What perhaps could
pass for the biggest vote of confidence ever enjoyed by President Goodluck Jonathan, since assumption of office, came last Monday from leaders of the southern part of the country under the aegis of Southern Leaders’ Summit.
The group, comprising very eminent Nigerians including former Vice President , Dr Alex Ekweme, Pa Olaniwu Ajayi, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, Obong of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu, Chief Emmanuel Inwuanyanwu, Dr Edmond Daukuro, the Amanyanabo of Nembe Kingdom, affirmed its unflinching support for the Jonathan administration.
Our correspondent reports that the summit also applauded him for the forthcoming National Conference.
In a three-page communiqué read by its Chairman, Chief Olu Falae, at the end of its one-day summit held at the Tinapa Business and Leisure Resort, Calabar, Cross River State, the group particularly commended President Jonathan for what it noted as his commitment and dogged efforts in combating the menace of insecurity in the country.
The Southern leaders noted that in spite of the security challenges, the President had made remarkable progress in the development of critical sectors of the Nigerian economy, particularly in the areas of power, transport, aviation, agriculture, as well as direct foreign investment.
The Summit which considered issues such as the indissolubility of Nigeria, the practice of true federalism, the current security challenges, the economy as well as the forthcoming National Conference had delegates from the South West, South East and South- South, drawn from the traditional institution, the academia, public sector, politics, the judiciary, labour and religious bodies.
According to the communiqué, “At the end of deliberations, we the leaders and people of Southern Nigeria resolved as follows that Mr. President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, be commended for his commitment and dogged effort in fighting the menace of insecurity; and noted that in spite of these security challenges, Mr. President has made remarkable progress in the development of critical sectors of the Nigerian economy, particularly in the areas of power, transport, aviation, agriculture and direct foreign investment.”
The summit further noted “That we commit ourselves to a united and indivisible Nigeria based on the principles of justice, equity and rule of law with ample respect and understanding for cultural, linguistic and religious differences.”
It said the Federal Government “Must revisit the issue of the loss of territory, particularly as it relates to the loss of the Bakassi Peninnsula,” and recommended the excision of solid minerals from the Exclusive Legislative List, just as it asked for an increase in the percentage of revenue derivation from oil and gas.
Similarly, the summit demanded for the quick passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill currently before the National Assembly.
“That we endorse an increase in revenue allocation to the federating units in a way that takes cognisance of the new responsibilities and residual powers of the federating units; that in line with the principle democratic governance, decisions at the forthcoming National Conference should be by simple majority,” it added.
The communiqué was signed by Chief Olu Falae, Chief Tony Anenih, Governor Liyel Imoke, Governor Peter Obi, Governor Olusegun Mimiko, Governor Martin Elechi, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, Governor Godswill Akpabio and Mr. Rasaq Oladesu.
Friday Nwagbara, Calabar
Abducted NLC Chairman Regains Freedom In C’River
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
Bayelsa Set To Inaugurate Environment Vanguard
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
Balyesa, United Nigeria Airline Sign MoU On Flight Operations
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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