Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Nigeria News Update: Federal Government Signs $8 Billion Deal With China; AU Asks For Removal Of Death Row Inmates; Jonathan Says Army Must Avoid Regionalism

09:55, July 07, 2010

Nigeria, China in oil refinery pact

Nigeria and China have signed an agreement to build the West African nation's biggest oil refinery at a cost of $8 billion, ThisDay reported, without saying where it got the information.

The 300,000 barrel-a-day refinery will be located in the Lekki Free Trade Zone in Lagos state, according to the report. China State Construction Engineering Corp will take up 80 percent of the project funding, the Lagos-based newspaper said.

Source:China Daily

China to build $8bn oil refinery in Nigeria

Tuesday, 6 July 2010 14:45 UK

Nigeria is a crude oil producer and exporter, but must import refined fuel China is to build an $8bn oil refinery in Nigeria.

It will be the first of three refineries under a deal signed in May between Nigeria's state oil company, NNPC, and the China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC).

The refinery will be built in the Lekki free trade zone of Lagos, Nigeria's biggest city.

The Chinese will cover 80% of the cost, and NNPC 20%, while the state of Lagos will provide land and infrastructure.

Under the $23bn framework agreement signed in May, NNPC and CSEC will also build two other refineries, in Bayelsa and Kogi, as well as a fuel complex.

Nigeria already has four refineries, but they are widely seen to be poorly maintained and only running at 40% of capacity.

As a result, the African country must currently import refined fuel, even though it is a major crude oil producer and exporter.

AU Commission asks Nigeria to halt killing of 870 on death row

Wednesday, 07 July 2010 00:00
By Bertram Nwannekanma News

THE African Union (AU) human rights body, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, has asked government to stay impending execution of more than 800 prisoners on death row across prisons in the country, pending the determination of a petition filed by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) on the issue.

SERAP had alleged before the commission that the “government’s only justification for executing the prisoners is to address prisons’ congestion.”

The commission granted the requests by SERAP asking the Federal Government to stay execution of the prisoners; maintain moratorium on execution of the death penalty, and move towards its abolition.

The AU commission’s secretariat in Banjul confirmed the decision in a letter to SERAP on the issue.

The decision, sent last week to President Jonathan Goodluck, through an urgent appeal by Commissioner Zainabo Sylvie Kayitesi, chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights Working Group on the death penalty, followed a communication filed on June 23, 2010 before the commission by solicitor to SERAP, Mr. Femi Falana.

In the request for provisional measures, the organisation asked the Chairperson of the Commission, Commissioner Reine Alapini-Gansou to “urgently invoke Article 111 (Rule of Procedure) authority to request that Nigeria adopt provisional measures in order to stop the irreparable damage that would be caused to the more than 800 complainants and their African Charter rights.”

Reacting to the African Commission's decision, Falana said: “By this decision, the Commission has once again demonstrated its authority and progressive and expansive mandates to hold African governments accountable for their human rights commitments.”

“In line with the expressed commitment of the current administration, we now expect that the Federal Government and the state governors will move swiftly to implement the orders by the Commission by suspending any plan to execute the over 870 death row prisoners in the country.

“As the Chair of ECOWAS, Nigeria has a responsibility to show leadership and good example for others in the sub-region, and Africa as a whole.”

SERAP had in its communication asked the African Commission to request the Nigerian government to:

• immediately remove the complainants from death row or any risk of execution, and fully accord them their fair trial and other human rights, pending this Commission’s final decision;

• give assurances that more than 800 prisoners on death row and in dehumanising and harsh conditions across Nigerian prisons will not be secretly executed;

• the Nigerian authorities should also give assurances that they will fully implement the resolutions on moratorium on executions by the African Commission and the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly; and

• ensure that prisoners on death row across Nigerian prisons receive fair trial and other international human rights guarantees applicable to their situation, including granting them their right to appeal.

SERAP had also alleged, “there are serious, persistent and irreparable violations of the Complainants’ rights to life; to competent and effective legal representation; to trial within a reasonable time or to a release; to trial by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law; to the presumption of innocence; to appeal to an independent and impartial tribunal, and fair trial guarantees during appeals require the Commission’s immediate and urgent attention.”

The organisation also said that “the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting (chaired by the Vice President of Nigeria and attended by 36 state governors) at a meeting on June15, 2010, decided that state governors should urgently sign death warrants for death row prisoners with the aim of decongesting the prisons. This decision is a reaffirmation of the decision by the NEC in March.”

Jonathan Warns Army Against Ethno-Religious Sentiments

From Sufuyan Ojeifo in Abuja, 07.07.2010
Nigeria ThisDay

President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday restated his resentment for all manner of divisive tendencies in the polity as he warned officers and men of the Nigerian Army to shun all forms of ethno-religious sentiments in the discharge of their duties.

Jonathan, who spoke at this year’s Nigerian Army Day Celebration (NADCEL), which held at the Eagle Square , Abuja , said that ethno-religious bigotry in the force could compromise its integrity and virtues as well as endanger the nation’s democracy if not checked.

He said: “In defending the peace today, we are faced with new challenges as exemplified in skirmishes within the nation.

“We must remember that some of the greatest dangers to our democracy and freedom are shrouded in the perils of ethnicity and religious intolerance.

“These evils threaten our very existence as one sovereign and indivisible nation.”

He admonished the topmost hierarchy of the Nigerian army to “discourage such sentiments and encourage our men to see each other as brothers in the pursuit of a common destiny.”

Jonathan commended the army for its loyalty and subordination to civil authority.He pledged that the Federal Government would do more to improve the welfare of its officers and men.

Besides, he enjoined the Armed Forces in general to continue to “maintain the high level of professionalism, which has earned Nigeria a good name and enhanced status in the International community.”

According to him, “With the high expectation from African nations in peacekeeping, Nigeria remains committed to international security and will continue to work in close collaboration with these nations to promote peace, stability and development on the African continent and in the globe.”

Jonathan used the occasion to task the Armed Forces on the need to be alive to their responsibility of forestalling any breach to the nation’s territorial integrity at all times.

He said they must be vigilant and alert to support the Police in maintaining peace at any time they were called upon.

He assured that government would, on its part, build on the peace efforts of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in the Niger Delta region by providing infrastructure development.

The President therefore called on the Armed Forces to “guard against economic saboteurs and their international collaborators who constantly plot to deny the nation of her resources and heritage.”
On the occasion, he presented 14 Distinguished Post Service Medals to awardees comprising seven retired and seven serving soldiers.

Among those honoured were the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar; the Primate of the Anglican Communion in Nigeria, Primate Nicholas Okoh; and Maj-Gen Ishola Williams (rtd).

Thereafter, he commissioned the Nigerian Army Headquarters Command Officers’ Mess in Asokoro District.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau, had in his remarks, commended the President for his “deep commitment” to the efficiency and professionalism of the Nigerian Army and the Armed Forces in general.

He pledged the unalloyed loyalty of the Nigerian Army to him and the Nigerian people at the event, which highlights included the presentation of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) commendation award to six officers and nine soldiers.

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