To forestall a breakdown of law and order, the Amanyanabo of Okochiri in Okrika Local Government Area, King Ateke Tom and the Rivers State Director of the Department of State Service (DSS), have prevailed on thousands of youths under the aegis of Rivers State Youth Federation (RSYF) to shelve their planned protest while also prevailing on the management of Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo) to suspend the phased relocation of the Supply Base of the company at Onne to Lagos.
Both mediators secured the armistice, following their swift intervention to prevent a complete shutdown of business activities at the Oil and Gas Free Zone, Onne, in Eleme Local Government Area, last Wednesday, over the move by the Shell subsidiary to relocate its Supply Base out of Rivers State, a move the youths vehemently kick against.
Sources at the meeting told The Tide that both the DSS and the Rivers State Government were concerned about the long term security implications for the state should SNEPCo’s relocation to Lagos be implemented.
Sequel to the resolution, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, will next week meet with the top management of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA) and other relevant stakeholders over the planned relocation of the Supply Base of SNEPCo from Onne to Lagos.
It would be recalled that thousands of youths and women groups in Rivers State have staged peaceful protests to express their displeasure over the planned relocation of the SNEPCo Supply Base from Onne due to its adverse economic and security implications on the state and the entire Niger Delta region.
Last Wednesday, the director of DSS in Rivers State and King Ateke Tom had intervened in what would have been a stand-off between thousands of Rivers youths and the Shell subsidiary, and negotiated a deal to give the state government time to find an amicable solution to the impasse.
Speaking shortly after the meeting, President, Rivers State Youth Federation, Comrade Saviour Patrick, said the Amanyanabo of Okochiri and the DSS director have promised to work with other stakeholders to address the concerns of the youth, adding that they were going to wait for the outcome of the dialogue with the state governor.
Another source from the meeting said, “The youths are upset although the DSS director told them there was not much they could do, but he is worried that the situation does not degenerate into renewed militant activities in the state.”
The source added that this would not be the first time Shell had attempted to relocate its business from Rivers State, hinting that Shell’s decision was likely more political than commercial.
In August, more than 1,000 youths under the aegis of the Onne Youths Council (OYC) staged a peaceful protest at the SNEPCo Supply Base, asking the company to rescind its decision to relocate the base from the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone to Lagos port.
The President of OYC, Comrade Philip John Tenwa, who led the peaceful protest, said the planned relocation would lead to the loss of more than 5,000 direct and indirect jobs.
The Tide gathered that SNEPCo workers have also kicked against the company’s plan to move the Supply Base from Onne to Lagos.
The workers, in a statement made available to newsmen on August 2, 2018, described the planned relocation as “hurried and ill-advised and against the interest of the Niger Delta region”.
The statement signed by one Edward Otaru reads: “We, the affected operations staff and expatriates of SNEPCO wish to bring the attention of the Federal Government and well-meaning Nigerians of a plan by the management of our company to forcefully relocate our operations from Onne, Port Harcourt to Lagos.
“The hushed, hurried but forceful relocation order emanated under a strange and suspicious condition, as it was neither discussed with the staff nor backed by any justifiable reasons.
“We decided to bring this hurried relocation order to the notice of the government and the general public because of its implication on our families and friends who might suffer unnecessary dislocation and also its implication on the Niger Delta region.”
The workers called on the Federal Government to halt the planned movement in the interest of jobs and development of the Niger Delta region.
The Paramount Ruler of Onne Community, King John Dennis Osaronu, also called on SNEPCo to rescind its planned relocation, saying that the community has hosted the company for more than 20 years without any disagreements.
In a reaction to the Onne youths protest, spokesperson for Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo) said, “Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo) has no intention of shutting down the Logistics Supply Base in Onne, Port Harcourt.
“The base will continue to be utilised by The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), operator of the SPDC Joint Venture for SPDC Joint Venture operations.
“SNEPCO’s operations are in the Bonga field 120 kilometres off Nigerian coast in the Gulf of Guinea and our operations staff and contractors work offshore in Bonga.”
PH Refinery Trains 80 Youths In Rivers
The Port Harcourt Refining Company Limited (PHRC)-Eleme has graduated 80 participants of its youth empowerment and skills acquisition programme, charging them to be economically preoccupied with their acquired skills.
The Managing Director, PHRC, Mr Abba Buka gave the charge at the 3rd Graduation Ceremony of Youth Empowerment and Skills acquisition Programme (YESAP) in Eleme, Rivers, recently.
The beneficiaries were trained in welding and fabrication, information and communication technology, agriculture vocation, catering, hair dressing, fashion and design and interlock/block moulding.
Starter packs which ranged from sewing machines, power generating sets, hair dryers and washers, welding inverters, gas cookers, to cooking pots were presented to them according to the skills they acquired.
Buka, who presented the beneficiaries with Certificates of Completion and starter packs, urged them not to sell the packs but to use them judiciously to be empowered economically.
According to him, skills acquisition and youth empowerment are no doubt a proven route to economic prosperity for any community.
‘’It affords the youth an opportunity to explore inner creative talents in them, build confidence and explore channels for useful economic involvement.
He said that it was due to the advantages that the company, in commitment to its corporate social responsibility and sustenance of its community relations, invested in the YESAP for the youth of its host communities (Eleme and Okrika).
‘’It is my hope and belief that the youth empowerment and skills acquisition programme will divert the attention of the youth from crimes and criminality as they would be economically preoccupied.
‘’And therefore reduce cases of strife and apprehension in the communities and youth restiveness,’’ the MD said.
Buka charged the host communities to continue on the part of peace and negotiation using the Joint Community Relations Committee (JCRC) platform to resolve any differences that might arise.
He assured the communities that they would be carried along in the different phases of the company’s planned rehabilitation, adding that the company was committed to maintaining the cordial relationship with the communities.
Also speaking Executive Director Services, PHRC, Mr Babatunde Sofowora said that the graduation of the 3rd edition of YESAP was a testament to the commitment of the company and NNPC to foster mutual and symbiotic relationship with the host communities.
The company had earlier trained 155 youths in various areas of trade in its first and second editions and the recent edition has brought the number of beneficiaries to 235.
Mr Obari Moses, who spoke on behalf of the beneficiaries, thanked the company for its gesture stating, ‘’we are well-trained. Acquisition of talent cannot be quantified.
‘’We are aware of the challenges in business but with the knowledge we have been given, we shall surmount the challenges.’’
Another beneficiary, Grace Obari who acquired skills in fashion and design said that she had achieved something she never achieved in her life adding, “now I can sew by myself.
“I’m very happy about the scheme; may the Lord bless the PHRC abundantly for giving me skill to better my life and contribute my own quota to the economy.”
‘Nigeria Imports 5.61bn Litres Of Fuel In Q2, 2019’
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), has announced that 5.61 billion litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly known as petrol were imported into the country in the second quarter of the year.
The NBS said this in its Petroleum Products Imports and Consumption (Truck Out) Statistics for Second Quarter, 2019, obtained from its website.
It also reported that 1.38 billion litres of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) also known as diesel, 12.22 million litres of kerosene and 131.36 million litres of aviation fuel were imported.
The report also indicated that 77.24 million litres of base oil, 41.79 million litres of bitumen and 27.68 million litres of Low Pour Fuel Oil were imported in the period under review.
According to the report, 354.70 million litres of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) was also imported into the country in the second quarter of the year.
The NBS said that state-wide distribution or truck-out volume for the second quarter showed that 5.18 billion litres of petrol were distributed nationwide.
It said that 1.28 billion litres of diesel, 131.42 million litres of household kerosene, 176.14 million litres of aviation fuel and 157.29 million litres of domestic gas were distributed nationwide during the period.
The data for the report was provided by the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency, verified and validated by the NBS.
HYPREP Admits Receipt Of $180m For Ogoni Clean-Up …Denies Allegations Of Missing Funds
The Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) has denied allegations that some funds it received for the on going Ogoni clean-up exercise were missing, saying the body has so far received $180million.
The Project Coordinator of HYPREP, Dr. Marvin Dekil, disclosed this in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, during a live radio programme monitored by The Tide, recently.
It would be recalled that HPREP was set up by the Federal Government to implement the recommendations of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on the pollution in Ogoni land, Rivers State.
Dekil, who was reacting to allegations in some quarters that the clean-up funds may have been diverted due to the prolonged delay in implementing the UNEP report, explained that the initial cost of the clean-up was $1billion, but that the cost could be more.
“Let us start by asking how much is the process going to cost? The process is going to cost an initial $1billion. That is what we need to start with to my understanding. It is going to cost more, I believe.
“How much have we received? We received an initial $10million, and recently, another $170million. So, we have received $180million.
“That is what the Board of Trustees of HYPREP has received. Each time I talk about this money, I am very particular, and I have to let people understand the governing structure of HYPREP, and the different roles played by these structures.
“It is the Board of Trustees (BoT) that is in charge of receiving this money. They function separately from the project coordination office. Remediation is an international activity. If you cost it in local ways, you may not appreciate what we are doing.
“The way it works is that the BoT collects the money, and they are holding it. They are managing it. It has nothing to do with project coordination office. There is the Governing Council that approves all our activities. They are the approving and policy making part of the project, separate from the BoT, and separate from the project coordination office,” he stated.
The HYPREP project coordinator further said that “Just this month (August), my team and the United Nations team and the oil companies just finished with the budget this year, and we are looking at the activities between now and December. That will cost, I think, about $80million. These are the things that we are going to do.
“That we have the money, even if the entire $1billion was given to us now, it doesn’t mean that we are going to spend all of it just like that. You need to come up with detailed programmes and have the buy-in of all the stakeholders to what it is you want to do with the money before you spend it.
“This is how difficult it is to spend the money. So, when they are talking about ‘you have received $180million, what have you done with it? The money is there. We are taking it as we need and as all the parties agreed that it will be spent. When I talk about the parties, I am talking about the three governing structures.
“I am also talking about the stakeholders, being the oil companies, the United Nations system, the Nigerian government. We are driving this process and the Ogoni people who are also part of this administration and the policy making of this will all have to agree on how to spend the money and what to do with it within the context of the recommendations of the United Nations.
“This is what we have been doing. And you see frequently we are going back to Geneva because that is where the technical capacity, the leadership of UNEP is. So, we don’t take one step without synchronizing the input of all who are on this. So, not a dime of our money will be spent without the input of others, and so, no money is missing,” Dekil stated.
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