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Isreali-Palestinian conflict sparks fresh fears of fuel price hike

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Numerous petrol stations in various parts of Abuja failed to dispense Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), commonly known as petrol, on Monday, causing alarm among motorists and residents who feared a potential resurgence of fuel shortages in the Nigerian capital.

Atlantic Reporters’ investigation revealed that several fuel stations in the Kubwa and Bwari areas of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) were devoid of fuel, leaving drivers who stopped for refueling informed that the product was unavailable.

Consequently, queues formed at select filling stations along the Kubwa expressway that still had fuel in supply.

Concerned motorists, alarmed by the unavailability of fuel, resorted to panic buying, expressing concerns of an impending increase in petrol prices.

This speculation of a possible price hike comes just two days after the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) refuted reports of an impending price hike, affirming its commitment to maintaining existing prices. The NNPCL stated in an official message on its X handle on Friday, October 6, “Dear esteemed customers, we at NNPC Retail value your patronage and we do not have the intention to increase our PMS pump prices as widely speculated.”

Nevertheless, Atlantic Reporters’ inquiries indicated that the recent speculation primarily stemmed from concerns related to the ongoing armed conflict between Israel and Palestine in Gaza.

Reports emerged on Monday, October 9, indicating that global oil prices surged due to apprehensions that the situation in Israel and Gaza could disrupt oil output in the Middle East.

Brent Crude, the international benchmark, reportedly surged by $2.25 per barrel to $86.83. Similarly, the price of West Texas Intermediate crude, the United States’ benchmark, rose by $2.50 per barrel to $85.30.

According to Reuters, oil prices escalated by over 3 percent on Monday as the military clashes between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas sparked fears of a broader conflict in the Middle East. Brent crude reportedly climbed by $2.70, or 3.2 percent, to $87.28 a barrel by 11:43 GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate crude rose by $2.78 or 3.4 percent, reaching $85.57 a barrel. Both benchmarks saw an increase of more than $4 per barrel earlier in the session.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza appears to have the potential to impact the global economy, akin to the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, oil prices soared, eventually surpassing $120 per barrel in June 2023. Despite being one of the world’s major oil-producing nations, Nigeria imports refined petroleum products, rendering it susceptible to fluctuations in international oil prices.

Katch Ononuju, an international affairs analyst, explained that the spike in international oil prices resulting from the Israeli-Palestinian crisis was virtually inevitable. He further suggested that the recent conflict aimed to involve the United States in negotiations between Saudi Arabia and Israel, with the goal of fostering peace between the two nations.

Hamas initiated a military attack on Israel on Saturday, leading to retaliatory Israeli air strikes on Gaza, a Palestinian-occupied territory. CBS NEWS reported a death toll of over 1,200 people on both sides, including nine Americans. The escalation of the conflict is anticipated, with Israel’s mobilization of 100,000 reservists for military engagement.

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PHOTO: Gov Makinde Host Nigeria Police Games

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1: Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde (left) and Inspector General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun, during the opening ceremony of the 14th Biennial Nigeria Police Games, host by Oyo State Government, held at Adamasigba Stadium, Ibadan. PHOTO: Oyo Gov’s Media Unit.

2: From left, Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Barr Bayo Lawal; Governor Seyi Makinde; Inspector General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun and his wife Elizabeth, during the opening ceremony of the 14th Biennial Nigeria Police Games, host by Oyo State Government, held at Adamasigba Stadium, Ibadan. PHOTO: Oyo Gov’s Media Unit.

3: Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde (left) take a salute from the Police Mascots, during the opening ceremony of the 14th Biennial Nigeria Police Games, host by Oyo State Government, held at Adamasigba Stadium, Ibadan. PHOTO: Oyo Gov’s Media Unit.

CREDIT: Oyo Gov Media 

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Economic crisis: Find more ways to improve your IGR – President Tinubu to universities

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The Nigerian government has called upon universities in the country to broaden their sources of funding amidst economic challenges. President Bola Ahmad Tinubu made this assertion during the 6th & 7th combined convocation ceremony of Federal University, Dutse, which took place on Saturday.

Speaking through Professor Kabir Bala, the Vice-Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, who represented him at the event, President Tinubu stressed the government’s dedication to facilitating a conducive environment for universities despite resource limitations.

He urged universities to actively explore alternative funding channels, underlining the significance of self-reliance in the prevailing economic circumstances. The President also encouraged universities to seek international funding opportunities for research, advocating for collaborations and the attraction of funds from global sources.

President Tinubu emphasized that government alone cannot shoulder the financial burden of universities, particularly amid economic challenges and competing demands from various sectors. Nonetheless, he reiterated the administration’s commitment to providing the necessary support within the available resources to ensure universities function as pillars of educational advancement and national development.

He further urged universities to pursue innovative strategies for generating revenue and to tap into international research funding opportunities. He assured that his administration remains dedicated to supporting universities in achieving their objectives as outlined in the Renewed Hope Agenda.

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Contempt threat against NLC, TUC leaders over public protest uncalled for – Femi Falana replies FG

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Human rights advocate and constitutional lawyer, Femi Falana, has clarified that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have every right to organize the nationwide public protest scheduled for February 27 and 28, asserting that it does not constitute contempt of court.

As a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Falana emphasized that Nigerian workers are entitled to freedom of assembly and expression as enshrined in the country’s Constitution. He urged the federal government, in a strongly worded letter to the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, to ensure maximum security for the workers and to participate in the protest.

In response to the AGF’s threat of contempt charges against the NLC and TUC leaders, Falana’s letter dated February 24 countered the threat, arguing that it lacked legal basis.

Falana pointed out the history of negotiations between the government and the labor unions following the removal of fuel subsidy in 2023, which resulted in court orders restraining the unions from striking. Despite compliance with these orders, the unions challenged them, and the contempt proceedings initiated by the government were subsequently withdrawn.

He highlighted subsequent legal actions initiated by the government against the unions, noting that these actions were contested by the unions on grounds of abuse of court process and lack of jurisdiction. Falana emphasized that since the contempt proceedings were withdrawn, there is no basis for the government’s threat of contempt charges regarding the planned protest.

He cited legal precedents affirming citizens’ rights to protest on matters of public interest without the need for police permits, emphasizing the democratic importance of freedom of speech and assembly.

Falana urged the government to respect these fundamental rights and directed the Inspector-General of Police to provide adequate security for the protesters in accordance with the Police Establishment Act.

In conclusion, he called on the government to reconsider its stance and assured that the protests would be conducted peacefully.

The federal government had previously warned of invoking relevant laws to charge the NLC leadership with contempt if the protest proceeds, citing it as a breach of agreement and a challenge to the court’s authority. The AGF, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, conveyed this warning in a letter to Falana, urging the NLC to abandon the protest to avoid violating the court’s order.

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