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Kogi Communities Jubilate As Dangote Cement Obajana Plant Reopens

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Mother Earth Day: Dangote Cement Intensifies Measures To Curb Environmental Degradation

Olushola Okunlade Writes

There were huge scenes of jubilation among affected host communities following the Federal Government’s order for the immediate reopening of the Dangote Cement Plc plant at Obajana in Kogi State.  

Members of the host communities from Iwaa, Oyo, Obajana, and Apata who spoke to newsmen said they could now heave a sigh of relief as the consequences of shutting down the factory were better imagined than described, a situation which was worsened with the recent ASUU strike that kept students at home across the country. 

Recall that the National Security Council (NSC), chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari, had Friday directed the reopening of the cement plant, after raising concerns about job losses, the potential increase in criminality, and resultant unemployment in the area and the State due to the shutdown.

Minister of Interior, Alhaji Rauf Aregbesola told newsmen that an agreement had been reached between the Dangote Group and the Kogi State Government on the need to reopen the factory while urging both parties to respect the agreement.  

Reacting to the latest directive, the Secretary of the Association of Fresh Fish Dealers at the Obajana market, Mrs. Lola Adinu, told newsmen that her association members were overjoyed when the news came that the Federal Government had ordered the reopening of the factory.  

In 2019, the Southern Swamp Associated Gas Solutions project was commissioned, and the SPDC JV is planning to reduce associated gas flaring further through its Forcados Yokri gas-gathering project, of which large parts are set to be completed in 2022. Despite such efforts to reduce continuous flaring, unfortunately flaring intensity (the amount of gas flared for every tonne of oil and gas produced) at both SPDC- and SNEPCo-operated facilities increased in 2021 owing to short-term operational issues. Flaring from SPDC-operated facilities increased by around 5% in 2021 compared with 2020. The increase was primarily because of the extended outage of the gas compression system in SPDC’s shallow-water operations. The system was restored and became operational from January 2022. Flaring at SNEPCo-operated facilities rose by around 160% in 2021 compared with 2020. This was mainly because of an increase in flaring on the Bonga floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel. Repairs to a flex-joint on the Bonga FPSO’s gas export riser in the second quarter took longer than expected, in part because of weather conditions. While repairs were under way, the FPSO continued to produce oil and therefore flaring was necessary for safety reasons. The repairs were safely concluded in July 2021. Although flaring intensity levels rose in 2021, SPDC and SNEPCo over the last 10 years have almost halved the combined amount of hydrocarbons they flare from 1.5 million tonnes in 2012 to 0.8 million tonnes in 2021. This reduction is the result of a strict flaring reduction management process and both SPDC and SNEPCo will continue to work in close collaboration with joint-venture partners and the government to make progress towards ending routine flaring of associated gas. NIGERIA LNG EXPANSION UNDERWAY Global demand for LNG continues to grow as the world increasingly seeks reliable supplies of lowercarbon energy. Shell’s investment in Nigeria’s gas infrastructure for export is expected to help 6 This is according to a data provided by global research and consultancy business Wood Mackenzie. the country benefit further from revenues. Shell Gas B.V. and its partners took a final investment decision in 2020 on a new LNG processing unit – known as Train 7 -- at NLNG. The expansion is expected to create around 12,000 jobs for Nigerians during construction and stimulate growth of the local oil and gas service sector, with 55% of engineering and procurement of goods and services being sourced in-country. Train 7 is expected to ensure Nigeria’s continued place as a global player in a lower-carbon energy source. Once operational, Train 7 will add around 8 million tonnes per annum of capacity to the Bonny Island LNG facility, taking the total production to around 30 million tonnes per annum. In 2021, NLNG began awarding procurement and construction contracts. Early works started at the site. The first phase of the worker village is expected to be ready for occupancy in 2022 and the new material offloading facility ready for use by the end of 2022. NLNG’s Train 7 is expected to come onstream in the middle of the 2020s. KEY LICENCE RENEWED FOR DEEP-WATER SNEPCo has interests in four deep-water blocks in the Gulf of Guinea, two of which it operates. Today, nearly one-third of Nigeria’s deep-water oil and gas production comes from the Bonga and the nonoperated Erha fields.6 Since production began in 2005, Bonga alone has produced more than 950 million barrels of oil with the 2021 average oil production per day at 105,000 barrels. The Bonga FPSO vessel has a total production capacity of 225,000 barrels of oil per day and 150 standard cubic feet of gas export per day. In 2021, the availability of the FPSO vessel increased to 80% from 70% in 2020. In addition to Bonga, SNEPCo’s exploration activities have led to several significant discoveries of oil and gas over the last two decades, including the Bolia and Doro fields (Shell interest 55%). Nigeria Briefing Notes Helping to power Nigeria’s economy 13 In the right investment climate, SNEPCo believes that there are opportunities to expand. In 2021 the OML 118 (Bonga) production sharing contract was renewed and the lease extended for 20 years. Bonga North and Bonga South West Aparo (BSWA) oil fields are two such potential opportunities. Bonga North is a proposed tie-back project to the existing Bonga FPSO with Phase 1 comprising 14 wells. BSWA is a development of a new FPSO with Phase 1 comprising 23 wells. SUPPORTING RENEWABLE ENERGY STARTUPS Millions of Nigerians are excluded from the country’s power grid and Shell Companies in Nigeria have established and provided substantial funding for a not-for-profit, impact-investing company called All On. Operating as an independent company, All On works to bring reliable electricity – often from renewable energy sources -- to off-grid urban and rural customers. This support aims to build a solid pipeline of viable businesses that can create the scale required to address Nigeria’s access to energy gap. In December 2019, SPDC and SNEPCo made a significant additional 10-year financing commitment of $160 million in All On, bringing the total commitment to $200 million. By the end of 2021, All On had provided investment capital to over 40 renewable energy start-ups in its portfolio – an increase of more than 30% from 2020. One such company is Infibranches Technologies Limited, to which All On has committed $2 million, which is expected to enable the indigenous technology company to expand sales of solar home systems via its more than 13,000 agent banking partners across Nigeria. With the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, the All On Hub was established in 2020 to provide nonfinancial support and build the capabilities of off-grid energy entrepreneurs. In 2021, the hub supported 81 ventures – nearly double the 41 supported in 2020. Also in 2021, All On, Odyssey Energy Solutions and the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet launched a $10 million equipment financing facility as part of the DART pilot programme in Nigeria. 7 Hydraulic flying leads support the delivery of hydraulic fluid and/or chemicals between subsea equipment. 8 Subsea trees are an assembly of valves and other components used to monitor and control the production of a subsea well. DART will combine demand pooling, aggregated purchasing of solar equipment, and access to affordable finance to unlock economies of scale for solar companies, achieve cost savings for end-users, and accelerate the growth of the renewable energy sector in Nigeria and beyond. DEVELOPING LOCAL CONTENT AND SKILLS Shell Companies in Nigeria contribute to the growth of Nigerian businesses that can provide technical and support services to the industry. This includes the manufacture of tools and technical kits, the operation of helicopter flights in the Niger Delta, and strategic partnerships between foreign and local companies to stimulate technology transfer and capacity development. While there are government-required programmes in some areas, such as the Nigerian and Community Content Strategy embedded in the Assa North/Ohaji South gas development project, Shell Companies in Nigeria deliberately seek to contract local businesses wherever possible. In 2021, Shell Companies in Nigeria awarded $800 million worth of contracts to Nigerian-registered companies. Of these, 92% were companies with at least 51% Nigerian ownership. SNEPCo has awarded major engineering and construction contracts to companies that are indigenous, have local staff, or possess domestic capabilities in the country. At present, the manufacture and rebuild of hydraulic flying leads7 (HFLs) is being carried out in-country by wholly indigenous companies. Pressure Controls Systems Nigeria Limited, another Nigerian company, continues to refurbish old subsea trees.8 Sometimes, a lack of access to capital hinders Nigerian companies from competing for and executing contracts effectively. Shell Companies in Nigeria have provided access to nearly $1.6 billion in loans to 901 Nigerian vendors under the Shell Contractor Support Fund since 2012. These loans help improve their tendering opportunities.

Mallam Bala Dreba, a 50-year-old commercial motorist plying the 43km concrete Obajana-Kabba road that was constructed by Dangote Industries Limited, said travelers from the South and from the North were apprehensive about the security of the road and its environs since the recent invasion of the company by Government vigilantes. Dreba said the road is now the most important road network linking the Northern and Southern parts of Nigeria. 

Commercial motorcyclists who brandished green leaves in victory were seen cruising in different directions on Friday evening and Saturday morning to celebrate the announcement by the Federal Government.  

Adamu Ibrahim, a 45-year-old commercial motorcyclist, and father of four lamented that commercial activities had been paralysed after the invasion of the plant by thugs. He expressed joy that the situation is now reverting to the usual economic bustle in Obajana.   

A community leader, Pa Isaac Ade, said the Federal Government’s announcement was welcomed with jubilation in his neighborhood because the lives and the livelihood of the host communities revolve around Dangote Cement Plc.

“Without this company, the communities cannot survive, the markets cannot survive, the commercial motorcyclists cannot survive, and if I may add, this Local Government and the state, in general, will be badly affected,” Mr. Ade averred.  

Dangote Cement Plc is the biggest taxpayer and employer of labour in Kogi State. The conglomerate is a part of Dangote Industries Limited, which is also the second largest employer of labour in Nigeria after the government, as well as the highest private-sector taxpayer to the Federal Government.   

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), the Trade Union Congress (TUC), and the Shareholders Associations in Nigeria, had all berated the Kogi State Government over the invasion and the closure of the cement company.   

In the same vein, the Nigerian Association of Chamber of Commerce Industry Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) as well as the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) were among the groups who condemned the invasion of the Dangote Cement plant, saying the move was capable of driving away investors in the country.

The associations said the hasty move by the state in resorting to self-help could send the wrong signal to investors within and outside the country.   

Peter Dare, a businessman at the Obajana main market described the closure situation as worrisome but added that activities in the market were picking up soon after the government ordered the reopening of the factory. He said thousands of people would have been impoverished if the company was not reopened.  

At Iwaa, the location of the multi-million naira hospital built by the Dangote Cement Plc, the story was the same, as residents were jubilating that the Federal Government waded into the crisis and rescued the situation.  

A Septuagenarian, who sought anonymity, said he had been wondering how he would offset the tuition fees of his two children in the university following the calling off of the eight-month-old industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). 

Some of the Dangote Cement staff who are indigenes of Kogi State welcomed with excitement the intervention of the Federal Government. They had earlier expressed fear that the closure would have sent them out of jobs.  

Dangote Cement Plc Obajana Plant had said that most of its workforce and technical students at the Dangote Academy situated in Obajana are indigenes from Kogi State.

In a statement, the Advocacy Centre for Industrialisation in Africa (ACIA) expressed regret that the invasion and forceful closure of the Dangote Cement Plc at Obajana has cast a shadow on the Ease of Doing Business in the state.

The Arewa Youth Assembly, a conglomeration of youth groups in the 19 northern states had vehemently condemned the Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello, describing his closure moves as a war against employment and the youth.

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Abuja Hosts Glo Festival Of Joy Promo Draw

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Abuja Hosts Glo Festival Of Joy Promo Draw

Olushola Okunlade Writes

Abuja, the federal capital city, on Thursday hosted another draw to produce a new house winner in the ongoing Glo Promo, Festival of Joy.

Globacom said the keys to the house would be presented to the lucky winner in Abuja on Friday, December 2.

The draw which was held at Gloworld, Aminu Kano crescent, Wuse 11, was attended by Glo subscribers, the media, and the representative of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC), Mrs. Mariam Imam.

Two subscribers,  Ibrahim Akindele, a student of Ekiti State University, and Ola Owonifari Joseph, a Port-Harcourt-based Engineer had earlier been presented with their house prizes in the ongoing promo which is offering 20 houses, 24 brand new cars, 100 generators, 200 sewing
machines and 1,000 rechargeable fans to Glo subscribers nationwide.

Globacom said, “subscribers wishing to participate in the promo to dial *611# and keep recharging for voice and data (as desirable) during the promo period in order to be eligible to win the prizes on offer”.

“To become a Festival of Joy landlord, all you have to do is make data subscription(s) of at least N20, 000 during the promo period. Those who are interested in winning cars should make a monthly recharge of N10,000; N5,000 monthly recharge for power generators, N2,500 monthly
recharge for sewing machines and N500 weekly to win rechargeable fans”, Globacom explained.

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Jumia’s Positioning For Growth

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Jumia

New strategy shows Jumia is well positioned for growth in Nigeria

strong optimism exists with new focus on cost discipline and return to e-commerce fundamentals

Olushola Okunlade Writes

Before e-commerce came to Africa, Nigeria was one of the nations described as a ‘cash-based’ economy. Until recently, most business transactions for goods and services were carried out by face–to–face negotiations in open markets with payments through cash or cheques.

The culture adopted by most Nigerians was to inspect goods, negotiate physically, and, if satisfied, pay. The effect of this commerce culture was that most individuals were forced to travel within and outside the country to purchase goods and services carrying physical cash.

Over the years, e-commerce adoption has grown year-on-year, with more Nigerians willing to trust online shopping. Also, in the post-pandemic era, people now rely more on shopping for items online that can easily be easily delivered. This demand has made it even more important for e-commerce companies like Jumia to step in and fill the gap by providing innovative trading opportunities for thousands of sellers to connect with millions of consumers in Africa.

Jumia continues to navigate Africa’s business environment, where a  myriad of regulatory, logistic, socio-cultural, and technological challenges exist. Every country where Jumia operates has a unique environment. Notwithstanding, the company has built an innovative multi-purpose platform that empowers small businesses and consumers in the continent.

What Does the Future Hold?

The dust is now settled on the leadership changes in Jumia, which has seen several market watchers predicting a new lease of life in the company. Following the recent announcement from the company, it is important to analyse its third-quarter 2022 financial report and the new strategy from the management team to see what the future holds.

The third quarter of the year saw Jumia record substantial revenue and gross profit growth, according to the company’s financial earnings report. The most recent statistics show that $50.5 million was generated in revenue in Q3 2022, an increase of 6% from the $47.6 million reported in Q2. This also represents an 18.4% increase from the $42.7 million reported in the same period last year.

Interestingly, Jumia’s acting CEO, Francis Dufay, laid out the new business strategy for the company during the Q3 2022 earnings call, stating that the recent focus on cost discipline and return on investment speaks to an ever-increasing need to make the company profitable in the near future. Results for Q3 showed more encouraging signs that the company is on the right path.

He further stated that the company intends to bring more focus to the core business, allocating capital, resources, and teams to main areas and projects with attractive returns on investments and clear ecosystem benefits. Jumia will deemphasise or cease projects and ventures that do not meet such criteria. In line with the above, the company will scale back First Party grocery offerings in geographies where this category remains sub-scale. In addition, Jumia Prime will be paused indefinitely from the 1st of January 2023 as the company looks to focus more resources in other areas of the business.

It is important to note that the company plans to keep logistics open to third parties only in the countries where they have strong assets (Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Morocco). The e-commerce opportunity in Nigeria remains vast with a very young population and growing middle class. Hence, this new focus will further strengthen the company’s hold in its biggest market.

Going forward, the company is looking to continue strengthening its foothold in all the countries where it is currently operational. However, this is likely to come with changes to its operating model. In a statement released by Francis Dufay, Acting CEO of Jumia, “We have a clear focus for the next chapter of our journey and are taking decisive action to support our path to profitability. We will bring more focus to the business, directing our efforts and resources to projects and activities that deliver tangible value to our consumers, sellers and broader ecosystem participants. We are also enforcing tighter cost discipline and driving efficiencies across the full structure while enhancing the fundamentals of our core e-commerce business to drive user growth.”

The company is showing greater willingness to constantly invest in Nigeria and has stated it would be making some adjustments in its organisational setup in the coming weeks. Allocating more people and resources to its marketplace, tech, and in-house logistics platform are some of the strategies expected to enhance future success.

Clearly, there is strong optimism that this new strategy will continue to deliver value to Jumia’s consumers in Nigeria. The company is on the right path to profitability through growth and optimization.

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Yvonne Jegede Had Mercy Johnson Okojie All Emotional In Episode 2 Of “Mercy’s Menu” Season 3

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Yvonne Jegede Had Mercy Johnson Okojie All Emotional In Episode 2 Of "Mercy's Menu" Season 3

By Moninuola Sulaiman

In this episode of Mercy’s Menu season 3 Mercy Johnson Okojie is joined by her colleague, Nollywood star and Film producer, Yvonne Jegede.

The movie stars shared exciting conversations and emotional moments as they prepared Peri Peri Chicken and Coconut Milk Pasta.

They discussed her Marriage, Divorce, Son, Challenges, and Charity work.

This episode was filled with so many emotions.

Click on the YouTube link for Mercy’s Menu Season 3 (Episode 2)

Watch video below

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