Nigerian press focuses on plans to commence $195m Deep Blue Project in 2021, others

The plan by the Nigerian government to commence the $195 million Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure next year…

The plan by the Nigerian government to commence the $195 million Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure next year and the aborted meeting between the government and the organised labour on the hikes in fuel pump price and electricity tariff are some of the trending stories in Nigerian newspapers on Monday.ThisDay reports that the Nigerian government has disclosed that barring any unforeseen circumstance, the $195 million Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, also called the Deep Blue Project, which has suffered many delays will commence in the first quarter of next year.

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Ameachi announced this during an inspection of some of the Deep Blue Project equipment in Lagos at the weekend.

Amaechi, who was accompanied on the tour by the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd), Chief of Naval Staff, Ibok Ete Ibas and the Director General of NIMASA, Bashir Jamoh, said apart from aircrafts, most of the equipment needed for the project are now in the country
He said the Deep Blue Project, which aims to tackle insecurity on the nation’s waters would commence next year, adding that the aircraft were expected to arrive the country by March 2021.

The federal government had in 2017 approved a $195 million maritime security contract with an Israeli firm, HLS International Limited under the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, also called the Deep Blue Project.

The contract was in line with efforts to curb increasing criminal activities such as piracy, sea robbery, kidnapping, oil theft, illegal bunkering, smuggling and illegal trafficking in drugs and persons within the Gulf of Guinea, especially Nigeria.

The Guardian says that 60 percent of 10 Africans live in a country where governance has improved since 2010. Nigerians are not amongst them.

The very best thing we can say about Nigeria’s performance in a new international assessment of governance in Africa is that our government is not seen to be as corrupt as our private sector.

The Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) recently scored Nigeria an embarrassing 26/100 for corruption in state institutions and 25/100 for corruption in public procurement.

These awful results are at least better than those “achieved” for corruption in the private sector – 19/100.

It is pretty much the only positive the government can take from a report which ranks Nigeria 34th out of 54 for overall governance and highlights “increasing deterioration” in the governance of our nation – things are bad, and they are getting worse.

The Punch reports that the meeting between the Federal Government and the organised labour on the hikes in fuel pump price and the electricity tariff on Sunday ended in confusion as the labour leaders walked out of the parley in anger.

The dialogue, which was meant to take updates on the implementation of resolutions reached during the three previous meetings ended abruptly barely 10 minutes after it commenced at the Presidential Villa banquet hall, Abuja.

The meeting had started at 8.18pm when the Trade Union Congress President, Quadri Olaleye, raised the issue of the latest hike in fuel pump price from N160 to N170.

He insisted on the reversal of the hike before the meeting can proceed.

Olaleye said, “Government is showing a high level of insincerity in discussions with us and is also putting us at risk with the people we are leading, with the masses. We find it difficult to move freely but the people in government are moving freely.

“I came to the conclusion that the major problem we have in this country is insincerity and this cannot continue.”

The newspaper says that a total of N81.41bn was expended on Nigeria’s refineries between January and August this year but the facilities refined no drop of crude oil all through this period, latest data obtained from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation showed.

Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company, Port Harcourt Refining Company and Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company posted a cumulative revenue of N6.54bn during the eight-month period.

With a revenue of N6.54bn and a total expense of N81.41bn, the facilities ended up with a deficit of N78.87bn, according to figures contained in the just-released August 2020 report of the NNPC.

Further analysis of figures from the latest report, as well as those earlier released by the corporation, showed that the revenue, expense and deficit of KRPC during the period under review were N6.22bn, N33.61bn and N27.39bn respectively.

PHRC posted a revenue, expense and deficit of N61m, N25.57bn and N25.51bn respectively from January to August 2020. Similarly, WRPC earned a revenue of N257m, incurred an expense of N22.23bn and posted a deficit of N21.98bn during the same period. It was further gathered that for 13 straight months, the facilities had been running without refining any volume of crude oil.

The Sun reports that the Federal Government at the weekend, put the cost of building the 2nd Niger Bridge at N414 billion, saying the project would be completed in 2022.

Speaking at a town hall meeting with stakeholders of the project at the bridge site in Asaba, the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, explained that while the cost of the bridge is estimated at N206 billion, the 2A and 2B roads will cost about N208 billion.

He added that the Buhari administration is making the commitment even though the price of oil is now about $40 per barrel.

He said that despite the delay caused by COVID-19 pandemic and initial disagreement with some members of the host communities around the project, the bridge would be completed on schedule.

Commenting on the economic benefits of the project to Nigerians, the Minister said that to build the bridge, the contractors will be buying 644, 000 tonnes of aggregates. They require four million cubic metres of sand, 68,000 tonnes of cement, 19 million litres of diesel all of which will be bought from people around the area who deal in such businesses.