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Bayelsa women demand inclusion in oil spill compensation benefits

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Community women leaders in Bayelsa State have demanded the inclusion of women as beneficiaries of the benefits that accrue from oil spill-related incidents in their communities as they suffer huge livelihood losses as a result of pollution.

They spoke at a one-day sensitisation programme themed, ‘Oil on Water: Women suffer oil spills in marine ecosystem in terms of livelihood and health’, which was held at the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria office in Yenagoa, on Tuesday.

It was organised by a community rights advocacy organisation, Ondewari Health, Education and Environmental Project, with support from the Global Greengrants Fund.

The women, who were drawn from several communities in the Southern Ijaw, Ogbia and Yenagoa Local Government Areas of the state, vowed to assert their rights as they mostly bear the brunt of oil pollution and environmental degradation.

Speaking, a women leader from Ikarama community in the Yenagoa LGA, Ayibakuro Warder, said, “We are marginalised in oil spill matters. Even during Joint Investigation Visits (conducted on oil spill impacted sites), women will not be carried along, only men will be there.

“But in terms of oil spill, women are the most affected in the Niger Delta. We are farmers and oil spill affects our farms and farmlands. There is hunger in the Niger Delta because oil spills have destroyed farmlands and rivers.”

Another participant, Philomena Lafieghe, from Ondewari community in the Southern Ijaw, said the marginalisation of women over oil spill compensation was unacceptable, stressing that the women folk would no longer be relegated to the background.

In their separate goodwill messages, the second Vice President of the Ijaw National Congress, Nengi James; Head of ERA/FOEN, Bayelsa State, Alagoa Morris; a community opinion leader, Dr Tari Dadiowei, noted that women were often neglected in the distribution of benefits arising from oil spills.

They urged community women to unite and forge a common front in order to promote and protect their rights and livelihood.

Alagoa said, “Community women always complain about marginalisation in terms of benefits. When oil spills occur around their environments and their farms, fishing traps, among others, are usually destroyed. The women have been so impacted.

“Bringing you (community women) together will make you stronger so that together you can influence things and issues to better your lot as community women leaders.”

Also speaking, the Secretary of OHEEP, Yeiyei Tontiemotei, said the time had come for community women to embrace unity and support themselves to ensure that their rights were respected.

In a presentation titled, “Women Inclusion in Post-Spill Activities”, a guest speaker and political scientist, Mrs Inokoba Werikumo, advocated that community women should be included in the payment of compensation by oil firms.

She said, “To do this, there is need for proper documentation of lands apportioned to women that are into farming as well as collation of items destroyed as a result of oil spillage.

“Crude oil exploration activities have impacted negatively on their health and livelihood as those depending mostly on fishing and farming have now been subjected to untold hardship due to oil spill/pollution on land and waterways.”

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Governor’s wife advises Jerusalem pilgrims on conduct

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The returnees who participated in the 2022 pilgrimage to Jerusalem and Jordan have held a thanksgiving service to appreciate God for the successful journey.

According to a statement issued by the state government, the service, held at Chapel of Christ The Light, Alausa, was graced by the wife of the Lagos State Governor, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu.

Represented by the wife of a former Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Mrs Mayowa Ikuforiji, Sanwo-Olu advised the returnees to be true ambassadors of Christ and allow their encounters during the pilgrimage to strengthen their relationship with God and the people around them.

The governor’s wife said, “You cannot afford to go back to your old ways and lifestyles. As you have been described as the light and salt of the world in the Holy Book, it means that you have a lot of tasks ahead of you.”

Sanwo-Olu then thanked God on behalf of the pilgrims for the successful completion of the exercise and the journey mercies experienced.

She said, “We bless the Lord that there was no report of any negative eventuality. It is fitting at this point to state that we are indeed peculiar people with a deep sense of appreciation and we show this trait in praises and thanksgiving to God who specifically called us out of darkness into His marvellous light.”

In her remarks, the Secretary, Lagos State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, Mrs Yetunde Gbafe, said the thanksgiving service was in line with God’s injunction as recorded in Psalm 100 where believers were enjoined to come into His presence with praise and thanksgiving.

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Nigeria needs $12bn to clean up oil spills – Report

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Nigeria needs $12bn to clean up decades-old oil spills in southern Bayelsa State over a 12-year period, a new report revealed on Tuesday, as it singled out two international oil companies, Shell and Eni, for being responsible for most of the pollution.

Oil majors in Nigeria have long faced legal challenges over Niger Delta spills, which they mostly blame on sabotage and vandalism of pipelines and illegal refining.

The Bayelsa State Oil and Environmental Commission said in a report that it started an investigation in 2019 on the impact of spills and looked at evidence from forensic scientists, blood samples from people in affected areas and company data, according to Reuters.

The investigation discovered, among other findings, that toxic pollutants from spills and gas flaring were many times higher than the safe limits in samples of soil, water, air, and in the blood of local residents, the commission said.

“The report finds failures of strategy, prevention, response and remediation by oil companies,” it said.

Reuters stated that a spokesperson for Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited said the oil firm was not privy to the final report and could not comment.

An Eni spokesperson said the oil spills were due to theft to feed illegal refineries as well as illegal exports and sabotage but the company undertook to remedy all spills.

Most of the gas produced from Eni’s Nigerian unit was converted into LNG and fed local power plants, the spokesperson said, adding that “Eni conducts its activities according to the sector’s international environmental best practices, without any distinction on a country basis.”

Toxins that cause burns, lung problems and risk of cancer were widespread while oil company-led clean-ups were often poorly executed and could further contaminate soil and groundwater, the commission’s report said.

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Experts advise marketers to leverage technology

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Experts have advised marketing professionals to take advantage of technology to revamp marketing tactics.

The marketers were admonished at the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria Ikeja Chapter 3rd Annual Public Lecture held recently in Lagos.

Speakers at the event said due to the highly competitive marketing arena, marketers must be willing to adjust their approaches in response to shifting market trends and economic circumstances, to remain competitive and achieve success.

The Ikeja Chapter Chairman of NIMN and Chief Executive Officer of Procon Group, Adebayo Oke, noted that the conference was basically to review the position of things in the institute in the face of the country’s dynamic economy.

He said, “We all know that in terms of political economy, we are going to be having a change very soon. Where we are coming from, there are issues that have affected consumerism in terms of the power of a consumer, choices and whether it will get tougher or better that is why we are here. To also share knowledge among the top practitioners to floor it down.”

According to him, a lot of quacks are in the market and most companies believe marketing is anybody’s function.

“And going forward, we are going to be regulating the practice of marketing across all industries and in partnership with the international brands in the areas of marketing, including the Chartered Institute of Marketing UK, amongst others,” he stated.

He disclosed that the institute would be partnering with most companies to ensure that only certified marketer would be allowed to practice marketing, to enable the institute get rid of all the quacks.

The President and Chairman of Council for NIMN, Idorenyen Enang, in his keynote address, highlighted the significance of marketers harnessing the potential of technology while ensuring that they adhere to ethical principles of the profession.

He said, “The benefits of technology in streamlining operations are widely appreciated. However, concerns about job displacement due to AI have arisen. Marketers must strive for a harmonious implementation of these technologies, striking a balance that mitigates such disadvantages.”

He added that while automation greatly enhances efficiency, there is a potential loss of intellectual capacity as the current generation prioritises speed, brevity, and simplicity.

Also, the Head Sub-Saharan Africa Digital Media & Insights of FrieslandCampina WAMCO Plc, Ifeoluwa Obafemi, said, “In the phase of technological advancement and changes in consumer behaviour, as marketing professionals, we should set our organisation in a future forward mode. For businesses to maintain a competitive edge in the present-day business environment, undergoing a marketing transformation is a necessary process.”

On his part, the Chief Executive Officer of Axiom Intel Limited, Kolawole Oyeyemi, said, “Marketers should attract and retain their customers. Nowadays, customers are now more informed and know your business more than you do because they now compare your services to global best practices.

“There is a revolution in technology which has assisted in creating tools and devices and building platforms to allow customers to interact with companies across the world.”

According to him, it is a volatile environment and things one does not think will connect one’s business may connect from a very long distance.

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