Miss Mercy Attah,
a 19-year-old orphan relocated from Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital to Obidianso Street in Mile II Diobu, Port Harcourt, to occupy a one-room rented apartment where her father, Mr Joseph Attah, lived and died few months ago. The poor orphan, in search of survival, decided to engage herself on petty trading.
She woke up as early as 5.00am and was heading towards one of the bakeries to buy some bread for sale later in the morning. But as she walked a few poles away from her residence, three fierce-looking young men surrounded her. Two of the youngmen were wielding shot guns and the third, a matchette. As poor Mercy made to run away from the armed robbers, she was caught. She struggled with them wailing and shouting, hoping that help would come from the neighbourhood, but none came and the thieves dispossessed her of her handset and N3,500 with which she planned to pay for the bread.
According to her, “the robbers were not in a hurry as they merely strolled away from the scene and moved towards the adjacent street”.
“My greatest surprise was that nobody in the neighbourhood showed any concern or interest in coming to my rescue. This could not have happened in Uyo where I lived and schooled for years”, said the poor orphan.
Miss Attah’s case is even better compared to some other experiences narrated by one of the sympathizers who came out after an hour. “There was even a recent incidence in the same area” said an elderly woman who sells ‘Akamu’ within the neighbourhood.
“Two young girls were also going to buy bread. These bread hawkers were held up by the rascal thieves two weeks ago. The robbers did not only snatch their money, but they also raped them and left them with their torn dresses,” said the elderly woman who pleaded anonymity apparently for her safety.
This ugly drama has become rampant in the densely populated Diobu axis of Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
Almost on daily basis, petty traders and ‘bush market’ women whose trades demand that they leave their homes early in the morning to enable they sell to their customers who need the bread for their families’ breakfast or the bush market women who must leave early to the hinterlands where they buy their stocks pass through this dangerous situations.
In the process of carrying out their petty trading business majority are dispossessed of their hard-earned money while the more unfortunate ones get raped by the street robbers who even inflict injuries on them.
The activities of these street robbers is fast scarring a lot of the traders.
“As a result of this, if you need to go to buy your bread or supply goods early morning to your customers in the Mile I or Mile III markets, you have to wait till say from six O’clock or much later, so also those who wake up early to go to the bush markets”, advised one of the petty traders.
This underscores the need for a return of the spirit of being one’s neighbours’ keeper. Men living in the streets can mobilize and come for the rescue of such victims especially when they hear them crying helplessly instead of feeling unconcerned.
The law enforcement agents, especially the police, could step up their patrol strategies especially early in the morning when such incidents normally take place.
Moreso, as the security agencies move to reduce the alleged high volume of arms in the wrong hands, it is recommendable that the law enforcement agencies could resort to house-to-house search especially in areas where these suspected youths reside, like Diobu.
A good number of the young boys and girls involved in petty trading may have got some level of education but owing to the high unemployment rate in the country, they have little or no option than to engage in petty trading for survival.
While the government initiate some empowerment programmes, petty trading should as well be encouraged since it is legitimate and one major way of encouraging them is by making the environment safe for their operations.
The consequence of not giving proper attention to the poor petty traders could mean forcing them into armed robbery, prostitution and other anti-social activities.
It is true that provision of employment opportunities for the youths could reduce armed robbery and its attendant consequences. But experience has shown that while government cannot provide for all in the society, most of the youths that have chosen robbery are themselves not employable.
This dangerous trend demands more proactive measures from the law enforcement agents and the only way to succeed in this bid is to involve the people who live within and have good understanding of how the street robbers operate.
Flushing the street robbers would not only boost petty businesses but would make the environment more secured for the people especially as the nation prepares for the forthcoming general elections where past experiences have shown that armed youths work against free and fair elections in the country.
Past experience has also shown that armed robbers hid their guns inside abandoned vehicles in the streets. Consequent upon this revelation, there is the need for the government to ensure that a lot of abandoned vehicles on the streets in Diobu be evacuated by their owners.
Partners Execute Shareholder Agreement For Brass Products Terminal
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC), along with their partner, the Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board, NCDMB, and Zed Energy have executed a shareholders’ agreement for the establishment of a 50 million litre Petroleum Products Terminal in Brass, Bayelsa State.
The N10.5 billion Brass Petroleum Products Terminal project is expected to deliver an automated 50 million litre depot with two-way product jetty, automated loading bay, and 6 automated tanks for storage of 30 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS)and 20 million litres of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) and Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK).
While speaking at the signing ceremony, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his giant strides in the Niger Delta which is making a huge impact on the people of the area.
“I make bold to say today without any fear of contradiction that no President has impacted the people of the Niger Delta like President Muhammadu Buhari. Aside from what we are witnessing today, remember there is also the Brass Fertilizer & Petrochemical Company, the Oloibiri Oil and Gas Museum and the Oil & Gas Park in Ogbia, all under Mr. President,” the Minister stated.
Sylva added that the establishment of the Terminal further demonstrates Mr. President’s commitment to the enhancement of the livelihood of the Niger Delta people particularly, the riverine communities in Bayelsa State where people purchase products at exorbitant prices due to logistics challenges associated with transporting products to that area.
Speaking shortly after signing the agreement, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari said the Corporation was proud to be part of the project which aside ensuring products availability in all nooks and crannies of the Niger Delta, will also guarantee the nation’s energy security and generate employment.
“This Terminal will create 1,000 direct jobs during the construction phase, and over 5,000 indirect jobs during its operation. Considering the potential for employment when completed, this will definitely reduce youth restiveness in the Niger Delta area and will also address the problem of illegal refining in the area,” Kyari stated.
In his remarks, the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Simbi Wabote stated that this milestone was as a result of strong interagency collaboration and public-private sector partnership.
“The NCDMB will continue to drive such partnerships across the industry to bring development in Nigeria,” he noted.
Earlier, the Coordinator of the Project and Group General Manager, National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), Mr. Bala Wunti stated that the project would enhance the economics of marine petroleum products distribution.
Senate Hails NNPC’s Drive Towards Profitability
The senate has commended the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for its efforts towards attaining profitability and stamping out corruption from its system.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Anti-corruption and Financial Crimes, Suleiman Abdu Kwari, gave the commendation at a hearing which was held at the national assembly complex, Abuja.
Kwari said it was heart-warming to learn that the NNPC was making great strides towards profitability and urged the corporation to sustain the gains recorded so far for the good of the country.
In his presentation at the hearing, Mele Kyari, the group managing director of NNPC, said the corporation was championing the fight against corruption in the oil and gas industry by placing measures to curb incidences of corruption across its various business portfolios and by enlisting as a partner company of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).
He also said that the corporation has reported several incidences of infractions such as products diversion and crude oil theft to the police, EFCC and other investigating agencies of the federal government to stem corruption within the oil and gas industry.
In an effort to clampdown on fuel smuggling, the ministry of petroleum resources launched the operation white project in October 2019 to monitor and track the movement of petroleum products in the country.
Also in February 2021, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) launched the downstream remote monitoring system (DRMS) to track the movement of petroleum products from depots to retail outlets.
“We have created an anti-corruption desk in NNPC that engages the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other anti-corruption agencies on a regular basis,” NNPC GMD said.
“The desk ensures that in all our operations, every staff complies to the code of conduct procedures with consequence management.
“We have established a regulatory compliant governance charter and transparency policy; this is a mark of our compliance to the anti-corruption strategy.
“For the first time in 43 years, NNPC, as a part of the evolving culture of transparency and accountability, published its Audited Financial Statements (AFS) for 2018 and 2019. We are going to publish that of 2020.
“The AFS is the only document that tells how a company does its transaction. We are happy that by the time the 2020 AFS will be published, Nigerians will see the dividends of our accountability.”
Chevron Spends $10bn On Nigerian Suppliers, Service Providers
Chairman/Managing Director, Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL), Rick Kennedy, said the company has in the last 10 years spent an estimated annual average of $1 billion on Nigerian suppliers and service providers in line with its commitment to Nigerian Content Development.
Highlighting the opportunities and new approaches to the future of hydrocarbons at the ongoing 2021 NIPS in Abuja, Kennedy stressed the need for robust policies and regulations to address and remedy existing challenges in the oil and gas industry; digital technology/innovations; cost efficiency initiatives; sustained social investments as well as continued support for Nigerian Content Development.
Kennedy, who was represented by Monday Ovuede, director, NNPC/CNL Joint Venture, identified opportunities in lowering carbon emissions and harnessing Nigeria’s gas resources as key enablers in complementing the new approaches to future of hydrocarbons in the Nigerian oil and gas industry in the post COVID-19 era.
According to him, the global community has continued to scale up the collaboration towards lower carbon emissions, adding that Chevron supports global efforts to reduce carbon emissions and is actively investing in operations to improve environmental performance while also working with industry to develop new innovative technology and best practices to achieve these objectives.
He emphasised that CNL’s gas strategy is to end routine gas flaring and build a profitable gas business through a portfolio of projects, and stated that in Nigeria, CNL, with its joint venture (JV) partners, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has progressively reduced routine gas flaring by over 95% in the past 10 years and remained ahead in terms of maximising supply of on-spec gas into the Nigerian domestic market.
He also highlighted the NNPC/CNL’s Gas Sales and Aggregation Agreements with Egbin Power Plc, Dangote Fertilizer Limited, and Olorunsogo Generation Company Limited, while mentioning the positive impact of the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) through which Nigeria supplies gas to countries in the West African sub-region – specifically, Ghana, Togo, and Benin – thus, helping to boost economic development in West Africa.
Kennedy also noted that Chevron has joined other energy companies supporting the Methane Guiding Principles to reduce methane emissions from natural gas exploration and production operations through digital innovation and deployment of best practices, which include designing, constructing, and operating its facilities in a manner to reduce emissions from its operations.
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