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CSR-in-Action Partners IBWU Foundation, Launches Cleaner Communities Initiative

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Sub-Saharan Africa’s foremost sustainability consulting, advocacy and training enterprise, CSR-in-Action, has entered a partnership with It-Begins-With-U (IBWU) Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation based out of Canada, led by a volunteer team passionate about bringing about positive attitudinal change in Nigerian communities. The team are working on a collective passion to give back to the community through sustainable environmental project leading to the birth of a core initiative of the partnership, inclusive of Junior Chamber International (JCI), a not-for-profit international non-governmental organization of young people between 18 and 40 years old, the Cleaner Communities Initiative (CCI).

The Cleaner Communities Initiative is aimed at driving cleaner neighbourhoods through encouraging individual acts of humanity. The initiative will run for 12 months during which participants embark upon and complete community cleaning exercises of their choice, and upload before and after videos of two minutes or less, in order to stand a chance of winning N100,000 per month. The Cleaner Communities Initiative aligns with Goal 6 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which is centered on sanitation, a green environment and healthy living for longevity of life. Goal 6 has particularly been adopted by Nigeria for national development.

Speaking on the partnership, Bekeme Masade-Olowola, Chief Executive, CSR-in-Action, stated that “We chose to partner with IBWU because we share the common vision that leadership is driven by citizens and CSR-in-Action is constantly pursuing innovative ways of positively influencing the values of the wider grassroots community in Nigeria.” As a sustainability consulting and advocacy company, we are keen on enhancing sustainable values and habits that contribute to the development of the country. 

Mr. Michael Emeka Dibua, the Board Chair of IBWU, explained that the Cleaner Community Initiative is aimedat “ridding our communities, throughout Nigeria, of filth, by pushing for the return of simple, cleaner habits, and the removal and disposal of waste, especially as we are aware of the effects dirt and pollution has on our lives, climate, health, wellbeing and so much more.” 

IBWU is a not-for-profit organization whose mission and values are inspired by simple acts of charity and by working in partnerships with communities as participants and encouraging social and community responsibility, beginning with each individual.  IBWU ascribes to a simple universal concept to love and respect human dignity and to be able to improve human dignity through simple but impactful poverty alleviation programs.

The CSR-in-Action Group is a conglomerate of three sustainability-driven businesses: Consulting, Training and Advocacy. Its mission is to redefine the sustainability terrain in Africa, through collaborative strategies with stakeholders aimed at attaining higher levels of corporate governance, workplace and sustainable philanthropy. The organisation has a clear vision to propel collective transformation in Africa by promoting responsibility amongst all levels in their day-to-day individual or business activities.

Nigerian Nutritionist Unveils Health-Focussed Children’s Cereal, Nutraboom

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Health food production company, Nutraboom, has unveiled a new set of product packaging for its range of children’s health-focussed nutritious products as part of the company’s ongoing rebranding project.

Founded in 2019 by Oluwakemi Laniyan, Nutraboom aims to be the leading provider of child nutrition in Africa with wholesome. According to Laniyan, the firm started as a result of the exclusive breastfeeding of her daughter, Annabelle for six months, which prompted her to research a sustainable way of feeding.

“As a Nutritionist, I came up with a natural instant cereal using local ingredients, introducing the cereal to my baby and she grew solely on the meals. Later, I began to sell to young mothers like me who needed the same help with their children,” Laniyan said.

“Nutraboom contains all the essential nutrient needed for child development between six months and five years of age as recommended by the WHO,” she added.

The rebranding is part of a brand support services project provided by foremost Nigerian brand strategy firm, Zenera Consulting as a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative.

The Nutritionist was a winner in a special entrepreneurship competition at the ‘Made for More’ women’s conference organised by The Jewels, an organisation founded by Bolarinwa Akinlabi with the vision of empowering women. This qualified her for a wholesome pro-bono rebranding service by Zenera Consulting. The partnership between Zenera and Nutraboom involves the delivery of new product package, website, and extensive brand awareness amongst other initiatives for the food company.

“Our commitment to promoting inclusive enterprise has become a vital component of our business philosophy, and this has stimulated our partnership with Nutraboom, a female-led brand,” said Meka Olowola, Zenera’s Managing Partner.

According to Olowola, the encouragement and empowerment of female entrepreneurship in Nigeria have significant positive impact on the country’s economy as women make up around half of the country’s population. Furthermore, women have been proven to be better leaders and managers in certain situations. For instance, some of the countries led by women fared better in handling the covid-19 pandemic. These include New Zealand under Jacinda Adern, Finland under Sanna Marin, and Taiwan under Tsaing Wein.

“We believe having worked to help develop her brand, Kemi Laniyan is in a better position to monetize her full potentials and we hope this will encourage other women to become amazons in their respective fields,” he added.

The Nutraboom brand focuses on improving consumers’ health through nutrition. The company uses natural food materials to develop nutritious products for the nourishment of both children and adults. Nutraboom’s current product series is in four separate flavours made from different combination of popular nutritious fruits, grains and vegetables. The Nutraboom flavours include the Foodies Cereal made of sweet potatoes and carrots, Yummy Tummy made of bananas, Tummy Wize made of vegetables and nut cereal, and Baby Brainy made of oats and carrot meal.

I am sorry, I was unable to call you back as I went on a long call immediately after and figured you would still be in your meeting by the time I came back.

Considering the status of the brand and the significance of the event under consideration, I suggest you limit initiatives to internal celebrations, a media launch of the anniversary logo, and introduction of the new subsidiary MDs.

International Day of Education 2022: Issues, Policies and Achievements

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Lois Isemede, Program Manager, Education for Pistis Foundation

24th January is celebrated across the world as the International Day for Education. It is a day that aims to celebrate the role education plays in peace and development. This date was adopted in 2018 at the United Nations General Assembly.

International days are celebrated to ‘educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity’ (UN, 2022).

Issues of concern

Education is at the heart of individual, national and global development. Quality education, one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) is also the pathway towards achieving all the other goals (poverty eradication, gender equality, innovation and infrastructure and many more).

The right to education is a universal right of every child, however, ‘today, 258 million children and youth still do not attend school; 617 million children and adolescents cannot read and do basic math; less than 40% of girls in sub-Saharan Africa complete lower secondary school and some four million children and youth refugees are out of school. Their right to education is being violated and it is unacceptable.’ (UNESCO, 2022).

In Nigeria, only 61% of primary school aged children attend schools and the percentage is lower in the north. It is worse for the female child in the North of the country where only about 40% are registered in school. Education is technically compulsory in the country but close to half of the primary school aged children in Nigeria are not being educated. The number of unschooled children increase at Secondary and Tertiary levels (UNICEF, 2022)

The first area of concern relates to the number of out of school children but it does not end there. The quality of education available is another issue and it spans across a number of areas including but not limited to:

  • The infrastructure and learning environment,
  • The relevance and adaptability of the curriculum
  • The quality of educators and the teacher training process

Mobilize Political Will

Many of the issues raised need to be worked on from a political strategy level. Government has a major role to play in the allocation of resources that are earmarked for the Ministry of Education. There is also the need for government to address issues surrounding the current curriculum being used in schools at all levels. How relevant are they? Do they allow for the average Nigerian graduate to compete internationally? Can they adequately prepare and equip these students for solving the problems of the future? These are pertinent questions that need to be addressed.

The quality of our teacher training colleges and the entry requirements of student teachers need to be carefully evaluated. The cut-off point to study education in the University ought to be reviewed as well.

Are education courses a dumping ground for students who could not study their preferred course, or is it a course that attracts the brightest and the best?

While infrastructure is important, if the issues above are not first addressed, a wonderfully set up computer lab or library will be redundant and will not be used to its fullest capacity.

Finally, the standardization of the educational industry is of concern. Schools can be set up overnight in people’s backyards, unlicensed teachers are often employed to teach and each school may determine which curriculum they prefer to implement. While this allows for the bar to be set high in some instances, in others, it also allows for the bar to be set very low. The role of implementation of policies and standardization of procedures need to be implemented across board.

Looking towards the 2023 elections, it stands to reason that these discussions need to hold between key stakeholders and players in the education space. Political aspirants also need to be interrogated on their roadmap/plans to uplift education in Nigeria and eventually held accountable. If education is not a key driving force in any campaign, it is already evident that other aspects of nation building will be short-lived.

Celebration of achievements

There are however a number of individuals and organizations that are involved in making a difference in the education space in Nigeria. They recognize that Government cannot do it alone and are investing in the best possible way to address some of the aforementioned issues.

For example, there are a number of schools that provide 21st century infrastructure that is at par with international standards and institutions. Some schools also adapt their curriculum to ensure sustained relevance, which can prepare their students for future career paths. It is however safe to say that despite the issues of concerns, quality education can be achieved in Nigeria, howbeit at a cost.

There are schools that also offer quotas for scholarship students, high achieving students whose parents may be unable to afford the fees at these private institutions. By offering scholarships and discounts, these institutions are playing a small part in reducing the number of unschooled children and also mitigating the issue of poor quality in education.

Individuals are not left out in their contributions to improving education in the country. It is a known fact that the impact of the individual may not be as noticeable but it should be celebrated. Many families adopt children of relatives, domestic staff or partner with organizations to cover the fees of one or two children. Each little drop adds up to build the ocean we so desire.

Finally, there are organizations like Pistis Foundation (PF), that aim to serve as a hub to allow all these parties come together to do their part whilst also contributing their quota. Many NGOs provide scholarship programs, paying fees and placing students in schools. At PF, we do this in partnership with schools who also want to make an impact in the lives of these children. We are particular about the choice of schools where students are placed, to ensure they are places where they will achieve quality education. We currently have 50 beneficiaries across 14 private schools, (7 of which are key partner schools), where we have ensured that the facilities, curriculum and teaching standards give the students a good platform to soar.

Pistis Foundation also runs a program called Teachers Excelling Network (TEN) which aims to provide quality teacher training and support the teachers in this network. 103 teachers were in attendance at the first training and about 155 teachers were supported with airtime in 2021. We recognize the needs of the average teacher and efforts are being made to strategically address them holistically.

We also understand that formal and informal education are both valid options for children depending on their abilities and interests. Skills acquisition classes are being provided to train young students/ children who will learn some musical instruments, chess, creative writing, robotics, et al. This year, plans are underway to extend skill acquisition opportunities to mothers with at least two children who genuinely need economic empowerment. All programs provided by Pistis Foundation are to support the economically challenged and to provide empowerment opportunities for them.

Call to action

In celebration of International Day of Education, we can all play a part towards improving the state of education in our country. Here are a few ways this can be done.

Educators can create a few slots in their schools that are reserved for out of school children. Many of these children are around us if we look more carefully. If there is one slot per class in a school, the parents in that class can be encouraged to partner with the school by contributing to cover the books and uniforms for the child while the school covers the tuition. This partnership can help everyone pay it forward.

Individuals can look in their circles. Your domestic staff have kids who aren’t’ able to attend standard/ good schools. Can you help? What we often forget is that these uneducated children around us pose as potential threats to our children in the future if we do nothing. By saving them, we are also saving our children.

Everyone can partner with organizations like Pistis Foundation to support the work being done, donating or volunteering to help the work go further. The plan is to double the number of students being educated this year. Please contact education@pistisfoundation.org or partnerships@pistisfoundation.org for more information.

Isemede writes from Lagos.

Victoria Crest Homes: Leadership Through Innovation in Real Estate (Opinion)

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Kennedy Okonkwo, Founder, Victoria Crest Homes (VCH)

In this article, Peter Sunday explores new global trends in residential housing development and how Victoria Crest Homes, a Nigerian real estate brand is rising to these changes with innovations.

The concept of housing is completely changing almost at the speed of light. The real estate industry has recently been impacted in ways never seen before by the demands of increasingly decerning buyers. Responsive developers are adapting to these changes and turning them to opportunities through innovation around energy efficiency, renewable energy, technologically enhanced features, and community-oriented initiatives.

One of such real estate firms in Nigeria blazing the trail is Victoria Crest Homes (VCH), a respected property brand with a vision to make luxury living affordable. VCH is one of the major brands in the Nedcomoaks group which has diverse successful businesses leading in various sectors including property development, facilities management, and technology. 2021 has been a tremendous year for this property development pacesetter, culminating in a series of innovative and altruistic initiatives that indicate its focus on positioning itself as a sustainable corporate brand. It was no surprise therefore, that the Guardian newspaper listed Dr Kennedy Okonkwo as one of ‘the most Impactful and Award-winning CEOs that contributed to Nigeria’s GDP growth in 2021’.

Known already for its Victoria series of residential estates amongst many others in the Lekki area, VCH recently extended its signature quality housing solutions to the Sangotedo – Eleko axis of Lagos with the development of eco-friendly and renewable energy-powered mega estates such as Citadel Views behind Lagos Business School at Sangotedo and Capital Gardens at Idera, two minutes away from Lakowe Golf Course.

Known as the ‘Lagos Sustainable City’, the masterplan of Capital Gardens Estate includes a technology hub and an artificial lake in addition to the deployment of solar energy amidst other cutting-edge features. Citadel Views Estate on the other hand, is a technology-driven state of the arts sustainable housing project, with features such as solar energy solutions, gas-powered generators, biogas sewage treatment system, stealth security and waste recycling systems. Through these novel offerings, VCH is blazing the trail in promoting the idea that homes should enhance their residents’ capacity to increase productivity, efficiency and creativity.

Founded by Dr Kennedy Okonkwo in 1991, VCH was born under a humble beginning, but with a great dream to make aspirational living affordable to many. Two decades after, the firm has delivered thousands of homes to help in reducing the huge housing deficit in Lagos, one of the fastest growing cities in the world. Through the hardships of his early years, Okonkwo understood the role of access to appropriate shelter in stimulating prosperity and the importance of community support mechanisms in coping with social problems.

“We have always wanted our communities to be more than just a place to live but a place to experience and explore, a place to connect, share and make memories,” said Okonkwo.

Today, he is fulfilling his vision of building a better, more comfortable world through his Nedcomoaks conglomerate, driven by the belief that everyone deserves a befitting space to call home. Through innovative housing solutions, Nedcomoaks and its subsidiaries including VCH, are constantly pushing the boundaries in building modern and exquisitely comfortable homes that are sustainable and affordable for majority of Nigerians.

According to the property tycoon, right from the outset, he and his team worked hard to provide high quality but affordable housing solutions to various demographics, promoting sustainable living environments that deliver overall improved quality of life for residents and host communities. This vision propelled the firm from single housing unit developers in 1991 to its status today as one of Africa’s leading housing solutions providers, with wholesome housing estates offering a combination of affordable constant energy, tranquillity and sophisticated health promoting facilities.

L-R: Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Housing Mrs Toke Benson Awoyinka; the Elegushi of Ikate land, Oba Saheed Elegushi; CEO of Victoria Crest Homes, Mrs Ichechi-Okonkwo; and Founder, Dr-Kennedy-Okonkwo at the Launch of the Capital Gardens Estate in October 2021

Furthermore, in its quest to foster unity and promote fitness amongst its numerous estate residents, VCH started an initiative quite unique amongst real estate firms in Nigeria; it organises a massive annual sports tournament that can be likened to the Olympics for residents of all its estates. Dubbed ‘The Victoria Crest Olympiad’, the tournament consisted of various competitive games including table tennis, board games, athletics, and football amongst many others. Through the games, neighbours break down social boundaries to connect freely in the spirit of camaraderie. The firm also extends the game to its host communities through the Victoria Crest Community Cup with cash prizes awarded to winners.

According to Okonkwo, the Olympiad underscores the brand’s emphasis on not just building homes for people, but also building communities; environments where people can feel a sense of belonging.

While building communities, VCH is also working towards fostering inclusion in the African real estate market. This prompted the firm to launch the Women in Real Estate and Development (WIRED) Africa Network, an organisation aimed at galvanizing women to collectively make their voices heard and contribute towards a more successful and sustainable real estate industry.

Furthermore, the firm has begun to invest heavily in developing human capacity for Africa’s growing real estate industry. This has led to the creation of the Millennial African Property Developers (MAPD) Network Hub, an initiative dedicated to providing mentoring support for the development of future leaders in the African real estate industry.  

Initiatives like the Victoria Crest Olympiad, WIRED and MAPD indicate the increasing importance of sustainability in real estate development in the post-Covid-19 era. According to the PwC report on emerging real estate trends in 2022, 82% of respondents in its recent survey say they consider Environmental, Social and Governance elements in making operational and investment decisions.

Through its sustainability-oriented initiatives and innovative housing solutions, Victoria Crest Homes has provided us a glimpse of how a real estate company can become positively immersed in the lives of its clients, converting them to not just advocates, but co-owners of the brand.

Peter writes from Lagos

Book Review: Running Against Time; A Time to Re-think

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Dr Yusuf’s Running Against Time; A Time to Re-think, is an exploratory and incisive narrative, which provides fecund framework for interrogating the verisimilitude of long held beliefs, conventions, and practices, with the aim of expanding the frontiers of knowledge.

The book delves deep into the core of society’s popular convictions, with the aim of challenging a wrenching re-orientation which will establish a higher intellectual order devoid of parochial theories.

The book launches with the admonition on the importance of “learning to think”. This might come across as a no brainer, especially when you consider the proposition made by the Greek philosopher Descartes, where he describes man as a “thinking being”. This presupposes that man is already pre-programmed to think, and hence may not need any module to teach him on the basis for thinking. Thinking is therefore seen as a natural phenomenon of human existence.

However, some scholars believe that thinking is the most difficult human activity- indeed the singular most important activity! Building on this block, Dr Yusuf tries to establish a course for a critical level of thinking that will help society in navigating and sifting through junks from the enormous mass of information across social media, electronic media, and even words-of-mouth.

While the book frowns at the idea of “education for degree sake” without substantial knowledge to probe traditions, it insists on proper education, as a recipe for being able to access the right information, and discern between right and false information. 

The book also implores its readers to constantly rethink! Rethinking for Dr Yusuf has to do with “aligning our values and imperatives with our realities”. This presupposes moving away from traditional ways of practice which imposes limitation for the course of development and progress. The book cites examples of countries in Europe and Middle East, whom through critical re-thinking of their societal and developmental journey, has built a resilient society, restrictive of retrogressivBe precepts and belief, and receptive to fertile ideas, capable of leap frogging the next phase of growth and development for their society. Dr Yusuf is vexed by the fact that Africa, and indeed the entire world consumes information crafted by the West, with the hope that such information holds the desired development and freedom. But in reality, such information only holds enigmatic symbolism, which only fascinates mass attention, and does nothing more than advance the interest of the producers of such information.    

ITF Ikorodu Area Office Celebrates First Anniversary, Appreciates Corporate Organizations’ Commitment

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Promoting Human Capital Development L-R: Head of Administration, Ikorodu Area Office of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Mrs. Roinot Adeleke; Head of Training, Mr. Kola Yusuf; Area Manager, Mrs. Bolanle Ajibade; and staff member, Mrs. Esther Reuben, at the area office's first year anniversary and first stakeholder’s interactive forum, held recently in Ikorodu, Lagos

The Director-General/Chief Executive of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Sir Joseph N. Ari, KSM, KSS has commended the Ikorodu Area Office of the agency, for exceeding its one-year target even as it marks its first Interactive forum and first anniversary. The agency also expressed appreciation for corporate organizations in the area that had contributed to its successes over the past one year.

The ITF is the apex manpower training and development organization in Nigeria. It is saddled with the responsibility to provide, promote and encourage the acquisition of skills so as to build a pool of indigenous trained manpower sufficient to meet the need of the public and private sectors of the nation’s economy. The ITF provides direct training, vocational and apprentice training, research and consultancy services, and also administers the Students Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES).

Speaking during the Area Office’s first interactive forum with stakeholders, held recently at its office in Ikorodu, Lagos State, Sir Ari, who was represented by the Director of Field Services, Mrs. Adesola Taiwo, applauded the great strides of the Ikorodu team under the leadership of the Area Manager, Mrs Bolanle Ajibade.

“Based on the successes recorded so far by the team ably led by the Area Manager, Mrs. Bolanle Ajibade, I can authoritatively say that the creation of Ikorodu area office was never regretted.”

The ITF boss remarked that the year 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Industrial Training Fund as the apex manpower development agency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

 “Ladies and gentlemen, the implication of this is that for the past 50 years, the ITF, with the support of her numerous clients and stakeholders, has been making significant contributions to the nation’s economic development, resulting as you are aware, in many remarkable and ground-breaking accomplishments from which several organisations have benefited.”

Promoting Human Capital Development
L-R: Area Manager, Industrial Training Fun
d (ITF), Victoria Island, Mallam Aminu Labo; Guest Speaker, Mrs. Mary Katugwa; Area Manager, ITF Ikeja, Mr. Victor Awoniyi; Area Manager, ITF Ikorodu, Mrs. Bolanle Ajibade; and Training Manager, Industrial Skills Training Centre (ISTC), Mr. James Fanope at the Ikorodu Area Office’s first year anniversary and first stakeholder’s interactive forum, held recently in Ikorodu, Lago

He also appealed to organisations who do not pay their training contributions, or who delay in making their payments promptly as required, or those who doctor their records so as to short pay the Fund, to ‘turn a new leaf’.

 “I want to encourage corporate organisations to take advantage of the numerous training programmes and consultancy services offered by the Fund to transform and reposition their businesses for peak performance,” he added.

Tagged, ‘ITF Mandate Actualization: The Role of the Organized Private Sector (OPS)’, and presented by Mrs. Mary Oluranti Katugwa, the Interactive Forum is an annual platform that offers ITF stakeholders and partners the opportunity to come together and deliberate on emerging issues and trends in the learning and development industry.

“I am particularly grateful to the Director General/Chief Executive Sir Joseph N. Ari, KSM KSS, for believing in my team and I to pioneer Ikorodu Area Office,” the Area Manager, Mrs Bolanle Ajibade, said.

She also expressed her appreciation to the corporate organisations within the area, which have encouraged the agency by paying their Training Contributions promptly and inviting the agency to implement training programs.

“Thank you for contributing to the Nation’s Human Resource Development.,” she added.

Aiteo Puts Nembe Spill Under Control

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Indigenous oil giant, Aiteo, has stopped the oil leakage at its Santa Barbara oil well, reaching a historic milestone in solving the Nembe oil spill in Bayelsa State.

“Aiteo Eastern E & P Company Limited (“Aiteo E&P”)is pleased to inform all stakeholders, and Nigerians generally, that the impaired Santa Barbara South Well 01 in its’ OML 29 production area has been successfully brought under control, the flow stopped and the Well secured today, 8 December 2021. This outcome was achieved against the backdrop of very challenging circumstances exacerbated by the weather,” said Managing Director, Victor Okoronkwo, via a press release seen by Today’s Echo

According to Okoronkwo, the tidal cycle in the creek, and the silted slot of the Well resulted in reduced effective working hours. These challenges impacted on the timeline of the operation.

“With this successful operation, we can now confirm that there is no more leakage from the Well. It is remarkable that even with the dangers of the high exposure and risk, the entire operation has been executed and delivered with zero incident and zero fatality.”

He said clean-up efforts that were being concurrently executed throughout this period to limit the spread of hydrocarbon will now be comprehensively escalated. To this end, concerted efforts will further be channeled immediately into increasing remediation measures. In prosecuting these remediation activities and in aligning with Aiteo E&P’s strategic priorities to ensure uninterrupted continuation of the living conditions and wellbeing of the communities remains the paramount consideration.

According to the Aiteo boss, this successful milestone is a remarkable testament to the capabilities that exist within indigenous players when faced with incidents of such magnitude, even when unanticipated. Although indigenous participation in the Upstream space is nascent, the efforts evident in the management of this incident, especially the remarkable Aiteo E&P HSE Policy, foretells the progress that has been made in building, growing, and elevating both expertise and technical capabilities by indigenous oil companies such as ours. The professionalism with which the technical and support personnel execute this significant operation cannot be overemphasized, especially, considering the challenging operating terrain.

Okoronkwo thanked the stakeholders that have been instrumental to bringing the spill under control, averting immense dangers to communities in the Nembe area.

“The motivation and inspiration that enabled this accomplishment to happen must receive special and deserved mention. We thank the Almighty God without whom none of this would have been possible. Aiteo E&P expresses profound appreciation to His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, the President of theFederal Republic of Nigeria, who demonstrated immeasurable and sterling leadership in this matter; the Honorable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, H.E. Chief Timipre Sylva, for his resolute support; the Honourable Minister for Environment, Mrs. Sharon Ikeazor, for her unique open-mindedness and the Chief Executive, NUPRC, Mr. Gbenga Komolafe, for his deft management of this situation.

 “We express our immense appreciation and gratitude to our Senior Joint Venture Partner, NNPC, for standing shoulder to shoulder with us during this period. We also specially thank the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Mallam Melle Kyari for his exceptional leadership. In the same vein, we wish to appreciate the cooperation of the Group General Manager, NAPIMS, Mr. Bala Wunti. We thank the Director General, NOSDRA, Mr. Idris Musa whose insight and focus ensured that sense overwhelmed slogan; the Clean Nigeria Associates (CNA), and other related and relevant government agencies for their immense contributions, guidance, and belief in our resolve to address this mishap as well as having faith in us to deliver in these challenging times.

“ We thank Messrs. Boots and Coots whose unavoidable unavailability meant an unintended compulsion to resort to finding in-country capacity and in the process, locate both peerless competence and astuteness. To Mr. Victor Ekpenyong, Founder and CEO of Kenyon International West Africa Co. Ltd (an indigenous oil services company), we owe an immeasurable debt of gratitude for exhibition of courage and expertise. Above all, to our host communities, we thank you to no end for your understanding despite some provocative incitements that have occurred within this period.”

Okoronkwo added that “ the road ahead in sustaining this successful operation will demand co-operation, unity of purpose, continuing understanding and patience of all stakeholders towards delivering a comprehensive, impactful and timeous closure of this incident. On our part, we are buoyed by the milestone achieved, and in so doing, re-affirm our undiminished commitment to the Nigerian Oil and Gas indigenous community.”

Aiteo Confirms Ewariezi Useh as COO

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Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company (AEEPCO), operator of the NNPC / Aiteo Joint Venture on OML 29 on Wednesday announced the appointment of Mr. Ewariezi Useh as its Chief Operating Officer. Ewariezi will provide overall technical guidance to oil and gas exploration, production development, health, safety, security, and environmental activities of the group’s upstream business.

Ewariezi Useh assumes this position with a wealth of expertise spanning over 26 years from various areas of the Oil & Gas Industry. His experience ranges from oil and commodities trading (crude oil, derivatives & refined products), supply and distribution, petroleum retailing, shipping, jetty and terminal operations, depot and project management, amongst others.

Ewariezi joined Aiteo Group in 2013 and until this appointment, served as the Group Managing Director, Aiteo Downstream overseeing the entire downstream business of the Group and responsible for the effective running of the downstream companies (Aiteo Energy Resources Limited and Avidor Oil & Gas Company). Prior to joining the Aiteo Group, he was General Manager, Operations, African Petroleum Plc (now Ardova Plc.) up until 2010, where he oversaw the operations and growth of the company nationwide by strategically enhancing its growth and performance in the petroleum retail sector.

Ewariezi is a graduate of Chemical Engineering from the University of Benin. He holds an MBA from the IESE Business School, University of Nevarra, Barcelona; Spain. He has trained at the College of Petroleum Studies, Oxford; IESE Business School Barcelona, Wharton Business School, Pennsylvania USA amongst others. He is an alumnus of the prestigious Lagos Business School; a member of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers, the Energy Institute, London and also a registered member of the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN). Useh replaces the erstwhile Chief Operations Officer, Emmanuel Ukegbu, who retired from the company.

Aiteo Moves to Spoil oil Leak in Bayelsa

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Nigerian oil exploration giant, Aiteo, has announced that it has mobilised its team to the site of an oil spill its oil field.

According to a statement released by the indigenous oil company, Aiteo, operator of the NNPC /Aiteo Joint Venture on OML 29 on Friday, November 5, 2021 reported an oil spill from a non-producing well head in its Santa Barbara South field, in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

According to Aiteo, the magnitude of this incident is of an extremely high order. Neither the cause of the spill, nor the quantity of leaked hydrocarbon could be determined at the time of the discovery, though containment booms were deployed and recovery commenced immediately around the well head. 

” As an incident of this nature imports, the necessary Oil Spill Notification Report have been promptly communicated to National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission(NUPRC) and National Petroleum Investment Services(NAPIMS) as is required by regulation,” the statement reads.

” Ultimately, a Joint Investigative Visit, JIV to the spill site was held by all relevant stakeholders, community inclusive. The JIV at the time, was inconclusive, owing to difficulties with access due high pressure of hydrocarbons from the well head. Additionally, immediate efforts to control the leak were aborted due to the high pressure emanating from the well head.  Consequently, Aiteo has mobilized a full intervention team with well control specialists and equipment both locally and internationally to arrest the leak,” the statement continues.

According to the statement, the JIV team commended Aiteo for its prompt emergency response and handling of the incident. Further investigations on the cause of the mishap are being undertaken and will be progressed after the well has been shut in. Preliminary indications suggest that crude oil theft leaks and sabotage cannot be ruled out.

Invincible Hands Exhibition Puts Female Nigerian Artists in the Spotlight

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The Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Arts, Pan Atlantic University, Lagos, has declared open the Invincible Hands Exhibition, an art exposition that celebrates the contribution of Nigerian women in Art and addresses their marginalisation. The exhibition opened on August 28, 2021 and closes on January 18, 2022. Invincible Hands consists of an eclectic display of a wide range of art works from different female Nigerian artists spanning the old and the contemporary.

The Invincible Hands exhibition aims to address the disproportionate representation of male to female established artists in Nigeria and create awareness about this disparity, by celebrating the artistic contribution of female Nigerian artists toward the growth and development of the country’s creative culture. The exhibition takes a historic gaze at the past, paying homage to the Founding Mothers of Art in Nigeria, while drawing inferences in the contemporary art space, and solidifying a foundation for the future.

“This exhibition celebrates the contribution of underrepresented Nigerian women artists in post-colonial and contemporary eras, amplifying their work and bridging inequality gaps in the art sector to place female Nigerian artists back into the national art education dialogue and history,” said Olufisayo Bakare, the curator of the exhibition.

According to Bakare, in presenting these works to a wide audience, the exhibition highlights artistic achievements that transcend stereotyped and reductive achievements of Nigerian women in art.

“Since it takes an educative approach, it is open to every Nigerian and her allies,” she added.

The Invincible Hands Exhibition is the first of its kind at the Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art (YSMA), where a woman, designer-cum-curator Olufisayo Bakare, is tackling the issue of underrepresentation of female artists, giving credence to their individuality, voices and creativity. Thus, the exhibition aims at being an active agent in giving these artists higher visibility.

The exhibition features an array of mixed media art, paintings, photography, sculpture, tapestry, and textiles by the contributions of 40 Nigerian female artists whose works cover different periods, with 70 art forms on display. They were curated from Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art’s permanent collection, and as temporary loans by artists, art collectors, and patrons. Exhibiting artists include names like Susanne Wenger, Fati Abubakar, Anne Adams, Tiwa Sagoe, Anne Adams, Ndidi Dike, Amarachi Okafor, Winifred Ukpond, and Damilola Tejuoso, to mention a few.

With a background in Interior Design, guest curator, Olufisayo Bakare has trained eyes to find the rare balance between simplicity with African artistry in her work. Her keen interest in ‘carving the phenomenal out of the familiar’ has inspired her curatorial practice by establishing her as an ally in the preservation, documentation, and representation of African culture through various art forms.

The designer-cum-curator pays close attention to the works of indigenous and Pan-African artists and maker-communities by establishing unique platforms for accessibility. Positioned as a cultural gatekeeper of black histories, she recognizes that educating the masses through artistic and cultural ecosystems is at the bedrock of society. By connecting varied dialogues through an exchange of ideas, Bakare celebrates histories and their underpinned symbology. Having dedicated over a decade of her career to supporting the arts, Bakare has stepped into the limelight by partnering with the Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art to enforce their mandate by assisting with their mission of educating through the arts.

She is joining forces with institutions like YSMA to curate exhibitions and construct site-specific installations within the creative sector and art world.

The Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art (YSMA) of Pan-Atlantic University is an educational museum at the service of the university and the whole community. At the centre of YSMA’s mission is a desire to help audiences learn about art and through art

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