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Defection: Ize-Iyamu Clears The Air, Discloses That He Is Not Desperate For Political Office

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Says He Is Passionate About Good Governance, Better Edo

Following the recent resignation of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), and it attendant criticism and controversy, he has come out open to say his movement to the APC was not desperation for political office but a drive for a better Edo State.

He said his movement to the APC was not to escalate problem but to be solution, add value and for the betterment of the party and the state in general, adding that he wants to make sure the party is well connected to the grassroot.

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Pastor Ize-Iyamu who disclosed this on Thursday during an interactive session with newsmen in Benin City, expressed surprise the controversy his defection has generated so far in the public partucularly on the social media.

According to him, he was one of the funding members of the party both at the state and national levels and so, his coming back should be seen as homecoming rather than the rumours and the stone being thrown at him.

He said many people join politics for different reasons but his own is based on good governance, service delivery and a better Edo, adding that he wants to belong to a party that he can connect to the grassroot.

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When asked which of the factions he was going to join with the apparent division of the party in the state, Ize-Iyamu disclosed that the party division is not as complicated as being portrayed in the public domain, stressing that if there is no room to accept him at the state level, he could be accepted at the national level or even at the ward level where according to him, is the most legitimate place for such politics.

He said, “The faction is not as worst as it is being portrayed. For example, who are the two secretaries; who are the two publicity secretaries; who are the parrallel chairmen in the different local government areas; who is the national chairman of the other side. So, you find out that it is not as deep as being presented. You may find disagreement in some very few areas, but I am telling you that, when you really want to see faction, it goes down to the wards.

“When you see a ward chairman here, you see another one there, that is when you see real faction in play, but my people are highly intergrating at the local level, and you find out that there is no faction. At the local level, it is one APC. If it happens that we have crises at the state level, the national can receive me, anybody can receive me. I can also decide they receive me at the ward level. In fact, to be honest with you, where you actually join politics is at the ward level. There is a disagreement at the top but at the bottom, it is still one APC”, he disclosed.

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Ize-Iyamu emphasised that his joining the APC was not borne out of desperation for political office nor to escalate the crises, rather, to strengthen it and actualise a better Edo State

“I am passionate about developing Edo, a party you and I will do very well. If I left a place and later decide to come back, what’s is surprising or new about that. I have not come to escalate the problem, rather, I want to be solution”, he noted.

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Reps Probe Oil Spills At Three OMLs, Abandoned Oil Wells

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The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate abandoned oil wells and spills from at least three Oil Mining Leases.

The House mandated its Committees on Petroleum Resources (Upstream) and Environment to “investigate the actual cause of the oil leaks at OML 18, OML 29 and OML 63, with a mandate to utilise experienced professionals to provide required insight, support and results.”

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The committee is also to “determine the magnitude, scope, and effect of the leaks on affected hast communities; examine the scope and liability for required relief and compensation, including the status of provision of same; inquire the nature and details of the JV agreement between Aiteo and NNPC to determine veracity of ownership of percentage stake and financial obligations.

“Confirm the claim by Aiteo of engagement of a foreign company to stop the leak, the cost of doing so and the financial claim made by Aiteo to NAPIMS in this regard; and examine the nature and details of the JV agreement between Eroton and NNPC to determine completion of financial and other obligations for ownership.”

READ ALSO: Reps Approve Special Bank For Entrepreneurs, Small Businesses

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Furthermore, the panel will “verify the numbers of idle and isolated wells currently existing on Aiteo, Eroton and other indigenous and international oil companies’ oil fields across Nigeria, the condition of these wells and the status of their management and abandonment in compliance with statutory provisions and international best practice.”

In addition, it will “explain the potential for significant residual deposits from identified idle and isolated wells across the country, the best methodology and strategy to achieve this additional revenue stream and the best international best practices being employed by other oil producing countries to achieve this.”

The committee is to report back to the House within two weeks for further legislative action.

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These resolutions were sequel to the unanimous adoption of the motion moved by a member, Ibrahim Isiaka, titled ‘Urgent Need to Investigate Oil Spills at OML 18, OML 29, OML 63 and the Status of All Idle, Isolated and Abandoned Wells on Order to Avert Renewed Hostilities in the Niger Delta Region of the Country.’

Isiaka said he was raising the alarm over the confirmation by the National Oil Spill Detection Agency on June 25, 2022, of an ongoing oil leak for one week, from Cawthorne Channel Well 15, an idle and isolated well on Oil Mining Lease 18.

READ ALSO: Edo Govt Pledges Better Opportunities For Youths

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He noted that it is a large oil bloc located towards the south of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, operated by Eroton Exploration and Production Limited, which has 45 per cent stake in a Joint Venture Agreement with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (now Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited) after Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited divested her interest in the bloc, in 2015.

The lawmaker added that the Corporate Communications Lead of Eroton reported an oil leak, which eventually resulted in a blowout of crude oil and gas into the environment on June 15, 2022, “whereas NOSDRA only reported the incident on June 25, 2022 – 10 days thereafter.

He stressed that the expected required Joint Investigation Visit by the relevant stakeholders – Eroton, Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NRC), NNPC and the Rivers State Ministry of Environment – “has still not been conducted almost two weeks after the occurrence.”

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Isiaka added, “No effort has been made to either stop or control the oil leak and this portends grave consequences to the ecosystem and the affected host communities.”

The lawmaker also noted that Aiteo Group, operator of another JV with NNPC, also reported an oil leak from its “idle and isolated” Santa Barbara oil well Head 1 on OML 29 in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State on November 5, 2021.

“The leak, which persisted for 32 days, was alleged to have spilled hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude into the Santa Barbara River and its tributaries, which traverse three kingdoms in Bayelsa State destroying sources of drinking water, fishing and farming ecosystem. Over six months later, the cause of the oil leak on OML 29 is still unknown,” he said.

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According to the lawmaker, like OML 29, the unending phenomenon surrounding the current spill on OML 18 has not been conducted about two weeks after the occurrence. He added that the NAOC oil spill at OML 63 in Lasukugbena, Bayelsa State, lasted over one month, yet the root cause analysis has not been officially determined till date.

Isiaka said, “The House is also disturbed about recent statistics that show Nigeria has probably the worst oil spill record in the word with over 4,919 oil spills between 2015 and 2021, releasing over 400,000 barrels into the environment and ecosystem of affected communities.”

The lawmaker noted that there were allegations that “Aiteo, Eroton, and almost all indigenous and international oil companies operating in Nigeria have idle wells on most of their fields, which are not properly managed or abandoned and are likely to experience a blowout at any time, with potentially very grave consequences to the environment, health, safety, and socio-economic well being of millions of innocent Nigerian Citizens who inhabit the affected host communities.”

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He said, “The House is curious about the postulation by industry professionals that in the light of current dwindling crude oil production output in Nigeria, up to 800,000 barrels of residual crude oil deposits can be obtained from idle and isolated wells across different oil fields in the country, with huge economic benefit to the country, similar to several oil-producing countries around the world who have consciously developed a strategy in this regard.”

 

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Institute Launches Volunteer Mediation Scheme In Edo

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The Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators (ICMC) on Wednesday in Benin inaugurated volunteer mediation scheme for Edo State.

In his address, Dr Agada Elachi, President of the ICMC, said the scheme was part of the institute’s strategic plans to standardise and expand the frontiers of the practice of mediation in Nigeria and Africa.

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The scheme, Elachi said would offer a platform for the speedy and at no cost resolution of small claim disputes for the business community, as well as Matters bordering on domestic disputes and interpersonal conflicts.

He said the scheme would also be a vehicle for delivering corporate social responsibility by the institute to a Nigerian society, which he said was at this time greatly fragmented by conflict and disagreements.

“We call on development partners and relevant stakeholders to support this initiative.

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“We are available to discuss the modalities for such support. In this respect, we salute the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) SEDIN programme for its support to the volunteer mediation scheme.

“It is hoped that members of the public particularly the indigent will utilise the scheme.

“This measure, we believe, will promote access to justice,” he said.

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In his remark, Justice Joe Acha, Chief Judge of Edo assured the ICMC that the state judiciary was ready and willing always to give endorsement to whatever settlement agreements reached through the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).

“It is suffice to say where it is properly deployed, ADR is cost effective, and undoubtedly will help to decongest our court as well as promoting cordial relationship in our homes, offices, business places, society, nation and ultimately, our world,” said the chief judge.

READ ALSO: Edo Govt Pledges Better Opportunities For Youths

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The Edo State chief judicial officer commended the GIZ for to living up to its core principle of capacity development and international cooperation through sponsorship of various ADR training over the years.

In her welcome address, Ms Blessing Ajimoti, Edo State Coordinator of GIZ’s SEDIN programme, said the programme had been working with Edo and other focal states, to improve the system for commercial dispute resolution and contract enforcement.

Under this partnership, she said SEDIN had supported the Edo Judiciary and other partners since 2020.

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“This June and July, SEDIN is expanding its collaborations on affordable and timely dispute resolution through our support for the Benin Branch of the ICMC, to launch the Volunteer Mediators Scheme in the state,” Ajimoti said.

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Reps Approve Special Bank For Entrepreneurs, Small Businesses

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The House of Representatives has passed for second reading, a bill seeking to establish an Entrepreneurship Development Bank of Nigeria, with the aim of providing soft loans for small and medium-scale enterprises in the country.

The consolidated bill was jointly sponsored by Messrs Benjamin Kalu and Olalekan Afolabi

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The legislation is titled ‘A Bill for an Act to Establish Entrepreneurship Development Bank of Nigeria to Charge It with the Responsibility, Among Other Things, to Provide Medium and Long-Term Finance for Indigenous Small Businesses and to Provide for Establishment of Nigerian Entrepreneurship Development, Encourage Aspiring Entrepreneurs and Small Scale Enterprises in Nigeria.’

Leading the debate on the bill at the plenary on Wednesday, Kalu said the proposed bank would be charged with the responsibility, among other things, of providing medium and long-term finance for indigenous small businesses.

READ ALSO: BREAKING: Senate Confirms All Seven Ministerial Nominees

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He added that the bill, which July 18, 2019, focuses on Nigerian youths and contemplated providing improved access to finance for youth entrepreneurs in innovation, manufacturing, agriculture and trade.

Kalu said, “In Nigeria today, due to numerous socio-economic challenges, many youths depend on themselves and drive their own future by creating opportunities for themselves and others, by undertaking different entrepreneurial ventures toward self-reliance. However, this group of people still need capacity building, financial support and favorable policies.

“The strength of any nation depends on the policy framework and initiatives put in place to develop and empower the youth in order to maximise their potentials, talents and untapped capacities in nation building. Without a vibrant, skilled, focused and equipped youth, no nation can rise to its full potential because the youth are the visionaries and producers who power nations to greater heights.

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“Youths are estimated to constitute about 70 per cent of the population of Nigeria. This is a huge advantage for a nation that is seriously and furiously pursuing national development. The youth are assets to a nation, not liabilities. The youths, if well-educated, trained and motivated, can utilize their mental, technical and visionary power to develop the Nigerian economy.”

According to the lawmaker, a fundamental challenge to youth entrepreneurship capacity is the lack of access to functional and effective finance. He stated that the existing financial institutions are not really servicing the real needs of the indigenous business or initiatives owned and run by the youth.

READ ALSO: Edo Govt Pledges Better Opportunities For Youths

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“In most cases, their requirements are way beyond the reach of such entrepreneurs; and their operational modalities are not really designed to deliberately encourage indigenous small businesses. A closer look at the operational modalities of the Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture and the Development Bank of Nigeria would show that there is no clear-cut intention and support for indigenous small businesses owned and run by youth.

“Commercial and microfinance banks are not even feasible options for indigenous small businesses. This is the gap which the contemplated bank would fill. There is a need for a specialised bank, which would target the youth at different levels and scope with emphasis on harnessing abundant potentials for economic growth and greatness of the nation,” he said.

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