The people of Gbarmatu Kingdom of Delta State have called for the probe of the military operations in their communities by the Commander of the Joint Task Force, Major General Sarkin Bello.
The community threatened to drag Gen Bello to the International Court of Justice for alleged genocide and destruction of their homes and sources of livelihood.
But JTF spokesperson, Colonel Rabe Abubakar, has consistently maintained that the task force’s troops displayed high level of military professionalism in carrying out their duty, stressing that the Nigerian Army has received accolades for its peace keeping activities from all over the world.
Leaders of the community said contrary to claims by government and JTF, their kinsmen were yet to return home several weeks after the May 17 aerial attacks on the community by JTF aircrafts, adding that the operation also led to the burning of all habitable homes in the community.
Addressing newsmen in Warri, the Amaokusuwei (eldest man) and Amabebefityewei (Spokesperson) of Kurutie, Chief Dickson Wereyesegha and Chief Moneyin Pori respectively, castigated the JTF for purportedly misinforming the public about atrocities carried out there.
Wereyesegha, who said he spent two days in the bush during the operation, said, “The Kurutie community will join other destroyed communities in Gbaramadtu to bring the JTF Commander Maj.Gen. Sarkin Bello and his cohorts to book at the International Court of Justice in The Hague for genocide against us.
“All the houses that were inhabited in Kurutie Community are either destroyed by the aerial bombardment and sporadic shooting or burnt down by members of the JTF through willful setting ablaze of each house.
“Kurutie has no link with Camp 5. How on earth will the JTF claim that the only house burnt in Kurutie was because they were shot at from houses in the community? Nobody in Kututie community have access to arms. The JTF just framed up an excuse to kill defenseless citizens and wanton destruction of property.
“Up till now we cannot find most of our aged chiefs, elders and mothers who could barely escape; they are all still in the bush without access to the refugee camp at Ogbe-Ijoh,” they added.
Besides, the Kurutie elders described the process of distributing relief materials to the displaced person in the community as selective and under the dictates of the leadership of the JTF.
Nevertheless, they asked the Federal Government to expedite action on their return to their destroyed communities, maintaining, that they do not want to continually live as refugees in their own country.
Meanwhile youths from oil producing areas of Delta State yesterday protested the fates of thousands of persons by the military operations in Gbaramatu Kingdom of Warri, Delta State and urged the state government to take action to enable them return to their various communities.
The Association of Youths from Oil Producing Areas of Delta State (AYOPAD) said, “Invading the region and attacking innocent civilians thereby displacing them from their homes merely reduced government’s efforts and portray this government as staging region war against its own citizens.”
President of the association Ebiakpo Ezebri, Lucky Okoro and Nevile Okubo who signed the statement said, “Our association frowns at the idea of military men destroying the riverside communities in a bid to hunt for militants in their hideouts.
The statement flayed past government for its approach, allegedly anchored on appeasement rather than addressing the root causes of underdevelopment and marginalisation of the oil bearing communities in the management of their resources.
It advised government to approach the region’s issues with ‘Integrated Conflict Management System”, stressing that this approach include conflict prevention and peace promotion and consolidation; conflict control and abatement as well as conflict resolution.
Buhari Tasks Foreign Envoys On Neutrality In 2023 Polls
In the build-up to the 2023 general elections, President Muhammadu Buhari, on Monday, urged foreign envoys in Nigeria to be guided by diplomatic practices in ensuring that their activities remained within the limits of their profession.
Receiving Letters of Credence at State House from the Ambassadors of Japan, European Union, Burundi, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Cape Verde, France, Qatar as well as the High Commissioners of Sierra Leone and Ghana, the President in a statement by Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, told them that they were assuming diplomatic responsibilities in Nigeria at a very interesting political period.
‘‘Nigeria’s national elections are due in early 2023. The momentum for enhanced political activities is therefore expected to commence soon.
‘‘The nature of our politicking often gives the impression of very rancorous engagements. It is the nature of politics here. Besides, democracy and related democratic activities in the build-up to elections are necessarily rowdy and very argumentative, but very much within the limits of freedom of action that the art of democracy permits.
‘‘As you settle down in the face of these developments, it is my hope that you will also be guided by diplomatic practices, to ensure that your activities remain within the limits of your profession,’’ President Buhari said.
The President told the newly accredited envoys that he looked forward to a more robust relationship with each of their countries.
He declared that Nigeria is open to more foreign direct investments in the Education, Health, Transportation and Agricultural sectors, and would welcome improved bilateral relations, especially in wider trading and cultural contacts.
ASUP Rejects Establishment Of New Polytechnics
The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), yesterday, said the establishment of polytechnics in Nigeria was fast becoming mere constituency projects to satisfy political convenience.
ASUP President, Anderson Ezeibe, stated this in Abuja at a two-day workshop themed: “Advocacy Roundtable on the Future of Nigerian Polytechnics” organised by the union.
He said, “We do not agree with the continued establishment of new polytechnics on the largely unsubstantiated premise of providing greater access to tertiary education for young Nigerians as the existing ones remain unattractive to young Nigerians.
“Our polytechnics are currently facing an identity crisis as we are not convinced that sectoral mandates as envisioned and captured in the National Policy on Education are being met.
“Our products (graduates) are under-appreciated, discriminated against and traumatised by the prospects of an uncertain future after their training.
“Our members (teaching staff in the sector) are demotivated as there is little or no sense of fulfillment or self-actualization in their chosen careers. This is adversely affecting productivity and leading to consistent migration of qualified manpower away from the sector.”
Ezeibe added that the polytechnics were nowhere close to preferred destinations for Nigerian students seeking tertiary education as the sector suffers from deep seated discrimination in different facets mainly driven by anachronistic tendencies.
He noted that the nation had equally been reaping bountifully from the tale of woes in the sector as shown by different economic indices which constitute an embarrassment to a nation with so much promise.
“Funding is abysmally poor leaving widening infrastructure gaps; legal and policy frameworks are insufficient leading to suspect levels of supervision and regulation.
“Also cutting edge research and innovation activities are virtually non-existent as attempts at research remain at subsistence levels with little or no impact in society.
“The famed triple and/or quadruple helix structure which provides a meeting point between Institution, industry and government, thereby guaranteeing consumption of research products for national development are currently difficult to attain.
“Curricula review is Irregular, therefore leaving the sector with obsolete curricula which is out of sync with the dynamic needs of industry and society.
“Indeed, the current unemployment figures in the country tell the entire story of a sector with diminishing impact to the nation’s economy,” he said.
On his part, former Minister of Education, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, who was chairman of the occasion while declaring the programme open, maintained that failure of government to do the right thing has been aggravating industrial disharmony.
“One problem that I know that makes strike to persist is the failure of leadership in government. The fact is that unions are there to promote the wellbeing of their members and to promote the objective of the various institutions established,” he said.
2023 : People Should Assess Candidates On Performance – Peterside
A university teacher, Dr. Sofiri Peterside, has tasked voters to be more selective by voting candidates with track record of performance in 2023 general elections.
Dr. Peterside who is a fellow of the Centre for Advanced Social Science gave the advice in a phone-in programme organised by Silverbird Communications in Port Harcourt.
According to him, most of the presidential candidates are those who have held public positions and are coming to governance with experience.
He opined that electing such candidates should be based on their past performance and legacies while in office.
Dr. Peterside who is also a senior lecturer in the Department of Sociology, at the University of Port Harcourt said the electorates must exercise their franchise as enshrined in the constitution, stressing that any thing short of this would lead to the emergence of wrong leaders.
Lamenting the state of affairs in the country, the university don argued that it is difficult to disconnect bad governance from poor leadership.
He said that one way to change the situation of things is for the electorates to elect those with good records of performance who can bring their experience to bear.
“A major political setback is the problem of “godfatherism” which breeds mediocrity and failure of political office-holders to be accountable to the people.
“For the presidency, those qualified should be those who have attained the constitutional age, have demonstrated leadership abilities in the past and those with good records in office”, added.
By: Kevin Nengia
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