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HYPREP Interfaces With Ogoni Youth

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In a bid to keep Ogoni youths abreast of its activities so far, the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) last Saturday organised a youth stakeholders forum in Port Harcourt, with a charge to the youths to key into the vast business, entrepreneurial and other opportunities that exist in the clean-up of oil impacted sites in Ogoniland in Rivers State.
To this end, the Atlantic Hall of Hotel Presidential, Port Harcourt, the venue of the forum was filled to capacity, as youth leaders, drawn from the four Ogoni – local government areas and beyond including other personalities and stakeholders stormed the event.
In his opening remarks, the Project Coordinator of HYPREP, Dr. Marvin Dekil, while eulogising Ogoni youths for their support and cooperation towards the clean-up exercise, said the project belonged to them and urged them to embrace the vast business opportunities that the remediation process had already thrown up and would still provide for them in the nearest future.
Dekil reiterated that the clean-up exercise was on course as the critical stakeholders in the project were committed in the full implementation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Report on Ogoniland.
According to him, HYPREP was totally committed to discharging its core mandate of remediating oil impacted sites in the area and restoring the livelihoods of the people.
While urging the youths to form cooperatives in order to access the vast business opportunities, Dekil hinted that plans were underway for the agency to train 400 women drawn from the four Ogoni – local government areas in conjunction with the United Nations Institute for Training and Reasearch (UNITAR).
It would be recalled that HYPREP had recently opened technical and financial bids for the remediation proper and it is currently awaiting approval from the Federal Government to deploy successful contractors to commence the clean-up of impacted sites.
The forum, with the theme, “Ogoniland and Clean-Up: Implementing the UNEP Report,” featured the presentation of researched materials by resource persons.
A HYPREP’s consultant, Engr. Charles Okoro, who spoke on ‘Ogoni Clean-Up and Available Business Opportunities,’ explored all the business potentials encapsulated in the UNEP Report, particularly in the areas of livelihoods, health, water and capacity building, among others.
This is even as a lecturer with the Rivers State University, Dr. Kaanakia Konya, in his paper on ‘A Better Alternative To Illegal Refining: Entrepreneurship/ Employability’ further highlighted the benefits inherent in the Ogoni clean-up project.
An activist, Mr. Celestine Akpobari gave an insight into the various struggles and agitations which culminated in the clean-up exercise and stressed the need for Ogoni people, particularly the youths to change their strategies and contribute positively to the development of Ogoniland.
The Commander of HYPREP’s security team, Lt. Col. O. O. Coker, in his presentation, urged the youths to eschew greed, self centredness and selfish interest and pursue goals that would add value to the collective wellbeing of the people, and by so doing improve and develop the society, stressing that peace and security were essential ingredients for the successful clean-up of Ogoniland.
Dignitaries at the forum include Rivers State Commissioner for Environment, Prof. Roseline Konya, President of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), Mr. Legborsi Pygbara, President of KAGOTE, Dr. Peter Medee, a lecturer with the University of Port Harcourt, Prof. Ben Naanen, Paramount Ruler of Ogale Community, HRH Godwin Bebe Okpabi, among others.
Meanwhile, Ogoni youths have dissociated themselves from any act geared towards truncating the clean-up exercise, and passed a resounding vote of confidence on HYPREP.
The President of the National Youth Council of Ogoni People (NYCOP), Dr. Young Nkpah, who made the position of the youths known in a communiqué said the body was satisfied with the way and manner the Ogoni clean-up exercise was progressing, and condemned those hell bent on truncating the process.

 

Donatus Ebi

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Niger Delta

Former First Lady Tasks Women On Peace Building, Conflict Management

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Former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, has called on women to deploy their God-given talents to pursue peace in the society.
She also tasked world leaders to support peace efforts to ensure peace in the Korean Peninsula.
Mrs Jonathan gave the charge Saturday during a virtual International Leadership Conference (ILC) organised by the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) tagged: ‘Toward a Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula’.
A statement from the media and communications officer of the Goodluck Jonathan’s foundation, Mr Wealth Ominabo quoted the former first Lady as saying:
“Women are home builders and constitute majority of caregivers around the world. As critical stakeholders in the peace building process, we must therefore discharge this role with grace, so that together, we can break new grounds and enthrone the world of our dreams. Women are natural peace-builders who play key roles in maintaining peace in our society.
“We, the women, brought our skills in conflict management and reconciliation to bear on the peace processes that resolved the long-drawn crises in Liberia and Northern Ireland.
“This natural capacity of women is recognized by both, United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 and the United States’ Women, Peace and Security Act of 2017, which give women a crucial role in conflict management.
“I therefore call on women organisations to intensify their efforts by deploying our God-given talents on the leadership of North and South Korea to see the need to embrace peace”.
She emphasized that peace is critical to achieving sustainable development and called on leaders of North and South Korea to commit to peace in the Korean Peninsula.
“We call on leaders of North and South Korea, the United States, China, Russia and Japan to support peace efforts.
“Peace is the fertile ground upon which we can nurture development and progress and build hope for our citizens. North and South Korea should set aside their political differences and come together in the interest of global peace and harmony.
“They should remember they once lived together in unity, love and happiness. I know that peace in the Korean Peninsula will be a bonus to global development and a boost to world peace”, she added.

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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Bayelsa Constitutes Committee On Chieftaincy Tussle

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The Bayelsa State Government has set up a seven-man committee to look into the lingering chieftaincy tussle over the Amananaowei stool of Aghoro II community in Ekeremor Local Government Area of the state.
It also approved a 5-member Constitution Drafting Committee as part of efforts to resolve the conflict bedeviling the coastal community.
The state Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, inaugurated both committees when he met with the Chiefs and other critical stakeholders of Aghoro II Community at his office in Government House, Yenagoa.
In a statement issued at the weekend by his media aide, Mr Doubara Atasi, the Deputy Governor, restated the need for the contending parties involved in the chieftaincy dispute to give peace a chance.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo expressed confidence that the committees would do a good job even as government is poised to do everything within its authority to ensure peaceful resolution of the conflict.
He charged the 7-man committee headed by the Technical Adviser to the Governor on Chieftaincy Matters, Chief Douye Naingba, to objectively examine all the issues raised by the various parties and report its findings and recommendations to government within three weeks.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo commended the two main factions for respecting government directives on the matter and urged them to maintain the kind gesture by cooperating with the committees in the interest of the community.
“We have set up a committee that will deal with all the parties involved. They know what to do. They will either bring all parties together at the same time or they will bring each party at a time. You have to cooperate fully with the committee. We are going to make copies of all the documents, which all the interested parties have submitted to government for this assignment”, he said.
“I want to thank God and all of you for maintaining the peace. Since you left here the other day, we have not heard anything untoward and this is what we want to hear, see and encourage. There is no need for us to fight because we all are brothers and sisters. We should allow love, oneness and gentility to prevail over jealousy, selfishness and greed”, he added.
Members of the 7-member Committee include the Technical Adviser to the Governor on Conflict Resolution, Dr Boma Spero-Jack, Chief Godspower Keku, one representative each from the ministries of Justice, Local Government Administration, Ekeremor
Local Government Council and a nominee by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security.
While the Five-man Aghoro II Community Constitution Drafting Committee is made up of a representative each from the Chiefs’ Council, CDC, women and youth groups with an official of the Ministry of Justice representing government as Chairman.
The Committee, which is also expected to complete its assignment within three weeks, has the Aghoro youth representative as Secretary.

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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Green Carnival: C’River To Plant 4.2m Trees

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The Cross River State Government has commenced the planting of trees across the state and its environs to enable the state to have 4.2million trees planted before the end of the month.
To this end, the State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, is expected to issue an Executive Order compelling all landlords in the state to plant at least four trees in their compound each.
Flagging off the initiative tagged ‘Green Carnival’ at the Freedom Park in Calabar, Governor Ayade stated that this year’s Green Carnival, which is themes ‘Go Green , ’ is aimed at providing a cover for the state even as he stressed that the Executive Order will be followed by a legislation.
”We are going to have an Executive Order which would be followed by a law to the House of Assembly mandating every single landlord to plant a minimum of four trees per house.
“This will provide enough tree cover because when we had the last storm in Calabar most roofs were blown off.
“If we had these trees it would have saved us the agony of trying to fix our houses.
“We want to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and it is our responsibility to ensure that at no time do you drive through the streets of Calabar and have the sun at the back of your car.
“The top of your car should go through a canopy and this programme is intended to actually start the planting of trees,” Prof. Ayade said.
Ayade while speaking on illegality perpetrated by illegal loggers who had on several occasions invaded the state forests, he averred that his administration was going to liase with the State House of Assembly to review the forestry laws.
The state governor maintained that the state has reached a point where government has to move from absolute conservation to forest management where continuous planting of trees are guaranteed.
“Because of the massive invasion of our forest by illegal loggers we are going into consultation with the House of Assembly to perhaps move from absolute conservation to forest management.
“We are going to review our forest laws to guarantee continuous planting of trees and not having to wait for the annual green carnival to plant trees,” he added.
The G overnor stated that his administration has acquired a tree transplanter to enable the government transplant trees from one part of the state to another.
Also speaking at the occasion, Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Mfon Bassey, stressed that the drive of the state to achieve a green economy has come to stay.
The commissioner lauded Ayade for putting in place policies and programmes like the Green Carnival to preserve the green economy of the state in order to guarantee healthy living.

By: Friday Nwagbara, Calabar

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