Ejiofor Alike and Chineme Okafor

 

 

 

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja has been hit with sudden increase in scarcity of petrol in most of its major filling stations that hitherto sold the product with limited challenges.

Fuel queue

Meanwhile, motorists and other users of petroleum products would have a sigh of relief as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) will today reopen the Atlas Cove and Ejigbo Depots in Lagos, which pump fuel to the corporation’s pipeline network and depots in the South-West, THISDAY has learnt.

Although, supply and sale of petrol in the city had been inconsistent for a long time now owing to lingering misunderstanding between the Federal Government and marketers of the product over the management of petrol subsidy claims in the Petroleum Support Fund (PSF), the sudden increase of vehicular queues in most of the service stations visited yesterday indicated that product supply to the city may have become minimal.

The shortage may have been occasioned by the shut-down of the Kaduna Refinery and Petrochemical Company (KRPC) for two weeks by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as well as distortion of product supplies and distribution by the current face-off between the government and marketers.

Following an enquiry by THISDAY, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its subsidiary, Products and Pipeline Marketing Company (PPMC) could not provide adequate information as regards the latest development and so allegations that the current ordeal of Capital Oil and Gas Ltd may have contributed in upsetting the distribution of products could not be ascertained.

Acting Group General Manager Public Affairs of the NNPC, Mr. Fidel Pepple, simply said he could not respond to the enquiry.

THISDAY had reported that the NNPC had shut down the Kaduna Refinery and Petrochemical Company (KRPC) for two weeks for routine maintenance; a development which may have contributed to the acute shortage in supply considering that the corporation had relied on the Kaduna refinery to augment its supply to the city and other parts of the north.

However, the decision to reopen the Atlas Cove depot, it was learnt, followed the repair of the damaged pipeline at Arepo area of Ogun State.

A source at Atlas Depot told THISDAY last night that the pipeline was repaired last week and the test run was completed last night.

“We have started pumping products to Ejigbo depot. In fact, Ejigbo has about four million litres of PMS and the facility will start loading to trucks tomorrow (today). We have also started pumping from Ejigbo to Mosimi and in due course we will pump to Ibadan, Ore and Ilorin,” he said.

THISDAY gathered that all trucks that were programmed to load NNPC products from the private depots at Apapa have been re-directed to load at Ejigbo depot to ease the traffic congestion in Apapa.

This development is however a big blow to the private depot owners, who have been selling products at exorbitant prices because of the collapse of NNPC facilities.
The Atlas Cove is designed to pump fuel to all these depots in the South-West along System 2B, which is the most active depot system in the country.

The Pipeline Products and Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the NNPC had in August shut down System 2B Network, which pumps imported products from the Atlas Cove Depot to Ejigbo Satellite Depot, also in Lagos and Mosimi in Ogun State, as well as to Ibadan, Ore and Ilorin Depots.

The shutdown of System 2B followed a pipeline fire and explosion in Arepo, Ogun State, which was caused by sabotage.
The explosion was caused by vandals who attempted to siphon petroleum products from the network.

The vandals also attacked and killed some NNPC workers, who went to access the extent of the damage by the explosion.

With most of the NNPC depots in the South West out of operation, all tankers from different parts of the country have been coming into the private depots in Lagos to lift NNPC products.
This situation worsened the fuel crisis and created serious traffic gridlock in Apapa area since the past few months.

 

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LEADER of the Action Congress of Nigeria ACN Asiwaju Bola Tinubu yesterday launched a final attack on Governor Segun Mimiko describing him as an ingrate and a serial betrayer even as he disclaimed any aspiration towards fitting into Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s shoes.

ACN leader, Bola Tinubu

At a rally in Akure to round off the party’s rallies ahead of this weekend’s gubernatorial election, Tinubu declared “I am not fighting for the shoes of Awolowo it is too big for me. I am not fighting for Awolowo cap. He has taken both away.”

Tinubu also took time to castigate the incumbent governor Olusegun Mimiko describing him as an ingrate whom he helped but later dumped him.

Quoting from the Holy Bible what will happen to those who are ingrates, Tinubu insisted that he bankrolled the expenses incurred by Mimiko at the election petition tribunal.

He said that Mimiko betrayed his two predecessors in office, Adebayo Adefarati, Olusegun Agagu and former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Tinubu however said that he was not surprised that Mimiko is denying that he collected money from him when he was in the trenches.

He asked the people of the state to “”drive Mimiko out of Ondo state through their votes on October 20 this year.The leader of the party rubbished the Mega Primary Schools of the government saying the state do not have the population that would warrant the construction of Mega schools in the state.

On godfatherism, he pointed out that “I am happy he calls me godfather. My own godfather is not that of Anthony Anenih in Edo state. Mine is for the development and progress of South West states.

”My own godfatherism is mentoring reliable and dependable people in the South West states for progress and development.

He reiterated the need for Ondo State to join other states in the region to make integration of the region a success.

The National Chairman of the party Chief Bisi Akande displayed a red card saying indication that Mimiko has been ejected from the state.

The candidate of the party, Rotimi Akeredolu called for a three day prayer and fasting starting from Wednesday for the success of the party at the poll.

Akeredolu promised to liberate the people of the state from poverty if voted into power and promised to turn the southern part of the state to a tourism centre.

All the governors of the party excluding that of Ogun state, former governor of Ogun state Segun Osoba and other political appointees from all the South West states attended the rally.

 

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BY CLIFFORD NDUJIHE, SONI DANIEL & HENRY UMORU

 


…We agree with S-West on six regions — Ohanaeze scribe

LAGOS—NORTHERN leaders, Sunday, spurned Yoruba leaders’ agitation for regional autonomy and a return to the parliamentary system of government, describing the clamour as a recipe for Nigeria’s disintegration.

Yoruba elders under  the banner of Yoruba National Assembly, YNA, had after a meeting in Ibadan last Thursday, canvassed a return to the parliamentary system of government and granting of regional autonomy to the South-West.

They also called for removal of the immunity clause for criminal offences; a new Nigeria consisting of a federal government and six regional governments (based on the current six geo-political zones) operating federal and regional constitutions, respectively; and adoption of Regional and State Police force structure among others.

Gen. Mohammed Buhari discussing with National Leader of ACN, Bola Tinubu at a meeting in Abuja

But responding to the development, some prominent northern leaders, who spoke exclusively to Vanguard, kicked against YNA’s call, saying that the agitation would plunge the nation into incalculable crises and hasten her break-up.

However, Secretary-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nduka Eya, said the demands of the Yoruba leaders were in tandem with the position of Ndigbo, which had been sent to the National Assembly for inclusion in the on-going constitution amendment exercise.

Former Kaduna State Governor, Alhaji Lawal Kaita, said the call for regional autonomy and a return to parliamentary system of government was self-serving and had the semblance of secession.

Kaita said: “I do not really understand what they mean by regional autonomy. They should be bold enough to say that they do not want to be part of Nigeria any longer and stop talking about what does not make sense anymore in the country.

No longer ideal — Kaita
“Regional autonomy and parliamentary system of government can no longer serve a complex society like Nigeria and our founding fathers were wise enough to jettison the system and adopt the present Presidential system, which to all intent and purposes, remains the best for a country like ours,” he noted.

According to the founding member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, neither the granting of autonomy to any region in the country nor a return to parliamentary system of government would solve the socio-political problems of the nation.

Kaita said that all that was needed to make the presidential system more useful was to strengthen the institutions of government to serve the citizens better and reposition the country as a strong, united nation in the world.Adding his voice to the debate, National Secretary of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, Buba Galadima, described any call for regional autonomy as an invitation to the dissolution of the country.

“If they make the mistake to allow the kind of regional autonomy requested by the Yoruba, it is a recipe for the country’s disintegration because of the kind of politics being played in Nigeria. Our political immaturity would lead to dismembering the country as soon as any region is granted autonomy,” the politician noted.

Galadima warned that the country could disintegrate if urgent steps were not taken to address the growing sense of injustice and marginalisation of sections of the country by the government.

He maintained that demands for autonomy and other issues were borne out of perceived injustice and inability of the administration to provide the basic needs of the people.

It’s retrogressive — Haliru Mohammed
In his submission, immediate past Minister of Defence, Dr. Bello Haliru Mohammed described calls for a return to regional structure as retrogressive.

According to him, states replaced the regions because of demands by ethnic nationalities for self-determination, adding that a u-turn to the old structure would be a repeat of the scenario where major ethnic groups like Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo were in total control of the regions and marginalised other groups.

The former Acting National Chairman of the PDP said rather than advocate regionalism what was required of the country now was to sit down and work out the modus operandi of our federation to accommodate all the ethnic diversities without any section feeling dominated.

His words: “Going back to regional structure is going to be retrogressive because states were created because of the demand by ethnic nationalities for self determination. To go back to regional structure where the major ethnic groups like Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo were in complete control of the regions is dangerous.

“General Yakubu Gowon responded to the demands of the minority groups and created states to allow for some level of self-determination for ethnic nationalities. Going back will make major ethnic groups to continue to dominate the minorities. Now, there is some level of equality between the nationalities regardless of the number and size.

“What Nigeria needs now is to sit down and work out our modus operandi of a federation that would accommodate all our ethnic diversities without one section feeling a sense of domination by others. Federating units should be different ethnic nationalities as we have in states. If there is need for creation of more states like in the case of South-East and also to break some of the larger and more populated states in the North and South, that can be accommodated rather than going back to regions.”

However, a former Senator from Kano State, Usman Kabiru Umar, stated that he would support any political restructuring that would bring about a strong, united and progressive Nigeria, where every citizen would have a sense of belonging. “Now, if they say that autonomy and return to parliamentarism would guarantee the promotion of peace, development and a united Nigeria, so be it,”

Indeed, Eya, who spoke in his personal capacity as a public commentator, said the South-West clamour for six regions was sound.

“Before the Presidential system was introduced, we had four regions. The North accepted the regions and we had Parliamentary system. The presidential system is very expensive; if we continue with it, we will soon go bankrupt. The parliamentary system worked for us. Then, if you did not win an election you cannot become a minister. Now the president appoints ministers from everywhere and they are not accountable to the people.

Noting that Ohanaeze had prepared a document on the constitution amendment, he said: “We agree with the South-West on six regions, which should become the federating units. The Federal Government should have nothing to do with state or local government creation.

“There is constant demands for new states and local governments because the military made them avenues for getting more allocation from the centre. Local governments should be states’ creation; they are not federating units. We stand for equity, fair-play and justice. The military gave North undue advantage and they do not want to relinquish it,” he said.

 

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by Gbenga Adeniji

 


Former Chief of Defence Staff, Lt. Gen. Alani Akinrinade (retd), has said Nigeria is on the road to disintegration and can only be rescued when the citizens agree to discuss issues affecting it.

He added that such discussions must border on what the ethnic nationalities in the country genuinely desire.

Akinrinade, who is also the convener of Yoruba Assembly, spoke to journalists in Lagos on Monday against the backdrop of the conference of South-West leaders holding on Thursday in Ibadan, Oyo State.

He said, “Disintegration for Nigeria is not out of possibility. We are not far from the road to disintegration. It will be the fault of all us if it happens. Let us sit together and speak honest truths to one another. Let us use superior arguments among ourselves in the spirit of give and take to decide what we want.”

The former CDS also said Yorubas must re-appraise themselves and decide their destiny within the Nigerian nation.

He stated that it was time leaders in the South-West sat together and discussed issues affecting the region.

Akinrinade said, ” It is our belief that the conference will afford the Yoruba the opportunity to sit together and revalidate their position on the Nigerian nation and present it so that we will reflect on it soberly.”

He stressed that the people in the region had never hidden their clamour for autonomy to be given to ethnic nationalities in the country for them to develop at their pace.

According to him, it is wrong for anyone to say such call is not negotiable and unpatriotic.

Akinrinade noted that there was no other way to resolve the challenges confronting the country than through honest discussions among the ethnic.

 

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By Our Reporter

 


The Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) yesterday warned Boko Haram insurgents to steer clear of Yorubaland.

Dr. Frederick Fasehun, Founder and President of the Congress (OPC)

Dr. Frederick Fasehun, Founder and President of the Congress (OPC), said, although Boko Haram’s current agitation justified OPC’s age-old demand for a Sovereign National Conference, his organisation would  view the exporting of violence into the South-West as a declaration of war.

He said while the OPC sympathises with those who have causes to embark on, “local struggles for social-justice should be contained within local boundaries.”

He added: “Any extension beyond such boundaries clearly connotes the pursuing of a territorial ambition; and any people provoking other people through territorial ambition should ultimately expect a war. And in warfare, everything and anything is fair.

“OPC’s message should be clear to sponsors of the ongoing violence in our country. They should not unnecessarily jeopardize their own lives, their businesses and their other interests in the places where they currently enjoy peace. Yoruba people are not unaware of their addresses and their business interests throughout the South-West. A word is enough for the wise.

“Last year, the bodies of Yoruba graduates serving their fatherland in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) were brought home to us. OPC takes this opportunity to alert governors of the South-West on the need to take immediate measures to preempt and prevent the killing of our youths participating in the NYSC. The same advice goes to Yoruba indigenes residing in the North; they must do the needful to avoid danger overtaking them in the land of their sojourning.”

 

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BY GBENGA OLARINOYE & OLASUNKANMI AKONI

 


OSOGBO — GOVERNOR Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State, yesterday, said, but for God’s intervention and the unflinching support from the people, the state would have been set on fire by political adversaries.

Rauf-Aregbesola

From left, Osun State Governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola; American Economic Officer, Robert Folley; Economic Specialist, Mrs. Mayowa Obilade and Political & Economic Associate,Mr. Emmanuel Epongo, when a three-man delegation from the Consulate of the United States of America in Nigeria, visited the governor at Government House, Osogbo.

This came as Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal, paid a solidarity visit to the governor over recent allegations of attempt to islamise the state and  secede from the rest of the country.Similarly, the Federal Government was called to face real governance and put in place measures to reduce the high level of poverty in the country rather than witch hunt Gov. Aregbesola.

A statement by Semiu Okanlawon, Director, Bureau of Communications and Strategy, said the governor spoke when the League of Imams and Alfas, South-West, Edo and Delta Zone, led by its President-General, Sheikh Mustapha Ajisafe, paid him a courtesy call in Osogbo.

It will be recalled that the State Security Service,SSS, in a purported secret report, had alleged that the governor planned to islamise the state and secede from the country.

Following this development, there were reports of tension in the state.

Aregbesola said if the plan to upset peace in Osun State had worked, the state would have been in chaos and disorder after widespread allegation of imaginary tension in the state.

He noted that the planned disruption of peace in the state started months ago with various allegations ranging from untrue reports that he had a broken leg, suffered a terminal disease and later that they doubted his sanity status.

American delegation’s endorsement

According to Aregbesola, God intervened and thwarted the enemy’s evil stratagems, saying the three-man American delegation and the Speaker of House of Representatives’ visit had vindicated the state as it was said to be free and peaceful.

He described the clerics’ visit as an affirmation of the support and confidence the people still repose in his government.

It will be recalled that the Christian Association of Nigerian, CAN, Osun State Chapter, had earlier paid similar visit to the governor to reaffirm its support for the government.

The governor said: “Your visit has once more confirmed to the whole world that there is no tension in Osun State. During the week, American delegates and on Saturday, the Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, visited the state, which is an indication that the state is peaceful.

”The visit has exposed the lies by those who wanted the state engulfed in chaos. This game-plan did not start yesterday. It has been on for long.

”The first rumour they peddled was that I had broken my leg. Later they claimed that I had a terminal ailment. And, when this did not work, they alleged that I was insane and demanded my physician to make public my health status.”

During the visit, Tambuwal described Osun State as calm and peaceful just as he said allegations by the Peoples Democratic Party,PDP, against Aregbesola to secede remains a “mere allegations”, until they proved it.

The Speaker, said: “I found no checkpoints or police barricades on the roads coming to Osogbo, the state capital and the entire place looks like symbol of togetherness.

”I have come to Osogbo. I have not seen barricades. I have not seen any security checkpoints, which suggests that there is peace and calm here. The governor is a gentleman. He is down-to-earth and I believe he is committed to the vision of transformation of Osun State and continued co-existence of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I firmly believe that.

”I believe that after electioneering, politicians across the country should forget about what has gone past irrespective of party affiliation and face governance which is why they were elected in the first place.”

The Federal Government has been called to face real governance and put in place measures to reduce the high level of poverty in the country rather  than witch hunt Aregbesola under the guise of a spurious security report accusing him of attempting not only to islamise the state but also secede from the federation.

Rep, others task FG

A member of the House of Representatives, Hakeem Muniru from Lagos State, Wahab Alawiye-King; and a council chairman, Adeyemi Taofeek Alli, condemned what they called ‘the stigmatisation of the Osun State governor in a desperate bid to nail him’.

Muniru, who represents Oshodi-Isolo Federal Constituency 2 in the House, said the security report was an attempt to weaken the genuine developmental plans of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, in the South-West geo-political zone.

He said: “They see Aregbesola as the arrowhead of our party’s march towards making the Southwest region a role model in developmental governance for others in the country hence the security report aimed at weakening him and other ACN governors and leaders.”

 

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Easter holidaymakers have commended the Osun Free Easter Train Service initiative of the Government of the State, describing it as a far-reaching palliative transportation programme for the masses.
Train
The Government of Osun State had announced earlier that it had made provision for free train transportation for people travelling home for the Easter holiday, so as to make their journey less strenuous, painless and pleasurable.

According to the government, the motive behind the programme hinges on welfare of the people, which is one of the six-point cardinal agenda of Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s government.

Majority of passengers that boarded the train from Iddo Terminus, Lagos yesterday said it was their first time travelling by rail. They radiated joy, enthusiasm and excitement all through the journey, promising to also go back to Lagos through the same means.

Many of them could not hide their feelings as they spoke freely of the positive effect the free train impacted on them economically and security-wise.

The programme, it was revealed, was borne out of the need to alleviate people’s sufferings arising from high fares and transportation hitches in the South-West during festivities.

 

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