Inaccurate oil sales record: Reps query NNPC •Why FG insists on $75 oil benchmark

BARELY six days after the Independence’s day tragedy in Mubi, Adamawa State, where over 40 students were murdered by yet-to-be identified gunmen, suspected Boko Haram militants, on Saturday evening in Yobe State, went on the rampage, killing about 17 persons, in Doko Kuka village.

The latest orgy of violence, Nigerian Tribune authoritatively learnt, had a semblance with the Mubi killing as the gunmen invaded the village in the dead of the night, shooting their victims, a development which forced some of the inhabitants of Dogon Kuka, who managed to escape the attack, to flee into the thick forest.

Investigation revealed that operatives of the Joint Task Force (JTF) were said to have engaged the terrorists in a gun duel that lasted for more than 45 minutes before they retreated from the village.

A resident, identified as Suleiman Sanni told Nigerian Tribune that “It was a terrible experience as many bullets were flying around when the JTF was battling to dislodge the Boko Haram sect members. The sound of the gunshots was deafening and everybody had to run for his or her life.

Even, the fear has spread to the state capital, Damaturu. People are leaving in large number and I heard some of the terrorists have been apprehended by the JTF soldiers.”

At the time of filing this report, Boko Haram had not claimed responsibility for the attack in Dogon Kuka, inhabited by Muslims, which is about 70 kilometres from Damaturu, but the authorities of the JTF cautioned that anybody or community that harbours terrorists, criminals and other categories of hoodlums would be dealt with according to the dictates of law.

Sources informed the Nigerian Tribune that with the growing insecurity in the state, which had paralysed socio-economic activities, culminating in the closure of some financial institutions, including banks, terrified residents left in droves. Some political functionaries have also temporarily moved their families to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, for fear of being attacked by gunmen.

Confirming the killing to newsmen on Sunday, the Yobe State Commissioner of Police, Mr Patrick Egbuniwe, stated that “a group of unknown gunmen stormed Dogon Kuka village and opened fire on residents. From all indications, they were on a shooting spree. Some people might have been killed.”

On the number of casualties, the police boss said, “I don’t have details yet, but we have deployed security personnel to the village to ascertain the nature and extent of the attack.”

While declining to confirm if the gunmen were members of the Boko Haram sect, which has been blamed for a string of deadly attacks in several parts of Yobe and neighbouring Borno states, Egbuniwe said security agencies were on top of the situation, assuring that the police would not relent in their efforts to ensure security of lives and properties.

Reacting to the incident, the JTF spokesman in Yobe, Lieutenant Eli Lazarus, said operatives of the special security force had restored normalcy to the troubled village, warning that anybody or individuals with useful information over threat to security should not hesitate to report to the JTF.

Similarly, the JTF spokesman in Borno State, Lieutenant-Colonel Sagir Musa, on Sunday, advised residents of the state to remain calm and be security conscious by giving timely information on any suspicious movements, persons or groups, pointing out that no effort would be spared to protect the people.

In another development, gunmen in Zaria, Kaduna State, at the weekend hit a tarverna, killing a medical doctor and one other person
The police have since begun investigation into the killing which an eyewitness described as gruesome.

An eyewitness said the gunmen entered the relaxation spot at about 8.00 p.m. on the Enugu/Kings road, Sabo Garin,  Zaria and shot at the medical doctor whose name was given as Dr Martins Agu, of Railway Staff Hospital, Zaria.

“Also shot dead was a man believed to be Dr Agu’s friend and a lady companion whose leg was said to have been shattered by bullets,” the eyewitness said.

The Police Public Relations Officer, Kaduna State, DSP Aminu Lawan, said two men on a motorcycle opened fire on people relaxing at a beer parlour.

The administration also argued that the current global oil prices were not sustainable, citing possible reduction in global oil demand, due to recession in the Euro-zone, low growth in the United States and economic slowdown in the China and India and increased global oil supply as new discoveries in Africa and elsewhere came on stream.

The briefing paper cited the fourth reason as reduced and lower savings in the Excess Crude Account (ECA), as the executive pointed out that “the new benchmark would deny the ECA of expected additional inflow of approximately N1.03 trillion” and thereby removing “a cushioning platform for the Nigerian economy, in the event of a global economic recession or a slump in world oil prices.”

On how the administration arrived at $75 benchmark, the paper noted that this was based on moving averages of the world oil price and government’s simulations allowing for uncertainty in world oil price movements.

“We used the model to estimate five-year and 10-year moving averages of the oil price and arrived at our own average of approximately $71/barrel, which was then rounded up to $72/barrel (the 2012 budget level). This is a standard technique commonly used by commodity-dependent countries to protect them against the volatilities of oil,” the administration posited.

Lead consultant to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Dr Ken Ife, raised the alarm that an increase of oil benchmark price for 2013 budget would undermine the fiscal discipline programme being pursued by Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and worsen inflation, though the recommended $82 looked realistic.

However, an energy economist, Professor Adeola Adenikinju, told the Nigerian Tribune at the weekend that while the Federal Government, represented by the Ministry of Finance, deliberately underestimated the benchmark to generate funds for the ECA and Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF), the National Assembly jerked up the price to enable the government to generate buffer, so as to address infrastructure funding gaps and deliver democracy dividends to the masses.

Meanwhile, a meeting between President Goodluck Jonathan and the leadership of the National Assembly on Thursday appears to have resolved the growing tension over the presentation of the 2013 budget.

While the meeting agreed that the president would present the budget on October 11, it was also resolved that the two chambers concluded their legislative work on the medium term economic framework and the budget benchmark.

The meeting, which was attended by Senate President, David Mark; Speaker of the House, Aminu Tambuwal; Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekwere-madu and Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha and other members of the leadership of the two chambers, was said to have agreed that the president should present the budget early enough, so that the lawmakers could start work on the document.

Sources at the meeting confirmed that the controversies over the planned presentation of the 2013 budget had been resolved and that the lawmakers had secured an understanding from the president to deal with any minister who refused to execute the 2012 budget to the fullest.

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Inaccurate oil sales record: Reps query NNPC •Why FG insists on $75 oil benchmark

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