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Bayelsa Assembly Committee on Environment To Curb Unlawful Sand Dredging Activities.

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With various complaints and pettitions by communities impacted by the activities of illegal sand dredging and mining in the Bayelsa State, the state House of Assembly has organised a public hearing on a bill to regulate the operations of sand dredging to ensure that the environment is not adversely impacted on.

The bill tagged ” Regulation of Sand Dealing and Dredging Operations Bill 2019″  according to the House Committee on Environment is aimed at gathering inputs from experts, technocrats and the public in order to formulate a people-friendly bill that will serve the best interest of Bayelsans.

The House Committee Chairman on Environment and member representing Nembe Constituency one, Hon. Ebi  Ben Ololo noted that the public hearing became necessary on the need to remediate the environment and tackle the challenges posed by sand dredging operations in the state.

” The importance of this bill cannot be overemphasized because it can save lives. You are aware a number of times so many communities and their representatives have sent pettitions to this House, specifically the  Chairman House Committee on Environment as per the environmental degradation that has taken place as regards the illegal sand dealing and dredging activities in various communities all around the state”, he said.

“With those number of complains and pettitions we thought it wise to put up a bill to take care of those issues. Most important thing is that we all know that public hearing is a mechanism by which parliamentary Committees obtain information, deal with the information obtained and also exchange views with experts and the public so as to fine-tune whatever bill there is for the public hearing to come up with a top class bill that will be people- friendly and also save lives of the people in Bayelsa”, he added.

” Lots of suggestions, contributions, opinions and interactions have been made as regards this very important bill, like we have assured the representatives of the various groups that we will go back in our committee, look at those very important areas where they have suggested and also fine tune the bill. So that in no distant time we will come up with a very formidable bill that will stand the test of time. That the people will benefit from”, Ololo reassured.

He lauded participants for their insightful contributions and opinions during the public hearing, promising that the Committee would do justice to come up with a bill that would meet the expectations of Bayelsans.

In her contribution, House Chief Whip and member representing Yenagoa Constituency 2, Hon. Ebiowu Koku Obiyai lamented the deliberate connivance between communities and the sand dealers, warning that if nothing is done to regulate the activities of sand dredgers Bayelsa communities will be eroded away.

The House Whip also expressed concerns on the activities of companies carrying out dredging business near bridges and sued a delibrate efforts by all in order to save the bridges from collapse.

By Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa.

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FG Tackles UK Parliament Over Attack On Gowon

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The Federal Government has berated a UK parliamentarian, Tom Tugendhat, for accusing a former Nigerian leader, retired Gen. Yakubu Gowon, of stealing during a debate on the #EndSARS protest in the House of Commons.
The government also rebuked the UK parliament for acting in an uninformed manner in recommending sanctions for Nigeria over the hoax massacre at the Lekki Toll Gate during the protest.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, at a meeting with online publishers in Lagos yesterday said the knee jerk reaction of the House of Commons was informed by fake news and disinformation.
He lambasted the chairman, Foreign Affairs Committee of the British House of Commons Tugendhat, for being “ignorant’’ and “flippant’’ in his accusation against Gowon.
“It is most disheartening that parliamentarians in a country with a history of upholding the finest ideals of democracy will act in such an uninformed manner on an issue such as EndSARS.
“The quality of the debate at the British Parliament on EndSARS was under par.
“Fake accusations based on fake news and disinformation were levelled against the Federal Government by poorly-informed participants at the debate.
“One MP even accused former Nigerian leader, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd), who served this country to the best of his ability, of stealing half of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“Sheer Ignorance! The flippant MP, who unfortunately chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee of the British House of Commons, did a great disservice to himself, the committee he chairs and the entire parliament by allowing himself to be misled by fake news exponents.
“Fittingly, the British Government has distanced itself from him,’’ he said.
Tugendhat, a Conservative Parliamentarian for Tombridge, Edenbridge and Malling had during the debate which led to the recommendation of sanctions against Nigeria, accused Gowon of stealing and money laundering.
“Now some people will remember when Gen. Gowon left Nigeria with half of the Central Bank, so it was said, and moved to London,’’ the MP had said.
Mohammed stressed that the twin evils of fake news and disinformation aggravated the recent #EndSARS protest and the aftermath.
He said the reactions of some countries were informed by fake news and disinformation, and varying figures of those purportedly killed in the hoax massacre at the Lekki Toll Gate.
“For example, parliamentarians in Britain put the figure of those killed at 10, CNN first reported 38 and then lowered the number to 1.
“And DJ Switch’s numbers cascaded from 78 dead to 15 to 7!
“Even an international broadcaster like CNN was misled by fake news and disinformation.
“But CNN has itself to blame for relying on unauthenticated videos which it took from social media
“Now, CNN is seeking to save face by trying to clarify its report, which was not only inaccurate but failed the simple test of balance and fairness,’’ he said.
The minister recalled that the government had petitioned CNN, asking it to use its own internal mechanism to probe its so-called investigative report on the Lekki Toll Gate incident.

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Senate Confirms Yakubu As INEC Chairman

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The Senate has confirmed the appointment of Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, as Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission for the second term of five years.
Recall that the Senate had received a request from President Muhammadu Buhari to confirm the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, for a second and final term in office.
Following the request, the Senate Committee on INEC, led by Senator Kabiru Gaya, made the confirmation at the plenary yesterday.
Senators who spoke before his confirmation also described him as highly qualified for the job.
Meanwhile the Senate has advised that President Muhammadu Buhari to replace the service chiefs following the killing of 43 farmers.
The senate President, Ahmed Lawan told Buhari to immediately restructure the country’s security architecture in order to fight against insurgents and secure lives of citizens.
“I urge the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria to immediately initiate the transitionary process of phasing out the current over-stayed security chiefs and replacing them with new ones with new ideas and solutions;
“I urge the President to take immediate steps to restructure, remodel and revamp the country’s entire security architecture and provide enough state-of-the-art weapons and equipment to effectively combat the belligerent power of the insurgents.”
The Senate President also advised the President to immediately set up a probe panel into widespread allegations of corruption and leakages within the security structure and put mechanisms in place to foster transparency.
“The President should ensure all resources meant and deployed for security are actually spent on the needs on ground; Impress on the Federal Government to aggressively explore multilateral and bilateral options of partnership with the neighboring nations of Chad, Niger and Cameroon towards reviving and strengthening the Multinational Joint Task Force.
“Finally, as a way of proffering long term solution to Nigeria’s existential security challenges, the Federal and States Government must adequately address all immediate and remote causes of insecurity in the nation,” Lawan added.

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Lagos By-Elections: INEC Delivers Non-Sensitive Materials To LGAs

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Lagos State, says that it has delivered non-sensitive materials for the Saturday’s Lagos East Senatorial and Kosofe Constituency II House of Assembly by-elections to all the five affected councils in the area.
INEC spokesman, Femi Akinbiyi, told newsmen yesterday in Lagos that the commission would soon receive the sensitive materials for the elections.
Akinbiyi said that the receipt of the materials would be in the full glare of the political parties’ representatives, election observers and the media.
“The non-sensitive materials have been delivered to various local governments already, and they have been batched into various registration areas (Wards).
“We are not leaving any stone unturned in our preparations to conduct free, fair, credible and acceptable by-elections on Saturday in Lagos East Senatorial District and Kosofe State Constituency II,” INEC PRO said.
Akinbiyi said that the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Sam Olumekun, has advised the people to come out en mass to exercise their franchise on Saturday in a peaceful and orderly manner.
He said that the commission was poised about conducting elections that everyone including all participating political parties would be proud of.
He said that INEC in collaboration with security agencies had made adequate arrangements for smooth and safe conduct of the election.
The Tide source reports that the five local government areas that make up the Lagos East Senatorial District are Somolu, Kosofe, Ikorodu, Epe and Ibeju-Lekki.
Candidates from 12 political parties will be contesting in the Lagos East Senatorial by-elections while eight candidates will be contesting the Kosofe Constituency II, Lagos State House of Assembly by-elections.
The contestants for the senatorial election are: Muyiwa Adebanjo, Action Alliance (AA); Ms Mercy Adeoye, African Action Congress (AAC) and John Kome, African Democratic Congress (ADC).
Others are: Adebowale Ogunlaru, Action Democratic Party (ADP); Adetokunbo Abiru, All Progressives Congress (APC); Olusola Babatope, Allied Peoples Movement (APM); Mrs Florence Trautman, Labour Party (LP) and Ms Adijat Lawal, New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).
The rest are: Babatunde Gbadamosi, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); Akin Olukunle, National Rescue Movement (NRM); Saheed Aluko, Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Taiwo Temitope, Young Progressive Party (YPP).
The eight contestants for the Kosofe Constituency II bye-election are: John Akerele, AA; Sadiq Olawale, AAC; Wasiu Saheed, APC; Adekunle Oladapo, LP; Muyideen Agoro, NNPP; Ademorin Adelaja, NRM; Sikiru Alebiosu, PDP and Mrs Mary Abojeh, ADC.
The two by-elections, slated for December 5, became necessary following the demise of the former occupants who were members of APC.

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