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$2.5bn NNPC crude: Frank calls for Kyari’s sack over allegation

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Former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank, has called for the immediate sack of the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Engr. Mele Kyari, over his complicity in the alleged $2.5billion stolen crude oil sold in China.

An online news platform recently revealed that about 48 million barrels of Nigeria’s Bonny Light Crude, valued at $2.5 billion was stolen, sold in China and the proceed was allegedly shared by some top officials of the present administration.

Frank had in a statement following the revelation last week, called for the immediate arrest, investigation and prosecution of all those involved in the sale and diversion of the proceeds of the crude oil.

The political activist in a statement in Abuja on Monday specifically called for the sack and prosecution of Kyari following new evidence concerning his central role in the diversion of the nation’s common wealth as published by the same online portal.

Frank insisted that the new damning facts, laced with documentary evidence, only goes to show that the corruption level in the APC-led federal government, stinks to the skies with the President, General Muhammadu Buhari, being silent and unfortunately giving the impression of his complicity.

He expressed total disgust with the General Buhari-led government and accused it of being determined to cover up the theft of the $2.5 billion crude “despite the expose’ of this wicked and criminal act against Nigeria and Nigerians which has opened the country to international ridicule and shame.”

He urged the Government of the United States and all well-meaning nations to immediately call and impress it on General Buhari that the perpetrators of this dastardly act of criminality concerning the stolen $2.5 billion crude oil sold in China should be immediately arrested and prosecuted.

He described it as absurd for the perpetrators to have carried out the heist under the watchful eyes of General Buhari who doubles as the Minister of Petroleum Resources and also carries the toga of Africa’s No. 1 Anti-Corruption Crusader.

He noted that based on the attempt by the Buhari-led government to suppress the “exposed”, the online platform has further released more damning evidence about the sleaze which comprised of the letters and messages exchanged between the NNPC, officials the federal government and the legal representative of the whistleblower, SAMANO SA DE CV.

He insisted that Kyari should not be allowed to spend another 24 hours as GMD of NNPC, following the release of a throve of such damning evidence that are currently in public domain.

“The NNPC GMD has so many explanations to give to Nigerians as to the whereabouts or otherwise of the purported stolen $2.5billion crude oil sold in China.

“Kyari has to provide answers to this weighty allegations and Buhari’s refusal to order for an immediate investigation, which should trigger a suspension or sack of the NNPC GMD, by remaining silent can only mean acquiescence and complicity in the $2.5billion crude theft,” Frank said.

The new evidence as released, disclosed how the whistleblower wrote to the NNPC GMD on the crude theft and his request for the payment of his compensation for having blown the lid on the illegal sale of the 48million barrels of stolen crude oil in line with the whistleblower policy of the Federal Government.

“Nigerians must stand up now to ask questions as it concerns the theft and sale of the stolen crude oil and the whereabouts of the $2.5 billion proceeds,” Frank declared.

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Aviation

Concession: Preferred, Reserved Bidders Emerge for Abuja, Lagos and Kano Airports

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… as No Bid Received for Port Harcourt Airport

The Nigerian government on Wednesday announced the preferred bidders for the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja, the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, and the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA), Kano, as the Concession programme enters its final phase.

The minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika unveiled the successful bidders at a press briefing in Abuja on Wednesday.

He said the Request for Proposals (RFP) phase of the Nigeria Airports Concession Programme (NACP), which came to a close on the 19 of September 2022 has seen the emergence of preferred and reserve bidders for three (3) out of four (4) Airports and Cargo Terminals as approved for concession under the programme under the supervision of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC).

He announced that “the preferred bidder for the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, is Corporacion America Airports Consortium. ENL Consortium has also been selected as the reserve bidder for NAIA. ”

“The preferred bidder for Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, is TAV/NAHCO/PROJECT PLANET LIMITED(PPL) Consortium. Sifax/Changi Consortium has also been selected as the reserve bidder for MMIA” he said.

“The preferred bidder for Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA), Kano, is Corporacion America Airports Consortium. There are no reserve bidders for MAKIA as at the time of this announcement,” he said.

For the Port Harcourt International Airport (PHIA), Port Harcourt, Sirika said the ministry “did not receive any proposals as of the RFP deadline close and as such has not had preferred and reserve bidders attached to it.”

He said the next stage now it’s the negotiation stage adding that the organised labour has been a part of all the negotiations that has happened and will still be part of future negotiations.

He also said no Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) official will lose their jobs.

“The next stage of the programme is the negotiations and due diligence stage, during which the Federal Government will invite preferred bidders to enter detailed negotiations with its representatives, with a view to developing a Full Business Case (FBC) before onward transmission to ICRC for review and approval. Only after successful conclusion of the negotiation and due diligence stage will the FBC and all other approvals be presented before the Federal Executive Council for final approval by the Federal Government of Nigeria” he explained.

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Aviation

Trapped Funds: Reprieve for Foreign Airlines, as CBN Releases $265M Intervention

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Foreign airlines operating in the country and their passengers can now heave a sigh of relief as the Central Bank of Nigeria has released $265million to airlines operating in the country to settle outstanding ticket sales to check a brewing crisis in the country’s aviation sector.

Disclosing this in a statement, on Friday, the Director, Corporate Communications Department, CBN, Mr Osita Nwanisobi, said the Nigerian government was concerned about the development and what it portended for the sector and travellers as well as the country in the comity of nations.

A breakdown of the figure indicated that $230million was released as special foreign exchange intervention while another $35million was released through Retail SMIS auction.

Nwanisobi retiterated that the bank was not against any company repatriating its funds from the country, adding that what the bank stood for was an orderly exit for those that might be interested in doing so.

“With Friday’s release, it is expected that operators and travelers as well will heave huge sighs of relief, as some airlines had threatened to withdraw their services in the face of unremitted funds for outstanding sale of tickets,” CBN said.

There has been serious concerns and reactions over hundreds of millions of dollars earned by foreign airlines operating in the country which they could not repatriate due to foreign exchange scarcity problems.

SaharaReporters had during the week reported that some international airlines whose $600million got stuck in Nigeria’s Central Bank were not happy with the carefree attitude shown by the Nigerian administration.

Some of the foreign nations had said they gave between now and December — the deadline when the Nigerian government should pay the accrued debt or risk having them leave the nation.

Sunrise Nigeria earlier reported that Emirates Airlines had announced that it would suspend its flights to Nigeria from September 1 this year.

The proposed suspension of flights to Nigeria is connected to its failure to repatriate its trapped ticket sales fund in the West African country back to its home country in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Meanwhile, the foreign nations’ ultimate intervention has been linked to the CBN’s failure to release the trapped monies for the airlines to return to their home countries in violation of the deal they signed with Nigeria as outlined in the current Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASAs).

This is just as the seeming silence of the various local bankers of the foreign airlines in Nigeria has been attributed to the fact that it is only the CBN that is empowered to do this.

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Aviation

Nigeria will have national carrier before end of 2022 — Aviation Minister

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The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has given an assurance that Nigeria will have a national carrier before the end of 2022.

Sirika gave the assurance at a two-day Africa Public Private Partnership Network (AP3N) Investment programme held in Abuja on Tuesday

The programme was organised by the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission with the theme, “Financing Africa’s Infrastructure through Public Private Partnership (PPP).”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria Air is the nation’s proposed national carrier which was unveiled at the Farnborough Air Show in the United Kingdom in July 2018.

The minister, represented by Mr Akin Olateru, the Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer, Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), said the Air Transport License had been issued.

“We have a team in place, the Air Transport License has been issued by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, and we are in the process of processing the Air Operator Certificate (AOC) which will lead to the start of the airline.

“When you are setting up an airline, there are five phases for the AOC process.

“You need to bring in airplanes when you are in phase three. So in phases one and two, you do not need to bring an airplane but you need to have identified them.

“But because people do not understand the process in aviation, they see it as another business. But aviation has its peculiarities and strict guidelines in everything we do.”

The panelist who discussed the topic “Transforming the Aviation Sector through Private Sector Participation” underscored the need for funding from private investment in the sector to ensure efficiency.

Capt. Rabiu Yadudu, the Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), said funding was a critical function in the aviation sector for it to function optimally.

According to him, funding is the lifeblood, you can have all the technical skills but without funding, the sector cannot function.

“Equipment and facilities need to be replaced and maintained as and when due.

“If stakeholders do not have confidence in the sector, then we cannot function, and our workers will not work if they do not feel safe using the equipment.

“If you get the stakeholders’ confidence, you would get the right participation. PPP is the way to go not only in aviation but in all sectors,” he said.

Mr. Isaac Balami, an aviator and Chief Executive Officer, 7Star Global Hanger, said there was the need to set up an Aviation Development Bank, given the key role the aviation industry played in the Nigerian economy and the African continent.

According to him, in terms of strategy, we must look inwards and believe in ourselves, and we must also consider local content.

Mr Lai Are, the Managing Director, Catamaran Nigeria Ltd, said the foundation of any country was its infrastructure, adding that there was a need to bridge the infrastructure gap in Nigeria.

Are said without aviation, the country would not be able to attract the kind of finance needed in the transport sector.

“We are a country in need of investment, and most of this money cannot come from within but we need to look inward to see how we can present ourselves to the outside world.

“We need to see how we can look attractive to the outside world and attract investment for infrastructure development.”

He also said there must be the sanctity of agreements, saying that the government must honour agreements so that investors get returns on their investments at the agreed time.

“Yes, the private sector will come but they must ride on the back of the foundation the government has built,” he said.

Mr. Suileman Ibrahim, the director, Capital Projects and Infrastructure, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), said that the government must see private investors as partners by creating policies that make investment possible.

Abrahim also said that dedicated funds should also be set up for the aviation industry such as having an aviation bank or a bank dedicated to the transport sector.

“Having the right policies which include tax incentives and waivers, providing guarantees and supporting the environment and repatriation of foreign exchange are critical to investment in this space.” (NAN)

 

 

 

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