Some Ogoni elders under the aegis of Gbokabari Ogoni has faulted the process adopted by the Federal Government and the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) for the on-going clean-up of Ogoniland.
The elders who said this at a press conference in Port Harcourt also stated that the on-going cleanup process was not in line with the recommendations of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on the clean-up of Ogoniland.
According to the text of the briefing read by the Chairman of Gbokabari Ogoni, Senator Benneth Birabi, Federal Government and HYPREP are not adhering to the contents of the UNEP Report in the implementation process.
“In the recommendation pages of the Report, the point was stressed that the overall situation in Ogoniland needs urgent and focused attention before cleaning up the existing pollution and restoring the environment”.
They noted that UNEP identified a number of emergency public health and other fundamental issues that must first be addressed, stressing that these measures which include, the provision of adequate sources of drinking water to the affected people, posting of signs in areas where hydrocarbons were observed on surface water, warning people not to fish, swim or bathe in those areas and others were not being followed.
The elders also criticised the expenditure pattern of the first tranche of ten million dollars released by the International Oil Companies (IOC) for the project.
Diri Presents N311bn 2022 Budget To Assembly
The Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri last Wednesday, presented a N310.7 billion budget estimate for 2022 to Bayelsa House of Assembly in Yenegoa.
The 2022 appropriation bill christened “Budget of Sustainable Growth’’ is to be funded partly from borrowing and grants from development partners, according to the governor.
During the presentation, Diri said the administration was formulating a 30-year development plan for the state.
He said when the budget becomes law, the government would build critical infrastructures, sustain urban renewal and development, create wealth and job opportunities, build human capital and strengthen agriculture.
“We intend to explore other sources of funding apart from our projected revenue and expected federal allocation.
“We intend also to borrow N45.8 billion to fund 13 per cent of the total budget estimate.
“The expected aid and grants from our development partners is estimated at N24.7 billion, which is approximately eight per cent of the total budget estimate.
“The 2021 “Budget of Growth’’ was based on a benchmark oil price of 38 dollars per barrel of oil and production capacity of 1.8 million barrels per day and an exchange rate of 379 Naira to the dollar.
“Notwithstanding shortfall in our expected revenue inflow and the rise in our internal expenditures, we gave approval to augment payment of new minimum wage to local government workers, primary school teachers and cleared minimum wage arrears.
“The 2021 Budget was framed to give the state a positive outlook and drive it to a genuine path of prosperity after the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic.
“More than 60 per cent of the capital expenditure was allocated to sectors that drive investments, economic growth, improved infrastructure, youth and women empowerment.
“This was achieved through support to trade, entrepreneurial and agricultural activities and sustainable policy formulation and implementation of ICT.
“The education sector is enjoying robust funding, infrastructure upgrade and improved policy implementation.
“We have put machinery in place to establish vocational schools and technical skills training centres to aid the training of our youths and women in skill sets that are of high demand to make them employable,’’ he said.
According to the governor, the 2022 budget breakdown shows capital expenditure of N110.980 billion, Education – N4 billion, Agriculture – N12 billion and Works – N51 billion, among others.
CSOs, Others Hold Peaceful Protest In Edo
Members of the civil society organisations and youths in Edo State on Wednesday joined others across the country to observe the memorial of the #EndSARS protest that rocked the country a year ago.
The Tide source reports that the protest was largely peaceful, as security operatives, comprising officials of Nigeria Police, Department of State Services, DSS, Nigeria Security & Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Edo State Security Network (local vigilante), took over the Museum ground venue of the protest as early as 7.30 am.
The Museum is located at Oba Overamwen Square (otherwise known as Ring Road), in the heart of Benin City, the Edo State capital.
The security operatives were positioned inside the Museum premises and major routes that lead to the park.
Also, security vehicles were parked at strategic positions and entry points into the Ring Road and the State House of Assembly complex.
Other parts of the City also have the presence of security operatives and their vehicles.
Meanwhile, a senior police operative averted what could have degenerated to a clash between security operatives and the protesters, when a civil activist almost exchange blows with local vigilantes who manned the gate to the Museum grounds.
Trouble started when one of the activists attempted to drive his car into the Museum grounds, but was stopped by one of the vigilantes who closed the gates and requested the occupants of the car come down from the vehicle.
This infuriated the CSO member who said he was conveying an amputee victim of #EndSARS to the grounds.
The victim was reportedly amputated after security operatives reportedly rammed into him and others during the protest last year in Auchi, Edo State.
Okowa Heads Human Rights Protection Committee
Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa is leading a committee to ensure that all issues concerning police brutality are addressed.
Senator Okowa, on Wednesday, inaugurated the Committee for the Protection of Human Rights in the state, with a call on citizens to be law-abiding in all endeavours.
Inaugurating the committee, Okowa said that constitution of the committee was part of the recommendations of the Judicial Panel of Enquiry that investigated complaints of police brutality and extra-judicial killings in the state.
He recalled that a year ago, youths in the country embarked on #EndSARS, a protest against police brutality and other issues, adding that the protests shook the foundation of the nation.
“We saw a lot of our youths come out in anger against so many issues as it concerned the nation but particularly against police brutality.
“The #EndSARS has taught us, particularly the police, that we must be civil in our manner of approach while carrying out our work because no man has the right to take the life of another and more so when it is unjustly done.”
The governor said that Delta had remained relatively peaceful and thanked the youths and people of the state for their cooperation in maintaining peace.
He urged the people to live in peace and to trust the security agencies to carry out their job of maintaining peace and security in the state.
The 20 member committee include: Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Isaiah Bozimo: Comrade Ifeanyi Egwunyenga, Commissioner for Youths Development:; Solicitor-General/ Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Mr. Omamuzo Erebe; Commissioner of Police in the state.
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