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Stakeholders’ Meeting Continues Today –RSG

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The Rivers State government wishes to inform all persons invited to yesterday’s stakeholders meeting at Government House, Port Harcourt that the meeting continues today, Friday December 11, 2009.

A statement from the Acting Chief Press Secretary to the Government, Mr Blessing Wikina indicates that all stakeholders who attended yesterday’s meeting are advised to be present in today’s meeting.

The statement added that today’s meeting is slated for 11.00am at the Banquet Hall of Government House, Port Harcourt.

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Ex-Agitators Beg Firms To Return To N’Delta

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Ex-agitators have pleaded with companies especially oil companies that relocated from the Niger Delta region following spate of insecurity triggered by militancy to return to the region promising uninterrupted peace.
The former warlords also called on interventionist agencies to work together to sustain the peace and ensure development of the region.
They spoke in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, during a regional peace summit to sensitize people on the need to advance the peace currently enjoyed in the region.
The ex-agitators also condemned proliferation of illegal refineries and lamented its adverse effects on development.
One of the participants at the summit and ex-freedom fighter, Pastor Nature Dumale Kieghe said as ex-agitators, who keyed into the vision of the Interim Administrator, Presidential Amnesty Programme, Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (rtd), they have resolved to work for a new and better Niger Delta.
“It is important to sensitize our people towards a peaceful Niger Delta and create a friendly environment that will attract development, Multinational companies and other foreign investors to the region.
“We, who once carried guns, are now here to preach the message of peace to our people in the region. Peace is the only way we can have the developed environment that we dream of. Peace is the only way to attract the multinationals, investors and also be gainfully employed,” he said.
According to Nature, peace remained a vital tool to attract investors to the region which would in turn create business and job opportunities for the people.
“Companies that have left the Niger Delta because of insecurity need to return, this is the purpose for sensitization. We are blessed with an environment that is supposed to prosper us, we can only enjoy our natural resources if there is a peaceful environment, “ he added.
Nature pointed out that a major setback to the development of the Niger Delta was the absence of proper coordination among key stakeholders.
He said with the right synergy, the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Presidential Amnesty office, could hasten the needed development of the region.
On illegal oil refinery, Nature explained that beyond hampering the development of the region, illegal refining of petroleum products was life threatening and dangerous to the ecosystem.
The sensitization programme commenced in Bayelsa state with 150 Niger Delta youths in attendance and would be held across the nine states of the region to create adequate awareness.

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Dislodge Illegal Oil Refinery Operators, Wike Tasks Monarchs

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has urged traditional rulers in the state not to allow illegal crude oil refining (Kpo-fire) activities to take place in their domains anymore.
Wike gave the charge at a meeting he held with traditional rulers in the state at the Banquet Hall of Government House, Port Harcourt, last Friday.
The meeting was also attended by heads of security agencies and chairmen of the 23local government areas of the state.
Wike told the traditional rulers that those involved in illegal oil refining activities were sabotaging the economy.
He regretted that the Federal Government, which controls the oil industry and the security agencies, has been indifferent to the soot pandemic and the damage it was inflicting on the health of the residents of Rivers State.
“I should think that the way Federal Government intends to fight insurgency is the way they should fight illegal oil bunkering, because it is sabotage on the national economy. Very big sabotage! It affects our own revenue.
“If we are supposed to produce two million barrels, for example, we are now producing 1.2million. And that 1.2million barrels, it affects Rivers State because we are not producing up to the volume we are supposed to produce, and then, we cannot get the money to do whatever you want us to do.”
The governor also said that illegal oil refining activities constitute environmental hazard capable of causing cancer-related illnesses in the state.
According to him, his primary concern was to ensure that the health of residents of the state was not jeopardised.
“It is the responsibility of the Federal Government to see how this thing can be stopped. As I speak to you, nobody has called me from the Federal Government to say how they can support us. But that is not my business. My business is the health of my people. I will not because the Federal Government is not interested to stop it, therefore, my people should die. If everybody dies, who are you going to govern?”
The governor, therefore, urged the traditional rulers not to be less concerned about the activities of illegal oil refinery operators, but to frantically mobilise members of their Community Development Committees (CDCs) and the leadership of their youth groups to work in synergy to dislodge them from their domains.
Wike berated the Nigerian Police for being complicit in the criminal act of illegal oil bunkering, which is why they were not committed to the fight to stop the illicit business.
He also described as embarrassing how officers of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) have continued to be complicit in the act and shamelessly involved in sabotaging the national economy.
“I don’t know how I can be a security officer sent to a place to protect people, to protect whatsoever belongs to the Federal Government, at the same time, I’m involved in sabotaging the national economy. I don’t understand how I can wear uniform and be involved in that. If they do not want to support us, we have no choice but to expose all the atrocities that are going on in this state.”
Wike said he recently received intelligence that an Army Major was providing exit services to illegally refined petroleum products, and had to send security personnel to thwart it.
“In fact, I had to send my special security to go and intercept a major who was trying to escort some of these illegal products.”
The governor declared that his administration would not hesitate to expose any security personnel involved in such illegal oil refining activities.
Wike frowned at the inability of the Nigeria Police to arrest Chief W. J. Wocha; Fubara Ohaka; and other members of the illegal bunkering cartel operating at Ibaa community in Emohua Local Government Area.
He said the names of all indicted persons would be published soon and they would be declared wanted.

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NLNG, RSUTH Sign MoU For New Infectious Diseases Unit

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Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG), last Friday, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH) for the provision of a multi-million naira Infectious Diseases Unit to support robust healthcare delivery in Rivers State.
At a signing ceremony for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the hospital’s management, NLNG’s Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Dr Philip Mshelbila, represented by General Manager, External Relations and Sustainable Development, Mr. Andy Odeh, said NLNG was committed to supporting healthcare delivery in Rivers State as part of the pursuit of its vision of “helping to build a better Nigeria.”
He stated that the company was seeking to support the development of the tertiary health institution to provide excellent medical care for Rivers State residents while also catering to the training needs of medical students and resident doctors.
Odeh stated further that NLNG was committed to working with partners to transform healthcare delivery in the state, adding that the intervention at RSUTH was a manifestation of the company’s resolve to stand with the people of Rivers State and to reciprocate the goodwill and support to the company over the years.
The RSUTH project is an addition to several projects being executed by the company in the healthcare sector in Rivers State.
NLNG continues to support the Bonny Community Health Insurance Programme (BCHIP) to help improve access to quality healthcare services for residents of Bonny Island.
Some progress is being achieved in the Bonny Malaria Eradication Programme, which targets cutting down malaria-related mortality among women and children under five and making Bonny Island Nigeria’s first malaria-free zone.
The Malaria Eradication programme is implemented in collaboration with United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
NLNG and the U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), are also involved in the HIV/AIDS Surge Project, which focuses on the control of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) on Bonny Island.
NLNG is owned by four shareholders, namely, the Federal Government of Nigeria, represented by Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (49%), Shell Gas B.V. (25.6%), TotalEnergies Gaz & Electricite Holdings (15%), and Eni International N.A. N. V. S.àr. l (10.4%).

By: Nelson Chukwudi

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