Oil rises for a fourth day, buoyed by OPEC supply plans

Oil rose for a fourth session in a row on Monday buoyed by the prospect that top exporter Saudi Arabia will push OPEC and may be Russia to cut supply towards the end of this year.Brent crude futures were up 24 cents at $67.00 a barrel by 1000 GMT, while U.S. futures rose 38 cents to $56.84.

“Oil prices continued to recover … (as) the market will be watching closely for the possible impact of a (supply) cut,” said Sukrit Vijayakar, director of Indian energy consultancy, Trifecta.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, led by Saudi Arabia, is pushing for the group and its partners to reduce output by one million to 1.4 million barrels per day to prevent a build-up of unused fuel.

“It appears that the market takes a production cut for granted. We’ll see if it is right after the next OPEC meeting on December 6.

“It is not unreasonable to anticipate stable prices until then,” PVM Oil Associates strategist Tamas Varga said.

Russian Energy Minister, Alexander Novak, said on Monday that Russia, which is not an OPEC member, planned to sign a partnership agreement with the group, and that details would be discussed at OPEC’s Dec. 6 meeting in Vienna.

Despite Monday’s gains, Brent is almost 25 per cent below early October’s 2018 peak of $86.74, as evidence of slowing demand has materialised and output from the United States, Russia and Saudi Arabia hit historic highs.

A U.S. decision to grant waivers to some of Iran’s oil customers, who faced the prospect of a drop-off in supply from sanctions that came into force in early November, has also helped soothe concern about availability of crude.

A trade dispute between the United States and China is one reason investors are a lot warier about the outlook for oil demand growth next year.

Fund managers cut their bullish exposure to crude futures and options to the lowest since around mid-2017 this month.

Weekly exchange data shows money managers hold a combined net long position equivalent to around 364 million barrels of U.S. and Brent crude futures and options, down from over 800 million barrels two months ago.

“The main trend remains bearish as investors no longer believe in a risk of supply tightness for crude,” ActivTrades chief analyst Carlo Alberto De Casa said.


Cover Photo: Oil refinery. Photo: The Guardian.

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Shiites confirm attacking Buhari in Abuja

The Islamic Moment of Nigeria (IMN), also referred to as Shiites group, has confirmed that its members attacked President Muhammadu Buhari last Friday at the National Mosque, Abuja.

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The group said they attacked the President because of his continued refusal to release their leader, El-Zakzaky for over two years now.

It said during a peaceful protest of the detention of their leader yesterday in Abuja, that it was forced to confront President Buhari at the National Mosque to press home their demands.

The group noted that the Federal Government was still holding El-Zakzaky in captivity even as his health continues to deteriorate due to gunshot wounds.

A member of the group, Abdullahi Muhammad Musa told The Guardian that their peaceful protest was gaining momentum due to Federal Government’s injustice and the Nigerian Army’s high handedness against their leader.

“As we speak, El-Zakzaky is blind in one of his eyes and the other one is almost becoming blind. He has several bullet wounds in his stomach and he even suffered a mild stroke in early January this year before they allowed his personal doctor to attend to him.

“We have been protesting for two years now, we have been teargased, and many have been killed by the police including Sheikh Umar Sokoto and we have held over 80 protests.

“This is why last Friday, we met the President at the mosque and told him you ‘are a criminal, a tyrant, and an oppressor.’ All Nigerians should come out and push out this person otherwise he will push us into a civil war,” he said.

A female member of the group who identified herself as Aisha, said it was wrong for the President to continue to detain El-Zakzaky for no reason, adding that even the courts have ordered that he should be set free, so why is he still in detention?


SOURCE: The Guardian, Nigeria

Nigeria deports Cameroonian Separatist Leaders


THE Nigerian government on Friday deported 12 Cameroonian separatist leaders who were arrested earlier this month, their lawyer said Monday.

Nigeria deports Cameroonian Separatist Leaders

Ambazonia protest. Photo: Premium Times


Julius Ayuk Tabe and 11 others were arrested at Nera Hotels Abuja on January 6 and were detained at the Defence Intelligence Agency, said Femi Falana who has been providing legal support for them.

The detainees were largely held incommunicado, which included denial of access to their lawyers, doctors and family members.

However, the deputy representative of the office of United Nations Commissioner for Refugees to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Brigitte Mukanga-Eno, was allowed to visit them in detention last week, Mr. Falana said.

The treatment prompted the lawyer to file a fundamental rights suit to enforce the rights of their clients.

The Buhari administration was criticised for arresting the leaders in a defiant departure from Nigeria’s longstanding policy of being sympathetic towards freedom fighters.

Nigeria was widely praised for its support for the struggle against apartheid in South Africa.

Mr. Falana told PREMIUM TIMES that the Nigerian government was ashamed to announce the deportation, which is being celebrated by Cameroonian authorities as a major victory in their clampdown on Mr. Tabe and other leaders of the self-proclaimed Ambasonia state in English-speaking parts of Cameroon.

About 39 other Ambasonian separatist leaders who were detained in Taraba were also reported to have been sent back to Cameroon on Friday by the Nigerian government.

Cameroonian authorities said they have the men and vowed to put them through a thorough trial for their alleged offences.

“The group of 47 terrorists, among them Mr. Ayuk Tabe, has for some hours been in the hands of Cameroonian justice, before which they will answer for their crimes,” Cameroonian Communications Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary said in a statement reported by Reuters Monday.

Mr. Falana condemned the deportation as “contemptuous of the proceedings pending before the Federal High Court.”


SOURCE: Premium Times

‘Niger Delta Militants’ protest in Ondo


A large number of youth claiming to be former armed militants in the Niger Delta area of Ondo State on Friday protested in Akure, the state capital, over their non-inclusion in the extended amnesty program.

'Niger Delta Militants' protest in Ondo

Former Niger Delta militants protesting. Photo: Premium Times

The youth, numbering about 500, also threatened to return to the creeks to bear arms against the government if they were not properly captured and included in the program.

The protesters stormed the office of the State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (OSOPADEC), in Oba-Ile, Akure, set up bonfires and prevented free flow of traffic along the expressway.

They also prevented employees of the commission from entering the office.

According to the protesters, the government conducted a fake amnesty programme for them.

Mobile policemen were deployed to disperse the protesters, using teargas.

The protesters, who were led by their respective camp leaders, alleged that the amnesty window opened between November 9 and 21 last year was a sham.

The respective camp leaders who addressed themselves as generals, include Deji Williams (United Sea-wolf Avengers), Seamaco(Awaja Camp), Ebiee(Niger Delta Militant Vanguard), Mayowa (Dragon Camp) and Bbanju (Lion Camp).

They alleged that the Deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi, was using the amnesty program to build his political structure rather than using it to achieve peace in the region.

Speaking on their behalf, Mr. Williams said they regretted laying down their arms, as the Ondo State government deceived them into believing that programme was genuine.

“Right now, many of us are regretting the action of laying down our arms and ammunition because we could see a complete deceit and fraud in the Amnesty Program,” he said.

“So, we are no longer interested in dealing with the Ondo state Amnesty Committee Program having lost confidence in them since the politicians in the state have hijacked all the slots.”

The Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Yemi Olowolabi, however, dismissed the allegations of the protesters, saying most of them were not recognised ex-militants.

He described them as a “group of jobless and disgruntled elements masquerading themselves as ex-militants.”

Mr. Olowolabi said the number of ex-militants captured during the biometric exercise were 4000, saying the number of forms from Abuja was only 1000.

According to him, the leaders from the various camps were invited, and after deliberations, “harmonised and distributed the forms among themselves.”

He said the amnesty program of the state government had received commendation from other Niger Delta states, insisting that majority of the protesters are not ex-militants.


SOURCE: Premium Times

House of Reps order banks to unblock Patience Jonathan’s accounts

The House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions has directed six commercial banks to free accounts operated by former first lady, Patience Jonathan.

House of Reps order banks to unblock Patience Jonathan’s accounts

House of Reps

The committee chaired by Uzoma Nkem-Abonta (Abia-PDP), gave the directive on Tuesday in Abuja at a hearing on a petition by Mrs. Jonathan.

The affected banks are Union Bank, First Bank, EcoBank, Diamond Bank, Fidelity Bank and Skye Bank.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had directed the banks to freeze the accounts over allegations of corruption in the sources of the funds.

Officials of Union Bank, led by a lawyer, Kenneth Otowo, had told the panel that the bank placed Mrs. Jonathan’s account under a ‘precautionary restriction’ following a directive by the EFCC.

“We received a communication from EFCC to put a precautionary restriction on the account. The letter was dated March 21, 2016, so we had to act based on that,’’ he said.

But, the committee deplored the action, saying the bank could only take such decision if EFCC proved that it had obtained a court order to that effect.

“Until EFCC proves otherwise, I’ll ask you to remove the precautionary restriction on the account. Let me tell you, whatever you’ll do, you must follow the law. A bank can’t hold a legal entity to ransom.

“I want to order all other banks that all the accounts that have no specific pending order from the courts, please release them,’’ the committee chairman said.

The counsel to EcoBank, Afam Osigwe, said Mrs. Jonathan’s account could not have been on restriction because there was no court order to that effect.

He later said that the bank would cross-check its records and get back to the committee.

As for Diamond Bank, Mr. Jonathan’s lawyers said three of her accounts were frozen there.

However, Unoma Ndulue, who represented the bank, said two out of the three accounts were fully operative, while one was closed.

On Fidelity Bank, Mrs. Jonathan’s lawyers said they did not have a direct issue with the bank, but that it was through the EFCC.

Officials of First Bank and Skye Bank were not present at the meeting.

Meanwhile, the committee has given Ibrahim Magu, the EFCC acting Chairman, up to October 4 to appear before it or have arrest warrant issued against him.

Similarly, the panel asked Mrs. Jonathan’s lawyers and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to reconcile their positions on an alleged tax default of over N10 million.

FIRS had said that Aridolf Resort Wellness and SPA, owned by Mrs Jonathan, failed to pay taxes in spite of serial reminders.

However, her lawyers insisted that they had paid all their taxes to the agency.


SOURCE: The Bloomgist/Premium Times

Deployment of soldiers, violation of civil rights: Osita Chidoka assembles lawyers

The former minister of aviation Osita Chidoka has decried the ‘heavy’ deployment of soldiers and weapons to various states in the south-eastern part of Nigeria.

Deployment of soldiers, violation of civil rights: Osita Chidoka assembles lawyers

Chidoka raised concern over military’s operation with the code name “Exercise Egwu Eke II” (Python Dance II) in the region which is resulting to avoidable loss of lives.

The former minister in a statement signed by his campaign’s media director Viola Okolie said the reported cases of human rights abuse by uniformed men in the region is uncalled for.

Okolie said the Osita Chidoka’s campaign office will leave no stone unturned regarding the military’s operation in the region.

The statement said: “While we call on all our citizens to be peaceful and law-abiding, we will definitely not accept any deliberate act of provocation, harassment or infringement on the constitutionally guaranteed rights of our people by uniformed men, and for this we demand from the military high command, assurances of utmost professionalism and strict observance to international best practices and approved rules of engagement.”

Okolie said the Osita Chidoka Campaign office has also set up a machinery to monitor the activities of the military in the region to ensure that the rights of the people are preserved.

She said the office has employed the services of lawyers and activists – on pro bono – who have volunteered to ensure that any infringement on the peoples rights are documented and subsequently acted on.

“Already, we have lawyers and human rights activists who have volunteered to work with us on pro bono basis to ensure that any act of infraction against the constitutionally guaranteed rights of any of our people is immediately taken up through legal and constitutional means.

“In the light of this, our citizens are availed of our campaign website (www.ositachidoka.com.ng) and mobile app (ositadinma2017 on playstore) to upload pictures and videos, and report any infringement on their rights. They can also make use of phone numbers on our website, mobile app and fliers to share useful information accordingly,” the statement said.

Okolie said the sole aim is of the monitoring is to ensure that the safety and well-being of innocent and law-abiding citizens are ultimately guaranteed.

“On this, we are ready and willing to work with all relevant government agencies as well as well-meaning individuals and groups.

“The Osita Chidoka Campaign and our great party, the United Progressive Party (UPP) believe in the people.

“We believe in their dignity and will therefore do all, without fear, to ensure that their rights as individuals under the constitution are not infringed upon.

“We are aware of the enormous confidence our people repose in us and we will not let them down, even as we work hard to ensure the success of the candidate with their mandate, Chief Osita Chidoka in the November 18, 2017 Anambra governorship election,” the statement said.

Chidoka while receiving the flag of the UPP – the party which he will be contesting for the Anambra governorship election – said an end of an irresponsible government for the people of Anambra was near.

The former minister also said UPP is focused on restoring the voice of Nigerians of Igbo extraction without running the state aground like previous administration.

He further cautioned the federal government and the security agencies on the use of force on residents in the state who are genuinely exercising their right through various agitations.

Diezani stole more money than Abach did – Magu

The acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu says the funds allegedly stolen by Diezani Alison-Madueke, surpasses that of the late military head of state, Sani Abacha – as only 15 per cent of her loot has been recovered.

Diezani  Alison-Madueke

Mr Magu said the agency was already making moves to facilitate the extradition of the former minister and to recover the rest, which will take some time.

“We are working on the process of Diezani’s extradition. But we have to allow them (the UK government) because we are collaborating,” he told Punch.

“There is the National Crime Agency and the Crown Prosecution Service in London, and our colleagues, the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in America. We had cause to meet in London. I was there myself for about a week. We are working not only on the Diezani case, but the Diezani case has become a test case.

“It is even more notorious than the so-called Abacha loot because we have not seen anything yet. I’m sure what we have seen is not more than may be 15 per cent. I think it is going to be a long time. That is why sometimes I think we should appeal to the looters to return the loot. Come and tell the government, ‘This is what I have stolen.’ Since you have voluntarily complied with the instruction to bring back the loot, then the government will take a decision. I think it is the best way to go about it, otherwise, the monies would be wasted.

“Diezani has a lot of people who are well connected, like (Jide) Omokore who are international businessmen. They have private aircraft and you can’t see any of them in Nigeria. They went and kept them in Ghana, some of them.”

Magu added that the EFCC is in collaboration with “almost all law enforcement agencies in the world” to recover loot stashed abroad by Nigerians.


SOURCE: The Bloomgist/Punch/YNaija

As long as Nigerians cannot afford 3-square meal, Nigeria is still in recession

Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar has said recession is not over until Nigerians can eat three square meals.

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He said this while responding to a report by the NBS that the nation has exited recession.

In a series of tweets in Wednesday, Atiku said although the news was a good one, inflation was still high.

He wrote, “As a Nigerian, investor and employer of labour, the news of Nigeria’s official emergence from the recession is most welcome.

“The news is surely a boost for Nigeria — it tells investors, local and foreign, that our economy is worth investing in.

“While we rejoice, it’s also important to recognise that economic weakness at the bottom of the pyramid remains. Inflation is still high.

“We must continue working hard to expand economic opportunity for all Nigerians.

“When all Nigerians can eat three square meals, that’s when the real recession ends. We have work to do.”


SOURCE: The Bloomgist/YNaija

Nigerians will feel the impact of end of recession – Buhari

Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s president has said Nigerians will soon feel the impact of coming out of recession.

The President made thi known through his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, who quoted him as saying this on Tuesday in his country home of Daura, Katsina State while receiving the president of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou.

He said the real gain should be improved conditions for Nigerians.

Responding to questions from journalists, Buhari said, “Certainly I should be happy for what it is worth. I am looking forward to ensuring that the ordinary Nigerian feels the impact.’’

Buhari added that more work needed to be done to improve the growth rate.

“Until coming out of recession translates into meaningful improvement in peoples’ lives, our work cannot be said to be done,” he said.


SOURCE: The Bloomgist/YNaija