The European Union, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd (NNPC) and the Joint Task Force (JTF) Operation Delta Safe, on Friday visited an illegal oil refining site in Rivers State, to inspect the impact on the environment.
The refinery, already destroyed by the JTF, is located in Ahoada West Local Government Area of the State.
The visit is for the EU partners to assess things for themselves and how crude oil thieves set up illegal refineries and the adverse impact on the communities.
The Tide’s source reports that the EU delegation comprises the Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms Samuela Isopi; and the Team Leader, Southern partnerships EU Commission, Ms Cecile Leeman.
Others are the Head of Division, West Africa, Mr Richard Young; the Political Adviser, EU delegation to Nigeria, Mr Thomas Kieler; the Programme Manager, EU delegation to Nigeria, Mr Jerome Riviere; and the Ambassador of Spain to Nigeria, Mr Juan Sell.
The Group Chief Executive Officer, NNPC, Mr Mele Kyari, commended the JTF for their good work in the Niger Delta area, in safeguarding the nation’s oil and gas assets.
He said Nigeria would soon curtail the breaches, and that they came with the development partners to see how much work was going on and how they could help to bring sanity, restore oil production and security for everyone.
“It cannot happen unless we are able to work together with all the reports; we are also ready for our partners to see things for themselves and the efforts that are being made to curtail the situation.
“I commend the troops on ground, working to ensure that the nation’s oil and gas sector is secured.
“We believe by August we will be able to bring down the menace to a minimal level. It is not good for the community, it has a huge negative impact on the environment.
“Today, the livelihood of the people here are impacted, people doing the business are not from the community, they are actually from other places.
“We are working with the community to take this out so that they can go back to their normal way of life.
“We are happy we are here today to see things for ourselves and our partners”, he said.
On his part, the JTF Commander, Rear Adm. Aminu Hassan, said within the period of three months, the taskforce destroyed more than 2,000 illegal refineries in the area.
“In one site here, you can get between 50 to 100 composite units where everyone is operating. Just like a market, everybody is doing his illicit business in one market. So, that is how they operate.
“Within a refining site, you can get hundreds of units, everyone doing his own, within a week or thereabout you can succeed in destroying thousands.
“Mechanically, we are destroying their machines which they are very fast in constructing.
“If you really want to supress them, you must be faster than them, work ahead of them, that is why we introduced these equipment, you will be on top of the situation to be ahead of them,” he said.
Noting that the community was of great support to the taskforce, he said, “to a great extent we are getting support from the community, we are urging them to also avail us with more information,” he said.
Hassan urged those indulging in such illegality to desist from it and find legitimate business to better their lives.
Also, the Deputy Director General, European Union Commission, Mr Mathew Baldwin, said they were on fact finding mission, adding that oil theft and illegal refining remained a big problem.
He commended the JTF and the NNPC, for the work done to salvage and restore the Nigerian oil and gas sector.
“We are here to find and understand the problem, if the production is used for the local market and if most of the production is going into the international market”, he said.
Be Obedient To God’s Instructions, Oyedepo Tells Congregants
Wife of the Presiding Bishop of Living Faith Church (LFC) Worldwide, Pastor Faith Oyedepo, has urged winners to be obedient in the affairs of the Kingdom (of God).
On his part, the husband, Bishop David Oyedepo, said obedience was better than sacrifice.
The couple spoke at this at the church’s monthly leadership conference at the weekend.
Oyedepo’s wife, while citing Isaiah 1:19-20, stressed the need for Christians to be obedient to spiritual instructions to enjoy the good of the land.
She said: “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it” (Isa. 1:19-20).
She urged the church to pray for God’s Spirit to serve and be obedient.
In his sermon, Bishop David Oyedepo, while unravelling the mystery of the covenant of obedience, said: “To be obedient is better than sacrifice. Obedience may be costly but the end result is always priceless.
“When you live your life as a seed, its impact lives for generations after you”.
RSG Unveils, Flags Off 15 Key Projects In 15 Days …Kick-Starts Two New Flyovers, Azikiwe-Illoabuchi Road Dualisation …Opens Orochiri-Worukwo Flyover, Ogbunabali-Eastern Bypass Road, Two Others For Use
Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital and other urban centres will witness major activities from today, as the state government begins another round of strategic infrastructure projects’ commissioning and flag off across the state, with the unveiling for public use of the Orochiri/Worukwo (Waterlines) Flyover in Port Harcourt City Local Government Area by the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu at 11am.
Similarly, the Governor Nyesom Wike-led government will inaugurate the Ogbunabali-Eastern Bypass Road, also in Port Harcourt City Local Government Area, tomorrow.
According to a schedule of events made available to The Tide by the government, last Friday, the former Sokoto State Governor, Senator Aliyu Wamakko will perform the ceremony at Ogbunabali Junction.
Also to be commissioned on August 11, by the Director-General of NYSC, Brig.-Gen. M.K, Fadah, is the 5,000-capacity NYSC Auditorium; while the new State House of Assembly Quarters will be inaugurated by the Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila on August 12.
However, on Wednesday, August 10, the former Ondo State Governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, will flag off the dualisation of Azikiwe-Iloabuchi Road in Port Harcourt City Local Government Area.
Between August 16 and 26, 10 more projects would either be commissioned or inaugurated across the state.
These include the Government VIP Lounge at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, in Ikwerre Local Government Area on August 16; unveiling of the remodelled Waterlines Building on Port Harcourt/Aba Express Road by Waterlines Junction in Port Harcourt City Local Government Area on Wednesday, August 17; flag off of the construction of the 11th flyover at Ikwerre Road by Rumuokwuta/Rumuola Junctions in Obio/Akpor LGA on Thursday, August 18; and the flag off of the 12th flyover at Mgbuoba-Ozuoba/Ada-George Road by Location Junction in Obio/Akpor LGA on Friday, August 19.
Other landmark projects lined up for special commissioning or flag off are the construction of Omagwa internal roads on Saturday, August 20; and flag off of Igwuruta internal roads on Monday, August 22, both in Ikwerre Local Government Area; as well as unveiling of land reclamation, shore protection, road network, drains, power station and water reticulation, and housing complex at Ogbum-Nu-Abali sandfill, Port Harcourt City Local Government Area on Tuesday, August 23.
The rest are the unveiling of a police station at Ogum-Nu-Abali sandfill-Eastern Bye-pass area on Wednesday, August 24; Eneka internal roads in Obio/Akpor on Thursday, August 25; as well as Community Secondary School, Obuama (Harry’s Town) in Degema Local Government Area, Friday, August 26.
Meanwhile, a statement by the Special Assistant (Media and Documentation) to the state Commissioner for Works, Dornubari Kiinee, last Saturday, indicated that following plans to commission the Orochiri/Worukwo (Waterlines) Flyover, both ends of the flyover had been consequently closed on Saturday, August 6, 2022 at 12 noon to enable the ministry prepare for the commissioning ceremony.
The statement explained that “Vehicular movement from Garrison will be diverted through Oroworukwo; traffic from Hotel Presidential Junction will be diverted through GRA Junction. The flyover will be opened for use immediately after the ceremony on Monday”.
The statement further said that “The Ogbunuabali axis will be temporarily closed and traffic diverted accordingly until after the ceremony” on Tuesday.
Kiinee said that, “Furthermore, the dualisation of Azikiwe-Iloabuchi Road will be flagged-off on Wednesday, 10 August, 2022 by former Ondo State Governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko. That road will be closed also and traffic diverted to neighbouring streets for the period of six months”.
According to the statement, “As preparation for the commencement of the construction of the 11th and 12th flyovers reaches its final stage, the Commissioner for Works, Rivers State, Dr. George-Kelly Dax Alabo, wishes to use this medium to inform residents of Rivers State, particularly motorists plying Ikwerre Road and NTA Road that there will be road closures around the axis of Rumuokwuta/Rumuola Junction, and Location Junction by Ada-George, where these projects are to be sited.
“This new development will last for the period of 10 months, which is the stipulated duration of the construction work.
“Motorists are kindly advised to use alternative routes to be outlined thus: Vehicles coming from NTA axis will pass through Farm Road to Ben Wosley along Ada-George Road, or through Ohakwe Street.
“As for Rumuokwuta/Rumuola flyover project, traffic will be diverted to Psychiatric Road; those coming from Wimpy Junction will be diverted to Road 1 through Kala Police Station”.
The commissioner appealed to the people of Rivers State to show understanding and patience with the state government, whilst the meaningful projects are flagged-off and commissioned in record time for traffic decongestion in the metropolis.
By: Nelson Chukwudi
Nigeria’s Economy On Brink Of Collapse, NECA Alerts
The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, NECA, Sunday in Lagos, raised the alarm that the nation’s economy is on the brink of collapse, warning that spiralling inflation, rising energy cost (scarcity of FOREX, the dwindling value of the Naira among others, are bleeding the economy.
Speaking in Lagos, the Director-General, DG, of NECA, Mr Wale Oyerinde lamented that the economy is under the weight of an almost comatose aviation sector, stuttering education system, rising debt, depleting Foreign Reserve and rising fuel subsidy expenses among others.
The newly appointed D-G of NECA advised the federal government to employ a holistic and multi-pronged approach toward resolving the challenges faced by the nation.
According to him, “The nation is currently faced with multiple challenges. With a dire combination of spiralling inflation, rising energy costs (aviation fuel, diesel, etc.), scarcity of FOREX, dwindling value of the Naira and an almost comatose Aviation sector. Also, with a stuttering education system, rising debt, depleting Foreign Reserve and rising fuel subsidy expenses among others, that threatens to lay bare the country’s economy, there is no better time for Government to reappraise current economic policies and deepen its engagement with the Organized Private Sector. While Government’s effort to salvage the economy is commendable, there is, however, a need for a more holistic approach to resuscitate the stuttering economy.
“Being dependent on Crude oil for about 90 per cent of its Foreign Exchange earnings and 80 per cent of its budgetary revenues, Nigeria has always lived dangerously on the precipice, with a major chunk of its revenue dependent on the complexities of global Crude demand and supply. A dangerous blend of self-destructive tendencies, insecurity and fiscal and monetary policy inconsistencies have also conspired to make the situation worse. While revenue continues to shrink, the nation continues to dig its feet deeper into debt.
“At different times over the past few years, various international bodies including the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization have warned about the excessive nature of the country’s borrowing. While some Stakeholders have canvassed that the revenue to GDP ratio of the country is healthy, a recent announcement by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning that the revenue to debt service ratio is in the negative calls for urgent concern.
“In April, the World Bank warned that the rising cost of fuel subsidy could significantly impact public finance and pose debt sustainability concerns. Alas, this projection is almost happening. The Fiscal Performance Report released recently by the Federal Government confirmed the accuracy of these projections. The combination of a struggling aviation sector and roads taken over by bandits have also conspired to fuel the situation, leading to rising inflation at 18.6% (according to the NBS). These have continued to worsen the promotion of Commerce and the increase the rate of de-industrialization of some regions of the country.”
The DG of the umbrella body for employers in the country, while recommending how to deal with the multi-face challenges, called for “a deliberate and economic priority influenced approach and wide consultation with Stakeholders should commence, with the view of harvesting alternative policy options to re-energize all sectors of the economy. While the challenges of revenue shortage are acknowledged, burdening businesses with new taxes or levies will be counter-productive and self-destructive action. Over-burdening already burdened businesses will only lead to business closure and an escalation of job losses with consequential effects on our social and economic stability. Government should, in the short-term widen the tax net, reduce wastages in governance, and focus on economic projects that will stimulate the Nigerian economy and guarantee an enabling environment for businesses to operate. An enabling environment for local businesses will create the platform for new foreign direct investment, which could increase FOREX inflow into the country.
“In the medium term, the Federal Government should, as a matter of urgency, fix the four national refineries and encourage the development of Modular ones as a precursor to total removal of fuel subsidy. With over N5trillion budgeted for subsidy payment in 2022, an amount larger than the budget for education and agriculture, this is unrealistic and unsustainable. Economic interventions aimed at improving living standards (to stimulate consumption) and Enterprise sustainability (to promote job creation) should be implemented. While FOREX scarcity persists, allocation of the available FOREX to manufacturing and other productive sectors of the economy should be given priority.”
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