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New council chairmen must reside in headquarters, says Diri



Ekeremor—Bayelsa Governor, Douye Diri, has said all incoming local government chairmen in the state will reside in their council headquarters to enable them perform effectively.

The tenure of the current council chairmen expires on August 14.

Diri gave the directive on Tuesday while inaugurating the chairman’s new office complex at Ekeremor, headquarters of the Local Government Area as part of legacy projects executed by council chairmen across the state.

A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Alabrah quoted the governor as appealing to the people to cooperate and support council chairmen to deliver on their mandate.

His words: “Let me inform all those that would take over the leadership of the third tier of government that as the policy of this administration, all local government chairmen must stay in their respective domains.

“I appeal to the elders and all other stakeholders to support the local government administration to enable them to perform their duties in line with the Nigerian Constitution.”

While commending the Ekeremor council chairman, Dr. Bertola Perekeme, for completing projects in all 12 wards in the area, Senator Diri underscored the need to execute people-oriented projects to reduce rural-urban migration.

“We are happy that our council chairmen are now performing. If you have electricity, potable water, good roads and other social amenities, there will be no need moving to urban areas.

“As a government, we will continue to do those things that will impact on people living in our communities.”

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Responding to the requests of the chairman, Diri directed the Works and Infrastructure Commissioner, Moses Teibowei, to include the Ekeremor Secondary School in the next State Universal Education Board (SUBEB) contract award towards addressing its renovation and the twin problems of flooding and erosion threatening the institution.

He equally directed the Works Commissioner to ensure the award of contract for the construction of a pavilion at Ekeremor as well as a link road at Isampou community.

The governor also directed the Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy Affairs and Community Development, Chief Thompson Amule, to ensure the immediate and even disbursement of funds meant for the empowerment scheme across the 105 wards in the state irrespective of political affiliation.

In his address, chairman of the Ekeremor council, Dr. Bertola Perekeme, appreciated the state government for its supervision over the councils through the deputy governor’s office, which he said had raised the level of achievements in the council.

Dr. Perekeme noted that between August 2019 and February 2020, the Ekeremor council was only able to pay salaries through the benevolence of sister councils.

He said as a result of this, by February 2020, a total of N253.5 million was deducted at source to offset inherited debts.

According to him, due to the reforms in the local government system, Ekeremor has made savings of over N131.4 million after payment of statutory obligations in addition to the N90 million set aside for defraying debts incurred by the previous administration.

Perekeme equally noted that N15 million had been earmarked for payment of arrears of workers in 2016, assuring that payment would commence soon.

He also commended the state government for continuing the construction of the Sagbama-Ekeremor road inherited from his predecessor, Senator Seriake Dickson.

He recounted his achievements in the last three years to include completion and furnishing of the chairman’s new office complex, renovation of the Abenzi Dougha’s conference hall, construction of concrete pavement at Isampou community, furnishing of offices for Governor’s Special Representatives in Ekeremor as well as youth development centres among others.

The governor also inaugurated a skills acquisition centre at Toru-Orua community in neighboring Sagbama Local Government Area where he lauded the council boss, Embeleakpo Alale, for his achievements in office.

In his address, Alale applauded Governor Diri’s passion for the development of the state.

He added that although some projects had been inaugurated earlier, all the council chairmen were anxious to execute one or more projects before the end of their tenure on August 14.


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.
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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.”

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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.).
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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.

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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.
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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.

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