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Netherlands to support Nigeria on Ogoni clean-up — Envoy

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The Netherlands Ambassador to Nigeria, Ms Marion Kappeyne, on Wednesday said the country was ready to support Nigeria to clean-up decades-long oil spills in Ogoniland.

Kappeyne made the disclosure in Ebube while inspecting ongoing remediation of one of the polluted sites in Ebube community, Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers.

She said the clean-up project was one of the Nigerian government’s top priorities that needed the support of all to succeed.

“I came to see things for myself rather than sitting in Abuja and just reading them in the newspapers.

“This part of the country (Niger Delta) is very important, and so, we are following things up to ensure the clean-up is a success,“she said.

She expressed confidence that the clean-up would be carried out in line with global best practice due to collaboration and supervision of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

“The people are assured that they are not forgotten, as we came to see how we can support the clean-up exercise.

“I understand the impatience as people want to see results in cleaning up of their lands. I can see that work is ongoing and hopefully it will produce results soon.

“However, it will be of no one’s interest that the lands which are being remediated get re-contaminated again,” she said.

Also speaking, the UNEP representative to Nigeria, Mike Cowing, said the global body was satisfied with biological processes being carried out in the Ebube remediation site.

He said that the Federal Government had re-engaged UNEP to strengthen the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) for full implementation of the 2011 UNEP recommendations.

“The Ebube site is a site that is going to be less complex. When we move to the heavily contaminated sites, then we will face a more sophisticated remediation approach.

“For site of this nature, what I am seeing now is appropriate and in line with what I had expected.

Cowing said that UNEP had  initiated some training courses and had  taken members of the clean-up governing council to the United Kingdom (UK) for training.

“We took them to the UK to expose them to large remediation projects in the UK, so that they would have an understanding of how projects are done.

“The council members were exposed to the technology, planning, contractual relationship as well as compliance to legislation.

On his part, Dr Marvin Dekil, Project Coordinator of HYPREP, said that contractors handling the clean-up were already using one of the best soil treatment technologies, biocell, for the project.

According to him, biocell was a biological treatment facility that remedies contaminated soil with use of natural micro organisms.

“The contaminated soil is excavated and put into the biocell for bio-remediation treatment to take place. This allows the natural micro organism to degrade the contaminated soil.

“The micro organism degrades the contaminated soil to a level that would be good enough for us to return the soil back to where we took it from,” he said.

Dekil said the clean-up  was the first time the Federal Government would be undertaking such task and, as such, was taking practical steps to ensure its success.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that HYPREP in the Federal Ministry of Environment was set-up by the Federal Government to coordinate the clean-up of oil-rich but polluted Ogoniland.

Foreign

Kuwait voices support for preserving Yemen’s unity, sovereignty

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Support

The Kuwaiti Permanent Representative to the UN, Mansour Al-Otaibi, said his country was looking forward to the efforts exerted by Saudi Arabia in hosting talks in Jeddah between Yemeni government and representatives of the Southern Transitional Council (STC).

Al-Otaibi said Kuwait hoped that the final outcome of the talks would lead to the return of security and stability in a way that preserves Yemen’s unity and sovereignty over its territory.

However, the Aden-based STC previously said its forces rapidly advanced on the ground and declared full control over the neighbouring province of Abyan.

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Lack of funds forces closure of UN humanitarian programmes in Yemen

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edited by Sadiya Hamza

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Pompeo, UNGA president salute victims of terrorism, urge more support

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Edited by Ese E.  Ekama

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Terrorism: UN chief seeks adequate support for victims, survivors

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Edited by Ese E.  Ekama

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West Nile virus cases double in Cyprus, one death recorded

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Virus

The Ministry said one elderly man with a poor health history died from the virus, which is transmitted by mosquito bites.

The Health Ministry data showed that the cases were spread almost all over the government controlled areas of Cyprus.

Several other cases, also including one fatal, have been reported from the area of Cyprus controlled by Turkish troops, where the virus appeared almost two months ago.

Public Health Services said that enhanced measures, including close monitoring of suspected cases and the separate epidemiological investigation of each case have been applied.

Mosquito control measures, such as spraying ponds and stale water areas where the mosquitoes breed, were also applied.

People were again advised to take precautionary measures which include wearing long sleeved shirts and long trousers, especially around dusk, or even use insect repellants when outdoors.

Public Health Services said that in most cases bites by infected mosquitoes go unnoticed, but people with a poor health, such as the elderly, are likely to develop virus-related complications.

The West Nile virus is believed to have been brought to Cyprus by migratory birds which arrived in the spring or early summer.

The birds act as hosts to the virus.(Xinhua/NAN)

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