•Court rules on Arepo, Atlas Cove vandalism
PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has challenged the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) to formulate initiatives for control of the gas flaring and oil spillage in the Niger Delta region.
Jonathan, represented by the Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufai, at UNIPORT’s 29th convocation at the weekend, explained that the university, which is one of the foremost in the Niger Delta and situated in Port Harcourt, the hub of the oil and gas industry in the country, needs to lead in the area of research in petroleum studies to ensure optimum use of the bi-products of oil extraction.
He said: “Bearing in mind the location of this university, in the heartland of the Niger Delta, I expect UNIPORT to provide academic leadership in research and excellence, in petroleum and related studies. It is desirable that the university formulates new initiatives in the control of gas flaring, oil spillage and in the optimal use of the bi-products of petroleum extraction.”
The President decried the killing of four students of the university last October by a mob at Aluu community. He pointed out that it was morally and legally offensive for anyone to attempt to take the laws into his hands in the name of justice.
He announced Federal Government’s N1 billion grant to the university for commencement of Law degree programmes in the institution. According to the President, N500 million had been released to the university through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TET fund).
As a mark of his administration’s desires to sustain the present industrial harmony in the university system, the President said he had signed into law the extension of the new retirement age for professors, which is pegged at 70 years and 65 years for non-academic staff.
Meanwhile, a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos and headed by Justice Mohammed Idris will Monday deliver ruling on the bail application by six accused persons charged with bursting an oil pipeline and killing of three engineers in Arepo, Ogun State.
Also Monday, a Federal High Court in Lagos will decide whether it would release on bail 11 suspects charged with vandalising petroleum pipelines in Atlas Cove in Lagos.
The three engineers killed were employees of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). The court had fixed February 4, 2013, for commencement of trial of the accused persons. At the resumed hearing of the case on February 4, counsel to the second, third, fifth and sixth accused persons argued their application for bail for their clients.
The counsel representing the second, third and sixth accused, George Iheanacho, in his application, urged the court to grant the accused persons bail on grounds of ill health.
But objecting to the bail application, the prosecutors, led by Toyin Ibadin, told the court to discountenance the bail applications. Ibadin informed the court that even the first son of one of the accused seeking bail, was killed as a result of the recent explosion at Arepo.
He alleged that the deceased and his mother were involved in the bursting of oil pipelines.
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