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Help Rivers Combat Menace Of Soot, Illegal Refiners, Senate Urges FG

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Perturbed by the menace of soot and activities of illegal refiners in Rivers State, the Senate has urged the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency support the state to overcome this twin-headed debacle.
This development was sequel to a motion entitled:’Curbing soot’s particulates droppings, health hazards concern and economic sabotage by illegal refining of crude products in Rivers State’, sponsored by Senator George Thompson Sekibo and seven others.
The co-sponsors include: Senator James Manager; Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe; Senator Betty Apiafi; Senator Barry Mpigi; Senator Bassey Gershom; Senator Bassey Albert; Senator Peter Nwaoboshi; and Senator Sandy Onor.
In his submission, Sekibo requested the Senate in his prayers that:”The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to note that there is an impending environmental danger that is occurring in Rivers State and its environs orchestrated by miscreants who are engaged in illegal refining as well as looting national crude oil assets.
“To president to audit security agencies who are saddled with the responsibility of securing these assets but are involved in this national sabotage and be sanction appropriately by the laws of the country.
“To advise the president to use his constitutional power to support the Government of Rivers State who have started to combat these criminal activities and fish out these national economic saboteurs.
“Finally to direct the Senate Committees on the Navy, Police Force, Interior and Army to s collaborating and abetting in these bastard acts and report within four weeks.carry out holistic investigation of these illegal activities with a view to ascertaining the involvement of security agencies collaborating and abetting in these bastard acts and report within four weeks.
“To further direct its Committees on Environment, Petroleum Upstream and Primary Health to visit Rivers have occasioned as well as suggest solution and report within four weeks.”State and carryout observatory assessment of the level of damage these activities have caused the environment and the health concern the activities have occasioned as well as suggest solution and report within four weeks.”
The Senate after the debate carried all the resolutions.
While moving the debate, Sekibo, who represents Rivers East Senatorial District, noted that “the droppings of unidentifiable sooty particulates in Rivers State, which are suspected to be after-effects of incomplete crude refining process has taken a more dangerous dimension”.
He expressed worry that “Oil and gas exploration and exploitation activities started in Rivers State and its environs since the discovery of hydrocarbons in the Niger Delta region in 1957”.
Noted that “the environment; including land, water and air has already been grievously polluted through the activities of the multinational companies.
“Aware further that an environmental audit due to the degradation of the environment has never been carried out since the commencement of the exploration and exploitation activities in the area which has lasted for over 60 years, meaning that the contaminated environment remains without the hope of remediation”.
The Rivers State Caucus Parliamentary leader in NASS, explained that “the sooty particulate substances dropping in the state was becoming too visible that one cannot stay outdoors without receiving drops of them on his body.
“It has become more worrisome that they are seen on bedspreads in bedrooms, worktops in kitchens, chairs and other materials in houses, meaning that they are entering through every available crevice into inner spaces of buildings as the wind carries them.
“Concerned that residents in Rivers State have noticed lots of these sooty particulates settling in their nasal tracts which have occasioned cleaning of their nostril several times in the day”.
Sekibo further explained that “the amount of these particulates being inhaled daily by Nigerians resident in the state cannot be estimated just as the after-effects of their inhalation have not been determined.
“The sooty particulates are dropping on water bodies, farmlands and whatever is left open under the sky, which is detrimental to human health, as residents in the area are exposed to consumption of harvests from, the seas and the lands as well as drinking rainwater and water from streams and rivers.
“These particulates, which are suspected to be by-products of hydrocarbons or crude oil that did not go through proper refining processes (incomplete combustion), may contain some chemicals that can pose health hazards to the people.
“And that air pollution has no boundary or limit within which it could be contained as means of containment of air pollution has not been discovered, therefore the possibility of these sooty particulates spreading to other neighbouring States and indeed the entire nation cannot be over emphasised.
“Outbreak of difficulty in breathing caused by congestion of nasal tracts of many residents in Rivers State could be linked to this epidemic and that this may also be the cause of the recent cases (many) of deaths without noticeable ailments in many towns in Rivers State.
“This could soon become a national emergency if not handled appropriately from its root cause, hence the urgent need to curb the causes of their occurrences, avert their likely side effects on human beings and environment, as a stitch in time saves nine.
“We are aware that pockets of illegal crude refiners were recently discovered all over Rivers State, who use all sorts of methods to refine crude for local consumption. These activities have increased pollution in the already polluted environment.
“The crude being used to refine petroleum products in these illegal activities is through crude pilfering causing colossal national waste and economic sabotage.
“Strongly believes that some security agents posted to secure these national assets have turned themselves to partners in this dastardly illegal act, thus, giving the criminals impetus to openly commit this national economic crime.
“Rivers State Government has taken a bold step to fish out these criminals for prosecution as well as destroying such illegal substandard refineries with a view to stopping these illegal activities and crimes.
“The issue of clean environment is one of the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy of the Nigerian State as provided in Section 20 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), which states inter alia: The state shall protect and improve the environment and safeguard the water, air and land, forest and wild life of Nigeria.
“The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), within the context of its Social Order in Section 17(2)(d) has admonished that exploitation of natural resources to the detriment of the citizens shall be prevented as shown below;17(2)(d) exploitation of human or natural resources in any form whatsoever for reasons, other than the good of the community, shall be prevented.
“Recall that in order to forestall this type of emergency or occurrence and other hazardous pollution that may occasion due to the oil and gas exploitation activities, the Federal Government set up the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) in 2006 with the following three cardinal objectives among others as provided in Section 5(a, b and c) in its enabling Act.
“5) The objectives of the agency shall be to co-ordinate and implement the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan for Nigeria (in this Act referred to as “the Plan”) as follows:a) Safe, timely, effective and appropriate response to major or disastrous oil pollution;b) Identify high risk area as well as priority areas for protection and clean up;c) establish the mechanism to monitor and assist or where expedient direct the response, including the capability to mobilise the necessary resources to save lives, protect threatened environment, and clean up to the best practical extent of the impacted site; etc.
“Recall also that as provided in Section 6 of its establishing Act NOSDRA is also saddled with the responsibility of carrying out surveillance, co-ordinating issues on oil spillage and associated pollution as well as implementing such Plans as may be issued by the Federal Government.
“Surprised that NOSDRA with this huge responsibility of preparedness, detection, and response to oil spillages (pollution due to oil refining activities) in the country has not lived up to its mandate of surveillance and monitoring, and has therefore, not informed the nation of this occurring national epidemics, while Nigerian citizens are suffocating due to this epidemic.
“Disturbed that undue delay in proffering the necessary solution to eradicate these illegalities is drastically affecting the lives of the residents in Rivers State. This is worse than physical insecurity being combated as the particulate fumes affect every person without creed or colour, ethnicity or religion.
“Demands that the security agents, who involve themselves in these acts of national sabotage, be given appropriate sanctions and other perpetrators be treated as economic saboteurs.

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Fubara Summons Support To Sustain Wike’s Legacy

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Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) guber candidate, Hon Siminialayi Fubara, has sued for support towards sustaining Governor Nyesom Wike’s legacy in Rivers State.
Fubara made the assertion during his acceptance speech after the party’s primaries in which he emerged landslide winner at Obi Wali Conference Centre in Port Harcourt, last Wednesday.
The PDP guber flagbearer said his emergence was divine, hence the need for the party to give total support for victory in next year’s elections.
“We will work together to sustain the good things Governor Nyesom Wike has done”, Fubara declared.
Commending the sportsmanship displayed by his fellow aspirants, Fubara praised their zeal but reminded them that, “this is not victory for Fubara; but victory for the party and moving the state forward.”
The PDP flagbearer urged the aspirants to work with him to ensure the party’s victory next year.
On his part, the Governor Nyesom Wike said the victory of Fubara was the decision of the party members who voted, “this is how Almighty God has willed it.”
In his speech, the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike thanked the aspirants in the primaries for abiding by the peoples’ decision, reminding them that, “loyalty is not easy but with what we have achieved, it’s difficult for the PDP to lose election in this state.”
The governor pleaded with all members to join forces to win the elections now that a candidate has emerged.
In the coming weeks, the governor hinted that a committee would be constituted towards uniting and mobilising for victory in the 2023 elections.

By: Kevin Nengia

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NYCN Hails Fubara’s Choice As Rivers PDP Guber Candidate

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The leadership of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) has hailed the emergence of Hon Siminialaye Joseph Fubara as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the governorship election in Rivers State.
In a statement in Port Harcourt, Chairman, NYCN, Chijioke Ihunwo congratulated Sim Fubara on his emergence as the candidate of PDP in Rivers State.
The statement read, “His Youthfulness, AmbIhunwo Chijioke, the chairman of National Youth Council of Nigeria, Rivers State Chapter and South-South zone, has congratulated, Mr. Sim Fubara, on his victory as the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Governorship candidate in Rivers State, for the forthcoming Governorship election.
“The youth leader of Rivers State stated that the victory of Mr. Sim Fubara is a significant indication that the delegates of People’s Democratic Party appreciate his efforts in the party and trust that he has the capacity to unite and continue in the awesome works of the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike.”
According to the youth chairman, “Mr. Sim Fubara’s victory is a resounding vote of confidence in his ability and leadership skills, which he has demonstrated while serving as the Accountant General of Rivers State, and also signifies that the People’s Democratic Party are committed to a democratic process.”
The number one youth leader, however, noted that “other aspirants and leaders of the party should unite and rally round Mr. Sim Fubara in the task of winning the Governorship election come 2023.
“Additionally, the chairman commended the leader of the party, the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, for giving all aspirants a level playing ground and other leaders of the party for their efforts in making the primary election a peaceful one.
“The apex youth leader assured Mr. Sim Fubara that Rivers State youths, under his leadership will give him the needed support for him to emerge as the Executive Governor of the state”, the statement signed on his behalf by his Senior Special Assistant to the Chairman on (Media & Publicity), Amadi Eze, last Wednesday, indicated.

By: Nelson Chukwudi

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2023: Obuah Assures Fubara, PDP Of Total Support

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The former Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, Bro Felix Obuah, has congratulated the winner of the party’s governorship primary in the state, Hon Siminialaye Joseph Fubara for his emergence, describing his victory as the only clear choice of PDP in the state.
Obuah, who gave the assurance in a statement he personally signed, yesterday, in Port Harcourt, also expressed his readiness to do all within his powers to ensure the emergence of Governor NyesomWike as the PDP Presidential flagbearer for the 2023 elections.
He said, “May I also use this singular opportunity to congratulate our party governorship flagbearer, my brother and friend, Hon. Siminialaye Fubara on your historic election. I wish you all the best and pledge my full support to ensure that our party again makes history by winning the governorship election in the state for three consecutive terms.
“As we celebrate the peaceful and successful governorship primary in Rivers State, we pray the good Lord also grant our mentor, leader, courageous and pragmatic Governor, Chief NyesomWike victory at the presidential primary.
“Once again, I pray that the good Lord will grant us the grace to forge on together as one united indivisible team and help us actualise our individual and collective aspirations under the leadership of our great party, PDP, irrespective of who occupies the driver’s seat”.
The statement read in full, “For some months now, we have witnessed a tense political atmosphere as our country, Nigeria plans to go through another transition in our democratic experiment which is hoped to come to a head with the 2023 general election.
“Consequently, there have been clamours among individuals and groups for certain persons including my humble self to come out as a prospective governorship aspirant in the state under the canopy of our great Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); somebody who has the capacity to sustain the great works and quality leadership of our brave and visionary Governor, Chief NyesomWike.
“The newspapers, the electronic and social media were all awash with such calls from all the nooks and crannies of the state, beckoning on me to just declare my interest.
“After some deep thought and wide consultations, I wholeheartedly accepted to run for the office of governor of Rivers State on the platform of PDP and also went ahead to obtain the nomination and interest forms in line with our party’s guidelines.
“This singular expression of interest gladdened the hearts of many of you, my ardent supporters within and outside the state.
“Even without my consent, many of you went on to campaign for me through the various sections of the mass media and other fora just for my sake.
“Sadly, that hope, that faith and joy may appear to have been dashed. This is the reason for this special message of hope and appreciation to all of you, my dearest friends, my supporters and my people.
“Let me first assure you that no hope is lost. The choice of who succeeds our dear governor is an exclusive party affair. This is what party loyalty is all about. It is not a personal affair.
“On Wednesday, May 25, 2022, the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Rivers State Chapter has spoken and a governorship candidate has emerged.
“As a faithful, loyal and committed party man, and the immediate state chairman of the party under whose watch by the grace of God, the party won the governorship election in the state back to back in 2015 and 2019, respectively, I must abide by the decisions of the party at all times even when the decisions are at variance with my personal convictions.
“Accordingly, I decided to withdraw and not contest the governorship primary election in the interest of the party.
“I hereby submit and surrender to the decision of the party. Election is not, and should not be a do-or-die-affair. Moreso, power comes from God. I cannot be a party to anything that may obstruct the course of victory for our party both at the state and national levels, or cause disaffection among our party leadership and members.
“I, therefore, enjoin my faithful supporters across the state not to be dismayed or lose hope for where there is a will, there must be a way.
“I sincerely appeal to you to take every development about the governorship primary in the state in good faith. A renowned writer once said, ‘When hope is lost, when faith dies, the man is dead’.
“As long as we remain alive and trust in God, surely, there are better days ahead.
“I am a peacemaker and according to Matthew 5:9, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God’.
“I, once again, call for peace in the PDP and amongst my teeming supporters. United we stand, divided we fall. I thank you all for all your support my social media friends, journalists, Northern groups, Indigenes without Borders, youth groups, churches, Christian organizations, my own people of Omoku, Orashi region, all members of the PDP family across the state, my supporters outside the state, Team Felix Obuah in the 23 LGAs, Go-Round TV, Bro Felix Obuah (BFO) groups, Goround 23, Youth Earnestly Ask For Obuah, ONELGA Political Forum, OtuOzimini Age Grade of Ogba Kingdom, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area, Rivers State, and many others.
“I am extremely grateful to the Oba of Ogbaland and Council of Chiefs, my stewards/cooks, drivers, my lovely wife and children for their understanding.
“I am also extending my appreciation to all those who signed my nomination form, management and staff of National Network newspaper, Goround Revolution Group, Rivers Women, Rivers Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), women and youths, my personal aides, my Special Adviser on Media and Publicity and others too numerous to mention.
“I also thank you for complying with my appeal to all my supporters via a press statement on Tuesday, May 24, 2022 ahead of the Governorship primary scheduled for Wednesday, May 25, 2022.
“Following an insight, I was compelled to sue for calm amongst my numerous supporters across the state.
“That press statement, which was widely circulated, published on the electronic and print media as well as the social media was timely as it doused tension and pacified those who were already agitated.
“I also did mention in the statement that the party is supreme in all matters and I would stand by the decision of the party”, Obuah said.

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