Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has advocated for a review of surveillance contracts on oil facilities to involve host communities in order to check the high rate of oil theft in the country.
Okowa made the call when he received a Federal Government delegation on anti-il theft led by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, on Monday in Asaba.
He said reviewing oil surveillance contracts based on performance of the contractors and engagement of host communities would ensure effectiveness in securing the nation’s oil and gas assets.
According to get Governor, the challenge of oil-theft was huge, given the level it had assumed, but expressed happiness with steps taken by the authorities to curb the menace.
“I am glad that we are discussing this hydra-headed issue which impacts directly on our economy and the environment.
“It impacts on the health of the people and sustainability of the environment and I am glad that we are taking some steps because there are so many issues that led us to this.
“We went through situations where gaps where created between host communities and oil companies, and unfortunately criminality set in.
“It has gone so bad but we are doing our best as a state. I am also glad with this collaboration,’’ he said.
The Governor said it was pertinence of a review of surveillance contracts of the oil facilities to ensure community involvement.
Okowa said that it was often difficult to secure the facilities, especially when the persons given the contracts did not have adequate information on the environment or not have the buy-in of host communities.
“We know that the impact of the nefarious activities on the health of the people cannot be immediately ascertained and this collaboration is, therefore, very imperative.
“Any measure that will deliberately reduce the level of oil thefts is definitely worth supporting, and as a state government, we pledge our continued support.
“Why investment of the communities is needed is because there are some parts of the creeks that cannot be accessed by the surveillance contractor.
“The surveillance contracts should be tied to performance such that when there are oil thefts, you terminate the contract and it is always good that communities are involved because they know the environment better,” he said.
He, however, flayed the oil companies for not keeping faith with their Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs), thereby making the stakeholders to lose confidence in the system.
Okowa said that when oil companies failed to sign or implement MOUs, “it becomes very difficult for the state government to mediate when there are issues.
“The security agencies must heighten their operations and they need to be resourced to enable them to also increase their level of surveillance and for this to succeed, there must be sincerity on the part of all stakeholders”, he stated.
Earlier, Sylva said that the team was in Asaba to seek the support and buy-in of the state government on measures to be adopted to check oil-theft.
He said that oil theft had become a national emergency, especially as the nation had not been able to meet its OPEC production quota.
“As a country we cannot sustain this kind of theft perpetually.
“Our production has dropped drastically to very unsustainable levels; so, we have decided to take the bull by the horn by putting some structures in place.
“Those structures cannot function effectively without the collaboration of the state government,” he said.
Also speaking, the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, who is coordinating the security intervention against oil theft, disclosed that in the last five months security agencies had been dealing with issues of illegal refineries and oil bunkering across the Niger Delta.
He also advocated for the engagement of indigenes and host communities in the fight against the criminal activity.
On his part, Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPC Limited, MalamMeleKyari, said that Nigeria was currently losing about two billion dollars monthly to the activities of oil vandals, with its attendant effect on environmental degradation.
“As a country, we hardly meet our OPEC production quantum of 1.99 million barrels per day with our current production level of 1.4 million barrels per day which is currently being threatened by the activities of these economic saboteurs.
“This has done extensive damage to the environment and losing 1.9 billion dollars every month is colossal, considering the nature of the global economy at the moment,’’ he said.
Kyari reinstated that the team needed the support and buy-in of Delta Government “because stopping this oil theft requires the concerted efforts of the Federal, State Governments, oil companies and security agencies”.
Ibom Developers Prioritise Health Through Medical Outreach Programmes In A’Ibom
On February 6 and 7, 2024, Ibom Developers took a significant step towards improving the health and well-being of residents in the Ikot Okwo, Ikot Ikwot, and Ndauku communities of Ikot Abasi Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State through its two-day comprehensive medical outreach programmes. Operating under the theme ‘Good Health Your Greatest Asset,’ the initiative’s primary goal is to facilitate the early resolution of community health issues, recognising the pivotal role that timely intervention plays in safeguarding the overall well-being of the community.
Good health is vital for the sustainable development of host communities, serving as a foundation for economic and social progress.
A healthy population is more productive, enabling greater workforce participation. Sound health reduces healthcare costs, encouraging economic stability. Socially, it enhances the quality of life, ensuring communities thrive.
Speaking at the events, Mrs. Dorothy Akpan Robert said, ‘‘Our community is grateful for this generous gesture, and we sincerely acknowledge Ibom Developers’ dedicated efforts and compassion. This initiative by the company empowers the community by fostering a culture of health consciousness and preventive care.’’
Public health involves preventing diseases, promoting health, educating communities, providing healthcare access, maintaining a healthy environment, and being prepared for emergencies. This helps build resilient communities, a priority for the company.
Also speaking, Chief Ukpe Uyo Amanama said, ‘‘Ibom Developers’ medical outreach programme is a testament to the transformative impact that community-driven health initiatives can have on the lives of individuals and the health landscape of a region.’’
The medical camps, conducted by Ibom Developers, targeted prevalent health concerns in the region, addressing key diseases that have a substantial impact on the communities, such as malaria, typhoid, blood pressure, cough, and skin rashes. Medical supplies were provided during the medical outreach programmes. Sugar tests were also conducted given the increasing rates of diabetes in the region. Those diagnosed were provided with guidance on lifestyle changes.
Dignitaries present at the programme were Mrs. Dorothy Akpan Robert – Women Leader, Ndauku Community; Prince Felix Albert – Vice Council Secretary, Ndauku Community; Chief Happy Negro Dickson – Compound Head of Dickson Family, Ndauku Community; Chief Akpan Amos – Compound Head of Ikot Esighe Family, Ndauku Community; Chief Akpan Amos – Compound Head of Ikot Esighe Family, Ndauku Community; Chief Ufot Frank Udoekpo – Compound Head of Udoekpo Family, Ndauku .
Edo Labour Party Aspirant Writes INEC Over Party Congress
Labour Party (LP )aspirant for the Edo State governorship election, Olumide Akpata has said the political party is not ready for its primary poll.
The former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, (NBA), said this in a letter dated February 18 and addressed to Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the Independent National ELectoral Commission (IINEC) and alleged that the party leadership is plotting to handpick a candidate for the election.
It would be noted that the Labour Party had initially fixed February 22 as the date for the conduct of its primary but later shifted it to February 23.
The letter reads, “i write to you in my capacity as an aspirant for the Edo State gubernatorial ticket on the platform of the Labour Party.
“The purpose of this letter is to bring to your attention the lack of preparedness and transparency surrounding the labour party’s planned primaries to produce a gubernatorial candidate for the forthcoming gubernatorial elections in edo state.
“As you are aware, the Electoral Act 2022 mandates political parties to conduct transparent primaries to produce candidates and also mandates the Independent National Electoral Commission (“INEC” or “the commission”) to stipulate timelines for conducting these primaries.
“Numerous aspirants, including myself, have observed with dismay the conspicuous absence of transparency in the process, which has led to a mass exodus of aspirants from the race.
“All of the aspirants, without exception, who have withdrawn from the process so far, have voiced concerns about its undemocratic nature.
“While some have diplomatically cited “personal reasons” for withdrawing, others have been more forthcoming in directly alleging that the party leadership plans to handpick a preferred aspirant regardless of the outcome of any primaries held.”
Akpata added that his attempts to get the leadership of the party to provide accountability fell on deaf ears.
“I have become constrained to speak out at this point because my repeated attempts to get the party leadership to see reason and provide transparency around preparations for the primaries have failed to elicit any positive response.
“Rather, my candid inquiries have been met with disdain and an attempt to bully me into silence.
“I am aware that INEC has demonstrated courage in the past to stand on the side of due process in political parties and entrench internal party democracy. the LP’s primaries in Edo State provide you with another opportunity to walk the talk.
“Mr Chairman, if things go awry, it could result in pre-election disputes to which INEC will inevitably be joined as a necessary party, thereby tying down its already meagre resources and leaving the commission to grapple with yet another unnecessary and avoidable display that could have been averted had the right thing been done and the warning signs heeded.”
Gunmen Shoot Dead Councillor In Delta As Police Launch Manhunt
A Councillor representing Owhase Ward in the Udu Local Government Area Legislative Council, Delta State, identified as Honourable Festus, has been shot dead by unknown gunmen.
The Tide’s source gathered that the councillor was shot in the head by gunmen on Monday at his residence.
The source who confirmed the incident to our source said his death was related to cult activities.
The State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Bright Edafe, who also confirmed the incident stated that the police had begun intense discreet investigation and manhunt of the assailants.
“Yes one Festus was shot on his head by unknown assailants, the wife informed the brother. We are searching for his killers,” Edafe said.
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