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Tai Leaders Tackle Wike On Banana Farm



L-R: United Bank for Africa (UBA) Director of Consumer Banking, Mr Ilesanmi Owoeye, a customer, Ms Gladys Ugwuagu and Uba Head, Retail Products Division, Mrs Olumide Osunyomi during UBA launch of U-Gold Banking Product in Enugu, last week. Photo: NAN

L-R: United Bank for Africa (UBA) Director of Consumer Banking, Mr Ilesanmi Owoeye, a customer, Ms Gladys Ugwuagu and Uba Head, Retail Products Division, Mrs Olumide Osunyomi during UBA launch of U-Gold Banking Product in Enugu, last week. Photo: NAN

The Federal lawmaker representing Eleme/Tai/Oyigbo Federal Constituency, Chief Barinada Mpigi and leaders of Tai Local Government Area have cautioned the acting Minister of Education, Chief Nyesom Wike and Senator Lee Maeba over their comments on the Banana Farm owned by the Rivers State Government.
Reacting to the comments by former Senator Lee Maeba at the inauguration of Grassroots Democratic Initiative in Kpite Community in Tai Local Government Area to lead a protest to destroy the farm Chief Mpigi said, the plot is targeted at destroying and sabotaging the economy of the state and render thousands of youths, women and men in the area useless and unproductive.
Mpigi stated this Monday, at a media briefing at Government House in Port Harcourt.
According to him, ‘Now, they are talking about Banana Farm, and many of our sons and daughters, including men and women engaged in the farm will be rendered useless. Some of them were paid huge sums of money for their crops that were bought for the farm, some of them were paid very little amount in the past, but what they were paid currently has been in millions. But let me assure them that the people of Kpite Community in Tai Local Government Area have resolved that they are ready to follow Governor Amaechi”, Hon. Mpigi said.
The Federal Lawmaker flayed Chief Wike on his inability to resolve the ASUU strike that has crippled academic activities in the nation’s university system, and urged him to dump his electioneering campaign and return to Abuja, where he is most needed.
“The comments by Nyesom Wike last Sunday shows that he has lost direction and bearing. Instead of Wike to concentrate on how to resolve ASUU strike, he is busy in Rivers State jumping from one local government to the other to inaugurate GDI. I think he should start going back to Abuja and sit down with President Jonathan and other well-meaning Nigerians to resolve the ASUU strike. Nyesom Wike also mentioned my name during the GDI inauguration, but let me remind Wike that since I became council chairman in 1999 and later appointed as Commissioner, I was not forced on anybody. I was also duly elected by the people of Eleme, Tai and Oyigbo Federal Constituency,” Hon. Mpigi said.
He strongly condemned the planned hiring of thugs, hoodlums and militants to terrorize his people during the upcoming general elections, stressing that the people of Tai, Eleme and Oyigbo have already thrown their weight behind Governor Amaechi.
“Last Sunday, our people saw how hired thugs, hoodlums and militants were roaming the communities, but when the chips are down, they will see.  Amaechi has built 22 Model Primary Schools and Health Centres. Everybody in Tai will allow the votes casts at the poll to count”, Hon. Mpigi maintained.
Speaking further, Hon. Hycinth Dike, former Chief of Staff of Tai Council said, Nyesom Wike and former Senator Lee Maeba and their supporters were strangers to their land since they were not conversant with the level of infrastructural and human capital development instituted by the Governor Amaechi led administration in Tai local government area of the state.
Hon. Hyacinth Dike challenged former Senator Lee Maeba to tell the people of Tai and the people of his senatorial district how many constituency projects he attracted to the area during his tenure of office, and warned Lee Maeba and his cohorts to avoid the banana farm and other development projects put in place by the Governor Amaechi led administration.
One of the leaders of Kpite community, in Tai Local Government Area, Sir Mbakpone Okpe noted that the community has benefitted immensely from the Amaechi led administration, including the appointment of their sons as commissioners, award of overseas scholarships to indigenes, and the construction of solar power light project in the area by Chief Barry Mpigi.
Another political leader in Kpite Community, Hon, Mgbo Innocent advised Chief Nyesom Wike and Senator Maeba to withdraw their repulsive statements, and seek ways to end the PDP political impasse in Rivers State, and allow peace to prevail.
The Chief Press Secretary to Governor Amaechi, Mr David Iyofor said that the state governor will not be drawn into joining issues with Nyesom Wike and his insignificant group of court jesters.
“That Banana Farm in Tai Local Government Area employs over 250 indigenes of Tai and millions of Naira were paid monthly to this people. It is one of the biggest employer of labour in that area. It’s economic benefits to the Tai people and the state is enormous,” he said.
Meanwhile, Rivers State governor, Rt. Hon Chibuike Amaechi says his administration is gradually moving the state from an oil -based to an agro-based economy.
He made the revelation in a press chat with a group of foreign journalists who visited him and undertook tour of projects last weekend in Port Harcourt.
The governor while calling on foreign investors to come and invest pointed out that Rivers state is virgin for any investor. He maintained that the state is ready to give out more lands for any agricultural investments
He stated that already foreign investors have taken over the former RISONPALM estate of about 10,000 hectares of palm, and that an Israeli company has also agreed to commence Farm Settlement in Etche worth about N50billion naira.
According to Amaechi Africa is a virgin land and has huge potentials, especially Nigeria with its huge population.
Even the huge untapped natural resources in the state according to the governor provides enough potentials for any investor, saying that the policy of government is to move the state from oil to an agro-based economy.
Amaechi also stressed that “one way of moving the country forward was through education and if you don’t have it you are in problem.
So far, he submitted that the effort has started yielding results following success recorded by indigenes who went abroad for scholarships.
Commenting on why the people still love his administration despite the political problems he said, “ I think Rivers people have been patient enough…you can see that despite the political problems they are still rallying behind government because they are seeing things on ground ‘’

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Obasanjo, Abdulsalami, Sultan, Others Brainstorm On Insecurity



Rising insecurity and agitations for secession by different ethnic groups across Nigeria has attracted the attention of elder statesmen and other national leaders to a meeting in Abuja.

The meeting was organised by Interfaith Initiatives for Peace jointly led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and the National Peace Committee chaired by Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).

Reporters were barred from taking part in the closed-door meeting, expected to proffer solutions to the ongoing security challenges threatening the peace and unity of the country.

It was also an exploratory meeting on pressing issues of national unity, security, peace, integration, economic revitalisation and development, women and youth welfare and general progress.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar (rtd); Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; Tor Tiv, Prof Ortese Iorzua James Ayatse, Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan; President General (Ohanaeze Ndigbo), Prof George Obiozor; and Afenifere leader, Ayo Adebanjo; were all in attendance.

Others sighted at the meeting are President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba; CAN General Secretary, Joseph Daramola; JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede; Etsu Nupe, Yahya Abubakar; former Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, among several political and traditional rulers at the meeting.

Elder statesmen, Chief Edwin Clark, also attended the event at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, but could not participate in the meeting because he could not climb the staircase to the meeting room.

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Fighting Corruption Difficult In Democratic Setting, Buhari Laments



President Muhammadu Buhari says fighting corruption in democratic setting is a difficult task to accomplish.

The president disclosed this during an interview with Arise Television which was televised, yesterday.

According to him, the war against corruption has not been easy for him since he became a democratically elected president six years ago.

He, however, stressed that his administration had succeeded in easing out corrupt public officials without making noise about it.

Buhari recalled that much was achieved in the fight against corruption when he was military Head of State in the early 80s “when a lot of people were sent to prisons before I was also booted out”.

The president frowned at the way and manner local government system was being managed, saying the local government administration was almost non-existent in the country.

He cited situation where state governors continued to starve the local governments of funds saying “in a situation where N300million is allocated to local government and they are given N100million is not fair”.

On activities of bandits and kidnappers particularly in the North-West and North-Central zones, Buhari said he had given the police and Armed Forces the instructions to be ruthless with bandits and vandals terrorising innocent citizens across the country.

He stated that he had told the security agencies to treat bandits and other criminals in the “the language they understand.

“Problem in the north-west; you have people over there stealing each other’s cattle and burning each other’s villages.

“Like I said, we are going to treat them in the language they understand.

“We have given the police and the military the power to be ruthless. You watch it in a few weeks’ time there will be difference.

”Because we told them if we keep people away from their farm, we are going to starve. And the government can’t control the public.

“If you allow hunger, the government is going to be in trouble and we don’t want to be in trouble.

“We are already in enough trouble. So, we warn them sooner than later you’ll see the difference,’’ he said.

On farmers/herders clashes, the president said the problem had persisted because old cattle routes and grazing areas had been violated by development, adding that those who had taken over such traditional arrangements would be dispossessed.

On the fight against insurgency, Buhari dismissed the assertion that majority of Boko Haram members were foreigners.

According to him, the majority of the Boko Haram members are Nigerians, saying this was further corroborated by Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum.

The president stated that his administration had done a lot to fight the terrorists and insurgents but the problem in the “North-East is very difficult.”

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Igboho Declares June 12 Day Of Protest, Warns Buhari



Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has declared June 12 as day of protest for Yoruba nation agitators.

The self-acclaimed Yoruba activist said the agitators will hold ‘peaceful rallies’ across the South-West region on Saturday, June 12.

Igboho, who spoke through his spokesman, Olayomi Koiki, in a live video programme aired, last Wednesday night, called on South-West governors to cooperate with the peaceful protesters during the exercise.

He warned the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration not to attack the agitators.

He said, “Let us warn the Federal Government that if there is bloodshed this weekend, the international community is watching, if the military kills any Nigerian this weekend, it is going to be very hot.

“The Yoruba nation rally will go ahead in every part of Yoruba land and the rest of the country where it will hold.

“Red alarm will begin on Friday. People should stock up food Items from Friday night.

“We are not backing down this weekend; we are ready to take back what belongs to us.”

He also enjoined agitators to ‘fast’ on Friday.

This is coming after NANS under the leadership of its National President, Comrade Sunday Asefon, had declared June 12 as National Day of peaceful protest to call on the government to act decisively towards addressing insecurity.

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