Worried over the continuous delay in the clean-up of Ogoni environment, the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has called on world leaders and all men of conscience to intervene in the situation.
MOSOP is specifically seeking for pressure to be put on Nigerian Government and Shell Petroleum Development Company and its joint venture partners, to immediately commence the holistic implementation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on the Ogoni environment to avert an impending genocide.
In a statement in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, yesterday, by its spokesman, Mr Fegalo Nsuke, MOSOP noted that there was rise in reports of deaths in the area due to exposure to oil spill.
Nsuke said: “Between March 2 and 17, 2018, Bodo community in Gokana Local Government Area alone buried 33 persons while 29 persons died in K-Dere also in Gokana council. Similar reports are coming from other Ogoni villages.
“MOSOP wants to use this opportunity to alert the world of what is clearly a Shell/state-sponsored genocide in Ogoniland. We are concerned that Shell and the government of Nigeria are doing little or nothing about the restoration of Ogoniland and the immediate provision of water for the people even as communities record increasing death rates.
“MOSOP flays this inhuman attitude of the Nigerian government and Shell, and urge the world not to allow this happen in the 21st century.
“We take exception to the fact that just recently in December, 2017, the Nigerian government approved $1billion to purchase arms to kill humans in the fight against insurgents, the same government that has failed to provide an agreed sum of $200million annually for five years to save the lives of over 1million people in Ogoniland.”
However, The Tide investigations show that the SPDC management had, last year, released $10million to the Hydrocarbon Pollution and Restoration Project (HYPRP), the Federal Government agency driving the clean-up of Ogoniland, as part of its contribution to the implementation of the UNEP report.
It revealed that SPDC had built an integrated water facility in Ogale, Eleme; and has been implementing emergency water supply initiative for communities in Ogoni since the release of the report in August, 2011, and complied with UNEP recommendations by conducting the clean-up and remediation of 15 identified spill sites in the report.
It has also concluded assets inventory, and plans a comprehensive decommissioning programme for its facilities in Ogoniland.
Apart from the campaign against illegal oil bunkering and pipeline vandalism in communities in Ogoniland, the company is said to have been implementing a number of empowerment programmes for Ogoni youth through its LiveWIRE Scheme, while also awarding scholarships to many secondary school and university undergraduate students from the area.
Meanwhile, The Federal Government, yesterday, stated that until all the components of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), are passed by the National Assembly and assented to by the Presidency, no new licensing rounds for oil wells would be conducted.
Speaking in Abuja, at the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), symposium on the PIB, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, disclosed that the Federal Government would only award new licenses for oil production under new legislations.
Kachikwu, who was represented by his Senior Technical Adviser on Efficiency, Mr. Johnson Awoyomi, emphasized the need for transparency and clear policy direction in the Nigerian petroleum industry.
He said, “Finally, it is a national priority to have certainty and clarity over the operations of the petroleum industry as it will foster more licensing rounds, enhance revenues and increased economic activities.
“New acreages will be awarded for exploration and production under new laws and terms, especially offshore which is likely to account for much of the growth in the nation’s reserves.
“For too long, we have waited for this moment with bated breath and sheer excitement, knowing that the bill will disentangle us from the manacles of inefficiency, low investment drive and opacity.”
Kachikwu said stakeholders must relish the urgency of the current stage at which the various petroleum bills are, stating that all hands should be on deck to making sure the bill achieves what it is meant to achieve.
“Getting to the yes on the PIGB is a great milestone, I am so glad we have begun heeding the clarion’s call,” he noted.
The minister lamented that the aggregation of laws which had governed the Nigerian oil and gas sector over the years had become archaic and no longer competitive and needs to be reviewed and harmonized into a comprehensive law.
He said, “After a critical study of the myriad of challenges on ground, we observed that crucial to the fixing of these problems lies in the question of the governance of the industry, and effort from the legal wing which could play a critical role in presenting a robust, effective governance and institutional framework for the management and regulation of petroleum resources in Nigeria.
“The role of the government needs to be better clarified by refocusing the mandate of the policy, regulatory and commercial institutions to ensure better sector governance, transparency of regulations and operations, accountability of the institutions and removal of opaqueness around the industry.”
Also speaking, Executive Secretary of NEITI, Mr. Waziri Adio, however, stated that passage and assent to the bill do not signify the end of the sector’s challenges, noting that the most crucial part aspect is the implementation of bill when it eventually becomes law.
He said, “But we will be deluded to think the job is done. It is not. Succumbing to such a temptation will be wrong-headed and misdirected. And here we are not just talking about the need to finally pass the PIGB and transmit it to the President for assent. And not even about ensuring that the other three bills are passed and signed. It is more about ensuring effective implementation of the resultant laws in ways that will reposition and transform our oil and gas sector to become a real blessing, and not this needless curse, for our people.
“Our expectation is that we will address many of the questions that have been asked, including those yet to be asked, or at least set us thinking seriously about these questions. Some of these include: what transitional arrangements are being contemplated? What is the plan for the fiscal, host community and administrative bills?
Shell Donates Subsea Training Facilities To UNIPORT
The Nigeria deep-water arm of global energy giant, Shell, has donated multimillion naira laboratory equipment and software packages to the Offshore Technology Institute of the University of Port Harcourt as part of the company’s Nigerian content human capital development programme delivered in collaboration with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Speaking at a ceremony to hand over the facilities to the university, last Thursday, Managing Director, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (SNEPCo), Mrs. Elohor Aiboni, said, “The donations are aimed at strengthening advanced practical teaching and research in subsea engineering to give the students the required skills and competences for entry level jobs in the oil and gas industry”.
The facilities, valued at over $700,000, are in alignment with the Human Capacity Development Guideline of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).
Aiboni, represented by SNEPCo’s Social Investment Manager, Dr. Gloria Udoh, expressed optimism that with the level of investment by NNPC and SNEPCo in deep-water training via the establishment centres of excellence and donation of cutting-edge information and communication technology centres, among others, Nigerian oil and gas industry would surpass its local content aspiration earlier than projected.
“This investment anchored on the maintenance of subsea infrastructure on Nigeria’s pioneer deep offshore field, Bonga, is expected to develop and upskill the cognitive and technical abilities of students who pass through the Offshore Technology Institute for the ultimate benefit of our industry and of our country,” Aiboni added.
With the new laboratory and software packages, according to Aiboni, the Offshore Technology Institute is positioned to deliver effective training in engineering design; construction and installation of offshore and subsea structures; computer simulations; civil and construction tests; 3D printing/engravement capability; Measurement/Metering Technology and Robotics; Alternative Energy Technologies; and Data Acquisition Learning System.
In his remarks, Vice Chancellor, University of Port Harcourt, Prof. Onwunari Georgewill, commended NNPC and SNEPCo with its co-venture partners for their goodwill to the university and particularly to OTI, and canvassed more areas of collaboration between the university and its industry partners.
Georgewell said, “This project’s completion is timely because it latches on to the university’s leadership philosophy, which focuses on advancing education through an integrated learning environment to produce industry-ready university graduates and workforce.
“The current administration of the university places a lot of emphasis on university and industry collaboration and partnership. This donation will therefore enhance the achievement of the postgraduate degree-awarding Offshore Technological Institute in the practical context.”
Also speaking, Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Mr. Simbi Wabote, described the human capital initiatives of SNEPCo as commendable.
Wabote added, “I commend your remarkable and consistent collaboration and partnership with the NCDMB towards the development of in-country capacities and capabilities.”
Represented by NCDMB General Manager, Corporate Service and Logistics, Mr Halilu Abdulmalik, Wabote said, “Your Nigerian content initiatives are consistent with the objectives and aspirations of NCDMB’s 10-year strategic roadmap, and we hope that necessary adjustments will be made to the curriculum to ensure optimal utilization by students in the university community.”
Obasanjo, Osinbajo, Wike, Others Bag CAN Awards
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Senator Rochas Okorocha, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, Emeritus Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and Mummy Esther Ajayi, were among prominent Nigerians who received awards at the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Sapphire awards in Abuja, last weekend.
Others, including Pastor Enoch Adeboye, Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie, and Chief Arthur Eze, also received awards at the event; while the kidnapped Dapchi school, Leah Sharibu, won in the Young Christian Achiever award category.
Former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, and Goodluck Jonathan, Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustafa, and some Christian governors, serving and past National Assembly members bagged awards.
The awards were part of activities for CAN’s 45th Anniversary Sapphire Celebration Dinner and Award Night.
Earlier in his welcome address, CAN National President, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, had said that the gathering was to celebrate 45 years of the church in Nigeria.
He said that Governance Category awards were for Christians in politics who had shown excellent and remarkable services.
“These include past presidents, serving governors and senators in our assessment that deserve such award.
“An award ceremony is applause of vision, personal discipline and determination; it is an event like this that makes people feel that their works are valued.
“The award is a catalyst that is expected to reinforce the awardees to serve humanity more and more,’’ he said.
The CAN president said it was heart breaking that majority of those in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps were Christians who were displaced by religious fanatics, bandits and gunmen in their territories.
He solicited the awardees’ financial support in fulfilling some of CAN’s obligations to fellow Christians and bringing to fruition the association’s projects.
Obasanjo, who was represented by the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, was the special guest of honour at the awards.
Obasanjo said that the award was significant in that it would encourage other citizens to serve humanity, adding “I will continue to do the best I can to uphold the principles of justice, love, equity, mutual respect, industry and the fear of God which epitomise the church of Christ until there’s no breath left in me.”
While showing appreciation to CAN on behalf of all the award recipients, VP Osinbajo said Nigerians needed to be more tolerant of other people’s views.
The vice president dedicated the award to those who, daily in different locations, distant and near, propagated the message of the love and reconciliation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, sometimes in difficult and life-threatening situations.
He said that the awardees were not necessarily the most deserving of Christians to be given any recognition but by the special grace of God which placed them in the high capacity they served.
He said, “As we have seen in the past few years, there’s a growing ethnic and religious chauvinism, and almost intemperate, vehement and violent dismissal of the views of people of other persuasions and faith without adequate consideration.
“At the same time, there is also the rise of cultural and identity politics. The answer to hate and intolerance and conflicts is the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must believe enough in it, to live it out as our article of faith.
“The gospel commands consideration of the views of others, treating them we would wish to be treated. Our words must be of grace, seasoned with salt.
“We must remain constant and relentless advocates of freedom of worship, respect for human rights, fairness, justice, rule of law because they are fundamental to peace and security. We cannot talk of peace and security without fairness and justice, and compliance with the rule of law.
“We are in the advantageous position that our contribution will be more easily noticed.
“So, this award is dedicated to the men who, daily in different locations, distant and near propagate this message of the love and reconciliation of the gospel of Jesus Christ in sometimes even difficult and life-threatening situations.
“And to many who have suffered deprivations, the families of those who have lost their lives by reason of their belief.
“And we are deeply grateful to the Almighty God for the opportunity and enablement to serve in the positions to which we have been referred.
“I bring, also, the very warm felicitations of the President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Government of Nigeria on the 45th anniversary of the birth of this foremost association of Nigerian Christians.
“CAN was formed to, among other objectives, nurture the unity of the church in Nigeria and to work with the leaders of other faith and persuasions to build bridges and forge understanding, peace and unity among the various people and faith in our nation.
“CAN has not only been continually faithful to its founding vision, it has become a veritable force for peace, for unity and for social justice.
“Pursuant to the gospel, CAN has consistently spoken up on behalf of the least of those in our society,’’ he said.
He said that the current and past leaderships of CAN had acted in full realiasation and recognition of their roles as pivotal stakeholders alongside the government and private sector in nation building.
Earlier, Senator Rochas Okorocha, who noted the dire financial condition of the umbrella Christian organisation in the country, advised clerics to tone down their criticism of those in authority.
He said, “I just want to caution some Christian pastors concerning the way we use our pulpit and the kind of fire of insults and abuses that comes from there. When you abuse those who will give you money where will you get the money.
“The Bible says to pray for those in authority. You need to draw your leaders close. When you draw us closer and tell us what your problems are, it will energise us to help. Money will flow more than you need.”
Also, Imam Abubakar Abdullahi, who sheltered no fewer than 200 Christians in Barkin Ladi, Plateau, during an attack, was presented with the Special Recognition award.
The late Obadiah Mailafia, former CBN Deputy Governor, was given a post-humous award of Spokesperson for Oppressed alongside Matthew Kukah, Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Sokoto and Human Rights Lawyer, Femi Falana.
Awards were also given to best candidates in the 2020 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination and Senior School Certificate Examination.
Highlight of the event was the cutting of the anniversary cake.
Bandits Free 10 More Kaduna Baptist Students, Keep 11
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), yesterday, confirmed that 10 more students of Bethel Baptist School in Kaduna State have been released.
The Vice President of CAN (19 Northern States and Abuja) and its Chairman in Kaduna State, Rev. Joseph John Hayab, said this in a short WhatsApp message to newsmen.
He said, “Ten more students of Baptist High School were released this afternoon. We have 11 now with bandits.
“We are thanking all Nigerians for their prayers and support.
“We are trusting God that the rest will be released very soon. All have been reunited with their parents.”
Earlier, 10 students of Bethel Baptist School in Kaduna were released on Saturday, September 18, after spending 74 days captivity of terrorists, with 22 others still being held.
Hayab had said, “10 students were released this (Saturday) evening and have reunited with their parents. We are now hoping for the remaining 21 who are still with the bandits.”
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