Piqued by the absence of Rivers indigenes, especially those from the Bonny ethnic extraction in the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company,(NLNG) 2012 Technicians Training and Employment list, recently made available to the public, youths of Bonny are said to be gearing up for a showdown with the multinational gas company.
NLNG had recently enlisted 33 names as beneficiaries of its 2012 Technicians Training and Employment programme in which names of Rivers indigenes were conspicuously missing for reasons described by some persons as a wanton display of impunity.
Some of the youths who expressed their displeasure over the development said they were ready to fight the matter to its logical end.
One of the Bonny youths, Thompson Beresiri who looked incensed said the injustice must stop, our leaders had looked the other way while our rights were infringed upon by these companies.
“The issue of local content has been flawed because government has demonstrated lack of political will to tackle the matter head on; however, youths are now prepared to do it their own way to ensure they safeguard their future”, he said.
According to a clergy man in the area who craved anonymity, “you can see that the list is lacking in local content. This people lost their mind and memory when compiling this list or better still the Nigerian factor played out well to the exclusion of those who should at most benefit from this employment considering that they are mostly impacted by the negative effects of gas flaring and the attendant hazard of gradual elimination”.
The Leader of Bonny Youth Federation, Mr. Gift Furo in his remarks said “I don’t want to believe this is true. We have seen the list and have presently instituted a meeting with the management of NLNG to further get clarity on why out of the 33 persons selected no Bonny or Rivers indigene were considered. “I think it is the right thing to do as a responsible youth body before going further with other options”.
He said, the list on display is nothing but a charade that shall never be accepted. He urged the youths to calm down while the dialogue option is exhausted, promising to do all within his powers to ensure that NLNG does the right thing.
Sources reveal that the Rivers state Governor, Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, the State Security Service, (SSS), state police commissioner, army brigade commander among others, have been contacted to intervene on the matter to avert situations where youths will take to the streets in protest.
Meanwhile, some disengaged contract workers in Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited in Qua Iboe Terminal (QIT) have demanded N1 billion as terminal benefits.
Our correspondent reports that the workers, had last week, blocked the access road to the OIT in protest against non-payment of their severance benefits.
The workers, numbering about 1,000, were demanding N10 million each for the workers that were affected in a recent downsizing exercise by the company.
The aggrieved workers said they made the demand at a meeting with officials of the company and security agencies drafted to secure the firm’s facilities in Ibeno.
Mr Godwin Idim, spokesman for the disengaged workers, who confirmed the demands, said it that their demand was tabled at a meeting with officials of the oil firm at the weekend.
“We were compelled to protest the violation of an existing agreement we signed with the representative of Mobil management in 2007 when this rationalisation was mooted.
“It was then agreed that any worker affected shall be paid a terminal benefit using the collective bargaining agreement of contract staff, but they sacked 1,000 of us without recourse to that agreement.
Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, U.S, outsources most of its labour needs to contractors who recruit unskilled and semi-skilled workers mainly from the host communities in Akwa Ibom.
The oil company, had in a statement signed by Nigel Cookey-Gam, Mobil’s Communications Manager, disclosed that the workers’ protest did not disrupt its crude output.
“Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN), operator of the NNPC/MPN Joint Venture, confirms that a group of third party contractors’ personnel yesterday staged a protest on the road leading to its QIT in Akwa Ibom State.
“There was no disruption to production,” Nigel Cookey said.
90% Of Money Laundered Via Real Estate, EFCC Reveals
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.”
We’ve Spent N9bn To Upgrade RSUTH, Wike Confirms
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.
Power Generation Falls 23% To 3,172MW
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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