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Saraki should not be Senate president if Magu could be rejected – Ndume

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Ali Ndume, former Senate majority leader, has reacted to the Senate’s decision not to confirm Ibrahim Magu, as chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) based on allegations leveled against him.

According to Ndume, if Magu should not be confirmed based on allegations levelled against him, then he should not be a sitting senator and Bukola Saraki should not be there as Senate president.

Ndume made this known while speaking on Sunrise Daily, a breakfast programme on Channels Television.

He faulted the action of the Senate to reject Magu’s nomination.

He said: “We have all been accused, I have been accused of sponsoring Boko Haram, the senate president is still going to court.

“Same as other members who have cases in court, yet they occupy seats in the senate. So, if you say because of the allegations he (Magu) should not be confirmed, then I should not be a sitting senator and Saraki should not be there as senate president.”

Ndume, who said he conducted personal investigation on Magu, absolved him of the allegations.

He added: “The bottom line is that we are trying to fight against corruption and if we ask: ‘is Magu doing his job?’, the answer is yes, undoubtedly. He is not an actor, he is a policeman doing investigation. He is not supposed to talk about what his job is in an articulate manner, it’s not important. What he is doing is not a TV show.”

The former Senate majority leader also said that he would be surprised if President Buhari mentioned Magu’s confirmation during his last meeting with leaders of the national assembly.

Buhari met Saraki and Yakubu Dogara at the presidential villa in Abuja, a day to the day Magu was rejected at the senate.

He said: “The president I know is not the kind of person that would interfere in such matters. I would have been surprised if the president discussed the issue of confirmation when he met the leaders of the national assembly recently, that would have led to the issue of lobbying for him to be confirmed.

“There is no crime against lobbying, in fact we are supposed to lobby. I lobbied most of the senators but sometimes you keep on learning because this is kind of new. A government where you (APC) are in the majority and the president re-nominates a candidate, and also in a situation where the issue at stake is an accusation; in the normal circumstance and by our constitution, accusation is not conviction.

“The issue now is not the house in his name, it’s a house called the safe house and that was prompted because after his acting appointment and the rigorous work he is doing, you can’t afford to have somebody like that living in Karu or a densely populated area.”

Recall that the upper chamber on Wednesday, March 15, rejected the nomination of Magu as EFCC boss, citing a report of the Department of State Services (DSS).

The DSS had said Magu was unfit to lead the commission because he had failed an integrity test.

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Extortion: Customs disciplines employee, keeps mum on officers indicted for multi-billion naira corruption.!

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The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) said on Monday that it is taking disciplinary action against one of its personnel for alleged N500,000 extortion.

The customs officer, Ibrahim Suleiman, was said to have extorted N500,000 from a car buyer named Muhammad Ahmad along Mokwa-Jebba Road in Niger State on 22 February.

In a statement posted on its verified Facebook Page, the customs noted that the Comptroller, Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘B’ Kaduna, Dalha Chedi, handed over the accused officer to the Assistant Provost Marshal (APM) Customs Police Unit, Kaduna, on Monday.

Mr Chedi said he had directed the Customs Police Unit responsible for enforcing discipline in the service to conduct further interrogation.

He added that the complainant has been invited to assist in the investigation.

“This unprofessional and ungodly act will not be condoned. A thorough investigation has just commenced by this handing over to unravel the facts surrounding the allegation. The outcome shall be made public to serve as a deterrent to others,” he was quoted as saying.

“We are deeply concerned and assure the general public that the matter will be treated with the deserved vigour, decisiveness and transparency.”

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Oba Otudeko, Aig-Imokhuede, NGX Group honour Ogunbanjo’s legacy

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Prominent figures from the Nigerian business landscape came together to pay tribute to the late Bamofin Abimbola Ogunbanjo during an Afternoon of Tributes and Closing Gong Ceremony, organized by the Nigerian Exchange Group in collaboration with Coronation Group.  

The event, held on Tuesday, February 27, 2024, served as a homage to the enduring legacy of the luminary. 

 Among the distinguished speakers who graced the occasion were Dr Oba Otudeko, Chairman of Honeywell Group and Past President of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE); Mr Aigboje Aig-Imuokhuede, Chairman of Coronation Group; Alhaji (Dr) Umaru Kwairanga, Chairman of the Nigerian Exchange Group; and Mr Temi Popoola, Group Chief Executive Officer of NGX Group, alongside other notable personalities. 

What the stakeholders said about Ogunbanjo  

In his opening remarks, Alhaji (Dr) Umaru Kwairanga encapsulated the essence of Bamofin Ogunbanjo’s profound impact, emphasizing his pivotal role in steering the successful completion of the demutualization process within the Group.  

Kwairanga hailed Ogunbanjo as not merely a leader, but a beacon of light and a guiding force within the community, underscoring his instrumental contribution to reshaping the Group’s trajectory in the West African sub-region. 

 Mr Aigboje Aig-Imuokhuede, Chairman of Coronation Group, reflected on the unparalleled commitment demonstrated by Ogunbanjo throughout the demutualization process, extolling his remarkable service to the industry.  

  • “You served the world in a way only few could do,” Aig-Imuokhuede remarked, paying homage to Ogunbanjo’s indelible legacy and wishing him eternal peace. 

 Temi Popoola, Group CEO of NGX Group, echoed the sentiments of admiration and gratitude, highlighting Ogunbanjo’s unwavering dedication to the exchange’s success and seamless leadership transitions. 

 Dr. Oba Otudeko, past president of The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), shared poignant recollections of Ogunbanjo, portraying him as an adroit gentleman whose simplicity, brilliance, and doggedness were instrumental during the demutualization process. 

 Reflecting on Ogunbanjo’s legacy, Mr Abubakar Mahmoud, SAN, former Chairman of NGX, lauded his patriotism and commitment to national development, while Mr Olusola Adeosun, President and Chairman of Council at the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers, expressed deep sorrow at the loss, emphasizing Ogunbanjo’s magnetic personality and profound impact on the institute. 

 Mr. Sam Onukwue, Chairman of the Association of Securities Dealers, hailed Ogunbanjo’s transformative leadership and global perspective, crediting his strong legal acumen and industry experience in navigating the exchange’s restructuring. 

 Echoing sentiments of admiration, Mr. Darren Bennett-Voci, CEO of Beta Glass Plc, paid tribute to Ogunbanjo’s leadership and professionalism, crediting his strategic guidance during challenging times. 

 Erelu Angela Adebayo, former Chairperson of NGX Real Estate, fondly recalled Ogunbanjo’s unwavering commitment to Nigeria’s progress, portraying him as a patriot who left an indelible mark on the industry. 

 

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Qatar seals LNG deals Nigeria once sought

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Qatar is courting foreign investors to expand its gas expansion project, and the energy companies falling over themselves are the same ones that turned their nose up at Nigeria’s invitation to invest in its liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants.

BusinessDay findings showed Qatar is already one of the world’s largest suppliers of LNG — gas cooled into liquid form so that it can be piped onto ships for export – and it is making plans to further increase its LNG production capacity following the discovery of vast new gas reserves.

Qatar announced new plans to expand output from the world’s biggest natural gas field, saying it will boost capacity to 142 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) before 2030, according to Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, Qatar’s energy minister.

The new North Field expansion, named North Field West, will add a further 16 million tonnes of LNG per year to existing expansion plans, Sherida al-Kaabi said at a news conference on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG), owned by the federal government of Nigeria and three international oil companies, has been on force majeure for more than 15 months.

“Recent studies have shown that the North Field contains huge additional gas quantities estimated at 240 trillion cubic feet, which raises the state of Qatar’s gas reserves from 1,760 [trillion cubic feet] to more than 2,000 trillion cubic feet,” said al-Kaabi, who also heads the state-owned company QatarEnergy.

These results “will enable us to begin developing a new LNG project from the North Field’s western sector with a production capacity of about 16 million tonnes per annum”, he said.

This will bring Qatar’s production capacity to 142 million tonnes once “the new expansion is completed before the end of this decade” – a nearly 85 percent rise from current production levels, al-Kaabi added.

The QatarEnergy chief said the firm will “immediately commence” with engineering works to ensure the expansion is completed on time.

BusinessDay’s findings showed ExxonMobil has pumped nearly $30 billion into gas projects in Qatar within long-term partnership agreements.

The US oil giant ExxonMobil has pumped nearly $30 billion into gas projects in Qatar within long-term partnership agreements, its Senior Vice President has said.

According to Peter Clarke, ExxonMobil’s senior vice president, the oil giant began investing in Qatar’s gas projects during the 1990s and that it has contributed to the development of 12 of the 14 gas facilities in the Gulf country.

“We have also invested in 27 LNG vessels to transport Qatari gas…over the past years, we have invested nearly $30 billion in major projects in Qatar…we also have important ventures with Qatar in the US, mainly Golden Pass Terminal,” Clarke told the Qatari Arabic language daily Asharq in an interview.

Contrast this with Nigeria where investors have largely been unimpressed with overtures to build new liquefaction plants.

The NLNG has seen its output decline owing to gas supply constraints, which also pose a threat to its expansion plan.

It had on October 17, 2022 declared a force majeure on product supplies from its production facilities on Bonny Island, following the declaration of force majeure by all its upstream gas suppliers.

Since the development of the NLNG, new projects have been too few and far between. e Two LNG projects in Nigeria: Olokola LNG and Brass LNG have been unable to reach a final decision by the stakeholders as investors have pulled out.

The OK LNG project was stalled because all the international oil companies (BG, Shell and Chevron) withdrew from the project, with only the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) left.

The Brass LNG project, which was designed to produce 10 million metric tonnes per annum, was to be built by the NNPC, Total, ConocoPhillips and Eni Group. But ConocoPhillips withdrew from the project in 2013 and has stalled since then.

“As we move into the early 2030s, there’s going be huge demand for gas from Asia, and I think QatarEnergy is squarely focused on that,” said Tom Marzec-Manser, head of gas analytics at commodity pricing and data company ICIS. Qatar has secured two huge gas supply deals with China over the past 15 months.

Last June, it agreed to sell 4mn tonnes a year of LNG to China National Petroleum Corporation for 27 years, following a similar deal with China’s Sinopec in November 2022.

Qatar’s LNG ramp-up comes amid growing demand for gas, which is set to grow by 2.5 percent, or 100 Bcm (3531 Bcf) in 2024, the International Energy agency said in its gas market report for Q1 2024.

Qatar accounted for 20 percent of LNG volumes in 2023, the Paris-based agency said in the report.

“In particular, the United States and Qatar have been driving this trend, accounting for 34 percent and 26 percent of all contracted volumes in 2023 respectively. Considering only post-FID (final investment decision) projects, these countries’ share was 21 percent and 39 percent,” the IEA said.

It is this kind of critical thinking and rigour that is absent in Nigeria’s policy formulation and execution which is scaring away investors.

 

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