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Journalist, Egbejule explores the 1998 ‘Jesse Pipeline’ explosion in gripping new film


Award-winning journalist, Eromo Egbejule has explored the 1998 ‘Jesse Pipeline’ explosion in his directorial debut, ‘Jesse: The Funeral That Never Ended’.

The documentary film, which chronicled the Oct. 18, 1998 explosion, premiered at the Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) on Wednesday.

In 1998, a massive leaking pipeline passing through the Jesse community, connecting the south and north of Nigeria, triggered an explosion that ultimately resulted in the death of at least 1,000 people.

The incident left hundreds of undocumented dead and tens of survivors with ghastly scars.

Many victims were too badly burned to be identified, and over 300 bodies were buried in mass graves.

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‘Jesse: The Funeral That Never Ended’, the rehashing of that tragic story as it happened, was produced by Arit Okpo, the host of CNN African Voices Changemakers.

Speaking on the movie, Egbejule said,

“The documentary is the resurrection of an impeccably tragic story of a people who were hemmed in all sides by what should have been a blessing for them.

“With all the stories coming from the Niger Delta, it was important for us to tell this one lest they stay forgotten and become drops in the ocean.”

The film captures the crucial moments before and after the pipeline exploded, through the eyewitness accounts of survivors of the long-lasting inferno.

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Also, accounts of relatives of the dead, first responders at the scene and community leaders made the cut.

It was narrated by Singto Saro-Wiwa, whose father, the playwright and environmental activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa, was hanged in November 1995 by the Gen. Sani Abacha regime for his fervent criticism of the region’s exploitation.

The film also includes interviews with Nnimmo Bassey and the late Oronto Douglas, two contemporaries of Saro-Wiwa.

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It threads the environmental degradation of the Niger Delta, the evolution of its people into collateral damage to continue the conversation on the region’s bittersweet relationship with crude oil.

According to Okpo, the story of Jesse is the story of the Niger-Delta; a people for whom a gift has become a tragedy.

She said: “It is a story of lives changed forever and of scars that exist long after the rest of the world has moved on.”



President Macron names new Prime Minister



President Emmanuel Macron on Friday named senior French civil servant Jean Castex, who drew up the policy for easing the coronavirus lockdown, as his new prime minister as part of a government reshuffle.

“The president of the Republic has named Jean Castex as prime minister and mandated him to form a government,” the presidency said in a brief statement.

Recalls that Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and his entire government resigned Friday, July 3, as Macron’s ruling party reels from dire local election results and the president prepare to tackle the economic crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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In other news, former French prime minister, François Fillon and his Welsh wife, Penelope, were sentenced to jail on Monday, June 30, for embezzling public funds as part of the “fake job” scandal.

A French court found Francois guilty of charges of creating a fake job for his wife, which paid her over €1 million ($1.13 million) using taxpayer money.

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Akwa Ibom lifts ban on weddings, burials



Akwa Ibom bows to pressure, shuts land borders, suspends flight operations

The Akwa Ibom State government has lifted the ban on weddings and burials which was imposed in March following the outbreak of Coronavirus.

Residents of the state who wish to organise funeral ceremonies and weddings in the state were however asked to follow strict guidelines.

Governor Emmanuel Udom who made the announcement said;

“If you are doing funeral in an open space like a field in a primary school you must not have more than 50 people. We are not forcing you to do the burial, but if you must do it, you must do it within our guidelines. Not more than 50 people and you must adhere to all our guidelines which was drafted by the Christian Association of Nigeria.

“They (people attending the burial) must all wear facemask, have hand sanitisers, (and adhere to) everything that has been outlined by CAN.

“If you are doing the burial inside the church, people inside should not be more than 30.”

Udom further disclosed that monitoring teams would be dispatched to ensure strict compliance with the guidelines. He also urged Pastors to help in the implementation of the guidelines to curb the spread of Coronavirus in the state.

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He said;

“Please we don’t want anybody to expose himself or his own family. If you must go out, wear a facemask. If you don’t feel like wearing mask, please stay at home. A lot of people are asymptomatic to this and they keep infecting other people without knowing. And we don’t want this to continue.”

On managing Coronavirus, the Governor added:

Some of the drugs, we are running out of stock. And how to replenish the stock we don’t know because a whole lot of them are not manufactured here in Nigeria.

“I don’t want us to get to a point where we are overwhelmed.

“As I am talking, I am yet to receive one naira from the federal government to support our fight against COVID-19.”

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Pharmacists’ council shuts drug market in Imo



The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) has shut a drug market along Douglas Road, Owerri, the Imo state capital for violating the regulations guiding the handling of pharmaceutical products and sale of medicines.

The council also sealed off nineteen pharmacies and 434 Patent and Proprietary Medicines Vendors (PPMV) otherwise known as patent medicine shops in the state.

Addressing a press conference in Owerri Friday, the director of inspection and monitoring of the council, Pharm. Anthonia Aruya, disclosed that nine arrests were made during the enforcement exercise of the council which started in the state since June 29, 2020.

MORE READING!  Pharmacists’ council shuts drug market in Imo

She said,

“A major observed non-compliance is the fact that despite the federal government’s explicit policy direction and the PCN’s guidance to stakeholders on relocation of markets into regulated centres (Coordinated Wholesale Centres), a new drug market was discovered recently set up in this state. The PCN has sealed that market preparatory for evacuation”.

According to her, the council had visited 557 premises that comprised 68 pharmacies as well as 489 patent medicine shops.

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Aruya disclosed that apart from those that were sealed off, ten pharmacies and one patent medicine shop were issued with compliance directives for poor handling of controlled drugs as well as the sale and dispensing of ethical drugs without the supervision of the pharmacists.

She advised the public to look out for the Pharmacists annual license to practice and the premises certificates which should be conspicuously displayed and the license of the patent medicine shops to avoid patronising quacks.

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She insisted that medicines sold in unregistered outlets cannot be guaranteed to have efficacy, quality and safety as those sold in regulated facilities.

According to her,

“Medicines are to be sold in highly regulated environment. A situation where people wake up in the morning and start selling medicines without recourse to regulations guilding the practice is highly unacceptable to the federal government, particularly when we understand that drugs are poisons and must be used strictly as directed to avoid deleterious effects.”

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