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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

Niger Delta: Maritime Varsity will boost job opportunities, save nation foreign exchange – VC

Nigeria would benefit immensely from the Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State, as it would boost job opportunities for Nigerian professionals in the Maritime industry, and it would also save the nation foreign exchange.

The Vice Chancellor of the Nigeria Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State, Prof. (Mrs.) Maureen Ongoebi Etebu,

stated this recently during a tour of the institution’s impressive teaching facilities and infrastructure at the take-off campus while she attributed the progress of work in the university to President Muhammadu  Buhari’s commitment to the region.

Highlighting the benefits the  nation is poised to gain from having the institution, Etebu further said the institution would save the nation a great deal of foreign exchange it hitherto spent on  training Nigerians in maritime sector in other countries.

She affirmed that the standard of training in the institution was at par with international best standards, negating the need to  further send students abroad to obtain such trainings.  She stated the university had registered with the International Maritime Organisation, a body that upholds the highest standard of maritime practice and training in the world. She further affirmed that the university,  which  is working in collaboration with the Caribbean Maritime University, has brought peace to the Niger Delta region.

She said,” We can now do local training and not send our citizens out of the country,  because we have set standards that can compete with  anywhere in the world; and  through NIMASA, we are registered with the IMO (International Maritime Organisation).

‘When you train cadets here in Nigeria you give them the exposure they can get abroad. Right now  we are  collaborating with Caribbean Maritime University and  we are also making arrangement with the World Maritime University in Sweden. We will be producing high rate cadet without spending any dollars or pounds which will save  our nation a great deal of foreign exchange,’ she said.

The VC, who was in the company of staff members, also affirmed  that  graduates  of the university would soon bridge the gap of local skilled  content in the maritime industry. She noted that such development would equally save the nation foreign exchange spent on the wages of skilled expatriate  workers. ” when you go to ships you hardly find Nigerians, but in another two years this would be rectified as we should have graduated our first batch from the department of  transport and logistics management and environmental management.  And in another three years we will be producing marine engineers  that can help man this area where we lack man powers.’

Etebu also  thanked  President Buhari’s  administration for its trail-blazing role in the development of the university. She praised the Federal Government for releasing funds for the continued development of the institution, noting that it was an indication that President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo were fully working for the development of the region.

She said, “The Federal Government has been magnanimous to us. We are grateful to the Federal Government for its support, without which, the maritime University would not have taken off.”

“Indeed, we have been able to start only because the Federal Government energized the process and release funds to the Maritime University. Recall that the His Excellency (Vice President) even visited here (Niger Delta) and we are grateful. You can see what we are doing with the funds that were released to us. And since the university started there has been peace in the Niger Delta region.”

In November 2017, President Muhammadu Buhari  approved an increase in the take-off grant allocated to the University from the N2bn earlier announced to N5bn. This sum was included in the 2018 budget presented to the National Assembly in November 2017. Similarly, an additional N1B was approved by the President to support essential infrastructure works and staff recruitment in the University in November 2017. The Delta State government has also donated two 500KVA generators to the University.

These grants have  in no small measure aided the take-off of the institution, which arguably boasts world-class teaching facilities which include: state of the art lecture rooms kitted with projectors and air conditioners, school laboratories, Olympic size swimming pool, library, ICT centre,  event hall, cafeteria, hostels, a health centre that also serves neighbouring communities, amongst others.

It would be recalled that the Maritime University commenced full academic activities in April 2018, when its first batch resumed lectures for the 2017/2018 session.

According to the VC, at least 300 undergraduates wrote the first and second semester exams in 2018.

As at January 27, the University has so far pre-screened 476 new students who have commenced academic activities for the 2018/2019 session. Of this number, the faculty of Engineering had the highest number of pre-screened students comprising 280 students.

It would be recalled that the University was granted approval by the National Universities Commission (NUC) to commence undergraduate degree programmes effective from the 2017/2018 academic session.

The NUC approved that academic activities commence in three faculties namely; Transport, Engineering and Environmental Management.

The Faculty of Transport has four departments, namely: Nautical Science, Transport Logistics Management, Marine Economics and Finance, and Port Management.

The Faculty of Engineering has five departments – Marine Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Petroleum and Gas Engineering, and the Faculty of Environmental Management has four departments: Environmental Management and Pollution, Meteorology and Climate Change, Fisheries and Aquaculture, and Marine Geology.

In October, last year. the NMU signed an academic partnership with the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, in the presence of the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN. Under this MOU, the CMU has offered scholarships to two students of the Maritime University.

Staff of the university also thanked the Federal Government for its  unwavering support  in making the university a success story, insisting that the institution would save  the nation a great deal of foreign exchange. Professor Francis Nwosu of the Department of Fisheries and aquaculture noted that the university’s output would in the long run  contribute to the economic growth of the nation, “Maritime university wants to develop  our human resources that will exploit the resources of the ocean and that will add to our nation’s economic growth.

VC commends Buhari administration for making Maritime University a success story

*Says progress of University shows FG’s commitment towards developing Niger Delta & maritime sector

VC, Nigeria Maritime University, Prof. Etebu

Vice Chancellor of the Nigeria Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State, Prof. (Mrs.) Maureen Ongoebi Etebu, has praised the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari for the continued development of the university and making it a success story.

Etebu said this has helped in sustaining peace in the Niger Delta region, while adding that the University has become a beacon of hope to Niger Delta youths.

She further stated that the Buhari administration’s efforts towards the development of the University also shows its commitment to improving the maritime sector, which is fundamental to the growth and development of the nation’s economy

The VC stated this on Monday while showcasing the institution’s impressive teaching facilities and infrastructure at its take-off campus to the Niger Delta New Vision team from the Office of the Vice President.

She said, “We are grateful to the Federal Government for its support, without which, the maritime University would not have taken off. They have been magnanimous to us,” while adding that the university’s development was in sync with the Federal Government’s New Vision for the Niger Delta.

“Indeed, we have been able to start only because the Federal Government energized the process and released funds to the Maritime University. Recall that the His Excellency (Vice President) even visited here (Niger Delta) and we are grateful. You can see the progress here already. And since the university started, it has contributed to the peace in the Niger Delta region,” she noted.

The VC, who was in the company of University staff members, added that the ongoing efforts in the university is an indication that President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo were fully working for the development of the region.

ICT facilities at Maritime University

It would be recalled that the University was granted approval by the National Universities Commission (NUC) to commence undergraduate degree programmes effective from the 2017/2018 academic session.

The Maritime University, which is the first of its kind in Nigeria, commenced full academic activities in April 2018, when its first batch resumed lectures for the 2017/2018 session.

It has 13 departments in three faculties namely: Transport, Engineering and Environmental Management.

The Faculty of Transport has four departments, namely: Nautical Science, Transport Logistics Management, Marine Economics and Finance, and Port Management. The Faculty of Engineering has five departments – Marine Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Petroleum and Gas Engineering, and the Faculty of Environmental Management has four departments: Environmental Management and Pollution, Meteorology and Climate Change, Fisheries and Aquaculture, and Marine Geology.

According to the VC, over 300 undergraduates wrote the first and second semester exams in 2018.

So far, the University has, at January 27, pre-screened 476 new students who have commenced academic activities for the 2018/2019 session. Of this number, the faculty of Engineering had the highest number of pre-screened students comprising 280 students.

Maritime University students during a parade in the institution on Monday

The VC also lauded the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for its financial contributions towards the University’s development, a pointer to the synergy that underpins good relations among ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) under the Buhari administration.

She said, “NIMASA have been a big brother to us. Whenever we go to them they are willing to accommodate us. The DG of NIMASA has indeed been very supportive.”

The Special Assistant to the Vice President on Communication Projects/Niger Delta, Mr. Arukaino Umukoro, expressed his delight at the institution’s facilities, which he attributed to the Buhari administration’s commitment to the development of the Niger Delta region and the nation’s maritime sector.

In November 2017, President Muhammadu Buhari had approved an increase in the take-off grant allocated to the University from the N2bn earlier announced to N5bn. This sum was included in the 2018 budget presented to the National Assembly in November 2017. Similarly, an additional N1B was approved by the President to support crucial infrastructure works and staff recruitment in the University. The Delta State government also donated two 500KVA generators to the University.

These efforts have aided the take-off of the institution, which arguably boasts world-class teaching facilities which include: state of the art lecture rooms kitted with projectors and air conditioners, school laboratories, Olympic size swimming pool, library, event hall, cafeteria, hostels, a health centre that also serves neighbouring communities, amongst others.

A lecture theatre at Maritime University

Noting that all lecturers in the university went through strict recruitment process before they were employed, the VC said, “All our academic staff have a minimum of second-class upper in their first degree. And they were all employed on merit without any powerful political connection,” she said, assuring that the university, which is a paramilitary institution, was poised to maintain its high standard.

Etebu said the University has great potential to positively impact development in the region and in the country.

“The maritime industry is global, and there are so many resources that have not been tapped until now. You have heard our university anthem, “sailing through the marine ways of the world”, so it’s limitless. Being a premier Maritime University, we want to keep the flag flying, and I know we would be number one for a long time.

Also, in October, last year, the NMU signed an academic partnership with the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, in the presence of the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN. Under this MOU, the CMU offered scholarships to two students of the Maritime University.

“One of the many advantages of this institution is that we do not go on strike, being a paramilitary institution. A four-year course will always remain a four-year course,” the VC added.

Similarly, the Dean, Faculty of Marine Transport & Logistics Management, Prof. Godwin Ovuworie, said, “Maritime University is a unique institution that would cater for the needs of Nigeria’s maritime industry for years to come. We thank the Vice President and the President for this project because Nigeria needs it.”

Staff of the University also commended the Federal Government for its continued efforts in developing the university.

#NDNewVision: Fact Sheet On Niger Delta New Vision

The Buhari administration’s Niger Delta New Vision is designed to “develop a new and prosperous Niger Delta through the Federal Government’s forthright partnerships with State Governments, the Private Sector and Local Communities.”

 

Ongoing projects under the Niger Delta New Vision include:

  • Take-off of Maritime University in Delta State
  • Commencement of Ogoni Clean-up
  • Approval for the establishment of Modular Refineries
  • Continuation of the Presidential Amnesty Programme
  • Investments in infrastructure and development projects

 

Maritime University, Delta State:

  • The Maritime University in Okerenkoko, Delta State, commenced operations in 2017 and, in November 2017, invited job applications for academic staff.

 

  • President Muhammadu Buhari administration had approved an increase in the take-off grant from the N2bn earlier announced to N5bn.

 

  • Lectures commenced fully in April 2018 with a total of 196 students accepted into the University.
  • The NUC approved commencement of academic activities in three faculties namely; Transport, Engineering and Environmental Management, with 13 departments across the three faculties.
  • In November 2018, Maritime University and the University of Lagos signed an MoU with the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) for mutual exchange in human capital development
  • Also, the CMU has offered scholarships to two students of the Maritime University.

 

Ogoni clean-up:

  • In June 2016, the Buhari administration started the implementation of the 2011 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on Ogoniland devastated by decades of oil spills.

 

  • The Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPREP) (under the Federal Ministry of Environment) was established. Headed by Dr. Marvin Dekil, the Project Coordinator, HYPREP has carried out key activities so far:

 

  • Training and hiring of some Ogoni graduates educated in Environmental Sciences to develop capacity for the Cleanup project.

 

  • Demonstration of technologies in some of the oil impacted areas in Ogoniland, namely Bodo, K-Dere, B-Dere, Korokoro, Kwawa, Nsisioken etc where interested companies showcased their remediation technologies at no cost to government.

 

  • A total of 201 samples were collected and analysed from eleven (11) sites in this exercise across the four (4) LGA.

 

  • Delineation and scoping of selected hydrocarbon impacted sites is on-going.

 

  • Twenty-Six (26) sites out of the Sixty-Four (64) investigated sites by UNEP across the four (4) Ogoni Local Government Areas have been earmarked. This is in line with the recommendations contained in the UNEP fact sheets.

 

  • Over 20,000 patients were treated, and 365 surgeries carried out in Ogoniland during HYPREP’s Medical Outreach Programmes aimed at collecting preliminary data towards the implementation of UNEP recommendation on Health Study.
  • Towards the implementation of UNEP recommendation on the provision of emergency measures (water supply and health study), HYPREP commenced the survey and sampling of drinking water sources in Ogoniland, and provision of potable water for communities.

 

  • A total of 600 water samples was collected and analysed from 47 impacted communities across the four (4) LGAs of Ogoniland – Eleme, Gokana, Tai and Khana
  • Next Phase of Clean-up: Remediation of selected twenty-six (26) sites identified in the 1st phase of the Clean-up exercise.
  • The Next Phase will also include the conclusion of Procurement Processes for contracting experts for the remediation and clean-up of impacted sites, Construction of new comprehensive water schemes and rehabilitation of existing ones, Livelihood Assessment/Implementation Plan, Detailed Health Impact Assessment Study.

 

 

Modular Refineries:

  • Establishing modular refineries in the Niger Delta region would promote socio economic development and provide jobs for unemployed youths, thereby sustaining peaceful coexistence in the Region. It will also increase local content, mitigate negative environmental degradation associated with illegal refinery activities, crude oil theft and pipelines vandalism.
  • The location of a modular refinery is strategic and influenced by proximity to the source of crude oil, producing marginal fields and tie-in to supply infrastructure or clusters.
  • Three modular refinery projects have commenced construction:
    1. Niger Delta Petroleum Resources – Establishment of additional 10,000bpd Modular Refinery in Ogbele, Rivers State.
    2. OPAC Refineries – To establish 7,000bpd refinery in Umuseti-Kwale, Delta State (phase one)
    3. WalterSmith (Petroman) – To Establish 5,000bpd refinery in Ibigwe, Ohaji, Imo State.
  • Two modular refineries are expected to be inaugurated by the end of this year.

 

Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP):

  • The Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) is an intervention programme initiated by the Federal Government to address agitations and militancy in the Niger Delta region.

 

  • PAP engages ex-militants and youths from impacted communities in formal education, vocational skills acquisition and empowerment schemes.

 

  • The Amnesty Programme has helped in maintaining peace and security in the Niger Delta, and improving the nation’s economy.

 

  • There are currently 5,578 persons enlisted in the programme.

 

  • So far, the programme headed by the Coordinator, PAP, Prof. Charles Dokubo, has facilitated the setting-up of small and medium scale businesses for about 4,450 ex-militants, while some foreign firms have offered direct employment to several trainees.

 

  • For enhanced post-training engagement, the Programme plans to fast-track the establishment of small businesses for already trained youths in areas such as agriculture, particularly Poultry and Fish farming; Welding/Fabrication, and

 

BONNY-BODO ROAD PROJECT:

  • The N120 billion Bonny-Bodo road project was flagged-off in October 2017 by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN. The 34-kilometre road project, linking Bonny Island to the mainland was first mooted about 40 years ago.

 

  • The ongoing Bonny-Bodo bridge and road project is a Public Private Partnership arrangement jointly funded by Nigeria LNG and the Federal Government.

 

  • When completed, the 34-kilometres road would connect several major communities in the Niger Delta region and boost socio-economic development in the region.

 

Export Processing Zone (EPZ):

  • The Federal Government approved the establishment of the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) comprising the Gas City Project at Ogidigben, and the Deep Seaport in Gbaramatu, Warri South-West LGA, Delta State.

 

  • When fully operational, these projects are expected to boost socio-economic activities and improve the security landscape of the Niger Delta region.

 

 

#NDNewVision: PHOTOS of Modular refineries in Niger Delta

As part of the Niger Delta New Vision of President Muhammadu Buhari administration, two modular refineries in Niger Delta region are expected to be inaugurated by the end of this year.

OPAC Refinery, Umuseti, Delta State

Two modular refinery projects have commenced construction out of the 10 licensed projects identified for possible groundbreaking. They are the: Niger Delta Petroleum Resources – Establishment of additional 10,000bpd Modular Refinery in Ogbele, Rivers State; OPAC Refineries – to establish 7,000bpd refinery in Umuseti-Kwale, Delta State (phase one). Another refinery, WalterSmith (Petroman) – to Establish 5,000bpd refinery in Ibigwe, Ohaji, Imo State – is expected to come on board in the near future.

 

 

Niger Delta Petroleum Resources (NDPR) Refinery, Ogbele, Rivers State

The key objectives of establishing modular refineries in the Niger Delta region include the following:

  • To promote availability of petroleum products in the country and boost economic development nationwide,
  • To promote socio-economic development and  provide jobs for unemployed youths in the region, thereby sustaining peaceful coexistence in the Niger Delta,
  • To increase local content in Region,
  • To mitigate and eliminate negative environmental degradation associated with illegal refinery activities, crude oil theft and pipelines vandalism.

Niger Delta: 200 set for NDDC 2018 Post-Graduate Foreign Scholarship

The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has presented award letters to 200 graduates from the Niger Delta region for its 2018 Post-Graduate Foreign Scholarship Programme.

According to a statement by the NDDC, during a pre-departure briefing and orientation at the Hotel Presidential in Port Harcourt, the NDDC Managing Director, Mr Nsima Ekere, charged the scholars to be ambassadors of the Niger Delta region as they carry the flag of Nigeria to foreign lands.

The NDDC Managing Director, who was represented by the Director Special Duties, Dr Princewill Ekanim, said that the Foreign Post-Graduate Scholarship Programme was an important component of the Commission’s human capital development programme.

He said: “We recognise the need to bridge the huge manpower deficit in the Niger Delta region, especially in Engineering, Science and Technology, EST, the fields that drive the oil industry. Our aim is to build a pool of professionals that can compete at the global stage.”

Ekere noted that the programme which started in 2010 had so far benefited 1,904 students, mostly at the Masters’ Degree level.  He said that about 4,000 candidates applied for this year’s programme, out of which 200 were selected.

The NDDC boss said: “Our scholars over the years have made outstanding results. In 2016, one of the beneficiaries in the masters’ programme, graduated as the overall best student at the Coventry University in the United Kingdom. In 2017, another beneficiary graduated with a distinction and was the best graduating student in the department as well as the entire post-graduate programme in environmental studies.”

Ekere advised the scholarship beneficiaries to avoid distractions so as to also excel in their studies. “We are sending you out to go and study and come back to impact the Niger Delta region and the entire Nigerian system for good. That is the essence of the scholarship programme,” he emphasised.

In his opening remarks, the NDDC Director for Education, Health and Social Services, Mr. Goshua Okejoto, urged the beneficiaries to make the best use of the opportunity given to them to acquire technical expertise for the benefit of the people of the Niger Delta region.

The EHSS director, who was represented by the deputy director, Mrs. Winifred Madume, reminded the beneficiaries that they owed the Niger Delta a duty to succeed. He added: “As you go to your various schools, conduct yourselves well as we expect excellent performance in all that you do.”

Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, the best Ph.D. awardee, Miss Mary Essien, thanked the NDDC for making the selection process fair and transparent. She pledged that they would do their best to be good ambassadors for the region.

The successful graduates for the 2018 post-graduate foreign scholarship programme had gone through electronic examination conducted at the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, before a final selection interview.

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.”

NDDC commissions Oku Iboku Roads, inspects UNIUYO projects

The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has inaugurated the 5.15-kilometre Oku Iboku Internal Road Project in Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. It also inspected the road and erosion control project which it is executing at the University of Uyo.

Speaking at the commissioning of the Oku Ibokun roads and drainage, the NDDC Managing Director, Mr. Nsima Ekere, urged the benefiting communities to be grateful to the All Progressive Congress, APC, administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

In a statement by the NDDC, Ekere was quoted as saying that: “I am very happy with what I am seeing today in this community. Oku Iboku is one of the very prominent towns in Akwa Ibom state. It has a history and pedigree. It is not wrong that the community was not even remembered before now.

“Recall that we have had various vilifications and attacks by the government of Akwa Ibom State. They have repeatedly said that NDDC has not constructed even one kilometre of road in Akwa Ibom State.

“Earlier today, we inspected the road that links Nsasak Junction-Akon in Essien Udim Local Government Area that connects Abia State. This is a 30-kilometre road project, out of which 15 kilometres have been completed. The contractor is currently working on the bridge to link both states. I saw 15-km of solid and quality road being handled by an indigenous contractor, who is also from Akwa Ibom State.”

The NDDC boss noted that the Commission also engaged a local contractor to execute the Oku Ibokun internal roads. He expressed satisfaction with the quality, stating that it would compete with roads in any part of the world.

Ekere expressed disappointment with the attitude of some officials of the Akwa Ibom State Government whom he accused of misleading people. He said: “Somebody needs to educate some of the officials of the Akwa Ibom State Government that as responsible officers of government, they should not speak until they are sure of their facts. Again, I repeat, NDDC is not competing with any of the state governments in the region. We are just here to complement the efforts of the state governments.”

The village head of Ikot Essien, Chief Evans Enwan, commended the NDDC for building a quality road for his people. He, however, pleaded with the Commission to extend the road to Mben Inyang.

At the 1.2-kilometre University of Uyo dual carriage access road, Ekere said that NDDC took on additional responsibilities when the university authorities appealed for help to tackle the drainage challenges on the road.

The MD said: “We include the 1.4 kilometres drainage outfall to address the challenge. That way we are sure that when the road is completed it will stand the test of time. Again, a local contractor has proved his mettle here and that is why we are committed to using them so long as they are qualified and have technical and financial capacity.

“We want to empower them to improve on their capacity so that ultimately they can engage the engineering graduates from our universities to give them hands-on experience in construction projects.”

Ekere commended the UNIUYO students for maintaining peace and allowing the contractor to work without hindrance. He promised that the NDDC would put in more efforts to complete the hostel in the university.

According the MD, “the hostel has been largely completed, what is left is external works and landscaping as well as a few finishing touches to the building. The contractor will meet the NDDC Director of Project Monitoring and Supervision so that whatever needs to be done is done urgently.”

Ekere stated that the NDDC was building hostel projects in other universities, adding that they were experiencing some hitches which would soon be resolved. He said: “Most of the hostel projects were awarded many years ago and the contractors unfortunately had not delivered on them. Some of them were awarded when a bag of cement was sold for 60 Naira.

“In some of them, the scope of work has had to be reviewed and the process of getting approvals from the Bureau of Public Procurement to increase the contract sums takes time. Right now, we are in the process of reviewing them to ensure that these projects are completed. We want our students to as much as possible study in comfort. NDDC is committed to doing whatever has to be done within its capacity to ensure that we add value to the educational system in the Niger Delta.”

He assured that the NDDC hostel projects in the various universities in the Niger Delta region would be re-activated as soon as possible and the contractors would be mobilised back to site to complete them.

 

Niger Delta: US Consulate, NDDC Strategize for Sustainable Development

The United States Consulate in Nigeria says it continues to discuss and work with the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, to strengthen collaboration on strategies to improve peace and security to facilitate the sustainable development of the Niger Delta region.

Speaking during a courtesy visit to the NDDC management at the Commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt, the Political and Economic Consul, Mr Osman Tat, who represented the United States Consul General in Lagos, F. John Bray, said one of the primary goals of the US mission was to support Nigeria’s economic development.

The American delegation had earlier held a strategy meeting with the NDDC Managing Director, Mr. Nsima Ekere and the Chairman of the Commission’s Governing Board, Senator Victor Ndoma- Egba (SAN), on plans to drive the regional development process.

The US envoy explained that the meeting with the NDDC leadership was part of the regular consultations undertaken by the US Consulate in Lagos and the Embassy in Abuja. According to him, the Consulate recognised the fact that NDDC had a large number of projects spread across the nine states of the oil-producing region of Nigeria.

Osman Tat observed that it was important to consult with the Board and Management of NDDC in order to get a sense of how the projects were being executed to develop the region

He said: “We have looked at several projects being executed by the NDDC and the ones they intend to undertake in the future.

“We have had a fruitful discussion with the NDDC on projects implementation and we are interested in seeing that the projects and development activities are well executed for the benefit of the people of the Niger Delta.”

Osman Tat affirmed that NDDC was at the nexus of development, adding that its projects cut across different sectors ranging from healthcare to education and infrastructure. He said that the projects were necessary to ensure peace and security in the Niger Delta.

The diplomat stated the interest of the United States in seeing a free, fair, transparent and non-violent election in Nigeria in 2019.

In his remarks, the NDDC Chairman, Senator Ndoma-Egba said that the NDDC was at the heart of the Niger Delta, noting that the Commission had the solemn mandate to develop the region by engaging key stakeholders.

Senator Ndoma-Egba emphasised the need for an enduring peace in the Niger Delta region, stating that security was critical for development and growth.

He said that the NDDC, being an interventionist agency had little or no role to play in partisan politics. “We are only interested in ensuring that there is a peaceful atmosphere in the Niger Delta region. And the only way we can achieve that is by bringing projects and development to the region,” he said.

Amnesty Programme catering to the needs of ex-agitators in Niger Delta, says group

*Lauds appointment of Dokubo

A group, the Forum for the Advancement and Upliftment of the Niger Delta (FAUND), has lauded the Presidential Amnesty Programme, which it said is fulfilling its key mandate of catering to the needs and aspirations of ex-agitators in the Niger Delta.

In a statement signed by FAUND President, Nimitein Oyibo, the group also commended the Federal Government and the President Muhammadu Buhari for the appointment of Professor Charles Quaker Dokubo as Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP).

It also described Dokubo’s appointment as a step in the right direction for the development of the Niger Delta.

“As a leading Niger Delta stakeholder and renowned academic, Professor Dokubo has provided a new vehicle for the people of the Niger Delta to feel first hand, the gains of the Buhari presidency with respect to plans and programmes designed for the advancement of the lives of the people of the Niger Delta,” the statement read.

It further stated that less than 6 months into Dokubo’s tenure as Coordinator of the Amnesty Programme, “the programme has been returned to its cardinal mandate of catering to the needs and aspirations of ex-agitators in the Niger Delta who have chosen the path of peace, stability and progress.”

According to the statement, “The Reintegration of the thousands of young men who laid down their arms in the Niger Delta has been moved into new gear with new enthusiasm and commitment.

“Entitlements to these young lads are now being paid on time and empowerment programmes have been greatly reconfigured to ensure that the beneficiaries are equipped with the knowledge, skillset and tools they require to live productive lives.”

The statement added that, “At a time when political players and stakeholders in the Niger Delta have become so divisive and offensive, we commend the foresight of the Buhari government in the appointment of a leading technocrat, academic and progressive to the very sensitive role and position.

“Prof. Dokubo’s humaneness, humility, sense of purpose and commitment to the advancement of the Niger Delta has in so small way, helped to mold the conscience and consciousness of hundreds of thousands of Niger Deltans scattered across the 9 states of the Niger Delta.

“Since his appointment as Coordinator of PAP, Prof. Dokubo, a professor of International Diplomacy, War, Defence and Peace Studies, has won new friends and followers for President Buhari in the Niger Delta than all other political leaders in the Niger Delta.

“We call on all people of the Niger Delta to support the efforts of Prof. Dokubo in fixing the Presidential Amnesty Programme in order that it can be returned to the mandate for which it was set up for. The era of reckless petition writing aided and abetted by disgruntled contractors and stakeholders should come to an end. The advancement and upliftment of the Niger Delta must be the concern of everyone.”