A non-governmental organisation, Stakeholders Alliance for Corporate Accountability (SACA), the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) and governmental institutions have re-emphasized the need for safe and healthy environment in the oil-rich Niger Delta region.
The Tide gathered this at the inauguration ceremony of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and hiuman Rights (UNGP-P2R) programme, which was held by the SACA in conjunction with NAOC, in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa state capital.
In his keynote address, the Executive Director of SACA, Mr Kingsley Ozegbe, decried the spate of oil spills in the Niger Delta region, emphasizing that the danger it portends on the environment and human life is worrisome.
He noted that following SACA’s quest in curbing the hazards related to oil spills, it had gone into partnership with the oil firm(NAOC), towards finding lasting solutions through campaigns against oil spillages in the Niger Delta region.
Ozegbe said as a result of the NGO’s willingness to take the campaign against oil spills and the resultant hazards on the Environment and human life to the nooks and crannies of the Niger Delta region, SACA and NAOC intend to carry on the project for a three year period, saying the first phase of the partnership was to refocus the attention of the Niger Delta Communities on Agricutural businesses, especially on cash crops production.
The SACA boss hinted that about 70 Communities would be engaged in the first phase of the programme, noting that it promises to be beneficial to all, including the unborn generations.
“Today’s gathering marks another great effort towards addressing a common problem that is facing humanity in this region.
“This project was jointly conceived in April, 2020 by our organization (SACA), and the NAOC, to contribute to the implemention of Ruggie Principles under the leadership of the United Nations Business and Human rights Working Group (UNGP).
“We’ve structured the project on the tripod of the UNGP framework that seek to protect, respect and remedy human rights breaches. The project is published in the website of the office of United nations High Commissioner for human rights.
“It is framed to be implemented through multi-stakeholders and non-violent approaches. Partnering organizations include agencies, commissions, security architecture of the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Bayelsa State Government, international research institutes, financial institutions, civil society organizations and the media”, he said.
The Executive Director who decried the heightening risk associated with oil and gas activities in the Niger Delta region, also restated that over 40 organizations would be working with SACA at different times towsrds bringing the needed outcomes that would ultimately change the narratives of oil spills across the Niger Delta region.
He stressed that due to the environmental hazards of spills and other problems linked to oil and gas in the region, investments were diminishing in the Niger Delta yearly.
“Currently, the risk associated with oil and gas activities in the Niger Delta region are heightening and investment climate is dimming.
“The oil spillages into the environment is becoming very alarming, thus, it calls for stronger teamwork to safeguard humanity and improve the environment so as to attract investors in order to create opportunities to absorb the working population that is surging on daily basis”, the SACA boss added.
Speaking with newsmen shortly after the programme, the Bayelsa State Commissioners of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Chief David Alagoa, and his Environment counterpart, Iselema Gbaranbiri, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Mr Martin Waripamo and Director, Agricutural Services, Dr. Okoya Ebasi, respectively, commended SACA and the oil firm for the programme, promising that the State Government was ready to continue partnering the NGO in their awareness and enlightenment projects across the State.
Giving an overview of the expected benefits of the three UNGP-P2R Committees inaugurated, the SACA Executive Director stated that the Agricutural Management committee (AMC), would function to increase cash crop production, increase food production,increase aquaculture production, and also Increase value-addition.
The EMC, on its part, is to increase awareness to the hazards associated with human exposure to crude oil pollution and its impact on human rights, improve understanding of gatekeepers to sustain advocacy against oil pollution in Communities, sustain access to better health, clean water and sanitation by right holders, etc.
The NGO also noted that the expected benefits of the HRD would include improved awareness of laws and human rights instruments that binds state, organized arm groups, individuals, security personel and actors on armed conflict in 24 Communities, reduce restiveness and willful damage of oil facilities in Communities and to sustain access of entitlement through right-handed approach, as well as to strengthen knowledge of the human rights due diligence/alternative dispute resolution syst, SACA peace building process, and the NAOC grievance mechanisms, in Communities, amongst others.
High points of the programme were the inaugurations of the Environmental Management Committee (EMC), the Agricutural Management Committee (AMC), as well as the Human rigthts due deligence Committee (HRD), respectively, while participants were drawn from both the public and private sectors.
The Tide reports that the NGO and SACA are funded by Misean Cara of the Republic of Ireland.
By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa
Diri Assures Timely Completion Of Nembe-Brass Road
Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has assured people of the state of his administration’s irrevocable commitment to complete Phase One of the Nembe-Brass Road project before the end of his first term in office.
Governor Diri, who gave the assurance on Wednesday at the 79th State Executive Council meeting in Government House, Yenagoa, said his administration was poised to prove naysayers wrong with the timely completion of the multi-million naira project.
Represented by his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, the Governor thanked Bayelsans, especially the chiefs and people of Nembe and Brass areas for turning up en masse to accord him and his entourage a rousing welcome at the flag-off ceremony last week.
He pointed out that the Nembe-Brass Road is very important not only to the people of the state but also the entire country because of the strategic national assets and resources domiciled in that part of the state.
Governor Diri remarked that when he said his administration would undertake construction of the Bayelsa East Senatorial Road project, many had thought it was just an empty political statement.
“We want to thank Bayelsans, particularly the people of Nembe and Brass, and of course the entire Bayelsa East Senatorial District, who turned up en masse to give the Governor and his entourage a rousing welcome.
“When we said we were going to undertake this project, people thought it was political. For the Prosperity Administration, we are committed to every talk we talk. We don’t make empty promises.
“It is better to begin with a step to go in the right direction than not to take a step at all. We are convinced that before the twilight of the first tenure of this administration, that project will be completed. That is our target.’
Governor Diri, who pointed out that the main wealth of the state was in the sea, said government was determined to open up the state to the Atlantic Ocean from three flanks, noting that substantial progress were being made on the ongoing Bayelsa West and Central Senatorial Roads.
He diclosed that asphalt had been laid up to Ayamasa, and in a few weeks’ time, Aleibiri in Ekeremor Local Government Area would be linked up to ensure smooth drive from Toru-Orua, where the present administration took up the project.
“As you are aware, our wealth is in the sea and our desire is to take us and ensure that we get to the Atlantic from the three flanks. We are making good progress on the Bayelsa West Road.
“As we speak, asphalt has been laid up to Ayamasa and beyond. In a couple of weeks, we should be able to link to Aleibiri and you will have smooth drive from Toru-Orua from where we resumed construction, up to Amanagbene where our asphalt is sitting and working hard to get to Ekeremor main town”, he said.
“We are very sure that with the resources that are coming our way, we should be able to take the next phase that would take us from Ekeremor to Agge”, he added.
The Bayelsa Chief Executive used the opportunity to commend and encourage the state male and female Basketball teams participating in this year’s Nestle Millo National Basketball tournament for secondary schools holding in Lagos.
He expressed delight that both Saint Jude’s Girls Secondary School and the Bishop Dimeari Grammar School (BDGS) teams have qualified for the finals and would definitely make the state proud again by coming up tops in their different categories.
Speaking on the protracted power outage in the state, Governor Diri said it was not the fault of the State Government, clarifying that the generation, distribution and transmission of electricity in Nigeria through the national grid was on the Exclusive List.
While empathizing with the people over the worrisome development, he appealed to them to show understanding and not to point accusing fingers at the state government, adding that his administration was closely with relevant Federal agencies to solve the problem.
Senator Diri also used the opportunity to remind the youths of Bayelsa to direct their energies to productive ventures, by investing their time in activities that would not link them to crime and criminality.
He advised them to take full advantage of the various opportunities that government has created for them, disclosing that no fewer than 150 youths were currently being trained in the second batch of beneficiaries of the Diri Digital Entrepreneurship Empowerment Programme (D-DEEP).
By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa
Police Kill Two Robbery Suspects, Recover Arms
The Edo State Police Command says its personnel recently killed two suspected armed robbers and recovered weapons in Benin.
This is contained in a news bulletin released by the Command’s Deputy Spokesperson, ASP Jennifer Iwegbu.
Iwegbu said the suspects were part of a gang of armed robbers that attacked Rubec Oil and Gas Station, located off Murtala Mohammed Way in Benin, in the early hours of Sunday.
“On receipt of the information, the Commander, Police Crack Team, immediately mobilised a team of police operatives and vigilantes to the scene.
“The armed robbers were later successfully trailed to a different location where they were carrying out another armed robbery operation.
“On sighting the team of security operatives, the armed robbers opened fire on them which led to a gun duel.
“In the process, the superior fire power of the security operatives hit two of the armed robbers while others escaped with various degrees of bullet injury.
“The two suspected armed robbers were taken to the Police Cottage Hospital in Benin city where they were confirmed dead by the doctor and their bodies deposited at the mortuary,” she said.
The police spokesperson said one locally-made pistol and three live cartridges were recovered.
She said the Commissioner of Police in Edo, Mr Abutu Yaro, has directed that more efforts be made to arrest and prosecute the fleeing members of the robbery gang.
Reiterating his commitment to reduce criminal activities in the State, the Commissioner appealed to the public for timely information on the movement of criminals.
Navy Urges Youths To Embrace Education
Chief of Administration, Naval Headquarters, Abuja, Rear Adm. Jason Gbasa, has urged young people to embrace education, as the sure way for better life, not the quick wealth syndrome in the society.
The Senior Naval Officer gave the advice on Sunday in Igbedi, Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa, during the funeral of his mother in-law, Mrs Margaret Pere.
Noting that quick money does not last, he charged youths to embrace education, saying that it is the sure and legitimate way to achieve greatness.
“The youth should not turn their backs on wise counsel, because it would never disappoint them”, he said.
The naval Chief of Administration said youths must listen to counsel, either from the community or elders, because anyone that did not have it had missed the way.
Gbasa emphasized that while quick wealth would not last, it could destroy easily, and that one could not make it overnight, adding that it would only take a process of hard work to make one to be influential in the society.
On his late mother in-law, he said she meant a lot to him, as he described her as his Public Relations Officer.
”While I want to shy away from publicity, she will boast about her son-in-law. She always provides and supplies my kitchen with fresh palm produce, fufu, both in Lagos and Abuja.
“She was a prayer warrior, my intercessor, she always kneels and calls on God on my behalf for safety and prosperity.
”There was a personal relationship between me and the children; we will surely miss her, she was a special woman to all that came in contact with her.
“Another thing I admire about her is her honesty. She was very blunt in all she does, very straightforward.
“She was not diplomatic: when she sees a thing, she says it the way it is. If you get angry, that’s your own, but the next day she comes and laughs again. But when she sees something wrong she still says it,” he said.
Gbasa said she played a major role in his career, that her experience led to his success.
On her part, the first daughter and the wife of Chief of Administration Naval Headquarters, Mrs Ebinipre Gbasa, described her mother as a very straightforward person and caring mother to all around her.
She described her as a unifying factor to the whole family.
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