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Group Tasks Government On N’Delta Environment

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The “Health of Mother Earth Foundation” has urged government at all levels to prioritize the issue of Enviroment over other issues in the Niger Delta.
It also urged government to stop prioritizing the revenue and royalty gained from oil and gas operators in the Niger Delta over the environment and the lives of the people.
The group tasked the incoming Federal Government to, “as a matter of priority, respond to the needs of the people of the Niger Delta by protecting the environment, since the people depend on the environment for a living”.
Executive Director of the organization, Dr Nnimmo Bassey, said it was completely unacceptable that local communities in the Niger Delta drink water from polluted streams and rivers, and also breathe polluted air.
Bassey spoke during a one-day capacity building in Amonogo Biri, Okrika Local Government Area of Rivers State, organised for communities on how to combat and provide solutions to the persistent environmental pollution caused by the refinery, oil and petrochemical companies operating in the area.
He described government as the major player when it comes to the degradation of the environment as they are only after the exploration of natural resources at the expense of the poor masses whose livelihood are being destroyed totally.
Bassey added that the workshop was imperative to build the capacity of community people to confront their government and oil operators over the pollution in the area, and to enhance the ability of the people to speak up against environmental degradation.
“I think it is big embarrassment that we have government at all levels in those areas and we don’t see any concern for the environment.
“This is one thing that is very wrong in this country, government tends to see natural resources as things to be exploited at any cost, so the environment is destroyed, the resources are taken, and foreign exchange are made.
“When the environment is destroyed the lives of the people are also destroyed, and if people are not able to thrive in their community, then whatsoever financial gains the government makes is equal to blood money.
“The incoming government must respond to the needs of the people, protecting the environment should be the number one responsibility of government because people depend on the environment for a living.
“People drink water from polluted streams and rivers, people are farming in polluted land, people are breathing polluted air. This is completely unacceptable”, he said.
Earlier, some members of the community, who narrated their experience, complained that the presence of the oil companies around them has brought nothing but pains and sorrow, following the negative impacts the industries has had on their aquatic life.
A fisherman, Fyneface Daka, said that even the fishes caught from the river are polluted, since the water itself was highly polluted from chemical and toxic wastes discharged by Port Harcourt refinery and Indorama petrochemicals.
“We are predominantly fishermen. We are all suffering from pollution arising from gas flaring. If you wash your clothes and spray outside, flames and soot will cover it in few hours. Even the water is polluted, meaning that even the fishes we eat are from polluted too”.
Highpoint of the workshop was the inauguration of FishNet Alliance in Okrika, for the promotion of sustainable fishing in line with ecosystem limits, and environmental advocacy.

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Yobana Commends FG On LG Autonomy  …Donates Vehicles To Security Agencies In Khana 

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The Caretaker Committee Chairman of Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State, Ambassador Marvin Yobana, has commended the Federal Government for taking the bold step to secure financial autonomy for local governments in the country.
Yobana, in a statement by his Media Team, gave the commendation when donating security operational vehicles to security agencies in the area on Monday.
He also commended President Bola Tinubu for giving State governments enough time to conduct local government elections in their respective states.
The Khana Council boss, while presenting the vehicles to the security agencies, noted that security of the people is of utmost priority, hence the need to support them with operational vehicles.
He explained that the donation was to encourage the security agencies to do more and be apolitical as they discharge their duties.
Yobana called on the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, to order his men to vacate council secretariat of the 23 local government areas in Rivers State, saying the Court of Appeal has given a clear judgement against tenure elongation.
He urged the IGP to respect the rule of law and not heat up the polity in the State.
Ambassador Yobana promised that the Council would collaborate with security agencies to encourage farmers and fishers to go back to their farming and fishing without fear.
He warned those trying to sabotage the efforts of the security agencies to stay off the area as the full wrath of law will catch up with them.
The chairman enjoined residents of the State not to be distracted by the 27 former lawmakers loyal to the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, who he said, are no longer Assembly members by law.
He urged the Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminilayi Fubara, to continue with his people-oriented projects and not be distracted by the former lawmakers.
He also appreciated the media for accuracy and factual reportage of the political situation in the State.
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LG Poll: Monarch Decries In-House Fighting Among Politicians In Khana 

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A first class King of Bagha, His Royal Majesty, King Suanu Baridam, has frowned at the in-house fighting over who becomes the next Executive Chairman of Khana Local Government Council.
King Baridam, who was addressing newsmen after a stakeholders’ meeting in Bori on Wednesday, said the current in-house fighting among the political class in the area is unacceptable.
He noted that what the Ogoni people need, especially the people of Khana, is unity that can make the State Government look after them.
According to him, “Ogoni is a place that all of us love, especially Khana. So, the in-house fighting that is happening in the local government among our political class is unacceptable. We want a united Khana front for anything we are doing.
“Irrespective of political parties where we are, what we need is unity that can make the government look after us.”
The monarch warned that the State Governor, Sir Siminialayi Fubara, would not be happy or take the people of Khana serious “if everyone here starts in-house fighting.”
He advised the people of Khana to channel their energies into developmental issues such as security, electricity and education of the youths.
He also advised the political class including members of the Caretaker Committee in the local government to work together and leave the issue of who becomes the next Executive Chairman of the Council to God and the people of Khana, saying “it is God who gives power.”
 “When the time of who contest local government election comes, the Khana people will choose who they want. But for now, Marvin has been appointed the CTC chairman. Let everybody relax until his tenure ends and election is conducted”, King Baridam added.
Recall that some youths allegedly sponsored by anti-government elements staged a protest in Khana, on Wednesday, over who becomes the next Executive Chairman of the Council.
The Tide reports that the local council election across the 23 local government areas in the State is scheduled to hold on October 5, 2024, according to the timetable released by the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission (RSIEC).
Recall that the tenure of the former Executive Local Government Council chairmen ended on midnight of June 17, 2024, prompting the State Governor, Sir Siminialayi Fubara to appoint caretaker committee chairmen for the 23 local government councils.
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HYPREP Project Coordinator Restates Commitment To Ogoni Clean-Up

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The Project Coordinator of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP), Prof Nenibarini Zabbey, says he remains committed to the active and timely implementation of the Ogoni clean-up, and assures that the project will continue to be accountable, transparent, and people-centric.
Zabbey made this statement following his reinstatement by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu as conveyed in a State House press release issued by the Special Adviser to the President (Media and Publicity), Chief Ajuri Ngelale.
According to the statement,”The President reached the decision (to reinstate the HYPREP Project Coordinator) following a performance review of the HYPREP Project Coordinator and concluded that he is fit to discharge his functions following the regulations guiding the execution of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP)”.
The Project Coordinator thanked President Tinubu for reinstating him and commended the President for his unwavering commitment to accelerating the implementation of the Ogoni clean-up as articulated in the Renewed Hope Agenda.
He assured to continue to drive the clean-up process with renewed vigour, passion, and zest toward meeting stakeholders’ expectations to deliver a world-class project that meets the best standards.
Zabbey added that he is not unaware of the eagerness of stakeholders and communities to see a speedy and quality completion of several HYPREP projects in Ogoniland.
These include the construction of the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Restoration (CEER), the Ogoni Specialist Hospital and Buan Cottage Hospital, the Ogoni Power Project, the provision of potable water, sustainable livelihood programmes, remediation of oil-impacted land and shoreline sites, and mangrove restoration.
He stressed that, in line with HYPREP’s strategic policy of inclusivity, the Project would continue to carry out robust stakeholder engagement to constantly get community buy-in and inclusivity.
He noted that increased communication with critical stakeholders of the Project would be deployed, and he thanked the Ogoni community for their support and ownership of the clean-up.
While acknowledging the support of stakeholders for the Project, Zabbey urged them to keep faith, saying his “eyes are on the ball to deliver on HYPREP’s mandate of a cleaner Ogoni environment and a better human development index”.

Donatus Ebi

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