Friday, 31 August 2012

News Report: Oil Spill Stretches For Miles By Exxon Nigeria Field

Credit: Reuters

An oil spill near an ExxonMobil oilfield off the southeast coast of Nigeria has spread along the shore for about 15 miles, and locals said it was killing fish they depend on to live.

Mobil Producing Nigeria, a joint venture between ExxonMobil and the state oil firm, said this month it was helping clean up an oil spill near its Ibeno field in Akwa Ibom state, though it did not know the source of the oil.

This Reuters reporter saw that water along the coast was covered with a rainbow-tinted film of oil for miles.
Exxon officials in Nigeria and in Houston could not immediately be reached to provide comment.

Oil spills are common in Nigeria, where enforcement of environmental regulations is lax and armed gangs frequently damage pipelines to steal crude.

In the Iwuokpom-Ibeno fishing community, village elder Iyang Ekong held up one of a load of crabs that a fisherman had caught that morning, only to find they were soaked in toxic oil.

"When I got I home, I realised we can't even eat them because they smell so badly of chemicals. So we're just going to leave them by the waterfront," he said.

Decades of oil production in Nigeria's swampy Niger Delta, where Africa's second-longest river empties into the Atlantic, have turned parts of it into a wasteland of oily water and dead mangroves. Thousands of barrels are spilled every year.

The companies say oil theft by criminal gangs is responsible for most of it.

"Our fishermen noticed the oil on an outing, but the sea has started depositing crude oil along the coast, and it has filled the water," said Samuel Ayode, chairman of the fisherman's association of Akwa Ibom, as he repaired his fishing net on the beach. He added that it started around Aug. 10.

"No one's done any fishing since. The fish have migrated away from the pollution."

A landmark U.N. report in August last year slammed the government and multinational oil companies, particularly Shell , for 50 years of oil pollution that has devastated the Ogoniland region. One community is suing for compensation in a London court.

The government and oil majors have pledged to clean up the region and other parts of the delta, but locals say they have seen no evidence of action yet.

Market trader Grace Eno said fish were scarce since the spill and that fishermen were selling at much higher prices. Shrimps have doubled in price, she said, "so how can I make a profit?"

News Report: OPEC Says “Daily Basket Price Stood At $110.66 A Barrel Thursday, 30 August 2012”

OPEC said today that the price of its basket of twelve crudes stood at 110.66 dollars a barrel yesterday, compared with $109.90 the day before.  

The Oil cartel in a release monitored by chidi opara reports, said that the new OPEC Reference Basket of  Crudes (ORB) is made up of the following:

(1)Saharan Blend (Algeria)
(2)Girassol (Angola)
(3) Oriente (Ecuador)
(4)Iran Heavy (Islamic Republic of Iran)
(5)Basra Light (Iraq)
(6) Kuwait Export (Kuwait)
(7) Es Sider (Libya)
(8) Bonny Light (Nigeria)
(9) Qatar Marine (Qatar)
 (10) Arab Light (Saudi Arabia)
(11) Murban (UAE)
(12) Merey (Venezuela).

U-Report: World Bank President To Pay Maiden Visit To Africa

Jim Yong Kim

Report By: Information Arm Of World Bank

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim will visit Africa in his first official visit outside the U.S. since taking up his new position in July 2012. He will visit Côte d’Ivoire and South Africa September 4-6 to meet with national leaders, government ministers, women leaders and young people, along with business representatives, to discuss how the World Bank Group can better support African countries achieve higher economic growth, significantly reduce poverty, and create more jobs and opportunity for the people of the continent.

“Reducing poverty and creating opportunity for people to succeed are vital to the World Bank Group’s mission and I plan to continue to strengthen our work towards these goals. For this reason I chose Africa for my first official visit as World Bank Group President, recognizing the priority given by the continent’s governments to faster growth and less poverty. In the past, Africa was often defined by its problems, but today, whether it’s empowering women or creating job opportunities for young people or spurring new businesses, Africa is increasingly home to some of the best development ideas and solutions,” said Dr. Kim. “Africa is truly taking off and I look forward to hearing directly from governments and people on the continent on how the Bank can help drive more inclusive development throughout Africa.”

Dr. Kim will also discuss with leaders in both countries the importance of stepped-up regional integration for Africa’s future. The continent loses billions of dollars in potential trade earnings every year because of high trade barriers with neighboring countries, making it is easier for Africa to trade with the rest of the world than with itself.

Joining President Kim will be Makhtar Diop, the World Bank’s Vice President for Africa.

Côte d’Ivoire:
In Côte d’Ivoire, an important economic engine in West Africa, Kim will meet with President Alassane Ouattara and senior cabinet members to discuss the next phase of the country’s development and growth.

Dr. Kim will also meet with women leaders to discuss the importance of women to the country’s efforts to create jobs, open more businesses, and achieve lasting reconciliation and development in the former war-torn country.  The Bank Group President will meet unemployed young people, including former soldiers, who are learning new job skills in a World Bank-financed training program.  Côte d’Ivoire has as many as four million young people who are jobless.

“Côte d’Ivoire’s efforts at peace and reconciliation are important elements for laying the foundation for sustainable development for itself and neighboring countries. I look forward to learning more about how the World Bank can better help fragile and post conflict states transition to stability and development,” said Dr. Kim said.

Dr. Kim will also see first-hand the emerging dynamism of African private sector in a visit to an industrial park for small and medium-sized agri-businesses. Côte d’Ivoire is boosting food production in a region increasingly challenged by hunger and high food prices. Agriculture has broad development impact and plays an essential role in reducing poverty and hunger, while creating jobs and private investment.

South Africa:
In South Africa, Dr. Kim will meet with President Jacob Zuma, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, and cabinet members to discuss how the World Bank Group can support South Africa’s efforts towards inclusive and sustainable growth. He will also exchange ideas with local entrepreneurs on how the private sector is creating opportunities and growth.

“South Africa is a key factor of African growth and a leading voice for the African continent in the G-20 and other global forums.  It is also an important driver for trade and investment,” said Dr. Kim“I look forward to discussing how we can strengthen our partnership for better development prospects, both in the country and across the continent, especially in the vital area of better regional integration.”

Côte d’Ivoire, with a population of 22 million people, has the second largest economy in West Africa. The World Bank Group has currently invested approximately US$ 1 billion in the country’s development programs.
These include a post-conflict assistance project to help young people and ex-combatants reintegrate into the national economy, along with others that improve water and sanitation, governance and public sector reform, and foster the creation of small and medium businesses (SMEs) and a more dynamic private sector.

The World Bank Group’s private sector arm, International Finance Corporation (IFC), focuses on strengthening financial institutions for the growth of SMEs, supporting the country’s agribusinesses and improving the business climate to attract more private investment. The World Bank Group’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) is helping to carry out a bridge project over the Ebrié lagoon in Abidjan which is expected to have significant benefits such as creating jobs and easing traffic congestion. This project is one of the first private sector- led foreign direct investments in the country since the end of the recent conflict.

The World Bank Group’s program in South Africa is still in early stages.  In April 2010, the World Bank approved the US$ 3.75 billion Eskom Investment Support Project to help bring badly needed electricity to homes and businesses in Southern Africa while also pioneering the biggest solar and wind power plants in the developing world

The IFC’s strategy in South Africa focuses on supporting South African companies “going north” and “going global” as well as providing advice and financing to underserved niches of the market; technical assistance to small businesses; and supporting the development of renewable energy.

MIGA provides support to foreign investors looking for opportunities in South Africa and to South African companies wanting to invest abroad. The Bank Group agency has provided support to agribusiness and financial services over the past three years.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Communiqué: Communiqué Issued By The Civil Society Organizations Under The Umbrella Of South-East Human Rights Agenda (SEHRA) After A Meeting Held At Aba, Abia State To Review The State Of Abia At 21

A coalition of human rights and civil society organizations activist met in Aba, Abia State on Monday 27th August 2012 to review and articulate the civil society perspective on the state of Abia State at 21. The group state among other things that:
That Abia state has come a long way as state in Nigeria after its creation in 1991 by the government of Gen. Ibrahim Babanigida.
That the state has had several military and civilian led government with the current occupier being Chief T.A.Orji (2007-till date)
That the state has produced many personalities that have served and serving the nation in various capacities and has made meaningful contributions to the socio-economic growth of the country.
That Abia state is also among the oil producing states of the Niger Delta as well as beneficiary of derivation accruing there from.
The group further stated that Abia State has two Major cities of umuahia and Abia: the former being the capital city while the latter is the commercial nerve center of the state and indeed southeast of Nigeria.

Southeast human rights Agenda held that in spite of the relative age of the state and resources available to it both material and financial she has been adjudged as one of the least developing state in terms of human capital development and infrastructure like debilitating states of roads at Aba

The state with the high record of human rights violations in terms of social, economic and political rights typified by the sacking of non-indigenes from the state civil service, backlog of unpaid salaries of the civil servants, nonpayment of pensions and gratuities of retired senior citizens of the state.

The state with very high level of fiscal indiscipline and non-implementation of budgetary provision.
State with notorious use of the state apparatus in exploiting the already inflicted citizenry through illegal taxation especially the suffering Aba traders.

A state known to have low tolerance for the opposition and a high record of scuttling the freedom of information and expression regime and media independence which is the beauty of Democracy.

South-East Human Rights Agenda resolved that well-meaning Nigerians such as Hon. Minister for Finance Mrs. Okonjo iweala should distance herself from receiving awards/Title from non-performing government of Chief T.A.Orji because such title/Awards will definitely erode her hard earned reputation and pedigree.

The Group further advised the Governor to immediately resign for his inability to perform the functions of his office in accordance with section 17 sub sections 3, and section 20 and 21 of the 1999 constitution as Amended or mass action for Abuse of office.

Signed; By The Members Of The Communique Drafting Committee:

1. Barr. Slyvanus Ibechido
   Human Rights lawyer, Umuahia

2. ChineduNwukwu
    Save Abia Now (SAN)

3. Concerned Abia Citizens, Lagos State Chapter

4. Chibuike Allison
   Society for Economic Rights & Justice (SERJ)

5. Comrade Nelson NnannaNwafor
    Foundation for Environmental Rights, Advocacy & Development (FENRAD)

7. Bright-ChuksOgbonna
    Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), Abia State

9. Chukwudiozor
   Civil Liberties Organization, Abia State

10. Comrade Godson Umelo-Ibekwe
     Center for Popular Participation & Local Initiative (CENPPALIN)

11. Comrade EmenikeOgba
    State secretary, Campaign for Democracy (CD)
Abia state chapter

12. Comrade Chuka. P. Okoye
       South East Youths for Development & Good Governance (SEYDGG)

13. Eusebio Substance
       Save Nigeria Group
Abia State Chapter

14. Comrade NwaforEbi Eke
      National Publicity Secretary
      National Youth Alliance for Democracy (NYAD)

15. Comrade Henry Nwaigwe
       Movement for Peace & Development in Niger-Delta (MPDND)
Abia State Chapter

16. Comrade OnyekachiUche
       Zero Corruption Coalition (ZCC)

17. Onyemachi Oji
       Human Rights & Conflict Resolution Centre

18. Mike Opia
       Centre for Development & Civic Education.

19. ChigozieUbani
Abia Indigene &Public Analyst

20. AdinduChinwuba
      South-East Budget Network, Abia State Chapter

Videonews: Mitt Romney's Nomination

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

U-Report: Campaign For Democracy Laments Lack Of Federal Projects In Anambra State To Be Commissioned By President Jonathan

Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin; President, Campaign For Democracy
Report By: Dede Uzor A. Uzor
The Campaign for Democracy (CD), South-East region has lamented the lack of Federal Government projects to be commissioned by President Goodluck Jonathan during his working tour to Anambra on Thursday, August 30.
This was contained in a statement issued by the group to newsmen in Onitsha in Anambra State.
The statement was signed by Dede Uzor A. Uzor and Dr. Jerry Chukwuokolo, who are the chairman and secretary of the South-East region of the group respectively.
The statement said that the president had disappointed over 70 million South-Easterners who massively voted him during the 2011 presidential election.
The statement further frowns at the on-going work at the Onitsha River Port, which had not reached up to 50 per cent completion.
``We wonder what he is going to commission outside the private companies of some individuals and groups like SAB-Miller Breweries, Orange Drugs soap factory, Kristoral Nigeria Limited among others’’.  
``We are also surprise that up till now there had been no feasibility study on the promise 2nd Niger Bridge and it seems to us that it is a mirage again.
``About three presidents had promised the South-Easterners the building of the 2nd  Niger Bridge, even former President Olusegun Obasanjo also commissioned it without a single record of the commissioning in government files,’’ it said.
The statement also decried the deplorable condition of the South-East Federal roads; which is like Somalian roads, with deadly potholes and extended ditches.
``The road condition had killed more people than the Boko Haram insurgency in the Northern part of the country.
``Statistics shows that out of the about 8,750 kilometres of federal truck A roads in the country; the South-East have about 3,480 kilometres.
``And only about 980 kilometres are motorable, while over 2,500 kilometres are death traps and near-to-hell ditches.
``In the last two years, from Feb. 2010 to date over 1,223 innocent lives had been lost as a result of ghastly motor accidents associated with bad roads within the zone.
``The bad road had claimed 82 lives, which included 20 school children going to excursion in Sept. 2010 when a fuel-laden tanker exploded at Odumodu-Umunya junction along the Onitsha-Awka-Enugu road,’’ it said.
The statement said that the group was calling on the president to declare state-of-emergency on South-East roads especially the Onitsha-Awka-Enugu road.
``A journey, which should take less than 30 minutes from Onitsha to Awka, would how consume about 3 hours and 20 minutes due to the deplorable condition of the road,’’ it said.
It also called for the re-awarding of the abandoned federal road at Owerri-Amaifeke-Mgbee-Orlu road, which also leads to Anambra; adding that the road and Ferdinand Oil factory had been submerged by erosion.
``The road was abandoned in 1983 by Niger Cat and BCC construction companies,’’ it said.