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$5m Bribe: NCDMB Rubbishes Allegation Against Wabote

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Simbi Wabote $5m Bribe

By Ahmed Rahma

The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has defended its Executive Secretary, Mr Simbi Wabote, saying that the $5 million bribery allegation against him is false.

A few days ago, one Mr Jackson Ude had accused Mr Wabote of receiving $5 million bribe from a German company to violate Nigeria’s local content laws on the Bonny Train 7 contract.

The journalist has said, “Simbi Wabote, the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board, a lackey of Timipre Sylva, actually collected $5 million bribe from Kelvion, German company to violate Nigeria’s local content laws on the Bonny Train 7 contract. Details plenty!”

But responding in a statement signed by General Manager of Corporate Communication/Zonal Coordination, NCDMB, Dr Ginah Ginah, the organisation described this allegation as baseless.

“Our attention has been drawn to a spurious and libellous online publication in Pointblank News of 10th February 2021, in which one Jackson Ude, purported that the Executive Secretary of the NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Wabote, and the Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva received bribes to undermine the Nigerian content policy in the award of  Train 7 EPC contract.

“The report epitomizes a futile attempt to soil the image of public officials who have worked hard to develop local content in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.

“It is apparent that the writer does not even understand the role of NCDMB as enshrined in the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act 2010.

“It could have been proper to ignore the fabricated news report, but we have a duty to provide the facts so that unsuspecting members of the public are not misled by blatant disinformation.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the NCDMB is a regulator and does not award contracts in the Nigerian oil and gas industry,” NCDMB explained in the statement.

Explaining further, it stated, “Our involvement in the award process is limited to evaluation of local content requirements in tenders, upon which NCDMB communicates to operators and/or project promoters the outcome of bidders’ compliance or otherwise with the provisions of the NOGICD Act.

“Due consideration and the decision to award a contract to any of the compliant bidders rest with the operator and their partners/ project promoters.

“The process of scaling through local content requirements in a project development is based on the provisions of the Nigerian Content Act and not on a subjective checklist that can be changed at the whims of any individual.”

It revealed that, “Circumventing the rules/requirements attracts stiff sanctions. Therefore, it would have been impossible for the Executive Secretary and the Minister or any other official for that matter to be induced to contravene the provisions of the law they are meant to enforce.

“It would have also been impossible for any official to dictate to the operators or project promoters on their choice of contractors without due regard for the commercial aspects and project economics.

“This fake news by Jackson Ude is a disingenuous attempt to diminish the hard work that engendered the Final Investment Decision (FID) for NLNG Train 7 project even at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

“The allegations are not only reckless but also calls to question the motive of Mr. Ude and his cohorts as the country strives to attract investors and create job opportunities for Nigerians.

“Just to call a spade a spade: the report by Jackson Ude is completely FALSE and makes no sense; it is mere FAKE news that satisfies only the author’s mischief and the selfish interests of his sponsors.

“It is on record that the outcome of the Train-7 Project tenders provided very significant financial savings for the NLNG and the country at large.

“We will therefore not succumb to any mudslinging or blackmail from Jackson Ude or his cohorts, including those business promoters who did not win the NLNG Train-7 contracts but have decided to vent their spleen through channels of disinformation such as the online Pointblank News

“Since creation in 2010, the NCDMB has worked to achieve quantum growth in the Nigerian oil and gas industry from less than 5% to over 35%.

“The in-country capacities and capabilities developed over the years are evident and we will not be distracted from our focus and plan to increase this to 70 percent by 2027 in line with our extant 10-year Strategic Roadmap.”

Ahmed Rahma is a journalist with great interest in arts and craft. She is also a foodie who loves new ideas. She loves to travel and would love to visit other African countries someday. She is a sucker for historical movies and afrobeat.

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NGA Calls for Multiple Approach to Energy Transition

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Energy Transitions

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Nigerian Gas Association (NGA) has called for a multidimensional approach to energy transition in Africa amid the lingering global energy crisis and increased calls for the replacement of fossil fuels with renewable energy to reduce carbon emissions.

NGA cautioned that Africa needs to be cautious and consider all the pertinent issues in transitioning from fossil fuel to cleaner and more sustainable energy sources.

According to the National Publicity Secretary of the association, Mr Odianosen Masade, fossil transition in developed economies has been going on for over a century, whilst Africa was expected to transition over a few decades.

“Africa accounts for the smallest share of global greenhouse gas emissions, at just 3.8 per cent, in contrast to 23 per cent in China, 19 per cent in the United States, and 13 per cent in the European Union.

“Africa is also the least industrialized of all the continents in the world, yet one of the most vulnerable to climate change,” he noted.

Mr Masade, who is the Corporate Communications Lead at Eroton Exploration & Production Company, also provided insights into challenges inhibiting Nigeria from maximizing the opportunities presented by the conflict in Ukraine, which has reduced the global supply of gas.

He disclosed that the lack of political will, as well as Nigeria’s lack of critical infrastructure, were some of the greatest reasons for Nigeria’s disadvantaged position.

“One such infrastructure that would have generated significant income for the country is the Trans-Saharan gas pipeline, which will traverse Nigeria, Niger and Algeria across the Sahara desert to Europe.

“It is estimated that once completed, the $13 billion pipeline would transport up to 30 billion cubic meters (1 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas per annum from Warri in Nigeria, through Niger and Algeria on to Europe,” he stated.

In July, the oil ministers of the three countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and agreed to set up a task force for the project with the aim of updating an existing feasibility study.

The idea to pipe gas across the Sahara to Europe was first conceived more than 40 years ago. In 2009, an agreement was signed by the three gas-rich countries, but progress has stalled since then.

TSGP, also known as the NIGAL pipeline, may now move closer to becoming reality as Europe attempts to cut its strong dependency on Russian gas.

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IGP Authorises Stop & Search, Raids, Others to Tackle Crime

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IGP alkali Tinted Permits

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr Usman Alkali Baba, has ordered the deployment of adequate security around schools, hospitals, and critical national infrastructures across the country.

The Force Public Relations Officer, Mr Olumuyiwa Adejobi, who disclosed this in a statement on Sunday, said the IGP has also ordered regular patrols, stop and search, raids and show of force by tactical commanders to clamp down on pockets of crime and criminality in some states of the federation.

“The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, has ordered the deployment of water-tight security arrangements to cover all schools, hospitals, health workers, and critical national infrastructures around the country,” the statement added.

“The IGP has equally ordered regular patrols, stop and search, raids, and show of force by tactical commanders to clamp down on pockets of crime and criminality recorded in some states of the federation,” it further said.

Mr Baba gave the directive while reviewing the reports he received from various commands and formations on the general security situations across the country.

He tasked strategic police managers at various levels to prioritize the use of intelligence gathering networks while charging officers and men of the force to take the fight against crime to the doorsteps of suspected criminal elements with a view to flushing them from their hideouts.

The IGP also called for the cooperation of members of the public, warning police officers to be civil, professional, and humane in the course of discharging their duties.

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SERAP Begs INEC to Allow 7 million Nigerians Complete Voter Registration

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inec electoral bill

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to allow seven million Nigerians to complete their voter registration.

SERAP made the call in a statement on Sunday through its Deputy Director, Mr Kolawole Oluwadare, warning that the failure of the electoral body to grant this request could attract legal action.

According to the rights group, INEC recently disclosed that out of 10,487,972 Nigerians who carried out their pre-registration online, only 3,444,378 completed the process at physical centres.

SERAP believes that the right to vote is also the right to be given the time and opportunity to complete the registration process so that it can be effectively exercised.

“The right to vote is not merely the right to cast a ballot but also the right to be given the time and opportunity to complete the registration process, so that the right can be meaningfully and effectively exercised,” the statement read.

“Closing the gates on eligible Nigerians and denying them the time and opportunity to complete their registration cannot preserve trust in the electoral process.

“Denying a significant number of eligible voters the time and opportunity to complete the registration for their PVCs would impair the right to vote of those affected, deny them a voice in the 2023 elections, and lead to disparate and unfair treatment of these voters,” it submitted.

The organisation noted that, “According to a report released by INEC, out of 10,487,972 Nigerians who carried out their pre-registration online, only 3,444,378 Nigerians representing 32.8 per cent, completed the process at a physical centre. 7,043,594 Nigerians carried out their pre-registration but are yet to complete the process at a physical centre.

“This represents over 67 per cent of those who began their registration process online.

“According to INEC, a total of 12,298,944 Nigerians completed their voter registration; 8,854,566 of which were persons who did their registration entirely at a physical centre.

“The over seven million Nigerians have already completed their registration online, that is, via INEC online portal by providing their biodata and required documents.”

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