The General Assembly of Upata people have thrown the doors open for those aspiring to ascent the vacant stool of Eze Upata Kingdom after the one year mandatory period for the mourning of the late acceptant of monarch stool.
Addressing the General Assembly of the Upata people on Saturday at Edeoha in Ahoada East Local Government Area, Chairman of the Assembly, Eze Friday Ezeh, said the morning was over and declared open the process that would lead to the emergence of a new king.
Eze Friday Ezeh, explained that the people have concluded reconciliation of all factions in the 21 communities that make up the Upata Kingdom, that would enhance the participation of all the communities in the Kingdom.
According to him, “we have taken steps that will help us to elect a new Eze Upata Kingdom which is open to all male adults from the area of 40 years and above aspire under the laid down procedures of the people to ensure smooth transition”.
Chairman of Upata Council of Chiefs, Eze Mathias Okpara, expressed happiness with the process because the documents of over 30 years stipulates guidelines to be followed and it would help to reduce friction among those that may wish to occupy the position.
Eze Okpara, said the General Assembly remains the highest gathering of the Upata people and they have declared the commencement of collection of form at the cost of N2,000 while it would be returned with a non refundable fee of N2 million.
He noted that the exercise have been smooth so far and everyone appears to be satisfied with the procedure, adding that the people are following laid down guideline in the conduct of its affairs, particularly on the vacant stool.
In an interview with The Tide, the lawmaker representing Ahoada East Constituency II in the State House of Assembly, Hon. Ibiso Nwuche, said the people met to deliberate on the process leading to the ascension to the position of Eze Upata Kingdom.
Hon Nwuche said rule stipulates N2,000 for the collection of the form but the Assembly through a democratic voting process adopted that all returning forms must be accompanied with N2 million to cover administration.
The lawmaker explained that the Eze Upata Stool is hereditary but elected through democratic process, remarking that each of the 21 communities have been mandated to commence the election of members of the electoral college who would vote on behalf of their communities to elect the traditional ruler of the area.
Group Protests Hijack Of Pipeline Surveillance Contract …Demands Payment Of N19.2bn Compensation
A group, under the aegis of Association of Niger Delta Upland Communities, has protested against their exclusion from oil surveillance contract by the Federal Government.
The protesters also shutdown activities of multi national Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in Rumuekpe Community, Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State over the issues.
The protesters, including women, youths, and the elderly, also demanded compensations of N19.2bn meant for eight months salary arrears from TNP Oil Surveillance in the area.
President, Association of Niger Delta Upland Communities, Isa Mohammed, decried the hijack of the surveillance contract in the area by indigenes of Riverine communities.
Mohammed demanded that the N19.2billion wrongfully diverted by PINL to fake warlords in the riverine communities meant for eight months salary arears of TNP Oil Surveillance in Rivers State, be returned to the upland communities.
He also called for the release of the original copies of documents for the oil surveillance contract for the TNP oil pipeline to the upland communities by the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL).
“Our people were not given the opportunity included in the master’s deal, whereby about 150 persons died in Rumuekpe in fire outbreak disaster in that TNP, even when the contract has been signed to the company”, he said.
He further stated that they will keep fighting for the right of the upland communities until their demands are met.
“We need equal right from Federal Government as we produce over 700,000 barrels of crude oil per day in Rumuekpe Manifold.
He, however, solicited for recognition of Niger Delta Upland Communities by the Federal, State, Local Government and oil companies operating within the upland communities.
Some indigenes of Rumuekpe Community, who spoke to The Tide on the sideline of the protest, decried the neglect of the community by government and Oil companies.
They also accused the International oil companies operating in the area of shying away from their corporate social responsibilities.
“We have four oil companies operating in Rumuekpe commtunity namely: NDPR, SPDC, NAOC (Agip) and TotalEnergies, but we are lacking basic amenities.
“When you are coming to Rumuekpe Community, you can see that we don’t have roads, we don’t have drinking water, no hospital, no market, no light and no school.
“We are calling on these companies and the government to provide these amenities for our people because we have suffered a lot”, they said.
By: John Bibor
Town Planning Expert Urges Effective Physical Planning in Rivers
Prominent urban planner and member of the Nigeria Institute of Town Planning (NITP), Emmanuel Ikechukwu, has expressed serious concern over the state of physical planning in River State.
Ikechukwu, in a statement in Port Harcourt, yesterday, called on the State government to prioritize physical planning and development as a matter of utmost urgency.
He urged the state to tap into the potentials of the Town Planning profession to address global challenges associated with rapid urbanization and ensure a better quality of life for all its residents.
“It is high time Rivers State recognized that effective physical planning is not a luxury but an absolute necessity for the sustainable growth and development of the region”, he said.
Ikechukwu highlighted the historical neglect and lack of awareness surrounding the importance of physical planning in the state, emphasizing the dire consequences this negligence has had on the well-being of its citizens.
Ikechukwu traced the origin of the issue back to the early seventies when there was a growing awareness of the need for comprehensive planning.
He noted that during this period, the state government initiated the development of master plans and physical plans for settlements.
“However, despite these efforts, the lack of political will and funding led to these plans gathering dust on government office shelves, never seeing the light of implementation”, he said.
He pointed out that this persistent lack of commitment to effective physical planning has significantly contributed to the poor state of human settlements in the State today.
“Even the River State Physical Planning and Development Law of 2003, which was signed into law by then-Governor Sir Dr. Peter Odili, remains largely unimplemented 20 years later.
“This lack of enforcement reflects the government’s limited belief in the importance of physical planning to the overall well-being of its citizens”, he said.””Ikechukwu emphasized that the situation in Port Harcourt and Rivers State as a whole requires nothing short of a state of emergency declaration.
“Instead of appreciating and coordinating land use activities, the region is plagued by the consequences of inadequate physical planning. These manifest in various ways, including poorly-sited projects, narrow streets, dysfunctional infrastructure, building collapses, unplanned settlements, avoidable flooding, and other disasters, all of which lead to stressful living conditions and a high mortality rate”, he noted.
He posed the critical question of why the number one priority for development has been relegated to the background.
“Is it a deliberate ploy or a lack of political will to improve the well-being of the state’s inhabitants through effective planning and physical development activities capable of transforming the social, physical, and economic fortunes of the state?”, he queried.
Ikechukwu also expressed surprise at the ignorance surrounding the physical planning profession in the State, even among the educated elite.
He highlighted the absurdity of hearing the term “urban renewal” being misconstrued as referring to funerals that have been expanded, emphasizing the urgent need for awareness and education in this vital field.
Confab Seeks Local Solutions To Oil, Gas Sector Challenges
The just-concluded 6th international conference organised by the Centre for Gas, Refining and Petrochemicals (CGRP) of the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPOTT) has made critical recommendations for the oil and gas sector in Nigeria.
A communique read at the end of the conference and signed on behalf of organisers and participants by the Vice-Chancellor, UNIPORT, Prof. Owunari Abraham Georgewill; Chairman, CGRP Board and Chairman of the conference, Engr. Anthony Ogbuigwe; Ag. Director, CGRP, Dr. Akuma Oji; and Chairman, Central Planning Committee, Prof. Ayoade Kuye; stated that the Federal Government should make deliberate efforts to develop local solutions to the challenges of the oil and gas sector in Nigeria.
The communique, made available by the Chairman, Conference Sub-Committee on Publicity and Protocols, Dr. Jossy Nkwocha, on Saturday, said, “Government must make deliberate policy to encourage the design and fabrication of oil and gas equipment in Nigeria.
“This is important because of its impact on the economy, job creation opportunities, as well as optimal and sustainable operation of the oil and gas industry”, it said.
The communique further stated that, “the Federal Government should initiate policies that will insist that at least 60percent of equipment being used should be manufactured in Nigeria. Timelines to this also should be set”.
Other aspects of the 19-point recommendations of the communique include: “The Federal Government of Nigeria should divest some of its ownership of the commercial refineries in Nigeria for a sustainable operation of the oil and gas industry, at least in line with the NLNG model, i.e. 49percent Government and 51percent private sector, as only this will ensure sustainability.
“All efforts should be expedited to ensure the optimal performance of all commercial refineries in Nigeria. These refineries can be upgraded with new technologies to increase capacity of production and quality of products.
“There is need to ensure the standardization of products of gas, refining and petrochemicals in Nigeria especially the modular refineries to ensure sustainability.
“More efforts should be targeted towards arresting the menace of crude oil pipeline vandalisation, gas flaring and ensure turn-around maintenance of the commercial refineries in Nigeria as and when due.
“Efforts should be made at increasing the consumption of fertilizer in Nigeria. Efforts at digitizing the operation and management of the oil and gas industry should be explored to drive the change in the downstream sector.
“Nigeria like other African countries must pay adequate attention to targeted and sustainable financing of the downstream sector and the agricultural sector and policies made towards its actualization.
“Government/private sector partnership in the mid and downstream sector can improve job creation, revenue generation, food security and national GDP.
“The Agricultural sector can be made more attractive in Nigeria with emphasis on using the right seeds, right fertilizers and applying fertilizer at the right time are essentials for getting optimal production in the industry.
“Gas flaring penalties must be well priced to discourage this activity. Government should ensure diligent application and execution of this policy.
“Utilization of gas resources is essential to discourage wastage. Gas-to-power, gas-to-fertilizer, gas-to-energy and gas-to- liquids are viable options.
“Investment in Hydrogen gas generation and utilization in Nigeria must be explored.
“Efforts must be geared at improving the collaboration between the government, academia, industry and professional bodies as this is key to a sustainable oil and gas industry and the agricultural sector.
“Industry and community harmony is an incentive to cross-community cooperation and development.
“Home grown technologies and collaborations with other African countries is key to attaining sustainability in the oil and gas industry”.
The conference extended its felicitations to President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and all citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Our prayers are that the recommendations of this international conference will be religiously implemented to usher in innovations for sustainable optimal operations of existing oil and gas assets in Nigeria”, the communique declared.
The conference, which was held at Novotel Hotels, Port Harcourt from Wednesday to Thursday, September 20-21, 2023, attracted participants from government, academia, industry and stakeholders in the mid/downstream oil and gas industry in Nigeria and abroad.
The theme of the conference was “Innovations for Sustainable Optimal Operations of Existing Oil and Gas Assets in Nigeria”.
It was organised by CGRP in collaboration with with the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers (NSChE) and Africa Centre of Excellence in Oilfield Chemicals Research (ACE-CEFOR).
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