“Show more commitment to Niger Delta, national development”

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Aminu Aliyu Bisalla has charged staff of the Ministry at the state offices to show more commitment in the discharge of their responsibilities towards the development of the Niger Delta region and Nigeria in general.

Bisalla gave this charge at an interactive session between the Management of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and the staff of the state offices in Cross River and Akwa Ibom states on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.

The Permanent Secretary noted that successive administrations in the country had shown concerns on the development issues affecting the Niger Delta region over the years. He added that the Ministry was being repositioned to facilitate the realisation of the development concerns.

“We have begun to restructure the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs in a bid to strengthen its offices in all the nine states of the Niger Delta so as to achieve its mandate of improving the lives of the people of the region,” the Permanent Secretary stressed.

He reiterated the need for the Ministry’s staff in the nine states to relate properly with the people at the grassroots in order to know their needs so that necessary actions could be taken to address them.

“You have to be very vibrant in discharging your duties so that the Niger Delta people will be able to feel the impacts of the huge investments of the Federal Government and other development partners in the region,” he emphasised.

In the same vein, Bisalla has called on the people of the Niger Delta region to toe the path of dialogue in resolving issues with stakeholders and government as development could not be achieved in the midst of rancour.

He revealed this at a community engagement on peace in the Niger Delta region held at Orogun town, Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State on Thursday.

Bisalla disclosed that the interactive session, themed ‘Community Engagement and Dialogue for Sustainable Development, was a fallout of one of the recommendations of the 3rd National Council on Niger Delta which took place in Umuahia, Abia State in 2018 as well as other stakeholders’ fora where participants had called on Federal Government to bridge the communication gap with Niger Deltans’.

Thus, he disclosed that the meeting was necessitated by the need of government to hear directly from the people of the Niger Delta region on what they want in the spirit of developing the region.

The Permanent Secretary , who was represented by Architect Oyelade Oyeleke David, the Delta State Coordinator of the Ministry stressed that this would guide the Federal Government in initiating programmes and projects that would impact positively on the lives of the people of the community and the region at large.

Bisalla also called on people of the Niger Delta region to sustain the prevailing peace in the region for sustainable development.

In his remarks, the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege urged the Federal Government to provide more employment opportunities for Niger Delta youths as they were willing to work and contribute to the development of the region.

Chief Francis Anigabou, a representative of Obugwe of Ezemu Kingdom, commended the Federal Government for organizing the interactive session,which indicated government’s interest of attending to the demands of the community and the Niger Delta region. He added that Olorogun community was in dire need of hospitals, motorable roads, schools and other basic social amenities which should be provided by the federal government.

In her remarks,Director Community Development and Education in the Ministry, Mrs Lauren Braide, said that the interactive session was the desire of the Federal Government to adopt dialogue and community based approach in developing the region as similar sessions were held last year in Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Edo States.

Braide stressed the need for continuous dialogue and regular constructive engagements of critical stakeholders to ensure inclusive growth of the region.

Rivers’ Waste Treatment Plant will complement FG’s remediation efforts in Ogoniland – Osinbajo

*Says Public Private Partnership key part of Buhari administration’s economic plan

The Liquid Waste Treatment Plant in Rivers State, will complement the Federal Government’s remediation efforts in OgoniLand and Niger Delta.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, stated this on Friday at the commissioning of the Port Harcourt Dockyard Liquid Waste Treatment Plant in Rivers State. VP Osinbajo was welcomed the by Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike; and accompanied by Gen. Abdusalam Abubakar, Chairman of African Circle Pollution Management Limited.

He said, “While this is a facility to treat waste generated on vessels, it is also a wonderful complement to the more general work on the environment which we are currently doing expressly regarding the clean-up of Ogoniland and the innovative connective solutions to ending gas flaring as developed by the NNPC.

“We would no longer be a country defined by the size of pollution challenges, but instead by the wholeness of our remediation response and, even more importantly, our preventive action.”

The Vice President further stated that encouraging Public Private Partnership and private capital investment, especially in commercially viable public infrastructure remains a major policy thrust of the Buhari administration.

Prof. Osinbajo, who stated this today at the commissioning of the Port Harcourt Dockyard Liquid Waste Treatment Plant in Rivers State, said a “a successful public private partnership, private leadership in major aspects of the economy and encouraging private capital investment is more strategic and important.”

Noting that “government cannot fund all public infrastructure,” the Vice President stated that the Ease of Doing Business initiative of the Buhari administration was to encourage public-private investment and make the country more attractive to investors.

“You are all aware of our Ease of Doing Business agenda, with the goal of making Nigeria one of the easiest and most attractive places to trade and invest in the shortest possible time. We are well on our way there,” he said.

The Vice President Osinbajo commended African Circle Pollution Management Limited, the company that built the Liquid Waste Treatment Plant, for being wholly indigenous, while referring to its growth over the years.

Continuing, the VP said, “I am told that the company has invested more than $8 million in this fully automated liquid waste treatment plant. The construction of this modern waste treatment plant is in fulfillment of the provisions of the agreement the company signed with the Federal Government through the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).

“In line with that Built, Operate and Transfer agreement, the African Circle Limited agreed to build this facility in accordance also with the IMO MARPOL 73/78 convention: to provide facilities for liquid and solid waste created on both vessels for the navigation districts of Lagos, Port Harcourt, Warri, Calabar and Onne. The agreement, I’m told, is for a period of 20 years, and with the expiration of that period the facilities would be handed over to the NPA.”

While reiterating the Federal Government’s commitment to a sustainable development agenda, the VP added, “barely two years ago, we demonstrated our commitment to supporting environmentally friendly projects by the launching of a first sovereign green bond in Africa and the fourth in the world.

“The proceeds of the bond is to finance environmentally friendly projects in afforestation, renewable energy and the formation of green energy, enabling Nigeria to reduce its CO3 emission by 40 per cent by the year 2030.”

PHOTOS: Osinbajo commissions Liquid Waste Treatment Plant in Rivers

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, today commissioned the Liquid Waste Treatment Plant in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State. He was received by Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike; and accompanied by Gen. Abdusalam Abubakar, the Chairman of African Circle Pollution Management Limited. 21st June, 2019. Photos: NOVO ISIORO.

Noting that the Plant complements FG’s environmental remediation efforts in Niger Delta, the Vice President said, “While this is a facility to treat waste generated on vessels, it is also a wonderful complement to the more general work on the environment which we are currently doing expressly regarding the clean-up of the Ogoniland and the innovative connective solutions to ending gas flaring developed by the NNPC.

“We would no longer be a country defined by the size of pollution challenges but instead by the wholeness of our remediation response and even more importantly, our preventive action.”

Buhari, Osinbajo working to develop Niger Delta, Group replies PANDEF

A group known as Coalition of Niger Delta Concerned Youths says the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is working to ensure that the demands of the Niger Delta region are met.

Reacting to the claim of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) that Buhari is against the region, Isaac Eranga, coordinator of group, said the president has interest in the Niger Delta.

PANDEF had cited the suspension of DAAR Communications licence and the suspension of Walter Onnoghen, former chief justice of Nigeria (CJN), to buttress its point

But Ernaga said the claim of the forum is “laughable and nothing short of blind conjecture, especially in the face of facts”.

Eranga said with projects like the Ogoni clean-up and establishment of a maritime university in Delta state, Buhari has shown that he is committed “to develop and reposition the Niger Delta region for a better future.”

“For decades, despite being oil-rich and accounting for a huge percentage of Nigerias oil revenue, the region was given little or no attention in terms of development by successive governments in Nigeria, including under former president Dr. Goodluck Jonathanz who hails from the region,” he said.

“But the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo changed all that with the Niger Delta New Vision, aimed at developing the region.

“No doubt, the Buhari administration  is making efforts to ensuring that demands from the region are met.

“While no government is perfect, PANDEF would agree that Buhari administration is backing its political will with efforts to ensure that Niger Delta gets more than their fair share of development.”

The statement further said projects being implemented through the FG’s New Vision “shows commitment of the Buhari government to develop and reposition the Niger Delta region for a better future.”

“In 2016, Vice President Osinbajo went on a tour to the Niger Delta region, meeting with the people and engaging with stakeholders and leaders, including PANDEF, to proffer ways to address the needs of the region. This was unprecedented, and it followed a meeting President Buhari had with PANDEF on the same issue. These robust engagements championed by the President and Vice President was what led to the Niger Delta New Vision to chart a way forward for the region’s development. No doubt, the Buhari administration is making efforts to ensuring that demands from the region are met.

“They include the take-off of the Nigeria Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State, the commencement of the Ogoni Clean-up, of which 21 contractors have since moved to site for ongoing remediation works, an unprecedented work of environmental remediation and restoration never undertaken before in Niger Delta communities polluted by past decades of oil spills, and could become a veritable template for the clean-up of the entire region. Also, there is the establishment of modular refineries that will also improve the local economy in communities where they are located.

“What about the Presidential Amnesty Programme, that is still being implemented under the Buhari administration and contributing to the peace and stability in the region? What about the ongoing construction of the Second Niger Bridge that connects states in the South East and the South-South and will increase socio-economic development in the regions, but which before Buhari’s government, had been an idea merely designed on paper for about 40 years? These facts are in the public domain.

“Also, there is ongoing construction work on the 34-kilometres Bonny-Bodo road, a public-private partnership project, flagged off by Vice President Osinbajo in October 2017. This would connect several major communities in the Niger Delta region, and also boost socio-economic development in the region.

“There are other strategic development efforts being undertaken by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government in partnership with the private sector and IOCs to bring needed interventions in the region, Also, regular engagements on Niger Delta’s development through the New Vision is being driven by the Office of the Vice President, of which CSOs and stakeholders, including PANDEF, have been invited on occasions to participate,” the statement read.

Modular refinery to begin operation in 2020

The 5,000 barrels per day modular refinery being developed by Waltersmith Refining & Petrochemical Company Limited with equity investment from the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) would be completed in May 2020.

This date was confirmed by the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote and the Director of Finance and Personnel Management, Mr. Isaac Yalah inspected the project site on Monday at Ibigwe, Imo State, in company of the Chairman of Waltersmith, Mr. Abdulrasaq Isah and the Executive Vice-Chairman, Mr. Danjuma Sale.

The progress completion of the project stands at 65 per cent, seven percent ahead of the original schedule. The engineering and procurement components had also been completed, with construction at 60 per cent.

Giving his assessment after taking a tour of the site, Wabote described the project as investment channelled in the right direction. He hailed the contractors-Lambert Electromac and Zerock for their remarkable pace of execution, dedication and expertise, noting that they continued with the project despite the onset of the rainy season.

He also expressed delight with the high number of Nigerians working on various aspects of the project, stating that it underscores President Mohammed Buhari’s commitment to create employment for young Nigerians from the activities of the oil and gas industry. “I hope similar projects would come on stream pretty soon to generate employment for Nigerians.“

In line with the requirements of the succession plan requirements of the Nigerian Content Act, Wabote charged the contractors to train and absorb more Nigerians in senior management positions and make them permanent members of their companies, even after the project phase.

Wabote also noted that the Ibigwe modular refinery was the first of such projects to be undertaken by the NCDMB and Watersmith and hinted that the Board had sanctioned another modular refinery project to be developed at Calabar, Cross River State.

In his comments, the Chairman of Waltersmith thanked the Executive Secretary for the visit and affirmed that the company was satisfied with the quality of work from the contractors. He also noted that Waltersmith had been steadfast on its obligations to the firms. “We expect you to remain consistent with us as well. But we are very happy with what we have seen and we are looking forward to commissioning and beginning to sell diesel and kerosene from this site in May 2020.”

The Project Manager of Lambert Electromac, Mr. Mohamad Chit stated that all outstanding construction at the site were above the ground and being fast tracked. He stated that the installation stage is expected to take four weeks when it begins in October 2019.

Chit also said the modular refinery project begun on a good footing with the host community and had continued to enjoy conviviality from the local population.

The Board and Waltersmith signed the equity investment agreement in June 2018. Wabote had explained at the ceremony that the investment decision was in line with the Board’s vision ‘to be the catalyst for the industrialization of the Nigerian oil and gas industry and its linkage sectors.’

He added that the Board was also keen to support the Federal Government’s policy on modular refineries and meet the key objectives of the Petroleum Industry’s Seven Big Wins launched by President Mohammed Buhari in October 2016 and the Economic Recovery and Growth Program (EGRP).

How FG’s New Vision has changed Niger Delta – Iyamu

The proactive approach of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has positively changed the narrative in Niger Delta region, the Senior Special Assistant to Vice President on Niger Delta, Edobor Iyamu, has said.

Speaking recently with The Leadership, Iyamu explained that the Niger Delta New Vision, which is a Federal Government partnership with state governments, private sector and the local communities, has helped to give positive narratives about the region.

According to him, the Buhari administration’s New Vision has changed the previous narratives of underdevelopment or  failed projects of the previous administration that has led to underdevelopment in the region.

He recalled that in 2016 during the height of the pipeline vandalisation, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, embarked on a tour in the region and met with all the relevant stakeholders, youth groups, elders in the region and others groups.

Iyamu said the requests  from the region were taken on board which then “led to the 16-point agenda and of course the federal government response which was the 20 point agenda and that came about what is known as the new vision for the Niger Delta.’’

Speaking on the Presidential Amnesty Programme initiative to train Amnesty beneficiaries on fish farming, Iyamu said: “That is why I said we are doing things differently. Under this project, the partnership is different from what obtained in the past whereby beneficiaries are just trained and nothing happens thereafter.

“With the concept we have today in partnership with Concept Amadeus and Amnesty Office we ensure prerequisite training and engagement so that all the beneficiaries trained are engaged and not only being engaged but, are also going to be given national certificates that they can use anywhere in the world so they don’t have to work in Nigeria only. With the quality of training, they can go to anywhere in the world and get employed, which, in my view is a very good thing. So they are getting the kind of certificate that has an international standard.”

Why we support Buhari govt – Niger Delta ex-agitators

*NDDC to improve procurement process, fund management

A group of ex-Niger Delta agitators has pledged to support the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

In a statement recently by the Niger Delta Creek Force, the group congratulated the President on his successful inauguration on May 29, 2019, describing Buhari as a visionary leader with a burning desire to develop the Niger Delta in particular and Nigeria in general.

The NDCF expressed confidence that Buhari would consolidate his achievements and turn things around for the betterment of the Niger Delta during his second term in office, according to the PUNCH.

It called on other previously aggrieved groups in the region to sheathe their swords and rally round the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government to usher in development which had eluded the region for so long.

Noting that the President had done well in the area of youth empowerment programmes, a development it said had impacted positively on the lives of youths in the region, thereby reducing crime and criminality in the region; the group expressed optimism that the peace and the ongoing development in the region in terms of infrastructural development and human capital development would be sustained and consolidated.

Meanwhile, the Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Prof Nelson Brambaifa, has said the Commission will continue to follow the proper public procurement procedures to ensure that its funds are applied judiciously for development purposes.

Prof. Brambaifa stated this at the opening of a one-week workshop for the Commission’s executive management and directors at the Golden Tulip Hotel in Port Harcourt.

The NDDC Chief Executive Officer said that the Commission’s mandate included delivering services that give full value for money, noting that it was necessary for the management to be prudent in its efforts to drive development in the Niger Delta region.

Prof Brambaifa said that the workshop on the procurement processes would impact positively on the workings of the NDDC as it relates to public procurement and the management of funds for the interventionist agency.

He remarked: “Our goal is clear; we want everyone to be conversant with the procurement process because it is not something that should be left for only procurement officers. The experts have made it simple for us to understand the issues in procurement.

“I have no doubt that someday we will fully integrate the electronic data management into our procurement system. We will adopt the electronic platform to enhance the efficiency and transparency of our processes.”

The NDDC boss said that it was important that the Commission’s staff fully understand the procurement process to ensure that funds meant for development projects and programmes were used judiciously.

The NDDC Director for Procurement, Engr. Theophilus Alagoa, explained that the training was organised to enlighten officers of the Commission to know their roles in the procurement process.

He said further: “We want NDDC staff to wake up to their responsibilities by arming them with knowledge. We noticed that a lot of people don’t know their roles.  In fact, every department in NDDC has the power to procure for itself. The procurement unit is only there to ensure compliance with the Public Procurement Act.”

NDDC to restore electricity to Niger Delta communities

A pilot power project that would restore electricity to Ubima and Isiokpo in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State would be commissioned before the end of the month, according to the Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Prof. Nelson Brambaifa.

Prof. Brambaifa gave the assurance when he paid a courtesy visit to the Chairman of the Supreme Council of Ikwerre Traditional Rulers, Eze Blessing Wagor, Nye-Nwe Ali Isiokpo in his palace. He was accompanied by the NDDC Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Dr. Chris Amadi, and other directors of the Commission, who were on inspection of projects in Ozuoba, Omagwa, Ubima and Isiopko.

Prof Nelson Brambaifa said that he was shocked to learn that the Ikwere kingdom had been without public power supply for over two years. He described it as “anomalous and absurd,” stating that the situation needed to be corrected urgently, as part of a region wide intervention in communities of the Niger Delta region.

The NDDC boss said that the Commission was determined to face challenges of development, to improve the lives of the people. “We swung into action immediately to address these challenges, because the people of the Niger Delta region deserve better.”

He promised that “the electricity project, which is almost completed, will be commissioned in the next two weeks.

Prof Brambaifa said that the NDDC was using the restoration project for Ubima and Isiokpo as a pilot scheme that would eventually cover all the other distressed areas in the Niger Delta region.

He appealed to the traditional rulers and benefitting communities to ensure that the electricity infrastructure in their areas were protected from vandals and thieves.

In his own remarks, Dr Chris Amadi stated that the communities alerted the NDDC to the deplorable power situation in the area, adding that “for two and half years, the Ikwerre people lived without electricity.”

Dr Amadi stated: “I am happy to announce that work has started in earnest in Ubima and Isiokpo. In fact, the contractor has assured us that the electrification project will be completed before the end of this month.”

The Traditional Prime Minister of Isiokpo, Chief Wobo Amadi, who spoke on behalf of the Nye-Nwe Ali Isiokpo, said that the NDDC had shown that it could be relied upon for development projects. He said the people were particularly impressed by the prompt action of NDDC, saying to Professor Nelson Brambaifa:“You are a man of your words. You have done so much in three months and we are confident that you will do more.”

He expressed delight that their agony from many years without electricity would soon be over and pledged that the communities which are benefitting from the NDDC would guard the projects “jealously and protect them from vandalism.”

The Managing Director of Income Electrix Limited, Mr. Matthew Edevbie, the contractor handling the project, explained that the entire Ikwerre Local Government Area was going to be served by two sources of power; one from Ahoada and the other from Rumuosi sub-stations. He added: “In Ubima, we have installed eight transformers and within the next one week there will be power in the town.

“We are appealing to the communities to safeguard the power infrastructure. The youth leader in Ubima has promised us that our equipment and installations will be protected from being stolen or vandalised.”

He charged the people to realise that the power asset was being provided for their own good and should, therefore, be secured. He urged them to also note that it was important to pay for the power they consume to ensure that the providers were able to sustain the service, adding that electricity supply was like a commodity that should be paid for to guarantee continued service.

He remarked that NDDC had made provision for the supply of some metres to be distributed free to poor consumers in the community.

Niger Delta: FG will continue to support economic development initiatives – VP Osinbajo

Full text of Speech by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, at the launch of Africa Atlantic Gulf Of Guinea Fisheries Limited, an Initiative by the Presidential Amnesty Programme and private sector partners to train 2,500 Nigerians, which held at the State Banquet Hall, Abuja, on Friday, 24th May, 2019

 

*VP’s Speech delivered by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Matters, Office of the Vice President, Mr Edobor Iyamu

 

I am delighted to be here today to witness the inauguration of a landmark initiative aimed at improving the lives and wellbeing of young Nigerians in the Niger Delta, and contributing to the growth of the Nigerian economy.

In the last four years, our administration has focused on reviving the Nigerian economy and repositioning it for true, inclusive and diversified growth. You will all recall the situation we inherited in 2015, and the economic recession that shortly followed, which led to the development of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).

I am delighted to note that two years on, the ERGP has greatly justified its existence. Nigeria emerged from the recession in the second quarter of 2017, and since then has enjoyed eight consecutive quarters of growth. And just last week the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics released data that showed the healthiest first Quarter growth since 2015. Inflation is down, and manufacturing confidence has consistently been on the rise for more than two years. There is still a long journey ahead of us, towards the levels of growth that the ERGP envisions, but we are well on our way, and will not be resting on our oars.

Today’s ceremony is especially gladdening because not only does it advance the goals of the ERGP, it also brings together in one initiative several of our economic development priorities: Ease of Doing Business, Jobs, Young People, the Niger Delta, and Agriculture and Food Security.

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, in 2017, I travelled extensively around the Niger Delta, visiting communities and listening to their stories and their views on what the Federal Government ought to focus on. It became very clear to me that people were seriously counting on our administration to depart from the longstanding pattern of paying lip service to the development agenda for the region. For too long the people of the Niger Delta have had to endure failed promises and neglected aspirations.

The jinx that attended the Ogoni Clean-Up until recently is a very telling example of this. Years after the UNEP Report, there appeared to be little or no political will or determination to implement the recommendations, until the Buhari Administration emerged.

From the start we have left no one in doubt as to our commitment to set the ball rolling. I am delighted that, after two and half years of painstaking preparation and putting in place the proper governance and accountability frameworks, the much-awaited remediation of Ogoniland has finally commenced.

It is, of course, a long term task, and it is important for us as stakeholders to keep this in mind and not expect any overnight successes. It is also important that we continue to join hands to ensure that the progress we are seeing is not slowed or rolled back in any way.

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, this initiative being launched today is a public private partnership bringing together the Presidential Amnesty Programme, on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, and private sector partners, including Concept Amadeus, and a number of Greek technical partners. The project will build 100 fishing trawlers – in Nigeria – and also train about 2,500 young Nigerians from the Niger Delta – beneficiaries of the Presidential Amnesty Programme – in fishing techniques and the fishery value chain generally.

Nigeria is a country blessed with immense agricultural resources and potential. Much of that potential has hitherto remained unexploited, and we are very determined to change this. For this reason, this initiative is very much welcome, as it will significantly scale up our domestic fish production and build capacity and value within the fishing industry. It will also produce substantial savings in foreign exchange, considering how much we currently spend annually on the importation of fish.

I commend the Presidential Amnesty Programme, and the office of the Special Adviser to the President on the Niger Delta, who have worked hard to ensure the successful implementation of this project.

I would also like to express our gratitude to all the technical partners, who conceived and designed the project, and have demonstrated commitment to ensuring that it succeeds and delivers on all of its objectives.

Let me use this opportunity to reiterate the support and commitment of the Federal Government to the success of this project. It is interesting to note that this initiative is actually one of the earliest success stories of our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) Focus Labs, which we set up in 2018 to resolve the most urgent bottlenecks hindering the progress of business and investment in Nigeria.

It is our hope not only that this project will expand and cater to thousands more young Nigerians, but also that this partnership becomes a model that can be replicated in other agricultural value chains, across the country.

On that note, I have the honour and privilege of officially launching the Africa Atlantic Gulf of Guinea Fisheries Limited, the Special Purpose Vehicle that will implement this transformative agricultural partnership.

I look forward to hearing about and seeing the success stories and testimonies from this partnership. I thank you for listening.