The Niger Delta Develop
ment Commission (NDDC) has expressed concern that the N850billion Federal Government’s funding deficit was slowing down the impact of the commission on the people of the region.
Disclosing this in a welcome address at the official inauguration of the Rivers State Office of the commission on Olu Obasanjo Road in Port Harcourt, yesterday, the Director, NDDC, Rivers State Office, Benson Udo-Asubop, said that the Federal Government’s inability to release the backlog of funding deficits was responsible for the poor performance of the commission in certain developmental indices, and called for urgent action to remedy the situation.
The commission also regretted that it has yet to receive any money from the Ecological Fund while irregular payments by oil companies and other contributors have negatively affected the operations of the development agency.
While promising to pay contractors its debt of N450 billion, the commission noted that the payment would depend on the quick response of government and other financial contributors to its coffers.
Acting Managing Director of the commission, Ibim Semenitari, the inauguration of the edifice was a testimony to what the people of the region can achieve if they work together in unity, saying that the feat would enable to commission exit rented apartments for staff and save huge resources expended on rents.
Semenitari noted that the project, which commenced in May 2014 following the demolition of the old structure in March of the same year, contains four floors with a total area of 2.755m2 provided for office accommodation and a basement floor of 670m2 for archiving and parking.
The acting managing director explained that the first to third floors provide offices for directors, deputy directors, assistant directors, managers and other staff, including provisions for state representative and state director, adding that 120 staff already have office accommodation within the complex.
Noting that CCTV cameras have been installed at strategic locations within and outside the building to capture all activities around the vicinity, Semenitari said that all necessary national building requirements were met and modern facilities provided for such huge edifice.
She added that the complex includes a large reception, conference hall for 250 persons, staff canteen, sick bay, and offices for drivers, all on the ground floor.
Also speaking, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike charged the management of the commission to work closely with the government to meet the yawning needs of the people of the state, especially the youth.
Represented by Special Adviser on NNDC Affairs, Barrister Aribitonye Okiri, the governor stated that the state government does not play politics with the development of the state, and has done everything within available resources to meet the needs of the people of the state.
According to him, “we believe that collectively, we have a duty to create wealth in order to reduce poverty and bring good life to the people of Rivers State,” just as he further challenged NDDC to seek collaboration with the state government in efforts to improve the livelihoods of the people of the state.
He insisted that NDDC must brace up and do the needful by ensuring that it provides employment opportunities for Rivers people on grade level 1-6, saying that such action would help reduce unemployment burden, ensure peace and reduce poverty while also toning down crime rate in the state.
Meanwhile, the commission has said that the multi-billion naira Ogbia-Nembe Road in Bayelsa State will be inaugurated later this month to drive development in that part of the region.
The commission also confirmed that for the first time, the quarterly report of NDDC has been forwarded to the Presidency as provided for in the extant law establishing the development agency.
Among other issues, the commission further pointed out that it now hold regular management meetings while processes for the award of contracts and payment of contractors have become transparent.
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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