OML 25: SPDC, Belema signs dispute closure agreement

Oil drilling in Niger Delta

By Edith Ike-Eboh

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) with its joint venture partners, Shell Production Development Company (SPDC) and Belema OIL, have resolved the dispute on the operation of Oil Mining Lease (OML) 25.

The group at the signing of the dispute closure agreement in Abuja, on Tuesday agreed that operations at the oil well would take off in the next 10 days.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Slyva, at the event  thanked all the parties stressing that the step signified the beginning of a new chapter in the industry.

Slyva said that the aim of the ministry was to ensure an oil industry that worked and operated in harmony and in unity.

“When I came into the office, the issue was one of the problems that came on the table; there were so many letters from communities complaining about the problem.

“I just decided to invite Shell to hear its own part of the story but fortunately, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kyari, had intervened in the matter.

“So, I have the honour now to thank him for this great intervention.

“And also thank Shell and Belema for cooperating to ensure that there is closure to this matter that has bedeviled the industry for so long,” he said.

He said that one of the aims of the Petroleum Industry was to ensure zero loss in the industry and production got to destination.

According to him, zero loss is not loses from pipelines but lost to the country, especially with assets that can produce but for some reasons bug down by leakage issues.

He said that the biggest beneficiaries of the agreement were not the companies but the communities, especially those in Belema who had been suffering since the beginning of the dispute.

The minister commended the NNPC, Shell and the Belema Oil for agreeing to resolve the dispute.

Earlier, Kyari said that the development was a big achievement for the corporation.

The NNPC boss said that the dispute around the OML 25 had been on for over two years, adding that  the end result was that communities lacked peace with the disruption of property and social lives in the area.

“For us, the most important aspect of the dispute resolution is that, at least, the communities will have their peace restored.

“At the back of it, you are aware that there is a complete stoppage of petroleum operations around the OML 25 and adjoining blocks.

“What this means is shut down of production of over 35,000 barely of oil every day in the last two years and that is enormous economic loss for all stakeholders, Nigeria and the communities.

“This is why we engaged all stakeholders and we are happy to announce today that the closure has been obtained.

“It means that the communities will have their peace back and also commence operations with the OML 25.

“That means that there is prosperity for the community and also some returns to shareholders of Belema Oil, NNPC and Nigeria at large,” he said.

Kyari commended the Belema Oil for its role and assured full engagement of the communities, adding that all the parties would be taken care of.

The NNPC boss also said that all opportunities found would be shared equitably for overall peace and development of the country.

He commended the minister of petroleum for his support and assured that the operations would soon commence in the area.

Also, the Managing Director of Shell, Osagie Okunbor said that the dispute had been for two years but “we are happy that we concluded on resolving the dispute.

“I want to convey my deep appreciation to the GMD of NNPC for the intervention to bring this issue to a closure.

“When dispute of this nature happens, every one suffers, especially the immediate family, recipient community not to talk of investors like ourselves.

“We have been in discussion with communities and Belema Oil and sometimes under the auspices of government.

“We are very pleased that we have finally brought this to a conclusion, to work on some agreements with communities to achieve speedy return to operations on that facility,” he said.

He said that to meet the plight of the host communities, Shell had paid in the Joint MOU account, over N300 million to restart community efforts it had not done because of some issues.

Okunbor said that under the joint MOU framework,  monies would be paid into communities’ accounts to execute projects to ensure that employment opportunities get to the people.

He noted that SPDC  remained the operator of the OML 25 but assured commitment to ensure that all parties would derive from the benefits.

The President and Founder, Belema OIL, Mr Jack Rich-Tein, also said the agreement signaled that stakeholders shared common interest and value of lifting the country high and strengthening relationships.

“What has been resolved is that, we have agreed to work together, SPDC and Belema Oil.

“Belema Oil is now going to be able to create a lot of employment opportunities for the communities under operations and maintenance part of the operations.

“SPDC remains the operators because they still have the licence, the communities will be happy because we will employ them and they will be able to work with SPDC.

“The key thing there is getting back to work and creating jobs for the local communities, everybody will be happy.”

He said that Belema OIL with 7.7 per cent asset would provide the operation maintenance and employ the community members through that platform.

The founder said that Belema OIL would work with shell to ensure that the development needs of the people were met.

“We have agreed that less than 10 days from today, we will visit the communities and appeal to them and then, we go to work,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that operation in OML 25 stopped since in 2017 when the host communities sent SPDC away from operating in the facility over issues of unemployment and underdevelopment among others. (NAN)

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Gatefield, Oliver’s Burgers launch campaign against “Shisha” consumption

Campaign on dangers of consuming Shisha
Campaign on dangers of consuming Shisha

By Emmaunel Afonne

Gatefield, a Public Strategy Firm in collaboration with an Abuja’s leading Burger restaurant, Oliver’s Burger  in Abuja launched a campaign on the dangers of Shisha consumption in the country.

Shisha smoking – also called hookah, narghile, waterpipe, or hubble bubble smoking – is a way of smoking tobacco, sometimes mixed with fruit or molasses sugar, through a bowl and hose or tube

Miss Ebiuwairo Uwagboe, Campaign and Media `Specialist, Gatefield, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that  rising popularity of Shisha smoking among young people in Abuja, and other parts of the country was alarming and constituted a major health risk to residents.

“To help bring attention to this issue, Abuja’s leading Burger restaurant, Oliver’s Burger today in partnership with public strategy firm, Gatefield, launched campaign #PipeDown to inform young people about the health risks associated with Shisha by crashing the price of Burgers for one week.

“The #PipeDown campaign aims to educate people especially smokers of the flavored tobacco product about the implications of the behavior on public health and safety.

She noted that Shisha has been proven to be more harmful than regular cigarettes.

“Smokers including second-hand smokers are at the risk of cancer and other respiratory and cardiovascular diseases”, she said

She said that Oliver’s Burger rebranded its trucks and food packaging to reflect the campaign adding that the restaurant also shared branded posters at their stands to buyers carrying messages such as “smoking shisha for one hour is as bad as smoking 100 cigarettes” and  “smoking shisha in public places endangers others”.

She noted that the campaign’s Instagram page @pipedownNG, provided users with the relevant information and facts on the dangers of Shisha smoke.

In his remarks, Oliver Naku, the Chief Executive Officer of the Burger restaurant said that the company felt obliged to ensure that customers live healthy lives.

“It is good to let customers know that this not only endangers them, but the people around them.”

Maryam Hassan, a customer at the launch said: “I have never really been a shisha smoker but I didn’t know it was this dangerous.

“This campaign will help spread awareness on this issue because a lot of people are ignorant of the dangers of Shisha.” She said

Also speaking to NAN, Mr Michael Olaniyan, Technical Resource Officer of the Washington DC based Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids said “This campaign is very important.

“There is a lot of misinformation around Shisha. People think it’s trendy and healthy because of its deceptive flavours; truth is that Shisha is as bad if not more dangerous than cigarettes,’’ he said

But Mr Sebastian Abegunde, a Tax consultant with Deliotte said, it is not about stopping the consumption of Shisha but moderation.

“I believe everything in the world needs to be taken in moderation. Shisha is not something you should take a lot or every day.

“Everything you take in excess has adverse effect in the body, like sugar, if you take too much, at the end of the day, you come down with diabetes.

“The campaign is necessary because people need to pipe down, people who take it should reduce the level of consumption, ” he said

The World Health Organisation has said that one hour session of Shisha smoke was equivalent to smoking 100 cigarettes.

The world health agency added that that people are also at risk of hepatitis when they share Shisha pipes.

NAN reports that the Nigerian Tobacco Control Act 2015 and the recently approved tobacco control regulations 2019 prohibit the smoking of cigarettes in public places.

However, this law is yet to be fully implemented as Shisha smoking in public places is still common in many public places in Abuja. (NAN)

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10,000 Nigerian girls forced into prostitution in Burkina Faso – Ambassador 

The Nigerian Ambassador to Burkina Faso, Ramatu Ahmed says no fewer than 10,000 Nigerian girls are forced into prostitution in Burkina Faso.

Ahmed disclosed this in an Interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN)  in Ouagadougou on Monday

She said the  victims of sex-trade were mainly underage girls kept in appalling conditions in Ouagadougou and in mining camps across the West African country.

Ahmed who had been in Burkina Faso since August 2017,  said  that over 200 Nigerian girls had been voluntarily repatriated this year.

According to the Ambassador,  many of the girls who were promised jobs in the country and Europe by the human traffickers are not willing to return home.

“The spate of human trafficking here in Burkina Faso is a big concern to the embassy because at present, we have nothing  less than 10,00 Nigerian girls who have been trafficked into Burkina Faso as commercial sex workers  and most of these girls are underage, most left school and are roaming about doing commercial sex work in Burkina Faso.

“This apart from been a dent to our country, it is also a sort of concern as far as their health is concerned, This is very serious to us and most of the girls who wants to go back as a result this voluntary repatriation do it because they were tricked, they did not know the condition there are going to found themselves here.

“For every Nigerian girl that escapes and wants to go back, there are more than 10 in the bush that are willing to carry on.

She said the Embassy is partnering with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) office in Ouagadougou to assist in the voluntary repatriation of some of the victims of human trafficking.

“200 girls have been repatriated to Nigeria  by the embassy , this is apart from the ones that runs to the churches , some to other Civil society Organisations(CSOs) and the International Organisations on Migration (IOM).

In fact, the IOM is complaining to the embassy that most its money meant for West Africa is used to repatriate Nigerian girls back home and they are complaining that with time, they would not be able to cope with the number.

“So if the embassy alone have repatriated 200 girls, you can imagine how many girls the IOM has repatriated and  the reason they are complaining.

Ahmed also appealed to Nigerian parents and guardians to monitor their children and wards more closely and not to be swayed by promises of greener pastures abroad.

“I am pleading with  Nigerian parents that they should know what their children are doing, most of the girls said  that their parents don;t know what they are  here  and some will tell us that their parents  know and some will say that they were sent by either their father, mother, Uncle.

“This is problem that emanates from the family, for the girls, i  wish to tell them that anybody they see that comes to tell them that he is taking then to somewhere, either employed as hair dressers or work in the shop, these are human traffickers.

Anybody that will tell them not work in Nigeria but to move outside is simply a human trafficker and they should be weary of such persons. she said

It will be recalled that the U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report (TIR) 2019, Burkina Faso is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking.

NAN reports that the Director General of National Agency for the Prohibtion of Trafficking In Persons (NAPTIP), Julie Okah Donlie while briefing the ECOWAS Parliament on the spate of trafficking in West Africa in December 2018 said that 500 girls were trafficked from Nigeria on daily basis.

She added that a whopping 20,000 Nigerians girls were also discovered in Mali.

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Ahmed bemoaned the activities of Nigerian syndicates operating in Burkina Faso, vowing that the Embassy will continue to track them down and bring the perpetrators to book in collaboration with the local authorities. (NAN)

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Hong Kong: Clashes break out after mass protesters defy Police ban (Video)


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Man encounters organ weakness after handshake in Enugu, police intervene

Ebere Amaraizu
Ebere Amaraizu, Enugu Police Spokesman

By Stanley Nwanosike

The Police Command in Enugu State is investigating a complaint of alleged weakness of male genital organ by Mr Sunday Ebubechukwu, after a handshake with a suspect identified as Anayo.

The Command’s Public Relations Officer, SP Ebere Amaraizu, disclosed this in a statement made available to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu on Sunday.

Amaraizu said that the incident happened on Sept. 13 within the Obiagu axis of Ogui area of Enugu metropolis.

The police spokesman said that the suspect, simply identified as Anayo, is also a physically challenged person.

“The Command through its operatives of Ogui Division is unraveling the mystery surrounding an alleged complaint of feeling of weakness of a male genital organ of a man shortly after his handshake with another man in Enugu.

“Sunday Ebubechukwu on that fateful day raised an alarm which attracted sympathizers to the scene at Obiagu on the ground that someone whom he allegedly had handshake with may have caused the instant weakness of his manhood.

“Thereby causing his manhood dysfunction instantly. It was however gathered that the alarm he raised prompted sympathizers around to descend heavily on the alleged suspect, Anayo.

“The suspect was said to be receiving beating of his life before police operatives from Ogui Division promptly intervened and rescued him,’’ he said.

Amaraizu said that investigation was being carried out on the incident. (NAN)

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Street protest will not change our leaders – CharlyBoy

Charlyboy: the convener of the protest

By Joshua Olomu

Charles Oputa, a.k.a “Charlyboy”,  convener of  ‘OurMumuDonDo Movement’, on Friday said street protest by Nigerians over national issues cannot change political leaders at all levels.

Charlyboy made this known in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

He said that successive Nigerian political leaders had remained insensitive to the plights of ordinary Nigerians over the years and were not moved by such protests to hold them accountable.

Charlyboy also known as ‘Areafada’, lamented that for almost six decades of Nigeria’s independence, its citizens were yet to experience ‘freedom from bad leadership’.

He said he was therefore boycotting street protests over national issues, and urged advocates of good governance and patriotic Nigerians to resort to engaging the leaders through  other non-violence avenues.

The 68-years-old activist, self acclaimed “President of frustrated Nigerians’, recounted how he spent most part of his years fighting for the rights of ordinary Nigerians.

He said that in some cases, he went to the streets to champion the fights for the rights of those he never knew.

“I have spent over 40 years of my life leading protest for a better society, and I can tell you that street protest will not change our leaders.

“My father always told me back then that whenever I see injustice, I should fight it because it may come to affect me someday too, and that is my motivation for fighting injustice over these years.

“On several occasions, I have been tortured by the Nigerian police and the military for standing up to authorities to ask questions.

“However, on some occasions, I have been regarded as their friends, depending on the sensibility of those in power.

“I am not a professional protester, so now I have decided to use other means to hold leaders accountable,’’ he said.

The former president of Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN) said that he decided to use music as a tool to inspire ordinary Nigerians, especially youths toward holding leaders accountable.

He explained that he was leading an advocacy and enlightenment campaign ‘Na We Be Government” and decided to go back to music, his age-long passion to call citizens to participate in nation building.

“All over the word, the Arts, especially music have been used to inspire people and change narratives towards a better society.

“I did not go into music for money, but for the passion of it, and this time I am using it to awake the consciousness of all Nigerians toward building the country they desire.

“A lot of Nigerians have given up on their country because of bad leadership over the years, and do not believe they have a say in the affairs of their country.

“It is time they are reminded that power truly belongs to them and there is a social contract between them and elected political leaders.

“Citizens will do their part and political leaders should also fulfill their obligations as promised in their manifesto, and as required by the constitution,” he said.

NAN reports that Charlyboy is the second son of former Supreme Court justice Chukwudifu Oputa, who had set out to become a Catholic Priest, but left seminary school after a year.

An avid supporter of Okada riders in Nigeria, he is known to have championed many protests, especially when it affects the down-trodden in the society.

In the mid-nineties Charlyboy fought for the rights of military pensioners during the Abacha-led military administration by marching to the Ministry of Defence Headquarters in Abuja to demand payment of their pension arrears.

He had also spearheaded campaigns for Nigerian widows, and was founder of the “Save Nigeria from Nigeria’’ campaign, and he was arrested alongside other activists for civil disobedience during the fuel subsidy protest in 2012. (NAN)

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NYCN commends Obiano for appointing Nduanya, 4 youths

Deputy National President of NYCN, Mr Innocent Nduanya appointed SA by Gov. Willie Obiano
Deputy National President of NYCN, Mr Innocent Nduanya appointed SA by Gov. Willie Obiano

Youth Groups under the aegis of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) have commended Gov. Willie Obiano for appointing five youths into key positions in his administration.

Speaking to newsmen in Abuja on Friday, Kenny Anwujuola, Public Relations Officer of the NYCN particularly commended Obiano for appointing Innocent Nduanya the Deputy President of NYCN as the Senior Special Assistant on Political Matters.

She described the appointment as well deserved and encouraged youths in the sectors yo work hard to take over the affairs of their states and the nation.

She added that Nduanya who has held many positions in the NYCN had served the council well, beginning from the local and State level up to his current national position.

She called on other leaders across Nigeria to emulate Governor Obiano in building the capacity of Nigeria youths by challenging them with sensitive appointment.

On his part, Obinna Nwaka, Director General, Committee on Sensitisation and Mobilization CYMS, said that Gov. Obiano has proven to be the most youth friendly Governor with the latest appointment.

He assured that Nduanya is well known for his proactiveness and will not disappoint the Governor.

Also, Alhaji Adamu Muktar, former National Treasurer NYCN thanked Governor Obiano for the appointment and alluded to the capability of Nduanya.


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How Public, private partnerships drive agricultural devt

Women Farmers appeal for credit facility
Farmers in Nigeria

By Itohan Abara-Laserian

Dr Adetunji Oredipe, Task Leader of the World Bank Assisted Agro-Processing, Productivity, Enhancement and Livelihood Support (APPEALS) Project says there are potentials embedded in public and private partnerships to drive agricultural development.

Oredipe said this during the Lagos State Agricultural Stakeholders Engagement, held in Lagos.

He said that the World Bank APPEALS project was invited to fine-tune and make suggestions that would help the state agricultural policies and strategies in the next four years.

“Today, we are discussing the agricultural strategy of Lagos State Government going forward in the next four years and in doing that, there are a number of elements that should come together.

“From the basic projects and policies that will be driven by the ministry, we also know that there are externally financed projects that will support such initiative, such as the APPEALS and FADAMA.

“We have been invited to be part of that discussion to give suggestions to fine-tune the state agricultural policy and more importantly to contribute from the point of somebody who has been supervising some of these interventions.

“We need to see that these interventions dovetail and add value to the overall objective that is being pursued in the sector,’’ he said.

Oredipe said that the Lagos State APPEALS had featured in many initiatives by the Federal Government, adding that the state had played a major role in FADAMA and other interventions.

According to him, Lagos is a place that has the market for agriculture and other items that are needed in the sector because it has the population, sea, rail and land advantages.

“We look at Lagos not only to serve as a critical state in the APPEALS project but as a state that will help us in the downstream side of what we have been doing.

“You know that the project is looking at the livestock sector, specifically poultry and rice where Lagos is doing a lot while partnering with other states,“ he said.

A former Permanent Secretary of the State Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Yakub Bashorun said that government could not work alone but there was need for a round-table to deliberate on development and way forward.

Bashorun said: “The Chinese saying that goes, nobody has a monopoly of wisdom, I think, is what is driving the state government to invite stakeholders to rub minds and develop a blueprint that they can now implement.

“On their own, they can’t sit at the ministry and think of what they feel are the farmers’ and stakeholders’ problems. The stakeholders are from the various sectors along the value chain of the agricultural business.

“They know where the shoe pinches and they will be able to tell government, this is where you need to pay attention, this is where you de-emphasise and this is how and when you do it.

“At this kind of forum, we identify partners that you can work with to deliver on the idea of the state governor to make Lagos a 21st century economy,’’ he said.

Bashorun said there were things government could do but there were things the private sector, which is where the business aspect come to play must do by themselves with the government supporting and providing enabling environment.

“However, there are areas that require public and private partnerships with multilateral organizations like the World Bank, FAO among others and APPEALS falls into this category to provide critical support to meet farmers’ needs, especially at the lowest ebb of production.

“Not big time farmers, but those struggling, and that needs a bit of assistance to cross the threshold of profitability and wealth creation,’’ he said.

He expressed hope that the road to providing a better Lagos for everyone by the Governor Sanwo-Olu-led administration would be successful.

The State Commissioner of Agriculture, Prince Gbolahan Lawal had earlier said that it had become necessary to engage stakeholders positively in the quest to improve productivity.

Lawal said that the growing population was propelling the need to achieve a potential percentage of food sufficiency in the state.

“With the growing population and the challenge of meeting food sufficiency, the state government is working hard to ensure that we produce potential percentage of what we consume.

“The government wants agriculture to feature prominently in the fourth pillar of the six agenda of the government to make Lagos a 21st century economy,’’ the commissioner said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the stakeholder’s engagement was to draw a four-year roadmap for the agricultural sector of the state.

Stakeholders from all the value chains in agriculture were present to discuss and suggest way forward to develop the sector.

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Ganduje to increase education funding to tackle out-of- school children challenge

Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje
Gov. Ganduje of Kano State

By Muhammad Nur Tijani

Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State on Thursday said that the state government would increase the funding of education to tackle increasing number of out-of-school children.

Ganduje said during the official flag-off of free and compulsory basic and secondary education in Kano, that the government would fund free and compulsory basic education with vigour.

He said that there are over eight million out-of-school children in Nigeria with one million of them from Kano State alone.

“We have earmarked N2.4 billion for a year for the funding of 1,180 primary and secondary schools with total of 834,366 pupils,” he said.

The governor said that the state government spent N318 million to provide free school uniforms for 779,522 newly enrolled pupils.

According to him, the government will also employ 3,000 voluntary teachers in order to reduce teachers’ deficiency.

Ganduje disclosed that his administration had abolished school fees in all public primary and secondary schools in the state.

He commended GPE/NAPEP for providing 790 digital classrooms, inclusive empowerment for teachers in the state.

He said that efforts of international donors would boost  the education system and called on other stakeholders to support the state to achieve its aim.(NAN)

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Nigeria assures OPEC on Crude oil production cut target


OPEC headquarters in Vienna

By Edith Ike-Eboh

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, says that Nigeria will cut down on its crude oil production to comply with the targets set by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Slyva gave the assurance at the 16th Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC),  meeting in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The Minister, in  a statement by Mr Ndu Ugahmadu, the Spokesman for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in Abuja, noted that Nigeria would continue to play its role in OPEC effectively.

“We have agreed to comply with production cuts of 50 per cent  this month  and 100 per cent from October this year,” Sylva stated.

He said that the OPEC endorsement of Nigeria was a testimony to  President Muhammdu Buhar’s efforts at ensuring that Nigeria remained a stabilising force within the organisation.

“The rest of OPEC have always looked up to us whenever there are problems.

“Recall that as OPEC Secretary General, our late Oil Minister Dr Rilwanu Lukman was highly influential and since then we have played a central role and have been taken very seriously by member countries,” he added

Sylva, who was in his maiden outing at the OPEC described the endorsement as “heartwarming”, adding that it would go a long way to spurring and encouraging the country to do better.

Earlier, OPEC had commended Nigeria’s unwavering commitment to the stability of the global oil market which spanned many years of its membership of the organisation.

This commendation came from the Chairman of OPEC’s 16th Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC), Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman.

Bin Salman, who doubles as the Saudi Arabian Energy Minister, noted that since the 1980s when Nigeria’s late Oil Minister Lukman reigned at the helm of the Organisation, the West African nation’s role had been very pivotal in helping OPEC achieve stability in the oil market.

“Nigeria has always brought commitment and obligation towards the OPEC cause.

“I always thought of how we would have crossed the uncertainties of the global oil market of the 1980s without Nigeria,” Bin Salman added.

According to him, Nigeria’s role cuts across compliance with OPEC charters as well as mediation and reconciliation among member countries over the years.

He reiterated the commitee’s determination to accelerate concerted action toward addressing market challenges and adapting to future developments.

While enjoining non-compliant members to fully observe their production commitments, the JMMC also underscored the need for continued commitment for the Declaration of Cooperation (DoC) in support of oil market stability on a sustainable basis.(NAN)

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