The Federal Government has cautioned producers and marketers of chemical weapons against allowing it into the hands of non-state actors.
Mr Gabriel Aduda, the Permanent Secretary, Political and Economic Affairs in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, gave the warning at a sensitisation workshop in Kano on Tuesday.
The workshop was organised by the federal government to educate major stakeholders in the North west on sound management of chemicals as part of measures to prevent its getting into wrong hands.
Aduda said the workshop was also aimed at promoting awareness and safety, by strengthening the understanding of stakeholders on proper handling of chemical and biological weapons.
Aduda said chemical producers, marketers, transporters and users, as well as regulatory authorities involved in implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) participated in the workshop.
”The objective among others, is to raise awareness among relevant national stakeholders and representatives of the chemical industries in the North -West zone on the CWC and its national implementation in relation to the chemical industry.
“Ensure that chemical weapons imported into the country are used for the purposes for which they are meant and government also makes sure that these chemicals do not get into the hands of non-state actors; it will have great repercussions,” he explained.
The permanent secretary said similar workshops were held in Lagos and Port harcourt.
Some of the participants who spoke to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) commeded the federal government for organising the event, which they said had enhance their knowledge on how best to handle chemical weapons. They urged the government to evolve a National Action Plan to guide and regulate the use and threat of chemical weapons in Nigeria.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) with its joint venture partners, Shell Production Development Company (SPDC) and Belema OIL, have resolved the dispute on the operation of Oil Mining Lease (OML) 25.
The group at the signing of the dispute closure agreement in Abuja, on Tuesday agreed that operations at the oil well would take off in the next 10 days.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Slyva, at the event thanked all the parties stressing that the step signified the beginning of a new chapter in the industry.
Slyva said that the aim of the ministry was to ensure an oil industry that worked and operated in harmony and in unity.
“When I came into the office, the issue was one of the problems that came on the table; there were so many letters from communities complaining about the problem.
“I just decided to invite Shell to hear its own part of the story but fortunately, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kyari, had intervened in the matter.
“So, I have the honour now to thank him for this great intervention.
“And also thank Shell and Belema for cooperating to ensure that there is closure to this matter that has bedeviled the industry for so long,” he said.
He said that one of the aims of the Petroleum Industry was to ensure zero loss in the industry and production got to destination.
According to him, zero loss is not loses from pipelines but lost to the country, especially with assets that can produce but for some reasons bug down by leakage issues.
He said that the biggest beneficiaries of the agreement were not the companies but the communities, especially those in Belema who had been suffering since the beginning of the dispute.
The minister commended the NNPC, Shell and the Belema Oil for agreeing to resolve the dispute.
Earlier, Kyari said that the development was a big achievement for the corporation.
The NNPC boss said that the dispute around the OML 25 had been on for over two years, adding that the end result was that communities lacked peace with the disruption of property and social lives in the area.
“For us, the most important aspect of the dispute resolution is that, at least, the communities will have their peace restored.
“At the back of it, you are aware that there is a complete stoppage of petroleum operations around the OML 25 and adjoining blocks.
“What this means is shut down of production of over 35,000 barely of oil every day in the last two years and that is enormous economic loss for all stakeholders, Nigeria and the communities.
“This is why we engaged all stakeholders and we are happy to announce today that the closure has been obtained.
“It means that the communities will have their peace back and also commence operations with the OML 25.
“That means that there is prosperity for the community and also some returns to shareholders of Belema Oil, NNPC and Nigeria at large,” he said.
Kyari commended the Belema Oil for its role and assured full engagement of the communities, adding that all the parties would be taken care of.
The NNPC boss also said that all opportunities found would be shared equitably for overall peace and development of the country.
He commended the minister of petroleum for his support and assured that the operations would soon commence in the area.
Also, the Managing Director of Shell, Osagie Okunbor said that the dispute had been for two years but “we are happy that we concluded on resolving the dispute.
“I want to convey my deep appreciation to the GMD of NNPC for the intervention to bring this issue to a closure.
“When dispute of this nature happens, every one suffers, especially the immediate family, recipient community not to talk of investors like ourselves.
“We have been in discussion with communities and Belema Oil and sometimes under the auspices of government.
“We are very pleased that we have finally brought this to a conclusion, to work on some agreements with communities to achieve speedy return to operations on that facility,” he said.
He said that to meet the plight of the host communities, Shell had paid in the Joint MOU account, over N300 million to restart community efforts it had not done because of some issues.
Okunbor said that under the joint MOU framework, monies would be paid into communities’ accounts to execute projects to ensure that employment opportunities get to the people.
He noted that SPDC remained the operator of the OML 25 but assured commitment to ensure that all parties would derive from the benefits.
The President and Founder, Belema OIL, Mr Jack Rich-Tein, also said the agreement signaled that stakeholders shared common interest and value of lifting the country high and strengthening relationships.
“What has been resolved is that, we have agreed to work together, SPDC and Belema Oil.
“Belema Oil is now going to be able to create a lot of employment opportunities for the communities under operations and maintenance part of the operations.
“SPDC remains the operators because they still have the licence, the communities will be happy because we will employ them and they will be able to work with SPDC.
“The key thing there is getting back to work and creating jobs for the local communities, everybody will be happy.”
He said that Belema OIL with 7.7 per cent asset would provide the operation maintenance and employ the community members through that platform.
The founder said that Belema OIL would work with shell to ensure that the development needs of the people were met.
“We have agreed that less than 10 days from today, we will visit the communities and appeal to them and then, we go to work,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that operation in OML 25 stopped since in 2017 when the host communities sent SPDC away from operating in the facility over issues of unemployment and underdevelopment among others. (NAN)
(Xinhua/NAN) Kenyan government has concluded plans to nationalise its carrier Kenya Airways by end of the year in order to boost its competitiveness.
Sebastian Mikosz, chief executive officer, Kenya Airways, told journalists in Nairobi on Tuesday that all its regional and international competitors are also owned by their respective governments and thus have a financial advantage.
“Government has put in place a steering committee to spearhead the process of nationalising Kenya Airways by the end of the year.’’
In July, the east African nation’s parliament voted to nationalise the national carrier.
Mikosz said that legal and policy reforms will have to be undertaken in order to ensure that the Kenyan flag carrier becomes fully state-owned.
The biggest shareholder of Kenya Airways is the national treasury, which owns 48.1 per cent, while banks control 38.1 per cent and KLM owns 7.8 per cent.
The rest is owned by the public through the Nairobi Securities Exchange.
According to the CEO, legislative reforms will be required to pave the way for the government to buy out the minority owners of the airline.
“We are currently drafting the amendments that will be passed by parliament to make the airline fully owned by the state.’’
Mikosz revealed that the government will form a holding company where the national flag carrier and Kenya’s main airport will be subsidiaries.
The European Parliament on Tuesday backed the choice of Christine Lagarde, the former Head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), as the next president of the European Central Bank (ECB).
In a secret ballot, 394 EU lawmakers voted in favour, 206 against and 49 abstained.
Lagarde’s appointment is due to be formally confirmed by EU leaders at their next summit, on Oct. 17, Oct. 18.
Lagarde was nominated in July to succeed ECB chief Mario Draghi, as part of a package of top EU appointments. She would be the first woman to take on the job.
The ECB’s core task is maintaining price stability across the eurozone. To this end, it seeks to keep inflation at just under 2 per cent. It had been hovering significantly below that for several months.
Socialist group leader, Iratxe Garcia, welcomed Lagarde’s pledge to prioritise green and sustainable growth, but warned that, “we will be on her heels to make sure monetary policy is used to improve people’s lives.“
According to the Head of the liberal Renew Europe group, Dacian Ciolos, Christine Lagarde faces a challenge to unite the ECB and provide coherent policies in an increasingly turbulent global economy.
“But I have no doubt that she is the right person for this job,“ he said.
Green EU lawmaker, Sven Giegold, commended Lagarde as experienced and assertive, adding, “we will pay attention that Lagarde follows up her green words with green actions.“
However, while parliament’s approval was not a legal requirement, its support was considered politically important. Many EU lawmakers had long insisted on more female representation at the helm of the ECB.(dpa/NAN)
China and Russia clashed with the US and other United Nations Security Council members on Monday over Beijing’s insistence on including a reference to its U$1 trillion Belt and Road Initiative in a resolution on the UN’s political mission in a resolution on the UN’s political mission in Afghanistan
The mission’s six-month mandate expires on Tuesday, and council members met behind closed doors for more than 2½ hours, unable to agree on a text after China’s demand.
Russian ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, council president, said that diplomats were working on a compromise text. He said the council would meet on Tuesday in the hope of reaching unanimous agreement.
This is the second time in six months that the resolution to keep the UN political mission in Afghanistan operating has become embroiled in controversy over belt and road language.
South Korea is culling thousands of pigs after confirming African swine fever at a farm near its border with North Korea, which had an outbreak in May.
Kim Hyun-soo, South Korea’s agricultural minister, said the country’s first case of the highly contagious disease was confirmed Tuesday in tests on five pigs that died Monday evening at the farm in the city of Paju.
Officials were planning to complete by Tuesday the culling of some 4,000 pigs raised at the farm and two other farms run by the same family. The government also strengthened efforts to disinfect farms and transport vehicles and ordered a 48-hour standstill on all pig farms, slaughterhouses and feed factories across the country to prevent the spread of the disease, which threatens a massive industry that involves 6,000 farms raising more than 11 million pigs.
African swine fever has decimated pig herds in China and other Asian countries before reaching the Koreas. It is harmless to people but for pigs is highly contagious and fatal. There is no known cure.
“We will invest maximum effort to prevent the disease from spreading … we believe the first week (following the outbreak) would be most dangerous,” considering incubation periods, Kim said during a news conference in Sejong City.
“We will quickly complete monitoring inspections at the 6,300 farms (nationwide) … checking each pig to see whether it has fever or not and testing on even the slightest of symptoms,” he said.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in called for fast and stern quarantine measures to prevent the disease from wreaking havoc on the pork industry, the presidential Blue House said.
The outbreak in South Korea comes despite months of heightened monitoring efforts at border area farms after the disease spread to North Korea. In May, the North told the World Organization for Animal Health, or OIE, that 77 of the 99 pigs at a cooperative farm near its border with China died of the disease and the remaining 22 pigs were culled.
South Korea’s agriculture ministry said investigators were sent to the farm to trace the source of the outbreak and it wasn’t immediately clear if the disease would have crossed from North Korea. The ministry said in June that blood tests of pigs from some 340 farms near the border with the North came back negative.
North Korea has scaled back cooperation with South Korea after a summit between leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump collapsed in February, and it has ignored repeated South Korean calls for joint efforts to stem the spread of the disease.
South Korea placed hundreds of fences and traps around border area farms to prevent pigs from being infected by wild boars that roam in and out of North Korea. South Korea’s military, which had monitored the movement of wild boars through heat sensors installed along the border, said it would be difficult for wild boars to cross over barbed wire fences in the mine-scattered border zone. But government officials have said the animals could possibly swim across rivers.
Kim, the South Korean agricultural minister, said the Paju farm hit by the disease was about 1.5 miles away from a river that runs across the border. But it is a sealed indoor facility with no windows and is surrounded by fences to fend off wild boars. The farm’s owner and four Nepalese workers said they hadn’t recently traveled outside of South Korea, Kim said.
“We haven’t been able to immediately confirm the infection route of the disease,” Kim said. “We are trying to identify the cause as soon as possible because that would be crucial for preventing the disease from spreading.”
Gatefield, a Public Strategy Firm in collaboration with an Abuja’s leading Burger restaurant, Oliver’s Burger on Monday in Abuja created awareness on the dangers of Shisha consumption in the country.
Shisha smoking – also called hookah, narghile, waterpipe, or hubble bubble smoking – is a way of smoking tobacco, sometimes mixed with fruit or molasses sugar, through a bowl and hose or tube
Miss Ebiuwairo Uwagboe, Campaign and Media `Specialist, Gatefield, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that rising popularity of Shisha smoking among young people in Abuja, and other parts of the country was alarming and constituted a major health risk to residents.
“To help bring attention to this issue, Abuja’s leading Burger restaurant, Oliver’s Burger today in partnership with public strategy firm, Gatefield, launched campaign #PipeDown to inform young people about the health risks associated with Shisha by crashing the price of Burgers for one week.
“The #PipeDown campaign aims to educate people especially smokers of the flavored tobacco product about the implications of the behavior on public health and safety.
Shisha has been proven to be more harmful than regular cigarettes. Shisha smokers including second-hand smokers are at the risk of cancer and other respiratory and cardiovascular diseases,’’ she said.
She said that Oliver’s Burger rebranded its trucks and food packaging to reflect the campaign adding that the restaurant also shared branded posters at their stands to buyers carrying messages such as “smoking shisha for one hour is as bad as smoking 100 cigarettes” and “smoking shisha in public places endangers others”.
She noted that the campaign’s Instagram page @pipedownNG, provided users with the relevant information and facts on the dangers of Shisha smoke.
In his remarks, Oliver Naku, the Chief Executive Officer of the Burger restaurant said that the company felt obliged to ensure that customers live healthy lives.
“It is good to let customers know that this not only endangers them, but the people around them.”
Maryam Hassan, a customer at the launch said: “I have never really been a shisha smoker but I didn’t know it was this dangerous.
“This campaign will help spread awareness on this issue because a lot of people are ignorant of the dangers of Shisha.” She said
Mr Michael Olaniyan, Technical Resource Officer of the Washington DC based Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids said “This campaign is very important.
“There is a lot of misinformation around Shisha. People think it’s trendy and healthy because of its deceptive flavours; truth is that Shisha is as bad if not more dangerous than cigarettes,’’ he said
But Mr Sebastian Abegunde a Tax consultant with Deliotte said that it is not about stopping the consumption of Shisha but moderation.
“I believe everything in the world needs to be taken in moderation. Shisha is not something you should take a lot or every day.
“Everything you take in excess has adverse effect in the body, like sugar, if you take too much, at the end of the day, you come down with diabetes.
“The campaign is necessary because people need to pipe down, people who take it should reduce the level of consumption, ” he said
The World Health Organisation has said that one hour session of Shisha smoke was equivalent to smoking 100 cigarettes.
It added that that people are also at risk of hepatitis when they share Shisha pipes.
It will be recalled that the Nigerian Tobacco Control Act 2015 and the recently approved tobacco control regulations 2019 prohibit the smoking of cigarettes in public places.
However, this law is yet to be fully implemented as Shisha smoking in public places is still common in many public places in Abuja. (NAN)