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NNPC, NOSDRA pledge collaboration to stem oil spills

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) have expressed their willingness to work closer aimed at mitigating the incidences of oil spills across the country.

Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, made this known when he received the Director General of NOSDRA, Mr. Idris Musa, along with his management team at the NNPC Towers in Abuja on Wednesday.

Kyari stated that as a National Oil Company, the NNPC pipelines, flow stations and assets spread across the country were jointly owned by the Federation.

He maintained that the Corporation produces crude oil to maintain a balance sheet for the nation, noting that the NNPC had taken several steps to deploy technology to stem incidences of oil spill.

“We have taken a number of steps to stem oil spill by deploying technology in order to make sure that whenever there is an oil spill incidence, it is contained almost immediately. We contain the incidences of oil theft, pipeline vandalism and acts of saboteurs and we intend to bring it to the barest minimum,” Kyari said.

He noted that the NNPC operated both crude oil and petroleum products pipelines adding that the Corporation was collaborating with all its partners to curb incidences of oil spill in all areas of its operations.

The NNPC helmsman said the Corporation would also forge closer ties with NOSDRA to proactively forestall oil spill in areas that are prone to incessant incidences.

Earlier, the Director General of NOSDRA, Mr. Musa, said the Agency was prepared to partner the NNPC in mitigating oil spill in all areas of its oerations stressing that the partnership would ensure a good operating environment for the operators and the inhabitants.

He added that breaking of petroleum products pipelines did not provide food, water and good environment for the people rather the malaise bleeds the national purse of revenues that would have being used to provide developmental infrastructure for the various tiers of government.

Ogoni Clean-up on track, Nigerians should support HYPREP – Bassey

Environmental Rights Activist, Nnimmo Bassey, has called on Ogonis and all Nigerians to support the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) in the on-going clean-up of Ogoniland.

Bassey made the call when he led a delegation of members of Oil Watch Africa from 15 African countries to HYPREP on an assessment visit to some remediation sites in Ogoniland.

Receiving the team, the Project Coordinator of HYPREP, Dr. Marvin Dekil who explained the processes adopted by HYPREP in the clean-up, informed the team that the clean-up project commenced eight years after the report was submitted to the Federal Government of Nigeria by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

In a statement by HYPREP, Dekil was quoted as saying that the time between the date of submission in 2011 and 2016 when the clean-up was officially flagged off by President Buhari necessitated the review and modification of some of the strategies recommended in the report.

The Project Coordinator said the review and modification of some of the strategies does not mean that HYPREP has deviated from the recommendations in the UNEP Report as all such modifications are done with the input of UNEP.

While inspecting one of the remediation sites, Bassey expressed satisfaction with the works HYPREP is doing and confirmed that remediation has commenced in Ogoniland.

He expressed disappointment that despite the several activities going on at various sites across Ogoniland, people are still saying the clean-up has not commenced. Bassey said he appreciates the anxiety of the people who expect to see the work move at a very fast pace but pointed out that the clean-up project is a highly technical and complex work that requires expertise, experience and a lot of preparation.

Speaking to HYPREP staff, Nnimmo Bassey said members of the Oil Watch Africa are in Port Harcourt for a conference on the impact of oil on the continent, adding that it was important for the team to visit Ogoniland to see the work that HYPREP is doing and to see the state of the cleanup efforts.

The environmental rights activist said the visit was also to enable members from other African countries learn about the consequences of pollution and how difficult it is to restore the environment after pollution has occurred. Bassey said keeping the environment clean was everybody’s business as hydrocarbon pollution affects both the environment and humans and urged all stakeholders to ensure that Ogoniland remains clean after the clean-up.

He dispelled speculations that HYPREP funds are being mismanaged, explaining that the structure set up for the management of finances and for appropriating funds for HYPREP project is very well set up.

Bassey who is also a member of the HYPREP Board of Trustees (BoT) stated that people of integrity with very stringent control over finances are on the board of the Project, adding that the funds for the Project is held by the Ogoni Trust Fund with community people and other stakeholders as signatories to the account and not a kobo goes out without due process.

“HYPREP office does not determine which fund is released and which fund is being used. The strict nature of the control and the milestone set by HYPREP and the whole organizational structure, the BOT, GC, PCO, is such that any fund to be released must be matched by clear set goals and what it is going to be used for,” Bassey said.

He said ‘the clean-up is an excellent avenue to get youths employed to multiply skills that can be extended to other Niger Delta communities by the time the remediation project is expanded. This is an incubation lab. We must do all we can to ensure that this is a success that the environment is restored’. He encouraged youths to take advantage of the employment and training opportunities that the Project offers.

He emphasized that Ogoni clean-up is a signature project and that everyone involved in the delivery of this project desires to leave a legacy. Bassey called on everyone who doubts the commencement of the clean-up to visit the remediation sites across Ogoniland to see things for themselves and urged everyone to be patient with HYPREP since remediation is on course.

Rivers’ Waste Treatment Plant will complement FG’s remediation efforts in Ogoniland – Osinbajo

*Says Public Private Partnership key part of Buhari administration’s economic plan

The Liquid Waste Treatment Plant in Rivers State, will complement the Federal Government’s remediation efforts in OgoniLand and Niger Delta.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, stated this on Friday at the commissioning of the Port Harcourt Dockyard Liquid Waste Treatment Plant in Rivers State. VP Osinbajo was welcomed the by Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike; and accompanied by Gen. Abdusalam Abubakar, Chairman of African Circle Pollution Management Limited.

He said, “While this is a facility to treat waste generated on vessels, it is also a wonderful complement to the more general work on the environment which we are currently doing expressly regarding the clean-up of Ogoniland and the innovative connective solutions to ending gas flaring as developed by the NNPC.

“We would no longer be a country defined by the size of pollution challenges, but instead by the wholeness of our remediation response and, even more importantly, our preventive action.”

The Vice President further stated that encouraging Public Private Partnership and private capital investment, especially in commercially viable public infrastructure remains a major policy thrust of the Buhari administration.

Prof. Osinbajo, who stated this today at the commissioning of the Port Harcourt Dockyard Liquid Waste Treatment Plant in Rivers State, said a “a successful public private partnership, private leadership in major aspects of the economy and encouraging private capital investment is more strategic and important.”

Noting that “government cannot fund all public infrastructure,” the Vice President stated that the Ease of Doing Business initiative of the Buhari administration was to encourage public-private investment and make the country more attractive to investors.

“You are all aware of our Ease of Doing Business agenda, with the goal of making Nigeria one of the easiest and most attractive places to trade and invest in the shortest possible time. We are well on our way there,” he said.

The Vice President Osinbajo commended African Circle Pollution Management Limited, the company that built the Liquid Waste Treatment Plant, for being wholly indigenous, while referring to its growth over the years.

Continuing, the VP said, “I am told that the company has invested more than $8 million in this fully automated liquid waste treatment plant. The construction of this modern waste treatment plant is in fulfillment of the provisions of the agreement the company signed with the Federal Government through the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).

“In line with that Built, Operate and Transfer agreement, the African Circle Limited agreed to build this facility in accordance also with the IMO MARPOL 73/78 convention: to provide facilities for liquid and solid waste created on both vessels for the navigation districts of Lagos, Port Harcourt, Warri, Calabar and Onne. The agreement, I’m told, is for a period of 20 years, and with the expiration of that period the facilities would be handed over to the NPA.”

While reiterating the Federal Government’s commitment to a sustainable development agenda, the VP added, “barely two years ago, we demonstrated our commitment to supporting environmentally friendly projects by the launching of a first sovereign green bond in Africa and the fourth in the world.

“The proceeds of the bond is to finance environmentally friendly projects in afforestation, renewable energy and the formation of green energy, enabling Nigeria to reduce its CO3 emission by 40 per cent by the year 2030.”

Op-Ed: Maritime University, Ogoni Clean-up, Modular refineries… Buhari administration’s achievements in Niger Delta

The development in the Niger Delta under the Buhari administration through its New Vision is restoring peace and curbing the decadence that initially enveloped the region, writes Mary Oyibocha-Agbajoh in the Vanguard

 

Leadership is the art of motivating a group of people to act towards achieving a common goal. However, it requires a lot of hard work and sacrifice so as to meet up the people’s expectations.

This sole reason, requires leaders not just to understand the plight of the people they serve but also have a firm grip on issues affecting the masses so as to ensure a smooth transition and growth of the capacity of the people they serve.

Having this capability puts you in the top 1% of leaders and is a skill President Muhammadu Buhari internalizes even though some partisan individuals of influence are feeding a wrong message about the agenda of the President, because over the years our mindset as a country and people was used to a system where anything goes and rot is left unchecked.

Therefore, the process of re-evaluating, strategizing and taking a bold step forward is what the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is establishing as a foundation unto greater achievements. To prove wrong critics on the Buhari administration, take a look at the establishment of the New Vision for the Niger Delta, which is geared towards enhancing the well-being of the people in the region.

This administration saw to the actualization and take off of the Maritime University Okerenkoko, Delta State. The University got functional approval by the National University Commission (NUC), to commence undergraduate programme, effective from 2017/2018 session, and commenced academic activities on the 12th of April 2018. To ensure that the university enjoys privileges as other federal university Buhari approved an increased in the take – off grant allocated to the Maritime University Okerenkoko Delta State from N2billion to N5billion. Similarly, in November 2017 another N1billion was approved by the President to aid the support of essential infrastructural works and staff recruitment in the university.

In furtherance to reducing the epidemic of oil pollution in the Niger Delta area the administration launched the Ogoni clean-up project, and it set aside $ 170million USD for the clean-up. The Ogoni clean-up project is being managed by the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) of the Federal Ministry of Environment. To enhance the remediation work President Buhari – led administration trained graduates from Ogoni land, who studied Environmental Science. The administration also flagged off the Ogoni Health Outreach Programme and about 5,815 patients were attended to and 65 surgical cases treated.

The amnesty programme feared to be abolished took a whole lot of people by surprise as an additional N35billion was approved for the rehabilitation and sustainability, re- integration of ex- agitators of the Niger Delta area.  The indigenes of the communities were not left out, as they were given full academic scholarship in other to attain quality education with monthly stipends.

The unemployed youths today in the Niger Delta region are hopeful for a brighter future, as the Buhari led administration through the N- Power scheme has put a smile on their faces by empowering them with N30, 000 monthly allowances to ensure their wellbeing. The N- Power initiative has in no small measures curb youth restiveness in the area.

The license to operate modular refineries given under administration, would see to eradication of unemployment in the region by creating more jobs, business opportunities which will be of essential benefit to the youths in the region and Nigeria as a country, when the refineries kicks off.

Aware of the importance of infrastructure and good road network in the socio- economic development of a society, the Buhari administration has ensured the resumption of all abandoned projects awarded to different contractors across the Niger Delta region 2006, including the East West Road and the second Niger Bridge both projects are at the phase of completion.

It was the Buhari led administration that flagged off by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo the N120 billion Bonny – Bodo road project.

To ensure that there is no scarcity of food, and the prices are affordable for the masses the administration gave priority to the Agricultural sector, by setting presidential initiatives to boost it in the nine states of the Niger Delta Region and Enugu. The administration has completed six cassava processing plants in Bayelsa, Rivers, Abia, Ondo, Cross River and Imo states. In acquiring skills, the hand of this administration is feasible in the areas of business, trade, and craft.

One hundred and thirty youths in the Niger Delta were trained on poultry, agriculture, crop production and were given N1 million naira each by the Buhari- led administration. This contributed to the complete phase out of youth restiveness. Women who specialized in poultry and snail production were empowered between 350k- 500k each to start up business. Other women were trained in ICT and business hub, poultry and fish production.

Recently the Presidential Amnesty Programme commissioned a vocational in Agadagba – Obon Ese Odo Local Government Area, Ondo State for training the youths in oil and gas related field.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo paid a visit to the Niger Delta region where he met with elders and discussed with them, as regards restoring peace in the region.

The administration through the Ministry of Petroleum headed by President Muhammadu Buhari as the Petroleum Minister introduced the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme, which was aimed at addressing the exit of gas flaring in the Niger Delta region.

This administration has put frame work for community – based participation in the oil and gas pipelines, and the oil and gas assets in the Niger Delta region.

The development in the Niger Delta in this administration is in no small measure restoring peace and curbing the decadence that initially enveloped the region.

 

Culled from The Vanguard

‘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.”

Ogoni clean-up: HYPREP commence provision of potable water in Ogoniland

Towards the implementation of the UNEP Report on the provision of emergency measures (water supply and health study), the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) has commenced the survey and sampling of drinking water sources in the impacted communities of Ogoniland.

The exercise, which started in November and lasted for 10 days, was carried out from house to house and also within a radius of 500m from each impacted site. The aim was to ascertain the extent of contamination   of drinking water sources in the impacted Ogoni communities to obtain baseline data that will guide HYPREP in the preparation of bid documents.

A total of 600 water samples will be collected and analysed from 47 impacted communities across the four Local Government Areas of Ogoniland, namley , namely Eleme, Gokana, Tai and Khana.

According to a statement from the Project Coordination Office, “HYPREP will not leave any stone unturned in carrying out its mandate as it has continued to get the unwavering support of President Muhammadu Buhari led administration to ensure a successful clean-up of Ogoniland and restoration of livelihood.”

Niger Delta: Navy destroys 1,000 illegal refineries in creeks

The Nigerian Navy Ship, DELTA, on Wednesday said it had destroyed over 1,000 illegal refineries with swamp buggies in the Delta creeks.

Speaking with newsmen in Warri, the Commander, NNS DELTA, Commodore Ibrahim Dewu, said the illegal refineries were destroyed in the last 29 days in its ongoing raids.

He said the illegal refineries and the equipment were destroyed in Otumara, Ogbegugu, Okpuku creeks and Bennett Island with the aid of swamp buggies, amphibious vehicles used in traversing swamps.

“We decided to apply swamp buggies because they are more environmental friendly and make it difficult for the perpetrators to resuscitate the illicit businesses after crushing their facilities.

“So far the exercise has been successful and we will not rest on our oars until the illicit trade is completely eradicated in our maritime domain,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the navy had in the past relied heavily on the use of fire to destroy illegal refineries.

The commander said the use of swamp buggies would bring a lasting solution to the ongoing economic sabotage.

On Tuesday, the commander led some navy personnel and journalists to Bennett Island in Warri South Local Government Area of the state to monitor the operation.

He told newsmen that the oil thieves had adopted a new method to prevent his men from carrying out the operation.

“The perpetrators in Bennett Island set fire round the illegal refineries to prevent us and the swamp buggy from gaining access.

“However, we were able to find our way into the sites and crushed their equipment despite the thick smoke and rain.

“Since we started clamping down on the illegal refineries with the aid of swamp buggies, the perpetrators have been restless’’, the commander said.

Dewu said the saboteurs were already feeling the impact of the destruction.

“This might have generated the recent campaign for the removal of the Commander, Joint Task Force (JTF), code name “Operation Delta Safe,’’ Rear Adm. Suleiman Apochi, by the people.

“The campaign against JTF is a distraction; we will not be deterred,’’ he said.

He warned the saboteurs to desist from the illicit act or be made to face the full wrath of the law.

For the Records: #7BigWins in Focus – Big win 5 – Niger Delta and security

By Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu

*Puts in focus a “blueprint for Niger Delta’s development that can be sustained for posterity”

Let me welcome you to an 8 parts serial podcast that will look critically at the 7 big wins that were instruments of our intervention in the oil industry when we came in and see how we fared in each of those and what we need to do going forward.

All over the world these 7 big wins has been praised as a right model for intervention. But, let us now go neck deep and get a 3D view of what really has happened. In this edition, we are going to focus strictly on the Niger Delta security issues; what we met, what we did, what the future holds for us.

His Excellency, the President was kind enough and gracious enough to appoint me with the twin positions of both the GMD of the NNPC and the Minister of State for Petroleum. Niger Delta was a burning issue at the time. There was key unrest in Niger Delta, a huge amount of militant activities going on. There was reduction in production volumes, so much reduction leading to a consistent loss that led us almost to a cripple in the oil industry. Actually, at the lowest point we were down to about 800,000 barrels. All the infrastructure that we had were compromised; vandalism and militancy compelled the integrity of the infrastructure to disappear.

These sustained attacks continued for over a 10-month period. In February 2016 for example; the Forcados oil export line was breached, leading to very major attacks in other oil and gas assets. In May 2016, the Nembe creek truck line was attacked; in November 2016, series and series of attacks.

What else did we meet? We met the complete absence of a coordinated effort at developing the Niger Delta development model. There was, therefore, a consistent lack of investors’ interest in Niger Delta area, because of what really had happened was that with all the militancy attacks, uncertainties on policies, the lack of coordination in terms of development, everybody basically watched for what the next alarm bell was going to be.

The sheer amount of problems that we inherited in Niger Delta meant that literally if nothing was done, the country was getting crippled; no money for investments, no money for infrastructures, no money to run the budgets. We had to move in very rapidly with the support of His Excellency, the President.

We dealt with three main fundamentals. We decided to deal first with the environment and security issues. What were we going to do about that environment, the issues that had been burning in all the areas of Niger Delta?

The first thing we realized was that the one-on-one engagements, as good as they were, were obviously not leading us to the Promised Land. Of course, I did the whole yeoman’s job of taking a tour on the Niger Delta myself and getting into the creeks, at very great risk to my life and that of a lot of my staff, to engage the militants in their domain. I think the advantage in that was that it brought understanding and we then began a sustained community engagement.

The first thing we did was to work with the leaders of the areas to work towards the setting up of the PANDEF group. We thank all the PANDEF members; leader, Chief Clark and all of them who did fantastic work in trying to put together this Pan-Niger Delta Forum. We worked coordinating with them. So once that was set up, it was easy to have a body that could engage the Federal Government.

Then we dealt with the issue of Ogoni clean-up. The President had made a promise during his campaign that he was going to take this as a burning issue and he did and he inaugurated the Ogoni clean-up process that was launched very ceremoniously and we began the engagements and the financing that will enable us address the Ogoni cleanup. But not only Ogoni needs to be cleaned up, a whole lot of other areas need to be cleaned up. This is basically the beginning map on which we are going to work.

We came up with the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialization Programme, which was trying to address the exit of flare. The United Nations had set a 2030 deadline; we set a 2020 deadline. We are aggressive about it because we knew that unless the environmental issues in Niger Delta were addressed, no amount of investment would get a buy-in with the people.

With all the sustained engagements that we had, we had series of ceasefires which enabled us to bring back production volumes. In December 2015, we had a 30-day ceasefire agreement. It brought back production rapidly from the all-time low of about 800,000 barrels to about 2.2 million barrels. In June 2016, we had another 60-day ceasefire agreement, which lasted for a while. In April 2017, leading up from the 60-day ceasefire that continued and working with PANDEF and other elements, and with the assistance of the Vice President’s visit; we got to a point where we basically moved our production to an all-time 800,000 barrels volume to volumes in region of 2.2 million barrels.

We looked at infrastructure and not only did we deal with repairing some of the infrastructures that were broken down to enable oil begin to flow again. We came up with the concept of what to do with the illegal refining that was going on in the region. So, we came up with the modular refinery concept. Till date, we have targeted development and approved about 10 of those; two are basically on land now and beginning to construct. Hopefully, within the next one year, we will be able to deliver real results. But we are pushing for the other eight.

The AKK Pipeline that had been abandoned for a very long time was put back. The Federal Executive Council approved this and now engagements are going on to sort out this contract and begin that construction. That AKK pipeline will enable you deliver gas from the South into the North and open up gas delivery to homes, and development in terms of petrochemicals. So it is a huge infrastructure development.

We have been able to go visit some of these modular refineries. We visited the one in Ogbele, in Rivers State; we also have visited the one in Kwale (Delta State). Those are the two that are basically on ground and ready to take off. But there are 8 additional ones that are basically all getting ready for completion for financing and moving on.

But, the area where I think we have done a lot of work is in Capacity Building and Economic Empowerment. The greatest problem of Niger Delta has been that it’s not because money hasn’t gone in. Inter-agency researches have shown that over $40 billion have gone into Niger Delta in a period of, maybe, 15 years.

So what we’ve tried to do, was working under the Office of the Vice President, to try and working in conjunction with the Ministry of Niger Delta, Ministry of Environment, NDDC, NNPC, Oil companies, everybody; we were able to show the sheer amount of money over a period of time that had gone in, and the sheer amount of money that was available still to go in. And that led to a very integrated work that produced a report that enabled us to see what everybody’s budget was and what we needed to do. It ran into trillions.

And so working under an inter-ministerial group put under the Vice President, we’ve now began to build capacity, and build economic empowerment on the grounds of that and making sure that we supervise each of those intervening government agencies to do what they are supposed to do and the oil companies to take up also their responsibilities.

But we have also gone further than that. I have gone ahead to set up State technical committees and gone from state to state to take that whole vision and give it fruition. So, in those states, with the State Governments being the Chairmen of some of those; we have had our own representatives; we’ve had oil companies’ representatives, we’ve had Government Agencies. And the whole idea is to look at the blueprint of what oil is produced in a state, what volumes are available, what opportunities for economic empowerment are there and what are the burning issues in those areas. These technical committees have been launched in three states; in Edo State, in Delta State and in Imo State, and we are looking to complete that whole process.

If we succeed in doing that, for the first time, what you are going to have is a complete blueprint, complete local engagement, complete local intervention and supervision of the Niger Delta development model and that is something that can be sustained for posterity.

So, those interventions have helped; those technical teams have helped. Like I said, we’ve done it in about three states. We are going to continue to push the envelope in other states. Now, obviously in all these have rallied from the initial work done when we first started with all the problems we had, to the Vice President’s visit that was monumentally successful and helpful; to obviously the presidential cloak that has been given to this to make it succeed.

Where do we go from here? A lot of work still needs to be done, let’s not kid ourselves. What we have done is take a very difficult environment and bring some sanity to it.

So today, when we celebrate over 2 million barrels, when we celebrate $75, $77 price in oil, when we celebrate enhanced and increasing reserve size for this country, when we celebrate the highest capital budgets that this country has seen in decades, it is all because we found a way to find sanity in this very, very difficult environment. But we still have a lot of work to do.

Those engagements we talked about with the state technical committees are a key pivot; we must sustain and complete the process. And thereafter, there must be active; and there must, on a month-to-month basis, explore what the opportunities are, and ensure that the local populace are getting those opportunities.

There are regulatory interventions; the Assembly is working hard at PIB, and there’s Host Community Bill they are also doing. All these Bills, when passed, will give legal parameters to some of the interventions that are essential and create a sustained platform for these interventions in the future.

The President is completely committed to the success of this and we are working with the Ministry of Environment to continue the Ogoni clean-up. I have just directed that funds necessary for this must be released with a very short period of time so that this Ogoni clean-up can actually move from the drawing board to actual practical realities. And I’ve called on both NNPC and the oil companies to fund this sufficiently for us to move forward.

We’ve also began a programme to engage the Ogonis where there has been substantial problems, to get the community buy-in; to get the community’s participation. A few weeks ago, we held the Ogoni re-entry meetings. We are going to get into some of those, and not just Ogoni, but a lot of the areas to see how we can get people to believe gain and have faith in the processes that we are rolling out.

We are currently working on a framework for community-based participation in the protection of oil and gas pipelines, and oil and gas assets. How do we get the communities to take ownership of these pipelines, protect them, ensure an efficient delivery without complications and also ensure that in future they get benefits from some of the economic interventions that come out of all of these?

So, a whole lot of work needs to be done. It is almost like you are looking at the bill of rights in some of these areas. How do we develop things that people are entitled to; people execute, communities are involved, constant engagements continue, and the Government’s interest in this continues to ride.

But this where we met security, this is where we met the Niger Delta, this is what we have done in the two and a half, three years that we have been there. But like I said, the work continues.

What we can say is that provided Government continues to focus, provided the oil companies continue to focus on their key social responsibilities in these areas, provided that Government Agencies that are given responsibilities for intervention continue to carry out their jobs, provided communities realize that, at the end of the day, destruction of platforms leads to nothing but confusion and mayhem; but that working together with the Government, we can create an equitable problem-solving mechanism, provided State Governments and security apparatus carry out security intervention for peace in a manner that respects the fundamental human rights of citizens; we actually can take leverage from the total world attention that is looking at the work that we are doing in this area and get Niger Delta to where it should be.

Thank you very much for listening.

Kachikwu is the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources

(Podcast on May 23, 2018)

East-West Road: FG set up 4-man Ministerial Committee

*Committee to ensure speedy completion of project

 

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has approved a four-member ministerial committee charged with the responsibility of ensuring speedy completion of the East-West Road in the Niger Delta and ₦142.5 billion for construction of roads across the country.

Briefing state house correspondents on the outcome of the council’s meeting, The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, revealed that the committee consists of Minister of Information and Culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed; Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Usani Uguru Usani; and the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola. He stated further that the members of the committee would undertake an inspection tour round the construction site to appraise the ongoing project in ensuring its speedy completion of the East –West Road which was mooted in 2006 under the administration of former president Olusegun Obasanjo.

The chairman of the committee, Amaechi advertently disclosed that the council approved ₦1.67 billion for the procurement of equipment for the Lagos–Kano narrow gauge in line with an initial interim agreement signed between the federal government and the GE (General Electrical).

The council also approved ₦1.2 billion for the purchase of 18 flat-bed wagons to be operated on the narrow gauge rail line by the Nigerian Railway Corporation.

He said ₦18.874 billion of the amount would be expended on the maintenance of the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos as part of the federal government’s National Bridge Maintenance Strategy.

Fashola said the Third Mainland Bridge contract was awarded to one of the original contractors for the project, Borini Prono of Italy.

He said the construction company was expected to carry out maintenance works on 33 out of the 177 piles of the bridge which were in critical condition.

According to him, part of the repair works on the bridge will also involve the maintenance of General Expansion Joint Replacement and will be completed within 27 months.

The minister said the budget for the repair on the bridge was captured in the 2017 appropriation law. He said council also approved ₦80.19 billion as revised amount for the second section of the 84 kilometres Lagos-Ibadan expressway project.

275 Niger Delta youths benefit from agriculture training, empowerment

No fewer than 275 youths in Niger Delta region have benefited from the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) and its Joint Venture agro skills acquisition through the Green Rivers Project scheme.

The Vice Chairman/Managing Director of NAOC, Massimo Insulla, said the special agricultural scheme was introduced in 2016 to meet the present day economic and social realities and to bridge the gap between the aging farmers and make agriculture attractive to youths.

The Guardian reported that, Insulla, who spoke at the graduation ceremony for pioneer class of 2017/2018 NAOC-JV Agro-Skills Acquisition Training Programme in Port Harcourt at the weekend, said the scheme was introduced to increase employment generation.

He added that the choice of agriculture for the empowerment of youths was in line with the Federal Government’s vision on diversification.

The trainees were drawn from the four states of NAOC operations, Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, and Imo States were trained in Skills such as fisheries, poultry, livestock and crop farming.