The Police Service Commission (PSC) has suspended the Deputy Commissioner of Police and Head, Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Abba Kyari. The suspension was sequel to the recommendation of the Inspector General of Police, Mr Usman Baba, for immediate suspension of Kyari over his Indictment by the United States Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI) and an order for his arrest by a District Court of California over his alleged role in a $1 million fraud case involving notorious internet fraudster, Ramon Abbas aka Hushpuppi, and five others. The IG had earlier set up a four-man Special Investigative Panel (SIP) headed by Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of Force Criminal Investigations, DIG Joseph Egbunike, to investigate all the allegations contained in the relevant US court documents served the Nigeria Police by the FBI. A statement issued by the Police Service Commission Sunday afternoon said the suspension took effect from 31 July 2021. The PSC statement read: ”The Police Service Commission has suspended Abba Kyari, a Deputy Commissioner of Police and Head, Intelligence Response Team (IRT) of the Nigeria Police Force from the exercise of the Powers and functions of his office. “Abba Kyari’s suspension took effect from Saturday, July 31st 2021 and would subsist pending the outcome of the investigation in respect of his indictment by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States”. The statement said, “the Commission has also directed the Inspector General of Police to furnish it with information on further development on the matter for necessary further action.”

Royal Dutch Shell has launched a major divestment of its Nigerian assets, especially those in the shallow water and onshore, Thisday reports citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter. Sources close to the company said the oil giant had already hired Standard Chartered Bank to sell its Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) subsidiary, in a deal which could be one of the biggest ever in African oil and gas. When contacted, a Shell spokesman, who confirmed the talks, told the Lagos daily that although consultations were ongoing about the planned sale, they were still at its early stages. “Discussions with the Nigerian government are ongoing on the next steps for our onshore business in Nigeria. We are in the early stages of reviewing the commercial options,” the unnamed official stated. Sources close to the transaction said that sale documents were issued earlier this week and Expressions of Interest (EoI) are due by 10 September, with the vendor asking for non-binding offers in the subsequent second phase. The source said: “Shell is selling the business because it no longer views its activities in the Niger Delta as core to its ongoing strategy, which is driven by pressure from its investors, as confirmed by its CEO earlier this year. “Also, several of the Oil Mining Leases (OMLs) have upcoming development costs, which Shell does not intend to fund, one of the sources added but noted that the company will still retain its deepwater assets in the country. In May, Royal Dutch Shell’s Chief Executive Officer, Ben van Beurden, while speaking at the company’s annual general meeting, said that Shell could no longer afford to be exposed to the risk of theft and sabotage. Shell, the operator of onshore oil and gas joint venture SPDC, has struggled for years with spills in the Niger Delta as a result of vandalism, as well as operational issues, leading to costly repair operations and high-profile lawsuits. On the other hand, many people blame the company for the degradation in its operating areas in the region. In February, a Dutch court held the SPDC responsible for multiple oil pipeline leaks in the Niger Delta and ordered it to pay damages to farmers, leading van Beurden to call its Nigerian onshore assets a “headache”.

Nigeria’s refineries incurred a total loss of ₦104.3 billion in 13 months, even as the facilities refined no crude oil throughout the period, the latest report released by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation showed. An analysis of the updated consolidated refinery financial performance from February 2020 to February 2021 showed that the plants maintained losses monthly. The NNPC manages the country’s four refineries located in Kaduna, Port Harcourt and Warri. Figures from the corporation showed that the monthly operating expenditures of the refineries surpassed their revenues all through the 13-month duration. In February, March, April, May, June, July and August 2020, the consolidated losses of the refineries were ₦9.36 billion, ₦10.3 billion, ₦9.69 billion, ₦9.55 billion, ₦10.23 billion, ₦9.1 billion and ₦7.1 billion respectively. In September, October, November and December 2020, the facilities posted cumulative losses of ₦7.04 billion, ₦5.49 billion, ₦5.99 billion and ₦8.28 billion respectively. Their consolidated losses continued in 2021, as they lost ₦5.37 billion and ₦6.88 billion in January and February this year, the most recent months for which figures are available. This came as the oil corporation’s latest report further showed that all through these months, the refineries were unable to refine crude oil. Providing an explanation for this, it said, “In February 2021, the three refineries processed no crude and combined yield efficiency is 0.00 per cent owing largely to ongoing rehabilitation works in the refineries. The declining operational performance is attributable to the ongoing revamping of the refineries, which is expected to further enhance capacity utilisation once completed.” The Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Kennie Obateru, recently said the $1.5 billion rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt Refining Company had commenced in full and part of the facility would start delivering refined products by September next year.

Zambia deployed the military to curb escalating political violence ahead of elections on 12 August, President Edgar Lungu said on Sunday. Pockets of violence have been reported in the capital Lusaka, as well as northern, southern and Muchinga provinces where supporters of the governing Patriotic Front (PF) and the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) have clashed using machetes, axes, slashers, catapults and other objects. Two supporters of the governing party were hacked to death with machetes on Friday by attackers suspected to be members of the main opposition party, police said. Four people were arrested in connection with the killings. “In order to curb the political violence we have witnessed in the past two days, I have allowed the Zambia Army, Zambia Air Force and Zambia National Service to help the Zambia police in dealing with the security situation,” Lungu said. Even though the Electoral Commission has banned rallies because of the coronavirus, clashes between opposing political parties have overwhelmed the police. “Maintaining law and order is a daily chore of the police but sometimes they need help from other security wings,” Lungu said. Lungu said the military would also ensure that the work of the Electoral Commission, which would conduct the polls, was not interfered with. The UPND said it was studying Lungu’s statement. The government of the Southern African nation has grown increasingly intolerant of dissent since Lungu replaced Michael Sata after his death in 2014, rights watchdog Amnesty International has said in a report. Lungu, 64, is running for a second term in the August 12 election as the copper-rich country battles economic woes. Lungu’s main rival Hakainde Hichilema has been detained several times since he started contesting the top job.