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Power Minister Worries over Under Utilisation Nation’s Power Plants 

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Mr Adebayo Adelabu, Minister of Power, has expressed concern at the level of under utilisation of Olorunsogo and Omotosho power plants due to gas shortage.

Adelabu expressed his worries during an official inspection to the plants in Abeokuta and Akure on Wednesday.

Reports says that Olorunsogo power plant 2 has installed capacity of 750 megawatts but generates 87 megawatts while Omotosho’s 500 megawatts generate only 125 megawatts.

The minister said: “I am impressed with the size and the technology of the power plants here; their operational history is also impressive.

“And I am amazed at the level of under utilisation of these power installations.

“Each of them operates below 25 per cent capacity. When we are still complaining that power generation is low in this country,” he said.

According to him, the under capacity utilisation was due to a variety of reasons.

“The major part of it, is the shortage in gas supply to these installations which was why I needed to see these plants myself.

“To look at what can we do to improve the operational capacity of these plants.

“What can we do to repair those turbines that are down?

“What can we do to support these power plants to operate at impressive capacity so that power supply will improve nationwide?”he queried.

He, however, noted that with what was seen at the plants, there would be further  discussion with the management of the companies.

Adelabu also said that he decided to visit Olorunsogo and Omotosho power plants, which are power generating companies under Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), owned by the government of the federation.

He said the visit was part of his nationwide visit to power installations of the federal government to fiscally inspect and monitor the physical state and the operational state of these power plants.

“We have been to Olorunsogo and we are now in the Omotosho power plants. These are big power plants with over 450 MW installed capacity.

“Our visit is to also see how we can collaborate to ensure that the federal government comes into their assistance and to support them to improve the operational capacity and consequently improve the level of power supply to the distribution companies.

“I believe that these companies are currently undervalued and before they can be disposed, I think a number of things need to be carried out by the federal government, to ensure that they are brought to a higher capacity and their valuation improves,” he said.

The minister said that the country would be losing if the plants were sold at their current state.

, “I believe the country will be losing.

“We have invested so much in these power installations. I mean they are just about 12 years old.

“But if you look at the running hours of all the plants that we have in this conference, they are almost close to being new plants. Almost all of them are below 30,000 running hours since inception”, the minister explained.

To improve gas as a source of power generation, the minster said the top echelon of the ministry would need to dialogue on the formula to boost the power generating plants.

He explained that if government was not willing to fund subsidies, it would be better to migrate to cost effective tariff.

He assured that frequent drops in power generation being experienced by Nigerians due to gas woulf be improved soon, adding that the ministry would upset part of the gas huge debts.

Mr Chiedu Ugbo, Chief Executive Officer, Niger Delta Power Holding Company Ltd., who described the company as a strategic national asset, said also attested to its technical capacity.

Ugbo said that the company had commenced a programme, tagged, “Light-Up-Nigeria”, which is aimed at attracting industrial clusters, who are not on the grid, by providing them electricity at cost effective tariff through distribution companies.

“This will make us to be assured of the liquidity and gas availability that can be paid for promptly to meet payment assurance.

“We have started this in Agbara in Ogun State, also going to South-East and South-South, among other geo-political locations.

“Our emphasis, as a company, is to focus on resolving the electricity supply challenge through NDPHC’s Light-Up-Nigeria initiative,” he said.

Ugbo added that the inadequacy of gas volumes poses a challenge in ensuring generation up to the TCN-allocated evacuation capacity, let alone reaching the full capacity of the power plants.(NAN)

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FG Revokes 924 Dormant Mining Licences as Minister Decries Racketeering

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The Federal Government has revoked additional 924 dormant mining licenses.

Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Dele Alake announced this on Wednesday in Abuja as he decried the racketeering of the issuance of the licences.

He told newsmen that mining licence racketeering was impeding the development of the sector and obstructing genuine investors from showing interest in Nigeria’s mines.

Licences revoked were 528 for exploration; 22 mining leases, 101 quarry licences and 273 small-scale mining licences.

The minister explained that a grace period of 30 days was given to defaulters to rectify their statuses, and to state reasons for dormancy on the sites allocated to them in line with Constitutional provisions.

He said that 963 licences were published in the official gazette of the Federal Government in December 2023 awaiting revocation.

Out of these, only 39 of the listed licence holders responded to the warning as they either moved to site immediately or they stated challenges hindering their operations, he added.

Alake stated that the revocation of the licences was taken to sanitise and reposition the mining sector to boost Nigeria’s economic profile and to accelerate its industrialisation.

He noted that the “first-come, first-served’’ rule in the licencing regime was a disincentive for genuine investors as the rule prohibited issuance of fresh licence on a site already allocated.

The ministry revoked 1,663 mining licences in November 2023 because of failure by licensees to pay statutory charges and other dues to the Federal Government.

Alake said that following the revocation of the 1,663 licences in 2023, government received a lot of pressure to reconsider the punitive measure.

According to him, in response to the pressure, government issued a policy for defaulters to make restitution and show remorse in order to be considered for reinstatement.

He said that the restitution varied depending on the category of licence revoked.

“The highest, which is on mining attracts a restitution N10 million per revoked licence payable to the Federal Government.

“For the small-scale licences, the restitution is N7.5 million for reinstatement and for exploration licence, the restitution is N5 million,’’ Alake said.

The minister warned in his 2024 New Year goodwill message that more mining licences would be revoked for other categories of defaulters.

He warned also that Nigeria’s mining sector would not continue to suffer from low investments because of nefarious activities of individuals who bought licences for promising mine sites only to resell them at the illegal market.

He added that the practice was tarnishing Nigeria’s image and was diverting funds that could be used for exploration to the illegal market to acquire licences at exorbitant prices.

Alake stressed that Nigeria was losing a significant amount of Foreign Direct Investment to the untoward practice. (NAN)

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Sokoto Assembly Adopts Motion to Establish Skills Centre for Displaced Widows

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The Sokoto State House of Assembly, on Wednesday, approved a motion advocating for the establishment of an Educational and Skills Acquisition Centre to support widows displaced by banditry and other security challenges in the state.

The motion, which was moved by Alhaji Abubakar Shehu (APC- Yabo) and seconded by Alhaji Atiku Liman (PDP-Silame), also urged the state government to repurpose the Sultan Maccido Waqf Centre for the initiative.

Shehu highlighted that the Sultan Maccido Waqf Centre, originally established by the State Zakkat and Endowment Commission in collaboration with Qatar Charity Organisations, could serve the purpose effectively.

He stated the importance of empowering widows and their children, emphasising the need to transition them from dependency to self-sufficiency.

“The conversion of the Centre into an Education and Skill Acquisition Centre for widows and children displaced by banditry is crucial to empower them economically and prevent them from becoming liability to the society,” he stated.

The lawmaker expressed concern about the sight of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the metropolis, often seen begging without access to economic activities or education.

He said the proposed center would offer training in various skills such as catering, knitting, tailoring, cream making, welding, mechanics, carpentry and building, among others.

Shehu emphasised that funding for the centre should be a joint responsibility of the state government, Zakkat Commission, international donors and individual contributions.

Contributing to the discussion, Alhaji Bello Idris (APC-Gwadabawa North) stressed the importance of conducting a comprehensive census of IDPs in the state to ensure proper support and utilisation of the centre once established.

Following deliberations, Speaker Alhaji Tukur Bala conducted a voice vote, and the motion was unanimously adopted by the lawmakers. (NAN)

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Undertake Reforms for Functional Justice System – Tinubu Tells Judiciary 

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President Bola Tinubu has called on the nation’s Judiciary to embark on reforms that will ensure functional justice system and support economic growth.

Tinubu gave the charge on Wednesday when he declared open the National Summit on Justice, 2024, held at the National Judicial Institute, Abuja.

Represented by his Vice, Kashim Shettima, the President also emphasised the need for a legal framework that would guarantee basic human and political rights of individuals and provide security for all Nigerians.

According to him, much can be achieved when institutions of government, including the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary, unite to acknowledge their challenges and brainstorm.

” This is with a view to proffering solutions to the problems bedeviling Nigeria,” he said.

The President, therefore, urged the judiciary to align its activities within the tenets of his administration’s Renewed Hope Agenda.

” Particularly as they relate to the priorities on inclusivity, fairness, rule of law, and anti-corruption stance, among other things”.

He said that his administration had pledged to be impartial and adhere to constitutional principles.

Tinubu said that the Summit availed institutions in the justice sector “with an opportunity to push boundaries by identifying needed system changes and critical reforms that would allow Nigerians to reap the benefits of huge investments in the sector.”

He explained that the Federal Government was determined to implement its policies and promises made to Nigerians for a renewed hope, through the instrumentality of the “law and the dictates of justice to create opportunities for our people.”

President Tinubu said that his administration made funding for the third arm of government a top priority, doubling it in the Renewed Hope budget 2024 by more that 100 per cent from 2023, budget.

” I urge the leadership of all justice sector institutions to seek a new direction and focus on outcomes by creating a justice system that truly responds to the needs of our citizens.

” I demand informed and coordinated responses to the identified challenges plaguing the effectiveness and efficiency of the sector.

” I demand performance so that Nigerians can feel and acknowledge the impact of your reform efforts.

“;Ultimately, the expectations are that law and justice should aim to ensure public safety, economic development, peaceful co-existence, and the well-being of our people.”

Earlier, the President of Senate, Godswill Akpabio commended the commitment of all stakeholders in the justice sector in building a consensus that would ensure a more robust judicial system.

He underscored the commitment of the National Assembly to a more vibrant and transformative justice system

He assured that the legislature would play its part by deliberating on the outcome of the summit in a bid to enshrine the outcomes into law.

On his part, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Okukayode Ariwoola, said giving the high expectations from the judiciary, undertaking a holistic reform of the sector had become necessary.

He noted that constitutional, statutory and operational reforms in the justice sector was imperative in meeting the aspirations and yearnings of the general public.

The CJN attributed most of the achievements recorded in the judiciary to the support of Tinubu administration, particularly in the enhancement of the welfare of judicial officers and improvement in their working environment.

In the same vein, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Lateef Fagbemi, emphasised the significance of the revised draft national policy on justice.

He noted that building a national consensus on the advancement of the justice sector has become necessary. (NAN)

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