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Hardship: How students now trade property to survive

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By Francesca Hangeior

The woes of hunger, triggered by the increasing cost of living, have stretched their claws to the lives of students in tertiary institutions.

Gone are the days when undergraduates return to class with cash and other home appliances depicting their high standard of living.

Today many parents or guardians can no longer afford a standard living, talk of transferring such to their children or wards.

Investigation revealed that students in tertiary institutions now sell off some of their home appliances and gadgets to sustain themselves, when the chips are down.

According to Osazuwa Akinola, a student, stated that they buy these gadgets when it is cheap, using their idle cash, while those who have gadgets sell them when they need money to pay bills.

He said: “It is very disheartening to see your fellow student suffer to get food and survive in this harsh economy.

“The economy is not smiling at our parents and guardians, so it is affecting us too.

“Before some of my mates in the hostel comes with bags of food stuff and other useful appliances that helps one relax but now the cost of food has trippled and such scenarios have ceased to exist.

“Businesses in the school vicinity are also not helping matters.

“Seeing we are students they believe we have money and increase the prices of goods once it is a student purchasing them.

“They have forgotten that what is affecting the economy is affecting parents and guardians and also affecting us.
“Many of us now have to tie down our idle cash by buying used home items and appliances like bed, fridge, cupboard, gas cylinder, television set among other things from graduating students.

“And the money gotten from these sales are used to foot their bills.

“But some students who brought these gadgets from home do sell them in times of need at a low price.”
Miss. Lovet Momoh, a 200 level student said she was hoping to have a wonderful standard of living since 100 level in school. But the death of her father coupled with the current state of the economy shattered her dreams.

“When I gained admission late 2022 I was very happy believing I will live like a princess in school.

“Then I lost my dad and my mom’s brother took it on his shoulder to see me through school.

“I never thought things will be difficult as this. I can’t call him for minor needs because it feels very embarrassing to me.

“Then I saw my friends buying used items from graduating students and auction them in mid session.
When I inquired from them they thought me.

“I started buying used items with some of my pocket money and trading them at higher prices online.
“As we all know, the prices of goods and services are increasing and so is that of used items.

“This was and is still my survival means till date while in school.
“God help us.”

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Economic downturn: We’ll not abandon Nigeria, Says ExxonMobil

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By Kayode Sanni-Arewa

The Managing Director, ExxonMobil Nigeria, Shane Harris, has declared that the oil major is not leaving Nigeria as claimed in some quarters, particularly after the oil firm’s proposed divestment of a 100 per cent interest in Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited to Seplat Energy Offshore Limited.

Harris, who disclosed this at a meeting with the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, in Abuja, stated that ExxonMobil is currently carrying out new investments in the oil and gas sector in Nigeria.

The Special Assistant on Media and Communications to the petroleum minister, Nneamaka Okafor, disclosed this in a statement issued in Abuja on Monday.

“During the meeting, Mr Harris hinted at significant new investments that ExxonMobil is injecting into Nigeria’s energy sector.

“He expressed confidence in the renewed relationship between ExxonMobil and the Nigerian government, assuring the government that the oil giant is not planning to leave Nigeria,” the statement read.

It further quoted the ExxonMobil boss as saying, “We are excited about the prospects these new investments bring. Our partnership with the Nigerian government is crucial for sustainable growth, and we look forward to continuing our collaboration as we have no plan to leave.

On his part, Lokpobiri reaffirmed the Federal Government’s commitment to enhancing production and fostering a conducive environment for investors in the energy sector.

He highlighted the ministry’s focus on creating collaborations and sharing innovative ideas with international oil companies, stating that “we are dedicated to ramping up production and ensuring a supportive environment for all investors by doing everything possible to maintain investor confidence in our country.”

Lokpobiri commended the ExxonMobil team for their commitment in the Nigerian oil and gas sector, noting that it aligned perfectly with the nation’s objectives.

“ExxonMobil’s planned investments are commendable and greatly appreciated. This renewed relationship is a testament to the mutual goals we share for the future of our energy sector,” the minister stated.

The statement added that the discussions by both parties also touched on the ministry’s support for international and independent oil operators.

Lokpobiri assured Harris of the government’s support, emphasising the importance of creating a thriving environment for all stakeholders.

We fully support ExxonMobil and other lOCs, just as we do with independent operators. Our collaborative efforts are key to the sustainable growth of our energy sector,” he stated.

On May 31, 2024, The reported that Nigeria might add 480,000 barrels to its daily crude oil output as the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited and ExxonMobil took a step towards resolving the disagreement surrounding the sale of the latter’s asset to Seplat Energy.

The report stated that NNPC confirmed it had signed a settlement agreement with ExxonMobil companies in Nigeria over the proposed divestment of a 100 per cent interest in Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited to Seplat Energy Offshore Limited.

This was after President Bola Tinubu announced his intervention in the debacle between NNPC and ExxonMobil hindering the sale of the assets to Seplat.

Lokpobiri said recently that Nigeria had lost about $30bn in the past two and a half years as a result of the unsuccessful divestment.

The minister expressed concerns that Nigeria was losing about 480,000 barrels of crude oil per day due to the Seplat/ExxonMobil crisis.

He said the asset was producing about 600,000bpd until the crisis began in 2022, saying the nation was losing millions of dollars daily.

The reported earlier that ExxonMobil and Seplat Energy had in 2022 announced a $1.6bn sales agreement deal that would see Seplat purchase ExxonMobil’s complete shares in the NNPC.

However, just when all hopes were high for the completion of the deal, a letter dated May 16, 2022, by the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission to ExxonMobil, stated that the deal could no longer hold because NNPC had exercised its right of pre-emption first refusal on the assets.

Right of pre-emption is a legal right to parties in a joint venture to be the first to be considered for any planned sale or takeover of assets in the JVs if either party chooses to trade them off.

According to reports, NNPC objected to the sale of ExxonMobil’s equity to Seplat and insisted on exercising its first refusal right after which the company reportedly made an offer above $1.6bn to ExxonMobil

But after about two years of litigation, there seems to be an end in sight to the crisis.

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Another good Nigerian pilgrim returns lost €1,750 pounds in Hajj

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By Kayode Sanni-Arewa

Another good Nigerian pilgrim, Muhammad Na’Allah from Gumi Local Government Area of Zamfara state has returned the sum of €1,750 (One thousand seven hundred and fifty euros) which he found at the Haram in Makkah to the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) for onward delivery to the owner

Gumi, was accompanied to the Hajj Commission office in Ummuljud, Makkah by officials of the Zamfara State Pilgrims Welfare Board.

Receiving the Money, the Chairman/CEO of NAHCON, Malam Jalal Ahmad Arabi praised the Pilgrim, saying the gesture symbolizes the name of the Pilgrim “Na’Allah” which demonstrated the Pilgrim’s closeness to Allah.

“This shows his pilgrimage has positively impacted his personal character, behavior and attitude,” he said.

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NIN: World Bank Disburses $45.5m For Nigeria’s ID4D Project

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By Kayode Sanni-Arewa

The World Bank said it has disbursed a total of $45.5m to the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) under the Digital Identification for Development (ID4D) project.

According to the ‘Nigeria Digital Identification for Development Project’ report published by the bank on its website, the project is aimed at enrolling more Nigerians for the National Identification Number (NIN).

According to the apex bank, Nigeria was able to secure the funding with the passing into law of the Nigerian Protection Act in June last year.

The fund was disbursed in multiple tranches between December 2021 and April 2024 and disbursement is still ongoing.

The $45m so far released represents about 10.5 per cent of the total project’s cost, which is put at $430m.

While the June 1, 2024 deadline set for the enrollment of 148 million Nigerians for the NIN has passed and Nigeria is still lagging, the Bank described the progress of the project so far as ‘moderately satisfactory’. NIMC recently disclosed that 107.3 million NIN had been issued as of April this year.

The release of funds for the project which comprises a combination of loans and grants, was predicated on the institutionalisation of data protection.

The development comes on the hills of a recent warning by the NIMC to Nigerians, against the activities of some unauthorised websites harvesting people’s data

The websites are idfinder.com.ng, Verify.ng, championtech.com.ng, trustyonline.com, and anyverify.com.

On June 20, Paradigm Initiative, a pan-African social enterprise, raised alarm over its discovery of the sale of NINs, bank verification numbers (BVNs), and other personal data of Nigerians on a website for as low as N100.

According to the organisation, a website known as ‘AnyVerify.com.ng’ was discovered to be involved in the commercial distribution of personal and private data of Nigerians.

Paradigm Initiative added that several unauthorised websites are claiming to hold and provide access to sensitive personal and financial data of Nigerian citizens “for as little as 100 Naira”.

“This alarming development presents a major breach of the fundamental rights to privacy, a breach of data privacy rights, and poses significant risks to individuals and the national economy,” the firm said.

Reacting to the report, the commission said AnyVerify.com.ng and other aforementioned websites, are data harvesters and unauthorised to access or manage sensitive data.

The agency also denied the exposure of sensitive data of Nigerians “as alleged and reported”.

“The commission, at this moment, assures the public that the data of Nigerians has not been compromised, and the Commission have not authorised any website or entity to sell or misuse the National Identification Number (NIN) amongst all the identities stated in the report,” NIMC said.

“NIMC urges the public to disregard any claims or services these websites offer and should not give their data as they are potentially fraudulent and data provided by the public on such websites are gathered and stored to build the data services they illegally provide.

“Consequently, the public should know that the commission has taken robust measures to safeguard the nation’s database from cyber threats- a secure, world-class, full-proof database is in place.

“The commission’s infrastructure meets the stringent ISO 27001:2013 information security management system standard, with annual recertification and strict compliance with the Nigerian Data Protection Law.”

NIMC also advised Nigerians to avoid giving their data to unauthorised and phishing sites, stressing that licensed partners or vendors are not authorised to scan or store NIN slips but to verify them through approved channels.

“This poses the danger of data harvesting and comprises individual data,” the commission added.

“The Commission reaffirms its commitment to upholding ethical standards in data protection in line with federal government directives and data privacy regulations.

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