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.

Amnesty programme, a success story, says Ooni

Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunnusi, has declared the Presidential Amnesty Programme under the leadership of Prof. Charles Dokubo as a success story.
He said God had used Dokubo to pilot affairs at the Amnesty programme in the right direction, the PUNCH reports.
Speaking on Friday at the inauguration of the first Amnesty programme vocational training centre at Agadagba-Obon, Ese-Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State, Oba Ogunnusi, said the facility would enhance the development of youths in the Niger Delta and the nation at large.
The Ooni said, “When you see something that is good, especially to develop the youth of this nation, most especially the people of Niger Delta, I am very proud to be associated with such initiative.
“It is created for them to learn more about what is good and coming from their environment. I am here to be part of a successful story. I thank God Almighty for using the leadership of Prof. Dokubo to put these things right.”
In his remarks, Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, (SAN), noted that the Amnesty programme had not only impacted on the lives of individuals, but also transformed the entire Niger Delta region, especially in human capacity building and empowerment, thereby deepening the peace in the area.
Akeredolu, who was represented by his deputy, Mr Agboola Ajayi, described the completion of the Oil and Gas Basic Skills Vocational Training Centre as a wonderful feat achieved.

Niger Delta: Nigeria Navy destroys 134 illegal refineries

The Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Delta said it has demolished 134 unlawful refining destinations in Delta state in the last one and a half weeks.

The Commander of the NNS Delta, Commodore Ibrahim Dewu, who revealed this amid one of the tasks in Jibo people group, Warri South-West gathering region of the state on Saturday, likewise cautioned oil hoodlums and administrators of illicit refineries to cease and discover real methods for occupations or face the fury of the law.

According to the Nation, Dewu, who was spoken to by the Executive Officer (XO) of the NNS Delta, Navy Captain Adeyemi Adewuyi, denounced the decision of a few people in the Niger Delta to live on wrongdoing and keep on squandering assets on endeavours that will persistently be followed and pulled somewhere around government, bringing up the measure of monetary assets focused on the unlawful exercises and their undulating impact on the country’s economy.

As indicated by him, the illicit refining locales in Jibo people group alone secured a stretch of multiple kilometres of marsh region, including that the administrators had set up in excess of 82 units of unlawful refineries on the monstrous space of land.

In his statement, he informed that they are in Jibo community in Warri South-West council area of Delta state to carry out the destruction of illegal refineries with the use of swamp buggies. Currently we are employing two swamp buggies simultaneously to destroy the illegal refinery sites in this community.

Ogoni Clean-up: HYPREP commence remediation process of impacted sites

Friday, January 11, 2019 marked a landmark for Niger Delta and in the Ogoni clean-up exercise by HYPREP under the Federal Ministry of Environment.

On that day, 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.

The oncoming Ogoni Clean-up is proof of the Buhari administration’s commitment towards developing the Niger Delta region.

Recall that in June 2016, the Buhari administration started the implementation of the 2011 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on Ogoniland. This is part of the Federal Government’s Niger Delta NewVision to develop Niger Delta region.

Niger Delta New Vision workshop: Partnership for regional development & nation-building: A Reporter’s Diary

By Jahrock Ujewe

The Agenda for Niger Delta New Vision media workshop held on August 2, 2018 at BON Hotel in Warri, Delta State, was different from another workshop I had attended prior to that day. Apart from focusing on the Niger Delta region, it brought together representatives from media houses and Civil society Organisations (CSOs), and offered them the opportunity to deliberate on government’s development efforts in the region. For critics, who had the perception that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration was not doing enough for the region, it was an eye opener for them, as some of the gains made were unveiled in the course of the session.

One startling moment at the workshop was when the current Vice Chancellor of the Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State, Prof. Maureen Etebu, presented a paper on the journey so far at the institution. Contrary to the general misconceptions about the school, Prof. Etebu began her submission by saying that the university has fully commenced academic operations, and most importantly, the recently concluded recruitment exercise to fill vacant positions in the institution was done with uttermost sense of merit and credibility. This was an eye-opener for me and some other media representatives present, as the Vice Chancellor further disclosed that the Maritime University will be holding its first matriculation ceremony in October.

If the Maritime University, which currently has about 300 pioneer students, holds successfully its first matriculation ceremony, it will put to bed the negative reports about the current government’s interest towards the take-off of the school and it will definitely be a plus to its desire to ensure the government is a continuum, in terms of inherited projects and project implementation.

Due to the existence of illegal refineries in the Niger Delta region, there has been calls for government to look at alternative means to exploit these activities for economic gains. It was really interesting to know that the present Buhari administration is responding now, thereby showing its commitment to the environmental well-being of the Niger Delta region. The Technical Assistant to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources on Refineries and Downstream Infrastructure, Mr. Christopher Ilukhor, while delivering a  on Modular Refineries, noted some gains recorded so far. As part of the Niger Delta New Vision, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has licensed some modular refinery operators to commence operations. Two of such refineries are being constructed in the region.

Participants were shown pictorial evidence of the level of work done at one of the modular refineries in Kwale, Delta State. This refinery would soon commence operations and it would create some substantial amount of quality jobs for Nigerians. This is clearly a departure from the past, where promises were made but not fulfilled.

My experience at the workshop will not be complete, if I do not talk about the break out session on the role of the media in communicating the Niger Delta New Vision.

Among other things, the Niger Delta New Vision is about the progress and stability of the region. This breakout session for the media, anchored by Philip Jakpor, sought to correct the negative impression created by the usual narratives in the media about the Niger Delta.

I must admit that a section of the media has portrayed the region as being hostile to investors and other agents of meaningful development. While the Niger Delta has been subjected to exploitation and underdevelopment, the need for balanced reportage was adequately stressed. Putting the region in the right perspective in news reports will not only attract investors, but guarantee sustainable development and stability.

The workshop deservedly came to an end with the Senior Special Assistant on Economic Matters, in the Office of the Vice President, Mr. Edobor Iyamu, saying that the Niger Delta region is perpetually in the eye of the Federal Government, noting that the Buhari administration remains determined to implement its developmental plans for the region. That says a lot.

As a media professional, I am ready to partner with the government on the Niger Delta New Vision towards a prosperous region by setting the agenda right in my reportage.

#7BigWins: Nigeria, Niger sign MOU on refinery project

Today, President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) of Nigeria and his counterpart, the President of the Republic of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou oversaw the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for the Niger/Nigeria Hydrocarbon Pipeline & Refinery Projects & Inauguration of the Steering and Technical Committees.

This epoch-making signing is part of the strategies to reposition Nigeria’s Oil & Gas Industry. It may be recalled that a roadmap of short and medium term priorities tagged the #7BigWins was developed by the Dr. Emmanuel I. Kachikwu led team at the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and launched by President Muhammadu Buhari in October 2016.

The fourth initiative of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources #7BigWins is the “Refinery and Local Production Capacity”, part of which has to do with the establishment of third party financed Greenfield refineries to improve domestic petroleum products sufficiency in the Nation.

The proposed projects for the construction of crude oil pipelines from Republic of Niger to Nigeria and establishment of new refinery at a border town in Nigeria is envisaged to be wholly private sector financed and the proposed Crude Oil Export from the Republic of Niger and Construction of Refinery Facilities posit immense benefits and opportunities for Nigeria.

A quick summary of general benefits to be derived from these projects by both countries are enormous and include the following:

1. Improved economic activities and bilateral relations between Nigeria and Republic of Niger.

2. Generation of more employment for the citizens.

3. Petroleum Product availability in Nigeria/Niger on structured legal framework.

4. Less carnage on our roads and deterioration (damage) to the road infrastructure.

5. Foster the development of small and medium scale industries through backward and forward linkages.

6. Socio economic development of the rural areas through provision of social amenities by the refinery developments.

7. Fostering of downstream value chain business opportunities, etc.

The refining opportunity in Nigeria is a great initiative. Its impact transcends economic gains for investors and entrepreneurs asides the potential contributions to national development. The projects will increase trade between Nigeria and Niger by giving access to each other’s markets and opening the markets to other successful industries which will create additional jobs.

FG’s Niger Delta New Vision will create a future of success, prosperity for region – Iyamu

The Federal government’s Niger Delta New Vision will create a future of success and prosperity for the region.

Senior Special Assistant to the President in Charge of the Niger Delta, Mr. Edobor Iyamu, stated this on Wednesday, June 27, in his opening remarks at a one-day capacity-building workshop with the theme: “Niger Delta New Vision: Partnership for regional development & Nation-building”, for the media, Civil Society Organizations and staff of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) at the State House Auditorium, Abuja.

Edobor traced the conceptualization of the Niger Delta New Vision to the presentation of the 16-point Agenda of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, to the Presidency in 2016, which government responded to through the formulation of its 20-point Agenda.

It would be recalled that in November, 2016, in a move to address concerns in the region and see to its development, President Muhammadu Buhari held a meeting with Niger Delta leaders under the aegis of Pan-Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF. PANDEF made a 16-point demand to the Federal Government which was subsequently captured in the FG’s 20-point agenda to develop the region.

Also, following that meeting with elders in the region, in 2017, on behalf of the President, the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, undertook a tour of oil producing communities in the region. The Buhari administration’s New Vision for the Niger Delta was, thus, birthed.

According to Mr. Iyamu, the Niger Delta New vision was “designed to promote development in the region through a forthright partnership between the federal government, state government, private sector and local community.”

He said the New Vision was also designed to positively change the narrative of failed promises and abandoned projects and creates a future of success and prosperity which the people of the region so earnestly deserve.

He highlighted some of the achievements recorded since government started the implementation of the New Vision, including the establishment of the Maritime University, the Ogoni clean-up and the construction of modular refineries in the region.

Iyamu said academic activities commenced at the Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State, on the 12th March, 2018 with the intake of 338 freshmen and with three faculties – transport, engineering and environmental management.

He said that prequalification process has been completed for the Ogoni cleanup while the technical and commercial bid was ongoing in line with Nigeria’s extant laws.

On the modular refineries, he said that two modular refineries have obtained licences and have since commenced construction work, explaining that one of them was about 70% completion in Kwale, Delta State while the other is in Rivers State.

Other interventions made through the Niger Delta New Vision, according to Iyamu, were gas commercialization to address the issue of gas flare, increased budgetary allocations and designing of the Strategic Implementation Work Plan, SIWP, for effective implementation of the new vision.

He said the workshop was organized to inform stakeholders of the what government was doing to promote development in the Niger Delta, to get feedback from stakeholders on how to implement the vision better and to solicit for the cooperation and partnership in the area of information dissemination in relation to the region.

Giving an overview on the SIWP, the Special Adviser on Niger Delta Affairs to the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Charles Achodo, said that an analysis of the 16-point Agenda presented by the PANDEF to the Presidency categorized the demands into three broad areas.

These were political, which focused on the issue of resource control; security, tied to the issues about how to secure the region; and developmental, dealing with environmental degradation, modular refineries and infrastructure.

Achodo said that government responded to the PANDEF 16-Point Agenda by formulating its 20-Point Agenda, bringing out specific activities and targeting particular goals for the Niger Delta.

He said Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s engagements with stakeholders and community leaders during his tours of the Niger Delta Region last year yielded positive results.

According to Achodo, work on the SIWP has shown that there were several agencies working in the region without any result, requiring that a different approach be used in tackling the challenges in the Niger Delta.

One of the facilitators, Pamela Braide delivered a paper on communicating the SWIP to stakeholders in the Niger Delta.

She said the current situation shows that there is lack of clarity, distrust and cynicism about the intentions of government in the Niger Delta New Vision.

She said communicating the Niger Delta New Vision should be well planned and must combine the traditional and new media to reach the people of the region.

Braide said MOUs signed with governments of the states in the Niger Delta must be communicated properly while the SWIP must be broken down to enable people to understand it well.

In her presentation, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Infrastructure, Imeh Okon, said the key to what government was doing in the Niger Delta was to complete all abandoned projects in the region.

She said government was working to ensure that all projects with strategic developmental impact were completed.

Each session has robust engagements that participants said would further boost the implementation of key initiatives under the New Vision for the Niger Delta region.

The Special Assistant to the President Communication Projects/ Niger Delta, Arukaino Umukoro, also made a presentation on the Niger Delta New Vision website, which he noted was a part of the overall communication strategy of the New Vision.

He urged participants to visit the website for information on the activities on the Niger Delta New Vision.

Participants at the workshop were drawn from the media, government agencies and civil society organizations, where there were breakout sessions for the media, and MDAs and CSOs, which focused specifically on their roles and contributions to the region’s development and nation building.

Facilitators at the workshop include; the Special Assistant to the President on Digital & New Media, and Head of the Presidency Office of Digital Engagement (PODE), Tolu Ogunlesi; the Executive Director of We the People- Centre for Social Studies and Development, Ken Henshaw; the Head of Media & Campaigns, Environmental Rights Action (ERA) /Friends of the Earth Nigeria, Philip Jakpor and ICT consultant, Dayo Ibitoye.

FG Empowers Women from Niger Delta Region with ₦15 Million

In fulfillment of part of its pledge to improving the lives of people in the Niger Delta region, the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, continued its women development campaign through the sponsorship of individuals from the region in vocational training programmes.

A one month training programme which was undertaken at the Polytechnic, Ibadan, Oyo State, by 50 women drawn from the region were trained in confectioneries and household product technology at the institution. And on completion of the programme were handed the sum of N15 million by the Ministry as start up fund.

   The Minister of State, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Prof. Claudius Omoleye Daramola who made the presentation of the start up package at the graduation ceremony, promised that the ministry would continue to organize more training and empowerment programme specifically aimed at women in the Niger Delta region. He congratulated the graduants and categorically stated the importance of women empowerment which he said is rightly synonymous with the economic growth of the region.

    Prof. Daramola advocated for collaboration between key Ministries, departments and agencies of the Federal Government in order to collate resources so as to organize more training and empowerment programmes, and the effective monitoring and provision of support to the already trained women. He went further after advocating for inter-agency collaboration, made a call for partnership between the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, the Bank of Industry, the Industrial Training Fund, and Small and Medium Scale Enterprises.

    The Minister also stressed the need for the development of an extensive database of the trainees with the aim of tracking and funding trainees and future prospects for the empowerment programme. The rector, Prof. Olatunde Fawole ably represented by the registrar of the polytechnic, Mr. Ayodele Fehintola added that the acquisition of skills would no doubt be of tremendous assistance to the trainees and in turn, lead to the transformation of the region.

    The consultant of the training programme, Dr. Benjamin Irikefe, said the training was planned to make the trainees employable by giving them requisite skills to be employers of labour and not job seekers. Speaking on behalf of the trainees, Angela Essien, appreciated the ministry for organising the training and empowerment programme adding that the training had laid the foundation for them to transform themselves and their communities in the Niger Delta region.