The just-concluded 6th international conference organised by the Centre for Gas, Refining and Petrochemicals (CGRP) of the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPOTT) has made critical recommendations for the oil and gas sector in Nigeria.
A communique read at the end of the conference and signed on behalf of organisers and participants by the Vice-Chancellor, UNIPORT, Prof. Owunari Abraham Georgewill; Chairman, CGRP Board and Chairman of the conference, Engr. Anthony Ogbuigwe; Ag. Director, CGRP, Dr. Akuma Oji; and Chairman, Central Planning Committee, Prof. Ayoade Kuye; stated that the Federal Government should make deliberate efforts to develop local solutions to the challenges of the oil and gas sector in Nigeria.
The communique, made available by the Chairman, Conference Sub-Committee on Publicity and Protocols, Dr. Jossy Nkwocha, on Saturday, said, “Government must make deliberate policy to encourage the design and fabrication of oil and gas equipment in Nigeria.
“This is important because of its impact on the economy, job creation opportunities, as well as optimal and sustainable operation of the oil and gas industry”, it said.
The communique further stated that, “the Federal Government should initiate policies that will insist that at least 60percent of equipment being used should be manufactured in Nigeria. Timelines to this also should be set”.
Other aspects of the 19-point recommendations of the communique include: “The Federal Government of Nigeria should divest some of its ownership of the commercial refineries in Nigeria for a sustainable operation of the oil and gas industry, at least in line with the NLNG model, i.e. 49percent Government and 51percent private sector, as only this will ensure sustainability.
“All efforts should be expedited to ensure the optimal performance of all commercial refineries in Nigeria. These refineries can be upgraded with new technologies to increase capacity of production and quality of products.
“There is need to ensure the standardization of products of gas, refining and petrochemicals in Nigeria especially the modular refineries to ensure sustainability.
“More efforts should be targeted towards arresting the menace of crude oil pipeline vandalisation, gas flaring and ensure turn-around maintenance of the commercial refineries in Nigeria as and when due.
“Efforts should be made at increasing the consumption of fertilizer in Nigeria. Efforts at digitizing the operation and management of the oil and gas industry should be explored to drive the change in the downstream sector.
“Nigeria like other African countries must pay adequate attention to targeted and sustainable financing of the downstream sector and the agricultural sector and policies made towards its actualization.
“Government/private sector partnership in the mid and downstream sector can improve job creation, revenue generation, food security and national GDP.
“The Agricultural sector can be made more attractive in Nigeria with emphasis on using the right seeds, right fertilizers and applying fertilizer at the right time are essentials for getting optimal production in the industry.
“Gas flaring penalties must be well priced to discourage this activity. Government should ensure diligent application and execution of this policy.
“Utilization of gas resources is essential to discourage wastage. Gas-to-power, gas-to-fertilizer, gas-to-energy and gas-to- liquids are viable options.
“Investment in Hydrogen gas generation and utilization in Nigeria must be explored.
“Efforts must be geared at improving the collaboration between the government, academia, industry and professional bodies as this is key to a sustainable oil and gas industry and the agricultural sector.
“Industry and community harmony is an incentive to cross-community cooperation and development.
“Home grown technologies and collaborations with other African countries is key to attaining sustainability in the oil and gas industry”.
The conference extended its felicitations to President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and all citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Our prayers are that the recommendations of this international conference will be religiously implemented to usher in innovations for sustainable optimal operations of existing oil and gas assets in Nigeria”, the communique declared.
The conference, which was held at Novotel Hotels, Port Harcourt from Wednesday to Thursday, September 20-21, 2023, attracted participants from government, academia, industry and stakeholders in the mid/downstream oil and gas industry in Nigeria and abroad.
The theme of the conference was “Innovations for Sustainable Optimal Operations of Existing Oil and Gas Assets in Nigeria”.
It was organised by CGRP in collaboration with with the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers (NSChE) and Africa Centre of Excellence in Oilfield Chemicals Research (ACE-CEFOR).
HYPREP Interfaces With Ogoni Youths
Ogoni youths, on Wednesday turned out in their hundreds at the expansive auditorium of Golden Tulip Hotel in Port Harcourt and had fruitful engagements with the management of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) with the Project Coordinator, Prof Denibarini Zabbey effectively in charge of proceedings.
The HYPREP’s interactive session with youths came on the heels of recent protests by some Ogoni youths at its office in Port Harcourt.
HYPREP’s Head of Communications, Dr Enuolare Mba-Nwigor, who functioned as the compere and anchor of the occasion, actually set the tone of what was to come as he described the agency’s projects as human-centric and youth-centric as well as community centred to put smiles on the faces of the Ogoni people, noting that the agency in turn needs all the support from the people.
But before then, effervescent comedian and Ogoni-born Mr Teenager had put the youths in the right mood for the day’s event with rib-cracking jokes.
Underscoring the importance of the interactive session, Prof Zabbey in his opening remarks, hinted that the frequency of such interfaces with the youths would be scaled up and announced that it would now come up quarterly to enable HYPREP to feel the pulse of the people and in the process regularly get feed-backs on its numerous projects and programmes in Ogoniland.
While thanking the youths for their support and for the massive turnout, the Project Coordinator noted that projects being executed in Ogoniland by the agency are human-centric and youth-centric, stressing that it was against this backdrop that he had appointed a Technical Assistant on Youth and Women Development to the Project Coordinator for the first time.
He emphasised the need for the Project Office and the youths to always come together and work collectively to drive all the projects and programmes being carried out.
The keynote speaker and senior lecturer at the Department of Management of the Rivers State University, Dr. Sorberikor Lebura advised Ogoni people to tread with caution and not allow the ugly chapters of the Ogoni struggle to repeat themselves, “ We cannot pull down the house because we are angry,” he said, stressing that, doing so would not serve anybody’s interest.
He listed the strategies for effective management of conflicts, to include competition, avoidance, accommodation and collaboration, and stressed the need for Ogoni people to judiciously manage what HYPREP is currently offering them in their communities because as he put it, “it will take a long time for this thing to come back to us if we destroy it”.
Lebura underscored the importance of effective information management in driving the ongoing projects in Ogoniland, contending that disinformation, misinformation and insufficient information constitute the greatest drawbacks in any organisation and the management and execution of projects.
He, therefore, advised the current HYPREP management team and the Ogoni people to properly distill and investigate every information that comes their way, and decried a situation where some persons appointed to midwife the project in the past ran HYPREP as their private empire.
According to him, “the present Project Coordinator is doing his best. What he is doing may not be sufficient. This is because you cannot satisfy everybody”.
The founder and Chief Executive Officer of Ogoni Television, Mr Ndume Green, who equally anchored the programme advised Ogoni people not to continue to fight themselves but to always support their own to succeed, describing Prof Zabbey as a competent Project Coordinator.
“Let us protect what we have so that history will not repeat itself,” he said.
Also speaking, the head of the Livelihood Unit of HYPREP, Mrs. Josephine Nzidee said HYPREP has this year trained 29 Ogonis in the aviation industry to work as cabin crew members in airlines, adding that Dana Airlines had already offered 10 slots to the agency while it is currently engaging other airlines for more slots, lamenting that before now, nobody from Ogoniland was in the aviation industry.
She said 5, 0000 Ogoni youths are currently being trained to position them in the oil and gas sector, among other sectors of the economy, and urged all those being trained to take the exercise seriously.
The Head of the Centre of Excellence, Mr. Lekue Ebenezer and other heads of the various units also briefed the audience on the activities of their units.
The Director of Technical Services, Prof Philip Shekwolo while describing the Project Coordinator as a core professional, enjoined Ogoi people to be supportive and always wear the solution caps to ensure that the projects and programmes being carried out succeed.
The leadership of the National Youth Council of Ogoni People (NYCOP) apparently passed a vote of confidence on the Project Coordinator at the event and declared its unflinching support to HYPREP.
The President of NYCOP, Mr. Barinaazor Emmanuel who read a communiqué containing the positon of the entire Ogoni youths at the event, said the youths are totally in support of the projects and programmes being carried out by HYPREP in Ogoniland.
The NYCOP President had earlier in his presentation called for more women participation and inclusion in the projects and for more youths to be included in the current 5,0000 youth training programme and described the protest against HYPREP by some youths recently as a show of shame. He equally said the transport allowance for trainees was too poor.
The leader of Ogoni Peoples Assembly, Rev Probel Williams urged the Ogoni people to give the Project Coordinator time to work and prove his mettle, saying there is no need to fidget and fret, going by his pedigree in the ecosystem.
He, however, urged the Project Coordinator to review the employment and livelihood programme module to make it more realistic.
The Acting President of the Ogoni Youth Federation (OYF), Mr Emmanuel Bie apologised to the Project Coordinator over the recent protest that paralysed HYPREP’s activities in Port Harcourt, saying the protest was intended to draw the agency’s attention to some anomalies in its project sites and not to serve some selfish and vested interests, and called for more local and community content in projects executed by HYPREP.
He disclosed to The Tide that the President General of OYF, Mr Legbosi Yaamabaana who led the protest had been suspended.
Some of the youths who spoke stressed the need for them to be carried along in the scheme of affairs and not for only those who protest against HYPREP to be considered for contracts.
At the end of the day, Prof Zabbey assured the youths that all grey areas concerning transport allowances being paid to Ogonis working at the Centre of Excellence site as well as the N40,000 transport allowance for trainees were being handled, and appealed for patience.
By: Donatus Ebi
ACOMIN Urges Govt To Commit To HIV, Others
In order for Nigeria to ensure progress in the control of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB), and Malaria (ATM) in the country there is the need for government at all levels, and other stakeholders to adopt combined measures.
The Rivers State Chairman, of the Association of Civil Societies in Malaria Control, Immunisation, and Nutrition (ACOMIN), Pastor John Ihua-Maduenyi, made this disclosure, midweek, at a media meeting in ACOMIN’s office in Port Harcourt.
Ihua-Maduenyi said the combination of measures should include “prevention and treatment, health education and promotion, and community partnership”.
Towards this end, the State ACOMIN boss urged governments, the private sector, and other stakeholders to commit to ensuring that funding and financing for primary health delivery should be carefully mapped out and sanctioned against any misappropriation or mismanagement, to enable a robust public health programme at all award levels in the Local Government Areas.
He listed other measures, saying, “ the National Health Insurance programme enjoyed by the formal sector should be extended to other citizens of Nigeria, particularly the poor and most vulnerable.
“The poor often are less educated and unemployed, and consequently lack ability to pay out-of-pocket for high costs associated with frequent illnesses.
“Communication and education programmes can raise knowledge and awareness, and, in turn, improve testing and care-seeking. There’s a great need to educate, engage, and empower the communities to embrace any behaviour change relevant to achieving success in Malaria, HIV, and TB control in Nigeria.
“Every Ward should commit to health promotion and education programmes to increase awareness of prevention measures, and promote community participation and adherence to evidence-based strategies.
“Commit adequate resources through advocacy and partnerships, for the full and effective implementation of all planned interventions, including through involving of the private sector, and community participatory approaches.
“Community members should actively support and advocate for their local Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs). Community involvement is crucial in ensuring the sustainability and effectiveness of these centres.
“Additionally, community support can manifest through volunteering, donating resources, or participating in advocacy efforts to secure increased funding and resources for PHCs”.
To further enhance instilling the importance of effectively instituting the listed measures, Ihua-Maduenyi emphasized the urgent need for “strengthening health systems, providing needed financial resources, renewing political leadership, and fostering collaborations”.
According to him, “evidence-based cost-effective interventions such as community-led monitoring need to be scaled up and include community-based differentiated service delivery models, less frequent visits to a health facility with less frequent and an improved focus on people-centred care.
“Finally, innovations in service delivery and technology adaptations remain critical as countries aim to limit disruptions to routine services”.
On factors debilitating effective service delivery in some Local Government Areas, raised by some stakeholders at the meeting, the HIV Desk Officer, Rivers State Health Care Management Board (RSPHCMB), Dr. Mekele Igwe, assured that the issues will be excallated with a view to resolving them.
By: Soibi Max-Alalibo
Death Of Woji Youth: Royal Family Calls For Justice
The Eke Royal Family of Woji Town in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State has called for thorough investigation into the circumstances sorrounding the death of Kenneth Nyebuchi Eke by the police at the Woji Police Division.
It would be recalled that the late Nyebuchi Eke was allegedly beaten to death by the OC Surveillance attached to the Woji Police Division .
According to the family, the deceased body was later discovered at an uncompleted building at Chokocho Etche in Etche Local Government Area.
Addressing newsmen at Woji, elder brother to the deceased and former Chairman of Obio/Akpor, Local Government Council, Hon Solomon Abel Eke, said the family is calling for thorough investigation into the circumstances leading to the death of his brother, and the discovery of his body at Chokocho Etche.
According to him, his brother was arrested by the surveillance team of Woji Police Division as a result of a minor issue between him and his tenant.
“Nyebuchi Kenneth Eke was arrested illegally by the Surveillance team of Woji Police Division and then the only offence was that he had issues with his tenant who had refused to pay him his rent over the years which he had tolerated”, he stated.
He alleged that police men, led by the Woji Police Division surveillance team, arrested him.
In his words, “Not only arresting him, but started beating him and just beat him to the level that the man passed out”.
He said after the death of his brother, the OC Surveillance refused to report the matter to the Divisional Police Officer of the Woji Police Division.
Eke also wondered how and why his brother’s remains had to be carried to Chokocho Etche from Woji, where the incident occurred, adding that from Woji to Chokocho Etche was about 25 kilometres.
“For him to drive this long to Chokocho to drop the body there at a particular place, how did he come about knowing the area?”
He said the Surveillance team at Woji should be properly interrogated with a view to unravelling the mystery behind the discovery of the uncompleted building where the body of Kenneth Nyebuchi Eke was dumped.
The former Obio/Akpor boss said the family will get to the root of the matter with a view to ensuring that justice is done on the matter.
He said the family and the Ikwerre Ethnic nationality has no problem with the Ogonis despite the fact that the tenant involved in the matter was from Ogoni.
Also speaking, the Ojiowhor Oro Eke Royal Family of Woji Town, Dr Las Eke, said the family is embarrassed by the incident, adding that the family will not rest until justice is done on the matter.
Dr Eke wondered why a police officer meant to protect the citizens would turn out to kill the very people that he is meant to protect.
He said the police officer concerned must be properly investigated and disciplined to serve as deterrent to others.
On his part, Chief Clement Eke expressed regrets over the incident, saying the death of the deceased “has dealt a big blow to the entire family”.
He urged the police not to sweep the incident under the carpet and vowed that the family will pursue the matter to its logical conclusion.
Another Elder of the family, Chike Eke urged the youths not to take the laws into their hands as the family is on top of the matter.
By: John Bibor & Mercy Olu Igbanibo
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