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Buhari Alone Will Decide If COVID-19 Lockdown Will Be Extended, Says SGF

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Buhari Alone Will Decide If COVID-19 Lockdown Will Be Extended, Says SGF

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, says the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 lacks the power to end or extend the lockdown imposed by the President.

Responding to questions from reporters on Tuesday, the SGF who is also the chairman of the task force stated that only President Muhammadu Buhari could take a decision on the issue.

“He (Buhari) and he alone will make the decision as to when the lockdown would either be extended or it will stop at the expiration of 14 days,” Mustapha said at the briefing of the task force which held in Lagos.

He, however, noted that the President would have to review the recommendations of the team set up to monitor the various measures to curtail the spread of coronavirus and cushion its effects on the people.

The SGF explained that members of the task force were in Lagos to inspect the isolation centres in the state, as part of the responsibilities of the team.

He said, “We are looking at the objectives that were set when the lockdown or the quarantine declaration was signed by the President, and subsequently by several other states.

“Before the end of the week, we will do an evaluation and part of the trip here was to do an evaluation to see how the objectives that were set were being met and at the end of that exercise, we would have the responsibility of reporting to Mr President.”

Mustapha recalled that the President had in his declaration explained how he arrived at the decision to impose the lockdown in the two states and the FCT.

According to him, President Buhari took the decision on the advice of the Minister of Health and the health experts when eventually led to the signing of the Quarantine Declaration 2020.

The SFG said at the end of the task force’s evaluation, some recommendations and advice would be presented to the President after which the Nigerian leaders would take the next step of action.

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NUPRC Reiterates Commitment To Tackle Oil Spills

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The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) has reiterated its commitment to tackle oil spills in the Nigerian oil and gas sector in fulfillment of its regulatory mandate as enshrined in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021, Petroleum Act and the Petroleum (Drilling and Production) Regulations and subsidiary legislations.

This assurance has become necessary following concerns trailing the oil spill incident of November 3, 2021 which occurred at the Santa Barbara Well 1 operated by AITEO Eastern Exploration and Production Company in Bassambiri, Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

The Commission will continue to monitor the site situation and guide the operator until the spill and its attendant problems are completely addressed. This includes but is not limited to implementing all effective physical and engineering solutions to the incident, managing the safety of the response providers and people in the neighbouring communities and educating the general public on the site situation periodically.

In specific terms, the Commission will ensure that the pressure from the well is stopped to put an end to the oil release, the already released oil is appropriately contained and skimmed off as it is being released, a joint investigation visit (JIV) is conducted as soon as it is safe to do so, cleanup and restorative actions are done immediately after the spill is stopped and compensation paid to affected communities timeously and in accordance with the law.

We appreciate the concerns raised in different quarters following the incident and wish to inform the general public and our stakeholders that the Commission has taken all necessary steps alongside the relevant stakeholders to ensure that the situation does not degenerate further. Remediation actions are already on-going to ensure that the spill is contained and the situation is brought under effective control.

It was confirmed that upon receiving the report of the incident, the operator, AITEO mobilized immediately for preliminary assessment of site conditions and based on the specific site requirements, positioned containment booms to isolate the spill source and prevent oil from spreading further; while also cordoning off the area to prevent injuries to people and fire from any possible ignition source.

It also called in Boots and Coots, a well disaster management company, from the US, to cap the pressure and stop further spill. Clean Nigeria Associates (CNA) was also engaged to contain and recover the oil as well as manage and protect the immediate environment. The company has continually updated the NUPRC on site conditions and their action steps.

On receipt of reports of the incident by the Commission, our field operations team were promptly mobilised and are currently on ground for regulatory oversight assessment to determine probable cause(s) and to ensure all response actions are the most appropriate and effective to return normalcy in the shortest possible time.

Apart from checking to confirm that the company is carrying out the necessary response measures to contain the situation, the Commission has made its officials available to participate in containment procedures that are considered safe by the experts at this moment. Initial spill report has been received and appropriately reviewed and documented while updates are received diligently.

When the incident occurred, the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and the Commission’s Chief Executive visited communities around the spill site to brief them of safety measures already put in place as well as assure them of the commitment of the Commission to sort out the situation in the shortest possible time. Relevant and verified information about the development are also being released routinely to the public to avoid misinformation.

In line with our statutory responsibility, operations at the site is under the supervision of the Commission and efforts are on-going to contain the spill, stop the flow, control and clean-up the spill. Currently the situation has been brought under control while follow-up activities have commenced and progressing as planned.

Our preliminary investigations have revealed that there were no fatalities in the incident. However crude oil and gas were seen gushing out from valves close to the top of the wellhead at high pressure but without any associated fire. The water surrounding the wellhead was polluted with oil. The affected well had been previously shut-in and therefore not producing at the time of incident.

While the incident is to be treated with care and the location approached with caution by only those authorized to do so, the Commission wishes to reiterate that there is no cause for panic. This is because on a routine basis and under the supervision of relevant teams from the Commission, all petroleum companies are mandated to conduct drill exercises to adequately prepare for all eventualities.

Under this arrangement, such companies are required to document all necessary response actions in their Oil Spill Contingency Plan which is routinely and painstakingly reviewed by the Commission; and which is to be activated for response in emergency situations. Details of the regulatory requirements are contained in the PIA 2021 and further enunciated in the EGASPIN 2018. These form the basis of our strategic focus to achieve zero incidences going forward.

As part of our strategic plan for incident management, the operators have been mandated to activate Environmental Management Plans (EMP) which includes Environmental Compliance Monitoring (ECM) among other response actions. At the end of the clean-up exercise, the Commission will supervise all the operators to conduct Post Impact Assessment (PIA) studies to determine the far-reaching effects of the spills, with a view to restoring all impacted environment as near as possible to their pristine state.

The general public and all stakeholders are hereby assured that the Commission is taking every necessary action to ensure that the spills and associated incidents have the least impact on the affected communities and the environment.

SIGNED
Engr. Gbenga Komolafe
Commission’s Chief Executive

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Bandits Kill Two, Kidnap Over 20 In Fresh Kaduna Village Attack

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At least two people have been killed and over 20 others abducted by bandits who attacked Unguwan Gimbiya community in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

The assault took place in the early hours of Friday. Confirming the incident to Channels Television, the spokesman of the Kaduna State Police Command, Mohammed Jalige said the bandits stormed the community at about 1 am.

According to Jalige, the gunmen opened fire while the residents were still asleep, shooting sporadically, killing two people in the process.

He also stated that the bandits later took away 20 residents of the community before the arrival of security operatives.

The police spokesman further disclosed that a combined team of security operatives have launched a manhunt for the kidnappers with a view to rescuing the kidnapped victims and arresting the criminals.

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Synagogue Church Reopens Sunday, Set To Begin Live Service

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After 21 months of protracted closure and public suspense on reopening for Church Services at The Synagogue Church Of All Nations SCOAN, life will begin to beam again as from Sunday, December 5, 2021, at its Ikotun-Egbe, Segun Irefin sprawling headquarters in Lagos as its gate would be open for its global members who have all been yearning for the church to begin the usual live service programs.

This was contained in a press statement from the church’s Leadership on Friday.

Late Prophet T B Joshua, the Founder and General Overseer of the Ministry had in March 2020 suspended the regular Sunday Services following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic which almost paralyzed the whole world.

Till his passing on June 5 this year, the church remained under lock unlike other churches who had commenced services since last year, saying: “he was yet to hear from God on church reopening, we will only reopen when we receive an instruction to do so from God”.

There has been a lot of pressure from members globally for the church to resume services after the passing of the prophet. However, the church’s new leadership under Prophetess Mrs Evelyn TBJoshua maintained the position of her late husband that “the reopening of the church for normal Sunday services will only commence with the intimation of the holy spirit”.

They said The SCOAN has its own fair shares of the usual leadership and succession tussles in human affairs, an avoidable situation especially in The SCOAN but for the misguided few disciples, all of whom have now retraced their wrong steps.

A strong church member, Mr Babs Olorunwa, on the reopening said the church today has been thoroughly reorganized for better performance.

She said: “The hand of God remains very strong upon this church with the few prayer gatherings I witnessed on the church mountain. I tell you categorically, God would never forsake His own. Synagogue Church Of All Nations is alive. Glory be to God.”

They noted that the church’s resumption now is a response to the call of the Holy Spirit that the services begin as a manifestation of God’s anointing towards the glorification of His Mighty Name at this blessed, festive season.

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