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NNPC presents N621.24bn cheque for reconstruction of 21 roads

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), on Tuesday handed over a symbolic cheque of N621.24 billion for the rehabilitation of 21 critical roads across the country through the Tax Credit Scheme under the Executive Order 7 signed by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.

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In his remarks before the brief presentation ceremony at the Conference Room of the Ministry of Works and Housing, Minister, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, explained that the Tax Credit Scheme, which, according to him, was inherited from the previous administration, was meant as a strategic partnership with the Private Sector.

The Minister, who said the present administration was currently using it for the construction and rehabilitation of Kabba-Obajana Road in Kogi State and the Apapa-Oworonsoki Road in Lagos, pointed out that contrary to the belief in some quarters that the Scheme was meant for only big companies like the Dangote Group, the scheme was open to all the members of the Private Sector.

“The Tax Credit Scheme is a policy that we inherited from the previous administration. It was there but it was never used”, Fashola said, adding that it was in the life of the present administration that the scheme was given life and because it had an expiration date the Executive Order 7 had to be put in place to enable government use it to address the Kabba-Obajana, and “the difficult Apapa-Oworonsoki Roads which is serving the Apapa Port”.

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The Minister explained further, “Of course, the Tax Credit Scheme that we inherited had an expiry date and when we started using it, it was being said that it was made for one company alone. So we had to come out to explain that it was meant for all the companies that have tax credit”.

“And when it expired, we looked at some of the limitations of the scheme and we made some recommendations to the President”, the Minister said, adding that one of the recommendations was that, perhaps, the roads should be made more diverse and to be spread out to include all the six geopolitical zones.

According to him, another recommendation was that other companies that have smaller turnover could come together to form conglomerates.

He added, “All of these were then factored into the recommendations that were passed to the President which was signed as the Executive Order 7”.

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Describing the signing of the cheque as “a big show of confidence by the NNPC”, Fashola expressed delight that contrary to the earlier impression created in some quarters, the scheme was now attracting other sectors of the economy including the manufacturing and telecommunications firms.

Group Managing Director of the NNPC and Chief Finance Officer of the organization, Mr. Umar Ajiya, said the Corporation was motivated by the challenged condition of some of the nation’s roads most of which were the arteries of the company’s operations adding that with the vandalization of the distribution pipelines the company had been forced to use the roads as its channel of distribution of petroleum products nationwide.

Thanking the Minister of Works and Housing and other relevant agencies of government, the NNPC Chief Finance Officer said the symbolic presentation of the N621 billion was a way of contributing to the Federal Government efforts to give Nigerians befitting road network adding that it was an investment that was being done in compliance to the Executive Order 7 to use the company’s tax credit.

The Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mr. Muhammad Nami said the investment in roads was as a result of Executive Order 007, 2019 meant to encourage taxpayers to use company income tax payable by them to fix the nation’s critical infrastructure in exchange for tax credit.

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The critical roads, which are major routes for the distribution of petroleum products across the country by the NNPC include, the roads in the North Central totaling 791kilometres which are the dualization of Ilorin-Jebba-Mokwa/Bokani Junction Road Section I: Ilorin-Jebba In Kwara State, dualization of Ilorin-Jebba-Mokwa/Bokani Junction Road Section II: Jebba-Mokwa-Bokani Junction In Kwara/Niger States and dualization of Suleja-Minna Road in Niger State.

Also in the zone are the dualization of Suleja-Minna Road in Niger State Phase II, Reconstruction of Bida-Lambata Road in Niger State, Agaie – Katcha – Baro Road, Emergency Repairs of failed section of Mokwa – Makera – Tegina – Kaduna State Border in Niger State, Minna – Zungeru – Tegina road and Bida – Minna Road.

In the South-South, three roads totaling 81.90 kilometres which are under the scheme include rehabilitation of Odukpani-Itu-Ikot Ekpene Road in Cross River State Section I: Odukpani-Itu Bridge Head in Cross River/Akwa Ibom States, dualization of outstanding portion of Odukpani-ltu-lkot Ekpene, and dualization of Oku-Iboku Power Plant Section of the Odukpani-Itu-Ikot-Ekpene Road in Cross River/Akwa Ibom States.

The roads chosen in the South East, aggregating to122 kilometres, include rehabilitation of Umuahia (Ikwuano)-Ikot Ekpene Road: Umuahia-Umudike in Abia State and the dualization of Aba-Ikot Ekpene Road in Abia/Akwa Ibom States.

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In the North East, roads involved total 117 kilometres. They include rehabilitation of Cham-Numan Section of Gombe-Yola Road in Adamawa State, construction of Bali – Serti Road in Taraba State and rehabilitation of Gombe – Biu Road in Gombe/Borno State while in the North West the roads chosen, which aggregate to 283.5kilometres, include Rehabilitation of Outstanding Sections of Gada – Zaima – Zuru – Gamji Road Phase II in Kebbi State and Rehabilitation of Zaria-Funtua-Gusau-Sokoto-Birnin Kebbi.

In the South West, roads chosen are rehabilitation and expansion of Lagos-Badagry Expressway (Agbara Junction-Nigeria/Benin Border) in Lagos State and the dualization of Ibadan – Ilorin Road (Route A2) Section II in Oyo State (Oyo – Ogbomosho) which aggregate to 114.00 kilometres.

Nigeria Newspapers

John Abebe’s forgery trial adjourned

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The trial of John Warimeme Abebe before Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos has been adjourned till April 13, 2022 for the adoption of written addresses.

Justice Mojisola Dada gave the new date at the continuation of trial on Tuesday, January 18, 2022, with the defence closing its case.

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Abebe, ex- President Obasanjo’s in-law was first arraigned on July 26, 2018 on a four-count charge bordering on forgery, fabricating evidence, using fabricated evidence and attempt to pervert the course of justice by the Economic and Financial Crimes, EFCC.

One of the counts reads: “That you, Dr. John Warimeme Abebe, on or about the 22nd day of June, 2010 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, knowingly forged BP Exploration Nigeria Limited’s letter dated 30th November, 1995 to Inducon (Nigeria) Limited by inserting in page 2 of the said letter the following words: “Also note that the ‘Buy-Out Option’ only applies to the pre-production stage of the NPIA. The $4m buy-out is thus irrelevant from production of oil in any of our fields” and purported same to have been issued by BP Exploration Nigeria Limited and committed an offence contrary to Section 467 of the Criminal Code Cap C17, Law of Lagos State of Nigeria 2003.”

Another count reads: “That you, Dr. John Warimeme Abebe, on or about the 22nd day of June, 2010 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, knowingly used a fabricated evidence in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/224/2010 between Dr. John Abebe, Inducon Nigeria Limited and Statoil Nigeria Limited, before the Federal High Court, which evidence was admitted and marked exhibit BB in the said suit and committed an offence contrary to Section 120 (2) of the Criminal Code Cap C17, Law of Lagos State of Nigeria 2003.”

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Abebe pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against him.

Led in evidence by his counsel, E.D. Onyeke, the defendant had taken to the dock to defend himself.

He was also cross-examined by the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, who confronted him with several documents.

At today’s sitting, Onyeke told the Court that the defence was closing its case.

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“We will be asking the Court for a date to file our written address,” he said.

Thereafter, Justice Dada adjourned till April 13, 2022 for “definitive adoption of written addresses”.

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Nigeria Newspapers

Bandits killed 300 persons, kidnapped 200 in Niger January attacks – Gov

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In the first two weeks of this month, Niger State communities were attacked by bandits at least 50 times, with over 300 persons killed and 200 kidnapped, including security personnel.

Governor Abubakar Bello disclosed this to State House correspondents on Tuesday after he met with the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, to brief him on the development.

The governor, who enumerated the series of attacks and their consequences on lives, blamed the low response time to the attacks on the lack of access roads to the affected communities.

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He, however, expressed optimism that with the new measures being put in place, the security situation in the state would improve soon, adding that contiguous states must work together to stop terrorists from moving from one region to another.

Bello stated, “This afternoon, I came to visit Mr President to give him an update on the security situation in Niger State concerning banditry activities, kidnapping and cattle rustling, among others. We were able to review some of the invasions in the state. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you all.

“In the last few days, there have been a lot of activities in Niger State. Hopefully, in the next few weeks, we will see some relief with regard to banditry. I also gave a highlight on some of the challenges. Of course, our size is a disadvantage, almost nine million hectares. We lost some forests.

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“In January this year alone, we suffered not less than 50 reported attacks and loss of lives between January 1 and 17. Within the same period, no fewer than 300 communities were invaded by bandits. The number of people kidnapped is 200, including three Chinese nationals.”

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