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Nembe Creek Well Explosion: More Than Meets The Eye —- By Ayo Fadahunsi

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The predicament that played out on Friday, 1st March 2019, in Bayelsa is indeed a disaster like the others before it in the different parts of the country.

The Mile 1 community and others within earshot were in the wee hours of the morning, reeled off their beds by an explosion said to have come from the Nembe Creek Well 7, belonging to Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production.

Within hours of occurrence, stories were churned out with headlines that threw Nigerians into pandemonium.

While both manicured and pruney fingers point at the company with zillion blame for the incident, let’s not ignore the small finger pointing to the accuser. The case of a breach cannot be overruled especially due to past escapades and ensuing crisis and case of militancy in the Niger Delta. 
In a 2018 survey, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said the nation recorded 194 cases of pipeline vandalism between January 2017 and the corresponding period of last year. 

It is impossible to overlook vandalism because not only has statistics placed Nigeria at the top of pipeline vandalism and illegal oil bunkering, it has also shown that out of every three explosions in this part of the world, one is a sabotage for economic gains. 

Considering also that according to the company, facilities at the Creek were shut down on 28th of February due to NCTL outage and judging from the point of the explosion which was not from a pipeline but from a flow station in the oil well whose valves were intact, only a third-party infraction could have been responsible. An IOC which stands to lose hundreds of dollars in Aiteo’s new project and one of Nigeria’s banks have been fingered to be behind the incident.

There is also the issue of yellow journalism to decry. Did scores really die? Just how much of what was published is true? 
First, they put death toll at 100 persons – seriously? Who conducted the census, how did the story find its way to EIN, a paid news wire in less than 24hours? 

Then, International publications latched on to the lie that the NCTL was on fire – what NCTL please? And how is it that New York Times, Daily Mail and Jeune Afrique could stoop to the level of carrying unverified stories? 
Next, they declared 50 persons missing only to turn around and publish a follow up saying missing persons have been found. What search party found them? This is a clear case of lack of professional integrity which is why rather than shamefully admit to have been cleverly used to publish a fake story and retract same, they crafted a different headline to say the latter.  They also said the company did not report the explosion to NOSDRA and appropriate authority and accused them of concealing a high level of leakage and a gas explosion at their facility at Nembe Creek. 

When that failed, they said Aiteo prevented NOSDRA from accessing the incident scene. This chain of lies cascading in the guise of media reports are barely intelligible rhythms with staccato aphorisms. 

Aiteo’s official statement debunked the stories peddled: “Preliminary investigations confirm that there were no fatalities; human incidents or damage to community property. All the wells and facilities in the immediate vicinity have been inspected and secured. This incident did not occur at or involve any part of the NCTL or other pipelines. It is important to note that prior to this incident, all facilities have been shut down since 28 of February 2019 due to NCTL outage.

Accordingly, any account suggesting that this incident arose from or affected any pipelines is wholly inaccurate and misleading.”Contrary to the ugly and destructive lies, available documents of the notification of spill reported that NOSDRA, NAPIMS, and DPR were informed and ipso facto, the Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) will Thursday, 7th March, visit the scene of the event. Pipelines are expected to be open immediately after.

Also, a picture sighted saw the wellhead intact except for an external slash on one of the linking pipes to the wellhead. Anyone who saw the puncture would agree that there was a breach. If this is not an act of willful sabotage, an act that will have catastrophic effects on everyone, mostly the poor people of Nembe community, then, I wonder what it is. 

Further, the story about Aiteo denying NOSDRA access to the facility, just like others, is a publication targeted at dragging the company’s image to the mud. Judging from an angle of corrupt practices that has bedevilled the country, we can understand that a hungry and dishonest journalist is given cash in exchange for a self-serving story; we can understand that a hare-brained journalist writes reports without first verifying its authenticity, and we can understand that when something of this nature happens, it is the company that gets the first blame. But what cannot be comprehended is why a government agency would effortlessly relay information soiled with dishonesty to the media.

It makes no sense that a government agency would be denied access to a property that also belongs to the government; it is in fact, a campaign harangue with meaningless underpinning. Edification is not needed to realize the deliberate falsehood being peddled here or the creating and withdrawing sensation targeted at heating up the polity. 

When unverified facts and baseless stories are published, if it is not to mislead the public, it is to drive the country into the realm of a reality show conspiracy and when better to do this if not now that the country is starting a new dispensation. Some publications even hinted that the incident is going to affect production with the loss of 2500 barrels of oil that Well 7 produces per day. Exactly what kind of effect will a minuscule 2500 bpd have on a country that produces 2.5million bpd

People need to wake up and realize the real lies in these stories flying around. This is simply a case of cash for stories with the sole aim of discrediting the company because from every indication, the stories are all traceable to one source.

Fadahunsi writes from Ekiti State 

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Dangote Promo: 64-Year-Old Bricklayer, 20-Year-Old Artisan Win Star-Prize Saloon Cars

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Two Nigerians, namely, a 64-year-old bricklayer, Mr. Iyowun Ezekiel, and 20-year-old artisan, Godwin Godday, have emerged the latest winners of star prize GAC saloon cars in the ongoing Dangote Cement ‘Bag of Goodies’ national consumer promo.

Elated Ezekiel, who is based in Ijebu-ode, Ogun state and has been a bricklayer for over 40 years, found his prize-winning scratch card in one of the Dangote cement promo bags he bought from a distributor in Ijebu-Mushin. On the other hand, Godday, who is the youngest winner of the Star prize so far, found his winning scratch card in Ikorodu, Lagos.

Both star prize winners were given the keys to their brand new cars by top Dangote Cement officials at different handing-over ceremonies in Ijebu-ode and Ikorodu, alongside 10 other lucky promo winners, who carted home various prizes including a tricycle, a motorcycle, 8 refrigerators, and two television sets; to the admiration of other Dangote Cement consumers, distributors and the general public.

While Mr. Akintaye Oluwagbemiga won a tricycle, Mr. Kamilu Audu won a motorcycle. Interestingly, Mr. Solomon Dayo won three out of the seven refrigerators presented at the Ikorodu event, while Messrs. Ohemu Friday, Innocent Agbo-James, Ransome Watels, and Kehinde Adeagbo went home with one refrigerator each. There was also a presentation of television sets to Mr. Dare Olajide and Mr. Oluwadare Gbenga. Likewise, Mr. Imam Adebisi Abdulhakeem, who won a refrigerator, collected his prize at the Ijebu-ode venue.

Handing over the car keys to Ezekiel in Ijebu-ode, National Sales Director, Dangote Cement Plc, Mr. Adeyemi Fajobi told those gathered at the Local Government office venue that the cement promo is real and that there are many more choice prizes to be won.

According to him, all a consumer has to do is to buy the Dangote Cement products and open the bag, adding that whatever is stated on the scratch card is automatically won by the buyer, when taken to any approved depot for the redemption of the prizes.

The National Sales Director added: “Only Dangote can do this. This is a promise fulfilled. Some people were skeptical when this promo began but today, this is proof of our sincerity.”

Also, Regional Director, Lagos/Ogun, Dangote Cement Plc, Mr. Tunde Mabogunje, while handing over the various prizes in Ikorodu, said excited consumers have been coming forward to collect their prizes in the ongoing promo.

According to him, scores of people have come to redeem their winning scratch cards for recharge cards worth thousands of Naira, pointing out that the promo is a deliberate effort at rewarding the consumers. He also said the company is happy that the consumers are winning.

Head, Route to Market, Dangote Cement Plc, Olukayode Akin-Bamidele, said the promo was put up by the President of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote to reward consumers’ patronage.

Ezekiel, who in a display of euphoria danced to the podium to claim his Star Prize of a GAC saloon car in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, added dash to his win by sending a typed letter of appreciation to the Chairman of Dangote Cement, Aliko Dangote.

The lucky star prize winner, who said he has been a bricklayer for over 40 years, expressed profound gratitude to Aliko Dangote and the Dangote Cement for the ongoing promo, which has so far empowered thousands of Nigerians as winners of various prizes.

While celebrating his win with his son, Tayo Ezekiel (also a bricklayer) and members of his outfit, who donned “Thank you Dangote” t-shirts, Ezekiel disclosed that he had not won anything before until now, and enthused that the Dangote Cement ‘Bag of Goodies’ promo is a reality which has greatly helped Nigeria.

Speaking on how he emerged the star prize winner, Godday, who couldn’t take his education beyond Primary School due to lack of funds, said he was always watching out for winning cards in any cement bag he opened as a concrete mixer at a building site. He commended Dangote Cement for putting up the promo to alleviate poverty in the country.

The Dangote Cement ‘Bag of Goodies’ promo, which began nationwide in July and is to run till September ending, has so far yielded numerous winners of prizes in various categories.

Among other unique gifts, a total of 43 brand new cars, cash prizes of N200 million, 24 tricycles, 500 refrigerators, 24 motorcycles, 400 television sets, generators, Goodies packs, are available for winners in a promo, which has generated so much excitement among Nigeria, with over 21 million lucky winners targeted.

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Historic Race As JAC Motors Abeokuta 10km Marathon Debuts November 2nd 2019.

Peter Okunoren

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The much-talked-about maiden edition of the JAC Motors sponsored Abeokuta 10Km Race is now re-scheduled to hold for Saturday, November 2nd, 2019.

According to a press release by the media office of Nilayo Sports Management Limited, the organizers of the international event, the shift in date for the event is to allow all and sundry observe their Sunday devotions without disruption of any sort.

The organizers, however deeply regret any inconvenience the change in date might cause, especially the sponsors and partners of the maiden edition of the Abeokuta marathon, and particularly, the over three thousand registered potential competing racers of the marathon.

The JAC Motors sponsored Abeokuta 10Km marathon, ably supported by the Ogun State government, Rite Foods, Bet9ja, QMB Builders Mart, Landwey Investment Limited, IBD International Hotels is the vision of Nilayo Sports Management Limited.

On a personal note, our heart aches as we announce the sudden passing of our media officer for the Abeokuta 10Km Marathon, Mr. Gbenga Davies. He was an extraordinary journalist who inspired a lot of young people in his profession.

We offer our deepest condolences to Mr. Davies family, colleagues and the media family in Ogun State.

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Seasoned Journalist, Gbenga Davies, For Burial August 14…. OGD, Amaechi, Saraki, Fayemi, Others Mourn

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Notable politicians, friends, and associates have commiserated with the publisher of Metronews Nigeria, Otunba Femi Davies, and the entire family on the demise of Gbenga.

The remains of Gbenga Davies, the brother of the popular and award-winning veteran journalist, Otunba Femi Davies, would be buried in Abeokuta, Ogun State, tomorrow, the August 14th, 2019.

It was reported that Gbenga slumped on Friday night at Abeokuta while watching a football match with friends. All attempts to resuscitate him failed, as a family put the cause of his death as due to cardiac arrest. He was 46 years old.

The burial arrangement as released by the family starts tomorrow at 11.00 am when the body will leave General Hospital, Sokenu, Abeokuta. There will be brief service of songs at the NUJ Secretariat, Iwe Iroyin House, Abeokuta, at 11.30 am. His remains will be buried at Kobape Cemetery by 12.30pm.

Many friends of the deceased were grieved by Gbenga’s sudden death. He was described as an easy-going and free-spirited journalist. He was never known to brood or bear grudges against anyone.

Numerous politicians across the political divides in the country have been paying glowing tributes to Gbenga, who was a three-time Journalist of the Year in Ogun State. Prominent amongst them were the former governors of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, the former Senate president, Sen. Bukola Saraki and the executive governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi.

Others, who also commiserated with the family, were former Rivers State governor and now minister, Mr. Romiti Amaechi, and several friends of Gbenga Davies.

Gbenga was a friendly and jovial person, an humanitarian, whose contributions to his immediate community will remain unforgettable.

He had his secondary school education at Festac Grammar School, Lagos and proceeded to Ogun State Polytechnic (now Moshood Abiola Polytechnic) in Abeokuta, where he studied accounting. Though he would later choose a career in journalism, a profession he had passion for due to his closeness to his brother, the ace journalist, Otunba Femi Davies.

Until his death, he was the spokesperson for JAC Motors-sponsored Abeokuta Marathon.

Gbengene, as he was popularly called, is survived by his wife, four children, brothers, and an aged mother.

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