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Shell Shuts Floating Storage Facility …Alerts On Rising Pipeline Vandalism, Crude Theft, Illegal Refineries

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A Shell Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel, operating off the Bayelsa coastline, has been shut down due to water leakage.
The company’s spokesman, Mr. Michael Adande, disclosed this in a statement, yesterday.
This is even as the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) has raised alarm over increase in the spate of pipeline vandalism, crude theft and illegal refineries operations in Nigeria.
According to Adande, the vessel has been safely anchored for repairs.
He explained that the offshore crew on board the vessel, christened, ‘Sea Eagle’, reported the water inflow into the hull of the facility on July 24.
“The water inflow did not affect the section of the FPSO where any crude is stored. An emergency response team has been successfully activated to respond to the incident and to contain the water inflow,” he said.
Adande said that the FPSO could store up to 1.4million barrels of processed crude, and had a production capacity of 170,000 barrels per day.
However, speaking during an interactive session with journalists in Port Harcourt, the Head Corporate Relations, Shell Nigeria, and Director, SPDC, Igo Weli, said that the high rate of pipeline vandalism, crude theft and illegal refineries was responsible to the hardship, high dollar exchange rate, poor infrastructure, among others, being experienced in Nigeria.
Weli reiterated that Shell has a future in Nigeria, and as such would not leave the country, but rather, would seriously implement strategic restructuring programme to meet its needs.
He maintained that the company was collaborating with governments and critical stakeholders to ensure the fight against illegal refineries, crude oil theft; pipeline vandalism was result-oriented, so that everyone can have a clean environment free from soot for all to live in.
Weli added that the problem of pipeline vandalism, crude oil theft and illegal refineries would have been solved earlier if everyone had played their role, rather than feeling unconcerned.
He noted that all that was needed now at this time was a fundamental shift by everyone to correct the wrongs with a view to moving the country forward.
“I think this problem has gone worst because everyone feels it’s not their problem. It’s a fundamental shift that we need to retrace our steps to things that keep us going. We should be asking: what is the cause of the spills impacting our land? If you don’t want to know what the cause is, and you are chasing the symptoms, you will never get result.
“There is link to high cost of dollars to what we are discussing today. Nigeria is owning plenty of debts, yet nothing to show. Oil price is over $100, yet Nigeria is still borrowing in the midst of plenty. The future of the generations yet unborn is at risk due to incessant strikes. Now, doctors are planning to also go on strike.
“All these are totally avoidable, if we pay attention to what we should attention to”, he said.
He commended Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, for his leadership prowess displayed during the fight against illegal refineries and crude oil theft, noting that within the period, soot disappeared from the environment.
He stressed that the governor’s action shows the power of leadership by example.
Also speaking, Manager, Pipelines, Mr John Okojie, stated that crude theft was an organised crime, adding that it has major players in all strata of the society.
Okojie maintained that the crude thieves were people that were technically sound, noting that it was not rocket science for them to be able to do all they do.
“It takes us some months to plan to do a hot tap operation, but it is not difficult for these boys to do the operation overnight”, he said, adding that it was a high risk business they were engaging in because it could take one’s life.
On his part, Lead Encroachment Manager, Olarewaju Abiola, while talking on the Business Update from the session in Owerri, Imo State, stated that Shell had, in the past, saved so many lives that had built on high pressure pipelines by asking them to relocate and settling them just to maintain peace even when it was their fault.
Abiola noted that the meeting in Port Harcourt was to request the Media to relay Shell’s story on encroachment unedited to the understanding of the general public.

By: Susan Serekara-Nwikhana

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Substance Abuse Becoming Thing Of Concern -Odu

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Rivers State Deputy Governor, Prof. Ngozi Nma Odu, has lauded the important role pharmacists play in the wellbeing of the society.
Odu gave this commendation while playing host to members of Association of Lady Pharmacists of Nigeria, Rivers State Branch at the Government House in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The deputy governor said while others are sleeping, pharmacists work hard “to ensure we all live in a better society, especially when you talk about the dangers of substance abuse.”
Odu stressed that, “It is really becoming a thing of great concern because of the level of children getting involved in this thing. It is even coming down to primary schools which now increases the burden of what you are doing, so we appreciate you for what you are doing for the society which we all are living in.”
The deputy governor extolled the lady pharmacists for the scholarship scheme they were sponsoring, noting that it was “amazing because when you change the narrative of somebody’s life, you become what they call a destiny helper.”
The deputy governor added, “So, for me, it is something I would encourage. Even the Bible says when you do it for them you have done unto God. It is a thing we get a lot of blessings out off, you may not see it now but some day it will definitely come.”
She expressed gratitude to them for their support for the Fubara-led administration which according to her has continued to spur them into action.
“Let me thank you for upholding the governor and myself in prayers, because without prayers we won’t be here, many people have prayed and God has heard, please do not stop, even for good governance, we need God to grant us the wisdom and knowledge of what to do”, she said.
In her remarks, Chairman of the Rivers State Branch of Association of Lady Pharmacists of Nigeria, Ebelechukwu Odom, said they were at the Government House to identify with the Governor Fubara-led administration in the ongoing restructuring of the state, and pledged their allegiance and unflinching support to the administration.
She assured that they would utilize the competences of Lady Pharmacists in Rivers State and synergize with partners for improvement in health, education, research development and socio-economic wellbeing of humanity through relevant and appropriate interventions, projects and programmes.

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RSG Denies Rumours Of Cholera Outbreak In Soku

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The Rivers State Government says it is not aware of any cholera outbreak in Soku community in the Akuku Toru Local Government Area of the State.
This was contained in a statement made available to newsmen in Port Harcourt by the State Ministry of Health.
According to the statement signed by the Commissioner for Health, Dr Adaeze Chidinma Oreh, the clarification was necessary following numerous enquiries from the media over a purported outbreak of cholera in Soku community.
The statement read in part, “The Rivers State Ministry of Health has received numerous enquiries from the Press regarding an alleged outbreak of cholera in Soku community in Akuku Toru Local Government Area.
“Public health teams dispatched to investigate these alleged cases and deaths have so far received no confirmation of such.”
While describing cholera as a waterborne infectious disease, the commissioner said that the disease is notifiable, warranting escalating reports from disease surveillance and notification officers at the community level.
The statement clarified that the ongoing medical outreach in Soku community is in no way related to any outbreak of cholera.
“Outreaches have always been a way of getting accessible health care to underserved and vulnerable population, however, all such outreach activities must be conducted with approval from and in collaboration with the State Ministry of Health and as such no entity should be conducting outreaches outside the coordination of the ministry”, it warned.
The ministry further said that all infectious diseases of this nature are reported, managed and escalated by the Rivers State Ministry of Health.
Dr. Oreh said the statement should serve as a strong warning to anyone conducting or planning health activities without due recourse to the Rivers State Ministry of Health.
She added that any such activities found to be carried out without the knowledge and clearance of the State Ministry of Health will be fully investigated and dealt with in order to ensure the protection of the lives of the people.
“Therefore, the general public and members of the Press are advised to disregard the rumours making the round on an ongoing outbreak of cholera and the death of some citizens of Soku community in Akuku Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State as it is presently unfounded, misguided and capable of causing panic amongst citizens and residents.
“The general public is thus urged to remain calm and rest assured that the Rivers State Ministry of Health will continue to be a veritable source of public health information in the state”, the statement concluded.

John Bibor

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Bill On State Police Scales Second Reading

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The House of Representatives, yesterday, passed for second reading a bill to provide for the establishment of state police in the country.
Sponsored by the Deputy Speaker of the House, Benjamin Kalu and 14 others, the bill seeks to alter the relevant Sections of the 1999 Constitution to pave the way for states to establish their own policing outfits.
As lawmakers took turns to contribute to the debate on the floor of the House during yesterday’s plenary, Kalu who stood in for the Speaker, Abbas Tajudeen, urged members to look beyond political ambitions and think about the safety of Nigerians and Nigeria.
Also speaking, Babajimi Benson (APC, Lagos) said, “It is the job of the police to maintain law and order. We have a population of over 200m people but we have a police strength that is less than 400,000. State Police should be created to address the internal security challenges of Nigeria.”

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