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Military foils N1.2bn crude oil theft as production increases

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The Defence Headquarters announced on Thursday that in the past two weeks, Nigerian troops intercepted stolen crude oil worth N1.2 billion, while the country’s oil production capacity increased in September.

Major General Edward Buba, the Director of Defence Media Operations, provided this information during a press briefing in Abuja. He also stated that the military is committed to preventing terrorists from carrying out small-scale attacks on vulnerable targets.

During their operations, the troops reportedly killed 73 terrorists, apprehended 182 individuals, and rescued 68 hostages in one week.

Buba stated, “The ongoing counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations have thwarted the strategic goals of these malicious groups. The military will continue to diminish their capacity to carry out minor attacks designed to spread fear in local communities.”

The director mentioned that the troops located and dismantled 63 illegal refining sites, which contained 15 dugout pits, 45 boats, 87 storage tanks, 128 cooking ovens, one pumping machine, and four outboard engines. Additionally, they arrested 14 suspected oil thieves.

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Buba also noted that the troops recovered 962,500 liters of stolen crude oil, 35,420 liters of illegally refined AGO (Automotive Gas Oil), 38,450 liters of DPK (Dual Purpose Kerosene), and 45,000 liters of PMS (Premium Motor Spirit) with an estimated value of N1,212,046,140.

It’s worth recalling that oil theft has posed a significant challenge, leading to a decrease in Nigeria’s oil production capacity. However, the increased efforts against oil theft have contributed to an upturn in Nigeria’s production capacity in September, rising from 1.1 million barrels per day in August to 1.7 million barrels per day.

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Neglect by govt blamed for decline in cocoa production in Cross River

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Godwin Ukwu, the National Vice Chairman of the Cocoa Association of Nigeria (CAN) for the Akwa Ibom, Cross River, and Rivers states zone, has attributed the decline in cocoa production in Cross River State to government neglect. He mentioned that Cross River used to be the second-largest cocoa producer in Nigeria, following Ondo State.

Speaking at a training workshop in Calabar for key stakeholders in the cocoa, coffee, and oil palm sectors, Ukwu pointed out that the cocoa estates established in the 1960s by Dr. Michael Okpara, the former Premier of the defunct Eastern Region, have aged and are deteriorating due to a lack of regeneration plans.

Ukwu emphasized the need for a strategic development roadmap to achieve significant growth in the sector and praised the recent formation of a committee on the strategic development of cocoa, coffee, and oil palm by the state government.

“It has been challenging to secure a roadmap for cocoa in Cross River State. We have repeatedly advocated for this plan. The current administration seems committed to revitalizing the neglected cocoa sector, as our plantations have aged and are now dying,” Ukwu stated.

He argued that Cross River should be the leading cocoa-producing state, hindered only by the lack of political will and support to boost production and regenerate the estates. “With the efforts of the government and partners, it is highly likely that the state will achieve the number one spot, which has always been our dream,” Ukwu added.

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The training workshop, aimed at developing strategic plans for the cocoa, coffee, and oil palm sectors, was organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) in collaboration with the Cross River State government.

Professor Susan Ben Ohen, Chairman of the committee on the strategic development of cocoa, coffee, and oil palm, stated, “We are developing strategies for these three crops in the state. We have had extensive meetings and set goals and objectives. The training for members and stakeholders will help them understand the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in these sectors. The outcomes from these processes will benefit farmers, processors, marketers, banks, government, and others.”

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Heritage Bank: Revocation of license by CBN wasn’t surprising – Moghalu

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Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Kingsley Moghalu, has described the recent revocation of the banking license of Heritage Bank by the apex bank as the chronicle of a death foretold.

Moghalu said the development wasn’t surprising.

In a post on his X handle on Wednesday, Moghalu said the revocation of the license of the defunct bank should not worry anyone, adding that it doesn’t mean the financial system isn’t sound.

He said: “The revocation of the banking license of Heritage Bank by @cenbank is the chronicle of a death foretold. In other words, it’s not surprising.

“I don’t think it should worry anyone, nor does it mean the financial system isn’t sound. Banks are businesses, even if very special and thus heavily regulated ones. A bank that is badly run should not have a lifetime guarantee. The important thing is to protect depositors’ funds.

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“What we did in 2010 when we created @AmconNg was to ensure SYSTEMIC financial stability. We made sure no bank failed then to ensure systemic stability because of the unique situation of the global financial crisis. But over the long term, I never subscribed to a view that no bank, no matter how badly run, should ever fail. That would be a wrong approach to financial regulation.”

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Forex crisis: Why CBN should review recapitalization requirement for BDCs – ABCON

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The Association of Bureau De Change Operators has criticized the Central Bank of Nigeria’s new recapitalization requirements for its members amid the ongoing foreign exchange crisis.

ABCON President Aminu Gwadabe expressed this sentiment on Thursday at the 8th edition of the Vanguard Economic Summit.

This follows the CBN’s announcement of a new guideline for BDC operators in Nigeria on Wednesday.

The central bank mandated that all BDC operators reapply for licenses, raising the minimum capital requirement for tier-1 and tier-2 licenses to N2 billion and N500 million, respectively.

However, Gwadabe has urged a review of the CBN’s directive to increase the capital base for BDC operators, arguing that it deviates from global standards.

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“You increased the capital from N10 million to N35 million in 2014, and now you are raising the capital base of BDCs from N35 million to N500 million for Tier 2 operators and N2 billion. It’s highly against the global standard,” Gwadabe said.

These developments occurred as the Naira depreciated on Thursday in both parallel and official forex markets after four days of appreciation.

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