Besides negative narratives of Port Harcourt, the Rivers capital, being ravaged by cult gangs who are making living difficult for many, there are other things to cheer about in the oil city.
For instance, a first time visitor to Port Harcourt, you cannot miss the allure of the roasted plantain popularly known as “Bole” and complemented by specially prepared irresistible pepper sauce at different street corners of the city.
This popular delicacy is now the subject of an annual festival called Bole Food festival which started in 2016.
For this year, the organizers have announced programmes for the 2019 edition themed ‘Our taste, Our Culture’, a one-day event aimed at celebrating the rich heritage of the Niger Delta through food with emphasis on the various creative ways people prepare roasted plantain known as ‘Bole’.
“We expect another successful and fun-filled event that will also set the standard in highlighting the importance of celebrating our culture and local cuisine,” Bole food festival convener, Iwuh Chinonso said.
According to him, “Bole Festival has grown in prestige and attendance over the years and is currently able to compete with food festivals anywhere in the country.”
“This year we want the event to represent that growth creatively and in terms of market appeal as a brand while maintaining the casual fun atmosphere that has endeared us to the people,” Chinonso said.
The event had only 300 people in attendance in 2016 and had over 8,000 people and over 80 food vendors in attendance in 2018.
The festival is usually marked by side attractions such as music performances, comedy, food competitions, indoors and outdoor games with prizes to be won and gaming activities for kids.
Nigeria’s Imported Petrol Dirtier Than Niger Delta Refined Fuel
A new report published by Stakeholder Democracy Network (SDN), an international resource watchdog group, says refined petroleum products imported into Nigeria contain more pollutants than those refined by black market operators in the Niger Delta.
The organisation said it carried out laboratory analysis of fuel samples collected from 45 government-licensed filling stations and unofficial (46) fuel selling points in Lagos, Rivers and Bayelsa.
The report was titled Dirty Fuel: An analysis of official and unofficial petroleum products in the Niger Delta.
The official samples from Lagos were said to have been collected from filling stations close to the port on the assumption that it would be “most likely to be a true representation of imported refined products”.
Laboratory results were reported to have shown that the average official diesel sample contained 204 times more fuel sulphur than the European Union fuel standards and the petrol contained 43 times more sulphur.
However, unofficial diesel samples contained 152 times more fuel sulphur than the EU standard and the black market petrol contained 40 times more sulphur than the EU standard.
In the case of kerosine, official samples were reported to have higher standards than unofficial samples.
However, the demand for kerosine from unofficial refiners was attributed to the household use of the commodity.
Consumers were reported to have shown a tolerance for lower kerosine when official sources run out of the product.
“Our research suggests that Nigeria is having dirty fuel dumped on it that cannot be sold to other countries with higher and better-implemented standards,” the UK Guardian quoted Florence Kayemba, SDN programme manager, to have said.
“The situation is so bad that the average diesel sampled are of an even lower quality than that produced by artisanal refining camps in the creeks of the Niger Delta.”
The resultant effect of this is that vehicles have a higher risk of having fuel injector damage, poor engine performance and higher pollutant emissions that increase the rate of environmental pollution.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has been the major importer of petrol after the federal government said it would no longer pay importers to subsidise petrol.
Seeing as the landing cost of petrol was higher than the recommended retail price, the NNPC began to absorb the difference as under-recovery.
However, the federal government is now taking steps to fully deregulate the sector saying the price of petrol will be adjusted monthly to reflect market realities.
Nigeria has to import refined petroleum products because the refineries have been non-functional for an extended period.
An October 2019 investigation by TheCable detailed the activities of oil thieves from the diversion of crude oil from the nation’s pipelines to their illegal refineries with the knowledge of security operatives.
FG Will Do More To Develop Niger Delta – Osinbajo
The federal government has assured it will do more to enhance the physical development of the oil- bearing communities in the Niger Delta in the next four years.
Giving the assurance on Friday during a courtesy call at the Obotobo, Burutu council area, palace of the Ebenanaowei of Ogulagha Kingdom, HRM, Captain Joseph Timiyan I, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), lamented the inadequacy of the performances the development agencies created to fill gaps in the region.
The Vice President, who was in Delta state to perform some official assignments including the 20.29 KM Obotobo 1- Obotobo 11 – Sokebolou – Yokri Road in Ogulagha Kingdom, Burutu council area and the Main Axial Road in Okerenkoko, Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South-West council area, said the federal government would sit with the state government to determine area’s in need of development.
Osinbajo lamented the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has not been able to meet the expectations of the people of the region, a situation which he said would necessitate a meeting with the state governments to fashion out means of really impacting the people.
“The NDDC in many respect has not met the expectations of the oil producing states; a lot of money is invested in NDDC and the Ministry of the Niger Delta because the real reason they were created is to speed up the development of oil-rich communities. We will sit with the Delta State Governor to look at specific areas to develop in the creeks,” he said.
Meanwhile, while commissioning the road in Ogulagha Kingdom, Osinbajo said: “I want to commend Governor Okowa for his achievements in a neighbourhood and area that has not had this type of road.
“We commend him also on several other initiatives in this kingdom in particular, because this has been a very peaceful community and its a host to several of our oil and gas assets.
“So, its really is a special pleasure to commission these roads and also thank His Royal Highness,(Elder, Capt)Joseph Timiyan, who has maintained the peace in this neighborhood and who has shown true leadership by the way he has conducted the affairs of this area”, he said.
Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, disclosed that the Vice President was invited to commission the projects because he visited the creeks in the pursuit of peace and the enabling environment for oil and gas production.
“it is not just the length of the road that makes this project unique; it is that the road is located right beside the Atlantic Ocean with all the human, material, ecological and financial implications that this difficult terrain presents; we did not know we could get this length of road in the creek until the King drew our attention to it.
“I am happy about the progress we have made so far; this has greatly helped to ensure peace in the State, which bodes well for uninterrupted oil production and the health of the national economy; we are continuing to use various structures and initiatives to ensure that the peace we have enjoyed in the last three years is sustained,” the governor said.
RUGA: Niger Delta Militants Issue Serious Warning To Northern Youths
Some Niger Delta militants under the banner of Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators have issued a stern warning to youths from the Northern part of the country over their recent threat and ultimatum to residents from the Southern region of the country.
The militants warned that the Northern youths were worsening the already-tensed situation in the country.
Buhari had announced suspension of the Federal Government’s earlier plan to establish settlement for Fulani herdsmen across the country.
The militants however advised the Buhari-led government to build the settlement in the large expanse of land at the Sambisa forest instead of siting same elsewhere.
The group spoke against the backdrop of a 30-day ultimatum by the youths to President Muhammadu Buhari and Southern Governors to implement the Ruga settlement policy.
This was contained in a statement issued in Port Harcourt on Sunday by John Dukku, the leader of the coalition, who said it was unfortunate that the Northern groups would call for the implementation of a policy that had been suspended.
The statement added, “The attention of the Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators has been drawn to the recent second round of 30 days ultimatum issued by the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) to the Federal Government to forcefully implement the suspended RUGA settlement for Fulani herdsmen across the country or they will resort to self help and destruction of lives and property of Southerners resident in the North.
“The Coalition of Northern Groups further issued an ultimatum to Southerners living in the North to vacate if their various state governments refused to donate lands to federal government for the implementation of its suspended Ruga settlement within the said 30 days.
“We are surprised that in a time like this when killings of innocent citizens is the order of the day by CNG brothers, we thought CNG and Arewa youths would have risen above ethnic sentiments to condemn the unprovoked killings and the high rate of poverty in the land, rather they are bent on worsening the already tensed situation by issuing unwarranted threat.
“While we see the recent RUGA settlement plan by the Federal Government as its plot to Fulanise and Islamise the entire country by proxy. We also want the CNG to note that there is no settlement in the entire Northern part of Nigeria allocated to any tribe or ethnic group of Southern origin by the federal government under any name or guise.
“Therefore the recent threat by CNG is ill-conceived and foolishly advised by their sponsors/war mongers who feel they are super humans.
“We therefore also want to re-echo that the entire South-South and Niger Delta would never part with any of its land to Fulani terrorists no matter the amount of threat.
“We advise the Northern youths and the Presidency to build their planned Fulani settlements in Sambisa forest and stop chasing shadows as forceful implementation of such ethnic plan would only spell doom for the country.
“The Coalition of Northern Groups, Arewa Youths, MACBAN, Northern Elders, the Security Agencies and the Presidency should note that any Niger Deltan or Southerner killed by Northern youths as a result of this threat shall receive severe and adequate response from us.”
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