Again, militants bomb NPDC pipeline in Delta

Niger Delta militants have again attacked another major oil delivery line belonging to the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, blowing up the facility at Ogor-Oteri in the Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State.

A local community source told our correspondent that the attack was heralded by heavy explosions during Tuesday’s downpour at about 3am.

A militant group, Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate, which threatened to attack oil facilities in the upland parts of the region, claimed responsibility for the attack.

The group, in a statement by its spokesman, Aldo Agbalaja, on Tuesday, stated, “At about 0300hrs of today, Tuesday, August 30, 2016, the uproot team B of the NDGJM brought down the Ogor-Oteri major delivery line Operated by NPDC/Shoreline.”

The statement asked oil companies, operating in the region, to evacuate their workers from the Warri and Port Harcourt Refineries so as to avoid heavy casualty in a series of attacks in the coming days.

It also announced that the Pigging Manifold in Agbarha, the country home of the Ibru family, had also been marked for attack.

It read, “To this end, we are alerting all those working in the UQCC/UPS Erhomukokwarien in Ughelli, Eriemu Pigging Manifold in Agbarha, Otorogun Gas Plant, Olomoro Flow Station,  Warri Refinery, Port Harcourt Refinery, Eleme, Ob-Ob And Obite Gas Plants in Omoku to evacuate because what is coming to those facilities are beyond what anybody has seen before.

“We do not want innocent blood being spilled; therefore, we advise all indigenes living in the vicinities of the facilities to relocate for the time being.”

The group also condemned some leaders in the region, who it accused of pursuing selfish interest for pecuniary gains.

It added, “Those in the field, just for the money, will quickly rush to align with the Pa E. K. Clark’s arrangement because they were, as a matter of fact, created by some of the people co-travelling with Clark.

“We want to reiterate our lack of confidence in the Clark-led arrangement. Chief Clark is not the leader of the whole of Niger Delta; he can hold the front for the Ijaw nation but definitely not for all the ethnic nations in the region.”

Again, Buhari orders NNPC to search for oil in North

For the second time in three weeks, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has received an express order from President Muhammadu Buhari to explore for oil in the North.


This time, the President directed the national oil firm to commence exploration activities in the Benue Trough. The Benue Trough is a major geological formation underlying a large part of Nigeria, extending about 1,000km North-East from the Bight of Benin to Lake Chad.

The Group Managing Director, NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, disclosed the President’s directive on the oil expolration in the North while receiving a delegation from the Benue State Government at the corporation’s headquarters in Abuja.

About three weeks ago, the President had directed the corporation to speed up its prospect for oil in the region, specifically in the Chad Basin and Kolmani River, following the reported discovery of hydrocarbons by Shell in the area.

The 19 northern state governors are also fired up about the prospect of oil production in their domain as they have hired a British firm through the Northern Nigeria Development Company, which they jointly own, to carry out the exploration activities.

But energy analysts and several socio-cultural and other interest groups on Tuesday expressed divergent views on the pressure by the President on the NNPC as regards oil exploration in the North.

The NNPC GMD, in a statement from the corporation on Tuesday, said the new directive was in line with the current efforts to guarantee energy security of the country.

Baru said, “Very close home, we have exploration activities on the Frontier Basin, that is in the Chad; and there are some areas close to the Kolmani River where Shell has made indicative discovery of hydrocarbons and Mr. President has directed me to go into that area to further explore the magnitude and prospects of those finds.

“We are taking steps to get into those regions. We will reinvigorate the frontier exploration and see how they collaborate with the Northern Nigeria Development Company that is holding Block 809 where some of the finds have been found. We will also do the same at the Department of Petroleum Resources for the other blocks that have not been assigned, and work towards proving the prospects of that region.”

But the Ijaw Youth Council and Urhobo Monitoring and Development Group while reacting to the presidential directive said it was a good initiative but came at a wrong time.

The IYC, an umbrella body for the Ijaw youths worldwide, said that the timing for the directive was wrong because of the prevailing situation in the oil industry at the international market, which made such a venture economically unwise.

A statement signed by the spokesman for the group, Eric Omare, said one would have expected that President Buhari-led government should focus on diversifying the nation’s ailing economy, especially areas where the different regions had comparative advantage over the other.

“Ordinary, the IYC would be excited by not just a Presidential directive to explore for oil in any part of the North but discovery of oil in the North. This is so because we strongly believe that the struggle of the people of the Niger Delta region for equitable distribution of oil money would become a reality once oil is found in the North as well.”

On its part, the National President of the Urhobo Monitoring and Development Group, Kingsley Oberuruaria, posited that while the directive was good, it was a self-serving step to further annihilate the people of the region from benefitting from its God-given natural resources.

Oberuruaria explained that the desire of the President was to cut the region out of the country’s scheme of things once oil production fully came alive in that region while the Niger Delta, which had been feeding the nation, would forever be neglected.

The Niger Delta youth leader posited that such a presidential directive should be put into various ailing industries in the country such as the Delta Steel Company in Aladja, Delta State, which he said was capable of employing hundreds of thousands of unemployed Nigerian youths.

“I’m sure this directive was as a result of the prevailing crisis in the Niger Delta region. President Buhari has been looking for ways to cut off the region instead of being resolute to develop the region which has been neglected by every successive government,” he said.

But two prominent leaders of the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, Chief Sehinde Arogbofa and Yinka Odumakin, differed on the issue.

Arogbofa, who is the Secretary-General of the association, said it would be part of the way to restructure the country, which the association had been clamouring for.

He said, “There is nothing wrong if they find oil in the North. That is why we are calling for restructuring; if that is his (Buhari) own restructuring agenda, it is okay. We already have oil in the South and if he orders for prospect of oil in the North, there is nothing wrong in that .”

But the group’s spokesman, Odumakin, said it was a wasted effort. He recalled, “Mr. Alan Lennox-Boyde, the Secretary of State for the Colonies in a memorandum on Nigerian Constitutional Conference wrote in 1958: The North fears and dislikes the more educated Southerners and if they were not economically bound to the federation, they would be glad to be quit of it. What he stated has not changed much till date and this may explain the desperate search for oil in the North at a time oil is becoming worthless.”

Also, the President, Campaign for Democracy, Bako Usman, said the President was not getting good advice.

He said, “What is worth doing, they say, is worth doing well. We as a people need to acknowledge the fact that this government needs an effective economic direction. For now, most people around Mr. President on the pay roll of taxpayers money are just but ill Advisers.

The Pan-northern socio-cultural group, Arewa Consultative Forum, said it was not aware of the  Presidential pronouncement on oil exploration in the region.

The National Publicity Secretary of the forum, Muhammad Ibrahim, told one of our correspondents in Kaduna on Tuesday that he was not aware of Buhari’s order to the NNPC to prospect for oil in the region.

The Head of Energy Research, Ecobank Capital, Mr. Dolapo Oni, said the move must have been informed by the need to reduce the reliance on the Niger Delta and reduce the country’s vulnerability to attacks in the region.

He said, “But, at a time when we don’t have enough money to run the economy, even though oil servicing charges are a lot lesser now due to the drop in oil prices, it is still not the right time to dedicate a large amount of money to search for oil in the North.

“Ideally, the idea will be a concession and allow companies do whatever they need to do. If we want to do 2D and 3D seismic, we can do it, gather that data and allow oil companies to come and do their own search. But if we are dedicating the NNPC’s scarce resources to going beyond the 2D and 3D, I think it may not be the best of time.”

The Project Director, Uquo Gas Field Development, a joint venture project by Frontier Oil Limited and Seven Energy, Mr. Abdullahi Bukar, described the renewed efforts towards exploring for oil in the Benue Trough and Chad Basin as a very good development.

He said, “I hope that a well-thought-out policy will be put in place because anything that will increase Nigeria’s oil and gas reserves is very welcome.”

The Chief Executive Officer, Cowry Asset Management Limited, Mr. Johnson Chukwu, said the discovery of oil in Niger Republic must have been a major boost for Nigeria to continue to prospect for oil in the Sahel region.

Describing the effort to diversify the nation’s oil and gas production as a good move, he said, “It depends on the level of resources being committed to it. I think it is something the government needs to be very circumspect in committing resources to it. It is very likely that what would be achieved in the Chad Basin will be marginal deposits. So, I don’t think the government is going to be too bullish in terms of the resources it is going to commit to such effort.”

The Director-General, West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management, Prof. Akpan Ekpo, said, “There is nothing wrong in getting more oil. But my worry is the dependence on non-renewable resources without adding value to it.”

Again, NASS sends corrected 2016 Budget to Buhari

The Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Jonathan Gaza, on Thursday, said the corrected version of the 2016 budget has been transmitted to President Muhammadu Buhari for consideration.

Again, NASS sends corrected 2016 Budget to Buhari
Again, NASS sends corrected 2016 Budget to Buhari

Disclosing this to journalists yesterday at the National Assembly complex, Gaza said the budget has been resent to the Presidency through the Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senate, Senator Ita Enang.

He said, “It is the same media that has kept the whole country abreast. Don’t forget that we are equally Nigerians and it is our desire for the country to move forward.

A committee was set up, which was in the papers and was headed by the deputy speaker. Members from the Senate as well as the executive arm looked at the budget and I believe the resolutions have been transmitted or rather the resolutions have been submitted to the President.

“I am quite optimistic and I enjoin all other Nigerians, including yourselves, to be as optimistic as me that in the very near future, this budget will be signed into law.”

Gaza while commenting on when the budget was submitted and whether it was an amendment that was submitted said, “Well, I honestly believe that we have to be quite careful with our choice of words.

“Over time, there have been differences and both arms of government had sat down to look at what those issues are. Most importantly, what we want is to see our country and our economy moving forward.”

Recall that the current budget has been immersed in series of controversies following the refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari to sign it.

Citing the exemption of some key projects from the budget document, Buhari had severally returned the document to the National Assembly for re-evaluation.