Yenagoa—A group, the Ijaw People’s Development Initiative (IPDI), had issued a 4-day ultimatum to the minister of state for petroleum resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, to respond to allegations made against him by Sen. Seriake Dickson, Brigamedia.com.ng reports.
According to the group, the ultimatum is premised on allegations by Dickson that the minister proposed a 2.5% operating surplus to host communities as against President Muhammadu Buhari’s 5% when he addressed the National Assembly over the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
The group described the 3% allocation to the Host Communities Trust Fund as an injustice to the Niger Delta, saying President Buhari should not push the people to the wall.
While demanding an immediate response to the allegations from the minister, the group stated that failure to do so would amount to them passing a vote of no confidence on him.
Leader of the group, Austin Ozobo, stated that despite their differences, Sylva should defend Dickson’s grave allegation of misleading the senate with a contrary recommendation despite 5% earlier recommended by the Senate.
He added that silence sometimes means consent, stressing that the PIB is crucial for the development of the region.
He noted that Sylva should tell the region his roles regarding the 3% equity shares in the bill.
“We want him to speak, whether Dickson is lying, or not. The issue of the PIB bill is beyond two of them being on a warpath for some time.
“We are interested in knowing what he (Sylva) told the Senate when he appeared before them. It is not a matter of joke.
“Niger Delta is already boiling over the 3% PIB equity shares, he should speak to save the planned attacks on oil facilities,” Ozobo stated.
But foremost rights activist, Morris Alagoa, in a Facebook post, described the ultimatum issued to Sylva as “shadow-chasing.”
According to him, the state governments and present federal and state lawmakers from the Niger Delta region since the introduction of the bill in 2008 should be blamed for the low percentage of equity given to host communities.
He lamented that those who represent the region at the center have failed the region.
In his words: “The Niger Delta Governments failed to make official appearances at any of the public hearings, while some Northern State Governments sent top public office holders as state representatives to public hearings.
“Niger Delta state governments seemed comfortable with 13% monthly accrual and hence didn’t bother.”
Alagoa averred that issuing ultimatums and threats is not the right thing to do in the present situation, saying that it will only bring about trouble in the region.
“As far as the 3% approved for host communities is grossly inadequate and unacceptable, resorting to issuing threats all the time is old-fashioned and not good for the region.
“We have not seen other regions embarking on such missions aimed at dragging their own down.”
He further stressed that leaders from the oil-producing communities also did little in the area of advocacy to press home their demands before now.
Four suspected internet fraudsters die of alleged drug overdose in Bayelsa
Yenagoa—Four suspected internet fraudsters popularly known as Yahoo Yahoo boys were on Friday confirmed dead after purportedly overdosing on illicit drugs in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, NaijaLiveTV reports.
The incident took place in an apartment along Nasco Egei road in Biogbolo community, Yenagoa happened at about 12am on Friday.
It was gathered that they lost their lives after they took the illicit drugs in celebration of a mysterious financial breakthrough by one of them.
The deceased boys are identified as Favour Ekezie, 19yrs, Favour Okorie, 18yrs, Mr.Waripamo Bestman Ejele, 25yrs and Richie Mike Prezi, 21yrs.
One Melvin, who claimed to be a friend to one of the deceased boys, Favour who hails from Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state declared that they’ve been trying to secure the release of his corpse.
“We believe that they were poisoned.”. But he could not explain who and how they were poisoned.
“We are here at Ekeki Police Station in company of Favour’s father to secure the release of the corpse for burial. But it is proving difficult after swearing to an Affidavit.
“We gathered that they eat a food they ordered which was delivered by a logistics motorbike and they died. One of them who was in the toilet however survived because he did not eat from the meal,” he said.
Read also: 2023: Dogara, northern religious leaders endorse Atiku, describe him as the ‘best option’
Another friend of the deceased boys, who pleaded anonymity, claimed that “the deceased were much awake when we forced the security man to open the gate to their residence.
“Nelson (one of the deceased) was sitting on the chair but his head was on the ground with his vomit. Richie (another deceased) has his computer in his hand and showed he was struggling. It clearly showed that they were poisoned.”
They also dismissed claims that they died from inhaling generator fume.
Contacted on the development, the State Commissioner of Police, Benjamin Okolo, who confirmed the death of the four youths attributed it to drug overdose,
“They died of a drug overdose. It is quite unfortunate that they administered the drug themselves. They were five and the one that survived told us that they took two pills each and that he took one. This was why they died, ”Okolo revealed.
The Police boss, however, assured newsmen that if the friends and family of the deceased insisted that the four boys were poisoned,” the police will conduct an autopsy to determine the cause of death.”
Oil-producing states get N625bn in two years, says Garba Shehu
Abuja—The Presidency on Friday revealed that nine oil-producing states received N625.43bn 13 percent oil derivation, subsidy, and SURE-P refunds from the Federation Account in two years, Punch reports.
“The states that received the refunds dating from 1999 to 2021 are Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers,” a statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, read on Friday.
The statement is titled ‘Oil derivation, subsidy and Sure-P refunds: Nine oil producing states receive N625.43 billion in two years; N1.1trn still outstanding.’
The Presidency also noted that the Buhari-led regime will continue to render equal service to all the states regardless of affiliation, and “an acknowledgment of this by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and the others is not out of place.”
Citing data obtained from the Federation Account Department, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, it said a total of N477.2bn was released to the nine states as the refund of the 13 percent derivation fund on withdrawal from Excess Crude Account without deducting derivation from 2004 to 2019, leaving an outstanding balance of N287.04bn.
The States also got N64.8bn as a refund of the 13 per cent derivation fund on deductions made by NNPC without payment of derivation to Oil Producing States from 1999 to December.
According to Shehu, the benefitting States still have an outstanding balance of N860.59bn windfall from the refunds, which was approved by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
Read also: I will conquer the ocean in Bayelsa as I did in Lagos ― Tinubu
From the figures, under the 13 per cent derivation fund on withdrawal from ECA without deducting derivation from 2004 to 2019, Abia State received N4.8bn with outstanding sum of N2.8bn, Akwa-Ibom received N128bn with outstanding sum of N77bn, Bayelsa with N92.2bn, leaving an outstanding of N55bn.
Cross River got a refund of N1.3bn with a balance N792m, Delta State received N110bn, leaving a balance of N66.2bn, Edo State received N11.3bn with a balance of N6.8bn, Imo State, N5.5bn, with an outstanding sum of N3.3bn, Ondo State, N19.4bn with an outstanding sum of N11.7bn while Rivers State was paid 103.6bn, with an outstanding balance of N62.3bn.
The states were paid eight installments between October 2, 2021, and January 11, 2022, while the ninth to 12th installments are still outstanding.
On the 13 per cent derivation fund on deductions made by NNPC without payment of derivation, the nine oil-producing states were paid in three instalments this year, with the remaining 17 instalments outstanding.
Under this category, Abia State received N1.1bn, Akwa-Ibom, N15bn, Bayelsa, N11.6bn, Cross River, N432m, Delta State, N14.8bn, Edo State, N2.2bn, Imo State, N2.9bn, Ondo State, N3.7bn, and Rivers State, N12.8bn.
Meanwhile, the benefitting States shared N9.2bn in three installments in April, August, and November 2022 as refunds on the 13 per cent derivation exchange rate differential on withdrawal from the ECA.
The three largest benefitting States were Akwa Ibom (N1.6bn), Delta State (N1.4bn), and Rivers State (N1.32bn).
Similarly, all nine states received N4.7bn each, totaling N42.34bn as refunds on withdrawals for subsidy and SURE-P from 2009 to 2015. The refund for all the states and local government councils was paid on November 10, 2022.
The Federation Account also paid N3.52bn each as a refund to local government councils on withdrawals for subsidy and SURE-P from 2009 to 2015 on the same date in November.
“President Buhari considers it a matter of honour and decency that debts owed to states or anyone for that matter be repaid, and in time without regard to their partisan political affiliations.
“The President will continue to render equal service to all the states of the federation and an acknowledgment of this by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and the others is not out of place,” Shehu said.
Court sentences A’Ibom guber candidate, Bassey Albert to 42 years in prison
Uyo—The governorship candidate of the Young Progressives Party (YPP), Bassey Albert, has been sentenced to 42 years in prison for corruption.
Premium Times reports that Justice Agatha Anulika Okeke of the Federal High Court sitting in Uyo, on Thursday, convicted and sentenced Albert who was prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Read also: Erosion: Group set to embark on protest over stalled canalization project in Bayelsa community
He has been taken to Ikot Ekpene prison, Akwa Ibom State, to serve his prison term.
Albert, a serving senator representing Akwa Ibom North East District, was accused of receiving bribes for 12 cars worth N254 million from an oil marketer, Olajidee Omokore, during his (Albert’s) tenure (2010 – 2014) as commissioner for finance in Akwa Ibom State.
The convicted senator was a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, the ruling party in the state before he defected months ago to the YPP, where he secured the party’s ticket for the 2023 governorship election.
He was a major challenger to the PDP candidate, Umo Eno, in next year’s governorship election in Akwa Ibom State.