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Oil Spill: IDC asks Aiteo to set up $500,000 support fund for affected communities

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The Ijaw Diaspora Council (IDC) has demanded immediate relief to communities impacted by the current oil and gas leaks from the Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company-operated oil field at Nembe in Bayelsa State.

The group urged the oil firm to live up to its CSR policies and adopt best practices by providing a support fund of at least $500,000 to the impacted settlements.

The demand is contained in a letter dated November 15 and signed by the president of IDC, Monday Gold; the director of community outreach, Festus Odubo, and Brisibe Nabena, the director of conflict resolution.

The IDC, with headquarters in New Jersey, US, is seeking immediate deployment of appropriate technology to plug the oil well blow-out which had allegedly been discharging an estimated 100,000 barrels of crude into the waters for the past two weeks.

The letter was addressed to Benedict Peters, Chief Executive of Aiteo Group, an indigenous firm that operates Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29 following the 2015 divestment of Shell from the asset.

It stated that Aiteo’s CSR includes the expression “To encourage a positive impact, through our activities, on the environment, consumers, employees, communities and stakeholders.

It further stated that Aiteo’s assurances to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life for their workforce, families, as well as of the local community and society as a whole, needs to be put into practice.

The statement also highlighted Aiteo’s promise of being responsible stewards of the Earth.

The group noted that it was acting on information of its members, in particular, those from Nembe Local Government Area who are directly affected by the spill from Aiteo’s facility.

According to the letter, the group said Aiteo must promptly plug the blowout as required by Nigerian law, and retain the failed Christmas Tree structure atop the wellhead for future independent analysis to ascertain the source of the failure.

“Aiteo must immediately deploy sufficient oil spill containment and cleanup equipment and personnel to contain and collect as much of the spilt hydrocarbon pollutant as possible, as required by Nigeria law, and hire as many local community members as possible.

“This is a Tier III oil spill (the largest category) and Aiteo should contract with local and international experts such as Oil Spill Response Limited (OSRL) in Southampton, UK, or other experts to conduct a large-scale Tier III spill response.

“Aiteo must provide immediate, interim response funding directed by Aiteo to the affected Ijaw people of at least US$500,000, to be used by the affected people to support their initial sustenance in response to the spill.

“This initial funding will in no way prejudice future claims for compensation for the spill and will allow local Ijaw people to purchase alternative food resources during the spill.

“Contaminated fish from the spill cannot be consumed. This response fund is not to be directed to IDC but the affected communities,” the group advised.

The group further requested that Aiteo should support and cooperate with IDC’s technical advisor to join the official Joint Investigation Team (JIT).

They urged Aiteo to immediately commission an independent, scientific, environmental damage assessment by a credible, independent scientific institution.

“Aiteo must preserve all evidence, including documents, video and photographs, and actual equipment (in particular, the failed Christmas Tree structure) that may be relevant to determining the cause of the wellhead failure and spill.

“Aiteo must provide the community with all records pertaining to this well.

“It should include the well’s design and installation, any or all inspection and maintenance the company has performed on the well,” the group stated.

The oil firm was said to have, at the weekend, donated four truckloads of relief materials, including food items and other sundry items for the medical facilities in the area.

The relief materials were accompanied by a cash donation of N5 million for the affected communities. 

(NAN)

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#Justiceforsylvester: Lagos police investigate death of Dowen College student

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Late Sylvester Oromoni Jnr

The Lagos Police Command on Saturday said investigation into the death of Sylvester Oromoni of Dowen College, Lekki, is currently ongoing.

In a statement by spokesperson Adekunle Ajisebutu, the command said although no report was made to it, the Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, ordered an investigation into the death.

“The Lagos State Police Command is not unaware of the reported death of one Sylvester Oromoni, a 12-year-old student of Dowen College, Lekki, Lagos, which is currently going viral on the social media.

“The Commissioner of Police, upon hearing about it, instantly directed the Divisional Police Officer, Maroko Division, under whose jurisdiction the place of incident is, to immediately visit the school to carry out initial investigation into the incident.

“This directive has been carried out as investigation into the case has since commenced.

“However, in view of the seriousness of the case, the Homicide Section of the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti, has also been directed to take over investigation of the case immediately.” he said.

Mr Ajisebutu, in the statement, cautioned the public against taking laws into their hands, saying the command has assured the bereaved family of justice.

“Members of the public, particularly the deceased’s bereaved parents, friends and relatives, are assured that the Lagos State Police Command has deployed all available human and material resources at its disposal to unravel the circumstances surrounding the sad and unfortunate incident.

“While diligent investigation is ongoing, members of the public are advised against taking the law into their own hands. They are also enjoined to refrain from comments that could jeopardize investigation.

“The Commissioner of Police, CP Hakeem Odumosu, while commiserating with the bereaved family, has equally assured that the outcome of police investigation would be made public in due course,” he said.

The Lagos Ministry of Education on Friday, December 3, announced the indefinite closure of Dowen College, Lekki, pending the outcome of investigation into the boy’s death.

(NAN)

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Gov. Wike offers N50 million, automatic employment to physically-challenged person

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Governor Nyesom Wike has offered James Daniel, a disabled student of the Rivers State University with N50 million and automatic appointment as a university lecturer for bagging a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree.

Mr Wike announced the monetary reward and appointment on Saturday at the 33rd convocation of the state university in Port Harcourt.

He said the honour bestowed on Mr Daniel was in recognition of his academic excellence and for being an inspiration to other disabled persons.

The governor cautioned state-owned universities to stop indiscriminate conferment of doctoral degrees on all manner of questionable candidates and people of material influence.

He emphasised that serious universities guard their reputation jealousy and award doctoral degrees only to students who have gone through years of rigorous intellectual research and interrogation and whose dissertation is independently adjudged to be sound and contributory to new learning.

He described as unfortunate, the current trend and practice in universities to award doctoral degrees indiscriminately, like chieftaincy titles, to all manner of questionable candidates.

Mr Wike also assured that the infrastructural development in the university started by his administration, including the four new campuses at Ahoada, Emohua, Ebara and Sakpenwa, will be completed by the second quarter of 2022.

(NAN) 

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PDP inaugurates new NWC members December 10

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Wadata House PDP National Secretariat

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will hold presentation of certificate of return and swearing-in ceremony of its newly elected national officers on December 10 in Abuja.

A statement by the party National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in Abuja on Saturday said that the event would hold at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, by 9:30 a.m.

It said the transition from the outgoing to incoming national officers of the party was sequenced to the successful conduct of the October 30 and October 31 elective National Convention.

“Accordingly, the valedictory session of the outgoing National Working Committee (NWC) has been scheduled to hold on Wednesday, Dec. 8, at the NEC Hall of the National Secretariat, Abuja at 11am,” the statement said. 

The party advised all leaders, critical stakeholders and its members nationwide to note accordingly. 

(NAN)

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