Ijaw youth, under the auspices of Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide, Central Zone, yesterday, shut down the activities of the headquarters of the Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
For over two hours, the angry Ijaw youth in their hundreds, locked down Yenagoa, the state capital, claiming that the NCDMB had opened new offices in Lagos and Abuja contrary to the provisions of the Local Content Act.
The youth, who stormed the office complex, located along Isaac Boro Expressway at about 9:45am, had forced their way into the complex by pulling down a section of the fence when the security guards denied them access through the main gate.
The Chairman, IYC, Central Zone, Tari Porri, who led the protest, said it had come to their knowledge that the NCDMB had opened new offices in Lagos and Abuja contrary to Section 71, sub-section 3 of the NCDMB laws.
He stated that NCDMB Act empowered the Board to open offices in only in oil and gas producing areas, querying the board’s rationale for opening offices in Lagos and Abuja.
Porri said, “this place has been left redundant and the executive secretary now operates from Lagos and Abuja and comes here only once in three months. This is unacceptable! The executive secretary should stay here with us.
“The NCDMB laws stipulate that offices should be opened in only oil and gas areas, but the board has gone ahead to open offices in areas such as Lagos and Abuja which are not oil and gas producing areas.
“Some of the staff of the board like the security guards and drivers are working on contract basis, and this is unacceptable to us. We want all the staff to be regularised.”
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Asuquo Amba, who had arrived the scene one hour after, commended the youth for their peaceful disposition.
He urged them to remain calm as the state Governor, Seriake Dickson, was aware of their grievances and had promised to wade in the matter.
Amba said, “I have to appreciate you for making this protest a very peaceful one, and I will still employ you to remain peaceful. But we should respect the sanctity of this place as the headquarters.
“I have listened to all your grievances. I am in touch with the state governor and I have spoken to him and if there is anybody to lead this protest, it is the state governor himself, but he has personally told me to come and address you, compile your grievances and forward them to him.
“The executive secretary of the board has given me the assurance that all the issues that you have raised would be addressed and it would be addressed in such a way that we would have a peaceful environment so that we can have more economic progress.”
Earlier, at a general congress, IYC Central Zone had suspended the President of IYC Worldwide, Mr. Owolaemi Peretubo from all activities in the zone, accusing him of conniving with the NCDMB.
The congress also condemned the killing of four soldiers and a civilian as well as the burning of houses in Letugbene, Ekeremor Local Government Area of the state where the military had launched a manhunt over the reported killing of their personnel.
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.
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.”
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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