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WE ARE REFORMING, INCREASING POLICE RECRUITMENT, IMPROVING SECURITY & UNRELENTING IN FIGHTING TERRORISM, BANDITRY, CRIMINALITY, SAYS PRESIDENT BUHARI

President was represented by VP Osinbajo at NDDC donated Police Barracks commissioning in Rivers State

*Adds: Commissioning part of our efforts to improve livelihood of officers, peace, prosperity and development of Niger Delta

*Urges NDDC to execute projects that will benefit the people of Niger Delta

 

In line with ongoing reforms of the Police and efforts towards improving the nation’s security architecture, President Muhammadu Buhari has restated his administration’s commitment to provide various platforms for all the security agencies in the fight against terrorism, banditry, and all forms of criminality.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, who represented the President and also delivered the remarks on his behalf, stated this today at the official commissioning ceremony of the Special Protection Unit (SPU) Base 6 barracks of the Nigerian Police, at Omagwa, in Rivers State.

The President added that the event is part of the Administration’ efforts to improve the lives and livelihoods of our police officers, and also improve peace and security efforts in the Niger Delta region.

Speaking on behalf of the President, Prof. Osinbajo stated that, “today’s event meets two objectives. First, it is an important part of our efforts to improve the lives and livelihoods of our police officers and it is also another important milestone in my administration’s pursuit of the peace, prosperity and development of the Niger Delta.

“We recognize that establishing adequate security is absolutely integral to the fulfillment of this objective which is why we have committed significant resources to projects such as we are about to commission.”

Highlighting the Administration ongoing Police reforms, the President noted that the Police Force was a crucial component of the country’s law enforcement architecture.

He said, “they are the civil force, the closest to the people in the various communities. In the past months we have been undertaking a major reform of the Police.

“First we believe that we must increase the number of police personnel. So, we have set yearly recruitment targets. We also are in the process of re-equipping our personnel, both in personal gear and hardware. An important feature of the reform is accommodation for men and officers.

“I have directed that the building of barracks for men should be done in collaboration with the social housing effort of the Family Homes Fund. This will ensure speed in execution.

“Funding of the police force remains a huge challenge. Which is why we worked with the National Assembly to enact the Police Trust Fund Act. We are also looking at other measures to improve funding for the Police.”

According to the President, “This project is important because it is a means by which we can alleviate the accommodation challenges of senior security personnel posted to Rivers State and ultimately enhance the security footprint in the region.

“The cumulative impact of this and other similar projects will be the improvement of security in the state and the consolidation of the economic and social life of the people of the area.”

Thanking Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State for his warm and generous hospitality, the Vice President also commended the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, “for providing leadership and resilience amidst mounting challenges” as well as the Minister of Police Affairs and the Inspector General of Police “for their hard work and dedication to the enormous task of repositioning the Police.”

On behalf of the President, the VP commended the NDDC, while urging the Commission to execute more projects that will benefit the people of the Niger Delta.

“The Federal Government has invested significantly in the NDDC and we recognize that this outlay of resources must be justified with verifiable projects that will improve the living standards of the people in the region,” he noted.

The President added that the edifice should be properly employed for the benefit of the entire people of Nigeria.

The Special Protection Unit Base 6 barracks, which was built and donated by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to the Nigeria Police Force, consists of 66 units of accommodation for officers of the Special Protection Unit (SPU).

It also comprises a five-bedroom commander’s quarters, functional office accommodation, a sentry post, guardroom with armoury and a parade ground of the Nigerian Police Force.

Accompanying the Vice President to the event were the Ministers of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, and (State) Tayo Alasoadura; and the Minister of Police Affairs, Muhammad Maigari Dingyadi.

There were other senior Federal and State Government officials, including the Interim Administrator of the NDDC, Mr Effiong Akwa; Special Adviser to the President on Political Affairs, Senator Babafemi Ojudu; and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Ita Enang; among others.

President Buhari to inaugurate Police Quarters built by NDDC

*To be represented by VP Osinbajo

President Muhammadu Buhari will on Tuesday, September 28, inaugurate the Nigeria Police Barracks, Special Protection Unit, SPU, base 6 built by the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, at Omagwa, Ikwerre Local Government of Rivers State.

According to the NDDC Director, Corporate Affairs, Dr Ibitoye Abosede, the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, will commission the 66-flat residential quarters and administrative block for security personnel in Rivers State on behalf of Mr. President.

The project which had previously been inspected by the NDDC Interim Administrator, Mr Efiong Akwa, consists of an administrative block, an armoury, gate house, underground cell and 66 units of accommodation made up of the commander’s residence, second-in-command’s residence and 64 one-bedroom flats.

Akwa said that the completion of the project was another major achievement of the Buhari administration, noting: “When people say that NDDC is not working, you can see that it is not true. The problem is that people don’t get to acknowledge the numerous projects that the Commission executed or is executing.”

The NDDC boss noted that the project was very important in view of the security and economic challenges in the Niger Delta region, stating that it would add value to the living conditions of security officers in the oil-rich region.

Akwa said the project was part of a broad-based partnership with the Nigeria Police Force to add value to their efforts at improving regional security, adding that as an interventionist agency, the NDDC had a responsibility to make sure that those who take care of our safety were provided with befitting and comfortable accommodation.
With the completion of the project, Akwa stated that the stage was set for better days of improved and more secure Niger Delta region.

We’ll Ensure Completion of Critical Niger Delta Development Projects – Osinbajo

*VP highlights Niger Delta’s diverse human capital, cites progress of FG’s New Vision initiative for the region

In furtherance of its New Vision development agenda for the Niger Delta, the Buhari Administration will ensure the completion of critical projects it has embarked upon in the region, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

Prof. Osinbajo who was represented at the event by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Office of the Vice President, Mr. Edobor Iyamu, stated this on Tuesday at the 6th Anniversary Lecture/Niger Delta Awards Organised by Gbaramatu Voice Newspaper, which held in Lagos.

According to him, “in 2017, following my tour of the Niger Delta, which involved extensive consultations with key stakeholders in the region, the New Vision for the Niger Delta was birthed in response to the various challenges which had been plaguing our people. The objective of this New Vision is to ensure that the people of the region benefit maximally from their wealth, through promoting infrastructural developments, environmental remediation and local content development.”

Prof. Osinbajo said that the administration’s Niger Delta New Vision initiative has recorded some landmark achievements in the areas of education, environmental remediation, infrastructure and local content development, among others.

He added that “as part of the quest to expand economic opportunities in the region, this administration has promoted investments in modular refineries. The objective of this initiative is to address our present energy demands and empower the Niger Delta people through promoting local content.”

The Vice President stated that while there are several modular refineries at different stages of completion across the region, three have been completed including the Niger Delta Petroleum Resources (NDPR) Modular Refinery in Rivers State; OPAC Modular Refinery in Delta State, and Walter Smith Modular Refinery in Imo State.

He also noted the ongoing remediation exercise in Ogoni land, Rivers State, which was kick-started by the Buhari administration under the recommendations of UNEP.

According to the VP, “It is important to note that the Ogoni clean-up is the first of its kind in the history of the Niger Delta. Indeed, this is the first time the Federal Government is directly involved in remediation activities within the region.”

“We are equally committed to expanding infrastructure in the region, this includes the ongoing construction work on the 34-kilometers Bonny-Bodo Road/Bridge, which has been abandoned for decades. When completed, the project, which was flagged off in October 2017, would connect several major communities and boost socio-economic development in the region.

“The Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri Rail Line project, which was commissioned by Mr. President in September 2020, and has the capacity to handle both passengers and freight services, is connecting several communities and promoting commerce within the region.

“The Federal Government is also developing a number of deep sea ports across the region, including the Bonny, Warri, and Ibom Deep Sea Ports, among other development projects such as the establishment of Export Processing Zones to boost economic activities.

“In 2018, the National Universities Commission (NUC) approved the commencement of undergraduate degree programmes at the Nigerian Maritime University in Okerenkoko, Delta State, which happens to be situated in the great Gbaramatu Kingdom.”

The Vice President noted that “beyond its oil wealth, the Niger Delta region is incredibly blessed with diverse human capital across education, sports, technology, creative arts, entertainment, economy, and many other sectors.”

Speaking on the theme of the event, “The Dwindling State of Crude Oil Demand in the Global Market: The Way Forward”, the Vice President stated that factors such as the attendant decline in demand for our crude oil, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global energy demand and on government’s earning, the current situation, require creative and holistic approach to foster economic growth.

Noting that despite the fact that crude oil accounts for about 90 percent of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings, the VP stated that the Federal Government from inception had shown a commitment towards the creation of economic opportunities for Nigeria’s population in a post-oil future.

The Vice President highlighted initiatives being taken by the Federal Government to reposition Nigeria’s economy by taking advantage of global trends in the energy sector.

This includes the SolarPowerNaija Programme under the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) which will complement efforts towards providing affordable electricity access to 5 million households, serving about 25 million Nigerians in rural areas and under-served urban communities nationwide.

The VP also highlighted efforts by the Federal Government on energy transition from crude oil to natural gas, as well as its National Gas Expansion Programme, also a component under the ESP.

He said, “as part of our drive to encourage investments in gas production and optimize our nation’s enormous gas potential, the Federal Government declared the period of 2020-2030 as the decade of gas. To this end, last November, the Federal Government launched its National Gas Expansion Programme, which focuses on the distribution of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) across gas stations operated by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

“By the end of this year, this administration will commence distribution of CNG as part of our strategy to gradually replace the high sulfur petrol. Our objective is two-fold. First, this is the administration’s effort at managing the necessary energy transition from crude oil to natural gas. We intend to increase our domestic gas supply to meet this demand by exploiting our abundant reserves of natural gas.

“Secondly, we are aiming to develop CNG into an alternative automobile fuel as a means of affording Nigerians cheaper, cleaner and additional fuel. In this way, we will reduce the ecological and economic costs of energy. The Gas Masterplan provides for investment in the necessary infrastructure for gas transportation across the nation. All of these will basically reduce our local crude oil dependency, whilst strengthening our drive for cleaner sources of energy as a nation. And crucially, it will create jobs in what will be a fast-expanding frontier of opportunity.”

In line with the Administration’s New Vision for the Niger Delta initiative to develop the region, the Vice President noted that the Federal Government has “also invested significantly in the Niger Delta as the region that holds the energy resources that have powered our progress for six decades as well as the keys to an emergent gas economy.”

The Vice President further noted that the Administration places top priority on peace and security in the region.

“In terms of addressing concerns around public safety and social security in the region, while ensuring peace and stability in the region, the administration has, among other things, sustained its commitment to the Presidential Amnesty Programme under which youths and ex-agitators are engaged in formal education, vocational skills acquisition and empowerment programmes that offer a pathway towards productive and dignified livelihoods,” he said.

Commending the publishers of Gbaramatu Voice Newspapers for organizing the event, the Vice President said the ‘cumulative effect of all these measures will have a positive transformational impact on the Niger Delta and on the future of our nation as a whole while ensuring sustainable peace and progress in the Niger Delta.

FEC Approves $11bn For Construction of Lagos-Calabar Coastal Rail

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved $11.174 billion for the construction of a standard-gauge coastal railway from Lagos to Calabar, which is expected to link all Nigeria’s coastal cities by rail in six years.

Speaking to newsmen at the end of the weekly FEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the State House, Abuja, Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed, said the meeting approved the memo for the ratification of the president’s approval for the award of the contract for the Lagos-Calabar coastal standard-gauge railway.

The information minister said, “This is a very old project, which we inherited. Under the former administration, an approval was given, but nothing was done, but today, the council has given approval to commence the Lagos-Calabar coastal route.”

According to him, the rail project is important to the nation’s coastal economy, which is why $11.174 billion is earmarked for it with a completion period of six years.

His words: “This particular route is very important because after the Lagos-Kano route, this Lagos-Calabar coastal route, actually will link all the coastal cities in the country.

“The proposed route alignment is to go from Lagos to Shagamu, Shagamu to Ijebu-Ode, Ijebu-Ode to Ore, Ore to Benin City, Benin to Sapele, Sapele to Warri, Warri to Yenagoa, Yenagoa to Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt to Aba, Aba to Uyo, Uyo to Calabar, Calabar to Akamkpa to Ikom, to Obudu Ranch, with a branch line from Benin City to Asaba, Onitsha Bridge and then Port Harcourt to Onne Deep Seaport.”

The minister also stressed that the commitment of the present administration to expanding and consolidating on the rail projects across the country informed FEC’s approval of the funds for work to commence immediately on the Kano-Jibia rail and the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri route.

In the same vein, the council approved the acquisition of 20 per cent minority stake by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in Dangote Petroleum and petrochemical refinery in the sum of $2.76 billion. This was as hope for the restoration of the country’s four refineries in less than eight years from now was raised yesterday.

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, disclosed these at the end of the monthly FEC meeting in Abuja. Sylva also announced the federal government’s approval of $1.484 billion for the rehabilitation of both Warri and Kaduna refineries.

Niger Delta: Why Amnesty Office redesigned scholarship scheme to focus on STEM

The Office of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) has redesigned its scholarship scheme to focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, not only to align the manpower needs of the Niger Delta to present realities,, but also because the region must field its best to compete with other ethnic nationalities in the country.

The Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Col. Milland Dikio (retd.), who stated this recently when he visited the Ijaw National Congress headquarters in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, said  he was stunned by the discovery of huge misapplication of human and material resources upon his assumption office.

According to him, a quality education-driven survey he carried out on the types of schools that beneficiaries of the PAP’s scholarship scheme were sent to in the past led to the discovery of the anomaly.

The PAP boss, who noted that the humanities were also important, said, “When I came on board, I saw quite a lot of misapplication of human and material resources and so, we started asking the question: Are we getting the best for our people?

“For example, when we carried out a survey of the universities we sent our beneficiaries to, only two came within the first 100. So, if the likes of our heroes like Isaac Boro went to the best schools in Nigeria, how come we are paying good money to send our children to poor schools?”

Dikio further said the PAP master’s degree scholarship scheme would be focused on raising people, who possessed the skills to belong to “the boardroom” and participate effectively in decision-making.

The PAP Boss and his team was welcomed by the INC President, Prof Benjamin Okaba, who said Dikio had provided a paradigm shift through his style and disposition.

House of Reps pass Petroleum Industry Bill

The House of Representatives has just passed the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

This comes after the House Committee of the Whole, on Thursday, considered the report of the Ad hoc Committee on PIB and passed the bill. The report was laid on Wednesday by the Chairman of the Ad hoc Committee, Mohammed Monguno (APC, Borno).

The current version of the PIB is titled, “A Bill for an Act to Provide Legal, Governance, Regulatory and Fiscal Framework for the Nigerian Petroleum Industry, the Development of Host Community and for Related Matters.”

Among others, the various provisions in the bill seek to scrap the Petroleum Equalisation Fund and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency with a view to replacing them with a new agency to be known as the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Regulatory Authority, which would be saddled with the responsibility of carrying out technical and commercial regulation of the midstream and upstream petroleum operations in the industry.

ICYMI: Ogoni Cleanup: 17 contaminated sites certified cleaned – Minister

The Federal Government had on Wednesday disclosed that 17 contaminated sites have been cleaned up and certified clean on the Ogoni Clean-up exercise.

It also said that six water projects in the area have been awarded, while 400 Ogoni women have graduated in various small businesses in agriculture, aquaculture, poultry, among others.

The Minister of Environment, Mohammed Mahmoud made the disclosure while responding to a question from the State House Correspondents to give an update of Ogoni clean up.

According to Mahmud, “Just yesterday (Tuesday) we passed the budget of the Ogoni Clean-up otherwise known as HYPREP – Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project. It has gotten a lot of boost.

“We have a brand new Governing Council. We have a brand new board of trustees and we are Increasing the participation of union ordinarily they are technical support.

“And now we want to involve them even further by making them like some kind of project management consultant. And also we are looking at bringing in more indigenous people that will be part of this process, because what we realise is for any project to succeed, you must have the buy-in of the community.

“And so far, so good, I can tell you that project has moved forward, we have about 17 contaminated sites that have been cleaned up and certified, clean. And then just recently also, we awarded contracts for six water project, this water project should have been awarded earlier from the very beginning of the project. But we awarded the contract at about over N6 billion. Again, we’re working towards additional eight water projects that will be coming very soon. In fact, we just got the approval to advertise for that and also to go into the complex side.”

The minister added that the government was still working on the simple side of the project while that of the complex side will be coming soon, adding that it will include remediation of the soil and the groundwater.

“So the project is moving fast, we are catching up the little time we have lost in the last couple of years, especially because of the COVID also, but so far, so good,” he said

Mahmud further explained that, “There’s also a component of livelihood. And we have just graduated 400 Ogoni women in various small businesses like agriculture, aquaculture, poultry, and all that.

“And also youths that have been trained, as welders and plumbers, we have just also distributed 5000 need assessment forms for people to indicate their interest what they want to do so that they can be trained, and be given some kind of lovely, which is a major component of the clean up.”

In the same vein, the minister reiterated government’s commitment to end gas flaring in the country come 2030.

“This is something that other countries have done and Nigeria is looking at various ways this can be achieved. It’s still being worked on and this is part of the 2050 gas neutrality.”

The Federal Government had in May said it will this month award licences under the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialization Programme (NGFCP) to qualified bidders as part of efforts to end gas flaring in the country and expand her gas footprint.

The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) had last year December said 45 out of 178 gas flaring sites in the country were identified for award to successful bidders.

Why FG is intensifying Peace Efforts in Niger Delta – Amnesty Boss, Dikio

With the visit of the Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Col. Milland Dikio (retd), to Gbaramatu, Delta State, last Monday as part of his ‘back to the region tour’, the Federal Government is ramping up peace efforts in the Niger Delta.

The Interim Administrator, Col Dikio, had visited the Pere of Gbaramatu, His Royal Majesty Ogboro Gbaraun II Aketekpe, and other key stakeholders of the kingdom in the company of the Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Rt.Hon. Abraham Ingobere and top officials of the Presidential Amnesty Programme.

Dikio reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to the sustenance of peace in the region during his visit, adding that the PAP under his leadership recognizes the pivotal role of the traditional institutions and the need to partner effectively with them in peace building and mitigating violence within their domain.

“My visit today to your kingdom is in continuation of my tour to the region. I am here today to underscore the importance of the traditional institution to peace building and the mitigation of conflicts. We want to partner with the traditional institution to ensure the sustenance of peace in our region,” he said.

In his response, the Pere of Gbaranmatu Kingdom, Oboro Gbaraun II, lauded the Interim Administrator for the visit, while assuring him of the support of his kingdom to PAP to deliver on its mandate of securing peace and development within the kingdom.

The Monarch sought the support of the PAP’s helmsman to help improve the lot of the people of Gbaranmatu Kingdom through the provision of skill acquisition, employment and any other opportunities.

The monarch lamented that his kingdom had suffered terribly over the years from what he described as “failed and empty promises” from the Federal Government.

He stressed that the unfulfilled promises have made Gbaranmatu to become synonymous with crises arising from youth restiveness.

He said: “ Traditional rulers are the people that can help to maintain the peace of the region but if help is not forthcoming or promises are not fulfilled by the government, there is nothing they as traditional rulers can do to stop the people from reacting negatively which may lead to the disruption of peace in the region.”

He implored Dikio as a son of the of Niger-Delta whose track record as an accomplished military officer, a first class administrator with a reputation for integrity to ensure that the PAP is able to achieve its mandate in the region.

Niger Delta: Akpabio calls for improved funding of NDDC

The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, has called for improved funding for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to enhance the infrastructural development of the region. Akpabio made the call in his keynote address during the NDDC strategic capacity building workshop on Friday in Uyo.

He said the funding system was poor because budgetary provisions for the commission were staggered and did not come as and when due. The minister who called for an amendment of the laws establishing the agency should the need arise, added that he was determined to leave the commission better than he met it.

“The commission is broke because the funding system is poor. We must leave the NDDC better than we found it even if it means that the lawmakers have to tinker with the law. “The current funding patterns and budgeting processes must embrace good governance to achieve the best we can, while asking for more funds to carry out more sustainable projects and programmes,” Akpabio said.

The minister said corruption, weak political and institutional governance, transparency and lack of proper consultation and engagement with the communities and state governments among others, were challenges confronting the commission. “Corruption is one of the greatest problems of the Nigerian society and it also finds its ugly and devastating effects in all sectors of the polity, including the NDDC.

“The level of corruption engulfed all the sectors including government, parastatals, ministries, government officials and community leaders even the youth leaders and the NDDC is not left out. “Weak political and institutional governance in the Niger Delta has led to the misuse of public resources, poor service delivery and poor enforcement of the law. “The consequence has been the lingering restiveness, breakdown of trust, abuse and misuse of power between officials and the communities, embezzlement and attendant violence,” he said.

In his welcome address, the Interim Administrator/Chief Executive Officer of the NDDC, Mr Effiong Akwa, said the retreat was in furtherance of consultation with its stakeholders for speedy development of the region. Akwa said that the NDDC was done with its unsavoury past, stressing that continuous consultation and collaboration for effective development were the focus of the commission. He urged all stakeholders and the Niger Delta to join hands for the benefit of the people.

FG to hold National Summit on Modular Refineries – Ita Enang

A national summit on the integration of Artisanal/Modular Petroleum refinery operations in the country will hold next week in Abuja.

This was disclosed at a news conference on Tuesday in Abuja by the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Ita Enang.

The summit, which is being organised by the Office of the (SSA) Presidency in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, is scheduled to hold on March 16 and 17 at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Abuja.

According to the organisers, the main objectives of the summit include to provide a platform for key stakeholders in government, Organised Private sector and development partners for drafting an acceptable template for the operations of local artisinal/modular refining activities in Nigeria.

It also noted that the summit will help highlight “current technologies in modular refineries by local and international fabricators and research institutions, while identifying and documenting Nigeria’s potential in the fabrication of components for modular refineries.

Enang noted that the conference would help to improve the production of refined petroleum products in the country, thereby reducing their prices to Nigerians.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), He also said that the urgency of holding the conference was because the National Assembly had promised to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) by April.

“Most of the issues that will be addressed at the conference are such issues that will require legislation, so any agreement that will be reached which requires legislature will be accommodated in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB),” he said.

Enang, who said that the conference would help to protect the environment, emphasised that the summit was not for the purpose of legitimising illegal refining operations, but integrating the operators into the legitimate modular refining process.

According to him, this will stop all illegalities and create more employment for Nigerians.

He added that the summit will address issues such as the need for the localisation and advancement of home-grown technology in the production of petroluem products, as well as stopping illegal oil activities and mainstreaming artisanal petroleum refiners in the Niger Delta into the national economy.

According to him, the summit will also address the provision of employment opportunities for Niger Delta youths and Nigeria in general, and x-ray post-petroleum deregulation era and its challenges to the petroleum refining sector.

“It will also highlight the economic benefit of the sector, especially in strengthening the Naira, conserving foreign exchange and reducing the prices of petroleum products in the short- and long-term.”