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Pollution: One Billion Oil Released into the Niger Delta Ecosystem- Coalition Laments

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Pollution: One Billion Oil Released into the Niger Delta Ecosystem- Coalition Laments


… Invites Tinubu to Visit Region to See Level of Devastation

By: Michael Mike

President Bola Tinubu has been asked to personally visit the Niger-Delta region in order to have a firsthand information on the devastating effect of oil spillages in the region.

Addressing a press conference on the cleaning up of the Niger Delta and resolving the prevailing environmental genocide on Friday in Abuja, a coalition of civil society organisations and stakeholders, Coalition for a Cleaned Niger Delta (CCND), claimed that a billion
litres of crude oil equivalent have been released into the Niger Delta ecosystem as the price paid by communities in the area for Nigeria’s oil production.

The team which was led to the press conference by Executive Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Nnimmo Bassey, and Founding Executive Director, African Centre for Leadership, Strategy & Development (Centre LSD),
Otive Igbuzor, said: “We trust our president is well aware that the ecosystem of the Niger Delta has for about seventy years been plagued by unprecedented perennial pollution from petroleum production activities, enabled or worsened by a highly dysfunctional, conflicted and compromised environmental regulatory system, since the country struck commercial oil in the Oloibiri Province prior to Nigeria’s Independence. This festering devastation has projected and ranked Nigeria’s Niger Delta among the worst oil and gas polluted regions in the world.

“By the very limited official records of Nigeria’s spill detection body (National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency – NOSDRA), there were 16,263 (sixteen thousand, two hundred and sixty-three) oil spills within the 17-year period of 2006 to 2023.

“This accounted for about 823,483 (eight hundred and twenty-three thousand, four hundred and eighty-three) barrels of oil spilt, equivalent to 4,103 (four thousand, one hundred and three) tanker trucks or 130,933,797 (one hundred and thirty million, nine hundred and thirty- three thousand, seven hundred and ninety-seven) litres of crude oil, from NOSDRA data. These figures are a fractional slice of the reality, as they exclude 5,456 (five thousand, four hundred and fifty-six) spills for which the spiller companies did not provide NOSDRA with estimates of spilled quantities. Besides, estimates are usually and “understandably” grossly suppressed by operators. Data for some mega spills, like the Aiteo blowout at OML 29 that lasted for 38 (thirty- eight) days in November-December 2021, are also omitted.

“Furthermore, it would be noticed that NOSDRA’s conservative spill statistics cited above do not include data for all of 50 (fifty) years from 1956 when Oloibiri Well 1 was spudded, till 2006 when NOSDRA was created. We also omitted gas volumes flared continually for 68 (sixty-eight) years, and the equally deleterious millions of barrels of toxic effluents/“produce .water” discharged untreated into the rivers, swamps and mangroves as waste in the course of production. If allowance is made for these omissions and non-disclosures, easily one billion litres of crude oil equivalent have been released into the Niger Delta ecosystem as the price paid by communities there for Nigeria’s oil production.”

The Coalition while narrating the plethora of infractions done to the environment in the Niger Delta for over six decades, said: “Considering the apparent failure of a long line of Presidents, Petroleum and Environment Ministers, and Chief Regulators, to recognize the indescribable gravity of this ravage, its severe socioeconomic and security repercussions for Nigeria, and to comprehensively resolve it, we invite Mr President to pay a spot visit, along with the relevant Ministers and Regulators, and possibly the National Security Adviser, to some of the following locations, which are too few as examples of devastation, to see for yourself: Polobubo and Ogulagha in Delta State; Ibeno, Mbo and Ikot Ada Udo in Akwa Ibom State; Awoye in Ondo State; Bille, Obagi and Rumuekpe in Rivers State; and Gbarain/Ekpetiama, Nembe,Aghoro and Otuabagi (where Nigeria’s pioneer oil wells are located) in Bayelsa State.”

They warned that: “Amidst the global dynamics of the 21st Century, and particularly in the context of
climate change/action, Nigeria cannot continue to act as if ignorant of the importance of its biodiversity endowments and ecological imperatives. There are many countries we can benchmark, which produce more oil, gain far higher revenues from it, but still jealously and profitably protect their environment and ecosystems. Norway which has a trillion-dollar Sovereign Wealth Fund from petrodollars (and population of 5.5 million, against
Nigeria’s 228 million) is a prime example, but ensures its waters stay pristine, enabling its robust fishing and marine industries. Scotland and the UAE among others.”

The Coalition stated that: “We trust that Mr President and the government are mindful of Nigeria’s numerous commitments to international treaties and conventions, including those on universal rights, environmental and indigenous people’s rights, and climate change. Mr President’s commitments to a world audience at the UN Climate Conference (COP 28) in Dubai, UAE, barely four months ago are also fresh in mind. A genuine action to cleanup the Niger Delta will be an excellent progress report for Nigeria, and particularly for Your Excellency, as the world gathers again at the next Climate Conference, COP 29, in about six months from now.”

They further said: “The protracted social injustice of funding national development at such extreme ecocidal expense of communities in the oil-producing Niger Delta region, or communities wherever else in Nigeria, needs to be urgently redressed, without any pretences as witnessed under previous Administrations. With the ongoing divestment of their remaining onshore holdings in Nigeria by the major international oil companies (IOCs), and their huge outstanding environmental liabilities thrown into legal uncertainty, thereby portending further risks and escalation of social tensions for communities, the time for Mr President to act as the Protector-in-Chief of Nigerian communities is now.”

The Coalition said: “We recommend that to resolve the environmental crisis and create an unprecedented legacy in the Niger Delta and Nigeria in general, amongst other cardinal priorities, the following actions should be taken:

The President should Issue an Executive Order creating a Niger Delta Environmental Remediation Programme and Trust Fund. This can be either independent of or domiciled in the extant Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) currently overseeing the cleanup of Ogoni Land, but with a separate Trust Fund from the Ogoni Trust Fund, an expanded Governing Council and an unimpeachable Management system designed to avoid the contradictions that have historically bedeviled HYPREP and the debatable progress of the Ogoni Cleanup. The tasks of the Programme would include a definitive health audit besides the standard environmental audit of impacted areas.

“Adoption of the National Principles on Divestment and Decommissioning in the Nigerian Oil Industry in line with the one recently compiled by a wide coalition of community, civil society and international organizations, following extensive field missions and engagements in the Niger Delta.

“Panacea for Oil Theft and Asset Vandalization: To avoid or minimize re-pollution, optimize production and abate associated insecurity, enact a carefully
articulated approach to this economic crime (based on broad and in-
depth stakeholder consultations, which we are prepared to be part of if required). The new strategy should be preventive,
proactive, inclusive, accountable, and lookbeyond current official reliance on state and non-state military methods that can often be tragically counterproductive, as results have shown intermittently.”

In order to fund the interventions, the Coalition suggested a combined action with the Federal Government’s financial latitudes, the primary funding should be from the operators and JV partners in oil/petroleum leases, based on credible costings for remediation within their respective acreages and in line with
the universal Polluter Pays Principle (PPP).

“Additional funding sources could include: the Environmental Remediation Fund created but yet to be operationalized under the Petroleum Industry Act, gas flare penalties paid by operators, part of theexisting Ecological Fund, at least to cover immediate region wide impact and cost assessments; a portion of the statutory funds of the Niger Delta Development Commission, whose statutory mission expressly includes an ecological/pollution resolution mandate that is largely neglected since
its inception; Decommissioning liabilities and restoring funds in oil mining agreements and international environmental, climate and impact funds/resources that can be leveraged through appropriate strategies and channels.”

Pollution: One Billion Oil Released into the Niger Delta Ecosystem- Coalition Laments

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UNODC Insists Proper Classification of Inmates would Make Correctional Facilities Truly Reformatory

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UNODC Insists Proper Classification of Inmates would Make Correctional Facilities Truly Reformatory

By: Michael Mike

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, (UNODC) has said with proper classification of inmates at correctional facilities across the country, correctional centres would truly become reformatory institutions.

Speaking at the training of officers of Nigerian Correctional Service, (NCoS) in Lagos on Tuesday, the Project Coordinator, Prisons and Penal Reforms, UNODC, Munchaneta Mundopa said it was imperative for proper classification of inmates at correctional centres, insisting that his would make administration at the various centres easy.

She added that it would also enable the needs of the various inmates to be met since the various classes of inmates have different needs.

The training which commences on Tuesday and runs through Friday is the second in the series as one was earlier held in Abuja. It is sponsored by the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, the U.S. State Department, (INL), and implemented by UNODC in Nigeria, with major focus on six prisons in Adamawa, Borno and Gombe States

She noted that “classification, empowers the Nigerian Correctional Service to tailor rehabilitation plans based on the individual needs and risks of an inmate. So rehabilitation does not need to be a ‘one size fits all’ approach, it needs to be tailored to the specific inmate(s), so that when they go out into the society they are able to harness the power of what they’ve learnt in prison.

“In our partnership with the Nigerian Correctional Service, we realize that while the list of classification systems currently exist, there is a gap in terms of implementation and also in aligning it to the Nelson Mandela Rules.

“Our project is sponsored by INL and is part of the work that we are doing in Nigeria in the space of prison and Penal Reforms. Broadly we refocus on three areas including improving prison conditions, strengthening the capacity of actors to look at alternative ways of dealing with the criminal justice system or alternatives to imprisonment.”

In attendance at the training are about 30 officers of NCoS selected across the country.

UNODC Insists Proper Classification of Inmates would Make Correctional Facilities Truly Reformatory

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We will stand behind you – UN assures, as States Action Plans for Durable Solutions in Northeast are launched

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We will stand behind you – UN assures, as States Action Plans for Durable Solutions in Northeast are launched

By: Michael Mike

The Federal Government and United Nations have launched the States Action Plans on Durable Solutions to Internal Displacement in Nigeria targeted at ending the displacement in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (BAY) States brought about by Boko Haram crisis.

United Nations Assistant Secretary General, and Special Adviser on Solutions to Internal Displacement, Robert Piper, speaking at
the launch held at the Presidential Villa Abuja, on Tuesday said: “We will stand behind you. Let me reiterate our commitment on behalf of the United Nations: We will keep supporting on the ground; We will help rally donors; We will chase missing partners; We will celebrate your successes,”

The Action Plans, according to him, are anchored in international standards and the Kampala Convention; driven by real political leadership; and are geared to mobilize development investments.

Piper explained that: “The plans you launch today provide a model of how governments can take responsibility for ending displacement.The plans recognise that displaced people can choose between going back home, properly integrating where they are right now or relocating elsewhere in the country.”

Vice President Kashim Shettima, on his part, emphasised that: “We must invest in sustainable development, education, and economic opportunities to build resilient communities. By doing so, we not only address the immediate needs of the displaced but also create a foundation for a more stable and prosperous future.”

He noted that the launch of the state Action Plans was meant to craft solutions that would outlive the present generation, and offer future generations a place of hope, a home for all, and a land of opportunity where dreams could be pursued without worry.

Shettima noted, “As we launch these State Action Plans, let us commit to collaborative efforts that transcend borders and political divides. Let us harness the strength of our partnerships, both local and international, to bring about lasting change. The task ahead is immense, but with determination, unity, and a clear vision, we can make a profound difference.”
 
Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed commended the governments of Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe for their actions to scale up solution pathways in their state action plans, noting that achieving durable solutions is a priority for both Nigeria and for the United Nations secretary general.

“Finding durable solutions to internal displacement is central to achieving the sustainable development goals in Nigeria and beyond, and they must become an integral part of development plans in areas affected by forced displacement.” Said the Deputy Secretary-General.

She emphasized that durable solutions required long term investments in infrastructure, education, health care, as well as in security and the enablers social contract with the people.

Mohammed added that “Our joint efforts must offer the promise of inclusive governance, human dignity, and a world where we leave no one behind.”
The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ambassador Richard Montgomery, who spoke on behalf of the informal North-East Ambassador Group, emphasised that the group shared a collective interest in government’s efforts to bring peace to the North-East.

“We stand in support of the Renewed Hope Agenda of the current administration. As regards the durable solutions to internal displacement in the North-east, Montgomery noted, “No one country has the answer. We must join hands to ensure sustainable solutions to internally displaced persons (IDPs) issues in Nigeria.”

At the launch were the Governor of Borno State, H.E. Prof Babagana Zulum; Governor of Yobe State, H.E. Mai Mala Buni; Governor of Benue State, H.E. Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia; and Hon. Commissioner for Reconstruction Rehabilitation Reintegration & Human Service, Bello Hamman Diram, representing Adamawa State Governor, H.E. Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri.
 
The publication of the United Nations Secretary General High Level Panel’s Report on Internal Displacement, and the accompanying Action Agenda on Internal Displacement created a pivotal moment in how durable solutions in situations of internal displacement are approached.

Building on the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, the renewed attention to durable solutions puts a significant emphasis towards government-led and -owned processes.

In line with this recommendation, and following the visit of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to Borno in May 2022, theauthorities in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe initiated a process to develop their own action plans to address internal displacement as part of overall and long term development of their state.

Progress towards durable solutions requires an approach that steps away from a needs-based way of working towards an area-based approach. The activities, processes and budget elaborated on in the State Action Plans, ensure that attention is given to all communities affected by displacement – including internally displaced persons, returnees as well as members of the host communities. Addressing forced displacement in this way bears the promise for the State Action Plans to contribute to the overall development of the state and to leave no one behind.

Through their State Action Plans, the authorities acknowledge the need to ensure that methodologies, processes, and activities which form part of the vision to achieve durable solutions need to be evaluated in a timely manner with an aim to amend and strengthen their approach to achieving solutions. As an integral part of the overall governance system
for durable solutions, the people-centered approach described in the monitoring and
evaluation chapters will significantly contribute to ensure displacement affected communities participate in the overall development of the state.

All plans recognize the need to maintain humanitarian assistance where needed, work around preventing future displacement andprogressing solutions where possible.

Driving these plans forward and recognizing the longer-term systematic sustainability that is needed, ambitious budgets have beendeveloped. While a significant amount of these budgets is reserved for access to housing –including elements related to secure tenure –they cater to a wider set of interventions such as economic development and access to services.

We will stand behind you – UN assures, as States Action Plans for Durable Solutions in Northeast are launched

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ECOWAS Doing It Can to Make Mali, B/Faso, Niger Rescind Their Exit Decision- ECOWAS VP

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ECOWAS Doing It Can to Make Mali, B/Faso, Niger Rescind Their Exit Decision- ECOWAS VP

By: Michael Mike

The Vice President of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, Damtien Tchintchibidja has revealed that the regional bloc was doing all it could to make Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger rescind their decision to exit.

Tchintchibidja described the efforts at getting the trio back as “work in progress,” gave the comment in an interview with journalists in Abuja an event set to mark at ECOWAS @ 49 Celebration, dedicated to sensitizing young students in Abuja about the missions, achievements, and vision of ECOWAS for the future.

He said: “Well, it’s still a work in progress, quite frankly, for us it’s heartbreaking to know that three member states would like to exit from this community.

“We are stronger as a community. It’s like a family. You know, you’re always stronger when the family is unified, united.

“And for us, we are still working at it, you know, we still engage in negotiations with these member states to ensure that they remain within our community.

“But even if they were to leave, they still remain our brothers and sisters.

“As you know, our borders are porous, where citizens have families all across our borders, and we are all one people,” Tchintchibidja said.

The intention of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger to exit ECOWAS was made known in January after the coup in Niger received a backlash from the regional bloc who also slammed various sanctions on the three countries over the military takeover of power in their countries, which their military leaders considered irresponsible and unbrotherly.

Though ECOWAS has since February lifted the sanctions, but there is no public knowledge that the three departing countries may reverse their stand on membership.

ECOWAS Doing It Can to Make Mali, B/Faso, Niger Rescind Their Exit Decision- ECOWAS VP

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