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Oil Theft: Another Illegal Pipeline Discovered in the Niger Delta

The Federal Government has yet again discovered another illegal oil pipeline in Delta State.

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Nigeria, the giant of Africa, has been persistently plagued with crude oil theft that has sabotaged the country’s economy and massively reduced foreign revenue generation.

A few days after the discovery of over 300 illegal refineries and about 58 illegal pipeline violations, the Federal Government has yet again discovered another illegal oil pipeline in Delta State.

The newly discovered illegal oil pipeline is connected to the 48 inches Trans Forcados Export Trunk line at the military security base in Burutu Local Government Area, Delta State.

The illegal crude oil pipeline which was discovered is said to have been attached to 400,000 barrels Forcados terminal, the second largest crude oil pipeline in the oil-producing region of the Niger Delta.

Investors King learnt that the illegal oil pipeline has been directly connected to the Forcados pipeline and ran down a 4 km road into the sea for easy theft.

Reacting to the series of oil theft, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has requested the Federal Government to set up a transparent presidential panel to investigate the operations of oil theft in the country.

SERAP, in an open letter to the office of the President, said that crude oil is Nigeria’s source of wealth and the plundering of the country’s wealth has resulted in revenue decline while increasing the country’s deficit, with a deficit budget of N11.30 trillion for 2023.

SERAP stated that Nigeria has reportedly lost $10 billion to crude oil theft in seven months, which is more than 50% of Nigeria’s external reserves.

The letter partly read, “The proposed presidential panel of inquiry should be headed by a retired justice of the Supreme Court or Court of Appeal, and its members should include people with proven professional records and of the highest integrity that can act impartially, independently, and transparently.

“SERAP is concerned that the unaddressed plundering of the country’s oil wealth has for many years contributed to shrinking revenue, chronic underfunding of public goods and services such as education, health, and access to safe drinking water, recurring budget deficits, growing level of borrowing, and unsustainable debt profile.”

The newly discovered illegal pipeline was made public by a security agency (Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited) which was led by High Chief Government Ekpemupolo popularly known as Tompolo.

Chief Keston Pondi, the Managing Director of Tantita Security Services said that the agency has discovered so many illegal breaches only in the western part and it would be difficult to give an exact amount of illegal pipelines that have been discovered so far.

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Economy

Global Growth to Drop Below 2% in 2023, Says Citi

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GDP Growth- Investors King

Citigroup on Wednesday forecast global growth to slow to below 2% next year, echoing similar projections by major financial institutions such as Goldman Sachs, Barclays, and J.P. Morgan.

Strategists at the brokerage cited continued challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war — which skyrocketed inflation to decades-high levels and triggered aggressive policy tightening — as reasons behind the outlook.

“We see global performance as likely (being) plagued by ‘rolling’ country-level recessions through the year ahead,” said Citi strategists, led by Nathan Sheets.

While the Wall-Street investment bank expects the U.S. economy to grow 1.9% this year, it is seen more than halving to 0.7% in 2023.

It expects year-on-year U.S. inflation at 4.8% next year, with the U.S. Federal Reserve’s terminal rate seen between 5.25% and 5.5%.

Among other geographies, Citi sees the UK and euro area falling into recession by the end of this year, as both economies face the heat of energy constraints on supply and demand front, along with tighter monetary and fiscal policies.

For 2023, Citi projects UK and euro area to contract 1.5% and 0.4%, respectively.

In China, the brokerage expects the government to soften its zero-COVID policy, which is seen driving a 5.6% growth in gross domestic product next year.

Emerging markets, meanwhile, are seen growing 3.7%, with India’s 5.7% growth — slower than this year’s 6.7% prediction — seen leading among major economies.

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Economy

Fourth Mainland Bridge: Lagos State Shortlists Three Companies, Budgets $2.5 Billion

The shortlisted bidders are Mota-Engil (Nigeria and Africa) CCCC and CRBC Consort; CGGC-CGC joint venture; and CCECC and CRCCIG Consortium.

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Agege Pen Cinema Bridge

Lagos state government has shortlisted three multinational companies as bidders for the construction of a $2.5 billion fourth mainland bridge.

The shortlisted bidders are Mota-Engil (Nigeria and Africa) CCCC and CRBC Consort; CGGC-CGC joint venture; and CCECC and CRCCIG Consortium.

According to the Special Adviser to the Governor on Public-Private Partnerships (PPP), Ope George, the Fourth Mainland Bridge was a proposed PPP transport infrastructure development that includes the construction and operation of a greenfield tolled road and bridge with a design speed of 120kph, including the development of adjacent real estates.

It could be recalled that Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, earlier announced that construction on the fourth mainland bridge will begin as soon as a preferred bidder is announced.

Investors King understands that the construction of the fourth mainland bridge will be strategic in easing traffic in the most populous state in Nigeria. It is estimated that Lagos state has a population of almost 20 million.

Besides, after completion, the bridge has the potential to open a new phase of investment opportunities to Lagos state. Already, Lagos has the largest economy in Nigeria and one of the largest in Africa.

The idea of a fourth mainland bridge to complement and ease traffic on the third mainland bridge which was built by the former military president, Ibrahim Babangida was conceptualised during the administration of former governor Bola Tinubu. 

Although construction was planned to commence in 2017, nothing significant towards the commencement of the bridge was done until now.

George added that the bridge is expected to become the second longest in Africa featuring three toll plazas, nine interchanges, a 4.5km lagoon bridge, and an eco-friendly environment.

“The fourth mainland bridge which will span about 34 kilometres is projected to start from Abraham Adesanya in Ajah, on the Eti-Osa-Lekki-Epe corridor and transverse the north-west towards the lagoon shoreline of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway via Owutu/Isawo in Ikorodu,” he said.

He concluded that the preferred bidder would be announced before the end of the year.

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Abuja – Kaduna Train Service Postponed by Few Days to Sort Ticketing; Minister for Transportation

Resumption for Abuja to Kaduna train has been postponed due to the need to sort out ticketing

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Lagos-Ibadan Train Services - Investors King

The resumption date of the Abuja to Kaduna train has been postponed due to the need to sort out ticketing, the Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo disclosed this during a visit to the Rigasa train station ahead of the resumption.

According to the minister, the need to ensure that more security measures are put in place and booking tickets are sorted out necessitates the postponement.

The minister added that although he could not give a definite date for the resumption of the rail service, the resumption would however not be more than a week.

He disclosed that the ministry is 90 percent ready to commence operation along the route. 

“The federal government has introduced a new system of purchasing tickets. It is the beginning of security checks that will enable the government to ascertain who boards the train at every point in time.” the minister stated. 

Investors King earlier reported that Abuja to Kaduna train service will resume on Monday. 

The earlier scheduled date for the resumption follows the minister’s statement at the presidential briefing that the train service along the Abuja to Kaduna route will resume operation before the end of this month. 

It would be recalled that Abuja to Kaduna train service was suspended following the attack on the train on 28th March 2022 when terrorists planted explosives that derailed the train.

The attack led to the death of no less than nine passengers while 60 were abducted. 

They were however released in batches after spending several months with the terrorists. 

Muazu had on several occasions disclosed that service along the route will not resume until all those held in captivity have been released and better security measures put in place to prevent a recurrence. 

While fielding questions from journalists yesterday, the minister disclosed that the number of daily trips would be reduced, and the use of National Identity Number would be strictly requested as part of strategies to secure passengers.

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