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A new Bayelsa: Diri showing real capacity

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By: Kola Oredipe

Since he came into office in 2020, the incumbent Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, has left no one in doubt as to his commitment to change the face of development in the State.

His great disposition to reconcile aggrieved parties through the message of hope and love stands him out as a leader who seek a united Bayelsa State.

Diri, has continued to endear himself to the people through his many people-oriented policies, programmes and projects across the eight Local Government Areas.

Today, Diri, has become a household name in just two and a half years in office making impacts in the lives of many through some welfare packages,business empowerment, skills acquisition programmes, regular payment of civil servant’s salaries, payment of outstanding gratuities and death benefits and physical projects that cut across road infrastructure, education, health and agriculture.

He is doing the unthinkable in the political system by completing projects inherited from previous administration including the Kaiama Referral Hospital, in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area, reconstructed Imiringi bridge in Ogbia Local Government Area and the historic Nembe Unity bridge in Nembe Local Government Area.

Diri, inherited the construction of Sagbama-Ekeremor road and Yenagoa-Oporoma-Ukubie road in the two senatorial districts of Bayelsa West and Bayelsa Central to open up several riverine communities.

As a man with guiding principles of fairness and inclusiveness in governance, Diri, found the strong justification to commence the construction of age-long Nembe-Brass road in the Bayelsa East Senatorial district.

At the flag-off recently, the governor said, “It is only fair to start the Nembe-Brass road despite the lean state resources after waiting for the Federal Government and operating oil multinationals in the area.

“If we are doing such major roads to the West and Central Senatorial Districts, it is also good we commence that for the East Senatorial area. God will provide the funds to complete it.”

Under the Prosperity Administration, a new State Capital beckons with the new roads on both flanks of Igbogene town into Yenagoa. The Glory drive from the Ecumenical centre to link Tombia-Amassoma road and the back of Government House in Ovom, is progressing.

Also, the construction of Igbogene-AIT/Elebele Outer Ring road has reached an appreciable extent with attention now on the third phase. The stretch between Igbogene and Okarki as well as the stretch between Imiringi road and AIT/Elebele roundabout have equally been done.

This is a government that means well for its citizens, hence, the awards and completion of over twenty internal roads within Yenagoa including the popular Edepie School road.

The change in the development landscape of Bayelsa State is no fluke. Under one year, the Diri-led administration built a most magnificent Media complex named, Ernest Ikoli Media complex to host the 3 state-owned media outfits- the Newspaper corporation, the Television (Niger Delta Television) and Radio Bayelsa.

The government is not only investing in physical infrastructure, it is also touching the citizens directly through different skills acquisition programmes and a monthly empowerment of 210 youths and women in small scale business with N200,000.00 each to grow their businesses.

Only recently, 366 Bayelsans graduated with starter packs from the SDGs skill acquisition programme in partnership with the state government.

In Agriculture, the government is making huge investments to build capacities of farmers, provide hybrid seedlings, fertilizers and other farm tools for improved yields.

The State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources had identified rice, cassava, yam, plantain and banana as key crops with huge potential in the state.

200 selected young farmers have just been trained and graduated in integrated farming at the CSS Global Integrated Farms in Nasarawa State.

The state is making a loud statement in rice farming and production with three massive rice farms located in Ogbia, Amassoma and Yenagoa in a move for a rice revolution in the state.

In health, education, other sectors, the Prosperity Administration is changing the face of development. The State Health Insurance scheme is one of the most robust in Nigeria and it is opened to all citizens covering a wide range of health care needs including surgeries.

Diri, has just changed the face of Local Government administration where they not only embark on meaningful projects after salaries payment, they now have savings in a show of public accountability.

Again, for the first time in a long while, at the expiration of their tenure, elected council officials including Chairmen, Vice-Chairmen and Councilors have been paid their severance allowance.

Under the current administration, so much investments have gone into sports development to provide a platform for youths engagement. Gradually, Bayelsa is becoming home of sports in Nigeria.

“Our investment in sports is paying up. Our two football teams won both male and female trophies of the AITEO/FA cup. For the first time, we came 3rd at the National Sports Festival. The medals we won at the festival confirms that Bayelsa is home of wrestling and swimming.

“Recently, our two secondary schools, Bishop Dimeari Grammar School and St. Jude’s Girls Secondary School won both the boys and girls categories at the National Milo Secondary Schools Basketball championship in Lagos.

“We will continue to celebrate our wrestlers for their recent exploits at the Commonwealth games in Birmingham. Special mention for Blessing Oborududu, the Olympics Silver medallist.

“Even in athletics, Bayelsa has the rave of the moment, Timma Godbless, who recently broke the national junior record in 100 metres race in Cali, Colombia,” Daniel Igali, Youth and Sports Commissioner recently stated.

Read also: Dedicate 25% of surveillance contract sum to Ijaw students, Koroye urges Tompolo

In the midst of many celebrations, the state-owned male football club, Bayelsa United FC which has been in the lower division for seven years regained their promotion to the elite Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) on the final day of the Group B Southern Conference with an emphatic 2 nil win over Cynosure FC of Abakiliki, Ebonyi State.

A cheering news indeed to all sports lovers who have yearned to watch elite premier league games in Yenagoa.

Also, recently, the state-owned female team representing Nigeria in the Women’s CAF Champions league, Bayelsa Queens qualified for the group stage of the 2nd edition of Champions league for women.

Security has remained top notch in the agenda of the governor. The government has continued to support and collaborate with different security agencies operating in the state.

The establishment of the Bayelsa State Community Security Safety Corps headed by Brig. General Eric Angaye (Rtd.) has strengthened the security system in the State and boost confidence of investors that their investments would be safe in Bayelsa State.

In just two years in office, the Prosperity Administration has done so much to earn the confidence of the people. The civil servants are having the best of times with this government because of the regular payment of their salaries.

Instead of the pathetic stories on the queues during struggle for pensions and gratuities, it is a great news to cheer that the government preserving lives and clearing outstanding pension gratuities and death benefits to families of deceased workers.

Truly, in Bayelsa State, it is a new season; a season of uplift and greater possibilities under the Prosperity Administration of Governor Douye Diri.

Oredipe Kola is Director/Co-ordinator, New Media to the Bayelsa State Governor.

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CBN limits cash withdrawals to 20k daily, 100k weekly

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Abuja—The Central Bank has directed banks and other financial institutions to ensure that cash withdrawals by individuals and corporate entities per week do not exceed N100,000 and N500, 000, respectively.

The directive is contained in a circular issued by the bank on Tuesday, according to TheCable.

These new directives is however set to be effective from 9th January 2023

“The maximum cash withdrawal over the counter (OTC) by individuals and corporate organisations per week shall henceforth be N100,000 and 500,000 respectively. Withdrawals above these limits shall attract processing fees of 5 percent and 10 percent, respectively,” the letter reads.

“Third party cheques above N50,000 shall not be eligible for payment over the counter, while extant limits of N10,000,000 on clearing cheques still subsist.

“The maximum cash withdrawal per week via Automated Teller Machine (ATM) shall be N100,000 subject to a maximum of N20,000 cash withdrawal per day.

“Only denominations of N200 and below shall be loaded into the ATMs.”

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Nigerian Navy accuses NNPC of deceiving Nigerians about figures of oil theft

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Abuja—The Nigerian Navy has stated that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited’s (NNPC) claimed figures of crude oil theft in the country are bogus and not substantive.

According to SaharaReporters, the Navy accused NNPC of reeling out exaggerated figures to save its face, noting that they are hiding the truth from the public.

This was made known by the Navy Chief of Training and Operations, Rear Admiral Solomon Agada, while speaking to the Senate Committee on Economic and Financial Crimes during an interactive briefing of the relevant agencies implementing the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act, 2022 at the National Assembly, as observed and reported by Sunday PUNCH.

Agada revealed that at several interactions with the NNPC, the Navy had explained the causes of fuel scarcity to the company and that there was no way anyone would steal 100,000 barrels of oil in a day, but the NNPC had deliberately continued to mislead Nigerians.

When Agada was asked why the Navy had not been able to stop oil theft, while claiming that the waterways were secure, he said, “The challenge is that because of the criminal activity inshore by the illegal refiners in tapping into the export lines, those export lines have not been in operation since early this year.

“The major terminals have not been able to process fuel for export since around February/March and instead of the NNPC telling the Federal Government that this product is not brought out to be able to process as export, they say the oil was stolen.”

He explained that the Navy had argued that the NNPC should tell people the difference between the oil that they have shut in and not brought out, and what is being stolen.

“The stolen produce that we have been dealing with among illegal refineries is nothing compared to what the NNPC is declaring as being stolen.

“If you’re talking about stealing 100,000 barrels a day, you need about five-tonne batches 20 times a day from the creek to the high sea, which is very unrealistic.

“I told them at the NNPC that if that were to be the case, even a blind man would observe that something was happening in Nigeria’s waters and we are there on patrol and not seeing this.

“The only reasonable explanation why the fuels are not coming out is because the Shell platform on Bonny Island is not exporting and the Chevron terminal in Escravos is also not exporting. All these things are very clear, but because it is easier to say these things are stolen, then they just come up with that.

“Let’s get someone who can do a proper analysis of these figures and we’ll find out that these claims are just bogus; there is nothing substantive about them.

“We have communicated appropriately with the NNPC; even at our last interface with them, they agreed with us; but when they come to the public, they say oil theft, hiding the fact from the public.”

Agada also responded to the alleged tapping of pressure pipe under the sea, from where crude oil was said to be transferred into vessels.

He said; “On the tapping of the vessel, I also visited that location with the Chief of Defence Staff and there is a directive by the President from the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to set up a committee on that particular incident.

“We are not indicting the NNPCL; we are just saying that let matters be presented correctly so that people can make informed decisions. The Navy has no hand in any stealing of oil in this country. I have no ship or vessel, nor do I know anyone who has; you can investigate me.”

The Navy boss further explained that the increase in diesel price was because of an ongoing operation to stop illegal bunkering on the waters.

“People who have been doing this illegal business will confirm to you that since we started this special task force operation in April, their business has gone sour.

“This is also responsible for the increase in diesel price in the country. Since we stopped the illegal diesel from coming to the market, the price has gone up, because once there is high demand and the supply is low, the price will go up.

“People who ought to import will cut corners and buy the illegal products, but now that they can’t import and the illegal ones are not coming, this has reduced the quantity in the country. But somehow, nobody is coming to share this information with the people.”

He added that the Nigerian Government had invested in infrastructure through the Maritime Domain Awareness Infrastructure, which had assisted the Navy in detecting and arresting illegal refiners and vessels that were usually handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for prosecution.

Agada stated, “And right from Abuja here, we have the capacity to see the entire Nigeria Exclusive Economic Zone. We have 24 hours watch on the exclusive economic zone. Any vessel that enters Nigerian waters that is not permitted to be is immediately arrested because we see their movement.

“Any vessel in the international waters is expected to have their automatic identification system on and that shows that you’re transparently operating; so, any vessel that switches off its identification system automatically becomes a vessel for the Nigeria Navy and we will immediately arrest them and thereafter investigate.

“So, as of today, there is no tanker that can enter Nigerian waters to carry anything without being noticed. All these things that happened now have sent a very strong signal to the international communities that Nigeria is now a place where illegal activities can’t take place anymore.”

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Oil can no longer feed Nigeria’s growing population—Obasanjo

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Abeokuta—Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said the oil and gas sector can no longer feed the growing population of Nigerians, according to Daily Trust.

Obasanjo spoke at the weekend when the leadership of the apex socio-cultural group in Tiv land of Benue State, Mzough U Tiv (MUT) paid him appreciation and friendship visit at his Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) Penthouse residence in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital.

He said only farming and agribusiness could tackle the nation’s growing population.

He called on people to focus on farming and agribusiness as an alternative to Nigeria’s oil-dependent economy.

“If Nigeria is ready to get it right, the 2023 election should be a turning point. We should not go for emotion that will destroy us,” Obasanjo, who was conferred with the title of a “Great Warrior” of Tiv land by the socio-political group, said.

Earlier, the President-General of the Tiv body, Chief Iorbee Ihagh demanded the former president’s intervention on the need for the establishment of a fruit juice industry in Benue State, agitation for inclusive national politics, herder’s attack on Tiv land and the power sharing formula.

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