Yenagoa—The Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has described as draconian the National Water Resources Bill before the National Assembly, saying it would have an adverse effect on the predominantly maritime state if it is passed into law.
Diri condemned the bill on Friday when the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Dame Didi Walson-Jack and her team paid him a courtesy visit in Government House, Yenagoa.
A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as saying that it would be unfair and unjust to introduce the water resources bill when oil-producing states were still agitating for a fair deal from their oil and gas resources.
His words: “The Water Resources Bill is not acceptable. The provisions of the bill, if it becomes law, would have more negative impact on us as we are a mainly maritime environment. Having taken away our oil and gas resources, the federal government is trying to introduce a water resources law at a time that we are still fighting for a fair deal.
“This bill is tantamount to stifling us. The federal government is on our neck and we cannot breathe anymore.”
Diri called on sponsors of the bill to withdraw it, saying the country operates a federal system of government rather than a unitary government.
“We are running a federal government where you do not centralise resources or political power. It is where you run a unitary system of government that those kind of draconian bills can become law.
“But in an ideal federal system, you allow the states to expropriate their resources and pay taxes to the federal government.
“They emasculate the states’ resources and then give peanuts to them. They still turn around to say the states are not performing. How can they perform when you take away all their resources?”
On the issue of ending open defecation, the governor assured that under the Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) project, his administration would collaborate with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to stop the menace, as it is one of the indices of development.
He said some of the initiatives the state government had put in place to end the era of open defecation include the setting up of the Bayelsa State Council for Water Resources and approval of N250 million for the WASH project this year.
The state’s helmsman also directed the Commissioner for Water Resources to ensure that the 3.6 million-liter federal government water scheme at Otuoke is resuscitated, adding that the Yenagoa, Ovom and Okaka water stations had been rehabilitated.
Earlier, the Minister of Water Resources, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Dame Didi Walson-Jack, said in 2019, a national campaign was launched to end open defecation in the country.
The minister said this was critical to achieving sustainable development goal number six on water and sanitation.
He noted that an estimated 48 million persons practised open defecation in the country, which necessitated building a new culture of safe sanitation across Nigeria.
He said as of today, 83 local government areas in the country were open defecation free and the ministry was currently working in Brass and Kolokuma/ Opokuma local government areas in the state in collaboration with UNICEF towards ending open defecation in the areas.
While promising to provide technical support to resuscitate the water scheme at Otuoke, the minister solicited the partnership of the state government towards ensuring that the six other local government areas attained the status of open defecation free by 2025, which is the national set target.
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.