From Tayese Mike, Yenagoa
Investigation into the January 16, oil spill near Funiwa offshore facilities off the Atlantic coast, near Bayelsa has taken regulators and environmentalists beyond Chevron facilities to nearby Auntie Julie platform.
The team, which on January 23, visited communities affected by the oil leakage in Koluama in Southern Ijaw Local government on Friday continued its effort in tracing the source of the leakage.
They took samples from the polluted sites for laboratory analysis in a bid to arrive at an evidence-based conclusion.
Fishermen around the Atlantic Ocean coastline had on Jan. 17 sighted and reported an oil leak suspected to be from the Funiwa fields following the leakage of the previous day.
However, the operator of the nearby Funiwa field, Chevron denied responsibility for the leakage.
Chevron and Conoil Producing Limited have operations near the spill incident location.
It was gathered that the investigating team comprising officials of National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Bayelsa government officials and impacted communities are visiting Conoil’s facility at Sangana waters in Bayelsa.
Mr Alagoa Morris, an environmentalist and Head of Field Operations, Environment Right Action, a civil society body who was part of the delegation, said the team was examining the surrounding facilities to trace the source of spill.
Morris said that the search beyond Chevron field follows denial by Chevron that the leak was not from its facilities and none of the operators from the area has taken responsibility.
He noted that the team beamed its searchlight following a reported leak at the Conoil field which was yet to be plugged to verify if the spillage polluting nearby communities had links with the facility.
Morris said the team was concerned over Conoil’s continued failure to appropriately respond to an undersea leak in its oilfield pipeline in the state, since Sept. 3 , 2020.
It will be recalled that NOSDRA Director General Idris Musa had confirmed the incident at Conoil’s field on Dec. 2, 2020 and berated the company for operating in breach of regulatory guidelines.
Musa said that Conoil had the habit of causing avoidable spills and had previously been sanctioned for degrading the environment.
“This oil company has been spilling oil for a period of time now, from our findings, it is from an underwater pipeline under pressure creating bubbles on the water surface.
“All the directives given to it to contain the oil spill, shut down and replace the leaking pipeline, near shore in Sangana, Bayelsa, fell on deaf ears.
“The agency sanctioned the company for this untoward act, but nothing has changed. The leakage continues and the oil company behaves irresponsibly even though it is a Nigerian oil firm,” Musa said.
According to information on the Conoil’s website, the facility, a mobile offshore production unit commissioned in 1999, has capacity to produce 80,000 barrels of crude daily.
Mr Abiodun Azeez, Media Relations Manager at Conoil declined to repond to the allegations from NOSDRA.
All efforts to get the reaction of the oil firm by e-mail, short message services and telephone calls have remained unanswered.
Otti Promises Reconstruction of Aba – Port Harcourt Expressway Before Christmas
Gov. Alex Otti of Abia, on Tuesday assured Abia residents that the Federal Government will rehabilitate Aba – Port Harcourt stretch of the Enugu – Port Harcourt Expressway before Christmas.
Otti made the promise on Tuesday during an inspection tour of the road which had failed badly forcing travelers to resort to using motorcycles to travel to Port Harcourt from Aba.
Reports says that the failed portion of the road had made it almost impossible for vehicles to move on it while creating a brisk business for motorcyclists.
The motorcyclists now navigate bush paths and parts of the Expressway to access the boundary town between Abia and Rivers where they dispatch passengers and return to Aba.
The governor said that the federal government had sent him a team with whom he inspected the highway and expressed happiness that the trouble of Abia people would soon be over.
“I went to inspect the Aba – Port Harcourt Expressway from here all the way to the border town of Obigbo.
“The promise the federal government made to me was that this road must be rehabilitated and made ready for Christmas.
“As a result, anyone wishing to go to Port Harcourt when that is done, will no longer travel through bush paths which leads to Etche in Imo state.
“From Christmas, you will be able to access Port Harcourt straight from Aba without using bush paths,” the governor said.
He urged the people of the state to work hard to be better at what they did stressing that Abia had become good.
Some residents of Aba who have suffered the hardship levied them by the excessive failure of the road for more than five years, expressed gratitude to the federal government for remembering them.
They however, urged the government to ensure it fulfilled its promise of rehabilitating the raod and not to give them assurances that would amount to nothing. (NAN)
Tinubu Inaugurates Rural Water Projects in Benue
President Bola Tinubu on Thursday inaugurated 15 motorised boreholes in Benue to address the problem of portable drinking water in the state. .
President Tinubu while inaugurating the projects at Wannue, Tarka Local Government Area, said the boreholes were funded by the National Lottery Trust Fund.
He was represented by the Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, Mr Zaphaniah Jisalo.
He said that a total of 19 motorised boreholes were constructed by the Trust Fund, adding that 15 of them were located in Tarka and Gboko Local Government Areas of Benue.
“Let me commend the management of the Trust Fund for successfully delivering 19 motorized boreholes across the nation within the shortest possible time.
“These noble projects in water and sanitation will no doubt bring access to clean portable water closer to the beneficiaries, curb the spread of diseases, and improve the health of the benefiting communities,“he said.
He said the lottery has huge potential both as a wealth generator and its impact on the growth of the economy, therefore the Government will strengthen the lottery legislation.
“Over the years across jurisdictions, wealth generated from lottery has been used to transform societies through the provision of infrastructural, and socio-economic development across the world.
“Given the potential of the lottery/gaming business, one can easily appreciate the enormous prospect that it holds for a country like Nigeria, with a population of over 200 million people.
“Accordingly, the government will do everything humanly possible to revitalise this industry that holds great promise for Nigeria in raising enormous revenues.
“Therefore, the government is committed to putting policies meant to automate revenue collections, repealing the National Lottery Act (NLA), 2005 with the National Gaming Act, in order to accommodate the growing dynamism of lottery business in the country.
“This will help to steer the industry to international best practices for improved returns to good causes and interventions across the country.” he said
The President appealed to the benefiting communities to own the projects and protect the same for improved sanitation and hygiene.
Earlier, Dr Bello Maigari, Executive Secretary/CEO, National Lottery Trust Fund, said they have constructed a total of 15 motorized boreholes in 15 selected communities in Benue.
Dr Maigari said all the 15 motorised boreholes were completed and will be commissioned and handed over for public use.
He reaffirmed the commitment of the government to continue the programme, until every community in dire need of portable water across the six geo-political zones of the country was reached.
“The World Bank estimates that 70 million Nigerians lack access to safe drinking water. Nigeria has abundant water resources, but poor water management practices and inadequate infrastructure.
“This knowledge has further consolidated the agency’s initiative to provide the basic infrastructure needed to strengthen access to clean portable water.
“This will in turn curb the spread of diseases and improve good health and wellbeing of the benefiting communities,”he said.
Also speaking, a representative of the late JS Tarka family, Mr Moses Tarka, said water remained their greatest challenge within the area.
Tarka said that before the construction of the motorised borehole, they usually trek for about two to three kilometres to access water that was not even clean.
He said with the construction of the borehole the whole area now have access to clean water, and commended the Federal Government for remembering them.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the motorised borehole situated at Wannue was sited at the ancestral home of late JS Tarka.(NAN)
Ebonyi Fire Fighters Rescue Fuel Tanker, Station from Fire – Official
The Ebonyi Fire Service Commission said that it successfully rescued a tanker that was dispensing Premium Motor Spirit at SunPet Filling Station from being consumed by fire on Friday.
The Director of the commission, Mr Raphael Ibiam, said this in Abakaliki.
Ibiam said that the tanker caught fire from the heat emitted by a generating set used for dispensing the product.
He said that the fire was quickly averted by his team of firefighters.
He said the team arrived at the station, located at Ishieke Junction on the Abakaliki-Enugu highway, and acted promptly to prevent further escalation of the fire to the station.
Ibiam also said that an official of the station was partially wounded and currently receiving treatment at an undisclosed health facility.
He further said that the fire burnt the generator, tyres of the truck and the hose for offloading of products.
“The incident happened around 10:38am from the generator to the tyres but we were able to manage the fire.
“The driver of the truck quickly drove out from the station to avoid escalation,” Ibiam said.
He called on the public to adhere to precautionary measures to prevent fire outbreaks.
He also admonished the residents, traders, petrol service stations, among other outlets, to keep a fire extinguisher to control fire outbreaks. (NAN)
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