The Bayelsa State government has lent its support to the ongoing military training operation and its community relations component by the Nigerian Army in the Niger Delta.
Governor Seriake Dickson urged the people of the state to discountenance the rumour that the exercise, christened ‘Operation Crocodile Smile II’, which includes free medical care, would endanger the health and safety of the people.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Francis Agbo in Yenagoa, Dickson made the call while receiving a letter of commendation from the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai.
Dickson, who described the rumour as unfounded, urged Nigerians not to panic, rather cooperate with the military in discharging its medical outreach and community support initiatives.
Reiterating his administration’s commitment toward sustaining the prevailing peace, security and stability in the state, Dickson assured the Nigerian Army and other security agencies of greater support in the discharge of their constitutional duties.
He explained that the state government had donated a large expanse of land for the building of a barrack in Yenagoa and a Forward Operations Base at the western senatorial district to enhance security.
“The military and other security agencies are a force for good and I want to use this opportunity to call on community leaders to continue to support the military.
“We can’t have a Nigerian military that is coming here to inject people with poisonous substances.
“That is not the army we have. This is our own army. These are our brothers, friends and fellow Nigerians, who mean well for all of us.’’ Dickson said.
The Chief of Army Staff, who was represented by Maj.-Gen. Rogers Nicholas, commended Dickson for the invaluable support to his administration.
Buratai said the support included the provision of land for building a barrack, a Forward Operation Base and creating a conducive environment for the Army to tackle insecurity in the state.
Delivering a letter of appreciation from the Nigerian Army, he lauded the people of Bayelsa for their understanding, cooperation, and pledged that the Army would redouble efforts in tackling security challenges in the country.
The Chief of Army Staff, in the letter intimated Dickson of the Army’s intention to carry out its medical outreach programme and donation of educational materials to various communities.
Bayelsa To Partner Media On Tourism Promotion
The Commissioner for Culture and Tourism in Bayelsa State, Mr Iti Orugbani, has pledged to partner with the media in the promotion of tourism.
The Commissioner stated this last Thursday when members of the Bayelsa Independent Publishers Association (BIPA) paid him a courtesy call in his office at the state Secretariat in Yenagoa, the state capital.
According to Orugbani, the media, especially the local publishers, have been at the vanguard of promoting culture and tourism in the state, using their different newspaper outfits.
He pledged the ministry’s continuous partnership with the newspaper publishers in the state, adding that he would support members of BIPA in any way possible to ensure they meet up modern day publishing technology.
The Commissioner, who was flanked by the Permanent Secretary, Directors and other management staff of the ministry expressed gladness for having members of a highly reputable profession in his office.
Earlier in his address, the chairman of the Bayelsa Independent Publishers Association, Mr Francis Dufugha, thanked the commissioner and his management team for giving the group a warm reception.
Mr Dufugha, who is the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of the Niger Delta Herald Newspaper, recalled that BIPA was formed in the year 2000 to create an enabling ground for members to ply their trade.
He noted that BIPA had been in developmental partnership with the Bayelsa state government with members using their various newspapers to propagate government’s policies and programmes.
Noting the importance of the tourism subsector, the BIPA chairman said if properly harnessed, it would boost the revenue profile of the state, promising that the publishers would use their different outfits to highlight the tourism potential and cultural heritage of the state to the rest of the world.
The chairman also used the medium to inform the Commissioner of BIPA’s 20th anniversary celebration which will come up later in the year.
Also speaking, Publisher of the Environment Watch Newspaper, Mr. Braeyi Ekiye averred that there were many untapped tourism development potentials in the state such as the proposed Age Deep Seaport, the Okpoama Beach, Oloibiri Museum among others, noting that if harnessed, Bayelsa would become Nigeria’s foremost international tourists destination and home of hospitality.
By: Kevin Nengia
Edo Communities Protest Leasing Of Forest Reserve
Twenty-three communities of Orhionmwon, Edo State, have appealed to the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, not to implement the planned leasing of Urhonigbe Forest Reserve to a private investor, Saro Oil Palm.
They also asked the governor to lease somewhere else to the investor since the forest reserve is their only source of livelihood through subsistence farming.
The communities made their submissions to the state government during a peaceful protest in Benin City, noting that their forefathers donated the Urhonigbe forest reserve when other communities refused to make any land available for forest reserve.
Addressing journalists at the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Edo State Council, Monday, the spokesman of the protesting communities, Mr. G. O. Osadolor, said: “The Urhonigbe forest reserved is our only means of livelihood, where we do farming to sustain our family and children. Our children who are graduates but have no job are engaged in farming in the forest reserve.
“Many youths from Orhionmwon Local Government Area, who are not interested in criminal activities, engaged in farming in the forest reserve as there is no employment after graduating from school.”
Osadolor lamented that while the widows and widowers were farming in the Urhonigbe forest reserve for survival, Fulani herdsmen kill and pursue indigenes from one side of the land to the other; the people from Delta State also encroached into the forest reserve, adding that the only area left for the communities is the present forest reserve which government is planning to give to an oil palm investor.
He said that one part of the Urghonigbe forest had been handed over to Presco Oil Palm Plc while the little one left for them to farm is being taken from them by the state government to be given to another investor.
“We are begging Governor Godwin Obaseki to relocate Saro or any other oil palm investor to another local government that has virgin land. Orhionmwon do not have such land. The governor should not keep us in hunger and starvation.
Osadolor also drew government’s attention to the deplorable state of roads in Orhionmwon, the lack of electricity at the council headquarters in Abudu, the moving of the NYSC Orientation camp from Abudu to Okada, and the recent attempt to move the School of Forestry Management, Sokponba village in Orhionmwon to Fugar, Etsako Central Local Government Area of the state.
Teenager Allegedly Commits Suicide In Delta
A Warri-based teenager, simply identified as Blessing, on Sunday reportedly committed suicide over her boyfriend’s alleged infidelity.
The 16-year-old girl who resided at Arubayi Street, Warri, was said to have drunk a bottle of banned popular insecticide, ‘Sniper.’
Blessing’s body was reportedly discovered in the bathroom by neighbours who raised alarm.
She was immediately taken to a nearby hospital where she was confirmed dead.
Sources disclosed that the deceased had unwillingly broken up with her boyfriend who was allegedly dating another girl.
It was further gathered that Blessing had always threatened to kill herself over the infidelity of her boyfriend whose name could not be ascertained as at the time of filing this report.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer for Delta State Command, DSP Bright Edafe, told newsmen that he was not yet aware, but promised to call back once such report gets to his desk.
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