…as senator debunks allegations
Abuja—A Niger Delta group, the Movement for Sustainable Development of the Niger Delta has warned members of the National Assembly not to allow themselves to become tools in the hands of politicians working against the interest of the region.
According to the group, the dramatic sequence of harassment, incessant issuance of summons and probes targeted towards arm twisting the interventionist agencies to part away with meagre funds meant for the development and empowerment of the people of the region have become worrisome and provocative.
This was contained in a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Chief Ayibatekena Olodin.
The group warned that instead of searching for cash cows such as the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Presidential Amnesty Programme, the National Assembly members should join hands with other legislators to review the failed security architecture of the nation and the economic woes, nationwide blackout, rising inflation and killings rather than disturbing the Niger Delta intervention agencies for quick monies.
“While we hail and await the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari in the area of improved funding to the NDDC, we urge the duo of Senator Peter Onyeluka Nwaoboshi (Delta North) and Hon. Tunji Ojo of both the Senate and Federal House of Representatives committees of the National Assembly to stop the unprovoked use of legislative power to intimidate and arm-twist the NDDC.
“Despite the fact that we are not out to engage in murky revelations about the activities of the National Assembly Committees, we are aware that the dramatic sequence of harassment, incessant issuance of summons and probes are targeted towards arm twisting the interventionist agencies to part away with meagre funds meant for the development and empowerment of the people of the region.
“We call on Senator Peter Onyeluka Nwaoboshi (Delta North) and Hon. Tunji Ojo at the National Assembly to desist from their alleged blackmail and childish threats of commencing unending investigations into the activities of the NDDC and the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP).
“For the umpteenth time, the people of the Niger Delta have seen beyond their noses and discovered that the members of the National Assembly are grossly incompetent and negligent at failing the people of the Niger Delta region and Nigerians at large,” the statement reads.
The statement noted that a check showed that despite the refusal of the Federal Government to release funds owed to the NDDC, the Akwa Effiong management has managed fairly in paying recurrent expenditures and achievable offset payments of projects owed past and present contractors of the commission.
According to the statement, “Unlike the few months past, Effiong Akwa has done arguably well in quietly working and improving the lives of the people of the region through empowerment and redeemable payment for jobs done.
“It is now left for the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to assist by releasing the needed fund to instigate improved economic activities in the region.
“Unlike his predecessors, Barr. Effiong Akwa has been paying for some of the executed projects. He has been effectively and efficiently piloting the affairs of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). You don’t need to know him personally for him to pay you.
“As long as you have done your job, and your file has been processed by the NDDC officials, he approves your payment and everyone in the Niger Delta region knows this, contractors are unanimously pleased with his performance and are united behind him.
“Should the members of the National Assembly continue in their alleged blackmail of the Amnesty Programme, we will not hesitate to use the legal system against them, and mobilize the people across the Niger Delta region to protest against their blackmail and intimidations, and where possible, make public all their associated records of unexecuted contracts allocated to them in the past that are not executed.
“We are aware that these politicians are without shame or the fear of God and would want to engage in unending extortion of monies allocated to the Commission for the development of the region.”
Responding, Senator Nwaoboshi denied the allegations stating that he is not a member of the Senate committee on ethics and privileges.
He noted that his colleague, Hon. Ojo is also not a member of the committee in the House, adding that the group members have exposed themselves.
Hon. Ojo did not respond to a message sent to him as of the time of filing this report.
Bayelsa community gives FG, state govt 2-day ultimatum over devastating erosion
Yenagoa—The people of Obogoro Community in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State have given the Federal and State Governments a 2-day ultimatum to address the devastating effect of erosion which has claimed many lives and properties or face any action that would be taken by the community.
The Tide reports that they made this known during a candlelight procession held in Obogoro for men, women, youths and children who have lost their lives due to the recurring erosion in the community.
The Convener of Save Obogoro Community From Erosion Foundation, Coach Ada Gwegwe, said the community has written several letters to both the Federal and State Governments to respond to the community’s demand but all to no avail, adding that the community is planning to stage a protest to drive home their demands.
“We have been crying and nobody wants to listen to us. They came and awarded the contract and started the work but the dredger is just packed there, nothing is going on.
Read also: Erosion: Group set to embark on protest over stalled canalization project in Bayelsa community
“We have done everything to reach out to the government but to no avail, this is the last option we have, to go on peaceful protest”, he said.
Also speaking, the Coordinator of the Save Obogoro Community From Erosion Foundation, Comrade Sunkeme Gbegbe, sympathized with those affected by the erosion and attributed the state of the community to that of a dead meat.
“Erosion has taken so many lives, we are also sympathising with those that are homeless. We have called on the government and the federal level and other relevant agencies, we’ve written so many letters but all to no avail”, Gbegbe said.
Some residents of the community cried out to the government that so many lives have been lost and many rendered homeless due to houses being washed away by the effect of the erosion.
“We gather together with grief in our hearts on what is happening in our community: the houses that are collapsing, the people dying, we are pained, we plead with the government to help us because we are losing our houses and lands”.
2022 Flooding: Bayelsa govt directs fresh distribution of items to communities, acknowledges donors
Yenagoa—Bayelsa State government has acknowledged donations from international agencies, state governments, political parties and their presidential candidates, individuals and corporate organisations in the wake of the 2022 flooding that ravaged the state.
Governor Douye Diri in his opening remarks at the weekly state executive council meeting in Government House, Yenagoa, on Wednesday disclosed that the government received donations in form of cash, foodstuff and other materials from well-meaningful individuals and corporate organisations during and after the floods.
According to a statement by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Alabrah, Diri restated his administration’s commitment to transparency and assured the people that they would not be left in the dark as regards the flood donations.
He listed the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, the Akwa Ibom and Lagos state governments, which donated N100m and N50m respectively, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar (N55m), and his counterpart in the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Adewole Adebayo (N10m) as some of the donors.
Other donors are Dr. Azibapu Eruani of the Azikel Group, who he said has started redeeming his pledge of N350million worth of items, and the Chief Executive Officer of the Century Energy Group, Chief Ken Etete (N50m).
The governor also disclosed that the South Korean Ambassador to Nigeria donated $100,000, Access Bank N100m, Zenith Bank N20m, Linkage Assurance N20m, Sterling Oil N15m, Paache Construction N10m and AITEO N50m.
According to Diri, organisations that donated items include the Tompolo Foundation 440 cartons of noodles, 595 bags of 50kg rice, 35 jerrycans of 25kg palm oil, groundnut oil 180 cartons, garri 40 50kg bags, beans 20 100kg bags as well as 500 tubers of yam.
Others are Globus Bank 70 bags of 50kg rice and 100 cartons of noodles, Stanbic Bank 146 4×6’ mattresses, 148 pillows and 150 plastic buckets.
The rest are Julius Berger 100 bags of 50kg rice, Redeemed Christian Church of God 100 bags of 50kg rice, Brass Petrochemical and Fertiliser Company 100 bags of 50kg rice, 100 bags of 50kg garri and 100 bags of 100kg beans.
Diri directed the task force on flood mitigation and management and the Bayelsa State Emergency Management Agency (BYSEMA) to immediately resume distribution of items in the warehouse to all affected communities in the state.
He also assured that the donations will be prudently used and urged people of the state to exercise patience with the process of distributing the relief materials to victims.
He further stated that the process will be devoid of political colouration.
His words: “We never played politics with the flood and the relief items for victims. The whole world saw it. Those who came to play politics, the whole world equally saw them.
“In all that we did, we never discriminated against any political party. And we commend particularly our people that bore the brunt of the flood.
“As a government, we will take decisions in the best interest of our people. Everything should not be politicised.“
2023: Diri tasks Bayelsans to shun political blackmail
Yenagoa—Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, has cautioned political actors to desist from character assassination and blackmail in their quest for power in the state.
Diri said it was appalling how some politicians in the state have resorted to maligning the character of opposition party contestants and members in the guise of political campaigns.
The governor spoke on Tuesday evening during the service of songs in honour of late Mama Bebeapere Agbedi, mother of the member representing Sagbama/Ekeremor Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Dr. Fred Agbedi, at the Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha Memorial Banquet Hall in Yenagoa.
A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as saying that elections would come and go but the people would remain brothers and sisters.
He stressed that the best path to living a long and fulfilled life was showing love and appreciation for one another.
Diri emphasised that as long as power comes only from God, nobody can overturn what has been divinely ordained for the state.
He said: “Political times are here and there is so much in the air – propaganda, lies and blackmails. You do not know which one to believe anymore. That was not the kind of life Mama lived.
Read also: Why corruption is so common in Nigeria, Jonathan reveals
“The fact you want a political office should not make you to malign the character of another person. Elections will come and go, as I always say, but we will all remain brothers and sisters.
“For me, the best path to tread and the best way towards living the kind of life that we are celebrating today is to continue to show love and appreciation. No matter who is blocking it, when God says this is yours, nobody can stop it.”
While extolling the virtues of the matriarch, who lived 111 years, Diri described her as a quintessential woman, who made a lot of sacrifice for mankind.
In a sermon titled: “A Good Name,” Bishop Dotimi Egbegi said for one to be spoken well of after death, the individual must have a good name while alive.
Bishop Egbegi noted that people can only amend their ways while alive and by living for others in order to bequeath legacies that cannot be altered.
Giving a testimony about his mother, Dr. Agbedi she instilled discipline in him and his siblings as well as investing meaningfully in their educational advancements.
The House of Reps member described his late mother as a principled but humble woman, a trait that he said is also found in him.
He thanked the governor for demonstrating love and support towards him and his family by his presence at the event to honour their matriarch.
Also present at the solemn gathering was the Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, past and serving members and colleagues of the chief mourner from the National Assembly, state legislators, chairman of the state Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Solomon Agwana, members of the state executive council, politicians from different political parties as well as top government functionaries and members of the clergy.