The joy that greeted the revival of the Kaduna Refinery and Petro-Chemical Company, KRPC, after years of infrastructural decay may soon be over, as the relationship between the organisation and host communities is turning sour. AZA MSUE, writes that the indiscriminate gas flaring from the refinery is turning a major health hazard to the residents who are now fleeing the area in record numbers.
It is on record that Nigeria is the largest oil producing country in Africa and sixth largest in the world. More than 40 years after some oil refineries were built; gas flaring still persists in spite of the known health and environmental hazards.
Communities within the vicinity of the Kaduna Refinery and Petrochemical Company, a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, are not finding life easy due to indiscriminate gas flaring. Many residents are reportedly deserting their homes for safer areas.
Residents of Kaduna, especially those living in their ancestral homes close to the refinery are raising alarm over the health hazard posed by this action. According to them, the poisonous gases emitted from the refinery chimneys hover dangerously in the air to more than 10 kilometre radius, thereby affecting many of the residents in the southern axis of the city.
National Mirror observed that apart from the gas emissions, host communities like Rido among others, have remained among the poorest in Kaduna and environs, even when the refinery had created many multi-millionaires. Sadly, many of the indigenes live in slums and abject squalor and always in the constant shadow of unrelenting noxious fumes.
Gas flaring is not peculiar to Kaduna; as it is more common in the Niger-Delta region where cities like Warri and Port Harcourt also experience the same hazards. Experts say that Nigeria currently flares 1.3 and 1.4 billion cubic feet of gas per day. This is only second to Russia that flares three times that of Nigeria.
They claim that the damage to land, water habitat and humans due to constant gas flaring cannot be quantified. They say that even when adequate research has not been concluded on the effects of gas flaring on humans, the negative consequences on those living close to oil refineries are all too visible. The signs and symptoms include vomiting, cancer, lung diseases and asthma.
They added that the emitted gases include nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, sulphuric acid and nitrogen oxide, which combine with rainfall to cause damages to the soil.
Experts have called on the Nigerian government to allocate enough funds to institutions for comprehensive research on such gases. The concern on gas flaring and environmental degradation has led to mass movements and activism, especially in the Niger-Delta region of the country.
The gas being flared is a constituent of crude oil which experts say can be efficiently utilised as a valuable source of energy, but is continuously spewed into the atmosphere thereby worsening the impact of global warming.
Even when subsequent administrations in the country have passed laws and issued deadlines for the cessation of gas flaring, oil firms have rather opted to paying fines rather than adopting modern technologies to end the menace.
A report by Justice in Nigeria Now, JINN, an NGO, said since 1969, the deadline to end gas flaring has been shifted for more than five times. In Nigeria, where Shell has been burning off natural gas from their oil developments for 25 years, local people report a long list of environmental damages in addition to the health effects that they are suffering.
According to reports, gas flaring is related to acid rain, crop failure, water pollution and a decline in the populations of many species of animals. The chemicals and toxins that are released from the burning gas inhabit the soil, water and plants of the surrounding areas.
Unlike in more developed areas, where gas is flared between 50 and 75 meters above ground level to make the damage less noticeable by dispersing it, the flares in Nigeria are at ground level In 1995, renowned writer and activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa was executed by the military administration of the late Gen. Sanni Abacha for oil related activism. Despite the hue and cry, the government has not taken notable steps at impressing on the oil companies to stop the practice.
Early last year, a United Nations Environmental Programme Report, indicted the Shell Oil Company operating in the Niger-Delta for contaminating the soil and environment of Ogoniland in the past 50 years. A resident, Shehu Garba who lives close to the refinery, said the daily gas flaring has saturated the area with poisonous fumes which are now posing serious health problems to them.
Garba said: “People working there are big men and women driving exotic cars and using other expensive gadgets but abandoning us to die in our poor ancestral homes. We allowed the government to establish a refinery here, but not to force us out of this place. Our children are not employed in the refinery. Incidentally, the only ones benefitting in our community are the leaders who are not interested in our welfare.
The continuous emission of carbon dioxide is causing skin cancer among the residents. In the morning, the gas always envelops the area like a dangerous mist, making it difficult for us to breathe; it is also the same in the evening. The odours are very pungent and overwhelming to bear. If we are eating, it is like we are swallowing the substance alongside the food.”
Another resident in Malaban Rido, Mr. Joseph Anka, expressed fear that if urgent measures are not taken by the authorities, the residents might not be able to bear it for long. “We are calling on the government and refinery management to take immediate measures to stop this gas flaring, because what we are inhaling is poisonous and is capable of killing us all.
Some tenants in this community have left, leaving only the landlords with no place to go”. The Managing Director of KRPC, Bolanle Ayodele, who confirmed the hazardous practice of gas flaring, said they are concerned with the effects of this on humans and the environment, and are working at minimising the black smoke emission.
But, Ayodele said it was not possible for the company to stop gas flaring completely. “We are aware of this problem and very soon, will correct it because we are also concerned about the environment.”
Just some months ago, the Minister of Environment, Hajiya Hadiza Ibrahim Mailafiya visited the Kaduna Refinery and Petrochemical Company and set up a committee to investigate the alleged toxic waste dumped in Rido community, which was said to have led to the death of many birds in the area.
Some media report had it that toxic waste dumped by the KRPC had caused the deaths of three persons and hundreds of chickens close to where the sludge was dumped in the community.
However, the Principal Scientific Officer of Kaduna Environmental Protection Agency, KEPA, Maureen Oyedoja said the waste was not toxic, which was as the result of the laboratory test carried out.
“We arrived at KRPC with the Director of Laboratory Services and went to the dump site in question where samples were collected from three different spots into bags, and they are currently being analysed in our laboratory.
So far, tests showed there was nothing toxic about the waste. For the meantime, we are still waiting for the final chemical analysis. And because of crisis in Kaduna, our staff are reluctant to come to work, that is why the final result is yet to come out”.
The minister who was represented by the Deputy Director, Pollution Control and Environmental Health, in the ministry, Kasim Bayero said, the need to embark on fact finding mission was because of the enormity of the allegation concerning the toxic waste which was alleged to have affected humans and animals.
According to the minister, “It is always good to investigate issues properly and that is why we are here because sometimes when you read these things in newspapers, they may not be grievous as they are being presented, and sometimes they could even be more serious.
“But where it raises serious concerns, it has to be followed up to know the actual situation, so that Nigerians can be informed on what is actually going on. So, this is essentially why we are here. “As earlier said, the fact finding mission is a direct instruction from the Minister of Environment.
So far, we have undertaken a tour of the affected places. We went to where the waste was initially dumped, and where it was evacuated to. We also visited Rido community to meet the village head, we heard his own views, and all we gathered, will appear in our report including the recommendations and we hope it will take off from there.”
“Some of the actions taken following newspaper reports particularly on the KRPC and KEPA are those that are geared towards ensuring that the problem is resolved, particularly for the fact that the environmental was at the site, took samples, analysed them in the laboratory, and we have seen nothing toxic for now, even though we were told that the chemical analysis is yet to be completed.
We hope that by the time it is out, it would give a clear picture of the nature of the waste. But looking at it, they are more of office and domestic materials, which are not dangerous to health. But in the end, the laboratory analysis will determine the next line of action”. Ayodele said the waste dumped by the company was more of solids than toxic as has been reported. “We are happy that you are here to see the so called waste dump.
I want to say that reports have wrongly referred to it as toxic waste, it was solid waste generated from within our system, comprising broken furniture, stationeries and cooking materials.
“These are some of the things we have in our temporary dump site over the years.” The Kaduna State House of Assembly Committee Chairman on Environment, Mallam Haruna Inuwa who visited the company over the alleged toxic waste, commended the KRPC for the various support projects such as primary schools blocks, clinic, borehole and toilets for the community, stressing that the company should not be discouraged from providing social amenities to the people, as there are still more to be done for the host community.
KRPC had recently embarked on vaccination exercise of more than 5,000 children and adults against killer measles and meningitis in Rido community. Speaking during the exercise, KRPC Public Affairs Manager, Abdullahi Idris, said the company would not relent in its drive to provide Social Corporate Responsibility, CSR, to its host communities for peaceful coexistence and development.
He said that apart from its youth empowerment and host communities electrification programmes, the company’s desire to eradicate measles which has become a menace in the various communities, especially during dry season would remain a priority. Idris, said the KRPC has constructed school blocks, health centre as well as boreholes at various locations to alleviate the host communities’ sufferings.
Source: National Mirror Newspaper
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Military, Police Ring Abuja to Forestall Boko Haram Attack
•Deploy more personnel as army chief vows to wipe out terror group
•Security beefed up at N’Assembly
Deji Elumoye and Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
Abuja, Nigeria’s seat of power, is under a massive security cordon following threats of attacks by insurgents and the increasing wave of banditry in the contiguous states of Kaduna, Kogi, Nasarawa and Niger States, THISDAY’s investigation has revealed.
There has been a wave of kidnappings in the outskirts of the federal capital, notably Pegi, Tuganmaje and Kuje among others, which the police have battled in recent times.
The security situation in and around the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) was heightened by the pronouncement of the Niger State Governor, Mr. Sani Bello, that Boko Haram fighters who he said sacked 50 villages in the state and hoisted the terror group’s flag, were about two hours drive away from the FCT.
Security has also been beefed up at the National Assembly as operatives, yesterday, thoroughly screened every vehicle approaching the National Assembly complex in Abuja.
The deteriorating security situation nationwide prompted the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, to warn that the 2023 general election may not hold, demanding the declaration of a state of emergency as well as the convocation of a national conference.
However, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, yesterday restated the Nigerian Army’s determination to annihilate Boko Haram.
But the Governor of Katsina State, Hon. Bello Masari, cautioned against declaring a state of emergency, saying doing so isn’t the solution to combat the security challenges facing the country.
The security of the nation’s airports was also in focus yesterday as the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) said there was no threat to them.
THISDAY’s investigations showed increased presence of troops, police, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) personnel and intelligence operatives at the three strategic entrances to the city notably, Keffi, Zuba and Gwagwalada.
More checkpoints were also mounted around Gwagwalada and Keffi.
THISDAY also observed increased intelligence deployment at the entrance and the borders of FCT with contiguous states.
Beyond the borders, there were more deployments and police patrols inside the city and increased intelligence deployments as well.
Security sources told THISDAY: “There are deployments here and there but they are routine. Alertness is key to a secure environment.”
It was also learnt that security agencies were involved in frenzied meetings throughout yesterday.
The meetings, coordinated by the office of the Chief of Defence Staff under the new joint operational strategy of the armed forces, were aimed at coordinating a joint response to possible threats of attack to the FCT.
“I understand the security teams have been meeting for some days now and if you look around you, you will notice that there are increasing patrols and numbers of security personnel. The threats are not been taken lightly,” a source said.
National Assembly workers, lawmakers and visitors also had a harrowing experience accessing the legislative complex due to heightened security in the area.
Security operatives thoroughly screened every vehicle approaching the National Assembly complex in Abuja, impeding both human and vehicular traffic.
The Sergeant-at-arm of the National Assembly and other security agencies supervised the operations, leading to huge traffic build-up inside the complex.
Legislative staff, visitors and lawmakers were seen patiently waiting for their cars to be searched so that they could go ahead with the business of the day.
Some staff and visitors at some point got tired of waiting and were seen alighting from their cars to trek from the gate to the complex.
Meanwhile, the ONSA has said there is no threat to the nation’s airports.
A statement by the Head of Strategic Communication, Mr. Zachari Usman, said the reports of threats to the airports were an internal correspondence of security threat assessment misconstrued as security threat to the airports.
PDP Demands State of Emergency
In a related development, the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, yesterday demanded the declaration of a state of emergency, warning that the 2023 general election might not hold if the federal government failed to tackle insecurity.
He called on the federal government to summon a national conference to address the spike in insecurity.
Secondus added that the national caucus of the party will meet today to discuss the state of the nation.
Addressing members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) in Abuja, Secondus said: “We are worried Abuja is not even safe. It is no longer politics. We got alert of plots to bomb and burn down our airports.
“We urge the federal government to declare a national state of emergency in security. There is the need to call a national conference to discuss the insecurity in the country.
“There may not be any election in 2023 in Nigeria due to insecurity. This government must listen to the people. The Buhari government should call a national confab to discuss security and state of the nation. It is no longer politics. This time we are not playing politics. Let’s keep politics aside and move the nation forward.”
He said the country had been grounded, regretting that there had been no matching response from the federal government.
Secondus said in the past, terrorism in the North was confined to the North-east, but with the report of Boko Haram occupying villages in Niger State, terrorism had spread to the North-central
“Herdsmen are also menacing in the West; gunmen causing havoc in the East; and the militants in the South; all killing, looting, raping, maiming and burning down homes. The situation is bad; Nigerians all over are living in fear,” he said.
The Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, said the problem of Nigeria was outside of the PDP headquarters, while pledging the support of the Senate to the declaration of state of emergency in security.
Abaribe said he deliberately decided not to speak on the floor of the Senate but to allow the APC senators to speak so as to avoid being accused of giving a partisan colouration to the issue of insecurity.
He stated that only electoral reforms would give victory to the opposition party in the 2023 general election and ensure a democratic defeat of the APC-led federal government.
Also, the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, commended the NEC and the PDP leadership for their collective efforts at resolving the House leadership crisis.
The NEC meeting adopted the position of Secondus, calling on the federal government to convoke a national conference to discuss the state of insecurity in the country, according to a communiqué read by the National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan.
Army Chief Vows to Wipe Out Boko Haram
The army yesterday reiterated its commitment to wipe out Boko Haram.
Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, told reporters in Maiduguri, Borno State that Boko Haram had been defeated in many encounters and would continue to be defeated until it’s annihilated from Nigeria.
“We will take on Boko Haram decisively, and we are committed to the focus of the operations, which is the total annihilation of Boko Haram from Nigeria,” he said.
The COAS, who was visiting the headquarters of Operation Lafiya Dole in Maiduguri for the fifth time since his appointment four months ago, said the visit was to boost the morale of the troops, reassure them and listen to any issues affecting them.
Earlier, the Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj. Gen. Farouq Yahaya, lauded the visit, which he said had continued to boost the morale of the troops.
“We are honoured, we are grateful, we are encouraged by those visits. You provided us guidance, logistics and other things we required. We are most grateful for those visits,” Yahaya said.
State of Emergency Won’t Solve Security Challenges, Says Masari
Katsina State Governor, Hon. Aminu Masari, has, however, said declaration of a state of emergency won’t solve the security challenges facing the nation.
Masari, who spoke yesterday with journalists after meeting with the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari at the State House, Abuja stated that he was against the recent call by the House of Representatives for the declaration of a state of emergency in the security sector as it would not solve the problem.
According to him, declaring a state of emergency will not achieve the desired effect as the security structure and personnel to be used to execute the emergency are already overstretched in a bid to safeguard lives and property.
Sourced From: THISDAYLIVE
Nigeria records 55 new COVID-19 infections, total now 165,110
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has recorded 62 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 165,110. The NCDC disclosed this on its official Twitter handle on Friday. “55 new cases of #COVID19Nigeria; Lagos-21, Yobe-19, Ogun-6, Akwa Ibom-3, Kaduna-2, Plateau-2, FCT-1, Rivers-1.” YOU SHOULD NOT MISS THESE HEADLINES FROM NIGERIAN TRIBUNE COVID-19: Nigeria Recorded […]
Sourced From: Tribune Online
Attacks on S’East: We must explore all options of negotiation — Stakeholders urge Igbo
By Olasunkanmi Akoni
The people of the South East region have been urged to explore the power of negotiation and mutual settlement in the face of ongoing killings and security challenges in the zone because the east can not afford another war at present.
Stakeholders from the South-East geo-political zone made the remark on Thursday, at the unveiling of the book, “Igbo, 50 years after Biafra,” written by Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Drainage Services, Joe Igbokwe, held at Ikeja G.R.A.
Speaking at the unveiling of the book, the chairman of the occasion, Mr. Cutis Adigba,
urged the people of the South-East to learn to build bridges across the country, so that they can realise their ambition of producing the next president of Nigeria.
Adigba urged leaders from the zone to discourage the move and agitation by some youths in the South East to go to war and secede out of Nigeria.
He said that Igbo have always found it difficult to rule Nigeria because they refused to build bridges across the six geo-political zones that made up Nigeria.
While describing the agitation as uncalled for, Adigba noted that after two decades that Nigeria returned to civil rule, the Igbo has predominantly identified with only one political party.
He maintained that remaining in one party can not advance the cause of the people of South East and cannot make them realise their objective of producing an Igbo man as president.
He maintained that the publisher of the book, Igbokwe played politics outside his state, so that the Igbo race can be integrated with one another race.
Adigba said the failure of the Igbo to reintegrate with other ethnic nationalities politically was responsible for the retrogression of the race in Nigerian politics.
Igbokwe, also addressing guests on the occasion, maintained that the Igbo are not advancing politically because they refused to be integrated into National politics, lamenting that, despite their success in business, they are not successful in playing politics at the national level.
Corroborating Dimgba, Igbokwe noted that there was the need for the Igbo people to stand up and build bridges so that their objective of producing the next president of Nigeria could be realised.
According to him: “I have decided to raise my voice, I hope my people will hear me while trying to quell the effect of the war, our people are spoiling for another war, mayhem is being unleashed in Igbo land, and there is palpable fear.
“Those who could speak have lost their voice, mindful of the consequences of their actions, I am calling on all Igbo leaders to speak up because all actions carry consequences, consequences of the silence will be too dastardly to sustain.
“Those silently supporting the wild wind should be careful or else they hand over to their children,” he said.
Igbokwe urged those spoiling for war to jettison their plan and embrace dialogue, urging them to learn from the South West region that despite the challenges faced after the annulment of the June 12, 1993, election, they did not go to war, and the region had the opportunity of producing two of her sons for presidential position in 1999.
“You have to build bridges to become president of Nigeria, but it is unfortunate the Igbo are burning bridges.”
Speaking at the event, Chief Uche Dimgba who is the coordinator of Igbo in All Progressives Congress, APC in Lagos, described Igbokwe as “a Frank, fearless and reliable leader, who based his views on issues and stand by his opinions, and we the Igbo have confidence in him and believe he can lead us aright.”
“He is a leader we Igbo believe in and we will follow him. If he can serve all the governors produced in Lagos State since 1999, he is a better man to follow because he possesses all the experience that can be of benefit to Igbo both at home and in the diaspora.”
The post Attacks on S’East: We must explore all options of negotiation — Stakeholders urge Igbo appeared first on Vanguard News.
Sourced From: Vanguard News
Insecurity: Lagos bans occupation of abandoned buildings
The government said that no worker should stay back beyond 6:00 p.m. within premises of buildings undergoing construction.
The post Insecurity: Lagos bans occupation of abandoned buildings appeared first on Premium Times Nigeria.
Sourced From: Premium Times Nigeria
Nigeria records 55 new COVID-19 infections, total now 165,110
Military, Police Ring Abuja to Forestall Boko Haram Attack
UFC: Usman gets N584m after beating Masvidal
Insecurity: Lagos bans occupation of abandoned buildings
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