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.

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.

We’re not owing Niger Delta ex-militants Stipends, Allowances – PAP

The Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) is up-to-date with payment of stipends, books and in-training allowances to Niger Delta ex-militants.

According to a Pulse Nigeria report, Mr Murphy Ganagana, Special Assistant Media to the Coordinator, PAP, Prof. Charles Dokubo, made this known in Abuja, while responding to claims by some people that the Amnesty office owed.

It could be recalled that the amnesty deal by the Nigerian government for militants in the Niger Delta was aimed at reducing unrest in the oil-rich region.

Late former President Umaru Yar’Adua offered an unconditional pardon and cash payments to rebels who agreed to lay down their arms.

The government targeted up to 10,000 militants who attacked the six Niger Delta states and cost the country a third of its oil production.

Meanwhile the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration assured of its continuity and commitment to the Amnesty programme, through its NIGER NEW VISION initiative.

The New vision has seen to several developments in the Niger Delta area’s which includes the empowerment of ex- militant (establishment of recreational centres, cash payments, scholarship opportunities etc).

At the briefing Ganagana said that the payment of allowances to the beneficiaries have been regular and prompt ever since the present leadership took over the management of the Amnesty programme.

“As we speak today, we are not owing ex-agitators under the Amnesty programme any stipends, in-training or books allowances,. We have paid up-to -date as funds are being released.

“We do also not owe in-training allowances to any scholarship beneficiary of the programme, especially those within the country.

Ganagana further explained that those who were claiming that the amnesty office owed them one year in backlog payments, were illegally deployed to various institutions for training without due process or the consent of the Coordinator.

He said: “in March 2018 shortly after Dokubo resumed office, some Niger Delta people who were not captured in the Amnesty programme database were illegally deployed for training without the Coordinator’s authorisation.”

“There were two categories of group of persons that were illegally deployed by a former official of the Amnesty programme within the period under review.

“Some of them were captured in the database making them bona-fide beneficiaries of the programme while some were not captured.

“But the Coordinator after some considerations decided to pay only the tuition fees of those ones who were not captured and have been given admission in various institutions for training.”

He said that the legal beneficiaries were entitle to tuition fees, books and in training allowances. “So, it is out of place for those who were illegally deployed for training to claim that they are being owed allowances,” he said, adding that the amnesty programme has the mandate to training, reintegrate and empower 30,000 ex-agitators of the Niger Delta region so as to maintain peace in the region.

Kachikwu to x-ray oil and gas investment opportunities at NCDMB forum

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu has been confirmed as lead discussant on the available and emerging investment opportunities in the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry, at the forthcoming Nigerian Oil and Gas Opportunity Fair (NOGOF).

Kachikwu is to play a lead role in the discussions at the forum on the values of stake holder’s investment in the oil and gas industry, according to a Leadership report.

The Minster’s participation was confirmed by the executive secretary of NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Wabote. The event is scheduled to hold on April 4-5 2019, at the new headquarters of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

One of the major roles of the NCDMB is to establish, maintain and operate the Joint Qualification System (NOGICJQS), in conjunction with industry stake holders

Wabote also disclosed that the group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru and chief executives of the international operating companies are also expected at the event themed “Maximizing Investments into the Nigerian oil and gas”.

Wabote added that “it is important for the investors and other stakeholders to have a line of sight to projects opportunities in the funnel so they can position themselves for the desired growth.’’

According to him, NOGOF forum is  to share information about available opportunities to investors who had established fabrication yards, engineering houses, pipe mills, pipe coating yards, cable manufacturing and other facilities since the implementation of the Nigerian Content Act in 2010.

Gas flaring to end in three years – NGFCP

The new framework – the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme (NGFCP), initiated by the Federal Government to monetise the volume of gas flared in Nigeria’s oil fields is expected to ensure that wasteful practice ceases to exist in the country within three years from when it becomes operational.

A gas flare, alternatively known as a flare stack, is a gas combustion device used in industrial plant’s such as petroleum refineries, chemicals plants, natural gas processing plants as well as  oil or gas production sites having oil wells, offshore oil and gas rigs and landfill.  In industrial plants, flare stacks are primarily used for burning off flammable gas released by pressure relief valves during unplanned over-pressuring of plant equipment.

The policy position of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) is that gas flaring is unacceptable and the FGN has initiated a number of actions to reaffirm its commitment to ending the practice of gas flaring in our oil fields. Specifically, the FGN has ratified the Paris Climate Change Agreement, and is a signatory to the Global Gas Flaring Partnership (GGFR) principles for global flare-out by 2030 whilst committing to a national flare-out target by year 2020.

Furthermore, in recognition that flared gas could be harnessed to stimulate economic growth, drive investments and provide jobs in oil producing communities and indeed for Nigerians through the utilization of widely available innovative technologies, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme (“NGFCP”). This programme was launched by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Dr. Ibe Kachikwu   on December 13, 2016.

The NGFCP is designed as the strategy to implement the policy objectives of the FGN for the elimination of gas flares with potentially enormous multiplier and development outcomes for Nigeria. The objective of the NGFCP is to eliminate gas flaring through technically and commercially sustainable gas utilization projects developed by competent third party investors who will be invited to participate in a competitive and transparent bid process. The commercialisation approach has been considered from legal, technical, economic, commercial and developmental standpoints. It is a unique and historic opportunity to attract major investment in economically viable gas flare capture projects whilst permanently addressing a 60 year environmental problem in Nigeria.

The NGFCP will offer flare gas for sale by the Federal Government of Nigeria through a transparent and competitive bidding process. A structure has been devised to provide project bankability for the Flare Gas Buyers, which is essential to the success of the Programme.

According to a THIS DAY report Nigeria would need at least $3.5 billion investments to activate the new market-based initiative it had set up to end the practice of gas flaring at oil fields in the Niger Delta by 2020, Derefaka had disclosed.

Besides its expected environmental impacts on the oil-bearing Niger Delta region, the programme according to its operation’s officer, Mr. Justice Derefaka, was equally estimated to contribute about $1 billion to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), while providing up to 300,000 direct and indirect jobs as well as unlocking about 600,000 metric tonnes (mt) of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) to be supplied to six million Nigerian homes.

Providing an update on the progress of the programme upon the March 22 cut-off date for submission of Expression of Interest (EoI) and issuance of Request for Qualification (RfQ) package for its first bid round to be conducted, Derefaka, noted that about 700 bids had so far been harvested, and that the opening of the Statements of Qualification (SOQs) will follow next.

“The NGFCP is designed as the strategy to implement the policy objectives of the federal government for the elimination of gas flares from Nigeria’s oil and gas fields in the near term (2-3 years), with potentially enormous multiplier and development outcomes for Nigeria.

“It is also designed as the contribution of the petroleum sector to Nigeria’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) under the Paris Agreement (COP21). It is an approach to eliminate gas flaring through technically and commercially sustainable gas utilisation projects developed by competent third party investors who will be invited to participate in a competitive and transparent bid process.

“The commercialisation approach has been considered from legal, technical, economic, commercial and developmental standpoints. And it is a unique and historic opportunity to attract major investment in economically viable gas flare capture projects whilst permanently addressing a 60-year environmental problem in Nigeria,” Derefaka said.

According to him: “Third party investors are to access and utilise flared gas that is currently being sent to flare and convert same into Flare-Gas-to-Market-Products (FG-2-MP) and demonstrate project development experience and proven technology in commercial application.

“The NGFCP is also designed as an important climate change action plan for the nation. And, it is the first market driven program undertaken on this scale globally. Bidders will have flexibility of choosing which flare sites to bid for, the gas price, and the end market or gas product, as well as the technology to be used.”

Continuing, he explained that: “As at today, over 700 investors have registered to download the RfQ package to submit their statements of qualification (SOQs) for participation in the programme.

“In terms of developmental impact, the NGFCP benefits are huge, ranging from an overall inward investment of around US $3 – $3.5 billion; a potential annual revenues/gross domestic product (GDP) impact around $1 billion/annum.

“The NGFCP could also generate approximately 300,000 direct and indirect jobs and unlock and supply around 600,000MT of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) product to six million homes in Nigeria.”

Consistent with Nigeria’s commitments for reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) under the Paris Climate Change Agreement, Derefaka, stated that the program would reduce Nigeria’s CO2 emissions by approximately 13 million tons per year, which could further be monetised under an emission credits or carbon sale programme

“The next critical path item, in compliance with the approved programme implementation timeline following the closure of submission of SOQ’s on the Friday, 22nd March, 2019, is the opening ceremony of the SOQs,” he added.

NIGER DELTA: EX- MILITANTS HAIL FG OVER PROMPT PAYMENTS OF STIPEND

 

We’ll develop new empowerment schemes for Niger Delta youths – NDDC

The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, is designing new capacity building programmes that will help youths and women of the Niger Delta region become gainfully employed.

Speaking during a leadership dialogue and town hall meeting for women and youths in the region in Port Harcourt, the Acting Managing Director of the NDDC, Professor Nelson Brambaifa, said this was important in order to give them a greater sense of purpose as leaders of tomorrow.

According to a statement by the Commission, the NDDC Chief Executive Officer, represented by the Director of Youths, Sports, Culture and Women Affairs, Prince W. Alazigha, affirmed that the new Executive Management of the NDDC was ready and eager to properly address matters relating to women and youths.

“For effective result in this regard,” he said, “it was necessary to create a platform for the Commission to interact with this critical segment of the society from time to time. We will be having these sessions periodically, so that the youths will properly express their desires.”

He added: “This is important because good planning should begin with needs assessment and you cannot be planning for people without hearing from them. We have new programmes that will be introduced soon to equip the youths for future challenges. In the same vein, we will strengthen existing programmes such as the NDDC Youth Volunteer Scheme.”

The NDDC boss underscored the importance of youths towards the socio-economic and political development of any country, assuring that the new Executive Management was determined more than ever before to initiate programmes that would ensure that young people were properly trained and empowered.

Prof. Brambaifa said that youths constitute a very important segment of the society, noting, however, that they were vulnerable because of unemployment challenges. He remarked that the NDDC had since inception mounted various skill acquisition programmes to train the youths of the Niger Delta region.

According to the Acting MD, the NDDC would continue to establish different schemes for the training and empowerment of the youths of the Niger Delta to ensure that they were gainfully engaged in meaningful and economically beneficial ventures.

Speaking on Peace and Sustainable Development in the Niger Delta, Prof. Steve Okodudu, from the University of Port Harcourt, warned of the dangers of riding on the wings of what he termed the “spirit of entitlement.”

He reminded the youths that petroleum resources in the Niger Delta was finite and should not be seen as an exclusive inheritance.

The Professor of Sociology advised the NDDC to expose the youths to world class trainings by bringing international organisations to train them in Nigeria and award certificates that would be recognised globally, rather than taking them abroad which entailed huge financial costs.

President Buhari cares about Niger Delta, says New Ag. NDDC boss

The Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Professor Nelson Brambaifa, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for demonstrating an enduring love for the people of the Niger Delta region.

The new Chief Executive Officer of the interventionist agency, who spoke during the inaugural meeting of the new management, the directors and staff of the NDDC at the Commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt, noted that the Federal Government had “indeed begun refunding over N1.3 Trillion owed the Commission since inception.”

Prof. Brambaifa, whose appointment was announced on Friday, January 25, 2019, alongside that of the Acting Executive Director Finance and Administration, Mr Chris Amadi and the Acting Executive Director Projects, Engr. Dr Samuel Adjogbe, FNSE, said the appointment of the new management team was a response to the growing unhappiness in the Niger Delta region over government’s commitment to developing the region and improving the living conditions of the people.

According to a statement by the agency, the Acting Managing Director said that the Niger Delta region had suffered enough and President Buhari recognised this fact and that prompt action to redress the situation and reassure the people of the region of government’s commitment to their welfare through infrastructural development and capacity building for the youths of the region. 

Prof. Brambaifa reiterated that President Buhari, had for the first time since the establishment of the NDDC, ensured that the Federal Government started to meet its statutory financial obligations to the Commission in full.

He said that President Buhari also ensured that all other statutory contributors to the funding of NDDC met their obligations, noting that the President also worked to restore peace and security in the region by tackling all grievances of the people.

The new NDDC boss said that the appointment of the management team was another step in the effort to offer hope to the Niger Delta people and restore their confidence and faith in rebuilding the Niger Delta region.

The Ag. MD pledged to do everything necessary to respect and implement the mandate of the Commission, “which is to facilitate the sustainable development of the Niger Delta, into a region that is socially stable, economically prosperous, politically peaceful and ecologically regenerative.”

He stated that it was necessary to start work immediately, stating: “The task of developing the Niger Delta is too important to be toyed with, and too compelling to waste time on.”

He urged all stakeholders in the Niger Delta to “join hands with members of the new executive management to ensure a smooth transition, as well as contribute to the immediate delivery on Mr President’s mandate.”

He enjoined the staff of the NDDC to embrace teamwork, hard work and professionalism in the discharge of their work and promised to “change NDDC and take it to the next level.”I

‘FG remains committed to Ogoni clean-up, Niger Delta’s development’

The Federal Government has pledged commitment to thorough clean up of Ogoniland, and development of the Niger Delta region.

This was stated by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta, in the Office of the Vice President, Mr. Edobor Iyamu, during a one-day High Level Advocacy Workshop on the Clean-up of the Niger Delta, organised by the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy & Development, (Centre LSD), which held on Friday in Abuja.

Noting that the Clean-up is in phases, Iyamu said, “if you read the report on the Ogoni clean up, it would take 30 years to complete.”

According to the Guardian, Iyamu emphasized a lot of work has been done in line with the 2011 UNEP report, since the Buhari administration kickstarted the Ogoni clean-up in 2016.

He said several companies have been awarded contracts to carry out the clean-up, adding that there would be subsequent award of contracts to interested companies.

Recall that in January, the Hon. Minister of Environment, Suleiman Hassan, kicked off the handing over of sites to contractors undertaking the remediation and clean-up of impacted sites in Ogoniland, Rivers State.

Speaking further, Iyamu said there have been a lot of social engagements and programmes in Ogoni communities by HYPREP, while some studies have been carried out to find out the extent of contamination.

He said, “This exercise has not been done anywhere. It is an ongoing process and I am sure it can only get better. With subsequent awards, I am sure we are going to get more qualified people. One of the things we tried to do from the office of the vice president is to constantly put stakeholders under pressure.

“No one is going to take the region for granted. The New Vision for the Niger Delta is designed to bring development to the region, and we have recorded several milestones.

“Today, we have the Maritime University, which is fully operational and we also have the four modular refineries, which are located in Imo, Akwa Ibom, Delta and Rivers states, with about 60-90 per cent completion.”

Also speaking at the event, the Acting Executive Director of the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy & Development, (Centre LSD) Mr. Monday Osasah has lauded the FEDERAL Government on the commencement of the official handover of polluted sites to remediation firms on the Ogoniland Clean-Up.

He said, “Cleaning the Niger Delta is social justice, and having achieved relative calm so far, we believe that further tampering with citizens expectation by the lull in the process might be problematic. We are therefore pleased that Hydro Carbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP), the body responsible for the clean up has commenced the official handover of polluted sites to remediation firms. We hope that the initial delay will be compensated by speed of the firms.”

FG, firm sign $100m concession agreement for Warri Port Terminal

Spurred by the desire to boost efficiency in port management, the Federal Government and Ocean & Cargo Terminal Services Limited, on Tuesday, signed a concession agreement for Terminal B of Warri Old Port.

This is sequel to the National Council on Privatisation’s approval of the technical and commercial bid of $100.78m submitted by Ocean & Cargo Terminal Services Limited on June 18, 2018.

Mr Alex Okoh, Director-General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises, noted that the objective of the Federal Government in port concessioning, was to achieve efficiency in the country’s port management, with the ultimate aim of improved service delivery.

The BPE boss who signed the document on the government’s behalf also observed that the process was geared towards the modernisation of port facilities, while achieving reduction in the cost of shipping and clearing goods, an arrangement that would relieve the government of the encumbrances of financing the sector.

Okoh said, “In fact, the concession of the seaports in Nigeria represents one of the success stories of the privatisation and commercialisation programme in Nigeria.

“The concessionaire is expected to focus on these objectives as they perform their business. The government expects nothing less than strict adherence to the terms of the concession agreement from the concessionaire.”

“Consequently, the pursuit of your business objectives must be tailored in a way that will also assist in the realisation of these objectives,” he told the concessionaire.

Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, chairman, Ocean and Cargo Terminal Services, however, expressed his happiness as he signed on behalf of his company, the PUNCH reports.

Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman, Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), who was present during the ceremony also expressed delight at the conclusion of the concession of the terminal, noting that the concession of the port ‘is an important milestone in the economic development of the country.’

This crucial development once again reiterates the federal government’s unwavering commitment to the development of the Niger-delta, a region, which president Buhari’s administration has accorded great importance and initiated many critical projects.