As the people of Ogoni reflect on the killing of the Ogoni Nine, 22 years after, the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) has issued a fresh ultimatum of six weeks to the Federal Government within which to practically commence the clean-up of Ogoniland in line with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report.
It would be recalled that key component of the UNEP report recommendations submitted the President Goodluck Jonathan-led Federal Government in August, 2011, was the scientific clean-up, remediation and restoration of hydrocarbons polluted Ogoni environment, including provision of emergency measures to restore normal livelihoods in the area.
Giving the ultimatum during an interactive session to kick-start a two-day event to mark the 22nd anniversary of the killing of the nine Ogoni heroes at the Peace and Freedom Centre, Bori, headquarters of Ogoni people, last Thursday, MOSOP’s Public Relations Officer, Fegalo Nsuke insisted that the clean-up must commence before the end of December, 2017, otherwise, MOSOP would mobilise all Ogonis to protest against the Federal Government and the polluter, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria.
Nsuke hinted that MOSOP was working out modalities to actualise its decision to protest against the international oil company offices in Port Harcourt, Lagos and Abuja, saying that MOSOP was in agreement with the two-week ultimatum given Shell by the National Youth Council of Ogoni People (NYCOP) threatening to occupy Shell offices in Nigeria to force the oil giant to vacate the area.
At a separate event to mark the 22nd anniversary of the Ogoni Martyrs’ Day in Bori, the vociferous MOSOP affiliate, NYCOP had given SPDC a 14-day ultimatum to vacate Ogoniland or face retooled persistent protests reminiscence of the non-violent resistance of MOSOP in the late 1980s and 1990s.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Tide on the sidelines of the Ogoni Day celebrations in Bori, Acting President of NYCOP, Comrade Norteh Morgan said that the only language the Federal Government and its ally, SPDC understand was civil disobedience, peaceful resistance and protests that threaten productive operations of the company, and expose staff and facilities to risks, and assured the readiness of Ogoni people to send the message direct to the highest leadership of Shell.
“Today, the Ogoni youth are here to review events of the past years and to ask the Federal Government, SPDC and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s subsidiary – Nigerian Petroleum Development Company – some vital questions. But expectedly, they are not here, so, we have chosen to start working with 3Cs that represents – Consultation, Conciliation and Confrontation.
“When consultation fails, conciliation comes in, and when conciliation fails, confrontation follows. We are being taken for granted by the multinational oil companies, especially SPDC, since they know that the Ogoni people are non-violent,” he stressed.
Morgan stated that the 14-day ultimatum given SPDC to vacate the area was as a result of wrong approaches used by the company in addressing issues affecting the generality of Ogoni people.
“What we expect SPDC to do is to organize a roundtable discussion with all strata of the leadership of Ogoni people, where all parties would agree on the various steps going forward, so that everybody would be carried along,” Morgan said.
He lamented the 60 years of neglect and 22 years of struggle against marginalization and exclusion of Ogoni people by SPDC, saying “The people feel cheated by SPDC over the last 60 years in Ogoniland. All the people have received from SPDC is gas pollution, oil spillage and environmental degradation. In spite of the fact that we had declared Shell persona-non-granta in Ogoniland more than 25 years ago, they have returned through the back door, and are now laying pipes in Tai and Eleme.”
He stressed that the people can no longer tolerate the divide and rule, and selective consultations used by SPDC in Ogoniland, and warned the company to steer clear of the area for good.
Also speaking, a guest lecturer at the Department of History and Diplomatic Studies, University of Port Harcourt, Prof Ben Naanen stated that the UNEP report was not the answer to all the problems of Ogoni people, but described it as a critical step towards addressing some critical aspects of the challenges facing Ogonis.
Naanen, who was spoke on the topic: ‘The Ogoni Struggles: Ruminations and Future Unfold,’ noted that Ogoniland was the first that oil was discovered in 1958, but regretted that the people’s voice could not be heard by the Federal Government because they were of the minority.
He described the government’s treatment of Ogoni demands as ‘total injustice’ in view of the massive despoliation of Ogoniland, saying that the agitations for justice and equity initiated by Ogoni leaders as enunciated in the Ogoni Bill of Rights in the 1980s and form the fulcrum of the resistance against SPDC, have completely enveloped the entire Niger Delta, reawakening their consciousness towards resource control, fiscal federalism and self-determination.
He, therefore, urged the Federal Government to urgently restructure the country along those lines to guarantee peace, stability and unity of the Nigerian state.
In an exclusive interview with The Tide, Khana Caretaker Committee Chairman, Chief Gbene Lekue Zini stated that the significance of November 10 in the life of Ogoni people resides in the fact that it points the way inclusiveness and participation of Niger Deltans in the socio-political and economic calculations of the Nigerian state.
Zini used the opportunity to intimate Ogoni youth on the need to remain united and speak with one voice to attract development and growth to the area.
“As an Ogoni person, emulate what our fathers died for and appreciate that they did not for their selfish interests but for the overall good of all Ogonis,” Zini added.
“Conflicts, crises, cultism are not what the Ogoni people are known for; we are known for straightforwardness and that is why our Ogoni nine died, because they wanted equal treatment, fairness and justice to Ogoniland,” he lamented.
He urged Federal Government, Shell, Hydrocarbons Pollution Remediation and Restoration Project (HYPREP) and all parties in the Ogoni clean-up to urgently do the needful, adding that the people were tired of failed promises.
It would be recalled that on November 10, 1995, environmental rights activist, Kenule Beeson Saro-Wiwa and other eight Ogoni leaders were executed by the Gen Sani Abacha-led military junta following their role in the Ogoni demands for equity, justice in the sharing of oil revenue and inclusion in the political space.
By: Susan Serekara-Nwikhana.
Rivers LG To Give Grants To 80 Post-Graduate Candidates
The Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, has concluded process of giving grants to 80 indigenes of the area to pursue Masters and Doctorate degree programmes in universities in the state.
The council Chairman, Barrister George Ariolu, disclosed this, yesterday, when the leadership of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) visited him in his office at Rumuodomaya, near Port Harcourt.
Ariolu stated that grants will be given to 50 candidates to pursue Masters degree programme and another 30 to those pursuing Doctorate degree programmes in University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State University and the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education.
He said: “Our main focus as we promised our people is the area of human capacity development. Not that we don’t have interest in infrastructures, we do.
“As it stands today, we are giving grants to our people, those who are interested in advancing their academic qualifications by taking up Ph.D and Masters degree programmes.
“For Masters degree, we have grants for 50 while Ph.D is 30 for now. But because of pressure, we will likely take it up to 50. We set up a committee made up three professors, an academic doctor, who is a senior lecturer and a lawyer. Today, they are conducting interviews for the applicants at the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt.
“Our catchment areas are University of Port Harcourt, the Rivers State University and the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education. Those are universities in Rivers State so that little money we will give will be of immense benefit to them.”
Earlier in his remarks, Chairman of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the NUJ, Amaechi Okonkwo, assured the Council Chairman of the support of journalists throughout duration of his tenure in office.
Okonkwo said: “We have had a relationship with you before now and we are happy with that relationship because we were getting quality service and advise from you.
“So, we deemed it fit and necessary to come to say congratulations to you and to assure you of our support through your stay as Chairman of Council.”
Insecurity: Address Nigeria’s Descent Into Chaos, Nigerians Tell UN Assembly
The Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance (NINAS), yesterday, urged the United Nations General Assembly to take urgent steps to address the country’s alleged descent into chaos, saying that Nigeria has failed as a state.
This was contained in a letter addressed to United Nations Security Council, the Trusteeship Council and the General Assembly by NINAS at the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York.
The letter was signed by Chairman of NINAS and Ilana Omo Oodua, Prof Banji Akintoye; Prof Yusuf Turaki of Middle-Belt Movement; and Secretary-General, NINAS and Lower Niger Congress, Tony Nnadi.
The letter reads, “We, the Indigenous Peoples of Nigeria at the Headquarters of the United Nations in New York to alert the United Nations, and the rest of the global community that the union of Nigeria has failed irredeemably; and is now at the verge of a violent disintegration with catastrophic consequences for global peace, and security as our population of over 200million would become an instant global refugee nightmare.
“Amidst the extraordinary difficulties inflicted by the imposition and enforcement of Sharia by a section of Nigeria in a supposedly secular union, the immediate reason for this looming catastrophe is the cocktail of mass killing, kidnapping and general banditry being orchestrated against the indigenous peoples of Nigeria by an invading Fulani militia masquerading as herdsmen in an undisguised ethnic cleansing campaign that progressively demonstrate the complicity of the Federal Government of Nigeria headed by President Muhammadu Buhari, a Fulani man, who as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria is also the Life Grand Patron of the notorious Miyetti-Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), that proudly takes responsibility for the murderous exploits of the Fulani herdsmen militia designated the fourth most deadly terror group.
“Compounding their impunity, the same Miyetti-Allah Cattle Breeders Association at a recent press conference organised to mock the planned NINAS million-man freedom march to the UN boasted to be in control of the UN through their daughter, the Deputy Secretary-General at the UN, Amina Mohammed.
“An indication that (Amina Mohammed) nominated to that exalted UN position by President of Buhari, is in some way a part of the grand protection design for the Fulani herdsmen in their bloody, onslaught against the indigenous peoples of Nigeria.
“It will be recalled that following widespread extrajudicial killings in Nigeria, the UN in August of 2019, dispatched a Special Rapporteur Mission to Nigeria led by Agnes Callamard. The damning verdict of that Rapporteur Mission was that the widespread extrajudicial killings were flowing from the unitary constitutional arrangements of Nigeria, which operates as a pressure-cooker for injustice and that Nigeria under that Constitution is a danger to global peace and security.
“The report warned that unless something is done urgently, Nigeria would snap, plunging its 200million population into turmoil that will trigger a large-scale refugee crisis of unprecedented magnitude at a time the global terror networks, ISIS, ISWAP and AL-Qaeda are already converging in Nigeria.
“That Nigeria has failed as a State is no longer a subject for debate, having emerged the global poverty capital, and playing host to two of the world’s top four most deadly terrorists’ organisation, with three-quarters of the constituent components (South and Middle-Belt), seeking urgent extrication by way of referendums from what has become a union of death.
“Looking back at the recent turn of events in Afghanistan, this freedom march to the United Nations Headquarters in New York, is to alert the global community of the rapidly degenerating situation of Nigeria, and to invite United Nations, particularly the Security Council, and Trusteeship Council, to initiate urgent steps to arrest Nigeria’s descent into chaos, as besieged communities drift dangerously to self-help.”
Power Sector Revenue Declines By 4.54% In Q2’21
Gross revenue of Nigeria’s electricity market declined by 4.45per cent in the second quarter of 2021, Q2’21, to N176.27billion against N184.27billion generated in the first quarter, Q1’21, latest data from the sector has shown.
The data from the Power Sector Working Group, however, showed that the N360.54billion generated in the first half of this year was 24.57per cent higher than the N271.96billion generated in the last six months of 2020.
A monthly analysis of the power sector financials in the first six months of 2021 showed that revenue has been fluctuating month-on-month.
A total of N64.98billion was generated in January, but revenue, however, fell by 13.30per cent in February to N57.35billion.
Further analysis showed that revenue in March rose by 7.41 per cent to N61.94billion but declined again in April by 8.76 per cent to N56.955billion.
In May, revenue rose by 8.24 per cent to N62.07billion.
It, however fell in June to N57.25billion, a drop of 8.42 per cent.
The Power Sector Working Group blamed poor power supply as well as glitches for the fall in revenue in the second quarter, especially in the month of June.
“June is a bit short due to glitches in the sweep mechanism and a low energy supply (there were gas payment challenges we have been working on).
“Through the collection discipline via CBN there is full visibility to DisCos collections. Collections over the past six months have stabilized at between N57billion to N65billion.
“The regulator and policymakers are focusing in the second half of the year on boosting electricity and rolling out phase 1 of Mass Metering to boost supply to reduce tariff and increase collections.
“Procurement is being completed for most of the CAPEX interventions that will help boost supply”, the group added.
Earlier, the group disclosed that the Federal Government has concluded arrangements for the commencement of the second phase of its metering program tagged National Mass Metering Program which it expects to drastically reduce estimated billing by DisCos, that will ensure consumers are billed appropriately for the electricity they consume by installing meters free of charge in household and business premises that are currently unmetered.
The Federal Government provided funding for the program through loans from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to DisCos.
“Meters are provided to customers free of charge. This is indeed unprecedented and has so far led to the tremendous success recorded so far”.
Speaking on how to grow the electricity market, a leading power sector expert and Managing Director of Target Energy Ltd, Abdullahi Umar, harped on the need to review some of the policies that may be hampering growth and development in the power sector.
Umar said at the weekend that the new Minister of Power, Engr. Abubakar Aliyu, needs to conduct a thorough review of the sector.
“I am part of those stakeholders who are of the view that the declaration of the transitional electricity market (TEM) in February 2015 was too ambitious and premature.
“What should have been was a phased transition into TEM or at the minimum a testing of the market before the full declaration of TEM.
“The errors of such declaration have continued to plague the power sector with a heightened liquidity crisis in 2016 and 2017, that saw a drastic decline of the revenue flows in the power sector, DisCos remittance went from 70 per cent to a sharp decline averaging about 28 per cent – 30 per cent for that period,” he said.
He pointed out that July, 2021, saw the end of Eligible Customer Regulation in the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry (NESI), adding that the decision by the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), to rescind the ECR, has sent mixed signals across the board.
Umar further stated that “we have seen the accusations and counter-accusations between the generating companies (GenCos) and distribution companies on the issue. The action by NERC has signalled the lack of preparedness of the market to accommodate direct sale between market players.
“It is a case of willing seller, willing buyer and an unwilling infrastructure; the market cannot accommodate any distortion at this time especially as the grid still operates at average capacity.”
The ECR allows GenCos and Independent Power Producers to bypass the Bulk Trader for excess un-contracted capacity within their portfolio and sell directly to eligible customers who can take a minimum of 2MW of power monthly.
“The ECR was issued on the 6th of November, 2017 by the then Minister of Power, Works, and Housing, Barrister Babatunde Fashola”, Umar also averred that the “recent repeal of the ECR further demonstrates the weakness in the NESI and the need for more effective and consistent regulation.”
He further advised, “With a new Minister of Power in the saddle, I suggest that a cue is borrowed from the former Minister of Power, Work, and Housing; who commenced his tenure with sector-wide stakeholder consultation and monthly review meetings, it is important that new Minister of Power gets a proper briefing with all market participants in the same room to curtail self-serving suggestions and recommendations.”
“The frequent policy conflict is fast eroding the little gains of the NESI since the declaration of TEM and plunging the sector deeper into uncertainty.
“The new Minister of Power must pursue sector-wide collaboration and effective corporate governance to move the sector forward.
“It is time to go back to the drawing board,” he concluded.
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has, however, denied that it has ended or suspended the Eligible Customer Regulations which allowed power generation companies, GenCos, to supply electricity directly to large demand customers.
NERC, in a statement by its General Manager, Public Affairs Department, Dr. Usman Abba Arabi, stated that the Eligible Customer Regulations has not been suspended and at no time has the commission issued a directive for discontinuation of service to any customer.
The commission explained that what it suspended was the unauthorized direct supply by GenCos to big consumers.
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