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Dangers Of ‘Kpo-Fire’ Kerosene

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The Nigerian masses have been known to develop such degree of docility and resilience which makes it possible for them to tolerate all kinds of injustices and indignities, without strong resistance. Such state of mind and attitude of submission to oppressive conditions are left-over effects of slavery and militarism, which Nigerians had experienced as historical realities. Responses to such human abuses include superficial aggressiveness and braggadocio, known colloquially as “gra-gra”. But behind such superficiality usually lies some fear and weakness.
Studies in historical abuse of the human psyche always point to the fact that application of fear and the bestiality of power, can turn humans to become submissive animals. Probably the long-term price which the people of former Eastern Nigeria had to pay for rebellion is “Plucking of their wings, to tame their arrogance and pride”. That statement about “Plucking” of wings was actually made in a “signal” by a hero of the Nigerian Civil War, who is still alive today.
Therefore, examining issues connected with the “kpo-fire” phenomenon would require bringing in elements of illegal refineries, pipe-line vandalisation and militancy associated with oil-producing zones in Nigeria. The venom of the Nigerian Civil War is not quite over in the minds of some people, neither is the Army signal about plucking wings to tame pride and arrogance, erased in the minds of some people.
To say that conflicts are not over, until they are properly resolved, to the satisfaction of all the parties involved, cannot be a hate speech. Neither would it be wrong to remind Nigerians that late Senator Francis Ellah resigned as a Senator based on sound democratic principle. In the first 10 years after the end of “Biafra” issue, there were whisperings that a “war indemnity” or some subtle form of penalty was tactfully imposed on certain section of the country. Senator Francis Ellah’s Unfinished Motion and his resignation as a Senator had to do with suppression of the idea of war indemnity. Were we not told that there was no victor or vanquished?
Hypocrisy and corruption are among the viruses which destroy the integrity of nations. Even though no one has raised the issue of an intercepted signal pointing towards definite policies. All may be fair in war situation, and fair may befoul and foul fair among witches and perhaps politicians, such aberrations have their left-over effects.
A research student trying to investigate the genesis of “419” or stealing by tricks in Nigeria pointed fingers at “policies which sought to stifle the economic survival” of certain people after the Nigerian Civil War. Big effects usually arise from small causes which may be intended to spite an opponent. Thus, when we heat the furnace so hot for our enemies, we may single ourselves at the end. Obviously when people are pushed to the wall in a clever way they react cleverly!
What is referred to in this article as “kpo-fire” kerosene is an adulterated and dangerous fuel derived from illegal refineries of crude oil in crude manner. Varieties of such adulterated kerosene are commonly found in oil-producing communities in Southern parts of Nigeria. People who engage in such illegal and crude refining activities are usually jobless youths and adults looking for ways and means to survive in a ruthless economy. For a long time, those involved in the production of dangerous fuel have been having a running battle with security agencies. Have Niger Delta people been treated fairly?
It would even be more dangerous if one should make a public revelation of findings derived from private investigations in this matter. The possibility of mutual understanding, collaboration, cooperation and profit-sharing cannot be ruled out between the “hunted and the hunter”. Neither is the crude way of burning crude refineries and their illegal products, a better alternative to the danger of “kpo-fire” kerosene.
The more those operators of illegal refineries are chased about be security agencies, the more scarce and higher the prices of the products. Currently, one large bottle of “kpo-fire” kerosene sells for N300, a price which varies according to the hazards associated with the production and smuggling network. Neither can original and genuine kerosene be found easily to buy as an alternative to the dangerous one. Experiences of many families with “kpo-fire” are not exposed.
The culture of product adulteration in Nigeria has taken on the status of a plague, such that everything genuine and original is quickly corrupted and debased. It has become quite difficult to differentiate between a genuine product and a fake one, the same way it is to tell which Nigerian is honest or crooked. Search for desperate means of survival in a harsh economy force many Nigerians into engaging in sharp and unethical practices. Greed for profit may not be responsible for acts of desperation and illegality. Game of survival can be ruthless; it devolves around oil and gas.
Dangers of “kpo-fire” kerosene go beyond domestic fire outbreak, but also include health hazards arising from inhalation of soot. Economically, users of “kpo-fire” kerosene complain that it burns out faster and also generates heat and smoke. Since it is not properly refined, “kpo-fire” kerosene poses other dangers too. The NNPC and other relevant agencies can bring succour by ensuring that genuine kerosene is easily available for the public to buy. Dealers in cooking gas have been known to add to the misery of the masses by cheating in various ways. There are complaints of water mixed in gas.
Rather than make more and more laws in Nigeria, including one on hate speech, available laws should be enforced with firmness and justice. Nigerians would rise up and embrace patriotism if those who lead them are seen to set the pace and live by examples rather than precepts. Who are the users of “kpo-fire” kerosene if not the poor masses? It can’t find any way to the homes of our rulers.

 

Bright Amirize

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Wike Lifts Curfew On Parts Of Port Harcourt …Lifts Suspension Of Obio/Akpor LG Chairman, Deputy …As RSG Moves To Implement Palliatives

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has lifted the curfew imposed on Education Bus Stop to Agip Junction along Ikwerre Road, and Obiri-Ikwerre Junction to Ozuoba, Rumualogu and Choba, effective, today.
Wike also lifted the suspension of the chairman and deputy chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area.
He announced these decisions during a state broadcast, yesterday.
Wike said: “With effect from tomorrow, April 3, 2020, the 24 hours curfew imposed from Education Bus Stop to Agip Junction along Ikwerre Road and Obiri-Ikwerre Junction to Ozuoba, Rumualogu and Choba has been lifted.
“All borders and markets in the state remain closed.
“Following the interventions of some well-meaning citizens of the state, the suspension of the chairman and deputy chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area has been lifted.
“However, this should serve as a warning to local government chairmen and traditional rulers who will allow markets to be open in their areas.
“Residents of Mgbuosimini-Rumueme in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area are hereby warned to desist from flouting government directive on closure of markets or be prepared to face unpleasant consequences.
“Commercial vehicle operators will soon get appropriate directives on their operations in order to maintain social distancing”, the governor said.
Wike explained that his administration was working out palliative measures to cushion the effects of the sit-at-home directive.
He said: “Implementation of palliatives to cushion the effects of recent directives on the citizens will soon take effect.
“International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the state should support government by donating towards the containment of the virus”, he appealed.
The governor thanked Rivers people for their cooperation, saying, “My Dear Good People of Rivers State, let me sincerely thank all of you for your patience and understanding all these days.
“The sacrifices we are all making have greatly helped us not to record any positive case since the index case was reported.
“As we continue to put in our best as human beings, we expect that the Almighty God will intervene on our behalf and wipe away this plague from our midst.
“May I, therefore, urge you all to continue to seek the face of God as we earnestly await His divine intervention,” he added.

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US, UK Diaspora Groups Hail Wike’s Measures Against COVID-19 Spread

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Two Rivers groups based in the United States of America, Ikwerre Peoples Forum, and Rivers Development Forum, have commended the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike for taking proactive measures to check the spread of Coronavirus in the state.
In separate press statements, yesterday, the two groups expressed satisfaction that the governor was committed to the protection of Rivers people through actions that have stopped the explosion of Coronavirus in the state.
The Chairman of Ikwerre Peoples Forum, USA, Mr Michael Ewule, said that after Lagos State, Rivers State was the next major hub in the country that can be accessed through air, land and sea.
He said that the determined efforts of Wike saved the state from the uncontrolled spread of Coronavirus in the state.
The forum stated that: “We have watched closely what is happening all around Nigeria, and we are happy that our Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has worked hard to prevent Coronavirus from spreading.
“We support the measures that have been taken by Governor Nyesom Wike to stop Coronavirus from killing our people. Worldwide, such measures have been taken by governments to stop Coronavirus”, the forum noted.
The group urged the Rivers State Government to continue to review the measures in line with new developments.
The forum stated that it was working with non-governmental organisations and faith-based groups in Rivers State to reach out to Rivers people with donations of hand sanitizers and face masks.
The group also commended Governor Nyesom Wike for setting up a world-class treatment centre, which was handling the index case in the state.
The IPF further lauded the Rivers State governor for mobilising health professionals, facilities and drugs to tackle the disease.
Similarly, the Chairman of Rivers Development Forum, USA, Piegbara Baridoma, said the union was happy with Governor Nyesom Wike for working for the people at this tough time.
He called on Rivers people to support the governor to keep the state healthy through the right measures.
Baridoma noted that the sensitization process by the Rivers State Government since the index case of Coronavirus in Nigeria was reported has helped to create awareness of the disease in the state.
He explained that because the people are aware, it would be easier for health professionals in the state to contain the disease.
Meanwhile, Rivers United Front, a Coalition of Rivers State Indigenes based in the United Kingdom has commended Governor Nyesom Wike for displaying pragmatic leadership in the fight against coronavirus.
In a statement issued by the President and the Secretary of the Group, Dr.Tubotamuno Mpaka and Mr. Kingsley Chimzi respectively, they stated that the proactive approach employed by the Governor has helped to contain the virus.

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Lockdown: Open Food Reserve Centres Now, PDP Tells Buhari

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Federal lawmakers from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the House of Representatives have urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately unlock the national food reserve agency and distribute items to Nigerians across the 774 local government areas.
This, they said, will curb the spate of hunger in the land amid the lockdown order to halt the spread of Coronavirus pandemic in the country.
In a statement issued by the parliamentarians under the umbrella name, “PDP House of Reps Caucus”, yesterday, signed by their leader, Hon. Kingsley Chinda (Rivers State, PDP) and made available to newsmen in Abuja, the members said that available records indicated that compliance to total lockdown has not always been 100 per cent successful if the food question was not addressed.
While commending Buhari for the directive during his state broadcast last Sunday, the caucus, in the statement titled, “COVID-19 Pandemic: A Call for Further and Decentralized Action”, also asked the National Assembly to immediately enact a law for national food prices control.
The caucus said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly taken our country on the emergency course, unexpected and unanticipated at the beginning of the year that strategic legal, policy and legislative responses have dovetailed into measures directed at curtailing or halting the pandemic.
“As members of the PDP Caucus of the House of Representatives, we have consistently called, and we still continue to call, for measured responses that take the poor economic conditions of Nigerians, the rights of citizens, the scaling up of the medicare framework, into account in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While many governors have stepped away from what Prof Wole Soyinka rightly described this week as an attempt to halt the spread of the pandemic virus by constitutional piracy, we note that the absence of a structured federal response, based on the dictates of the law, may have led them to ramp up measures outside the remit of their constitutional powers.
“The rule of law has now prevailed, and it is in this light we welcome some of the measures outlined in the President’s belated broadcast and in the Regulation (COVID-19 Regulation 2020) made pursuant to Sections 2, 3 and 4 of the Quarantine Act; though the presidential broadcast and Regulation took a long time coming. Well, better late than never. While we find the measures largely satisfying, it is our considered view that the palliative measures outlined in the presidential broadcast and regulation are not far-reaching enough, while some are completely inapplicable.
“Experiences through history have shown that citizens’ rights to movement are often heavily implicated when measures directed at halting the spread of contagious diseases and restoring public safety do not address the food question behind the curtains, worsening food security conditions.
“During the Ebola outbreak a few years ago, citizens of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone openly defied the restrictions that were imposed on movement to limit the transmission of the disease, after staying indoors for a few days in hunger. We must learn quickly from these experiences by ensuring that immediate measures on food security are ramped up.
“One way of doing this is to open up our national food and grain reserves across the country and distribute food to the poorest of the poor in our country at the Local government level. The President should as a matter of utmost urgency issue an Executive Order, pursuant to his powers preserved by Section 5 of the Constitution 1999, directing the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, National Food Reserve Agency and National Emergency Management Authority to release and manage the distribution of food in our national reserves.
“The Executive Order must set out clear consequences for breach, particularly as they relate to public officials who seize on the times to make brisk businesses and gains from the miseries of the people.
“Other measures such as food prices control should be ramped up; though specific, targeted and temporary legislation on food prices control will be needed for enforcement. This is where the National Assembly comes in – by establishing a framework of teleconferencing and social media communication, where the current lockdown and the medical advisories that bar public gatherings make it impossible for the reconvening of the National Assembly, to deliberate and pass such bills, as the Food Prices Control, COVID-19 Containment, Emergency and Disaster Management, into law.”
Also commending the Speaker of the House, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila and the House for the timely passage of an emergency bill to provide palliatives and the donation of members’ of March and April, 2020 salaries to fight the disease, the opposition lawmakers, however, asked that their deductions be transferred directly to their constituencies, saying they had no confidence in the sharing formula of the government.

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