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…Set To Combat Oil Spill In N’Delta …As NOSDRA Fines Agip Oil

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The Minister of Environment, Mrs Hadiza Mailafa on Monday said the Federal Government was ready to reduce cases of oil spillage to its barest minimum in the Niger Delta region.

The minister said this in Lagos at the fourth Biennial Global Initiative for West, Central and Southern Africa (GI-WACAF) regional conference and workshop on oil spill preparedness and response.

Mailafa said that the National Oil Spill Detention and Response Agency (NOSDRA) was set up by the Federal Government to clean up the oil spill in the regional.

“Environmental problems are dynamic. The Federal Government already has an effective agency with statutory responsibility to ensure that those oil spills are cleaned up.

“The Federal Government is up to the task in ensuring that we have a clean environment and reduce the impact of oil spillage in the country.”

The minister called for the stakeholders’ participation in combating the problem of oil spill.

“ We are sitting together to brainstorm and we should ensure we find a lasting solution to this problem.’’

Mr Peter Idabor, Director-General of NOSDRA, said that there was collaboration among the countries to adequately prepare to combat oil spill.

Idabor said that Nigeria recognised the current trend of offshore oil exploration and production, the national oil spill detection and response agency.

He said that the activation of the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan (NOSCP), after its review by other relevant stakeholders in July, was successful.

“The exercise brought out areas of strength and challenges, while the recommendations derived from this exercise are being incorporated in the NOSCP.

“It is expected that the national drill would be conducted before the next biennium conference in 2013.”

The Minister of Transport, Mr Idris Umar, said the gathering would strengthen the oil spill preparedness and response capability of the 22 countries in West and Central and Africa sub-regions.

“The West and Central African region is a major maritime route for transportation of oil as well as very active area in the field of oil exploration and production.

“These activities have posed a serious and permanent risk of oil pollution in the region. There is therefore the constant need for efforts to protect our rich maritime environment and consequently organise and prepare responses to marine pollution incidents.”

In a related development, the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) has ordered the Nigeria Agip Oil Company Ltd to pay N1 million as fine for failing to remediate oil impacted sites in its area of  operation.

A statement issued by NOSDRA made available to newsmen in Eket, Akwa Ibom, and signed by the agency’s Head of Public Affairs, Mr Henshaw Oguwike, said the agency had informed Agip of its decision in writing.

It said: “The fine was imposed on Agip for the lack of response and failure to immediately contain, recover and clean-up oil spill impacted sites at its OB/OB Gas Plant in Obrikom Omoku, Rivers.

“In a letter to Agip dated September 19 over the incident, the Director-General/Chief Executive of NOSDRA, Mr Peter Idabor, said the action of the company amounted to contravention of Section 6(3) of the NOSDRA Act.

NOSDRA further directed Agip to mobilise to the oil impacted site already destroyed by the inferno resulting from the oil spill, for immediate clean-up and remediation, so as to prevent further degradation of the environment.

It further said that the director-general had informed the company that the quantum of compensation to be paid would be determined by the outcome of the damage assessment to be conducted by NOSDRA.

The letter also directed Agip to pay the fine N1 million into NOSDRA account within 14 days from the date of receipt of the letter or face stiffer penalty.

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GoG: Nigerian, Ghanaian Navies Meet On Joint Operations

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Against the backdrop of renewed piracy and hostage-taking incidents in the Gulf of Guinea, Nigeria’s Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo and his Ghanaian counterpart, Rear Admiral Issah Adam Yakubu, have commenced a security engagement aimed at joint security initiatives to tackle the situation.
Speaking during the meeting held at Naval headquarters, Abuja, Vice Admiral Gambo said, “The Gulf of Guinea is currently bedevilled by the activities of criminal elements who take advantage of limited capability of the navies in the region to adequately secure the area.
“The threat posed by the activities of these criminal elements constitute a major challenge not only to the littoral states but equally undermines regional development and global trade.
“Notably, the trans-boundary and trans-national nature of maritime crime makes the security of the maritime domain a task beyond the capacity of any country acting alone.
“It is against this backdrop that this bilateral engagement was convened at the instance of the Heads of Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Republic of Ghana towards addressing the maritime security challenges within the region”.
Vice Admiral Gambo expressed belief that “the engagement would foster greater collaboration and burden sharing that is hinged on cooperative maritime security framework as envisioned in the 2013 Yaoundé Protocol to arrive at strategies that would help address the maritime insecurity for enhanced economic prosperity in the region”.
Declaring the technical session open, the CNS said, “In deliberations, please consider amongst others: maritime area of interest covering Zone E and integration of the capabilities of the countries in Zone E, emplacing a robust intelligence sharing mechanism and collaboration with international partners”.
On relations between both countries, Gambo said, “This good relation is equally manifest in the several interactions between the Nigerian Navy and Ghana Navy. I must not fail to mention the remarkable contributions of the Ghana Navy-CNS to manpower development during his tour of duty at the prestigious AFCSC, Jaji as a member of the Directing Staff. I have no doubt that this engagement would further strengthen the existing cordial bilateral relations between Nigeria and Ghana navies.
In his address, Chief of Naval Staff of Ghana, Rear Admiral Issah Yakubu, noted that he and his delegation were in Nigeria at the behest of President Nana Akufo Ado to engage the Nigerian Navy and come out with collective strategies to tackle insecurity which is in the ascendancy in recent times in the Gulf of Guinea.
“We hope our navies will buy into this engagement to improve security in the Gulf of Guinea. We know our big brother Nigeria has bigger capacity to chart the way forward”.
He disclosed that, “Since year 2020, the situation has bot been good in the Gulf of Guinea”, noting that “Last May, two Ghanian vessels were attacked and 10 persons were abducted with investigations still ongoing”.
Consequently, the Ghanian Navy Chief said, “We are proposing an ECOWAS naval task force and joint maritime security architecture to checkmate these threats, adding that this was done in the past successfully during ECOMOG operations without problems with inter-operability and doctrinal issues.
Furthermore, he proposed the setting up of a ‘transit corridors’ where ships from fellow West African countries can go to anchor for assistance and joint naval assets will conduct regular patrols especially for protection of commercial fishing vessels.

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Wike Orders Destruction Of Criminal Hideouts In Rivers

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has ordered the destruction of all criminal hideouts in Ahoada, Elele, Eleme and Onne to prevent attempt to undermine security of the state.
The governor said criminals were already coming to terms with the reality that Rivers State was too hot for them to invade at will and detonate their foolish attacks on targeted security posts and personnel.
Wike, who made this assertion in a state broadcast, last Friday, disclosed that the state government has identified the hideouts, safe houses and secret places that provide both cover and comfort for the hoodlums to plan, execute and return to after operations.
“This was the reason we ordered the destruction of all the shanties and makeshift structures located along Elele to Ahoada expanse of the East–West Road to deny the criminals the opportunity to continue to undermine our security from these hideouts.
“We have equally decided to destroy all the shanties, illegal shops and mechanic sheds along the Eleme to Onne stretch of the East-West Road having discovered these places also as hideouts and operational bases for criminals and criminal activities in the state.
“Consequently, I hereby direct owners of such shanties and illegal structures along the Eleme – Onne axis of the East-West Road to vacate the area within two weeks from June 11, 2021, as the state government will go ahead to destroy these structures without any further notice.”
Wike said the government was not unmindful of the economic effect these measures would have or may have had on residents carrying out businesses in the affected areas.
He, however, stressed that government was merely discharging its constitutional responsibility to advance the collective security of all with no ethnic targets in mind or attachment to political sentiments.
He explained that the existing curfew in Rivers State will not last one day beyond necessary, and pleaded with all residents to endure the temporary inconveniences in the interest of the state and collective wellbeing of all.
“We will continue to take the war on criminality and insecurity to the den of the criminals and we will neither yield nor lower the tempo of our assault until they are comprehensively neutralized. As a matter of fact, they want us to prematurely terminate the state wide night time curfew in order for them to have the leeway to operate again and roll back the gains of the last few weeks.”
Wike said he has received reports about the excesses of the State Task Force on Illegal Trading and Parks, especially the alleged shooting of motorists, extortions and abuse of the human rights of citizens.
He assured that government would not hesitate to bring the full weight of the law on any member of the task force who crosses the boundaries of the law and rational behaviour.
The governor, who appealed to motorists and residents to be responsible road users by complying with the clear regulations against illegal trading, indiscriminate parking and irresponsible driving, noted that the situation where some motorists would have the effrontery to compete for traffic space with or even attempt to block his official vehicular convoy leaves much to be desired.
He has meanwhile, directed the management of the Rivers State Waste Management Authority to clear the state of filthiness within one week or be disbanded without any further notice.

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Army Begins Shooting Exercises In Rivers

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The Nigerian Army, 6 Division, has announced that it would commence its annual range classification exercise from yesterday to Sunday, June 27.
The division’s spokesman, Lt.-Col. Charles Ekeocha, said in a statement in Port Harcourt, that the exercise aimed at ascertaining the professional competence of troops on the use of firearms.
He said troops from the division and its affiliated formations and units would conduct the exercise at the Army Shooting Range in Igwuruta and Elele Barracks, both in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
“The shooting exercise is a routine activity in the Nigerian Army which involves the firing of various calibre live ammunitions.
“Members of the public, especially residents of Igwuruta and Elele, as well as its environs, are advised to keep away from the general shooting area,” he stated.
The Army spokesman also advised the public not to panic over the movement of troops, military hardware and sound of gunshots.

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