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Supreme Court verdict on 17 oil wells not final, says Imo govt

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Supreme Court verdict on 17 oil wells not final, says Imo govt.

It is too early for Rivers State to celebrate the Supreme Court verdict upholding its claim to the 17 oil wells in Akri and Mbede communities, Imo State Governor Hope Uzodimma said yesterday.

In a judgment on Friday, a seven-member panel unanimously held that the oil wells belong to Rivers.

The Supreme Court further declared that all the oil wells within Akri and Mbede communities and those identified on the Rivers map are all within the territory of Rivers.

It added that only Rivers was entitled to receive the full allocation of the distributable revenue derived from the oil wells based on the 13 per cent derivation principle.

But, Uzodimma said Rivers should not celebrate yet because the issue was still before the National Boundary Commission (NBC) for determination.

According to him, some of the oil wells in contention were in Oguta, which is part of Imo.

The governor said he had not yet seen a copy of the judgment and that the government would study it and apply for a review.

Uzodimma said: “I know that some of the oil wells are in Oguta in Imo State. Does it mean that they are ceding Oguta to Rivers State?

“We are waiting for the NBC to come out with their report on the matter.

“Based on that, we can apply for a review of the Supreme Court judgment. So, it is too early to celebrate.”

Rivers Governor Nyesom Wike yesterday accused the NBC of creating problems between states.

“They (NBC) will abandon their function and create problems between states when there are not supposed to be problems.

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“They will not do the right work so that the states can live in harmony,” he said.

He spoke at Paul’s Anglican Cathedral in Port Harcourt at a special thanksgiving to celebrate the court victory.

The governor also made a broadcast at the weekend, urging Uzodimma to accept the judgment in good faith.

He promised a soft landing for Imo, saying the state was open to possible compromise to accommodate Imo.

The governor accused former Imo Governor Emeka Ihedioha of taking steps that led to the conflict.

Wike said: “It bears repeating that the quest to defend our ownership rights through the courts over the Akiri and Mbede oil wells was not intended to claim victory over Imo or any other state.

“We also deplore the collusive actions of the NBC, which, unfortunately, has become notorious as one of the most corrupt national agencies, which has functioned more in causing confusion than resolving boundary disputes.”

Wike said while the dispute lingered, the NBC failed to demarcate the boundaries to establish the proper location and title to the disputed oil wells.

He said instead of ensuring that NBC did its work, Ihedioha repudiated the subsisted 50:50 per cent sharing formula and also made claims as exclusive owners of the oil wells.

He said: “To actualise these spurious claims, he (Ihedioha) stealthily wrote a letter dated 9th August 2019 to President Muhammad Buhari and requested for the refund of the sum of N15billion from Rivers State to Imo State as a backlog of accrued proceeds from the 13 per cent derivation revenue of the said oil wells

“Acting on Governor Ihedioha’s letter, Mr. President warranted a letter to be written to the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMFAC) through his late Chief of State, Mr. Abba Kyari, to alter the status quo in favour of Imo State without reference to the subsisting dispute and agreement between the two states.”

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He said the letter directed the deduction of N15billion from Rivers and the handover of the disputed oil wells to Imo as requested by Ihedioha.

Wike said: “But because of the sharp and very focused and honest Commissioner for Finance that we have in Rivers, the letter bearing the instruction to take N15billion from us and the oil wells to be taken away from us, was intercepted.”

Wike said the Rivers government was surprised by the action because, since 1999, the states under Dr Peter Odili and Achike Udenwa had agreed on a 50:50 per cent sharing of proceeds from the oil wells.

The governor said: “Accordingly, we first applied to the Federal High Court, Abuja and among other reliefs, successfully challenged the powers and authority of Mr. President to give directives to the RMFAC or interfere in any manner whatsoever with the distribution of public revenues from the distributable pool account, including the Federation Account.

“In approaching the Supreme Court in this matter, we believed that the dispute between the two states and the contentious issues are such that the court can judicially, justly and expeditiously determine with the available facts and supporting evidence, including valid administrative maps, subsisting judgment, and other relevant documents.”

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Reign and Rema poses with their favorite friends – Aneke twins

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The adorable twins Reign and Adaeze and Adanne Ododoezechi strikes a pose with their favourite aunties the Nollywood divas Chidnma and chidiebere Aneke.

Instagram – @Reign_rema_official

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Dangote Refinery to produce Euro 5 petrol standard

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Dangote Refinery to produce Euro 5 petrol standard.

The Dangote Petroleum Refinery is built to meet the new Euro-5 Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) petrol standard, The Nation learnt yesterday.

This is contained in the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) obtained by our correspondent yesterday.

The Euro-5 standard is meant to reduce carbon emissions. The new Euro-5 limits reduce pollution from the exhaust and are remarkably similar to Euro-6 limits for cars.

Euro-5 is mandatory for all new type-approved motorcycles, including mopeds, with exceptions for some small market categories such as trial bikes.

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The NMDPRA document, which came in a question and answer format, raised the question of “What is the specification for PMS in Nigeria?”

Responding, the authority noted that “We currently utilise SON 2017 specifications for Gasoline/PMS in Nigeria.”

On whether any government plans to move to a higher standard of PMS (Euro 4 or higher?), the NMDPRA said: “The current SON 2017 specifications are akin to Euro 4 specifications. It should also be noted that the Dangote Refinery is designed and built to meet Euro 5 classification standards which will meet local, regional and international standards

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“Also, the output of other modular refineries are expected to meet Euro 4 specifications at a minimum.”

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Aviation workers begin warning strike as Airlines shelve flights halt

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Aviation workers begin warning strike as Airlines shelve flights halt.

Air travellers can now heave a sigh of relief as Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) late yesterday resolved to suspend its threat to halt flights from today in their interest and national economy.

But their flights might experience some hitches as aviation workers nationwide will today begin a two-day warning strike to protest the Federal Government’s alleged failure to implement their negotiated conditions of service.

In a statement yesterday, AON explained that it decided to suspend the ‘no flights’ threat following numerous calls from the highest echelons in government that promised to urgently intervene in the crises faced by its members.

One of the challenges that informed the threat is the rising cost of JetA1 otherwise known as aviation fuel. A litre of JetA1 currently sells at N700..

The AON statement was signed by its President, Dr Abdulmunaf Yunusa – Sarina; Executive Director, Max Air, Alhaji Shehu Wada; Chairman, United Nigeria Airlines, Dr Obiora Okonkwo Chief Executive Officer, Arik Air; Capt. Roy Ilegbodu; Chief Executive Officer, Aero Contractors, Capt. Abdullahi Mahmood; Managing Director, Azman Air, Alhaji Faisal Abdulmunaf and Chairman, Air Peace, Chief. Allen Onyema.

The statement reads: ‘ “We have also reached this decision with the highest consideration for our esteemed customers who have been faced with uncertainty over the last few days and to enable them to have access to travel to their various destinations for the time being during the period of discussions with relevant authorities.

“In view of the above and in the interest of national economy and security considerations, AON hereby wishes to notify the general public that the earlier announced shutdown of operations on May 9, 2022, is hereby suspended in good faith pending the outcome of hopefully fruitful engagement with government.”

Earlier, there was a crack among the operators as seven of them —DANA Air, Arik Air, Green Africa Airways, Overland Airways, Aero Contractors, Arik Air and Ibom Air—said they would not suspend flights.

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The decision of the seven carriers was part of the harvest of engagements between their managers and officials of the Ministry of Aviation and other interests in the industry.

Besides, the carriers argued that they had obligations to their passengers who had booked and paid for flights.

Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika, who debunked claims that the now-suspended threat by the airlines was directed at the Federal Government., said a bail-out of N4 billion was given to them during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said in a statement by his Special Assistant on Public Affairs, James Odaudu, that the fund was given to the airlines despite their indebtedness to aviation agencies.

The statement reads in part: “ “The minister at various times personally took members of the Association to engage with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to sort out issues of access to Foreign Exchange (FOREX) for their operations, and also the NNPC Limited to explore ways of ensuring the availability of Aviation fuel (JET A1) through importation or from the major marketers at affordable prices.

“It should also be recalled that members of the Association were also considered for, and given Bail-out funds to the tune of N4 billion during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that they remained afloat.

“This was without prejudice to the fact that most of them were heavily indebted to Aviation agencies (as they still are).

We believe that members of the Association are patriots who have continued to bear the brunt of unfavourable global oil market dynamics for which we salute their doggedness.

“As a government, we reiterate our commitment to the continued growth of the aviation industry where airlines and other service providers operate in a conducive, supportive and profitable business environment.”

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Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation Smart Adeyemi has however reiterated his call on the Federal Government to financially assist airlines in the country.

Adeyemi said his call became necessary in view of the socio-economic importance of the aviation sector to the country.

”A few months ago, I called for financial support from the Federal Government in view of the socio-economic importance of the aviation sector due to the high cost of aviation fuel and the poor exchange rate of our currency.

“Secondly, the challenges in the aviation industry are huge and about 95 per cent of aviation needs are imported with hard currency.

“They must not be allowed to be tempted to cut corners or risk low fuel level.”

Meanwhile, workers of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) and others have been directed by their unions to stay away from work today and tomorrow.

The National Union of Air Transport Employees ( NUATE), Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals as well as the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees had at the weekend issued a special bulletin to workers of aviation agencies to inform them of the warning strike.

The bulletin reads: “Our Unions have no alternative than to embark on an industrial action to press home our demand for justice and equity, especially considering the long-suffering, patience and forbearance on the part of our members which has now reached yield point.”

“Accordingly, all workers in NAMA, NCAA, NiMeT and NCAT are hereby directed to embark on a two-day warning strike on the 9th and 10th of May, 2022.

“Should the warning go unheeded, an indefinite strike shall be called soon after.”

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