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FG Disburses N173bn For Uniform Fuel Price Nationwide

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The Federal Government disbursed about N173.2bn for the equalisation of over 11.6 billion litres of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, between 2019 and 2022, data obtained from the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources on Tuesday showed.

PMS price equalisation is done by the Federal Government through the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, in which the NMDPRA ensures price uniformity of petroleum products via the reimbursement of marketers for trucking products to filling stations anywhere in Nigeria.

A document obtained by our correspondent from the FMPR in Abuja, on the scorecard of the ministry since 2019, showed that over N173.2bn had been disbursed to equalise the cost of petrol nationwide.

But despite the hundreds of billions spent on PMS price equalisation, the cost of the commodity has hardly been equal in various states, outside Lagos and Abuja.

Currently, for instance, the price of petrol at mega stations owned by major marketers in Abuja and Lagos hovers between N179 and N180/litre, but the cost of the commodity in many independent retail outlets in other states is usually higher than N250/litre.

The price disparity across states has lingered for years, as one hardly gets the commodity at the same cost in all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

In fact, in some retail outlets operated by independent marketers in major cities like Abuja and Lagos, the cost of PMS is over N200/litre, whereas the approved rate is N179-N180/litre. This, however, is despite the equalisation fund being disbursed by the government.

Providing a progress report on efforts to eradicate the smuggling of PMS across Nigerian borders, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, stated in the document that “a total of 255,659 truck-outs were equalised during the review period.

“N173,200,284,779 (approx.) equalisation paid. 1,277 supplying vessels tracked. 25,525,688,042 litres of total PMS discharged.”

The minister explained that 66.7 million litres of PMS was the average daily sufficiency during the period, adding that the total truck-out volume was 24,346,614,589 litres.

He also stated that the target of the FMPR was to ensure energy sufficiency in power and petroleum products, as well as reduction in the volume of smuggled PMS through improved technology.

Others include PMS equalisation to close differential cost, and to undertake routine end-to-end tracking of petroleum products cargos using  Lloyds List Intelligence and Refinitiv.

Sylva, however, stated that the key challenges to achieving these targets were market infractions, defaulting marketers, delay in submission of out-turn forms by marketers, arrival/discharge quantity variation, and sharp practices by operators.

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On the support that was required, he said there was a need for full system automation, review of existing policies, ensure strict compliance with regulations and strong inter-agency collaboration and transparency for petroleum product supply value chain activities around the border.

On the gas flare commercialisation programme, the document stated that the government had identified 48 flare sites, adding that the plan was to allocate them this year.

48 flare sites have been identified. Six of them have been taken out of the basket because they are not commercially viable  (because the flare volumes are minimal). The plan is that these flare sites will be allocated by Q4 2022,” the petroleum ministry stated.

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PHOTOS: World Tallest Man Meets Shortest Woman Again

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Sultan Kosen and Jyoti Amge

The World’s tallest man has reunited with the world’s shortest woman six years after their viral photoshoot in front of the Egyptian pyramids.

 

According to The Sun on Monday, Sultan Kosen, who stands at 8ft 3in, and Jyoti Amge, who is just 2ft tall, were a striking pair as they posed for pictures in Irvine, California, on Monday.

Sultan Kosen and Jyoti Amge

There is a 6ft height difference between the two, who earned their respective Guiness World Record titles in 2009 for ‘Tallest Living Man’ and 2011 for ‘Shortest Living Woman’.

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Sultan Kosen and Jyoti Amge

Kosen, 41, from Turkey, and Amge, 30, from India, previously met for a photoshoot in Cairo, Egypt, in 2018, where they posed in front of the Giza Pyramids as part of a campaign to revive the country’s struggling tourism industry.

Sultan Kosen and Jyoti Amge

Sultan Kosen and Jyoti Amge

Their tall and small stature was caused by medical conditions. Amge has a form of dwarfism called achondroplasia that stopped her growth, while Kosen had a tumor that caused pituitary gigantism, which gave him a massive growth spurt aged 10.

According to the Guinness World Records, Kosen is the first person in more than a decade to measure over 8ft and is one of only 10 confirmed cases in history.

While he is the tallest man in the world, his family members are all average size. Kosen was also normal height up until his growth spurt when he was 10 years old.

Sultan Kosen and Jyoti Amge

Sultan Kosen and Jyoti Amge

His massive size is the result of a condition known as ‘pituitary gigantism,’ which is caused by an over-production of growth hormone.

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Kosen unable to complete his education due to his size supported his family by working as a farmer.

In 2013, he married Merve Dibo, a Syrian native ten years his junior, though the language barrier between Turkish and Arabic posed communication challenges, ultimately leading to their divorce in 2021. Kosen ventured into acting, starring in the 2016 film “Achieving the Impossible” after traveling to Hollywood.In 2016, he traveled to Hollywood for his starring role in the film Achieving the Impossible.

Sultan Kosen and Jyoti Amge

Sultan Kosen and Jyoti Amge

On the other hand, Amge’s diminutive stature, resulting from achondroplasia, is characteristic of her condition, with the average female affected typically growing to 48 inches tall.

Her petite frame gained worldwide recognition, particularly after being officially declared the world’s smallest woman in 2011, weighing just 11 pounds as a teenager.

She pursued acting, notably appearing alongside A-list stars like Jessica Lange in “American Horror Story: Freak Show” as Ma Petit in 2014.

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American Sues Lottery Firm Over $340m Win Declared As Mistake

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A Washington DC man, John Cheeks, has filed a lawsuit against Powerball and the DC Lottery.

Cheeks had earlier thought he won a jackpot worth $340m (£270m), before Powerball and the DC Lottery, said they posted Cheeks numbers by mistake.

Powerball is an American lottery game offered by 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In January 2023, Cheeks saw Powerball’s winning numbers corresponded with his ticket. However, showing his ticket to the Office of Lottery and Gaming, Cheeks disclosed his claim was rejected and he is now suing the lottery for damages accumulating to the Powerball jackpot, the interest he would have earned on it per day summing $340m.

READ ALSO: One Dead, 21 Injured In US Super Bowl Parade Shooting

He said, “One of the claims agents told me my ticket was no good, just to throw it in the trash can.”

Cheeks is now suing on eight separate counts, among which are breach of contract, negligence, infliction of emotional distress, and fraud.

According to court documents, Powerball and a lottery contractor, the DC-based Taoti Enterprises, claim the confusion arose from a technical error, BBC reports.

In a court filing, a Taoti employee said that on 6 January 2023 – the day Mr Cheeks bought his ticket – a quality assurance team was running tests on the website.

On that day, a set of test Powerball numbers, which matched Mr Cheeks’ numbers – was posted on the website “accidentally”, according to court documents. Those numbers remained online for three days, until 9 January, adding that the numbers online did not match the numbers that were drawn at the last lottery draw.

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The BBC reports that neither Powerball nor Taoti responded to its request for comment on the case.

This lawsuit raises critical questions about the integrity and accountability of lottery operations and the safeguards – or lack thereof – against the type of errors that Powerball and the DC Lottery contend occurred in this case,” Cheeks’ lawyer, Richard Evans, told the BBC.

He believes the winning numbers corresponded to Cheeks’ numbers and was privileged to the “entire jackpot,” adding that “this is not merely about numbers on a website; it’s about the reliability of institutions that promise life-changing opportunities, while heavily profiting in the process.”

While speaking, Cheeks expressed confidence in the law system, saying, “I know the justice system will prevail.”

The case is therefore scheduled for hearing on February 23.

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One Dead, 21 Injured In US Super Bowl Parade Shooting

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One person has died and 21 people were wounded in a shooting in Missouri at the end of the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory parade in the United States.

Officials said they treated eight victims who were in immediately life-threatening condition and seven others who had suffered injuries that could prove life-threatening.

According to BBC, nine children were among the wounded – all are expected to recover. And, the police said they have arrested three suspects in connection to the shooting.

The shots were fired west of Union Station, the train station in downtown Kansas City, which was where the parade ended at around 14:00 local time (20:00 GMT) and thousands of fans had gathered to watch the festivities.

Local reports said Kansas City Chiefs players were still on a stage there when the first shots rang out.

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The gunfire caused the watching crowd, including the city’s mayor and his family members, to run for cover.

Kansas City Police Chief Stacey Graves said officers responded immediately after the gunshots broke out and detectives who were on the scene quickly opened an investigation. The Fire Department also sprang to action, administering aid to the injured.

More than 800 police officers were already on the scene to monitor the parade, officials said. The city’s fire department was also present to provide medical attention if needed.

At a news conference on Wednesday, Chief Graves said a total of 22 people were struck by gunfire – one of whom is dead – and three individuals were arrested.

A local radio station said one of its DJs, Lisa Lopez, was killed in the shooting.

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The surviving victims were transported to three local hospitals, officials said, with the immediately life-threatening cases taken to hospital within 10 minutes of the shooting.

Nine children aged six to 15 with gunshot wounds are being treated at Children’s Mercy Hospital, chief nursing officer Stephanie Meyer said.

“The one word I would just use to describe what we saw and how they felt when they came to us was fear,” Ms Meyer added.

Local hospitals said they were also treating people who were not shot but who had suffered other injuries in the sudden stampede that followed the shooting.

City officials did not release the names of any of the victims. They also did not share any information about the suspects who were arrested, including what might have led to the shooting.

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A law enforcement source told CBS News, the BBC’s US partner, that the shooting appeared to be the result of an argument that turned violent. The source said it was not terrorism-related.

Police said they are investigating a motive and gathering physical as well as digital evidence. They asked for any witnesses or individuals with information to contact law enforcement.

A city ‘heartbroken’
The shooting broke out as the city was celebrating a second straight Super Bowl win by the Kansas City Chiefs. But this lesser-known American city was robbed of its exhilarating and unifying moment.

Kansas City’s mayor Quinton Lucas said he was inside the Union Station when he and others heard the sound of gunfire. He and members of his family started running.

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“We went out today like everyone in Kansas City looking to have a celebration,” Mr Lucas said at Wednesday’s news conference.

“I was there with my wife, I was there with my mother. I never would’ve thought that we, along with Chiefs players, along with fans, hundreds of thousands of people, would be forced to run for our safety today.”

In a statement, the Kansas City Chiefs organisation said it was “truly saddened” by Wednesday’s violence. It added that its players, coaches and staff – as well as their families – were accounted for and safe.

Travis Kelce, the star tight end of the team whose relationship with Taylor Swift became a cultural phenomenon, wrote on social media that he was “heartbroken over the tragedy that took place today.”

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Marquez Valdes-Scantling, a wide receiver for the Chiefs, also took to social media after the tragedy. He said he wanted to get in touch with the young victims of the shooting.

“I want to make sure they’re doing ok,” Mr Valdes-Scantling said. “But would love to help them out any way I can and get them some stuff from the team to help with the recovery.”

The mayor emphasised that the city had security measures in place, and it should make the public think deeply about a path forward. Despite hundreds of law enforcement present, he said, this incident still occurred due to the presence of bad actors with guns.

In a statement, US President Joe Biden also reflected on the issue of gun violence in the country.

Today’s events should move us, shock us, shame us into action,” he said, as he called for gun reform and a ban on assault rifles in the US.

BBC

 

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