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FG expects additional £100m Ibori loot

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  • Delta, Falana tackles FG over loot use

The Federal Government is expecting over £100m (N527bn) allegedly stolen by a former Governor of Delta State, James Ibori, and his associates, Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), has said.

He said this Tuesday night on Channels Television’s Politics Today programme.

Delta State Government has said it will challenge at the Supreme Court the move by the Federal Government to take over recovered £4.2m Ibori loot that the United Kingdom promised to release to Nigeria.

Malami also said $100m traced to the late Head of State, Gen Sani Abacha, was being expected.

He said, “As it is we have succeeded in recovering £4.2m from the UK. We are still pursuing other assets even as it relates to the Ibori assets.

“The quantum of the amount involved was within the region of over £100m (N2.2bn) and it is out of it that we have succeeded in recovering a fraction of £4.2m and we are still pursuing an additional sum within the region of £100m (N527bn) and that will be a function of conviction and subsequent recovery process.”

The AGF said the money would not be handed over to the Delta State Government because the crime that led to the diversion of the funds was a federal one.

He further argued that one of the conditions for the UK repatriating the Ibori loot was that the money must be tied to certain federal projects which were gien as the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the Abuja-Kano rail and the Second Niger Bridge and a Memorandum of Understanding had been signed between both parties.

However, human rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), described Malami’s position as faulty.

Falana said funds stolen from the Bayelsa State Government years ago were returned to the state government.

He said this was what also happened in the case of Joshua Dariye, a former Governor of Plateau State who was convicted for diverting state funds.

The senior advocate said giving the Ibori loot to the Federal Government was at variance with Section 162 of the constitution.

Falana said, “The £4.2m does not belong to the Federal Government. The money confiscated from Governor Joshua Dariye in the United Kingdom was recovered by the Federal Government, repatriated to Nigeria and returned to the Plateau State Government.

“The money confiscated from Governor DSP Alamieyesigha in the UK was recovered by the Federal Government, repatriated to Nigeria and remitted to the Account of Bayelsa State Government.

“Since what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander the sum of £4.2m confiscated from Governor James Ibori in the United Kingdom and recovered by the Federal Government has to be remitted to the Account of the Delta State Government.”

Delta has rejected the plan by the Federal Government to use the recovered loot for the construction of the Second Niger Bridge, Abuja-Kano Road, and the Lagos-Ibadan road.

The state’s Commissioner for Information, Ehiedu Aniagwu, said the proposed use of the recovered loot (£4.2m) by the FG was injustice to the government and people of Delta.

He said, “We would try to get take advantage of the legal system to make the federal government correct the injustice they are about to visit on us as a state.

“If they are quite sure that the funds they are about to repatriate left Delta State on account of those who have governed the state in the past, on what basis would they now take the money to another place? Under which law?”

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President Seeks Quick Completion of NLNG’s $10bn Train 7 Project

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President Muhammadu Buhari has asked stakeholders in the Nigerian LNG’s $10 billion Train 7 to collaborate towards ensuring the timely completion of the project.
The president said yesterday at the virtual groundbreaking ceremony of the project in Bonny Island, Rivers State, that the speedy and safe delivery of Train 7 would encourage the timely take-off of the Train 8 project.

Train 7 is expected to add eight million tonnes of gas supply to the existing 22 million tonnes and rev up production by about 35 per cent.

The project is expected to attract $10 billion in Foreign Direct Investments (FID), yield $20 billion to the federation, and create 10,000 direct jobs and 40,000 indirect jobs, while 55 per cent of the engineering work is to be carried out in Nigeria.

In addition, 55 per cent of all procurements for the execution of the project will be done by Nigerian vendors, 100 per cent of all installations and construction will happen in-country, while the contractors for the project are SCD JV Consortium, comprising affiliates of Saipem, Chiyoda and Daewoo.

The facility is owned and operated by NLNG, a joint venture between Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which owns 49 per cent, Shell Gas, with 25.6 per cent ownership, Total, which has a 15 per cent stake and Eni with 10.4 per cent equity.

Also at the ceremony, the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, stated that Nigeria is currently not too far from train eight to 12, as the next train would be higher and better than the current one.

Buhari said the NLNG had generated over $114 billion as revenue over the years.

He called on the board of directors, management and staff of NLNG, the host communities, the Rivers State Government and other agencies of government to continue to collaborate to ensure the completion and eventual inauguration of the Train 7 project “safely and on time.”

He said: ”As we flag off the Train 7 project today, I look forward to the development and execution of more gas projects by the International Oil Companies (IOCs) and indigenous operators, and more trains from Nigeria LNG to harness the over 600 trillion cubic feet of proven gas reserves we are endowed with.

”Let me use this opportunity to commend the shareholders of NLNG, the Federal Ministry of Petroleum, NNPC and the NCDMB and other stakeholders for very exemplary collaboration, which has culminated in this great opportunity for Train 7.

”I want to thank the foreign investors for the confidence reposed in Nigeria, and assure all Nigerians and potential investors in the oil and gas sector that the federal government will continue to create the enabling environment in order to develop the sector and bring the full benefits of gas closer to our people.”

The president recalled that the story of Nigeria LNG was one he had been ”passionately associated with during the formative years of the project.”

He added: ”As Minister of Petroleum Resources, I kicked off our first foray in LNG Business in 1978. At the time, it was already apparent that Nigeria was mainly a gas-rich country with a little oil!
”It therefore gives me great joy to see the organisation transform from just a project in the early 90s to a very successful company with over 20 years of responsible operations and a steady supply of liquefied natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas and natural gas liquids into the global market. This is proof that Nigeria has a great capacity to deliver value to the world by harnessing our natural resources.”

He congratulated NLNG and its shareholders – NNPC, Shell, Total and Eni– for proving that a Nigerian company can operate a world-class business safely, profitably and responsibly.

Praising the consortium for setting the stage upon which Nigeria’s vast gas resources will continue to grow well into the future, the president added that the focus of his administration is to boost the development of Nigeria’s abundant gas resources, strengthen the gas value chain, develop the much-needed infrastructure and enhance safe operations in the sector as outlined in the National Gas Policy of 2017.

”Through the Decade of Gas initiative, which I recently launched, we will transform Nigeria into a major gas and industrialised nation with gas playing the key role as a revenue earner, fuel for industries and necessary feed for petrochemicals and fertiliser plants,” he stated.

He also expressed delight that the NLNG as the pioneer LNG company in Nigeria, has proven the viability of the gas sector over the years, currently contributing about one per cent to Nigeria’s GDP.

He said: ” The NLNG has generated $114 billion in revenues over the years, paid $9 billion in taxes; $18 billion in dividends to the federal government and $15 billion in feed gas purchase.

”These are commendable accomplishments by the company’s 100 per cent Nigerian management team.

”With this level of performance, I can only hope that the company continues to grow starting with this Train 7 project but also positioning Nigeria to thrive through the energy transition.”

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Timipre Sylva, in his comments, stated that the company has positively complemented crude oil exploration by monetising flared gas and yielding huge revenue to the nation and investors.

Sylva added that since NLNG became operational in 1999, the nation has recorded a drastic reduction in operational flare status from 65 per cent to 12 per cent.

”I boldly say that the ground-breaking of Train 7 is a guarantee to every stakeholder of more dividends in terms of further reduction in gas flaring, more revenue to the nation and shareholders, more job opportunities, especially at the construction phase and more social investments for the society, ” he said.

Kyari also said confidence in the sector was gradually returning, noting that with the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) in view, more stability and investments will be experienced in the Nigerian oil industry.

“There were uncertainties since 2007 that did not allow us to get to this stage we are today. These prevented this project from going forward. Some of these challenges, particularly in the upstream gas supply if they were not taken out, we won’t be celebrating today.

“This gave our shareholders the assurance of stability of the fiscal environment to invest. This is history being made,” he said.

Managing Director of NLNG, Mr. Tony Attah, said the project would further the development of local capacity and businesses through the 100 per cent in-country execution of construction works, fabrications and major procurement.

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Reps probe Police over ‘missing’ $7.5million recovered loot

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The House of Representatives Tuesday, ordered the Nigerian Police Force, to disclose the whereabouts of the sum of $7.5million, being a part of N37.5million recovered by the security agency in 2017, as proceeds of crimes.

Besides, the House panel, also demanded for details on a N360 million recovered as bribery from 26 Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC officials conducting the 2019 governorship election in Rivers State.

The Police, had, at an investigative hearing by an ad hoc Committee of the House investigating the assessment and status of all recovered loots, movable and immovable assets from 2002 to 2020 at the resumed hearing Tuesday, admitted to a lodgment of only $30million in a Central Bank of Nigeria account, from the total proceeds, but however, failed to account for  the balance of $7.5million.

The agency, also failed to explain to the Rep. Adejoro Adeogun(APC-Ondo) panel, how a document submitted before the committee, claimed that on the 10th March, 2017, separate amounts of N4.198million, N26,714,224.195 and N3.85billion were lodged by the Police, but did not reflect in any account at the CBN.

Earlier, the House Committee had lambasted the representative of the Inspector General of Police,DIG D. O. Ogbunike

The lawmakers accused the police of a lack of recovery account to pay in proceeds of loots, with representative of the  Accountant General corroborating same.

The lawmakers said the attitude of the Police, “gives the impression that police just pays tithes from recoveries”.

The Chairman of the Committee, queries that “ Does the Inspector General, give monthly returns on items recovered as proceeds from criminals? “, adding that

“From our findings, the Police System, is too opaque. The system makes stealing easy; it does”.

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Euro 2020: Ronaldo claims all-time scoring record

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Cristiano Ronaldo set a new European Championship goalscoring record as Portugal got their title defence off to a winning start with a 3-0 victory over Hungary in Budapest.

The Juventus forward’s 10th goal at the finals, via a late penalty, saw him surpass Michel Platini’s tally of nine, all of which were scored in the 1984 edition, and he added another in injury time to get to 11.

There was an element of relief for the Portugal captain as, embarrassingly for a player of his quality, he had missed a sitter to break the deadlock at the end of the first half.

That had emboldened Hungary to maintain their defensive resilience, only for it to be broken in an awful three-minute period for Willi Orban.

Six minutes from time Raphael Guerreiro’s shot took a huge deflection off the centre-back to give goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi no chance, and Orban then pulled back Rafa Silva to concede Ronaldo’s record-breaking penalty.

The 36-year-old, also setting another record in becoming the first player to feature and also score in five championships, then capped things off with his 106th international goal in 176 appearances after a smart passing move in the penalty area.

Only Spain a decade ago have successfully retained their title and Portugal started with six of the Euro 2016 winners in their team for this Group F opener in front of a 61,000-strong crowd at the Puskas Arena, a ground used by the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City for Champions League matches due to coronavirus restrictions.

Portugal’s firepower was vastly superior to their hosts but for a long period their big names fluffed their lines.

Ronaldo was furious when Diogo Jota opted to shoot rather than pass from the first chance of the game and while the Liverpool forward later saw a shot on the turn also saved by goalkeeper Gulacsi, himself a former Red, Ronaldo’s efforts were arguably worse.

He toe-ended a volley into Gulacsi, only to then be flagged offside and then flicked a header wide.

However, the most glaring miss saw him blaze over unmarked from six yards from Bruno Fernandes’ cross just before half-time.

Hungary were concentrating so much on keeping out their opponents, chances for them were limited, with the best seeing Adam Szalai’s weak header easily caught by Rui Patricio.

Gulacsi saved a Pepe header at the start of the second half and then tipped a swerving, low drive from Fernandes around a post, and while Hungary’s defensive organisation was not the slickest, it was good enough to raise Portugal’s frustration levels.

Substitute Szabolcs Schon thought he had snatched an historic victory 10 minutes from time when he cut in from the right to beat Patricio at his near post but a late offside flag was confirmed by VAR and the celebrations were cut short.

Joy then turned to despair as Portugal scored three goals in eight minutes, with Ronaldo stealing the limelight once again.

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