Maritime University, Ogoni clean-up, Modular refineries proof of Buhari administration’s long-term commitment to Niger Delta’s development, says VP Osinbajo

*FG plans to engage more youths in region in its Social Investment Programmes

*We’re encouraged by Government’s efforts – EU

The Buhari administration, in line with its New Vision for the Niger Delta to develop it, will integrate more youths in the region in its Social Investment Programmes, particularly the N-Power and the Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme (GEEP), according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

Prof. Osinbajo said this will help reduce unemployment by creating more jobs for young graduates, as well as providing additional assistance for entrepreneurs and artisans in the region.

The take-off of the Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State, ongoing process of licencing for modular refineries and the Ogoni clean-up are indications of the Federal Government’s resolve to ensure the long-term development of the region, while it will also continue to engage with stakeholders to ensure continuous peace and security in the region, the Vice President added.

Prof. Osinbajo said this on Thursday when a delegation of ambassadors from the US, UK and the European Union (EU), led by Mr. Ketil Karlsen, paid him a courtesy call at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The Vice President noted that the Federal Government has made a lot of efforts in engaging the communities and towards improving peace and security in the region since President Muhammadu Buhari first met with Pan-Niger Delta Elders Forum, PANDEF, and stakeholders in the region last year November.

Prof. Osinbajo further emphasised that the Buhari administration’s New Vision for the Niger Delta is aimed at developing the region through its partnership with state governments, the local communities and private sector.

The Vice President noted that the vast majority of people in the region want sustained peace and security.

He said, “Our engagements with PANDEF and various groups in the Niger Delta is a continuous one; an Inter-Ministerial Committee was set up for this. Practically every other week, we are in some form of engagement or the other. The overriding motive is that of those who wish to see progress in the region. What we have been doing so far is to ensure that we meet the demands of the people for development.

“The Maritime University has practically taken off, we have placed advertisement for staff; the sum of N1 billion has been given by the Federal Government, and there is N5bn allocation for the University included in the 2018 budget. Also, a lot has been done in the ongoing Ogoni clean-up process.”

In his remarks, the Ambassador/Head of the EU Delegation, Mr. Ketil Karlsen, commended the Vice President for his personal leadership in driving engagements and the Buhari administration for its efforts in promoting peace, security and development in the region.

“We acknowledge that significant progress has been made, in the Ogoni clean-up process, Maritime University, and the development of a Strategic Implementation Work Plan for the Niger Delta. We are also encouraged by the peace-making efforts,” Karlsen said.

While adding that the EU will look at ways of providing support for the Maritime University, Karlsen noted that it was important for the Federal Government to sustain its long–term commitment in order to build trust with people in the region.

Also present were the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama and Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Uguru Usani.

Other representatives of the EU at the meeting include the French Ambassador, Denys Gaver; Italian Ambassador, Stefano Pontesilli; Netherlands Ambassador, Robert Petri; German Deputy Ambassador, Regina Hess; EU Deputy Head of Delegation, Richard Young; as well as British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright; and the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington.

Fact Sheet on Buhari Administration’s Niger Delta New Vision

The Buhari administration, in line with its New Vision for the Niger Delta (#NDNewVision), is working hard to ensure that the people of the region benefit maximally from the wealth of their land.

So far, the Buhari administration has also taken actions to underscore its commitment to the people of the region.

These include:

  • Increased Budgetary Allocation to Niger Delta Ministry and NDDC
  • Take-off of Maritime University in Delta State
  • Commencement of Ogoni Clean-up
  • Investments in Infrastructure: Bonny-Bodo Road and Ibaka Deep Sea Port
  • Approval for establishment of Export Processing Zone in Delta State
  • Approval for establishment of Modular Refineries
  • Presidential Amnesty Programme

INCREASED BUDGETARY ALLOCATION:

  • N71.20 billion allocated in the 2018 Budget for the Niger Delta Development Commission
  • N53.89 billion allocated in the 2018 Budget for the Ministry of Niger Delta, up from the N34.20 billion provided in 2017

 

MARITIME UNIVERSITY, DELTA STATE:

  • The new Maritime University in Okerenkoko, Delta State, has now commenced operations, inviting job applications for academic staff.
  • President Muhammadu Buhari administration recently approved an increase in the take-off grant from the N2bn earlier announced to N5bn. This sum was included in the 2018 budget presented to the National Assembly earlier this week, under the Federal Ministry of Education allocation.
  • Academic activities are expected to start in the University soon following the completion of the hiring process for professors, readers, senior lecturers, lecturers, assistant, assistant lecturers and graduate assistants to teach in the faculties of Science, Maritime Transportation, Maritime Engineering and Technology, Maritime Environmental Management and General Studies.
  • The take-off of the Maritime University was one of the major requests tabled before the Federal Government when the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, went on a series of tour to all the Niger Delta states during the year, following President Buhari’s meeting with leaders of Pan Niger Delta Elders Forum (PANDEF) last November.

OGONI CLEAN-UP: 

  • In June 2016, the Buhari administration started the implementation of the 2011 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on Ogoniland devastated by decades of oil spills.
  • An Inter-Ministerial committee on Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPREP) (under the Federal Ministry of Environment) was established.
  • HYPREP has since set up structures in place for the final take off of clean-up and restoration of the region devastated by oil spills. This shows the commitment of the FG to restore the region.
  • 8 Companies engaged to conduct Demonstration Clean-up Exercises in the 4 Local Government Areas of Ogoni Land, to enable HYPREP select the best and most suitable technology for the remediation work. These Demonstrations were recently concluded; the results are being studied by the Governing Council of the Ogoni Clean-up Project.
  • HYPREP has also trained 15 indigenous Ogoni scientists on environmental assessment remediation.
  • HYPREP assessed existing water facilities in Ogoni land in line with the UNEP recommendation report that potable water be provided for Ogoni following pollution of water sources in region by oil spills.
  • Health impact assessment study to be done to ascertain whether there is a link between some disease patterns and oil pollution in the affected communities.
  • Bids have been invited for consultancy on provision of water, health study and environmental remediation.

 

INFRASTRUCTURE

Investment in Ibaka Deep Sea Port: 

  • The Federal Government has budgeted N1 billion towards the development of Ibaka seaport in Akwa Ibom.

Investment in Bonny-Bodo Road Project:

  • The N120 billion Bonny-Bodo road project was flagged-off in October 2017 by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN. The 34-kilometre road project, linking Bonny Island to the mainland was first mooted about 40 years ago.
  • The Bonny-Bodo bridge and road project is a Public Private Partnership arrangement jointly funded by Nigeria LNG and the Federal Government, in which the Federal Government and the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company Limited (NLNG) will each bear 50 percent of the N120.6 billion that it will cost to complete the project.
  • When completed, the 34-kilometres road would connect several major communities in the Niger Delta region and boost socio-economic development and improve the lives of people in the Niger Delta region.

 

EXPORT PROCESSING ZONE (EPZ):

  • The Federal Government approved the establishment of the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) comprising the Gas City Project at Ogidigben, and the Deep Seaport in Gbaramatu, Warri South-West local government area, Delta State.
  • When fully operational, these projects are expected to boost socio-economic activities and improve the security landscape of the Niger Delta region.

 

MODULAR REFINERIES:

  • The objectives of establishing modular refineries in the Niger Delta region include the following: to create a robust domestic refining sector necessary to meet and exceed the full capacity of national demand, address the proliferation of illegal refineries in the Niger Delta, and attendant environmental degradation, and to provide jobs for unemployed youths in the region.
  • 13 out of 35 applications have reached what is known as the LTC (License to Construct) stage.
  • Two out of these 13 refineries are almost ready for shipment. Consideration for Customs duty waiver and some form of tax holiday also underway.
  • Government is also working with Nigerian Sovereign Wealth Fund (NSWF), Bank of Industry (BOI), AfrExim Bank, and Nigerian Content Development Management Board to address the issue of lack of financial capacity on the part of the local partners (Local partners are expected to come up with a minimum of 15% of cost as counterpart funding).

 

PRESIDENTIAL AMNESTY PROGRAMME (PAP):

  • The Presidential Amnesty Programme engages ex-militants and youths from the impacted communities in formal education, vocational skills acquisition and empowerment schemes.
  • The 2018 budgetary allocation for the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme is N65 billion.
  • 21,615 beneficiaries have so far been trained, out of which 4,079 have been empowered.
  • PAP has empowered 4,079 ex-militants through the establishment of businesses such as agriculture (cluster farms). 3,237 ex-militants are in various stages of Vocational Training and University Scholarship Programmes.
  • The Amnesty Office has initiated the training of 10,000 beneficiaries in modern agriculture and established them into 10,000-hectare cluster farms in the nine (9) Niger Delta States.
  • PAP modern agricultural schemes are projected to create 80,000 new jobs in three years

 

Maritime University takes off, grant raised to N5B in 2018 budget

*President approves immediate release of another N1B

Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State, has now commenced operations, inviting job applications for academic staff, just as President Muhammadu Buhari has approved a significant increase of the take-off grant from N2B earlier announced to N5B.

The Hon. Minister of Niger Delta, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, in a statement, said the grant has already been included in the 2018 budget presented to the National Assembly earlier this week, under the Federal Ministry of Education allocation, superseding the previous provision of N2B for the university.

Ongoing construction work at the Nigeria Maritime University, Okerenkoko

 

Usani further said, “The presidential approval for the N5B budget allocation was based on the recommendation of a committee in the Ministry of Education tasked with the activation of the university.

“Besides, President Muhammadu Buhari has also approved an immediate release of N1B to the university to support essential infrastructure works and staff recruitment. This release is separate from the N5B allocated in the 2018 budget submitted to the National Assembly.

“Recently, the Maritime University authorities have commenced the process of hiring staff with advert placements published in the PUNCH, Vanguard, and Sun newspapers, blogs and other online outlets.

“In the published academic staff vacancies, the Maritime University is now hiring professors, readers, senior lecturers, lecturers, assistant lecturers and graduate assistants to teach in the faculties of Science, Maritime Transportation, Maritime Engineering & Technology, Maritime Environmental Management and General Studies.

“It would be recalled that under the New Vision for the Niger Delta, which followed the President’s meeting with PANDEF leaders last November, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, was delegated to undertake a tour of the oil producing communities and the issue of the take-off of the Maritime University was one of the major requests tabled before the Federal Government.”

10,000 to benefit from cluster farms in 9 Niger Delta states

Over 21,000 Benefit From FG Amnesty Programme

 

The Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) by the Federal Government has so far engaged over 21,000 beneficiaries in various vocational training programmes.

In a statement by the Coordinator of the PAP, Brig. Gen. Paul Boroh (Rtd.), 21,615 beneficiaries have been trained. Of this number, 4,079 have been empowered, while 3,237 are in various stages of their vocational training and university scholarship programme.

In the same vein, the Amnesty Programme has empowered 4,079 ex-militants through the establishment of businesses, which include agriculture (cluster farms). Boroh further stated that, in line with the Green Alternative initiative of the Federal Government, the Amnesty Office has initiated the training of 10,000 beneficiaries in modern agriculture, and established them into 10,000 Hectare Cluster Farms in the nine Niger Delta States. The programme is projected to create 10,000 new farm owners who will also employ 40,000 farm workers.

It is expected that the logistics and processing of the agricultural produce will also create additional 30,000 new jobs. Boroh said that the PAP modern agricultural scheme is projected to create 80,000 new jobs in three years.

Similarly, the PAP also aims to create more jobs opportunities for Niger Delta youths through its Proposed Community Based Pipeline Security Scheme, the Modular Refineries Project and the Gas Flare Commercialisation Projects.

 

Clark asks Niger Delta Avengers to maintain peace following talks with FG

FG committed to the Niger Delta New Vision – Boroh

Ijaw Elder Statesman Chief Edwin Clark has asked the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) to maintain the peace, while the dialogue with the Federal Government continues.

In a statement from the Presidential Amnesty Programme office, Clark made the appeal when a delegation of the Federal Government led by the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Brig. Gen. Paul Boroh (Rtd) visited him on Sunday.

According to the statement, Chief Clark was reacting to a statement by the NDA threatening the resumption of hostilities in the Niger Delta including the vandalism of oil facilities.

He said: “We are appealing to the Niger Delta Avengers not to resume hostilities. They are our children and they mandated us to negotiate with the Federal Government on their behalf. They have to be patient and give us time to do so successfully. Any resumption of hostilities will not be in the interest of our people. This is not the time to resume hostilities. It is true that the Federal Government has not been quite serious about the negotiations, but we are asking the Niger Delta Avengers to maintain the peace. We have pleaded with them and we are sending a delegation to meet with them”

Clark said that a major grouse of the Avengers was the disruption of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) meeting in Port Harcourt. He said with the explanation by Boroh, there are assurances that the dialogue is back on track. He announced that the PANDEF, which he (Clark) leads, will be meeting in Warri soon.

He commended Boroh for doing a good job in his role as Adviser to the President and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme. “You are like the bridge between us and the Federal Government and we are willing to give you all the support you need,” Chief Clark told General Boroh.

Boroh had earlier explained to Chief Clark that the disruption of the PANDEF meeting was due to communication gap and assured that the Federal Government has a lot of respect for PANDEF which it regards as a major partner in the resolution of the Niger Delta challenge, the maintenance of peace and development in the Region. The Federal Government, Boroh said, remains committed to the New Vision for the Niger Delta, which will provide massive jobs opportunities for the youths and help fast-track the region’s development.

Nigeria oil spills: Shell begins clean-up after 10-year delay

The clean-up of a contaminated fishing community in Nigeria has finally started, almost 10 years after two oil spills in Niger River Delta.

In 2008 and 2009, Royal Dutch Shell’s 55-year-old pipeline ruptured and spilled millions of litres of crude oil into the creeks and shores of Bodo.

Al Jazeera’s Ahmed Idris reports from Bodo in the Niger Delta.

Source: Aljazeera