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PENGASSAN Fingers Military In 600,000-barrel Daily Stolen

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The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria has said that the military should be held responsible for the high rate of crude oil theft in the country.

This was made known at the Senate’s investigation into oil lifting and theft on Wednesday, which was chaired by Senator Akpan Bassey.

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The National President of PENGASSAN, Festus Osifo, said oil theft was a collaborative crime between military personnel assigned to protect oil installations and the locals running illegal refineries.

He alleged that the military and other security agencies were aiding and abetting criminals to steal the crude with the active connivance of the regulatory agencies in charge of the nation’s petroleum industry.

Osifo, therefore, challenged the regulatory agencies and various security outfits to be alive to their responsibilities in order to solve the problems.

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READ ALSO: PENGASSAN Blames Fuel Scarcity On Lack Of Forex

He specifically alleged that men of the Amphibious Brigade in Port Harcourt and their counterparts in the Navy, in connivance with superior officers at different times, joined the locals in the theft.

Osifo alleged, “One of the greatest problems we have, which nobody has highlighted, is that there is strong connivance of our security forces in the crime. There is no doubt about this. From our Army to our Navy officers, we have information that they pay their superiors to post them to some areas in the Niger Delta.

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“I can authoritatively inform this committee that men of the Nigerian Army and the Navy pay their superiors to be posted to Niger Delta. Even when the former Commander of the Amphibious Brigade in Port Harcourt was removed, many of the men in the command resisted being posted out due to the ‘lucrativeness’ of their operational areas.

“I think the people who have a solution to this problem are not even the ones sitting here. They are the ones you will invite behind the camera”.

Also, the Executive Commissioner, Corporate Services and Administration in Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, Mr Jide Adeola, said about 600,000 barrels of crude oil were stolen per day.

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He said, “As of today, Nigeria produces 1.23million barrels of crude oil per day as against 1.8million barrels targeted, leading to total revenue loss, as of today, of $2.1billion or N877billion.”

Worried by the submissions, the Chairman of the Committee, Akpan Bassey, said he had never seen “economic sabotage of this magnitude and it must be stopped.”

“The required political will through the instrumentality of legislative intervention shall surely be done after meeting other critical stakeholders like the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited, the Military, etc,” he noted.

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The Senate also lamented that the country was losing over 900,000 barrels per day to oil thieves, stressing that the massive oil theft would crumble the economy.

Bassey said if the ongoing theft was not immediately stopped, it would also frustrate the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act passed into law last year by the National Assembly.

Speaking at the investigative hearing on the experience of the committee during its oversight visit to major platforms in the Niger Delta, the senator expressed shock over the humongous loss of national oil revenues due to oil theft and sabotage.

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Bassey stated that the committee discovered that pipelines carrying crude oil could not be identified because they were covered with no right of way, making it difficult to monitor these pipelines.

He told the stakeholders that the shortfall in the country’s oil revenues was not caused by oil theft alone but also by the inability to have evacuation access, effective metering and monitoring by operators as well as the unwillingness of security agencies to checkmate the incidents.

He lamented that the Bonny Terminal, which hitherto produces 60,000 barrels per day, had not produced a single barrel for the past seven months.

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Also speaking at the occasion, the Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan, who had declared the investigative hearing open, said it was the view of the Senate that oil theft impacted negatively on the country’s oil production and revenues, hence its decision to set up the committee to come up with a workable template to arrest the situation.

READ ALSO: Fresh Fuel Scarcity Looms As PENGASSAN Threatens To Shut Down Installations Over Oil Theft

Lawan, who was represented at the occasion, also charged stakeholders to come up with a plan to end this national challenge.

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He said, “It is regrettable that the criminals are perpetrating the unfortunate crime with the active connivance of stakeholders, including security personnel.

“The Senate will stop at nothing to unveil the criminals behind the crime and that is why we set an ad hoc committee to unravel the thieves and come up with workable solutions to end the menace, before December this year.”

A member of the committee, the senator representing Kano South senatorial district, Senator Kabir Kaya, noted that while Nigeria’s OPEC quota was 1.8 million BPD, the country currently produces 1,2 million BPD, showing a shortfall of 600,000 BPD. He challenged the stakeholders and the operators to find a solution to this problem.

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They’ve Hidden Plans – Mixed Reactions Trail CBN’s New Naira Notes

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Nigerians have shared divergent opinions on the recently released new banknotes by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, on Wednesday announced the entry of the new notes into the country’s financial space.

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The CBN boss, while explaining the features of the redesigned notes, told State House Correspondents that it was in line with global best practices, noting that it was mandatory for the naira to be redesigned and re-issued every five to eight years.

The last time the bank redesigned the naira was in 2014 when it changed the design of just the 100 naira note to commemorate Nigeria’s centenary.

According to him, it is regrettable that the naira has not been redesigned for the past 19 years owing to lack of political will from previous administrations.

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“In the past, I have to confess that attempts by the CBN to redesign and re-issue the naira notes have been resisted. It is only President Muhammadu Buhari that has exhibited the courage to do so,” he stated.

Emefiele said it was the mandate of the CBN to redesign and re-issue the notes, stressing that the exercise would become a regular trend after five to eight years.

Meanwhile, Nigeria has in recent years undertaken the redesigning of her currency for various reasons.

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READ ALSO: Why I Approved Redesign Of Naira Notes – Buhari

For instance, in response to the expansion in economic activities and to facilitate an efficient payments system, the ₦100, ₦200, ₦500 and ₦1000 banknotes were introduced in December 1999, November 2000, April 2001 and October 2005 respectively.

On 28th February, 2007, as part of the economic reforms, ₦20 was issued for the first time in a polymer substrate, while the ₦50, ₦10 and ₦5 banknotes, as well as ₦1 and 50K coins were reissued in new designs, and the ₦2 coin was introduced.

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On 30th September, 2009, the redesigned ₦50, ₦10 and ₦5 banknotes were converted to polymer substrate following the successful performance of the ₦20 (polymer) banknote. Thus, all lower denomination banknotes were now printed in the polymer substrate.

Speaking on the development, Godwin Emefiele, added that the move to introduce newly designed notes became imperative following the abnormalities bedevilling Nigerian financial, monetary and security systems.

The circulation of the new designs will begin on December 15, 2022.

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But the introduction of the new naira banknotes has received a lot of reactions from Nigerians .

Some economic experts have pointed out that apart from the change in colour of the redesigned N200, N500 and N1000 naira notes, its security features have been enhanced.

But the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, AAC, Omoyele Sowore knocked President Buhari and Emefiele, accusing them of playing Nigerians by redesigning the banknotes.

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Sowore slammed Buhari, saying that no significant change occurred to the naira, and it seems Nigerians have been deceived again.

For Shehu Sani, a former Nigerian lawmaker, it was only a colour change that was introduced in the new notes, saying, “If it’s Naira colour, the CBN should have just engaged Snapchat.”

A senior lecturer of the Department of Economics, Kaduna State University, Professor Abdulmalik Abdulkadir, said with the current redesign of banknotes, embezzlement of public money by those in position of power, would be minimised

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Speaking to Journalists in Kaduna on Wednesday, Prof Abdulmalik noted that since the new notes are yet to be in circulation, what everyone is after is how to change the old currency which may soon fade away.

READ ALSO: JUST IN: CBN Gov, Emefiele Explains Features Of New Naira Notes

According to him, some public servants in positions of authority are also scared of stealing public funds as they would be caught anytime, anywhere.

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Few Nigerians, who spoke to our correspondent on the streets of Abuja, also shared their thoughts. While some of them believe that it is a good way to stop politicians from money laundering ahead of the 2023 general elections, some others feel it is a waste of time.

Jennifer Adimso said, “I’m surprised that people still believe in this government and their policies. You’re talking about preventing politicians from laundering money but that’s a lie. Who is Emefiele working for? He is working for the APC. In fact, he is a member of the APC. He was contesting for the APC presidential primary if not for the pressure from Nigerians.

“In fact he went to court to challenge Nigerians against him. He is working for his party and if anybody is planning to launder money, it is APC. You’ll see bullion vans parked in the compound of some individuals and no one will question them. I believe they have some politicians they’re targeting. They’ve concluded their plans. These people think way ahead of us. Changing the colours of the N200, N500 and N1000 notes is just another way to distract Nigerians. Nothing more.”

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David Sam Ade said, “All I can say is that the colour of those banknotes have changed. I’m not an expert to know the security features but all I can tell you is that the change won’t contribute anything. Now tell me, will it change the prices of garri, rice, yam, onions and other food items in the market? Buhari and his team are bent on deceiving Nigerians. We can’t wait for their tenure to end. People are suffering and all you can do is change the colour of money. It makes no sense to me. The reason why Emefiele is still there as the CBN governor is because he’s as clueless as the President himself.”

Pastor Jewel Abianso said, “Nigerians should be prayerful. Nigeria is drifting under the current government. See, the redesigning of the naira note may be good to many of us but we may not know the idea behind it. The question is why is it happening now? They said it is to stop money laundering against the election but how do we know the other underlying reasons? When a government has established itself on deceit, it becomes difficult to know when it is taking a good measure that would be beneficial to its people. I believe Nigeria has more significant problems than changing the colour of some currency denominations. Once again, I’ll encourage Nigerians to pray hard ahead of the forthcoming elections. Let’s pray for change and to have a government we can trust.”

Meanwhile, Abdulrasheed Bawa, Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), had described the development as apt and commendable.

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He said it was “a well-considered and timely response” to the challenges of currency management.

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Naira Redesign: Buhari, Emefiele Played Nigerians, Only Changed Dye Of Currency – Sowore

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The presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, AAC, Omoyele Sowore on Wednesday, knocked President Muhammadu Buhari and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Emefiele, over the newly-redesigned naira notes.

Sowore accused Buhari and Emefiele of playing Nigerians by redesigning the naira.

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In a tweet, the AAC presidential candidate described the president and the CBN governor as crooks.

He stressed that no significant change occurred to the naira, and it seems Nigerians have been deceived again.

Buhari had unveiled the redesigned N200, N500 and N1000 notes at the commencement of the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

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The new Naira notes will become legal tender commencing from December 15, while the old ones will cease to be legal tender effective February 1, 2023.

READ ALSO: JUST IN: CBN Gov, Emefiele Explains Features Of New Naira Notes

This is the first time in 19 years that Nigeria will be redesigning some of her currency notes.

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Sharing a photograph on Twitter, Sowore expressed disappointment at the development.

He wrote: “@GodwinIEmefiele of the @cenbank, and @MBuhari just played Nigerians over the fraudulent so-called redesign of the Naira. Nothing was “redesigned” just a change of dye. Crooks! #WeCantContinueLikeThis.”

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JUST IN: CBN Gov, Emefiele Explains Features Of New Naira Notes

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The Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele has explained the features of the redesigned notes.

Emefiele told State House Correspondents that it was in line with global best practices, noting that it was mandatory for the naira to be redesigned and re-issued every five to eight years.

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According to him, it is regrettable that the naira has not been redesigned for the past 19 years owing to lack of political will from previous administrations.

“In the past, I have to confess that attempts by the CBN to redesign and re-issue the naira notes have been resisted. It is only President Muhammadu Buhari that has exhibited the courage to do so,” he stated.

Emefiele said it was the mandate of the CBN, to redesign and re-issue the notes, stressing that the exercise would become a regular trend after five to eight years.

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His words,”After today, the CBN will begin to redesign and reissue the naira for every five to eight years”

The CBN governor said that Nigeria has gone cashless and that security agencies would monitor people making withdrawal at the counter to know how much withdrawn and also monitor the usage of the money.

He debunked insinuations that the policy was targeted at anyone, especially the political class.

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READ ALSO: JUST IN: FG Unveils Redesigned Naira Notes To General Public [PHOTOS]

He said that the CBN was determined in ensuring that the provision of the law on volume of money one should carry is followed.

“The world has moved to cashless economy and the CBN has moved to cashless economy. We will restrain the volume of cash someone will withdraw over the counter. We will follow up with the person’s data to know the reason for such withdrawal,” he said.

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Commenting on calls for extension of time for the usage of old notes, the CBN boss said, “we will not go with people that want extension of time. From today, this currency that was reissued will become a legal tender.”

Emefiele also said there is no local government area in the country where there is no bank agent, insisting that there is over one million points across the country that people should go and deposit the old notes.

The CBN boss also boasted that the new naira notes cannot be counterfeited because of the features in them.

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