Connect with us

Business

Eleme Bridge Collapse: The Untold Story

Published

on

Eleme, like other Niger Delta Communities, stands on a Pinnacle of Wealth, but the natural disposition of the area as the hub of hydrocarbon exploration and development in Nigeria seems to have turned a mirage for the people.
The height of this ironical situation was the recent collapse of the Alode bridge which has resulted in untold suffering for the people and other users of that axis of the East-West Road.
Since the collapse of the bridge, three days ago, tension and anxieties have continued to mount, as life is now unbearable for the teeming road users.
Commercial motorists, tanker drivers and private vehicles owners that ply the route are presently cut off, as the major link road is now shut down.
Angered by the prevailing circumstance, youths from Eleme communities now besiege the road on daily basis in protest, calling for a total shut down of vehicular movement until permanent solution is put to the problem.
The protesting youths in a voiced discontent, said they have consistently raised alarm over the deplorable condition of the road, but such appeals seem to fall on deaf ears.
The aggrieved youths pointed out that before the final collapse of the bridge, users of that axis of the East-West Road, experienced grave difficulties trying to get to their destinations.
Rather than give urgent attention to the deplorable state of the road, the youth, said tankers loaded with   petroleum products and other heavy lorries belonging to the various multi-nationals operating in the area continued to stretch the aging bridge until it collapsed.
With the mounting tensions, an orgy of violence is imminent, as the youths have vowed to continue with the protest even in the face of military resistance.
A visit to the road last weekend revealed shootings by soldiers to disperse the protesting youths, leading to a pandemonium, as pedestrians scampered for safety from stray bullets.
Travelling the route is now nightmares as a long file of pedestrians was spotted trekking from Akpajo junction to Refinery Junction where vehicular movement is a little bit freer.
The languid spectacle of line-up of stationary heavy trucks and tankers and the spectacle of pedestrians in long files trying to meet up their appointments painted an odious scene of organised chaos.
Some of the road users who spoke with The Tide, during a visit to the road, bemoaned what they considered the “total neglect of the road, despite the fact that it was the major access route to the two federal terminals, a Mega Petrochemical Plant, Port Harcourt Refinery and myriads of other multi-nationals that prospect for the economic fortune of the Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority”.
A commercial bus driver, Mr Akanimo Udosen, lamented the sufferings to which the road users are subjected as a result of the collapse of the bridge.
Akanimo, who decried the loss of man hour as a result of the collapse of the bridge, thanked God for ensuring that no life was lost in the unfortunate incident.
He called on the Federal Government to construct the road and save the road users from further sufferings.
A private car owner, Engr Festus Tor, said the road has become a death trap for drivers. Tor said the total breakdown of the road had caused severe difficulties to him as he now parks his car and uses Okada, which takes advantage of the situation to swindle the public with exorbitant fares.
Another commercial bus driver, simply known as Mr David, who plies Port Harcourt-Bori route, said the bad road has severely affected his business.
He said commercial drivers now pass through Ban Ogo 1, in Tai Local Government Area through a meandering track route to Afam, Oyigbo before getting to Port Harcourt. This development, he said, has resulted in the increase in Transport fare from Bori to Port Harcourt, while a journey of two hours is now five hours, according to him, the fare which was previously N400, is now N700.
Apart from the increase in the transport fare, he said, the journey has become risky because of the narrow bush track, which is now also used by heavy trailers.
Also in apparent protest to the bad road, tanker drivers in the state have also embarked on an indefinite strike action.
According to the Zonal Chairman of National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, Comrade Charles Aleto, the strike is not an industrial action intended to bring hardship to the people but to save the lives of its members.
Aleto said the continuous movement of tanker drivers on the road was dangerous, adding that the strike may be sustained if the Federal Government failed to fix the road.  Aleto called on the Federal Government to treat the road as a matter of national emergency, as companies have also, within the past few days, suffered incalculable losses which “vehicles cannot carry products to their target destinations as a result of poor shape of the road”.
A stakeholder in the Oil and Gas Sector, Mr Ali Nyobana, has warned that if the road is not fixed  as a matter of urgency, it may result to scarcity of petroleum products in the state.
“It is regrettable that, the road had been abandoned to declay to its present state of disrepair, it is the major route for tankers to carry petroleum products for distribution.
If nothing is done, then there may be fuel scarcity”, he stated.
A social activist, Mr Christain Lekia, described the situation as “the height of political gimmickry and insensitivity to the plight of the people. It is something of a puzzle that the federal government would neglect the major road that leads to its economic nerve wire”.
According to Lekia, the situation amounts to “snuffering of life out of the proverbial goose that lays the golden egg”.
Also in apparent reaction to the bad road, the Ogoni Youth Federation (OYF), has expressed dismay at the state of events in the area.
Coordinator of the Eleme Chapter of the Organisation, Comrade Nwigbalor Gideon Gad, expressed shock over the abandonment of the road, despite its strategic importance to the Nigerian economy. He said the government should urgently swing into action to avert further disaster on the road. He said “the sacrifice of Eleme to the Nigerian economy has turned awry for the people who are now cut off from the rest of the world”.
Apart from serving as a major route to the various companies in the area, the collapsed bridge is also a major route to adjoining L.G.As like Khana, Gokana, Andoni, Okrika, Tai, Opobo/Nkoro and states like Akwa Ibom and Cross River.
The said road had been a major subject of public concern and criticism.  Many pundits blame the state of the road on partisan intrigues and lack of political will.
With apparent failure of remediation and palliative measures in fixing the road, it has now become a national emergency to put the road in proper shape to ameliorate the plight of the people. It could be recalled that recently, the Acting President of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, commissioned the world’s largest single-line Urea fertilizer plant, estimated at over $4 billion in Eleme.
The months ahead will, therefore, determine the seriousness or otherwise of government to create a sustainable access route to the mega plant, with 1.5 million tonnes per annum capacity, which places Nigeria on a vantage economic position of being the largest exporter of urea  in the world.

Taneh Beemene

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Business

Aviation Workers Issue Strike Notice To NiMET

Published

on

Aviation workers unions have given a 14-day notice of strike to the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET) for failure to implement consequencial adjustment wage for its workers.
This, consequently, means another round of disruption in the aviation industry as three workers’ unions have threatened to ground operations at the Nigerian Meteorological Agency over the wages, and failure to implement the minimum consequential adjustment wage.
The unions, which include the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP) and the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees.
The unions in a letter of notice of strike, which was made available to aviation correspondents, gave the agency’s management a 14-day ultimatum to implement the minimum wage adjustment or they would embark in strike action.
This is also coming barely a week after the workers of the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company PLC( NAHCO) downed their tools over wages.
The strike notice to NiMET is also coming up in the sector, irrespective of the recent order given by the ministry of aviation, prohibiting any form of strike in the sector, as aviation industry is viewed as essential service.
The unions have accused the NIMET’s management of ‘wickedness’ over its failure to implement the minimum wage consequential adjustment despite its implementation in other five aviation agencies in the sector, since February 2022.

The letter dated January 26, 2023, was jointly signed by the General Secretary, NUATE, Ocheme Aba; the General Secretary AUPCTRE, Sikiru Waheed; and the General Secretary of ANAP, Abdul Rasaq Saidu, and was addressed to the Director-General of NiMET.

By: Corlins Walter

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Business

New Seme Customs Controller Vows To Sustain Tempo

Published

on

The newly deployed Area Controller, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Seme Border Command, Compt. Dera Nnadi, has assumed duty with a pledge to sustain and improve tempo of trade facilitation at Nigeria’s busiest land frontier.
Speaking at a brief handover ceremony, Nnadi, who described Nigeria as a strategic economic player in Africa, said schemes like ongoing ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) and soon to take off African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) would be explored for common good.
According to the new CAC, Nigeria’s economy is central to the West African sub-region with a population of over 200 million, with the country having potentials to contribute to the over 1billion African population through the AfCFTA regime
He urged his operatives, other government agencies, members of the border community and travellers to embrace challenges of trans border trade and comply with the law guiding trans border trade all the time.
Nnadi, who noted that border communities have challenges that are not insurmountable, added that there is need to cover infrastructural gaps that will improve their standards of living and promote lawful sources of livelihood.
Ahead of the 2023 elections, he advised his officers to be polite to travellers and traders using the Seme corridor and be firm in curbing any form of lawlessness.
He said his experience and knowledge from previous assignments across the border and his academic exposures will be deployed to border administration
While promising to interact closely with  traditional rulers and other members of the border area, he solicited closer stakeholder interactions at strategic and operational levels.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Business

Kaduna Refinery Rehabilitation: NNPCL, Daewoo Sign N342bn Deal

Published

on

A contract sum of $740.67million has been signed between the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) and Daewoo Engineering and Construction Nigeria Limited for the rehabilitation of Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company Limited (KRPC).
A release from the NNPCL revealed that the signed contract of $740.67million (N341.48billion as at Friday’s official exchange rate of N461.04/$) was signed at the Abuja headquarters of NNPC, and will last for 21 months.
According to the release, the quick-fix strategy would see to the repairs and re-streaming of KRPC, as well as ensure its operation on a sustainable basis at a minimum capacity utilisation of 60 per cent.
In the released statement, the Executive Vice President of the downstream of the national firm, Adeyemi Adetunji, was quoted as saying that the contract is marked a milestone in the history of KRPC, considering the fact that the last Turn Around Maintenance on the refinery occurred about 15 years ago, and that the project was framed after extensive engagement with Daewoo.
“This project shall be executed in three work packages as a maintenance services contract by Daewoo E&C Nigeria Limited at an estimated maximum cost ceiling of $740,669,600, with a duration of 21 months.
”The quick-fix strategy guarantees the fastest route to re-streaming Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company (WRPC) and KRPC for in-country production of refined petroleum products.
“Restoring WRPC and KRPC back to operation will guarantee energy security for the country, reduce dependence on imported petroleum products in view of near total dependence on supply of imported petroleum products and the impact the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war is having on global supply”.
“The proposed quick-fix initiative on KRPC is expected to restore it to a minimum of 60 per cent of its nameplate capacity by fourth quarter of 2024. NNPC Limited is using a combination of Internally Generated Revenue and third party financing to execute the repairs of the refineries”, he stated.
Also in the release, Adetunji noted that the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt Refining Company had progressed considerably.
”The old refinery is currently at 64 per cent completed and the plant is expected be back in operation in second quarter of 2023, while the entre PHRC rehabilitation project currently stands at about 59 per cent.
“On the other hand, WRPC quick-fix project has achieved 28 per cent completion and is expected to be re-streamed by the end of this year”, it stated.
The statement further maintained that Nigeria should be self sufficient this year with respect to the domestic production of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol.

By: Corlins Walter

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Trending