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Niger Delta Avengers Declares Fresh War on Oil Facilities

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  • Niger Delta Avengers Declares Fresh War on Oil Facilities

As the Niger Delta Avengers threatens to resume fresh attacks on oil facilities in Nigeria, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry and others have said such action would have a grave impact on the nation’s economy and its people.

They, therefore, urged the government to engage the militants to avert such attacks.

The group had announced an immediate end to its ceasefire with the Federal Government in a statement posted on its website on Friday.

It had also accused the Federal Government of being insincere despite the commitment by the leaders of the region to broker peace, saying that the government was only interested in the oil being derived from the Niger Delta.

In the statement signed by the group’s spokesman, Murdoch Agbinibo, NDA said Operation Red Economy, which it had declared following the intervention of the Chief Edwin Clark-led Pan Niger Delta Forum, was officially over.

It declared that the fresh attacks would affect the nation’s oil facilities in the region and stop oil production, saying it was not interested in having further negotiations with the Federal Government.

But President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Dr. Frank Jacobs, described the situation as unfortunate, noting that an attack on oil installations at a time when Nigeria was still recovering from arguably its worst economic crisis, would deal a huge blow to its economy.

He said, “It is unfortunate if that is what the NDA wants to do, especially at this time that the economy is getting out of recession, when oil production is becoming steady and price of oil is going up.

“It will deal a terrible blow to the country and it is my hope that the government won’t allow that to happen. The government should engage them, find out what their issues are and find a way to address them because if they succeed, it might be disastrous for the economy.”

Jacobs also said the effects of such attacks would be greatly felt by manufacturers, who rely on foreign exchange to bring in raw materials and machinery.

Similarly, the Director-General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Muda Yusuf, said should the militants carry out their threats, “it will cause a setback for Nigeria.”

Yusuf described the Nigerian economy as oil-sensitive, adding, “The economy is just recovering and gathering momentum and the bulk of this recovery is arising from oil price recovery and oil output stability; if anything happens to any of those two variables, the shock will be a lot to the system. Therefore, we need to step up engagements with these people, at least to prevent these attacks.”

President, Association of Small Business Owners of Nigeria, Dr. Femi Egbesola, said resumed attacks on oil facilities could once again lead to the closure of small businesses and loss of jobs in the long run.

He said, “It means we will have less crude oil to produce and export, which will lead to a reduction in revenue and foreign exchange. Every sector in the economy will be affected.

“Small businesses will also be affected by the loss in naira value as the cost of raw materials will increase, which will lead to selling at a reduced profit.”

The Head, Department of Economics, Obafemi Awolowo University, Prof. Abayomi Adebayo, said the way forward to end agitations in the country was for the Federal Government to heed the calls for restructuring.

He said, “It’s a disaster in waiting. It will also lead to the reduction in productivity of oil companies. Lives will also be lost. I pray the government responds adequately. I see it as a protest against the delay in restructuring the country.”

A professor of energy economics at the University of Ibadan, Adeola Adenikinju, said, “It is not a good omen for the country that is just coming out of recession. Probably the government has not fulfilled its promises to the militants; it should quickly call them to the table. Negotiations are very important. We should not take their threat lightly.”

The Managing Director and Chief Executive of Financial Derivatives Company Limited, Mr. Bismarck Rewane, also said the new threat posed a risk to the Nigerian economy as it would lead to decreased oil production.

A statement by the Niger Delta Avengers on Friday had said, “This outing will be brutish, brutal and bloody, as we shall crush everything we meet on our path to completely cut every pipe that takes oil out from our region.

“We can assure you that every oil installation in our region will feel the wrath of the Niger Delta Avengers.”

The group also denied any affiliation with the militant group, Reformed Niger Delta Avengers, accusing its operators of being used by the Federal Government to scuttle efforts by leaders in the region to force the government to develop the region.

However, responding to an inquiry from one of our correspondents about how attacks on oil installations would affect the activities of oil companies, the General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Chevron Nigeria Limited, Mr. Esimaje Brikinn, in a text message, said, “No comment.”

The spokesperson for Shell Nigeria, Mr. Precious Okolobo, also declined to comment on the development and told media to contact the relevant security agencies.

In the same vein, the General Manager, External Affairs and Communications, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, Dr. Chioma Nwachuku, declined to comment on the development.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Navy has said it would not relent in its operations in the Niger Delta region to secure oil installations, lives and property.

The Navy Director of Information, Captain Suleman Dahun, said this on Friday while reacting to the threats made by the militants.

The navy recently began an exercise on October 30 in Bayelsa and Delta states called, ‘Operation Octopus Grip.’

It reportedly deployed troops and at least five gunships in the region.

Dahun said, “In the Niger Delta, we have several operations to secure lives and property, including the most recent Operation Octopus Grip. We are doing this to contain all threats and maintain the peaceful atmosphere in the Niger Delta.

“The navy is constitutionally mandated to ensure maritime security. This is our cardinal responsibility and it includes lives and property in the Niger Delta. Over the years, we have kept this mandate.”

Efforts to also talk to Operation Delta Safe, which is a joint military operation set up to secure oil installations in the region, have yet to be successful as of press time.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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NIMC Announces Launch of Three National ID Cards to Boost Identity Management

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The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has unveiled plans to launch three new national identity cards.

These cards are aimed at providing improved access to government services and bolstering identification systems across Nigeria.

The three new national identity cards, as disclosed by Ayodele Babalola, the Technical Adviser, Media, and Communications to the Director-General of NIMC, will include a bank-enabled National ID card, a social intervention card, and an optional ECOWAS National Biometric Identity Card.

Babalola explained that these cards are tailored to meet the diverse needs of Nigerian citizens while fostering greater participation in nation-building initiatives.

In an interview, Babalola outlined the timeline for the rollout of these cards, indicating that Nigerians can expect to start receiving them within one or two months of the launch, pending approval from the Presidency.

The bank-enabled National ID card, designed to cater to the middle and upper segments of the population, will offer seamless access to banking services within the specified timeframe.

Also, the National Safety Net Card will serve as a crucial tool for authentication and secure platform provision for government services such as palliatives, with a focus on the 25 million vulnerable Nigerians supported by current government intervention programs.

This initiative aims to streamline the distribution process and ensure efficient delivery of social services to those in need.

Furthermore, the ECOWAS National Biometric Identity Card will provide an optional identity verification solution, facilitating cross-border interactions and promoting regional integration within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The announcement comes on the heels of NIMC’s collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Inter-bank Settlement System (NIBSS) to develop a multipurpose national identity card equipped with payment capabilities for various social and financial services.

This collaborative effort underscores the commitment of key stakeholders to foster innovation, cost-effectiveness, and competitiveness in service delivery.

Babalola stated that the new identity cards aim to address the need for physical identification, empower citizens, and promote financial inclusion for marginalized populations. With a target of providing these cards to approximately 104 million eligible applicants on the national identification number database by the end of December 2023, NIMC is poised to revolutionize the identity management landscape in Nigeria.

The implementation of these programs aligns with broader efforts to drive digital transformation and improve access to essential services for all Nigerians.

Babalola highlighted the multifaceted benefits of the new identity cards, including their potential to uplift millions out of poverty by facilitating access to government social programs and financial services.

While the launch date is set tentatively for May pending presidential approval, NIMC remains committed to finalizing the necessary details to ensure a smooth rollout of the new identity cards.

The introduction of these cards represents a significant step forward in NIMC’s mission to provide secure and reliable identity solutions that empower individuals and contribute to the socio-economic development of Nigeria.

Efforts to reach Kayode Adegoke, the Head of Corporate Communications at NIMC, for further insights on the initiative were unsuccessful at the time of reporting.

As Nigeria gears up for the launch of these innovative identity cards, stakeholders express optimism about the potential positive impact on identity management, financial inclusion, and socio-economic development across the country.

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Nigeria Launches New National ID Card to Enhance Access to Social and Financial Services

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The Federal Government of Nigeria has announced the launch of a National Identity Card with integrated payment and social service functionalities.

This initiative, spearheaded by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Inter-bank Settlement System (NIBSS), aims to provide Nigerians with a single, multifunctional card that combines identification, payment, and access to various government and private sector services.

The new National ID card backed by the NIMC Act No. 23 of 2007 is poised to become the country’s default identity card, serving as a tangible proof of identity for citizens and legal residents alike.

With features aligned with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards, including a Machine-readable Zone (MRZ) and biometric authentication capabilities, the card offers robust security and verification mechanisms.

One of the most significant aspects of the new ID card is its payment functionality. Cardholders will have the ability to link their cards to bank accounts, enabling them to conduct debit and prepaid transactions seamlessly.

This feature is expected to enhance financial inclusion efforts, particularly for the unbanked and underbanked populations in Nigeria.

Also, the card will grant holders access to a wide range of government interventions programs, including travel, health insurance, microloans, agriculture initiatives, food subsidies, transport benefits, and energy subsidies.

By consolidating these services onto a single platform, the government aims to streamline administrative processes and improve service delivery efficiency.

To ensure widespread accessibility, the NIMC has outlined various channels for obtaining the new ID card, including online applications, commercial banks, participating agencies, and NIMC offices nationwide.

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New York City Hit by 4.8 Magnitude Earthquake

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New York City, famously known as the “city that never sleeps” was hit by a 4.8 magnitude earthquake.

The tremors reverberated through the towering skyscrapers and bustling suburbs as it sent shockwaves across the densely populated metropolitan area and left residents feeling shaken.

The earthquake, with its epicenter approximately 45 miles west of New York City and 50 miles north of Philadelphia, caught many off guard.

Reports indicate that over 42 million people across the Northeast region may have felt the midmorning quake with reports coming in from as far as Baltimore to Boston and beyond.

The impact of the earthquake was not confined to mere tremors; it resulted in significant damage to several multifamily homes in Newark, New Jersey, displacing nearly 30 residents.

Officials immediately sprang into action, conducting checks on bridges and other major infrastructure to assess any potential structural damage.

Flights were diverted or delayed, Amtrak slowed trains throughout the busy Northeast Corridor, and a Philadelphia-area commuter rail line suspended service as a precautionary measure.

The experience was unsettling for many New Yorkers, with some likening it to the sensation of an explosion or construction accident.

Shawn Clark, an attorney working on the 26th floor of a midtown Manhattan office, described it as “pretty weird and scary,” echoing the sentiments of many who felt the earth move beneath them.

Aftershocks were reported hours later in a central New Jersey township, causing additional concern and producing reports of damage and items falling off shelves, according to Hunterdon County Public Safety Director Brayden Fahey.

The disruption caused by the earthquake extended beyond immediate safety concerns. Cellphone circuits were overloaded as people tried to reach loved ones, and phones blared with earthquake-related notifications during the New York Philharmonic’s morning performance, adding an unexpected twist to the day’s events.

Even as the seismic event rattled New York City, residents and officials alike drew comparisons to past earthquakes, particularly the memorable tremor of August 23, 2011. Registering a magnitude of 5.8, it was the strongest quake to hit the East Coast since World War II, leaving lasting impressions on those who experienced it.

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