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Panic as Another Toxic Waste Scare Hits Koko



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Fresh toxic waste scare has hit Koko town in Warri North Local Government of Delta State, 30 years after 8,000 drums of toxic wastes were dumped in the ancient Itsekiri community by some unscrupulous Italian businessmen, according to the Nation.

The dumping of a yet unknown quantity of industrial wastes from the facilities of an oil multinational is causing panic in the community.

Sources in the town told The Nation that the materials started arriving in the community by vessels several months ago, but the panic was sparked by reports that laboratory tests have confirmed the waste to be toxic.

“Our initial reports have confirmed our fears; the materials are toxic. The tests were carried out in several facilities, including some belonging to a government agency.

“We have all the results ready now and are preparing to take the reports to the Minister of Environment before the end of this week,” a source said.

Despite the concern, more consignments of the alleged harmful materials were still being shipped to the town, last Tuesday evening.

There are fears that many children may have drunk from water sources that are likely to have been contaminated by the waste as a primary school water source is located directly near the site.

“People around the area first noticed the material sometime last year.  They are being brought in by barges and trucks picked them up to the site, where they are now burying them,” a source, who asked not to be named because of ongoing investigations, told our reporter.

Nevertheless, an official of Ebenco Services, the company behind the materials, said contrary to the allegation, they are not toxic but sludge, which are being recycled.

The official, simply identified as Ebenezer, told our reporter on telephone on Tuesday night: “This is sludge and it is not toxic; it is wealth to us because we are recycling them.”

Our reporter’s request for independent verification of the recycling claim was turned down because he “needed management’s approval”.

Follow-up calls and text messages to the official on Wednesday afternoon were unanswered.

The materials were brought in from an international oil company, which runs a Joint Venture (JV) with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Mr Amorighoye Mene, Secretary of the Itsekiri Leaders of Thought (ILOT), in a telephone chat with our reporter, differed with Ebenezer, stressing: ” These substances, from test reports, are toxic and dangerous to schools and residential buildings around there.

“It must be stopped and proper remediation must be done to cure the land and environment around there.”

It was gathered that the materials were brought in by several vessels and transported by truck to a populated area of the city by a local contractor.

Expectedly, the incident is causing anxiety in Koko, which attracted global attention in 1987, following the deposition of 3,500 tonnes of some of the world’s most hazardous waste comprising polychlorinated biphenyl sulphate (PCBS) and methyl melamine, among others from Italy.

Although the 1987 waste was returned to Italy in two vessels – Karin B and Deepsea Carrier – after prolonged negotiation between the Federal and Italian governments, Koko has never been the same again.

The incident coincided with the collapse of economic and social activities in the then bustling port city, which is now a ghost of itself.

Ebenco Services seems to be enjoying the support of some prominent indigenes of the community.

Shortly after our reporter contacted the company on Tuesday night, a high-ranking official of the Koko Community Executive Council called our reporter to “appeal for soft handling of the report”.

The official, who apparently did not see anything wrong in the matter, said.

“I do not know why this is coming up now; we have been on this and the man has been doing his business since without any problem. Please lets find a way to help him (contractor).”

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MTN Launches ‘Visitor SIM’, Designed for Guests Coming into the Country



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MTN Nigeria has announced the introduction of its new Visitor SIM specially designed for guests travelling into the country.

The Visitor SIM comes pre-loaded with an appealing package that includes local and international call and data bundles.

This package will enable people visiting from other countries to stay connected with their friends, family and business associates on MTN’s super-fast network.

MTN VisitorSIMs are easy for inbound international visitors to acquire, activate and use, in addition to which they offer far better value than any roaming tariff.

Not available from any other operator, the service is poised to deliver convenience and the best-in-class customer experience in line with MTN’s brand promise.

According to Adekunle Adebiyi, chief sales and distribution Officer, MTN Nigeria, “The new Visitor SIMs will ensure that before setting foot outside the airport, people visiting Nigeria can plug in, reconnect – to loved ones, associates, tools and information, and begin sharing their remarkable experiences, with no concern about roaming charges.”


MTN Visitor SIMs are available in the arrival halls of international airports and other ports of entry.

They are valid for 14 days, which can be extended up to 30 days via MTN’s self-service menus or USSD.

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Nigeria COVID-19 Response: UNICEF, IHS Nigeria Collaborate to Contribute Medical Supplies



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United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) received the delivery of 115,800 COVID-19 test kits to support the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria. These supplies were funded by IHS Nigeria, the Nigerian subsidiary of IHS Towers.

Testing remains the mainstay of the response led by the Presidential Task Force and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the first step towards diagnosing the infection. Tests enable health officials to understand the COVID-19 status of an individual and link that person to care, support and treatment while contributing to the protection of families and communities.

“Testing remains a core strategy of Nigeria’s response to COVID-19. This is critical for understanding the burden of the disease on our population and targeting our response activities accordingly. The primary goal of the Nigerian Government is to control the spread of this disease.

“This donation from IHS Nigeria through UNICEF will contribute to the national stockpile of test kits managed by NCDC, and support efforts of the growing network of accredited laboratories across the country for the testing of COVID-19. We are grateful for the continued support from UNICEF, IHS Towers and other partners.” said Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General, NCDC.

IHS Towers has been a strong and continuing partner of UNICEF. At the onset of the coronavirus in Nigeria in late February, IHS Nigeria provided funding to UNICEF to urgently procure essential supplies and equipment with which UNICEF supported the Government of Nigeria in its COVID-19 response.

“UNICEF is deeply appreciative of IHS Towers’ commitment to being a partner in UNICEF’s work in Nigeria. Once more, IHS has shown great generosity in supporting UNICEF’s ongoing efforts to work closely with the Government of Nigeria in the fight against COVID-19.

“I am very delighted to receive this huge contribution from IHS Towers, the benefit of which will reach many more children and their families“, said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Country Representative.

“We are proud to have played an important role in supporting the Government and our communities where we operate to provide crucial tools needed to fight this pandemic. We understand this virus is here to stay for the foreseeable future, but are confident that with our support, and that of our other private sector colleagues, we are helping to manage and mitigate the impact of the virus in our country” said Mohamad Darwish, Chief Executive Officer of IHS Nigeria.

This recent support of essential tests makes IHS Towers the biggest private sector donor for UNICEF Nigeria’s emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Coca-Cola, Red Cross Society Expand Fight Against COVID-19 In Nigeria



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In a bid to support the fight against the Coronavirus disease, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) along with its national society Nigerian Red Cross (NRC) has started the distribution of PPEs and risk communications efforts to the tune of N228 Million to support its COVID-19 interventions in Nigeria.


This is part of The Coca-Cola Foundation’s $2.5million grant to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the COVID-19 pandemic within the West and Central Africa sub-regions.

The grant, which leverages the long-standing partnership between The Coca-Cola Company and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), seeks to support national efforts in the fight against the Coronavirus disease through the provision of essential medical supplies, personal protective equipment (PPE) and risk communications to impacted communities, healthcare personnel on the frontlines and treatment centres across the country.


Speaking on the donation, Yebeltal Getachew, managing director, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, explained, “The Coca-Cola System (Coca-Cola Nigeria, Nigeria Bottling Company and Chi Limited) remains committed to providing support to the communities we serve during these challenging times.


“By providing healthcare workers with much-needed PPEs, we are confident that this will go a long way in ensuring their safety as they remain on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19.


“Coca-Cola is proud to support the Red Cross as we deliver on our purpose of making a difference across the world”. 


Medical supplies being donated comprise N95 respirators, surgical masks, examination gloves, face shields, medical gowns, no-touch thermometers, disposable aprons, heavy-duty rubber gloves, rubber boots, basic masks, disposable gloves, and hand sanitizers.


Expressing his gratitude for the donation, Abubakar Kende, secretary-general for the Nigerian Red Cross Society explained, “We have identified the facilities in urgent need of these PPEs in consultation with NCDC and the Federal Ministry of Health and will subsequently be distributed to these centres.


“This will ensure that treatment centres across the country are properly equipped with necessary PPEs as we continue to fight the disease”. 

IFRC seeks to directly impact the lives of over 1.4 million people in Nigeria and across other countries in West and Central Africa under this partnership. For over a century, The Coca-Cola Company and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have sustained a rewarding partnership that has seen the rehabilitation and preservation of human lives across the world through the delivery of humanitarian aid and emergency response to communities affected by disasters.




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