China Shows Interest in Nigeria’s Oil & Gas Sector

Liu Kan, Consul-General of the Consulate General of People’s Republic of China in Lagos, on Thursday expressed his country’s growing interest in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.

Liu said that China would also depend on Nigeria to satisfy the demand of her increasing population for crude oil and gas.

“China is the most populous nation in the world and her demand for oil and gas is increasing by the day.Nigeria is the largest oil producer in Africa and ranks the 11th largest in the world.

“China will, therefore, continue to value her good relations with Nigeria in areas of oil and Gas.

“We see a great potential in our cooperation with Nigeria in areas of oil and gas in the future,’’ he said.

Liu had earlier said that China National Petroleum Corporation, China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec) and China National Offshore Oil Corp were already doing well in Nigeria’s oil sector.

The consul-general also said that many more Chinese oil companies had indicated interest in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.

Liu however appealed to the Nigerian government to create an enabling environment for the cooperation between the two countries to continue to thrive.

 

Syria conflict: Rebels release Fijian UN peacekeepers

Forty-five Fijian UN peacekeepers captured by an al-Qaeda-affiliated rebel group in the Syrian Golan Heights have been released.

A statement by the UN said they were handed over to UN Disengagement Observer Force, Undof, personnel adding that all the peacekeepers were ingood condition.

Members of the al-Nusra Front captured the Fijians last month during clashes between rebels and Syrian government forces in the demilitarized zone.

According to the Fijian authorities, al-Nusra demanded to be taken off the UN’s list of designated terrorist organisations, wanted humanitarian aid to be delivered to parts of Syria, and sought compensation for three fighters killed in a gunfight with Undof forces in the Golan Heights.

FG gets 66,402 applications for 10,000 housing units

By Temitope Adeogun

The Federal Government said it had, within the last one month, received 66,402 applications for the first phase of its 10,000 mortgages under the Affordable Home Ownership scheme.

The project, to be led by the newly established Nigerian Mortgage Refinancing Company, would enable Nigerians own their houses at low interest rate under a flexible payment package.

Findings revealed that under the housing scheme, a unit of two-bedroom apartment would be sold between N7.5m and N10m depending on the location while that of a three bedroom would be sold from N10m and above.

NgoziOkonjo-Iweala, the Minister of Finance, while giving an update on the implementation of the scheme, in Abuja, said since the commencement of the program on August 11, Nigerians have expressed huge interest in the project.

She said the applications were spread across the 36 states of the federation including the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, with 63 per cent of applicants being male, while the balance of 37 per cent were female.

She said, “As at Friday the 5th of September, 2014 (the initial closing date of the registration exercise), we had received 66,402 valid applications – with more still calling.

“That is more than 6 times oversubscription to our initial 10,000 pilot. We are extremely pleased with this outcome.

“The applications were spread across the 36 states including FCT. 63 per cent of applicants were male, while 37 per cent female.

“Eighty-nine per cent of applications applied for themselves – that is in their own name. Everybody seems to want to own their homes.”

Of the 66,402 people that applied, Okonjo-Iweala said 96 per cent of them are currently living in rented accommodation, while 51 per cent of all the applicants preferred to live in Abuja and 18 per cent in Lagos.

“This shows that almost 70 per cent of applicants want to live in the two main urban areas and there is a strong belief in Nigeria showing that Abuja is truly the centre of Unity.”

Interestingly, she said Nigerians showed that they preferred three bedroom flats/houses, with 62.7 per cent of applicants applying to acquire this property type.

In terms of employment status of those seeking to own these properties, the minister said that 92 per cent of applicants are in stable employed positions, while only eight per cent were self-employed.

The minister said owing to the importance, which President Goodluck Jonathan attached to the scheme, the first completed 10,000 mortgages will be published in the newspapers while subsequent qualified applicants will be notified.

“Once qualified or notified, each applicant can then begin to look for a home that is within their borrowing range,” she concluded.

UN urges dialogue to end Libyan violence

By Temitope Adeogun

The UN special envoy to Libya on Thursday requested all warring parties to cease fire, reiterating the need for dialogue to end the current crisis.

Bernardino Leon, the Head of the UN Support Mission in Libya, said “using force to achieve political goals was unacceptable and that warring groups should be mindful of international law.’’

According to him, the current crisis in Libya is complicated, since the country is now juggling two governments and parliaments.

He called for dialogue among rival parties for the formation of an inclusive government that represents all Libyans.

Since May, the oil-rich country has been engulfed in bloody clashes between armed Islamist groups and pro-secular militia.

The conflict has spread to major cities like Benghazi, Gharyan and Zawiya, in addition to Tripoli, the capital.

The Islamist armed alliance Libya Dawn, which achieved a series of military progress lately in Tripoli, backs the former parliament, the General National Congress, to resume power against the newly elected one.

The UN envoy arrived in Tripoli on Wednesday and held a series of discussions with influential political actors.

Leon voiced support for the new parliament, saying it is the sole legitimate authority and representative in Libya.

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