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Dangote Says Refinery, Game Changer as Production Begins

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By David Torough

Following the successful commencement of production of refined petroleum products by the Dangote Petroleum Refinery, President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote has expressed appreciation to President Bola Tinubu for his vision and support which encouraged him to embark on the refinery project years ago.

Speaking with stakeholders in the oil and gas industry on the historic start of domestic refining of petroleum products that will eliminate dependence on importation of refined products in Nigeria, Dangote thanked President Tinubu, the federal government, its agencies, and all Nigerians for believing in him and supporting the mega project despite all odds.

Dangote recalled the support, encouragement and thoughtful advice he got from President Tinubu towards the actualisation of the refinery project.

Tinubu, while addressing Nigerians on New Year Day alluded to the fact that the Federal Government and indeed Nigerians were eagerly awaiting the start of production at Dangote and Port Harcourt refineries to ease the attendant hardship on citizens after the fuel subsidy removal.

Similarly, Dangote thanked the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Limited), the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) for their support and belief in the historic project.

“I must extend our sincere appreciation to our bankers and financiers, both local and offshore, who demonstrated a great deal of patience, in seeing us through many difficult times.

“In the same vein, we thank the Government of Lagos State, under the leadership of Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who has been incredibly proactive in ensuring that the many challenges we encountered in the course of executing this project were quickly resolved. I thank him immensely.

“I also sincerely thank our host communities and their traditional leaders for their sustained patience, forbearance, and admirable willingness to work with us to find amicable and win-win resolutions to the many issues we have had to deal with as the construction of this huge facility progressed.

“Our staff have also contributed so immensely to the success of this project. I thank them profusely,” Dangote stated.

He added, “This is a big day for Nigeria. We are delighted to have reached this significant milestone.

“This is an important achievement for our country as it demonstrates our ability to develop and deliver large capital projects.

“This is a game changer for our country, and I’m very fulfilled with the actualisation of this project.”

The refinery has so far received 6million barrels of crude oil at its two SPMs located 25 kilometres from the shore.

The first crude delivery was done on Dec. 12, 2023 and the 6th cargo was delivered on Jan. 8, 2024.The Refinery can load 2,900 trucks a day at its truck-loading gantries. The products from the Refinery will conform to Euro V specifications. The refinery design complies with the World Bank, US EPA, European emission norms, and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) emission/effluent norms. Employing state-of-the-art technology.

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Fire Guts Minister’s Private Residence

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By Laide Akinboade, Abuja

The private residence of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister of State, Dr Mariya Mahmoud was completely razed down by fire on Sunday afternoon.

Reports suggest that nothing was salvaged from 9 Justice Roseline Ukeji Close, Asokoro, Abuja as fighters were said to have arrived late.

Media Aide to the minister Mr.

Austine Elemue said the cause of the fire was being investigated.

The Ag. Director, FCT Fire Service, Mr Amiola Adebayo confirmed the fire outbreak.

The Acting Director in a text message to our correspondent said the fire started around 10:40am on 7 Roseline Ukeji close, Mark Okoye Street, Asokoro, involving a 7-bedroom duplex.

He said household items on the upper floor including: beds, clothes, documents, credentials, jewelries and others like air-conditioners, roof were consumed.

 The fire service boss suspected electrical fault in the children room as the cause of the fire.

The fire was brought under control around 2:51pm. No life was lost.

This is the major fire incident in Abuja this year.

On Nov. 7, 2023, a section of the Canadian High Commission caught fire.

The FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said a diesel tank explosion was responsible for the incident.

Two persons died in the incident while one other person was critically injured.

At the same time, one of the Samsung electronic retail stores in Abuja was gutted by fire.

The fire was said to have been caused by careless welding activities near a pile of empty combustible cartons.

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Northern Senators Jubilant as ECOWAS Lifts Sanctions on Niger Republic

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By Eze Okechukwu, Abuja

Northern Senators Forum has commended the leadership of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for lifting sanctions imposed on Niger Republic as a result of military takeover on July 26th, 2023.

Recall that the regional block had a fortnight ago, lifted the sanctions it imposed on the trio of Niger Republic, Mali and Burkina Faso following military insurrections in their respective countries.

Reacting to the development, the northern senators forum yesterday in Abuja said that they were pleased to see that ECOWAS responded to the progressive requests “made by us individually and collectively on the subject matter and we commend their prudent and compassionate approach in addressing these critical issues”.

The spokesman of Northern Senators Forum, Senator Suleiman Kawu Sumaila (NNPP, Kano South) noted that the principled and empathetic decision made by ECOWAS to lift the sanctions on Niger Republic was a testament to the organization’s commitment to regional solidarity, cooperation, and respect for human rights, stressing that the action would go a long way in alleviating the suffering of the people of Niger Republic as well as ensuring the restoration of stability and economic prosperity in the region.

According to him, “We are particularly grateful that ECOWAS leaders have considered our pleas to restore electricity, open borders and lift the sanctions on Niger Republic.

“These measures will not only have crucial humanitarian implications but will also foster regional integration, trade, and cooperation.

“We firmly believe that this step taken by ECOWAS will positively impact the lives of the people of Niger Republic and Nigeria and facilitate the restoration of trust and harmony among all member states.

“As representatives of the people and advocates for justice and democracy, we commend ECOWAS for their responsiveness and understanding of the immense challenges faced by our fellow West African nation.

“The Northern Senators Forum stands in solidarity with ECOWAS in restoring democracy and rule of law in Niger Republic and other west African countries.

“And we are committed to working to promote stability, peace, and socio-economic development throughout the region.

“We urge the government of Niger Republic and its people to seize this opportunity to hasten the process of returning to democratic governance to build a stronger and more prosperous nation, harnessing their resilient spirit and unwavering determination.

“Furthermore, we urge all regional stakeholders to continue engaging in dialogue and pursuing peaceful solutions to address any remaining concern, fostering a harmonious environment for progress and development.

“Finally, we would like to reiterate our deep appreciation to ECOWAS leaders especially, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of Nigeria for their proactive and benevolent intervention in lifting the sanctions imposed on Niger Republic.

“We are confident that this decision will leave an indelible mark on the collective consciousness of all West African nations and serve as a shining example for resolving differences through dialogue and diplomacy.”

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Edo 2024: Ighodalo Wins PDP Guber Ticket with 577 votes

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By Dasvid Torough, Abuja

All efforts to make the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship primary election in Edo State came to naught as two aspirants lay claim to victory on Thursday.

Dr Asue Ighodalo was announced the governorship candidate of the PDP for the Sept.

21 guber election.

The Chief Returning Officer and chairman of the Edo Governorship Primary election Committee, Gov.

Dada Lawal of Zamfara State, declared Ighodalo as winner after he garnered 577 votes to defeat six other aspirants.

The primary was co-chaired by Gov.

Sheriff Oborevwori of Delta

The governorship primary was held at the Lawn Tennis Court of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin.

The Edo Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Dr Anugbum Onuoha, led officials of INEC to monitor the process.

Ighodalo scored 577 votes to defeat other aspirants, including Deputy Gov. Philip Shaibu, who scored one vote.

In his acceptance speech, Ighodalo who thanked the delegates for the confidence reposed in him, promised prosperity for all Edo people.

He added that he would make deliberate efforts to tackle poverty and deliver good governance to the people.

Two former House of Representatives members, Mr Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama and Omosede Igbinedion, stepped down minutes before the primary.

The other aspirants Anslem Ojezua, Felix Akhabue, Martin Uhomoibhi, Hafia Hadizat Umoru, Osaro Onaiwu and Arthur Esene, all scored zero vote.

Earlier, the State Chairman of PDP, Tony Aziegbemi who welcomed the Edo Governorship Primary Election Committee to the state, said the PDP was ready for the Sept. governorship election.

Aziegbemi said a total of 594 adhoc delegates were elected by party members.

Similarly,  the Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu emerged factional candidate for the same election.

It was reported that Shaibu scored 3000 votes in a parallel primary election held at his residence on Commercial Avenue, Benin City.

The Returning Officer, Bartholomew Moses declared that Shaibu won with an overwhelming majority of votes.

It was said that some delegates who went to Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium were denied entry.

These delegates returned to the deputy governor’s lodge for the primary election.

Shaibu reportedly addressed the delegates and advised them to remain peaceful, promising to speak with the primary electoral committee chairman.

It was later resolved that a parallel exercise should hold and Shaibu emerged candidate of the election.

Delegates from 12 local government areas reportedly elected Shaibu as the candidate.

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