FG Mulls Authorising Illegal Refineries To Transform Niger Delta

Paul Boroh, Niger Delta, RefineriesAmidst the challenges of inadequate local refining capacity and meeting the demand for refined petroleum products, the Federal Government seems to be thinking of encouraging artisanal refineries which had bridged the product supply gap for decades.

Although outlawed, more than 60% of diesel and kerosene used in the region are sourced from local bush refineries produced from stolen crude through fractional distillation.

The Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Niger Delta, Brigadier General Paul Boroh (rtd), says the Federal Government plans to liberalise modular refineries to develop the oil rich Niger Delta region.

Mr Boroh, who is the Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, assured the people of the region that the proposed modular refineries in oil-producing communities would engender a new era in the Niger Delta region.

New Vision For Niger Delta

Speaking on Saturday in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, he restated the commitment of the President Buhari’s administration towards the people of the region.

The President’s aide stated that the Federal Government’s intention of making oil bearing the hub for refining and related activities would not only create decent jobs and income for the people, but put them in a better position to drive the local economy.

While lauding the government’s new vision for the region, appealed to the youths to be calm, focused and more articulate in their quest for better living conditions and take advantage of the good gestures of the present administration.

“The Federal Government is seeking better ways for Niger Delta people to participate in the development process of the region through meaningful engagements.

“The Federal Government’s new partnership arrangement will bring about an unprecedented infrastructural development in the region.

“The government is working with the oil-producing states, local governments, oil companies and the private sector, including civil society organisations to achieve sustainable development in Niger Delta,” the amnesty coordinator revealed.

New Hub For Refining Activities

Boroh further commended the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, for taking the pains to identify with the people through his tour of the region.

I’m Not Under Any Pressure To Resign – Osinbajo
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo visits Niger Delta region

“The planned oil-communities-intervention-meeting by the Federal Government to chart short, medium and long term development blueprint is a strategy to enhance the socio-economic activities in the region.

“The proposed coming on stream of modular refineries in oil bearing communities, the ex-agitators and other youths in the region will be meaningfully engaged in decent job.

“Those with entrepreneurial skills in oil and gas can participate in the petro-chemical industries in their communities which will soon become the new hub for refining activities,” he explained.

Reacting to Boroh’s remarks, Chairman of Phase II Ex-agitators in the Niger Delta, Honourable Salvation Rifus, applauded President Buhari for demonstrating his sincere wish for the people of the region.

He said the option of allowing modular refineries to be located in oil bearing communities in the Niger Delta region speaks volume of the sincere intentions of the present administration towards the Niger Delta youths.

Rifus added that the tour of the oil communities by the Acting President had shown that the Federal Government was committed to the development of the region.

He noted that the decision to allow the oil bearing communities to legally operate modular refineries was the best thing that has happened to the people, describing it as a welcome development.

Ex-Niger Delta Militants Vow To Expose Pipeline Vandals

amnesty1Ex-militants in the Niger Delta region, have resolved to protect the sovereignty of the country and expose anyone found vandalising oil and gas installations within their communities, citing its negative effect on the environment and the mindset of investors.

They made the pledge at an emergency meeting organised by the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brigadier General Paul Boroh (RTD).

The meeting was held with the leaders of the Ex-Agitators, captured under the Niger Delta Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), in Benin City the capital of Edo State.

Its central focus was to foster peace and stability in the Niger Delta region, and the meeting was well attended by State Coordinators and members from all the nine Niger Delta States.

The meeting can be tagged a huge success, as all the leaders present, equally pledged their support for the current administration’s, Agricultural Empowerment Programmes for beneficiaries.

The Amnesty Programme has in recent times, focused on training and empowering beneficiaries in Agricultural activities.

Just recently, about 200 ex-agitators were successfully trained and empowered on enhanced agriculture at the National Biotechnology Development Center, in Odi, Baylesa State, while some others have been empowered with starter packs, to start their own farms.

One of the Leaders, Pastor Ruben Wilson, thanked General Boroh for his unbiased coordination of the Amnesty Programme, stating that under Boroh’s watch, the Amnesty Programme had transformed from a political tool, to a well-coordinated reintegration platform for the repentant Agitators of the Niger Delta Region.

In his response, General Boroh lauded the ex-agitators for their patience and perseverance, while also promising them of the Federal Government’s commitment to improving their lives, as well as other youths in the region.

Ex-Niger Delta Militants Ask For Five Months Outstanding Salary

Chevron Pipeline, Niger Delta Militants, DeltaFormer Niger Delta militants, under the Presidential Amnesty Programme, are appealing to President Muhammadu Buhari to speedily intervene in the payment of five months’ salaries owed them.

The over 30,000 ex-militants believe that the President’s quick intervention would douse the tension that is already mounting in the region over the unpaid arrears.

The Chairman, Presidential Amnesty Programme, Phase Two in Bayelsa State, Salvation Ibina-Rufus, urged Mr Buhari to order the Federal Ministry of Finance to release money to pay the ex-agitators to avoid another round of restiveness in the region.

“We equally want to use this medium to appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to instruct the Minister of Finance to release the 30 billion Naira approved by the Presidency to the Amnesty Office to enable Boroh to perform his work effectively to avoid another round of restiveness in the region.

“We are optimistic that President Buhari is aware of the sufferings and pains Christians suffered during the Christmas celebration due to non-release of salaries by the Ministry of Finance,” he said.

Ibina-Rufus made the appeal, as he sympathised with the aggrieved ex-militants, encouraging them to exercise patience with the government.

Maintain Peace And Order

He noted that based on the meeting held with Special Adviser to the President on Amnesty, Brigadier General Paul Boroh (rtd), he was hopeful that beneficiaries of the scheme would be paid immediately after the New Year celebration.

The former militant believes that the delay in payment that they were experiencing was due to the Ministry of Finance’s inability to release funds for the Amnesty office to commence payment.

He then commended his members for their patience and understanding, saying, “this is really a tempting time so I am advising you to maintain the existing peace”.

He rationalised that Boroh had shown sincerity and commitment to ensuring the payment of all their arrears and advised other former militants to maintain peace and order, assuring them that he is very optimistic that their salaries would be paid immediately after official duties resumes.

Amnesty Programme: Niger Delta Stakeholders Propose States’ Partnership

House of Representatives, Amnesty Programme, Niger DeltaIndigenes and stakeholders in Nigeria’s Niger Delta have proposed a restructuring of the Presidential Amnesty Programme to include state governments as partners.

The proposal was put forward on Tuesday at a public hearing organised by the House of Representatives on a bill seeking to give legal backing to the amnesty programme.

Traditional rulers, state and federal government officials witnessed the public hearing on the bill titled ‘The Presidential Programme on Rehabilitation and Reintegration’.

The House Committee Chairman on Niger Delta Affairs, Representative Ayi Ekpeyong, hinted that the bill also sought the conclusion of the programme in an orderly manner with a proper exit date.

On his part, the House Deputy Minority Leader, Chukwuka Onyema, highlighted the importance of the bill.

The General Manager of Upstream at the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Pollie Okoronkwo and a representative of the Delta State Government, Pascal Adigwe, identified the different parts of the bill they want amended.

In its response, the committee promised to consider all the positions presented towards contributing to the peace process and development of the Niger Delta region.

Bill On Niger Delta Amnesty Programme Passes Second Reading

House of Representatives, House, ManitobaA bill for an Act to establish the Presidential Programme on Rehabilitation and Reintegration of the Presidential Amnesty Programme in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria has passed its second reading at the House of Representatives.

In a motion sponsored by Honourable Oluwole Oke, the sponsor outlined the need for the rehabilitation and reintegration in the Amnesty Programme.

Other lawmakers, supporting the passage of the bill, believe that the bill would ensure a legal framework for better implementation of the Presidential Amnesty Programme.

The bill was referred to the Committee on Niger Delta Affairs for further legislative input.

The Amnesty Programme was an initiative of the late President Musa Yar’Adua who had an indigene of the Niger Delta region, Goodluck Jonathan, as his vice president at that time.

It was proposed to end restiveness in the region which was at that time affecting the nation’s revenue which largely comes from crude oil exploration.

The programme has suffered some set back that critics have linked the resurgence of militancy in the region to which is affecting the nation’s oil output.

House To Investigate Amnesty Programme

imo-state-house-of-asemblyA joint committee of the House of Representatives is to investigate allegations of violation of the Public Procurement Act in the management of the Presidential Amnesty Programme.

Coming as a motion of urgent national importance, the motion outlined the frustration of the beneficiaries, with some of them being deported from foreign countries.

The House committees are to investigate the alleged abuses in the programme and report back to the House within four weeks.

The programme coordinator, in February, announced plans to exit 3,232 beneficiaries from the programme.

Those billed to leave the programme are those who have been trained as entrepreneurs and have received business and setup/ starter packs.

Also affected are all beneficiaries of the Oil and Gas International Foundation (OGIF) programme and the 400 whom the office had secured employment for.

The spokesman of the amnesty programme, Owei Lakemfa, said in a statement that by exiting the 3,232 beneficiaries, the Federal Government would save 2.52 billion Naira from stipend payments.

The statement also disclosed that the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brigadier General Paul Boroh (Rtd), had set up a task force to work out and implement the exit strategy of the amnesty programme with timelines that would not compromise national security.

Amnesty Programme To Exit 3,232 Beneficiaries

AmnestyThe Presidential Amnesty Programme has announced plans to exit 3,232 beneficiaries from the programme.

Those billed to leave the programme are those who have been trained as entrepreneurs and have received business and setup/ starter packs.

Also affected are all beneficiaries of the Oil and Gas International Foundation (OGIF) programme and the 400 whom the office had secured employment for.

The spokesman of the amnesty programme, Owei Lakemfa, said in a statement that by exiting the 3,232 beneficiaries, the Federal Government would save 2.52 billion Naira from stipend payments.

The statement also disclosed that the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brigadier General Paul Boroh (Rtd), had set up a task force to work out and implement the exit strategy of the amnesty programme with timelines that would not compromise national security.

NDDC Backs Presidential Amnesty Programme

NDDCThe Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has thrown its weight behind the efforts to re-integrate beneficiaries of the Presidential Amnesty Programme.

Stating its willingness to contribute to the success of the programme, the Acting Managing Director of the commission, Mrs Ibim Semenitari, said that the NDDC was by law expected to forge strategic partnerships for the purpose of developing the Niger Delta region.

Receiving the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Niger Delta Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brigadier-General Paul Boroh (Rtd) and his team at the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt, Mrs Semenitari noted that the partnerships were critical for driving sustainable development.

She also commended the efforts being made by the Federal Government, through the Amnesty Programme, to move Niger Deltans from just being hewers of wood, to people who will have respectable and sustainable means of livelihood.

While speaking, Brigadier-General Boroh disclosed that his assignment was to ensure that the peace already established after the introduction of the programme, was sustained by proper integration of the 30,000 youths captured in the programme.

He also noted that collaboration with critical agencies of government and the private sector would help harness available trained manpower under the programme, for placements in various establishments.

The Coordinator of the programme further stressed that the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari remained committed to peace and sustainable development of the Niger Delta region.

“To achieve this, there id need for all stakeholders, including the international community to join in the effort,” he said.

Making contributions to the issue, the Head, Post-Training Engagement and Empowerment, Mr. Kester Tawari, disclosed that 13,000 youths had been trained in special areas such as aviation, marine, professional welding and technicians for the oil and gas sector.

He also said that between 15,000 and 17,000 youths were undergoing training.

Ex-Militants In Imo Protest Non-Inclusion In Amnesty Programme

Hundreds of youths who claimed to be ex-militants from Ohaji Egbema oil producing Local Government Area of Imo state have staged a protest in Owerri the Imo state capital over what they termed as outright marginalization of the state from the list of the Niger Delta states who are to benefit from the third phase of the Presidential Amnesty Programme by the federal government.

Major roads in the state capital were barricaded during the protest where many of the protesters carried placards with various inscriptions.

The group accused the Presidential Amnesty Office in Abuja of deliberately excluding the state from the list of states to benefit from the third phase of the programme, having sent an adhoc committee to the South South states to make verification on the number of ex-militants to take part in the third phase.

They argued that Imo state is part of the Niger Delta states and the third largest producer of gas in the country. They also said most of the militants in the region also surrendered their arms and ammunitions during the amnesty programme.

The leader of the group, Andrew Edwin stated that the group is not pleased with this development and vowed that they will shut down all the oil wells located in Ohaji Egbema and Oguta Local Government Area of the state if the plan is not reversed.

However, the Special Assistant to the Governor on Niger Delta Affairs, Eric Nwanom said many letters have been written to the Presidential Amnesty Office but none has been responded to.

He said the state government will not fold their arms and allow the ex-militants to suffer as they will do everything possible to enable them get their rights.

Meanwhile, the office of the Niger delta amnesty office in Abuja has been reacting to this allegation by the youths, speaking to Channels Television, spokesman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Dan Alabrah said the programme has no third phase.

He said the verification exercise going on in the South South states followed the approval of the presidency to include 3, 642 persons who claimed that they accepted the offer of amnesty and surrendered their arms to the JTF in the states of the Niger delta and as such, the verification exercise is not a new one.

 

Dubai firm employs ex militant trainees

30 youths from the Niger Delta region under the Presidential Amnesty Programme have been offered jobs by a Dubai-based firm, The Proclad Group.

The youths were among 175 ex-militants trained by the Proclad Academy in the areas of welding and fabrication under the Amnesty programme.

The figure brings the total number of trainees engaged after their training to 89. All the youths were engaged in the areas of welding and fabrication.

Speaking in Abuja, the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Chairman of the Amnesty Programme, Mr. Kingsley Kuku explained that several employment opportunities abound for the youths who were trained under the programme.

He added that several trainees of the programme have started their own businesses and the amnesty office is helping them to develop their businesses by organising an Entrepreneurial Refresher Course for the self-employed trainees.

 

I never supported amnesty programme- Rotimi Amaechi

Rivers State governor, Rotimi Amaechi, yesterday said he never supported the Presidential Amnesty Programme.

Amaechi said this during an interview with Channels Television where he examined the success of the programme.

Chairman of the Nigeria Governor’s Forum said “My reason for not supporting amnesty is that first, the way it is, would now instead of punishing criminals will encourage people from other parts of the country to ask for amnesty”

He further opined that if there is a rumour that the dreaded Islamic sect, Boko Haram is asking for amnesty, other groups from other parts of the country will also take up arms against the government and demand amnesty.

He also called on the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to tackle issues in federal universities and leave the state owned universities alone.

He said “there is no law anywhere in the federation that says the tenure of the vice chancellor of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST) be five years. The only law we have is the RSUST law which stipulates that a vice chancellor shall be appointed for the first instance for four years and renewable for three years”.

3,642 ex militants to benefit from third phase of amnesty programme

Federal Government  has agreed  to open the third phase of the Amnesty Programme with 3,642 ex-militants, the Special Adviser to Nigeria President on Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Kingsley Kuku said.

Kuku said this in Arogbo, Ese Odo Local Government Ondo State on Monday while addressing members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) at a rally for the PDP’s candidate for the October 20 governorship poll in the state, Chief Olusola Oke.

Kuku said 3,642 persons would join the 26,368 beneficiaries of the programme, bringing the total number to 30,000.

He said, “The expansion was sequel to the agitation from those that were not considered in the first phases of the programme.

“There is agitation going on in the Niger Delta and I have always being at the fore front of the clamour that the amnesty programme has to close, the boys are unrelenting and the security agencies have collected their arms.

“The only option opened to us is to return their arms. So if we are not going to return their arms, they should be included in the programme one way or the other.

“My office and that of the National Security Adviser have met and forwarded a memo to the President to consider the final inclusion of 3,642 persons to the  current  26,368 to make it 30,000.”

He said the programme was also being expanded to include those people that did not carry arms during the Niger Delta militancy but that were working for the ex- agitators.

Kuku said, “The militants were assisted by informants and other helpers; so the armed ones will not do anything without those helping them. We are talking of a process that even when we have dealt with these categories of people we still have problem, hence the extension.

“We have to include law-abiding citizens of these communities in the programme. Unless we do this, we will be telling the communities that they can only be empowered if they carry arms.

“In order to cancel that message which has been backfiring in this programme, it is important to include these people who are close to some forms of restiveness in their communities.”