The Artisanal Fishermen Association of Nigeria (ARFAN) has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into law.
Mr Samuel Ayadi, the Coordinator of ARFAN in the Niger Delta, made the commendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Yenagoa.
Ayadi noted that the new law had a lot of promises for the Niger Delta region.
He said that the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021, which became law on Monday, amongst other provisions, made it statutory for oil firms to develop and involve communities where they operate.
Ayadi expressed optimism that the new legislation would be implemented to herald a new era in the oil communities and end the situation where oil exploration activities stifled the fishing activities.
The ARFAN coordinator however appealed to the President to prevail on Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCO) to pay the $3.6 billion fine imposed by the oil industry regulators over the 2011 Bonga oilfield spill.
The fishermen noted that they were yet to recover from the adverse effect of the 2020 lockdown on the fishing sector, while lamenting their exclusion from the palliatives provided for the agric sector to guarantee food security.
Ayadi noted that ARFAN members had suffered untold hardship fishing at the nation’s territorial waters since 2011, when an equipment failure at the Bonga Offshore field operated by SNEPCO discharged some 40,000 barrels of crude into the waters.
NAN recalls that On Dec. 20, 2011, during loading of crude at Bonga fields within OML 118, situated at 120 kilometres off the Atlantic coastline, the export line ruptured and discharged crude oil into the waters.
The export line, according to a Joint Investigation Report by National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA} and SNEPCO, spewed about 40,000 barrels (6.4 million litres) of crude oil into the Atlantic Ocean.
Ayadi further appealed to the Buhari administration to resolve the Bonga spill incident by setting up a committee to address the issue of loss of income, while the clean-up exercise of the incident lasted.
According to him, the fishermen were advised by NOSDRA to stop fishing in the impacted waters for several weeks to avoid catching contaminated fish that could jeopardise public health.
He noted that having complied with a regulatory order by NOSDRA to stop fishing to avoid contaminated fish, they deserved to be indemnified for loss of income for the period the clean-up lasted.
NOSDRA had in March 2015 imposed the fine on SNEPCol for discharging 40,000 barrels of crude into the Atlantic Ocean on Dec. 20, 2011.
The fine comprised a $1.8 bilion as compensation for the damages done to natural resources and consequential loss of income by the affected
shoreline communities as well as a punitive damage of $1.8 billion.
Following a legal action instituted by Shell at a Federal High Court in Lagos, the trial judge, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, on June 20, 2018, dismissed the suit challenging the imposing of $3.6 billion fine on it by NOSDRA.
The fishermen impacted by the Dec. 20, 2011, spill from the Bonga Oilfields applauded the judiciary for the judgment which upheld the fine, but regretted that the judgment was yet to be complied with.
Anger, Rage As Ministerial Task Team Dismantles Illegal Motor Parks, Shanties At Zuba
As efforts to make sure the the Nigeria Federal Capital is Clean enough like other Capital Cities around the world, the FCT Ministerial Task Team on City Sanitation on Tuesday moved bulldozers to clear illegal shops, shanties and other makeshift structures in and around Zuba one of the suburbs of the Nigeria Capital City.
During the cleaning exercise, Petty traders and owners of those structures were visibly angry , The FCT Ministerial Task Team on City Sanitation dismantled illegal motor parks and shanties in the area.
Officials of the team led by its chairman Ikharo Attah, who moved into the area in the wee hours of the day stormed the popular Dankogi area on Zuba-Kaduna expressway and demolished the illegal motor parks which the traders operate in makeshifts, constituting security threat to the people.
Responding to questions from journalists after the exercise tagged ‘clean up’ the chairman said removing of the structures was in line with the directives of the minister of the FCT Malam Muhammad Bello to maintain sanity in the city.
Attah explained that the exercise followed the Minister of FCT’s directives on the need to reclaim the inter-change in Zuba being abused by traders and motorists.
He regretted that the inter-change has been taken over by shanties in the name of trading, causing grilock and nuisance.
The chairman stated that, “The minister is not comfortable with the abuse of the plan of the inter-change which is supposed to be green but is converted into a transport hub that is gradually becoming a shanty and criminals’ den, the area has also become a plantain market.
“We are removing the illegal structures to reclaim Zuba because some criminals are coming to the spot, so the exercise today is multi dimensional, one is to reclaim the Zuba inter-change, two is to remove shanties where criminals hide, three is to free traffic coming from Kubwa-Dei-Dei axis that connect Zuba and Zuma rock axis on Abuja-Kaduna express way.
“There is a market for the traders, so they should move in, not selling on the road, they feel to sale on the road because it provides quick market for them, we are discouraging that by appealing to them to relocate and leave the road inter-change, or corridor” he said.
On sustaining the exercise, Hassan Ogbole of the Department of Development Control said after the clean-up, the Department of Parks and Recreation is expected to take over the area for proper management.
“We have done our part it is left for the Department of Parks and Recreation to take over the management of the area, is either they come in as a department, or hand it over to a contractor that will manage it”
FG creates 74,413 employments through environmental projects – Minister
The Federal Government says it has created 74,413 employment opportunities for Nigerians through effective implementation of various environmental projects in the country.
The Minister of State, Environment, Sharon Ikeazor disclosed this at the closing of the 15th National Council on Environment (NCE) on Friday, in Abuja.
Ikeazor said that the employment opportunities were through effective collaboration of the ministry with other private sectors across the country.
“The ministry has been able to create 74,413 direct and indirect jobs through the implementation of various people oriented projects and programmes as of the second quarter of 2021.
“A total number of 25,263 persons classified as the rural and poorest of the poor have received various livelihood enhancement trainings and support and have gone ahead to make a decent living for themselves,’’ she said.
Ikeazor said that the ministry had been working hard to meet obligations under Paris Agreement in which it was a signatory to, adding that the government had been able to achieve its obligations.
She said that some of the achievement included revising the National Policy on Climate Change (NPCC) which was approved in June by the Federal Executive Council.
She also said that the government had developed an Adaptation Communication document, which would highlight the adaptation efforts to the impacts of climate change.
“The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), COP 26 meeting scheduled to hold in Glasgow later this month, will be an opportunity to showcase our achievements.
“It will also address the agenda items for discussion that are of immediate importance to Nigeria these include.
“It will as well mobilise finance to address climate change, scaling up adaptation by strengthens our ability to adapt to climate change impacts and finalising the Paris Rulebook,’’ she said.
The minister reiterated the government`s commitment to the Nigeria Energy Transition Plan of a universal access to energy by 2030; zero carbon emission by 2050; and industrialisation to alleviate poverty and drive economic growth.
She said that Nigeria recently participated in the high level dialogue, adding that it has afforded the nation a rare opportunity to demonstrate ambition towards achieving the global goal in this regard.
“The nation in alignment with the global community is also focusing on the following five themes towards achieving this target: energy access; energy transitions.
“Others are, energy action to advance other SDGs; capacity building and data; and finance and investment,’’ she said.
Also the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Alhaji Hassan Musa, said that the NCE meeting would review the level of implementation of the previous years councils decisions and assess the progress of development in the sector.
Musa said that the meeting had been a platform for stakeholders in the sector to critically consider and approve policy direction and focused for the sector.
He said that the theme of the 2021 NCE meeting tagged: “Appraisal of the Emerging Challenges and the opportunities in the Environment Sector: A call for Actions towards the Environment of our Dream” was apt.
He added that the theme was timely as it puts the issues of the environment on the front burner.
Also, Mr Jean Bakole, Country Representation of United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), said that the cost of inactions to environment issues maybe unqualifiable and better imagined than real.
According to him, mutational and birth defects are on the rise, life expectancy is reduce, food security issues are on the rise, fresh water stress and scarcity in the rise.
“Also, forests have seen annual losses of 5.2 million hectares between 2000 and 2010 (WB). Livelihood is threatened and security threats on the increase, a good example are the Lake Chad basin area.
“COVID-19 is a good example of an environmental challenge we all did not see coming, but behind changes are opportunities, so Nigeria must take advantage of possible opportunities,’’ he said.
Bakole, represented by Mr Yomi Banjo, an environmentalist in the UNIDO, commended the ministry of environment for ensuring effective implementation of various projects in the sector.
He said that UNIDO was positioned to support countries in identifying and addressing emerging environmental issues and would continue to ensure it achieve its goal. (NAN)
CITY CLEANING: FCTA Task Team, dislodges illegal markets Along Abuja Airport Road.
The Nigeria Federal Capital Administration has continued it’s drive to clean the Nigeria Capital City of Illegal settlements and markets that has become the bane of the fast growing city.
The FCT Ministerial Committee on City Sanitation on Tuesday resumed the war against roadside trading, dislodging two illegal markets located at Federal housing junction and the popular car wash bus stop in Lugbe along the popular Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja.
Over time, these markets are said to be contributing to the perennial traffic gridlock at Lugbe, especially at peak hours of the day.
Speaking immediately after the exercise, Chairman, FCT Ministerial Committee on City Sanitation, Ikharo Attah said the renewed war was a demonstration of commitment to holistic Sanitation along the Airport Expressway, being one of the most strategic gateways to the nation’s Capital.
He explained that the gateway into the city, as well as other parts of Abuja won’t be abandoned to recalcitrant traders, artisans and their collaborators who are bent on defacing every available space, just to satisfy their personal needs.
Attah, noted that having warned the traders and other violatros to desist from recovening the illegal markets, and other economic activities in an unapproved places, the committee’s taskforce has been briefed to start arresting offenders for prosecution.
He stated that apart from the health hazard which some of the markets, directly located under high tension electricity towers constitutes, the environmental nuisances of the traders’ activities can’t be tolerated there.
He reinstated the FCT Minister’s resolve to continue with the ongoing Sanitation , both within and outside the city centre.
In his words, ” It is very painful that these traders have returned here, after we have dislodged them and cleaned up this place. We shall continue with the exercise, and henceforth anyone caught violating the FCT urban and regional planning rules in this place would be arrested and prosecuted “, Attah added.
Also speaking, the Secretary FCT Command and Control, Peter Olumuji said the committee has equally taken into cognisance residents outcry over the constant criminal attacks at the EFCC Jabi office junction.
He noted that the red light zones for criminal elements have been identified around the Cashew plantation located at that junction, stating that security cleaning exercise have been scheduled to dislodge the criminals.
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