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A Makurdi High Court has issued an order of interim injunction, restraining the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), its National Working Committee (NWC), National Executive Committee (NEC) or its National Officers (elected or appointed) from expelling the governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom.

Justice A.I Itoyonyiman issued the order on Thursday following a Suit with number MHC/46/2023 which was brought before the court on Wednesday, February 15th, 2023.

In the suit, Governor  Ortom is the Plaintiff/Applicant while Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are first and second Defendant/ Respondents respectively.

The court upon hearing the Affidavit of Hon. Abraham Kwaghngu, Politician, Nigerian Citizen of Governor's Office, Benue State Government House, Makurdi, Benue State, sworn to and filed at the High Court Registry, Makurdi on 15th February, 2023 made the following order:

“Restraining the 1" Defendant/Respondent either by itself or its National Working Committee and/or it National Executive Council and/or its National officers (elected or appointed) and/or its North- Central Zonal Executive Officers (elected or appointed) and/or its Benue State Officers (elected or appointed) and/or its Guma Local Government Area Officers (elected or appointed) and/or its Nzorov Council Ward Officers (elected or appointed) or any of its other organs or officials (anyhow so called) from expelling, suspending or levying any other punishment on the Plaintiff/Applicant pending the determination of the Motion on Notice for Interlocutory Injunction.

“An interim order of injunction is also made restraining the 2nd Defendant/Respondent either by itself or any of its Officials/Officers/Directors/Departmental or other Heads/any other officer by whatever name called from receiving and/or acting upon any communication made by the 1st Defendant/Respondent seeking to disqualify from contesting or seeking not to be placed on the ballot paper the name of the Plaintiff/Applicant as the 1st Defendant's candidate for the Benue North West Senatorial District in the 2023 general election pending the determination of the Motion on Notice for Interlocutory Injunction.

“An order of interim injunction is made restraining the 2nd or Defendant/Respondent either by itself any of its Officials/Officers/Directors/Departmental or other Heads/any other officer by whatever name called from refusing for whatever reason to place the name of the Plaintiff/Applicant on the ballot to contest the Benue North West Senatorial election slated for February 25th, 2023 or any other rescheduled dated pending the determination of the Motion on Notice for Interlocutory Injunction”.

Governor Ortom had earlier approached the court with the following demands:

“An Order of interim injunction restraining the 1st Defendant/Respondent either by itself, or its National Working Committee, and/or its National Executive Council, and/or its National Officers (elected or appointed), and/or its North-Central Zonal Executive Officers (elected or appointed), and/or its Benue State officers (elected or appointed), and/or its Nzorov Council Ward Officers (elected or appointed), or any of its other organs or officials (anyhow so called) from expelling, suspending or levying any other punishment on the Plaintiff/Applicant, pending the determination of the Motion on Notice for Interlocutory Injunction.

“An Order of interim injunction restraining the 2nd Defendant/Respondent either by itself or any of its Officials/Officers/Directors/Departmental or other Heads/any other officer by whatever name called, from receiving and or acting upon any communication made by the 1 Defendant/Respondent seeking to disqualify from contesting or seeking not to be placed on the ballot paper the name of the Plaintiff/Applicant as the 1st Defendant's candidate for the Benue North West Senatorial District in the 2023 general elections, pending the determination of the Motion on Notice for Interlocutory Injunction.

“An Order of interim injunction restraining the 2nd Defendant/Respondent either by itself or any of its Officials/Officers/Directors/Departmental or other Heads/any other officer by whatever name called, from refusing for whatever reason to place the name of the Plaintiff/Applicant on the ballot, to contest the Benue North West Senatorial election, slated for 25th February, 2023 or any other rescheduled dated, pending the determination of the Motion on Notice for Interlocutory Injunction”.

The matter has been slated for hearing on the 24th of February, 2023.

Nathaniel Ikyur
Chief Press Secretary,
February 16th, 2023

 Mrs. Ann Unenge, the wife of Benue State Commissioner for Lands, Survey, and Solid Minerals, has reportedly been kidnapped in Makurdi, the state capital.

Mrs Unenge was kidnapped at 6 p.m. on Thursday, according to The Nation.

“A relative of the commissioner informed The Nation that Mrs. Ann was kidnapped immediately after she returned from Daudu town, on the outskirts, where she had gone to see her parents.

“She was claimed to be driving a new Toyota Highlander, which her kidnappers also snatched.

“At B., where the nation had congregated, there was a battle between the abductors and Mrs. Ann Unenge. She attempted to push open the automobile door at a Division traffic crossroads.

“The shooters reportedly shot randomly into the air at the crossroads to scare away pedestrians before driving away with their victim, who was shouting at the top of her lungs,” according to the source.

According to the report, DSP Catherine Sewuese Anene, Benue Public Relations Officer, stated that she was not yet aware of the event.

The kidnapping of the Commissioner's wife is claimed to be the second incidence in Makurdi in less than a week, following the abduction of two ladies in a similar situation.

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria Mr Godwin Emefiele has reiterated the need for the country to discontinue heavy dependence on crude oil to guarantee public revenue and foreign exchange.

Emefiele made the call on Saturday in Abuja at the prize presentation ceremony to mark the end of the 2020 CBN Governor’s Golf Cup tournament.

The governor, who was represented by Mr Edward Adamu, Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, CBN, therefore, urged the country to harness its other economic potentials to enhance its growth.

According to him, this has become even more imperative to facilitate the early exit of the economy from the current recession.

According to him, sports cannot be left behind while deploying available tools to ensure the development of the country since it attracts foreign exchange.

This, he said, had propelled the CBN into sponsoring numerous sporting events in the country including golf.

He said that the apex bank would not relent in its effort to empower the youth, sportsmen and sportswomen as they had constantly launched the country and themselves into the international sporting arena.

“The Bank’s consistency in promoting the game of golf and other sports in the country has had a remarkable impact on youths and sportsmen and women generally.

“In particular, the sponsored events have continued to provide platforms for Nigerians to express themselves and launch into the international sporting sphere.

“At the CBN, we are committed to sustaining people-centred policies,” he said.

Oladimeji Shotunde, 22, has emerged as the best graduating student of the Lagos State University, Ojo, as he graduated with 4.95 CGPA from the Department of Business Administration in the 2018/2019 session. He shares with TUNDE AJAJA how he made it happen, the difficulties he encountered and his plans for the future

Did it come to you as a surprise that you were the best in your set?

I never saw it coming. When I gained admission into Lagos State University, I wasn’t too clear on whether I would graduate with a first-class degree; I only had the mindset to graduate with a reasonable grade. However, I think what helped was the academic group I founded. I named it Excel Minds Academic Group. It was an organisation that catered for the academic welfare of over 10,000 members. Having such an academic platform became a motivation for me, because it meant I had to exemplify academic excellence myself.

I started with a 4.78 GPA, so I felt I could graduate with a first-class degree but not necessarily as the overall best because there were a lot of people ahead of me. I wasn’t even the best in my department. However, as time went on, I became more motivated, but it wasn’t until my third year that I began to lead in my department. I was mainly focused on service to humanity – running Excel Minds, doing tutorials, etc. It was in my fourth year that I knew I was the one leading the set; so, I had to put in the effort to push it through and I thank God I cleared all my courses.

What motivated you to start Excel Minds?

I found out that there were instances where some of my colleagues found it difficult to comprehend what we were taught in class; some missed classes and some couldn’t ask questions in class for obvious reasons. So, I thought of what I could do to help them. When I took my first tutorial in the second semester of my first year, I saw that people were impressed and I felt fulfilled. With the way it grew so fast, some persons asked me to monetise it but I declined. The fulfillment I derived from helping others was more than the money. Thereafter, I made it formal and I scouted for more scholars, we came together and I took them through the vision of the organisation. So, beyond tutorials, it became an academic group that offered free training, conferences and we later donated a 32-seater reading arena for the use of fellow students. We built it for over N1m and that was in October 2019 before I graduated.

How did you raise the money since you didn’t charge them?

We got donations; we offered our services for free, so people were willing to identify with us and we got donations from external organisations that we partnered. We are glad with where it is today. We organised a mock exam and we asked students to pay just N50 for printing. We had some excess amount from that and I felt that instead of leaving the money in the account we could use it for a legacy project and that was what we did. We have people that are running it now but the facility is there for everyone to enjoy today.

What’s your plan for Excel Minds going forward?

Excel Minds would remain in LASU. However, since June I have been working on an EduTech start-up, Excel Minds Professional Solutions, and under it we would be offering standardised but very cheap services to students. We spent about N400,000 to design the website; not just a website but an enterprise application where people can go to have mock exams, virtual learning interfaces and such things. Basically, we want to upscale Excel Minds to a company that would be a social enterprise while maintaining what we started at LASU.

How many students have benefited from that initiative?

We have about 10,000 members but I brought an initiative called compendium. We looked at general courses that gave people issues and created compilations and resources for them and it’s helpful for all interested students. With that, we could have impacted about 35,000 students.

The Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the permanent forfeiture of N235,451,969 found in a bank account linked to Obinwanne Okeke, who is described by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission as “a strong leader of a cyber-crime syndicate that specialised in business e-mail compromise.”

Justice Mohammed Liman ordered the permanent forfeiture of the funds to the Federal Government following an application by the EFCC.

The judge had earlier on March 23, 2020, ordered the interim forfeiture of the money said to be domiciled in an account at First City Monument Bank.

The judge had ordered the EFCC to publish the interim order in a national daily for anyone interested in the money to show up in court to give reasons why the money should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

The Head of Media and Publicity, EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, said in a statement on Thursday that the permanent forfeiture order followed arguments by the anti-graft agency’s counsel, S. I. Sulaiman.

The N235,451,969 is the second tranche of funds that Invictus is forfeiting to the Federal Government.

Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the same court had November last year ordered the permanent forfeiture of N280,555,010.65 “warehoused” in the bank accounts of Invictus Oil and Gas Limited and Invictus Investment Limited.

Invictus had been nabbed in the United States of America over an alleged $11m cyber fraud.

The 31-year-old Nigerian was, in 2016, celebrated by Forbes as one of Africa’s “most outstanding 30 entrepreneurs under the age of 30.”

He was described by the magazine as “proof that there is hope for Africa.”

The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has failed to tender the presidential approval on the creation of the new five zonal commands and departments as directed by the Police Service Commission.

This has stalled the promotion of 112 senior officers, which was stood down by the commission in October.

The PSC, at its plenary meeting in Abuja on October 2, made the presidential authorisation a condition for the promotion of the 112 officers recommended for elevation by the IG.

Adamu had in May announced the establishment of five zonal commands, including Ondo/Ekiti with headquarters in Akure, Ondo State; Enugu/Anambra/Ebonyi Command with headquarters at Ukpo-Dunukofia in Anambra State.

Others are Bayelsa/Rivers Command with headquarters in Yenogoa, Bayelsa State; Katsina/Kaduna Command with headquarters in Katsina; and Yobe/Borno Command with headquarters in Maiduguri, Borno State.

The Force Intelligence Bureau was also excised from the FCID to become a full-fledged department to be headed by a Deputy Inspector-General of Police.

A 39-year-old woman, Virginia James, has been held in a private hospital in Awka, Anambra State, over medical bill.

We learnt that the victim had been in the hospital for about three months over her inability to pay the sum of N248,000.

The woman is a native of Izzi, Ebonyi State, but resides in Ifiteisu Awka.

She said she lost her newborn baby in the hospital following complications after delivery.

James appealed for support from her home state Governor, David Umahi, and his Anambra counterpart, Willie Obiano, as well as good-spirited individuals, to pay the bill.

She said, “I am finished in this world, with no hope of help from anywhere. My husband is sick; he is blind and deaf. I fend for him and my four kids — three girls and a boy.

“I cut grass to earn a living in Awka. When I came for the delivery of my baby boy, there was a problem.

“The medical doctor, on seeing my condition, did not ask for money before going on with the caesarean operation. But the baby was weak and died almost immediately.

“It is two months and three weeks that I have been here after the delivery; to eat is a problem too because nobody is coming for me. It is still the hospital management that sometimes feeds me.

The Senate Committee on Local Content, on Thursday, walked out the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Dr Yerim Tarfa, who represented the minister, Dr Chris Ngige.

The incident happened at the panel’s investigative hearing on the abuse of diving regulations by International Oil Companies operating in the country.

Other representatives of the IOCs, who were barred from the session, included the Director of External Affairs, Chevron Nigeria Limited, Mr E. J. Okorie; Mr Udobong Ntia (Director, ExxonMobil); Ozemoya Okordion (ExxonMobil); Aderemi Karkat (ExxonMobil); Meziechi Nwogu (Total Nigeria Limited); and Onwuka Oreh (Total Nigeria Limited), among others.

The Chairman of the committee, Senator Teslim Folarin, ordered them out of the session.

He said the panel invited the chief executive officers of the various organisations to appear before it and that they were not expected to delegate their appearances.

Folarin said the hearing was sequel to a motion titled: ‘Urgent need to ensure strict compliance with statutory regulations and provisions regarding the Nigerian Diving Sector’.

The resolution of the Senate was also to urge the Federal Ministry of Labour, Employment and Productivity to as a matter of urgency inaugurate the Diving Advisory Board to ensure the regulation of operations in the sector.

Folarin said the hearing was targeted at addressing the inherent shortcomings associated with the diving sector in Nigeria.

The suspects spoke while being paraded before journalists by the state Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mukan, at the police headquarters along Moscow Road, Port Harcourt, on Thursday.

Mukan recalled that on November 29, the command received a distress call from 25 Azikiwe Road that the Christian Universal Church Incorporated was attacked, adding that policemen were immediately drafted to the scene.

“There was no life lost during the attack. Our security partners, the vigilantes, arrested these three suspects. We took them and they made useful confessions.

“They claimed that they were six in number. They made confession that they were members of IPOB and that they were zoned to different parts of the state.

“They are Progress Owudinjo, 37, from Etche, Rivers State; Apuro Victor, 25, from Ebonyi State; and John Okorie, 38, from Abia State.

“They will soon be charged to court, while we are trailing their sponsors. IPOB assured them that if IPOB is achieved, they will be policy makers in the government,” Mukan added.

One of the suspects, Owudinjo, confirmed their membership of IPOB, adding that they were contracted to carry out the attack.

Forty-eight families who were bereaved by the killing at a rice field in Borno State have been given N600,000 by the Borno State Government.

The bereaved families were also given bags of food items by a committee assigned by Governor Babagana Zulum to share items received on their behalf.

The shared fund came from combined support of N20m by the Northern Governors’ Forum and N5m by the North East Development Commission.

The committee chaired by the Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Saina Buba, undertook Thursday’s distribution in Zabarmari.

Zabarmari, where the victims lived, is located in Jere, central part of Borno State.

A total of 13,000 bags of rice, maize and beans, 1,300 cans of vegetable oil, 2116 cartons of seasoning cubes, 1,083 sachets of tomato and 650 sachets of salt, which were donated by the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, were also distributed.

Buba noted that each family was to combine the N600,000 cash and food items to reduce the hardship resulting from gaps in access to livelihoods created by the death of mostly male victims, who are breadwinners of those affected.

The Defence Headquarters has said the decision to engage mercenaries to assist the military in defeating the Boko Haram insurgency is for the Federal Government to take.

It noted that the security forces could not challenge the initiative, stressing that it was up to Nigerians and the government to contract the private army.

Following the killing of over 43 rice farmers in Zabarmari, Borno State, by Boko Haram insurgents last Saturday, Governor Babagana Zulum and governors of the North-East states had called for the hiring of mercenaries to fight the insurgents.

But responding to a question from The Linknaija during the weekly briefing on the security operations across the country in Abuja on Thursday, the Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj. Gen. John Enenche said the military had no business debating the proposal.

He stated, “Request or proposal to engage mercenaries; that is at a very high level. The kind of armed forces and security agencies you have is normally determined by the people.

”It (engagement of mercenaries) is not in our powers. It is a kind of force package; it is what the government wants. It is not for the military to begin to contend.”

When asked if the military was overstretched and overwhelmed as stated by the Chairman, Nigerians Governors’ Forum, Governor Kayode Fayemi, Enenche said, “Our bosses that engaged us said we are overstretched, it is left to them.

“It is not for the military to say we are overstretched; I am not overstretched. If I say, I am overstretched, that means, I don’t want to work. And if I say, I am not overstretched, that means, I am under-utilised.”

A former interim National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Chief Bisi Akande, and the former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, on Thursday met Osun State Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, and his predecessor, Rauf Aregbesola, behind closed doors.

The meeting, which commenced around noon at the Ila Orangun country home of Akande, lasted about three hours.

Aregbesola, who was accompanied to the meeting by Mr Bola Ilori and ex-Lagos State Chairman of National Union of Road Transport Workers, Mr Akanni Olohunwa, arrived Akande’s residence around 11.45am.

After the meeting, Oyetola and Aregbesola left the premises in the same vehicle, while Tinubu and Akande left in a helicopter.

None of them spoke to journalists after the meeting.

But an aide to Akande, Mr Lani Baderinwa, said the Minister of Interior, Aregbesola, was in the former APC leaders’s residence as part of his civic engagement as directed by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.)

Baderinwa said, “He has to come with the current governor. Whatever is the core of their discussion is not open to me. Incidentally, Asiwaju (Tinubu) as usual, who comes randomly without anybody knowing he was around, happened to be here too.”

Similarly, a statement posted on Aregbesola’s Twitter handle read in part,  “Earlier today, I arrived the @StateofOsun with my entourage from the @MinofInteriorNG to begin my Stakeholders’ Engagement Meeting with different stakeholders in the state as directed by President @MBuhari.

“Our entourage paid a courtesy visit to our leader and father, Baba Bisi Akande, alongside Governor of the @StateofOsun, Alhaji @GboyegaOyetola in Ila Orangun. Baba advised us on #Endsars, insecurity amongst other issues!”

Naira exchanged to the dollar at 490/$ in the parallel market on Wednesday, after it had sold for N500 on Monday.

The Bureau De Change operators had attributed the devaluation the naira is currently experiencing to speculative activities of some operators.

The Central Bank of Nigeria however retained the official exchange rate at N379/$ on its website.

During the Annual Bankers Dinner organised by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria in Lagos on Friday, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, spoke on the exchange rate.

He said, “Like other emerging market countries and countries reliant on oil exports, the decline in crude oil earnings as well as the retreat by foreign portfolio investors significantly affected the supply of foreign exchange into Nigeria.

“In order to adjust for the decrease in supply of foreign exchange, the naira depreciated from N305/$ to N360/$ and subsequently to N380/$.

“With the decline in our foreign exchange earnings and successive exchange rate adjustments, the CBN has continued to implement a demand management framework, which is designed to bolster the production of items that can be produced in Nigeria, and aid conservation of our external reserves.”

The General Manager of the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency, Olajide Oduyoye, has said the agency has returned the money extorted from a motorist by a policeman attached to the enforcement unit of the agency.

It was gathered that the policeman collected the sum of N52,000 through a Point of Sales machine from the unidentified motorist for allegedly driving against the traffic.

The GM, in a series of tweets on Wednesday, stated that the cop had been identified and a report would be sent to the state police command to reprimand him.

He tweeted, “On Monday, I investigated a case of extortion involving a lady, whose vehicle was arrested wrongfully when the police squad attached to the LASTMA Enforcement Unit went to enforce the law on one-way driving without LASTMA personnel.

“While making arrests, this innocent motorist was also picked up and her vehicle brought to the headquarters. The vehicle was not booked for any offence. They negotiated from N150,000 and ended up fining her N52,000 using a POS for payment.

“She then called the LASTMA contact number and the incident was brought to my notice. I insisted on investigating the issue, identified the officer involved and the money was retrieved. We called the lady to return to LASTMA Headquarters to collect her money.

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission on Wednesday ordered power distribution companies to start disconnecting electricity consumers who reject meters.

Recently, the Federal Government commenced the mass deployment of about six million meters across the country in order to halt estimated billing and improve service delivery in the power sector.

But operators in the industry observed that some power users were opposed to being metered in order not to pay the exact sum for the electricity that they consume.

To address this, the power sector regulator issued an order on Wednesday mandating Discos to commence the disconnection of electricity users who opposed being metered.

This came as the acting Managing Director, Transmission Company of Nigeria, Sule Abdulaziz, told journalists in Abuja on Wednesday that the recent collapse of the country’s power grid was restored within 40 minutes.

Our correspondent gathered that the directives from the NERC to the 11 Discos were contained in various regulatory orders to the firms, for instance, Order No/NERC/220/2020, with the title, “Amended order on the capping of estimated bills for Yola Electricity Distribution Plc,” was issued to Yola Disco.

The regulator said the new orders were amendments to the previous ones on capping of estimated billing issued by the NERC in February 2020.

In the latest regulatory instrument, the NERC declared, “Any customer that rejects the installation of a meter on their premises by (Disco) shall not be entitled to supply and must be disconnected by (the Disco), and shall only be reconnected to the network after the meter has been installed.”

The directives to the Discos, which were jointly signed by the NERC Chairman, James Momoh, and a Commissioner, Dafe Akpeneye, took effect from November 1, 2020.

The order further stipulated other things that must be adhered to by power distributors, particularly as regards the capping of electricity bills for non-metered power users nationwide.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said he had no quarrel with the Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Gani Adams.

Obasanjo said his meeting with Adams at the residence  of a Chieftain of Afenifere ,Chief Ayo Adebanjo in Le­kki Phase was not on reconciliatory mission.

Obasanjo in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi on Wednesday said he paid a visit to Adebanjo, but met Adams there .

The former president had refused to grant Adams’ request to visit him when he was president and after he left  the office .

Obasanjo said he had his reservation about Adams’ past way of life­ which  he said  was not in acc­ord with his standard­ and principles.

The statement was titled, ‘No fight to warrant r­econciliation with Ad­ams  – Obasanjo.’

The statement reads partly, ‘It is true that I pai­d a personal visit to­ Chief Ayo Adebanjo a­t his residence in Le­kki Phase 1 on Decemb­er 2, 2020, and I met ­Gani Adams there.

“I have no quarrel wit­h Gani Adams, but for­ his past way of life­ which was not in acc­ord with my standard and principles.  I h­ave in the past, both­ in government and ou­t of government, refu­sed to grant Gani’s r­equest to visit me.

“If at all anybody fee­ls I have a quarrel w­ith him or her that n­eeds reconciliation, ­such reconciliation w­ill, no doubt, take p­lace in my residence ­in Abeokuta only.”

The Speaker of the Ogun State House Assembly, Olakunle Oluomo, on Wednesday said four lawmakers shared a toilet in the Assembly complex.

Oluomo stated this shortly before the state Governor, Dapo Abiodun, presented the 2021 budget proposal at the Assembly complex, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.

Oluomo had last year raised the concern during the budget presentation by the governor.

Apparently worried by the governor’s disinterest in addressing the facility challenges of the lawmakers one year after, the Speaker re-echoed the need to address the infrastructural decay at the Assembly complex.

He decried the poor state of office accommodation and toilet facility at the complex.

The Speaker also presented the prototype of a new Assembly complex designed by the lawmakers to the governor.

He said, “Let me state it here sir that apart from the Speaker and the deputy, no other member of the House has an anteroom, not to talk of having a secretariat for themselves.

“It is appalling to mention that it is one toilet to four honourable members in this Assembly.”

He added that some allowances due to the lawmakers had also not been paid.

Nigeria, Africa’s biggest oil producer and exporter, has resumed importation of petrol from China, the world’s top crude oil importer.

The Asian country shipped 37,000 metric tonnes of petrol to Nigeria in September for the first time since July 2019, data from General Administration of Customs showed, according to S&P Global Platts.

China, a major exporter of transportation fuels, has extended exports to Africa in recent years.

The first African country to receive Chinese petrol was Togo in April 2018 at 50,000 mt, followed by Nigeria in January 2019 at 51,000 mt, historical GAC data showed.

The most recent diesel exports from China to Africa were in June, with Kenya and South Africa receiving 40,000 mt and 35,000 mt, respectively, according to the data.

China’s annual crude oil imports increased by 0.9 million barrels per day in 2019 to an average of 10.1 million bpd, according to the United States Energy Information Administration.

The EIA said China’s new refinery capacity and strategic inventory stockpiling, combined with flat domestic oil production, were the major factors contributing to the increase in its crude oil imports in 2019.

Last year, China’s refinery capacity increased by 1.0 million bpd, primarily because two new refining and petrochemical complexes came online with capacities of 0.4 million bpd each.

As a result, the country’s refinery processing also increased to an all-time high in 2019, averaging 13.0 million bpd for the year, according to the EIA.

The Federal Government’s promise to help Nigerians convert their cars to run on gas from petrol has turned out to be a lie as persons interested in such conversions will now have to pay an average of N250,000.

The revelation comes barely two months after the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, said on NTA that the government would do the conversions free of charge in order to alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians affected by the spike in pump price of petrol.

Sylva had amid threats by the organised labour to embark on a strike, said the government would convert cars to run on gas for free.

The minister had said, “The alternative we are now introducing is gas which is definitely going to be cheaper than the subsidised rate of PMS. So, what we are trying to encourage Nigerians to do now is to convert their cars to dual fuel.

 “And when you convert your car for free, you go to the filling station, you see the price of PMS (Premium Motor Spirit), you see the price of gas, you can decide to buy LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) or CNG (Compressed Natural Gas), you can decide to buy LNG (Liquefied Natural gas). These are all going to be available and we are going to have a rollout plan for this within October.”

However, on Wednesday, the minister’s Technical Adviser on Gas Business and Policy Implementation, Justice Derefaka, said those interested in converting their vehicles would have to part with an average of N250,000, while persons using Sports Utility Vehicles may have to pay more.

He said this on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Wednesday.

When asked who would foot the bill, Derefaka replied, “Let me turn the question to you. Who owns the car?”

The abductors of a Chinese, who was whisked away on Friday on the Ado Ekiti-Iyin Ekiti Road in Ekiti State, have released him after the alleged payment of N100m ransom.

A source close to the road construction company that employed the Chinese said he was released on Tuesday around 11pm after the ransom was paid to the kidnappers in a bush in Kwara State.

“The Chinese was released very late on Tuesday after the payment of N100m ransom to the kidnappers. The money was taken to a bush in Kwara State before the man was released here at a very difficult location on the Igede-Ilawe Road in Ekiti State,” the source said.

The victim, who is part of the Chinese team working on the Ado-Iyin Road under construction, was kidnapped on Friday, while a policeman was killed in the process and one other person was hit by a stray bullet.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Sunday Abutu, confirmed the release of the Chinese, following a manhunt launched by law enforcement agents for the abductors.

Abutu, however, denied the payment of ransom before the victim was rescued from the kidnappers’ den.

“Yes, he was released after a serious manhunt and pressure from the security operatives around Ilawe-Igede around 11.30pm on Tuesday,” the police spokesperson said.

He assured residents of the state that the command would continue to do everything possible to chase away criminals from the state and ensure maximum security of lives and property.


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