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Protesting Youths, Workers Shut Down Warri Refinery Over Employment

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  • Protesting Youths, Workers Shut Down Warri Refinery Over Employment

Hundreds of youths and members of staff of the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company on Wednesday shut down commercial activities at the Warri Refinery in Ekpan, Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta State, over alleged management’s failure to regularise their engagements.

The protesters drawn from across the Niger Delta states vowed to continue with their protest and ensure that major activities at the refinery remained shut until the management of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation resolved the issue.

Our correspondent observed that the protesters had all the entrances into the refinery under lock and key, accusing the management of NNPC of reneging on its earlier agreement to convert them from contract staff members into full staff members of the company.

The casual workers, including members of the host communities (Ekpan, Ubeji, Aja-Etan, Ifie-Kporo and Ijala-Ikeren) to the WRPC, however, rebuffed efforts by security operatives, including policemen and officers of the Nigerian Army to have them vacate the major entrance into the refinery.

Some of the protesters, who spoke with our correspondent, lamented that they had spent their productive years working for WRPC, alleging that despite series of promises to fully absorb them, they were not invited for the second batch of staff recruitment for the corporation in Abuja.

One of the protesters, Edemerukewan Emedwor, claimed that even though most of them were graduates and certified skilled workers that had been effectively doing the jobs, the company recently came up with some criteria such as having a First Class or Masters Degree, as conditions to become full staff members.

Emedwor, who, however, appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to wade into the matter so as to ensure they were employed in line with his administration’s “Next Level” mantra, added that their current terms of engagement amounted to “slavery,” considering that the company continues to recruit outsiders.

He said, “We are not slaves; we are putting our strength and resources into this job. What do they need to do for us? It is to convert us so we can have job security.”

Similarly, Samuel Ihadieu, stated that in spite of the exposure to toxic elements and the hard labour put in every day by the casual workers, their services were not being rewarded for contributing their quota to national development.

A Niger Delta youth leader and National Secretary of the Itsekiri National Youth Council, Jemi Mene-Ejegi, told journalists that they would not vacate the premises until the managing director of NNPC visited the refinery to address the matter, otherwise the protest would remain a standstill.

Mene-Ejegi said, “Initially, we wrote a letter and they called us, excluding the casual staff members, that the issue will be resolved. We told them to attend to the casual workers first. The second time, the same thing happened, which prompted the first protest. “They (WRPC) again called for calm. We accepted, with the thought that this is our country. But from then till now, nothing has been done. Instead, they are playing a backyard game.”

Addressing the protesters, WRPC’s Chief Security Officer, Hope Akpodiete, and Administrative Manager, Mr Solomon Siakpere, both pleaded with the protesters to allow officials who had engagements to be allowed to go ahead.

Their pleas, however, fell on deaf ears.

Siakpere, while addressing the workers who comprised mostly of young people, said, “We are familiar with what is ongoing. As we are gathered like this, we must be able to translate the gathering into action, not make noise, so that we can make progress. This is to get attention and that has been achieved. Rest assured that our corporate management is aware.”

When contacted over the demands of the protesters, NNPC spokesman, Ndu Ughamadu, said there was no discrimination in the corporation’s recruitment process, saying that he was not aware of any agreement to convert the protesters into full members of staff.

Ughamadu said, “We have been announcing the various stages for recruitment. In that advertisement, it was thrown open to all the workers and they were asked to apply. How many of them applied? The casual workers were equally invited but that aside, we have engaged them. We told them that look, after this exercise, there is another stage.

“If they didn’t fall into the first category, they may fall into the second category. That is what we are on. We don’t have casual workers only in the Warri Refinery, we have casuals in all of our subsidiaries, including the headquarters and many of them applied, and they are undergoing interviews now. There’s no discrimination in the process. I am not aware if there was an agreement with them.

“I’m appealing to them to exercise some restraints. We’ll continue to engage them to ensure that an amicable resolution is reached.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Appointments

Heirs Oil & Gas Announces CEO and Board Appointments

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Tony Elumelu

Heirs Oil & Gas (HHOG), the leading African integrated energy company, has announced the appointment of Osayande Igiehon as Chief Executive Officer, effective May 4, 2021, together with a distinguished non-executive board, bringing together leading industry figures, with considerable global and regional experience.

Heirs Holdings Limited’s (HH) portfolio company, HHOG, completed the acquisition of OML17 in January 2021, in one of the largest oil and gas financings in Africa in more than a decade, with a financing component of US$1.1 billion. The transaction represents a further implementation of the HH Group strategy of creating the leading integrated energy business in Africa. Through a series of strategic portfolio holdings, HH is executing this strategy. Most recently, affiliate company, Transcorp made a US$300 million acquisition of Afam Power, increasing the Group’s installed electricity generating capacity to 2,000MW.

Mr. Igiehon, who joins from the Royal Dutch Shell (Shell), where he was previously a Vice-President with the Group in the Hague, Netherlands. He brings over twenty-seven years of experience and expertise in the oil and gas sector with Shell, where he held a series of senior management positions. Mr. Igiehon previously served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Shell Gabon, where he led the successful turnaround of the operational, safety and financial performance.

HHOG is also pleased to announce the appointment of the following distinguished private sector and senior industry leaders to the Board:

  • Tony O. Elumelu, CON is the Chairman of Heirs Holdings, the United Bank for Africa (UBA), Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp), and Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation.
  • Sally Udoma who previously served as general counsel for Chevron Europe, Eurasia, and the Middle East Exploration and Production. Previously, she was general counsel for Sasol Chevron Consulting Limited and managing counsel at the London Legal Service Centre for Chevron Global Upstream and Gas. She has also served as general counsel and general manager for Chevron Nigeria Limited.
  • Anil Dua is a founding partner at Gateway Partners Limited, a private equity fund specialising in dynamic growth markets including Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Prior to this, Mr. Dua worked for over thirty-five years with Standard Chartered Bank in Asia, Africa, Europe and the US, where he held various roles including Regional CEO West Africa and Regional Head of Origination and Client Coverage, Africa.
  • Ahmadu Kida Musa who previously served as Deputy Managing Director of Total Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited, has over thirty-two years of experience in the Oil and Gas industry and brings considerable expertise in Nigerian oil and gas.
  • Stanley Lawson currently serves on the board of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc. He is Managing Partner at Financial Advisory & Investment Consultants Ltd. Dr Lawson previously occupied the position of Group Executive Director-Finance & Accounts at Nigerian National Petroleum Corp.
  • Samuel Nwanze is the Chief Finance Officer at Heirs Oil and Gas. Prior to this he was the Chief Investment Officer at Heirs Holdings responsible for investment and capital management.

Commenting, Mr. Igiehon stated: “HHOG represents an extraordinary opportunity, to create Africa’s first true integrated energy company, with a mission to ensure that Africa’s natural resources are directed toward value creation in Africa, powered by sustainable, robust and abundant African energy. I am excited to join the Heirs Oil and Gas leadership team and look forward to the opportunity to transform the energy sector, purposefully address Africa’s energy needs and improve the lives of people across Africa.”

The Chairman of the Board, Tony O. Elumelu, CON, stated: “I am delighted to welcome our new board members. We are building a role model institution for African businesses and our investment in human capital is a further strong demonstration of our intent. The regional and global expertise of our board members will serve to further drive value creation to our continent, as we execute our goal of becoming Africa’s largest, indigenous, integrated, energy company.”

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Brands

CHI Limited Celebrates Its Maiden Hollandia Dairy Day

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Nigeria’s leading dairy brand, Hollandia, is set to hold the maiden edition of its Hollandia Dairy Day. The event which will be celebrated on the 18th of May 2021 will provide a veritable platform to drive the national discourse on the unrivaled health and nutrition benefits of dairy consumption to people of all ages.

Set to be hosted as a conference, the theme of this year’s event is “Dairy Nourishment to Support Healthy Living”, and it focuses on the vital role dairy consumption plays in our everyday nourishment, its benefit to our overall health, and why dairy products should be included in our diets every day.

This conference, which is designed as a hybrid of the physical and virtual events, will feature presentations, interviews and panel discussions from health experts and nutritionists as they provide insights and share perspectives to guide informed decisions about dairy consumption as part of a daily balanced diet. The event is opened to the public through the brand’s multiple social media platforms.

According to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, 2019, Nigeria has low dairy consumption levels per head – 15 to 20 liters per capita consumption. This is partly attributable to the low purchasing power of the average Nigerian household, who rank milk and dairy products as non-essential luxuries and prioritize other staple foods such as rice, beans, and yam.

By provoking the conversations and stimulating public action/intervention, Hollandia aims to drive consciousness for dairy consumption and its importance to achieving optimum health, and to get many more Nigerians drinking, using, and consuming dairy products.

The past year has presented unprecedented shocks and disruptions, including a global COVID-19 pandemic. As communities throughout the world look for ways to minimize the risk of COVID-19, maintaining and boosting good health is top of mind for many. Dairy foods such as milk and yogurt contain essential nutrients, including Vitamins A and D, Zinc and Protein, which support immune function.

The Hollandia Dairy Day Conference is a public interest initiative created to highlight the importance of dairy in everyday nutrition and healthy living in Nigeria.

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Business

Nokia Launches Blockchain-Powered Data Marketplace For Secure Data Trading and AI Models

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Nokia today announced the launch of the Nokia Data Marketplace as-a-service to facilitate secure sharing of data and AI models, enabling digital transformation and data monetization for enterprises.

As data volumes continue to surge, AI and machine learning are increasingly crucial in business decision making. Nokia Data Marketplace is designed to help enterprises and communications service providers (CSPs) use data in strategic decision making, by providing real-time access to massive trusted datasets.

The new service also enables enterprises and CSPs to become data marketplace providers themselves, by monetizing data exchanges between customers or business ecosystem participants.

Nokia Data Marketplace ensures trusted data exchange and authorization mechanisms. This enables a wide range of vertical use cases, including electric vehicle charging, environmental data monetization, supply-chain automation and preventative maintenance powering numerous vertical segments, including transportation, ports, energy, smart cities and healthcare.

Friedrich Trawoeger, Vice President, Cloud and Cognitive Services at Nokia, said: “Our customers need secure and trusted access to data for effective business decision making. With Nokia Data Marketplace, enterprises and CSPs can now benefit from richer insights and predictive models to drive digital ways of working and tap into new revenue streams.”

Nokia Data Marketplace accelerates AI initiatives through federated learning. This approach, combined with orchestration capabilities, facilitates the collaborative development of highly accurate machine learning models for analytics use cases. It also meets the growing demand for a platform that can efficiently apply AI and machine learning algorithms to in situ data.

Nokia Data Marketplace complements Nokia Worldwide IoT Network Grid (WING), which offers global IoT connectivity and vertical applications. For example, Nokia WING’s asset tracking solution is enriched by Nokia Data Marketplace’s blockchain to provide secure and automated data exchange and transactions between logistics’ ecosystem partners for faster turnaround.*

Kaladhar Voruganti, Senior Fellow, Office of the CTO at Equinix, said: “Nokia Data Marketplace combined with Equinix data centers allows organizations to share data and algorithms globally at more than 240 metro edge locations. Our Metal platform augments this to provide secure, proximate, on-demand infrastructure to enterprises and government agencies. Sharing and processing of data close to its point of creation mitigate issues related to latency, compliance, and network backhaul cost. These neutral and secure edge locations are connected via high-speed and secure networks to data sources spanning across public clouds, private enterprise data centers and data brokers.”

Wouter van Neerbos, Chief Executive Officer at Marlin, said: “Through automated data exchange among shipping participants, Nokia brings us the transparency and operational efficiency required in our global marine supply chain. This reduces waiting time for shipping participants in the marine ecosystem, enables faster turnaround for ships, and reduces our costs.”

Justin van der Lande, the Principal Analyst at Analysys Mason, said: “Data is the energy needed to run all future business; critical to their success in creating the best AI-based insights and needs access to the largest data sets. Data sharing between enterprise partners is vital in building complete data sets. Facilitating data sharing using a secure platform, such as Nokia’s blockchain-based Data Marketplace, accelerates enterprises’ building of new data sets and creates richer business partnerships for them.”

Nokia is leading the development of security, privacy, and trust mechanisms as part of a consortium that was recently awarded the DEDICAT 6G project by the European Union. Nokia Data Marketplace inclusion in this project focuses on creating an AI and blockchain-enabled security framework and trust management platform for IoT applications running on B5G (Beyond 5G) networks.

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