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Press zooms in on fears expressed by lawyers over level of impunity in Nigeria, others

The fears expressed by human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, over the level of impunity in Nigeria, warning that peace will…

The fears expressed by human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, over the level of impunity in Nigeria, warning that peace will continue to elude the country without a proper people’s oriented constitution dominate the pages of Nigerian newspapers on Friday.The Vanguard reports that human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, has expressed fear and worry over the level of impunity in Nigeria, saying peace will continue to elude the country without a proper people’s oriented constitution.

Also, former President of the Nigeria Bar Association, Mr. Wole Olanipekun,  has advocated true federalism, immediate reform in judicial system, among others.

The duo made the remarks on Thursday, at the final sitting of the Senate Committee on the review of the 1999 Constitution, South West, Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Zonal Public Hearing, Lagos Center, held in Ikeja, under the chairmanship of Senator Oluremi Tinubu, representing Lagos Central.

However, participants at the hearing reiterated calls for a total review of the constitution to reflect fiscal federalism; implementation of the Child Rights Act and Disability Act in states, local government autonomy, judicial autonomy, and police reform.

While making a presentation, Falana made a large case for the poor and vulnerable, insisting that it was important to give secession agitators in the country the confidence of peace and sense of inclusion if they must remain as indivisible entity.

Condemning the rate of impunity in the country, Falana stressed, “Our country is ruled by rule of the rulers and not rule of law. People commit all manner of crime and get away with it because there are no sanctions.

The Punch says that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, on Thursday, announced a N39.85bn trading surplus for February 2021, representing a 314.24 percent rise from the N9.62bn surplus it recorded in the preceding month.

The NNPC disclosed this in its February 2021 edition of its monthly financial and operations report. Trading surplus or trading deficit is derived after deduction of the expenditure from the revenue for the period under review.

The report stated that in February, NNPC’s group operating revenue increased by 35.64 percent or N152.07bn to N578.79bn, compared to January. It said expenditure for the month increased by 29.21 percent or N121.83bn to s N538.94bn, while expenditure as a proportion of revenue was 0.93 percent as against 0.98 percent in the previous month.

The increase in trading surplus was attributed to the reconciled accounts by the corporation’s downstream subsidiary, the Petroleum Products Marketing Company, using the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency pricing template. Other factors that boosted the trading surplus figure, according to the corporation, include the performance of Duke Oil, Nigerian Gas Company and Nigerian Gas Marketing Company, which recorded gains as a result of increased debt collection and cost optimisation measures.

ThisDay reports that the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has said Nigeria requires about N35 trillion investments in infrastructure for the economy to post a double-digit growth.

But Emefiele, in a goodwill message he delivered yesterday at a webinar on “Financing Public-Private Partnership to Boost Infrastructure Delivery in Nigeria,” organised by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) in Abuja, added that given the paucity of government revenues, it will be difficult to support such investments using government funds alone.

The Nigerian economy, which is just crawling out of recession, recorded a 0.51 per cent growth in the first quarter of 2021 after a 0.11 per cent growth in the fourth quarter of 2020. Besides, Emefiele, at another forum yesterday, also called on governors to make their states economically viable in order to reduce their dependence on allocations from the Federation Account.

Emefiele, whose message to the webinar was delivered by the Deputy Governor of the bank on Economic Policy, Dr. Kingsley Obiora, stated that the theme of the webinar was topical as a critical part of efforts to drive sustainable growth of the economy.

The newspaper says that the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Cui Jianchun, and Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Mr. Timipre Sylva, yesterday met in Abuja, with both countries agreeing that there’s no row between them.

A statement by the Special Adviser to the minister, Mr. Garba Mohammed, said the two top officials committed to sustaining the excellent relations between their countries.

Among other issues, the statement noted that both parties were of the belief that the recent revocation of some Oil Mining Leases (OMLs) held by Addax Petroleum (a Chinese owned company) was purely a commercial decision and will not have any impact on the excellent relationship between the two nations.

Last month, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to restore four oil mining licences revoked from Addax Petroleum, owned by the Chinese state-run Sinopec.

The petroleum ministry, through the DPR, had revoked the four OMLs, citing the company’s inability to comply with targets and had set up a committee to facilitate the takeover of the assets by new operators- Kaztech/Slavic Consortium.

The Sun says that the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has disclosed that the council is working with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to promote the use of alternative ports in the country, working on construction of domestic export warehouses and common facility process centres for export commodities to enable the country reap the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

The Chief Executive Officer of the council, Olusegun Awolowo, who made the remark in a webinar, with a theme “AfCFTA: Revamping Nigeria’s Infrastructure for Global Trade,” organised by Arbiterz Media Limited, said the moves would ease the export processes in the country.

The projects and initiatives he noted would be completed and ready for take-off in the next six months, adding that the Council has identified 22 priority products for export as part of its zero-oil plan to boost the country’s foreign exchange (forex) earning capacity.

We are working on domestic export warehouse/aggregation centres to reduce the cost of doing business by MSMEs exporting companies. We are looking at Tincan and Apapa Ports so that we can decongest those areas.

The Guardian reports that Nigerian government’s expectation of raising half a billion dollars from signature bonuses has imposed significant financial pressure on participants in the about-to-be-concluded bid round of marginal fields, the chief executive of Platform Petroleum, Osa Owieadolor has said.

“By our own assessment, I think it is overpriced”, contends Owieadolor, noting that, “in (the last marginal field bid round exercise) in 2003, $150,000 was paid as signature bonus, but now it is ranging from $5,000,000 to as high as twenty-something million dollars.

That’s a lot of money”. Owieadolor, who retires from the job at the end of this month, says he is not canvassing for a signature bonus as low as $150,000, “but $5Million for a marginal field is too high” and this is one of the lowest figures.

The government, apparently, is targeting early revenues from the process into the national treasury. The Director of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Sarki Auwalu, had stated that the government hopes to earn $500 million from the bid round.

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