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Oil Rises Above $68, Highest Since May 2015

Oluwatobiloba Emmanuel

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Global oil benchmark, Brent crude, extended its gains on Tuesday, trading near $69 per barrel on the back of production cuts led by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries and expectations that the United States’ crude inventories had dropped for an eight-week low.

Brent, against which Nigeria’s crude oil is priced, rose by $1.07 to $68.85 per barrel as of 7:40pm Nigerian time, its highest since May 2015, while US West Texas Intermediate crude increased to a three-year high of $62.99 per barrel.

From around $53 per barrel at the start of 2017, Brent crude closed the year around $66.87, with experts describing the rise as good for Nigeria.

The nation’s external reserves hit a four-year high of $40.4bn on Friday, according to the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The rise in oil prices means further accretion to the Excess Crude Account, into which the country saves the difference between the market price of oil and the budget benchmark to provide a cushion when oil prices fall or extra cash is needed for spending on infrastructure.

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The 2018 budget proposal submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari in November last year put the benchmark oil price at $45 per barrel, compared to $44.5 per barrel for the 2017 budget.

OPEC and allies, including Russia, are keeping supply limits in place in 2018, a second year of restraint, to reduce a price-denting glut of oil held in inventories.

The group is cutting output by even more than it promised and the restraint is reducing oil stocks globally, a trend most visible in the US, the world’s largest oil market.

Supply reports this week from industry group, American Petroleum Institute and the US government’s Energy Information Administration, are expected to show that US crude stocks fell by 4.1 million barrels, an eighth week of decline.

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“Production cuts and demand are continuing to rebalance the market. As we break through technical levels, you’re getting further speculative length coming into the market,” Gene McGillian, a market research manager at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut, told Bloomberg.

Standard Chartered analysts said in a note, “We expect oil demand growth to outpace non-OPEC supply growth in both 2018 and 2019. In our view, the back of the Brent and WTI curves are both still under-priced. We do not think that prices below $65 per barrel are sustainable into the medium term.”

Many producers, still suffering from a 2014 price collapse, are enjoying the rally, although they are wary it will spur rival supply sources. Iran said on Tuesday that OPEC members were not keen on increased prices.

Unrest in Iran, OPEC’s third-largest producer, has lent support to prices this year although output and exports have not been affected. Economic collapse is leading to involuntary production cuts in Venezuela, another OPEC member.

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There is no sign yet that OPEC is prepared to relax its supply restraint. A senior OPEC source from a major Middle Eastern oil producer said on Monday OPEC would boost output only if there were significant and sustained production disruptions from Iran and Venezuela.

The rise in prices is expected to drive gains in US production during 2018, offsetting curbs by others.

Some analysts have said a potential rise in the US shale oil production could discourage OPEC and Russia to maintain their deal to curb supply until the end of the year for fears of losing market share.

-tori

Oluwatobiloba Emmanuel founder of HitNg Ent. Certified Web designer, Computer-Internet Enthusiast. Believes in Creativity. Always Visit HitNg For Latest Naija Entertainment.

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$11.489m: EFCC rejects Patience Jonathan’s settlement offer

Oluwatobiloba Emmanuel

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Patience Jonathan, former Nigeria first lady aim to settle out of court the dispute between her and
EFCC over the strange payment of $11,489,069.03 into her domiciliary accounts has been rejected.

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TheNation reports that EFCC refused and insisted that she appears before a court and enter a plea bargain in line with the laws of the land, noting that this is the only way the court will be carried along.

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BREAKING: PDP NWC members visit Babangida’s Minna home

Oluwatobiloba Emmanuel

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Consultations for the 2019 general elections have begun in earnest as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) national leadership of has been consulting with elders of the party in recent times.

Today, the party’s National Working Committee lead by the national chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, visited the home of former Military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (rtd), in Minna, Niger state.

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Among those in the PDP NWC delegation to Babangida’s home are the deputy national chairmen for the north and south, Senator Gamawa Babawo Garba and Elder Yemi Akinwonmi.

Others are the national secretary of the party; Senator Ibrahim Tsauri, national publicity secretary; Kola Ologbodiyan, national legal adviser; Barrister Emmanuel Enoidem among others.

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Two days ago, the PDP national chairman led the NWC members to a consultative meeting with Former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.

He recently boasted that the party is re-positioning to take over power in the 2019 general elections for a better Nigeria.

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He said this during a grand rally, as part of activities to mark Governor Seriake Dickson’s six years in office in Yenagoa on Wednesday, February 14.

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Governor Yari says police failed to act on warning before attack

Oluwatobiloba Emmanuel

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Yari said security agencies have failed to tackle the problem of cross border bandits and terrorists tormenting communities in Zamfara.

Zamfara State Governor Abdulaziz Yari has accused the police of ignoring the government’s alert of the plot by armed bandits to invade communities in the state.

On the night of Wednesday, February 14, 2018, gunmen stormed Zurmi local government area of the state, killing 39 people.

Speaking on Friday, February 16, when he led five Northern Governors on a sympathy visit to the palace of the Emir of Zurmi, Yari said the state government gave security agencies gave security agencies heads up 24 hours before the attack
He said the security operatives have failed to tackle the problem of cross border banditry and terrorism tormenting communities in the area.

He said, “Whatever humanly possible that needed to be done, we as a government have done to mitigate this disaster. But it does appear that security agencies are failing in their responsibilities.
“I feel let down facing the people of this state whenever I remember the promise I made to them that when they elect President Muhammadu Buhari into power, these killings will end. But unfortunately, things are now getting worse.

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“As such, I urge you security agencies to up the ante so as not to lose this war. If you let us take issues on our hands, anarchy will reign which is not what we hope us.

“On this particular incidence, we had intelligence reports 24 hours before it happened that the bandits were grouping and ready to attack. I alerted the security agencies but unfortunately they sent inadequate personnel to confront these people from where they came from.”

In his remarks, the Emir of Zurmi, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, buttressed Yari’s submission.
He said if not for the bravery of vigilante groups who confronted the bandits, the casualty figures would have been higher.

Recalling the incidents, the emir alleged that 600 bandits attempted to invade Zurmi but were repelled by vigilantes.

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Emir Abubakar, who was said to be visibly angry, said, “They came on 200 motorcycles with three persons on each bike. Each of them was well-armed. We stationed 500 vigilante members who stood their ground and gallantly fought the bandits. Unfortunately, these same bandits turned their anger on travelers and other villagers on their way here, that was why we had 39 people killed.

“These terrorists are known to us. Their major hide-out is in a village called Kagara, very close to Bafarawa in Sokoto State, and a few kilometers from Shinkafi in Zamfara State. But despite several appeal to security agencies to storm the area, our appeals have failed.

“I need to state here that majority of weapons used by bad people in this country are brought in from this area.

I had reason to personally inform Zamfara State Director of SSS sometimes back of a large cache of weapons being brought into the country but no concrete action was taken until the containers were moved away.
“I am happy that other Northern Governors are here because we believe the solution to this problem lies in cooperation among all of you.

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“I don’t need to repeat here that we need a full battalion of soldiers here and in areas surrounding Maru, Maradun, Shinkafi and Zurmi LGAs.”
He added that the people have been pushed to the limit and a negative reaction from them will have a devastating consequence on the continued peaceful coexistence of all communities in the area.

Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima urged the people not to lose patience.
He sympathized with the victims and prayed to God to grant the deceased eternal rest.

Other Governors on the entourage, apart from Shettima and Yari, were Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto, Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi and Umar Al-Makura of Nasarawa States.

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