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Saudi, UAE back OPEC cuts as US envoy warns of ‘uncertainty’

Saudi, UAE back OPEC cuts as US envoy warns of ‘uncertainty’

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates defended on Monday a decision by OPEC and its allies to cut oil production, even as an American envoy warned of “economic uncertainty” ahead for the world.

While cordial, the comments at the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference showed the stark divide between the United States and Gulf Arab countries it supports militarily in the wider Middle East. Already, American politicians have threatened arms deals with the kingdom and described it as siding with Russian President Vladimir Putin amid his war on Ukraine.

Saudi Arabia’s energy minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, hinted at that in brief remarks to the event.

“We don’t owe it to anybody but us,” the prince said to applause, noting that upcoming U.N. climate change summits will be held in Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. “It was done for us, by us, for our future, and we need to commit ourselves to that.”

Emirati Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei echoed that defense. While saying that OPEC and its allies are “only a phone call away if the requirements are there” to raise production, he offered no suggestion such a boost would be on its way anytime soon.

“I can assure you that we in the United Arab Emirates, as well as our fellow colleagues in OPEC+ are keen on supplying the world with the requirement it needs,” al-Mazrouei said. “But at the same time, we’re not the only producers in the world.”

OPEC and a loose confederation of other countries led by Russia agreed in early October to cut its production by 2 million barrels of oil a day, beginning in November.

OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia, has insisted its decision came from concerns about the global economy. Analysts in the U.S. and Europe warn a recession looms in the West from inflation and subsequent interest rate hikes, as well as food and oil supplies being affected by Russia’s war on Ukraine.

“The global economy is on the knife’s edge,” insisted Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, the managing director of the state-run Abu Dhabi National Oil Co.

American politicians, meanwhile, have reacted angrily to a decision likely to keep gasoline prices elevated. An average gallon of regular gasoline in the U.S. now costs $3.76 — down from a record $5 a gallon in June but still high enough to bite into consumers’ wallets. Benchmark Brent crude oil sat at $95 a barrel Monday.

“I think at the end of the day, we are facing an economic uncertainty globally,” said Amos Hochstein, the U.S. envoy for energy affairs. “Energy prices have to be priced in a way that allow for economic growth. And if they are not … they will rise too high and accelerate an economic downturn, which ultimately is the one thing that will be terrible for energy demand itself.”

Hochstein declined to speak to The Associated Press after appearing on stage at the Abu Dhabi event.

President Joe Biden, who traveled to Saudi Arabia in July and fist-bumped Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman before a meeting, recently warned the kingdom that “there’s going to be some consequences for what they’ve done.”

Saudi Arabia lashed back, publicly claiming the Biden administration sought a one-month delay in the OPEC cuts that could helped reduce the risk of a spike in gas prices ahead of the U.S. midterm elections Nov. 8.

The back-and-forth between Riyadh and Washington shows how tense relations remain between the two countries since the 2018 gruesome killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi security forces. American intelligence agencies believe the slaying came at Prince Mohammed’s order.

The Soufan Center, a New York-based think tank, said Monday that it appeared “trust and mutual respect between the United States and Saudi Arabia appear to have reached a nadir” amid the dispute.

“The U.S.-Saudi relationship could fundamentally shift to an almost purely transactional one, characterized by ‘strategic drift,’ as Riyadh continues to act against its own self-interest, a move borne of spite, not strategy,” the center said.

“If Saudi Arabia again votes to cut production, it will lead to a further rift with the United States and will signal Riyadh’s growing drift closer to Moscow,” it added.

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Nigerian Man Defrauds 34 victims in 13 countries of $592,000

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Thursday, secured the conviction and sentencing of Eze Harrisson Arinze before Justice J.K Omotosho of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja for defrauding 34 victims in 13 countries of $592,000(Five Hundred and Ninety Two Thousand United States Dollars).

Arinze was re-arraigned on one count charge bordering on impersonation and obtaining under false pretence.

The amended count charge reads:

That you, EZE HARRISON ARINZE alias Charlotte Brain, sometime between April, 2021 and December, 2022 in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, did fraudulently impersonate one Charlotte Brain a purported owner of digitrades.netxxxxxxxxxxxxxx investment platforms on telegram and in that assumed character obtained cryptocurrency worth $592,000.00 (Five Hundred and Ninety Two US Dollars) from Coinbase exchange users, through your bitcoin address -333AgHuT8wAhowRBQZ2ASxxxxxxxx domiciled with Coinbase, a Virtual Asset Service Provider and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22(3)(b) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention) Act, 2015 and punishable under Section 22 (4) of the same Act.

The defendant pleaded guilty to the charge when it was read to him.

In view of the plea, prosecution counsel, Christopher Mshelia, urged the court to convict and sentence the defendant as charged.

Earlier, Ogunjobi Olalekan, a prosecuting witness and a detective of EFCC, while concluding his testimony-in-chief, told the court that the evidence gotten in the course of investigation was based on the printout from the defendant`s email, other digital currency platforms, his telegram page code named `Digi-trade, including response from banks which was in a cumulative sum of $592,000 worth of cryptocurrency as at December 4, 2023.
He added that the defendant was afterwards invited to make statements under words of caution.

Justice Omotosho convicted and sentenced Arinze to three years imprisonment, with an option of N3,000,000.00( Three Million Naira only) fine. He added that 11.07 Bitcoins valued at $461,280.70 as at December 4, 2023 be restituted to the 34 victims from 13 countries as identified.

Furthermore, the judge ordered that a total sum of N37,977,108 domiciled in his bank accounts be forfeited to the Federal Government, including a plot of land located at plot No. 34 Anioma Layout, Umuchigbo Iji-nike in Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu State measuring approximately 1380.609 Squares meters.

Arinze’s journey to the Correctional Centre started when he impersonated one Charlotte Brain, and created a fictitious investment platform, digitrades.netxxxxxxxxxxxxxx on telegram and in that assumed character, obtained cryptocurrency worth $592,000.00 (Five Hundred and Ninety Two US Dollars) from Coinbase exchange users, through his bitcoin address.
His victims are from Burundi, Cameroun, Costa Rica, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, India, Rwanda, Singapore, South Africa, Uganda, United States of America and Zimbabwe.

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Abdulfatai Adeyemi, son of late Alaafin, dies few hours to his 47th birthday

Prince Abdulfatai Adebayo Adeyemi, one of the sons of the immediate past Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Atanda Olayiwola Adeyemi, is dead.

The Prince, popularly known as D-Gov, died in the early hours of Friday at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan after battling diabetes.

His father died in April, 2022.
The Oyo prince, who was the immediate past Chairman of Oyo State Local Government Pension Board, died a few hours to his 47th birthday.

Abdulfatai was the House of Representatives candidate for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 elections.

The election was won by his younger brother, Prince Akeem Adeyemi (Skimeh), who contested on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

A family member in Oyo said on Friday: “Yes. He is dead. People are there now. They are preparing the grave”.

The Public Relations Officer of UCH, Mrs Funmilayo Adetuyibi, confirmed the death of the late Alaafin’s son, saying that he died at the hospital on Friday morning.

Adetuyibi said that AbdulFatai was brought to the hospital around 12.05 a.m. on Friday and died at exactly 3:50 a.m.

She, however, declined when asked about the disease that the late Oyo prince was suffering from which eventually resulted in his death.

“I can’t disclose his diagnosis or what killed him because it is against our professional ethics,” the UCH spokesperson said.
Another source from UCH also spoke about the death of the late Alaafin’s son.

“Fatai Bayo Adeyemi, one-time Secretary of Atiba Local Government, died this morning (Friday). He was married with children. He was reported very ill sometime last year but survived,” the source said.

AbdulFatai’s death, it was gathered, has thrown the family of the late Oba Adeyemi and the ancient town of Oyo into mourning.

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NEMA donates relief materials to victims of Tudun Biri bombings

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has donated relief materials to the victims of Tudun Biri bombings in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

Alhaji Abbani Garki, North-West Zonal Coordinator of the agency, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Kaduna.

According to him, the donation is not compensation for the loss of lives, but a token to bring relief to the victims.

He condoled with the Kaduna State Government over the loss of lives as a result of the accident.

They include surgical and disposable gloves, drip sets, cutting bandages, plasters, cotton wool, hand sanitizers, methylated spirits, Syringe and needles, among others.

The food items were; 500 bags of rice, 500 bags of maize, 500 bags of beans, 500 cartons of spaghetti, 50 kegs of vegetable oil, 50 bags of salt and 50 cartons of tin tomatoes.

The non food items were; 500 pieces each of blankets, plastic buckets,plastic cups, men’s wear, women’s wear and children’s wear.

He said that the medicament have been delivered to  44 Army Reference Hospital and Barau Dikko Specialist Teaching Hospital, all in Kaduna.

Speaking on other emergency needs of the community based on the agency’s assessment, he said the area urgently required access roads, security, schools, water, electricity and health facilities.(NAN)

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