Aghoro Community expresses disappointment over compensation on oil spill



Members of Aghoro 1 community, Ekeremor Local Government Area in Bayelsa on Friday expressed dissatisfaction over  the compensation that Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC)  offered to pay for an oil spill that occurred on May 17, 2018.

They alleged that the oil firm arbitrarily determined the compensation for the incident in spite of the Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) report on the matter.

They claimed the spill had impacted and polluted an estimated area of 113.03 hectares.

The JIV report obtained by Nigeria News Agency  states that  the leak on the pipeline at three spots were caused by equipment failure.

It added that the leak discharged 1,114 barrels of crude oil into the environment.

Mr Friday Otigha, a Community Leader and member of the Community Development Committee in Aghoro 1, told NAN that the N34 million  offered by SPDC was unacceptable and had no relation with the impact assessment report.

Otigha said instead  of N3.68 billion compensation that the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) recommended, SPDC proposed to pay N34 million.

He alleged  that SPDC connived with some unauthorised community leaders to foist the arbitrarily determined compensation which fell short of NOSDRA’s compensation rate, a development that attracted sanctions for those individuals.

Otigha recalled that the leak was reported on May 17 but the JIV was on  June 23, a development that worsened the  impact of the spill on the predominantly fishing coastal community.

He said hundreds of impacted fishermen thrown out of business  by the incident were disappointed at the turn of events as they had expected SPDC to act in line with international best practice.

He urged the Federal Government to prevail on SPDC to retrace its steps and resolve the compensation in line with existing oil spill compensation guidelines set by the regulators.

Mr Bamidele Odugbesan, Media Relations Manager, SPDC, had earlier  given an assurance that the firm would compensate victims and  remediate polluted areas.

Reacting to the allegations, Mr Michael Adande, a Spokesman  for SPDC insisted that the firm acted with industry stakeholders to arrive at the compensation.

“The SPDC conducts a comprehensive damage assessment and enumeration exercise with active participation of other members of the Joint Investigation Visit Team, especially the impacted claimants.

“We also use geomatrics map to establish the exact area of impact and extent within SPDC’s Right of Way or third party area and the degree of impact to arrive at a fair compensation value.

“In the case of the regrettable incident in Aghoro in Bayelsa State and Odimodi in Delta State in 2018, SPDC has paid the agreed compensation to the affected persons and communities.

“The NOSDRA Post-Impact Assessment report, however , included N2.74 billion as ‘ecological damage assessment’ for environmental restoration and not as compensation.

“SPDC takes responsibility for clean-up, remediation and restoration.” Adande said.

Edited /Chukwudi  Ekezie


National Park Service in forefront of climate change mitigation- Conservator-General



Dr Ibrahim Goni, Conservator-General, National Park Service has said the service was in the forefront of climate change mitigation, drought and desertification in the country

Goni Said this when the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirate(UAE) to Nigeria , Dr Fahad Al Taffaq visited the National Park headquarters in Abuja on Thursday.

He said that the service also played important role in tackling ravaging  impact of erosion and floods.

The world is running out of time to effectively tackle the climate crisis and we must therefore change course and step up our ambition in order to prevent the worst climate impacts.

Climate and nature are intricately linked, so we would not be able to solve the global loss of nature without solving the climate crisis.

In turn, when we restore nature, we create healthy ecosystems, which locks away more carbon and helps stabilise our climate.

“This is why we at the National Park have stepped up action, and will continue to step up plans, by bringing more actors to the table to save Nigeria from the imminent effects of climate change, ” he said

Goni said the action should not just be about policy making but required a total commitment by all.

He said bush burning was a major challenge to those in protected and free areas, and advised Nigerians to avoid lighting fires, especially during this season of harmattan to avoid wildfires.

He said the activities of hoodlums, kidnappers, bandits, cattle rustlers, illegal logging, water poisoning and mining had become a source of worry for the national park.

Goni, however, said a total of 607 suspects had been arrested between January and November 2019 for various offences.

He said sighting of endangered species such as chimpanzee, leopard, gorilla, elephant, lion, buffalo, hippo, vulture, wild hog, gazelle wild dog, etc had become increasingly difficult in the nations national parks.

Goni said the UAE could help Nigeria in the area of reintroducing some of these endangered species back to the wild.

Al Taffaq said the purpose of the visit was to see how the UAE could collaborate with Nigeria  to reintroduce species that were extinct back to the wild in Nigeria.

He said UAE placed importance on wildlife and had reintroduced many species, which were being extinct back to the environment.

According to him, we have also identified certain habitats across the globe where those animals which were extinct are being reintroduced in some parts of the Sahara.

In Nigeria we can identify how we can execute several initiatives in various national parks and reserves and identify species that are extinct and we are looking forward to our collaboration to reintroduce them back to the wild.

That is the purpose of the visit. So we hope you get more ideas from everyone.

“”I believe the environment sector, especially wildlife is an important diamension in our relationship and it is something we can make the differences, he said

The Nigeria News Agency reports that high point of the event included a short video on how the UAE reintroduced the Oryx animal that was going extinct back to the wildlife in Chad and Tree planting by the Ambassador.( NAN)

Edited by: Okisor Angela/Felix Ajide


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31 sentenced to 6 months imprisonment each for violating Oyo environmental law



An Ibadan Magistrates’ Court, on Wednesday, sentenced 31 persons to six months imprisonment each for violating the Oyo State environmental law.

A statement issued in Ibadan by the state Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Mr Kehinde Ayoola, said that the violators were, however, given options of N12,500 bail each by the Magistrate, Mrs Patricia Adetuyibi.

He said that 21 of the offenders fulfilled their bail conditions, while 10 others, who failed to meet the conditions, were slammed with community services.

Ayoola said that the environmental law violators were arrested during the monitoring of the environmental sanitation exercise by government officials, led by Gov. Seyi Makinde, at Ojoo interchange.

Ayoola said that the violators were arrested by officers of the ministry at different locations for indiscriminate dumping of refuse at unauthorised places within Ibadan metropolis.

Thereafter, they were arraigned before a Magistrate, Mrs Patricia Adetuyibi, for contravening the Environmental Law of Oyo State.

The magistrate ruled that the offenders be imprisoned for six months or pay a fine of N12,500 each.

Twenty-one of the offenders fulfilled their bail terms, while 10 others, who failed to meet the terms, were slammed with community services,’’ the commissioner said.

He said that the arraignment was a further proof of government’s determination to reduce the menace of unlawful disposal of refuse to its barest minimum.

When we said we would fight this menace to a stop and put saboteurs to a halt, we meant business.

This is why the state government, under the leadership of Gov. Seyi Makinde deployed its whole apparatus to enforce the law on environmental sanitation in the state.

The governor is so passionate about the cleanliness of the environment; this is why our officers will not hesitate to clampdown on all violators of environmental laws,” he said.

The commissioner urged members of the public to desist from unlawful disposal of refuse, as government had deployed its officers in strategic places to apprehend offenders.

In a related development, a middle-aged man, identified as Mutiu Odeniran, who was caught offloading his van full of refuse by the roadside, was fined N42,500 for violating the environmental laws of the state.

Odeniran, who was apprehended at the Molete axis of the state capital by the Environmental Health Officers on Wednesday last week, was arraigned before Magistrate Adetuyibi.

Edited by: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo and
Related‘Wale Sadeeq



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Over 279 erosion sites in Abia receiving attention – NEWMAP



Izuchukwu Onwughara, the Abia Coordinator, Nigerian Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), said on Wednesday that over 279 erosion sites in the state were currently receiving attention.

Onwughara made the disclosure in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Aba. He spoke against the backdrop of a litany of complaints by erosion-ravaged communities that the agency received reports of their plight but declined to act.

He said that contrary to the complaints, the agency was always at work but had to follow operational procedures.

He explained that the process of initiating projects, which determined where priorities were placed, gave the wrong impression that NEWMAP was doing nothing regarding people’s complaints.

Onwughara said: “The process through which we operate determines how fast we react or respond.

“Before these reports you mentioned, from Ogbor Hill in Aba to Ebem Ohafia to Isuikwuato and so on, as a government agency, we have done a detailed study to map out those sites in Abia for intervention.

“To be very conservative, there are about 279 identified sites and we’ve seen those sites and a good number of them has received attention up to certain levels but what the people did not know is that such works are ongoing.

“They judge us to be intervening only when they see equipment coming to sites.

“Isuikwuato, Ogudu-Asa, Uturu and those ones on the road between Akara and the Abia State University, Uturu, the design we’ve made has been approved by the World Bank.

“Any moment from now, we shall be placing adverts to engage contractors that will execute the work. So, people may not know but we are busy,’’ he said.

Onwughara said that erosion sites at Ogudu Asaa, Igbere, Ebem Ohafia, Uduma Awoke, Elu Ohafia, and the one between Abiriba and Ohafia, were receiving attention under what he called the “Ohafia complex”.

According to him, the agency gets reports, verifies and then present them to the governor who chooses 10 sites needing urgent attention each year and then instructs the agency to act.

“It is after the governor had made choices that the agency engages experts and work on the site begins.

“The preparation of detailed designs that meet world standard and the transparent process of engaging contractors result in delays we would have loved to avoid.

“So, when we are aware and prioritise, we do our work gradually. We are not a sudden intervention agency.

“We do not run to site the moment any community cries. When communities don’t see us, it doesn’t mean we’re idle,’’ Onwughara said.

He said that the agency was receiving funding from the World Bank and not the Ecological Fund.

NEWMAP is a World Bank-assisted initiative, collaborating with the Federal Government to address gully erosion in the South-East and land degradation in the North.

(Edited by: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Sam Oditah)





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Traditional rulers pledge support for Niger urban policy



Traditional rulers under Bida, Lapai and Agaie emirates of Niger, on Wednesday pledged to support the formulation of the state government urban development policy.

Alhaji Abubakar Yahaya, Etsu Nupe and Chairman of Niger state Traditional Council, gave the pledged in Bida during a town hall meeting to sensitise communities for preparation of the state urban policy in eight local government areas.

Yahaya, who was represented by Alhaji Abubakar Alkali, Mayaki Nupe, said that the emirate would give the necessary support needed for the programme to succeed.

Urban development is all about all of us, and it involves everyone and everybody’s participation, we will give the programme the opportunity to succeed,” he said.

In his address, Gov. Abubakar Bello of Niger, said that the policy would enable the state and local governments to shift from over reliance on federal allocation to harness their economic potentials.

Bello, who was represented by Alhaji Baba Wachiko, Permanent Secretary, Economic Affairs, called for effective synergy between the two tiers of government and residents for the success of the programme.

This is to enable Nigerlites to demonstrate ownership and contribute resources to pay their equitable share of the cost of service provision and to install in them proprietary pride in their communities,” he said.

In his remarks, Prof. Mustapha Zubairu, Coordinator, Niger State Urban Support Programme, explained that the effort was to enable government harness its natural resources to become self-reliant.

Niger State has the large landmass of over 76,000 square kilometers with natural resources that are yet to be tapped especially in agriculture sector that if harnessed will make the state self- efficient,” Zubairu said

He noted that the policy would translate to reduced poverty among rural communities, create jobs for the youth and improve the state and local government internally generated revenue.

Nigeria News Agency reports that UN Habibat is assisting the state to develop a policy that will guide urbanisation process and address future challenges of town planning with 900,000 dollars grant from South Korean government.

Edited by: Razak Owolabi/Ismail Abdulaziz

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Minister urges advanced countries to fulfill climate funding promise to Africa



Dr Abubakar Mahmood, the Minister of Environment, has urged advanced countries to fulfill their commitment to climate funding to African countries.

A statement signed by Mr Saghir el-Mohammed, the Ministry;’s Director of Press, indicated that the minister made the call at the ongoing COP 25 in Madrid, Spain being  organised by Islamic Development  Bank on Climate Finance.

He observed that developed countries were the major pollutants of the climate, urging them to fulfill their promises of providing more climate funds to developing nations.

I share the sentiments of other African countries of not getting enough climate funds,” he said.

Mahmood expressed optimism that Nigerian delegates to COP 25 would negotiate to get as much climate funds as possible.

He said at the same time Nigeria would be innovative to generate its own green funds.

We will do whatever it takes in our own capacity to see that we acquire as much as we can while at the same time be as innovative as we can to generate our own green fund internally,” Mahmood said.

He added that climate financing required cooperation of many countries for global survival.

We will aim as high as we can. This is something many countries are aiming at; it is a global cooperation for survival because we belong to one planet.

Whatever happens in Nigeria can affect America and vice-versa.

The minister urged nations across the globe to give adequate attention to issue of climate change due to its threat to the peace and development of the world.

Every single nation, either near the ocean or in the desert needs to do something about climate adaptation, mitigation, resilient and nationally determine contributions in addressing climate change.

There are common denominators in the climate change issue that every country across the globe must do something about, and Nigeria is not an exception.

We have been very active in climate adaption and we will continue to progress in this regard to contribute to global efforts at ameliorating climate change threats.

He stated that the federal government had not relented in its effort toward Nigeria’s Nationally Determine Contributions (NDC) to tackle climate change as a lot had been done.

Edited by: Shittu Obassa/Donald Ugwu

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