WE ARE REFORMING, INCREASING POLICE RECRUITMENT, IMPROVING SECURITY & UNRELENTING IN FIGHTING TERRORISM, BANDITRY, CRIMINALITY, SAYS PRESIDENT BUHARI

President was represented by VP Osinbajo at NDDC donated Police Barracks commissioning in Rivers State

*Adds: Commissioning part of our efforts to improve livelihood of officers, peace, prosperity and development of Niger Delta

*Urges NDDC to execute projects that will benefit the people of Niger Delta

 

In line with ongoing reforms of the Police and efforts towards improving the nation’s security architecture, President Muhammadu Buhari has restated his administration’s commitment to provide various platforms for all the security agencies in the fight against terrorism, banditry, and all forms of criminality.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, who represented the President and also delivered the remarks on his behalf, stated this today at the official commissioning ceremony of the Special Protection Unit (SPU) Base 6 barracks of the Nigerian Police, at Omagwa, in Rivers State.

The President added that the event is part of the Administration’ efforts to improve the lives and livelihoods of our police officers, and also improve peace and security efforts in the Niger Delta region.

Speaking on behalf of the President, Prof. Osinbajo stated that, “today’s event meets two objectives. First, it is an important part of our efforts to improve the lives and livelihoods of our police officers and it is also another important milestone in my administration’s pursuit of the peace, prosperity and development of the Niger Delta.

“We recognize that establishing adequate security is absolutely integral to the fulfillment of this objective which is why we have committed significant resources to projects such as we are about to commission.”

Highlighting the Administration ongoing Police reforms, the President noted that the Police Force was a crucial component of the country’s law enforcement architecture.

He said, “they are the civil force, the closest to the people in the various communities. In the past months we have been undertaking a major reform of the Police.

“First we believe that we must increase the number of police personnel. So, we have set yearly recruitment targets. We also are in the process of re-equipping our personnel, both in personal gear and hardware. An important feature of the reform is accommodation for men and officers.

“I have directed that the building of barracks for men should be done in collaboration with the social housing effort of the Family Homes Fund. This will ensure speed in execution.

“Funding of the police force remains a huge challenge. Which is why we worked with the National Assembly to enact the Police Trust Fund Act. We are also looking at other measures to improve funding for the Police.”

According to the President, “This project is important because it is a means by which we can alleviate the accommodation challenges of senior security personnel posted to Rivers State and ultimately enhance the security footprint in the region.

“The cumulative impact of this and other similar projects will be the improvement of security in the state and the consolidation of the economic and social life of the people of the area.”

Thanking Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State for his warm and generous hospitality, the Vice President also commended the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, “for providing leadership and resilience amidst mounting challenges” as well as the Minister of Police Affairs and the Inspector General of Police “for their hard work and dedication to the enormous task of repositioning the Police.”

On behalf of the President, the VP commended the NDDC, while urging the Commission to execute more projects that will benefit the people of the Niger Delta.

“The Federal Government has invested significantly in the NDDC and we recognize that this outlay of resources must be justified with verifiable projects that will improve the living standards of the people in the region,” he noted.

The President added that the edifice should be properly employed for the benefit of the entire people of Nigeria.

The Special Protection Unit Base 6 barracks, which was built and donated by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to the Nigeria Police Force, consists of 66 units of accommodation for officers of the Special Protection Unit (SPU).

It also comprises a five-bedroom commander’s quarters, functional office accommodation, a sentry post, guardroom with armoury and a parade ground of the Nigerian Police Force.

Accompanying the Vice President to the event were the Ministers of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, and (State) Tayo Alasoadura; and the Minister of Police Affairs, Muhammad Maigari Dingyadi.

There were other senior Federal and State Government officials, including the Interim Administrator of the NDDC, Mr Effiong Akwa; Special Adviser to the President on Political Affairs, Senator Babafemi Ojudu; and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Ita Enang; among others.

President Buhari to inaugurate Police Quarters built by NDDC

*To be represented by VP Osinbajo

President Muhammadu Buhari will on Tuesday, September 28, inaugurate the Nigeria Police Barracks, Special Protection Unit, SPU, base 6 built by the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, at Omagwa, Ikwerre Local Government of Rivers State.

According to the NDDC Director, Corporate Affairs, Dr Ibitoye Abosede, the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, will commission the 66-flat residential quarters and administrative block for security personnel in Rivers State on behalf of Mr. President.

The project which had previously been inspected by the NDDC Interim Administrator, Mr Efiong Akwa, consists of an administrative block, an armoury, gate house, underground cell and 66 units of accommodation made up of the commander’s residence, second-in-command’s residence and 64 one-bedroom flats.

Akwa said that the completion of the project was another major achievement of the Buhari administration, noting: “When people say that NDDC is not working, you can see that it is not true. The problem is that people don’t get to acknowledge the numerous projects that the Commission executed or is executing.”

The NDDC boss noted that the project was very important in view of the security and economic challenges in the Niger Delta region, stating that it would add value to the living conditions of security officers in the oil-rich region.

Akwa said the project was part of a broad-based partnership with the Nigeria Police Force to add value to their efforts at improving regional security, adding that as an interventionist agency, the NDDC had a responsibility to make sure that those who take care of our safety were provided with befitting and comfortable accommodation.
With the completion of the project, Akwa stated that the stage was set for better days of improved and more secure Niger Delta region.

Niger Delta: Committee on Recovery of Illegal Oil refineries inaugurated

*security operatives, federal ministries, NNPC, DPR and NOSDRA make up committee

An Inter-Ministerial Committee to tackle the illegal refining of crude oil in the Niger Delta region of the country has been inaugurated.

Members of the committee were drawn from the Ministry of Defence, the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Navy, DHQ, the NSCDC, the NNPC. the Federal Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Environment, the Department of Petroleum Resources, and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency.

They are tasked with the major mandate of “the recovery of illegally refined petroleum products (crude oil) in the dug-up pits found around the creeks of the Niger Delta”.

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (AGF), Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), who inaugurated the committee said the move was to block revenue leakages.

He was represented by the Solicitor General of the Federation (SGF) and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr. Umar Muhammed.

Mr. Muhammed said, “In line with the policy of the current administration on security and economy, as well as the preservation of the environment from negative hazards, the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, in collaboration with all stakeholders, have put in place a mechanism for effective and efficient management of illegally refined products recovered from dug-up pits found around the creeks of the Niger Delta.

This mechanism was agreed by the relevant stakeholders and submitted to the Honorable Attorney-General of the Federation who considered and approved the establishment of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for the purpose of implementing the Mechanism known as Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) For the Recovery of Illegally Refined Petroleum Products (Crude Oil) in the Dug-Up Pit found around the creeks of the Niger Delta”.

He added that the Federal Ministry of Justice would coordinate the process and the Secretariat of the Inter-Ministerial Committee.

“The responsibility of the Inter-Ministerial Committee is to detect, report, evacuate, assess and ensure transparent disposal of the product with due consideration to the environment.

The Inter-Ministerial Committee shall be guided by the SOP, developed for the project.”

The content of the SOP is drawn from the provision of the Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations 2019.

“It is my hope that the proceeds from this exercise will be a source of additional revenue for the country”, the SGF added.

#NDNewVision: Shell Donates Multimillion Dollar Projects to Maritime University

• Governor Okowa described phase one of the infrastructure projects as a great enhancer of learning and research.

The Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa spoke last week at the opening of a 220-capacity set of auditoriums, 8 lecture rooms, 14 staff offices and an e-classroom forming part of the many projects that the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) and its Joint Ventures partners planned for the three-year-old Nigerian Maritime University in Okerenkoko, Delta State set up in response to the information and technology revolution in the global maritime industry, an area Nigeria looks at for developing more professionals for its blue economy ambition as a step in the right direction for education and research.

Represented by the state Commissioner for Oil and Gas, Prince Emmanuel Amgbaduba, The Governor charged other oil companies and businesses particularly those in the maritime sector to emulate the gesture of the SPDC JV in helping Nigeria develop future talent of maritime professionals.
“Infrastructure such as what Shell and its partners have provided and still plan to provide forms the bedrock of meaningful learning, teaching and research that can stand our institutions out in global ranking while helping the university to overcome the chronic shortage in infrastructure.”

Presenting the projects to the university community on behalf of the SPDC JV, Managing Director of SPDC and Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria, Osagie Okunbor, said the projects were fully equipped with requisite furniture and equipment and that a solar-powered potable water system had also been provided to support the facilities and the university community at large.

Okunbor was represented at the virtual project-opening ceremony by SPDC Country Head, Corporate Relations, Igo Weli.

Speaking on the criteria for selecting the SPDC-JV supported projects, Okunbor said: “Our focus is on projects considered as very important to the success of the nascent and premier maritime university in Nigeria.”

Okunbor said, “As part of our social investment initiatives, the SPDC JV comprising NNPC, TEPNG and Agip, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the university in 2019 to develop critical facilities needing immediate attention for a smooth take-off. We are happy with the progress we have made.”

Group General Manager of National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), the investment arm of NNPC, Mr Bala Wunti, who was represented by NAPIMS Deputy Manager, Public Affairs, Mrs Edith Bunmi Lawson, said, “NNPC is an avid believer in investing and touching the lives of all Nigerians and the environment. We will continue to support our JV operating partner, SPDC, to intervene in critical areas in infrastructure, health and education where we can make a difference and spread the benefit of our investments to all Nigerians.”

Wunti enjoined the university community to put this facility to the best use in a sustainable manner.

The Vice Chancellor of the university, Professor Adigio, said, “The structures donated will relieve the University of a Lot of stress, especially in the Faculty of Engineering where we now have choices of classrooms and even offices. The projects are a real plus to the university and will promote a healthy and comfortable learning environment. We appreciate what SPDC and its partners have done.”

Akpabio submits NDDC Forensic Audit Report, says 13,000 projects abandoned in Niger Delta

The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio on Thursday submitted the Forensic Audit Report on the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

The report was submitted to the President through the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN) in Abuja.

The Minister, who noted that although the exercise had a fitful history, thanked the President and all those who supported and ensured its success.

He reiterated that the exercise was not done to witch-hunt anyone but to ensure that the huge sums of funds committed to the area yearly were justified.

He bemoaned that the region had remained backward since 1958 in spite of successive governments’ efforts through the creation of various interventionist programmes and projects.

According to him, the report of the audit committee showed that there are over 13,000 abandoned projects in the Niger Delta, adding that even before the submission of the report some contractors have returned to site on their own accord and completed about 77 road projects.

Lead Forensic Auditor, Alhaji Kabir Ahmed, in a brief overview of the report, said the team recommended managerial as well as structural changes, topmost of which was the downsizing of the NDDC’s board.

He said to reduce cost the team recommended that members of the team should henceforth be appointed on part time basis.

The appointment of members of the board of the NDDC had been suspended until release of the audit report.

While disclosing that oil companies in the country are still in default of their contributions to the Commission, Ahmed said that the government should withdraw the license of any oil company which defaults for a period of three years.

The report also recommended the deduction of 15% ecological fund at source and to be paid to the commission because both the federal and state governments had failed to make payments to the commission.

In addition, the team recommended as a measure of effective revenue collections, that the Federal Inland Revenue Services should collect funds on behalf of NDDC from oil companies in the country.

Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB): 20 things to note

The New Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB): Top 20 Changes You Should Know!

The PIB seeks to provide legal, governance, regulatory and fiscal framework for the Nigerian Petroleum Industry and development of Host Communities. It contains 5 Chapters, 319 Sections and, 8 Schedules.

Below are the key changes:

Chapter 1 – Governance and Institutions

1. The key objective is ensuring good governance and accountability, creation of a commercially oriented national petroleum company, and fostering a conducive business environment for petroleum operations.

2. Creation of the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission responsible for the technical and commercial regulation of the upstream petroleum operations; and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority responsible for the technical and commercial regulation of the midstream and downstream operations in Nigeria. The Commission and Authority are exempted from the provisions of any enactment relating to the taxation of companies or Trust Funds

3. Imposition of up to 1% levy on the wholesale price of petroleum products sold in the country (0.5% each for the Authority Fund and Midstream Gas Infrastructure Fund)

4. Incorporation of a commercial and profit focused NNPC Limited under CAMA within 6 months from commencement of the new law with ownership vested in the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (and Ministry of Petroleum Incorporated) on behalf of the Federation to take over assets, interests and liabilities of NNPC. This structure is expected to pave the way for eventually sale of shares to Nigerians.

5. Any assets, interest and liabilities not transferred to NNPC Limited will remain with NNPC until extinguished or transferred to the government after which NNPC shall cease to exist. Transfer and sale of the shares are subject to approval by the government and endorsement by the National Economic Council.

6. NNPC Limited will earn 10% of proceeds of the sale of profit oil and profit gas as management fee while 30% will be remitted to Frontier Exploration Fund for the development of frontier acreages in addition to 10% of rents on petroleum prospecting licences and mining leases.

Chapter 2 – Administration

7. The main objective is to promote the exploration and exploitation of petroleum resources in Nigeria for the benefit of the Nigerian people and promote sustainable development of the industry, ensure safe, efficient transportation and distribution infrastructure, and transparency and accountability in the administration of petroleum resources in Nigeria.

8. Avoid economic distortions and ensure a competitive market for the sale and distribution of petroleum products and natural gas in Nigeria; and avoid cross-subsidies among different categories of consumers.

9. The Commission is required to develop a model licence and model lease to include a carried interest provision giving NNPC Limited the right to participate up to 60% in a contract.

Chapter 3 – Host communities development

10. The main objective is to foster sustainable prosperity within host communities, provide direct social and economic benefits and enhance harmonious co-existence.

11. Any company granted an oil prospecting licence or mining lease or an operating company on behalf of joint venture partners (settlor) is required to contribute 3% – 5% (upstream Companies) and 2% (other companies) of its actual operating expenditure in the immediately preceding calendar year to the host communities development trust fund. This is in addition to the existing contribution of 3% to the NDDC. The Fund is tax exempt and any contributions by a settlor is tax deductible.

12. Board of trustees and executive members of the management committee may include persons of high integrity and professional standing who may not necessarily come from any of the host communities.

13. Available funds are to be allocated 75% for capital projects, 20% as reserve and 5% for administrative expenses. However, a community will forfeit the cost of repairs in the event of vandalism, sabotage and other civil unrest causing damage to petroleum facilities or disruption of production activities.

Chapter 4 – Fiscal framework

14. The key objective is to establish a progressive fiscal framework that encourages investment in the Nigerian petroleum industry, provides clarity, enhances revenues for the government while ensuring a fair return for investors.

15. FIRS to collect Hydrocarbon Tax of 15% – 30% on profits from crude oil production, CIT at 30% and Education Tax at 2% which will no longer be tax deductible. The Commission will collect rents, royalties, and production shares as applicable while the Authority will collect gas flare penalty from midstream operations. Late filing of tax returns will attract N10m on the first day and N2m for each subsequent day the failure continues. A N20m fine is applicable to an offense where no penalty is prescribed.

16. Generally, expenses must be wholly, reasonably, exclusively and necessarily incurred to be tax deductible. However, a cost price ratio limit of 65% of gross revenue is imposed for hydrocarbon tax deduction purposes, any excess cost incurred may be carried forward.

17. No tax deduction for head office costs while tax deduction of interest on monies borrowed is subject to the satisfaction of the commission that the fund was employed for upstream operations and the interest rates reflect market conditions.

18. Royalties are payable at the rates of 15% for onshore areas, 12.5% for shallow water, and 7.5% for deep offshore and frontier basins, 2.5% – 5% for natural gas. In addition, a price-based royalty ranging from 0% – 10% is payable to be credited to the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority.

19. Gas utilisation incentive will apply to midstream petroleum operations and large-scale gas utilisation industries. An additional 5-years tax holiday will be granted to investors in gas pipelines.

Chapter 5 – Miscellaneous provisions

20. The PIB repeals about 10 laws including the Associated Gas Reinjection Act; Hydrocarbon Oil Refineries Act; Motor Spirit Act; NNPC (Projects) Act; NNPC Act (when NNPC ceases to exist); PPPRA Act; Petroleum Equalisation Fund Act; PPTA; and Deep Offshore and Inland Basin PSC Act. It amends the Pre-Shipment Inspection of Oil Exports Act while the provisions , PPTA, Oil Pipelines Act, Deep Offshore and Inland Basin PSC Act.

Another Modular Refinery set for commissioning in Q4

• 1500 job opportunities on offer

The 2500 barrels per day modular refinery at Egbokor, Edo State will fully come on stream for commissioning in the last quarter of 2021. 

A partnership between Duport Midstream Company Limited and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), the refinery is part of the Duport Energy Park designed to include a-30-million standard cubic feet per day gas processing facility and a power plant.

According to the Executive Secretary of the NCDMB, Engineer Simbi Kesiye Wabote, the project, which is about 80 per cent completed, with the modules for its two (2) Megawatts power plant as well as the control room being fabricated and assembled in Lagos for delivery to the site.

Engineer Wabote gave the confirmation during a visit to the project site where he evaluated the progress of work on the tank farms’ fabrication; civil works, pipeline installation, and other site preparation works.

Praising the contractors for the significant progress so far made on the project, Wabote said the refinery’s operational phase has the capacity to generate employment for 100 persons with about 1500 persons benefitting from indirect and induced jobs.

The NCDMB boss said the partnership with Duport Midstream outfit and other investors to develop critical energy facilities was planned to support President Muhammadu Buhari’s drive to create millions of jobs for Nigerians, adding that NCDMB is focused on jobs creation for Nigerians through its direct projects and collaboration with other project promoters.

Explaining that the Federal Government has put words into action in its resolve to remodel the erstwhile volatile Niger Delta region and give the people a better future, Wabote said; “When the Federal Government enunciated the policy on the development of modular refineries, NCDMB decided to explore ways through which we can build modular refineries to refine products locally.

“We first partnered with Waltesmith Modular Refinery in Imo State and it is already operational, refining 5000 barrels of crude per day. Azikel Modular Refinery in Bayelsa State is the second one and this Duport project is the third project and we believe that it would be commissioned in the last quarter of this year.”

Also speaking at the occasion, Chairman of Duport Midstream Company, Dr Akintoye Akindele explained that the project, the first integrated energy park, would have a scalable and environmentally friendly modular refinery, power generation, and distribution plant.

So far, three modular refineries have now been completed namely; Niger Delta Petroleum Resources (NDPR) Modular Refinery in Rivers State; OPAC Modular Refinery in Delta State; and Waltersmith Refinery in Imo state.

Also, construction is ongoing on others listed as Ikwe-Onna Refinery in Akwa Ibom; Azikel Refinery in Bayelsa; and AIPCC Refinery in Edo state.

Determined to deliver on its Niger Delta New Vision package, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has effectively tackled insecurity and youth restiveness in the region with a huge positive impact on the economy, even as the establishment of private-sector-led modular refineries across the nine states of the Niger Delta is on the table.

Information contained in the 2020 NIGER DELTA Fact Sheet indicates that with the three modular refineries ready for commissioning and more to be completed soon, kudos go to the Buhari administration that the establishment of modular refinery in Nigeria is gradually gaining traction.

Spearheaded by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on behalf of the President, during his tour of the region and meetings with Niger Delta elders in 2017, many development experts agree the initiative is already yielding positive results in giving the region and its people a breath of fresh air.

In June 2020, the NCDMB’s Governing Council, chaired by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, approved the project partnership with the Duport Energy Park. It is supported under NCDMB’s commercial ventures programme, in line with the Agency’s vision to serve as a catalyst for the industrialisation of the Nigerian oil and gas industry as well as other linkage sectors.

NDDC Pledges to Assist Niger Delta University

The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has pledged to assist the Niger Delta University, Amassoma, Bayelsa State, in its quest for an enhanced educational environment for its students.

Speaking at the Commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt, during a courtesy visit by a delegation from the university, the NDDC Interim Administrator, Mr Efiong Akwa, assured that the Commission would immediately provide a 1,000KVA power generating set and a 23-seater bus for the university.

On the university’s request for the construction of a student’s hostel, the NDDC boss said that it would be included in the Commission’s 2022 budget, stating: “We will award a new contract for the students’ hostel project because the previous hostel was sited in a water-logged environment.”

Akwa stated that the NDDC was committed to building capacity in Nigerian universities, noting that the Commission was making plans to run its post graduate scholarship programme in universities in the Niger Delta region.

The Interim Administrator said that the previous system where the Commission sponsored students on foreign scholarships for post graduate studies was not sustainable, adding that it was better to train the students in universities in the Niger Delta region. “Our inspection teams will be visiting your universities to inspect your facilities,” he said.

Akwa said the NDDC would soon complete the 1,000-bed students’ hostel being built by the Commission at the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. According to him, “the hostel will be a first of its kind in the region.”

He stated that the NDDC had built and handed over seven completed prototype hostels to the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, the University of Benin, Imo State University, Federal University of Science and Technology, Owerri. Delta State University, Abraka, University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, and the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike in Abia State.

Commenting on the NDDC Forensic Audit, Akwa revealed that the final report of the Forensic Audit was ready and would be presented to President Muhammadu Buhari shortly. “The Forensic Audit of the NDDC is ready and will be presented to President Buhari. In fact it achieved a lot and it wasn’t a witch-hunt.”

Leading the visiting delegation from the Niger Delta University, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Samuel Edoumiekumo, commended the efforts of the NDDC in building the capacity of universities in the Niger Delta region.

He, however, noted that the university needed more projects to expand its capacity. For instance, he said: “We have a student population of 20,000 but we can only accommodate 2,500 and this creates a challenge for our quest to provide a conducive learning environment.”

He regretted that the hostel project for the university awarded by the NDDC in 2007 was abandoned.

The Vice Chancellor also sought NDDC’s assistance in the provision of power generating sets, construction of students’ hostels and school buses for the university.

He acknowledged the presence of some NDDC projects in the university but noted that they were not enough to make sufficient impact. He said: “We are happy that NDDC is building a 2-kilometre rigid pavement road in the university. However, we still have a lot of needs in the area of electricity.”

President Buhari Approves Steering Committee on Petroleum Industry Act.

President Buhari Approves Steering Committee on Petroleum Industry Act.

This was contained in statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity Mr Femi Adesina. 

According to the statement, President Muhammadu Buhari has commenced implementation of the newly signed Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) by approving a steering committee to oversee the process.

The steering committee is headed by the Honourable Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva.

Other members are: Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Group Managing Director, NNPC, Executive Chairman, FIRS, Representative of the Ministry of Justice, Representative of the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Natural Resources, Barrister Olufemi Lijadu as External Legal Adviser, while the Executive Secretary, Petroleum Technology Development Fund, will serve as Head of the Coordinating Secretariat and the Implementation Working Group.

The primary responsibility of the steering committee shall be to guide the effective and timely implementation of the PIA in the course of transition to the petroleum industry envisaged in the reform program, and ensure that the new institutions created have the full capability to deliver on their mandate under the new legislation.

The committee has 12 months duration for the assignment, and periodic updates will be given to Mr President.

We’ll Ensure Completion of Critical Niger Delta Development Projects – Osinbajo

*VP highlights Niger Delta’s diverse human capital, cites progress of FG’s New Vision initiative for the region

In furtherance of its New Vision development agenda for the Niger Delta, the Buhari Administration will ensure the completion of critical projects it has embarked upon in the region, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

Prof. Osinbajo who was represented at the event by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Office of the Vice President, Mr. Edobor Iyamu, stated this on Tuesday at the 6th Anniversary Lecture/Niger Delta Awards Organised by Gbaramatu Voice Newspaper, which held in Lagos.

According to him, “in 2017, following my tour of the Niger Delta, which involved extensive consultations with key stakeholders in the region, the New Vision for the Niger Delta was birthed in response to the various challenges which had been plaguing our people. The objective of this New Vision is to ensure that the people of the region benefit maximally from their wealth, through promoting infrastructural developments, environmental remediation and local content development.”

Prof. Osinbajo said that the administration’s Niger Delta New Vision initiative has recorded some landmark achievements in the areas of education, environmental remediation, infrastructure and local content development, among others.

He added that “as part of the quest to expand economic opportunities in the region, this administration has promoted investments in modular refineries. The objective of this initiative is to address our present energy demands and empower the Niger Delta people through promoting local content.”

The Vice President stated that while there are several modular refineries at different stages of completion across the region, three have been completed including the Niger Delta Petroleum Resources (NDPR) Modular Refinery in Rivers State; OPAC Modular Refinery in Delta State, and Walter Smith Modular Refinery in Imo State.

He also noted the ongoing remediation exercise in Ogoni land, Rivers State, which was kick-started by the Buhari administration under the recommendations of UNEP.

According to the VP, “It is important to note that the Ogoni clean-up is the first of its kind in the history of the Niger Delta. Indeed, this is the first time the Federal Government is directly involved in remediation activities within the region.”

“We are equally committed to expanding infrastructure in the region, this includes the ongoing construction work on the 34-kilometers Bonny-Bodo Road/Bridge, which has been abandoned for decades. When completed, the project, which was flagged off in October 2017, would connect several major communities and boost socio-economic development in the region.

“The Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri Rail Line project, which was commissioned by Mr. President in September 2020, and has the capacity to handle both passengers and freight services, is connecting several communities and promoting commerce within the region.

“The Federal Government is also developing a number of deep sea ports across the region, including the Bonny, Warri, and Ibom Deep Sea Ports, among other development projects such as the establishment of Export Processing Zones to boost economic activities.

“In 2018, the National Universities Commission (NUC) approved the commencement of undergraduate degree programmes at the Nigerian Maritime University in Okerenkoko, Delta State, which happens to be situated in the great Gbaramatu Kingdom.”

The Vice President noted that “beyond its oil wealth, the Niger Delta region is incredibly blessed with diverse human capital across education, sports, technology, creative arts, entertainment, economy, and many other sectors.”

Speaking on the theme of the event, “The Dwindling State of Crude Oil Demand in the Global Market: The Way Forward”, the Vice President stated that factors such as the attendant decline in demand for our crude oil, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global energy demand and on government’s earning, the current situation, require creative and holistic approach to foster economic growth.

Noting that despite the fact that crude oil accounts for about 90 percent of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings, the VP stated that the Federal Government from inception had shown a commitment towards the creation of economic opportunities for Nigeria’s population in a post-oil future.

The Vice President highlighted initiatives being taken by the Federal Government to reposition Nigeria’s economy by taking advantage of global trends in the energy sector.

This includes the SolarPowerNaija Programme under the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) which will complement efforts towards providing affordable electricity access to 5 million households, serving about 25 million Nigerians in rural areas and under-served urban communities nationwide.

The VP also highlighted efforts by the Federal Government on energy transition from crude oil to natural gas, as well as its National Gas Expansion Programme, also a component under the ESP.

He said, “as part of our drive to encourage investments in gas production and optimize our nation’s enormous gas potential, the Federal Government declared the period of 2020-2030 as the decade of gas. To this end, last November, the Federal Government launched its National Gas Expansion Programme, which focuses on the distribution of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) across gas stations operated by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

“By the end of this year, this administration will commence distribution of CNG as part of our strategy to gradually replace the high sulfur petrol. Our objective is two-fold. First, this is the administration’s effort at managing the necessary energy transition from crude oil to natural gas. We intend to increase our domestic gas supply to meet this demand by exploiting our abundant reserves of natural gas.

“Secondly, we are aiming to develop CNG into an alternative automobile fuel as a means of affording Nigerians cheaper, cleaner and additional fuel. In this way, we will reduce the ecological and economic costs of energy. The Gas Masterplan provides for investment in the necessary infrastructure for gas transportation across the nation. All of these will basically reduce our local crude oil dependency, whilst strengthening our drive for cleaner sources of energy as a nation. And crucially, it will create jobs in what will be a fast-expanding frontier of opportunity.”

In line with the Administration’s New Vision for the Niger Delta initiative to develop the region, the Vice President noted that the Federal Government has “also invested significantly in the Niger Delta as the region that holds the energy resources that have powered our progress for six decades as well as the keys to an emergent gas economy.”

The Vice President further noted that the Administration places top priority on peace and security in the region.

“In terms of addressing concerns around public safety and social security in the region, while ensuring peace and stability in the region, the administration has, among other things, sustained its commitment to the Presidential Amnesty Programme under which youths and ex-agitators are engaged in formal education, vocational skills acquisition and empowerment programmes that offer a pathway towards productive and dignified livelihoods,” he said.

Commending the publishers of Gbaramatu Voice Newspapers for organizing the event, the Vice President said the ‘cumulative effect of all these measures will have a positive transformational impact on the Niger Delta and on the future of our nation as a whole while ensuring sustainable peace and progress in the Niger Delta.