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Dark Clouds over Dangote Refinery Take Off



One of the most worrying catching eyesore across the entire topographical landscape of Nigeria, South West Africa is the plethora of failed projects that dots all zones. This is not limited to critical infrastructure alone, but hugely economic and social projects. In this national orgy, all the three tiers of government are entangled in the cobwebs of stuck projects, satirically called “white elephants” projects. The Mambilla power project clearly exemplified this ugly profile of projects management in the Country. Therefore, at the onset, the expected coming on steam of the much celebrated Dangote Refinery and Petrochemicals project was received with much trepidation by a lot of stakeholders.

Since 2016, when the project kicked off in Lekki Peninsula axis of Ibeju Lekki Local Government area of Lagos State, after the rancorous exit from the original planned site around Olokola Free Trade Zone between Ondo and Ogun States, not many stakeholders placed much enthusiasm on it. Not with the distressing tales that followed the exit from that axis. But Dangote Group, the Chief Promoter of the ambitious single line refinery project soldiers on. The Group had mobilozed a sizeable funds internally, but still needed the intervention of some banks to pull through. Thus, some five banks were approached. And with the funds pulled together from the five banks, the project initially estimated to cost nine billion US dollars, but which has been jacked up to over twenty billion dollars, kick started in 2016, when the contractors moved to the site.

The jack up gap in costs, from its initial estimated cost of nine billion dollars, to more than doubled to over twenty billion dollars, was however, attributed to the peculiar exigencies of the Nigerian microeconomic environment vis-à-vis its relations with the global economy. recalled that the President of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, had, in 2013 announced his intention to construct the refinery puts it total estimated cost at about nine billion dollars.
But, the erstwhile governor of Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) embattled Godwin Emefiele, at the commissioning of the refinery on Monday, May 22, said the cost had escalated astronomically by 2017 due to multiple factors. sources, both at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL), CBN and Dangote refinery itself, now put the costs at over twenty billion dollars.
The refinery was scheduled to start pumping out refined Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) by the close of August, but towards the tail end of September, confusion now reigns within the top echelon of the management of the company over when production will start.

When the President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, gaily announced “now that the subsidy is gone”, in the middle of his inaugural speech at the Eagle’s Square, Federal Capital Territory, (FCT), Abuja that mild sunny afternoon on May 29, paramount at the back of his mind is the much touted Dangote Refinery and Petro Chemical Industries said to be almost ready for commissioning in Lekki Peninsula axis of Lagos State. As at the time, the refinery complex projected to be the largest single line refinery in African had just been commissioned by the then out-going President, Muhammadu Buhari, and it was billed to stream rolled the first refined products by the end of August of the year 2023. But this was not to be, for certain imprecise reasons.

Not long after the May 29 gassy outburst of the Mr. President, news filtered out from Aso Rock, the seat of the Presidential power, that another local refinery, the Port Harcourt Petro Chemical Industries, too shall rev back to life and start refining fuel before the end of the year. There were loud cheers from all corners, particularly, the major stakeholders. The general believe was that should the two refineries start working, producing Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) for local consumption, there is every likelihood that the pump price of the product shall crash from the almost 600 naira per litre.

Hopes had been raised beyond normal bar, when the refinery was inaugurated amidst glitz and fanfare towards the tail end of President Muhammadu Buhari administration in May. The main promoter of the project, The Dangote Group, had announced that production would start by late August. The completion of the complex was a significant milestone for Nigeria’s oil industry.
Garba Deen, a spokesperson for the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), had also stated in June of this year that the company (NNPC) planned to reduce its fuel imports once the Dangote Oil Refinery commenced production in August. However, all these huge expectations are fast turning into a mirage.

While the August ending promised for production kick off, has since paled into part of the nation’s past without a drop of a litre of refined PMS from Dangote Refinery, the price of the commodity has further surged upwards in the last two weeks, and threatening to further shoot up. This has prompted the Tinubu’s presidency to moved through the petroleum Octopoda corporation, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to force the price to stay at 680 naira despite the unstable strength of the local currency, naira against the US dollars.
As the country snail gradually from September to December, there is no sign that either of the two refineries was come alive before the end of the year. And the implication of this is that the importation regime shall continue unabated, with all its attendants foibles. learnt in Lagos that there is so much dark clouds over the production kick off of the refinery. The management of Dangote Refinery, sources told our correspondent, has now refused to come out with an official date for the start of petrol refining at the Ibeju-Lekki facility.
The refinery, boasting an initial processing capacity of 540,000 barrels per day, was positioned to meet 100 percent of Nigeria’s refined petroleum needs while generating a surplus for export, potentially yielding an impressive $11 billion in annual revenue.

The ambitious $20.5-billion project aimed to transform Nigeria into a net exporter of refined petroleum products and petrochemicals by 2026, bolstering the nation’s economy and reducing its dependence on imported fuel.
Nigerian businessman Aliko Dangote had unveiled early plans for the refinery in September 2013, when he announced that he had secured about $3.3 billion in financing for the project. At the time, the refinery was estimated to cost about $9 billion, of which $3 billion would be invested by the Dangote Group and the remainder via commercial loans, and begin production in 2016. However, after a change in location to Lekki, construction of the refinery did not begin until 2016 with excavation and infrastructure preparation, and the planned completion was pushed back to late 2018.

In July 2017, major structural construction began, and Dangote estimated that the refinery would be mechanically complete in late 2019 and commissioned in early 2020. According to Reuters, citing sources familiar with the project, construction was likely to take at least twice as long as Dangote publicly stated, with partial refining capability not likely to be achieved until 2022. An associated project at the site of the refinery, a urea fertilizer factory, was scheduled to begin operation in late 2018 and produce about three million tons of urea annually. In 2018 the project was expected to cost up to $15 billion in total, with $10 billion invested in the refinery, $2.5 billion in the fertilizer factory, and $2.5 billion in pipeline infrastructure.

In July 2022, Dangote – African richest man – had to borrow 187 billion naira (about 442 million USD) at 12.75% resp. 13.5% p.a. to complete the refinery. Fitch Ratings noted that the refinery’s start date has been postponed three times in four years and feared diminished investor confidence if operations do not begin in 2023. At the same time, all of the four refineries of the state-owned oil company NNPCL (one in Kaduna, two in Port Harcourt and another one in Warri) are currently idle. The Port Harcourt refinery may start to process crude oil again in 2023 after “revamping”, if ‘Nigeria factor’ do not set in.

Although, the completion of the Port Harcourt refinery’s power plant was announced in January 2023 and the inauguration was expected to take place at the end of the first quarter of 2023. A target already missed. However, no official reason was adduced for the failure to meet the target.
The Dangote Refinery is an oil refinery owned by Aliko Dangote that was inaugurated on the 22nd of May 2023 in Lekki, Nigeria. When in full operation, it is expected to have the capacity to process about 650,000 barrels per day of crude oil, making it the largest single-train refinery in the world. The investment is over 19 billion US dollars.
The 650,000 barrels per day (bpd) refinery, the biggest single train refinery in the world, was commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari and graced by other African presidents, including Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana and Mohamed Bazoum of Niger Republic.

The project comprised a refinery, petrochemical, urea and fertiliser sections, and a subsea pipeline project, the refinery is expected to meet Nigeria’s oil demands and help with its available foreign exchange buffer.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has disclosed that Nigeria needs a refining capacity of about 1.52 million barrels per day (mbps) to meet its local petrol consumption by 2025.

Even if the four NNPCL’s refineries, with the total nameplate capacity of 445,000 mbps and the Dangote refinery’s 650,000 bps, the country will still have a shortfall of about 427,000 bps, equivalent to 20 million litres of petrol daily.
Nigeria, despite being Africa’s biggest crude oil producer, has faced recurring fuel shortages as the country’s dilapidated oil refineries are comatose to refine crude products that could serve to optimal capacity.
The country has relied for many years on importing petrol, diesel and other processed petroleum products. (14 September, 2023)

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Real Reasons Makinde Refuses To Announce New Alaafin



Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State

Some fresh facts have started emerging why Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State rejected the candidate selected by the body of Oyomesi,(Kingmakers) in Oyo Town, to succeed the departed Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Atanda Adeyemi 11.

The late monarch died on April 22, 2022 and since then, over nineteen months, a successor is yet to be announced.
No less than sixty-five princess from the Agunloye Ruling House, including an octogenarian priest, Bishop Ayo Ladigbolu, did put in an application to succeed the late flamboyant monarch. But after a laborious exercise, that lasted about four months, the Oyomesi claimed that they have submitted a name to the Executive Governor since 30 September, 2022.
The Governor on his part neither confirmed nor denied being in possession of a recommended name from the Oyomesi. But he just kept mute and refused to announced a name.

The body of Oyomesi however, speculatively approached the State High Court, sitting in oyo town, when they suspected that the Governor might announced a different candidate from their preferred choice. The case is still pending before the State Chief Judge who is yet to assign it to a trial Judge.
But in a new twists, gathered in the ancient town of Oyo that the Governor ‘might be protecting the ancient stool from despoliation by his tardiness in announcing a substantive Alaafin’.

Since 1823, Sokoto Caliphate has had a near obsession to annex Oyo into its estate, using the proxy emirate at Ilorin.
A source revealed to that there are a lot of external influences circling around the Oyomesi trying to influence the selection process.
It was further revealed that a prince with very deep affiliation to the Caliphate through Ilorin, and had gotten the support of the Sultan of Sokoto had successfully infiltrated the Oyomesi to influence the successor of Adeyemi III.

The prince was said to have the confidence of the Chief Imam of Oyo Town and that of the Muslims’ Rights Council (MURIC), in his bid to ascend the throne.
‘These people put immense pressure on the Bashorun to compromise the selection process, so that he can recommend the selection of a prince with Fulani blood’.
‘This prince’, further gathered, ‘has more loyalty to Usman Dan Fodio philosophy and heritage than the Yoruba heritage’.

Governor Makinde was said to have seen through the shenanigans and decided to outrightly cancelled the selection process and ordered a fresh one, which the Oyomesi strongly objected to.
The source revealed that ‘Governor Seyi Makinde rejected the process at the risk of his second term in office and insisted on a new selection process with total autonomy of the Oyomesi from Sokoto/Ilorin Fulani caliphate’s influence’.

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EFCC Arraigns 11 OAU Undergraduates for Alleged Internet Fraud



Eleven of the sixty-nine students of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State, arrested by the operatives of the Ibadan Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday (31 October) over alleged fraudulent internet activities have been charged to court.

The remaining fifty-eight arrested students have since been released.
The students were arraigned before Justice Nathaniel Ayo-Emmanuel of the Federal High Court, Osogbo for their alleged involvement in internet fraud. recalled that about 69 students of the institution were arrested over alleged fraudulent internet activities at the end of the operation. The operation reportedly lasted between about 1.40 a.m. and 4 a.m. on Wednesday. The suspects were ferried to the EFCC zonal office in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital for interrogations.

This was disclosed in a statement by the Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Dele Oyewale, on Tuesday (07 November).
Oyewale said the defendants were arraigned on different count charges, ranging from one to six charges, as preferred against them by the EFCC.
The defendants are: Perekebena Olombeni Micah, Nnekwelugo Nnaemeka, Moyosore Favour Oluwasakin, Aghwaritoma Wisdom Obaro, Daniel Olashile Maiye, Gbolahan Khalid Adesina, Yinka Temitope Jayeola, Olumuyiwa Emmanuel Adeleye, Abiola Emmanuel Oluwadare, Busari Abdulazeez Ayodeji and Okesipe Tobiloba Paul.

Nine of the defendants were arraigned on one-count charge each, while the remaining two: Micah and Obaro, had six-count charges filed against each of them.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Perekebena Olombeni Micah sometimes in 2023 in Osogbo, Osun State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did fraudulently impersonated the name – Pies through your Whatsapp account phone number +1(414)367-9473 by claiming that you are an American Female in love with your victims in the United States of America with intent to gain advantage for yourself and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22 (2) (b) (i) and punishable under Section 22 (2) (b) of the Cyber Crimes (Prohibition, Prevention etc.) Act, 2015.”

Another count reads: “That you, Aghwaritoma Wisdom Obaro on or about 1st November, 2023 at Ile-Ife, Osun State, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, fraudulently impersonated by representing yourself to be a white man by name Alex Stephens from United States of America to one Megan Johnson, through your Google Chat and your email address ( with intent to gain advantage for yourself and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22 (2) (b) (i) and punishable under Section 22 (2) (b) of the Cyber Crimes (Prohibition, Prevention etc.) Act, 2015.”

Upon their arraignments, they all pleaded “not guilty” to the charges when they were read to them.
Consequently, prosecution counsel, Oluwatoyin Owodunni, prayed the court for trial dates and the remand of the defendants in a Correctional Centre.
In response, defence counsels to Ayodeji, Adesina, Oluwasakin, Micah, Adeleye and Okesipe informed the court of “motions for bail applications” filed on behalf of their clients, which have been served on the prosecution, therefore urging the court to admit the six defendants to bail in the most liberal terms.

Justice Ayo-Emmanuel, having listened to the prayers of both parties, admitted Ayodeji, Adesina, Oluwasakin, Micah, Adeleye and Okesipe to bail.
Ayodeji, Adesina, Oluwasakin, Adeleye and Okesipe were admitted to bail in the sum of N2 million each, while Micah was granted bail in the sum of N3 million.
Other bail conditions are: two sureties in like sum, first surety must be the defendant’s father or mother; the second surety must be a relative, sibling, clergy or civil servant with the Osun State Government; the sureties must depose to an affidavit of means and both residential and office addresses of the sureties, as well as their statuses, must be provided and verified by the court registrar.

The judge adjourned the matters to November 29 and December 12, 2023 respectively for commencement of trial and remanded the defendants at the Ilesha Correctional Centre, Osun State pending the perfection of their bail conditions.

The defendants were among the 69 suspected internet fraudsters arrested on November 1, 2023 at Oduduwa Estate area of Ile-Ife in Osun State following actionable intelligence on their alleged involvement in fraudulent internet-related activities.

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Nigerians Says No as Labour Declare Strike



Organised Labour, consisting of the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress, (TUC), have been advised to shelve their proposed nationwide strike slated to take off on November 14.

Many Nigerians spoken to were particularly displeased that the workers could be contemplating such an economic debilitating move at this point in time, when the nation is grasping for breath economically. recalled that the leadership of the two unions on Tuesday (07 November) declared a total nationwide strike effective November 14, 2023.
The leadership of the two unions reached the resolution after an extraordinary National Executive Council meeting on Tuesday in Abuja.
The leadership of the NLC and the TUC had summoned what the unions described as an extraordinary NEC meeting.

The aim of the meeting was to review the modalities of the planned strike following the brutalisation of the National President of the NLC, Joe Ajaero, review of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Federal Government and the organised labour on October 2, 2023, following the removal of the subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit which the labour centres said has caused “untold hardship” to Nigerians.

The labour unions had, on Friday, issued a five-day ultimatum over the earlier arrest of the National President of the NLC, by the police in Owerri, Imo State, on Wednesday.
The labour centres demanded the redeployment of the commissioner of police in the state and the arrest and prosecution of the aide of the government who was alleged to have perpetrated the attack.

The unions also threatened to embark on a nationwide industrial action if their demands were not met in five days from Friday.
But a Labour Lawyer, Mr. Richard Akinola counselled the unions to perish the plan, at least for now.
He wrote, ‘dear NLC, l was one person that came out unapologetically to condemn the brutalization of your president, Joe Ajaero in Imo state and l still stand by that condemnation.
‘However, by declaring a national strike over that assault is stretching your luck too far. You have trivialized strike as a tool that nobody takes you serious again. You have demystified yourself and the potency of strike. So, you mean workers in Maiduguri would go on strike because of what happened in imo?

He added that ‘you people mean employers who have no trade dispute with their workers would shut down in this struggling economy and you expect them to pay the workers? When you abuse the power of strike, it loses its potency. You guys must be joking’, he warned the workers.

An Ikeja based businessman, Engr. Charles Nwaneke was more furious. He lamented the huge wage bills he had to contends with every month, and now the workers are planning to disrupt what was left of his staggering business.

He urged the workers to always towed a path of peace and development. recalled that NLC President, Ajaero was arrested by the police ahead of the state-wide protest in Imo on Wednesday. This was disclosed by the NLC’s Head of Information, Benson Upah.

Although the police denied arresting Ajaero, stating that he was merely taken into protective custody to prevent a mob attack, the Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, accused the labour leader of meddling in the political affairs of the state.

The attack on the labour leader has been condemned by many prominent Nigerians and civil society organisations, including the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 elections, Peter Obi, and human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN).

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