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[ Masterweb Reports: Brown Justice reports ] - Despite the fact that Nigeria is one of the major oil producing countries in the world, Nigerians still experience fuel scarcity during Christmas and New Year celebrations.
 
This development has forced this reporter to investigate the circumstances that drove the nation in to the current economic ragamuffin.
 
Hence, as a way of finding solution to the intermittent fuel scarcity in the country, the Nigerian government introduced what is called Offshore Processing Arrangement (OPA) and Crude Oil Swap regime which the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) allocates crude oil to oil trading companies in exchange for processed petroleum products.
 
But this reporter observed that the Crude Oil Swap regime now known as DSDP lacked total transparency as it only served vested interests as against national interest.
 
Investigation further revealed that the DSDP programme also lacked ethnic balancing as participating companies does not have national spread to distribute PMS to all parts of Nigeria.
 
This is probably why the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) accused the Federal Government of conspiracy against Nigerian Christians. The Christian body in a statement asked why is it that fuel scarcity only resurfaces during Christmas and New Year celebrations in the country?
 
In similar vein, analysts are of the view that Nigeria is at the losing end as it never get real value from the deals. For Instance, the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI), an extractive industry watchdog in its 2015 report estimated that Nigeria lost $966 million to crude oil swap deals between 2009 and 2012 as well as billions of naira in subsequent years until it was canceled in 2016.
 
Because of the criticism that trailed the oil swap regime, the NNPC in 2016 replaced it with a new import scheme called Direct Sales and Direct Purchase programme (DSDP) since the earlier OPA and crude oil swap regime short changed Nigeria.
 
However, critics are saying the new DSDP programme is like an old wine in a new bottle because the scheme which means direct sales of crude oil to refineries or consultants who in turn supply NNPC with the refined petroleum products is not effective and error free.
 
This year's DSDP contract kicked off on April 1st and is expected to last for one year. The worth is over $6 billion if the crude oil price remains at $45 per barrel.
 
No fewer than 128 local and international oil and gas companies in February submitted bid to participate in the programme, but only 10 companies were chosen. The yardsticks or parameters used in selecting the 10 companies as well as their terms of engagement remains opaque as there was no atom of transparency in the entire process.
 
The said agreement for the lifting of over 300, 000 barrels of crude oil per day in exchange for imported fuels was signed with a foreign company as a partner.
 
Whether the 10 chosen companies have the capacity to meet the 35 million litres of fuel needed nationwide on daily basis is a different story.
 
The companies are; Vitol - Varo Energy, Cepsa -Oando, Petrocam Trading - Rainoil Ltd, Trafiqura - AA Rano Nigeria, Totsa - Total Nigeria, Socar Trading - Hyde Energy, Mocah - Heyden Petroleum, Mercuria - Matrix Energy, MRS Oil/Gas - Litasco and finally, SIR Refinery - Sahara Energy Resources Ltd.
 
Despite the new import scheme coupled with the fact that NNPC gets 445, 000 barrels of crude oil per day for its local refineries, Nigerians still experience fuel scarcity!
 
Meanwhile, contrary to claims by the NNPC that marketers who hoard fuel commodity are responsible for the current fuel scarcity, the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPA) has come out to disprove the NNPC saying the scarcity is as a result of NNPC's inability to send refined products to their members.
 
According to DAPPA's Executive Secretary, Mr. Olufemi Adewole: ''Our members depots are presently empty. However, if the PPMC/NNPC can provide us with petrol, we are ready to do 24-hour loading to alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians and for the fuel queues to be totally eliminated.''
 
Mr. Adewole further stated that ''While all kinds of allegations have been made in the media, it is important to set the records straight as Nigerians first and as responsible business men and women who employs Nigerians ... As at today, NNPC has been the sole importer of PMS (fuel) in to the country.''
 
In similar vein, the Chairman, Integrated Oil and Gas Ltd, Capt. Emmanuel Iheanacho said '' The inability of NNPC to create a window for private importers to import petrol also contributed to the scarcity.''
 
The unanswered question is what is the essence of Crude Oil Swap now known as Direct Sales and Direct Purchase scheme when it cannot forestall fuel scarcity in the country?
 
What is NNPC doing with the 445, 000 barrels of crude oil allocated to it daily?
 
Why is our depots empty without fuel when we have NNPC and 10 other companies lifting crude oil from Nigeria?
 
How come the Depots and Petroleum Products Marketers Association whose members controls 65 percent market share in the down stream sector goes without fuel whereas some little known companies without national spread in their distribution capacities get the product at ease?
 
Until some of the questions raised here are answered by relevant bodies, Nigerians will still wallow in intermittent fuel scarcity without hope of elimination.
 
Brown Justice ( Email: brownjustice649@gmail.com ) reports from Abuja.
 
*Photo Caption - As seen.
 

 

[ Masterweb Reports: Joshua Odeyemi reports ] - 36 dangerous prisoners have escaped from Ikot Ekpene Prison in Akwa-Ibom State on Wednesday after attacking personnel on duty.
 
Command Public Relations Officer, ASP Ogbajie J. Ogbajie, in a statement said: "At about 11: 47hrs on Wednesday, 27 December 2017, there was an attack on kitchen staff that were on duty at Ikot Ekpene Prison in Akwa-Ibom State by some prisoners.
 
"They seized an axe from fellow inmate attached to the kitchen, inflicting a deep cut to inmates’ head in the process and immediately made for the rear entrance to the prison. They broke the door with the axe and engaged the staff that chased after them in battle.
 
"At the end of the scuffle, 4 of them that sustained gun shots lost their lives while 7 were recaptured. 36 are still at large," he said.
 
He disclosed that search parties have already been activated to effect their recapture.
 
Meanwhile, the Controller of Prisons Akwa Ibom State Command, Alex Oditah has ordered an investigation into the circumstance surrounding the incident.
 
He appealed to members of the public to assist the authority with useful intelligence that will aid the recapture of the fleeing prisoners.
 
Oditah assured that security has been strengthen in all prison formations in the State to forestall any breach of security.
 
*Photo Caption - As seen.
 

[ Masterweb Reports: Isiaka Wakili reports ] - Yusuf Buhari, a son of President Muhammadu Buhari had a bike accident last night around Gwarimpa in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, confirmed this in a statement on Wednesday.

 

Shehu said Yusuf broke a limb and had an injury to the head as a result. According to him, Yusuf has undergone surgery at a clinic in Abuja and he is in a stable condition.
 
Shehu said the president and his wife, Mrs Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, were thankful to Nigerians for the good wishes and prayers for their son.
 
"May God reward you all," the presidential spokesman added.
 
*Photo Caption - Yusuf Buhari
 

[ Masterweb Reports: Victor Edozie reports ] - Gunmen yesterday abducted the paramount ruler of Mgbuolua in Rundele community in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State, Eze, G.A.O Omodu. The hoodlums abducted the traditional ruler from his residence in the early hours of yesterday and whisked him away in his car.
 
A source close to the family, Alex Igbeni, who confirmed the incident to journalistsa, said the car was later recovered between Rumuji-Ndele axis of the East-West road.
 
Igbani disclosed that the youths of the community had swung into action by invading the forest in search of the monarch, adding that the kidnappers had not contacted members of the victim’s family.
 
He said, "Around 2.30am today (Tuesday), unknown gunmen invaded the house of the paramount ruler of Mgbuolua, who just travelled home with his family yesterday (Monday) for Christmas and kidnapped him and also made away with his car. But his car was found at the boundary between Ndele and Rumuji community axis of the East West road. We believe that the kidnappers took him through the bush. Let the security operatives help us."
 
The State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Nnamdi Omoni, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), said security operatives had been deployed to the area to ensure rescue of the victim.
 
*Photo Caption - As seen.
 

[ Masterweb Reports: Isiaka Wakili reports ] - President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday said 2017 had been a very tough year for Nigeria, assuring citizens that 2018 will be prosperous.
 
"It has been a tough year for Nigeria and I hope next year will be a much more prosperous one," the president said when he received a delegation of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) residents who paid him Christmas homage in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
 
Buhari, however, said God had answered the prayers of Nigerians as the rainy season was good and farmers recorded bumper harvest across the country.
 
"But God listened to the majority of us, the rainy season was very good and some states have got very good information from home; I never knew that the people from Kano who are more resourceful used to go to my area and hire farms. This year nobody hired farm, and nobody regretted it.
 
"And again, the second one from the Governor of Sokoto State who said all the people that really registered early to perform last pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia were farmers. But he didn’t tell me if they took additional wives.
 
Reflecting on his recent ailment that made him stay in London for over 100 days, the president restated that he had never been so sick.
 
"....this sickness, I don’t know, but I came out better because all those who saw me before and when I came back said I look much better. But I have explained it to the public that as a General, I used to give orders, now, I take orders. The doctors told me to feed my stomach and sleep for longer hours. That is why I am looking much better," he said.
 
President Buhari also stated that he was thinking he was 74 years old before he was told that he was 75.
 
"I thought I was 74, but I was told I was 75. I have never been so sick even the 30 months civil war I was stumbling under farm of yams or cassava," he said.
 
He thanked the delegation, led by FCT Minister Mohammed Bello, for making the sacrifice to visit him, telling them that he had learnt to cherish good neighbourliness at individual and national levels.
 
"That was why when I was elected, my first trip was Chad, Niger, Cameron and Benin Republic. If you are in good terms with your neighbours, then you can make some savings for development. But if you start fighting your neighbours, then I’m afraid the resources you have, you will lose it in trying to be very clever.
 
So, I try to be very close to my neighbours both individually and nationally. I thank you very much for being very good neighbours," he told the delegation.
 
The president said the intelligence he was getting showed that religious leaders were trying their best to ensure citizens live as "good neighbours and good Nigerians."
 
The Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), FCT Chapter, Mr Jonah Samson, lauded the Buhari administration for its performances in the fight against corruption and insurgency in the country.
 

Samson, who also commended the administration’s efforts towards ensuring security of life and property of citizens, urged the government to provide additional employment opportunities to address youth restiveness in the country.
 



Some of the highlights of the event was the presentation of Christmas cards to the president by the FCT minister and the Chaplain of the Aso Rock Chapel.
 
*Photo Caption - President Muhammadu Buhari
 

[ Masterweb Reports ] – December 25, 2017 is another special day in our lives; it is Christmas, a day the world celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ our saviour. Christmas is an ideal time to express love and good wishes for those we care about. Masterweb cares about all her readers, their families, friends and associates, and wishes them " Merry Xmas & A Happy New Year". May your holiday season be blessed with the true meaning of Christmas. May the timeless message of Christmas fill your heart and home with joy today, new year and years to come. May Africa, the Middle East and the rest of the world find the much peace they deserve. No more wars, nor hunger - May the Good Lord Bless us all. Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!

 
Gifts tied with beautiful ribbons arriving your home by mail! Yes, it is Christmas. Let us give thanks to the Lord for a life filled with many blessings, as we celebrate Christmas, the birth of Jesus, an immaculate conception and miracle culminating to divine delivery( "Therefoe the Lord himself shall give a sign, Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel" -Isaiah 7:14 ).
 
God bless you as you share Christmas with family and with friends. May He fill your heart and dreams with peace, love and joy that never end. Speaking at our annual end of year party last weekend, our CEO/Founder, Chief Charles O. Okereke, declaring the event open said: "Our staff and readers have carried us to great lofty heights this year. We got over one billion hits this year, on all our sites. This was made possible due to our dedicated staff and loyal readers/customers like you. Thank you for the unflinching dedication, patronage and loyalty."
 
May this wonderful season warm your heart with joy that will last throughout the New Year.
 
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[ Masterweb Reports: Isiaka Wakili reports ] - President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed conviction that despite the current challenges, better days are ahead for all Nigerians. President Buhari said this on Saturday in his 2017 Christmas message to the nation.
 
"I am deeply convinced that better days lie ahead for us as a nation as we make progress on all the major fronts where we have set our energies to surmount the challenges," he said.
 
The president felicitated with all Nigerians, particularly Christians, on the occasion of this year’s Christmas celebration.
 
According to him, "The commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ is an important opportunity for us to show love to one another and encourage unity by spending quality time with our friends, families and the less-privileged.
 
"It is also an occasion to draw inspiration from the exemplary lifestyle and teachings of Jesus Christ, who constantly stood for what is right, true and honest.
 
"The Holy Book describes Christmas as a festival of peace, joy, healing, hope and fulfilment. It kindles great expectations in the heart, irrespective of the challenges of the moment."
 
He said as Nigerians celebrate this Yuletide season, they should devote some time to pray and appreciate the sacrifices of members of the armed services to keep the nation safe and secure.
 
"By the same token, and keeping with the spirit of the season, our gallant troops serving in the frontlines in the fight against insurgency; those wounded, lying in the hospital, as well as civilians who have suffered the brunt of evil and wicked elements these past years, deserve our fervent goodwill and sustained prayers.
 
"The personal fortitude of these individuals will continue to inspire us to victory as we turn the tide against the enemy and annihilate those who work against the unity of our nation.
 
"In this season of hope, let us remember to provide refuge to those who cannot enjoy Christmas at home with their families, or have been driven from their homes by insurgency or violence, particularly the Internally Displaced Persons," he stated.
 
The president noted that the country had witnessed an upsurge in the activities of trans-border syndicates luring the youth to modern slavery through irregular migration.
 
He said while his administration had stepped up efforts to halt this "wickedness against the upwardly mobile generation, and have evacuated some of our compatriots stranded abroad we appeal to them to shun the allure of embarking on such perilous journeys."
 
President Buhari wished all Nigerians happy Christmas celebrations.
 
*Photo Caption - President Muhammadu Buhari
 

[ Masterweb Reports: Isiaka Wakili reports ] - The Presidency has asked religious organisations in the country to refrain from divisive utterances.According to the Presidency, the responsibility of maintaining peace and peaceful coexistence is not only the duty of the government, but also of religious organizations whose words carry weight.
 
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, gave the warning in a statement made available to journalists on Saturday.
 
He was reacting to the accusation by the Supreme Council for Sharia, that President Muhammadu Buhari let down Muslims by his alleged failure to attend the emergency summit of OIC called by Turkey to discuss the US declaration of Jerusalem as the official Capital of Israel.
 
He described the allegation as totally misleading and baseless, advising religious organisations to avoid jumping to conclusions and making unfounded allegations without adequate knowledge and facts of the reality surrounding government’s decisions and actions.
 
The presidential spokesman urged all religious leaders to recognize the sensitivity of some of their utterances on the unity and peaceful coexistence of the country.
 
He thanked religious organisations for their support and prayers for Buhari, assuring that the president was committed to promoting peace and harmony.
 
He explained that Buhari went to France to attend the Climate Change Summit because he had earlier given a firm commitment to President Macron, adding the president sent the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, to represent him at the Turkey meeting of OIC.
 
*Photo Caption - Nigeria Presidential Seal

[ Masterweb Reports: Clement A. Oloyede reports ] - Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, former Speaker of the House of Reps Dimeji Bankole, and former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Aloysius Katsina-Alu, have been given 21 days to forfeit their residences to the federal government.
 
The government, through the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property chaired by Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, issued the quit notice on Thursday to the three as well as former Deputy Speaker and current Senator Usman Bayero Nafada, sources said.
 
The Panel had in September issued a similar quit notice to former Senate President David Mark to which he had since filed a suit before the Federal High Court in Abuja to quash all the steps taken to evict him and recover the house from him by the panel.
 
The panel said the five of them illegally acquired their then-official residences as their private properties.
 
Daily Trust recalls that former President Goodluck Jonathan had in November 2010 reportedly gave leave to the Senate President, the Deputy Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, to "purchase" their official quarters.
 
"The Senate President’s residence was sold to David Mark for N748 million; Speaker, House of Representatives’ residence was sold to Hon Dimeji Bankole for N670 million; while Deputy Senate President residence was sold to Senator Ike Ekweremadu for N458 million.
 
"Deputy Speaker House of Representatives residence was sold to Senator Nafada for N348.5 million; and they were all sold without competitive bidding contrary to the provisions of the Public Procurement Act especially Section 15 thereof", one of the sources said, adding that the residence of Juctice Katsina-Alu was sold to him at N45million.
 
Another source said former President Jonathan had directed that the sale of the property should be gazetted in the Federal Government Gazette in his minute in a memo sent to him by the then minister of the FCT Senator Bala Muhammad dated 18 November 2010, but that was not done.
 
"A gazette is a notice to the whole world of the position of government on any issue and since there was a prevailing gazette that the house bought by the plaintiff (referring to David Mark) should not be sold under Government monetization policy, the gazette would have superseded the previous one.
 
"So the previous gazette prevails since the sale was not gazetted. That alone has vitiated the sale. Secondly the sale is against the public procurement Act which provides any contract for a good and service must be through competitive bidding. The sale was not through competitive bidding," he said.
 
He added that the houses which were not ordinary houses but institutional houses to principal officers of the National Assembly and the Executive had no right in the first place to given order for the houses to be sold.
 
*Photo Caption - As seen.
 

[ Masterweb Reports: Hope Abah reports ] - Unknown gunmen on Thursday night killed a businessman, Samiaila Auwalu, at the North Bank suburb of Makurdi Local Government Area in Benue State.
 
Witnesses said the gunmen numbering about three were allegedly dressed in police uniform and had gained access into the deceased's home at about 7:30pm, identified the victim and opened fire on him.
 
A resident in the area, Emeka Onye, testified that the deceased was a good and generous man who was loved by his neighbours for his kind disposition towards everyone around him.
 
The Police Public Relation Officer (PPRO), for the Benue Command, Moses Joel Yamu, confirmed the incident, saying that the late Alhaji Auwalu, 45, was shot on his chest at his resident behind Maitala Motors by New Bridge Mine at North bank in Makurdi.
 
Yamu added that the victim was rushed to the Musab Hospital in Wadata area of Makurdi by his family members but died while receiving treatment.
 
The police spokesman further said that an empty shell was recovered from the scene while investigation into the matter has commenced.
 
*Photo Caption - As seen.