The crisis between the federal government and oil marketers has continued, with allegations that marketers and traders are owed billions of naira for the importation of refined petroleum products. According to Minister of Finance Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the government paid N42.67 billion ($272 million) to 31 oil marketers between April and August, and another N17 billion ($107 million) to 14 oil marketers between April and May. But Obafemi Olawore, executive secretary of Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria claims marketers are still owed over N200 billion ($1.2 billion).
Ten people were killed and six are still missing after an unexpected surge from the Atlantic Ocean swept across Kuramo Beach near Lagos on Saturday. A joint operation between the Lagos’ Ministry of Waterfront and Infrastructure Development, Emergency Management Agency and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps have been working to recover those reported missing and demolish structures considered dangerous.
The annual Durbar festival held in Kano during Eid celebrations has been cancelled for the first time in 200 years. Officials said the cancellation was due to the poor health of the Emir of Kano who plays a pivotal role in the festivities, but many have suggested that the violence that has affected the northern region in recent times contributed to the decision. Since the January attack in Kano which killed over 160 people, organisations have been apprehensive about holding events involving large gatherings of people.
120 million cubic feet of gas per day have been added to the national grid thanks to the Escravos-Lagos pipeline. Minister of Petroleum Resources Diezani Alison-Madueke credited the pipeline system expansion for “the permanent elimination of the challenge of low gas pressure that has plagued the Olorunsogo PHCN and NIPP power plants”.
Sallah celebrations in Jos, Plateau State, remained relatively peaceful due to the intervention of the joint police military task force. Muslim youths, while returning from the prayer ground in the Farin-Gada area of the town threw stones at houses, attacked motorists and smashed cars while others attempted to attack churches. A bloody clash between Muslim and Christian youths was avoided when security personnel shot into the air to disperse the groups. The intervention was welcomed after Sallah celebrations last year led to fatal clashes between religious groups.
The ongoing crisis between the Nigerian government and oil importers and marketers is set to create a fuel scarcity in the country, with shortages already affecting the capital Abuja. The Ministry of Finance has been accused of underpaying oil marketers and traders over N200 billion ($1.2 billion) in outstanding subsidies. Companies have lodged complaints leading the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) to threaten strike action starting on Friday if the government does not make repayments.
Nigeria’s Minister of Finance Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala confirmed, however, that the government will not pay subsidies to fuel importers until all claims have been investigated and verified. A parliamentary probe into the petroleum industry and subsidy regime in April revealed that some marketers were claiming subsidies for fuel that was never delivered or was sold to neighbouring states, amounting to around N382 billion ($2.38 billion) in fraudulent payments. The companies who have complained about non-payment of importation fees are the same companies indicted in the fuel subsidy fraud, and have been accused of using the impending scarcity as a bargaining chip against the government. The Nigerian people may take to the streets if the price of fuel witnesses another sharp rise, which is inevitable if the scarcity is not avoided. Dialogue between the various factions involved in this crisis will need to continue.
President Goodluck Jonathan has ordered the total overhaul of the sports sector after Nigeria’s failure to win a single medal at the Olympics. This move has increased hopes the president can revamp a sector that has witnessed a dramatic decline in recent years. Nigeria once boasted champions in football, boxing, track and field. London 2012 was Nigeria’s worst Olympic performance in 20 years. This was despite the fact that more than $13 million was spent on its promotion.
After the presidential announcement, Minister of Sports Bolaji Abdullahi issued the Nigerian Football Federation with the directive to win the 2013 African Cup of Nations. The president and Abdullahi have also suggested that Nigeria must focus on ensuring a better performance at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. But such pronouncements cannot hide the fact that the quick turnover of sports ministers mixed with the dearth of developmental specialists and infrastructure has come at a great cost to sport in Nigeria. Demanding a complete overhaul remains unrealistic unless the National Institute of Sports is upgraded to world-class standards. Funds allocated to sports and the Olympics must also have a clear spending structure with efforts to stop wastage and end corrupt practices.
'South East and Infrastructure Deficit' by Emmanuel Onwubiko takes an in-depth look at the infrastructural decay currently affecting the region. He asks why the situation has been left to deteriorate to such a level without governmental intervention. Political issues are also analysed, along with the ecological effects including the danger of erosion. The article demands for stronger political, social and financial will to change the infrastructural fortune of the region before its too late.
'Bakassi Peninsula: No Justice From The Hague' by Kola Ibrahim details the crisis caused by displacement of the Bakassi indigenes who feel let down by all sides involved in what was supposed to be a milestone in international relations. Bakassi was ceded to Cameroon following the transfer of sovereignty from Nigeria as a result of a judgment by the International Court of Justice in 2008. This article explores the under-reported political, economic and social issues of the Bakassi crisis.
The National Gallery of Art is a parastatal of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, responsible for the collection, preservation, documentation and presentation of Nigeria's contemporary plastic arts. Founded in 1993, The National Gallery of Art was established for the promotion and presentation of creative visual art in Nigeria.
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