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IPMAN leader backs police action against factional president

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President of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Sanusi Abdu Fari, has called for calm among members of group in the face of leadership crisis.

He expressed support for the police intervention in trying to oust a factional president of the association, to allow those legally recognized as executive members o the association to run the affairs of the group.

He was reacting to the alleged invasion of the office of the IPMAN reportedly occupied by Elder Chinedu Okoronkwo, who also claims to be the president.

In a statement signed by the National  Publicity Secretary and Public Relations Officer of IPMAN, High Chief Ukadike Chinedu, the president said the police had only followed due process to ensure the tenets of democracy and rule of law prevailed over sheer force, impunity and falsehood.

The IPMAN boss described Okoronkwo as an impostor, who had continued to cry wolf over a monumental lie they had tried to perpetuate since December 14, 2018 when the Supreme Court delivered a judgment in the IPMAN leadership crisis.

He declared that Okoronkwo had continued to impersonate the national president since 2014, challenging him and his team to point out one line in the judgment of the apex court which affirmed him as IPMAN’s president.

But Okoronkwo said he remained the authentic president of IPMAN, based on the Supreme Court judgement of December 14, 2018 wherein he was declared the winner of the case between him and Lawson Obasi, the erstwhile president of IPMAN.

Okoronkwo wondered where Fari, who claimed to be the president of IPMAN, was drawing his strength from, stressing that his name was never joined as a party to the suit between him and Obasi Lawson.

“Now, where is Fari coming from? I defeated Obasi, his master. Based on the judgement of the court, Obasi has paid N2m through his lawyer to me. Not only that, after all these Supreme Court judgement, last year 2020, Obasi went to court in Abuja here, based on that Calabar matter,  to say I am an impostor, the court dismissed his matter,” he said.

Fari’s statement read in part, “The National President of IPMAN, Alhaji (Engr.) Sanusi Abdu Fari, and members of his executive speaking through the National Publicity Secretary/ Public Relation Officer, High Chief Ukadike Chinedu, said the NEC members are grateful to President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Inspector-General of Police, the management of the NNPC and the FCT police command for showing abiding respect for due process and rule of law.

“Most unfortunately, true to their name and antics, one Elder Chinedu Okoronkwo and his band of impostors have continued to bleat about and cry wolf over a monumental lie they have tried to perpetuate since 14th December, 2018 when the Supreme Court delivered judgment in the IPMAN leadership crisis.

“We hereby challenge Elder Chinedu Okoronkwo and his rabble-rousers to point out one line in the judgment of the apex Court which affirmed him and Alhaji Danladi Pasali as National President and National Secretary respectively of IPMAN. Nothing is further from the truth!

“A lie repeated a thousand times does not transform into truth. It is common knowledge that the judgment of the Supreme Court in Appeal No. SC/15/2018 was interpreted and applied by the Federal High Court, Calabar in a judgment delivered on 21st February, 2019 in Suit No. FHC/C/CS/3/2019.

“That judgment in conjunction with the judgment of the Supreme Court put to rest the leadership dispute in IPMAN as they affirmed the provision of the 1997 Constitution of the association that the Deputy National President automatically becomes the National President!

“The apex court stated the constitutive instrument to determine the tenure of office is the ipman constitution which provides three years tenure for national executive.

“It is worthy of note that following the judgment of the apex Court and the judgment of the Federal High Court, Calabar, the Hon. Attorney-General of the Federation and the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources wrote their respective letters dated 20th May, 2019 and 27th January, 2020 recognizing Alhaji (Engr.) Sanusi Abdu Fari as the National President of IPMAN.

“The Inspector-General of Police has merely followed due process and ensured that tenets of democracy and rule of law prevail over sheer force, impunity and falsehood. It is worthy to reiterate the obvious fact that Elder Chinedu Okoronkwo and his henchmen are impostors and they ought to know that their luck will sooner or later run out!

“Chinedu Okoronkwo has continued to impersonate the office of the national president since 2014 till date .

“We thank the police and other security agencies for their courage in tackling the challenges posed by these impostors and taking steps to make right that which has been wrong all along.

“We hereby call on all members of IPMAN to embrace peace and be law-abiding as we vow to continue to cooperate and work closely with the Federal Government and other stakeholders to ensure that peace prevails in the downstream sector of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry.”

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Oil Prices Continue to Climb on Supply Disruptions As Brent Hits $78/1

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Brent crude futures rose more than 1% to above $78 a barrel on Friday, the highest since October 2018 and widening a weekly gain to 3.6 per cent amid global supply concerns following storms in the US that damaged facilities on the Gulf coast.

WTI crude rose for the fifth consecutive week, with futures up almost 3 per cent to an 8-week high of $73.98 a barrel boosted by growing fuel demand and falling US crude inventories.

Disruptions in US Gulf Coast production following Hurricane Ida and other storms have led to sharp draws in US and global inventories. EIA data showed US crude stocks fell by 3.5 million barrels to 414 million last week, the lowest since October 2018. Capping some gains was China’s first public sale of state oil reserves. State-owned PetroChina and private refiner and chemical producer Hengli Petrochemical bought four cargoes totaling about 4.43 million barrels.

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Buhari: Five million homes to get solar power by 2030

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Nigeria is working on an ambitious energy plan including decentralised solar energy solutions that will substantially reduce the energy shortcomings by the year 2030, President Muhammadu Buhari has said.

The President spoke on the sidelines of the 76th United Nations General Assembly in New York on the High-Level Dialogue on Energy.

Spokesman for the President, Mr Femi Adesina, in a statement Friday night, quoted Buhari as saying, “Nigeria’s commitment to a just transition is reflected in our ambitious Energy Compact, which includes the government’s flagship project to electrify five million households and 20 million people using decentralised solar energy solutions.

“This is a major first step towards closing our energy access deficit by 2030. Nigeria’s commitment is also reflected in the development of our Energy Transition Plan, which was developed with the support of the UK COP26 Energy Transition Council.”

He called for support from developed countries to unlock the financing needed to accelerate a just energy transition for all.

“The focus of our discussions on transition must now evolve how we help countries develop detailed energy transition plans and commitments to mobilize enough financing to empower countries to implement those plans,” he said.

The President said the scale of financing required for Nigeria to achieve net-zero would amount to over $400bn across the Nigerian economy in excess of business-as-usual spending over the next 30 years.

He said, “This breaks down to $155bn net spends on generation capacity, $135bn on transmission and distribution infrastructure, $75bn on buildings, $21bn on industry and $12bn on transport.”

Buhari, however, said that gas would continue to have a big role to play before phasing it out, explaining that solid fuel cooking was still wreaking havoc in Africa:

He said, “As a global leader on the energy transition, it is imperative that I flag a major risk to development that stems from the current narrative around the energy transition, particularly on the role of gas and the lack of financing.

“Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan has laid out our road map to reach net-zero and highlights the scale of the effort required, which includes the development and integration of renewables into current grid infrastructure at tremendous scale and electrification of all sectors.

“This is challenging for any country, especially a developing country. On our development objectives, gas will have a key role to play here for some years before being phased out.”

President Buhari noted that these plans must also take into account the provision of access to electricity and clean cooking solutions for those in Nigeria and around the world currently without access.

He also stressed the essential role of gas in addressing clean cooking challenges.

“Globally, there are 2.6 billion people who lack access to clean cooking – which is unacceptable. Even more concerning is that solid fuel cooking in Africa causes almost 490,000 premature deaths annually, making it the second-largest health risk in Africa,” he stated.

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States can’t collect VAT, it’s on exclusive list – Malami

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State governments are not empowered to collect value-added tax (VAT) in the country because it is on exclusive legislative list, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has said.

The AGF gave this position on Friday night in an interview with Channels Television.

The Federal Inland Revenue Service has been at loggerheads with Rivers and Lagos State governments over VAT collection. And the matter already receiving the backing of some other state governments is current in court.

Malami, who said the collection of VAT in the country is under the exclusive legislative list, posited that only the National Assembly could make laws on VAT.

He said, “A lot has precluded the state from collecting value-added tax. One, generally speaking, as you rightly know, the issue of the value-added tax is an issue on the exclusive legislative list.

“And the implication of being in exclusive legislative list matter is that only the national assembly can legislate on it. The question that you may perhaps wish to address your mind on is whether there exists any national legislation that has conferred the power on the state to collect VAT. And my answer is ‘no’.

“In the absence of a law passed by the national assembly in that direction, no state can have a valid claim to collection of value-added tax.

“The responsibility, right and constitutional powers to legislate on collection of VAT are exclusively and constitutionally vested in the National Assembly and not in the state.

“Where the national assembly has not passed any law in that regard authorising the state to collect VAT, then it goes without saying that no state can arrogate unto itself the powers to collect VAT.”

According to the minister, it will be reckless for any state to go ahead to collect VAT, despite the court’s decision asking parties to maintain the status quo.

He said, “I don’t see any state perhaps taking the law unto its hands without allowing the judicial process to take its natural course and in breach of the prevailing legislation.

“I don’t see the states acting arbitrarily and setting a very bad precedence as far as governance is concerned with particular regard to the fact that the matter is receiving judicial determination.

“I can’t understand. I can’t perhaps bring that thought into consideration that I believe it could amount to a high level of recklessness on the part of any state government to be operating in breach and to be operating a lawless governance style as far as the Nigerian state is concerned.”

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