PHOTOS: Second Niger Bridge

PHOTOS: Second Niger Bridge

Ongoing Construction Work on the Second Niger Bridge linking Onitsha in Anambra and Asaba in Delta, across the River Niger (Comprises 1.6km Bridge and 10.3km Highway). 641 personnel onsite.

[Work currently ongoing in Onitsha – Site/Main Yard; high water levels in Asaba]

Whats your #NDNewVision ?

Whats your #NDNewVision ?

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NDDC will not relent in Delivering Development Projects – Ndoma-Egba

 

The Chairman of the Governing Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba (SAN), has given assurances that the Commission will continue to deliver on development projects in spite of funding challenges.

Senator Ndoma-Egba, who spoke in an interview after the traditional marriage of his son, Hugo Bassey to Nneoma John Obuh, at Ohafia Ndi-Uduma in Abia State, stated that the Commission was resolute in its commitment to complete all its projects.

The NDDC Chairman, who had the full complement of the Commission’s directors, including the Executive Director Projects, Engr. Dr Samuel Adjogbe, FNSE, acknowledged the continued support of the Federal Government to the interventionist agency. He urged Nigerians to support the President Muhammadu Buhari administration for giving effect to the change mantra of the central government.

Senator Ndoma-Egba said that the funding challenges facing the Commission was being addressed as the Federal Government had mandated the Ministries of Niger Delta Affairs, as well as that of Budget and National Planning, to sit with the NDDC board, with a view to determining the outstanding statutory obligations owed the Commission.

Senator Ndoma-Egba said that the current NDDC Board, which came in November 2016, took a position to allocate 70 per cent of its budget to the completion of all on-going projects so that the people of the region could reap the benefits.

In his remarks, the former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, who was chairman at the marriage ceremony, called on Nigerians to support President Muhammadu Buhari for his second term bid in the 2019 general elections.

According to him, President Buhari had done well for the country, having ensured the spread of infrastructural development in different parts of the country.

President Muhammadu Buhari commissions international wing of the Port Harcourt international Airport

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday officially opened the international wing of the Port Harcourt international Airport at Omagwa, in Rivers State.

 

#NDNewVision: Oil firms to refine 20% of crude output locally, says Kachikwu, as another modular refinery set to be established in Imo

The Federal Government is considering a policy that will compel operators of major oil and gas exploration and production firms to refine 20 per cent of their oil production in-country, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, has said.

According to the Nation, Kachikwu gave the hint at the groundbreaking ceremony of the 5,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) modular refinery being developed by Waltersmith Refining and Petrochemical Company at Ibigwe field, Ohaji-Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State.

The minister said the Federal Government would soon announce a policy to require operating companies to refine locally at least 20 per cent of the crude oil they produce, with the percentage graduating to 50 per cent in the next five years.

“We have no option or we will consistently stay in the abyss of lack of processing while we export all the raw materials,” he added.

The modular refinery project is being executed with 30 per cent equity financing by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and additional $35 million debt facility from the African Finance Corporation AFC). It is expected to start production in December 2020.

Kachikwu said the Federal Government’s policy on modular refineries is an integral part of the 14-point agenda for reducing militancy in the Niger Delta region. The plan, he noted, is to set up modular refineries in oil producing communities and use them to create jobs and absorb the militants. “We would take some of the good skills sets they have, polish them and put them into the system,” he said

According to him, 10 of the 38 licensed modular refineries had made appreciable progress in the development of their projects and the first one is expected to deliver products between December 2018 and January 2019. “From modular refineries, we will be able to process about 200,000 barrels of crude and put them into the system.”

He said the Federal Government was engendering the establishment of modular refineries through the financing model being managed by the NCDMB and had also granted free custom duty charges and other waivers to enable the investors bring in their equipment.

Amnesty office collaborates with NBTI on quality food production

The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator, Amnesty Programme, Prof. Charles Dokubo, has assured of his readiness to partner with the National Board for Technology Incubation (NBTI) on technology incubation especially in the area of food production.

He made this disclosure when the management of the National Board for Technology Incubation (NBTI) led by the Director-General, Dr Mohammed Jubrin, visited him this week in Abuja.

According to The Guardian, the Presidential Amnesty Office is partnering the National Board for Technology Incubation (NBTI) in order to improve the quality and certification of agricultural and other products of Amnesty Programme beneficiaries.

Prof. Dokubo said, “I think there is a necessity for us to work together to make sure that we can get those certifications that will enable people to consume what we produce, so that they will not create any harm for those who eat our products.

“I think there is a need for synergy between us because we do farming.

“I believe that if we go through the documents and understand everything, we will sit to have an MOU so that we can work directly with you.

“Then we will know all that it takes to set up other centres in the Niger Delta as most of the things we do will equally go to those centres to be accessed and evaluated to know if they are edible.”

He added, “And if they are, they will not give people any problem.”

Dr Jubrin responded by promising to quickly articulate a proposal for an MOU between the two agencies that will lead to quality food processing, production and manufacturing businesses.

He further said, “By the time we sit down and work out the ways in which we can collaborate, I think the youth can be gainfully employed.

“Apart from being employed, they can become employers of labour directly or indirectly.

“So, our collaboration is going to be strong in such a way that both sides of the collaborators are going to benefit.

“The producers have to produce from a uniform source so that a basic raw material will have the same property.

“The processing technology will be the same, so that at the end of the day, the final product will be the same irrespective of the final production.”

Dr. Jubrin also explained that, “The centre that is anchoring that is not in the Niger Delta but Lagos but whatever we are doing can be replicated in the Niger Delta technology incubation centres.”

Amnesty Programme: 200 beneficiaries to be trained By PTI

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed by the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta with the Petroleum Training Institute, Effurun, Delta State, for the training of 200 beneficiaries of the Presidential Amnesty Programme in the oil and gas sector in respect to the New Vision for Niger Delta.

According to The Eagle Online, The Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator, Amnesty Programme, Prof. Charles Dokubo, disclosed at the signing ceremony on Thursday that it signposts the beginning of an indelible move by the Federal Government towards attaining greater heights.

Prof. Dokubo said, “As far as the Presidential Amnesty Programme is concerned, signing this MOU is a clear path to enhancing the knowledge of our people and raising their lives so that they can walk tall and reach the heights of their potentials”.

“Let us make the best of this situation; so that our people will always remember us for good while being grateful to everyone, including the Federal Government that has not set us aside”.

“With time, we will disabuse the minds of our people so that they will know what they are living for.”

However, he urged Niger Delta people, particularly the youths, to fully embrace the Federal Government’s Developmental Programmes while assuring that the government will continue to maintain lasting peace in the Niger Delta, empower its youths and provide the requisite condition for the people besides giving the youth educational certificates.

Meanwhile, The Head, Vocational Training at the Amnesty Office, Amazuo Berepreboga, explained that the MoU will ensure the full training of 200 students at PTI in specialised fields in the oil and gas industry such as oil and gas drilling, instrumentation, mechanical technology, electrical technology and process technology.

Moreover, the Principal and Chief Executive of PTI, Prof. Sunny Iyuke in his remark, commended Prof. Dokubo and President Muhammadu Buhari for Federal Government’s support.

He said, “I thank my fellow Professor and the Amnesty Office for this gesture”.

“I came to PTI with the conviction that this is the right job I should be doing”.

“This is the kind of things I am looking for my students, to make me happy and satisfied.”

While bemoaning the high level of joblessness among Niger Delta youths, Prof. Iyuke said he hopes that the MOU will not only keep them away from crime but also engage them gainfully and improve their living standards.

He noted that the MoU will also push PTI students to improvement in practical application, especially knowledge of design of modular refineries, which has already paved the way for its legalization, resulting to an increase in establishment of modular refineries and flow stations in Nigeria.

FG okays $64m for Escravos power project

The Federal Government has approved $64m for the power project in Escravos communities in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State.
The approval was granted at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the State House, Abuja, on Wednesday.
According to Daily Trust, the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, told State House correspondents that “We had approvals earlier to do the Escravos to Lagos Pipeline system. It was then stalled following protest by the community over the plan to move 50% of the gas to provide power to other areas, when the communities did not have power.
“Today Council approved $64m to fund two lots. One to build the power plant to supply power itself and the other distribute the power to all the affected communities.”
With the approval, he said power will now be provided to the communities within four or five years and become a permanent structure.
“The only way we had been able to maintain peace in the communities was to use generators to supply power which had been costing NNPC about N18m every month to manage,” he said.

FG inaugurates community projects in Cross River LGA

In keeping with its commitment to the welfare of the people at the grassroots, the Federal Government has inaugurated a community town hall and a solar-powered water project at Ishibori and Abakpa communities in Ogoja Local Government Area of Cross River State.

Inaugurating the projects on Thursday, the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani said that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was committed to rendering services to the society without fear or favour. This was contained in a statement by the Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.

Speaking at the inauguration, Usani said, “This administration has not come to recompense evil for evil, every government has the responsibility to serve the society and we are doing so without any partisanship; that is why we are spreading projects in every community and various constituencies in the Niger Delta region according to their needs and availability of resources.”

The Minister added that government’s efforts in Ogoja land were not limited to the town hall and a solar-powered borehole being inaugurated alone, but that several other people-oriented projects were being handled by his Ministry, while many on-going internal roads being undertaken by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in Ogoja Local Government Area would soon be completed and inaugurated accordingly, for the use of the people.

He called for the support of the people of Ogoja for the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration which according to the Minister, “Had recorded a number of infrastructures for the people to see.”

The Minister charged the people of Ishibori and Abakpa communities, Ogoja land in general and the entire people of the Niger Delta region to remain law abiding citizens, urging them to make effective use of government’s projects in their localities and also ensure the security of the the facilities, so that government would be encouraged to do more.

Earlier, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Alhaji Aminu Aliyu Bisalla, represented by the Director Community Development and Education in the Ministry, Mrs Lauren Braide, noted that social welfare and community engagements were critical components of the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) and the mandate of the Ministry.

He added that prime attention was given to the provision of community facilities due to their far-reaching impacts on citizens’ participation in governance.

Presenting the goodwill message on behalf of the Ntol Mgbeje Ama III and the people of Ishibori community, the Vice President of Ishibori Development Council (IDC), Chief Ale Ujum expressed the delight of the people in the quick intervention of the Federal Government to make the dream of the community town hall which had lingered for decades, into reality within one year.

“This project has given this community a facelift,” he reiterated.

Ogoni Clean-up: Why HYPREP matters

By Joseph Kpoobari Nafo

Recently a Non-Governmental Organization, Environmental Rights Action, ERA/Friends of the Earth Nigeria – through its Executive Director, Dr. Godwin Uyi Ojo – called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to scrap the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation, HYPREP. With all due respect, I am surprised that a learned person like the good doctor – an expert who is knowledgeable about the science behind environmental remediation/restoration processes – should come up with such a misplaced demand.

HYPREP is not averse to constructive criticisms that can add value. However, ERA and its boss know that the commencement point of a standard remediation exercise does not start with visually impressive, crowd-pleasing deployments of earth-moving equipment to sites. ERA knows that fairly lengthy and low-profile routine preparations – delineation and scoping, for example – need to be undertaken first. Or is ERA asking us to ignore best practices and do a substandard job for the long-suffering people of Ogoni, whose lands, swamps, surface and under-ground water have been massively polluted for decades? Does ERA not share our view that Ogoni people – whose health and livelihoods have been seriously damaged – deserve a modus operandi that will deliver sustainable results? In other words, ERA telling HYPREP to turn a blind eye to proper procedures and go straight to the actual clean-up is a disservice to the people of Ogoni whose welfare it claims to be concerned about.

The UNEP report was submitted to the Federal Government in 2011, but left unimplemented until 2016 when President, Muhammadu Buhari decided to put it on the front burner. And HYPREP has, since then, diligently and doggedly worked towards actualizing Mr. President’s vision for Ogoniland. If something is worth doing at all, it is worth doing well and HYPREP is carefully managing a complex and time-consuming process that cannot be concluded overnight.

Let me assure doubters that no day, week or month has been wasted – and that significant progress has been made – since HYPREP Project Coordinator, Dr. Marvin Dekil, enthusiastically embraced this challenge.

We are currently at the scoping and delineation stage and have advertised for companies to do remediation, carry out health impact studies and provide potable water for impacted Ogoni communities, in accordance with the procurement law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We now have to wait for that process to tail out because we cannot afford to breach the law. Complying with extant laws should therefore not be seen as delaying the process or lacking capacity to drive the clean-up process, as ERA is alleging.

As for ERA’s insistence on a name change, let me paraphrase William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and ask, “what is in a name?” Does a rose not smell the same whatever you call it?  It is true that the UNEP report advised the Federal Government to establish an “Ogoni Environmental Restoration Authority.” But this nomenclature was just a suggestion and the Federal Government chose another equally appropriate name, HYPREP. At any rate, all that really matters is what the clean-up vehicle does and achieves; and ERA’s focus on name-changing is trivial and diverts attention from more important matters.

The pollution in Ogoniland is only a microcosm of the environmental devastation in the Niger Delta region and in the wisdom of the Federal Government an eventual success of the Ogoniland clean-up would be used as template for the remediation of the rest of the region and in that case an Ogoni Environmental Restoration Authority will not be appropriate at that point. The same reason the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC is not named after individual communities that produce oil but given a generic name after the region. ERA failed to explain to the world how a mere change of name will in itself fast-track the Ogoniland clean-up and thus its position is but a fallacy.

ERA also falsely claimed that the Federal Government was not “following the recommendation of the UNEP report” and did not have “the political will to commence the clean-up of Ogoniland.” But ERA’s claim lack merit.

It must be stated categorically that the Federal Government showed the needed political will to flag off the project in 2016 and followed it up with the setting-up of governing structures (Governing Council, Board of Trustees and the Project Coordination Office) to superintend the affairs of the project. In the same vein,  it also included the administrative cost of the project in the national budget for 2018?

The President personally inaugurated the Governing Council and the Board of Trustees. What other show of political will on the part of the Federal Government does ERA wants to see to believe that the administration of President Buhari is committed to the implementation of the UNEP report on Ogoniland?

Again, if ERA lacks “confidence in HYPREP”, its pessimism is not shared by all Ogoni people. On 3rd August, 2018, several Ogonis – from all walks of life – gathered at HYPREP’s second Stakeholders’ Forum in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, which was televised live. Many pledged their support for the project and the process and only pleaded that local Ogoni contractors should be considered in the award of contracts. Land is scarce and precious in ogoniland and if communities willingly donate large portions to the project as they have done, then, there could be no further testimony of support and confidence in HYPREP than that. ERA’s submission is also not the position of the United Nations system (UNITAR, UNOPS, UN Environment, WHO) or the position of International Development Partners such as the Department for International Development, DFID that are closely cooperating with HYPREP.

ERA says “HYPREP cannot do the project because they lack the machinery and they do not have the capacity to drive it.” Is that not deliberate misinformation intended to discredit HYPREP or what is called “give a dog a bad name to hang him”? Is HYPREP expected to have the machinery to do the work or to award contracts to competent contractors with necessary technical know-how and the facilities to carry out remediation, health impact studies, livelihoods training and provision of potable water for impacted communities?

Now it is abundantly clear that ERA’s call for the disbandment of HYPREP is ill-conceived and anti-Ogoni.

ERA threatened that “CSO’s are planning protest against HYPREP.” But they miss the point. In implementing the project, the Federal Government adopted a multi-stakeholder approach where Ogoni community, International Oil Companies, Niger Delta Community, the nine Oil Producing States and Civil Society Organizations, CSOs, all have roles to play.

The Governing Council is chaired by the Honourable Minister of State for Environment, Mr. Ibrahim Usman Jibril, who has demonstrated capacity and competence in piloting the affairs of the project. Meanwhile, Chief Wale Edun, an accomplished financial expert, is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees; while the Ogoni community is represented on the Governing Council and Board of Trustees by Prof. Ben Naanen, Mr. Legborsi Pyagbara, His Royal Highness, Chief Bebe Okpabi, and Dr. Peter Medee.

Other distinguished members of the Governing Council include Prof. Roselyn Konya, the Rivers State Commissioner for Environment, Retired Permanent Secretary Dr. Timiebi Koripamo, Pamela Esiri, the National Security Advisor and the Ministers of State for Petroleum Resources, Budget and National Planning and Niger Delta Affairs.

Civil Society Organizations like ERA are also represented on the Governing Council and Board of Trustees by Barrister Anyakwe Nsirimovu and Nnimmo Bassey respectively. Shell is an active participant and UNEP plays an observer role. With a powerful team like this supporting HYPREP’s determination to forge ahead and fulfill the dreams of the Ogoni people, failure is not an option.

HYPREP remains focused on the clean-up of Ogoniland and will not be distracted by unfounded criticisms.