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Monday, 20 April 2020

Breaking:: US crude oil crashes to 0$ per barrel as producers forced to pay to dispose of excess

US oil prices turned negative for the first time on record on Monday as North America’s oil producers run out of space to store an unprecedented oversupply of crude left by the coronavirus crisis.

The price of US crude oil collapsed by more than 105% to -$2 per barrel in a matter of hours, forcing oil producers to pay buyers to take the glut of crude which they cannot store, as rising stockpiles of crude threaten to overwhelm oil storage facilities.

The crash in demand caused by the Covid-19 pandemic also forced Canada’s benchmark oil price to plunge into negative territory for the first time on Monday.

“The problem of the global supply-demand imbalance has started to really manifest itself in prices,” Bjornar Tonhaugen, head of oil at Rystad Energy said. “As production continues relatively unscathed, storages are filling up by the day. The world is using less and less oil and producers now feel how this translates.”

The Guardian reported over the weekend that a record 160m barrels of oil was being stored in “supergiant” oil tankers outside the world’s largest shipping ports, including the US Gulf, following the deepest fall in oil demand in 25 years because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The last time floating storage reached levels close to this was in 2009, when traders stored more than 100m barrels at sea before offloading stocks when the economy began to recover.

The price collapse in North American oil markets accelerated because it is the last day oil producers can trade barrels that are scheduled for delivery next month, when oil storage is expected to reach capacity.

The US price for oil delivered in June, which will become the default oil price from tomorrow, is also falling due to the economic gloom caused by the coronavirus, but has managed to remain above $20 a barrel.

In an unprecedented day of trading, the price for the May contracts wiped out all value, breaking every low for oil prices since 1946. The exchange where WTI futures trade said the contract would be allowed to price below zero. The extreme move showed just how oversupplied the U.S. oil market has become with industrial and economic activity grinding to a halt as governments around the globe extend shutdowns due to the swift spread of the coronavirus. An unprecedented output deal by OPEC and allied members a week ago to curb supply is proving too little too late in the face a one-third collapse in global demand.

Concerns over the economy, which directly affect oil demand, have been heightened by the growing standoff between the US president and state governors over whether the US can begin to lift restrictions on movement and businesses.

The heads of all the UN’s major agencies issued a graphic warning of the risk of coronavirus to the world’s most vulnerable countries after disclosing that international donors had pledged only around a quarter of the $2bn the UN requested for its emergency Covid-19 response in March.

Global oil prices are expected to begin recovering over the second half of the year as tight restrictions on travel to help curb the spread of the virus are lifted, raising demand for fuels and oil.

The world’s largest oil-producing nations have agreed an unprecedented deal to hold back between 10m to 20m barrels of oil a day from the global market from May, and many oil companies are likely to shut their wells as financial pressures mount.

Cailin Birch, global economist at the Economist Intelligence Unit, said: “US crude oil production has begun to fall in the last two weeks, and will continue to fall in the coming months as already heavily indebted shale firms scale back activity or are forced into bankruptcy or consolidation.”

Despite the historic production cuts, most analysts believe that oil prices will fail to reach the same price levels recorded at the beginning of the year before the outbreak. The global oil price in January reached highs of almost $69 a barrel in January before plummeting to less than $23 a barrel at the end of March.

Dwindling Oil Revenue: Oyo Lawmakers Donate 30-percent Monthly Income to Civil Servants' Salaries

As COVID-19 pandemic bites harder on the global economy leading to drastic drop in oil price, national revenue and subsequently about 60 percent drop in federal allocation to States, the Oyo state House of Assembly has agreed to a 30 per cent slash in their monthly allocation effective from April.

The 30 percent deduction includes both the lawmakers' salaries and other monthly allowances entitled to them as State honourables.

This sacrifice will be made by political office holders in Oyo State to ensure the regular payment of civil servants' salaries is not affected  irrespective of the economic situation of the State.

The agreement was reached when Governor Seyi Makinde met with the state’s lawmakers at government house, at the weekend.

At the meeting, Governor Makinde explained that the pandemic had resulted in about 60 per cent drop in the federal allocation and it is taking toll on the state’s economy.

Chairman, Oyo House Committee on Information and Media, Honorable Kazeem Olayanju said the lawmakers agreed to the slash in the interest of the smooth running of the state.

“Our income has been slashed by 30 per cent as our support towards COVID-19. The governor brought the idea and we agreed that effective this month, there should be the 30 per cent deduction.

“We were made to understand that the pandemic had greatly affected the economy of the country and the state as well as that the Federal Government has reduced allocation by 60 per cent.

“This situation could have affected regular payment of salary of Oyo State civil servants but the governor maintained that irrespective the economic situation of Oyo state, the salary of civil servants must not be affected. Hence, we agreed that political office holders should make sacrifices,” Olayanju said.


The Commissioner of Police Oyo State Command, CP Shina Olukolu psc(+) have observed with dismay and trepidation the persistent panicky wide spread distress calls on non existing criminal activities in several communities across the state,  but rampant in the night time in the State capital, Ibadan.

In a press release received by NUJ Europe from the office of the state Police Public Relations Officer, SP.  Fadeyi Olugbenga, Oyo State Police Command maintained that the police remains ever conscious and always  demonst6 theier capabilities, readiness and willingness to carry out its constitutional responsibilities of the protection of lives and properties.
The Commissioner of Police stated that it  maintenance of law and order and other extant laws in Oyo State is sacrosanct.
CP Olukolu appeals to the entire peace loving and good people of Oyo State to be circumspect in their persistent unverified or nonexistent criminal activities and distress calls to the Police Command on a daily basis particularly at night time.

"There is no doubt that some of the unpalatable and fear inducing, stories, videos and write ups they probably have seen or watched on the social media, whatsapp platforms and the Newspapers may have psychologically being responsible for some of these unverified distress calls mainly burn out of fear." Commissioner asserted.

It must however be noted that the persistency of such unverified distress calls have largely served as a distraction and thereby derailing the focus and the concentration of Security Agencies reaction to genuine victims who are actually in distress.

" In as much as the Commissioner of Police is very highly appreciative of the communal efforts, including that of the Vigilante Groups, the Hunters, Landlords, Youths and the entire citizenry efforts and collaboration to rid our society of criminal elements in our midst, but the introduction of panicky measures of burning tires on the roads which is a critical infrastructure, the firing intermittently of gun shots under the guise of scaring criminal elements away, the beating of the gates of neighbours in a bid to force them to join the Vigilante groups as well as the uncontrolled acquisition of dangerous weapons by individuals is an open invitation to anarchy, chaos and unprecedented, bastardisation of the security architecture."
Consequently, the Commissioner of Police wishes to appeal to all and sundry to be patient, show more understanding and get across to the security agencies via their EMERGENCY telephone numbers namely: 0705 5495 41, 0808 1768 614 and 615 (toll free) only when it is absolutely necessary. It must be noted that these telephone numbers are active and being attended to 24/7 i.e. on a daily basis for 24 hours. Hence, except where it becomes absolutely necessary, People are strongly advised to use these emergency numbers, rather than individual officers’ personal GSM numbers which are reserved for extreme cases. 
In addition, another major observation of the Commissioner of Police is the nonchalant concerns of many of our people as to the reality of COVID-19 and the subsequent rules and regulations, medical advisories and curfew imposed on the State by His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Oyo State, Engr. Seyi Makinde from 7pm to 6am. 
"I want to seize this opportunity to reiterate and remind our people that COVID-19 is real, so we must obey the rules and regulations and the medical advisories including the curfew imposed on the state", Olukolu emphasized.

"The recalcitrant individuals are hereby strongly warned to desist from their nonchalant attitudes as the Security Agencies are ready and willing to enforce the curfew and other extant rules imposed on the state for the benefits of all and sundry in our collective efforts to fight and defeat the pandemic"
The enforcement, the statement emphasized is being monitored on a daily basis by the Commissioner of Police himself.

"I wish to reiterate that the Security Agencies in Oyo State led by the Nigeria Police Force are ready, willing, determined to ensure that lives and properties in Oyo State are safe and secured, while encouraging the law abiding citizens to go about their lawful businesses without any fear or favour as adequate security have been emplaced to protect them. The criminal elements in our midst will be given a good fight and brought to justice anytime, any moment, anywhere they commit an infraction against the law. Nonetheless, the Commissioner of Police wishes to continue to solicit for a more fruitful partnership, synergy, collaboration and support of the people with useful credible and timely information to enable us serve them better".


Statement Ref: AZ: 5250/OY/PPRO/ VOL. 5/143                                         Dated       20th April, 2020.

Reported by Lashley Oladigbolu, London 

Saturday, 11 April 2020

The World Will Not Be Destroyed By 5G Or Virus - My Weep For Journaliism In Nigeria | By Owei Lakemfa


The World Will Not Be Destroyed By Fire Or Virus.

By Owei Lakemfa

A veteran journalist called me on April 4 to confirm if indeed the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) issued a statement advising government against approving the Fifth Generation Mobile Technology (5G)    claiming  it is dangerous and linked to the outbreak of Covid-19. The NUJ  also  reportedly rejected the invitation of Chinese doctors in order to avoid: “… a situation where Nigerians will be used as a Guinea pig for any experiment” I told him it was an incredible and absurd  story but that I will make enquiries.

I immediately called the NUJ National  Secretary,  Mr. Leman Shuaib Usman who confirmed the union issued the statement. I asked whether the NUJ had investigated its  claims about 5G being dangerous to human beings, or made enquiries from the National Communication Commission (NCC) about it. The answer was negative.

 I then asked the basis on which the NUJ is officially  rejecting the 5G which will have tremendous effects on journalism practice. There was none based on knowledge, investigation or research. Next, I asked the basis on which the NUJ made a link between the alleged installation of  5G masts in  China and the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic; was it based on investigation, published research or verifiable information? It was none of these. 

Then I enquired why the NUJ was rejecting the invitation of Chinese doctors to help us fight Covid-19. Mr. Leman told me it was based on the observation that while Wuhan was the epicenter of Covid-19, it did not devastate Chinese cities like Shangai and Beijing, which confirmed the hypothesis that it was a controlled Chinese virus. 
I told him that the logic of the NUJ leadership is that the Chinese should be condemned for being able to contain the virus, stopping it devastating  more Chinese cities and decimating  its population. I appealed that he reviewed the entire issue and if the NUJ had erred, it should have the courage to recall the statement. 

The co-signatory was the NUJ National President, Mr. Christopher Isiguzo who I called next. I  made my observations and   told him that he and Mr. Leman owe Nigerian journalists the duty of withdrawing the embarrassing statement which from my discussions with them is based on rumours, conspiracy theories and false news.  He listened and promised to call me the next day.

 He did not, but sent me a statement by the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) rejecting the invitation of the Chinese doctors as if that in itself justifies the NUJ leadership’s violation of the ethics of journalism. 

Every rookie journalist is taught that while comments or opinions are free, facts are sacred; that a journalist must report only facts and if in doubt, spike the report or the portion he cannot confirm.

The NUJ President followed this up on Wednesday by sending me a video of   the   self-serving rantings of a transactional pastor whose commercialization of God’s words according to Forbes statistics, has earned him a hefty $30-$50 million  profit. The pastor who could not even define what theory is, could be heard in his usual sophistry, claiming that Covid-19 is a scam; the figment of human imagination and that what is killing people is the 5G technology not any virus. It is tragic the depths people can go in order to deceive and  profit off peoples’ lives.
The NMA appears ill-informed about the Chinese doctors whom it assumes are being employed by the Nigerian government. Based on this misinformation, it argues there are unemployed Nigerian doctors, and implied that the money government is going to pay the Chinese doctors can be better utilized providing  necessary medical equipment and facilities . 

However, the verifiable information is that these doctors are being  brought  in   by the  China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC)   as part of its corporate social responsibility. They are to spend one month in the country, and to share experiences with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and not to practice medicine in Nigeria. 

The fact is,  given the titanic battle China  waged against Covid-19,  Chinese doctors are some of the most experienced in fighting  the virus, and a drowning man   is not interested whether his rescuer is  Nigerian, Chinese, Yemeni or Dutch. 

The NMA went  low  when it wrote that: “The spike in cases and the death toll from COVID-19 in Italy coincided with the arrival of the Chinese in the guise of offering assistance.” This cynical and unsubstantiated claim gives  the impression that  Chinese doctors are going around the world spreading the virus and deliberately infecting non-Chinese. In this, the NMA without any empirical evidence or facts, is accusing its Chinese counterparts of betraying the physicians global ethical code (The Hippocratic Oath) which is basically, to respect and  save human lives.

The rejection of 5G or the false claim that it is the source of the Coronavirus is like people rejecting telephone on the basis that it is the cause of small pox.

The 5G network is basically an improvement on the high-speed mobile internet (4G) which was an improvement on the voice and mobile data (3) itself an advancement on the Digital Voice (2G) and the Analogue Voice (1G) In rolling out 5G which some countries like South Korea, Britain, United States, Switzerland, Finland and Germany have done, the   approving authorities put into consideration basic issues like health, security, labour, commercial and social implications. 

The 5G will not be decided by rancorous debates, rumours or fake news. It is the logic of science, the pull of technology, demands of knowledge and commerce and the inevitability of an idea whose time has come. It should be clear to all that 5G is global and not a Chinese invention.

Bodies like the NUJ and NMA need to start thinking and discussing the likely  implications of 5G on their members. Otherwise, it would be like the introduction of the internet when  the media was dragged by the ears  into the new world. Many media organisations which could not adapt, died while all parts including reportorial, sub-editing, photography and production underwent fundamental transformation.

Many of the purveyors of fake news on Covid-19 and 5G are pathetic victims of imperialist propaganda; mere repeater stations of foreign half-truths and falsehood. Africans and the underdeveloped world should focus on what benefits their people and how they can also contribute to human development and not be cheerleaders at the turf battles   for global leadership. They should not become disciples of Donald Trump, the archangel of vicious agitation, propaganda and fake news.

I am convinced that this is  a world without end, but if  creation were to be destroyed as in Biblical times, it will not be  by water, fire or virus; it will be fake news the next time.


I have repeatedly made the point that one of the abberations of the time we live in is that we have so-called organisations, unions, etc. issuing statements which the Nigerian media just enjoys playing up, for whatever reason.

The fact is that most of these statements are personal views of a few individuals, tainted by their ignorance and biases.  In some instances,  those organisations either do not legally exist or only function as pseudonyms for these individuals.

It is a shame seeing the quality of leadership at the helm of affairs of the NUJ, brimming with so much ignorance. What is there to expect anyway?  Is the man listed as President not the same one who used to publicly front for a political persuasion? 

Shame, everything now  is politics.

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