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Ijaw Demand Environmental Clean-up Before IOCs Exit Niger Delta



Ijaw stakeholders have demanded that divesting International Oil Companies should clean up the polluted sites around the environments of their host communities in Ijaw land before pulling out of the Niger Delta.

This is because they asked the local consortiums buying up the oil assets of the IOCs to move their corporate headquarters to the region.

According to them, the Petroleum Industry Act was designed to deepen the underdevelopment of the area.

They made their position known in a communique issued after a one-day dialogue organised by the Ijaw National Congress at its national headquarters in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, on Friday, with the theme, ‘The imperative for paradigm shift’.

READ ALSO: Shell Agrees To Sell Nigerian Onshore Subsidiary, SPDC For $2.4bn

Oil giant, Shell, announced on Monday that it had agreed to sell its Nigerian onshore oil assets to Renaissance, a consortium of four Nigerian companies and one foreign firm for $2.4 billion.

Shell, which had been operating in Nigeria for over 60 years, in a statement by its London office, said with the deal, its onshore subsidiary, the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, will now be operated by ND Western, Aradel Energy, First E&P, Waltersmith, and Petrolin, a Swiss company.

The oil major, however, stated that the completion of the deal was still subject to approval by the Federal Government of Nigeria.

On Thursday, the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, said it was not opposed to Shell’s sale of oil assets.

READ ALSO: FG’ll Approve Shell’s $2.4bn Asset Sale – Minister

A statement signed by Nneamaka Okafor, the Special Adviser on Media and Communication to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri, affirmed the government’s commitment to providing the enabling business-friendly environment in the country’s oil and gas industry.

The President of INC, Prof Benjamin Okaba, who read the communique to newsmen, noted that “very soon, Ijaw territories would become private estates of these local investors with international connections.”

He said, “The Petroleum Industry Act is anti-Ijaw in all ramifications. The NNPC has been privatised by the Federal Government, and the International Oil Companies are divesting their oil assets around Ijaw land with local consortiums buying up shares.

“However, before the IOCs are allowed to pull out, they should be made to clean up the environmental mess they have created. The new investors should relocate their headquarters to Ijaw territories where they have their oil facilities.”

READ ALSO: Hold Shell Accountable For Environmental Crimes Before Divesting, Era Urges FG

Okaba said the Ijaw people would set up a think-tank to examine every aspect of their existence and provide strategic templates for the collective growth and development of the Ijaw nation.

He added, “Despite contributing over 60 per cent to oil and gas production, which is the country’s main source of economic survival, there are no major infrastructures across Ijaw land. For instance, the East-West Road that traverses Ijaw land is still deplorable and impassable, and several Ijaw communities remain inaccessible by road.

“Also, port facilities in Warri, Sapele, Port Harcourt, etc, that were hitherto economically viable are no longer in use. Proposed seaports at Agge and other towns in Ijaw territories are yet to exponentially impact the economic climate of Ijaw land. We also lack energy infrastructure and other drivers of social, economic and technological advancement.

“We are unhappy with lopsided political appointments at the federal level. We reject the deliberate Balkanisation of Ijaw territories into minorities to deny us the socio-economic and political advantages that are associated with majority status. We are resolute on this.”



Terrorism: Court Frees Rivers APC Chieftain After Two Years




A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has discharged and acquitted a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress and Deputy Chairman of Youth Movement in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State, Chief Fubara Ohaka, of charges filed against him by the Federal government.

Ohaka had been standing trial on six counts of alleged involvement in illegal oil bunkering, terrorism, dealing in illegal refining products without a licence, and conspiracy among other charges preferred against him since 2022 by the Federal government through the Department of State Services.

Delivering judgment in the matter, the trial judge, Justice Stephen Dalyop-Pam, held that the Federal Government failed to provide evidence to back its claims, hence failing to prove its allegations against the defendant.

READ ALSO: Rivers Eders Drag Tinubu, Others To Court Over Peace Agreement

Our correspondent reports that Justice Dalyop-Pam agreed on no-case submission by the counsel for the defendant and thereby discharged and acquitted him.

Speaking to newsmen outside the courtroom, Ohaka expressed happiness that he has been vindicated, saying the judgment has put shame on the faces of all those who conspired to tarnish his image.

He said, “I’m happy that the judiciary has vindicated me today. I told the world that I never had any idea of the allegations against me, I am not a bunker, I have never sponsored any person to do bunkering,

READ ALSO: Fresh Bill Seeks Creation Of Three States

“Thanks to the judiciary who in its wisdom have reached to the root of the matter and proven to be the last hope of the common man.

“I want to thank those who stood by me in the time of trial, I’m happy that I never disappeared from them when I was told I was innocent of the allegations against me.

“Let me also use this medium to advise government agencies to always carry out proper investigation before engaging in legal battles, because if they had I would not have spent the number of months I spent in detention before the legal action that turned out in my favour today.”

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NLC Insists On Planned Protest, Knocks DSS




The Nigeria Labour Congress has insisted that the planned protests against the prevailing economic situation in the country will hold contrary to the warning issued by the Department of State Services to shelve its protests.

The organised labour, on Monday, began mobilising its members for a nationwide protest slated for February 27 and 28 over the cost of living crisis in the country.

The Federal Government’s failure to fulfil its promises after the 14-day ultimatum by Labour, according to sources, will be met with a two-day nationwide protest already slated for February 27 and 28.

Reacting to the planned protests in a statement on Wednesday, the DSS spokesman, Peter Afunanya, urged the union to shelve the plan in the interest of peace and public order.

READ ALSO: Economic Hardship: CSO Gives FG Ultimatum, Threatens Nationwide Protest

The Secret Service urged the union to pursue dialogue and negotiation rather than engage in conduct that could heighten tensions.

However, the NLC President, Joe Ajaero, in a statement he personally signed on Wednesday evening, noted that the protests will still hold and questioned why the DSS had yet to execute the arrest of those planning to disrupt the protests.

We are concerned by the unsolicited advice of the Department of State Security to shelve our planned protest against the unprecedented high cost of living despite the indescribable suffering in the land, spiralling inflation, deepening poverty and the Naira at an exchange rate of N1,900 to the US Dollar.

“According to the Service, the planned protest should be shelved ‘in the interest of peace and public order’, pre-supposing that the action is intended to be violent and disruptive even when we have a history of peaceful protests’.

“More worrying is the new role the Service has assigned to itself, the chief spokesperson of the government.

READ ALSO: Obasanjo Advocates Law To Curb Organ Trafficking

“We are equally worried that although the “Service is aware that some elements are planning to use the opportunity of the protest to foment crisis and by extension, widespread violence and yet have not executed the arrest of these elements,” the NLC president said.

Ajaero noted that the NLC will not compromise the sovereignty or security of the country while assuring that the protests would be peaceful.

We are equally intrigued by the innuendos of the Service, their philosophy of “peace” and wild allegations and we want to reassure them that no one loves this country more than us and on our honour, we would never do anything that will compromise its sovereignty or security.

“Having said this, we would not have ourselves blackmailed or lied against by the Service. Our protest is a peaceful one against the unpardonable cost of living of which the unserviced personnel of the Service are also victims.

“We cannot fold our hands and pretend all is well. That will be a grievous conspiracy that history will not forgive,” he said.

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VIDEO: Give Tinubu Time To Get Things Done, Gowon Begs Nigerians




A former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (retd.), has urged Nigerians to exercise patience with President Bola Tinubu’s administration, emphasizing that it’s premature to anticipate flawless outcomes at this stage.

Gowon spoke in an interview with State House correspondents after a meeting he had with Tinubu on Wednesday.

The former Head of State, who noted that he was visiting Tinubu for the first time after the latter’s inauguration, disclosed that discussions revolved around matters concerning peace and security within the West African sub-region.

Responding to inquiries about his advice to the President regarding the prevailing national circumstances, Gowon acknowledged the existing challenges but stressed that it’s too early to anticipate perfection.

READ ALSO: JUST IN: Tinubu In Talks with Gowon At Aso Rock Villa

He said, “I was telling him that there’s no Nigerian leader that can get there, that will not get all of these, all that is being said about him. But certainly, there is no doubt about all that one has heard and seen from various media. I think the government is trying its best to deal with the various problems of the country.

“But with Nigerians, don’t worry, you will get criticised but people who get there know better than you know. I think all one can say to Nigerians is that they have to give the President time to get things done and it is too early to sort of say a perfect result will be achieved. That is my opinion.

“At least, if I remembered, I was told that I was too slow, fighting the war and that probably Nigeria would not make it and we should seek for discussion. Well, did we do it or not? They probably did not know the problem there on the ground there.”


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