The sum of N200million expected to be paid as royalties by an indigenous oil firm, All Grace Energy Limited, to Ubima Community in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State, is about to cause another round of crisis in the community.
Inside sources said that a group, Patriotic Youth of Ubima (PYO) has threatened to shut down the operations of the oil firm over non-implementation of the subsisting Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the community for five years.
The threat followed the company’s inability to carry out its corporate social responsibility (CSR) for over five years in Ubima.
The youths lamented that the company has failed to award scholarship and pay other entitlements due the community since it commenced operations.
The President of the Patriotic Youth of Ubima, Wisdom Chimankpa Igwe and other leaders of the community said that even with persistent harassment and intimidation, the people would not relent in agitating for their rights.
They also said that the PYU, through its lawyer, had written to the Community Development Committee (CDC) to explain to the youth and community leaders the level of implementation of the MoU, adding that they were yet to receive response from either the company or the community leadership.
The youths alleged that majority of them were roaming the streets in the community without job while the company has continued to employ people from outside the community and state.
They accused the company and community leadership of using security agencies to intimidate and harass youths agitating for their rights.
The youths claimed that the CDC had prevented them from coming together because of their alleged secret dealings with companies operating in the community.
They alleged that the CDC confirmed that out of N200million the company was due to pay the community, it has only paid N50million, which they claimed, has not been accounted for.
They regretted that the company, with the huge revenue generated from the community, has succeeded in impoverishing Ubima with no single project to boast of, and warned that the youths would, henceforth, take their destiny in their hands.
When contacted, the CDC Chairman, Barrister Mono Okono, advised the youths not to take laws into their hands, and confirmed that the CDC had received the sum of N50million out of N200million.
Okono advised the youths to apply dialogue, warning that get-rich quick syndrome was not the best way to achieve peace and development.
He said the leadership of the community was doing everything possible to resolve the lingering issues, adding that he was not part of those who signed the MoU with the company.
According to him, “the MoU had been signed before I took over the leadership of the community in 2015”, adding that the CDC has no part to play in the looming crisis.
“The CDC cannot interface with the company, rather a separate body known as MIC is the only body empowered by the MoU to interface with the company”, he said.
He also explained that the company’s financial and technical partners were in court over an internal matter, which according to him, means that one party cannot implement what is in the MoU.
Also contacted, the company’s Community Liaison Officer (CLO), Mr. Dandison Onuah, who dismissed the threats by PYU, warned that the youths cannot dictate to him or his family what happens in his land.
Onuah stated that he was one of the rightful owners of the land where the oil firm was located and carrying out its business.
According to him, “I am the rightful owner of the land, somebody who does not own anything cannot dictate to me.
“Ubima community has an organised leadership. We have Ogbakor Ubima headed by a legal practitioner. We have Community Development Committee (CDC) also headed by a legal practitioner. Those touts cannot dictate to us”, he noted.
He said the company has no obligation to listen to the PYU, describing them as non-existent trouble-makers bent on destabilising the relative peace in the community.
By: Ike Wigodo
Nigeria’s GDP Grew By 3.11% In Q1 2022, NBS Affirms
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has said that Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 3.11per cent in the first quarter of 2022.
The NBS made this known via its Nigerian Gross Domestic Product Report Q1 2022 released, last Monday.
According to the report, Nigeria’s GDP grew by 3.11per cent year-on-year in real terms in the first quarter of 2022.
The NBS noted that the development showed a sustained positive growth for six consecutive quarters since the recession witnessed in 2020 when negative growth rates were recorded in quarter two and three of 2020.
It added that the first quarter 2022 growth rate further represents an improvement in economic performance.
The NBS stated: “The observed trend since Q4 of 2020 is an indication of a gradual economic stability.
“The Q1 of 2022 growth rate was higher than the 0.51per cent growth rate recorded in Q1 of 2021 by 2.60per cent points and lower than 3.98per cent recorded in Q4 of 2021 by 0.88per cent points.
“Nevertheless, quarter-on-quarter, real GDP grew at -14.66per cent in Q1 of 2022, compared to Q4 of 2021, reflecting a lower economic activity than the preceding quarter.
“In the period under review, aggregate GDP stood at about N45.317million in nominal terms.
“This performance is higher when compared to the first quarter of 2021 which recorded aggregate GDP of about N40.014million, indicating a year-on-year nominal growth rate of 13.25per cent.
“The nominal GDP growth rate in Q1 2022 was higher relative to the 12.25per cent growth recorded in Q1 2021, and higher compared to the 13.11per cent growth recorded in the preceding quarter,” the report read.
RSG Launches RIV-CARES Programme …World Bank Rates Rivers High
The Rivers State Government has launched the state COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (RIV-CARES) Programme.
The state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike performed the launching at the NBA Secretariat in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Speaking through his Deputy, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, the governor said the programme was to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the poor and vulnerable households and support micro and small-scale enterprises as a means of stimulating economic growth post-COVID.
According to the State Chief Executive, “the state government had signed in for the programme, made provisions in the 2022 Budget for Result Areas and signed Funds Release Policy, which is an assurance to the World Bank that funds shall be released for the implementation of the programme”.
Wike said the launching of the RIV-CARES Programme would create awareness for the people of the state and engender expression of interest by beneficiary households, communities and operators of micro and small businesses (SMEs).
The governor, who encouraged the Rivers people to take advantage of the opportunities provided by RIV-CARES to enhance their means of livelihood and reduce the spate of poverty in the communities, commended the World Bank and the Federal CARES for their support to the state.
In her remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the state Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, Mrs. Titilola Kuna Cline, said in a bid to check the negative effects of COVID-19 pandemic on livelihoods, food security and micro and small businesses, the World Bank in partnership with the Federal Government of Nigeria and the state governments, introduced the Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) Programme.
She said the state scaled through rigorous preparatory stages and qualified to participate in the programme whose objective was “to expand access to livelihood support and food security services, and grants for poor and vulnerable households and firms”.
According to her, the stages include, signing of subsidiary loan agreement and fund release policy by the government.
Others include the establishment of the RIV-CARES Steering Committee, establishment of State- CARES Coordination Unit domiciled in the Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning and preparation of work plan.
“The NG-CARES, after domestication of programme implementation manual now known as RIV-CARES programme has the State Coordination Unit (SCU) saddled with coordinating implementation of RIV-CARES programme in the state and reporting to Federal-CARES supporting unit and the World Bank in Abuja.
“It is also a bridge between the delivery platforms and the State-CARES Steering Committee and for delivery platform under three Results Areas (RA1-3).
Cline listed the three areas to include cash transfer unit, labour intensive public works and community-driven development social (CDD-S) Plus.
The rest are, FADAMA and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
Also speaking, the representative of the World Bank, Mr. Aso Vakporaye, said the programme must succeed in order to kick out poverty from the state in view of the fact that failure to kick out poverty would make life difficult for the entire citizenry.
He, therefore, thanked the governor for making it possible for Rivers State to participate in the programme.
Similarly, the World Bank and the Federal Government have rated Rivers State high in the implementation of the COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus scheme by the state government.
Representative of the World Bank Task Team Leader, Mr.Aso Vakporaye said this, yesterday, in Port Harcourt at the official flag offand implementation of the Rivers State COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (RIV-CARES) Programme in the state.
Vakporaye, who is also the chairman of the Federal Government’sFederal-CARES Technician Committee,confirmed that Rivers State has met the requirements for the implementation of the programme.
He said alot still remains to be done,adding that the state needs to release more money for the implementation of the programme.
Also speaking, theTechnical Head of State CARESCoordinating Unitand Secretary,RIV-CARESSteering Committee,Mrs Imaonyeni Ephraim, said the programme would improve the livelihood of the poor and vulnerable people in the state.
She said the programme, which runs for two years,was open to many beneficiaries.
The flag off was performed by the state Deputy Governor,Dr.Ipalibo Harry Banigo, onbehalf of Governor Nyesom Wike.
By: John Bibor
PDP Elects Senatorial Candidates For 2023 Elections
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Rivers State, last Monday, held its primary election to elect candidates who will fly its flags for the Senatorial election in 2023.
The election, which took place at the three senatorial headquarters of the state, saw the emergence of the state Deputy Governor, Dr Ipalibo Harry Banigo, as the candidate for Rivers West Senatorial District, Chief Allwell Onyesoh won the primaries for Rivers East Senatorial District while Senator Barinaada Mpigi secured a return ticket to represent Rivers South East Senatorial District.
Speaking before the deployment of electoral officers and materials for the election, the state PDP Chairman, Amb Desmond Akawor, welcomed members of the electoral committee from the PDP National Headquarters, and briefed them on the successes so far recorded in the state House of Assembly and House of Representatives primaries.
Akawor said though some form of consensus had been reached concerning the senatorial aspirants, the party would still observe due diligence by ensuring that proper primary election was conducted at the three senatorial district headquarters, urging the electoral officers to be discrete in handling their assignment.
Chairman of the PDP Electoral Committee for the Senatorial Primary, Hon Donatus Etim, commended Governor Nyesom Wike for the enormous work done in strengthening the electoral process in the state, thereby making it possible for successful primaries to be held in the state.
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