Africa Swine Flu discovered in Nigeria

June 10, 2009

 

   

The Federal Ministry of Health has confirmed the report that African Swine Flu has been discovered in a certain part of Delta state.

The Ministry, in a report by the special assistant on communication to the minister of health,Niyi Ojuolape, said the presence of the disease has been confirmed after consultation with the Delta State Ministries of Health and Agriculture.

The ministry, however, said that African Swine Fever (ASF) affects only pigs and that it does not affect humans in any way. It stated also that it is not in any way related to the a(h1n1) influenza, otherwise known as swine fever, which has been ravaging the health world.

Mr Ojuolape,however, assured the public that the case of Swine Flu has not been reported in Nigeria and that the government is doing a lot to monitor the events with a view to handling any eventuality effectively.

Also, the Delta State Ministry of Agriculture has quarantined the affected piggery and has started culling the affected pigs to prevent the disease from spreading to other pigs.

African Swine Fever (ASF) is however, a highly contagious, generalized disease of pigs caused by an iridovirus that exhibits varying virulence between strains, although different serotypes cannot be identified.

Experts say that the virus resists inactivation and can persist in meat up to 15 weeks, processed hams up to six months and up to one month in contaminated pens. It is endemic in most of Southern Africa, and on the Iberian peninsula of Europe. Since the 1960s, outbreaks have occurred in France, Italy, Malta, Belgium,Holland, Cuba, Domican Republic and Haiti.

Treatment and vaccine have not been discovered till date. The United States,the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibit the importation of live hogs and uncooked pork from any country where ASF exists, except if the products are commercially canned,hermetically sealed, and fully sterilized so it remains shelf stable without refrigeration; and the processes used have been proven to inactivate the virus.


Shell settles Nigeria deaths case

June 9, 2009

Ken Saro-Wiwa, whose execution sparked a global outcry

Ken Saro-Wiwa, whose execution sparked a global outcry

Royal Dutch Shell has agreed a $15.5m (£9.7m) out-of-court settlement in a case accusing it of complicity in human rights abuses in Nigeria.

 

It was brought by relatives of nine anti-oil campaigners, including author Ken Saro-Wiwa, who were hanged in 1995 by Nigeria’s then military rulers.

The oil giant strongly denies any wrongdoing and says the payment is part of a “process of reconciliation”.

The case, initiated 13 years ago, had been due for trial in the US next week.

It was brought under a 1789 federal law which allows US courts to hear human rights cases brought by foreign nationals over actions that take place abroad.

The case alleged that Shell was complicit in murder, torture and other abuses by Nigeria’s former military government against campaigners in the oil-rich Niger Delta.

Ken Saro-Wiwa and the eight others were members of the Ogoni ethnic group from the Niger Delta. They had been campaigning for the rights of the local people and protesting at pollution caused by the oil industry.

They were executed after being convicted by a military tribunal over the 1994 murder of four local leaders.

The activists’ deaths had sparked a storm of international protest.


150 break-out from Nigerian jail

June 4, 2009
Inmates Peeping from a Nigerian jail

Inmates Peeping from a Nigerian jail

 
Over 150 inmates have broken out of an overcrowded prison in Nigeria’s south-east during a midnight escape bid.The police and army have returned all but 20 of the inmates who jumped to freedom after making a hole in the cell ceiling.

The prisoners climbed along inside the roof of a prison block to where it met the perimeter wall, the comptroller general of prisons told journalists.

Enugu prison, one of Nigeria’s oldest, is overcrowded, authorities say.

“The prisoners who escaped were agitated at the serious delays in the judicial process,” Comptroller General of Nigeria’s prison service Olushola Ogundipe told journalists.

In Enugu prison, 724 prisoners out of the total prison population of 987 have not been convicted.


Nigeria Marks 10 Uninterrupted Years of Democratic Rule Friday

May 29, 2009
 
 

Friday is ‘democracy day’ in Nigeria as the country marks 10 uninterrupted years since the return to civilian rule in 1999.

Nigeria had been ruled by the military for 32 of its 49 years since gaining independence in 1960. But in 1979, former military leader Olusegun Obasanjo was elected to once again usher in civilian rule.

Some say the restoration of democracy has put Nigeria back on the track of becoming one of the economic powers of Africa. Yet some Nigerians say they have very little to celebrate because the democracy dividends that they had hoped for have yet to be attained.

Professor Kabiru Mato, head of the political science department at the University of Abuja told VOA the occasion is not worth celebrating because the democratic aspirations of Nigerians have yet to be met.

“I think this is civil rule day. I don’t think it is yet a democracy day because most of the attributes of democracy are not yet on the ground in Nigeria. The issue that is worth celebrating actually is that this is the first time in the history of Nigeria since independence in 1960 that we are having 10 years of uninterrupted rule by civilians,” he said.

Mato described as arbitrary many things that he said have happened in Nigeria between 1999 and 2007.

“We have seen manipulation of the political processes by way of emasculating political parties by reducing them to mere instruments in the hands of those people in authority. We have also seen to a great extent the failure of the political establishment to abide by the rule of the game by ensuring elections which could be categorized as above average,” Mato said.

He said he does not think Nigerians have done well either during the last 10 years under democratic rule.

“If you look at all the development indexes that are available, the relationship between Nigerians and poverty is still really on the high side. Social infrastructure is basically lacking in the country, educational system is in crisis, our health service is also in shamble, roads are still bad…so if you want to really put in perspective, it would be very difficult for you to say that we have achieved anything positive in the last 10 years,” he said.

Almost every election in Nigeria since the return to democratic rulehas been disputed, including the recent election re-run in Ekiti State. Some blamed the problems on the country’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Mato said the country will need a truly independent electoral commission if Nigerians are to have free and fair elections in 2011,

“What we are having in Nigeria is that there is a concerted effort on the part of the citizens calling for electoral reform. You will recall that as soon as President Yar’Adua found himself in office in May 2007 he did promise Nigerians and the world all over that he was going to ensure that an electoral reform is conducted. So he set up a committee and the committee came up a very far reaching recommendations that were accepted and friends of Nigeria. Unfortunately the president is not willing to accept most of the critical recommendations of that electoral reform committee,” Mato said.

Mato said Nigerians cannot talk about democracy without an electoral system that will guarantee the citizenry that their right that they have the right to vote and be voted.

He said the restoration of democracy has helped in some respect in the fight against corruption in Nigeria. But Mato said Nigerians must take the fight to a new level by looking at corruption as a social problem that requires social solutions.

 Sourced from VOA News


Nuhu Ribadu’s Testimony

May 21, 2009

Capital Loss and Corruption: The Example of Nigeria -Full text of Nuhu Ribadu’s Testimony before the US House Financial Services Committee May 19, 2009

Good morning, Chairman Frank, distinguished US Representatives of the Committee, and thank you for this very kind invitation to offer testimony as part of this panel. The global financial crisis has made nothing so clear as the fact that the global economy is now highly integrated and interconnected. What affects one corner of the globe will reach to all other corners, and the lack of proper regulation and oversight in one place can undermine stability far away.

Corruption has the same effect on global markets, although it is not often thought of in those terms. So just as it is the purpose of this hearing to explore lines of responsibility in the global financial crisis, so too should it be to better understand the global responsibility to end corrupt practices.

Understanding corruption as a transnational problem is the only way to fight it. Corruption in one place is connected to others, enabled by systems of weak regulation and poor oversight. When you think of “corruption,” there will always be specific personalities and places that jump to mind, and inevitably Nigeria is near the top of that list. But I think you will all agree with me that corruption is not a native of any land; it just finds easier homes in some. Societies that have been able to move ahead are those that put the statutes in place to criminalize corruption and ensure that the enforcement mechanisms are proper and ready for action.

Let it be clear from the onset that my intention is not to speak ill of my country or continent, but rather to state the facts as they are.

Next year, Nigeria will be half a century old. In 1960, the year I was born, my country attained Independence from Britain. The promise of independence was boundless and the famous Nigerian energy was all too evident. We were sure we would make it. Home to about 140 million of the West African region’s 220 million inhabitants, Nigeria’s demography alone elects it as a regional power.

Today, after one civil war, seven military regimes, and three botched attempts at building real democracy, there is one connecting factor in the failure of all attempts to govern Nigeria: corruption.

Mr. Chairman, your chosen theme for today’s hearing is right on target. Corruption and capital drain have been the major factors in the lack growth and development in the region. The corruption endemic to our region is not just about bribery, but about mismanagement, incompetence, abuse of office, and the inability to establish justice and the rule of law. As resources are stolen, confidence not just in democratic governance but also in the idea of just leadership ebbs away. As the lines of authority with the government erode, so too do traditional authority structures. In the worst cases, eventually all that is left to hold society together is the idea that someday it may be your day to get yours. This does little to build credible, accountable institutions of governance or put the right policies in place.

The African Union has reported that corruption drains the region of some $140 billion a year, which is about 25% of the continent’s official GDP. In Nigeria alone, we had a leader, General Sani Abacha, it was believed that he took for himself between $5–6 billion and invested most of it in the western world.

With this history, the EFCC undertook the investigation and auditing of the assets of serving state governors and public officials suspected of stealing public funds. The London Metropolitan Police, including in two cases involving governors, assisted us. Mr. Joshua Dariye, Governor of Plateau state, was found by the London Metropolitan Police to operate 25 bank accounts in London alone to juggle money and evade the law. Like many of the governors, he used front agents to penetrate western real estate markets where he purchased choice and expensive properties.

The London Metropolitan Police determined Dariye had acquired £10 million in benefits through criminal conduct in London, while domestically we were able to restrain proceeds of his crimes worth $34 million. The other was the case of Mr. D.S.P. Alamieyeseigha, governor of oil rich Bayelsa State. He had four properties in London valued at about £10 million, plus another property in Cape Town valued at $1.2 million. £1 million cash was found in his bedroom at his apartment in London. £2 million was restrained at the Royal Bank of Scotland in London and over $240 million in Nigeria. This is in addition to bank accounts traced to Cyprus, Denmark, USA and the Bahamas.

These are just two examples. In 80% of the grand corruption that takes place in Africa, the money is kept somewhere else, enabled by systems of poor regulation that allow abuse by those looking for ways to profit.

Between 1960 and 1999, Nigerian officials had stolen or wasted more than $440 billion. That is six times the Marshall Plan, the total sum needed to rebuild a devastated Europe in the aftermath of the Second World War. When you look across a nation and a continent riddled with poverty and weak institutions, and you think of what this money could have done – only then can you truly understand the crime of corruption, and the almost inhuman indifference that is required by those who wield it for personal gain.

For the West to finally understand why those like myself and my colleagues here today, John Githongo and Monica Macovei, are willing to risk so much, risk our lives, to fight corruption in our home nations, the West must then be willing to see corruption as not just a system of bribes and patronage, but the systematic undermining of responsible governance, of visionary leadership, of a society’s ability to meet and overcome challenges. The West must understand that corruption is part of the reason that African nations cannot fight diseases properly, cannot feed their populations, cannot educate their children and use their creativity and energy to open the doorway to the future they deserve. The crime is not just theft. It is negligence. Wanton negligence, the full impact of which is likely impossible to know.

I have said this before, and while I know it is a controversial statement, I stand by the idea that corruption is responsible for as many deaths as the combined results of conflicts and HIV/AIDS on the African continent. I always see myself as a policeman first, and as a law enforcement officer at the frontlines, I have seen corruption provide fertile ground for injustice, for violence, for the failure of government and the failure to use revenues and donor support for the benefit of the people. I see how those who are confronted with these systems – diplomats, foreign businesses, NGOs and others with the best of intentions for the continent – make the choice to work within those corrupt practices to get the job done faster, or try to work ethically and morally while knowing this choice will cost them time, profit, and impact. I see people suffer, and while they may not know why or how exactly, they understand that it is unjust, they know right from wrong, and they know that as long as these systems are allowed to thrive, their lives will never be better. But so long as bowing to corruption is the primary way of succeeding in certain societies, it trains generation after generation to accept its yolk, get their due, and ignore those around them.

On a regional dimension, it is estimated that some $20 billion leaves Africa annually through the illicit export of money extorted from development loan contracts. This money is deposited in overseas banks by a network of politicians, civil servants and businessmen. This figure is now roughly equal to the entire amount of aid from the US to Sub-Saharan Africa every year.

This outflow is not just abstract numbers: it translates to the concrete reality of kids who cannot be put in schools, who will never learn to read, because there are no classrooms; mothers who die in childbirth because the money for maternity care never made it to the hospitals; tens of thousands who die because there are no drugs or vaccines in hospitals; no roads to move produce from farms to markets or enable a thriving economy; no jobs for young school graduates or even ordinary workers; and no security for anyone because the money has been stolen and shipped out.

The picture I paint here is that of my country. The picture of a potentially great land, slowly poisoned by the idea that the importunity of lawlessness is success. The picture of a land held hostage for decades by a kleptocratic bunch of fraudsters who built a career in politics to protect their lines of revenue. I am saddened when I hear America’s new president, his First Lady, and his cabinet officials all speaking at graduation ceremonies and calling for service to your country and your community, because I know that in Nigeria that this is not happening at the moment.

While there is much blame to be directed at Nigeria for this state, we should not stand accused for these crimes alone. The unholy alliance between local political elites and western financial institutions has been the foundation of this narrative of shame. The best illustration yet is the now famous Halliburton/KBR scandal where, as a Nigerian Newspaper recently reported, our leaders received “stacks of US dollar bills in briefcases and sometimes in bullion vans” until some $185 million had been exchanged for a contract to build a liquefied natural gas plant.

The other famous case is the Siemens scandal. According to the US Securities and Exchange Commission [SEC], Siemens made approximately $12.7 million in “suspicious payments” for Nigerian projects, including to government customers for four telecommunications projects. The total value of the four contracts was approximately $130 million. There are many other instances. The total amount in bribes is staggering.

In both of these cases, the United States and Germany, the parent nations of these two companies, have initiated stern investigations and issued out hefty fines on the companies – but those who received the bribes in Nigeria continue to enjoy the fruits of their labors, which only means the cycle will continue. It is clear that KBR did their own calculus: $185 million in bribes, plus eventually almost $600 million in fines for violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, but they won $6 billion in business for their efforts. These projects continue on. And this kind of math will continue on for as long as companies realize there are those on the ground willing and eager for this type of facilitation. In Nigeria, the alleged culprits are going about their daily lives and even running the government by default. And yet they are still engaged from outside as equal partners in governance and development.

I have always held the belief that the laws needed to check these problems often already exist; what is lacking is the culture of enforcement. Enforcement blossoms only where there is the necessary political will, and this political will must be strong at the very top. There is no place in the world where anticorruption efforts will succeed without this political will, without leadership to promote the effort openly as a moral and political force. Without this will, the pressure on enforcement agents smothers their efforts and is destined to destroy the very agencies defined to lead the war against graft.

I learnt this myself by firsthand example. Having spent five years building Nigeria’s EFCC into a world-class crime fighting agency with trusted partnerships with US and UK agencies, all of it has now changed, like many of the other reform efforts in the country.

When the EFCC was formed in 2003, our country had never secured a single criminal conviction for corruption charges. We were fortunate to have the political support of President Obasanjo; of other several powerful ministers in the government including Nasir El•Rufai, from whose budget the original money to support the EFCC came; from key Senators; and from the judiciary whose responsibility it was to decide the cases presented to them.

By 2007 we had secured convictions in over 275 of the near 1000 cases in the courts. It was modest but revolutionary, especially since the convictions were from cases against high-ranking officials such as the leadership of the Nigeria Police, a number of state governors, ministers, legislators and top bureaucrats. The symbol of these convictions to ordinary Nigerians had more impact than I could have believed. But for the first time, they saw those living unlawfully and with impunity being called to task, and they allowed themselves to hope that a new Nigeria, where the fruits of their labors would finally be enough to prosper, may be coming.

And things changed, at least for a while. This was homage to the extraordinary will and belief of young Nigerians who saw corruption as the barrier to the progress of our country and wanted to contribute. The effort we made at the EFCC was a marriage of two forces: pressure from outside and the force from within. The international community deployed the instruments of the Financial Action Task Force [FATF] to trigger necessary reforms, which provided us the platform to build a strong local program to clean up our financial institutions and prosecute those who sought to undermine them. This ultimately paved the way for a far-reaching banking reform in the country, famously described as the consolidation of about a hundred mushroom banks into 25 strong institutions. Some of these banks are now seen as credible financial institutions with continental reach; indeed, some of them are stepping in to fill the gaps left by decreased activity of Western banks during the financial crisis.

The EFCC also helped to address the problems in the Niger Delta, which, in my opinion, is driven entirely by corruption. Indeed, one of the governors of the Delta that we investigated offered me $15 million in cash to stop the investigation against him. We charged him both for the theft of state revenues and for the bribery attempt. Sadly today he is still one of the most powerful political figures in both the ruling party and the country. This clearly highlights the problem of the Delta – money meant to have gone for development has gone to very few hands and is used for negative ends. In 2003•4, almost 100,000 barrels of oil was stolen daily; by 2005•6, we had managed to reduce this to 10,000 barrels per day. We also secured convictions for kidnappers in the Delta, who were driving the cycle of violence and bribery with the private oil companies.

The entire team responsible for these successes, which was trained by a variety of agencies in the US, has been moved out of the EFCC. I personally have been dismissed from the service, though I continue to challenge this dismissal in court. After surviving an assassination attempt, I decided to relocate temporarily out of Nigeria. But much work remains to be done.

But the policy today in Nigeria is to use all the right rhetoric – speaking of the need for rule of law and the fight against corruption – to cover-up their real campaign to completely undo the reform efforts of the previous government and so thoroughly confuse corruption and anticorruption that no one can sort out which is which any longer. This is why today, many of the law enforcement agencies that used to work hand-in-hand with the EFCC are no longer willing to partner with the EFCC or the Nigerian Justice Department. The issue of integrity is paramount in such relationships.

I offer these examples to illustrate the challenge in fighting corruption. When you fight corruption, it fights back. It will likely have greater resources than you, and it is lead by those who operate outside the law and view the fight as life anddeath for their survival. In a globalized and networked world, we all need to believe that the fight against corruption must assume a trans-border dimension. Our own modest success at the EFCC was supported by efforts of institutions of the United Nations, regional bodies, and many bilateral bodies like the US Secret Service, the FBI, the US Postal Service, and the Department of Justice. I would particularly mention the support we got from the United States in setting up and nurturing the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit. We were also aided by the emergence of statutes that offered universal applicability. But without a doubt, the fight against corruption in countries like Nigeria will require strengthening international regulations and standards to enable enforcement on the ground.

For example, the work of the EFCC would not have been possible without the Financial Action Task Force, which de facto forced Nigeria to develop new anti-money laundering laws and spurred the creation of the EFCC. However, the FATF lost its original might and importance and there is a need to strengthen it, empower it, and provide the necessary framework for international financial regulations. Stronger global standards against money laundering can force Nigeria and other countries to accept that the old way of business will come with too high a cost.

Similarly, the US could help promote a Proceeds of Crime law that has treaty status, and push the boundaries of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) to be expanded power to bite both givers and takers of bribes. Until those receiving the bribes are punished for their actions, the marketplace for high stakes elite bribery will continue to thrive. I would also propose that Congress support civil society monitoring programmes and direct support for programmes building investigative journalism, which can support transparency and anticorruption efforts.

Other challenges will include expanding cooperation in intelligence gathering and sharing and reigning in the vicarious liability of tax havens and offshore banks. This comes back to the theme of today’s hearing, about the role of financial institutions. Safe havens are undermining the effort of poor nations to make progress and we must all work in concert to ensure that secrecy does not undermine greater transparency and accountability. The UK’s Commission for Africa estimates that the assets stolen from the continent and held in foreign bank accounts amount to $93 billion. If Africa can succeed in tracing and repatriating such stolen wealth, the next chapter in the story may truly turn a new page, and the days of aid dependency can start to wane.

From a distance, systemic corruption seems like too big a hurdle to overcome. Nigeria’s problems may seem insurmountable, but the rest of the world can make a difference by doing what they can to promote transparency. In five short years, the EFCC was able to make a difference in one of the most challenging environments on the planet; the lesson is that small measures with limited support can bring about meaningful change.

But to do this, Western partners and others must truly understand how corruption works and that in some instances they have been unwilling partners to it, even when the intentions have been nothing but good. Corruption is often viewed as a political challenge, and many donor nations would rather support more humanitarian based causes, like health and education. But it is time for everyone to understand that by pumping money into development efforts without a clear accountability mechanism as a part of such programs, these efforts are often as good as putting money down the drain. The US has many new health and development initiatives in Africa – in Nigeria alone the total is over a half billion dollars a year. You owe it to yourselves and to your taxpayers to ask how this money is spent, ask for results, and insist that any such funds are spent to the good of the people. I believe if you looked more closely at some of the organizations in Africa tasked with utilizing these funds, you would not like what you see. The same is true of any nation offering development aid on the continent; all partners need the need for greater oversight standards.

The examples I give today are not to point fingers, but to illustrate that corruption is killing Nigeria, and it is killing across the African continent. I urge you to view the fight against corruption as the ultimate humanitarian effort, for surely there is no stronger chain to shackle the poor to their lot. Corruption may have taken some shots at us, but what it is doing to ordinary Nigerians every day is far worse and far more fatal.

When corruption is king, there is no accountability of leadership and no trust in authority. Society devolves to the basic units of family and self, to the baser instincts of getting what you can when you can, because you don’t believe anything better will ever come along. And when the only horizon is tomorrow, how can you care about the kind of nation you are building for your children and your grandchildren? How can you call on your government to address what ails society and build stronger institutions?

Corruption makes democracy impossible because it subverts the will of the people. A select few, with so much money and authority, continue to steal elections and make a mockery of the notion of government by the people or for the people. Nigeria today is the worst example of electoral theft in the world. So it is also important that the United States and other partners in Nigeria stand by the Nigerian people first and foremost, and say that enough is enough.

Corruption is one of the greatest crimes the world has ever known. But those who are suffering the most from its poison are the least able to fight it; their resources, their health and wellbeing, and their futures have been stolen away. There is no surer salt in the earth of democratic and representative governance. It is for this reason that I call on you to help fight this global injustice, both for the sake of Nigeria, and for every other country that will never know its potential without your support. But at the end of the day it will be we, the Nigerians and the Africans, that will have to solve our own problems and catch up to the rest of the world in freedom and development. I assure you that can be done.

Thank you once again for this kind invitation and I now welcome your questions.

 

Former EFCC Chairman, Nuhu-Ribadu

Former EFCC Chairman, Nuhu-Ribadu


Queues: Fuel Prices In Nigeria May Increase Soon

May 8, 2009

  

Nigeria – The Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr. Odein Ajumogobia, on Thursday, gave a hint that the prices of petroleum products would increase soon as the Federal Government has agreed on a new price template with product marketers.

Major marketers had stopped importation of the products after rejecting the current template that had put the pump price of petrol at N65 per litre. The action by the major marketers had caused persistent scarcity across the nation leading to winding queues at filling stations.

Speaking with newsmen on the crisis in Abuja, Ajumogobia said the Government had reached an agreement on a new template that would make marketers happy, adding that the nation was on the way to full deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry.

He said, “We have met with the marketers and agreed on a revised template. The new template has been sent to the Presidential Committee on the full Deregulation of the Petroleum Sector for onward recommendation to the President. Very soon that would be made public, and I am sure that all the marketers and everyone will be happy for it.”

Executive Secretary, Major Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Femi Olawore, said on Thursday that the oil companies were insisting that while government had agreed to continue to pay subsidy for now, it should pay within 30 days of fuel deliveries.

He also insisted that the outstanding N125bn debt owed marketers, who had been responsible for 50 per cent of fuel imports, should be paid in full before they resumed importation.

The minister had rejected calls from the House of Representatives to resign following the fuel scarcity saying he still had the approval of his boss, President Umar Yar’Adua.

He said, “I have been doing my job to the best of my ability and President Umaru Yar’Adua has deep confidence in me. And I will continue to do my work to the best of my ability.

“So I don’t have to resign. But we are going to solve the problem. And if you make an objective assessment, you would see that that the queues are fast reducing in length.

“I just want to apologise on behalf of government, the suffering faced by Nigerians over the fuel shortage.

“It is not that government is unmindful of your plight. In fact, it is far from that. This administration is committed to the well being of Nigerians. That is why it is the first government to ever bring down the price of fuel – from N70 per litre to N65 per litre. It has never happened before. That is why I am coming out to make a categorical apology to Nigerians.”

On the scarcity, the minister said, “As we have explained over and over, the problem was not deliberately caused. As you know, the NNPC has been importing just about 47 per cent of the total fuel consumed since we opened the market for marketers to import. Unfortunately the major marketers have not been importing as a result of government’s readiness for full deregulation.

“The problem was compounded when vandals attacked supply line to Atlas Cove that supply the Mosimi depot, which handles 30 per cent of all the fuel supply into the country.

“It was also at a time that the Warri Refinery Petrochemical Company was not producing. I am happy to announce to you that the Mosimi line has been repaired. And that the WRPC, which produces 10 per cent of the nation’s supply, is back on stream.

“There is also the problem of unpaid arrears of subsidy to the marketers. But that has been solved now. They have been paid about N49bn.”

Ajumogobia explained that while the NNPC has imported 18 cargoes of fuel, seven of which were already discharging, major marketers have agreed to import 10 more cargoes to make up for the 30 cargoes consumed monthly in the country.

According to him, the problem of the scarcity was worsened by round-tripping by vehicle owners who buy the products and siphon them for sale in black markets.

On why the Department of Petroleum Resources has been so infective in checking unwholesome practices at filling stations, the minister said the agency did not have sufficient capacity.

He said, “There are about 1,500 filling stations in this country. But the DPR only has about 300 staff. So you can do the arithmetic yourselves. There is no way the DPR can contain the situation if everyone does what he likes.”