By Adedapo Adesanya
The Lagos State Government has warned the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) from overstepping its boundaries following the agency’s re-opening of tank farms that violated seeking its physical planning approvals.
It also advised the agency to refrain from aiding unlawful acts in the state.
In a statement, the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr Idris Salako, described as worrisome the situation in which the DPR, a federal government agency, jumped the requirement for a planning permit and went ahead to issue licences to facilities whose constructions were not approved by the Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority (LASPPPA) and which consequently did not have stage certification or certificate of completion.
“It is even more worrisome that the state government in the bid to ensure orderly, organised and sustainable development, would seal off illegal and unapproved tank farms and filling stations while the DPR would go behind to unseal such facilities,” Mr Salako said.
The Commissioner said the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development was statutorily mandated to regulate all forms of physical developments in all parts of the state.
He added that the law, being clear on the mandate, did not leave room for any conflict of interest, noting that this was buttressed by the supreme court judgment which specifically placed responsibility for physical development within the confines of a state in the state entity.
“We urge the federal government agency to desist from this untoward act and join us in encouraging promoters of these facilities to respect the law by ensuring that their structures have all necessary physical planning approvals,” he said.
On the continued existence of petroleum tank farms in Ijegun-Egba, the Commissioner said that no new approvals were being granted in the area, while the existing ones were being encouraged to cohabit with the host communities, where they were expected to exercise corporate social responsibility measures for the development of the communities.
He urged fresh applications for approval for tank farms to consider moving to the approved locations in Ibeju Lekki Local Government Area.
The DPR had last week reopened eight petroleum tank farms shut down by the Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority in Lagos, saying the state-owned agency lacked the constitutional backing to close the depots.
During the activity, the Zonal Operations Controller, DPR, Lagos Zone, Mr Ayorinde Cardoso, who directed the reopening of the depots in Ijegun-Egba, Satellite Town, said in a statement that the oil and gas business was a regulated environment and under the exclusive legislative list as provided by the 1999 Constitution, which exempts it from the purview of LASPPA.
Mr Cardoso also noted that sealing of the tank farms could lead to disruption in the supply of petroleum products which would eventually lead to scarcity across the country.
He listed the depots reopened by DPR as Wosbab Energy Solutions, Emadeb Energy Services Ltd., Mao Petroleum Ltd., Menj Oil Ltd., Oceanpride Energy Services Ltd., A.A. Rano Nigeria Ltd., AIPEC Oil and Gas Ltd. and First Royal Oil Ltd.
According to him, Ijegun-Egba has 13 tank farm operators which receive between 35 per cent to 40 per cent of petroleum products coming to Lagos before being transported to other areas.
Mr Cardoso said, “We were told that LASPPPA sealed the depots today (Monday) for not having their planning permits.
“We don’t believe that is the right approach because these people are providing service to the nation and if you disrupt that service, there will be fuel scarcity everywhere.
“This is why we are taking proactive action to immediately reopen the tank farms and if LASPPPA has any issues with the operators, they should come to us to see how it can be resolved.”
EFCC Questions Ex-NDDC Boss Nsima Ekere Over N47bn Fraud
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr Nsima Ekere, has been grilled by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The former NDDC boss was at the Lagos office of the agency on Wednesday to honour an invitation to him to answer questions surrounding an alleged fraud to the tune of N47 billion.
In 2016, a year after losing the governorship primary election of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom State to Governor Udom Emmanuel, he was appointed as the MD of the commission.
He left office in 2018 to concentrate on his ambition to rule his home state and contested the gubernatorial poll in 2019 under the All Progressives Congress (APC) and lost again to Mr Emmanuel.
In 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered a forensic audit of the NDDC from 2001 to 2019 and the report of the exercise, according to the former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Godswill Akpabio, said several frauds were uncovered.
The EFCC, reports said, has been trailing Mr Ekere and yesterday, he turned himself in and he was questioned on the allegations of contract inflation and award of fictitious contracts while in office.
This development is coming two days after the anti-money laundering organisation arrested the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Mr Ahmed Idris, over allegations of diversion of N80 billion.
He was suspended yesterday by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainah Ahmed, to enable a transparent investigation into the matter.
Also, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mrs Patricia Etteh, was apprehended on Tuesday by the agency over allegations of diversion of funds for projects.
IPMAN, EFCC Move Against Oil Theft, Vandalism in N’Delta
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has sought the support and intervention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in curbing oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta.
This was disclosed by the Chairman of IPMAN, Mr Bello Binna, during a visit to the Port Harcourt’s Zonal Commander of the EFCC, Mr Nwanneka Nwokike, in his office.
Mr Binna said that the EFCC was the only agency trusted to give solutions on issues of pipeline vandalism and oil theft in the Niger Delta region.
According to him, IPMAN was more comfortable with what the EFCC is doing to curb
“We are here to collaborate with the Agency with which we are more comfortable, and we believe that with your support, our jobs will have a headway.
“In the past, our efforts have been wasted, we were advised that the agency that has the mandate to make our job effectively is the EFCC,” he said.
Responding, the Port Harcourt’s Zonal Commander of the EFCC, Mr Nwanneka Nwokike, said the EFCC was working tirelessly to put an end to the menace of illegal oil bunkering in the Niger Delta region.
Mr Nwokike also stressed the need to educate youths within the region on the ills of oil theft and illegal oil bunkering.
“I assure you that the EFCC has the desire to reduce, if not bring to an end, the menace of illegal oil bunkering.
“We will educate our youths on the dangers of this, which is part of our mandate, educating our youths on why they must leave these illegalities. We must all come together to see how we can tackle this menace. I want to assure you that we will work together,” he said.
Akinwumi Adesina Turns Down Requests to Become Next Nigerian President
By Adedapo Adesanya
The President of the Africa Development Bank (AfDB), Mr Akinwumi Adesina, has ruled himself out of the 2023 presidential race in Nigeria.
Mr Adesina made his position known in a statement on Tuesday after months of calls for him to join the contest after a group bought the presidential nomination form of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for him at the cost of N100 million.
In the statement, the banker emphasised that his current desire is to continue to hold the office of the president of the AfDB which he won reelection for last year.
However, he expressed appreciation for those who found him worthy of leading his country at this critical time it is undergoing different challenges ranging from economy, security and others.
“While I am deeply honoured, humbled and grateful for all the incredible goodwill, kindness, and confidence, my current responsibilities at this time do not allow me to accept to considered,” the statement read in part.
“I remain fully engaged and committed to the mission that Nigeria, Africa and all the non-African shareholders of the African Development Bank have given me for Africa’s development.
“I remain fully focused on the mission of supporting the accelerated development and economic integration of Africa,” Mr Adesina added.
Less than two weeks ago, a coalition of 28 groups purchased the N100 million APC presidential forms for the former Agriculture Minister.
The coalition consists of groups such as the Youth Arise Movement, Nigerians in Diaspora, One Nigeria Group, Prudent Youth Association of Nigeria, women groups, farmers, and other civil society groups.
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