The Federal government has initiated the process to investigate the supply of adulterated petrol to the country, which has given motorists serious concerns in the last few days.
This followed a briefing on the matter provided to President Muhammadu Buhari by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, who confirmed to correspondents on Wednesday that the aim is to get to the bottom of the matter.
Speaking after the meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja, Sylva cautioned against drawing conclusions before the investigation is completed.
Asked whether the issue was discussed at the Council meeting and whether the suppliers will be punished, he said: “The issue did not come up in Council, but of course, you will recall I was here yesterday to brief Mr President on the issue. I’m not in a position to disclose the identities of the companies, but there are some issues and we are actively tackling it.
“Nobody has, before now, checked for methanol in our fuel, it’s not very usual and this is the first time this is happening and NNPC is very much up to the task.
“I will also convey your question to NNPC and maybe the Midstream and Downstream Regulatory Authority, but we’re actively handling it and I want to assure you that the problem will be a thing of the past very soon.”
The minister assured that government will consider compensating those who may have been adversely affected by the bad fuel.
Speaking further on possible sanctions for the companies, Sylva stated: “I didn’t expect you to rush to any conclusions. There’ll be a major investigation to unravel everything and then let’s really get to the bottom of it before we can come back and tell you what is going to happen to the culprits.
“We know that some people’s vehicles must have also been damaged, that is also going to be taken into consideration in dealing with the situation.”
The Minister of State had also spoken on the approval granted to his ministry by the council, saying that FEC closed out the contract for the construction of the 17-storey local content building in Yenagoa at the cost of N1.81 7 billion.
He explained: “You will recall that in 2020, Mr President already commissioned that project. There were some ancillary works, that had to be done to connect some of the buildings and that was now presented to the council for the sum of N1.81 7 billion. This now closes out this contract and we have told the contractor this is the full and final payment for everything.
“So, this is the end of this project and we have completely delivered this to Nigerians.”
Also speaking at the post-FEC media briefing, the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, disclosed that the council approved the granting of citizenship to 286 foreign nationals out of the 600 who applied.
The go-ahead followed Aregbesola’s presentation to the council the approval made by the Advisory Committee on Nigeria citizenship, comprising the first set.
He said another set is expected to be presented by the end of the first quarter or latest by the middle of the year.
He explained: “But what is it about? We received 600 applications from several people, foreign nationals, who are in Nigeria, who have been residing in Nigeria, they are desirous to be Nigerians.
“These applicants are from virtually every part of the world. Americans, North and South Australian, Europeans Arabs, Asians, all over.”
He said the advisory committee approved 286 for FEC’s consideration out of the 600 applications received.
Aregbesola further explained that the “grant of Nigerian citizenship is in two in two categories. There are those that will consider naturalization. And there are those who consider for registration. Who are the ones for registration? They are women married to Nigerians, they are called Naija wives, who, besides having the right of residency and movement, without any restriction or without the requirement of visa to and fro to the country are desirous of Nigerians.
“So, they become Nigerians, they get granted citizenship by registration. Whereas foreign nationals who are desirous of Nigerians, they’re not actually being wives of Nigerians, we give them citizenship by naturalization.
“So, the number of those who are granted Nigerian citizenship and naturalization, through the collection of applications is 280. While those who are issued registration is 78.
“So, today, the Council, as you can see, approved the grant of citizenship to 286 applicants for naturalization and 78 applicants for registration. Making a total of having 286 people out of 600 who apply for citizenship as eligible to be fully processed through administration of oath and certification thereafter with renunciation of citizenship that is not acquired by birth.”
It would be the second time under the life of the present administration that foreign nationals are granted citizenship through naturalization.
Recall that a total of 335 persons were similarly granted citizenship in December 2017.
In his presentation, Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said FEC approved a contract for the replacement of Aviation Operations (AvO) at the cost of N12,097,215,800.09.
He explained: “So, today in Council, a memo was presented by us in aviation. And the amount of the contract to be awarded whose purpose is to replace our AVO bridges is N12,097,215,800.09, which is for 12 months and it will include 7.5% VAT.
“This contract is not only for supplying but it’s also for installation and maintenance, including spare parts and is awarded to a company called Gulf of Africa International Limited.
“This has been taken by the council and approved and to say that this is part of all that we’ve been doing to reactivate the failing infrastructure within the country. And of course, Lagos being the major airport in the country, this will make passenger facilitation easier, safer and of course, it will add value and create more efficiency within the system of that particular airport. And that this is also an ongoing programme for all of our failed airports.”