Daily Watch – Middle Belt crisis costs Nigeria N2.3 trillion, Trains to carry coal from June

15th April 2016

  • Nigeria will gain up to N2.3 trillion (US$13.7 billion) annually if peace were maintained in four Middle Belt states alone, three studies undertaken by the global humanitarian organization, Mercy Corps, in cooperation with a committee of Nigerian experts, have shown. The research, funded by the UK’s DFID, which is part of a conflict management programme, is based on statistical analysis of conflict and revenue data sets, household surveys and interviews conducted in 2014 and focused on Benue, Kaduna, Nasarawa and Plateau. The research also found out that Nigeria’s economy is being stymied by decades-long disputes between farmers and pastoralists in the ethnically and religiously diverse Middle Belt region. It noted that skirmishes between Nigeria’s famers and pastoralists typically arise from disputes over the use of resources such as farmland, grazing areas and water. The research also observed that as conflicts escalate, often along identity lines, they feed into a deadly cycle of retaliation. SBM Intelligence had published a report, Terror In The Food Basket, in October 2015, focusing on three of the states highlighted in Mercy Corps’s report.
  • Lekoil, an oil and gas exploration and production company with a focus on Nigeria and West Africa, has announced that commercial oil production is expected to start on the Otakikpo marginal field in Oil Mining Lease 11 located on the shoreline in the south-eastern part of the Niger Delta by the end of the second quarter. According to the update, the Otakikpo-002 well flowed oil from two upper zones during two production tests concluded on April 10.  The C5 zone flowed at a peak rate of 6,404 barrels of oil per day at a 36/64 choke while the C6 zone successfully flowed oil at a peak rate of 5,684 bopd at a 36/64 inch choke, for over 24 hours. It said production testing at the well was curtailed due to storage capacity limits on well-testing equipment. The company expects to produce 10,000 barrels per day by year end.
  • The Nigeria Railway Corporation will start moving coal freight through its eastern line running from Igumale in Benue State to the sea port in Port Harcourt in June. NRC boss, Fidet Okhiria, said, “We intend to start massive coal movement on the eastern line. We are working very hard to ensure that latest by June, the coal movement operations would have commenced.” Part of the reason for this according to Okhiria, is to significantly improve its railway services in order to boost its internally generated revenue. At the moment, the NRC moves cement freight for Lafarge from Ewekoro to the North. Okhiria also confirmed that trial run of the newly completed Abuja to Kaduna standard gauge will still hold next month. The current focus is to drive the standard gauge, that is, the track modernisation by standard gauge. We are leaving the narrow gauge of 1067mm to 1435mm.