Shell Nigeria - The threat by Oil giants Shell to shut down operations and the cash-for-job scam in federal ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) were the main stories this week in Nigeria.
'Shell threatens shutdown over oil thefts' was the headline in The NATION on Tuesday with the story saying that Oil giant Shell is threatening to shut down its operations following massive crude oil thefts and bunkering in the Niger Delta.
The paper quoted the Managing Director of the Anglo/Dutch company, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), Mr. Mutiu Sunmonu, as saying: “We have now witnessed a significant upsurge in the activities of crude oil thieves. The situation in the last few weeks is unprecedented. The volume (of crude oil) being stolen is the highest in the last three years. Over 60, 000 barrels per day from Shell alone. So, that, for me, is a great concern.
“Over time, this whole crime has got a lot more sophisticated and you could see that the perpetrators are now setting up barge building yards; they are setting up storage facilities; they are setting up tank farms for storing the crude oil, prior to shipping out.”
Sunmonu, who spoke to reporters in Port Harcourt yesterday, did not blame it all on the oil communities. He said: “This (oil theft/illegal bunkering/illegal refining) is beyond communities. This is well-funded and heavily-armed gangs. What type of collaboration with communities will help you against people carrying guns, people who are very well armed? It is a reality that we have to face. You cannot even put the poor boys in the communities at risk.
“The Joint Task Force (JTF) operatives need to step up their game. If you look at what happened between July, August and November and probably December last year, we saw a significant drop in the amount of crude oil that was being stolen. But in January and February this year, it has gone back up.'
Sunmonu lauded the commitment of President Goodluck Jonathan and the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, to tackling crude oil theft in the Niger Delta and other parts of Nigeria.
The illegal bunkering points are said to be close to JTF’s outposts. At such places, stolen crude oil is refined to produce mostly diesel.
All the International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the Niger Delta are said to be losing thousands of barrels of crude oil and huge revenue.
The INDEPENDENT, with the headline 'Oil theft: Shell may shut down Nembe pipeline', quoted Sunmonu as saying that rate of crude oil theft has become so endemic that Nigeria can be said to be in a crisis.
He said the problem may have even gone beyond the capacity of the Federal Government to solve, adding “It is very clear to me that this is not just an act by desperate individuals trying to make a living. This certainly is a well-funded criminal activity, probably involving international syndicates.'
Despite the repeated claims by the Nigerian Government that crude oil theft has reduced, Sunmonu, whose company is directly involved, stated otherwise.
Group Executive Director, Exploration and Production, of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Abiye Membere, at an oil and gas conference, said the Federal Government had achieved a major reduction in stolen crude with the figure now hovering between 50,000 and 80,000 barrels per day.
Nigeria is estimated to lose about US$ 6 billion annually to stolen crude.
'Cash-for-job scam: Senate indicts 13 federal ministries, agencies' was the headline of the SUN on Tuesday with the story saying that the Senate has blown the lid on how top managers of 13 federal ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) collude with outsiders to run illegal cash-for-job rackets in their organisations.
The MDAs include the Ministry of Interior, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), National Examination Council of Nigeria (NECO), Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and Nigeria Meteorological Institute.
Others are the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC ), the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
THISDAY captioned its story on the money-for-job scam as 'FCC Fingers FRSC, FCDA, Interior Ministry in Bribe-for-Job Scam'.The paper said there were startling revelations Monday at the commencement of a public hearing held by the Senate Joint Committees on Federal Character and Labour and Productivity on the bribe-for-job scandal that has rocked several public sector parastatals.
In his presentation, Chairman of the Federal Character Commission (FCC), Professor Oba Abdulrahman, disclosed how the Ministry of Interior had facilitated job scams by opening a website for recruitment without stating the offices to be applied for.
According to him, by asking applicants to submit curriculum vitaes to the website without specifying designations, the process was hijacked by fraudsters who exploited the desperation of applicants to lure them into job scams.
Abdulrahman also accused ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of government of aiding and abetting recruitment exercise violations by their alleged flagrant non-compliance with the federal character principle.
He accused them of recruiting without consulting the FCC in accordance with laid down rules and regulations.
The former vice-chancellor, who said it was time for culprits of employment scams to be prosecuted, challenged heads of institutions to fish out those who had embarked on illegal recruitments in their agencies.
Also during the week, the media were awash with stories on how two Nigerian -- Alhaji Aliko Dangote and Mike Adenuga Jnr -- made the Forbes Magazine's compilation of the list of the world's richest men and women.
The TRIBUNE headlined its story 'Dangote now world’s 43rd richest man', reporting: 'With a net worth of US$ 16.1 billion as of March 2013, Aliko Dangote, President of Dangote Group, has moved up in world richest ranking to number 43, as against 76 in 2012.
He, however, retained his position as the richest in Africa and also the richest among all other manufacturers in the world, according to the Forbes richest list released on Monday.
Aliko, 55 and self-made, has his wealth from cement, sugar, flour and other businesses. The cement tycoon retains his position as Africa’s richest man for the third year in a row.
The past year has been eventful for Dangote. In October, he sold off a controlling stake in his flour milling company to Tiger Brands of South Africa, pocketing US$ 190 million in cash.
In February, his sugar refineries acquired a 95 per cent stake in Nigerian sugar producer, Savannah Sugar, in a bid to maintain its dominant position in the Nigerian sugar industry.
Dangote stepped up his philanthropic gesture in the past year, giving over US$ 100 million to causes ranging from education to health, flood relief, poverty alleviation and the arts. He also acquired a yacht, which he named after his mother, Amiya.
Dangote started building his fortune more than three decades ago, when he began trading in commodities like cement, flour and sugar with a loan he received from his maternal uncle. He delved into full production of these items in the early 2000s and went on to build the Dangote Group, West Africa’s largest publicly-listed conglomerate.
THISDAY also ran the same story under a similar headline 'Aliko Dangote is World’s 43rd Richest Man', reporting that the second Nigerian on the list is Michael Adenuga Jnr, with a net worth of US$ 4.7 billion.
Adenuga, the paper said, occupied the 267th position on the Forbes list and is the fifth richest man in Africa.
Speaking exclusively to THISDAY, Dangote said his target is to enter the exclusive league of top five richest men in the world in the next four years.
Currently, the top five positions are occupied by Mexico’s Carlos Slim with a net worth of US$ 73 billion, followed by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who is valued at US$ 67 billion, Spanish billionaire and owner of Zara clothing chain, Amanco Ortega, with a net worth of US$ 57 billion; US investment guru, Warren Buffet - US$ 53.5 billion; and Oracle’s Larry Ellison - US$ 43 billion.
Adenuga owns Globacom -- Nigeria’s second largest telecommunications firm, Conoil, and some stake in Sterling Bank Nigeria.
Founded in 2003, Globacom has 24 million customers in Nigeria, operates in the Republic of Benin, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.
The NATION ran the story under the headline 'Dangote, Adenuga on list of the rich'.