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Leboku 2009: C’River Woos Private Investors

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The Cross River State Government has called on private investors to key in into the Leboku international festival in order to use it showcase the rich culture of the people to the international world.
Mr. Gab Onah, the special adviser to the Cross River State Governor on Tourism Development, who made the call at the weekend, said the Senator Liyel Imoke led administration intends to make the Leboku festival a money spinning industry.
Onah explained that Leboku festival was an event for events management department of governor’s office as it was listed in the calendar of the state’s events, stressing that all the promises Senator Imoke made last year as regards making the festival an icon of events and world class have been fulfilled.
According to him, the state government has chosen three local government areas, Yakurr, Bekwara and Akamkpa to key into the state’s tourism plan in order to showcase the rich culture of the people to the international community through their various new yam festivals.
He commended the telecommunication giant MTN for identifying with the celebration and its selflessness, expressing optimism that the company would have better collaboration and understanding so as to continue to impact on the people as part of its corporate social responsibility.
The special adviser promised that despite the government’s involvement in creating a conducive environment for the promotion of tradition and culture in the state, efforts are made to ensure that the culture of the people is not adulterated and always remain intact.
Also speaking, chairman of Obol Opol Traditional Council, Ojor Clement Iwara who stood in for the Obol Opol disclosed that all security arrangements for the success of this year’s Leboku festival have been put in place and commended the state government for all the promises made to the community which he said have all been fulfilled.
He said the government has encouraged the people to be serious with agriculture which has started producing bumper harvest at the end of every planting season.
He said his people were fully prepared and in high spirit to take the festival to a greater height, adding that there was a difference in this year’s celebration as a festival market has been created on the day of grand finale so that people could buy as much yams as they want.
Also speaking, the MTN representative, Mr Charles Uwota, said MTN decided to come together with the Cross River State Government in order to take Leboku festival to a greater height.
Uwota said MTN believes that the festival will boost the culture and tradition of Africa to higher level.
“MTN has actually come together with Cross River State Government to promote Leboku and take Leboku to a greater height. And again, for us to understand one more thing, Leboku is a festival that is actually in everywhere in Nigeria. People appreciate the festival so much”.
He further contended that, “MTN is a brand that has come to identify itself with a very good culture which is Leboku new yam festival, so MTN has come to boost Leboku as a culture to a higher level”.
Commenting on the celebration, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Culture and Heritage, Mrs. Edisua Usang Iso, said that the department of culture and heritage was trying as much as possible to introduce a variety of activities to boost this year’s Leboku new yam festival.
Her words, “of course the maidens that are from Yakuur are going to parade during this program and as you even see as we walk in the community right now that the costumes and the beads and the top if you walk bit closely to them you see that it just have a little thing in form of bra that covers their breast we are trying to be sure that this content of the culture of the people will not be tampered with”.
She said that though culture is dynamic, “but in as much as we want to build in some costumes we won’t destroy the real culture of the people. We can change their fabric attires to African make made to give us the look or what we are expecting”.
It is a cultural celebration that is how this department is coming in why tourism is coming in to promote the culture to an international level and of course event management come in to play to make sure that the event is properly managed to an international standard.
Our correspondent reports that the annual cultural festival in central part of Cross River holds on Saturday, August 22 for this year.

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Nembe Oil Spill From Aiteo Facility Worst I’ve Seen – Diri

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The Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, on Wednesday returned from visiting the oil spill site in Nembe Local Government Area of the state, describing it as the worst he had seen in his lifetime.
The OML 29 Well 1 platform, which is operated by Nigeria’s largest indigenous oil firm, Aiteo Exploration and Production Company Limited, has been spilling crude unabated into the Santa Barbara River for about one month.
An estimated two million barrels of crude has reportedly been spilled into the river, polluting the flora and fauna of the area, the governor’s spokesperson Dan Alabrah, said.
The Minister of State of Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, had said the scene of the spill was like a war zone.
Overwhelmed by the spill, Aiteo hired Halliburton’s Boots and Coots to “kill the well” by injecting cement into it. It bought the well from the Royal Dutch Shell in 2015.
As at Wednesday, the Bayelsa government said the spill that began November 5 was still ongoing.
Governor Diri said the continuous spillage has further endangered the lives of people of Nembe, Bayelsa and indeed the Niger Delta.
In a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Alabrah, the governor, who expressed shock over the quantity of crude that has been spilled into the environment, called on the Federal Government and operators of the oil field to immediately take action to stop it.
According to him, the prolonged oil spill into the water and air had an immediate and long term effect on the health of the inhabitants.
While assuring the people that appropriate measures would be taken to seek redress, he noted that the quest by oil firms to make money would not be at the expense of the lives of the people.
Describing fishing as the source of livelihood of the people of the area, Mr Diri noted that just as there are grazing routes, Bayelsa State has fishing routes and must be protected.
His words: “Today happens to be a very dark day for me. What we have seen, I believe, is worse than what happened in the Gulf of Mexico. In all my life, I have not seen such magnitude of oil spillage.
“Our people are endangered. Our people’s source of livelihood is endangered. I empathise and sympathise with the people of Nembe on behalf of the government and people of Bayelsa State.
The Bayelsa governor also decried the exclusion of indigenes of host communities in the running of the oil industry, saying that if indigenes were part of the operations of the oil field, they would have looked for ways to address the problem.
To ameliorate the suffering of the people, the governor directed the State Emergency Management Agency and Ministry of Health to immediately provide relief materials and healthcare services to the people.
Earlier, the chairman of Nembe Local Government Area, Hon. West Alalibo, and member representing Nembe Constituency 2 in the State House of Assembly, Edward Brigidi, appreciated the governor for embarking on an on-the-spot assessment visit to the site.

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‘Emerging Challenges May Frustrate Dev Of Gas Resources’

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Although the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) is expected to unlock gas potential in Nigeria, especially the current 206 trillion standard cubic feet proven reserves, stakeholders Wednesday said the goals might remain elusive.
Investment to unlock the series of the opportunities outlined by the country according to the stakeholders, may remain a daunting task amidst heavy levies on the sector, domestic gas pricing challenges as well as lack of necessary technology and skills set.
Coming as the price of natural gas Wednesday, tumbled further to $4.4 per MMBtu after rising close to $7, the stakeholders at the 10th Practical Nigerian Content Forum stated that without the right environment, Nigeria may miss out of the window of opportunities available through the energy transition phase.
The Senate Chairman, Local Content, Teslim Folarin at the event also insisted that the cross-sectorial local bill in the National Assembly would make existing executive orders on patronage of Nigeria goods and services a law across sectors of the economy, stressing that it won’t however scrap the NOGIC Act.
With the current high price of cooking gas, the inadequacies of gas to power plants, the experts noted that data challenges, legal framework, lack of collaboration, weak research and development, lack of technology, imposition of taxes on the gas value chain lay heavy siege to the country’s aspirations in the gas revolution.
Group Executive Director, Gas and Power at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited, Abdulkadir Ahmed, insisted that declining funding for fossil fuels would create challenges for existing gas resources in the country, stressing that the sector must devise a means to fund projects and also produce more with cost.
Ahmed was also concerned about the infrastructure that transports and ensures utilisation of gas, adding that a transparent and market-driven pricing remained sacrosanct.
“We can not make progress without a market-driven and transparent gas price. No one will put in money if they have no feasibility of how they will recover their cost. There won’t be any gas to process if we do not invest in upstream activities,” he said.
Managing Director, Shell Nigeria Gas, Ed Ubong stated that there was a need to build local capacity for gas and ensure that the resources are used to spur industrial development.
According to him, there was a need to support indigenous companies to thrive, adding that the gas space remained a key avenue to grow local content.
A Governing Council Member at Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Mina Oforiokuma said with progress being made by countries like Mozambique, Nigeria needs to learn and move fast to address bottlenecks.
Speaking on the expansion of local content across sectors, Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Simbi Wabote noted that the government may consider a local content department across ministries to develop.
Wabote said: “That’s the only way you can get benefit out of the implementation because what people forget is that NCDMB is like a department within the ministry of petroleum resources saddled with the responsibility of driving local content within the oil and gas industry and controlled by the Ministry in the same way.”
Senator Folarin noted that the government remained concerned about the development of indigenous companies, adding that the move would address inefficiencies, in the long run reduce cost of projects and build strong local companies that can compete globally.
He revealed that some of the key sectors that would be primarily targeted are power, ICT, manufacturing, agriculture and others.

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PHCCIMA Boss Lists Core Service Areas

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The 62nd President of the Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce, Mines, Industries and Agriculture (PHCCIMA), Sir Mike Elechi said his administration shall have member oriented,  inclusive programmes and opportunities as its hallmark and guiding principles.
Elechi said this during his investiture as the PHCCIMA President in Port Harcourt during the week.
He also listed  consolidation of growth, peace, unity,  increased scope of programme dispensation and internally generated revenue as part of his core mandate to be delivered to the people.
He said that these would be achieved within the confines of PHCCIMA’s constitution and that of the Country.
The President who was  a  permanent secretary before his retirement,  pointed out that the choice of the key areas was as a result of deep reflection and wide consultation with relevant stakeholders in the society.
He said that his administration would reintroduce the monthly PHCCIMA meeting, develope a calendar of member oriented programmes and opportunities as well as trade mission travels and access for the benefit of its members.
On the issue of increased scope of programme dispensation and internally generated revenue, he said that  it would be realised by creating an atmosphere of welcome and corporate opportunity.
“Another way out among others, was engagement of various governments both state and local, with business strategies especially non oil businesses”, he said.
In his address, the Chairman of the occasion,  Chief Ferdinand Anabrabra, urged those that are yet to be registered with PHCCIMA to hurry and do so in order to meet up with the current speed of the organisation.
Anabrabra, anchored his point on the passion that the new President and his team have for the body, which will definitely pay off.
Also speaking, the former President of Nigerian Bar Association ( NBA), Hon Onueze C.J . Okocha,  said that Elechi’s whealt of experience would  enable him  do the expected.
”As a career Civil Servant and a successful businessman cum Manager and Chief Executive Officer of the Vintage Farm and Products in ElelIkwerre Local Government of the state, his administration would be successful.
The Tide gathered that the Elechi-led PHCCIMA executive would elapse in the next three years.

By: King Onunwor

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