Oil Price Settles At $45

OIL climbed to a five-month high in London, topping $45 a barrel after United States (U.S.) industry data showed a decline in the nation’s stockpiles.

Brent for October settlement rose to $45.45 a barrel while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for September delivery rose $1.02 to $42.72 a barrel

Brent futures gained fourth day gain is the highest price since March 6. The American Petroleum Institute (API) reported 8.59 million-barrel drop in crude inventories last week, according to people familiar with the figures.

President Muhammadu Buhari had signed into law the revised N10.8 trillion budget for this year passed by the National Assembly in June.

He said the revised Appropriation Act 2020 became necessary in response to recent developments, in particular, the COVID-19 pandemic.

Buhari said: “Crude oil prices in the world market declined sharply from a high of $72.20 per barrel in January 2020 to below $20 per barrel in April 2020, and have since remained around $40 per barrel.

“Nigeria’s crude oil production quota has been reduced as part of the efforts of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to strengthen the oil market. Global trade has generally been disrupted as almost all economies were locked down for protracted periods in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The international benchmark moved above its low from March 6 in European trading hours, closing a so-called price gap that was formed on that day, a move that traditionally leads to additional buying. Over the same period, West Texas Intermediate rose above its 200-day moving average for the first time since January.

Oil has resumed gains in recent days after rallying from a plunge below zero in April. The rising coronavirus infections have raised concerns about a sustained recovery in consumption.

Non-members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC+) is set to test the market by returning some supply this month after historic output curbs, but a persistently weaker dollar and the recovery in equity markets has helped the market draw out further gains.

“Oil prices are rising, pricing in what looks like a sizable decline in U.S. crude inventories,” said Bjornar Tonhaugen, head of oil markets at Rystad Energy.

European equities and U.S. futures advanced on signs American lawmakers are making progress on an economic aid package, while the dollar continued to grind lower, adding further support to crude markets.

A Bloomberg survey shows U.S. crude stockpiles probably fell by 3.35 million barrels last week. That would be the third weekly decline in four weeks if confirmed by official data from the Energy Information Administration later on Wednesday. American shale drillers have signaled the end of output growth, with Diamondback Energy Inc.’s chief executive officer saying there are currently no market signals that such growth is needed.

Facebook Removes Trump Post Over COVID-19 Misinformation

Facebook on Wednesday took down a video by U.S. President Donald Trump in which he said children are “almost immune” to COVID-19.

The company claimed that the post violated its rules against sharing misinformation about the coronavirus.

“This video includes false claims that a group of people is immune from COVID-19, which is a violation of our policies around harmful COVID misinformation,” a Facebook spokesman said.

He added that it was the first time that the social media company had removed a Trump post for coronavirus misinformation.

Wike Slams N7bn Libel Suit Against THISDAY Newspapers

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has slammed a N7 billion suit against ThisDay Newspapers over an alleged libelous story published against him.

The story was published in ThisDay’s Tuesday, June 23, 2020 edition.

Wike claimed in the story, titled: “With Wike, Obaseki Meets His PDP’s Waterloo, Almost,” that defendants maliciously and falsely portrayed him as an unreliable friend/person.

The suit filed at the Port Harcourt High Court by Wike’s Counsel, Emmanuel C.Ukala, said the Defendants further portrayed Wike as a selfish politician and a person who meddled in and exerts subterranean influence in judicial matters in Courts sitting in Port Harcourt to achieve selfish political interest and that he is not a true democrat.

He is therefore seeking an order of mandatory injunction compelling the Defendants to withdraw, retract and recant the said libellous publication.

The retraction is to be published on the front page (and to devote the whole full front page to the publication of the retraction).

ThisDay Newspaper is also to publish an apology in the terms acceptable to the Claimant and with his prior approval at the back page ( on the full back page) in the same edition on which the retraction is published, and two consecutive editions of ThisDay Newspapers.

The Claimant is also seeking an order of injunction restraining the Defendants by themselves or by their servants, agents, privies and associates from further publishing the said libel or any manner however and whatsoever continuing to circulate the said libellous publication concerning the Claimant.

Jay Z To Launch Roc Nation School of Music

American rapper, Jay Z is set to launch a Roc Nation School of music, sports and entertainment in his hometown.

This is following a new partnership with Long Island University, Brooklyn.

According to reports, the institution will offer undergraduate degrees in music, music technology, sports management and entrepreneurship and production.

Roc Nation announced students will experience hands-on learning while scholarships will be offered based on merit.

On top of the undergraduate degrees, the school will be holding summer residential camps for high school students and Saturday programs for students aged 10-18 years old focusing on music and sports management.

“We’re excited that The Roc Nation School of Music, Sports & Entertainment will provide unique insight, knowledge and experiences for students and introduce the world to the next generation of unmatched talent,” Roc Nation CEO Desiree Perez said in a statement.

“Our proximity in and around New York City’s epicentre of music and sports clearly positions us to offer unparalleled experiential learning and access to professional opportunities that will launch students to success,” LIU President Dr Kimberly Cline added.

“We look forward to joining with Roc Nation to offer an unprecedented educational resource that opens up the entertainment and sports world to a new and eager generation.”

Beirut Explosion: Death Toll Hits 100, Many Still Missing

Death toll in Tuesday’s warehouse explosion in Beirut, Lebanon has reached 100, with many people reportedly still missing.

Power explosion rocked and shook the city on Tuesday, destroying several houses, as the atmosphere was lit with fire and thick smokes.

It was a dark day in Beirut as the quiet ambience was rudely shaken by the explosion, with 4,000 people also injured.

President Michel Aoun was quoted as saying that the explosion was caused by 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, stored for six years at the port without safety measures, which he said was “unacceptable”.

He called for an emergency cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

Officials did not say what caused the blaze that set off the blast. A security source and media said it was started by welding work being carried out on a hole in the warehouse.

“It’s like a war zone. I’m speechless,” Beirut’s mayor, Jamal Itani, told Reuters while inspecting damage on Wednesday that he estimated would cost billions of dollars.

“This is a catastrophe for Beirut and Lebanon.”

The head of Lebanon’s Red Cross, George Kettani, said at least 100 people had been killed.

“We are still sweeping the area. There could still be victims. I hope not,” he said.

Kettani earlier told broadcaster LBCI that the Red Cross was coordinating with the health ministry to set up morgues because hospitals were overwhelmed.

According to Reuters, hours after the blast, which went off shortly after 6 p.m. (1500 GMT), a fire blazed in the port district, casting an orange glow across the night sky as helicopters hovered and ambulance sirens sounded across the capital.

The blast was heard throughout Cyprus, which is about 100 miles (160 km) away.

It revived memories of a 1975-90 civil war and its aftermath, when Lebanese endured heavy shelling, car bombings and Israeli air raids. Some residents thought an earthquake had struck.

“There are many people missing. People are asking the emergency department about their loved ones and it is difficult to search at night because there is no electricity,” Health Minister Hamad Hasan told Reuters late on Tuesday.

Footage of the explosion posted on social media showed a column of smoke rising from the port, followed by an enormous blast, sending a white cloud and a fireball into the sky. Those filming the incident from high buildings 2 km (one mile) from the port were thrown backwards by the shock.

Eulogies As Pa Ayo Fasanmi Departs

+ Governors, Tinubu, others bid elder statesman farewell

Second Republic Senator Ayorinde Fasanmi departed on Tuesday, showered with eulogies by leaders in the Southwest, the region where he operated as one of the politicians of the progressive hue.

Fsanmi died last week at 94 in Osogbo, the Osun State capital.

His remains were interred at his home town Iye-Ekiti, Ekiti State, inside the double decker tomb where his wife was buried, in line with his wish.

There was a commendation service for him organised by the Osun State Government in Osogbo, on Monday. On Tuesday, the Osun State Government handed over his remains to the Ekiti State Government at Itawure, a border town between the two states.

At the short ceremony, Osun State government was represented by the Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Mrs Funke Egbemode; Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Dr Adebisi Obawale; Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Health, Dr Siji Olamiju; and Special Adviser to the Governor on General Administration, Mr Niyi Idowu.

The Ekiti State Government was represented by the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Moji Yaya-Kolade; Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Fafure Mojisola; Chairman, Local Government Service Commission, Chief Samuel Abejide; All Progressive Congress (APC) Chairman Paul Omotosho; and Ekiti State APC Welfare Secretary, Otunba Omotayo Kolawole.

From Itawure, the entourage drove in a convoy with Fasanmi’s body conveyed in a white Jeep motorcade to Saint John’s Anglican Church, Iye Ekiti where a church service held.

Fasanmi remains arrived Iye-Ekiti around 11:55am and interred around 1.15pm.

Ondo State Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu attended the service and spoke on behalf of the southwest governors.

Governors Adegboyega Oyetola (Osun State), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), and All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu who each spoke glowingly of the late leader of Afenifere, were represented.

The funeral service which held at the St. Jude Anglican Church, Iye-Ekiti was officiated by the Ekiti Anglican Diocese Bishop, Rt. Rev. Peter Olubowale.

In his sermon, Rev. Olubowale, said Fasanmi was not a noise maker and trouble maker during his time, adding that his transition on earth corroborated that “life is not important, except it has impact on others”.

He urged the people to continually do good to humanity , the way Fasanmi did to his family, political associates and friends by making himself available at the most critical and challenging times.

“We need to be available to ourselves and be committed to God and set goals. Nigeria is in the position it is today, not because we don’t have material and human resources, but we lack commitment to ourselves, set goals, and the welfare of the people.

Urging politicians to promote public welfare, the cleric  added: “The suffering in town is much. Use the position you are occupying very well to develop humanity. This is the only way you can gain eternity, the most important reward for all of us, because materialism will lead you to hell fire”.

Ekiti State Deputy Governor Bisi Egbeyemi represented Fayemi while Osun State Deputy Governor Benedict Alabi, stood in for Oyetola. Lagos APC Chairman Tunde Balogun, Senator Olorunnibe Farukanmi, former Ekiti APC chairman Chief Jide Awe and Mr. Ade Ajayi also attended.

Akeredolu said: “Baba living long for 94 years was not what we are celebrating, but we are celebrating how many lives he had impacted. He lived an impactful life.

“He was not petty but he spoke truth to power. He lived a remarkable life and he was one politician who became Senator and came home to rest later. Let politicians of today learn how to be contented and allow this remarkable conduct to guide us”.

Asiwaju Tinubu urged Nigerians to learn from the late politician, who lived a modest and spartan lifestyle Represented by ex- Lagos State Deputy Governor Abiodun Ogunleye, he described Fasanmi as  a rare breed, who exemplified selflessness and compassion, adding that his civility and character were worthy of emulation.

The APC stalwart, who described the elder statesman as a mentor and role model, said Fasanmi devoted himself toward progressive development and democratic advancement of the people.

Tinubu, said Fasanmi’s death is a personal loss to him and colossal loss to the progressive family. “Baba died at a critical period when his wealth of experience, knowledge and wisdom was most needed in Nigeria”.

The former Lagos State governor recounted memorable moments he shared with the late elder statesman, saying: “Baba jealously lived for the principles and legacies of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo till he breathed his last. Throughout his forays into politics, he was a consistent progressive”.

Oyetola described Fasanmi’s death as a huge loss to the country and humanity, praying that God should grant his immediate family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.

He described the late Yoruba leader as an undiluted progressive whose “life, times and legacy typified the Omoluabi ethos that the State of Osun holds dear.”

He said Fasanmi was one of the few patriarchs who stood to be counted in a nation in search of politics of ideology and principle, adding that he was “a great leader of monumental significance”.

Fayemi described the deceased as one of the country’s unsung heroes, saying his demise had robbed them of a “godfather and counselor”.

He lauded Fasanmi’s contributions to the pro-democracy struggle spearheaded by the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO).

Fayemi said his government was constructing a secondary school to immortalise the deceased for his contributions to Ekiti: “My only regret is that he has now left us before the school will be officially inaugurated for academic activities when schools finally reopen”.

Fayemi in his speech entitled: ‘Tribute to a Man of Integrity’ stressed: “His death has, therefore, robbed me of a godfather, counselor, an advocate and a father. A good man has left us. We will sorely miss him but we are consoled that Baba’s entire adult life was dedicated to selfless service”.

“One legacy for which Baba would be fondly remembered was his credential of incorruptibility. He was a man of tall integrity and honesty. It would be recalled that he was the first to start the Anti-Bribery and Corruption Committee in 1973 under Brig.-Gen. Oluwole Rotimi of the Western Region.

“He would go round roads and highways to arrest police and other enforcement agencies who were collecting bribes on the roads, in his determined commitment to stamp out corruption in Nigeria”.

“Chief Ayo Fasanmi has come, he has seen and conquered. He conquered human cravings, vanity of power, ostentation, greed and malice”.

Sanwo-Olu, represented by his Special Adviser on Civic Engagements, Princess Aderemi Adebowale, said Fasanmi’s influence became more pronounced due to his incorruptible nature.

He said Fasanmi died at a time when the country was desirous of men of good conscience to offer wise counsel in the nation’s drive towards socio-political and economic development.

Fasanmi’s son, Justice Obafemi Fasanmi, who is a judge of the Ekiti State High Court, described his father as a principled man.

He described him as God’s precious gift to Ekiti, Southwest, Nigeria and humanity, adding that his simple life of openness, selflessness, patriotism and diligence made him an outstanding personality worthy of emulation.

He said: “Baba has left enduring legacy. He thought us not to promise what we cannot fulfill. We shall continue to abide by it.

The jurist called on the politicians to emulate his father’s virtues of honesty, openness, contentment, diligence and selflessness, urging them to stop seeing politics as wealth-making enterprise, but an avenue for service to humanity.

Sagay, Olorunyomi, Oyeyemi, Stolpe To Speak As Akin Fadeyi Foundation Launches FLAG’IT App

The Akin Fadeyi Foundation, Conveners of the Corruption Not In My Country Project are set to launch a new mobile and web application device designed to empower Nigerians to report corruption on October 10, 2019 at the ShehuYar’Adua Centre, Abuja.

The Report-Corruption-App, called FLAG’IT, a project initiated by the Akin Fadeyi Foundation is funded by the John.D and Catharine. T. MacArthur Foundation to further promote anti-corruption fight in Nigeria by working with public institutions to open us their processes for transparency, accountability and excellent service delivery. 

With FLAG’IT App, citizens shall be able to report and document their experiences around corruption and engage with government officials on issues bordering service delivery and corrupt practices across the country. The App also has a feature for documenting positive stories about credible and and outstanding public Officers.

Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Professor ItseSagay, will deliver the Keynote Address at the launch, while the Publisher of PREMIUM TIMES, Mr. DapoOlorunyomi,  Dr. BoboyeOyeyemi Corp Marshal of Federal Roads Safety Corps, Dr. KoleShettima, Co-Director on Nigeria and Africa Director, MacAuthur Foundation, Oliver Stolpe, Country Representative, United Nations Office On Drugs and Crime and Simon Kolawole, Founder of The Cable Online Newspaper are also billed to speak at the event. 

On the inherent benefits of institutional collaborations in fighting corruption, a panel of Discussants shall also rub minds in a technical session with the FRSC officials. They are, AjuriNgelale, Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Ramatu Umar Bako, Head of Public Engagement, OXFAM, Ademola Adigun, TEAM lead at Facility for Oil Sector Transformation (FOSTER), ChidoOnumah, PhD, Executive Director, AFRICMIL, and Auwal Rafsanjani, Executive Director, CISLAC and Board Chair, Transparency International, Nigeria.

Last September, the Akin Fadeyi  Foundation announced a strategic collaboration with the Federal Road Safety Corps on the Report-Corruption-App and expressed strong confidence that the birthing of this App is the beginning of a reawakening of the consciousness of Nigerian citizens to combat corruption. Akin Fadeyi Foundation is one of the Grantees in MacAuthur Foundation’s BET-ON-NIGERIA Project and has been in the vanguard of deploying Drama parodies to campaign against corruption in Nigeria. 

Working with the cream of Nigerian thespians, the Drama project titled Corruption Not In My Country was conceptualized to trigger a soul search and self re-evaluation as part of the processes of nation building.

In announcing this forthcoming unveiling of the App, Founder and Executive Director, Akin Fadeyi Foundation, Mr. Akin Fadeyi said, “We are trying to explore a technology-driven approach and empower citizens’ to report corruption. Through this, we hope to stimulate accountability and inspire confidence in our public institutions.  The FLAG’IT App is a valuable tool in our ambitious quest for a corrupt-free public service. We, therefore, implore Nigerians to download FLAG’IT after the launching from October 10 and work with us in demanding for transparent and accountable institutions in our anti-corruption fight”. 

Why We Sacked 70 Pilots – Air Peace

Devastating effects of COVID-19 pandemic responsible for sack of pilots- Air Peace
The Air Peace says the devastating effects of COVID-19 pandemic on its operations was responsible for the sack of some pilots and supporting staff.
The company said in a statement on Monday in Lagos that it took the “very painful, but rightful decision”.
It said that the decision followed the circumstances the airline found itself in as a result of the devastating effects of COVID-19 pandemic on its operations.
“This decision was taken for the greater good of the company and its almost three thousand workforce, the affected pilots inclusive.
“The airline cannot afford to toe the path of being unable to continue to fulfill its financial obligations to its staff, external vendors, aviation agencies, maintenance organisations, insurance companies, banks and other creditors.
“Hence, the decision to restructure its entire operations with a view to surviving the times.
“The pandemic has hit every airline worldwide, so badly that it has become very impossible for airlines to remain afloat without carrying out internal restructuring of their costs.
“Anything short of what we have done may lead to the collapse of an airline as could be seen in some places worldwide during this period.

“Therefore, we decided to review the salaries being paid to all staff. The new salaries reflect a 0-40 per cent cut of the former salary depending on the salary grades of every staff.
“Even after the cuts, it was obvious that for us to be able to sustain our operations and survive the times, some jobs must inevitably have to go,” the statement said.
The management said that Air Peace had never, for one day, ever owed salaries to its workers in its almost six years of existence, pilots inclusive.
It said rather the management of Air Peace had always been known to be increasing salaries of its employees periodically without being prompted by staff.
“In fact, in one fell swoop, Air Peace increased the salaries of pilots by over 100 per cent in one day!
“Our salaries have always been paid even before the end of the month in the last five years.

“So, we love all our staff. This decision is inevitable under the circumstances we find ourselves.
“In order to protect the continuity of the majority of the existing jobs and the possibility of creating new ones in future, the survival of the airline is of paramount importance.

“When everything comes back to normal, those pilots affected today will have a place to come back to in future, if they so wish,” the statement added.
It said that the decision was a reflection of the negative impact of the pandemic on airlines and aviation worldwide.

“We are trying times. Even the biggest airlines in Europe, America, Middle East, Asia, Australia and, indeed, Africa, are all either slashing jobs and cutting salaries in order to remain afloat or are shutting down.
“Air Peace is not immune from these challenges,” the statement said.

FirstBank Hosts FinTech Summit 4.0, Promotes The Growth and Reinvention of Banking Technology In Nigeria

 First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s leading financial inclusion services provider, has announced that the 2020 edition of its annual FinTech Summit is scheduled to hold on Thursday, 6 August 2020 by 12.00 noon. The event will be virtually held via Zoom Meetings. 

The 2020 edition of the summit, which is the fourth in its series is themed; “How Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence will Disrupt FinTech in Nigeria” and will be discussed by experts, key and leading players, policy influencers and regulatory officials in the Nigerian financial, banking and technological climate. To participate in the event, click the link https://www.firstbanknigeria.com/business-banking/smeconnect/fintech-summit/registration/ to register.  

Chinedu Echeruo, founder of HopStop which was sold to Apple for $1bn will be leading the discussion as the Keynote speaker alongside other panelists; Musa Itopa Jimoh, Director, Payments System Management Department and Aminu Maida, Executive Director, Technology & Operations, Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc (NIBSS).  

Representing FirstBank in the panel of discussants are Callistus Obetta, Group Executive, Technology & Services and Chuma Ezirim, Group Executive, e-Business & Retail Products  

Speaking on the event, Mr. Gbenga Shobo, Deputy Managing Director, First Bank of Nigeria Limited said; “at FirstBank, we have been at the forefront of employing technology in the delivery of financial services in the country exemplified by our various products and services such as FirstMobile, USSD Banking services, FirstMonie Wallet, FirstMonie Agent Banking, FirstAdvance loans provisions

 The 2020 edition of our FINTECH summit will build on the successes achieved in the last three editions. We welcome the panelists as we look forward to the shared knowledge which will be integral to deepening the continued growth of banking technology, especially its impact on the Gross Domestic Product of Nigeria and the continent at large. 

 Technology continues to play a fundamental role in driving financial inclusion and strengthening the growth of SMEs that contribute significantly to the development of the country.

We encourage members of the public, players in the fintech and financial climate to register, as there is knowledge for everyone,” he concluded.

Aisha Oyebode To Deliver Keynote At US Black Summit

Daughter of the late former Head of State and Chief Executive Officer of the Murtala Muhammed Foundation (MMF), Aisha Muhammed-Oyebode is to deliver a keynote address at the August 2020 Black Philanthropy Month summit on Tuesday, August 4, 2020.

The Black Philanthropy Month (BPM), founded by Jackie Bouvier Copeland is a global celebration, revival and mobilization of black giving in all its forms to advance black communities, with about 17 million people celebrating it worldwide.

Oyebode, who will join other notable Africans such as Graca Machel, Mojubaolu Olufunke Okome and Folake Marcus Bello at the Black Giving and Beyond Summit will speak on “African Philanthropy post Covid-19”

According to her, “with the situation of the novel Covid-19 pandemic taking its toll on Africa, and realizing that African governments have limited resources to deal with the challenges and to overcome post COVID-19, there is need for concerted philanthropic support for the continent.”

“Today, BPM is more important than ever, as the twin pandemics of Covid-19 and anti-Black racism have decimated Black communities in the US and everywhere. This global celebration and social action initiative promotes a culture of giving and mutual support year-round to buoy the spirit and capacity of stressed Black communities to recover and rebuild.”

The United Nations and over 30 governmental bodies have declared every August Black Philanthropy Month, with a combination of sophisticated social media and in-person and virtual events organized by changemakers in cities all over the world.

These convenings and every discussion are designed to mobilize Black philanthropists, social and angel investors, venture capitalists as well as non-Black allies, along with leaders of nonprofits, businesses, communities and movements to create a set of shared funding guidelines for effective Black community rebuilding.

The WISE Fund will coordinate follow-up implementation of BPM Summit recommendations and action steps in collaboration with partners and attendees over the next year.

To join the summit register through this link. https://bit.ly/FundBlackSummit

Registration is free.