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RVHA Probes RSUST Post-JAMB Tests

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The Rivers State House of Assembly yesterday condemned in strong terms the manner in which the authorities of Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST) Port Harcourt conducted its 2009 aptitude test for selection of candidates for admission into the institution, last weekend.

The lawmakers made the condemnation through a motion of adjournment brought to the floor of the House by Hon Jaja Tamunosisi Gogo, Opobo/Nkoro, during a special session of the House.

Hon Jaja had drawn the attention of the state lawmakers to recent development at the University especially as it concerns admissions.

According to him, he has been bombarded with lots of text messages from his constituents over the conduct of the recent aptitude test conducted by the management of the RSUST.

He stated that the university authority subjected prospective candidates who sat for the 2009 aptitude test to purchase a form at the cost of N2,000 as condition for participating in the examination.

The lawmaker informed the legislators that the prospective candidates were subjected to write the aptitude examination via a computer, noting that such process was very wrong.

He opined that most of the candidates were not familiar with computer application neither were they all computer literate, adding that such treatment would amount to a high level of injustice against the candidates.

He alleged that the son of the Vice Chancellor of the school is the consultant of the university computer system which, he said has made it difficult for the system to function effectively.

The lawmaker also said that the essence of establishing the state university by the state government was to enable indigenes of the state, who could not gain admission to other universities to have the opportunity to do so in the state.

“Mr Speaker and my colleagues, let me say that the reason for establishing the state university is to let our people who can not go the Kano, Lagos, Kaduna states to get admission for higher learning have the opportunity.

With the recent development in the admission process in the institution, the benefit for which the institution was established is being defeated,” he added.

He thus urged the House to direct the House Committee on Education to investigate the matter and bring their report to the House for prompt attention.

In their contributions, Hon Ibam Ikuinyi Owaji (Andoni) and Inimgba Irene Martins, while supporting the motion, enjoined the lawmakers to rise up to their responsibilities and ensure that the management of the university does not deny indigenes of the state the opportunity to gain admission into the university.

The lawmakers were unanimous in condemning candidates who are coming from rural areas to write test with computer even as they urged the school authority to make the university become more accessible to the people.

In his ruling, the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Tonye Harry directed the House Committee on Education to investigate the matter and report to the House for further action.

Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon  Tonye Harry (right) listening to Barr. O. T. Amachree, chairman, Nigeria Bar Association, Rivers State, during the first Marshall Harry Memorial Lecture at Hotel Presidential in Port Harcourt last Monday. Photo: Chris Monyanaga

Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Tonye Harry (right) listening to Barr. O. T. Amachree, chairman, Nigeria Bar Association, Rivers State, during the first Marshall Harry Memorial Lecture at Hotel Presidential in Port Harcourt last Monday. Photo: Chris Monyanaga

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Oil Theft, Soot: Era/FoEN Applauds RSG’s Action

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Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), has applauded the action by Rivers State Government to address the issues of oil theft and refining of stolen crude oil and the consequent release of soot into the environment.
A statement by the Executive Director of ERA/FoEN, Dr Godwin Uyi-Ojo, in Benin City, Edo State, said: “Although the current action of the Rivers State Government is a welcome development and respite for the people of the state, more still needs to be done.”
He called on governments of other Niger Delta states to take similar actions by identifying and properly decommissioning all artisan stolen crude oil refining sites in their states to halt self-inflicted destruction of the environment and unnecessary loss of lives.
Uyi-Ojo also called for the development of a holistic framework that addresses both the supply of artisan products and the high demand for the products in communities, which include rising cost of living, unemployment, and severe impact from hydrocarbon pollution on rural livelihoods.
He said: “There is the need for providing alternative income generation sources for these youths to discourage them from the illegal act.
“Governments at all level must, as a matter of necessity, diversify our economy from oil and gas dependence and towards a transition to renewable energy sources such as solar mining, mini-grid and off-grid systems.”

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Illegal Oil Refining: Ebubu Chiefs Urge Wike’s Takeover Of Akpa-Chara

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Following the discovery of what can be likened to the largest illegal oil refining site in Akpa-Chara at Egbalorcommunity in Ebubu clan,Eleme Local Government Area, the Paramount Ruler of Ebubu,Emere Godwin Chinwi has called on the Rivers State Government to takeover the large expanse of land occupied by the bunkerers for developmental purposes.
Chinwi, who led Ebubu Council of Chiefs on a courtesy visit to Eleme Local Government Council Chairman, Chief Hon ObarilormateOllor, expressed shock at the discovery made by the LGA boss and his team during the enforcement of the war against illegal oil mining and bunkering activities as directed by the Rivers State Governor, Chief NyesomWike.
According to Chinwi, “We want to thank you for the discovery. Personally, I was shocked when I got the information.
“That land belongs to Egbalor community but due to its distance from the community, we don’t often farm there, and these bunkers have taken over that place. As a community, we are giving you the mandate to go after the operators of those illegal mining sites, arrest and prosecute them. We are also calling on the governor of Rivers State to take over that land and use it for any development project”, he said.
Commending the chairman for his swift approach to the issues of governance, Chinwi further proposed that the state government should consider building an ultra-modern international market at the Trailer Park, following it’s demolition and the return of roadside traders and deviants whose activities pose greater security risk to commuters accessing the community at night.
Chinwi hailed the chairman for prioritising Ebubu in the appointment of principal officers and stakeholders to drive the vision of his administration, and listed some of the needs of the community to include electricity/power supply and bad road network.
In his response, the Chairman, Eleme LGA, Chief ObarilormateOllor thanked Chinwi and his council for the visit, and assured them of his administration’s support.
Ollor reiterated his administration’s commitment to fullfil all his campaign promises to the people of Ebubu before the end of his administration.
He expressed concern on the rising issue of youth leadership, and stressed the need to harmonise all interested parties to avert any crisis.
Ollor urged the traditional institution to remain united, firm and resolute in offering leadership to their subjects, and by extension, demonstrate strong support for his administration as the custodian of culture and tradition.
It would be recalled that Akpa-Chara, a rich expanse of land running into several hectares with a body of water and palm trees, had been illegally occupied by oil miners and bunkerers whose activities pose tremendous health hazard to the people of Eleme and Rivers State.

By: Nelson Chukwudi

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FG Set To Establish 18 Modular Refineries On Oil-Producing States

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The Federal Government, last Wednesday, said it was working to establish three modular refineries in each of the oil producing states, particularly in the Niger Delta region.
Going by the plan, the government would have to establish about 18 refineries in the country’s six major oil producing states in the Niger Delta, including Rivers, Bayelsa, AkwaIbom, Delta, Edo and Cross River.
It said the objective was to halt the illegal artisanal refining activities going on in oil producing areas and its impact on residents in the affected locations.
The Minister of State for Environment, Chief Sharon Ikeazor, disclosed this in a statement by the ministry in Abuja.
She said, “In a bid to find alternative sources of livelihood for artisanal refiners and to encourage them to disengage completely from their illegal activities, the Federal Ministry of Environment in collaboration with the Office of the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs and other critical stakeholders, are working on the establishment of three modular refineries per state in the oil producing areas as a pilot scheme to engage them (artisanal refiners).
“These modular refineries are intended to be 100per cent designed and manufactured in Nigeria using the expertise of government institutions such as the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Federal University of Petroleum Effurun and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
“Others include Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Niger Delta Development Commission, Petroleum Technology Development Fund, Nigerian Content Development and Management Board, National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure, etc.”
She said the government would also train the artisanal refiners on environmental management, including skills required for oil spill management and remediation.
“The main objective is to enable those participating in illegal/artisanal oil refining to transit into operation of modular refineries to be run legitimately as a business under proper technical, commercial and environmental regulation,” Ikeazor stated.
She added, “It is also the intention of government that other artisanal refiners that cannot be absorbed in the pilot modular refineries will be congregated into business clusters and the Alternative Livelihood Fund in the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project be utilised to set up businesses for them, especially on the management on spent oil to engage them.
“These measures will help to drastically reduce the menace of artisanal refining, oil theft and pipeline vandalism to the benefit of our environment and bring prosperity to the oil host communities in the Niger Delta and to our nation at large.”
The minister noted that the menace of artisanal refining, oil theft and pipeline vandalism were largely responsible for the devastating degradation of the Nigerian environment, especially in the Niger Delta region.
“In fact, the much talked about Port Harcourt soot is caused by the activities of artisanal refineries due to the indiscriminate ‘cooking’ of stolen crude oil which releases very thick black smoke into the atmosphere, and later settles on surfaces as soot,” Ikeazor stated.
She noted that in order to address this issue, the National Oil Spill and Response Agency (NOSDRA) annually embarked on sensitisation campaigns to host communities in the oil producing states.
Ikeazor said the campaigns were through the agency’s disaster risk reduction programme that focused on the socio-economic implications of artisanal refining, oil theft and pipeline vandalism and the need to bring these illegal activities to an end.
“Similarly, the ministry has sought the support and collaboration of the Minister of Defence and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources in tackling the menace,” she stated.

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