Ogoni Clean-up: FG committed to UNEP report implementation, says Minister

The Honorable Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammed Mahmood Abubakar, has reiterated President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to the full implementation of the recommendations in the United Nations Environmental Assessment Report on Ogoniland.

He said the Ogoni clean-up is a signature project, the first of its kind in Africa and the world with no existing template, while noting that HYPREP was developing one that would be used hereafter for the remediation of the rest of the Niger Delta.

Dr. Abubakar stated this during a working visit to the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) and some remediation sites across Ogoniland, and was received on arrival by the Project Coordinator of HYPREP, Dr. Marvin Dekil.

The Honorable Minister also paid a courtesy visit to His Royal Majesty King G. N. K. Gininwa in his palace where he informed the King that the Ogoni clean-up is a pet project of President Buhari’s administration which is why the President constantly makes reference to the Ogoni clean-up project.

He said the Ogoni clean-up is a signature project, the first of its kind in Africa and the world with no existing template but rather HYPREP was developing one that would be used hereafter for the remediation of the rest of the Niger Delta.

The Honorable Minister assured the people of Ogoni that the Federal Government was not just concerned about remediating the environment but is also concerned about the well-being and economic life of the people.  He said “The Federal Government is aware that there are several other challenges you are facing as a result of the pollution.  That is why even though the core mandate of HYPREP is to remediate the land, other programs have been built into the Project to address some of these challenges.”

The traditional ruler appealed to the Minister for the inclusion of the Ogonis and to ensure that the people benefit fully from the clean-up project.

The Minister also attended the sensitization of women on the Livelihood program in Tai. He expressed satisfaction with the huge turnout of women for the program adding that it goes to show the seriousness of the women to key into the training programs to create economic activities for their financial empowerment.

Addressing the crowd at the event, Dr. Abubakar urged the women, men and youths to key into the various opportunities provided through the clean-up project to empower themselves to contribute to the economic growth of the kingdom.

Dr. Abubakar urged the people of Ogoni to be patient and ensure sustained peace during and after the project.  While expressing appreciation to the Royal Father, the Council of Chiefs the Youths of Ogoni, the Women, Opinion Leaders and others for their contributions to the success of the project, he appealed to the youths to desist from carrying out illegal bunkering and other activities that may negatively affect the environment.

Speaking with journalists during the inspection of some remediation sites, the Minister said with what he has seen, he has confirmed that remediation is going on across the various sites.  He said “I can say this is a big success for this administration, the people of Ogoni that I have talked to, the youths, women, elders they are happy with this and happy with Mr. President for keeping his promise to clean up Ogoni.”

“Let me say that this is something that is serious right from the start where we even have UNEP to do the assessment and follow through to ensure compliance with the recommendations.  This shows the commitment of the government; the commitment of the President and I believe every Nigerian not just the Ogonis should give this project a chance.  From what I have seen, the HYPREP team is doing a good job.”

On the issue of water, the Minister said HYPREP has gone beyond the provision of water in tankers, but was working to ensure the provision of a sustainable source of water not just in the impacted communities but to other communities in collaboration with the Rivers State Ministry of Water Resources.

He assured the people saying “we are following all the recommendations of UNEP and we all know when you are dealing with UN you must follow everything to the standard. The government has promised to use the UNEP Report to make sure the work is done according to the recommendations.  We are here to support the President’s commitment to the clean-up project, and I urge all of you to throw your weight behind HYPREP so that the dream of the President for a clean and healthy Ogoniland will be realized.”

Briefing the Minister, the Project Coordinator went through the various activities that HYPREP has carried out since inception.  He informed him that a total of 21 sites have been handed over to 21 contractors who were currently at different levels of remediation works while a joint team of HYPREP and UN are in the field to carry out reconnaissance in preparation for the commencement of the remediation of the complex sites.

Dekil added that the project has provided opportunities for training of Ogoni youths through the Livelihood Program, technical training for Scientific Officers who are all Ogonis in Nigeria and in Switzerland while arrangements for the training of 400 Ogoni women by United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) has been concluded.

The Project Coordinator further informed the Minister that HYPREP had carried out two medical outreaches where 20,000 patients were treated, and 400 surgeries carried out.  He added that HYPREP was collaborating with Rivers State Ministries of Water Resources and Health for the provision of water and assessment of health facilities in the impacted communities in Ogoniland.

Groups, CSOs back Buhari on forensic audit of NDDC

*President orders forensic audit of NDDC from 2001 to 2019

The state Chairmen of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the South-south and South-east regions have commended President Muhammadu Buhari over his directive for a forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

They also called on the president to urgently inaugurate the new board to superintend over the Commission’s activities for a holistic review and reforms.

The Nation reported that the call and commendation by the chairmen were contained in two separate statements issued by Akwa-Ibom State APC Chairman, Hon. Ini T. Okopido, who is the leader of the South-south Chairmen of the forum, and his Abia State counterpart, Hon. Donatus Nwankpa, leader of South-east Chairmen of the forum respectively, which was made available to journalists in Benin-city

The forum expressed satisfaction on the calibre of those Buhari has already appointed to take over the task of the region’s development, and appealed for their inauguration to pilot the affairs and bring their wealth of experience to bear on the Commission.

The chairmen, while commending the president for his ‘love’ for the development of the Niger Delta region, assured him of their unflinching support to carry out his holistic reforms in the interventionist agency.

Similarly, civil society groups and concerned individuals on Thursday hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for directing that a forensic audit be conducted on the operations, programmes and activities of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

A development economist, Jeffrey Emerson, the executive director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Auwwal Rafsanjani, and the president of Ijaw Diaspora Coalition, Johnson Ebibai, all said the directive was a step in the right direction, Premium Times reported.

“This is a good development, now that the President has finally responded to the concern by civil society and the demand for him to take action to stop the monumental corruption and outright stealing and diversion of public funds in these agencies meant to help the people and communities in the region,” Mr. Rafsanjani said on Friday.

It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered a forensic audit of the operations of the Niger Delta Development Commission from 2001 to 2019.

The decision followed persistent criticisms of the operations of the commission. A statement by the Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), Femi Adesina, said Buhari gave the directive after receiving governors of the states that make up the NCDC, led by Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State.

The President said what was presently on ground in the South-South region did not justify the huge resources that had been made available to the agency.

He said, “I try to follow the Act setting up these institutions especially the NDDC. With the amount of money that the Federal Government has religiously allocated to the NDDC, we will like to see the results on the ground; those that are responsible for that have to explain certain issues.

“The projects said to have been done must be verifiable. You just cannot say you spent so much billions and when the place is visited, one cannot see the structures that have been done. The consultants must also prove that they are competent.”

“I am acutely aware, with my experience, that projects in your area are very expensive; that is why if any job is given, we must make sure that the company is competent and has the capacity to do it well with experienced consultants”, the President said.

Buhari however said that he would wait for the report of the audit before deciding on the next line of action regarding the organisation.

Earlier, Dickson expressed the disappointment of other governors with the operations of the NDDC which, they said, was characterised by poor choice of projects, shoddy handling, uncompleted jobs and lack of the required support for the efforts of the states and local government administration in the region covered by the organisation.

He, therefore, called for the repositioning of the NDDC in order to achieve the objectives for which it was set up.

From Niger Delta creeks to billionaire farmer: An ex-militant’s story

In 2017, when Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, went on a tour of the Niger Delta to quell the rising tension in the region, it not only birthed the Niger Delta New Vision for the region’s development & revamped the bedrock to a stable economy, it also open the door to a new frontier, an agriculture revolution.

Weeks after he left the Niger Delta, the tension and occasional assault on oil pipelines almost went extinct. It was as if the VP had used a magic wand from one of Harry Potters’ sold out series. Peace enveloped the region and the falling oil prices which could easily have colluded with insecurity and uncertainty in the region quietly went away.

There was a new hope for Nigeria and he was rightly applauded locally and internationally for intervening at a time when things were most sensitive. But not only did he calm things in the Niger Delta, he opened an avenue for some of the ex-militants.

For those who have had the privilege to be in this same room as Prof. Osinbajo, you’ll agree that he is the full package. He is a leader, father, orator, inspirational speaker, lawyer, pastor, teacher etc but most importantly is the fact that he loves Nigeria. He loves Nigeria so much that sometimes you wonder why? This he shares in common with President Buhari who has so much belief in him that he sent him to deliver a Holy Grail. But that is a story for another day.

When Retson Tedheke listened to a speech by Prof. Osinbajo where he noted that there was a new oil well in Nigeria and he explained that if they can carefully mine it, they will have gold on their hands. That oil well was agriculture and a certain entrepreneur, Tedheke, was inspired by the Vice President’s speech

At the time, he was an ex-militant, but the entrepreneur in him was always going to come out, it only needed an inspirational speech and an outlet from the erudite professor of law. Oh boy, did that speech work? Yes, it did. It worked like magic. He caught the bug right there and he knew in his mind what he was going to do to put himself on the billionaire list.

Born in Delta state, but then resident in the creeks in Bayelsa, Tedheke made his way to the North Central part of Nigeria, specifically Nasarawa State. If you say Nasarawa State chose him, then you are right, but if you say he chose Nasarawa, you are also right. It was a partnership made in heaven, and only him and the people Gaa’te community in Nasarawa can explain how they have blossomed over the last few years.

On arriving at Ga’ate, the people took to him, they saw something him and at that point they knew they were going to make history together. While still getting to know his new surroundings, Tedheke was gifted three hectares of land to start his new adventure.

This is nothing like the creek, here he needed to learn a new language, meet new people, develop new relationships and make history if he could and somehow all these happened before he could even say Jack Robinson.

As it is with most successful people, Tedheke embraced his humble beginning and got straight to work. All the distractions available in the creek were no more, now was the time to work and make a name for himself and the community that had been so generous to him.

He had heard that President Buhari was determined to diversify away from crude oil and that he had his eyes on agriculture especially rice, which Nigeria had to potential to produce for its near 200 million population and also export to other countries.

The first farm produce was therefore rice and he did get it right. First, he showed how selfless and patriotic he was by branding the rice Ga’ate, after the community that had given him a home and the needed piece of land to start off. This legacy will never go away, the actions by the community and Tedheke showed that Nigeria is stronger together and that there is more to achieve collectively.

This was not a relationship based on ethnicity, religion or tribe but one built on ‘will’ and the Nigerian spirit that cannot be broken. Hand in hand, they started from 3 hectares to 3,000 hectares. Tedheke then went on to found National Farmers Group and Cooperative Society Ga’ate, Nasarawa, a cooperative that currently supports hundreds of farmers and workers.

Reflecting on his achievements in Nasarawa, he said, “We did it by being true Nigerians and developed it close to Abuja so anyone can see what we do. I’m originally from Bayelsa state, born in Delta state, now I live here and the Governor (of Nasarawa) is my Governor,” an emotional Tedheke said.

The business that started with N1.5 million is now worth about a billion naira through crowdfunding. With about 300 to 500 workers on the farm from across the country and hundreds more in indirect labour, Ga’ate is gradually becoming a community to reckon with and is finding its way on the global map.

The limelight beamed on Tedheke and Ga’ate when on Thursday, October 17, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, accompanied by the Nasarawa State Governor, Engr. Abdullahi Sule, paid a visit to the NFGCS Farm Centre, which Tedheke founded. It marked the germination of an inspired seed of words into a forest of achievement.

He noted that was inspired by the Buhari administration’s focus on agriculture diversification of Nigeria’s economy. He said receiving the VP on his farmland, as well as the Nasarawa State Governor was the “happiest day of my life.”

PHOTOS: Ongoing Ogoni Cleanup in Niger Delta

Pictures from Eleme LGA, one of the four Local Government Areas of Ogoniland where the clean-up/ remediation exercise is ongoing.

It shows the process of transfering contaminated soil into Bio-cell for treatment at the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) Project Site, Lot 006, Nkeleoken, Alode, Eleme LGA in Ogoniland, Rivers State.

A total of 21 contractors are currently at different levels of remediation works on 21 lots across the four Local Government Areas in Ogoniland – Eleme, Gokana, Khana and Tai LGAs.

The Ogoni clean-up is part of the Buhari administration’s New Vision and underscores its commitment to a cleaner and better environment in the Niger Delta region.

It would be recalled that in June 2016, the Buhari administration started the process of implementation of the 2011 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on Ogoniland. The Ogoni clean-up project is the first of its kind by a Nigerian government in the oil-rich Niger Delta environment that had been devastated by decades of oil spills.

FG, Greece partner to train Niger Delta youths

The Federal government is set to collaborate with Greece on the training of Niger Delta youths and others in shipbuilding, fishing, food sufficiency and employment generation.

The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, said this when the representative of the Greece government in Nigeria, Concept Amadeus Limited, paid a working visit to the ministry on Tuesday, in Abuja.

His Special Assistant on Media and Communications, Anietie Ekong, quoted Akpabio as saying that the ministry was poised to improve the standard of living of the people of the Niger Delta and Nigeria in general.

The PUNCH reported that the Minister commended the initiative which according to him, would reduce militancy and crises resulting from unemployment in the country.

The minister noted that the partnership would empower the youths in the Niger Delta region, stop the illegal fishing on Nigerian shores and also give Nigerians the opportunity to explore the value chain in the fishing industry.

Akpabio added  that the host communities would  be involved in the whole process to enable them own the project and provide the enabling environment for successful hosting of the dockyard.

He regretted that most areas in the Niger Delta might  not be good for fishing because of oil exploration, adding that the Maritime University in Okerenkoko , Delta State and the Maritime Academy in Oron, Akwa Ibom State could be used as the training ground for the shipbuilding programme.

To ensure that the whole process is domesticated,  Akpabio and the Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Festus Keyamo, set up a five-man committee to work out detailed modalities of the training programme.

Earlier, the Chairman and Chief Executive of Concept Amadeus Limited, Patrick Osabase, the organisation representing the government of  Greece, said that the partnership programme  would create employment for the youths in the Niger Delta region and enhance their potential in the fishing industry.

Ogoni clean-up: UK commends HYPREP on remediation exercise

The British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ms. Gill Atkinson says she is elated at the level of work done so far in the ongoing clean-up of Ogoniland in line with the recommendations of the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP Report on the Ogoni environment.

Gill stated this when she led some officials of the High Commission on a working visit to some sites in Ogoniland being remediated by the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP. She said, “It is really good to see some strong progress happening here and genuine implementation of the project which has taken time to plan, but as we can see, there is a real productive work going on now.  Congratulations to them for work well done”.

She gave assurance of Britain’s support politically and also offering long term expert support for the project through the Department for International Development (DFID).

The Project Coordinator, HYPREP, Dr. Marvin Barinem Dekil while briefing the British Deputy High Commissoner on the progress of work, reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to implementing the recommendations in the United Nations Environment Project (UNEP) Report to the letter in the Ogoni clean-up project.

He said HYPREP has carried out several engagements with various stakeholders at the community level to get their buy-in to enable them take ownership of the project.  He added that the sensitization provided a platform for HYPREP to harvest ideas and suggestions from the people which have yielded positive results.

“The project is enjoying full support from the traditional rulers, youth groups and women groups in all the communities that the clean-up is currently taking place”.

He explained that the bio-remediation option adopted by HYPREP for the clean-up is a slow process but the most effective.  He informed the Deputy High Commissioner that a total of 21 contractors are currently at different levels of remediation works on 21 lots across the 4 Local Government Areas of Ogoni.

The HYPREP Coordinator also said that the Project has provided huge employment opportunities for youths of Ogoni while business opportunities have also sprung up as a result of the ripple effect of activities in the communities. He disclosed that HYPREP had gone into partnerships with the Rivers State Ministry of Water Resources to be able to provide water to more communities in Ogoniland; Rivers State Ministry of Health to carry out assessment of all medical facilities in Ogoniland; the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the Stakeholder Democracy Network (SDN) to provide training to Ogoni youths under the Sustainable Livelihood Program.

The Deputy High Commissioner and her team were later led by Dr. Dekil to pay a courtesy visit to the King of Eleme Kingdom, Emere Philip Obele in his palace where she was decorated and conferred with the title of Egbere Owa Ekoo, Eko of Eleme (Big woman and friend of Eleme Kingdom).

We’ve generated over $45M from Delta ports – NPA

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Delta Ports, says it generated over $45.2 million within January and June 2019, a significant increase attributed to the improved security in the area.

This was disclosed at a stakeholders’ forum presided over by chairman of the NPA board of directors, Mr. Emmanuel Adesoye, at the New Port, Warri in Delta State, the Nation reports.

In a briefing document made available to journalists, the ports authorities stated that the rise in revenue when compared to 2018’s $35.39 million, a 28% increase, is also due to the dredging of the Escravos channel.

According to the statement, $2,904,377 debt was recovered within the same period, leaving the total revenue collected at the sum of $48,150,644.17.

Speaking to journalists, the NPA chairman, Adesoye, whose visit was to assess the progress made by the port since November 2016, denied awareness of the sales of some of Delta Ports terminals.

The brief had reported five out of the six terminals of Delta Ports to have been conceded at different dates to respective operators for a duration of 15 years for one, and 25 years each for the others.

According to the chairman on sales of some terminals, “that was something we just found out today. It is something that was contemplated, I think maybe there was an error. I don’t think it is an issue that I want to talk about without knowing the full facts.

However, he noted that the major challenge raised during the forum is the dredging of the channel within the port to allow bigger vessels go in, but declined to give a time frame for the needed development to take place, explaining that some technicalities may cause a prolongation.

Expressing satisfaction that there has been no recorded security breach around the Warri environment in the past two years, he charged all stakeholders, including the leadership of the host communities to continue to work with security agencies to keep the peace.

“The major challenge is the issue of dredging the channels, the inner ports in the terminal here which management has already taken action. In fact, they have called for the construction of these channels, so there is no cause for alarms. The reason I can’t give a time frame is you have the procurement cycle, sometimes you cannot determine it with any degree of accuracy.

“My marching word is for them to continue to cooperate as they are doing. I am very impressed about the security situation here in Warri which is incredibly fantastic. I am really pleased because the last time we came the leadership of this community did say that they are going to make sure that there is no vandalism, no issues of security concerns raised in this place. They’ve lived true to their words and I am really impressed.

“And that is why you can see the degree of improvement that has happened here. The number of ships that are coming have increased significantly and revenues have gone up.”

On his part, the Delta Port manager, Mr. Simeon Okeke, stressed that the administration of President Muhammad Buhari is committed to “improving the rating of Nigeria with respect to the global index on the ease of doing business.”

Emphasising the importance attached to Delta Ports by the board, he mentioned achievements thus far to include remedial dredging of the Escravos channel, replacement of critical buoys, repossession of trailer park/ ejection of illegal occupant, illumination of the entire port and rehabilitation of port facilities, among others.

“Documentation and payment processes have been improved by the executive management through e-payment, e-SEN and Revenue Invoicing Management Systems (RIMS). Delta Ports Warri is fully on board as regards the implementation of these processes and this has improved our service delivery,” Okeke added.

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.

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).