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ERA To Shell: Clamp Your Leaking Pipeline In Bayelsa Community Now



The Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has called on Shell to immediately clamp its leaking condensate pipeline located at Ekuraba Creek in Otuasega community, Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

The call came after a field visit by a team led by the Program Manager and Head of the Niger Delta Resource Center, ERA/FoEN, Comrade Alagoa Morris.

According to a statement by the Communication Officer, ERA, Elvira Jordan, the visit was sequel to a distress call from a video posted on social media by an indigene of the community, showing a high level of pollution in the Ekuraba creek.

INFO DAILY reports that Otuasega hosts Shell’s Kolocreek Logistic Base, Oil Wells where Shell extracts Crude oil/gas daily, Shell’s Kolocreek Tie-In Manifold and pipelines.

Like other host communities, Otuasega has experienced some of the negative consequences associated with oil industry induced pollution.

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Akpobolokeme Odofori, one of the fisher folks living in the Ekuraba fishing camp who led the community leaders and ERA/FoEN from the spill point downstream [monitoring spread of condensate], lamented over the level of pollution the spill had caused along the Ekuraba creek and its effect on fishing activities in the area

He added: “Fishing is my occupation and I reside at the Ekuraba fishing camp. For about a week now we are not catching fish as we used to, due to this incident.

“This morning some persons came are said they want to see where the Kerosene was bubbling and the environment.

That was how I volunteered to guide them to this area where much of the spilled substance is gathered. The substance looks like Kerosene, diesel and petrol.

“Due to this pollution we have ceased using our fishing nets on the creek. There are no fishes again as before too. Right now the bubbling has stopped, maybe Shell has shut down the line’’.

READ ALSO: Edo: Need For Waste Management Policy Takes Centre Stage As ERA/FoEN Convenes Stakeholders’ Workshop

Responding to questions concerning the spill, a member of the community, Igbeta James Brown, explained that they were informed about the spill incident by fisher folks residing within the Ekuraba Creek environment a week ago and was duly reported to Shell without any response till the date of filling this report.

Also speaking on the spill incident, Beauty Inie Keghe, a non-native but residing at the Ekuraba fishing camp, stated that their children are suffering from ailments associated with the spill.

She added that the fisher folks who survive from fishing activities have been subjected to hunger and starvation since the spill started.

According to her: “We are suffering since the spill happened in our camp. The water has gone bad. Children are coughing and experiencing cattarrh. The water has been contaminated, fishes are now scarce in the water; we are experiencing hunger.

“If all the fish in the water are dead, what are we going eat or do? We are suffering and facing hunger. Our husbands are also getting sick. This is the situation in our [fishing] camp now.”

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On his part, the Chairman of Otuasega community, Nyamono Ezuzu Sydney stated that the incessant oil spills has caused a lot of damages to their environment and the people, pointing out that the people depend on the creek for their farming and fishing.

“Every end of year our people come here to do fishing. And because of this spill, I know that it will affect the fishing of this year. Besides some dying presently, most of them [fish] will migrate to other places so I know that it will affect us during the dry season, due to this. So it will affect the economic activity of our people’’.

The m Chairman said faulted Shell for what he described as a nonchalant attitude towards oil spill issues, calling on the government to intervene on the issues.

Even when the spill started, we tried to reach out to some of them. But up till now they have not come. So we want government to use their strength, because if we go to Shell , government would say we are taking laws into our hands.”

He also called on Shell to be proactive in its reactions to spills and leakages, adding that they should know it is their responsibility to detects and handle spills.

Reacting to the spill incident, the Executive Director of ERA/FoEN, Chima William called on Shell to immediately mobilize to site for JIV, with the relevant stakeholders, to ascertain cause of leak or rupture.

He further called on the relevant regulatory bodies, especially NOSDRA to ensure that Shell pays the stipulated fine for failing to notify NOSDRA about the spill within the time frame allowed.

He also demanded that the impacted environment should be immediately cleaned up to prevent further damage to the environment.





EDOCSO Celebrates World Human Rights Day; 50% Of Nigeria’s Challenges Traced To Illicit Drugs




By Joseph Ebi Kanjo

If the menace of illicit drugs and its use can be addressed in Nigeria, 50% of the nation’s challenges must have been properly addressed and settled.

Dr. Mamud Adamu, Assistant Commandant of Narcotics, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Edo State, made this assertion in Benin, on Sunday, at an event organised by Edo Civil Society Organisations (EDOCSO) to mark the 2023 World Human Rights Day with the theme: Freedom, Equity & Justice for All.

Speaking on the topic: Drug Abuse, a Societal Problem and Possible Solutions, Dr Adamu who was the Keynote Speaker at the event, attributed several challenges such as kidnapping, murder, banditry, armed robbery, etc in this country to use and abuse of drugs, insisting that no man, can with his clear eye, harm his fellow man.

The NDLEA Officer who lamented that many investors are scared of coming to the country due to these challenges of which many can be traced to drugs, further lamented that “drug abuse affects our mental health and also affects the national economic. Any country where its youths are into drugs, that country cannot prosper.”

READ ALSO: EDOCSO Says No To Cult Killings, Organises Enlightenment Rally In Benin

While urging citizens to inform the NDLEA in case of any suspicious deal in their area, Dr Adamu noted: “Drugs is the root cause of why some investors are scared of investing their money in this country.

A cross section of the awardees at an event to mark 2023 World Human Rights Day.

“Guide your children, pray for them. Make sure you are sure of the kinds of friends they keep.”

On his part, Dr. Moses Oshiegbu, Health Officer, Psychiatric, while speaking on the topic: Mental Health- Effect of Drug Abuse, called for laws prohibiting public advert of illicit drugs.

“There should be law punishable for parents who send their underage children to buy these substances.
There should be law prohibiting public advert of alcohol and other substances,” he added.

Earlier, the Interim Technical Executive Council (TEC) Chairman, EDOCSO, Comrade Austin Enabulele, said celebration of the Day by the organisation was to let the whole world know that every man born of a woman has a right.

READ ALSO: EDOCSO Protests Against RUGA, Declares No Land For Cattle Business

The celebration is to let the whole world know that all human beings, regardless of their colour, status, have a right. Respect my right, and I respect yours. Respect to human rights is the significance of the day.

“We are calling on government, private and individuals to respect the right of everybody,” he added.

On his part, Comrade Omobude Agho, former Coordinator-General, EDOCSO, and convener, Left Movement of Nigeria, expressed joy for the progresses the civil society organisations had made over the years in its fight for human rights.

The EDOCSO also used the celebration of the Day to award three popular volunteer traffic controllers in Benin City; a Divisional Police Officer and a Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, for their service and contribution to the society.


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Alleged ₦81.2bn Tree Planting Scandal: House Committee Exonerates NAGGW




The House of Representatives Adhoc Committee set up to investigate the utilisation of Ecological Fund released to the National Agency for the Great Green Wall (NAGGW), has absolved the Agency’s management of allegations of fraud allegations leveled against it.

The Honorable Ismaila Dabo-led Adhoc committee was set up in July, to investigate allegations of mismanagement of funds released to the agency from the Ecological Fund.

This followed a motion titled: “The Need to Investigate the Utilization of Ecological Funds Released to the Great Green Wall by the International Organizations from 2015 to Date; and All Federal Allocations to the National Agency for the Great Green Wall as well as all Contract Awarded to Various Contractors for the Project from 2019 to Date.” which was sponsored by Honourable Ali Lawan Shettima.

The House panel, in a report obtained by Vanguard, on Sunday, revealed that it reached the conclusion after considering oral evidence and reviewing documents made available to it by those who testified before the 15 member committee.

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At the inaugural sitting of the Adhoc Committee, the management team of the agency was invited to shed light on allegations that it spent ₦81.2 billion on the planting of 21 million trees across 11 frontline states.

The States listed were:  Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa, Yobe and Borno.

The House Committee equally queried the agency over discrepancies in some of its expenditures.

Director General/CEO of National Agency for the Great Green Wall (NAGGW), Dr. Yusuf Maina Bukar, in his presentation before the Committee in September,  denied the allegation while making clarifications on budgetary allocations to the agency.

He informed the committee that he assumed office in April 2022, and that berifiable records show that the sum of ₦53,425,423,874.34 was the amount released to the Agency from inception to July 2023,  as against the sum of N81.2 bn which the Agency was alleged to have spent.

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Bukar insisted the Agency has not acted outside its mandate in the implementation of its mandate.

According to him, not all of the ₦53,425,423,874.34 received were directly spent for tree planting activities as some uninformed persons would want Nigerians to believe.

He said, “The NAGGW cost of planting, from inception in 2015 to July 2023 is ₦5,145,735,470.15

“That the approximate sum of ₦7.2 billion balance in the Agency’s account are liabilities already committed to ongoing contracts that have already been awarded.

“All unutilized funds from capital appropriation are refunded to Federal Government TSA account at the end of the financial year where applicable.”

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The Honourable Dabo fifteen-man Committee in its report also faulted the claim that the agency received the sum of ₦81.2 bn noting that, “Evidence from the Hearing indicates that the NAGGW received a total sum of ₦53,425,423,874.34 (Fifty-three Billion, Four Hundred and Twenty-five Million, Four Hundred and Twenty-three Thousand, Eight Hundred- and Seventy-four-naira, Thirty-four Kobo) only from inception in 2015 to July, 2023.”

In the course of its investigations, the Committee also discovered that the Agency didn’t receive budgetary allocation for 2015; and that ecological funding was not released to the agency until 2019.

The House panel also discovered that, “the percentage of ecological funding going to the Agency was reduced from 15% provided for by the Act to just 5% with effect from January 2020 to date.”

The report acknowledged the paucity and untimely release of funds, inability to access foreign assistance and absence of a Governing Board as some of the factors hindering the performance of the agency.

The lawmakers equally expressed displeasure over the unilateral reduction in the statutory allocation to the agency by fiat, and urged government, as a matter of urgency revert the Ecological Fund releases to the agency back to 15 percent  as provided for by the NAGGW Act.

The report further read in part, “That the total sum of ₦20,168,363,662.18 (Twenty Billion, One Hundred and Sixty- Eight Million, Three Hundred and Sixty-Three Thousand, Six Hundred- And Sixty-Two-Naira, Eighteen Kobo) only being the shortfall of the reduction from Ecological Fund for January, 2020 to date, be immediately released to the Agency to fund its activities;”

Other recommendations contained in the report read : “Similarly, the Ecological fund office should calculate remit to the NAGGW the total sums due to the agency from the Ecological Fund from 2015 to 2018;

“Urge the National Agency for the Great Green Wall to as a matter of urgency include the frontline states of Adamawa, Bauchi and Gombe States in the fourth phase of the a forestation projects which is to commence soon.

“There is urgent need for the agency to undertake recruitment of staff, especially for its offices at the front line states;

“Need for a greater collaboration and synergy between the NAGGW and the Federal Ministry of Environment;”

“Urge the Federal Government to constitute a Governing Board for the National Agency for the Great Green Wall;

“Need for extensive enlightenment of the general public on the sustainable use of the forest for preservation.”

Aside from submissions by the Federal Ministry of Environment, the Central Bank of Nigeria, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation and the Ecological Project Office, the Committee also undertook on-the-spot assessment visit to projects sites in some of the frontline states, namely; Kano, Jigawa and Sokoto State.

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UNILORIN Extends POST-UTME Registration




The University of Ilorin, Unilorin, has approved an extension of POST-UTME registration by one week to cater for days of technical hitches.

This is contained in a statement issued in Ilorin on Sunday by Mr Mansur Alfanla, the Registrar of the university.

He announced that the new deadline for registration is Dec. 17, 2023.

READ ALSO: UNILORIN Grants Staff Children 25% School Fees Discount

It would be recalled that the deadline of the POST-UTME registration was December 10, before the extension.

The registrar therefore advised intending candidates to register within the extended period as there would not be further extension.

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