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IGP Orders Manhunt For SAN’s Abductors

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Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Abubakar, has ordered the Edo State Commissioner of Police, Foluso Adebanjo, to immediately fish out the suspects, who allegedly kidnapped human rights activist and Senior Advocate of  Nigeria, Mike Ozekhome and his driver, last Saturday in Edo State, just as he directed the rescue of the victims unhurt.
Mohammed has also vowed to ensure that the suspects are brought to justice.
Force Public Relations Officers, Frank Mba, told journalists in a telephone interview that the IGP had directed the Edo commissioner of police to commence immediate and vigorous manhunt for the hoodlums “who must be arrested and brought to justice and the kidnapped victims rescued”.
Mba quoted the Inspector General of Police as having said,”we, therefore, once again call on the general public not to relent in their partnership with the police to fish out the criminals as common enemy to our society and report anyone found with the bullet wounds to the nearest police station.”
It would be recalled that four police officers were killed Saturday in Benin-City, the Edo State capital while attempting to foil an abduction bid on human rights activist and lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN).
The officers of the Edo Police Command were killed in their failed attempt to stop the kidnappers from escaping with the human rights activist.
It was learnt that Ozekhome was kidnapped along with his driver while they were travelling along the Benin-Auchi Road.
Narrating the development to newsmen in Benin last Saturday, Edo State Commissioner of Police, Foluso Adebanjo had said: “Operatives of the command led by DPO Ehor Division responded swiftly to a distress call at about 3:30 pm that an unspecified number of armed men had blocked the Benin-Auchi Road by Ehor axis”.
According to him, “but while on their way to the scene, the hoodlums ambushed the police patrol vehicle and opened fire on them.
“At the end of the gun duel, the hoodlums escaped with bullet wounds but not without their victim who was later identified, upon search on his abandoned vehicle, as Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) and his driver. Regrettably, the command lost four officers in the encounter”, he said.
There were, however, indications yesterday that the police personally led by the Police Commissioner, Adebanjo, were on the trail of the suspected kidnappers of Ozekhome.
This is the second high profile abduction to have taken place in Edo State in recent times.
In May, unknown gunmen kidnapped the wife and daughter of Supreme Court Justice, Bode Rhodes-Vivour.
The ladies, along with their driver, were intercepted as they were about to enter Benin.
They were later released about three weeks later, presumably on the payment of some ransom to the kidnappers.
Meanwhile, some prominent lawyers in Lagos yesterday condemned the abduction of a human rights lawyer, Mr Mike Ozekhome (SAN), describing the spate of kidnappings across the country as worrisome.
The lawyers, who spoke to newsmen, expressed grave concern about security situation in the country and urged security agencies to intensify their efforts toward apprehending the kidnappers.
Ozekhome was reportedly abducted on August 23 at Ehor near Benin City in Edo State by some unknown persons.
Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja Branch, Mr Onyekachi Ubani, said the spate of kidnappings in Nigeria was worrisome.
“It is very appalling; both low and high profile individuals are being kidnapped across the country. It shows that there is a problem,” he said.
Also speaking, a human rights activist, Mr Adetokunbo Mumuni, said Ozekhome’s abduction was a reflection of the security situation in the country.
Mumuni, who is the executive director, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), a human rights group, attributed the wave of kidnappings by some unscrupulous elements to poverty and unemployment.
He said: “Until socio-economic injustices are tackled, we may continue to have these security challenges.
“Kidnapping is now rampant because of the limited opportunities available to Nigerians due to poverty and unemployment.”
On his part, another human rights activist, Mr Fred Agbaje, said it was regrettable that Edo had become a hotbed of high profile kidnappings.
Agbaje urged government at all levels to ensure that citizens had access to adequate welfare packages in line with the social contract theory in governance.
Under the social contract theory, it is imperative that lives and properties should be protected, he said.

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Eradiri Faults NDDC Leadership Structure Wants Agric As Top Priority

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The Special Adviser to the Sole Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) on Youths, Udens Eradiri, has faulted the leadership structure of the commission, saying it has not helped the cause of the Niger Delta in the last 25 years.
Describing the leadership structure of the NDDC as faulty, he said that the faulty leadership structure was the reason why President Muhammadu Buhari ordered for a forensic audit in the commission.
Eradiri who is the former president of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC)
disclosed this while speaking to aviation correspondents, last Friday, shortly on arrival at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, from Abuja. 
He said the outcome of the forensic audit would be used to do a wholistic reorganisation of the organogram of the commission.
According to him, the wholistic review of the organogram of the NDDC will help in putting the leadership structure in order, and enable things to function properly.
“The leadership structure of NDDC in the past years had been faulty, and that was why the President said there should be forensic audit, which would be used to do a wholistic review of the organogram of NDDC, so that it can function properly.
“The new board is coming soon, but the whole process will pass through the National Assembly to be cleared”, Eradiri said.
On the achievement of the present NDDC management, the special adviser said that the Effiong Akwa led administration had recorded some landmark achievements compared to the last 25 years. 
He said that the present interim management within two years completed and commissioned the headquarters of the NDDC, which had been left for over 25 years.
He also said that the completion of the East-West road project had intensified under the present management, adding that NDDC has also supported states on sanitation through donation of trucks.
Eradiri, however, admitted that the present interim management had not taken a firm stand on agricultural development even though it has been working with the Central Bank of Nigeria on the Anchor Borrowers Scheme.
“I believe that the only tool to use and get ourselves out of the quagmire we find ourselves is agriculture, and I think that the NDDC can design its own scheme on how to grow agriculture as a deliberate policy.
“This will bring change that will grow the region’s economy. We must talk about agricultural processing, and we can put palm oil into sachet, and even students can be buying them,” he said.

By: Corlins Walter

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Nigeria Lost N851bn To Oil Theft, Sabotage   – NEITI

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Nigeria lost N851.84bn ($2.78bn) to oil theft and pipeline sabotage in 2019, the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI)   has said.
NEITI said this in its latest oil and gas industry audit report.
NEITI stated that it arrived at the estimate after using an average price of $65.61 per barrel and an average exchange rate of N306.42/$ .
It, however, noted that there was a significant reduction of 21 per cent from the previous year, where 53.28 million barrels were lost.
Losses such as these are recorded by companies whose crude volumes are carried through pipelines easily compromised by saboteurs.
The report also stated that some oil terminals recorded no production. These included Aja operated by Bayelsa Oil, whose license was revoked by the government.
Others were Asaramatoru and Oyo managed by Prime and Allied/CAMAC who were reportedly inactive for the year.
Nigeria earned a total of N10.49tn ($34.22bn) from crude oil and gas sales. This was a marginal 4.88 per cent increase from 2018 revenues of N9.99tn ($32.63bn).
The total crude oil production recorded was 735.24 million barrels, a 4.87per cent increase from 701.10 million barrels reported in 2018.
A total of N2.145tn ($7.011bn) was the domestic sales proceeds in 2019 from 107.24 million barrels of crude oil. This was 0.36 per cent lower than the domestic crude sales of 107.63 million barrels in 2018.

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Residents Task New Council Chairmen On Dev, Agric Policies

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Some residents in the 23 local government areas of Rivers State have urged the newly sworn-in council chairmen in the state to come up with good agricultural and developmental policies that will transform the grassroots.
They also urged the council boss to take pragmatic steps and actions towards tackling security challenges to encourage business activities thrive in their domains. 
Some of the residents who spoke with The Tide at the weekend, noted that the local government administration in the state had not faired well in terms of real development in recent times, and urged the new council helmsmen to change the narratives. 
A resident of Emohua Local Government Area, Mr Charles Amadi, noted that no real development had taken place in the area, lamenting the dearth of companies and small scale industries in the area.
He, therefore, called on the new chairman, Dr. Chidi Lyoid, not to solely depend on the monthly allocation, but to go all out to attract small scale companies to the area so as to create employment opportunities as well as generate revenue for the council.
He also urged the new chairman to invest in agriculture, especially farming and fishing.
On his part, Mr Ebenezer Otamiri who lives in Etche, urged the Etche council boss, Obinna Ayanwu, to consolidate on the achievements recorded in his first tenure, especially by building more markets for the people, as well as initiate good agricultural policy to drive the economy of the area.
He also urged the council boss to tackle the issue of electricity and security in the area, saying electricity and security are key to the development of the area. 
In his own charge, Mr Mene Geoffrey Dekaa who hails from Bori in Khana Local Government Area of the state, called on his new council chairman, Bariere Thomas, to show capacity and competence in the area of security.
He noted that the issue of security has left native imprint in the development of the area, saying many investors have left Bori, the headquarters of the council, for other places.
“Because of security challenges, many people have left Bori to build houses and invest in Nonwa- Tai, and Eleme.
“Areas like Kono-Boweeh communities are no go areas, as people there can hardly sleep. So if the chairman can work with government recognised traditional rulers and security agents, security issues will be tackled, and people’s confidence will be restored, and business activities will move on”, he said.

By: Residents Task New Council Chairmen On Dev, Agric Policies

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