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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.”

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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.

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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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BREAKING: Lagos Govt Extends Okada Ban To More LGAs

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The Lagos State Government has extended the ban on commercial motorcycles,l (okada) to four more Local Government Areas and five Local Council Development Areas.

The Commissioner for Transport, Dr Frederic Oladeinde, confirmed this on Thursday.

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According to Oladeinde, the decision was taken after a review of the earlier ban on commercial motorcycles operation in six local councils.

The additional councils where the total Okada ban is pronounced include Kosofe Local Government, Oshodi-Isolo Local Government, Shomolu Local Government, and Mushin Local Government.

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Others are Ikosi-Isherri LCDA, Agboyi-Ketu LCDA, Isolo LCDA, Bariga LCDA, and Odi-Olowo LCDA.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has ordered full enforcement from September 1, 2022.

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We Are Being Raped By Herdsmen In Our Community – Rivers Women

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Some women from Evekwu community in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State, on Wednesday, staged a protest to the Rumuji Police Division to demand urgent intervention over the activities of herdsmen.

The women, who carried placards with different inscriptions, had first marched to the Rumuji Police Station before returning to the palace of the paramount ruler to complain about how “cows have destroyed their crops” leaving them and their families with “hunger”.

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The community’s woman leader, Joy Obisike called on the local government chairman, Governor Nyesom Wike and President Muhammadu Buhari, as well as security agencies, to prevail on the herdsmen to “steer clear” from their farmland.

The women threatened to deploy other means that will ensure their safety and that of their crops.

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Another woman leader in Evekwu community, Salome Amakanwo alleged that their lives were being “threatened on a daily basis” by the herdsmen who “use guns and dangerous weapons” and that their woman were being “raped at gunpoint”.

She said the revenue from the crops is what they use to train their children in school.

The protesters called for urgent intervention by government at all levels and security agencies to save them from looming hunger and crisis.

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A police personnel at the Rumuji Police Station, who addressed the protesters, advised them to take their complaints to the local government council secretariat for urgent intervention.

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Abuja Lawyer Accuses Malami Of Plotting To Unlawfully Extradite Nigerian Citizen

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An Abuja-based legal practitioner, Mr Kayode Ajulo has accused the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Malam Abubakar Malami, SAN, of plotting to extradite a Nigerian citizen, Adesina Lasisi to the United States of America, while the extradition request is pending at the Court of Appeal, Abuja.

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja had on May 26, granted request by the AGF for the extradition of Lasisi to the USA to face corruption allegations.

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The court while delivering judgment in the Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/126/2022, committed Lasisi to the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for extradition to America as a fugitive.

It further ordered him to await the order of the Attorney General for his surrender to the United States of America.

The defendant, according to Ajulo, appealed the judgment of the trial court and applied for stay of execution of the decision of the lower court.

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In a statement released to journalists in Abuja on Thursday, Ajulo, however, accused the AGF of unprofessional and unethical conduct by allegedly colluding with the US authorities to extradite the Nigerian citizen when the Court of Appeal has taken over the matter.

“It has come to my attention that the Attorney General of the Federation in collusion with the United States Government has continued with the extradition process of a Nigerian Citizen to the United States notwithstanding his pending appeal at the Court of Appeal, Abuja”, Ajulo stated.

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He claimed that both the Notice of Appeal and the Application for Stay of Execution were duly served on the AGF, adding that Record of Appeal has been compiled and transmitted and the Appeal was entered on July 1, 2022 with Appeal No. CA/ABJ/CV/711/2022.

He said, “As lead counsel to the Appellant, I therefore, find it highly unprofessional, unethical and in fact, unlawful that the Attorney General, the Chief Law Officer, would take steps towards the execution of the said judgment of the trial Court, which is already a subject of an appeal.

“The law is elementary beyond citing of authorities that parties to a suit are not permitted to take any steps capable of foisting a state of helplessness on either party or the court during the pendency of an action in court and even after.

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“When a suit is pending before a court, neither party is permitted to dispose of the subject matter of the suit in order not to overreach the other party. This is in accord with common sense and fair play.

“The action of the Attorney General is, therefore, akin to self-help and taking the law into one’s hand in a matter over which the Court of Appeal is already seized.

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“This has been condemned in several decisions by Supreme Court.

“It has no place in a civilized society and the Apex Court has held on plethora of cases that it would not lend its judicial credence to such reprehensible act.’

He, however, urged the AGF to use the instrumentality of his office to ensure that the hallowed temple of justice is not desecrated by ensuring that the appellant is allowed to exercise his constitutionally guaranteed right of appeal, and the pending appeal at the Court of Appeal is allowed to run its course before setting in motion the machinery for execution of the judgment of the trial court, should the need arise.

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