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Shell Reaffirms Support for Research, Development in Nigeria

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SNEPCo workers Shell

By Adedapo Adesanya

Shell has reiterated its commitment to its research and development strategy, which, according to the Managing Director of the deep-water business of Shell in Nigeria, Mrs Elohor Aiboni, aligns with the country’s 10-year strategic roadmap for local content being implemented by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).

According to her, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo) would continue to explore opportunities for collaboration with public and private sector stakeholders to enhance in-country capabilities in research and development.

Mrs Aiboni made the commitment at the just concluded second edition of the NCDMB Research and Development Opportunity Fair in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State Capital. “Research and Development have always been a very important activity in our industry and, it is a business imperative for SNEPCo both for solving problems – whether technical or operational – and for the potential for import substitution.”

She said, “Collaboration is particularly significant because, without an effective and sustainable collaboration framework that keeps all stakeholders well connected, it will be near impossible to deliver results from R&D, particularly sustainable results.”

She noted that for over 40 years, Shell Companies in Nigeria deliberately and strategically established strong relationships and partnerships with the academia for building and growing in-country R&D.

She listed some of the areas of partnership to include the annual Sabbatical and Research Internship programmes in Shell for Nigeria academics.

According to Mrs Aiboni, Shell companies in Nigeria have continued to expand their research and development initiatives to reposition the Nigerian oil and gas industry as an exporter of innovations.

“Thirty Nigerians from the academia joined Shell companies in Nigeria in 2020 for the Sabbatical and Research Internship programme which was the highest number of participants in the programme’s history,” she said.

“Since we are a global business organisation, we recognise that research thrives in world-class research institutions, intellectually rich and technology-enabled environments.

“Shell Companies in Nigeria, therefore, endowed targeted professorial chairs and two Centres of Excellence in Nigerian universities as key fulcrums in our drive to encourage R&D in Nigeria,” she noted.

Shell companies in Nigeria have Centres of Excellence for postgraduate studies at the University of Benin, for Geoscience and Petroleum Engineering, and at the Rivers State University, for Marine and Offshore Engineering.

There are also Shell-endowed professorial chairs at the University of Port Harcourt (Petroleum Engineering); the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (Environmental Management and Control); the Obafemi Awolowo University (Geophysics); and the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (Mechanical Engineering).

She said Shell had commenced research to seek local alternatives to the importation of drilling fluids by exploring the development of Synthetic Base Fluids using materials that are available locally in Nigeria. “This is still ongoing and proudly nearing completion by the commissioned two Nigerian universities.”

The NCDMB R&D Opportunity Fair featured exhibitions and technical discussions by academics and stakeholders in oil and gas on strategies for generating demand-driven research that would solve practical problems and improve exploration and production activities.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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Group Laments Absence of Sign Language Interpreters at TV Stations, Hospitals

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Sign Language Interpreters

By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel

A former leader of the women’s wing of the Nigerian National Association of the Deaf (NNAD), Mrs Monsurat Abdulwasiu, has raised the issue of exclusion of hearing-impaired individuals, especially in major TV broadcasts.

The counsellor made the complaint to the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, on Thursday during the 2021 annual lecture organized by the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) in partnership with the Albino Foundation and the European Union (EU).

Speaking through an interpreter on behalf of the disadvantaged, Mrs Abdulwasiu said that because many TV stations across the country do not feature sign language interpretations in their major broadcast, persons with disabilities only look at images during news hours without understanding the message.

In her words, “Only the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA, has a sign language interpreter during one of its news hours. In the other media platforms, there are no sign language interpreters. Even in the healthcare sector, no sign language in Nigerian hospitals.

“So, what happens to deaf people when they are reading news, and when they are sick and go to the hospital. Does it mean that we are not entitled to information and healthcare? The government needs to look into this.”

Responding to this, the Minister confirmed this and said he was touched by the point raised, adding that there was a need for sign interpreters during the network news and other major news belts.

Mr Mohammed then assured that he would direct all TV stations in the country, both public and private, to feature sign language interpretation in their major broadcast.

“I am going to ask the NBC to direct all our television stations to ensure that there are sign [language] interpreters in all television stations during their major news hours.

“This will not apply to only the Nigerian Television Authority. Whether public or private television stations, they must comply with the directive.

“This directive will work both ways. It means the complaint of exclusion will be tackled and the persons with disability of hearing will also be included in programs and policies of the government,” he said.

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CBN to Inject Fresh N15bn into Lagos Blue Line Railway Project

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Blue Line Railway Project

By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said that another tranche of N15 billion is due for disbursement to Lagos State for the completion of the ongoing Blue Line Railway project.

This is part of the N60 billion the apex bank has earmarked for the project of which the sum of N45 billion has been disbursed to the state already.

The provision of the funding by the central bank, through select banks, is under the Differentiated Cash Reserves Requirement (DCRR) intervention to ensure Lagos State had the financial capacity for the project.

Speaking after a tour at the Marina site on Thursday, October 14, to monitor the progress of the infrastructure operated by the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), the Director of CBN Development Finance, Mr Yusuf Philip Yila, remarked that the “progress of the job matches the funding so far.”

“The total amount we have made available for this line is N60 billion. We have disbursed N45 billion. There’s another tranche of N15 billion.

“We are confident, based on what has been shown, that progress has been made. Disbursement of the funding is being done in tranches. So, another tranche is due.

“As the central bank, we felt it is important to come and see what is on the ground and the quality of work is quite impressive,” Mr Yila disclosed.

Evaluating the work done on the site so far, he noted the job opportunities that have been opened to young Nigerians in the state through the avenue which includes welding, fabricating and others.

He said, “There are over 500 jobs on-site here, which is a good takeaway. I am happy, having met some of the people on-site and across other stations.”

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FG Approves N2.5bn for Senior Citizens to Curb Poverty

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National Senior Citizens Centre

By Adedapo Adesanya

The federal government has approved N2.5 billion as a take-off grant for the National Senior Citizens Centre (NSCC), the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Ms Sadiya Farouq, has disclosed.

The Minister said this at a one-day Southern Zone Stakeholders Consultation on Development of NSCC Strategic Plan on Thursday in Lagos, where she was represented by the ministry’s acting Director, Social Services, Mr Mansur Kuliya.

According to her, the money is presently being processed for disbursement to the centre and would be used to identify the strategic priorities, processes and approaches that would provide an impetus for the centre to achieve its mandate of integrating senior citizens.

The Minister said that the centre was collaborating with relevant stakeholders to brainstorm and produce ideas for the development of a 10-year strategic plan.

“This consultation indicates the commitment of the ministry, board and management of the centre to ensure full implementation of Mr President’s agenda toward the establishment of the centre.

“The ministry and the centre will ensure that the country benefits from the wisdom and wealth of experiences of the senior citizens,” she said.

The Director-General of NSCC, Mr Emem Omokaro, in his presentation, said the consultation was to inform stakeholders about the National Senior Citizens Act and its mandate.

Mr Omokaro said the Act aligns with the National Policy on Ageing and the SDGs Agenda 2030, which was the guiding document for the operations of the NSCC and the parameters of the stakeholders’ deliberation.

Corroborating this, the Minister noted that, “This consultation is also to engage stakeholders on critical issues affecting older persons; to listen to your views, context, evidence and even myths.

“It is to bring innovative solutions that will constitute actions that NSCC should consider and the means to achieve them.

“By this consultative forum, NSCC is creating and fostering an environment of collaboration in the key decision-making process.”

The Lagos State Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Mr Segun Dawodu, in his remarks, said Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu was committed to reducing the sufferings of older citizens in alignment with the theme policy agenda of the state.

Mr Dawodu, who was represented by Ms Caroline Inegbedion, the ministry’s Deputy Director, Correctional and Elderly Care Services, noted that the commitment was geared toward reducing the vulnerability of elders to poverty.

He said it was also to make them economically independent and improve their general well-being.

The Commissioner said plans were underway for the construction of Day Care Centre in each of the three senatorial districts, adding that the facility was at 85 per cent completion in Epe.

He noted that the state government had a functional and well-funded Old Peoples Home to take care of its vulnerable aged people with social workers, nurses, doctors and physiotherapists attached.

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