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Belemaoil Donates Duplex, Music House To Jim Rex Lawson’s Band Member

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A 74 year old music legend and a surviving member of the Jim Rex Lawson Music Band Tamunoemi Gold is now a beneficiary of a 5-Bedroom Duplex, a Music House and Instruments in Buguma, Asari-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The gesture is an empowerment initiative by the Belemaoil Joint Venture in collaboration with the Jack-Rich Tein Aid Foundation and Belema Aid Foundation for the advancement of Music, Arts and Culture in the Niger Delta.
The Amanyanabo of Kalabari Kingdom King T.J.T Princewill represented by his Secretary Alabo Prince Dateme who commissioned the building said the Kingdom is pleased with the donor who is an ilustrious son of Kalabari Kingdom Engr. Tein Jack-Rich, for identifying and encouraging what he described as a rare musical talent of Tamunoemi Gold.
The Managing Director of the company, Mr. Pedro Diaz represented by the General Manager, Geosolutions, Mr. Sunday Akpaduado during the commissioning of the building in Buguma on 28th January 2020, said the gesture was an act of magnanimity by the Founder and President of Belemaoil which coincided with his birthday.
He said the company is committed in making visible footprint in its areas of operation.
According to Mr Akpaduado “Today is a very important day to all of us in Belemaoil and I believe, to many people here in Kalabari and other people in Rivers State. I do not know the extent of my joy. When I look back and I look at history, I believe today is a very special day. I don’t know how many people are happy today. I am directed by Engr. Tein Jack-Rich, he is our Founder, he is our mentor, he is our driver; and the Managing Director of Belemaoil, Mr. Pedro Diaz. You have heard some history about the origin of this building. Today is to celebrate the culture of Kalabari Kingdom, the culture of our people in the riverine area, the culture of Nigeria, because Kalabari is a significant place in this country by way of knowledge, by way of achievement. There are many significant people that have risen from this Kingdom, then came our Engr. Tein. Some of our projects are all over the place. We want our identity to be in all the rural communities where we dwell, where we make our money, that is the idea and I believe”.
For his part, the Manager, External Relations, Belemaoil, Samuel Abel-Jumbo said the gesture is in recognition of the impact of the beneficiary in Music, Arts and Culture in Kalabari Kingdom, Niger Delta and the country at large.
“Belemaoil has a Founder/President who is very desirous in empowering humanity. This is one of such gestures that demonstrates his desire to support humanity, to empower humanity, to take mankind from a particular stage to a higher stage. Like they used to say that charity begins at home. The Founder/President of Belemaoil, Tein Jack-Rich has started this demonstration from his home, from his kingdom, Kalabari Kingdom, from Rivers State. So we are very proud to associate with this project that was initiated by the Founder/President of Belemaoil, Tein Jack-Rich in collaboration with Belema Aid Foundation and the Jack-Rich Tein Aid Foundation. This is not just Kalabari music, it is music as a whole. It is for the youths of the Niger Delta, youths of the Kalabari Kingdom to have access to such opportunities that will be able to re-focus, re-direct and re-channel their strength and energy into much more productive ventures and the likes of Tamunoemi Gold provides that opportunity. His generation has what they will be celebrated for what they were able to bring to bear in music and art, so we won’t allow their generation to pass-by without transmitting what they have to the upcoming generation.
Belemaoil, while we do things like infrastructural development and buildings here and there, water provision, we also do things like economic empowerment and intellectual capacity development. So this is a demonstration that Tamunoemi Gold has created an impact, not just in Kalabari, within the Niger Delta and Nigeria at large”.
Also, speaking, Prominent Niger Delta Leader, Asari Dokubo commended Belemaoil for giving the beneficiary a new lease of life by recognition his impact in the music and culture of Kalabari Kingdom.
“For me, this is one of the greatest opportunities that has been given. Mr. Tamunoemi Gold has been resurrected, he was dead. This has not happened before. A lot of persons will say we are flattering people. If your brother is doing the right thing you have to praise him. Shell and Chevron are the main oil companies that were operating in this part of the world in Kalabari land we have never seen something like this before now. Who would have remembered Tamunoemi Gold if not for one of his sons. So what Tein Jack-Rich is doing, what Belemaoil is doing, has never happened before, we are very very grateful and on-behalf of Tamunoemi Gold and others like him, we want to tell Belemaoil a big thank you for what has happened and we encourage that more people should benefit from what is happening today. I feel like crying because I know Tamunoemi Gold, he is my cousin and lifting him out, lifting him up is something that should enliven and excite everyone of us. Belemaoil should continue to set the pace for our people”.
For the Chairman, Interim Committee of Performing Musician Association of Nigeria, PMAN, Rivers State Chapter, Mr. Arthur Pepple Jnr. the gesture was the first of its kind.
He said “I am here with our elder, a veteran, a legend, Mr. Tamunoemi Gold, who has just been given a very wonderful edifice by our brother and friend from the Niger Delta, Founder/President of Belemaoil, Engr. Tein Jack-Rich, a man who has been supporting Entertainment business in Niger Delta and Nigeria at large. Today happens to be one of the greatest days for entertainers in Rivers State and in Niger Delta because we have not seen such an empowerment before. We say a very big thank you to Tein Jack-Rich. We say thank you and may God continue to bless you”.
The music legend and beneficiary Tamunoemi Gold who thrilled guests at the occasion with his musical performance expressed gratitude to the Founder and President of Belemaoil Mr. Tein Jack-Rich saying it would prolong his life.
Mr. Gold said “I’m the happiest man today in this world. I am 74 today and for me to have a building of my own especially with musical instrument means a lot. Now it has prolonged my life. I have nothing more to say but I give Ten Jack-Rich to the control and guide of Almighty God and I pray to God to prolong his life more than mine. I think I am the first person, of all the musicians that have benefitted from such gesture. No musician has gotten such gift before now. Music has to do with passion, it is a gift from God. Music calls those who like it. There are those who just play it. But I love music and that was why I learnt it from my childhood till now”.
In his own remarks, the Amanyanabo of Kula Kingdom and Chairman Kula Supreme Council of Traditional Rulers, King (Dr.) Kroma Eleki,(JP), Sara XIV, commended the Founder/President of Belemaoil Producing Limited for resuscitating the ailing Akaso Cultural Society of Kalabari Kingdom with the donation of the Musical House to the Kalabari music legend Tamunoemi Gold.
King Kroma said “I am one of the patrons of Akaso Cultural Society (ACS), I love culture. Today, while we are thanking Tein Jack-Rich for this kind gesture we should also appeal to our young ones not to allow ACS to die. Because about four years ago when I saw some of them and I told them look, ACS is dying and they told me ACS will not die. And today by the special grace of God Engr. Tein Jack-Rich, Founder/President of Belemaoil has come to resuscitate the ailing and dying association. So, young ones, try to emulate the footsteps of Tamunoemi so that we will revive ACS”.
For his part, The Amanyanabo of Twon-Brass and former Governor old Rivers State, HRM King Alfred Diete Spiff who was represented by Prince Iwefa Aganaba described music as a veritable tool for economic growth.
He opined that such empowerment initiative by the Founder and President of Belemaoil would preserve the culture of Kalabari Kingdom which he described as priceless.
Mr Aganaba said “The music industry today is booming and is one of the credible tools for economic growth. Cultural music is unique, it is priceless so there should be measures to train the next generation. Commended the very special initiative and to tell him that he has done what coming generations will emulate. We encourage him not to stop doing what he is doing”.
Other dignitaries who graced the occasion include Paramount Ruler and head of Belema Community, King Bourdillon Ekine, Publicity Secretary of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, His Highness Anabs Sara-Igbe, President of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, Sukubo Sara-Igbe Sukubo amongst others.

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Editorial

S’ South: Need For Unity

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On Monday, March 16, 2020, a team of leaders of the Niger Delta region was in Government House, Port Harcourt, on a special visit to the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike. The mission of the high-powered delegation was to prevail on the Rivers State Chief Executive to be the arrowhead of the push for the development of the richly endowed but largely marginalized region.
Leader of the team, Elder T.K. Ogorimagba, disclosed that their visit was primarily to urge Gov Wike to consider being the number one advocate for the development of the South-South region.
Accordingly, the elder statesman described Wike as the ‘Advocate of the region’, and urged the Rivers State governor to host a conference of ethnic nationalities of the South-South region to strategise on achieving consensus on promoting the development of the area.
This was after a member of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon Smart Adoki, had intimated the governor that the Niger Delta leaders were in Government House to thank him (Wike) for providing leadership for the region and to appeal to him to work for the restoration of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) in the interest and benefit of the people of the region.
In his response, Governor Wike decried the manifest disunity and disharmony among the ethnic nationalities in the Niger Delta and called for unity and a commitment to building a strong bond of togetherness that will foster the needed development of the region.
The governor emphasised that discordant voices from the same region along ethnic and political affiliations will not only continue to tear the region apart but will also continue to empower the forces of social, political and economic marginalization, oppression and suppression against the people of the Niger Delta.
“We must speak with one voice, irrespective of the political party that we belong to. The time has come for us to work together. If we don’t work together, we will continue to lose out,’’ he said, adding that ‘’ the song we should sing is the Niger Delta, not that of any specific ethnic group.
‘’When we sing the song of any specific ethnic group, it is difficult to unite. Let’s not restrict our struggle to that of any particular ethnic nationality.’’
Governor Wike noted that ‘’It is unfortunate that the NDDC cannot deliver on regional projects. There are no interstate roads and NDDC has not done any major project. Instead, the NDDC is engaged in micro projects to promote political interests.’’
The Tide cannot agree any less with the Rivers State Chief Executive that the Niger Delta region needs unity of purpose and a strong synergy among its diverse ethnic nationalities in order to attract a better deal and an enhanced living condition for the people.
It is, indeed, not difficult to see, as the governor noted, that interventionist agencies like the Niger Delta Basin Development Authority (NDBDA), the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), among others, have not been able to effectively deliver on their mandate of changing the squalid physical, social and economic conditions of the region largely due to lack of coordination, synergy and singularity of medium of articulating the position of the region on the national stage.
We equally agree with the governor that the time has come for the region to harness the strength and benefits inherent in unity and togetherness. The politicisation of the agencies of government, including the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, intended to midwife development, with the active unholy connivance of ethnic, political and other vested interests in the region, must stop forthwith.
In this regard, it is heartwarming to note that the governors of the region recently resumed their meeting in Asaba, the Delta State capital, and came out with a renewed commitment to collectively tackle common problems and challenges facing the region.
With the governors showing the direction and leading the way, other critical stakeholders should not have difficulty taking a cue and following the guide.
We, therefore, think that traditional rulers should follow suit while ethnic groupings should endeavour to promote and propagate regional agenda above their individual group interests.
Ethnic-based youth councils and movements should also be prevailed upon to emphasise and pursue overall regional agenda as against championing primordial causes to the detriment of collective regional goals.
From every section and every quarter, there needs to be a convergence and unanimity in agitation for emphasis on competence and passion for the development of the area as the only guide in the appointment of helmsmen for NDDC, PAP and similar agencies.
The era of ethnic nationalities, political parties and other interest groups agitating for their own to be given such positions in view of giving them undue advantages without fair and due consideration for the greater wellbeing and benefit of the whole region should be gone for good.
A house divided against itself, they say, cannot stand. And indeed, a region with common shared ecological, environmental, social, economic and cultural problems as we have in the Niger Delta cannot overcome its peculiar challenges except with a concerted, unified, coherent and focused resolve.

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Editorial

Still On COVID-19

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Since Coronavirus (COVID-19) first reared its ugly head in December, 2019, in far away Wuhan, a city of 11 million people in China, a lot has changed. It has apparently turned the world upside down. Peace and tranquility which the people have hitherto enjoyed without inhibition seem to have deserted the globe. Panic and fear have crept in and becoming the order of the day in virtually all continents of the world.
Moreover, things appear to have really fallen apart and the centre seems not to hold any longer. The respiratory disease which the World Health Organisation (WHO), aptly described as a global pandemic, has continued to ravage and make mince meat of mankind, leaving in its wake pain, anguish and thousands of deaths. What is happening in the world today is only comparable to a war time.
Worse still, there is no sign of it abating in sight, as no vaccine for its cure has been discovered, even though scientists and medical experts are working round the clock to provide a panacea. At the last count, over 30,000 persons have died from the virus across the globe.
In fact, the rapidity with which the pandemic is spreading across the globe is unprecedented, most astonishing and alarming. In the history of the world, there is nothing compared to it. In response, and as a way of checking the widespread of the virus, various measures have been put in place.
There are massive lockdowns all over the world. Today, sporting events and activities are suspended or outrightly cancelled; and airports are closed. Businesses, contracts and appointments are put off; with heavy tolls on mankind. Stocks have continued to have free falls. Global oil prices have crashed. There are travel bans and restrictions here and there.
Today, the world is literally at a standstill; it is virtually convulsing, courtesy of the Coronavirus pandemic. Overnight, the fear of COVID-19 has become the beginning of wisdom in almost all countries of the world. As the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently asserted, “monitoring, containing and mitigating the effects of the disease should be top priorities for countries”.
Interestingly, several countries have swung into action to contain the spread of the ravaging monster. In Nigeria, for example, which has confirmed 131 cases so far, with two deaths, the Federal Government has taken drastic measures to curtail the spread of the disease.
It had earlier announced the closure of Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa; Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano; and the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu; and later placed total ban on international travels at all the airports in the country. It equally imposed travel ban on 13 countries which it considered to have high risk of the pandemic as well as banned public and civil servants from foreign travels, among other measures.
On Sunday, President Muhammadu Buhari addressed the nation on the situation and revealed the measures and some palliatives the government has put in place to cushion the effects of the disease on the citizenry.
We boldly state that some of the palliatives are not what Nigerians are expecting from the government today. The Federal Government should borrow a leaf from other countries which are providing other forms of palliatives to their citizens.
Most significantly, as soon as the news of the outbreak of the pandemic broke, the Rivers State Government swung into action by constituting a five-man Inter-Ministerial Committee on Enlightenment and Awareness Creation on COVID-19, to undertake aggressive sensitisation campaigns to check the menace of the contagion in the state. The committee, headed by the State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, has not relented in intensifying the campaigns by reaching out to critical stakeholders in the state.
Sensitisation jingles and messages aired on radio, television and newspapers, which the state government through the committee has powered, are no doubt going a long way to put the disease under control in the state.
These are beyond the efforts being personally made by the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, to contain the spread of the disease in the state. First, the Governor directed all schools and tertiary institutions in the state to shutdown till further notice. Regrettably, Rivers State has recorded one index case as confirmed by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
In furtherance of the commitment of the state government to protect Rivers residents, Governor Wike also announced the closure of all borders including air, sea and land routes into the state to traffic and banned vehicular movements in and out of the state. He equally closed down all public parks, night clubs and cinemas till further notice and banned public burials and wedding ceremonies across the state. He has signed the Executive Orders to give verve to all the directives issued by the state government to check the spread of the disease.
The government had earlier set up a 12-man task force on enforcement of the ban on public gatherings and places of worship headed by the Governor as a way of containing the spread of the disease.
Indeed, The Tide commends the actions taken by the state government so far to ensure that the incidence of COVID-19 in the state is reduced to the barest minimum. We believe that this is not the time to let down the guard. The sensitisation campaigns must be intensified.
The closure of the state’s borders by the Governor was the real icing on the cake in terms of the proactive measures adopted by government to contain the spread of the disease in the state. In fact, the government needs the support and cooperation of the Federal Government as well as all and sundry, to ensure that this particular measure works effectively.
We are also elated that the government is strengthening and enhancing the surveillance measures already in place to prevent the importation of the virus into the state. The truth remains that the battle against the pandemic is a battle that must be fought and won. For this to be realised, we think, all hands must be on deck.
All residents of the State must, therefore, observe basic principles of hygiene as recommended by experts by washing their hands regularly with soap and using alcohol-based sanitisers as well as keeping their immediate surroundings clean at all times. This is because, as they say, cleanliness is next to Godliness.
Again, the social distancing policy of the government must be strictly obeyed and enforced among other directives issued by the state government to actually contain the spread of COVID – 19.

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Editorial

No To Generator Ban Bill

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A few months after the Senate rejected a resolution to ban the importation of generators,
the Senator representing Niger South, Alhaji Bima Enagi, initiated a bill that seeks to prohibit the importation and use of generating sets in Nigeria.
Titled “A bill for an Act to Prohibit/Ban the Importation of Generating Sets to Curb the Menace of Environmental (air) Pollution and to Facilitate the Development of the Power Sector,” it stipulates, at least, 10 years imprisonment for an offender.
The proposed law also notes that “Approval for exclusion shall, however, be obtained from the Minister of Power, who shall brief the Federal Executive Council quarterly on approvals granted.” The bill further directs “all persons to stop the use of electricity generating sets which run on diesel/petrol/kerosene of all capacities with immediate effect, in the country.”
The bill excludes generators for essential services, especially for medical purposes (hospitals and nursing homes and healthcare facilities), airports, railway stations/services, elevators (lifts), escalators, research institutions and facilities which require 24 hours electric power supply.
Ostensibly, the bill seeks to curb environmental pollution and accelerate the pace of development of the power sector. Obviously, there is an overwhelming decoy to view the new bill as stemming from patriotic zeal. But a critical appraisal easily uncovers the hollowness and utopian disposition of that piece of proposed legislation.
The projected law is inoperable and a barefaced invitation to a catastrophe of unimaginable proportions. Ironically, the same reasons that lent the ban unworkable for people in essential services form the basis for its likely failure. For now, the necessary and sufficient conditions for the anticipated law to achieve the touted objectives are non-existent.
The bill is vacuous and, therefore, should not have passed through the first reading. Having gone through that level, it should be discontinued forthwith to conserve public funds and save more of valuable legislative time. Elsewhere, painstaking research and intellectual rigour are put into the conception and reflection of bills that serve the public interest, but this bill bears no such nugget.
In their quest to expedite action on the bill, the Senators seem to care less about the facts on the ground concerning the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity in Nigeria. For example, in mid-2019, electricity power generation dwindled from 4,000 megawatts to an abysmal 2,039 megawatts.
On April 25, 2019, there was an entire shutdown of Egbin, Omotosho, Olorunsogbo and Papalanto Power Stations. There has been a significant abatement in power supply to Nigerian households from 42 percent attained in the fourth quarter of 2018 to 37 percent in the first quarter of 2019. Public power supply to commercial and productive establishments was worst during the same period.
This is why we gasp in amazement at this projected law. No one is in doubt that generators are a nuisance and a national pandemic, posing a huge threat to the health and well-being of Nigerians. It is equally correct that the device consumes about $14 billion import bills annually, but there is a need to inquire into the reason for their prevalent use.
Of course, it is the epileptic public power supply in the country. The truth is, without generators, the Nigerian economy will flounder as businesses reckon on them for survival. Every institution (public or private), including the formal and informal sectors of the economy, depends on them for power supply. This is why they are a necessary evil.
To advance electricity supply in the country, the federal government privatised the power sector in 2013, leading to the creation of 11 distribution companies (DISCOs). But year after year, both the government and the DISCOs have always blamed and accused each other for being responsible for the inadequate power supply.
We are aghast at why our Senators keep introducing bills against the use of generators in a country with a brazenly capricious power supply. Even President Muhammadu Buhari’s office was projected to spend N46 million on fuelling generators in the 2019 federal budget.
Rather than become upset at the importation of generating sets, the Senators should examine how the country got into this mess, and why the federal government injected a prodigious N1.7 trillion into the power sector following the privatisation with its 49 percent equity stake, while the DISCOs, who are major stakeholders, have invested only a pittance. Having investing such whopping sum to improve public power supply in Nigeria, the situation appears worse now than ever before.
Although Senator Enagi’s bill may be charitable, it is hasty. Nigeria must first address the hazardous power supply situation before considering a bill to outlaw generators, if need be. In a country where the national grid collapses customarily without these generators, what will be left of the economy?

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