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Niger Delta Governors are valued partners – NDDC

The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has described the governors of the nine Niger Delta States as critical stakeholders and partners in the development of the Niger Delta region.

The NDDC Director, Corporate Affairs, Mr. Charles Obi Odili, who spoke in an interview at the Commission’s Headquarters in Port Harcourt, noted that the governors of the Niger Delta states were strategic stakeholders and partners in the task of developing the oil-rich region.

According to a statement by the Commission, Odili said the governors play a key role in the process of building an egalitarian and development-oriented Niger Delta, “the kind of Niger Delta that we can all be proud to call our home.”

He said: “The governors form the Advisory Committee which is supposed meet from time to time to look at areas where they can intervene and advise management and board on the way forward.

“So, they are strategic partners in the process of building an egalitarian and a development-oriented Niger Delta region. The Governors of the region are very important and worthy stakeholders in the task of building the region.”

The NDDC Director also underlined the importance of another organ, the Partners for Sustainable Development (PSD) Forum, which he said was very critical to a coordinated response to the development challenges of the Niger Delta. He said that it was an avenue for the governors or their deputies or even representatives of their governments to liaise with the Commission for proper synergy.

Reacting to insinuations that the NDDC was often over-politicized,  Odili noted that the Commission was a political creation and as such could not be entirely divorced from political considerations.

On media reports which gave the impression that governors of Niger Delta states were instigating the probe of the Commission, Odili explained: “I did mention that the governors visited Mr. President and that the President as the father of the nation, reserves the right to look at the various components, because the Federal Government puts in so much money and would like to see what we are getting out of that effort. It is a welcome development that a probe is coming as a lot of things will come to the fore.”

He added: “The NDDC is over-burdened, being just an interventionist agency. Everybody feels some form of entitlement and the Commission cannot take on the entire gamut of regional expectations alone.”

Groups, CSOs back Buhari on forensic audit of NDDC

*President orders forensic audit of NDDC from 2001 to 2019

The state Chairmen of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the South-south and South-east regions have commended President Muhammadu Buhari over his directive for a forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

They also called on the president to urgently inaugurate the new board to superintend over the Commission’s activities for a holistic review and reforms.

The Nation reported that the call and commendation by the chairmen were contained in two separate statements issued by Akwa-Ibom State APC Chairman, Hon. Ini T. Okopido, who is the leader of the South-south Chairmen of the forum, and his Abia State counterpart, Hon. Donatus Nwankpa, leader of South-east Chairmen of the forum respectively, which was made available to journalists in Benin-city

The forum expressed satisfaction on the calibre of those Buhari has already appointed to take over the task of the region’s development, and appealed for their inauguration to pilot the affairs and bring their wealth of experience to bear on the Commission.

The chairmen, while commending the president for his ‘love’ for the development of the Niger Delta region, assured him of their unflinching support to carry out his holistic reforms in the interventionist agency.

Similarly, civil society groups and concerned individuals on Thursday hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for directing that a forensic audit be conducted on the operations, programmes and activities of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

A development economist, Jeffrey Emerson, the executive director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Auwwal Rafsanjani, and the president of Ijaw Diaspora Coalition, Johnson Ebibai, all said the directive was a step in the right direction, Premium Times reported.

“This is a good development, now that the President has finally responded to the concern by civil society and the demand for him to take action to stop the monumental corruption and outright stealing and diversion of public funds in these agencies meant to help the people and communities in the region,” Mr. Rafsanjani said on Friday.

It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered a forensic audit of the operations of the Niger Delta Development Commission from 2001 to 2019.

The decision followed persistent criticisms of the operations of the commission. A statement by the Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), Femi Adesina, said Buhari gave the directive after receiving governors of the states that make up the NCDC, led by Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State.

The President said what was presently on ground in the South-South region did not justify the huge resources that had been made available to the agency.

He said, “I try to follow the Act setting up these institutions especially the NDDC. With the amount of money that the Federal Government has religiously allocated to the NDDC, we will like to see the results on the ground; those that are responsible for that have to explain certain issues.

“The projects said to have been done must be verifiable. You just cannot say you spent so much billions and when the place is visited, one cannot see the structures that have been done. The consultants must also prove that they are competent.”

“I am acutely aware, with my experience, that projects in your area are very expensive; that is why if any job is given, we must make sure that the company is competent and has the capacity to do it well with experienced consultants”, the President said.

Buhari however said that he would wait for the report of the audit before deciding on the next line of action regarding the organisation.

Earlier, Dickson expressed the disappointment of other governors with the operations of the NDDC which, they said, was characterised by poor choice of projects, shoddy handling, uncompleted jobs and lack of the required support for the efforts of the states and local government administration in the region covered by the organisation.

He, therefore, called for the repositioning of the NDDC in order to achieve the objectives for which it was set up.

From Niger Delta creeks to billionaire farmer: An ex-militant’s story

In 2017, when Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, went on a tour of the Niger Delta to quell the rising tension in the region, it not only birthed the Niger Delta New Vision for the region’s development & revamped the bedrock to a stable economy, it also open the door to a new frontier, an agriculture revolution.

Weeks after he left the Niger Delta, the tension and occasional assault on oil pipelines almost went extinct. It was as if the VP had used a magic wand from one of Harry Potters’ sold out series. Peace enveloped the region and the falling oil prices which could easily have colluded with insecurity and uncertainty in the region quietly went away.

There was a new hope for Nigeria and he was rightly applauded locally and internationally for intervening at a time when things were most sensitive. But not only did he calm things in the Niger Delta, he opened an avenue for some of the ex-militants.

For those who have had the privilege to be in this same room as Prof. Osinbajo, you’ll agree that he is the full package. He is a leader, father, orator, inspirational speaker, lawyer, pastor, teacher etc but most importantly is the fact that he loves Nigeria. He loves Nigeria so much that sometimes you wonder why? This he shares in common with President Buhari who has so much belief in him that he sent him to deliver a Holy Grail. But that is a story for another day.

When Retson Tedheke listened to a speech by Prof. Osinbajo where he noted that there was a new oil well in Nigeria and he explained that if they can carefully mine it, they will have gold on their hands. That oil well was agriculture and a certain entrepreneur, Tedheke, was inspired by the Vice President’s speech

At the time, he was an ex-militant, but the entrepreneur in him was always going to come out, it only needed an inspirational speech and an outlet from the erudite professor of law. Oh boy, did that speech work? Yes, it did. It worked like magic. He caught the bug right there and he knew in his mind what he was going to do to put himself on the billionaire list.

Born in Delta state, but then resident in the creeks in Bayelsa, Tedheke made his way to the North Central part of Nigeria, specifically Nasarawa State. If you say Nasarawa State chose him, then you are right, but if you say he chose Nasarawa, you are also right. It was a partnership made in heaven, and only him and the people Gaa’te community in Nasarawa can explain how they have blossomed over the last few years.

On arriving at Ga’ate, the people took to him, they saw something him and at that point they knew they were going to make history together. While still getting to know his new surroundings, Tedheke was gifted three hectares of land to start his new adventure.

This is nothing like the creek, here he needed to learn a new language, meet new people, develop new relationships and make history if he could and somehow all these happened before he could even say Jack Robinson.

As it is with most successful people, Tedheke embraced his humble beginning and got straight to work. All the distractions available in the creek were no more, now was the time to work and make a name for himself and the community that had been so generous to him.

He had heard that President Buhari was determined to diversify away from crude oil and that he had his eyes on agriculture especially rice, which Nigeria had to potential to produce for its near 200 million population and also export to other countries.

The first farm produce was therefore rice and he did get it right. First, he showed how selfless and patriotic he was by branding the rice Ga’ate, after the community that had given him a home and the needed piece of land to start off. This legacy will never go away, the actions by the community and Tedheke showed that Nigeria is stronger together and that there is more to achieve collectively.

This was not a relationship based on ethnicity, religion or tribe but one built on ‘will’ and the Nigerian spirit that cannot be broken. Hand in hand, they started from 3 hectares to 3,000 hectares. Tedheke then went on to found National Farmers Group and Cooperative Society Ga’ate, Nasarawa, a cooperative that currently supports hundreds of farmers and workers.

Reflecting on his achievements in Nasarawa, he said, “We did it by being true Nigerians and developed it close to Abuja so anyone can see what we do. I’m originally from Bayelsa state, born in Delta state, now I live here and the Governor (of Nasarawa) is my Governor,” an emotional Tedheke said.

The business that started with N1.5 million is now worth about a billion naira through crowdfunding. With about 300 to 500 workers on the farm from across the country and hundreds more in indirect labour, Ga’ate is gradually becoming a community to reckon with and is finding its way on the global map.

The limelight beamed on Tedheke and Ga’ate when on Thursday, October 17, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, accompanied by the Nasarawa State Governor, Engr. Abdullahi Sule, paid a visit to the NFGCS Farm Centre, which Tedheke founded. It marked the germination of an inspired seed of words into a forest of achievement.

He noted that was inspired by the Buhari administration’s focus on agriculture diversification of Nigeria’s economy. He said receiving the VP on his farmland, as well as the Nasarawa State Governor was the “happiest day of my life.”

PHOTOS: Ongoing Ogoni Cleanup in Niger Delta

Pictures from Eleme LGA, one of the four Local Government Areas of Ogoniland where the clean-up/ remediation exercise is ongoing.

It shows the process of transfering contaminated soil into Bio-cell for treatment at the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) Project Site, Lot 006, Nkeleoken, Alode, Eleme LGA in Ogoniland, Rivers State.

A total of 21 contractors are currently at different levels of remediation works on 21 lots across the four Local Government Areas in Ogoniland – Eleme, Gokana, Khana and Tai LGAs.

The Ogoni clean-up is part of the Buhari administration’s New Vision and underscores its commitment to a cleaner and better environment in the Niger Delta region.

It would be recalled that in June 2016, the Buhari administration started the process of implementation of the 2011 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on Ogoniland. The Ogoni clean-up project is the first of its kind by a Nigerian government in the oil-rich Niger Delta environment that had been devastated by decades of oil spills.

#NDNewVision: New modular refinery set to be commissioned

A new 5,000 barrels per day modular refinery will soon be commissioned in the Niger Delta.

The modular refinery, Niger Delta Petroleum Resources Refinery, in Ogbele, Rivers State – is currently refining 1,000 bpd and was recently upgraded to 6,000 bpd.

This is in line with the Niger Delta New Vision plan of the Buhari administration to develop the Niger Delta region.

“The Buhari administration is very excited about the commissioning of this project and is indeed committed to changing the negative perception and narrative of the Niger Delta,” the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Edobor Iyamu, stated.

There are currently six modular refineries at different stages of completion in the Niger Delta region.

FG, Greece partner to train Niger Delta youths

The Federal government is set to collaborate with Greece on the training of Niger Delta youths and others in shipbuilding, fishing, food sufficiency and employment generation.

The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, said this when the representative of the Greece government in Nigeria, Concept Amadeus Limited, paid a working visit to the ministry on Tuesday, in Abuja.

His Special Assistant on Media and Communications, Anietie Ekong, quoted Akpabio as saying that the ministry was poised to improve the standard of living of the people of the Niger Delta and Nigeria in general.

The PUNCH reported that the Minister commended the initiative which according to him, would reduce militancy and crises resulting from unemployment in the country.

The minister noted that the partnership would empower the youths in the Niger Delta region, stop the illegal fishing on Nigerian shores and also give Nigerians the opportunity to explore the value chain in the fishing industry.

Akpabio added  that the host communities would  be involved in the whole process to enable them own the project and provide the enabling environment for successful hosting of the dockyard.

He regretted that most areas in the Niger Delta might  not be good for fishing because of oil exploration, adding that the Maritime University in Okerenkoko , Delta State and the Maritime Academy in Oron, Akwa Ibom State could be used as the training ground for the shipbuilding programme.

To ensure that the whole process is domesticated,  Akpabio and the Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Festus Keyamo, set up a five-man committee to work out detailed modalities of the training programme.

Earlier, the Chairman and Chief Executive of Concept Amadeus Limited, Patrick Osabase, the organisation representing the government of  Greece, said that the partnership programme  would create employment for the youths in the Niger Delta region and enhance their potential in the fishing industry.

We’ve generated over $45M from Delta ports – NPA

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Delta Ports, says it generated over $45.2 million within January and June 2019, a significant increase attributed to the improved security in the area.

This was disclosed at a stakeholders’ forum presided over by chairman of the NPA board of directors, Mr. Emmanuel Adesoye, at the New Port, Warri in Delta State, the Nation reports.

In a briefing document made available to journalists, the ports authorities stated that the rise in revenue when compared to 2018’s $35.39 million, a 28% increase, is also due to the dredging of the Escravos channel.

According to the statement, $2,904,377 debt was recovered within the same period, leaving the total revenue collected at the sum of $48,150,644.17.

Speaking to journalists, the NPA chairman, Adesoye, whose visit was to assess the progress made by the port since November 2016, denied awareness of the sales of some of Delta Ports terminals.

The brief had reported five out of the six terminals of Delta Ports to have been conceded at different dates to respective operators for a duration of 15 years for one, and 25 years each for the others.

According to the chairman on sales of some terminals, “that was something we just found out today. It is something that was contemplated, I think maybe there was an error. I don’t think it is an issue that I want to talk about without knowing the full facts.

However, he noted that the major challenge raised during the forum is the dredging of the channel within the port to allow bigger vessels go in, but declined to give a time frame for the needed development to take place, explaining that some technicalities may cause a prolongation.

Expressing satisfaction that there has been no recorded security breach around the Warri environment in the past two years, he charged all stakeholders, including the leadership of the host communities to continue to work with security agencies to keep the peace.

“The major challenge is the issue of dredging the channels, the inner ports in the terminal here which management has already taken action. In fact, they have called for the construction of these channels, so there is no cause for alarms. The reason I can’t give a time frame is you have the procurement cycle, sometimes you cannot determine it with any degree of accuracy.

“My marching word is for them to continue to cooperate as they are doing. I am very impressed about the security situation here in Warri which is incredibly fantastic. I am really pleased because the last time we came the leadership of this community did say that they are going to make sure that there is no vandalism, no issues of security concerns raised in this place. They’ve lived true to their words and I am really impressed.

“And that is why you can see the degree of improvement that has happened here. The number of ships that are coming have increased significantly and revenues have gone up.”

On his part, the Delta Port manager, Mr. Simeon Okeke, stressed that the administration of President Muhammad Buhari is committed to “improving the rating of Nigeria with respect to the global index on the ease of doing business.”

Emphasising the importance attached to Delta Ports by the board, he mentioned achievements thus far to include remedial dredging of the Escravos channel, replacement of critical buoys, repossession of trailer park/ ejection of illegal occupant, illumination of the entire port and rehabilitation of port facilities, among others.

“Documentation and payment processes have been improved by the executive management through e-payment, e-SEN and Revenue Invoicing Management Systems (RIMS). Delta Ports Warri is fully on board as regards the implementation of these processes and this has improved our service delivery,” Okeke added.

Niger Delta: Buratai assures oil companies of safe environment

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, has reiterated the Nigerian Army’s commitment to ensuring safe and secure environment for oil companies to operate in the country.

Gen. Buratai gave the assurance when the Managing Director of Total Nigeria Plc, Mr. Mike Sangster, led the management team to visit him in Abuja on Monday, the Nation reported.

According to him, the Army would continue to collaborate with and support the oil companies to ensure smooth operations in the country, especially in the Niger Delta.

He said: “We know that your work is key to our economy and development, and we will do everything possible to ensure that lives and property of all the oil companies in the Niger Delta are protected. We are working on our updated strategy to ensure that we provide the needed security.

“We will continue to support each other to provide an enabling environment for you to operate, not only in Port Harcourt, but any part of the country. The partnership which we have established, we will ensure that we make it work stronger.”

The COAS also praised Total for its support through its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects in terms of interventions in the barracks in Port Harcourt. He noted that the Army had maintained a long standing relationship with the company, saying such interventions had greatly imparted the troops’ morale in uplifting the standard of living with adequate accommodation.

Sangster said the purpose was to introduce himself and appreciate the support and cooperation of the Army to Total’s business operations in Nigeria. Sangster hailed Gen. Buratai for the feat the Army had achieved in its fight against insurgency and other forms of insecurity in the country.

He added that he also came to extend the company’s goodwill to the soldiers who daily risk their lives for the security of Nigerians and the country’s territorial integrity. “Our hearts are with the families of the soldiers who have paid the supreme price in the line of duty,” he added.

The Total boss pledged that the company would sustain the cordial relationship it had maintained with the army, noting that in spite of the security challenges in the country, Total’s downstream sector had 576 service stations across Nigeria.

ENI announces major gas, condensate discovery onshore Niger Delta

Italian oil giant, Eni, has announced the discovery of significant gas and condensate find in its Obiafu-Obrikom oil fields in oil mining lease (OML61) onshore Niger Delta region.

According to a statement on Tuesday by the International Oil Company (IOC), “Eni, through its affiliate NAOC (Eni 20%, operator, NNPC 60%, Oando 20%) has made a significant gas and condensate find in the deeper sequences of the Obiafu-Obrikom fields, in OML61, onshore Niger Delta.”

“The Obiafu-41 Deep well has reached a total depth of 4.374 m encountering an important gas and condensate accumulation within the deltaic sequence of Oligocene age comprising more than 130m of high quality hydrocarbon-bearing sands. The find amounts to about 1 trillion cubic feet of gas and 60 million barrels of associated condensate in the deep drilled sequences. The discovery has further potential that will be assessed with the next appraisal campaign.

“The well can deliver in excess of 100 million standard cubic feet/day of gas and 3,000 barrels/day of associated condensates, and will be immediately put on-stream to increase NAOC’s gas production.”

It further stated that the discovery is part of a drilling campaign planned by NAOC JV and aimed at exploring near-field and deep pool opportunities as immediate time to market opportunities.

“Eni has been present in Nigeria since 1962, with operated and non-operated production, development and exploration activities on a total of 30,049 square kilometers in the onshore and offshore areas of the Niger Delta. In 2018, Eni’s equity hydrocarbon production amounted to 100,000 boe/day,” the statement added.

President Buhari approves new NDDC board

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved a 16-man new board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), with Dr. Pius Odubu from Edo State as the chairman.

However, according to a statement signed by the Permanent Secretary (General Services Office), Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Olusegun Adekunle, on behalf of the SGF, the appointment is subject to the confirmation of the Senate.

It would be recalled that Prof. Nelson Brambaifa was the Acting MD of the NDDC.

The statement read: “President Muhammadu Buhari, has, subject to Senate confirmation, approved the composition of the Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) made up of the following persons:

S/N        Position                Name    State

1              Chairman            Dr. Pius Odubu  Edo

2              Managing Director          Bernard O. Okumagba   Delta

3              Executive Director Projects         Engr. Otobong Ndem     Akwa Ibom

4              Executive Director Finance & Admin.      Maxwell Okoh   Bayelsa

5              Delta Rep            Prophet Jones Erue         Delta

6              Edo Rep              Chief Victor Ekhatar        Edo

7              Rivers Rep          Dr. Joy Yimebe Nunieh  Rivers

8             Abia Rep             Nwogu Nwogu  Abia

9             Bayelsa Rep        Theodore A. Allison         Bayelsa

10           Akwa Ibom Rep Victor Antai        Akwa Ibom

11           Cross River Rep Maurice Effiwatt              Cross River

12           Ondo Rep            Olugbenga Elema             Ondo

13           Imo Rep               Hon. Uchegbu Chidiebere Kyrian               Imo

14           Northwest Rep Aisha Murtala Muhammed          Kano

15           Northeast Rep   Ardo Zubairu      Adamawa

16           Southwest Rep Engr. Badmus Mutalib    Lagos

“The interim management headed by Prof. Nelson Brambaifa has been directed to hand-over to the most senior Director in the Commission.

“The Chairman and members of the newly composed Governing Board are by this release invited to the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation on Monday, 2nd September, 2019 at 2.00 p.m for proper documentation and briefing. They are to come along with their updated CVs and valid identification.”