$500m modular refinery to be established in Ondo

The Ondo State government has partnered with a firm, Crown Refinery and Petrochemical Limited, to establish a modular refinery in the coastal area of the state.

According to the PUNCH, the state would reportedly provide only the land while the company will provide the equipment and the personnel, some of whom would be employed from the state.

The proposed initial design capacity of the modular refinery is about 30,000 barrels per stream day, which is expected to be completed within 36 months. This can be scaled to 60,000 bpsd, the Chief Executive Officer, Crown Refinery and Petrochemical, Mr Kassim Adeleke, stated.

Giving more details to journalists about the project, Adeleke, who led the team to the governor’s office, said $500m would be spent at the initial stage, saying the money would be sourced from the development partners of the company.

Recently, the state government and the company signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the multimillion-dollar project proposed to be sited in Ugbonla and Ogboti coastal towns in the Ilaje Local Government Area of the state.

It was learnt that the project would foster the development of the area and consequently boost the economy of the state, as it was projected to employ over 2,000 people, both directly and indirectly.

This is in line with the Niger Delta New Vision of the Buhari administration for the establishment of modular refineries in the region to spur development and provide more employment opportunities for youths in the region.

The PUNCH reports that the Ondo State Governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, while receiving the MoU from the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Sunday Abegunde, who had earlier signed the document with the representatives of the company, expressed delight over the development and pledged the support for the project.

He said, “Ondo State is safe for investors; we will do everything to ensure that this project is successful. Ondo State is strategically positioned among the Niger Delta States and Lagos State, which is the nation’s economic nerve centre, to make all business-minded investors reap bountifully from their investments in the state.”

Earlier, the Chief Executive Officer, Crown Refinery and Petrochemical, who led the team to the governor’s office, Mr Kassim Adeleke, said the company’s core business is to refine crude oil into petroleum products.

He explained that the refinery would be designed to process both imported paraffin and Nigerian crude into petroleum products, oils and lubricants.

Adeleke said, “We are going into the business of refining crude oil. The government of Ondo State would provide the enabling environment and incentives to support us as we actualise this vital investment. Apart from the project having the capacity to refine crude oil, it will also be producing 120,000 tonnes of base oil and 25,000 tonnes of lubrication oil on a yearly basis.

“The company will also be providing several infrastructural projects in the states and would create about 2,000 direct and indirect employment opportunities for indigenes of the state. It would also give scholarship to indigent students in the host communities.”

He said in Ondo State, he found professionalism, swift decision making, friendly communities and passion, such that in less than one year of opening talks with the state government, the company was set to commence the project.

In line with the Niger Delta New Vision plan of the Federal Government, four modular refineries, which are at different stages of completion, have so far been established in the region. They include: the NDPR Modular Refinery, Ogbele, Rivers State; OPAC Modular Refinery, Delta State; Ikwe-Onna modular refinery, Akwa-Ibom State; and the Walter Smith refinery, in Imo State.

Maritime University will fulfill Nigeria’s economic dream – NIMASA DG

The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has stated that the coming of the Nigeria Maritime University (NMU), at Okerenkoko, marks the launch of an institution of critical importance to the economic development of the country.

According to ThisDay , Peterside, stated this during the maiden matriculation of the university, held at its take-off site at Kurutie, Gbaramatu Kingdom, Delta State in April.

He said the school has fulfilled for Nigeria a major economic dream of having an institution that would produce high-end manpower for its growing maritime industry, while helping to develop the locals and build lasting peace in the Niger Delta.

It will be recalled that the Buhari administration saw to the completion of the Maritime University Okerenkoko Delta State through its New Vision Platform.

President Muhammadu Buhari having seen that the establishment of the university would bring lots of Development in the Niger Delta region he ensured that the university is completed, and academic session kicked off immediately to give better livelihood to the people.

The New Vision of the Niger Delta initiated by President Muhammadu Buhari is to ensure a better livelihood for the people of the Niger Delta.

In the past, Niger Delta indigenes have complained of marginalisation and neglect. But to reverse this trend, the Buhari’s administration conceived the Niger Delta New Vision to curb most of the restiveness in the region especially amongst the youth, and bring whoselome development to the region.

The establishment of the Maritime University is a clear proof that the Federal Government’s New Vision for the region is taking giant strides in ensuring a rebranded and better Niger Delta.

Meanwhile Peterside said “This is the fulfilment of a dream. Recall that many years ago, precisely in 2013, NIMASA initiated the idea of a Nigerian maritime university to fill a gap. We identified that if you want to grow your maritime industry, there are three important elements.

“One, is the asset, the vessel itself; the second one is the human capacity; the third is the supporting infrastructure. For all these three, the most important is the human element. And we clearly identified that fact that we are lagging behind in the human element and we needed to build capacity.

“To build high-end capacity, we need our own maritime university. We were among the leading maritime nations without a maritime university. So today is the fulfilment of that great dream.”

Peterside, while commending the Federal government efforts in financing the institution, he urged them to do.

“We appreciate the grant by the federal government to support the numerous grants given by NIMASA, acting also on behalf of the federal government. But, without a doubt, we need to put more money here because we need a lot of infrastructure apart from the human resource. We have a good number of professors. We need to put a lot of infrastructure in place,” he stated.

He stressed that NIMASA would intensify engagements with the, Vice Presidents Budget Office, and other stakeholders on how to collaboratively fund the NMU.

The DG added, “We are gradually repositioning this country to become a major hub for maritime activities. And when we say major hub for maritime activities, it is not just about trans-shipment or about shipment itself.

“It could be a hub just supplying manpower, supplying seafarers, doing insurance business or being in the business of ship finance. We are gradually becoming a hub, we are putting the right building blocks in place to make this country a hub for maritime activities and we would reap the benefits in a few years’ time.”

Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, in his speech said the project was another demonstration of Niger Delta’s strategic importance to Nigeria. Osinbajo said it also showed how the federal government was “walking the talk in the Niger Delta.”

Osinbajo who was represented by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Chief Edobor Iyamu, said the commencement of academic activities at the premier maritime university in Nigeria was another example of how the President Muhammadu Buhari government was “walking the talk in the Niger Delta region, which is not being viewed in terms of its past, but in terms of its potential.

He said “And this is a potential that is not limited to oil and gas, but is actually focused on the development of the human capital. We are confident that the Niger Delta, sooner than later, would come to be defined not by crude oil, but by the quantum of its human resource.”

In his remarks, the Pro-Chancellor of the University and Chairman, Governing Council, Chief Timipre Sylva, commended NIMASA’s vision and support for the university, saying the institution has demonstrated capacity to play a key role in the global maritime industry. Sylva said: “NMU had shown great capacity for rapid growth and development, a defining characteristic of upward mobile organisations the world over. We are fully persuaded that it is only a matter of time before this premier maritime university in Nigeria will play significant national, regional and global roles.”

The Vice Chancellor of NMU, Professor Ongoebi Maureen Etebu, disclosed that the federal government had fully implemented the N3.4 billion take-off grant for NMU in 2018 budget.

Osinbajo commissions LPG Plant in Army Barracks

One of the objectives of the Federal Government’s transformation of the oil sector is to stimulate gas revolution, as well as enhance the economy through the utilisation of resources, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has said.

Prof. Osinbajo, who was represented by Mrs Aisha Abubakar, the Minister of Women Affairs, at the inauguration of a Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) plant for the Nigerian Army at the Mambila Barracks, in Abuja, on Thursday, noted that LPG consumption in the country was low compared to neighbouring West African countries.

According to Leadership, he said that Nigeria’s per capital consumption which was just above one kilogramme was comparatively less than Ghana’s 4.7kg per capita consumption and Senegal’s nine kilogrammes per capita consumption.

The Vice President noted, in his speech, that “the Ministry of Petroleum Resources Strategic Domestic LPG Implementation Plan is aimed at primarily increasing Nigeria’s LPG per capita consumption to be, at least, at par with those of neighbouring West African countries. “In addition to enhancing our domestic per capita consumption, the plan is in accordance with Goal 7 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals which seeks to promote clean energy.’’

Osinbajo commended the army for the initiative, saying that he looked forward to seeing similar plants established in army barracks and cantonments nationwide. “I have also been briefed that the establishment of the LPG plant in army barracks is in line with chief of army staff’s barracks investment initiative programme aimed at creating jobs for widows of deceased personnel.

“I want to, therefore, appreciate the leadership of the Nigerian Army, the chief of army staff, in particular for this initiative and to urge other services to key into the domestic LPG penetration plan.’’ Earlier, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, said the army set up the plant in partnership with Gasland LPG, an indigenous company.

In his closing remarks Osinbajo acknowledged the efforts of the Nigerian army in protecting the country’s sovereignty, and to those who has paid the supreme price.

The Chief of Army Staff, LT. Gen Tukur Burutai, who was represented by Major-General E.O Udoh, said that the initiative was premised on the huge LPG market available in barracks spread across the country.

“It was envisaged that the construction and operation of these LPG plants will in addition curtail the usage of kerosene stoves and fires woods in our barracks and create job, teeming youths in the barracks”.

Dr. Ibe Kachikwu who spoke in his capacity as the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, said the establishment of the plant would curtail unemployment, by creating more jobs, and give an opportunity for people to work independently.

FG approves N100bn for completion of East West road project – Minister

The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani has said that the Federal Government had approved the sum of N100bn for the completion of Sections 1 to 4 of the East West road project.

The Minister disclosed this at a meeting with the Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas (HOSTCOM), led by its National Chairman, High Chief (Dr.) Style Benjamin Tamaranebi, in Abuja, on Tuesday, according to a statement from the Ministry.

It will be recalled that the East-West road was originally started by the Federal Ministry of Works and was handed over to the ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, when they had only completed just 10 kilometers.

At the initial stage, it was designed to start from Delta State roundabout, through Ughelli, Patani, kayama, lbehama, to Port Harcourt and end at Oron, in Akwa Ibom State.

It would also be recalled that the findings from a Presidential Inter-Ministerial team on assessment tour of Sections 1 to 4 of the East West road from Warri, Delta state to Oron, Akwa Ibom state, in the year 2018, showed that contractors would require about N100bn to complete the four sections of the flagship project in the Niger Delta region, the Minister said the submission from the committee culminated in the said approval of the fund.

The Minister assured the   people of the Niger Delta that the dualisation of the road was of utmost importance to the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, the minister stressed that on their part, and the people of the region appreciate the importance of the road in promoting their well-being.

Usani added that the China Export-Import bank had also agreed to support the construction of section 5 of the East West road from Oron to Calabar, with $500M, while the Federal Government pays counterpart funding.

The Minister disclosed that the Federal Government was at the verge of awarding the contract with a new design.

He added that the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority was to monitor the completion of Sections 1 to 4 of the East West road, saying that the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs had given its nod to the directive of the Presidency that the N100bn should be paid directly to the contractors from the Federation Account.

The Minister revealed that the Federal Government has also directed that the Gas Flare Penalty Fine being requested by the host communities, be released to them.

Earlier, the Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Prof. Claudius Omoleye Daramola, decried a situation where contracts were awarded to the indigenes of the Niger Delta region, who ended up abandoning the projects after payments, he said decisive actions would be taken to address such occurrences.

“We are doing our best to see how all the communities in the Niger Delta region will benefit from government projects, activities and programmes,” he reiterated.

Prof. Daramola disclosed that all completed projects in the region by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs would be handed over to benefitting communities in due course.

In his remarks, the National Chairman of the Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas (HOSTCOM), High Chief (Dr.) Style Benjamin Tamaranebi, said their visit was to seek the Federal Government’s collaboration through the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, in a bid to address the challenges of various communities in the Niger Delta region.

Niger Delta New Vision birthed take-off of Maritime University, development projects in region – Osinbajo

Speech by His Excellency, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON, Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, at the 1st Matriculation Ceremony of The Nigeria Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State, on Saturday, 6th April, 2019

(Delivered by Mr. Edobor Iyamu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Economic Matters/Niger Delta, Office of the Vice President)

Protocol

I bring very warm greetings from His Excellency Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON, on whose behalf I’m standing here before you today.

Hearty congratulations to the management and staff of the Maritime University, Okerenkoko Delta State, on the commemoration of this milestone occasion, the inaugural matriculation ceremony. Congratulations also to all of the matriculating students. As the pioneer set of students of this landmark institution, you are all standing on the threshold of history, and we rejoice with you.

This is a day that we have long awaited and looked forward to, and I am delighted that it has come, and we are here to witness it. A year ago, on the 12th of April 2018, to be precise, this University commenced academic activities, with a total of 370 students spread across 13 undergraduate programmes in three Faculties, namely: Transport, Engineering and Environmental Management.

In addition, there were 85 students admitted into the University’s Basic programme. They sat for the JAMB examinations, and the 59 who were successful were given admission into the University.

This University is one of the strongest demonstrations yet of the total and unflinching commitment of the Buhari Administration to the development and the progress of the Niger Delta. The President is a man of his word, and he has made that clear over and over again with regards to the Niger Delta, in the last four years.

You will recall that he touched on the issue of the Delta in his inauguration Speech on May 29, 2015. It was a measure of his determination to rewrite the story of a neglected region. People had come before him and paid lip service to the issues. You are all witnesses to how the Ogoni Clean-up failed to leave the drawing board.

The seriousness with which we view the Niger Delta informed the series of unprecedented engagements that resulted in the comprehensive development Plan known as the New Vision for the Niger Delta; with the goal of ensuring that the huge resources of the Delta are put to work for the good of the people of the region.

That New Vision has guided us every step of the way, and is what has helped propel the Ogoni Clean Up to fruition, and helped birth this University in which we are gathered today.

Since 2016, when the Buhari Administration flagged off the Clean Up of Ogoni land, we have seen actual implementation and progress. As I speak, 21 companies have been awarded remediation contracts, and 15% of the contract sum released by way of mobilisation fee. Some of the contractors have since commenced work on the affected sites, and others are currently mobilising to site. This award of contracts followed a very open and transparent international procurement process, as well as the laying down of a robust governance and oversight framework for the Clean Up. And while the remediation is ongoing, there are also a lot of efforts aimed at ensuring that affected communities enjoy basic amenities like clean water, and that jobs and training opportunities are extended to them.

Our Modular Refinery Programme is another important cornerstone of the New Vision for the Niger Delta. There are currently four modular refineries at different levels of completion, across the region, as follows:

  • Niger Delta Exploration & Production situated Rivers State
  • Opac Modular Refinery situated here in Delta
  • Ikwe-Onna situated in Akwa-Ibom
  • Walter Smith in Imo State

One of them, the Niger Delta Exploration & Production is a brownfield project that is being expanded by 5,000bpd in the first phase. That expansion is now about 98% completed and will commence test-running from the 16th of April, 2019. The remaining three are greenfield projects and are all scheduled for commissioning this year.

The Amnesty Programme has continued to receive funding and support from the Buhari Administration, because we understand just how important it is for the young people of the region. We will continue to ensure that it delivers on its mandate and responds fully to the needs and yearnings of the beneficiaries.

Permit me to also highlight our Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme, aimed at ensuring that we bring an end to the tragedy that is gas-flaring in the Niger Delta. The impact of this is going to be enormous, not just in terms of health and the environment, but also in terms of economic opportunities. The successful bidders for the gas flare sites will be expected to create economic value from the gas hitherto being flared, and this will create jobs and wealth for citizens and for communities. Adverts for the commercialisation of the flare sites have already gone out and submissions of Expression of Interest are being received.  The next stage will be the shortlisting and award of concessions to the successful bidders.

These and more are examples of how we are walking the talk in the Niger Delta region, which we view not in terms of its past, but in terms of its potential. And this is a potential that is not limited to oil and gas, but is actually focused more on the development of human capital. We are confident that the Niger Delta will sooner than later come to be defined, not by crude oil, but by the quality of its human resource, the abundance of its agriculture, its rich cultural potential, and so on.

We have a vision that the Maritime University will come to be known around the world as a Center of Excellence in Maritime matters, and a repository of expertise and knowledge on the Niger Delta.

For all the matriculating students, and the pioneer staff, you can see why you have a great burden and responsibility on your shoulders. I enjoin you to discharge these with dedication and pride, and to continue to carry yourselves as excellent ambassadors of this University.

Once again, I congratulate you on this auspicious occasion, and I wish you the very best for the future.

God bless the Maritime University, God Bless the Niger Delta, and God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Thank you.

 

Editor’s note: The Vice President was represented at the event by Mr. Edobor Iyamu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Economic Matters/Niger Delta, Office of the Vice President

#NDNewVision PHOTOS: 1st Matriculation Ceremony, Maritime University

Photos from the 1st Matriculation Ceremony of the Nigeria Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State, which held today, Saturday, April 6, 2019, at the University’s take-off campus. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, was represented at the event by Mr. Edobor Iyamu, Senior Special Assistant to the President, Economic matters/Niger Delta, Office of the Vice President.

The occasion was attended by the Acting Governor of Delta State, Barr. Kingsley Otuaro; representative of the Hon. Minister of Education; the Pro-Chancellor/Chairman of the Governing Counciil, Nigeria Maritime University, Chief Timipre Sylva, Director-General/CEO, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, top government officials, traditional rulers from Gbaramatu Kingdom, amongst others.

 

Buhari administration remains committed to Niger Delta’s development – VP Osinbajo

*Says Maritime University poised to become Centre of Excellence, as Institution celebrates 1st Matriculation ceremony

 

The Nigeria Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State, is proof of the unwavering commitment of the Buhari Administration to the development and progress of the Niger Delta.

This was stated by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, during the University’s maiden Matriculation ceremony, which held on Saturday, April 6, at its take-off campus in Kurutie, Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State.

Prof. Osinbajo, who was represented at the event by Mr. Edobor Iyamu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President, on Economic matters, Office of the Vice President, noted that President Muhammadu Buhari “is a man of his words and he has made that clear over and over again with regards to the Niger Delta, in the last four years.”

 

It would be recalled that the take-off of the Maritime University was actualized under the Buhari administration following the commencement of its operations in 2017.

The take-off of the Maritime University is in fulfilment of the Buhari administration’s commitment to develop the Niger Delta in line with its New Vision for the region.

The Vice President’s speech, which was delivered by Mr. Iyamu, highlighted the determination of the Buhari administration to change the narrative of a region that had been neglected in the past.

He said, “The seriousness with which we view the Niger Delta informed the series of unprecedented engagements that resulted in the comprehensive development Plan known as the New Vision for the Niger Delta; with the goal of ensuring that the huge resources of the Delta are put to work for the good of the people of the region.

“That New Vision has guided us every step of the way, and is what has helped propel the Ogoni Clean Up to fruition, and helped birth this University in which we are gathered today.”

Congratulating the management and staff of the University in his speech, Vice President then urged students of the institution to become excellent ambassadors of this University.

“I congratulate you all on the commemoration of this milestone occasion, the inaugural matriculation ceremony. Congratulations also to all of the matriculating students. As the pioneer set of students of this landmark institution, you are all standing on the threshold of history, and we rejoice with you,” he noted.

“We have a vision that the Maritime University will come to be known around the world as a Centre of Excellence in Maritime matters, and a repository of expertise and knowledge on the Niger Delta,” he added.

The Vice President further noted that the Federal Government is focused on developing the human capital of the Niger Delta in different sectors, noting that in the near future, the region would not only be known for its oil and gas potential, but also in the quality of its human capital resources.

“These and more are examples of how we are walking the talk in the Niger Delta region, which we view not in terms of its past, but in terms of its potential. And this is a potential that is not limited to oil and gas, but is actually focused more on the development of human capital. We are confident that the Niger Delta will sooner than later come to be defined, not by crude oil, but by the quality of its human resource, the abundance of its agriculture, its rich cultural potential, and so on,” he added.

He also noted the ongoing Ogoni Clean-up/remediation efforts, the establishment of modular refineries in the Niger Delta and the Presidential Amnesty programme that has helped to maintain the peace and stability on the region, and the Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme, aimed at ending gas-flaring in the region.

“And while the remediation is ongoing, there are also a lot of efforts aimed at ensuring that affected communities enjoy basic amenities like clean water, and that jobs and training opportunities are extended to them.

“Our Modular Refinery Programme is another important cornerstone of the New Vision for the Niger Delta. There are currently four modular refineries at different levels of completion, across the region.

“The Amnesty Programme has continued to receive funding and support from the Buhari Administration, because we understand just how important it is for the young people of the region. We will continue to ensure that it delivers on its mandate and responds fully to the needs and yearnings of the beneficiaries.

Prof. Osinbajo noted that the long-term impact of the administration’s Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme, would not just improve health and the environment, but also increase economic opportunities as it would “create jobs and wealth for citizens and communities in the region.”

The Nigeria Maritime University commenced full academic activities for the 2017/2018 academic year in April, 2018, with a total of 370 students spread across 13 undergraduate programmes in three Faculties, namely: Transport, Engineering and Environmental Management.

Earlier, in her address, the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Ongoebi Maureen Etebu, described the occasion as an epoch-making moment, praising the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration for providing the fertile environment for the institution to come into being.

Etebu said the university is a ship set to sail, as the school now boost of three vibrant faculties.

The matriculation ceremony was held for all in-takes from the 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 academic sessions.

The occasion was attended by the Acting Governor of Delta State, Barr. Kingsley Otuaro; representative of the Hon. Minister of Education; the Pro-Chancellor/Chairman of the Governing Counciil, Nigeria Maritime University, Chief Timipre Sylva, Director-General/CEO, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, top government officials, traditional rulers from Gbaramatu Kingdom, amongst others.

Another highlight of the well-attended ceremony was the presentation of cash awards to some high-flying students, who have excelled in their respective course of studies, since the inception of the institution, with CGPA of 4.0 and above.

FG to set up cassava processing centre in Ogoniland

The Federal Government says it is planning to set up a cassava processing centre in Ogoniland to serve as alternative source of livelihood for the people of the area.

According to Leadership, Dr Marvin Dekil, Project Coordinator, Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP), under the Ministry of Enviroment, made the disclosure.

He was speaking at the graduation of 15 Ogonis from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Onne, Rivers.

According to Dekil, who was represented by HYPREP’s Head of Legal Services, Mrs Grace Ekanem, the centre will be used to generate income and make Ogoniland become an economic hub for cassava processing in the Niger Delta region.

“To this end, the 15 Ogonis whom we are graduating today were trained on fabrication of cassava processing machines.

“HYPREP will ensure their skills are put to good use with the set-up of a cassava processing centre that would generate income and create economic hub for the communities,’’ he said.

It will be recalled that through the projects carried out by HPREP under the supervision of the Ministry of Environment a lot has been achieved in  Ogoni land.

HYPREP  trained graduates who studied environmental sciences to build their capacity for the remediation work in Ogoni land, provision of portable water, medical outreach, empowerment of women and youths, and currently trained youths on the fabrication of gari processing machines.

The President Muhammadu Buhari’s led administration has shown commitment to the cleanup of Ogoni land, through the establishment of the Niger Delta New Vision, in which the people of the region are getting a better source of livelihood.

Buhari’s administration achieved the establishment of the Maritime University Okerenkoko Delta State, Ogoni health outreach programme where about 5, 1815 patients were attended to, and 65 surgical cases treated.

The administration has further shown commitment towards the Presidential Amnesty Programme, to ensure rehabilitation and sustainable re- integration of ex- agitators of the Niger Delta region, which is running smoothly.

The administration also ensured that indigenes of the region are placed on full academic scholarship in other for them to have access to quality education with monthly stipends etc.

The recent development shows the federal government’s commitment towards the development of the region

Meanwhile in a statement according to Dekil, the UNEP Report recommended that the Federal Government should provide alternative source of livelihood for oil impacted communities of Ogoniland.

“So, HYPREP, in a tripartite collaboration with the Stakeholders Democracy Network (SDN) and IITA, developed the template for the training aimed to empower Ogoni youths.

“Three months ago, we ushered in 15 young men and women into a life transforming training in the fabrication of machines for the processing of cassava.

“It has been a long journey for the trainees, who have had previous training in machine fabrication. The trainees are the first batch of the programme,” he said.

Dekil urged the trainees to leverage on the opportunities provided by the training to change their lives and become good ambassadors of their communities.

He commended the IITA and SDN for supporting the programme and assured the FG’s commitment to full implementation of the Ogoni clean-up exercise.

He added that no fewer than 400 women, 100 from each of the four local government areas that make up Ogoniland, would be trained on vocational skills in agriculture.

“The women will be trained for six months in different skills by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) at the Songhai farms (in Tai LGA of Rivers).

“The training will be in batches until a total of 1,200 Ogoni women are trained in the livelihood programme,” he assured.

Also speaking, Dr Richardson Okechukwu, Head of Station of IITA said the 15 trainees were taught how to fabricate basic processing machines for roasters, graters, presser, bhurr mill, sifter, peeling and cabinet dryer.

He said the centre specialised on agro-business and crop value-chain processing in cassava, plantain, maize and banana as well as post-harvest processing.

On his part, SDN’s Senior Project Officer, Jesse-Martin Manufor said that cassava is a staple food for many Nigerians as well as important cash crop that produces garri, starch and flour.

 

Senate, Reps committees task Niger Delta ministry on budget implementation

The Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Niger Delta have emphasised the need for effective implementation of budgetary allocations to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, for the benefits of the people of the Niger Delta region.

This view was expressed by the Chairmen of the committees on Niger Delta when the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani led the Ministry’s delegation to the National Assembly for the 2018 Budget Defence and presentation of the 2019 Draft Budget in Abuja, on Thursday.

In his remarks, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Niger Delta, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi noted: “If we discover that you do not deserve the money allocated to you by Mr. President, we will ensure that such money is given to other Ministries or agencies that need it, but if will also discover that the money allocated to you is smaller than what you require, we will source for other areas of raising funds for you.”

One of the mandates of the ministry of Niger Delta is to coordinate the activities of the State Liaison Offices in the nine (9) States of the Niger Delta Region, namely; Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers, and ensure proper administrative management of the State Offices and maintenance of account among other functions.

The ministry also coordinates efforts to tackle the challenges of infrastructural development, environment protection and youth empowerment in the Niger Delta

Senator Nwaoboshi added that the Ministry should ensure timely completion of projects that would benefit the people of the Niger Delta region, while charging it to do away with those projects he tagged, ‘less important.’

He hinted that the discoveries from the committee’s oversight visits to the region would be the major deciding factors for the consideration of the Ministry’s 2019 Appropriation.

Earlier, the Chairman, House Committee on Niger Delta, Honourable Essien Ayi said his Committee was interested in  the completion of on-going capital projects in the Niger Delta region, saying that the committee, in its last oversight visit to various projects of the Ministry in the region witnessed a number of uncompleted projects.

Hon. Ayi also advised that completed housing schemes in the Niger Delta region by the Ministry should be handed over to the beneficiaries to address their housing need.

The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, while presenting a draft budget of N41,600,274,568 covering Capital, Overhead and Personnel Appropriation for 2019 before the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Niger Delta, disclosed that about 80 projects- roads, water, electricity, housing, blocks of class room, food and cassava processing plants, health care centres, empowerment programmes, sensitisation on peace and security, medical outreaches, land reclamation and erosion control, among others,  were completed within the 2018 budget year across the nine states of the Niger Delta region.

Pastor Usani said that the implementation of the 2018 Capital Budget was still on-going, adding that more capital projects would still be completed before June, 2019.

He said that the Ministry was guided by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Administration’s determination to move the country to the Next Level, in preparing the budget. “The core projects earmarked for execution in the fiscal year 2019 are indeed consistent with the programmes spelt out in the Budget guidelines,“ he  reiterated.

The Minister stressed that his Ministry will continue to ensure that quality jobs are delivered to the people and residents of the Niger Delta region by contractors.

Niger Delta development: Minister charges NDDC to do more

The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, has charged the new management of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, to do more for the development of the Niger Delta region.

The Minister was speaking at the NDDC headquarters in Port-Harcourt, when he paid a working visit recently to the new management team of the Commission. He was accompanied by his Minister of State, Prof. Claudius Daramola, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Aminu Aliyu-Bisalla and other directors of the supervising ministry.

The aim of the NDDC is to establish in the Niger Delta region a strong and progressive society in which no one will have any anxiety about basic means of life and work; where poverty and illiteracy no longer exist and diseases are brought under control; and where their educational facilities provide all the children of the Niger Delta Region with best possible opportunities for the development of their potentials.

NDDC sees to the implementation of their mandate by executing relevant projects in the entire region.
Projects are conceptualized, designed and executed based on extensive consultation with locals, input from interested parties and critical analysis by experts. These projects are awarded based on their ability to give maximum impact to the local region and beyond the constraints of allotted budget. NDDC is therefore seen as a good harvest of concrete achievements as evidenced in the array of projects and programs they have embarked upon.

The NDDC has taken giant strides to facilitate the all-round development of the Niger Delta and its people, the Commission said.

Usani stated that the current NDDC management, being an interim one, was expected to do more for the people of the Niger Delta than a regular board. “We expect every functionary and staff of the commission to appreciate this fact and put up the very best efforts in the performance of their duties,” he said.

The Minister noted that, “Brief as this management may be, we are charging you to put in your best. There is a lot that can be achieved, especially as the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari continues for the next four years.”

He emphasised that the policy of the Buhari administration was that there would be nothing like abandoned projects. “That is why you can see many of the projects started 20-30 years ago, especially infrastructure are still being reviewed and executed,” he said.

He also urged the NDDC management and staff to recognise the important and special place they occupy in the development of Niger Delta and in the bigger economic picture of Nigeria.

The Minister said: “It may be too early to assess the performance of the new management team. But it is essential for us to know that the task for the management is a greater burden than it would have been if it has longer time to stay.”

He said that his ministry would continue to supervise the Commission to ensure that it performs maximally “because the performance of NDDC goes a long way to determine the forms of agitation we get from the different segments of members of Niger Delta society. I will be pleased to have a peaceful environment for the period you will be in charge of affairs in the Commission.”

Earlier in his remarks the NDDC Acting Managing Director, Prof. Nelson Brambaifa, said that in the absence of the Commission’s board of directors, the minister takes over as the supervising authority, stating: “It is only fair and wise that he comes once in a while to see how we are faring and to see whether we are following laid down procedures.”

According to him, the new management of the commission was working tirelessly to deliver on its mandate within the shortest possible time.

Prof. Brambaifa said that henceforth, payment to contractors would be made promptly without unnecessary bureaucratic bottlenecks, noting that the Commission had fine-tuned its processes and was now using a more efficient procedure in paying for projects and meeting its financial obligations.

Also speaking, the NDDC Acting Executive Director Finance and Administration, Mr. Chris Amadi, said the Commission was very much aware of the need to fast-track the development of the Niger Delta region and was appropriately taking directives from its supervising ministry.

He said, “We took up payments of contractors who have been owed for years. We made sure that those which fell under 10 million got their payments even in their homes. We are now compiling payments for 20-30million. We have also paid for the water hyacinths and some of the palliatives and interventions which the Commission set out to address the challenges of youth restiveness to ensure peace in the region.”

He said further: “We have paid major contractors to motivate them to go back to site and complete their projects. We have commitments from several of them that projects are on-going and will soon be completed.”

Amadi stated that NDDC had commenced projects inspection, starting with the new headquarters of the commission and would be embarking on major projects’ inspections across the region.