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Challenges Of Water Resources Development In Nigeria

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Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink’’ is a popular quote from “Rime of the Ancient Mariner’’, a poem by the English Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge in the early 1800s, and it exemplifies the concern that water can be abundant but unusable.

 The maxim aptly depicts the current situation in Nigeria, as the country, which is blessed and surrounded with a large volume of water, is still grappling with efforts to provide adequate potable water for its citizens.

   Available statistics indicate that Nigeria’s surface water is about 226 billion cubic metres, while the ground water is estimated at 406 billion cubic metres. Experts are of the opinion that if the water potential of the country is properly harnessed and utilised , it is enough to satisfy all human, industrial and agricultural as well as livestock needs.

   The Federal Ministry of Water Resources is entrusted with the responsibility of facilitating the provision of water for the citizens but many observers argue that   the ministry, in the past years, has not been able to fully discharge this function because of its merger with the agriculture ministry.

    A water expert, Mr Hope Ogbeide, said that the continuous  merger and de-merger of the water resources ministry had caused some setbacks for the ministry in moves to fulfil its mandate.

 Ogbeide stressed that the merger had particularly hindered the country’s efforts to provide water for the citizenry in a way that would enhance public health, food security and poverty eradication, among others.

“The agricultural sector had overshadowed the water sector and investments in the water sector were less than those in the agric sector and the development led to the abandonment of most of the viable water projects,’’ he said.

However, the Federal Government, apparently aware of these limitations, has decided to restructure the ministry.  In April this year, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, then the country’s Acting President, appointed and swore in Mr Obadiah Ando as the new Minister of Water Resources.

The minister’s inauguration elicited some measure of hope from officials, the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the water sector, as well as other stakeholders.

Ando’s appointment after his retirement as the ministry’s Director Planning Research and Statistics 15 years ago is seen by many stakeholders as the beginning of efforts to restore the ministry’s lost glory. 

However, the task before the new minister appears to be challenging, while people’s expectations about a positive turn-around of the water sector are rife, regardless of the fact that he has only one year to spend in office.

Apparently aware of the people’s expectations, Ando, on assumption of office, pledged to make potable water available, particularly in the country’s rural areas. 

 His words: “I thank God for this privilege and I have promised Acting President (now President) Jonathan that I will make water available in the rural areas.

 “As you are aware, most of the diseases in Nigeria are water-borne. So, I will strive to reduce the syndrome. By the time I complete my tenure, I should be able to look back and say we had accomplished a lot.

 “But I need your cooperation to achieve our goals and if there is anyone who is not ready to work, he can either seek transfer or retire voluntarily. We should do our best to justify the confidence the people reposed in us,’’ he admonished the ministry’s officials.

The minister, however, gave the assurance that in spite of the de-merger of the ministries of water resources and agriculture, the two agencies would still play complementary roles.

“I see the de-merger not as a separation of twins but as one that will continue to complement each other; this is because we are expected to work together as a team.               “For us, we will provide adequate water for people’s farms. We will also use the dams for power generation activities to enable the Ministry of Power to generate enough electricity.

“That is one area we shall focus our attention on for now. We will work with all the agencies, especially those that relate with us directly,’’ Ando said.

Aware of the need to carry along workers in carrying out his duties, the minister solicited the officials’ cooperation.

“If you do the right thing, if you are honest and hardworking, we shall all move in the right direction,’’ Ando assured the officials.In spite of all the minister’s assurances, some water experts particularly urge Ando to execute the National Water Resources Master Plan which was developed in concert with the Japanese government in 1995.

Mr Ibrahim Yusuf, a water engineer, argued that the full implementation of the master plan would engender the revival of the water sector, while boosting the utilisation of the country’s vast water resources.He stressed that the master plan would aid the minister in efforts to provide potable water for people in the rural areas. Yusuf noted that all aspects of the water sector such as dams, irrigation, erosion control, hydropower and water supply were addressed in the master plan with project costs attached to them.

The setback we experienced in the sector for the past two years is due to the inability to implement the plan; it is a good document that can be subjected to  reviews over the years,’’ he said.

Mr Peter Nze, a water resources analyst, urged the minister to fast-track the implementation of projects, saying: “We have lost so much in terms of implementation of water supply, dams and irrigation projects.

“For the past two and half years, nothing has been achieved. So, we urge the minister to focus on the development and utilisation of the water resources in an integrated manner.

“Irrigation and dam projects should be executed, so as to empower rural communities and provide job opportunities for people across the country,’’ he said.

 Nze, however, stressed that need for the minister to accord priority attention to projects such as flood-control, hydropower, inland waterways development, fresh fish production and afforestation schemes.

He particularly canvassed the need to promptly complete the Kashimbilla Dam so as to check the menace which a collapse of the structurally weak volcanic Lake Nyos, in Cameroon, could cause. Nze also wanted considerable emphasis placed on the development of hydro-power resources, as part of efforts to end to the persistent power crisis in Nigeria. Besides, he urged the minister to facilitate the ministry’s collaboration with the National Inland Water Ways Authority and other relevant agencies in efforts to develop and utilise the country’s water resources. Mrs Lydia Okoro, a civil servant, advised the minister to focus his attention on boreholes, dams and irrigation schemes. “Nigeria has a large body of water; the water resources should be utilised for poverty eradication, wealth creation, employment generation and the improvement of the people’s lives in general,’’ she said.“Due to his short tenure in office, the minister should narrow down his attention to small-scale water projects instead of embarking on big projects which he would not be able to complete by the time he leaves office,’’ she added.

 Dr Gabriel Dimlong, a water resources analyst, advised the minister to initiate efforts to revive water projects that were hitherto abandoned.

“The water sector has been relegated to the background due to the ministries’ merger and this had led to the stoppage of many viable water projects. Efforts should be made to revive those projects,’’ he said.

 A sanitation consultant, Mrs Comfort Olayiwole, however, wanted the minister to give tangible emphasis to the sanitation aspects of his water supply programmes.

According to her, embarking on water supply projects without taking due cognisance of their sanitation and hygiene components will be counter-productive.

“The new minister should not focus only on ensuring the provision of potable water but he should also ensure the promotion of hygienic practices among the people, the beneficiaries of the projects,’’ she said.

Besides, the consultant stressed the need to empower the communities to enable them to regularly maintain the water facilities and their sanitation components, adding, however, that the Federal Government should give the people the requisite technical support.

“They know the right thing to do; all they need is a proper coordination to enable them to do it at the right time. Emphasis should be, however, placed on cleanliness, good sanitary facilities and hygienic practices,’’ Olayiwole said.

She warned that if the government failed to give the communities the essential technical support, the water projects’ impact on the lives of the people would be minimal.

Meanwhile, Ms Junita During, the WaterAid’s Head of Governance, has urged the new minister to implement the “e-Thekwine Declaration’’ so to enable Nigeria to meet the sanitation targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The e-Thekwini Declaration, signed in 2008 in Durban, South Africa, during the AfricaSan Conference, sets global targets for political commitment to put Africa back on track in meeting the sanitation targets of the MDGs.

During said:  “We are really excited about President Goodluck Jonathan’s efforts in the water sector, particularly for his decision to have a separate ministry for water resources.

“There are so much that can be achieved. For instance, the e-Thekwine Declaration wants a separate budget for sanitation activities and proposes the allocation of a minimum of .05 per cent of the GDP to sanitation.

“The declaration also talks about national sanitation plans and some other things. Efforts should now be taken to implement some of the commitments spelt out in the declaration with a new drive and a new focus,’’ she added.

During lamented that the water sector had suffered a lot of neglect when it was subsumed under the Ministry of Agriculture, saying that “we are quite excited about the demerger because a lot of us have been calling for it for so long.

 “We encourage the new minister to speedily set the ball rolling; marshal his plans and execute his programmes, considering the limited time at his disposal and the huge challenges confronting the sector,’’ she said .

During gave the assurance that WaterAid would work with the minister and other stakeholders in the water sector in efforts to provide safe water to the citizens and ensure basic water sanitation.

 All the same, concerned citizens warn the Federal Government against the temptation of merging the water resources ministry with any other ministry in future, saying that the water sector requires serious government activities that are coordinated under the aegis of a separate ministry.

Ologunagha writes for NAN

 

Cecilia Ologunagba

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Regulating Social Media Towards Peace-Building

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Can the social media space be regulated in a manner that it will give young people the opportunity to unleash positive energy on the society without stifling their voices? Experts say it is possible. Youths constitute the bulk of those who use the social media space for interactions, empower-ment and self-actualisation. They have leveraged advancements in Information and Commu-nication Technology as a medium of commu-nication. Among the leading social media in Nigeria are Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. While youths may have limited political power to champion their views they can harness the potential in the social media to promote peace in Nigeria. Although the social media has its own negative sides, it also comes with numerous advantages, such as facilitating access to mentorship, socia-lisation and creativity.

Through its networking mechanisms, social media spreads news faster and has wider reach than the conventional media. It encourages group participation in discussions and activities thereby providing a platform to push critical information and nurture ideas. Youths can take advantage of this uniqueness to propagate positive atmospheres such as peace and nation building. While many young people have used social media to create wealth, education and sourcing information and entertainment, many have used it to propagate violent conducts and other social vices. Experts say the Federal Government has a role to play in re-channeling youths’ social media culture and orientation from the negative to the positive through proper regulation. The federal government is cognisant of this as demonstrated by the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

In June 2021 while appearing before a public hearing organised by the House of Representatives, Mohammed asked the lawmakers to amend the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Act to empower the agency to regulate social and online media. The minister said: “Internet broadcasting and all online media should be included in this because we have a responsibility to monitor contents, including Twitter.” Similarly, in June the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) also announced a draft document for the Code of Practice for Interactive Computer Service Platforms/Internet Intermediaries and Conditions for Operating in Nigeria.

The code seeks to, among many others, compel online platforms to provide any backend information to assist government agencies for the purpose of investigating and prosecuting users who breach the provisions of the code.
Reinforcing these thoughts, Dr Bakut Bakut, Director-General, Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, IPCR, said: “Preventing the conflict of tomorrow means changing the mindset of the youth today.” Bakut, who said this while delivering an address of welcome at a conference in Abuja recently, said the youth could be redirected to use the social media as a tool for peace-building. According to him, youths use social media more frequently and are more likely to become victims of violence and can also be recruited by extremists.

The two-day conference, which was organised by IPCR in collaboration with the University of Ilorin Centre for Peace and Strategic Studies, CPSS, had as its theme, “Youth, Social Media and Community Peace-Building.”
“This is a significant issue because technology can either be a medium through which terrorists recruit young people or a means through which young men and women can help in building peace.
Although young people are crucial players in peace building, they have been excluded from the process and are instead thought of as `manipulable` tools for violent conflicts and social unrest,” he said.

Bakut recalled the #EndSARS protest of October, 2020, which was organised by Nigerian Twitter users largely made up of youths against police brutality. He said it demonstrated that social media was dangerously spiraling out of control and a breeding ground for fake news, hate speech, misinformation and online incitement of unrest, hence the need to regulate it. He said the conference offered opportunities for fresh ideas to gain the youth’s support for community peace building initiatives and incorporating social media, especially given the current insecurity concerns in Nigeria. Prof. Sulyman Abdulkareem, the immediate past Vice-Chancellor, University of Ilorin, while corroborating Bakut’s view said regulating social media would curb online abuses and engage youths to promote peace.

Speaking on the topic, “Social Media Use and its Implications on Community Peace-Building Among Nigerian Youths,” he said that social media regulation was the best way to ensure that youths used social media positively. Represented by Prof. A.L. Azeez, Dean, Faculty of Mass Communication, University of Ilorin, Sulyman said the social media must be regulated if the youth’s recklessness in using social media space would be drastically curtailed. “How can we make the youth to use the media positively; to empower themselves while at the same time deploying it for peace building? The best way is by controlling and regulating the social media space. The regulation and control of social media space on grounds of humanity, peace and security are ostensibly plausible as such justifications have been invoked in Pakistan, Malaysia and India. This is why many scholars of communication and peace have intensified their support and agitation for a legal framework for regulating Nigeria’s social media space through the social media bill,” he said.

The former vice-chancellor said that social media platforms should be used to facilitate virtual dialogues among stakeholders towards achieving peace and security. “The youth’s use and adoption of social media should be aimed at promoting peaceful coexistence among various ethnic groups. “Through social media, the Nigerian youth should build strong consensus on issues that affect their lives and wellbeing. No meaningful socioeconomic and human development can take place in a nation where its youth are preoccupied with sharing divisive and inciting rhetoric on social media,” the don said. Prof. Eghosa Osaghae, the Director-General, Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), underscored the need to directly engage the youth on peace building. “One of the ways that we can push these kinds of conversations concretely, going forward, would be to invite the youth to be part of this kind of debate,” he said.

According to him, the Nigerian policy paper defines the youth as someone who is between the age of 15-30, which means he or she is under custody and not yet autonomous. “I will however extend that definition to mean that the youth is a social category, so a youth is he or she that a particular person says he or she is, notwithstanding age. “So if you have a consciousness of being young or old, that’s who you are. There are people who are 40 but they already feel they are old, so let it be with them that they are old”, he said. Prof. Oyeronke Olademo, Director, Centre for Peace and Strategic Studies. University of Ilorin, urged adults to use social media platforms to counter the negative narratives about youths and the country.

“For me, curbing the excesses of the youth on social media and redirecting them to peace building, requires that older persons should flood the cyber space with positive narratives. “This will overwhelm any negative narratives or fake news, which the youth may spread on these platforms,” she said.
Experts say while it is important to regulate the social media space, caution should be applied in doing so to avoid gagging the media, infringing on free speech and fundamental human rights.

By: Raphael Pepple

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Regulating Social Media Towards Peace Building

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Can the social media space be regulated in a manner that it will give young people the opportunity to unleash positive energy on the society without stifling their voices? Experts say it is possible. Youths constitute the bulk of those who use the social media space for interactions, empowerment and self-actualization. They have leveraged advancements in information and communication technology as a medium of communication. Among the leading social media in Nigeria are Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. While youths may have limited political power to champion their views they can harness the potential in the social media to promote peace in Nigeria. Although the social media has its own negative sides, it also comes with numerous advantages, such as facilitating access to mentorship, socialization and creativity.

Through its networking mechanisms, social media spreads news faster and has wider reach than the conventional media. It encourages group participation in discussions and activities thereby providing a platform to push critical information and nurture ideas. Youths can take advantage of this uniqueness to propagate positive atmospheres such as peace and nation building. While many young people have used social media to create wealth, education and sourcing information and entertainment, many have used it to propagate violence conducts and other social vices. Experts say the Federal Government has a role to play in re-channeling youths’ social media culture and orientation from the negative to the positive through proper regulation. The federal government is cognisant of this as demonstrated by the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

In June 2021 while appearing before a public hearing organised by the House of Representatives, Mohammed asked the lawmakers to amend the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) act to empower the agency to regulate social and online media. The minister said: “Internet broadcasting and all online media should be included in this because we have a responsibility to monitor contents, including Twitter.” Similarly, in June the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) also announced a draft document for the Code of Practice for Interactive Computer Service Platforms/Internet Intermediaries and Conditions for Operating in Nigeria.

The code seeks to, among many others, compel online platforms to provide any backend information to assist government agencies for the purpose of investigating and prosecuting users who breach the provisions of the code.
Reinforcing these thoughts, Dr Bakut Bakut, Director-General, Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, IPCR, said: “Preventing the conflict of tomorrow means changing the mindset of the youth today.” Bakut, who said this while delivering an address of welcome at a conference in Abuja recently, said the youth could be redirected to use the social media as a tool for peace building. According to him, youths use social media more frequently and are more likely to become victims of violence and can also be recruited by extremists.

The two-day conference, which was organised by IPCR in collaboration with the University of Ilorin Centre for Peace and Strategic Studies, CPSS, had as its theme, “Youth, Social Media and Community Peace building.” “This is a significant issue because technology can either be a medium through which terrorists recruit young people or a means through which young men and women can help in building peace. “Although young people are crucial players in peace building, they have been excluded from the process and are instead thought of as `manipulable` tools for violent conflicts and social unrest,” he said.

Bakut recalled the #EndSARS protest of October, 2020, which was organised by Nigerian Twitter users largely made up of youths against police brutality. He said it demonstrated that social media was dangerously spiraling out of control and a breeding ground for fake news, hate speech, misinformation and online incitement of unrest, hence the need to regulate it. He said the conference offered opportunities for fresh ideas to gain the youth’s support for community peace building initiatives and incorporating social media, especially given the current insecurity concerns in Nigeria. Prof. Sulyman Abdulkareem, the immediate past Vice-Chancellor, University of Ilorin, while corroborating Bakut’s view said regulating social media would curb online abuses and engage youths to promote peace.

Speaking on the topic, “Social Media Use and its implications on Community Peace building Among Nigerian Youths,” he said that social media regulation was the best way to ensure that youths used social media positively. Represented by Prof. A.L. Azeez, Dean, Faculty of Mass Communication, University of Ilorin, Sulyman said the social media must be regulated if the youth’s recklessness in using social media space would be drastically curtailed. “How can we make the youth to use the media positively; to empower themselves while at the same time deploying it for peace building? The best way is by controlling and regulating the social media space. “The regulation and control of social media space on grounds of humanity, peace and security are ostensibly plausible as such justifications have been invoked in Pakistan, Malaysia and India. “This is why many scholars of communication and peace have intensified their support and agitation for a legal framework for regulating Nigeria’s social media space through the social media bill,” he said.

The former vice-chancellor said that social media platforms should be used to facilitate virtual dialogues among stakeholders towards achieving peace and security. “The youth’s use and adoption of social media should be aimed at promoting peaceful coexistence among various ethnic groups. “Through social media, the Nigerian youth should build strong consensus on issues that affect their lives and wellbeing. “No meaningful socioeconomic and human development can take place in a nation where its youth are preoccupied with sharing divisive and inciting rhetoric on social media,” the don said. Prof. Eghosa Osaghae, the Director-General, Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), underscored the need to directly engage the youth on peace building. “One of the ways that we can push these kinds of conversations concretely, going forward, would be to invite the youth to be part of this kind of debate,” he said.
According to him, the Nigerian policy paper defines the youth as someone who is between the age of 15-30, which means he or she is under custody and not yet autonomous. “I will however extend that definition to mean that the youth is a social category, so a youth is he or she that a particular person says he or she is, notwithstanding age. “So if you have a consciousness of being young or old, that’s who you are. There are people who are 40 but they already feel they are old, so let it be with them that they are old”, he said. Prof. Oyeronke Olademo, Director, Centre for Peace and Strategic Studies. University of Ilorin, urged adults to use social media platforms to counter the negative narratives about youths and the country.

“For me, curbing the excesses of the youth on social media and redirecting them to peace building, requires that older persons should flood the cyber space with positive narratives. “This will overwhelm any negative narratives or fake news, which the youth may spread on these platforms,” she said.
Experts say while it is important to regulate the social media space caution should be applied in doing so to avoid gagging the media, infringing on free speech and fundamental human rights.

By: Raphael Pepple

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NDEP Gives Rivers Flood Victims Succour

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In a bid to alleviate the sufferings of flood victims in Rivers State, the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, the Niger Delta Exploration and Production (NDEP), has donated relief materials worth millions of naira to the state, affected communities as well as their host communities.
Presenting the items to the communities’ representatives and governments in Port Harcourt City and Ahoada East Local Government Areas, respectively, the Company’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, (MD/CEO), Gbite Falade noted that the donations were made as part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), to its host state, local governments, communities and traditional institutions to help relieve the sufferings of the victims of the natural disaster.
Represented by the Manager, Security Services and Community Affairs, NDEP, Alhaji Umaru Buba Njobbo, Falade observed that the flood this year, was devasting as homes, properties, livestock, farmlands and humans were destroyed.
According to him, “in response to the impact of the flood, NDEP set up a task force to coordinate the distribution of relief materials to host community residents.The relief efforts of NDEP are aimed at cushioning the devastating effects of the flood on the residents, their properties and means of livelihood.”
He pointed out that it was important that the three tiers of government took measures to curb flood disasters to reduce the devastating effects of future occurrences of natural disasters in the state.
The NDEP number one man reaffirmed the company’s commitment to its host communities, adding that as a sustainable business, NDEP was aware that excellent peaceful co-existence with its host communities was pivotal to its vision, stressing that NDEP was empathetic its host communities and would always stand by in times of grave need.
The NDEP officials were received on arrival at the Palace of Kingdom, members of his chiefs-in-council, and the Chairman of Ahoada East Local Government Area, Hon Ben Eke.
Addressing the Eze Upata, Upata Kingdom, Dr. Felix Otuwarikpo in his palace, where the items were presented, the Manager, Security Services and Community Affairs, NDEP, Alhaji Umaru Buba Njobbo, stated, “We are here in respect of the flood that has ravaged the entire Nigeria and this side is one of the most affected areas so the company, Niger Delta Exploration and Production deem it fit that at least in its own small way should be able to sympathize with the victims and also assist the government, the traditional rulers, the local government councils which have been battling to help the people survive the period.
“The company earmarked some certain relief materials which part of it is going to be given to the Rivers State Government so that it can also reach other victims who are not within our areas of operations”.
Furthermore, he said, “our coming here, with us we have some relief materials there is one that is meant for their attire Ekpeye because it cuts across Ahoada and some other areas, we are not unaware of that, so we have made provisions for all of that. We have also made provisions for the local government council because there are areas that are not also within our areas of operation that they would want to reach.
“We have made provision for Opata Kingdom because there are other areas within Opata that are not within our host communities so those people also need to be reached. We have also made provisions for all our host communities. We have also made provisions for Abua Odual Local Government Council. We have two host communities in Abua Odual LGA, we have made provisions for them, we have also made provision for the council to reach those areas that are not our operational area”.
Receiving the items on behalf of the traditional council and the entire people, the Eze Upata, Dr Felix Otuwarikpo, thanked NDEP, for coming to the rescue of the flood victims in the Kingdom; nothing that the Upata had people had solicited assistance from a lot of companies, that the magnanimity of NDEP was unprecedented.
He said, “Today on behalf of the officer traditional council and the entire people of the Opata kingdom we thank the managing director of the Niger Delta exploration and Production Company, members of his management and the entire for coming to the aid of the flood victims in Opata Kingdom. We solicited for assistance from many companies but this is one company that has come out very bold and made this robust contribution to mitigate the suffering of our people.
He added that, “Government cannot do it alone; there is no society, no country that all responsibilities affecting the society is left to the government. The problem of flooding in Orashi Kingdom is much more than we imagined and given the quantum of water this year, assistance was sought from all over, and as usual, NDEP has not failed the people of Ekpeye.
“They have demonstrated that spirit of togetherness, they have shown that they are a responsible corporate organisation, and this should serve as a lesson for other companies; this is the way to go. When your communities are suffering, you identify with them; it is not all about reaping profits. We sincerely thank NDEP for coming to the aid of the people and we want to assure you that together, we will work to make the environment very peaceful for you to operate…you are not supporting only Upata people you are supporting the vision of Governor Nyesom Wike for a better Rivers State.
“Upata is a peaceful kingdom, and we will continue to ensure that there is peace in the Upata Kingdom,” he assured the officials.
Also speaking, the Chairman, Ahoada Local Government Area, Hon Ben Eke, expressed appreciation to the management of NDEP for their show of love, pointing out that they have not only demonstrated responsibility, but have also indicated that they are a responsive corporate organisation.
He promised a conducive environment for the company to ply their trade, while thanking the company for their kind gesture, saying, “We will on our part ensure that they do their business here without any form of molestation or harassment from anybody. So, may I once more thank you for what you have done I pray for you that you continue to go forward from strength to strength” and assured that “these items first will go to the Eze Ekpeye, Logbo-in-Council. Let me tell you the materials will get to the affected victims”.
On his part, the representative of Abua/Odual Local Government Area, Dr. Kikpoye Gogo thanked the firm for being the first company to identify with the people of Abual/Odua in their trying period, noting that their local government area hosts other oil firms, but NDEP was the only firm that had given them a helping hand to ensure that “you ameliorate our pain in respect of the flood.
He assured the company that the materials would properly distributed to the real victims in their domain and promised to ensure a conducive environment for the company to continue to do their business.
Responding to questions from pressmen, the Eze Upata, noted that 97 per cent of mud houses in the area had been swept away by the great waters, stating that as part of their post flood measures, the displaced persons would be allowed to stay at the camps longer than expected, while the household items would also be given to them as part of rehabilitation measures.
Also responding to journalists, the council Chairman, Hon Ben Eke, said there were plans to resettle the farmers especially the women through a post flood scheme tagged Back to Farm, where seedlings would be provided for over 200 women farmers between December 2022 and February 2023 to enable them return to their farms.
The company provided the five affected LGAs, including Ahoada East, Ahoada West, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni, Abua/Odual and Emuoha local governments areas with 15 truck-loads of food, toiletries and sanitary items as well as sleeping materials, comprising, 600 bags of rice, 600 mattresses, 600 pillows, 600 blankets, 600 mosquito nets, 15 cows, 720 cartons of noodles, 600 cartons of drinking water, 120 cartons of soap, 120 cartons of tomato paste, 120 cartons of sugar, powder milk and cocoa beverage.
The beneficiary communities include Ogbele, Omaraka, Otari, Obumeze, Oshiugbokor, Rumuekpe, Omerelu and Rumuji.
Niger Delta Exploration and Production, is the operator of Oil Mining Licence (OML)- 53 and OML- 54 in Ahoada and Abua/Odual,operational activities spread to neighbouring local governments and communities around the area.

By: Tonye Nria-Dappa

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