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Oil demand set for first fall in a decade as virus takes toll -IEA

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Oil demand is set to fall this quarter for the first time since the financial crisis in 2009 due to the coronavirus outbreak in China, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Thursday.

“The consequences of Covid-19 for global oil demand will be significant,” the Paris-based IEA said in a monthly report, using the new scientific name for the virus.

Demand in the first quarter of 2020 is expected to fall by 435,000 barrels per day (bpd) compared with a year earlier, it said, noted it would be “the first quarterly decrease in more than a decade”.

“For 2020 as a whole, we have reduced our global growth forecast by 365,000 bpd to 825,000 bpd, the lowest since 2011,” the IEA said, adding that it assumed economic activity from the second quarter would return progressively to normal.

In the second quarter it said it expected oil demand to grow 1.2 million barrels per day before normalizing in the third quarter with growth of 1.5 million bpd on likely economic stimulus measures in China.

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“China was responsible for around three-quarters of last year’s global oil demand growth. Before the outbreak of Covid-19, it was expected to drive over a third of oil consumption growth in 2020, but now we think it will be less than a fifth,” the IEA said.

It forecast a fall in demand for oil produced by OPEC while output growth by U.S. companies might not be impacted until later in the year.

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OPEC output in January sank to its lowest level since the 2009 global recession, the IEA said, as a blockade reduced Libyan exports and the UAE reined in production.

“With Covid-19 potentially hitting demand hard in H1, producers are under pressure to make further cuts,” it said.

OPEC, Russia and other producers, a group known as OPEC+, have agreed to cut output by 1.7 million bpd until the end of March to support the market.

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OPEC+ is considering holding an extraordinary policy meeting to consider deeper cuts, sources said.

The IEA said Chinese refiners were set to slash runs by 1.1 million bpd in the first quarter, with throughput in 2020 contracting by 500,000 bpd year on year.

Global runs are set to expand by just 700,000 bpd in 2020, it said.

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No Nigerian killed in Beirut explosion – FG

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The Federal Government said on Monday no Nigerian was killed in last week’s explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, which killed over 100 people and wounded several others.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement titled: “FG commiserates with Lebanon over the deadly explosion,” and signed by its spokesman, Ferdinard Nwonye, in Abuja, commiserated with the Lebanese government on the incident.

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The federal government, according to the statement, was in solidarity with the Middle Eastern nation in the period of grief.

The federal government urged the international community to support the Lebanese government in the rebuilding process.

The statement read: “The Federal Government of Nigeria wishes to commiserate with the government and people of Lebanon over the August 4, 2020, deadly explosion that occurred in the main seaport in Beirut.

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“The Government of Nigeria is in solidarity with the nation of  Lebanon in this period of grief and calls for international support to facilitate the rebuilding process.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to inform the general public that reports from the Embassy of Nigeria in Beirut indicate that, so far, there is no reported case of Nigerian nationals among the dead but the host authorities are still assessing the impact of the damage caused by the massive explosion.”

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Buhari signs instrument for African Trade Insurance Agency

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The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.)  has signed the instrument to establish the African Insurance Agency.

The President  Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, disclosed this in a statement on Monday.

According to the statement, “The Agreement and the Agency are registered with the Secretariat of the United Nations in accordance with Charter of the United Nations and is incognizant of the truth that lack of satisfactory political, non-business and business threat insurance coverage is a big obstacle to the supply of finance for investments in Africa and the growth of African international commerce and intra-Africa commerce.

“The Agency when executed will acknowledge earlier multilateral efforts made by the African States in the direction of regional financial integration via co-operation in commerce liberalization and growth in order to attain sustainable development, promote financial exercise, and create an enabling setting for international commerce, in addition to cross-border and home investments.

“Recalling the financial aims and goals of the African Union, there are a number of African Treaties on regional financial integration, together with the Treaty Establishing the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, the Treaty Establishing the Southern African Development Community and the Treaty Establishing the Economic Community of West African States.

“A memorandum from the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said that the request for the President’s signature on the settlement was a sequel to the directive of the Federal Executive Council, that the instrument is ready and forwarded for execution.

“The ratification was adopted at Grand Bay within the Republic of Mauritius on May 18, 2000.

“The object and function of the Agency are to present, facilitate, encourage and in any other case develop the availability of, or the help for, insurance coverage, together with coinsurance and reinsurance, ensures, and different monetary devices and providers, for functions of commerce, funding and different productive actions in the African States in complement to these which may be provided by the general public or non-public sector, or in cooperation with the general public or non-public sector.

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Boy tied up for two years by father, stepmothers

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A 10-year-old boy has been rescued by the National Human Rights Commission after being tied up and denied regular food for two years by his father and three stepmothers who claimed he was mentally unstable.

The boy, identified as Jibrin Aliyu, was rescued by the NHRC after neighbours tipped them off.

According to a situation report by the NHRC obtained by The PUNCH, the culprits had been arrested while the boy was receiving treatment at Sir Yahaya Memorial Hospital, Birnin Kebbi.

The gaunt-looking boy could barely walk by himself when officials came to evacuate him.

The boy was termed as being mentally unstable. However, after a few days of treatment, he was already in high spirits and seemed normal, according to a government official.

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The report read in part, “His name is Jibrin. He lives in Badariya area, Birnin Kebbi, kebbi State with his father and three stepmothers. The poor child lost his mother a few years ago. According to the information gathered, the child had been tied by his father within the father’s premises like a goat, devoid of food and water on the ground that he is mentally retarded.

“Some of the neighbours observed this inhuman treatment and alerted the NHRC Kebbi. Presently the father and his three wives are in police custody at the Divisional Headquarters Birnin Kebbi and the innocent boy is receiving treatment at Sir Yahaya Memorial Hospital, Birnin Kebbi.

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“The state coordinator, Hamza Wala, has discussed with the Divisional Police Officer handling the case about making arrangement for their arraignment before the Chief Magistrate Court Birnin Kebbi pending the completion of the police investigation.

“Furthermore, the boy will be transferred to the Rehabilitation Centre in Jega, Kebbi State for better treatment.”
Meanwhile, Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State has ordered an investigation into the matter.

The governor’s Coordinator/Senior Special Assistant (New Media), Aliyu Argungu, said this in a statement on Monday.

He said, “In a swift reaction to the discovery of a maltreated 10-year-old boy in Badariya area Birnin Kebbi Township, His Excellency Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu has ordered an immediate investigation into the whole matter (of inhuman treatment of the boy). This will excavate the causes and the failures of those whose duty is to protect both children and adults.

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“Moreover, the social welfare officials of the entire Local Governments across the state will be quizzed and investigated. This will serve as a wake-up notice to other sectors (across the state).

“His Excellency expressed great sadness and worry that young Jibril was failed not only by his parents but by neighbours and the entire system.”

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