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Niger Delta

$300m Development Claim: OML-25 Host Communities urge FG to undertake fact-finding visit

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The communities hosting OML-25 in Rivers, have urged the Federal Government to conduct a fact-finding visit to the area to ascertain Shell Producing Development Company’s (SPDC) claim of spending 300 million dollars in developing the communities.

The host communities are Belema, Offoin-ama and Ngeje in Kula Kingdom, Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers.

Chief Fiala Okoye-Davies, while conducting journalists round Belema Community on Monday, alleged that SPDC had refused the idea of visiting the communities to appreciate the 300 million dollars it claimed to have spent developing the area.

Okoye-Davies said that the multi-national oil company after operating for almost 40 years, did not only fail in discharging its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) but also destroyed aquatic lives through its operations.

“SPDC’s continuous oil exploration and gas flaring without any remediation or clean up plan has destroyed aquatic lives in the area.

“This pathetic situation has left our communities completely impoverished, while battling with terminal diseases as a result of highly polluted water we drink from.

“Our farm lands polluted with massive oil spill and our social lives battered and deranged as a result of SPDC’s divide and rule style of empowerment,” he alleged.

Chief Ibiosiya Nath-Sukubo, Chairman, Offoin-ama Council of Chiefs, said that SPDC had been operating in the community for almost 40 years without the provision of basic amenities to alleviate the suffering of the people.

“No portable water, good schools, electricity, roads, health facilities and life expectancy in the area is low.

“This led to the communities rising up in August 2017 to shut-down operations in OML-25, especially at the expiration of its lease to SPDC,” he said.

According to Nath-Sukubo, when the host communities got information that SPDC was concluding plans to divest the oil field to Crester Energy Resources, they protested and stalled the process.

“Meetings were held with the NNPC in Abuja and our positions were made clear that such divestment must be transferred to Belema Oil Producing Ltd, an indigenous company with track record,” he added.

The host communities requested for the revoking of SPDC’s operatorship license of OML-25 and be handed over to indigenous operator with proven capacity in developing its host communities and build national wealth.

They also pleaded with the heads of Nigeria Navy, Nigeria Police, Department of State Service and other security services in Rivers not to be used by the state government against the communities.

The community leaders urged the Rivers Government to withdraw from intervening and allow the Federal Government to conclude its engagement with the stakeholders.

(Editing by Peter Ejiofor)

General news

Insecurity in Ogoniland won’t deter clean-up, says Agency

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The Hydrocarbon Pollution and Remediation Project (HYPREP) says rising insecurity in Ogoniland will not deter the Federal Government from remediating decades of oil-impacted communities in the area.

HYPREP’s Coordinator, Dr Marvin Dekil gave the assurance on the sideline of HYPREP’s meeting with officials of the American Embassy on Tuesday in Port Harcourt.

Nigeria News Agency reports that no fewer than 10 victims had recently lost their lives in Bodo, K-Dere, B-Dere, Gbe , Bomu and Kpor communities in renewed gun violence in Ogoniland.

Dekil said that HYPREP, under the Federal Ministry of Environment, would not halt the clean-up exercise due to the dire consequences such a delay could have on the entire project.

“Insecurity will not deter us from carrying out Ogoni clean-up because insecurity is not peculiar to Ogoni communities alone, but to the entire Rivers.

“A quick visit to the sites will reveal that all the people working there are from Ogoni communities. So, I do not think that there could be better security than the community people.

“Presently, we have over 630 people engaged by our contractors working on our various sites, and all the workers are all indigenous (Ogoni) people,” he said.

Dekil said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government was passionate to continuation of the clean-up exercise in spite of attempts by criminals to delay the process.

He said the remediation agency would soon award contracts to qualified firms to build water facilities before the end of 2019 as recommended by the United Nations Environment Project (UNEP) Report.

According to him, the water facilities would be provided only to communities whose underground source of water was contaminated by decades of oil spills in the area.

“We are almost getting to the stage where contracts would be awarded for the water projects in specific communities, such as Nsisioken, among others.

“The primary reason the United Nations was invited to Nigeria is to assess environment challenges in Ogoniland. The mandate is to remediate impacted sites in Ogoniland while water is secondary.

“So, the next phase of remediation work is the complex sites, which the ground water and soil were impacted by oil spill,” he said.

The remediation agency and UNEP, Dekil said had characterised the complex sites as well as started the procurement process to bring competent companies to be participants in the clean-up exercise.

He added that works were in various stages of completion across the various oil-impacted sites in Eleme, Gokana, Khana and Tai Local Government Areas that cover Ogoniland.

“But, we have made more progress in Tai and Eleme – as most of the companies have built their bio cells in the areas that we used for the clean-up exercise.

“Aside this, we are also having serious engagements with Oil Watch Africa, comprising delegates from 15 African countries.

“We have also engaged as well as took Ogoni-elected representatives from the Senate to Councillors round the clean-up sites with a view to making the exercise a success,’’ he said.

NAN reports that Dekil and officials from the U.S. Embassy, however, declined to comment on the outcome of the meeting between both bodies.

DES/DCU

Edited by Donald Ugwu

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Niger Delta

FG urges calm over Ogoniland clean-up

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The Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP), on Friday called for calm over protest by groups demanding participation in ongoing Ogoniland clean-up.

HYPREP’s Project Coordinator, Dr Marvin Dekil made the call in Port Harcourt at a meeting with members of the National Association of Persons with Disability in Ogoni.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the group had at the meeting urged the remediation agency to include its members in the exercise.

Dekil explained that HYPREP was only set up under the Federal Ministry of Environment with sole mandate to remediate years of oil spills in many Ogoni communities.

“So, people should not confuse the role of HYPREP as that of a parallel government that provides services or run Ministry of Social Welfare. HYPREP is not that.

“HYPREP was established for remediation of land, water and livelihood. So, people need to understand that this project is very specific.

“But we also understand that there are social issues, especially with the people living with disability,” he said.

He attributed the misunderstanding of HYPREP’s role by some interest groups to communication gaps among the populace.

“So, we are here today to engage them and explain to them what this project is truly about, which focus is on environmental remediation.

“However, we do have compassion for these people (physically challenged), and as such, we will do all we can to assist them.

“This includes partnering with the Rivers state Ministry of Social Welfare to help them make sure that their living standard is improved,” he promised.

The remediation Dekil said would incorporate some of the group’s technically gifted members in its livelihood programme as well as open business opportunities to others.

Mr Ngo Baridapdoo, president of the association had earlier expressed displeasure over non-inclusion of its members in the exercise.

The group, he said, had planned to protest the poor treatment allegedly meted out to impaired youths in Eleme, Gokana, Khana and Tai Local Government Areas.

“Though, we are not very happy with the situation, but we are hoping and looking up to him (Dekil) to fulfil his promises.’’

Edited by Ese E. Ekama

 

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General news

Kula women commend BelemaOil for initiating empowerment

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Women from Kula Kingdom in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers, on Monday commended BelemaOil Producing Ltd (BPL), an indigenous firm, for commencing the process of empowering women in various businesses.

A retail trader, Mrs Fabia Eleki, told the Nigeria News Agency in Kula, Akuku-Toru LGA that what BelemaOil was doing had never happened since oil exploration began in the area.

Eleki said that if other oil companies operating in Kula territory had emulated BPL empowerment scheme, women in the locality would have been financially independent.

“We all came here for the verification of our nativity to qualify for the empowerment, and sincerely, I am impressed with the large turn-out.

“It shows that women are looking for opportunities like this to be involved in self-paid ventures, so, I thank BPL for initiating the empowerment scheme for women,’’ she said.

Mrs Omielam Charles, a hair stylist, said that she was excited to be invited for verification of women of the host communities.

Charles said that BPL’s decision to empower the deprived women from the kingdom was a right step in the right direction.

“I sincerely appreciate what BelemaOil is doing in Kula Kingdom, this is the first time an oil company operating in the area is willing and taken practical steps to empower women,’’ she said.

Mrs Blanche Eleki, Coordinator of the verification for BelemaOil Producing Ltd, said the empowerment scheme was to ensure women had something doing to meet their needs.

Eleki disclosed that the empowerment would be on stages and that all qualified women from Kula would benefit from the scheme.

“The verification is all about ensuring that the empowerment gets to the right people and see that nobody is denied the opportunity.

Another Coordinator, Mrs Inengiya Awara, commended BPL and described the verification that recorded large turnout as transparent.

“The essence of the empowerment is to see that women are able stand up to face their challenges without waiting for their husbands,’’ she said.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that over 1,500 women from Kula Kingdom participated in the exercise.

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Defence/Security

Investigation on Siasia mother’s abduction ongoing — police

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The Police Command in Bayelsa has said that its personnel are working round the clock to ensure that the kidnapped mother of Samson Siasia, Nigeria’s former Super Eagles footballer is rescued from her captors.

SP Asinim Butswat, the spokesperson of the command made this known in a text message with the Nigeria News Agency in Yenagoa on Sunday.

NAN reports that Mrs Beauty Siasia, who was kidnapped on July 15 with two others in Odoni community, Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa, have spent 14 days in the kidnappers’ den.

The 79-year-old woman was kidnapped with Mrs Florence Douanana, 65, and her daughter, Selekire Douanana, 17.

According to the police spokesman, the command is on top of the game, stressing that investigation is on-going to enable the victims regain freedom.

“Yes, investigation is on-going to rescue the victims,” he stated.

NAN recalls that the state Commissioner of Police, Uche Anozia, had visited the scene twice and had deployed marine components of the force to comb the creeks of the area in search of the abducted victims.

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Niger Delta

SPDC allays fears of JK 4 communities on safety of pipelines at Adibawa oil fields

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SPDC allays fears of JK 4 communities on safety of pipelines at Adibawa oil fields

By Nathannwakamma

Yenagoa, May 10, 2019 The Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), on Friday allayed the fears expressed by Joinkrama 4 (JK 4) community in Rivers on safety of pipelines being laid at Adibawa oil fields in the area.

The residents had expressed fears the laying of a new gas pipeline through the community by SPDC close to their residential areas would compromise their safety.

Nigeria News Agency reports that excavation works and fitting of pipes are ongoing at Adibawa fields operated by SPDC.

“We are disturbed because there are lots of buildings on this line right side as you approach the community, they have diverted the pipeline, crossing the road to the other side but they should pass the pipes through the bush.

“Even the side they have diverted to, there are lots of buildings.

“The distance between the pipeline and buildings is not up to five meters, so owners of the buildings are all scared.

“Shell had surveyed the bush where to route this pipeline in the past; a virgin bush.

“But we do not see why they are now passing the gas pipeline through the community.”

JK 4, also referred to as Edagberi, located in Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers shares boundaries with some communities in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa.

However, Mr Bamidele Odugbesan, Media Relations at SPDC in a reaction to the development, explained that the fears were unfounded as the oil firm has no or new ongoing gas project in the area.

According to him, ongoing work at SPDC’s field at Adibawa was limited to replacement of existing crude pipelines within its right of way.

“SPDC is not laying any gas pipelines in the area in question. However, there’s sectional replacement of existing old flowlines in Adibawa within SPDC’s right of way,” Odugbesan.

Edited by Obike Ukoh

 

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