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NoisePollution:Lagos Tackles Churches, Others

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Ahead of efforts of the state government to reduce noise pollution in the state, the Lagos State Government has appealed to various religious organisations and other concerned groups like musical centres and video clubs to minimise the volume of noise emanating from their activities in the interest of public health.

According to the state authorities, the health and convenience of other people it was noted, should be put into consideration in the course of their religious or business activities.

The warning was contained in a communiqué issued at the weekend after a 3 day Performance Review Retreat organised by the State Ministry of the Environment at the Peninsula Resort, Ajah to appraise the performance of the ministry in 2009 and reposition it for the challenges of 2010.

 Earlier in his welcome address, Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Muiz Banire explained that the 3 day retreat was designed to assess performance so as to see areas that would need improvement to enhance efficient service delivery.

He stated further that the on going re-engineering of the environment is a fundamental factor in the Mega city project of the state government, stressing that the environment must be totally rejuvenated and protected against any form of degradation.

 Banire disclosed that the state government has adopted a holistic and sustainable approach in recovering the environment from the rot it was to its enviable status through a systematic implementation of various programmes on beautification, effective waste management and sanitation.

 Participants noted at the retreat that following enlightenment campaign on the negative consequences of noise pollution on the health of the people such as human hearing impairment, restlessness, high blood pressure, lack of concentration, body fatigue, loss of sleep, resultant hypertension and subsequent death, the ministry had been inundated with complaints from the public about noise pollution.

 Surveys conducted by the state government, in some public schools in the state indicated that more than 60 percent of pupils in schools have their hearing impaired as a result of their daily exposure to noisy environment.

While condemning the current degenerating level of noise pollution in the state and its implications on the health of the citizens, the participants urged the state government to urgently put the level of noise generated in the state under check to reduce the health bill incurred by the government on the over 15 million residents on daily basis.

On the constant perennial flooding in some parts of the state despite government’s huge investment in the Flood Free Lagos (FFL) programme, participants decried the encroachment and degradation of the wetlands in the state.

“A situation where the wet land which serves as buffer for storm water when the tides are high in the lagoon are sand filled, compounds the flood management problems of the state.

The communique therefore “implored the government to do everything possible to protect the wetlands and separate any illegal structures or contraventions from its drainage alignments or on wetland areas that could undermine the current de-flooding effort of the government”.

On global warming and climate change, the state government said “it was taking the campaign against desertification to the international arena by sponsoring an expedition to London through the Sahara Desert”.

“The expedition tagged Desert Warriors will see 15 people embark on the journey to London by road. They will be educating communities along the route on the importance of planting trees to protect the environment and curb desertification. They will also plant trees as they go on.

The flood-free campaign of the state government, Banire noted has been very successful as it was evidenced in the less flooding experienced last year despite the intensity of the rain. He assured that the year 2010 would be more interesting as his Ministry has lined up various activities and programmes to further make Lagos environment more conducive for economic growth, healthy living and exploration of its tourism potentials.

Considering the enormity of the task that must be done on daily basis and the need to manage stress effectively, the commissioner advocated that gymnasiums and fitness facilities should be put in strategic locations in the high blood pressure and sudden death Secretariat to give workers enough time to rest while at work. This he said would help to reduce incidence of high blood pressure and sudden death often occasioned by restlessness.

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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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