NNPC seeks special courts for prosecution of oil thieves

The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Ltd. has called for the establishment of special courts for the prosecution of oil thieves in the country.

Mr Mele Kyari, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, made the call on Thursday in Abuja when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Upstream, investigating the loses of Nigeria crude oil production to theft .

He disclosed that the country lost over 1.5 billion dollars to oil theft between January and March 2022.

He said that the  special courts had become necessary to unmask those behind illegal crude oil refining.

“We must have special courts to try those behind this business. This is an elite business, it is not done by poor people,” he said.

He expressed worry over loss of crude oil production to activities of vandals and oil thieves, adding that stern security measures were being considered to restore production situation and improve revenue.

He also disclosed that efforts were on top gear to ensure the situation was addressed, stressing that there would be tremendous progress within the next two months.

Kyari said thieves and vandals had rendered some of the facilities useless as the activities of vandals and thieves had got to a level that the NNPC had to shut down some facilities.

According to him, the NNPC can no longer sustain production as expected because of the activities of the oil thieves and vandals.

“It came to a level where we could only receive 300 barrel per day,” he said.

The lawmakers, however, said it was time  to declare a state of emergency in conveying crude oil and mandated the strict monitoring  of  pipelines.

Choose leaders that will guarantee completion of ingoing projects – Fashola

The Minister of Works and Housing,  Mr Babatunde Fashola, has urged Nigerians that in the 2023 polls they should vote only for political leaders who will guarantee the completion of ongoing projects in the country.

Fashola gave the advice on Thursday in Abuja when a delegation of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) led by its President, Mr Quadri Olaleye, paid him a courtesy visit.

The TUC delegation had raised the fear of possible abandonment of ongoing projects at the end of the tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Fashola urged Nigerians to consciously vote for authentic leaders who would ensure the completion of ongoing projects.

Speaking further on the fear of owing contractors due to the paucity of funds, the minister said the tax credit intervention of N621 billion by the NNPC had helped in ensuring payment to contractors.

“Debt for infrastructure is an investment in the future and if we set out to do only what we can complete that means we will not do anything,“ he said.

On the concern of TUC that its members were not benefitting from the National Housing Project (NHP), Fashola assured them that they would benefit if they  applied.

He assured them that more housing estates would soon be inaugurated and the delivery of new state secretariats in Nasarawa, Zamfara, and Ekiti.

Earlier, the TUC president had commended the minister for the projects that had been completed and inaugurated nationwide.

Earlier, Olaleye had said the union was concerned about the other ongoing constructions that might not be completed before 2023 and also due to paucity of funds.

He listed some of the projects to include the 2nd Niger Bridge and Lagos -Ibadan Expressway, among others.

According to him, the union’s concern is that if the construction companies are not paid, they will be out of business which would have multiplier effects on TUC members.

Over 5,000 businesses empowered through Lagos Digital Summit – Islimfit

Adewale Adetona, better known as Islimfit, the brain behind the Lagos Digital Summit (LDS), has disclosed that the initiative has empowered more than 5,000 businesses and individuals with different digital skills since inception.

Islimfit, who reflected on the impact of the life-changing digital platform for start-ups and young entrepreneurs in Nigeria, lauded the success made so far, stating that the idea when the LDS was conceived in 2017 was to gather between 50 and 60 digital marketing professionals.

The LDS is a free platform targeted at brand and communication managers, techpreneurs, digital media strategists, Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) owners/managers, start-ups, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), corporate bodies, tech compliant, and adaptive firms.

The programme draws at least 1,000 participants yearly, with its podium graced by speakers who are leading lights in their respective industries.

“Lagos Digital Summit started in 2017 with just an idea in my small shared apartment back then in Lagos with my friend who is now in Canada. The goal back then was simply to facilitate a platform for the convergence of 50 to 60 digital marketing professionals and business thought leaders for the advancement of SMEs and Digital Media enthusiasts within our network,” Islimfit  said.

Continuing, Islimfit said: “Five years down the line, despite being faced with plenty of challenges, it’s been a big success story. We have had the privilege of empowering over 5,000 businesses and individuals with diverse digital marketing skills”.

According to Islimfit, the purpose of LDS was established to “harness the constant innovations in a fast-paced digital world for the advancement of the society and enrichment of its burgeoning population, especially the millennials, borne out of the need for a platform to facilitate the convergence of great minds and coalescence of ground-breaking ideas that will shape the nation’s digital landscape through engaging discourse and empowerment.”

In the bid to ensure inclusiveness, Islimfit also created a vlog, an offline equivalent of the LDS, for the benefit of those unable to attend the event.

“My desire to make an impact and contribute to the growth of upcoming tech professionals birthed the YouTube Channel. Also, I wanted to replicate what I do offline with Lagos Digital Summit in an online manner,” Islimfit said in a recent question and answer interactive session.