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08042018 - Education in free fall! •Sector gets paltry N3.9 trillion out of N55.19 trillion in 10 years


PAGE 34–SUNDAY VANGUARD, APRIL 8, 2018 Continued from page 33 successive governments of this country since 1999 have been embarking on internal wars without properly declaring war, thereby rendering themselves vulnerable or susceptible to attacks or opposition from different sectors of the society. I think Danjuma´s declaration is food for thought for the present government, to reposition itself in addressing the various problems of this country particularly in the area of security. To avoid the problem of selfhelp following the perceived misuse of military power, government must follow the law. The right of everybody to acquire arms for self-defence will lead to serious security problem. I will rather say that, given the security situation in this country now, government must consider liberalisation of the laws governing acquisition of small arms to mature citizens in the society. If a kidnapper knows that his victim may be armed, he will be more careful in embarking on such journey. But how do you think this government can tackle the problem of insecurity? I think we have passed the stage where we can say that all is well with us. And that is why you see security experts complaining. A lot of people say that we have never had it so bad with problems like IPOB, militancy in the Niger Delta, herdsmen, kidnapping, killings among others. But that does not really change the fact that government has always come up to say ‘security is our top priority, we are addressing it’. It is inevitable to say that so many people believe that insecurity in this place is not in check. That is not to say that the military or the civil security agencies are not doing anything. What they are saying is that the problem is still there despite all they are doing. But you will recall that before now Boko Haram was in control of some local governments in the North-East. We can say that, to a very large extent, the military has done a lot to address the Boko Haram issue but for the issue of herdsmen, the general feeling is that enough has not been done. The recent Dapchi incident was sad but thank God the girls have been rescued. But I was shocked that the President ordered the Inspector General of Police to relocate to Benue State to address the insecurity problem there and we also heard that the IGP disobeyed the President. So Nigerians are wondering, if the IGP disobeyed the President, the commander-in-chief, what is he still doing in office? Why has nothing been done to bring the man to book for disobeying the order of the President? The President owes Nigerians a duty to explain why the man is still in office after disobeying the order given to him by the President. The answer to how to provide more effective security in Nigeria lies in No matter how good your security agencies, the truth remains that unless there is proper synergy with the civil populace, it will be wishful thinking to expect that there will be desirable level of security many areas. To mention a few, the security organizations need to be reorganized in such a way that they will achieve maximum security. Second, the populace needs to be encouraged to see themselves as inevitable stakeholders in achieving best society level in this country. No matter how good your security agencies, the truth remains that unless there is proper synergy with the civil populace, it will be wishful thinking to expect that there will be desirable level of security. You will agree with me that even the welfare of security agents needs to be improved by way of allowances, postservice enumeration. If the welfare of security agents is not adequately catered for, I do not expect how we can see those men to lay down their lives without assurance that if they die, their families will not suffer. I think also that we need to actually come out with proper measures that will ensure that those who commit crime are actually punished in a way that will scare potential offenders. Also those who achieved good result in the performance of their duty must be compensated. •Ikponmwen 'Comment by Danjuma is a serious indictment of Obasanjo and others' How do you feel being elected as PANDEF Chairman in Edo State? I thank God for the confidence my people have reposed in me by electing me by consensus. Our duty in PANDEF is to improve the lot of our people in the Niger Delta in the scheme of things in Nigeria. At the same time having at the back of our minds the need for Nigeria to grow from strength to strength. PANDEF is not out for disintegration, it is not out to show that we are a selfish people in the Niger Delta, it is not out to show that we have no regard for the feeling of others. We recognize that Nigeria as a nation was brought into existence to ensure that the various component parts are happy, retain their identities and, at the same time, promote a nation that will be among the leading ones in the world. But the way things have been in the country, the idea of a central government taking the responsibilities that are common to all and constituent states unable to stand on their own and form their own policies appears to be fading out because of our recent historical developments. Military intervention for over thirty years affected our system and a lot of things have remained unchanged. Most of the states of the federation, including those of the Niger Delta, have been unable to sustain themselves. The quarrel of the Niger Delta people, over the years, has been that we are the source of the wealth of the nation, yet we are suffering. No jobs, no roads, no water, farming has been our major source of livelihood but it is no more because of the effect of oil exploration which affected our ecosystem, affected our agriculture. So, what is central government doing about replenishing the dwindling environment? Are they doing it? If they are not doing it, we are going to advise the government on what to do for our people. Government has been trying to address some of the problems but the people are saying that the speed at which they are addressing it is slow. So we have a lot to do. What cooperation is PANDEF getting from the Niger Delta governors? There are obvious signs of hard work among our governors. There is no governor who will not want to work for his people. But having said that, the truth remains that the resources available to some of these states are nothing to write home about. What is available to them is not enough to execute projects and most of them are in debt. That is why they go cap in hand to Abuja to get money to pay salaries. At least twice in the life of this present regime, the Federal Government had to come to their rescue. It is this state of affairs where states are going to Abuja to look for funds that is not desirable for our states. This practice is not in consonance with the federal system that we are running. Many of the governors in the Niger Delta don’t belong to the ruling party. Only Edo is in the ruling party; that is the more reason we must have expected that if the governors properly identify the problems of their people, they will be more vocal in advocating changes. It is a little intriguing that does not appear to be the case. The governors are not championing the struggle for a thorough and holistic change that this country needs to move forward. Again, it is not because of party allegiance, maybe the governors feel so comfortable that they do not want to be instrument of change; they do not consider so seriously the plight of their own people. It is against that background that organizations like PANDEF, which is a non-partisan pressure group, are able to detach themselves from whatever may be the position of governments in their areas. We must identify the real problems of the zone and bring them to the attention of those who need to act on them. It is not only the President but all the arms of government and leadership at all levels. There is this brewing crisis between the executive and the National Assembly over attempt by the latter to re-order the sequence of elections. As a lawyer, what is your take? The conduct of elections, who fixes the dates and order, is clearly the responsibility of INEC. And since we are running a presidential federalism, it means that what is in the constitution must prevail over executive or legislative action. Clearly, this job is vested in INEC; therefore it is illegal, unconstitutional and improper for the National Assembly to want to impose the schedule of elections on INEC just the same way the executive cannot impose the same thing on INEC. The constitution we are running is very clear that, in a presidential system, the constitution is supreme and superior to every legislative action and to any executive action. Flowing from that, the judiciary has the responsibility in ensuring that the provisions of the constitution are upheld. So if there is any conflict between what the legislature is saying and what the executive wants, the court must look at the constitution to look into who has the responsibility for the job.

SUNDAY Vanguard, APRIL 8, 2018, PAGE 35 Using African Gas for Africa First Aprivate sector initiative called LNG2Africa is addressing one of the continent’s biggest lost opportunities, turning LNG into an African asset 2018 is turning out to be a bold new year. We are witnessing changes to the African energy market that are both welcome and long-awaited for. We spoke before of the great progress Nigeria is making in harnessing its long-neglectedtreasure that is natural gas. The fight against gas flaring is long, but one that is progressively being conquered. However, for the most part, Africans have failed to enjoy the benefits of this cheaper and cleaner source of power. Across the continent, nations, including crude oil producers, remain chronically dependent on expensive imports of refined fuel, as nearly none have the necessary refining capacity to supply Africa’s internal market. This has represented a major lost opportunity for Africa for decades, one we can no longer afford to dismiss. Some initiatives have tried to address this issue with considerable success, particularly, LNG2Africa, an intra-Africa LNG deal-brokering private sector initiative which is creating opportunities for the development of this industry across the continent and has already scored many landmarks in less than a year of existence. Initiative’s like this are paramount if we wish for an energy independent Africa, where Africans have access to electricity and where we can foster the creation of jobs and spur industrial development. A changing paradigm Africa holds hundreds of trillions of cubic feet of natural gas under its soil, enough to power itself for decades, not to mention hundreds of billions of dollars in exports to power hungry nations across the globe. The collapse in the price of oil over the last few years, for all the pain it has caused to the continent’s economies, has forced political leaders to make better use of other resources that had remained underexplored. Until now, high costs related to exploration and production combined with low prices, limited the economic feasibility of many natural gas projects. Fortunately, new technological developments through offshore floating liquefaction infrastructure have made the exploitation and transport of those resources much cheaper and quicker to implement. Recent major discoveries in Cameroon, Gabon, Mauritania, the Congo and Senegal, added to the major reserves held by Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Angola, Tanzania and Mozambique have made it even more evident that it is not a resource to be ignored. As these developments take place, the global export market seems to be headed to a situation of oversupply. The shale gas boom in the United States represented not only the loss of a considerable consumer for African natural gas but also the emergence of a competing Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) exporter. In the Middle East, Iran’s ramping up of production added more pressure into the market, and Australia’s major LNG export investments will further increase competition by 2020. Historically, African natural gas production has been almost exclusively directed at exports to the United States and Europe, markets where it is becoming ever harder to compete, all the while being ignored as the potential seed of Africa’s industrial growth. A look within Within this scenario it becomes evident that African nations must look within to make the best of the scenario in front of them. Instead of trying to compete with the likes of Australia and Qatar for contracts with India, Japan and China, they need to look to Africa’s own market and promote the development of a natural gas-based market that could be the cornerstone of Africa’s economic growth. Why would a country in West Africa choose to import expensive diesel from refineries in Texas for its power stations, when it could use its own cheaper resources, or those of a gas producing neighbour, to power its economy? The utilization of natural gas can profoundly transform the continent and the lives of its citizens. Beyond that, a focus on intra-African energy trading can spur a new age of political and economic relations between African countries and create a strong internal market for our industries, businesses and people. Across the continent, people and industries still suffer with lack of access to electricity or poor and unreliable connections, despite the vast amount of resources we have. Gas-topower projects could come a long way in addressing much of the continent’s electricity shortfalls, but it will also fulfil the fundamental roll of environmental protection, as it is a much cleaner source of power than diesel. Beyond that, the use of natural gas would allow nations to cut down on the extremely expensive effort of importing refined oil products from other parts of the world. This means that people will be better serviced for a lesser cost. This means that industries will spend less on power, making them more competitive and profitable and that African nations will be less dependent on the price of diesel to power its economies. A company that does not have to stop production due to power outages or endure high costs to access electric power is a more efficient and productive company, with greater capacity to expand, grow, be profitable and contribute to economic and social development. Natural gas can be used for household heating, cooking, producing fertilizers or be used to produce Compressed Natural Gas, a much cheaper and cleaner vehicle fuel replacement for gasoline or diesel. A shift in the paradigm of power generation and gas utilization across the continent could spur extensive economic development and create hundreds of thousands of jobs. Signs of change Finally, in recent years, we started to see some signs of change. The investment in natural gas fired power plants and transport infrastructure witnessed in the last few years has made the internal market for natural gas consumption grow significantly within the African domestic market. Countries like Egypt, Morocco, South Africa or Ivory Coast are growing increasingly dependent on natural gas to fuel its expansive gas-to-power programs. Also, offshore reserves that had, for decades, been deemed too expensive to extract, are progressively being made feasible. New technologies are making the development of natural gas transport infrastructure more economical. Diesel ran engines can easily be transformed into multi-fuel generators, which can also run on natural gas. In January 2018, Mozambican authorities confirmed that a consortium of banks is investing USD$8 billion in a floating LNG (FLNG) development in the country’s Coral gas field. That corresponds to a bit over 70% of Mozambique’s 2016 gross domestic product, which stood at USD$11 billion. The impact of the development of this industry cannot be overstated. The reserves from the Coral field can be used to fulfil Mozambique’s energy needs and that of its neighbours, create jobs and spur the growth of industries. Equatorial Guinea’s success with the Fortuna FLNG development is another resounding example of the impact of these new technological solutions across the continent. Cameroon’s newly designed FLNG offshore platform, introduces technological improvements that could further reduce the cost of production and make natural gas even more competitive for power generation. All of these examples are coming together to push the continent into a new era. LNG2Africa This represents a major opportunity for African nations. In the attempts to try to diversify from the crude oil industry and to give access to power to the millions of Africans that remain isolated from industrial development, political leaders and private actors have the chance to develop an internal natural gas-based industry that can be competitive, in a time where the global market is slowing down. This is the premise and the argument behind the value of the LNG2Africa initiative. This private sector movement is striving to strike inter-African long-term Sales and Purchase agreements between African nations. It is aiming at fostering cooperation and knowledge exchange amongst the continent’s natural gas producing and consuming nations in order to facilitate infrastructural development. A company that does not have to stop production due to power outages or endure high costs to access electric power is a more efficient and productive company, with greater capacity to expand, grow, be profitable and contribute to economic and social development With the strong endorsement of the government of Equatorial Guinea, one of the continent’s biggest LNG exporters, the LNG2Africa initiative has helped to strike a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Equatorial Guinean government and Ghana to kick-start negotiations on a LNG sales agreement between the two nations, in June. Three months later, a similar success was achieved between Equatorial Guinea and Burkina Faso, with the signing of a 3-year long MOU for the negotiation of LNG supply and the construction of transport infrastructure. Feasibility studies for the development of regasification and LNG storage terminals leaders. •Ayuk are undergoing. In just a few months since its launch, LNG2Africa has already accomplished significant steps for the development of inter- African trade, inter-African power generation independence, as well as inter-African knowledge exchange and cooperation. Further, the initiative is joining both official authorities and private energy trading companies that can provide financing and transport solutions for the resources. These are very positive developments that have the potential to spur a new golden age for the African natural gas industry. Above all, it represents a strong move towards using African resources for the development of African nations and its citizens, all being promoted by African energy •NJ Ayuk JD/MBA is a leading energy lawyer and a strong advocate for African entrepreneurs, recognised as a Global Shaper with the World Economic Forum and one of Forbes’ Top 10 Most Influential Men in Africa in 2015.