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Work Towards Peaceful Polls, UK Admonishes Nigeria

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With the February 16 date for the presidential election around the corner, the international community has, for the umpteenth time, warned that it would not tolerate any form of election malpractice that could hamper a smooth electoral process in Nigeria.
Speaking during a courtesy call on the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, last Wednesday, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, called on all stakeholders to work towards peaceful and credible polls.
She said Rivers State, for instance, was very important to the country, pointing out that peaceful polls in the state would have positive multiplier effects than plunging it into electoral violence.
Laing declared that “the British government expects the 2019 general elections in Nigeria to be peaceful, free and fair”.
The envoy said she was also in the state to acquaint herself with the environmental challenges that the government and people of the state were facing.
Governor Wike used the visit to call on the International Community to focus its attention on the forthcoming general elections to stop its planned manipulation by the APC Federal Government.
Governor Wike said it was incumbent on the international community, especially the United Kingdom, United States of America, and the European Union to repeat the 2015 feat when they monitored all the processes.
“We appeal to the international community to focus on the forthcoming general elections.
“This is not the first time the international community will be doing this. In 2015, the United Kingdom, European Union, and the United States actively monitored the elections,” he said.
He said the APC-led Federal Government was foisted on the country by the western powers.
While declaring that the government and people of Rivers State were committed to peaceful polls, Governor Wike charged the United Kingdom to prevail on INEC and security agencies not to manipulate the elections.
“Talk to INEC and the Police to allow Nigerians to vote freely and for their votes to count. Any attempt to manipulate the elections, will make the issue to be out of control of the people,” he said.
Governor Wike said the plot by the APC Federal Government to shut down internet and communication access would make it impossible for the international community and stakeholders to monitor the elections.
The governor said there would be no violence if elections were free and fair. He regretted that the legal outlet for seeking redress had been destroyed by the APC-led Federal Government through the attacks on the judiciary.

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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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