Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo says Nigeria has been losing one million barrels of crude oil daily in the last six months due to the activities of pipeline vandals.
Osinbajo, who is the head of President Muhammadu Buhari’s economic team, disclosed this on Tuesday while receiving a delegation of the Northern States Pentecostal Bishops Forum in his office at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Nigeria had lost at least 180 million barrels of crude oil in less than one year.
A statement signed by Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, read in part, “In addition to the massive fall in oil prices, the VP stated that the vandalism of pipelines had led to a worsening of the situation with the country losing about one million barrels of oil per day for up to six months now. The vandalism has equally cut power supply short since gas pipelines were also destroyed.”
According to the Vice-President, there is no country in the world that can face the kind of stealing that has taken place in Nigeria without having to deal with the consequences, including the current state of the economy.
He, however, assured Nigerians that even though the times were hard today, “there is great hope that this country will prosper.”
“This country has been badly governed. We are dealing, for instance, with the embezzlement of funds to the tune of $15bn in one sector alone.”
Osinbajo dismissed suggestions that the Buhari administration should stop blaming past governments.
He added, “We have to, that is why we are here. We have not turned attention to the oil and gas sector, where the former CBN governor alleged that $20bn was stolen. We must condemn and stand up against this level of corruption. It is the single most important reason of the current state of the country. We can’t ignore it.”
Osinbajo called on Christian and religious leaders generally to condemn corruption openly.
Responding to the views of the leader of the delegation, Archbishop John Daniel, that members of the forum had been actively involved in the fight against corruption in Nigeria, the VP said indeed the “country has been systematically destroyed.”
He added, “Our currency depreciated because we don’t have the reserves to back it. At the height of the oil boom, there were no savings.”
The senior advocate said that the recent GDP figures released last week indicated clearly there is growth in agriculture and solid minerals.
The social investment programmes, according to the Vice-President, are on course, reassuring the nation “that very soon, the 500,000 jobs scheme will take off,” alongside other schemes.
Earlier, Archbishop Daniel expressed the support of the forum for the diversification of the Nigerian economy by the Buhari administartion but asked the Federal Government to ensure that violent herdsmen were brought to book.
In his response, Osinbajo noted that Buhari had given clear instructions to the security agencies to arrest and prosecute anyone, regardless of status, who carried arms and perpetrated violence.
He, however, lamented that the justice system needed reforms to ensure speedy prosecution.
UK Government Has Approved Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine
The United Kingdom on Wednesday Approved Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine
British government on Wednesday became the first country to approve Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use, according to the UK government.
The vaccine will be rolled out from next week and the first dose could be administered as early as December 7th, stated people familiar with the matter.
Last week, the UK government announced it had ordered 40 million doses of Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 and appointed Nadhim Zahawi, the current junior business minister, as the minister responsible for the deployment of the vaccines.
British government on Wednesday morning said, “The Government has today accepted the recommendation from the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to approve Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for use”
“The vaccine will be made available across the UK from next week.”
Matt Hancock, Health Secretary, revealed that the programme would commence early next week.
“It is very good news,” Hancock said.
Zabarmari Massacre: Buhari to Provide More Resources for the Nigerian Military
President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to provide more resources to the military in the aftermath of the Zabarmari massacre.
On Saturday, Boko Haram killed 43 people with around 70 people still missing in Zabarmari, a village in Borno State.
Reacting to the massacre, Buhari, through his official Twitter handle @MBuhari said “Nothing is more important than ensuring the security of lives and property of Nigerians. Everything is secondary when security is at stake. I will ensure that more resources are made available to the military and other security agencies to prosecute the war against terrorism.
“As we mourn all the lives lost in Zabarmari, the Armed Forces have been given the marching order to take the fight to the insurgents, not on a one-off, but on a continuous basis, until we root out the terrorists.
“We will intensify our cooperation with neighbouring countries on bilateral and multilateral levels, to ensure that there is no hiding place for the terrorists.
“As I noted earlier, the massacre by Boko Haram in Zabarmari is nothing short of senseless, barbaric, gruesome and cowardly. It reinforces our resolve to root out all forms of insurgency and insecurity not just in Borno but everywhere across Nigeria.”
Boko Haram Kills Rice Farmers in Borno State, Northeast Nigeria
Rice farmers were killed on Saturday morning in the Northeast Nigeria by suspected Islamist militants, Boko Haram, according to a Reuters Report.
The report also noted that 30 of the people killed were beheaded while over a dozen others were still missing.
However, resident of the Zambarmari Village where the attacks took place said a total of 70 people were feared dead.
Another resident and Amnesty International were quoted as saying at least 10 women were among those missing.
In another statement by Edward Kallon, the United Nations’ humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, it was armed men on motorcycles that led the brutal attack on civilians harvesting their fields.
“Armed men on motorcycles led a brutal attack on civilian men and women who were harvesting their fields,” Edward Kallon stated.
“At least 110 civilians were ruthlessly killed and many others were wounded in this attack,” he added, noting that several women are believed to have been kidnapped.
“The incident is the most violent direct attack against innocent civilians this year. I call for the perpetrators of this heinous and senseless act to be brought to justice,” Kallon said.
On Sunday, Governor Babaganan Umara Zulum of Borno State, who was at the burial told journalists that at least 70 farmers were killed on Saturday.
The Governor, therefore, called on the Federal Government to recruit more Civilian Joint Task Force members, Soldiers and civil defence fighters to protect farmers in the region.
He added that people are facing desperate choices.
“In one side, they stay at home they may be killed by hunger and starvation, on the other, they go out to their farmlands and risk getting killed by the insurgents,” he said.
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