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Niger Delta

Fear Grips Bayelsa Communities Over MEND’s Threat

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Fear, tension and anxiety has returned to coastal communities of Bayelsa State following the threat of more attacks on oil installations by militant groups operating in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.

The Movement for Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) on Saturday carried out an attack on oil installations belonging to Nigerian Agip Oil Comapny in Brass Local Government Area resulting to daily loss of over 4,000 barrels of crude oil.

But with the threat of more attacks, the Nigerian military authorities have taken steps to stall further atrocities of the MEND by increasing military presence around oil facilities in the state, a  move which a source from the creeks and say added fear and anxieties to resident of oil producing coastal communities.

Meanwhile, the Joint Task Force (JIF) said that it has unmasked the identities of seven suspects that took part in the attack on the Agip facilities and urged them to report to its offfice before noon on February 12.

The suspects are: Friday Burutu, Lord Onipa, Robinson Agagudu , Eyala Karo and Stanley Uduorie. Others are Para Ekiyes and Rasmus Omukoro.

According to the JTF spokesman, Col Timothy Antigha, the suspects are advised to turn themselves in for interaction with the authorities by noon on February 12.

He reiterated earlier warnings that the suspects and their cohorts were out to swindle Niger Deltans by using the identity of the erstwhile leadership of MEND to advance their selfish ends.

The group has, however, responded to what it called the ignorant comments of the JTF spokesperson, Col Timothy Antigha and the government of South Africa through its Ministry of International Affairs.

MEND said: “The JTF spokesperson in his little mind is failing to comprehend the gravity of the situation unfolding in the Niger Delta and attributes our attack on the Agip pipeline to instigation by imaginary persons interested in benefiting from the fraud that was the disarmament process in the Niger Delta.

“The Nigerian government claims to have disarmed more people than exists in the Nigerian Army with only two thousand weapons to show for all their trouble. The lull in fighting by all groups in the Niger Delta is being used to acquire more sophisticated weapons to ensure that our next assault on the Nigerian oil industry expels western oil companies once and for all. There is nothing the Nigerian military can do to halt us”, MEND spokesman, Jomo Gbomo, said.

According to him, “Agip cleverly indicated that 4,000 barrels of its production is affected by our attack. The reality is that close to 200,000 bpd of Nigerian crude exports is affected by our attack as that trunk line served to transport crude oil for other oil companies as well. This translates to a daily loss of at least $20”.

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Niger Delta

Abducted NLC Chairman Regains Freedom In C’River

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The Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Cross River State chapter, Comrade Ben Ukpepi, who was kidnapped three months ago, has regained his freedom.
Our correspondent reports that Ukpepi was kidnapped from his house at CROSPIL in Akpabuyo Local Government Area of the State on March 21, 2021.
The Vice Chairman, NLC, Cross River State, Comrade Lawrence Achuta, said the victim was released on Monday by 3.30pm.
In a statement, he said, “Recall that Ben Ukpepi was kidnapped from his CROSPIL estate residence in Akpabuyo on the 21st of March 2021.
“We are very glad, and thankful to God Almighty for his safe release by the Kidnappers.
“I use this opportunity to thank the Organised Labour family in the State, particularly the Nigeria Labour Congress, the Medical and Health Workers Union and some members of his family.
“He is undergoing some routine medical checks at the moment. Once again, I thank all who stood by us throughout this difficult moment,” he quipped.

By: Friday Nwagbara, Calabar

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Niger Delta

Bayelsa Set To Inaugurate Environment Vanguard

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The Bayelsa State Government is set to establish a new body charged with the responsibility of protecting the environment from degradation and other environment related causes.
This was made known to newsmen, Tuesday during the celebration of the 2021World Environment Day by the state government in Yenagoa, the state capital.
The Tide gathered that the United Nations had declared 5th June every year as World Environment Day, necessitating the Bayelsa State government to commemorate the 2021 Environment Day Tuesday, 15 June, 2021 following other activities which had earlier caused its postponement penultimate week by the state government.
Giving approvals to demands made by the State Commissioner for Environment, Iselema Gbaranbiri, as contained in his welcome address for the occasion, the State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, restated government’s commitment towards protecting the state’s ecosystems and all matters relating to the environment within the available resources of the state.
Diri noted that following his willingness to promote policies and make decisions aimed at protecting the state’s Ecosystems from further degradation, the state government recently had made approvals for the shore protection work of Obogoro community in the Yenagoa council area of the state.
He promised to do same subsequently for other affected communities of the state, assuring that government would soon work on an executive bill to set up the state ‘Environment Vanguard’.
“The prosperity government shall soon work on a legislation to set up the state Environment Vanguard”, he said.
“This vanguard, when established would work with the ministry of environment and other relevant stakeholders in the environment sector to protect our Ecosystems and environment from continuous degradation”, he added.
Meanwhile, the Bayelsa State Commissioner for Environment, Honourable Gbaranbiri, has said the ministry of environment intends to deal decisively with those who were in the habit of flagrantly disrespecting nvironmental safety rules and guidelines in the state.
Gbaranbiri cautioned people to desist forthwith from ecosystem and unfriendly environmental phenomena, just as he stated that the ministry of environment had recently apprehended some persons,(names withheld) whom he said were involved in some unfriendly activities on the environment.
He commended Governor Diri for making funds available to the ministry for the execution of various environmental functions, pleading that the governor shore up the financial provisions made available to the ministry due to rising environmental challenges.
“ I commend the executive governor, his excellency, Governor Douye Diri, for making funds available for the ministry of environment, for the execution of its functions and programmes. But I also want to plead that you increase the funding coming to the ministry, because of the increasing environmental challenges”, he said.
The Tide learnt that the theme of the 2021 world Environment Day was tagged: ‘Join the Campaign to Restore our Ecosystem’
Similarly, guest lecturer for the occasion and Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, Niger Delta University, professor, Ibaba, S. Ibaba has called on government to implement guidelines and rules governing the environment to the letter, noting that the lack of political will by state actors in managing the environment was the bane of a clean, healthy and safe environment for all.

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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Balyesa, United Nigeria Airline Sign MoU On Flight Operations

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The United Nigeria Airline has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Bayelsa State Government for the commencement of direct scheduled flight operations into and out of Bayelsa International Airport.
The Head, Corporate Communications, Mr Achilleus-Chud Uchegbu, confirmed the agreement in a statement in Lagos yesterday.
Uchegbu explained that according to the terms of the agreement, United Nigeria would operate four daily flights in and out of the airport.
“United Nigeria will service the Bayelsa International Airport daily from the Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 (MM2) in Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
“With the MoU, the airline will commence direct flight operations to Bayelsa International Airport in July,” he said.
Uchegbu said that the MoU was signed in the presence of Gov. Duoye Diri of Bayelsa State and the state’s executive council.
Speaking, Diri noted that with the signing of the MoU, Bayelsans would begin to reap the benefits of the government’s investment in infrastructure.
The governor said that the venture would open Bayelsa, the resource base of Nigeria to the world.
Diri said the airline was chosen as partner because of its quality of service and efficiency.
The Chief Operating Officer (COO), United Nigeria Airline, Mr Osita Okonkwo, thanked the government and people of the state for choosing it.
He gave assurance that the airline would continue to offer the quality service that the airline was known for.

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