The Federal Government on Wednesday says four of the five oil wells discovered in Lagos truly belongs to the state but disproves the state’s ownership of one other oil well.
The FG said the disproved oil well fell beyond 200 metres isobaths and did not legitimately belong to Lagos State.
A delegation of the Indices and Disbursement Committee, Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, led by its Chairman, Alhaji Aliyu Mohammed visited Governor Akinwunmi Ambode on Wednesday at the State House, Ikeja, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria for the purpose of verifying crude oil and gas production from Aje Oil wells for the purpose of disbursement of 13% derivation fund to the state in line with the constitution of Nigeria.
According to Mohammed, as part of procedure and in pursuant to its constitutional mandate, the commission set up an Inter-Agency Technical Committee which comprised the commission, the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, Office of the Surveyor General of the Federation and the National Boundary Commission to determine the location of the Aje oil wells.
“The technical committee recommended that for the purpose of derivation as spelt out under Section 162 (2) of the 1999 constitution (as amended) as well as the provision of the Allocation of Revenue Act 2004, Aje oil wells 1, 2, 4 and 5 fall within the 200m isobaths and therefore should be attributed to Lagos State.
“As a result, the commission and members of the Inter-Agency Committee had to embark on this working visit to conclude the process. Please, note that Aje 3 oil well falls beyond the 200m isobaths and therefore cannot be legitimately attributed to Lagos State,” he stated.
He added that the commencement of oil production from Aje oil field by Yinka Folawiyo Petroleum Company Limited was the first time oil was being produced outside the Niger Delta basin and therefore of a major significance in diversifying the source of crude oil and gas production in the country.
Speaking, Ambode described the visit as historic and one that would go down in the annals of the history of Lagos State, as the visit was the official step that would take Lagos to that final destination as an oil-producing state.
“We are very glad to receive this delegation. We also want to thank the Federal Government, most especially President Muhammadu Buhari for making this to happen very promptly. I want to say that this has been the promptest action that has been taken by RMAFC since I have known the Commission. I used to be a former Account General so I had a lot of transactions and relationship with the institution called RMAFC. Within a span of about 60 days of when we wrote our letter, and even before we wrote the letter, this technical committee was actually set up. It gladdens me to say that the institution works and is working for the good of Nigeria,” he said.
Also thanking the DPR and the boundary commission, Ambode said it was significant that the discovery of oil wells in Lagos was going to be the first time oil would be produced outside the Niger Delta.
“It’s significant for Nigeria, its significant for Lagos, it means that the whole path to diversification is what we are now witnessing. We would also encourage other states in terms of other mineral resources, not necessarily depend on crude oil; whatever it is that can actually allow states to start activating their mineral deposits, it would allow us expand the Internally Generated Revenue
.“It would also give us revenue dependence in a manner that there would be equal growth from all the nooks and crannies of Nigeria. One is happy that RMAFC has taken this step and also to say that they should also encourage other states to engage in such activities that would allow them to be able to activate whatever mineral deposit that we have in the various states in conjunction with the Federal Government, so that we can start to diversify revenue and growth and then create a balanced growth and development for the whole country,” he added.
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Nigeria Eyes BRICS Membership within Two Years as Foreign Minister Emphasizes Strategic Alignment
In a strategic move towards global economic collaboration, Nigeria is aspiring to join the BRICS group of nations within the next two years.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar, affirmed that Nigeria is open to aligning itself with groups that demonstrate good intentions, well-meaning goals, and clearly defined objectives.
Tuggar stated, “Nigeria has come of age to decide for itself who her partners should be and where they should be; being multiple aligned is in our best interest.”
He emphasized the need for Nigeria to be part of influential groups like BRICS and the G-20, citing criteria such as population and economy size that position Nigeria as a natural candidate.
BRICS, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, stands as a formidable bloc of emerging market powers.
In a recent move to expand its influence, BRICS invited six additional nations, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Argentina, Ethiopia, and the United Arab Emirates, to join the group.
Nigeria, as Africa’s largest economy, has been absent from the BRICS alliance, prompting discussions on the potential economic and political advantages the bloc could offer the country.
Analysts have noted that BRICS membership could provide Nigeria with significant leverage on the global stage.
Vice President Kashim Shettima clarified that Nigeria did not apply for BRICS membership after the bloc’s announcement of new members in August.
Shettima emphasized the principled approach of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, highlighting a commitment to consensus building in decisions related to international partnerships.
As Nigeria eyes BRICS membership, the move is seen as a strategic step towards enhancing its global economic and diplomatic influence.
Nigeria Spends N231.27 Billion on Arms Procurement in Four Years Amidst Rising Security Challenges
The Federal Government of Nigeria has disbursed a total of N231.27 billion for arms and ammunition procurement over the past four years.
Despite this significant investment, security agencies argue that the allocated funds are insufficient to effectively tackle the myriad security challenges afflicting the nation.
Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, defended the substantial budget for arms purchases during a session with the House of Representatives.
He emphasized that Nigeria’s dependence on foreign countries for military hardware, which are priced in dollars, diminishes the impact of the substantial budget when converted to the local currency.
General Musa explained, “We don’t produce what we need in Nigeria, and if you do not produce what you need, that means you are at the beck and call of the people that produce these items. All the items we procured were bought with hard currency, none in naira.”
He further illustrated the challenges faced, citing that a precision missile for drones costs $5,000, underscoring the magnitude of the expenses associated with arms procurement.
An analysis of the annual budgets for the Ministry of Defence and eight other armed forces from 2020 to 2022 reveals allocations of N11.72 billion, N10.78 billion, and N9.64 billion, respectively.
In 2023, N47.02 billion was disbursed for arms procurement, supplemented by a recently passed budget of N184.25 billion, resulting in a total of N231.27 billion.
Security expert Chidi Omeje raised concerns about the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), which is tasked with manufacturing arms locally. Omeje criticized DICON’s underperformance, urging the government to revamp the agency to reduce reliance on foreign nations for arms and ammunition.
Omeje stressed, “The new government must make sure that DICON lives up to its responsibilities,” highlighting the urgency of fostering self-sufficiency in arms production to address the country’s security challenges effectively.
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