People of Obite community in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State have shut down a gas plant operated by Total Exploration and Producing Nigeria Limited over alleged neglect.
The protesters, drawn from the five villages of Obite community, accused the firm of refusing to adhere to a Supreme Court judgement that mandated them to pay compensation to the community for the land they acquired for their operations.
The residents, yesterday, took over the entrance into the Obite Gas Plant acquired by Total E&P from Elf, vowing that they would vacate the area only when the firm begins discussions with them on how their N2.5billion accrued bills would be cleared.
Speaking, during the protest, one of the plaintiffs in the suit that produced the Supreme Court’s decision, Mr. Daniel Uma, said that the firm (Total E and P) has operated in the area with total neglect of the owners of the land.
Uma stated that Elf acquired the area and refused to pay compensation to the community, adding that the community instituted a legal action for redress and got justice.
He said: “What you are seeing here today is as a result of total negligence from Total E and P. This thing started 22 years ago. Some of the people that started this matter have died.
“We started this matter when Elf came to acquire this land, 28.8 hectares of land. When this started, we told them to pay us compensation for our land, but the Land and Claim Manager of the company said the Land Use Act does not allow multinationals to pay for land acquisition.
“The communities went to court. In 2005, we got judgement in our favour in a court in Ilorin, Kwara State. They went to court and in 2006 the Appeal Court also ruled in our favour. They proceeded to the Supreme Court. On the 19th of January, 2018, the court also ruled in our favour”, he said.
Uma noted that every time the community begins process to get their compensation that the company would use the military to disperse them, stating that the firm forcefully added 98.4 hectares of land to the earlier acquired space with payment as well.
He said: “We sent the judgement to France and we copied them here to come for negotiation. Meanwhile, while the matter was in court, they came and acquired 98.4 hectares of land adding to the earlier 28.8. Till now they have ignored us. Anytime we come to seek the implementation of the judgement, they will use security men to intimidate us.
“We are here to tell the whole world what is happening to us here. They should come and pay us our land compensation. We are not interested in blocking this gate every time. So, we are going to remain here until we have settled the whole issues”, Uma insisted
He stated that the community won the case at the three levels of courts, expressing concerns why Total has refused to pay the sum awarded to the community by the court at all attempts.
He said: “What the Supreme Court gave in their judgement is that the company should compensate us against their own claims. The court that time awarded N25million for the 28.8 hectares. But, today, we are demanding N2.5billion. If they do not come for negotiation we are not leaving here.
“Another aspect of it is that we do not have running MoU with the company and we pleaded it on court. Implementation of bill of command from the community and youth employment.”
However, one of the top officials of Total, Sense Murray, in a swift reaction, said the company has cordial relationship with their host communities.
Murray added that the company would not join issues with their host, adding that they would send further position of the company to the media.
He said: “We are doing a reaction on the issue. But, we are a responsible organisation. We have cordial relationship with our host communities and we will not join issues with them”.
UBEC, RSUBEB Begin Digital School Construction In Rivers
The school, which is a pilot modern basic education facility, is designed by UBEC in collaboration with RSUBEB to entrench digitization of ICT-driven basic education system across the 36 states and FCT, Abuja.
Speaking with journalists at a brief handover ceremony of the proposed smart school site to UBEC by RSUBEB at the Community Primary School, Uzuoba in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state, over the weekend, the National Consultant, UBEC Smart School Project, Prof Masud Abdulkarim, said the school was designed to incorporate digital technology into the basic education system in the country, which he said, has been in practice in advanced countries for years.
Abdulkarim stated that the desire of the Federal Government was to ensure that Nigerian children were not left out in the digital space, saying that the school would have great impact on the youth and give them equal opportunity to compete globally in the technology world.
He described the school as the first of its kind in the history of the country, adding that the school would have four categories that would take care of the nursery, handicapped, primary as well as junior secondary students with a maximum of 35 persons per class of two streams.
Abdulkarim noted that with the strategy, no fewer than 700 children would be enrolled into the school.
According to him, the school would afford the children the opportunity to become robotic engineers, artificial intelligence (AI) engineers and ICT engineers, and added that as future leaders, they need to be equipped and encouraged.
The UBEC consultant commended the state government for the provision of the school for the construction of the smart school, and described the site as the most suitable across the 23 states so far visited.
“Let me thank the RSUBEB for the site, in fact, it is the best and most suitable site among the 23 states we have so far visited. Because it has an existing school structure with a fence to protect our equipment and infrastructure. Moreso, the project will impact on the schools around because they will benefit from our Wi-Fi”, he stated.
Abdulkarim called on the host community to jealously guard the project as a growing child, till its maturity to adult stage, saying that they were important stakeholders in the project.
Also speaking on behalf of the Chairman of Rivers State Universal Basic Education Board (RSUBEB), Ven Fyneface Akah, a commissioner in the board, Chief Faith Amaso, called for synergy between the contractors and host community in other to remove every impediment that may affect the delivery of the project on schedule.
Akah opined that the project, when completed, would improve basic education in the state, and expressed happiness over the commencement of the project in the state.
Rivers United Beat Young Africans Of Tanzania 1-0
The stadium, which was filled to capacity, witnessed a trilling encounter, which saw the crowd craving for more.
It would be recalled that Rivers United had defeated the Young Africans of Tanzania 1-0 in the first leg of the championship at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, last Sunday.
Reacting to the feat, the Chairman of Degema Local Government Area, Hon. Michael John Williams, expressed joy over the victory of the Rivers United FC of Port Harcourt against the Young Africans of Tanzania in the ongoing Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League.
The match, which ended 1-0 in favour of the Rivers United FC, took place at the Adokiye Amiesimaka International Stadium in Rivers State, yesterday.
Top government officials in the state, including Rivers Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo; LG council chairmen and commissioners, amongst other sports enthusiasts, graced the event.
Speaking on the outcome of the match, Williams stated that the Rivers United players exhibited the Rivers team spirit, which culminated in their victory.
The political heavyweight in Degema LGA, noted that nothing would be impossible for Rivers people to achieve when they work together in unison and firm determination.
He added that the massive support and huge investment in the sports sector by the Governor Nyesom Wike administration, also motivated the Rivers team, who worked hard to secure a back-to-back victory.
By: Nelson Chukwudi
NJC Okays Six Chief Judges, 30 Others For Appointment
At its 95th meeting held on September 15 and 16, 2021, the council considered the list of candidates presented by its Interview Committee, and recommended the 36 successful candidates to their respective state governors for appointment as heads of courts and other judicial officers in Nigeria.
They are Hon. Justice Richard O. Olorunfemi as chief judge, Kogi State, Hon. Justice Joe Itsebaga Acha for Edo, Hon. Justice Akintoroye Williams Akin for Ondo, Hon. Justice Husseini Baba Yusuf for FCT, Hon. Justice Ekaette Francesca Fabian-Obot for Akwa Ibom, and Hon. Justice J. O. Adeyeye for Ekiti State.
Others are Hon. Kadi Baba Gana Mahdi as Grand Kadi, Yobe; Umaru Ahmad Liman as Grand Kadi, Bauchi; Hon. Justice Osagede Osado Emmanuel as President, Customary Court of Appeal, Nasarawa; Hon. Justice Mashud Akintunde Akinfemi Abass as President, Customary Court of Appeal, Oyo State; and Siyaka Momoh Jimoh Usman as President, Customary Court of Appeal, Kogi State.
Three judges are recommended for High Court of Gombe, and they are Zainab Abdulkadir Rasheed, Abdussalam Muhammad, and Daurabo Suleiman Sikka.
Akwa Ibom has Effiong Asukwo Effiong; Bauchi has Nana Fatima Jibril; while Kaduna High Court has Abdulkarim Mahmud.
The three candidates recommended for Katsina State are Kabir Shuaibu, Ibrahim Ishaku Mashi, and Ibrahim Abubakar Mande, while Prof Alero Akeredolu was recommended for Ondo State.
Four successful candidates for Oyo State are Olusola Adebisi Adetujoye, Folabimpe Beatrice Segun Olakojo, Prof Taiwo Elijah Adewale, and Kareem Adeyimika Adedokun.
Kogi State has three candidates, and they are Abubakar Sule Ibrahim, Abdullah Sulyman, as well as Aminu Ali Eri.
Two Kadis for Sharia Court of Appeal are Adamu Kuna Jibril and Ahmed Baba Bala, while the four for Bauchi are Musa Sani Abubakar, Mahdi Manga, Khamis Al-Hamidallah Muhammad and Sani Musa with Ondo State having one in the person of Orimisan James Okorisa and Oyo Customary Court of Appeal having Ajadi Olubukola Omolayo.
A statement by the NJC Director of Information, Mr Soji Oye, and released in Abuja, yesterday, said that all the recommended candidates are expected to be sworn-in after approval by President Muhammadu Buhari, and their respective state governors, and confirmation by the respective state Houses of Assembly.
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