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Aggrieved Rivers Landlords Protest Agip’s Neglect

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Some landlords to the Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC) have protested alleged neglect and marginalisation against by the oil firm, Agip.
The protesters on the platform of Concerned Landlords of Land and Swamp Areas in Collaboration with the Ijaw Youths Council, Worldwide, who stormed the Head Office of Agip in Port Harcourt, yesterday, alleged that they were being neglected.
The protesters, had placards with ‘NAOC has over Stepped its Bounds’, ‘NAOC Must have a GMoU with Direct Owners of Oil Wells and Facilities in Land Area and Swamp’, ‘We have the right of First Refusal,’ ‘NAOC Give us our Rights or you leave our land’.
Speaking at the scene of the protest, the Director-General of the Concerned Landlords of Swamp and Land Areas, Hon. Onisoya James Odu, threatened that the body would shut Agip’s operations in the area if their demands were not met.
Odu noted they body would exhaust all peaceful means to ensure injustice for the people, adding that if Agip failed to adhere that the body would confront the firm.
He said, “We have come here to let the world know what we are going through. We have tried all we can as peaceful landlords of Agip to resolve all issues. The message we sent across they treated it with levity.
“We have told them in our earlier briefing that we will exhaust the three Cs, Consolidation, Consultation before Confrontation. If all our demands are not met, we will have no other option than to confront them and shut all their operations on our land.”
He alleged that Agip has failed to enter and implement the General Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) with the landlords, adding that injustice against the people must stop.
He said, “Are our people not employable? Are we not good enough to occupy some positions? How can you come to our land, take our natural resources away without giving attention to the people? We have been too patient, how long will we continue like this? They have been taking us for a ride, we say, enough is enough.
“Agip is a company that will deceive our people to sign GMoU and they will not fulfil it. We are here to let them know that if our demands are not met we are not giving them a timeline because we believe that why are reasonable enough to address our needs as fast as possible.
“If they fail we will have no other option than to declare Force Majeure. We will be left with no other option than to shut their operations so that they know how we feel.
“In an unjust society, silence is a crime, for how long are they going to be cheating and marginalising us? I want them to tell us how many of their landlords are employed in this company. Since 1956 that started operations and exploration in our communities nothing has happened to us, and we kept quiet.
“They have always tried to use the security agencies to intimidate us so that we keep calm, but enough is enough. We are supposed to be the best to secure their facilities and not the security agencies. Here is not a war or military zone that it should be militarised.”

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Ogoni Youths Give FG 14 Days To Fix East-West Road

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No fewer than 400 youths under the aegis of Ogoni Youth Federation (OYF), yesterday, staged a peaceful protest at the Eleme axis of the East-West Road, giving the Federal Government 14 days ultimatum to mobilize to site and fix the road or have economic activities in the area grounded.
The protesters, who carried various placards with inscriptions to press home their demands, trekked from Akpajo Junction to Refinery Junction in Eleme LGA, chanting solidarity songs to register their discontent over the neglect of the road.
Addressing newsmen during the protest, President General of the Ogoni Youth Federation, Comrade Legborsi Yaamabana, said it was regrettable that the road, which was a major route to the economic hub of the nation, has remained in a deplorable state, only becoming a death trap that has terminated the lives of innocent Ogonis.
Yaamabana, who described the mass action of the youths as a ‘warning protest’, said if the contractors handling the road were not immediately mobilized to site, then, the youths will have no option than to shut down all economic activities in the area.
He said, “we cannot continue to watch our people being killed on daily basis by tankers because of the poor state of Eleme axis of the east west road, we are calling on the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency fix the road and save our people from untimely deaths as a result of the sorry state of the road, the only bridge on the road at Aleto has collapse but nothing is being done to avert the disasters faced by our people daily”.
Yaamabana also called on the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio to constitute a substantive board for the Niger Delta Development Commission to address the development needs of the Niger Delta region, noting that the use of interim management for NDDC was “diversionary, self serving and not in the interest of the development of the Niger Delta region”.
The OYF president general also called on the Federal Government to exonerate Ken Saro-Wiwa and his compatriots who were extra-judicially murdered by the late Gen Sani Abacha military junta, and given post-humours honour as martyrs of democracy in Nigeria, while the ideals of justice they stood for should be upheld.
Also speaking, the immediate past secretary of the Ijaw Youth Council, Eastern Zone, Comrade James Tobin, who joined the protest in solidarity, decried the neglect of the East—West Road by the Federal Government, and called the immediate fixing of the road to save the teeming road users from untold pains and death.

By: Taneh Beemene

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Rising Prices Push 7m Nigerians Below Poverty Line -World Bank

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The World Bank has said that rising prices pushed about seven million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020.
This was contained in a press statement titled, ‘Critical reforms needed to reduce inflation and accelerate the recovery, says new World Bank report,’ released by the World Bank’s Senior External Affairs Officer of Nigeria, Mansir Nasir.
The press statement was released, yesterday, in line with the latest World Bank Nigeria Development Update.
It was acknowledged that the Federal Government “took measures to protect the economy against a much deeper recession” but it was recommended that certain policies should be set for a strong recovery.”
The statement read, “The NDU, titled ‘Resilience through Reforms,’ notes that in 2020, the Nigerian economy experienced a shallower contraction of -1.8 per cent than had been projected at the beginning of the pandemic (-3.2 per cent). Although the economy started to grow again, prices are increasing rapidly, severely impacting Nigerian households.
“As of April, 2021, the inflation rate was the highest in four years. Food prices accounted for over 60% of the total increase in inflation. Rising prices have pushed an estimated seven million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020 alone.”
Quoted in the statement, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, identified some of the challenges faced by the country and recommended a way forward.
“Nigeria faces interlinked challenges in relation to inflation, limited job opportunities, and insecurity.
“While the government has made efforts to reduce the effect of these by advancing long-delayed policy reforms, it is clear that these reforms will have to be sustained and deepened for Nigeria to realise its development potential,” Chaudhuri said.
Also quoted is the World Bank Lead Economist for Nigeria and co-author of the NDU, Marco Hernandez, who also gave a recommendation.
“Given the urgency to reduce inflation amidst the pandemic, a policy consensus and expedite reform implementation on exchange-rate management, monetary policy, trade policy, fiscal policy, and social protection would help save lives, protect livelihoods, and ensure a faster and sustained recovery,” Hernandez said.

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Inflation Dips To 17.93% In May, NBS Confirms

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Nigeria’s inflation rate dropped to 17.93 per cent in May, 2021, from 18.12 per cent recorded in April, 2021.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed this in its monthly Consumer Price Index report released, yesterday.
The drop in the headline inflation in May was the second consecutive month this year.
The report indicates that the consumer price index (CPI), which measures the inflation rate increased by 17.93 per cent (year-on-year) in May, 2021, which is 0.19 per cent points lower than the rate recorded in the preceding month.
According to NBS, food inflation dropped in the same month from 22.78 per cent recorded in April, 2021 to 22.28 per cent in May, 2021.
The report reads, ‘‘All items less farm produce which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce stood at 13.15 per cent in May, 2021, up by 0.41 per cent when compared with 12.74 per cent recorded in April, 2021.
‘‘The highest increases were recorded in prices of pharmaceutical products, garments, shoes and other footwear, hairdressing salons and personal grooming establishments, furniture and furnishing, carpet and other floor covering.
‘‘Others include, motor cars, Hospital services, fuels and lubricants for personal transport equipment, cleaning, repair and hire of clothing.
“Other services include personal transport equipment, gas, household textile, and non-durable household goods,” the NBS added.

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