Operation Pulo Shield, the
Joint Military Force deployed to the Niger Delta region says it has deployed security agents to sea routes and creeks in search of the hoodlums who killed two of their men last Tuesday just it also expressed sadness over the incident.
Spokesman of Joint Military Force in the Niger Delta, Col Isa Ado,has confirmed the death of two soldiers in a gun duel with suspected kidnappers near Nembe in Bayelsa.
Ado said in a telephone interview yesterday that the troops in pursuit of the fleeing kidnappers killed one of the suspects while some arrests were made but said details were still sketchy on the operation.
“The unfortunate incident happened on Tuesday morning at Ogbolomabiri-Nembe junction, some two kilometers away from Nembe, our troops on escort duty encountered some gunmen who happened to be kidnappers.
“The kidnappers attacked our soldiers and there was exchange of gunfire and we lost two of our personnel and they whisked away an expatriate who works for a construction firm Setraco and fled through the waterways.
“However the loss of our personnel is regrettable and most unfortunate and their death on the line of duty for the development of the Niger Delta region is very painful.
“Their supreme sacrifice can never be in vain as the commander of operation Pulo Shield has given stern directives to apprehend the criminals to face prosecution and free the hostage.
“We have intensified aggressive patrols and it is yielding results, there are developments on the matter, our men had an encounter with the pirates one of them was killed.
“We found three victims in their boat, made some arrests and some of them escaped but we are on their trail and we shall issue a statement as soon as we get all the details together,” Ado said.
Ado also said that the nationality of the expatriate suspected to be a Lebanese could not yet be confirmed.
Meanwhile, the Acting Managing Director, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mrs Ibim Semenitari,has condemned the killing of two soldiers and abduction of an expatriate working on the Ogbia-Nembe road in Bayelsa last Tuesday.
A statement signed by the NDDC boss and issued to newsmen in Port Harcrout, quoted Semenitari as saying the victims were attached to Setraco Nigeria Limited, handling the road project awarded by the commission.
She described the incident as ‘saddening’ saying the road was meant to bring development to the Niger Delta Region.
“ The road project is undertaken by the commission in partnership with Shell to open up communities along this stretch, all the way to Nembe and then Brass.
“It will improve commerce, reduce incidents of piracy and improve the living conditions of the people,” she said.
She said that the first phase of the road project could have been ready for inauguration later this month, but would not be possible because contractors were pulling out of site.
She said that development could not be carried out in an insecure environment.
“ I call on communities of the Niger Delta, civil society organisations, governments and government agencies, the security agencies to do all that is necessary within the law to bring an end to this,” she said.
She also called on the security agencies, communities, local and state governments to guarantee the safety of personnel and infrastructure at all sites.
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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