Nigerian press focuses on call by SPE for the sale of nation’s ailing refineries, others

The call by the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) for the sale of Nigeria's idle refineries to the private sector…

The call by the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) for the sale of Nigeria’s idle refineries to the private sector operators and the concern expressed by Amnesty International over the perceived threats to human rights and the ideal electoral process ahead of the September 19 governorship election in Edo State are some of the leading stories in Nigerian newspapers on Thursday.The Guardian reports that the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), has urged economic managers to sell idle refineries to private sector operators to meet Nigeria’s oil and gas needs.

According to the Chairman, SPE, Joe Nwakwue, keeping refineries idle is not in the interest of the economy, as the nation continues to incur expenses even when they are idle.

He added that going by the yearly report published by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), showed that the country Nigeria lost about N120 billion operating the idle refineries over the years.

The NNPC boss, Mele Kyari, had attributed the failure to fix the refineries over these years to strategy challenges, as the government never knew what to do with them, adding that the Corporation didn’t get the right advisory services and the right strategy to go through with it.

The Vanguard reports that Amnesty International (AI) has expressed concerns over the perceived threats to human rights and the ideal electoral process ahead of the September 19 governorship election in Edo State.

Similarly, the Coalition of Civil Society Groups for Good Governance and Electoral Matters staged a protest in Abuja against the growing threats of violence by political parties ahead of the poll.

This came on a day the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State, traded tackles over the dispatch of a team of over 50 police officers, to Okpella community where they are allegedly occupying the private residence of a political appointee of Governor Godwin Obaseki.

ThisDay reports that the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) yesterday urged the federal government and states in the northern region to take all measures to end the wave of terrorism, banditry and kidnapping ravaging the North.

It also asked religious, traditional and political leaders in the region to refrain from making wild and inflammatory utterances that will aggravate tensions arising from the pervasive insecurity in the region.

The forum expressed concerns about the worsening living conditions of the people, saying life is now as tough as it was during the civil war.

The ACF spoke just as Boko Haram insurgents reportedly overrun Kukawa, a town in Borno State, and abducted over 100 persons even as the military said it has stepped up efforts to curtail the insurgency, leading to the killing of some Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) commanders and the destruction of logistics facilities at Bukar Meram on the fringes of the Lake Chad in Borno State.

The Punch says that the Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Mele Kyari, has assured that the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company will scale up its production to 500, 000 barrels of crude oil per day in the next two years to meet domestic consumption.

Speaking at the facility tour of Gas Handling Facility in Ologbo, Benin on Wednesday, Kyari said the NPDC was currently producing 260,000 barrels per day as against the 136,000 barrels per day it produced a year ago.

According to Kyari, this is a very magnificent level of growth in any upstream company. He added that the NNPC was working with NPDC to hit the set target.

He said, “With the current level of work, it is possible for the NPDC to hit 500,000 barrel per day in two years. “Today, NPDC has the highest number of rigs running in this country. Five rigs are running at the same time adding value and delivering major projects which will ultimately contribute towards the production of the 500,000 per day target.”

The Sun reports that the Minister of State for petroleum Resources, Mr. Timipre Sylva, said that Nigeria has recorded its first investment in hydro-skimming modular refinery.

 The pioneer investment in the Azikel Refinery located in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State is coming at a time the country is battling with huge budget deficit and foreign exchange challenges occasioned by low oil price and the coronavirus pandemic.

Figures from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), indicated Nigeria spent N2.95 trillion in 2018, importing petrol.

The Minister had during a physical tour and inspection of the refinery, a subsidiary of the Azikel Group, expressed satisfaction with the level of detailed engineering works and accomplishment deployed in the development of the Azikel Refinery.

emerge, gas would become more relevant to the Nigerian economy than oil and investment will improve.”

The Nation newspaper says that the Nigerian Government has waived payment for Right of Way (RoW) on its highways across the country as part of palliatives for COVID-19 to stimulate investment in infrastructure in the economy.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, who spoke at the ongoing virtual meeting convened by MTN to unveil its TheRevvProgramme targeted at developing small businesses, said a memo to that effect has been forwarded to President Muhammadu Buhari for his blessing.

Pantami said the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, forwarded the memo to the Presidency, adding that other critical agencies of government, such as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and National Inland Waterways (NIWA) are party to the deal.

He urged investors to take advantage of the window he said has been opened to lapse by 2022. The minister said Small, Medium Enterprises (SMEs) remained the engine room of the economy, contributing about 48 percent to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) according to figures from the national stats agency, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).