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Edo Guber Poll: Obaseki Has No Opponent, Wike Declares

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has restated his earlier position that the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) flag bearer in the forthcoming governorship election in Edo State, Governor Godwin Obaseki, has no opponent.
Speaking as a guest on a live television programme, last Wednesday, Wike said that the people of Edo State already know the type of candidate the All Progressives Congress (APC) was presenting, going by what Comrade Adams Oshiomhole said of him four years ago.
“Adams Oshiomhole told Edo people that Osagie Ize-Iyamu was rusticated from school; that he poured acid on a fellow student which destroyed his manhood. That he is an armed robber that cannot be trusted with money.
“Such a character cannot be accepted by Edo people as governor during the election.
“I respect the Benin tradition and I know that Edo people are educated to know that Oshiomhole cannot play on their intelligence. If he is now retracting what he said of Ize-Iyamu, who is sure that he’s saying the correct thing now.
“Adams Oshiomole’s sudden u-turn is a great insult on Edo people. This is an opportunity for Edo people both at home and in the Diaspora to use their votes to tell Oshiomhole that they cannot take his lies anymore.
“From all indications, it is obvious that there is no strong opposition against Obaseki, and he will win convincingly”, he said.
Wike, who is the chairman of the PDP National Campaign Council, stated that he and his team accepted the responsibility to lead the campaign because they were satisfied with results coming out already from Edo State.
Wike pointed out that the PDP has continued to take steps in strengthening the nation’s democracy.
According to him, the party does so with the promotion of internal politics, and resolving conflict of interests of members to achieve common goals.
He noted the success recorded by the PDP in conducting free and fair party primaries in Edo State.
The governor explained that all the aspirants decided to work together to support the candidature of Governor Godwin Obaseki who is the party’s flag-bearer.
“It was not easy to have a sole candidate for the party in Edo State. People thought there will be problems, given the fact that Obaseki was coming from another party. But party members who are grounded and believe in the party didn’t see any sacrifice too much to make.
“Even in Ondo State, the former Deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi, who decamped to PDP, contested keenly during the primaries and lost. If there are other pending issues in the South-West, be sure that the party will resolve them.
“That is exactly what Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, as the chairman of South-South States’ Governors had done. He is making sure that we are all on the same page to ensure that all states in the South-South are controlled by PDP,” Wike added.

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NECO Suspends Ongoing Examination Indefinitely

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The National Examinations Council (NECO) announced, yesterday, that it has suspended its ongoing internal Senior Secondary Schools Certificate Examinations (SSCE) indefinitely.
The council, in a statement by its Head, Information and Public Relations Division, Azeez Sani, explained that the action was taken by its governing board, following the current turn of events in the country.
It particularly attributed the action to the closure of schools and the curfew imposed by some state governors to safeguard lives following developments around the country.
The imposition of the curfew, according to NECO, has prevented free movement of materials meant for the examination.
The statement read in full: “The Governing Board of the National Examinations Council (NECO) at its Special Meeting held on Thursday, 22nd October, 2020, reviewed the on-going 2020 SSCE (Internal) nationwide.
“The council had in a press release, dated 21st October, 2020, informed the general public of rescheduling some papers of the 2020 on-going SSCE.
“Arising from that meeting, the Governing Board resolved that the 2020 SSCE (Internal) be postponed indefinitely in view of the current security challenges, occasioned by the #EndSARS protests, which disrupted the smooth conduct of the examinations in some parts of the country.
“In making this decision, the board noted that due to these security challenges: Some state governments imposed a curfew and closed schools in order to safeguard lives and property; In the circumstances, it has become difficult for the council to move examination materials across the country; students in the affected locations were unable to sit for the papers already scheduled in the examination time table.
“The Governing Board further resolved, that when normalcy returns, the council will continue with the conduct of the examinations in all States.
“While regretting any inconveniences this postponement may cause our esteemed stakeholders, the council has, however, taken this decision in order to maintain the integrity and security of its examination procedures for seamless conduct of the council’s examination.”

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RSG Reinforces Ban On Activities Of IPOB In Rivers

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The Rivers State Government, in line with the proscription order of the Federal Government, has reinforced a ban on activities of Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) in the state.
The state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, in a state-wide broadcast reinforcing the proscription of IPOB in the state, last Friday, said no form of procession or agitation by the group or any of its affiliates was allowed to take place in the state henceforth.
He explained that state government reached this firm conclusion having observed that the activities of the banned IPOB are not just dangerous to lives and property, but also constitute clear and present threat to the existential interest and aspirations of Rivers State and all her people.
“Security agencies are hereby directed to stop any form of procession or agitation by IPOB in Rivers State or any part thereof, and arrest and prosecute any person or group that identifies with the membership or activities of IPOB in the state. Government will issue an executive order to strengthen and ensure the effective enforcement of these measures”, he said.
He disclosed that he would be meeting with all leaders of youth groups and community development committees in the state, today, to take holistic measures to counter and stop all IPOB activities in Rivers State.
The governor declared one Mr. Stanley Mgbere wanted for leading members of the banned IPOB to cause the recent violence and destruction of lives and property in Oyigbo Local Government Area; adding that any person with useful information that would lead to his arrest and prosecution would receive the sum of N50million.
He recalled that since IPOB was classified as a terrorist organisation by the Federal High Court, and subsequently proscribed in September, 2017 by the Federal Government, the group has carried out intermittent processions in parts of Rivers State, especially in Oyigbo and some notorious suburbs in Port Harcourt Local Government Areas.
According to him, IPOB’s aim had been to disturb the peace of the state by unleashing violence and destruction of lives and property at will.
The Rivers State Government, according to the governor, “had severally pleaded, warned and even advised IPOB and its members to discontinue its insurrectional actions in Rivers State to no avail. Instead, IPOB unleashed another orgy of violence and destruction inflicted at Oyigbo Local Government Area, and some parts of Port Harcourt City Local Government Area on Tuesday, October 21, 2020”.
He said “this evil, wicked and audacious action resulted in the unnecessary loss of scores of lives, including soldiers and police officers, and the destruction of both public and private properties, including police stations, court buildings and business premises.
“Not done, members of the outlawed group also visited physical violence on members of some targeted community which, but, for the quick intervention of the state government and the security agencies, would have resulted in some form of internecine bloodbath in the state.
“Today, IPOB continued with its devilish and destructive activities at Rumukwurushi, Iriebe and Oyigbo in open defiance of the state government’s curfew on human movements. Security intelligence and surveillance have revealed that IPOB has continued to expand its membership drive, holding meetings regularly, and expanding its logistical base, including the maintenance of illegal detention cells in Emenike and other parts of Diobu, Port Harcourt.
“As a matter of fact, Oyigbo town has practically become the group’s main operational base in Rivers State, from which they’ve become notorious for launching premeditated violence and terror on the state, businesses and innocent citizens. As a people, we have become very much unsettled by the terrorist acts and endured the continuing irritations, violence, destruction and provocations of IPOB in and against the people of Rivers State,” Wike said.
The governor noted that “as a stranger element with strange political ideology, IPOB has no legal or moral right to invade Rivers State or any part thereof at its behest; to disturb public peace; and subject lives and property to violence or threat of destruction under any guise”.
He emphasised that Rivers State’s love, accommodation and hospitality towards all who reside and do business in the state are being mistaken for weakness by the banned IPOB.
To this end, he warned that “enough is enough as the government can no longer tolerate the menace of IPOB.
“I wish to appeal to the people of Oyigbo Local Government Area to remain calm and not to take the laws into their hands despite the intense provocation as government has the capacity to deal with the challenge and ensure the safety of lives and property in the local government area. We will soon carry out on-the-spot inspection and assessment of the destruction they have suffered and take appropriate measures to mitigate the loss and damage caused to lives and property”, he said.
Wike expressed his heartfelt sympathies to the families of all those that have either lost their loved ones or suffered damages to their properties from the destructive acts of IPOB in the state.

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#EndSARS: N’Delta Militants List 11-Point Demands To FG

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Militant groups from the nine states of the Niger Delta region, which vowed to resume hostilities, last Monday, in support of #EndSARS protests, triggered fresh anxiety, at the weekend, as it presented 11 new demands to the Federal Government.
Leader of the militants under the auspices of Reformed Niger Delta Avengers (RNDA), self-styled “Major General” Johnmark Ezonebi, in an electronic mail statement, yesterday, said the coalition had communicated multinational oil companies to evacuate their staff to avoid human causalities.
The RNDA stated: “In support of the existing demands by the #EndSARS protesters, we have added new demands that could stop the mayhem on foreign oil multinationals, oil and gas infrastructures and the Joint Military Task Force (JMTF) involved in the Operation Crocodile Smile in the region.
“We have vowed to take the destiny of our region into our hands and kick-start the occupation of all the major oil wells and the oil platforms, we will also bring down all major crude oil production pipelines to zero,” it added.
The RNDA is demanding: “Urgent release of the N98billion gas flare penalty fund to the host communities of the Niger Delta, which are funds domiciled in the Federation Accounts through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), by the International Oil Companies (IOCs), as payment to compensate the communities being affected in the creeks of the Niger Delta due to their environmental pollution and environmental hazard caused by the multinational oil companies.”
The group recalled that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration withdrew $ billion from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) sometime in 2019 to acquire heavy weapons to fight Boko Haram insurgents in the North-East, adding: “This is wicked and insensitive to the peace accord signed with the people of the Niger Delta region, most especially the RNDA militant group that accepted the ceasefire agreement on 21st of August, 2016, and nothing has been done so far.
“Secondly, we demand the total control of our God-given resources in the region. If some parts of northern states are allowed to operate and will be given license to engage in illegal mining and sale of gold, it means it is time the people of the Niger Delta region, especially the Ijaw ethnic nationality are given equal opportunity to go ahead with artisan and local refining of crude oil in the creeks without any form of intimidation and harassment from the Nigerian government as well.
“Thirdly, RNDA demands that riverine areas in Niger Delta be connected to the cities with roads and bridges with provisions in the 2021 budget. A road project, for instance, should connect Warri to Ogulagha, Burutu Local Government Area, which is a host to Forcardos Terminal, producing over one million barrels of crude oil that contribute trillions of dollars to the Federal Government.
“Fourthly, the proposed 2021 budget, which appropriated billions of naira to the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), should be withdrawn and put on hold and the minister of the Niger Delta Affairs should not be allowed to defend the proposed budget until the substantive board of the NDDC is inaugurated and sworn in by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We also demand that Senator Godswill Akpabio be mandated to hold a town hall meeting with the traditional rulers, stakeholders and leadership of RNDA militant group in the creek in order to show a genuine intention that the budget proposal will not witness embezzlement and diversion of billions to Akpabio and his cronies’ pockets without any tangible and practical development in the creeks of the region.
“And we also demand immediate take-off and re-opening of the Burutu Seaport by the Federal Government, which should be included in the 2021 budget.
“More importantly to the RNDA militant group, we call for an emergency review of the Revenue Allocation Act in other to give proper interpretation of the 13 per cent derivation funds that will be deposited in the hands of the Niger Delta governors, according to Section 162, Subsection 2 of the 1991 Constitution as amended.
“So, we demand proper interpretation of this Act by the Attorney General of the Federation as to the chief law officer of the country because the people of the Niger Delta oil producing communities are tired of this perpetual man-made injustice caused by the Niger Delta governors who went ahead to award pipeline surveillance contract to one individual, Chief Captain Hosa Wells Okunbor, who is the managing director of Ocean Marine Solutions Company that is handling the pipeline surveillance security contract worth over $18.6million annually just for OML 30, which is TFP pipeline security surveillance contract alone.
“Therefore, RNDA demands pipeline security surveillance job to accommodate the members of the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers group, who are over 5,000 in the creeks and we will no longer allow this to happen any more in the creeks or else we will bring down all the pipelines in our creeks within the stipulated time of ultimatum.
“Furthermore, we demand release of the 10 licenses for modular refineries in Niger Delta, which the Federal Government has not approved up till this moment, yet, the Federal Executive Council is approving billions and trillions every week in the presidency through the sales of our crude oil on $1.86million to $2.2million barrels on daily basis without any tangible development in the region,” the militants said.

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