NDDC Projects: Contractors To Face Prosecution After 30 Days Ultimatum

NDDC Gives Contractors 30 Days to Return to SiteThe Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has given contractors handling its projects 30 days to return to site and complete the projects or face prosecution.

The Managing Director of NDDC, Mr Nsima Ekere, stated this following an Inter-Ministerial meeting in Abuja chaired by Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

The meeting, which took place over the weekend, had in attendance Ministers of the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Environment, Niger Delta, Information and Culture, as well as the Presidential Amnesty Office.

It reviewed the 20-Point Agenda of the Petroleum Ministry with regards to the Niger Delta, as well as the Amnesty Programme and the 16-point demand of the Pan Niger Delta Forum.

Mr Ekere said “a list of such contractors is being compiled in all the nine NDDC states and defaulters would be prosecuted”.

He stressed the need to fast-track the ongoing audit of projects awarded in the Niger Delta region, in line with government directives.

“It is important for our contractors to realise that it can’t be business as usual. President Muhammadu Buhari is determined to change how government business is conducted and everyone must wake up to that reality.

Workable Plan

“But beyond that is the fact that we owe the Niger Delta region and our people the duty to implement and complete these projects, in order to facilitate sustainable regional development.

“This is a necessary process to ensure that things are done properly, how they ought to be done and when they ought to be done. It is important to consolidate the agenda with that of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, as well as the blueprint of the State Governments, the Amnesty Office and the NDDC Master Plan, in order to roll them into one workable plan.

“We are all going to initiate quick-win projects that will give a sense of involvement to government’s approach to handling issues that will impact the people. We will organise frequent town hall meetings with all stakeholders and collaborate in building sustainable economic models for the communities of the Niger Delta,” Ekere said.

The NDDC boss also emphasised the need for the Commission to work with the Ministry of Environment and NOSREA, to facilitate the clean-up exercise in affected areas of oil spill, work on a time frame and encourage IOCs to provide more power to their host communities beyond working with Electricity Distribution Companies.

“Satellite mapping will be used to identify polluted areas in the Niger Delta and a comprehensive plan of action adopted to ensure regional clean-up. This is important because we must ensure that we safeguard our environment and give our people the opportunity and enabling environment to pursue our predominant traditional livelihoods.

“Agriculture and aquaculture are key to facilitating sustainable development in the region, particularly as we seek alternate productive socio-economic activities beyond oil and gas,” he said.

 

How Climate Change May Increase World’s Poverty Index By 100 Million

PollutionDid you know that “about 100 million poor persons would be added to the world’s poor people’s index by the year 2030 unless, world leaders take urgent steps to implement policies aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change”?

This is according to the Practice Manager for Environmental and Natural Resources at the World Bank, Mr Benoit Bonquet.

Mr Bonquet made the remarks on Friday at a conference in Abuja on how to mitigate the effects of climate change in Nigeria.

He warned about the dangers of not taking serious steps to address the issues of climate change by the year 2030.

The forum was organised by the World Bank and the Federal Ministry of Environment, as part of efforts by the Nigerian Government to create awareness on climate change.

The Director, Department of Climate Change at the ministry, Mr Yerima Tarfa, stressed the need for the government to make necessary arrangements to deliver on its climate change pledges.

The National Project Coordinator of the Nigerian Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), Mr Salisu Dahiru, also advocated investing in renewable energy.

Data from the World Bank revealed that the world’s temperature has continued to get warmer at an alarming rate since 1981.

Some states in Nigeria, especially those situated along the coast of the River Niger experienced severe flooding which led to loss of lives.

Environmentalists attributed some of these experiences to climate change, hence governments are thinking about how to mitigate its effects.

Yobe Governor Reshuffles Cabinet, Swears In New Commissioner

yobe, cabinet, new commissionerThe Yobe State Governor Ibrahim Gaidam on Thursday swore in a new member to the state executive, Lawan Shettima.

The appointment is sequel to the restoration of the Ministry Of Environment, which was combined with the Ministry of Agriculture at the beginning of the present administration.

The merger was said to be as a result of paucity of funds occasioned by the present economic realities of Nigeria.

Administering the oath of office and oath of allegiance on the new commissioner, Governor Gaidam said that his consideration for the appointment was based on his track records and urged him to justify the confidence that the government as well as the people of the state already have in him.

“The exemplary leadership quality, good track record, loyalty, honesty and dedication demonstrated by Lawan Shettima, has no doubt justified the decision to appoint him and I strongly believe that this will give him another opportunity to add value to governance, as well as render more services to the people of the state,” Governor Gaidam stated.

He expressed gratitude to the Yobe State Assembly for the speedy screening and confirmation of the appointee, a process which he said would increase his administration’s drive to provide dividends of democracy to the people.

“The swearing-in of the commissioner we have just witnessed is yet another manifestation of the commitment of our administration to further improve governance,” he said.

The Governor then called on civil servants and well-meaning people of the state to accord the new appointee the desired support in the discharge of his duties.

Mr Lawan Shettima is expected to take charge of the Ministry of Works, while the former works commissioner, Sirago Wakil, would henceforth be handling the Ministry of Water Resources.

Also, the former commissioner in charge of the water resources, Mr Jibrin Kortomi, has now been mandated to handle the newly resuscitated Ministry of Environment.

Delta Commences Dredging Of Isheagu Rivers

Delta Commences Dredging Of Isheagu RiversThe Delta State Government has commenced the dredging of Iyete and Igmalangba rivers in Isheagu Kingdom of Aniocha South Local Government Area, in its commitment to checkmating flooding.

The exercise which was under the supervision of the Ministry of Environment was carried out with the use of swam buggies to ensure blocked canals were opened up for free flow of water.

Residents of the community who spoke during the exercise thanked the state government for its timely intervention.

The President General of Isheagu Development Union, Mr. Uwafili Stephen recounted how the community has been confronted with perennial flooding wherever it rained.

The residents attributed the ugly development to overflow of water from the river bank to the community due to the blockage of water channels.

They added that the incidence had led to the collapse of buildings and the destruction of their sources of livelihood.

They, however, expressed confidence that the government’s intervention would address the menace.

They also pledged to complement the efforts by adhering to environmental laws and also campaign against the blocking of water channels in the community.

Delta Govt. Fumigates Market Against Lassa Fever

Delta, Market, Lassa Fever DiseaseThe Delta State Ministry of Environment has taken precautionary steps to prevent the spread of diseases such as the dreaded Lassa fever.

The State Commissioner for Environment, John Nani, explained that the deadly effects of these diseases on residents of the state necessitated proper fumigation of the environment.

Mr Nani was briefing reporters on Thursday at the busy Ogbeogonogo Market in Asaba, the Delta State capital in south-south Nigeria.

He was at the market to oversee a fumigation exercise which they tagged “operation kill the rats”, in order to take preventive measures against the spread of Lassa fever and other related diseases.

The Commissioner stated that making sure the environment was safe and clean from rats was a sure way to achieve a disease-free environment in the state.

He said that the fumigation exercise would be extended to other markets and dumpsites, while urging residents of the state not to drop the guard against the deadly disease.

The traders at the market commended the effort of the government in keeping their environment safe from deadly diseases.

The Lassa fever is an acute illness transmitted through contaminated food by rodents’ urine and excreta.

Emirs Frown At Indiscriminate Tree Felling In Niger State

Niger State, Tree Felling, EmirsThe Niger State Council of Traditional Rulers has called on Nigerians to stop illegal mining and indiscriminate felling of trees in the state.

‎The emirs made the warning when the Niger State Commissioner for Environment, Mineral and Forestry Resources, Ali Mohammed‎, visited their palaces, as part of plans to sensitise the people on environmental degradation.

Speaking differently at the meeting on Monday in north-central Nigeria, they vowed that defaulters would be dealt with accordingly.

The Emir of Minna, Farouk Bahago, and his counterpart from Agaie Emirate, Yusuf Nuhu, said that stringent laws were needed to tackle illegal activities in the state.

The Emir of Minna who asked the people to desist from illegal activities, expressed readiness to support the policy to ensure strict adherence.

In his words, the Emir of Agaie stressed that there was an urgent need for illegal operators to stop cutting economic trees for charcoal.

“We have invited our villages and District Heads to monitor their areas, report any illegal mining and ‎tree felling to us. They should be made to face the law,” he insisted.

The monarch added that, the Council had declared its support for the review of the law at the Niger State House of Assembly.

“All of us (the royal fathers) have been yearning for this law to be reviewed. We have been waiting for the government to review the law, so that we can know how to control the illegality. We are ready,” he said.

The Emir pointed out that the illegal operators had lied that they got licence from the Ministry of Environment to fell trees, maintaining that it was not true.

Mr Mohammed had earlier decried the indiscriminate felling of trees and illegal mining going on in the state.

“We are revisiting areas of penalty in the forestry law, so as to make fines effective enough to serve as deterrent for further destruction,” he said.

The Commissioner explained that the State government had banned all form of commercial exploitation of the forest.

FG Reviews States’ Preparedness For Flood

floodThe Federal Government has begun a nationwide review of states’ preparedness for an impending flood, following an alert by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Fatima Mede, observed that the Federal Government had spent over 17billion naira to cushion the effect of the 2012 devastation, hence the crucial need for states to prepare for emergency cases.

The consequences of the 2012 flood was deadly as huge flood consumed houses and rendered millions homeless across 23 states.

With yet another imminent flooding announced by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency and more recently the Cameroonian Lagdo dam release, the Ministry of Environment has emphasized the need to review preparations by states.

Ms Mede asked state commissioners and relevant agencies to begin evacuation of people living along the frontline states to prevent destruction of lives and property.

She also noted that activities like indiscriminate dumping of refuse and solid waste is also contributory to flooding as the threat is not limited to riverine states.

Yobe State Governor Cuts Down Ministries From 22 to 15

yobe state-on-new-ministriesThe Yobe State Governor, Ibrahim Gaidam has approved the restructuring of ministries in the state from 22 to 15.

A statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Baba Mallam Wali and made available to newsmen in Damaturu, the state capital, listed the ministries scrapped to include; Ministry of Animal and Fisheries Development, Ministry of Higher Education, Ministry of Integrated Rural Development, Ministry of Transport and Energy, Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Sports.

The statement listed the new ministries to include; Ministry of Works and Transport, Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Youth, Ministry of Sports and Ministry of Community Development.

The new ministries also include Ministry of Land and Housing, Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Health and Justice, Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Ministry of Information and Culture, Ministry of Religious Affairs, Ministry of Women Affairs, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Industry and Tourism and Ministry of Water Resources.

The statement said, “The restructuring is aimed at making the ministries more effective in the discharge of their functions and avoidance of unnecessary overlaps and bureaucracy for effective service delivery as well as cutting the cost of governance.”

The statement urged units removed from the defunct ministries to ensure smooth transition to their new mother ministries.

9.2 Billion Naira Clean Cook Stove Project In More Controversy

StoveThe contractor handling the now controversial 9.2 billion Naira presidential intervention Clean Cook Stoves meant for rural women in Nigeria says the Ministry of Environment is not in a position to cancel the contract.

The Ministry of Environment had earlier given indications that it would terminate the contract for the distribution of the 750,000 Clean Cook Stoves and 18,000 Wonder Bags.

Addressing a news conference, as part of activities to mark the 2015 World Environment Day, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mrs Fatima Mede, said it was necessary to suspend the distribution, as the number of supply by the contractor was yet to be ascertained and might be below the expected number of Clean Cook Stoves to be supplied.

In November 2014, the Federal Executive Council approved the sum of 9.2 billion Naira for the procurement of 750,000 stoves and 18,000 Wonder Bags to be distributed free to rural women.

That announcement was greeted with mixed reactions.

Many people accepted the good news to deliver a safer environment and perhaps jobs to the teeming jobless Nigerians, but controversy began when the former Minister of Environment said only States Governors’ wives would be responsible for the distribution in different states.

The statement left speculations of how less transparent the process might become. Then there were further speculations that the actual contract appeared to have loopholes, something that the co-founder of Follow the Money, Hamzat Lawal, emphasised.

The entire project is taking a different turn days after the ministry voiced plan to terminate the contract, with the contractor, Clinton Biragbara, who spoke off camera, insisting that the project could not be terminated.

The laudable project has continued to swing unsteadily in the last months and the government has, however, been advised to straighten every grey area to adequately address the huge challenge that lies in the sector.

Kaduna Residents Lament Poor Refuse Disposal

waste-disposalResidents of Sabon Tasha, Barnawa and Kakuri areas in Kaduna metropolis have called on the State Environmental Protection Agency (KEPA) and Ministry of Environment to intensify efforts in evacuating refuse and other waste materials that are currently scattered all over the area and capable of creating health problems for them.

The residents, who complained that authorities concerned have not lived up to their responsibilities of keeping the environment clean, feared that if urgent steps are not taken to evacuate the heaps of refuse around people’s homes, there could be an outbreak of cholera, malaria and other airborne diseases in the affected areas.

While the residents blame government for ineffective waste management system, the authorities accused the residents of being responsible for the problem due to their indiscriminate disposal of refuse and other waste materials.

A visit of our correspondents to Narayi, Sabon Tasha, Kakuri, Barnawa and Rigasa all located within the metropolis leaves much to be desired, as there was no presence of waste collectors in these areas.

Therefore, refuse and other waste products continue to litter the streets on daily basis, which residents say is creating a germ-infested environment for them.

Although the State Government says it spends over N130 million monthly on environmental sanitation, the impact is not felt in the communities around the state capital.

The State Commissioner for Environment, Kasimu  Abubakar, told Channels Television that government was not aware of the plight of these residents.

He said that his ministry had mapped out over 111 designated dump sites for refuse disposal.

He also blamed the residents for the indiscriminate dumping of refuse and advised residents to follow the standard procedures recommended by government in order not to contact air or water borne diseases.

Kaduna is the third largest state in Nigeria with a population of over 7 million people. Out of this number, majority of the populace reside within the city centre comprising of four Local Government Areas, namely Kaduna North, Kaduna South, Chikun and Igabi local councils.

With increase of satellite towns and influx of people into the state on daily basis, one major problem confronting the metropolis is the issue of poor waste management.

Environmental experts have overtime posited that disposal of waste in unsanitary or unhygienic conditions can lead to huge health and environmental problems.

Senate To Investigate 21m Naira Contract In Bama

SenateThe Senate Committee on Environment has announced plans to investigate a 21 million Naira contract awarded by the Ministry of Environment in Bama, Borno State.

During an oversight visit of the committee to the Federal Ministry of Environment, the members of the committee expressed scepticism that the drainage and erosion contract in Bama, Borno State were executed at all, as Bama had been under siege in the past few months. They were in doubt that increasing insurgency in the area could not have allowed construction workers to work.

In the past two weeks, the senate and the House of Representatives have been working on the 2014 budget.

Part of the budget process requires that government Ministries, Departments and Agencies bring their budget proposals to the National Assembly for scrutiny.

But the Senate Committee on Environment, led by Senator Bukola Saraki, did not wait for the Ministry of Environment to come to them; rather, the committee members were at the ministry to get answers to some worrying questions.

The Minister of Environment was away on official assignment so it was up to the Permanent Secretary, Taiye Haruna, to explain how much was appropriated for the ministry in 2013.

But midway into the briefing of the committee, the attention of lawmakers was drawn to a project in Kogi State which the permanent secretary had said was completed.

The lawmakers expressed displeasure with the ministry of the Kogi project and other projects.

Many Nigerians have said the budget defence exercise in the National Assembly had assumed the status of a yearly ritual where ministries present almost the same budget as previous years and more often cannot account for how the funds appropriated for projects were utilised.

But critics put the blame on federal lawmakers for failing to properly scrutinise these agencies, saying these lapses could have been discovered earlier.

Ministry of Environment may be excluded from 2013 budget, Senate warns

The Senate has warned that the Federal Ministry of Environment or any of its agencies that it may receive zero allocation in the 2013 budget unless the ministry adequately defends its capability to utilise  funds allocated to it in previous years.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology, Bukola Saraki, issued the threat in Abuja during the 2012 budget performance presentation of the Ministry and its agencies at the national assembly.

Senator Saraki says the essence of the budget defence is to improve the level of transparency, accountability and performance on the part of government institutions and establishments on the implementation of previous budgets.

He added that the committee wants to work in tandem with best practices by avoiding the budgetary year spill-over situation that extends to march of the following year, instead of from January to December.

The Minister of Environment, Hajiya Hadiza Mailafia, while defending the budget however told the committee that the ministry will complete all on-going projects in spite of late releases of appropriated funds from the ministry of finance.

She stated that the unprecedented rain fall and the devastating flood this year, posed some challenges to most of the contractors especially those who were already on site.