Abia Gov lauds FG’s roadmap on Niger Delta development

 

Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu has lauded the Federal Government for its roadmap on the development of the Niger Delta region.

The Governor gave this commendation while receiving the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani on a courtesy call at the Abia State government house Umuahia on Thursday, as part of the activities marking the 3rd National Council on Niger Delta held in the State.

“As a major policy making Ministry for Niger Delta, I want to commend you for your roadmap on how the Niger Delta region can improve,” the Governor said.

Governor Ikpeazu called on the Ministry to resume work on the Obehie-Aba-Azumiri road which connects the state with neighbouring Akwa Ibom state, adding that the road was very critical to the economic development of the state and the Niger Delta region.

The Governor noted that oil producing communities that were peaceful and not sabotaging government’s effortss as obvious in Abia state, should be encouraged.

In his remarks, the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, noted that the Ministry has begun to address some of the concerns expressed by Abia state when he visited the state recently on projects inspection, saying the Ministry had started tackling the major erosion site at Umnneochi in the state and other Federal government’s projects in the state.

The Minister stressed that other issues raised by the Governor would be put into consideration.

While thanking the state government for its contributions to the nation’s economy througn the revamping of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the state and its consistency in representation at the Board of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) meetings, pledged the unwavering support of President Muhammadu Buhari led administration to the development of Abia state.

Pastor Usani also reiterated the commitment of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs in working with relevant stakeholders to fast-track the developmemt of the Niger Delta region.

The Minister emphasised that the essence of the 3rd National Council on Niger Delta which had as its theme, “Fostering synergy and institutional coordination for development in the Niger Delta region,” was to remove all obstacles to the development of the oil rich region by bringing all the development actors together.

NDDC to provide more facilities for NYSC in Niger Delta         

  The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has promised to sustain its support for the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, especially in the area of providing facilities in the orientation camps in the Niger Delta region.

In a statement from the commission, the NDDC Managing Director, Mr. Nsima Ekere, was quoted as saying this during a courtesy visit by the Director-General of the NYSC, Brig-Gen. Suleiman Kazaure, at the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt.

 

The Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC,
Mr. Nsima Ekere , receiving a gift from the Director-General of the NYSC,
Brig-Gen. Suleiman Kazaure, during a courtesy visit at the NDDC headquarters
in Port Harcourt

He affirmed that the NYSC scheme had been very beneficial to the country, noting that it had helped to build a sense of belonging among Nigerians, as well as helped to unite the country. He added: “For someone like me, I went to the northern part of Nigeria for the first time during my service year. I am very happy that I served in Kano because some of the lessons I learnt there have helped me to live a better life today.”

Ekere called on all Nigerians to promote and support the NYSC programme, because of the role it was playing in nation building, particularly in electioneering, where most of the ad hoc staff used by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to conduct elections were youth corps members.

He noted: “This has become very helpful because before now, when INEC was using locals for elections, they come in with their individual biases. But the youth corps members, who are mostly not from the area, help in ensuring credible and fair elections.”

The NDDC boss suggested that the NYSC programme should incorporate some basic military training, stating: “I know that in some western countries, that is the system in vogue. There are basic military trainings that will help our youths to become better men by inculcating the virtues of discipline, punctuality and responsibility in them. The trainings will help the participants to grow up with some basic knowledge.”

The NYSC Director-General, Brig-Gen. Kazaure, acknowledged the “tremendous help” NDDC had rendered to the scheme in the past. He said: “We felt the need to solicit for more assistance in the provision of facilities in our orientation camps because some of the amenities in these camps have broken-down.”

Kazaure decried the poor state of facilities in the camps, calling on the NDDC to extend more assistance to the NYSC. He promised to put more corps members at the disposal of the Commission.

It would be recalled that the NDDC built a 44-chalet ultra-modern lodge for members of the NYSC serving in Otuoke, Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. 

 

#7BigWins: Nigeria, Niger sign MOU on refinery project

Today, President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) of Nigeria and his counterpart, the President of the Republic of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou oversaw the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for the Niger/Nigeria Hydrocarbon Pipeline & Refinery Projects & Inauguration of the Steering and Technical Committees.

This epoch-making signing is part of the strategies to reposition Nigeria’s Oil & Gas Industry. It may be recalled that a roadmap of short and medium term priorities tagged the #7BigWins was developed by the Dr. Emmanuel I. Kachikwu led team at the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and launched by President Muhammadu Buhari in October 2016.

The fourth initiative of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources #7BigWins is the “Refinery and Local Production Capacity”, part of which has to do with the establishment of third party financed Greenfield refineries to improve domestic petroleum products sufficiency in the Nation.

The proposed projects for the construction of crude oil pipelines from Republic of Niger to Nigeria and establishment of new refinery at a border town in Nigeria is envisaged to be wholly private sector financed and the proposed Crude Oil Export from the Republic of Niger and Construction of Refinery Facilities posit immense benefits and opportunities for Nigeria.

A quick summary of general benefits to be derived from these projects by both countries are enormous and include the following:

1. Improved economic activities and bilateral relations between Nigeria and Republic of Niger.

2. Generation of more employment for the citizens.

3. Petroleum Product availability in Nigeria/Niger on structured legal framework.

4. Less carnage on our roads and deterioration (damage) to the road infrastructure.

5. Foster the development of small and medium scale industries through backward and forward linkages.

6. Socio economic development of the rural areas through provision of social amenities by the refinery developments.

7. Fostering of downstream value chain business opportunities, etc.

The refining opportunity in Nigeria is a great initiative. Its impact transcends economic gains for investors and entrepreneurs asides the potential contributions to national development. The projects will increase trade between Nigeria and Niger by giving access to each other’s markets and opening the markets to other successful industries which will create additional jobs.

NDDC commissions Oku Iboku Roads, inspects UNIUYO projects

The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has inaugurated the 5.15-kilometre Oku Iboku Internal Road Project in Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. It also inspected the road and erosion control project which it is executing at the University of Uyo.

Speaking at the commissioning of the Oku Ibokun roads and drainage, the NDDC Managing Director, Mr. Nsima Ekere, urged the benefiting communities to be grateful to the All Progressive Congress, APC, administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

In a statement by the NDDC, Ekere was quoted as saying that: “I am very happy with what I am seeing today in this community. Oku Iboku is one of the very prominent towns in Akwa Ibom state. It has a history and pedigree. It is not wrong that the community was not even remembered before now.

“Recall that we have had various vilifications and attacks by the government of Akwa Ibom State. They have repeatedly said that NDDC has not constructed even one kilometre of road in Akwa Ibom State.

“Earlier today, we inspected the road that links Nsasak Junction-Akon in Essien Udim Local Government Area that connects Abia State. This is a 30-kilometre road project, out of which 15 kilometres have been completed. The contractor is currently working on the bridge to link both states. I saw 15-km of solid and quality road being handled by an indigenous contractor, who is also from Akwa Ibom State.”

The NDDC boss noted that the Commission also engaged a local contractor to execute the Oku Ibokun internal roads. He expressed satisfaction with the quality, stating that it would compete with roads in any part of the world.

Ekere expressed disappointment with the attitude of some officials of the Akwa Ibom State Government whom he accused of misleading people. He said: “Somebody needs to educate some of the officials of the Akwa Ibom State Government that as responsible officers of government, they should not speak until they are sure of their facts. Again, I repeat, NDDC is not competing with any of the state governments in the region. We are just here to complement the efforts of the state governments.”

The village head of Ikot Essien, Chief Evans Enwan, commended the NDDC for building a quality road for his people. He, however, pleaded with the Commission to extend the road to Mben Inyang.

At the 1.2-kilometre University of Uyo dual carriage access road, Ekere said that NDDC took on additional responsibilities when the university authorities appealed for help to tackle the drainage challenges on the road.

The MD said: “We include the 1.4 kilometres drainage outfall to address the challenge. That way we are sure that when the road is completed it will stand the test of time. Again, a local contractor has proved his mettle here and that is why we are committed to using them so long as they are qualified and have technical and financial capacity.

“We want to empower them to improve on their capacity so that ultimately they can engage the engineering graduates from our universities to give them hands-on experience in construction projects.”

Ekere commended the UNIUYO students for maintaining peace and allowing the contractor to work without hindrance. He promised that the NDDC would put in more efforts to complete the hostel in the university.

According the MD, “the hostel has been largely completed, what is left is external works and landscaping as well as a few finishing touches to the building. The contractor will meet the NDDC Director of Project Monitoring and Supervision so that whatever needs to be done is done urgently.”

Ekere stated that the NDDC was building hostel projects in other universities, adding that they were experiencing some hitches which would soon be resolved. He said: “Most of the hostel projects were awarded many years ago and the contractors unfortunately had not delivered on them. Some of them were awarded when a bag of cement was sold for 60 Naira.

“In some of them, the scope of work has had to be reviewed and the process of getting approvals from the Bureau of Public Procurement to increase the contract sums takes time. Right now, we are in the process of reviewing them to ensure that these projects are completed. We want our students to as much as possible study in comfort. NDDC is committed to doing whatever has to be done within its capacity to ensure that we add value to the educational system in the Niger Delta.”

He assured that the NDDC hostel projects in the various universities in the Niger Delta region would be re-activated as soon as possible and the contractors would be mobilised back to site to complete them.

 

Niger Delta: US Consulate, NDDC Strategize for Sustainable Development

The United States Consulate in Nigeria says it continues to discuss and work with the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, to strengthen collaboration on strategies to improve peace and security to facilitate the sustainable development of the Niger Delta region.

Speaking during a courtesy visit to the NDDC management at the Commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt, the Political and Economic Consul, Mr Osman Tat, who represented the United States Consul General in Lagos, F. John Bray, said one of the primary goals of the US mission was to support Nigeria’s economic development.

The American delegation had earlier held a strategy meeting with the NDDC Managing Director, Mr. Nsima Ekere and the Chairman of the Commission’s Governing Board, Senator Victor Ndoma- Egba (SAN), on plans to drive the regional development process.

The US envoy explained that the meeting with the NDDC leadership was part of the regular consultations undertaken by the US Consulate in Lagos and the Embassy in Abuja. According to him, the Consulate recognised the fact that NDDC had a large number of projects spread across the nine states of the oil-producing region of Nigeria.

Osman Tat observed that it was important to consult with the Board and Management of NDDC in order to get a sense of how the projects were being executed to develop the region

He said: “We have looked at several projects being executed by the NDDC and the ones they intend to undertake in the future.

“We have had a fruitful discussion with the NDDC on projects implementation and we are interested in seeing that the projects and development activities are well executed for the benefit of the people of the Niger Delta.”

Osman Tat affirmed that NDDC was at the nexus of development, adding that its projects cut across different sectors ranging from healthcare to education and infrastructure. He said that the projects were necessary to ensure peace and security in the Niger Delta.

The diplomat stated the interest of the United States in seeing a free, fair, transparent and non-violent election in Nigeria in 2019.

In his remarks, the NDDC Chairman, Senator Ndoma-Egba said that the NDDC was at the heart of the Niger Delta, noting that the Commission had the solemn mandate to develop the region by engaging key stakeholders.

Senator Ndoma-Egba emphasised the need for an enduring peace in the Niger Delta region, stating that security was critical for development and growth.

He said that the NDDC, being an interventionist agency had little or no role to play in partisan politics. “We are only interested in ensuring that there is a peaceful atmosphere in the Niger Delta region. And the only way we can achieve that is by bringing projects and development to the region,” he said.

Amnesty Programme catering to the needs of ex-agitators in Niger Delta, says group

*Lauds appointment of Dokubo

A group, the Forum for the Advancement and Upliftment of the Niger Delta (FAUND), has lauded the Presidential Amnesty Programme, which it said is fulfilling its key mandate of catering to the needs and aspirations of ex-agitators in the Niger Delta.

In a statement signed by FAUND President, Nimitein Oyibo, the group also commended the Federal Government and the President Muhammadu Buhari for the appointment of Professor Charles Quaker Dokubo as Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP).

It also described Dokubo’s appointment as a step in the right direction for the development of the Niger Delta.

“As a leading Niger Delta stakeholder and renowned academic, Professor Dokubo has provided a new vehicle for the people of the Niger Delta to feel first hand, the gains of the Buhari presidency with respect to plans and programmes designed for the advancement of the lives of the people of the Niger Delta,” the statement read.

It further stated that less than 6 months into Dokubo’s tenure as Coordinator of the Amnesty Programme, “the programme has been returned to its cardinal mandate of catering to the needs and aspirations of ex-agitators in the Niger Delta who have chosen the path of peace, stability and progress.”

According to the statement, “The Reintegration of the thousands of young men who laid down their arms in the Niger Delta has been moved into new gear with new enthusiasm and commitment.

“Entitlements to these young lads are now being paid on time and empowerment programmes have been greatly reconfigured to ensure that the beneficiaries are equipped with the knowledge, skillset and tools they require to live productive lives.”

The statement added that, “At a time when political players and stakeholders in the Niger Delta have become so divisive and offensive, we commend the foresight of the Buhari government in the appointment of a leading technocrat, academic and progressive to the very sensitive role and position.

“Prof. Dokubo’s humaneness, humility, sense of purpose and commitment to the advancement of the Niger Delta has in so small way, helped to mold the conscience and consciousness of hundreds of thousands of Niger Deltans scattered across the 9 states of the Niger Delta.

“Since his appointment as Coordinator of PAP, Prof. Dokubo, a professor of International Diplomacy, War, Defence and Peace Studies, has won new friends and followers for President Buhari in the Niger Delta than all other political leaders in the Niger Delta.

“We call on all people of the Niger Delta to support the efforts of Prof. Dokubo in fixing the Presidential Amnesty Programme in order that it can be returned to the mandate for which it was set up for. The era of reckless petition writing aided and abetted by disgruntled contractors and stakeholders should come to an end. The advancement and upliftment of the Niger Delta must be the concern of everyone.”

#NDNewVision: Niger Delta Ministry to hold national confab 

 

The third regular meeting of National Council on Niger Delta organised by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs is set for the 22nd to 27th July, 2018 in Umuahia, Abia State.

The theme “Fostering synergy and institutional coordination for Development in the Niger Delta region” is to address a myriad of issues. Some of which are: infrastructural development, environmental management, human capital development, security, agriculture among other issues affecting the Niger Delta region.

At the previous meeting held in Akure, the Ondo State capital in September 2017, the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, while addressing the stakeholders directed that the Ministry meet regularly in order to quicken the development of the oil-rich Niger Delta region. Since the Ministry’s creation in 2008, it only held its first meeting in 2013 until the Buhari administration held the second one four years later in 2017.

Thus, the determination of the Buhari administration to ensure consistency in the meeting schedule has brought about the planned third National Council. 

The meeting will feature various stakeholders, civil societies, development partners charged with the responsibility of developing the region. The meeting will be chaired by the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Uguru Usani, supported by the Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Prof. Claudius Omoleye Daramola, while the technical sessions will be lead by Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Aminu Aliyu Bisalla.

Cross River bio-diesel project to generate 14MW electricity, says NNPC

The bio-diesel production project to be executed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC will generate 14 megawatts of electricity from the 26,000 hectares facility in Cross River state.

The NNPC, in a statement by its Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, said that this electricity would be generated from empty fruit bunches and the residue from oil palms.

Dr Maikanti Baru, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, explained that the facility was designed to accommodate an oil palm plantation which is co-located with bio-diesel, crude palm oil co-generation plants and other facilities. Mr. Ughamadu said the oil palm would be processed into fuel grade bio diesel which would then be blended with diesel as a combination of 20 percent bio diesel and 80 percent diesel and sold in the domestic market as B20.  Any un-utilized bio diesel would then be sold in the international market.

He further explained that the inception of the NNPC Cross River bio-fuel project is in agreement with the renewed drive by the corporation to develop biofuels in Nigeria by collaborating with core investors to not only create a low carbon economy but also link the oil and gas sector to the agricultural sector which are two of the nation’s highest revenue generators.

Mr. Ughamadu also noted that the project would provide an adverse effect of climate change and the transformation of NNPC into an integrated energy company with diverse portfolio.

In his words, “The business model would involve a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) comprising NNPC, State Government and the Core investor”. The State Government is expected to provide land as equity while core investor takes more than 50 percent equity and operate the venture leaving NNPC and the State Government with minority share of less than 50 percent.”

Some states in the country have shown interest in partnering with the corporation in the biofuels projects. Some of these states are: Kebbi, Ondo, Taraba, Benue, Jigawa, Kogo, Adamawa etc. Ughamadu revealed that NNPC has already begun to engage the stakeholders and dwellers of Iwure, Ojor and Akin communities of Cross River state ahead of the planned oil palm-based biodiesel project.

According to vanguard, the officials of the corporation’s Renewable Energy Division, RED, are currently equipping the communities involved and its indigenes with necessary information on the benefits of the project. Also, he said the NNPC Research and Development Division, R&D, was also being engaged for the conduct of Environmental and Social Impact Assessment, ESIA, for the projects.

 

 

NDDC Charges Students to Join Campaign for Peace in Niger Delta

The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC,  has charged students and youths to join in campaigning for peace and security in the Niger Delta region.

Giving the advice on behalf of the Managing Director, Dr Nsima Ekere, at the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt, the Executive Director Projects, Engr. (Dr) Samuel Adjogbe, urged Niger Delta students to promote peace and dialogue as the preferred options for driving development in Nigeria’s oil-rich region.

He stated that promoting awareness campaigns within the Niger delta region remained a viable tool for development agencies that need peace and security to deliver on their mandates, adding that “as an interventionist agency, we require a peaceful environment to carry out our duties.”

 

Adjogbe said that students and youths of the Niger Delta region have a crucial role to play in enthroning peace. He declared: “We don’t want protests and agitations in the Niger Delta anymore. Dialogue is the way to go. We should be talking and negotiating, rather than chasing away investors.

 

“Insecurity increases investment costs and it is based on this that the NDDC is looking at achieving a Niger Delta where investors and expatriates are confident of establishing their businesses for the overall development of the region.”

He emphasised the need to support programmes that would help to foster peace in parts of the Niger Delta, noting that the NDDC was doing its best to enhance the education of youths of the region. As part of this effort, he said that the process for the selection of the 2018 NDDC Foreign Post Graduate Scholarship programme had started. 

Earlier, the National President, Niger Delta Students Union Government, Comrade Ifon Daniel Samuel, remarked that the students’ body was ready to execute programmes that would create strong educational consciousness in the Niger Delta region.

 

He said that the Students Union Government was already planning to host a summit on peace and security in the Niger Delta. He, therefore, appealed to the NDDC to assist the NDSUG in their forthcoming convention which would incorporate discussions on critical issues affecting the region.