Agip To Invest More In Green River Project In Niger Delta

Benue, Air Force, YouthsThe NAOC Green River Project coordinators say they will be investing more in agriculture Niger Delta region of Nigeria by increasing the area of coverage and creating a new Plant Propagation Centre in Delta State

The project is part of the corporate social responsibility of the the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) in partnership with Oando, Eni and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

It was the 20th Farmers’ Day Celebration in Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa State and many farmers that have benefited from the Green River Project gathered to show their appreciation for the support they had received from the project coordinators.

It is an initiative that supports farmers from the different host communities of NAOC by providing them with improved agricultural products and soft loans to advance their agro-businesses.

At the venue of the celebration, it was a gathering of farmers and lovers of agro-business as the Nigerian Agip Oil Company and its partners inspect the different farm produce displayed by the farmers in order to get a scorecard of their investments in the agricultural sector of their host communities drawn for Delta, Imo, Rivers and Bayelsa State.

The theme ‘Sustainable Farming for Sustainability’ is quite apt, as the farmers who are grateful beneficiaries of the benevolence of NAOC under their Green River Project have gotten, improved seeds, plantain suckers, tractors, hoes and even money to ensure that they succeed in their individual businesses.

The Vice Chairman and Managing Director of the NAOC Green River Project (GRP), Massimo Insulla, while cheering on the beneficiaries of the project who have in the past year improved on the quality of their produce announced the preparedness of the company to still invest more in the agricultural sector of their host states.

“As we take stock today of the achievements of this initiative and its contribution to the empowerment of benefiting farmers and their families, we are encouraged to invest more and more in the states. In other to make the benchmark of many of such initiatives, this year, we have increased the area of coverage of the Green River Project by creating a new plant propagation centre in Kwale, Delta State.

“We have begun rehabilitation of an existing complex of about eight hectares in Bayelsa State,” he told the gathering.

The District General Manager of the Green River Project, Marco Rotondi, said that the company’s intervention was focused on women, the youths, children who are still in secondary school by teaching them the importance of farming and to encourage the farmers to form cooperatives societies in order to benefit from the loan issued by the NAOC.

He also listed other services offered by the NAOC Green River Project to advance agriculture in the Niger Delta.

“We are very proud of the following services that our project offers. First is the provision of improved seeds and agricultural and agro-allied materials, agricultural extension services and skill acquisitions programme and micro-credit scheme aimed at delivering entrepreneurial training”.

The Honourable Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari, commended the NAOC for the initiative.

He said that the project was worth emulating.

In his speech, he told the gathering that the Federal Government was repositioning the Bank of Agriculture and had also created the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for agricultural lending to enable farmers access more affordable credit facilities.

“It must be noted that despite the huge oil and gas deposit, the Niger Delta region is blessed with one of the world’s largest wetlands with arable lands for agriculture and has the capacity to become a domestic and international provider of agricultural produce,” Senator Lokpobiri stated.

He also appealed to Niger Delta residents to embrace peace and focus on agriculture for sustainable economic development and wealth creation.

Aside the speeches of commendation the dignitaries visited the farmers village which was constructed by the farmers to display their wares and one after the other the farmers expressed their gratitude to the NAOC while explaining how the Green River Project had impacted their lives.

Oil Spill Hits Bayelsa Community

Oil Spill Hits Bayelsa CommunityA field report by Environmental Right Action (ERA) has indicated that oil spills from Tebidaba-Ogboinbiri crude line operated by Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) has discharged massive volumes of crude into surrounding environment.

The report claimed that officials of NAOC had commenced recovery of spilled crude from Ikienghenbiri community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

The report, signed by Head of Field Operations at ERA, Mr. Alagoa Morris, said that more than 30 plastic tanks of 2,000 litres of crude had already been recovered by Agip officials.

ERA, the environment focused non-governmental organisation regretted that a joint investigative visit had yet to be conducted to ascertain the cause of the leak and urged the management of NAOC to urgently convene a JIV to the spill impacted site.

Some community sources at Ikienghenbiri said that the development had crippled economic activities in the predominantly fishing and farming coastal settlement as oil recovery was still ongoing at the spilled site.

A former Community Development Committee Chairman in Ikienghenbiri, Mr. Marshall Josiah, said that the community had reported the incident promptly but the oil firm had allegedly delayed its response resulting in the massive leaks.

He said, “Due to the heavy volume of crude oil so far spewed, we have not been able to commence the process of clamping the ruptured point.

“We are looking for a way to evacuate the crude oil from the place to enable us to access the oil-bearing pipe and repair it.

“That is what we are doing now, recovery of spilled crude oil. No JIV has been done on this spill incident.

“I saw several Geepee (plastic) tanks being used for the recovery exercise. From my observation, it may take them up to two or three months to conclude that task. And much of the surrounding bush/swamps have been completely polluted.”

The Community leader regretted that the pollution had depleted the arable land and fishing grounds available to Ikienghenbiri for fishing and farming, adding that urgent steps should be taken to bring reliefs to the people affected by the spills.

Officials of NAOC declined comments when contacted for comments.

Maritime Workers’ Union Issue Ultimatum To NPA Management

NPAThe Maritime Workers’ Union has issued a two-week ultimatum to the management of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to pay the eight months salary arrears owed tally clerks and security men who work at the sea ports and terminals.

According to the President General of the union, Anthony Nted, all previous engagement with the ports management has not yielded much. He said the situation might lead to an industrial action if the payments were not made.

He, however, outlined other grievances to include the indiscriminate parking of truck leading to the ports, the deplorable state of roads and relocating tank farms along access road to the sea ports.

Comrade Nted pointed out that the union was not interested in paralysing the ports because of its implication in the nation’s economy. He said that the union had decided to shelve the planned strike and gave NPA a two-week ultimatum to prevail on the companies to pay their debts.

He, however, warned that should the affected companies fail to pay within the two weeks ultimatum, the entire ports would be shut down without notice.

The maritime President appealed to the management of NPA to ensure that things did not degenerate to that level.

On the issue of unpaid arrears to on-board security and tally clerks, he said everything was almost concluded for the payment of the over two years arrears, explaining that the payment could be made within the next three weeks, as the board of NPA last week approved payment of the arrears.

The affected companies include Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, Chevron/Texaco, Agip Energy & Natural Resources, Lammalco Nigeria Ltd, Murphy Shipping, Globestar Nigeria Ltd, Hyundai Heavy Industry Nigeria Ltd, ESSO Exploration Production Nigeria ltd, NAOC, TIDEX , Seabulk off shore, Saipem group, Wilbross, Moni Pulo Nigeria Ltd, Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited ADDAX Petroleum Development Nigeria Ltd, Amni Petroleum, SNEPCO Ltd, Hydrodive Nig Ltd, Red Transport Nigeria Ltd and Edison Chouset offshore Ltd.

Comrade Nted lamented that the aggrieved workers had been passing through untold hardships and suffering.

“The continued denial of the payment of these dues to the dockworkers – a suffering class of workers, some of whom have died while waiting for the payment – is inhuman and unacceptable.

“As the Authority charged with┬áthe┬áresponsibility of superintending over the Port operations, we demand that the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority enforces the directive to the companies to pay up the bills without further delay. We further wish to state that we may be forced to withdraw the services of the dockworkers from all our seaports if the payment is not made. Injury to one is injury to all,” he warned.