How modular refineries can create over 100,000 indirect jobs – Wabote, NCDMB

*Adds: Modular refineries should refine at least 10% of Nigeria’s oil production

At least 10 per cent of Nigeria’s oil production should be refined through modular refineries as it has the capacity to create about 3,000 direct jobs and 100,000 indirect jobs, according to the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote.

Wabote stated this on Tuesday during the commissioning of the 5,000 barrels per day (bpd) Waltersmith Modular Refinery, developed with 30 percent equity investment by the NCDMB.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Tuesday performed the virtual commissioning of the Waltersmith Modular Refinery, describing the role played by the Board as novel in concept and superb in delivery.

The President also performed the ground-breaking of the refinery expansion at the Ibigwe field, Ochia Community, Ohaji-Egbema Local Government of Imo State. The new phase will first add 25,000 barrels per day processing capacity, before the final phase of new 20,000 bpd, bringing total capacity to 50,000 bpd.

Delivering his address virtually, President Buhari stated that the deployment of modular refineries was one of the four elements of the Refinery Roadmap introduced the Federal Government in 2018 to meet local needs for petroleum products and eliminate importation.

According to a statement from the NCDMB, Wabote canvassed that at least 10 percent of Nigeria’s oil production should be refined through modular refineries, noting that an average of 10 direct jobs are created for every 1,000barrels/day capacity of modular refinery.

He said, “We believe that about 3,000 direct jobs and over 100,000 indirect and induced jobs can be created if 10 percent of Nigeria’s oil production is refined using modular refineries.”

The NCDMB boss also provided the basis of the Board’s equity investment in the 5,000bpd Waltersmith Modular Refinery. He hinted that Section 70(h) of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act mandates the Board to assist local contractors and Nigerian companies to develop their capabilities and capacities to further the attainment of Nigerian Content in the oil and gas sector of the economy.

According to him, “This refinery creates job opportunities and business prospects, enhances availability of petroleum products, and provides ready market for some of our crude cargo within our shores. At current capacity, this refinery will utilize about 1.8million barrels of crude oil. At the completion of the expansion works, this will increase to more than 16million barrels of crude and condensates every year.”

The Executive Secretary confirmed that NCDMB was also in partnership with other investors for the construction of a 2,500bpd modular refinery in Edo State, which will later be expanded to 10,000bpd and another 12,000bpd hydroskimming refinery in Bayelsa State, that will produce a full slate of petroleum products to serve immediate and nearby markets.

In the same vein, President Buhari assured that Government was making good progress in the Rehabilitation of existing refineries, Co-location of new refineries, and Construction of greenfield refineries, with the firm goal of making Nigeria a net exporter of petroleum products in a few years’ time.

He also commended the expansion plans of Waltersmith Refining & Petrochemical Company and directed the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and other relevant Government Agencies to provide the company all the necessary support with regards to access to crude oil and condensate feedstock for the timely delivery of the additional capacity.

In his speech, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva applauded Waltersmith and NCDMB for embarking on the project in 2018, considering the immaturity and uncertainty in the downstream sector as at that time. ”It is only investors who have faith and believe in Nigeria, with clear delivery strategy that would have had such boldness,” he emphasised.

He clarified that efforts to achieve sufficiency of locally refined petroleum products “has to be a combination of large-scale processing plants as well as small to medium modular processors which will be enabled by our progressive policies and regulations.”

He challenged other investors to take a cue from Waltersmith and speed up action on similar development efforts to jointly grow the nation’s economy.

The Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma while delivering a goodwill message lauded President Buhari for providing purposeful leadership and conducive investment climate that enabled the establishment of the Waltersmith Modular Refinery within two years of conception. He recalled that successive administrations had awarded licenses for similar projects, with none of them coming to fruition.

He assured that the Imo State Government will partner with the host communities to protect the investment, while charging the company to discharge its statutory obligations to government and perform its corporate social responsibility to the communities.

Modular Refineries will eliminate importation, make petroleum products available – President Buhari at commissioning of Waltersmith refinery

The establishment of modular refineries in the country will make petroleum products available in the country and eliminate importation, President Muhammadu Buhari stated on Tuesday.

According to a statement by the Special Adviser to the President, Media & Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President spoke at the virtual inauguration of the 5,000 barrels per day Waltersmith modular refinery in Ibigwe, Imo State, as well as the Ground-Breaking Ceremony for the Phase-2 works to expand the capacity of the refinery to 50,000 barrels/day.

President Buhari said the deployment of modular refineries was one of the four key elements of his administration’s Refinery Roadmap rolled out in 2018, adding that its implementation will make Nigeria a net exporter of petroleum products.

He expressed delight that Waltersmith refinery in Ohaji Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State was coming on stream within two years of the commencement of the Roadmap, after many years of granting licenses for the establishment of modular refineries with nothing to show for it.

”Furthermore, there is increased momentum in the other three focus areas under the Roadmap covering the Rehabilitation of existing refineries, Co-location of new refineries, and Construction of greenfield refineries.

”The realization of the Refinery Roadmap will ultimately lead us to becoming a net exporter of petroleum products not only to our neighbouring countries but to the worldwide market.

”This modular refinery is the largest commissioned modular refinery in the country today.

”The role played by the Federal Government through the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) in going into collaboration with Waltersmith Refining and Petrochemical Company is novel in concept and superb in delivery,” he said.

The President described plans to commence the expansion of the capacity of the refinery to 50,000 barrels per day to refine crude oil and condensates as an important part of economic reforms the country is undergoing.

”I look forward to seeing this new phase completed within the target timeframe,” he said.

President Buhari, therefore, directed the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), NNPC, as well as all relevant Government Agencies to provide Waltersmith Company all the necessary support to access crude oil and condensate feedstock for the timely delivery of the additional capacity.

In line with his administration’s agenda on jobs creation, the President said he was pleased to note that hundreds of direct and indirect jobs were created during the construction of the first phase of the project in addition to the various business opportunities.

Equally, he expressed hope that the construction of the second phase of the project will create bigger additional employment opportunities.

President Buhari thanked the local community and the people of Imo State for hosting the refinery, which, he stressed, will bring prosperity and economic development to the area.

The President commended the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, the Chairman and members of the Governing Council, and the management and staff of the Nigerian Content Development Board for making the public-private partnership a success.

He also commended the Chairman, Board, Management and Staff of Waltersmith Refining and Petrochemical Limited for their professionalism and focus in getting the project completed.

Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State and the Minister of State, Petroleum, cut the tape on behalf of the President, at the event which was also attended by the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kyari, the Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Wabote and the Chairman of WalterSmith, Abdulrazaq Isa.

Presidential Amnesty Programme: Niger Delta monarchs pledge support

Traditional rulers in the Niger Delta have declared their total support for the Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Col. Milland Dixion Dikio (Rtd).

They also agreed to work closely with him to realize his new vision for the PAP and achieve lasting peace in the region. The monarchs made the pledge in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, when Dikio paid them a courtesy call as part of his ‘Back to the Region tour last Tuesday, according to a Vanguard report.

While commending President Muhammadu Buhari for his appointment, the traditional rulers said Dikio’s tour of the region and his inclusive approach in the running of the PAP has reinstated the confidence of stakeholders that the Federal Government is committed to the objectives of the programme. In a speech read on his behalf, the Executive Chairman/General Coordinator of the Association of Niger Delta Monarchs of Nigeria, King (Captain) Frank Okurakpo expressed confidence that Dikio will live up to expectations. King Okurakpo however appealed to Dikio to ensure that all those who have been trained under the PAP are fully engaged in order to reduce youth unemployment in the region. The monarchs also called for the establishment of amphibious security outfit that will be responsible for checkmating kidnapping and other sundry crimes within the region.

They also investment in Agriculture and marine transportation that will help create jobs. In his remarks Dikio thanked the monarchs for maintaining peace in their domains and assured them of his readiness to recalibrate the training programme of the PAP to reflect areas that people of the Niger Delta have comparative advantage. He said his tour of the region was deliberate because of the insinuations that the programme has been hijacked by other regions and has become an “Abuja thing”. Dikio told the monarchs that his actions and policies would be guided by consensus inputs of key stakeholders of which they play a major role He added that his focus would be effective reintegration of ex-agitators.

“We want to work with all tiers of government and those central to our new vision so that we can deliver the deliverables of the PAP. “This is essentially why I have come to meet with you today. I want you as royal fathers to help us restore that age-long respect for our institutions and our elders. Those are the fabrics that helps to preserve our traditions and culture. “We are people from riverine communities. There are things that are mostly peculiar to us and they come naturally with us. So we are going to recalibrate our trainings to take cognizance of those areas we have comparative advantage over otherd and enhance them. That to me will in the long run positively impact on our people. “Ultimately we want to synergise with all stakeholders so that we can make the Niger Delta a place to live and do business in”.

 

#NDNewVision: President Buhari to commission 5,000bpd Modular Refinery on Tuesday

**WalterSmith project in line with President Buhari’s vision to boost Nigeria’s oil refining capacity – NCDMB

President Muhammadu Buhari will tomorrow formally commission the WalterSmith 5,000 barrels per day modular refinery at Ibigwe, Ohaji/Egbema local government area of Imo State.

The Modular Refinery project is part of the initiative of the Buhari administration to boost local refining of petroleum products to end importation and create jobs and opportunities for people in the Niger Delta region.

The President will be supported at the event by the minister of state for Petroleum Resources, Timpre Sylva and Imo State governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma, among other top government officials, oil industry regulators and stakeholders. The president will also perform the ground-breaking ceremony for the 45,000 barrels per day refinery also initiated by Waltersmith.

The event will also feature goodwill messages from top industry players, partners and community leaders. At a recent pre-commissioning visit to the refinery, Yusuf Usman, Chief Operating Officer, Gas & Power, said, “It is a landmark achievement and it shows that we can actually refine our crude oil in-country.” The modular refinery has a crude oil storage capacity of 60,000 barrels and is projected to deliver over 271million liters per annum of refined petroleum products, including Kerosene, Diesel, Naphtha and Heavy Fuel Oils, to the domestic market. The bulk of crude oil supply for this phase will come from Waltersmith’s upstream business, with backup from the OML 53 (Ohaji South) Seplat/NNPC JV third party crude currently processed at Waltersmith Ibigwe Flowstation and additionally from the 2020 Marginal Fields Bid Round for a nearby asset.

The company then partnered with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) to raise the required financing. NCDMB are 30 per cent equity partners while AFC committed senior secured credit facility towards the project.

“From the very day we keyed into this project in line with the President’s aspiration to grow the country’s oil refining capacity, we felt very happy that we are associated with Waltersmith, a serious-minded company”, said executive secretary, NCDMB, Simbi Wabote.

The Chairman, Waltersmith Group, Abdulrazaq Isa, said, “The first module to be commissioned tomorrow is 5,000bpd refining capacity. We are looking at 50,000bpd refining capacity that will come with the planned additional two modules; 25,000bpd and 20,000bpd refining capacity respectively which will then add PMS, Aviation fuel and LPG to the product slates.” Waltersmith obtained the ‘License to Establish’ the modular refinery from DPR in June 2015 and got the ‘Authority to Construct’ in March 2017.

 

PIB: Oil Firms’ licences may be revoked over neglect of host communities

Oil firms that neglect their obligations to host communities risk losing their operating licenses if the new Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) presently before the National Assembly sails through.

The Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) seeks to increase government revenue from oil, establish strengthened legal and regulatory framework for the Nigerian oil industry, and promote transparency in the administration of Nigerian petroleum resources.

According to Leadership newspapers, in the new bill, the power to revoke oil licenses is vested on the Minister of Petroleum Resources. It reported that according to the bill, the action will be taken with the recommendation of the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission, among other powers.

It defines host community as “any community situated in or appurtenant to the Area of Operation of a Settlor (oil company), and any other community as a Settlor may determine.”

It said that any oil and gas company that fails to incorporate the Host Communities Development Trust would have its license revoked.

It stated that on its constitution, the Host Communities Development Trust would be empowered to manage and supervise the administration of the annual contribution of the settlor (oil companies) contemplated under the Act and any other sources of funding.

The bill further proposed that the objectives of the trust shall include financing and executing projects for the benefit and sustainable development of the host communities.

“It will undertake infrastructure development of the host communities within the scope of funds available to the Board of Trustees for such purposes; and facilitate economic empowerment opportunities in the host communities, among others,” it said.

Other powers granted the minister of Petroleum in the new bill include the revocation and assignment of interests in the petroleum industry, and approval of the fees for services rendered by the upstream, midstream and downstream regulatory authorities.

The bill is also proposing to empower the minister to order a cutback of the levels of crude oil or condensate production in the context of international oil pricing agreements supported by Nigeria.

It stated: “The minister is also empowered to, upon the recommendation of the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission, or the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, direct in writing the suspension of petroleum operations in any area.

“The suspension, according to the bill will persist until arrangements to prevent danger to life or property have been made to his satisfaction or where in his opinion, a contravention of the Act or any regulation made under the Act has occurred or is likely to occur”.

The bill has passed second reading at the Senate and a committee was constituted to work on it for further deliberation.

NDDC Acting Executive Director Projects, Dr Cairo Ojoughoh, (right) during a visit to the Coventry University in UK

We’ll begin payment of outstanding scholarship claims soon – NDDC

The Management of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has reassured the beneficiaries of its Foreign Post Graduate Scholarship programme in the United Kingdom that the remaining scholars will be paid within one week.

According to a statement by the Commission, the NDDC Acting Executive Director Projects, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, was in London on Thursday, September 17, 2020, with relevant officers of the Commission, to carry out physical verification, monitoring and evaluation of legitimate students on the scholarship programme.

The statement read, “Having concluded the verification exercise, which involved the registration of all scholars and the confirmation of their claims with the various universities, payment of the outstanding fees were to commence immediately.

“Unfortunately, some unforeseen circumstances, including the upheavals that followed the EndSARS protests by youths, constituted stumbling blocks for the speedy implementation of the payment plan.

“Before the protests, which slowed down activities, the NDDC Interim Management Committee, IMC, had released $5,910,000 million through the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to offset all the verified outstanding foreign scholarship obligations, despite the non-passage of NDDC 2020 budget by the National Assembly.

“Obviously, the CBN was not immune to the sad realities bedeviling the nation in the past few weeks. However, the bank has promised to treat the case of the scholarship beneficiaries with utmost dispatch.

“We appeal for understanding and patience from the students. We urge them not to allow themselves to be used as tools by those sponsoring devious campaigns to discredit the IMC through protests at the Nigerian Embassy in London.

“We re-affirm our commitment to the Post Graduate scholarship Scheme, which is part of our efforts to develop professional manpower to help in the transformation of the Niger Delta region.”

5,000 bpd Waltersmith Modular Refinery Ready for Operations – DPR

The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has said that the 5,000 barrels per day (bpd) Waltersmith Modular Refinery project is fully ready for operations.

The Director of DPR, Mr Sarki Auwalu, stated this during a pre-commissioning visit to the project site located in Ibigwe, Imo State recently.

The refinery had been officially scheduled for inauguration on Monday, October 26, 2020, but had to be put on hold due the nationwide protest.

Auwalu said the purpose of the visit was to make sure that Waltersmith Refinery was ready to start operations. “We can confirm that the refinery is very much ready to commence operations. We have seen all the preparations. To us, the plant is alive. The commissioning is just symbolic. Everywhere is ready to start off. My overall assessment is excellent.

“We have been to other modular refineries but we have not seen anything like this: the space, the way it is arranged and the way it will work”, Auwalu said.

The DPR director, however, urged Nigerians to start seeing the agency as an enabler and not a regulator, stressing that their focus was on how to create opportunities for Nigeria’s vast oil and gas resources to be properly managed for the betterment of Nigerians.

According to him, “The role we play is to enable businesses and create opportunities. When DPR issues you a license, it enables you to invest. It is that opportunity we create that enable businesses to grow.”

Auwalu added: “Waltersmith is one of our success stories. We consider the project as ours. We have been tracking their growth and we are happy to see that our child is growing. It is our plan that they expand and they have the potential.”

The 5,000bpd modular refinery has a crude oil storage capacity of 60,000 barrels and is projected to deliver over 271 million litres per year of refined petroleum products comprising of Diesel, Kerosene, Naphtha and Heavy Fuel Oils to the domestic market.

The bulk of the crude supply for this phase will come from Waltersmith’s upstream business with backup from nearby third-party crude.

“What you see here is a proof of the absolute faith we have in our country. We want to demonstrate that it is practically a waste of resources to produce crude oil and just sell it. It is more impactful to add value and make more significant impact on the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of our nation”, Chairman of Waltersmith Refining and Petrochemical Company, Abdulrasaq Isah, was quoted as saying during the visit.

“This is the first phase of a series of refinery development which will culminate in the delivery of up to 50,000bpd refining capacity that will expand the product slate to include petrol, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and Aviation fuel”, he said.

Isah added that the expansion plan consists of 20,000bpd crude oil refinery and a standalone 25,000bpd condensate refinery both of which are at early stages of project development.

On the sustainability of the refinery project, Managing Director/Chief Executive of Waltersmith, Mr. Chikezie Nwosu, said domestic consumption was more sustainable than crude export.

“With export, there are things you do not have control over and for every dollar you gain by exporting crude oil as a commodity, you gain multiples of those dollars in terms of GDP growth by consuming the energy within the economy”, Nwosu said.

Waltersmith Refining and Petrochemical Company obtained License to Establish from DPR in June 2015 and obtained Authority to construct in March 2017.

The company partnered with Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) who are 30 per cent equity holders while the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) committed significant financing to the project.

President Buhari to inaugurate Itakpe-Warri rail line today

President Muhammadu Buhari will today commission the Itakpe-Warri standard gauge rail line, running through Kogi, Edo and Delta states, with commercial operations on the line expected to commence.

The rail service has 12 stations with two located between Itakpe, Ajaokuta and Warri. They include Itakpe; Eganiy; Adobe; Itogbo; Agenebode; Uromi; Egehen; Igbanke; Agbor; Abraka; Okpara and Ujewu.

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, is expected to  lead the Federal Government delegation to the event.

The 276 kilometres rail line, otherwise known as the Central Railway line, was originally designed for the transportation of Iron ore to Ajaokuta (Kogi) and Aladja Steel Rolling mills (Delta State). It was also designed to transport processed steel to the port in Warri, Delta.

The Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri railway project was first awarded in 1987, the project was initially planned to be delivered in 5 years. However it was abandoned for 33 years due to paucity of funds. The construction of the Itakpe-Warri railway line was abandoned after 254 kilometres had been constructed.

The inauguration of the Itakpe-Warri rail line is a significant feat worth celebrating, as the rail line was mooted about 33 years but was abandoned. Although in 2009, the construction of the Itakpe-Warri railway line was reactivated, with the Goodluck Jonathan led Federal government then approving the redesign and completion of the remaining 22 kilometers. But under President Buhari’s administration, it has been completed and will be running. This has set the pace for many more projects to be completed in the Niger Delta region.

It is another demonstration of the commitment of the Buhari administration to develop the Niger Delta.  The Warri-Itakpe rail line is one of the achievements under the Niger Delta New Vision of the Buhari administration.

The contractors who constructed the rail line are China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCEC), Technique Engineering Architecture Marketing (TEAM) and Julius Berger who have lived up to expectations in terms of quality delivery on the project. They have since concluded their jobs, which they did well and met the desired structure for the rail line, of which the project will be effectively managed by the Nigeria Railway Commission (NRC).

In July, the largest station on the Itakpe-Warri route – the Agbor railway facility and station, was named after former President Goodluck Jonathan.

The rail station will resume commercial activities after the commissioning as soon as discussions are concluded between Dangote and Bua cement. Also, the Ajaokuta steel company and other manufacturers around the railway area are also expected to move their products through the train.

We’ll campaign for a peaceful, clean Niger Delta – NDDC

The Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Gbene Dr Joi Nunieh, says the Commission will drive a Niger Delta Next Level Re-Orientation Campaign to promote a non-violent and clean Niger Delta region.

Dr Nunieh stated this yesterday during a courtesy visit by a delegation from the Amayanabo of Okochiri, in Okrika Local Government Area of Rivers State, King Ateke Tom, at the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt.

According to a statement from the Commission, the NDDC Chief Executive Officer was joined at the event by the Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Chief Ibanga Bassey Etang, the Acting Executive Director, Projects, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh and other directors.

Nunieh said: “We want all Niger delta stakeholders to join hands in the re-orientation for a better environment and a non-violent Niger Delta.  With a clean and peaceful environment, investors will be interested to come to the region.”

She urged all Niger Deltans to support the efforts of the Federal Government to clean up Nigeria’s oil-rich region, assuring that NDDC would encourage the various communities to keep their villages and waterways clean.

The NDDC boss called on all Niger Delta stakeholders to join in the new movement to take the region to the next level, assuring that President Muhammadu Buhari was determined to give the NDDC a new face and a new lease of life.

She noted: “The President stands with us in the quest to turn things around for good in the Niger Delta. That is why he approved the setting up of the Interim Management Committee to ensure that the process of the forensic auditing of the NDDC was carried out properly.”

Nunieh stated that stakeholders in the region no longer had need to visit the NDDC to get things done because according to her, “our work will henceforth speak for us.”

She emphasised: “We want to take development to the rural communities and we want the Community Development Committees, CDCs, to become very active in rural development. Consequently, we have advised the youths that visit the NDDC to go back and wait for us in their communities because the water hyacinth contracts will henceforth be executed by communities through their CDCs.”

Nunieh said that the NDDC was going through a reformation process, which she observed went beyond the forensic auditing. She stated that the days of wastages were over, adding: “We must all put our hands on the deck to save the Niger Delta.”

Earlier in his remarks, the leader of the delegation from the Amayanabo of Okochiri, Comrade Opia Joshua Ojieh, said they came to identify with the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC.

He regretted that the NDDC, which was set up to fast-track the development of the Niger Delta region, had not lived up to the expectations of the people of the region.

Ojieh noted that the Commission was established as a result of the struggles of concerned Niger deltans. He, however, observed: “We are not satisfied with how the NDDC has been run in the past. That is why we support the position of President Buhari in setting up the Interim Management Committee.

“It is unfortunate that having stayed in the creeks for years to fight for the development of the Niger Delta, we are yet to realize our goals because of poor management of our collective resources by the previous administrations in the NDDC.”

Ojieh commended members of the IMC, describing them as men and women of integrity with good track record. He thanked the Federal Government for giving a listening ear to the cries of the Niger Delta people, stating: “We are looking forward to seeing the new face of the Niger Delta.”

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.