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Gov. Akeredolu, NDLEA Boss, Abdallah In Thailand To Learn How To Grow Cannabis

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Rotimi Akeredolu, the governor of Ondo state and Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah rtd, the chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA)  are in Thailand to learn more about Cannabis extract development.

The programme which started on Monday focuses on modalities for planting, licensing and extracting cannabis oil from Ondo state.

Akeredolu while at the programme said he appreciated the Thai Government and said Ondo State is known as the largest in the planting state of cannabis.

He said  “we are here to study how cannabis can be of more advantage to the state and Nigeria at large just  the way Thai Government has done. Cannabis is used for medical purposes; how can it be cultivated for specific purposes  and not be abused?”.

Col. Abdullah said the current trend in the world is to look into the advantage of cannabis in the making of food and drugs.

They also visited the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Naresuan University, Phitsanulok where the Management made presentations on how to control cannabis, licensing, pharmaceutical benefits of cannabis etc

They also toured the University’s Cannabis research laboratory where Governor Akeredolu  proposed that they also work along with Nigerian species during their research as Ondo State is ready for partnership with the Naresuan University Team.

Last year, presidential canididate of the African Action Congress, Omoyele Sowore had proposed the legalisation of Cannabis for export in Nigeria as opposed to the burning of the plant by the NDLEA.

In April 2019, Uganda became the first African country to sign a deal worth $160 million to export cannabis to Canada and Gemany were it will be used for medical and recreational puposes.

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FG to ban individual ownership of cooking gas cylinders

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The federal government says consumers of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) also known as cooking gas won’t be allowed to own cylinders anymore.

Speaking at a stakeholders’ forum on LPG penetration in Abuja on Tuesday, Ibe Kachikwu, minister of state for petroleum resources, said the government will introduce a policy that would require that the ownership of the cylinders rests strictly with the dealers and distributors.

He said the policy was part of the strategy to deepen LPG penetration and address issues of safety.

Represented by Brenda Ataga, his senior technical assistant, Kachikwu said the government has reached an agreement with two original cylinder manufacturers to deliver 600,000 cylinders to LPG distributors on credit, with a payback period of 18 months.

He said the government will soon commence a clampdown exercise on illegal roadside LPG dealers and advised all skid operators to “immediately convert their outlets to micro distribution centres (MDCs) before the enforcement begins”.

Ataga explained that consumers would only pay for the content of cylinders when the exercise begins.

“The MDCs will essentially create and introduce into the market what we call the cylinder exchange programme, whereby the cylinders are owned by the distributors.

“There is no need for you to decant for anybody that comes in, and that eliminates illegal risks as well.

“You would fill them at the refill plants that would be tied to you and exchange it with your customers because you know your customers already.

“Your customers pay for only the content, while you own the cylinders and control the management of those cylinders.

“It is for us to be able to, at any point in time, discern and discover cylinders that are bad, cylinders that need recertification and cylinders that need to be removed from circulation.

“We put that onus on distributors going forward, to support the safe and standard method of selling LPG.

“I tell you today that Nigeria is the only country in West Africa that does not practice the re-circulation model.

“Everyone has moved away from this because, again, most of the population cannot afford cylinders. So, you have to remove that cost from them.”

In 2015 when he was the group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Kachikwu had said the government had plans to distribute gas cylinders to households at no cost.

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Tension in NNPC over postings, fresh recruitment

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There is tension in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over the retirement and deployment of 30 officials, which was approved by the Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru.

There were fears that the corporation was losing good hands to mediocrity and subservience.

It was also alleged that  the ongoing recruitment, if it follows a similar pattern, may be a cosmetic exercise calculated to ingratiate particular interests.

But NNPC said there was no cause for alarm because  the shake-up and retirement were normal and followed due process.

The presidency has been called upon to reverse the postings to give a sense of belonging to all parts of the country.

A three-page document sighted by our correspondent, with a covering note and two attachments, each page signed at both ends of the paper with a red pen by Baru, details the postings of 19 top officials to new offices.

There have been concerns about the abrogation of due process and disregard for extant regulations in the administration of the NNPC, promotions, postings and responsibilities generating misgiving because they seem visibly skewed in favour of particular interests and tendencies.

It has been alleged, for instance, that certain individuals have rapidly ascended the positions of Manager, General Manager, Group General Manager and much more, in less than three years, most noticeably under the current dispensation in the organisation.

By the new postings, Anas Mustapha Mohammed, General Manager (Cover) Operations, West African Pipelines Company, WAPCO, becomes substantive General Manager, Operations, WAPCO; Usman Faruk, Manager, Asset Management, Nigerian Gas Management Company, NGMC, assumes office as Executive Director, Asset Management, NGMC; while Ali Mohammed Sarki, Manager Exploration, Chad Basin, is promoted General Manager, Chad Basin FES. All three postings are to take effect from May 6, 2019.

Osarolube Ezekiel, who was until recently General Manager/Technical Assistant (Refining) to the GMD, becomes Managing Director, MD, Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company, KRPC. Ihya, Aaondover Mson, Manager Rehabilitation, KRPC, takes over from Osarolube Ezekiel in the office of the GMD in the same portfolio. This swap is with effect from May 13.

Isah Abubakar Lapai, Executive Director, Services, Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Ltd, NPDC, moves over to Group General Manager, GGM, NNPC Leadership Academy; Umar Hamza Ado, Manager, Human Resources, Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company, becomes Executive Director, Services, NPDC. Garba Adamu Kaita, MD NIKORMA Transport Services Ltd, a subsidiary of NNPC, becomes GM, Human Resources and Administrative Services, Duke Oil. All three postings take effect between May 14 and May 19.

Under the new postings, Manager, Human Resources (Pension), Ossai Uche, becomes GM Support Services, Nigerian Gas Company, NGC, with effect from May 30. Usman Umar, Manager Technical Services, Renewable Energy Division, RED, moves up as Executive Director, Operations, KRPC, effective June 6, 2019; Ehizoje Ighodaro, Manager, OML 26/30 NPDC, assumes duties as GM (Upstream) and Technical Assistant, TA, to the GMD, beginning from June 14, 2019. Ahmed Mohammed Abdulkadir who functioned as GM (Downstream) and Technical Assistant to the GMD transits to Managing Director, Nigerian Gas and Marketing Company, NGMC, Gas and Power, beginning from June 16, 2019.

Read also: Why we replaced top management cadre, by NNPC

Lere Isa Aliyu, Manager, Direct Sales Direct Purchase, DSDP Crude Oil Marketing Division, COMD, becomes GM/TA Downstream Office of the GMD as from June 16. Richard-Obioha Mayrose Nkemegina, Manager Power Contract and Management, becomes General Manager, New Liquefied Natural Gas, LNG Ventures of the LNG Investments Management Services, LIMS with effect from July 3, the same day Dikko Ahmed, General Manager, New LNG Ventures, LIMS, becomes General Manager, NLNG, LIMS.

Ibrahim Sarafa Ayobami, Manager Projects, National Engineering and Technical Company Ltd, NETCO, becomes Executive Director, NPDC on July 16, 2019; Usman Yusuf, Group General Manager/Senior Technical Assistant to the GMD becomes Managing Director, NPDC; Sambo Mansur Sadiq, General Manager, Crude Oil Stock Management, swaps positions with Usman Yusuf, becoming GGM/STA to the GMD. Boggu Louis Tizhe, Manager, Pricing and Valuation, Crude Oil Marketing Division, COMD, becomes General Manager, COMD. All postings take effect on July 17.

Drawing a parallel with the civil service, a top level source within the NNPC faulted the shake-up.

The top source expressed worries about why such senior level postings were “hastily” announced in the twilight of the life span of the present administration, when the government is in transition, with some of the postings scheduled to take effect a month from now, even two months from now.

The source added: “If these postings and appointments were not premeditated, why the haste in appointing people in May into positions they will not be occupying earlier than two months from now? Are they going on any special training or courses to prepare them for their new responsibilities? Aren’t we all under the over-arching umbrella of the NNPC?

“There are also concerns about the deepening of the socio-political gulf in the country, as evidenced by the recent NNPC postings.

“Please take a good look at this list of just 19 postings. Yes, it may be termed internal staff deployment. But out of the 19 movements and promotions in certain instances, 13 of them are from the North. Symbolically, there are three names from the South-South, two from the South-East and one from the South-West. What manner of posting is this? Where is federal character? Where is justice, equity and fairness? Are we all constituents of this same country? You share 19 positions and 13 are appropriated to one part of the country and you tell us all is well?”

The source said the postings might be a pointer to how the ongoing recruitment by NNPC might be skewed to favour some groups.

The source added: “Maybe we should just assume that the recent advertisements for applications into Customs, Prisons and Fire Services might as well follow the same pattern. It is becoming very clear that some animals are more equal than the others in the present political dispensation.”

He expressed the hope that The Presidency will take prompt, decisive and appropriate steps to redress the imbalances in the recent NNPC staff deployment and by extension, revisit similar developments in all state-owned institutions and organisations, to engender fairness and fairplay.

Meanwhile, the  Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) yesterday described the staff movement as “ normal replacement and backfill exercise” to bridge the gap occasioned by impending retirement of some management staff of the corporation, among others.

NNPC Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, in a statement in Abuja, explained that the exercise involved statutory retirement of 11 of its senior management staff as well as redeployment of 19 others.

He said such replacements were always effected before the final exit of the concerned staff.

Ughamadu said in  all 30 senior staff were affected by both the statutory retirements and redeployment.

He listed staff on statutory retirement between 1st May and 31 July to include: General Manager, Chad Basin, Aniya Francis Umaru, who is from the North-Eastern part of the country and retired on May 6th, 2019; Adewale Solomon Ladenegan, Managing Director, KRPC, who hails from the South-West and retired on May 13th, 2019 and Musa Sulyman Gimba, who is the Group General Manager, NNPC Leadership Academy, who also is from the North-East and retired on May 14th, 2019.

Others include:  Umma Ayuba Musa, who is the General Manager, HR & Admin Services, Duke Oil, from North-West and retired on May 19th, 2019;  Emmanuel–Ate Mariagoretti Ndidi, General Manager, Support Services, NGC, from the South-South who will retire on May 30th, 2019; Tsavnande Thaddeaus Atighir, Executive Director, Operations, from North-Central; Okor Ovieghara, General Manager, Upstream/TA to GMD, who hails from the South-South; Barau Mohammed Kabir, Managing Director, NGMC, who is from the North-West; Dawaki Salihi Abubakar, the General Manager NLNG, LIMS, from the North-West; Ibrahim Aminu Bagudu, the Executive Director, ETSD, NPDC, who is from the North-West and Yusuf Shimingah Matashi, the Managing Director, NPDC, who hails from the North-West retires on 17th July, 2019.

The 19 redeployed staff  are  Anas Mustapha Mohammed, Usman Faruk, Ali Muhammed Sarki, Osarolube Ezekiel, Ihya Aondoaver Mson, Isah Abubakar Lapal, Umar Hamza Ado, Garba Adamu Kaita, Ossai Uche, Usman Umar, Ehizoje Tunde Ighodaro, Ahmed Mohammed Abdulkabir and Lere Isa Aliyu.

Others are: Richard-Obioha Maryrose Nkemegina, Dikko Ahmed, Ibrahim Sarafa Ayobami, Usman Yusuf, Sambo Mansur Sadiq and Buggu Louis Tizhe.

The NNPC spokesman said it was usual for the corporation to obtain approval on replacements of retiring staff ahead of schedule.

He said this was the case with the recent exercise that takes effect as at when the retiring staff departs  at various times within the period.

Ughamadu  said  the exercise was effected to ensure uninterrupted operations of the corporation in achieving its mandate.

He said  extant corporate guidelines were strictly followed in the process.

Ughamadu   advised members of the public to disregard the insinuation that some staff of the corporation were relieved of their duties.

He said  the deployments were expected and aimed at sustaining the system.

The NNPC spokesperson urged staff of the Corporation not to be distracted with the report.

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N7bn: Unity Bank refutes SPIPRPP’s allegation, says claim is frivolous, unfounded

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Unity Bank Plc has faulted allegation against it by the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for Recovery of Public Property (SPIPRPP) that it has refused to return about N7 billion it allegedly owes the Federal Government.

The presidential panel had said in a statement on Monday that the N7bn represents the sum of $15,561,769.99 and N1,488,455,810.90), being excess and arbitrary charges on accounts of some agencies of government by the bank before the institution of Treasury Single Account. The panel further alleged that Unity Bank had agreed on the amount earlier in February, this year, but “has neither proffered a payment plan nor demonstrated good faith by actually initiating payments”.

But in a statement by Unity Bank signed by its Head, Corporate Communications, Mr. Matthew Obiazikwor on Monday, the lender denied the allegation stressing that the report of the panel is geared towards misinforming the public and misrepresenting the Bank’s position and nil impact resolutions reached during the reconciliation engagements.

Read the full statement below:

Unity Bank has faulted the allegation against it by Special Presidential Investigation Panel for Recovery of Public Property (SPIPRPP) over the ongoing reconciliation of the affected MDA accounts, stating that the report is geared towards misinforming the public and misrepresenting the Bank’s  position and nil impact resolutions reached during the reconciliation engagements.

In the ongoing investigation, Unity Bank has conducted itself professionally  by providing all evidence of customers’ instructions requested by the panel as it relates to all the MDAs.

Unity Bank had earlier transferred all the balances belonging MDAs to their respective TSA accounts in Central Bank of Nigeria as far back in 2016.

Upon approaching the Bank in 2018 to conduct investigations on the subject of MDAs, Unity Bank, as a responsible corporate citizen, cooperated with the panel accordingly. But out of its own volition, the panel refused to admit further documentary evidence from the Bank when it was obvious that the Bank has no balances kept in its books for the MDAs.

Instead, the panel suspended the investigation as apparently it could not fault any of the evidence presented by the Bank.

The Panel in an earlier letter requested the Bank to accept culpability and pay off a certain sum deemed outstanding which the Bank objected and insisted on completing the reconciliation exercise because the claims presented at this point against the Bank were unfounded and frivolous

It is therefore surprising for the SPIPRPP to turn back and issue a statement alleging sabotage when it abandoned its sitting and investigation midway.

Furthermore, it must be emphasized that, without prejudice to the constitutional power of Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Allocation Commission (RMFAC) as the sole agency of government to investigate,  review, reconcile and collect revenue for government,  the bank co-operated fully with SPIPRPP and its consultants in the investigation process and it was proven beyond reasonable doubt that Unity Bank has all records to show that it does its banking transactions transparently and in compliance with extant banking regulations and at no time took charges on the MDAs that were outside what is contained in the Bankers Tariffs, which guide banking operations in Nigeria.

The bank therefore maintains that the allegations of SPIPRPP, are superfluous, frivolous ill-motivated and unfounded as falsely presented in a press statement purportedly sent to the public.

We hereby call on our customers and the general public to disregard the allegations which is subterfuge aimed to unnecessarily smear the image of the Bank.

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