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Niger Delta

Dialogue Best Option For N’Delta Crisis – US Envoy

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The United State has identi
fied dialogue and practical efforts in the development of the Niger Delta, as veritable means to resolve the security and other related challenges of the region.
The Deputy Head of Mission of the United States Embassy in Nigeria, Ambassador David Young, stated this, during a courtesy call on the Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson at Government House, Yenagoa recently.
The envoy, who is visiting Bayelsa for the first time, implored the Federal Government to put in place, measures that would improve the living conditions of the Niger Delta people.
While calling on all stakeholders to embrace dialogue, as part of the process of resolving the crisis in the region, Young observed that successive governments in the country had been making efforts to achieve the best possible means to deploy the wealth generated from the Niger Delta to impact on the lives of the people.
According to him, the US government was ready to partner with Nigeria and Bayelsa State in the area of funding development and economic prosperity, through a variety of programmes, including agriculture, health, education and maritime security, without losing focus on transparency and fiscal responsibility.
“The US government feels very strongly that all stakeholders should be engaged in dialogue, as part of the process to arrive at equitable and fair solution for all involved. We believe that a bit of challenge for Nigeria, is to transform the region of oil wells (the Niger Delta) into improvement in the life of the average Niger Deltan. And, that is something we feel very strongly about.
“We encourage Nigerians to work for common goals as against violence and criminal activities. We encourage Nigeria to establish conditions and mechanisms for lasting change over time and provide economic opportunities and services for Deltans. US provides assistance to the region, through maritime security training, aviation security, treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS, good governance planning, agric system and a number of other activities. So we want to be your partner.”
In his response, Dickson lamented the level of environmental damage in the Niger Delta and renewed his call on multinational corporate organisations, particularly the oil majors to adhere to international standards in their operations in the region.
While calling for caution on the part of troops, being deployed to the region, Governor Dickson said that the solution to the problems of the Niger Delta lay squarely on development and environmental justice, which he noted, could only be achieved through meaningful dialogue.
Describing the environment as a critical heritage of any people, the Governor commended the Federal Government for kick-starting the Ogoniland Clean-Up Programme and called for its extension to other parts of the region.

According to him, as the place where oil was first struck in commercial quantity, Bayelsa records an average of three oil pollutions in a day and requires a special attention from the Federal Government and the multi-Nationals.

Dickson expressed gratitude to the US envoy and his team for the visit, and solicited their assistance in the areas of education, infrastructural development and promotion of peace and stability in the Niger Delta.

“We believe that the issues of the Niger Delta are not such that can be resolved by means of confrontation or show of military strength. We believe that these are essentially issues of development; they are issues about the environment.

“So, we as a government, community leaders, corporate executives, particularly the oil majors that are operating here and the Federal Government, its agencies and the friends of our country should work together to resolve the challenges of the Niger Delta.

“These are issues that working together sincerely and following a clear roadmap, we think can be resolved in such a way that communities will be prosperous; government, agencies and businesses within our region will benefit from the overall climate of stability and security that will be generated when there is a consensus building effort. That is where we stand and I believe that has been the position of the US Mission,” he added

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Niger Delta

Abducted NLC Chairman Regains Freedom In C’River

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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

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Niger Delta

Bayelsa Set To Inaugurate Environment Vanguard

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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

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Niger Delta

Balyesa, United Nigeria Airline Sign MoU On Flight Operations

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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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