Friday, December 16, 2016

NOUS AIDER ALIRE AUX ENFANTS AFRICAINS ...

Mamud $ the Moringa Tree cover

Mamud et l'arbre Moringa est un livre africain pour les enfants. Il raconte les relations symbiotiques qui existe entre nous les humains et la nature, et comme une question de fait comment les arbres contribuent à atténuer les changements climatiques.

Nous essayons d'obtenir ce livre dans les mains des enfants dans 500 écoles primaires au Bénin City, Nigeria. Il est important que tout en apprenant aux enfants à lire, nous devons communiquer des leçons sur l'équilibre délicat de notre maison la terre.

Mais jusqu'à présent, nous avons fait aucun succès appréciable, comme vous pouvez le voir dans la vidéo ci-dessous.



Nous ne disposons pas de soutien du niveau de gouvernance gouvernementales nationales et locales et fédérale.
Le livre est à moi, l'auto publié et rien ne va me donner une plus grande satisfaction que d'obtenir dans les mains des enfants ici au Nigeria et en Afrique.
COMMENT VOUS POUVEZ AIDER.
PARRAINAGE DES COMPÉTITIONS DE LECTURE
(I) Nous voulons procéder à la lecture des concours / activités entre les écoles privées et publiques primaires au Bénin City, Nigeria. Vous pouvez me appeler 2348156171133 ou 2349092194428 afin que nous puissions en discuter. Vous pouvez me contacter sur majirioghene @ yahoo. com ou majirioghene@gmail.com.

(Ii) Nous voulons lire aux enfants sur la télé. L'objectif est de ramener l'intérêt pour les livres et la lecture des livres que des copies papier. Sponsor Programme TV et nous allons le prendre à partir de là. La télévision nationale, NTA, donne la plus large atteindre.

AIDE AVEC IMPRESSION PLUS COPIES DE M & MT(I) Oui, nous aurions besoin d'autres exemplaires de ce livre. Déjà, les copies que j'ai sont très appauvri.
(Ii) Vous pouvez également acheter M & MT livre sur:
  
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/359562

et

https://www.amazon.com/Mamud-Moringa-Tree-MajiriOghene-Etemiku-ebook/dp/B00FBJ9MEA


pour aider à soutenir notre projet qui consiste à donner notre livre gratuitement aux enfants nigérians.

Merci pour votre visite.
Bob MajiriOghene EtemikuRédacteur en chef,Bob MajiriOghene Communications,Bénin City, Nigeria.

HELP US READ TO AFRICAN CHILDREN...


Mamud & the Moringa Tree is an African book for children. It tells the symbiotic relations which exists between us humans and nature, and as a matter of fact how trees help mitigate climate change.

We are trying to get this book in the hands of children in 500 primary schools in Benin City, Nigeria. It is important that while teaching children to read, we must impart lessons about the delicate balance of our home the earth.

But so far we have not made any appreciable success, as you can see in the video below. 




We do not have support from the Federal and state and local government levels of governance.

The book is mine, self published and nothing will give me greater satisfaction than getting it in the hands of children here in Nigeria and Africa.

HOW YOU CAN HELP.

SPONSORSHIP OF READING COMPETITIONS

(i) We want to carry out reading competitions/activities between private and public primary schools in Benin City, Nigeria. You can call me on +2348156171133 or +2349092194428 so that we can discuss this. You can email me on majirioghene@yahoo.com or majirioghene@gmail.com.

(ii) We want to read to children on telly. The objective is to bring back interest in books and in reading books as hard copies. Sponsor the TV Programme and we'll take it from there. The National Television, NTA, gives widest reach.

HELP WITH PRINTING MORE COPIES OF M&MT
(i) Yes, we would be needing more copies of this book. Already, the copies I have are very depleted.

(ii) You may also want to buy M&MT book on:
 
 and
to help support our project of giving away our book for free to Nigerian children.

Thanks for stopping by.

Bob MajiriOghene Etemiku
Editor in chief,
Bob MajiriOghene Communications,
Benin City, Nigeria.
@DeepSighRobert,
(Facebook) Robert Etemiku



Monday, December 5, 2016

ECOWAS VRS EU - ENERGY WARS



I have been reading former Secretary General of the OPEC Abdalla Salem El-Badri’s interesting piece, Security of energy supplies inextricably linked with demand. That piece, published in the ‘G-7Germany: The Schloss-Emma Summit’ of June 2015, has said that questions regarding energy security, often have four ready answers. They are issues of reciprocity of supply and demand of oil, foreseeable time horizons, the universality of oil security across all time zones and seasons, and the need to use the security which oil is supposed to provide to enhance dialogue and cooperation.



We will deal with the exposition of these terms right after we examine the theme and focus of a certain high level ministerial meeting which took place on December 1 2016 in Abuja. It was convened by the collaborative effort of the Nigerian and Ghanaian governments and the UNEP, to examine the ‘negative consequences of the use of high sulphur fuels’, and attempt to adopt a realistic approach to adapting the use of clean fuels by 2020 so that our environment becomes safer. But there is indeed a background to that meeting. Briefly, certain Swiss traders, the infamous Trafigura and Mercuria et all are alleged to be behind the massive and deliberate production and importation of dirty fuels into West Africa. Via a curious method known as blending, they mix all kinds of concoctions to come up a kind of fuel which is about 1000 times higher in sulphur content than any other kind of fuel accepted anywhere. Already, four Nigerian cities, Aba, Umuahia, Kaduna and Onitsha, have been designated as the most air-polluted cities there are. Air pollution was not happening only in Nigeria. Upon realizing that the fuels being imported into Ghana had 1000ppm sulphur content, the authorities made a symbolic gesture of sending back a container laden with dirty air in jerry cans back to Antwerp, and backed up their resolve this November 2016 by insisting on taking into Accra only fuels with 50ppm sulphur content. Togo and Benin are hesitant to make the move, and that is because their fuels come from Nigeria, and there is no way they will be insisting on getting fuel from Nigeria if Nigeria is not doing anything about those dirty fuels from Europe.



But part of the recommendations taken by Nigeria, Ghana, Togo Benin and Ivory Coast at that Abuja meeting included the fact that as a region, they would all have to take a stand and insist on fuels with 50ppm sulphur content. For the Nigerian end, things are still a bit intricate. The Nigerian government said that by July 2017, that resolution would be enforced. A very good move but the difficulty stems from the fact that nobody is certain whether this is just a promissory note because Nigerians are not sure that this July 2017 date has been exhaustively discussed at the higher echelons of government, with relevant stakeholders and the Nigerian public. That apart, the meeting resolved inter alia, to give refineries waivers to implement upgrade to enable them meet the proposed 50ppm by 2020. In addition, ministers in the sub-region resolved to work together for uniform refinery standards against vehicular emissions by the magic year 2020. 

  

How all of that is going to happen, even by the year 2020 I cannot understand. I’m certain that 50% of the persons who made these proposals may not have really seen what our refineries look like. Well, I have. It was the Warri Refinery – a prototype of the Port Harcourt and Kaduna - and this was way back in 2008. Near the refinery, I saw a foundry with piles of rusting metal. I was later to understand that the flurry of activity which was going on then was because certain humongous sums had been voted for turn-around maintenance, TAM, of the refineries. From 2008 till date, there has been no significant change from what I saw there then. Are these the refineries that would be granted waivers to meet the plan for fuel efficiency by 2020?



Therefore what the former OPEC sec gen meant by reciprocity of supply and demand of oil, foreseeable time horizons, the universality of oil security across all time zones and seasons, and the need to use the security which oil is supposed to provide to enhance dialogue and cooperation is that for countries like Nigeria, Togo et all to have oil insecurity, they must begin to look to a future of clean energy and without oil. There is an excerpt from an article, Will Nigeria Survive the EU Energy Union, published with the Nation newspaper on June 11, 2015. In that article, I had said that three senior members of the European Union, EU, sat down in Brussels to brainstorm the idea of an Energy Union within the EU. One of them, Maroš Šefèoviè reportedly told his comrades: “Today, we launch the most ambitious European energy project since the Coal and Steel Community. A project that will integrate our 28 European energy markets into one Energy Union, make Europe less energy dependent and give the predictability that investors so badly need to create jobs and growth.



When they arose, they issued a communiqué like the Abuja meeting did.  The core of that communiqué was that the EU by 2030 – about 16 years from today and ten years from the date wherein ECOWAS set to develop a low sulphur fuel roadmap – Europe would have cut greenhouse gas, GHG, emissions by at least 40%. They will also boost renewable energy and improve energy efficiency by at least 27%.  By February 2015, a Southern Gas Corridor to develop the establishment of liquid gas hubs with multiple suppliers in Central and Eastern Europe would be developed. Since most of Europe would soon depend absolutely on renewable energy – solar, biomass, wind and hydro power for their electricity needs, part of the plan of the EU Energy Union includes a full implementation of existing legislation and market rules to integrate these renewable into all European markets, and a promotion of more research into renewable energy production and the decarbonisation of the transport sector. ECOWAS should take notice.

 Etemiku is communications manager, ANEEJ.

@bobaneej

Monday, November 21, 2016

Use GMO for electricity and gas not food



In my days in secondary school, one of my best subjects was integrated science. That subject had Biology, Physics and Chemistry all fused in one even though we didn’t know it then. I developed an unusual interest on one topic then – Photosynthesis – not just because of the name but because of the story behind the definition of Photosynthesis. We were told that plants ‘manufactured’ their food with the help of the sun. To tell you the truth, I did not understand what that strange story meant but the idea that everything we ate as food came with the help of the sun made the interest in Photosynthesis all the more interesting. But as I grew up, I was to realize that as a matter of fact, that the matter of the Sun collaborating with the green leaves of plants was not as simple as I could ever imagine. But I accepted that indeed without the sun making a significant input, it would be impossible to have breakfast.

Bob MajiriOghene Etemiku, discussing with market meat sellers
Over the years, this has been what has been taught in schools. But certain scientists have tested that precept, and have gone ahead to prove that human beings can actually contest the power of the Sun, and influence how we ‘manufacture’ our food. Using a technique known as biosynthesis, and which radically departs from the photosynthetic hypothesis, scientists can actually perform surgical operation on a seed like maize or yam or sorghum. I have seen them do it. What they do is this: they open up a seed which naturally has a bad gene and which cannot produce much. Then they open up the cells of another living organism, like a fly or a maggot or even a rat and replace the unproductive gene or cell of the plant with the most productive gene of the housefly, maggot or rat. As soon as they are done, the plant is introduced to the soil. The result is what we often refer to as genetically modified organisms, GMOs.
An uprooted tree to make way for 'development' at the FCT, Nigeria
Now, because there is something in the superstructure of the plant which has been altered, scientists and the world at large are not very certain whether or not consumption of these GMOs may have side-effects. Well, yes, there’s been a back and forth on that topic but that’s not our focus right now. What I am interested in is what those scientists have done with the GMOs. Instead of out rightly consuming those GMO, they use about 95% of it for gas and for electricity. How? Local authorities in places like Germany have built special silos with a network of underground pipes crisscrossing their community. They mix these grains, rice, millet, sorghum with cow, goat and pig dung and the effervescence of gas which takes place during the chemical reaction from that mishmash is what passes through those pipes to homes, offices and industries.

Fries maybe from GMOs
In the past 8months in Benin City, I have relied exclusively on power generators for my energy needs. Businesses along the airport road have nearly all shut down, and most of us cannot sleep in our homes for the heat and the mosquitoes. What you read here is very expensive piece of writing: I go the hog to get very expensive but dirty fuel to fill my power generating set. But the tragedy in all of this is not in the expensive and dirty fuel we are using to power our generators. The tragedy is contained in two documents: one a report by Public Eye - Dirty Diesel: How Swiss Traders Flood Africa with Toxic Fuels and another credited to the World Economic Forum which stated that four of the 20 cities in the world – Onitsha, Aba, Kaduna and Umuahia - with the worst air quality are in Nigeria. World Bank Reports indicate that an estimated 5.5 million lives were lost in 2013 to diseases associated with outdoor and household air pollution, causing human suffering and reducing economic development.

Bob MajiriOghene Etemiku having a discussion with a market seller
Photos by Author
We will not be focusing on the fact that certain Swiss companies – Trafigura, Vitol, Glencore, Addax & Oryx and Mercuria – deliberately produce fuel of a ‘sulphur level of up to 27 times the European standard for gasoline and close to 400 times the European standard for diesel’. We will however focus on two things: one, on getting the people in the Netherlands who allow such poisonous fuels to be produced in their country to be sold for a profit in the West African Sub-region to stop.  Our governments in the sub-region have to do something as well, and that is why we hope that the regional meetings being slated by African governments on issues of our environment will at least insist on acceptable fuel quality standards for diesel and gasoline entering the region. The second issue we should be focusing on is the need to channel our energies on developing our GMO technology to produce GMO rice and other cereals like maize, sorghum and millet for power. I am not very interested in the food right now. And this is because we currently spend about $2.4billion importing rice and other allied foodstuff, some of which we are not so sure aren’t genetically modified and probably unsafe for human consumption. What then can be wrong with using biosynthesis for power and using that to mitigate climate change?
A typical market scene in Nigeria - photos by Bob MajiriOghene Etemiku ANEEJ



Bob MajiriOghene Etemiku, communications manager, ANEEJ, Benin city.
@bobaneej. 


Saturday, November 5, 2016

Death and the Nigerian Whistleblower



Several Nigerians recently expressed a good measure of outrage at what was perceived to be the laidback disposition of the National Judicial Commission and the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, with the arrest of judges by the DSS.  The insinuation that made the round was that there were many petitions forwarded to the NJC for which it was seemingly uninterested in prosecuting. If only yesterday 21st of October 2016 the NBA made an about turn and asked the NJC to sanction judges who were arrested by the DSS, the NJC had already set out to tell its own side of this dark story via a paid advertorial on The Guardian of Wednesday 19th 2016. In that document, several issues related to the similarity of the ‘sting’ operation by a body equivalent to our DSS in Ghana came up. One of the issues was that in the NJC attempt to maintain that there was no similarity whatsoever with the Nigerian and Ghanaian scenarios, the author of the NJC advertorial inadvertently mentioned the journalists who had carried out years and years of undercover work which exposed the problems of corruption in the Ghanaian judiciary.

According to the story in article 13 of the advertorial, a Ghanaian undercover journalist gathered video and audio evidence which supported allegations of corruption and bribery against some Ghanaian magistrates. After he finished with his investigation, he anonymously turned in the product of his investigation to the Ghanaian Judicial Council which proceeded to prosecute the magistrates on the strength of the evidence by the journalist.  In the said advertorial as well, the NJC cited the example of how Hon Justice I.A. Umezuluike, OFR, Chief Judge of Enugu state was recommended by the NJC on the strength of a petition written by a lawyer whose name the advertorial went ahead to mention. The lawyer’s name as a matter of fact, had been mentioned several times before the NJC advertorial, but that certainly is not the way we should be running the shows.


A whistleblower should be anonymous like the Deep Throat behind the Watergate scandal of 1972. After more than 30 years of being in the shadows, Deep Throat only surfaced a few years ago in 2005. That was when we finally got to know that it was indeed Mark Felt, former FBI agent who blew the whistle on Richard Nixon. A whistleblower exposes what governments, corporations or very powerful individuals would otherwise want to remain under lock and key. In most cases, they put the interest of the public’s right to know and to make informed decisions far ahead of the state and what it seeks to keep away from the public. Thereby, whistleblowers are a very vulnerable and marked people whose identities should not be brazenly thrown to the people in the murkiness of the deep and dark concerns of our public space, and to people who want to take their lives.


I understand the need of the NJC to want to set the records straight and put things in proper perspective but inadvertent gaffs like that of the NJC advertorial have led to the untimely deaths of those who risk their lives for the public good. Take the reported cases published in The Guardian newspaper of Thursday October 20, 2016. A staff member of the National Women Development Centre who exposed the brazen stealing of N300million meant for the alleviation of women in rural areas by top officials, has been dismissed. In another case reported in the publication, another staff member of the Ministry of Aviation who revealed the high level of graft in the ministry was not only sacked but is on the run for his life after his name popped up as the man who opened up the Pandora box of the aviation ministry. 


But it has not only been Nigeria where whistleblowers’ lives have been put at grave risk, and for which they have paid the supreme price. According to the International Federation of Journalists, IFJ, over 60 journalists in 2016 who have pursued one criminal case or the other have been killed because of the cases they pursue. Take the case of the Bureau Chief of an Indian Hindi newspaper who was shot dead on 14 February 2016. He was driving home one day with his uncle when two unidentified people on a motorcycle stopped the car and opened fire. The victim was rushed to hospital but died shortly afterwards. He was said to have been targeted because he wrote about the mud mafia, a group involved in illegal black market activities. What about the case of Elvis Ordaniza the Pilipino who was killed early this year? He was shot twice in the chest at his home as he was preparing his dinner.  His colleagues believe that he was gunned down because he had been writing about illegal drugs and illegal gambling.


We may begin to assume that whistleblowers and journalist working to expose corruption in Nigeria may not get killed the way they get killed in Libya, Afghanistan, Brazil, Guinea and Guatemala. That is not really true. The ominous signs are already showing: a blogger with the Abia Facts newspaper was picked up recently by the DSS for ‘character defamation’. Another one from Cliqq Magazine as well was arrested by the police on September 19 2016 in Katsina State. His offence was that he was likely going to disrupt public peace by exposing something considered coarse about the governor of his state. This blogger was detained 7days before he was eventually released. Just a week after that, another one blogger was arrested in Katsina state again on the charge that his activities as a freelance journo were a threat to the esteemed Mr. Governor. Very recently as well, I began to get a feel of what dangers there are with whistleblowing in Nigeria: one government official called me up recently over an article concerning the Onitsha-Enugu Road published here in Daily Independent and with Punch, to give me the hint that I should write now and hope to write again tomorrow.


Certain issues arise and come off as common denominator from these tales. Most of the arrests of these bloggers have come from government or its agencies in an administration seeking to change the old order of doing things. That said, it therefore makes me imagine then that if these arrests were not coming from government, there is the likelihood that the perceived culprits would have been targeted and snuffed out by now. It is a chilling thought. Another thing about these arrests is that bloggers are often the targets. I agree that most are downright irresponsible. Most of them blogging on ‘social media’ know next to nothing about the avowed tenets – objectivity, fairness and accuracy - by which the journalism profession is known by.  Some are shadowy fronts for aggrieved politicians seeking a pound of flesh. Most are also used for mud-flinging at political opponents. But even as at that, do you go arresting someone who has slandered you or has the capacity to do so? No you don’t. What the system recommends is that you write this horrible individual a simple letter of your intention to initiate an action in court against them if they do not retract the publication which offends you. Chances are that that horrible individual spewing horrible things about will back off. You do not go arresting and clamping them in jail first on the perception that what they have published is injurious to you. You do not go arresting a blogger if what he or she is blogging about is false and cannot be substantiated.


What most administrations will do is stretch the limits of their systems and institutions and use every method to bring terrorists and people who threaten the state to book.  Not whistleblowers.  Recall the San Bernardino shooting incident early this year in the US. Just after the shooting, US government found out that the two terrorists who carried out the attack had a likely accomplice somewhere. To get at this accomplice, they asked Apple, the makers of the iPhone 5C they found in the possession of the shooters, for help to unlock the phone. But the phone company refused, insisting that just giving away passwords of their customers to third parties would undermine the security features of its products and result in a breach in the confidentiality between the company and its customers. Then the FBI asked the NSA to break into the phone but the NSA wasn’t able to do it. So what the FBI did next was apply to a Magistrate Court Judge to issue a court order, the All Writs Act of 1789, asking the makers of the phone to cooperate with the FBI.  But in the end, even though the phone company agreed to cooperate with the FBI by availing the FBI four other ways of breaking the password of the phone so that it can unlock that phone to ferret information from it, the NSA still had to use other methods not provided by the phone company to unlock the phone.



I do believe that it is the prerogative of the state to use whatever means necessary to fight terror and corruption especially as exemplified in the San Bernardino shooting incident. But using the instruments of state to coerce and intimidate perceived political opponents, and the use of those same instruments to limit our individual liberties of free speech and expression is what has created the ‘digital renegades’ in Julian Asange and Edward Snowden. Both Snowden and Asange are holed up in Russia and the Ecuadorian embassy respectively because both of them believe that you should not be spying on us in the name of national security. Both seem to believe that the individual’s right to know supersedes whatever overt methods the state seeks to use to guarantee national security. What all this ordinarily stresses is that here in Nigeria we must begin to look towards protecting whistleblowers from themselves and from those meaning them harm. I read a report recently in The Guardian, Nigeria of 20th October 2016 that the Bill for an Act to Protect Persons Making Disclosures for Public Interest and Others from Reprisals, 2016 (SB.158) has gone for second reading in the Senate. When passed into law, it is our hope that all such gaffs as the inadvertent disclosures of the identities of whistleblowers, together with the unnecessary arrests of journalists and bloggers and their wannabe ilk would be a thing of the past. We also hope that at least, it would be an indispensable tool in the fight to conclude all such high-profile corruption cases still lingering in our courts.  

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

NJC: online judiciary can work



In contemporary political philosophy, John Rawls is the last man standing on the idea of justice. He said that justice is akin to the processes involved in the distribution of the goods of life. By ‘goods’, Rawls is generally referring to a lot of the things which you and I will reasonably desire to have: prosperity, a good life and control of the instruments in the society that promote the good life. But there can be no society wherein these goods have ever been equitably distributed. And the reason why these goods are not evenly distributed depends on ‘what principles of justice are reflected in the system of rights, laws, processes, and positions which help society function’.

Societies are not usually the same. Some are based on the utilitarian philosophy of life while others strive towards the concept of perfectionism. In Utilitarian societies, citizens get a feel that their welfare is adequately catered to. That is not the same case with perfectionist societies like Nigeria where justice or a semblance of it prevails only after the common man has been sacrificed for the benefit of the aristocracy. I must quickly clarify this: in the four years that I worked as a paralegal, I was to discover through my interactions with some of the finest lawyers in Nigeria that there is a lot of law without any corresponding justice. On one of those interactions, I wanted to find out why our laws would punish a man severely for stealing N100 to eat but slap a ‘big man’ on the wrist with a paltry fine if he steals billions. I found out that most of those who are alleged to have stolen a lot of money from us know the law and know that the law backs them. So why would they want to change or amend a law which backs them? As we speak, 15 ex-governors, 4 ex-ministers, 12 ex-public servants, and several business people are alleged to have pilfered over N1.3trillion ($424billion) in less than 20 years. That amount of money build 36 state of the art hospitals for children in the 36 states of Nigeria in less than 10 years. 

But justice on its own is an abstract concept which relies on character and stellar disposition. Justice needs justices. That is why when the National Judicial Council, NJC, recently recommended the sack of three justices for offences ranging from abuse of office and acceptance of bribes to dispense justice, the world took notice. Before that incident, Nigerians had been inundated with several curious cases of conflicting judgements and counter judgements. Most of us with relationships with the purveyors of the law were struck numb. We couldn’t really fathom what the heck this was all about.  Even though my good friend Chima Okereke strenuously attempted to lecture me why there were conflicting judgements in the Enugu governorship election tribunal, the whole thing still didn’t make sense. Why would a judgement dispensed by a learned judge who has not erred in law and facts not stand in another jurisdiction, if indeed the law is the law?

Therefore my struggle to make common sense of the shenanigans that were playing out in the judiciary with Enugugate brought the case of the wisest chap in the Holy Bible to fore.  As king, he was judge between two women who claimed ownership of a baby. I am sure that it was how he dispensed with that case was why he earned the wisest-man-who-ever-lived sobriquet. But who today can apply that kind of wisdom and get judgement and justice?  And so, if the sack of the learned chief justices has generated the kind of interest it has, I suggest that we also need to focus on the men and women who man the systems wherein the judges, lawyers and justices work. Let me tell you a story: as paralegal, part of my job involved filing briefs. A typical day for me involves serving the other party our brief, a ruling or judgement and filing briefs at court. In that position, I met many court clerks and bailiffs who will refuse to serve the other party my brief unless I grease their palm, or pay them a tithe. Now, that shouldn’t be a problem but what I found out is that a lot of these clerks and bailiffs know the facts of your brief and would be asking you to pay up based on the fee which your principal is assumed to have collected from a client. A court clerk sees nothing wrong in taking money from a lawyer to sex up the process in favour of whomsoever he collects a tithe.

So I suggest that as we focus on the Bar and Bench with a view to sanitize the judiciary, we must also beam our searchlights on those who have helped the system go the way it is. One of the reasons why so many high-profile corruption cases are still in limbo is that there is a human and Nigerian factor in the way of these cases. Let the present administration replicate what the Abuja High Court in Maitama is trying to do - rather than rely on the clerks, it has developed an online filing of briefs wherein at the touch of a button, you are able to know the facts of a case – the Judge, the prosecuting and defence counsels, and all other extenuating circumstances surrounding the case.

Etemiku is communications manager, ANEEJ, Nigeria.



Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Dirty Diesel: Toxic Air from Africa Returns to Switzerland




Public Eye (formerly Berne Declaration)
Press Release
Zurich/Lausanne/Accra, October 4, 2016


Today, the “Irenes Rainbow” left the Port of Accra and set course for Antwerp. On board is a container labelled “Return to Sender” which Public Eye and its African partner organizations plan to deliver to the door of the trading company Trafigura in Geneva. It is filled with toxic air from the capital of Ghana, which owes much of its pollution to Swiss commodity companies that produce and distribute fuels with high levels of sulfur. Already, more than 12,000 people have signed a petition calling on industry leader Trafigura to sell its African customers only diesel and gasoline that meet European quality standards. The dirty fuel business model has been criticized by authorities as well.

On dirtydiesel.ch, the three-week-journey of the Irenes Rainbow can be followed in real time. As of now, a ship tracking service makes it possible to virtually accompany the toxic air container on its 7,000 km voyage to Antwerp. From there, the transport continues to Geneva, where this symbolic gift, along with the petition, will be presented to Trafigura in November. This ‘’Return to Sender’’ action is based on the findings of the Dirty Diesel report which stirred great media interest around the world when it was published two weeks ago and continues to generate headlines especially in West Africa. In Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, Ivory Coast, and Senegal, the responsible authorities and members of government had to answer many critical questions about the health-damaging sulfur standards and the low quality of fuels.

A few days ago, growing public outrage compelled the National Petroleum Authority in Ghana to offer our partner organization ACEP (Africa Centre for Energy Policy) and other stakeholders to enter into a discussion about a significant improvement to current standards. The influential Ghana Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors is supporting the adaptation of sulfur standards to European levels, too. At the same time, political protests against the production of toxic fuels in the areas around Rotterdam and Amsterdam and their export to Africa are gathering steam in the Netherlands. Dutch trade minister Ploumen calls it a “gross scandal” that companies intentionally export toxic fuels to countries with weak standards.

The Swiss government for its part, answering to a query by MP Lisa Mazzone from Geneva, said that it expected companies based in Switzerland to exercise their social responsibility in compliance with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The companies in question, in their public statements to date, are still hiding behind the argument that they are abiding by the weak standards of the countries concerned. If Trafigura were to live up – at the last moment – to its ethical claim of being an industry leader and were to become the first clean fuel supplier to Africa, the container would be rerouted to a different Geneva address.

For more information contact

Oliver Classen, Media Director, 
+41 44 277 7906, 

http://www.dirtydiesel.ch/


https://www.dirtydiesel.ch/en/campaign/?section=introhttps://www.dirtydiesel.ch/en/campaign/?section=intro


-        Merci de toujours mettre le lien vers la pétition dans toutes vos communications: