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OML 25: Shell, Communities Broker Peace …Sign MoU July1, Reopen Flow Station

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The stakeholder communities of Oil Mining License (OML) 25 in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State and Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) have agreed on the procedures for the re-opening of the oil facility.
As such, the stakeholder communities and Shell will on Monday, July 1, 2019 sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to be facilitated by the Rivers State Government on their respective responsibilities in the final resolution of the two-year old conflict.
This was the outcome of the meeting, yesterday, between the stakeholder communities of OML 25, SPDC, service commanders and officials of the Rivers State Government on the directive of Governor Nyesom Wike.
To this end, the representative of the Rivers State Governor and Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Dr Tammy Danagogo, has directed the Solicitor-General of the State to draft a memorandum of understanding on the premise of the resolutions reached at the meeting.
He also said that the memorandum of understanding would be signed on Monday, July 1, 2019.
Danagogo outlined the four key resolutions reached during the crucial meeting on the re-opening of OML 25, to include that, “SPDC should pay the agreed funds into an account. The Permanent Secretary, Community Affairs has been mandated to ensure that the funds are transferred to the communities.
“SPDC should be able to pay the available sum latest by Monday. Shell would pay N260million and N75million by Monday.
“The communities should within seven days of signing the resolution, vacate the facility. Also within two weeks, Shell should pay the remaining part of N1.014billion”
The Secretary to the Rivers State Government added that the meeting resolved that SPDC would therefore obtain approval from NAPIMS to pay the money that accrued between 2009 and 2013.
He added that within two weeks of signing the resolution, Rivers State Government will set up a platform for Shell and stakeholder communities to renegotiate the Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU).
The General Manager, External Relations of Shell Petroleum Development Company, Mr Igo Weli said the first set of funds to the stakeholder communities will be paid on Monday.
He stressed that the outcome of the financial reconciliations will be paid within two weeks of signing the resolution.
Weli added that SPDC, in line with the resolution of the meeting, would seek the approval of NAPIMs for payment of funds for 2009 and 2013.
The Chairman of Akuku-Toru Local Government Area, Rowland Sekibo said that the meeting initiated by the Rivers State governor has recorded a milestone with agreement on the funds to be paid by SPDC.
Member of the Rivers State House of Assembly representing Akuku-Toru Constituency 1, Major Jack commended the Rivers State Government, SPDC and stakeholder communities for building synergy which will end in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Monday.
Amanyanabo of Opu-Kula, King Hope Opusingi said that the people of the area were happy with the agreement reached at the meeting, especially the reconciliation of the funds to be paid by SPDC.
He said those occupying the flow station were being paid to do so, adding that technically, the flow station has been opened as the occupants of the facility were doing so illegally.
Also speaking, the Amanyanabo of Kula, King Kroma Eleki called for the development of Kula upon the reopening of OML 25, appealing that the developmental challenges of the community should be resolved.
It would be recalled that Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike on June 22, 2019, directed the Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Dr Tammy Danagogo, to convene a meeting of all key stakeholders in the presence of security service commanders, for the host communities to outline their grievances to Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and for the company to address such development concerns.
Earlier during the first meeting, the Rivers State Government reiterated that the Oil Mining License (OML) 25 must be re-opened for operations with the interest of host communities protected by the operating company, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).
The host communities of OML 25 also stated their developmental concerns, urging SPDC to address them for mutually beneficial relationship with the company to be entrenched.
In a meeting the state government convened between the host communities and SPDC, the representative of Rivers State Governor and Secretary to the State Government, Dr Tammy Danagogo, said that Governor Nyesom Wike remains committed to the protection of host communities’ interest.
He said: “The flow station of that facility must be opened. For that to happen, we think that the interest of the host communities must be protected, so that in future, we don’t have a repeat of what happened.
“That is why it is in the best interest of everybody concerned to state very genuine concerns of what Shell has to do”.
He said that the Rivers State Government was discharging its responsibility of ensuring the peaceful resolution of the issues.
“At the initial stage, we didn’t want to get involved because we felt that the Shell licence was almost terminating. But at this stage, it is clear to everybody that the Federal Government has renewed the licence of Shell for another 20 years. What it means is that for the next 20 years, Shell must be there.
“As a law abiding government, what we will do is to see that Shell does not trample upon the rights of our people. So, now, Shell will listen to our people on what they ought to do”, he said.
He urged the communities to do what is right; assuring that the state government would, on that premise, prevail on Shell to release the Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) funds.
In his remarks, General Manager, External Relations of Shell, Mr Igo Weli said that the SPDC was ready to dialogue with the communities and resolve the issues raised.
Weli said that the existing GMoU has expired, but assured that working with the communities, another GMoU would be worked out for the development of the communities.
“The third one is retaining of fund. The fund for each community is stipulated in the GMoU, and each community will have their community trust, and even though one community has a problem, we can give you your money to go ahead.
“So, once we do it properly, specify how much belongs to each community, have your own community trust, one community will not hold the other communities down. If you have a problem, we localise the problem and sort out the one we can operate. That’s what we have been doing”, Weli added.
He disclosed that there was N960million on ground outstanding from the previous GMoU, saying that the company was ready to invest the funds.
“There is no perfect solution. Once we get 80 per cent of the people to agree, then, let’s do it. We want to operate in a way that all stakeholders will feel recognised. There are rules. Once we agree on the rules, we will move forward. The GMoU will be modified to meet the new realities”, he said.
Also speaking, the Amanyanabo of Kula, King Kroma Eleki alleged that Shell had worked with a section of the kingdom and marginalised others, insisting that some community leaders also created the atmosphere for the marginalisation of the kingdom.
He said that when Shell started operations, it was agreed that 60 per cent of proceeds must go to Kula community and 30 per cent to Belema, but regretted that Shell failed to respect the agreement.
Eleki said though the Federal Government can open the OML 25, Shell should carry out its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) diligently to the communities, and also called on the Federal Government to work towards protecting the interest of the host communities.
Amanyanabo of Belema, King Ibinabo Kalaoriye said Belema was the host community, but all the funds meant for the host community were diverted to Kula.
He said that OML 25 was illegally occupied by some persons who connived with another set of soldiers to take over the facility.
Kalaoriye said that going forward; no funds meant for the development of Belema community should be sent to Kula, explaining that despite the challenges, Shell had executed some important projects in the area as a result of the existence of the OML 25.
Also speaking, the Amanyanabo of Opu-Kula, King Hope Opusingi said Shell should come out clean and declare the funds due the communities on the basis of the GMoU.
He said that the meeting should agree on the amount of the funds that Shell should invest and the communities that are entitled to the investment.
The meeting had in attendance the Chairman of Akuku-Toru Local Government Area, Hon Rowland Sekibo, the member representing Akuku-Toru Constituency 1 at the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon Major Jack and member representing Akuku-Toru Constituency 2 at the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon Opuende Lolo, and the community development committees of the stakeholder communities of OML 25.

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How Soldiers Helped Me Escape, Kidnap Kingpin Reveals …They Opened Fire On Police, Took Me To Their HQ, Cut My Handcuffs …How We Re-Arrested Hamisu Wadume –Police …IGP Hails Operatives

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A suspected kidnap lord in Taraba State, Hamisu Bala popularly known as Wadume, has been reportedly re-arrested and taken to the Louis Edet House Force headquarters in Abuja.
It was not immediately clear when and where Wadume was taken into custody, but a police source confirmed the development, yesterday.
However, Wadume was sighted at the Force Headquarters in Abuja, yesterday.
In his reaction, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr Mohammed Adamu, has commended the police operatives for their painstaking efforts in the re-arrest of Taraba notorious kidnap kingpin, Alhaji Hamisu Wadume.
The Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), DCP Frank Mba, disclosed this, yesterday, in a statement in Abuja.
He said Wadume was re-arrested in the late hours of Monday in his hideout at Layin Mai Allo Hotoro area of Kano State.
Mba said the police had been on a massive manhunt for the suspect since August 6.
He said the manhunt followed the incident in Ibi, Taraba that led to the killing of three police officers and two civilians as well as injuring of five others.
Mba said the suspect, who was appropriately restrained at the time of the first arrest, was subsequently released by his “rescuers”.
The FPRO said the IGP had expressed his profound gratitude to Nigerians for their show of love and empathy to the Force and the families of the murdered officers and civilians.
“The re-arrest of Wadume will help in bringing answers to the numerous but hitherto unanswered questions touching on the incident and the larger criminal enterprise of the suspect,” Mba quoted the IGP as saying.
It would be recalled that Wadume was the ‘high profile’ kidnapping suspect arrested by the police on August 6.
He was being driven to Jalingo, the state capital by the police team when soldiers opened fire on them along Ibi-Wukari Road, killing three police officers and a civilian.
The attack immediately sparked friction between the police and the Nigerian Army, as well as a nationwide apprehension, prompting President Muhammadu Buhari to order an investigation.
The investigation panel, which includes persons with police and military background, was initially scheduled to conclude its findings, last week, but the team sought additional two weeks to wrap up.
Meanwhile, captured suspected kidnapper, HamisuBala Wadume, has explained how he escaped from the operatives of Intelligence Response Team on August 6.
Wadume escaped from the custody of IRT operatives when they came under attack from soldiers attached to Battalion 93, Takum, Taraba State, as they conveyed the kidnap suspect from the scene of his arrest.
The Army later explained that the soldiers attacked the IRT operatives when they mistook them for criminals, following a distress call they had received.
In the said attack, three policemen and a civilian were killed, while five other operatives sustained injuries.
Wadume was, however, re-arrested on the eve of Monday, August 19, Force spokesperson Frank Mba said yesterday
In a video clip posted on the verified Twitter handle of Nigeria Police Force yesterday, Wadume, who spoke in Hausa, virtually implicated soldiers at the Battalion 93, Takum, Taraba State, in his escape from the IRT custody.
Wadume spoke in Hausa, which was interpreted by our in-house staff member.
The suspect, who is alleged to have received millions of naira as ransom from his victims, said, “My name is Hamisu Bala Wadume.
“Police came to arrest me, When they arrested me, army chased after them and opened fire.
“From there, they (soldiers) took me to their headquarters, and cut up my handcuffs.
“I went back to my house and Police came to re-arrest me…”
Also, Force spokesman, Frank Mba, has described how the Police re-arrested millionaire kidnapper, Hamisu Wadume.
Wadume escaped when the operatives of Intelligence Response Team came under attack from soldiers attached to Battalion 93, Takum, Taraba State, as they conveyed the kidnap suspect from the scene of his arrest.
“His arrest followed massive manhunt launched by the Police special forces and IRT members,” Mba said in a statement released to media yesterday.
The statement read, “The operatives of the Nigeria Police have re-arrested the notorious kidnap kingpin, Alhaji Hamisu Bala Wadume.
“He was re-arrested in the late hours of Monday, August 19, at his hideout at Layin Mai Allo Hotoro area of Kano State.
“It would be recalled that the Police had been on the massive manhunt for the suspect, Alhaji HamisuBala Wadume, since August 6, following the unfortunate incident in Ibi, Taraba State which resulted in the brutal murder of three Police Officers and two civilians, and injury to five others.
“The suspect, who was appropriately restrained at the time of the incident, was subsequently released by his “rescuers” after they had destroyed the restraining handcuffs.”
The Police noted that Wadume’s arrest,” will, no doubt, help in bringing answers to the numerous but hitherto unanswered questions touching on the incident and the larger criminal enterprise of the suspect”.
Reacting to the recapture of the kidnapper, the Inspector General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu, has commended the police operatives for their efforts in the re-arrest of Taraba notorious kidnap kingpin, Alhaji Hamisu Wadume.
The Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Frank Mba, disclosed this yesterday in a statement in Abuja.
He said Wadume was re-arrested in the late hours of Monday in his hideout at Layin Mai Allo Hotoro area of Kano State.
Mba said the police had been on a massive manhunt for the suspect since August 6.
He said the manhunt followed the incident in Ibi, Taraba that led to the killing of three police officers and two civilians as well as injuring of five others.
Mba said the suspect, who was appropriately restrained at the time of the first arrest, was subsequently released by his “rescuers”.
The FPRO said the IGP had expressed his profound gratitude to Nigerians for their show of love and empathy to the Force and the families of the murdered officers and civilians.
“Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police, IGP M.A Adamu, NPM, mni while commending the Police operatives for their perseverance and painstaking efforts, has expressed his profound gratitude to all Nigerians for their unparalleled show of love and empathy to the Force and the families of the officers and patriotic civilians who paid the supreme price in the service of their fatherland.
It is his belief that the re-arrest of Wadume, will help in bringing answers to the numerous but hitherto unanswered questions touching on the incident and the larger criminal enterprise of the suspect,” Mba quoted the IGP as saying. The Army is yet to respond to the allegation of the kidnap kingpin.

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Wike Lauds US, RSG’s Synergy To Fight HIV/AIDS …As Symington Unveils $75m Funding Grant

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has commended the United States Government for working with the state government to reduce the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the state.
Also, the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador Stuart Symington said that the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) administered by the U.S. Centre for Disease Control (CDC), U.S. Department of Defence, and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) was implementing an Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) surge programme in Rivers State to identify and provide treatment to approximately 180,000 PLHIV who have not previously received such.
The two leaders spoke at the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday, during a high-profile meeting on the promotion of the health of Rivers people.
Wike said: “I want to thank the Government of the United States for working with the Rivers State Government to reduce the prevalence of HIV/AIDS.
“I thank the United States Government for recognising the contributions of the Rivers State Government in the fight against HIV/AIDS “.
Wike assured the United States Government that his administration would continue to fund programmes that would reduce the prevalence of the healthcare challenge.
“We will continue to work for the reduction of HIV/AIDS in the state. We are glad that we are partners with the US Government. For us, health is key. Education is key. With Education, you can talk to people on measures to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.
“At present, with the support of the United States Government, we are running 115 sites to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS”, he said.
He said that the health programmes of the Rivers State Government is yielding results as the immunisation statistics of the state has moved from 54 per cent to 82 per cent.
Speaking further, Wike thanked the United States Government for insisting that votes count in Rivers State during the last General Election.
He said that the United States Government ensured that democracy survived in the country, despite the fact that it came under threat.
It would recalled that Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike recently announced that the Rivers State Government would pay the user-fees for People Living with HIV in the state to access free treatment.
In his remarks, the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador Stuart Symington said the U.S. Government’s $75million budget increase for HIV control activities in Nigeria, with about $25million allocated for the ART surge activities.
Symington thanked Wike for announcing his intent to eliminate user-fees for PLHIV.
The ambassador emphasized that Wike’s pronouncement serves as an example to other states and the Federal Government to eliminate such user-fees.
“The United States remains committed to supporting Nigeria as it works to reduce and ultimately eliminate the scourge of HIV/AIDS among its people,” Symington said.
He noted the increased funding to make anti-retrovirals available would enable more people living with HIV to lead healthy, productive lives until the day a cure for the virus is found.
Symington noted that disbursement of the additional PEPFAR HIV funds are contingent upon Nigerian federal and state governments’ reducing or eliminating financial barriers to PLHIV access to services, in particular fees charged by healthcare facilities for non-essential services or those already provided by PEPFAR.
The U.S. delegation was in Rivers State to advocate for elimination of user-fees for all people living with HIV, antenatal care charges for pregnant women living with the virus, and other barriers hindering PLHIV from accessing health services.
Earlier, on August 19, Symington had paid a similar visit to Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel in Government House, Uyo, the state capital, with members of the diplomatic corps.
During the meeting, Governor Udom Emmanuel applauded the existing bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the United States of America which has spanned several decades, and particularly thanked the US Ambassador for his contributions to make Akwa Ibom and Nigeria a global family through economic, educational and cultural cooperation.
He expressed appreciation to the diplomatic corps in their observer role during the last elections in the country and the rich counsel to the stakeholders for a hitch-free democratic process.
The state chief executive also expressed appreciation to the United state for the choice of Akwa Ibom in the pilot scheme to reduce the HIV/AIDS pandemic is a coastal state bordering other state and countries who interface daily for commerce and other economic pursuits, adding that Akwa Ibom is richly blessed by human and economic potentials and sued for more bilateral cooperation to create wealth both for the state and country.
He described Symington as a brother with a passion for humanity and expressed regret that his tenure in the country as an ambassador is short-lived and wished him well as he returns to his home country.
In his remark, the outgoing Ambassador of the United States of America, Mr Stuart Symington, had described Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel’s vision to industrialize Akwa Ibom State, equipped health care facilities and provide beautiful road network as placing the state on the global map as the state with the treasure.
While expressing appreciation to the people of Akwa Ibom and Nigeria for the hospitality accorded him throughout his stay in the country, the US envoy said that for sustainable development his country has chosen Akwa Ibom for the implementation of the health care support next year to stem the tide of HIV/AIDS pandemic and make the state a place for succour to those affected by the disease.
These, he said, was buoyed by the love for humanity and the future of the younger generations and those unborn.
He said that provision is made for a hundred and thirty patients to benefit from the Health support system.
The highpoint of the event was a toast proposed by former Ambassador to Russia, Chief Assam Assam SAN, for long-lasting relationships and love for humanity in the global family.
Earlier, Akwa Ibom State Government had disclosed that it is set to partner the United States of America in healthcare and other development efforts aimed at making life meaningful to humanity.
Udom said that his administration has invested so much to transform the health care delivery system to save lives.
According to him, you cannot talk about human capital development without a functional health care system.
Udom expressed appreciation to the US and its development agencies in the plan to partner the state in the fight against HIV/AIDS to reduce the scourge in the country and other countries within the Gulf of Guinea.
The state chief executive described as alarming the 130,000 targets set by the agency to address the menace, and called for accuracy and transparency in the records and expenditures of funds allotted for the program.
He, however, said that as a border state in the coastal region, there is an influx of people from other states and countries to transact business in the state it becomes expedient to partner to save humanity in the global family.
Udom said that relevant agencies would have to collaborate with personnel from the state, and expressed the hope that with the health care facilities on ground Akwa Ibom best suits the pilot scheme and thanked the United States for the choice of the state for the programme.
The governor, however, took exception to the fact that over $30 billion had been expended in the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic without any verifiable records, nor input from the relevant agencies in the state.
He congratulated Governor Emmanuel on his re-election and the investment in the health care delivery system as well the industrialization of the state.
He said the visit which is his last as the Ambassador to Nigeria was to intimate the government and people of the state of the United States contributions to stem the HIV/AIDS pandemic and to provide necessary assistance to those who are infected and to provide drugs, equipment and personnel to help humanity.
Symington applauded Governor Emmanuel for the high premium placed on the healthcare delivery system and his efforts at transforming all the secondary health centres to meet international standards.
He sued for collaboration to stem the tide of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases.
The ambassador pledged his governments readiness to partner the state in education, healthcare, agriculture and commerce.

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S’Eagles’ Coach Backs Alex Iwobi To Succeed At Everton

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Alex Iwobi has the potential to become a key figure for Premier League side, Everton, according to Nigeria national team assistant coach, Imama Amapakabo.
The 23-year-old joined the Toffees on a five-year deal from Arsenal for a fee of an initial £28million deal – which could rise to £34million with add-ons.
Iwobi has yet to make his debut for Everton (he remained on the bench for the duration of the win over Watford at Goodison Park this past weekend) but he should see regular playing time for the Merseyside club.
And his move has been given a ringing endorsement from Amapakabo, who is Gernot Rohr’s right-hand man with the Super Eagles.
“I think he has been able to prove himself that he’s a good player, he didn’t just sell himself to Everton, they came for him knowing the reason why they came for him and the role he’s going to play for them,” Amakarkabo told newsmen.
“The league just started in England, let’s give him some time we will be able to have a discussion with anyone that will doubt Iwobi’s capabilities.
“He is a young lad, and he has his football ahead of him so, let us give him all the backing that we need to give him, hopefully at the end of the season, we would be able to take stock of how well he has fared with Everton.”

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