Friday, July 1, 2016

Video - Plan to raise over $90bln to stabilize Nigeria

Stabilizing oil prices should help Nigeria's engineer an economic recovery, but Africa's largest economy also needs a lot more funding to develop -- that's why a Nigerian business delegation is in China this week. Is that a hard sell? Cheng Lei spoke to Dr Ibe Kachikwu, Nigeria's state minister for petroleum resources, to find out how the fundraising is going.

Nigeria strengthens airport security after Turkey terrorist attack

Nigerian authorities have reacted swiftly to the terror attack in Turkey by beefing up security at all major airports across the country.

Following the twin explosions and gunfire that rocked the Turkish international airport of Ataturk in Istanbul, killing 36 and leaving more than 40 people injured, Nigerian authorities have reacted to possible terrorist threats.

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, said yesterday that technological devices such as metal detectors and 3D screening machines had been installed to counter any possible security breach.

FAAN advised all airport passengers to be security conscious at all times and weary of any threats or suspicious packages.

The Presidency meanwhile reacted to the terrorist attacks in Turkey, calling it very sad and wishing that all the victims to rest in peace.

News24 reported that two explosive devices were set off in the Ataturk International airport with video footage captured by CCTV cameras showing the exact moment a suicide bomber detonated the device.

Lagos shutting down churches and mosques to reduce noise pollution

Authorities in Nigeria's Lagos State have shut 70 churches and 20 mosques in an attempt to reduce high noise levels.

About 10 hotels, pubs and club houses were also closed, officials said.

Some estimates put Lagos' population at around 20 million, creating a constant background of noise - from the blaring of car horns, to the Muslim call to prayer and loud singing in churches.

The state government has vowed to make the city, the biggest in Africa, noise-free by 2020.

In August, the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LEPA) closed 22 premises after residents complained about noise emanating from them.

Following the latest crackdown, its general manager Bola Shabi said the agency would no longer allow people to pray in makeshift buildings and tents.

Mr Shabi said noise levels had been reduced by about 35%, but this was not a "pass mark yet".

"Enforcement is a continuous exercise and we have set a target for ourselves. We want to ensure that Lagos is noise-free by the year 2020," he said.

Mr Shabi said mosques complied with their instructions more than churches because when they are ordered to shut down, they "instantly bring down their speakers or reduce the noise they make''.

Nigerians are extremely religious, with a large number of evangelical churches operating in Lagos.

Christians form the majority in the city.

In 2014, 116 people died when a building owned by popular televangelist TB Joshua collapsed in Lagos.

President Buhari appeals for patience as government 'rebuilds' Nigeria

The Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, has appealed to the citizenry to exercise patience as his administration works assiduously to rebuild Africa’s most populous nation.

The president’s appeal was contained in a press release after he had met with a delegation of Niger Delta Dialogue and Contact Group at the State House in Abuja on Thursday.

According to him beyond building Nigeria to become a nation that generations to come would be proud to inherit, under his watch Nigeria will also witness judicious utilization of resources.

“We intend to rebuild this country; so that our children and grand-children will have a good place they can call their own. A lot of damage has been done, so I want you to tell the people to be patient. We will utilize the resources of Nigeria with integrity and rebuild the country,” he assured.

He further disclosed that the Niger Delta Amnesty programme signed by the late president Umaru Yar’Adua’s administration was been studied with a view to determining what had been fulfilled, promising that whatever is left would equally be addressed.

He tasked local leaders like His Royal Highness, King Alfred Diette-Spiff, the Amanyanabo of Twon Brass, Bayelsa State, who led the group that met him to talk to groups in the region to maintain peace and calm as government works to address their plights.

He also sympathized with business people whose capital investment in the Niger Delta region was being badly affected due to insecurity. The traditional authority on his part reiterated that the group was made of peace builders, dedicated to peace and stability in the region.

China spends $80 billion on oil and gas in Nigeria

Chinese businesses have pledged to invest US$80 billion on oil and gas infrastructure projects in Nigeria, the country’s state oil company said.

The announcement of the Memorandum of Understanding follows a roadshow in China by Nigeria’s Oil Minister and chief of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu. The deals, NNPC said in a statement, involve everything from pipelines to refineries to power generation.

The West African country, which has traditionally been ranked as the sixth-largest oil producer globally, has recently run into serious trouble, and its oil and gas infrastructure are in need of a serious update, with none of its four refineries reaching peak production due to poor maintenance.

"Memorandum of understandings (MoUs) worth over $80 billion to be spent on investments in oil and gas infrastructure, pipelines, refineries, power, facility refurbishments and upstream have been signed with Chinese companies," said NNPC in a statement.

On top of the sharp oil price decline of the past two years, Nigeria has had to deal with a huge fraud scandal concerning the NNPC’s alleged failure to pay US$16 billion to the government.

The latest blow to the industry that contributes the most to GDP was the flurry of militant attacks on oil and gas infrastructure in the Niger Delta by an organization calling itself the Niger Delta Avengers, which vowed to bring the country’s oil production to zero through bombings of production and transportation facilities, in defense of the interests of communities living in the Niger Delta.

This zero production status has not been reached yet, but the organization has managed to cut output by 600,000 barrels per day, and is now calling for a referendum aiming to overhaul Nigeria’s political system. Meanwhile, the attacks prompted a temporary rally in international crude prices, highlighting Nigeria’s importance in benchmark price-setting.

By Irina Slav for