Former Minister of Information and prominent leader in South-South, Chief Edwin Clark, has denied entering into any pact with the Acting President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, to shop for Delta State governor in 2011
Chief Clark, however, said the while the allegation was not true, he did not need the directive of Jonathan to seek for governor because he is a grassroot man.
Meanwhile, Clark has described the former governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori, as a coward.
The action of the former governor, who had been declared wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Niger Delta leader said, had shown that he was not a courageous person.
Clark, said that since Ibori had claimed to be innocent of allegations levelled against him by the anti-graft agency, he had thought that he would come out of his hiding and clear his name.
He wondered why it was difficult for the EFCC to arrest Ibori when he was being guarded by riot policemen, who he said, were all answerable to the Federal Government.
The former minister said, He is a coward. If he is not, let him come and defend himself of all the allegations, after all, he has been saying he is not guilty.
There is no harm in levelling allegations against anyone, but if you know you have nothing to hide, then come out and offer explanations.
If the government really wants him arrested, they should ask the policemen attached to him. How can the EFCC be looking for him yet the man is surrounded by riot policemen? If you go to Oghara now, it is like a semi-headquarters of riot policemen.
The former governor, who was declared wanted by the EFCC 12 days ago, has since gone into hiding.
Ibori was declared wanted following a fresh N44bn fraud allegation levelled against him by Delta State Elders, Leaders and Stakeholders Forum led by Clark.
The elders had sent their petition dated March 8, 2010 to the EFCCâ€˜s Chairman, Mrs. Farida Waziri.
The elders who signed the petition were Clark, Chief Patrick Ideh, Dr. Richard Tosanwumi, Col. G.A.Eboma (rtd), Chief Hope Erute, Chief Williams Ekpebitere, Sir Eddy Akangbou, Dr. B.K Adasen, Prince A. Abugbo and Benson Lelekumo.
Copies of the petition were sent to the Governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan; the former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode (SAN) and the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Lamido Sanusi.
They demanded the commission to find out whether it was right to use the state governments shares to obtain N44bn private loan from a bank.
They further alleged that there was evidence that shares worth N528.010m in Oceanic Bank belonging to Delta State Government was used to guarantee over N44bn granted Ascot Offshore Nigeria Limited by Intercontinental Bank Plc.
Meanwhile, as the police intensify manhunt for Ibori, an ex-militant leader in the Niger Delta, Mr. Nico Sintei, has urged the former governor to surrender himself to the police.
Sintei, who spoke with our correspondent on Friday, said the only option left for Ibori was to come out from his hideout and make self available to security operatives.
The ex-fighter argued that it was not possible for the former governor to escape from justice, stating that it was necessary for him to face the law.
According to him, Ibori should see his current travail and the need to present himself to the police as an opportunity to clear his name of any wrongdoing.
He (Ibori) should surrender himself to the police. That is the best thing he should do for now. He cannot run away from the government and that is the fact.
Anybody that is involved in militancy and is parading himself as a Niger Delta militant is a criminal and should be treated as such.
Nobody is too big for the law and it is normal that the law should take its course, Sintei, who was the leader of a militant group known as Niger Delta Freedom Fighter noted.
He denied claims that those purportedly shielding the former governor from arrest were Niger Delta militants.
Branding those protecting Ibori from arrest as common criminals, Sintei stressed that former militants had surrendered their weapons and embraced the Federal Government amnesty programme.
Meanwhile, Clark also denied having reached any pact with the Acting President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, to shop for someone to be made the governor of Delta State in 2011.
He said while the allegation was not true, he also did not need the directive of Jonathan to make anyone governor because I am a grass root man
He called on the governor of the state, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, to accord his (Clarks) faction of the party recognition by appointing them into his cabinet.
The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.- Alvin Toffler
GoG: Nigerian, Ghanaian Navies Meet On Joint Operations
Against the backdrop of renewed piracy and hostage-taking incidents in the Gulf of Guinea, Nigeria’s Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo and his Ghanaian counterpart, Rear Admiral Issah Adam Yakubu, have commenced a security engagement aimed at joint security initiatives to tackle the situation.
Speaking during the meeting held at Naval headquarters, Abuja, Vice Admiral Gambo said, “The Gulf of Guinea is currently bedevilled by the activities of criminal elements who take advantage of limited capability of the navies in the region to adequately secure the area.
“The threat posed by the activities of these criminal elements constitute a major challenge not only to the littoral states but equally undermines regional development and global trade.
“Notably, the trans-boundary and trans-national nature of maritime crime makes the security of the maritime domain a task beyond the capacity of any country acting alone.
“It is against this backdrop that this bilateral engagement was convened at the instance of the Heads of Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Republic of Ghana towards addressing the maritime security challenges within the region”.
Vice Admiral Gambo expressed belief that “the engagement would foster greater collaboration and burden sharing that is hinged on cooperative maritime security framework as envisioned in the 2013 Yaoundé Protocol to arrive at strategies that would help address the maritime insecurity for enhanced economic prosperity in the region”.
Declaring the technical session open, the CNS said, “In deliberations, please consider amongst others: maritime area of interest covering Zone E and integration of the capabilities of the countries in Zone E, emplacing a robust intelligence sharing mechanism and collaboration with international partners”.
On relations between both countries, Gambo said, “This good relation is equally manifest in the several interactions between the Nigerian Navy and Ghana Navy. I must not fail to mention the remarkable contributions of the Ghana Navy-CNS to manpower development during his tour of duty at the prestigious AFCSC, Jaji as a member of the Directing Staff. I have no doubt that this engagement would further strengthen the existing cordial bilateral relations between Nigeria and Ghana navies.
In his address, Chief of Naval Staff of Ghana, Rear Admiral Issah Yakubu, noted that he and his delegation were in Nigeria at the behest of President Nana Akufo Ado to engage the Nigerian Navy and come out with collective strategies to tackle insecurity which is in the ascendancy in recent times in the Gulf of Guinea.
“We hope our navies will buy into this engagement to improve security in the Gulf of Guinea. We know our big brother Nigeria has bigger capacity to chart the way forward”.
He disclosed that, “Since year 2020, the situation has bot been good in the Gulf of Guinea”, noting that “Last May, two Ghanian vessels were attacked and 10 persons were abducted with investigations still ongoing”.
Consequently, the Ghanian Navy Chief said, “We are proposing an ECOWAS naval task force and joint maritime security architecture to checkmate these threats, adding that this was done in the past successfully during ECOMOG operations without problems with inter-operability and doctrinal issues.
Furthermore, he proposed the setting up of a ‘transit corridors’ where ships from fellow West African countries can go to anchor for assistance and joint naval assets will conduct regular patrols especially for protection of commercial fishing vessels.
Wike Orders Destruction Of Criminal Hideouts In Rivers
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has ordered the destruction of all criminal hideouts in Ahoada, Elele, Eleme and Onne to prevent attempt to undermine security of the state.
The governor said criminals were already coming to terms with the reality that Rivers State was too hot for them to invade at will and detonate their foolish attacks on targeted security posts and personnel.
Wike, who made this assertion in a state broadcast, last Friday, disclosed that the state government has identified the hideouts, safe houses and secret places that provide both cover and comfort for the hoodlums to plan, execute and return to after operations.
“This was the reason we ordered the destruction of all the shanties and makeshift structures located along Elele to Ahoada expanse of the East–West Road to deny the criminals the opportunity to continue to undermine our security from these hideouts.
“We have equally decided to destroy all the shanties, illegal shops and mechanic sheds along the Eleme to Onne stretch of the East-West Road having discovered these places also as hideouts and operational bases for criminals and criminal activities in the state.
“Consequently, I hereby direct owners of such shanties and illegal structures along the Eleme – Onne axis of the East-West Road to vacate the area within two weeks from June 11, 2021, as the state government will go ahead to destroy these structures without any further notice.”
Wike said the government was not unmindful of the economic effect these measures would have or may have had on residents carrying out businesses in the affected areas.
He, however, stressed that government was merely discharging its constitutional responsibility to advance the collective security of all with no ethnic targets in mind or attachment to political sentiments.
He explained that the existing curfew in Rivers State will not last one day beyond necessary, and pleaded with all residents to endure the temporary inconveniences in the interest of the state and collective wellbeing of all.
“We will continue to take the war on criminality and insecurity to the den of the criminals and we will neither yield nor lower the tempo of our assault until they are comprehensively neutralized. As a matter of fact, they want us to prematurely terminate the state wide night time curfew in order for them to have the leeway to operate again and roll back the gains of the last few weeks.”
Wike said he has received reports about the excesses of the State Task Force on Illegal Trading and Parks, especially the alleged shooting of motorists, extortions and abuse of the human rights of citizens.
He assured that government would not hesitate to bring the full weight of the law on any member of the task force who crosses the boundaries of the law and rational behaviour.
The governor, who appealed to motorists and residents to be responsible road users by complying with the clear regulations against illegal trading, indiscriminate parking and irresponsible driving, noted that the situation where some motorists would have the effrontery to compete for traffic space with or even attempt to block his official vehicular convoy leaves much to be desired.
He has meanwhile, directed the management of the Rivers State Waste Management Authority to clear the state of filthiness within one week or be disbanded without any further notice.
Army Begins Shooting Exercises In Rivers
The Nigerian Army, 6 Division, has announced that it would commence its annual range classification exercise from yesterday to Sunday, June 27.
The division’s spokesman, Lt.-Col. Charles Ekeocha, said in a statement in Port Harcourt, that the exercise aimed at ascertaining the professional competence of troops on the use of firearms.
He said troops from the division and its affiliated formations and units would conduct the exercise at the Army Shooting Range in Igwuruta and Elele Barracks, both in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
“The shooting exercise is a routine activity in the Nigerian Army which involves the firing of various calibre live ammunitions.
“Members of the public, especially residents of Igwuruta and Elele, as well as its environs, are advised to keep away from the general shooting area,” he stated.
The Army spokesman also advised the public not to panic over the movement of troops, military hardware and sound of gunshots.
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