The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has called for immediate and comprehensive measures to resolve the unfortunate killing of Benue people by Fulani herdsmen.
The governor donated N200million to the Benue State Government for the purchase of relief materials and medicines for the displaced persons.
Wike declared that it was no longer fashionable to trade blames while innocent people were killed by armed gangs.
Wike spoke at the Peoples’ House in Makurdi, last Wednesday, after he led a delegation of Rivers Elders on a condolence visit to Benue State in honour of those killed by Fulani herdsmen earlier this year in the state.
Wike and Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom led other leaders to offer prayers at the graveside of the 73 Benue people murdered in cold blood.
He said: “What has happened in Benue State has affected me. I am pained. Look at deaths everywhere. Nobody is free again.
“People don’t understand the magnitude of the injury inflicted on the people of Benue State. The country must sit down to proffer solutions to this menace”.
The governor said the conflict that affects a component state affects the entire country as it dislodges the security system.
“There is no way anybody can justify these killings. There is no justification whatsoever. The people of Benue State must rally round their governor at this point”, he said.
The governor added: “When you have a brother who has problems, you associate with him. Time has come when we must rise above party lines and tackle our problems”.
Wike said as Christians, Rivers people respect the sanctity of human lives, hence the visit to Benue State.
He urged the Benue people to be vigilant at all times and employ techniques of self-defence to protect themselves from unprovoked attacks.
At the graveside of the slain 73 persons, Senator George Sekibo offered prayers for the repose of their souls.
In his remarks, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom said that 100,000 persons have been displaced by the invasion of Fulani herdsmen.
Ortom said that Benue State was also battling with the influx of displaced persons from Cameroun.
The Benue State governor regretted that rather than resolve the security challenges facing the state, the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris has become a spokesman for the Fulani herdsmen.
The killers of Benue people are known to the security agencies. He said the people of Benue State will continue to seek for justice until the leaders of Miyetti Cattle Breeders are arrested.
Ortom thanked the government and people of Rivers State for the donation, saying that they have acted as true brothers.
The Benue State governor added that the graveyard for the 73 persons was set up as a memorial for those killed by Fulani herdsmen.
Wike was accompanied by former Rivers State Governor, Sir Celestine Omehia, Senator George Sekibo, Senator Olaka Nwogu, former Minister of Sports, Dr Tammy Danagogo, former Minister of Transport, Dr Abiye Sekibo, Chairman of Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority, Chief Ferdinand Anabrabra, former National President of NBA, Chief Onueze Okocha, Prince Emma Anyanwu and former Attorney General of Rivers State, Hon Frank Owhor.
Meanwhile, the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has commended the Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike and his Ekiti State counterpart, Ayo Fayose, for visiting Benue state and extending assistance to victims of the recent violent attacks and other internally displaced persons in the state.
The party leadership, which had earlier visited Benue State in the wake of the attacks, said the gesture by the two governors at a time the Presidency and governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) turned a blind eye to the sufferings of the victims, underlines PDP’s commitment to the wellbeing of all Nigerians in line with its ideology.
National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement yesterday, said it is disheartening that the Presidency had refused to visit Benue State recalling that when the APC governors visited, after much entreaties, they failed to show any form of empathy to the victims.
The party said that instead of APC empathizing with the people and ensuring that perpetrators of the attacks were brought to book, “ the party leaders have shown more concern for their selfish political interests across the nation.”
“I charge the federal government to stop ruling Nigeria with a double standard. Killing innocent souls, sacking their communities is nothing but terrorism. The Nigerian constitution has given you the powers to make law. You have made the anti-open grazing law, stand by it. The law must not be compromised or aborted.”
Governor Fayose also charged his Benue State counterpart to reconsider his affiliation to the ruling party saying, “if the vehicle you are using can no lower carry you, change that vehicle.”
Responding, Governor Ortom, while thanking his Ekiti State counterpart and his entourage for the visit, regretted that the authorities did not heed his earlier alerts from Benue which could have saved those who were killed in the attacks.
In the words of Governor Ortom, “Yes, we are mourning, we are grieved by the actions of these killers but if those who are responsible for providing security had heeded our alarm, those people may not have been killed.
Trans-Kalabari Road: Banigo, Stakeholders Condemn Abduction Of Expatriate
Kalabari traditional rulers and stakeholders have condemned the recent abduction of an expatriate staff of Lubric Construction Company working on the Trans-Kalabari Road.
Speaking at a meeting at the Government House in Port Harcourt, last Friday, Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo said she was deeply pained by the unfortunate incident carried out by unknown miscreants.
According to the deputy governor, who said that the State Chief Executive Officer, Nyesom Wike, was desirous to bring more development projects to Kalabari Kingdom, regretted that this act was capable of discouraging him.
“I want to reiterate that our governor is very desirous to do more developmental projects in our communities, there are many more things he has in the card to do for us, and if we allow this ugly thing to surface, that attitude will discourage him”, the deputy governor noted.
Banigo, who said that perpetrators of the heinous crime did not drop from the sky, insisted that they were community people, and must be fished out and dealt with decisively, while calling for the immediate and unconditional release of the abductee.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority, Chief Ferdinand Alabraba, expressed regrets that a project as important as the Trans-Kalabari Road would be tampered with by persons who do not mean well for the Kalabari people.
“If their intention is to run down the good works of our dear governor, over a project which the Kalabari people have been yearning for over the years, then, I am sure God Almighty will not allow them to get away with this dastardly act of kidnapping one expatriate”, Alabraba stressed.
Alabraba further said, “It is important that we talk to ourselves and ensure that everything possible is done to ensure immediate release of the victim, and ensure that measures are put in place to forestall this type of thing in the future”.
Presenting a seven-point communique, Amanyanabo of Minama, King Iboroma Talbot Pokubo, who represented the Amanyanabo of Abonnema, King Disreal Gbobo Bobmanuel, demanded for the immediate and unconditional release of the expatriate, and reassured Governor Wike of their unwavering support for the governor.
Buhari Approves Incorporation Of NNPC, Appoints Board Members
President Muhammadu Buhari, has directed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited be incorporated.
He also approved the appointment of the Board and Management of the NNPC Limited with Senator Ifeanyi Ararume as chairman.
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Mele Kyari, was appointed chief executive officer.
This was contained in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, saying that the president acted in accordance with the Petroleum Industry Act 2021.
The statement read, “President Muhammadu Buhari, in his capacity as Minister of Petroleum Resources, has directed the incorporation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited.
“This is in consonance with Section 53(1) of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, which requires the Minister of Petroleum Resources to cause for the incorporation of the NNPC Limited within six months of commencement of the Act in consultation with the Minister of Finance on the nominal shares of the company.
“The Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr Mele Kolo Kyari, has, therefore, been directed to take necessary steps to ensure that the incorporation of the NNPC Limited is consistent with the provisions of the PIA 2021.
“Also, by the power vested in him under Section 59(2) of the PIA 2021, President Buhari has approved the appointment of the Board and Management of the NNPC Limited, with effect from the date of incorporation of the company.
“Chairman of the board is Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, while Mele Kolo Kyari and Umar I. Ajiya are chief executive officer, and chief financial officer, respectively.
“Other board members are; Dr Tajudeen Umar (North-East); Mrs Lami O. Ahmed (North-Central); Mallam Mohammed Lawal (North-West); Senator Margaret Chuba Okadigbo (South-East), Barrister Constance Harry Marshal (South-South); and Chief Pius Akinyelure (South-West).”
Reject Buhari’s Fresh Loan Request, SERAP Tells NASS
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan; and Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila; to reject the fresh request by President Muhammadu Buhari, to borrow $4billion and €710million.
SERAP said if such request must be granted, the Federal Government should publish details of spending of all loans obtained since May 29, 2015.
The group also expressed fear that if the fresh request is granted, it may take Nigeria’s to over N35trillion.
Buhari recently sought the approval of the National Assembly to borrow $4,054,476,863 and €710million, on the grounds of “emerging needs.”
The request was contained in a letter dated August 24, 2021.
In an open letter dated September 18, 2021, and signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation expressed “concerns about the growing debt crisis, the lack of transparency and accountability in the spending of loans that have been obtained, and the perceived unwillingness or inability of the National Assembly to vigorously exercise its constitutional duties to check the apparently indiscriminate borrowing by the government.”
SERAP said, “The National Assembly should not allow the government to accumulate unsustainable levels of debt, and use the country’s scarce resources for staggering and crippling debt service payments rather than for improved access of poor and vulnerable Nigerians to basic public services and human rights.
“The country’s public debt has mushroomed with no end in sight. The growing national debt is clearly not sustainable. There has been no serious attempt by the government to cut the cost of governance. The leadership of the National Assembly ought to stand up for Nigerians by asserting the body’s constitutional powers to ensure limits on national debt and deficits.
“Should the National Assembly and its leadership fail to rein in government borrowing, and to ensure transparency and accountability in the spending of public loans, SERAP would consider appropriate legal action to compel the National Assembly to discharge its constitutional duties.
“SERAP notes that if approved, the country’s debts will exceed N35trillion. The government is also reportedly pushing the maturity of currently-secured loans to between 10 and 30 years. N11.679trillion is reportedly committed into debt servicing, while only N8.31trillion was expended on capital/development expenditure between 2015 and 2020.
“Ensuring transparency and accountability in the spending of loans by the government and cutting the cost of governance would address the onerous debt servicing, and improve the ability of the government to meet the country’s international obligations to use maximum available resources to ensure the enjoyment of basic economic and social rights, such as quality healthcare and education”, SERAP added.
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