How we’ll develop the Niger Delta- Akpabio

The newly appointed Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio and Minister of State, Mr. Festus Keyamo have resumed with the pledge to develop and positively change the narratives of the Niger Delta, in line with the Buhari administration’s Niger Delta New Vision.

The New Vision for the Niger Delta is designed to “develop a new and prosperous Niger Delta through the Federal Government’s forthright partnerships with State Governments, the Private Sector and Local Communities.”

At a reception organised by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mrs. Didi Walson-Jack and management staff in Abuja on Wednesday, the Ministers said they were prepared to leave huge footprints of success stories in the ministry with developmental projects that would address the needs of the people.

Akpabio said the issues of capacity building, inadequate infrastructure, poverty alleviation, youth restiveness, entrepreneurship, environmental degradation, amongst others, will be tackled head-on.

According to newspaper reports, Akpabio pledged to work harmoniously with the Minister of State to ensure that they lived up to the expectations of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Akpabio added that he loved leaving marks anywhere he worked and called on staff and management of the Ministry to ‘put all hands on deck to ensure that our developmental efforts yield fruits’.

He said, “I love leaving marks wherever I visit, it is a great privilege on our part being selected to work with you, to see how we can turn around the fortunes of the Niger Delta region.

“Of course you know why this ministry was set up, specifically that region would have been like a golden egg, but has been neglected for long. If not because we’re just coming for the first time, I would have asked for your achievements so far, especially in the areas of construction of bridges, employment and others.

“Being a Niger Delta person, I will ensure that things are better for further and effective development of the region. So, the president is looking forward to commissioning a lot of projects in the Niger Delta region. I believe the Niger Delta region and its people, they are looking forward to the alleviation of poverty in their lives and transformation of infrastructure.”

In the same vein, Keyamo pledged to give his best in appreciation of the confidence repose in him by President Buhari.

NNPC, NOSDRA pledge collaboration to stem oil spills

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) have expressed their willingness to work closer aimed at mitigating the incidences of oil spills across the country.

Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, made this known when he received the Director General of NOSDRA, Mr. Idris Musa, along with his management team at the NNPC Towers in Abuja on Wednesday.

Kyari stated that as a National Oil Company, the NNPC pipelines, flow stations and assets spread across the country were jointly owned by the Federation.

He maintained that the Corporation produces crude oil to maintain a balance sheet for the nation, noting that the NNPC had taken several steps to deploy technology to stem incidences of oil spill.

“We have taken a number of steps to stem oil spill by deploying technology in order to make sure that whenever there is an oil spill incidence, it is contained almost immediately. We contain the incidences of oil theft, pipeline vandalism and acts of saboteurs and we intend to bring it to the barest minimum,” Kyari said.

He noted that the NNPC operated both crude oil and petroleum products pipelines adding that the Corporation was collaborating with all its partners to curb incidences of oil spill in all areas of its operations.

The NNPC helmsman said the Corporation would also forge closer ties with NOSDRA to proactively forestall oil spill in areas that are prone to incessant incidences.

Earlier, the Director General of NOSDRA, Mr. Musa, said the Agency was prepared to partner the NNPC in mitigating oil spill in all areas of its oerations stressing that the partnership would ensure a good operating environment for the operators and the inhabitants.

He added that breaking of petroleum products pipelines did not provide food, water and good environment for the people rather the malaise bleeds the national purse of revenues that would have being used to provide developmental infrastructure for the various tiers of government.

Ogoni Clean-up on track, Nigerians should support HYPREP – Bassey

Environmental Rights Activist, Nnimmo Bassey, has called on Ogonis and all Nigerians to support the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) in the on-going clean-up of Ogoniland.

Bassey made the call when he led a delegation of members of Oil Watch Africa from 15 African countries to HYPREP on an assessment visit to some remediation sites in Ogoniland.

Receiving the team, the Project Coordinator of HYPREP, Dr. Marvin Dekil who explained the processes adopted by HYPREP in the clean-up, informed the team that the clean-up project commenced eight years after the report was submitted to the Federal Government of Nigeria by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

In a statement by HYPREP, Dekil was quoted as saying that the time between the date of submission in 2011 and 2016 when the clean-up was officially flagged off by President Buhari necessitated the review and modification of some of the strategies recommended in the report.

The Project Coordinator said the review and modification of some of the strategies does not mean that HYPREP has deviated from the recommendations in the UNEP Report as all such modifications are done with the input of UNEP.

While inspecting one of the remediation sites, Bassey expressed satisfaction with the works HYPREP is doing and confirmed that remediation has commenced in Ogoniland.

He expressed disappointment that despite the several activities going on at various sites across Ogoniland, people are still saying the clean-up has not commenced. Bassey said he appreciates the anxiety of the people who expect to see the work move at a very fast pace but pointed out that the clean-up project is a highly technical and complex work that requires expertise, experience and a lot of preparation.

Speaking to HYPREP staff, Nnimmo Bassey said members of the Oil Watch Africa are in Port Harcourt for a conference on the impact of oil on the continent, adding that it was important for the team to visit Ogoniland to see the work that HYPREP is doing and to see the state of the cleanup efforts.

The environmental rights activist said the visit was also to enable members from other African countries learn about the consequences of pollution and how difficult it is to restore the environment after pollution has occurred. Bassey said keeping the environment clean was everybody’s business as hydrocarbon pollution affects both the environment and humans and urged all stakeholders to ensure that Ogoniland remains clean after the clean-up.

He dispelled speculations that HYPREP funds are being mismanaged, explaining that the structure set up for the management of finances and for appropriating funds for HYPREP project is very well set up.

Bassey who is also a member of the HYPREP Board of Trustees (BoT) stated that people of integrity with very stringent control over finances are on the board of the Project, adding that the funds for the Project is held by the Ogoni Trust Fund with community people and other stakeholders as signatories to the account and not a kobo goes out without due process.

“HYPREP office does not determine which fund is released and which fund is being used. The strict nature of the control and the milestone set by HYPREP and the whole organizational structure, the BOT, GC, PCO, is such that any fund to be released must be matched by clear set goals and what it is going to be used for,” Bassey said.

He said ‘the clean-up is an excellent avenue to get youths employed to multiply skills that can be extended to other Niger Delta communities by the time the remediation project is expanded. This is an incubation lab. We must do all we can to ensure that this is a success that the environment is restored’. He encouraged youths to take advantage of the employment and training opportunities that the Project offers.

He emphasized that Ogoni clean-up is a signature project and that everyone involved in the delivery of this project desires to leave a legacy. Bassey called on everyone who doubts the commencement of the clean-up to visit the remediation sites across Ogoniland to see things for themselves and urged everyone to be patient with HYPREP since remediation is on course.

Samsung seek training partnership with Amnesty Programme

Samsung Heavy Industries-Mega Construction and Integration, (SHI-MCI) Nigeria, are seeking a partnership with the Presidential Amnesty Programme to train beneficiaries on fabrication and heavy industrial welding.

This was stated recently when the Training Managers of Samsung paid a visit to the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator Presidential Amnesty Programme, Prof. Charles Dokubo.

They were in the office to make a presentation of Samsung Heavy Industries welding training center. At the center they train people on fabrication and heavy industrial welding. At the end of the training, grandaunts would be issued certificate of Training Completion and International Welder Certificate. This will qualify them to work with any organization as professional welders at local and international level.

Mr. Ikechukwu Ugbaja, the Human Resource Manager and Leader of the delegates stated that they want to partner with the office through their capacity building, empowerment and employment programme.

Mr. Ugbaja further stated that the training usually last for a period of 10 months, and the training is in 3 phases. The Phase 1 is on Flux Cored Arc Welding and will last for 3months; the 2nd phase which is on Shield Metal Arc Welding usually last for 4months while phase 3 which is on Gas Tungsten Arc Welding is for a period of 3 months. At each stage the trainees will have international certification which will enable them work anywhere in the world.

Responding, the Special Adviser, to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator Presidential Amnesty Programme, Prof. Charles Dokubo, said he was happy to receive them. He stated that their visit is timely as the Amnesty Programme is in its re-integration stage. He assured them that the office is ready to partner with Samsung Heavy Industries provided they would train, empower and employ those being trained.

Prof. Dokubo noted that he is more concerned with empowering and employment of the youths after the training. He said that by so doing we will be assured of lasting peace in the Niger Delta.

He further added that the office is going to send some staff to visit the company for on the spot assessment of their facilities.

The visitors thanked the Management of the office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator Presidential Amnesty Programme. They assured them that the impact of the collaboration will go beyond Nigeria.

The graduates would be internationally certified to work anywhere in the world. First School Leaving Certificate is the basic qualification needed to get enrolled in the training.