for the reduction of aflatoxin in our crops, food, feeds and livestock as required by global food quality standards.
“Reduced aflatoxin prevalence will contribute tremendously towards achieving zero rejection of our export commodities and ensure food safety in Nigeria.”
Other participants at the workshop apart from CBN, IITA and Harvest Field, included the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, and the Standards Organisation of Nigeria.
The list of participants in the workshop also includes the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, the Federal Ministry of Health, Value Seeds Limited, Maize Association of Nigeria, National Groundnut Producers Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria, among others.
During the technical session, participants at the workshop recommended that the inter-ministerial committee on aflatoxin regulation and enforcement of food safety laws in Nigeria should be revived in addition to calls for the enactment of technical policy regulating the testing and enforcement of allowable aflatoxin limits in food and feed processing and distribution industries, among others.
What you should know
Aflatoxins are harmful toxins produced by certain fungi that are found on agricultural crops such as maize (corn), peanuts, cottonseed, and tree nuts. Their presence on some grains grown in Nigeria has prompted the rejection of these agro-products in the international market.
In a bid to diversify the economy and ensure food security in the country, the federal government through the CBN and other government agencies and ministries have introduced various policies and measures to increase productivity in the agricultural sector, which is arguably the largest employer of labour in the country.
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