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Breaking: Lagos Assembly to hold public hearing on land grabbing

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The menace of land grabbing was a major topic for debate on the floor of the Lagos State House of Assembly on Tuesday with lawmakers agreeing that a public hearing be organized as part of urgent solutions.

The planned stakeholders’ meeting would be all-encompassing involving the state government, the police, the judiciary, traditional rulers, and others.

Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa said land grabbing has become “a serious issue that is beyond disturbing. It is chaotic. Many people have been killed, some maimed and some locked up without trial just because of the existence of some people who have turned themselves into land grabbers.”

Dr. Obasa frowned at cases where land speculators write petitions and with the connivance of security officials, the real owners of the properties are arrested, taken to Abuja, and forced to sign undertakings that would bar them from the same land they bought from their toiling.

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The Speaker, who said these land grabbers often attack new and developing areas in Ikorodu, Epe, Ojo, and others, added: “I wonder how somebody would just invade people’s properties and still exude such boldness and confidence, kill the owner or bring the police.”

Obasa, recalling his own experience some time ago, further added: “What do you think of the fate of a resident who struggles to own a property, struggle to start building on it only for somebody to just suddenly take over the land making life difficult for him?”

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He also raised concerns over delays and multiple judgments from courts while urging the state government to consider commensurate compensations for landowners whose properties are taken over in overriding public interest.

“Land is a source of wealth for its owners and when the government acquires it, there must be a process in place for adequate compensation. If not, how do you expect such people to get out of poverty?” He asked.

Moving the motion under ‘Matter of Urgent Public Importance’ earlier, Hon. Kazeem Olayinka (Mushin Constituency 2), implored the House to organise a meeting with the stakeholders to address the problem.

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In his contribution, Hon. Gbolahan Yishawu (Eti-Osa 2) stressed the importance of focusing on the enforcement of the law against land grabbing. He urged the establishment of a dedicated agency to effectively handle cases.

Other lawmakers who contributed to the debate harped on the need for stronger enforcement of the extant laws relating to land grabbing.

Meanwhile, the Lagos State House of Assembly has commiserated with the Olubadan-in-council over the demise of Oba Lekan Balogun, the 42nd Olubadan. The House also condoled the Nigerian Army over the killing of its personnel in Delta.

The lawmakers held a minute silence in honor of the departed while the Speaker directed the Clerk, Barr. Olalekan Onafeko, to send a condolence letter each to the Olubadan-in-council and the Nigerian Army.

Eromosele Ebhomele
Chief Press Secretary to the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly.

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Chinese chamber denies barring Nigerian shoppers from Abuja supermarket

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The China General Chamber of Commerce in Nigeria has given insight into the operation of a Chinese supermarket within the premises of the Royal Choice Estate, Airport Road, Abuja.

Theheute reports that the Abuja-based Chinese supermarket had come under criticism for refusing to allow Nigerians to shop in its facility.

The supermarket situated at the China General Chamber of Commerce, along Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Road in Abuja, is acclaimed as a destination for Chinese cuisine and beverages.

Nigerians had expressed outrage over a discriminatory policy implemented by the Chinese Supermarket, which restricted entry exclusively to its citizens and barred Nigerians.

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But After Theheute reports, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission sealed the supermarket.

The FCCPC officials shut the supermarket when they stormed the premises on Monday. The commission’s officials sealed up the place after interrogating Nigerian workers at the supermarket.

But reacting to the alleged discrimination in a statement by its Secretary, Mr. Cui Guangzheng, the China Chamber of Commerce explained that the estate housing both the supermarket and the commerce building was not entirely a supermarket.

He clarified that the Royal Choice Estate comprises an office complex and residential apartments.

According to the statement, the residential area of the estate consists of private residents who adhere to security protocols in granting access to external visitors.

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“The China Chamber of Commerce is one of several enterprises using the facility, and the supermarket in question is located in the residential area of the estate, which is unrelated to the China Chamber of Commerce in Nigeria,” the statement read.

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It added, “No individual was subjected to discrimination or denied access to the estate or supermarket to purchase groceries as widely believed.

“The China General Chamber of Commerce emphasized its commitment to equality and inclusiveness and welcomed first-hand visits to witness the truth.

“Our principles are to enhance friendship between the people of both countries and promote economic development.”

The chamber expressed regret over the altercation at the estate’s entrance gate between the security personnel and a customer, emphasizing that it does not reflect the official position of the estate management or the chamber of commerce.

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FG to execute $3.8bn gas supply agreement in May

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The Gas Supply and Purchase Agreement to support the Final Investment Decision for the $3.8bn Brass methanol project is to be executed in May 2024, the Federal Government announced on Monday.

The Brass methanol project is a major industrial project being built in Bayelsa State to produce methanol, a key industrial chemical, using natural gas resources. Nigeria currently imports all its methanol.

Located in Brass Island, Bayelsa, the facility is to have a capacity of 10,000 tonnes of methanol per day when completed, as it is still under construction and expected to be operational this year.

The $3.8bn is to create up to 15,000 jobs during construction and aims to boost the Nigerian economy by reducing reliance on imports.

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This project is a joint venture between DSV Engineering Limited, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, and the Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board.

The Minister of State Petroleum Resources (Gas), Ekperikpe Ekpo, announced the execution date for the gas supply agreement in Abuja on Wednesday after a meeting with key stakeholders of the project in his office.

Ekpo, in a statement issued by his media aide, Louis Ibah, said the meeting was to confirm adequate gas supply to the Brass methanol project by the NNPC/Shell/TotalEnergies/NAOC Joint Venture.

He said the meeting was to also determine the next steps to conclude and execute the GSPA and mature the phase-2 of gas supply to the project.

Present at the meeting were the Head of Joint Venture, Investment Management, NNPC Upstream Investment Management Services, Mr Olanrewaju Igandan; and Deputy Managing Director, Nigerian Agip Oil Company, Mr Richard Orianzi.

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Others include the Managing Director, Shell Petroleum Development Company Nigeria, Mr Osagie Okunbor; Managing Director of Brass Fertiliser and Petrochemical Ltd, Mr Ben Okoye, among others.

Ekpo informed the gathering of President Bola Tinubu’s strong interest in resolving issues relating to gas supply to the Brass methanol project.

According to the Minister, the President was passionate about the speedy kick-off of the project so that it could bring in the much needed Foreign Direct Iinvestment with attendant economic benefits to the country.

“Mr President is very passionate about this project and wants something positive to happen in respect of the Brass methanol project before the end of May this year,” Ekpo said.

The Brass methanol project is sponsored by Brass Fertiliser & Petrochemical Company Limited and it is made up of a gas processing plant, a methanol production and refining plant, product export facilities, among others.

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At the end of the meeting, Ekpo announced he had successfully resolved the GSPA issue and that it would be executed by May this year.

“The NNPC/SPDC JV partners are now fully committed to uninterrupted gas supply for the development of the Brass methanol project,” the gas minister stated.

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Naira continues recovery, gains 7.2% against dollar

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The exchange rate of Nigeria’s currency, the Naira has continued to appreciate to the dollar in response to the fiscal and monetary policies of President Bola Tinubu’s administration.

According to data from the official trading platform of the FMDQ Exchange, a platform that oversees the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEM), on Friday revealed that the Naira gained N88.23.

This represents a 7.16 per cent gain when compared to the previous trading date on Monday, April 8, exchanging at N1,230.61 to a dollar before the Sallah holiday.

The huge appreciation resulted in the Naira trading at N1,142.38 to the dollar at the official market

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The total daily turnover increased to $281.34 million on Friday up from $125.55 million recorded on Monday.

Meanwhile, at the Investor’s and Exporter’s (I&E) window, the Naira traded between N1,265 and N1,100 against the dollar.

Experts attribute the steady Naira appreciation to the policies of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

The CBN, during its policy meetings held in February and March, implemented a total of 600 basis points in interest rate increases.

This helped tackle dollar scarcity, reduced volatility, and decreased reliance on parallel markets.

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