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.
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.
The HYPREP Coordination Office, under the leadership of Dr. Marvin Dekil, the Project Coordinator, has carried out the following key activities so far:
- Sensitization and Awareness Campaign: In view of the readiness of commencement of physical cleanup of Ogoniland, there is a continued sensitization of Ogoni people across the four (4) LGAs on the Cleanup project and against re-pollution of cleanup sites, HYPREP has carried out broad-based initial sensitizations, including:
i. Community Sensitization
We are in constant engagement with local authorities such as Traditional Rulers, Youth Bodies, Women Leaders, Village Heads and Faith-Based Organisations to sensitize them on the project.
Community Leadership Sensitized
- Gokana LGA: Bodo, K-Dere, B-Dere, Kpor, Mogho, Bera,
- Khana LGA: Kwawa, Buan, Kpean, Tera-ue, Kono, Bangha
- Tai LGA: Korokoro, Kpite, Ueken, Gio, Kebara-Kira, Botem,
- Eleme LGA: Ogale, Alode, Ebubu
ii. HYPREP is in the process of organising Town Hall meetings with all communities at the grassroot level.
2. Training of Technical Assistants
HYPREP has trained some Ogoni graduates educated in Environmental Sciences to develop capacity for the Cleanup project.
In May, 2017, a training was organized for the Technical Assistants to equip them with the technical skills for the remediation.
The second training which was on Oil Spill Clean-up and Remediation, also organized by HYPREP in collaboration with NDDC took place on 24th-25th and 28th May, 2018.
From 18th-20th September, 2017, the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) in conjunction with HYPREP Coordination Office organised a three day Workshop for HYPREP Management.
The Project Coordination Office (PCO) and Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) also organized a Joint HYPREP/SPDC Framing Workshop
An Induction Workshop on Project Management was also orgainsed for the HYPREP Management Team on the 24th , 25th and 28th of May, 2018
3. FIELD OPERATIONS–
i. Demonstration of Remediation Technologies:
The Project Coordination Office (PCO) embarked on demonstration of technologies in some of the oil impacted areas in Ogoniland, namely Bodo, K-Dere, B-Dere, Korokoro, Kwawa, Nsisioken etc where interested companies showcased their remediation technologies at no cost to government. Soil and water samples were collected and analysed using different technology to determine the most suitable technologies that will be applied in the Cleanup exercise.
A total of 201 samples (163 soil and 38 water) have been collected and analysed from eleven (11) sites in this exercise across the four (4) L.G.A
ii. Delineation of Impacted Sites
Delineation and scoping of selected hydrocarbon impacted sites is on-going.
Twenty-Six (26) sites out of the Sixty-Four (64) investigated sites by UNEP across the four (4) Ogoni Local Government Areas have been earmarked.. This is in line with the recommendations contained in the UNEP fact sheets
The delineation activity is to establish lateral and vertical boundaries of contamination and extent of impact to develop current contamination profile of the sites.
4. Commencement of activities towards the implementation of UNEP recommendation on health study
The Project Coordination Office has carried out Medical Outreach Programmes aimed at collecting preliminary data towards the implementation of the UNEP recommendation on Health Study in the four (4) Local Government Areas of Ogoni comprising Tai, Eleme, Khana and Gokana. Medical services were also provided to the communities.
The outreach was carried out from 26th December 2017 to 3rd January 2018 and a follow-up from 14th April – 1st May 2018.
25,139 patients were treated including 365 surgeries.
5. Procurement activities
The Project Coordination Office has carried out the following procurement activities:
i. Expression of Interest for Remediation of Impacted Sites
Prequalification has been concluded and companies prequalified are listed on our website www.hyprep.gov.ng
Technical and Financial bidding process to commence immediately
Remediation expected to commence by the 4th quarter, 2018 after the completion of all procurement processes
ii. Expression of Interest for Water and Health
Evaluation for the pre-qualification of companies that expressed interest on Water and Health is ongoing
6. Next phase
- Continuous Community Engagements/Sensitization
- Conclusion of Procurement Processes
- Construction of new comprehensive water schemes and rehabilitation of existing ones
- Livelihood Assessment/Implementation Plan
- Detailed HEALTH Impact Assessment Study
- Remediation of selected twenty six (26) sites identified in the 1st phase of the Cleanup exercise
Presents 150 tricycles to market women, youths under Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs programme
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, on Tuesday flagged off Federal Government programme tagged Trader-Moni at the popular Watt Market in Cross River State.
Trader-Moni provides petty traders collateral-free loans of N10,000. The loans are repayable over a period of six months.
Under the scheme, beneficiaries can get access to a higher facility ranging from N15,000 to N50,000 when they repay N10,000 within the stipulated time period.
The programme is also in line with the Federal Government’s agenda to eradicate poverty and improve the lives of Nigerians at the bottom of the pyramid, especially petty traders regardless of socio-political background.
TraderMoni was first launched on August 7, 2018 in Lagos State. Already the micro-credit scheme has been introduced in the following States; Kano, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Katsina, Osun, Abuja, FCT and Kogi.
Meanwhile, the Vice President also presented 150 tricycles to market women and youths in Cross River State as part of an empowerment programme of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
Osinbajo said the initiative is one of the laudable empowerment programmes for women and youths being implemented by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
He said the programme also consists of poultry production and its value chain, fisheries production and its value chain, snail production and its value chain, production of confectioneries, production of soap, detergent, and various fields of artisanship among others.
According to The Nation, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Uguru Usani, said the event was a continuation in the series of empowerment through the provision of tricycles for women and youths in the region.
The Minister said similar presentations has been carried out in Warri, Delta State, adding that with the implementation of the 2018 budget, other States of the region will soon be covered.
He said, “May I emphasize here that this empowerment programme is aimed at achieving some cardinal objectives which include the improvement of transportation access, enhancement of economic activities in the state, haulage of imputes to and from the farm, and the fulfillment of other ancillary activities such as mechanics, vulcanizers, panel beaters and electricians.
“It is my hope and desire that this initiative of government will translate in improving peace and development in the state, and indeed the region.”
*Agreement to create 100,000 jobs
The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has conducted Computer-Based Tests for 2,835 candidates out of the over 4,000 that applied for the Commission’s Post-Graduate Foreign Scholarship Scheme for 2018.
Speaking at the Rivers State University, ICT Centre, venue of the aptitude test, the Director, Education, Health and Social Services, Mr Goshua Okejoto, e
In a statement, the NDDC Director stated that the Foreign Post-Graduate Scholarship, which was started in 2010, was meant to equip Niger Delta graduates with relevant training and skills for effective participation in the local content programme of the Federal Government.
He explained that only candidates who had finished the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, and secured admission into foreign universities were eligible to participate in the scholarship award process.
Okejoto said that after the aptitude test, 1,500 candidates would be selected for oral interview. He noted: “The process is very transparent as the candidates see their scores immediately after the test. That is the beauty of the computer-based test.”
According to him, the scholarship programme was designed to encourage excellence and debunk the myth that the Niger Delta was the bedrock of militancy. “The NDDC is using the programme to showcase the best of the Niger Delta and this has been justified by the academic performance of previous beneficiaries,” he said.
Okejoto said that the NDDC Managing Director, Mr Nsima Ekere, was committed to the success of the programme and had directed that the process should be completed by September 21, 2018 with the presentation of award letters to the successful candidates.
He added: “The MD is very passionate about the programme because he wants the NDDC to continue to build the capacity of graduates from the Niger Delta region.”
He said that some new programmes had been added to the scholarship scheme to help universities in the Niger Delta to engage high calibre staff. This, he said, necessitated the introduction of awards in education in addition to studies in management which was added in 2017.
In his remarks, the consultant for the scholarship programme, Mr Godson Ideozu, stressed that computer-based examination encourages transparency because “candidates get to see their scores immediately after writing the examination.”
He observed that the candidates, comprising those for Masters and Doctorate degrees, were examined primarily in their core area of study, noting that the exercise was not only fair but gave the applicants equal opportunity to compete.
The Niger Delta New Vision workshop, held in Warri, Delta State in August 2018, made Niger Delta CSOs more aware of the Federal Government’s New Vision for the Niger Delta. During the programme, I was glad to realize that the Federal government was ready to work with the Niger Delta CSOs and other stakeholders in the region to ensure that the vision is achieved this time around. I gained a lot from the sessions and got more information on the strides so far made in implementation of the New Vision, including the Maritime University, modular refineries, Ogoni clean-up, and the Strategic Implementation Work Plan (SIWP) – Kadiri Blessing, Global Women for Quality and Sustainable Development (GWSD)
Workshop timely, Niger Delta New Vision website laudable
The Niger Delta New Vision workshop which held on the 27th of June 2018 in Abuja was a real eye-opener to me, especially regarding how the PANDEF 16-point agenda and the president 20-point agenda were tied together to bring about a lasting solution to the various challenges facing the Niger Delta Region. I have been on some socio-economic field survey based on some former environmental impact assessment projects I handled within the Niger Delta, I recall some of our project team members not being able to access a particular modular refinery project due to aggrieved youths of the community. Had I known about the SIWP then I would have been able to educate members of the public I engaged with in a better manner.
The timely SIWP workshop was vital to this, for instance, if one was to take complaints from the populace of the region as regarding “matters arising” proper feedback mechanisms has been duly provided by it. The Niger Delta New Vision website is a laudable achievement because it creates a third-party resource when engaging the populace and all arguments to be raised can be put in their right context through it. We at ANEEJ are very eager to participate in any capacity deemed fit as a CSO readily mandated to the current and future development of the Niger Delta region – Esiwo Awotu-Ukiri
FG New Vision commendable
The Niger Delta New Vision Workshop: made us to be aware and better enlightened of the project ‘New vision’ of Federal Government in the Niger Delta, made us discovered the need for proper coordination of all the activities in the New Vision that impact on our communities, gave us opportunities and prospects, available for Niger Delta citizens; and enlightened us on the existence of the Maritime University in the Niger Delta and when it became functional. It also shows that the roles of CSOs in Ondo State cannot be over emphasized as we have some CSOs working in the different thematic areas outlined in the SIWP – Ondo CSOs participants (Mrs Adetula M O, Akomolafe P & Mr Alo Martins)
SIWP key to development in region
I and my team wish to thank the organizers of the Niger Delta New Vision workshops. The workshop was very interactive, which profited all the participants enormously! For us it was eye-opening and educative, because it covered important guidelines and techniques to present information on modular refineries and the Niger Delta New Vision and the Strategic Implementation Work Plan (SIWP). The talk was very well organized and presented, crystal clear and with a good rhythm so as to not to fall asleep after lunch. I liked the fact that the speakers tried to get the audience involved by making it a discussion.
We really appreciate the insights that was provided, and the time you took following the sessions to provide additional feedback. I’ve already started talking up the workshop to my team members. I also admired the way the skilful way Mr. Arukaino Umukoro delivered his session on Niger Delta New Vision communication strategies. You almost casually offered different thoughts and alternatives, intuitively fishing through everything to find the key elements, recalling things said and the emotional emphasis expressed at the start of the process that I had already forgotten about. Thanks to you all – Dr Agboro Andrew, Executive Director, One Love Community Development (CDPPI), Warri, Delta State
Workshop an eye-opener
For those who had the perception that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration was not doing enough for the Niger Delta region, the insights provided by the Niger Delta New Vision workshop in Warri, Delta State, in August, was an eye-opener for them, as some of the gains made were unveiled during the workshop. One startling moment at the workshop was when the current Vice Chancellor of the Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Prof. Maureen Etebu, presented a paper on the journey so far at the institution. This was an eye-opener for me and some other media personnel present.
It was really interesting to know that the present administration is showing its commitment to the environmental well-being of the Niger Delta region. This is clearly a departure from the past, where promises were made but not fulfilled. As a media professional, I am ready to partner with the government on the Niger Delta new vision towards a prosperous region by setting the agenda right in my reportage – Jahrock Uweje
The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has charged youths in Nigeria’s oil-producing communities to join in campaigning for peace and security in the Niger Delta region.
Speaking after receiving an award for excellence from the Niger Delta Youth Forum, the NDDC Director Corporate Affairs, Dr. Ibitoye Abosede, stated that development can only take place in an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity.
Abosede, who received leaders of the Youth Forum in his office at the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt, stressed the need to create the right environment for development to flourish.
He thanked the youth group for finding him worthy of the award of “Excellence in Good Leadership,” noting that all stakeholders should join in the effort to sanitize the Niger Delta to make it attractive to investors.
Abosede advised the youths to be focused so as to put their God-given talents to good use, adding that they should not be discouraged by temporary setbacks.
The Director stressed the importance of sensitizing youths in the Niger Delta on the dangers of militancy and other social vices, stating that violence begets violence.
He remarked 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, the NDDC needs the cooperation of all stakeholders to perform optimally.”
Abosede said that 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.”
Earlier, the President of Niger Delta Youth Forum, Comrade Emmanuel Ekine, said that the body was organising awareness campaigns in the region to sensitize the youths on the need to shun violence and criminality.
Ekine said: “The youth forum has observed that restiveness; violent agitations and criminal tendencies are the prevalent challenges confronting the region.”
He commended the NDDC director, explaining that his nomination for recognition came after a careful consideration of his contributions to youth development, especially his outstanding leadership qualities and transparent service to the Niger Delta region.
The Niger Delta New Vision brings together a robust set of initiatives, projects and solutions aimed at ensuring sustainable development in the Niger Delta. Vice President Osinbajo is leading the #NDNewVision engagement, on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Government.
Niger Delta New Vision
Media and Publicity
Office of the Vice President
State House, Abuja, Nigeria.
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