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Jonathan hails Diri on projects, calls for harmony in Nembe

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Nembe— Former president Goodluck Jonathan Monday commended Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State for executing the Elebele bridge in Elebele community and the Nembe Unity bridge linking Ogbolomabiri and Bassambiri.

Jonathan while inaugurating the bridge in Nembe, lauded Diri and noted that the unity bridge project would help to maintain the peace and unity between both communities.

He said Diri had done well in the area of infrastructure development in his short stay in office.

Jonathan described the bridge as symbolic and urged the people of Nembe to learn to resolve their differences amicably, especially during elections rather than play politics of brigandage and violence.

He said: “You have done well to complete this bridge project. I had to come and identify with this unique ceremony. Today should mark the end of any inter-communal conflict.

“The importance of this bridge cannot be over-emphasized. From what I have seen, this bridge is expensive, well-built, and solid. And I hope it will solidify the unity between the people of the two communities. 

“Politics should be a platform to bring development to our people and not to kill and chase them away from their communities. With the commissioning of this bridge, we pray that that brand of politics would also come to an end.”

Speaking during the inauguration, Diri said the Nembe bridge had been on the drawing board since the 1960s.

Diri noted that the former governor of the state and current Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, started the construction work but the project was left till his administration took it over and completed it.

The governor described the bridge as historic and said the project would heal wounds and engender peace and unity among the people of Nembe.

“My administration felt this is one historic and a significant infrastructure that would help heal wounds. It is not only a physical bridge but a human bridge, especially between the brothers of Ogbolomabiri and Bassambiri.

“Wherever there is war, development suffers and we lose not only infrastructure but human lives.”

Earlier, the former president and the governor visited the Amanyanabo of Nembe, Mingi XII, King Edmund Daukoru, in Ogbolomabiri and Amanyanabo of Opu-Nembe, Ogbodo VIII, King Biobelemoye Josiah, in Bassambiri. 

King Daukoru in his remarks noted that what the bridge represented far outweighed the physical length of the project as there had been age-old differences between the two communities.

He lauded Diri for completing projects that he started as well as those inherited from his predecessors, describing the gesture as a mark of true leadership.

However, King Daukoru also appealed for the construction of the Nembe-Brass road, among others.

Similarly, King Josiah in his comments, commended the governor for the bridge project, noting that before its construction, there had been temporary bridges.

He solicited the government’s support for the provision of electricity and pipe-borne water.

Also, speaking to journalists, the immediate past deputy governor of the state, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah (rtd), who hails from Nembe, gave thumbs up to the Diri administration for constructing the unity bridge.

Jonah said it was the first time since 1971 that a proper bridge had been built to connect both communities.

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FG set to resume Abuja-Kaduna train services eight months after attack

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Abuja—The Federal Government says train services on the Abuja-Kaduna rail line will resume this November.

The Minister Of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo made this known on Monday while giving the score card of his ministry in Abuja, this is according to reports by Channels TV.

He said adequate security has been put in place to ensure the safety of passengers but did not give any specific date for the resumption.

Sambo said the ministry has learnt enough lessons from the attack in March that led to the suspension of train service on the Abuja-Kaduna route.

The minister also noted that a system has been put in place that will ensure prompt monitoring of movements on the rail tracks.

According to him, the system would afford President Muhammadu Buhari, concerned ministries and agencies as well as security agencies the opportunity to see what goes on on the tracks without delays.

The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) suspended train service along the route after Boko Haram terrorists attacked a moving passenger train in Kaduna on March 28, 2022.

The insurgents had blown up the rail track and bombed the moving train, killing some and abducting more than 60 passengers. The unprecedented attack had attracted international and national outrage.

The terrorists, who attacked the train in Kaduna, released hostages piecemeal with the last release being on October 5, 2022.

Distraught family members had protested several times to demand the release of their loved ones.

Sambo had said the Abuja-Kaduna rail line will not resume until all those kidnapped by bandits in March are rescued and reunited with their families.

A terrorist negotiator, Tukur Mamu, was on September 6, 2022, arrested in Cairo, Egypt while on his way to Saudi Arabia and returned to Nigeria the next day.

The Department of State Services (DSS) had alleged that Mamu, who negotiated between terrorists and families of kidnap victims, was part of an international terrorist network and used the cover of journalism to perpetrate his deeds.

Popular Kaduna-based Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, to whom Mamu is an aide, had faulted the arrest of Mamu.

Gumi had asked the security agency to charge Mamu to court if it had any evidence against him, rather than keeping him in custody.

But the DSS, in its reaction, said it would not be distracted by some skewed narratives in the media and requested to be left alone to concentrate on the ongoing investigations, the outcomes of which it said have remained ‘mindboggling’.

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Eruani’s donation is unparalleled, says activists, chides critics of Bayelsa businessman

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Yenagoa—The National President of the Niger Delta Nonviolence Agitators Forum (NDNAF), Comrade Wisdom Oniekpar Ikuli has hailed the president of Azikel Group, Dr. Godbless Azibapu Eruani (CFR) for donating food and other relief materials to flood victims in Bayelsa State.

Ikuli said with the exception of the intervention of the state government, Eruani’s donation to the Bayelsa flood victims is so far unparalleled.

In a statement on Thursday, the ex-agitator while commending Eruani’s gesture hinted that the businessman has donated over 8,000 bags of rice and 1,000 pieces of mattresses to be shared across the eight Local Government Areas in the state.

“So far, besides the Bayelsa State Government that led the Relief distribution campaign with N450Million and the recent announcement of an additional N450Million, making it N900Million.

“Few other publicly spirited individuals have also reached out including Mr. Peter Obi; Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party (LP) who gave an undisclosed amount which is promised and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar; former Vice President and Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) but that of Dr. Godbless Azibapu Eruani CFR; the President of Azikel Group which has raised a lot of dust remains the highest.

“Dr. Eruani has procured 8000 Bags of 50KG Bags of Rice for onward distribution to the 8LGAs in the state, meaning 1000Bags per LGA. Presently, the market price of 50KG in Bayelsa state is N50,000.00. Meanwhile, the 8000 Bags were bought at the cost of N45,000.00 per bag.

“Going by my elementary knowledge of arithmetic, you have 45,000×8000 = N360,000,000.00 in the figure while in words, it is Three Hundred and Sixty Million Naira.

“The above excludes logistics and the transportation of the rice from Abuja where they are moved to Bayelsa state.

“Very importantly, earlier Dr. Godbless Azibapu Eruani CFR had sent 1000 mattresses to Bayelsa state so that they can be distributed to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). The market price of one of those mattresses is not less than N5000 but let us use N5000 as the benchmark, N5000×1000 = N5,000,000.00.”

The activist further chided those he said have been writing unprintable things on social media about Eruani since the announcement of his donations.

He added that Eruani has no obligation to donate but did so out of his compassion and his humanitarian character.

Godbless Azipabu Eruani

He said, “Surprisingly, most of those negative words are coming from people whose supposed ‘political godfathers’ have not donated a grain of rice to IDPs not even to them the ‘master am loyal boys’.

“For the records, Dr. Eruani is not under any obligation whatsoever to donate relief materials to anyone.

“He left the government over 15 years ago or thereabout where he only served as special adviser and commissioner at a time Bayelsa State allocation was very low so he cannot be accused of making his present wealth through government.

“His donation was not political but was purely on compassionate and humanitarian grounds. But come to look at it, even if it is political, how much have their godfathers with ambitions and those who are already contesting donated? ”

While also lauding the Eruani for being conferred with the national honour of the Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR), Ikuli noted that Bayelsans do not value their own.

Ikuli who is also the Executive Director of the
Centre for Peace Advocacy and Social Rehabilitation (CPASR) described Eruani as an illustrious Ijaw son whose hard work he said has seen him make strides in the aviation, marine and other sectors with employees from different racial backgrounds.

He further hailed him for his philanthropic engagements, noting that the businessman has sponsored academic scholarships and skill acquisition programmes for many people over the years.

“This is a young man whose hard work has made him succeed in the aviation sector, marine, and other areas. He owns 3 aeroplanes and 2 gelicopters.

“He owns fleets of dredgers with Azikel Dredging Company as one of the leading dredging companies in the country and Africa as a whole.

“This is one illustrious son of the Ijaw Nation that has employed many whitemen as pilots with many blacks and Bayelsa state making the highest percentage of his workforce.

“He has given scholarships to countless numbers. Same with many he has sponsored them to acquire skills in many trades that have made them self-reliant and useful to society. The above excludes the multitudes that depend on him for their daily upkeep,” he noted.

He however urged “youths to think of channeling our God-given intellectual prowess into gainful ventures instead of always attempting to trivialize or water down the genuine benevolence, goodwill and philanthropic gestures of others.

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Flood: lawmaker, commissioner give cash to affected constituents in Yenagoa

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….as beneficiaries express gratitude

Yenagoa—The lawmaker representing Brass Constituency I in the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Dr. Daniel Charles, on Thursday gave cash donations to his constituents who have been affected by the rampaging flood in Yenagoa, the capital city of Bayelsa State.

According to a statement by the Media aide to the lawmaker, Munafa Richard Clever, the cash donation exercise was successfully carried out without consideration of party affiliations and with the help of the commissioner for special duties, Bayelsa East, Hon. Preye Brodrick and other stakeholders from Brass Constituency I.

The lawmaker empathized with the flood victims, saying the funds will serve as an emergency relief measure to cushion the devastating effect of the flood for victims.

Expressing gratitude to the lawmaker for the gesture, a stakeholder of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and indigene of Twon Brass, Mr. Dan-Suobo Bewa Ockiya said the intervention was timely and came at a time when material and financial resources of victims of the flood were dwindling.

He prayed for replenishment for the leaders who made the cash gift possible.

“The flood amelioration package gifted us by two of our leaders came at the best of times, when all material and financial sources of hope were invisible but God did the miracle by using Hon. Commissioner Preye Broderick and Hon. Daniel Charles to provide a lifeline.

“I truly appreciate the gesture from the bottom of my heart and pray that God refills till there is an overflow. Thank you so very much, my leaders and friends,” he said.

Similarly, Mr. Yibo Ebenezer Oti, an indigene of Liama expressed gratitude to the lawmaker on behalf of beneficiaries from Liama community in Brass constituency I.

Oti commended the Brass Constituency I PDP leaders for reaching out to their constituents affected by the flood and added that the gesture was timely.

According to him, “On behalf of the good people of Liama community of Brass constituency 1, ward 6 residing in Yenagoa, the State capital of Bayelsa State, I appreciate Hon. Daniel Charles and the Honourable Commissioner for Special Duties Bayelsa East in the Prosperity-led Administration of Governor Douye Diri, Hon. Preye Brodrick for reaching out to our people to help mitigate our plight by providing cash gifts & succor in the cause of the ravaging flood.

“The kind gesture is very timely and a welcome development to show leadership capacity in representing us.”

Oti further called on government at all levels as well as relevant agencies and well-meaning individuals “to partner to mitigate the effect of the flood hazard that has so far caused untold hardship on our people.”

He further expressed optimism that Bayelsans would surmount their current challenges in no distant time.

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