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Dry Dock: N’Delta Youth’s Protest Sparks Tension In NLNG

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Fear is said to have gripped the management of multinational gas corporation, Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company (NLNG) and her investors over a strongly worded protest letter presented by a coalition of Rivers State youth and stakeholders over the proposed location of NLNG’s dry dock.
The letter, which content made startling revelations previously unheard of, lay overwhelming credence to the fact that NLNG, in spite of its sustained denial, was actually the sponsor of the proposed dry dock project in Badagry, Lagos State.
In a nine-page letter articulately written and copied to government and strategic agencies in the country by the youth leaders representing various groups in Rivers State, stakeholders and other youth of Niger Delta under the aegis of Joint Niger Delta Youth Movement led by activist, Ann Kio-Briggs, they expressed their resolute demands for reversion of the decision, insisting that it must be sited anywhere in Niger Delta.
Also present at the civil protest to NLNG complex in Port Harcourt include; Chairman, National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), Rivers State chapter, Amb. Sukubo Sara-Igbe Sukubo, National Secretary General of Ijaw Youth Council and Leader of Rivers Ijaw Youth, Engr Emmanuel Bristol Alagbariya, Leader, Bonny Youth Federation, Barr. Simeon Wilcox, among others, to express serious disappointment and regret in the non-inclusion of host communities who are critical stakeholders of NLNG projects, condemning in the process perceived as high level deceit, fabrication and deliberate intention to foist crisis in the region.
Sources in the company, who spoke under anonymity, had disclosed that there is rumble among the rank and file of NLNG management, adding that the atmosphere is tensed, especially with indications that in spite of alleged attempts by the company to incite other NLNG communities and youth against Bonny Island through a recent publication enumerating what Bonny people are benefitting from NLNG, the youth of Rivers State have remained resolute and undeterred in pressing for their demand and pursuing their joint objective over the dry dock issue.
This development, according to the source, is said to be against NLNG’s divide and rule plan to forestall further protest by youth against the planned dry dock location.
More worrisome for the company is that the protest had gone smoothly without aggression as the youth made their positions known without the usually violence associated with Niger Delta youth.
Part of the demands during the protest is to have the dry dock located in any of the Niger Delta states for the purpose of creating job opportunities for the teeming unemployed youths, in addition to the demand that NLNG should organize a road show in the Niger Delta and give practical assurance to the investors that they will patronize the investors and make available all their vessels to the dry dock facility to be built in the Niger Delta.
The letter, submitted amidst tight security mounted by NLNG, neither deterred the youth and stakeholders who matched on within the NLNG premises to deliver the strongly worded letter received by one of NLNG’s key management officers.
Some contentious issues were raised in the letter which reads in parts: “It is not in dispute that you, NLNG, conceived the idea and sponsored the disputed dry dock feasibility studies, received, accepted, gave approval to the report, and indeed, mobilized banks and investors, and also organized a road show to actualize and give effect to your desired decision to site the dry dock in Lagos as pre-determined.
“It is necessary here to note that before the feasibility study and road show of Decenber 9th, 2014, organized by you, there were no foreign or local investors (company or consortium) for the dry dock, but to our chagrin, NLNG had already named the project, Badagry Ship Repair and Marine Engineering (BSME)”.
To further give credence to NLNG’s pre-determined and lopsided feasibility study, the statement gave reference to various reports, including one made available by news giant Reuters on Friday, June 19th, 2015, which was also hoisted on NLNG website captioned ‘NLNG EYES $1.5 BILLION DEBUT SHIPYARD IN NIGERIA’.
“The first paragraph aptly captured that ‘Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company (NLNG) is sponsoring the construction of the first major ship yard in Africa’s biggest economy at the cost of $1.5 billion, in its attempt to turn the country into a hub for maritime operations on the continent”.
Reuters went further to quote NLNG spokesman, Tony Okonedo, as corroborating statements that indicate that they are actually sponsoring the dry dock project.
Further statements to bolster claims by the youth coalition group referenced publications and strategic quotes by NLNG management on Nations, Guardian, and Sun Newspapers, among others.
The letter in part countered strongly and referred to as unsubstantiated NLNG spokesman’s claim that technical grounds like, Natural water depth; Proximity to an international airport and Proximity to an active offshore and onshore West Africa oil and gas hub were practicable parameters used to decide on siting the Dry dock in Badagry
Countering the claims the Joint Niger Delta Youth Movement stated in its letter that it is yet to come to terms on why Badagry which natural water depth of 11-12 meters was chosen ahead of Bonny island with natural water depth of 14.30 meters and the Onne/Ikpokiri which has about 15.2 meters of natural water depth.
On proximity to airport, it states that the distance between Lagos International airport and Badagry is about 68 kilometers while from Port Harcourt international airport to Onne Port is about 40 kilometers, even as Bonny Island has the advantage of a mini air strip.
Dissecting the issue of proximity to an active offshore and onshore West Africa oil and gas hub, it states “Niger delta is the most active offshore and onshore oil and gas hub in Nigeria and indeed in the whole of West Africa. Hear this: It is a global established known and accepted empirical fact that only the management of NLNG Bonny and its hired agents the Royal Haskoning DHV are disputing this very obvious fact”.
The protest organized in the most civil and intellectual manner attracted the admiration of security operatives who commended the organizational ambiance exhibited by the protesters. There was staked consensus among, Ann Kio Briggs, Sukubo Sara Igbe, Bristol Alagbariya and Simeone Wilcox and other stakeholders that NLNG’s hidden but now open agenda can never be allowed to see the light of the day, they assert that the decision if allowed to fly will be detrimental not just to the present generation of youths in the Niger delta, but to those yet unborn. While they wait on NLNG to reply the letter they are strongly maintaining a capital NO stance to siting the Drydock in Badagry.

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Akpabio Receives Afrobeat Star, Davido On Courtesy Visit

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The President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio on Monday received in audience Afrobeat star, David Adedeji Adeleke, popularly known as Davido who was on a courtesy visit to the Senate President.
Receiving his guest, Akpabio expressed his delight at the visit and showered encomiums on the Afrobeat star for making Nigeria proud by his outstanding performance.
“You have made us very proud within the international community,” Akpabio told Davido who came in company of two of his cousins, Hon. Tunji Adeleke, son of his late brother Isiaka Adeleke and Folasade Adeleke, daughter of Osun State Governor Ademola Adeleke.
The Senate President told his guests that “we will do everything possible to support the entertainment industry. “He however charged them to continue to maintain high ethics and resist peer influence that could derail them.
Akpabio said, “For me and for the government of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, it is an inclusive administration, and you must have noticed in my various outings, we move as one, across party lines.
“Even though your administration is a PDP one but we work across party lines for the interest of Nigeria. The only major thing that is common to all of us is the interest of this country and it is a country that has given you so much love.
“It is a country with a population that is unmatched anywhere else in Africa. Over 240 million Nigerians. So I want you to continue to remain a great Ambassador of our country. Don’t allow anybody to drag you into politics. Continue to do your best in the entertainment industry.
“For us in the political arena, we value talents and what God has given to you, nobody can take it away from you. We do everything possible to support the industry. To support talented people like you. All we need also is patience and prayers so that we can succeed.
“Please do your best to continue to maintain the high ethics. What is happening in America with some of the black stars is quite unfortunate. For most of you in the industry, don’t allow peer group influence derail you. Continue to do your best.
“The entertainment industry is like a pyramid. You start from the ground until you get there. When you are on top, your own is how to remain there. So anybody who walks on a tight rope must learn how to do the balancing act. And so, your job is to remain there.
“Our prayers is that God should sustain you there and to continue to give you more wisdom and more talent for you to continue to make Nigeria proud. We are very proud of you.”
Davido recalled how Akpabio hosted him and his team while he was Governor of Akwa Ibom State and also while he was a Minister.
He informed the Senate President of his Foundation which primarily offers assistance to the orphanages and also of his new album to be released in June or July.
“As for me, I’m doing my part. I have a Foundation. Every year, I share N300 million, N400 million to orphanages.Just doing my own part to assist the society. We have new album coming out June or July. I just thank you for everything you have been doing for us,” Davido said.

By: Stories by Nneka Amaechi-Nnadi, Abuja

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Nasarawa Assembly Summons PGIE Manager Over Poor Power Supply

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Nasarawa State House of Assembly yesterday summoned the Area Manager, Power Generation Interconnected Energy Limited handling power project in Toto LGA.
T he House in the text of the summon insisted that Area manager appears in person and within two weeks to enable him explain issues surrounding disruption of power supply in Toto LGA.
The Speaker of the House,. Rt. Hon. Danladi Jatau gave the directive after a session with a representative of the Power Gen Interconnected Ltd, Mr John Ufeoshi who appeared before the House during it’s proceedings in Lafia .
The Speaker said the invitation extended to the Area Manager was to enable him brief the House on the ongoing power project in Toto Local Government Area hence the Constitutional right that empowers the lawmakers to invite anybody concerning issues of public importance
” We discovered that the Area Manager of the PowerGen did not appeared in person but he has sent a representative.We are again giving the Area Manager of the PowerGen Interconnected Energy Ltd the opportunity to appear before the House in person within two weeks,” the Speaker said.
The Speaker said that the invitation of the Area Manager was to ensure that the people of Toto LGA and its environs get power supply.
Earlier, the representative of the CEO, PowerGen Interconnected Energy Ltd, John Ufeosh in his speech noted that he was an ‘errand boy’ of the Area Manager, adding that he would convey all questions not answered to the Area Manager.
It would be recalled that the Speaker of the House Rt. Hon. Danladi Jatau had last month directed the Area Manager PowerGen Interconnected Energy Ltd in Toto Local Government Area to appear before the House on 21st May 2024 with all the necessary documents authorizing the company to operate in the area.

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Our Govt Is Guided By Rule Of Law -Fubara

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has said that there is a greater and assuring resolve of his administration to follow his course lawfully to the end concerning the festering political crisis in the State.
The Governor, therefore, urged supporters and all Rivers people to eschew violence and conduct themselves in compliance with the rule of law, as he is already on top of the situation.
Governor Fubara spoke at Tema Junction, venue of the ceremony for the official inauguration of Emohua-Kalabari (Tema Junction) Road project in Asari-Toru Local Government Area on Friday.
The project inauguration was performed by the senator representing Bayelsa West Senatorial District, Senator Henry Seriake Dickson.
Governor Fubara assured that he will continue to lead the State with the fear of God and guided by the laws of the land, adding that he would never let Rivers people down, including all those who believe in his leadership.
He said, “I want to thank everyone of you for your support. I want to thank you specially for your support during the time of the election; before, during and the wonderful support we are getting now after the election. And the support is what is shocking the whole world.
“We don’t have any Assembly member, like they said. We don’t have any local government chairman, like they said. But we have the people. Having the people is the most important thing. I assure the people that we will not disappoint them.”
Governor Fubara emphasised: “We will lead as a Government that has the fear of God, purposeful for the people. I assure you that we will not let you down. We will not bring any form of disgrace.
“But I am not asking you to be violent. No need for it. The most important thing is our course: we will follow it lawfully to the end. And by the special grace of God, we are on top of the situation.”
Governor Fubara encouraged the people to continue to support the President Bola Tinubu-led Federal Government, and ensure that they are protecting important Government installations in Kalabari land.
The Governor observed the troubling issues of unabated illegal bunkering activities and vandalism of critical infrastructure of State, which has caused a depletion of inflow of revenue to the federation accounts.
Governor Fubara, who particularly said that recurring reports of the Nigerian Navy emphasised the preponderance of such activities in the area, tasked youths to stop engaging in such economic sabotage.
“When you watch or read most of the reports on the activities by the Nigerian Navy, you will see that greater part of these bunkering activities are done, more especially in this area.
“I want to appeal to you, there are other justifiable and clean means of livelihood. We must not subject ourselves to economic sabotage. Please, I am appealing to you, it is better we desist from it.
“I am going to constitute a very high-powered delegation that will visit these areas, and talk to the leadership: the chiefs and the community heads and leaders, so that we can improve on our present state.
“When we have (exploited) more crude oil resources from this area, it brings in more resources (finances) to the state, it brings more resources (finances) to the country. Mr President can do more projects and the State can also do more projects. Afterall, you will want me to do more projects. So, support me in this fight to end illegal bunkering and oil pipeline vandalization.”
Commenting on the Emohua-Kalabari Road project, Governor Fubara said it was awarded on the 18th February, 2023, by the immediate past administration at the cost of N21.2billion but only paid N6billion.
Governor Fubara stated that his administration paid the remainder of N15.2billion, and completed 70 percent of the job to confidently claim it as part of his projects delivered for the good of the people in Kalabari land.
He said, “Although the Permanent Secretary did mention a few things, and I know that when we leave here, some agents will want to say one thing or the other. So, I came prepared.
“Let me also say it here, maybe, Julius Berger Nigeria PLC was being economical with their presentation. On my table as I am talking to you, there is a request for variation of the cost of this project.
“This is because, as at the time this project was awarded, and while the project was on-going, there was serious exchange rate differences. But I told them not to worry that they should go ahead and complete this project, and I assured them that we will sort them out and they accepted.
“For the records, this project was awarded on the 18th of February, 2023, by the immediate past administration. In the month of March, the first payment for the project was done, and the next one was in April, and the third one was in May.
“The total value of this project is N21.2billlion, and out of that, only N6billion was what the previous administration committed.
“When we came on board, we said to the contactor, go ahead, assuring that we are not cutting it short because we know that the project is for the benefit of our people. I can boldly say here that the balance of N15.2billion has been paid completely.
“So, for those of you that are mathematicians and even those of you who understand elementary statistics, you will understand that 70 percent of this project was done by this administration. Therefore, we can boldly say that this project was delivered by this administration.
“That is not even an issue but the reason why we have to go on this line is just to explain to our people, so that you will understand where we were and exactly where we are now.
“Originally, our mantra was supposed to be ‘Consolidation and Continuity’. And if that is our mantra, the success of our administration should not be ascribed to anybody, but to the success of the administration, to the success of governance, knowing fully well that one will serve out our tenure and another will continue, and government is a continuous process.
“But with what we are faced with, we have no other option but to do this explanation so that we will understand the works that we are doing. For those people who say that we have not been doing anything, they will know that we have been doing a lot silently, not with noise or media exaggeration.”
Governor Fubara, who assured that he will continue to deploy resources of the State to better the conditions of the people, directed the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Works to commence the process for the immediate extension of the road from Tema Junction to Abonnema Town.
The Governor explained that the Trans-Kalabari Road project was re-routed away from the Ogbakiri axis because of the high maritime line entailed in the construction work and the associated cost but assured that the road will still connect to Tombia Town.
“Let me assure our people, as I have said before, this Government is a Government that is focused. This Government is a Government that wants the forgotten people to feel the impact of governance.
“This Government is a Government that wants to give opportunity to everyone. You don’t need to be close to me to benefit, that is the truth. This is because I see it as sycophancy. What we need to do, we will do it for our people.
“So, let me thank the four local government areas which co-operated to make this project a success: Emohua, Asari-Toru, Degema and Akuku-Toru. And let me also thank the traditional leadership of the Kalabari Kingdom, please just be peaceful, everything that we desire, by the special grace of God, will definitely come our way.”
Performing the inauguration of the project, the senator representing Bayelsa West Senatorial District, Senator Henry Seriake Dickson, said that crisis makes some people to forget governance but added that Governor Fubara has refused to be distracted but had rather committed to improving the wellbeing of the people.
Senator Dickson, who was former Governor of Bayelsa State, said the project is a life-changing development endeavour because his experience plying the road when it was deplorable was also unpleasant but noted that that phase was now gone, and joined the people to appreciate Governor Fubara for the feat.
He said, “Today, we have seen what you are doing. When we led that delegation last week to you at Government House, I didn’t know that you are embarking on life-changing projects like this across the length and breathe of this area.
“Not many people will see this and doubt your commitment and your understanding of the imperatives of development. Your love for our people, your love for Rivers people, and your understanding of the challenges facing your people, if anyone was in doubt, looking at this wonderful road, such doubts, clearly will be misplaced.”
He praised the Governor for what he has achieved in such a short time, despite the deliberate distractions, and urged him to remain focused to do more for the people.
He added as a competent accountant, he was sure that the Governor will prudently deploy every taxpayer’s sweat into meaningful development projects that will positively impact the majority of the people of the State.
Providing the description of the project, the Permanent Secretary of Rivers State Ministry of Works, Engr Atemea Briggs, said the Emohua-Kalabari Road is 15.24km in length, and was awarded at the cost of N21.26billion by the previous administration, which paid only 28 percent of that sum, which amounted to N6billion with work left at preliminary stage.
Engr Briggs stated other features of the road that is serving as major access into Kalabari land to include its width as 5.3 meters, with asphalt thickness of 100 millimeters – made up of 60 millimeters concrete asphaltic binder course and 40 millimeters asphaltic wearing course, with a median divide of 600 millimeters and installed street light, now completed and fully paid.
In his presentation, the Deputy Regional Manager of Julius Berger Nigeria PLC, Engr Rimon Morisho, said the Emohua-Abalama-Tema Junction Road project was awarded to them in February, 2023, with a completion period of 18 months.
He said that because of the company’s commitment to meeting contractual obligations, they ensured delivery of the project in good quality and ahead of schedule
Engr Morisho stated that his company was proud to have contributed significantly to the development of infrastructure in the region, and expressed gratitude to Governor Fubara for the opportunity, including the trust reposed in them to be part of his success story.
In her welcome address, the Vice Chairman of Asari-Toru Local Government Area, Mrs Tekena Daphne Wokoma, recalled that the road, which was properly constructed with bridges first in the 1990s, eventually collapsed few years after.
The unattended deplorable condition of the road, she stated, created motoring discomfort for commuters with kidnappers and armed robbers finding it more easy to operate on the route but added that Governor Fubara has wiped away their tears, saved them from the nightmare and associated difficulties.
Dr Wokoma said the road will further improve the economic potentials of the benefiting communities in the four local government areas of Emohua, Degema, Asari-Toru and Akoku-Toru.

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