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Egi Gas Leak Defies Total’s Expertise …One Month After

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Despite the assurances of immediate
remediation by Total Nigeria over the gas explosion emanating from its Obite
multi-billion naira gas plant, the eruption still continues unabated several
weeks after it was reported by the host communities.

Our investigations reveal that though Total
has put on ground some remedial measures, emission is still noticeable at
several points  within the Ibewa cluster
zone which includes Egita , Obite, Ogbogu and Obieyebe communities.

Worst hit by the explosion is  Egita community where over 12 points of
emission were noticed covering several hectares of land but now declared a
no-go- zone” by the company’s management due to hazardous nature of the gas
oozing out from the plant.

When The Tide visited the area, some staff
of the company were seen, apparently striving to effect remedial measures while
some youths were on guard on vigilante/surveillance mission to ensure that
unauthorised persons steer clear from the area for security considerations.

Though, the Directorate of Petroleum
Resources (DPR) officials and some members of Rivers State House of Assembly
Committees on Environment, Energy and Natural Resources had visited the site
and assured the affected communities of their safety, the people told our
correspondent that several deaths had been recorded since the first explosion
that occurred on April 9, 2012.

Egita’s youths president, Bernard Ezekiel
told our reporter that since the eruption started, farmers and fishermen no
longer access their farms and rivers, two major sources of livelihood of the
indigenes of the area, adding that Egita people were now subjected to all
manner of deprivation occasioned by the gas explosion.

Mr Ezekiel described as highly unacceptable
the impression given by Total’s management that it would take between three to
four months before the situation would be fully contained.

His counterpart, Mr Benson Ugochukwu,
Chairman of Egita Community Development Committee explained that Total had been
exploiting oil and gas from the community for over 23 years embarking on
lateral or diversionary drilling without compensating the community, affirming
that the gas eruption was a clear case which God used to expose the company’s
antics for exploitation of the people.

The CDC chairman said that the community
had explored all avenues to dialogue with the company but to no avail, adding
that Egita people had been pushed to the wall for so long. “We shall soon react
in way that Total’s management may not find funny at all”, he declared.

The community, he further explained had
sent a SOS appeal to the management, in
which Egita people demanded among other things, direct negotiation with
Total, siting of a rig in Egita, adequate reparation/compensation and
relocation of the people to a safe zone.

Meanwhile, DPR officials met with Assembly
Joint Committee on Environment, Energy and Natural Resources and assured the
committee members that DPR was on top of the situation as it was working round
the clock to curtail the gas explosion.

DPR’s Zonal Operations Controller, Mrs
Sibeudu who led a team to the Assembly told the committee that experts were
working assiduously to ensure a safe environment for the people, and assured
that the emitted gas from the gas facility was not as harmful as people
thought.

Mrs Sibeudu explained that the level of
concentration of the emitted gas was not too high as it evaporates into the
atmosphere, and said that Total had already shut down its plant to reduce the
emission.

She also revealed that equipment had been
procured for remediation, noting that contrary to views expressed in some
quarters, the situation was not escalating as DPR was monitoring the incident
round the clock.

In her response, Hon Victoria Nyeche
representing PHALGA Constituency 1 and Chairman, House Committee on Environment
urged DPR and Total to ensure that the people and environment were safe, as
members of the Assembly would always protect their constituents.

The committee also met with a team from
Egita community, and assured it of the people’s safety at all times. She also
promised to liaise with the management of the French oil giant so that it could
negotiate with the community on the way forward.

 

 

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90% Of Money Laundered Via Real Estate, EFCC Reveals

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says about 90 per cent of money laundering is done through the real estate sector.
The commission’s Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, stated this while featuring on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily, yesterday,
According to him, although the sector is monitored via the special control unit, more needed to be done.
According to Bawa, “One of the problems we have now is the real estate. 90 to 100 per cent of the resources are being laundered through the real estate.”
He said there are so many issues involved, but that they were working with the National Assembly to stop what he called “the gate keepers” as there would be reduction in looting if there is no one to launder the money.
Bawa, the EFCC boss, gave an example of a minister who expressed interest in a $37.5million property a bank manager put up for sale.
He said, “The bank sent a vehicle to her house and in the first instance $20million was evacuated from her house.
“They paid a developer and a lawyer set up a special purpose vehicle, where the title documents were transferred into.
“And he (the lawyer) is posing as the owner of the property. You see the problem. This is just one of many; it is happening daily.”
The EFCC chairman also revealed that he receives death threats often.
Asked to respond to President Muhammadu Buhari’s frequent “Corruption is fighting back” expression, Bawa said he was in New York, USA, last week, when someone called to threaten him.
“Last week, I was in New York when a senior citizen received a phone call from somebody that is not even under investigation.
“The young man said, ‘I am going to kill him (Bawa), I am going to kill him’.
“I get death threats. So, it is real. Corruption can fight back,” he said.
On corruption in the civil service, he said there were a lot of gaps, especially in contracts processing, naming “emergency contracts” as one.
Bawa said, “A particular agency is notorious for that. They have turned all their contracts to emergency contracts.”
However, he said, EFCC has strategies in place to check corruptions, one of which is “corruption risk assessments of MDAs”.
According to him, “I have written to the minister and would soon commence the process of corruption risk assessments of all the parastatals and agencies under the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to look at their vulnerability to fraud and advise them accordingly.”
Asked if the scope of corruption in the country overwhelms him, Bawa, the EFCC boss said, “Yes, and no.”

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We’ve Spent N9bn To Upgrade RSUTH, Wike Confirms

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says his administration has spent N9billion in upgrading structures and installation of new equipment at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH).
He said the fact that 40 per cent of the 2021 budget of the state is dedicated to provision of quality healthcare delivery was a further demonstration of the priority placed on the sector.
Wike made the explanation at the foundation laying ceremony for the construction of a Renal Centre at RSUTH, last Friday.
The governor said he made promise to Rivers people that the best would be provided to them in all sectors of the society within his capability because of the mandate they gave to him.
“As we came on here, I just looked around and I see the changes in this teaching hospital. I can say that we have put not less than N9billion in this teaching hospital.
“If you look at the budget, the health sector alone, what it’s taking from the Rivers State Government is not less than 40 percent of the 2021 budget.”
Speaking further, Wike said the state government cannot afford to implement free medical service programme in the present economic circumstance.
While dismissing the request for a subvention for RSUTH, Wike, however, commended the chief medical director and his team for their commitment to turnaround the fortunes of RSUTH.
“I have never seen anywhere that health services can be totally free. They’re telling me that people who come here can’t pay. I have never declared that this state is going to take over the health fees of anybody.”
Also speaking, the former Minister of Transport, Dr. Abiye Sekibo, who performed the flag-off, noted that Wike’s achievements in the health sector in particular, surpass what former governors of the state had done.
Sekibo said that the governor has given equal attention to every section of the health sector by providing complete health infrastructure that was positioning the state as a medical tourism destination in Nigeria.
Earlier, the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Prof Princewill Chike, lauded Governor Nyesom Wike for his interest in the health of Rivers people.
He noted that the renal centre, when completed, would become another landmark development project in the health sector that would handle and manage all kidney-related ailments.
In his remarks, the Chief Medical Director of the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Friday Aaron, commended Wike for approving the renal centre.
Aaron explained that chronic kidney disease was a major burden globally with estimated 14 million cases in Nigeria.
According to him, over 240,000 of these cases require renal replacement therapy in the form of dialysis and renal transplant.
The CMD said the building that would house the centre was expected to be completed in six months and consists of two floors.
The ground floor, according to him, would house the haemodialysis unit with eight haemodialysis machines.
He further explained that the first floor of the centre would house the surgical component where most of the sophisticated equipment for kidney transplant would be installed.
Aaron said Wike has released the funds required to build, equip the centre as well as for the training of personnel locally and internationally.

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Power Generation Falls 23% To 3,172MW

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Power supply in Nigeria has failed to improve on last week’s performance, as it fell by 22.9 per cent from peak generation of 4,115Megawatts on Saturday to 3,172.20MW as at 5pm, yesterday, latest data from the System Operator has shown.
According to the data, most power plants were operating far below capacity due to gas shortage with Olorunsogo Power Plant 335MW capacity; and Sapele Power Plant, 450MW capacity; completely out.
Egbin was generating at 746MW; Omoku 37.20; Omotosho (NIPP) at 105MW; while Afam was generating at 80MW.
The data showed that on the average power generation in the past seven days were 4,120.9MW on Sunday, June 6; 4,249.4 on Monday, June 7; 4,000.9MW on Tuesday, June 8; 3,720.7 on Wednesday, June 9; 3,517 on Thursday, June 10; 3,765MW on Friday, June 11; and 4,115MW on Saturday, June 12.
The International Oil Companies (IOCs), had last warned that despite Nigeria’s huge gas reserves a lot needs to be done to attract investment to the sector to develop gas reserves to boost power generation in the country.
Speaking at the just concluded Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, the Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria/MD SPDC, Osagie Okunbor, said with 203trillion Cubic Feet of gas reserves, what was needed in the country is to deliver projects that would produce the gas.
“The challenge is not just growing the reserves but in producing these reserves for the benefits of our country. Essentially growing the reserves and delivering on the production is a function of two or three elements.
“I like to see infrastructure that is required for the development of these resources at two levels. Soft infrastructure is often the one that is more important than and that is the one that is actually drives most of what you see at site.”
“Soft infrastructure refers to the enabling environment and nothing pleases me as much seeing both the Senate President and the speaker of the house give very firm commitments about trying to pass the PIB this month.
“That is probably the big one of the enabling environment to provide the kind of stability we also need all sorts of other issues we need to that we have discussed severally in terms of sanctity of contract, stable policies and collaboration and I think we are well on our way there”, he added.

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