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Check Illegal Refineries, Anglican Church Urges FG …Calls for Establishment of National Truth, Peace, Reconciliation Commission

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The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has expressed concern over the level of environmental degradation in the Niger Delta region owing to oil explorations in the area and called on the Federal Government to take immediate steps to curb the activities of illegal refineries in the region.
The Church also called for the establishment of a National Truth, Peace and Reconciliation Commission to make concerted effort to reconcile all the antagonising groups in the country to check the rising cases of insecurity and agitations in the country.
The calls were contained in a communique issued at the end of a meeting Standing Committee of the Church hosted by the Diocese of Evo at All Saints’ Cathedral, Rumuokwurusi and St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, Rumuobiokani in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, Rivers State from February 21 to 25.
The meeting, presided over by the Primate, Most Rev’d Henry Ndukuba, had the theme: ‘The Christian’s Dual Citizenship and   Responsibilities’ (Matthew 22:20-22) and had in attendance 161 Bishops, 151 Clergy and 94 Lay delegates.
In the communique signed by the Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria, Most Rev’d Henry Ndukuba; the Dean of the Church, Most Rev’d Ali Lamido; and the General Secretary, Ven. Gershinen Dajur and presented yesterday, the church also called on the government to set up modular refineries in the Niger Delta region to harness the potentials of people involved in the illegal oil refining business.
The Standing Committee commended the Federal Government for suspending the further removal of oil subsidy which would have worsened the level of poverty in the land, and encouraged the Government to show greater commitment towards rehabilitating the moribund oil refineries in the country.
It further called on related Government agencies to exercise due diligence in monitoring the importation of oil and oil related products so as to avert the importation of adulterated products into the country as was recently experienced.
It also said the National Truth, Peace and Reconciliation Commission has become necessary because of the rising cases of violence and utter disregard to the sanctity of human life in the country.
On national security, the Church noted that insurgency, kidnapping, banditry and all manners of criminality continue to bedevil the country, adding that “The insincerity of purpose exhibited by the Government in many instances have provided a thriving platform for criminal activities to destroy the lives and properties of the innocent in our country”.
It therefore called on Government to increase its effort at stemming the tide of insecurity in the nation as “the lives of Nigerians, irrespective of religion, tribe or class, matter to God”.
It also said it was disturbed by the ongoing one-month warning industrial action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), with the lecturers consistently accusing Government of failure to keep to the terms of agreement in the past. It then called on Government to give urgent and holistic attention to the agitations in order to avert the myriad of inevitable future consequences of a destroyed educational system.
On the 2023 General Elections, the Standing Committee called on the citizenry to pray and be actively involved in working towards a peaceful electioneering process while urging the Government to ensure non-interference in the affairs of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at all levels, and provide a level playing ground for all the parties including the electorate.
On infrastructural development and transportation,  the Standing Committee said it appreciated the “efforts and actions of the Federal and State Governments in infrastructural development, but calls on the relevant authorities to work on the road leading into Port Harcourt, as it does not befit this oil rich State”.
On the on-going Russia/Ukraine Conflict, the Standing Committee noted with concern the situation, and called on the Federal Government to urgently commence the process of evacuation of Nigerians in Russian and Ukraine as the war between world powers in the Eastern European country escalates.

By: Ernest Chinwo

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NLNG Train 7: Stakeholders Re-Negotiate Workers’ Salaries

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Stakeholders in the Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG) Train 7 project are renegotiating salaries of workers of the company in Bonny.
This is sequel to a high-powered meeting held at the instance of the Chairman of Bonny Local Government Area, Dame Anengi Barasua Dagogo-Wilcox, to address the situation.
The meeting, which ended on a positive note with a resolution by all stakeholders to renegotiate the salary structure of workers in the NLNG Train 7 project, was the basis for the May 7, 2022 protest by workers in Bonny.
The meeting, presided over by Dame Dagogo-Wilcox, at the Government Lodge, was attended by representatives of the Nigeria LNG Ltd, Train 7 contract handlers, Saipem, Chiyoda and Daewoo (SCD’JV), Bonny Chiefs Council, and Bonny Kingdom Local Content Compliance Committee (BKLCCC).
Other attendees are Bonny Integrated Recruitment Centre (BIRC), Bonny Youth Federation (BYF), Bonny Professionals Union and Staff Trade Unions of the contracting firms.
According to a statement issued by the Deputy Chief Press Secretary of Bonny Local Government Council, Boma Waribor, the stakeholders reviewed the existing Memorandum of Understanding that was relied upon by the contracting firms, and found that the processes that culminated in its drafting were not exhaustive.
Moreover, he said, “being a document that was produced in 2015, it cannot be relevant in 2022, making it defective and deserving of review as a way of preventing further disagreements and other social unrests”.
On her part, the Local Government Chairman advised that the company’s workers in Bonny be accorded what is due them following the rising cost of living and the need for them to measure up accordingly, with a promise to “follow up closely until there is a common ground for all parties concerned in the shortest possible time”.
She aligned with the general view on the need for renegotiation and advised that the trade unions, BKLCCC and SCD’JV, “go back, renegotiate and ensure that all parties are favourably disposed with regard to an improved workers salary and welfare packages”.
Chairman of the Workers Union, Charles Edward Hart, assured the stakeholders that his team would work collaboratively towards achieving the right salary baseline for workers and a document to buttress this was presented to the SCD-JV representatives.

By: Wokoma Emmanuel

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NMA Assures On Health Workers’ Hazard Allowance Payment

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The offer to increase the hazard allowance of health workers in all government establishments across the country by the Federal Government would be brought to fruition by the end of this month.
Outgone President of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Prof. Innocent Otobo Ujah, revealed this at the 62nd Annual General Conference/Delegates Meeting of the association in PortHarcourt, at the Weekend.
Ujah noted that the increase in the allowance was successfully negotiated during the outgone tenure, stating that the payment would become operational by the end of this month.
He recounted that the NMA within the tenure witnessed a high level of interest and commitment by not just members of the association, but also elders in positions of authority in the medical profession, an act which, he said, had made the association more visible in recent times.
According to him, the visibility was further highlighted by the act of the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, when he involved the NMA in the Foundation Laying of the College of Medical Sciences, Rivers State University.
Describing it as a historic moment and of no mean feat, Ujah commended the State Governor for his show of confidence and regard for the association.
In his words, “the association’s renewed relevance was further highlighted when Governor Nyesom Wike invited the NMA leadership to lay the foundation stone of the College of Medical Sciences, Rivers State University, on Saturday, June 5, 2021”.
He continued that “it was indeed a historic moment and of no mean feat as it was a demonstration of the confidence and regard for integrity His Excellency has for my person and our dear association”.
While noting that the tenure came at the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic with the inauguration of the National Officers’ Committee (NOC) in May, 2020, the Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology recounted that the association pulled through following its intensed advocacy and constructive engagements within and outside the country.
In his reaction, a member of the association told TheTide under anonymity that the hazard allowance when paid would “boost the financial power of the health workers in meeting up with the biting economic situation faced by citizens of the nation”.

By: Lady Godknows Ogbulu

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FG Seeks Support Over N6bn Water Project In Ogoniland

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The Hydrocarbon Pollution and Remediation Project (HYPREP) has called on residents of Ogoniland in Rivers State to support the ongoing execution of six water projects in the area.
HYPREP’s Project Coordinator, Ferdinand Giadom, made the call in Alesa, Eleme, Rivers State, during his inspection tour of the water project sites.
The Minister of Environment, Dr Mohammed Abubakar, had in March 2021 flagged-off phase one of the project in four Local Government Areas in Ogoniland – Eleme, Gokana, Khana and Tai.
Giadom said the Federal Government had come up with a sustainable plan to ensure the ongoing water project served Ogoni people for decades to come.
“The reason for the project’s sustainability is that it is one thing to provide water and another for the water to subsist.
“The essence of these is to look at a sustainability plan that would serve both the needs of the present generation and future generations of the Ogoni people.
“So, all hands must be on deck to install a system that will sustain the standard of portable drinking water”, he said.
The project coordinator gave the assurance that all water facilities across the four LGAs would be of the same standard.
“We will ensure that the quality of water is up to the standard of the World Health Organisation (WHO) drinking water limit, and that will be consistent in the future.
“The future we are talking about is not five years or ten years, but maybe 20 years and far beyond that,” he added.
Also speaking, a water governance expert in the inspection team, Prof. Johnson Otu, lauded the speed of the project and called for its sustenance.
He said the team, however, noticed some technical issues that needed adjustment to ensure the water scheme met its desired target.
“We will discuss the technical issues with the contractors so that things can be put rightly in shape for the future sustainability of the project.
“Overall, HYPREP is on the right path of delivering the project for the good of the Ogoni people,” he said.

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