An Ijaw group,the Movement for the Survival of the Ijaw Ethnic Nationality of the Niger Delta,MOSIEND has called on the Federal Government to release the seized marginal oil field which gave Bayelsa State the state the right of an oil prospecting licence,OPL between 2003 and 2007, leading to the establishment of the Bayelsa Oil Company Limited, (BOCL).
MOSIEND made the call yesterday, in Yenagoa, during the inauguration of some additional members of its national executive office as well as its clan leadership.
Speaking at the event, MOSIEND President, Mr Kenneth Tonjo West berated the federal government for revoking the license formerly given to the oil rich homogeneous Ijaw state for no verifiable reasons.
The group warned that should the Federal Government through the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, NNPC and its subsidiaries incharge of awarding oil prospecting licences, OPL fail to return the said field to the state in 30 days beginning from today that the Federal Government should expect graver consequences of its action.
MOSIEND argued that their call for the return of the oil field back to the state became necessary as the Ijaws who produce the nation’s economic mainstay had borne the brunt of oppression and marginalisation for more than half a century since the discovery of oil in commercial quantities in Ijaw land, with no commensurate development in their communities across the states of the Niger Delta region.
The group described the recent directives by the Central Bank of Nigeria,CBN to some northern states to mine and sell gold found in their respective states as another reason for the Ijaws in particular and by extension the Niger Delta region to start controlling their natural resources,noting that the injustice meted out to the Ijaws has for years became unbearable.
On the planned investigation of the activities of the Presidential Amnesty Programme by the Federal government, the group accused the office of the National Security Adviser, NSA of mismanaging no fewer than N400 billion appropriated to the programme between 2015- date, just as they demanded that he gave account of how the alleged funds were deployed.
While frowning at the looting and hijack of the well intended EndSARS protest by hoodlums in parts of the country, the group also condemned the military and other security agencies for opening fire on Nigerians protesting against the now disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad,SARS and Police brutally,calling for thorough investigation to unravel those behind the killings and dastardly acts which characterised the protests in some states.
“As Ijaw people,we’ve been at the receiving end of oppression and marginalization in this nation. For years,we’ve been the ones producing the mainstay of the Nigeria’s economy and yet we don’t have nothing to show for”, the group said.
“We call on the Federal Government to return the marginal oil field owned by Bayelsa State, the Jerusalem of the Ijaw nation back to the state or face the consequences in 30 days time. If Zamfara and other Northern states could mine and sell their gold to the Central Bank of Nigeria,then the time has also come when the Ijaw people and by extension the Niger Delta people should also be allowed to manage their natural resources”, MOSIEND added.
Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa
Okowa Signs 2021 Budget Of N383bn
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State on Monday in Asaba assented to the state’s 2021 Appropriation Bill of N383 billion.
The bill tagged “Budget of Economic Recovery” is made up of N210 billion capital expenditure and N173 billion recurrent expenditure
The Delta House of Assembly increased the budget figure of N378.48 proposed by the governor to N383 billion.
Signing the budget, Okowa assured the people that the state would strive to recover from the economic challenges engendered by Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The governor commended the state house of assembly for the speedy passage of the bill.
He said that signing the budget before December would avail the state government the opportunity to further plan towards its implementation from January, 2021.
According to him, the state government would remain focused on the implementation of the budget as passed, for the benefit of the people.
The governor noted that there was a warm working relationship between the executive and the legislature in the state.
“You have just witnessed my signing into law, the 2021 Appropriation Bill, and as I said on Oct. 27, during the presentation of the bill, we are in very difficult times this year.
“The second wave of the pandemic will create a further challenge for the recovery of the economy of our nation.
“However, we are optimistic that in the 2021 fiscal year, things will gradually improve and we will be able to get back to the desired levels of infrastructural and human capital development for our people.”I pray that God will help us and this nation to rediscover ourselves and to commit every work of our people and our state and nation for the common good of all our citizens.
The budget is termed ‘budget of economic recovery’ because we are very much aware of the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on both our health systems and the economy of the country.
“The pandemic obviously impacted negatively on our budget in 2020 that we had to reduce it twice in the year.
“I want to appreciate our contractors who have continued to stay in their various sites to work even when it is becoming increasingly difficult to make payments on contractual agreements already made.
“We will continue to be very responsible as a state, and we will continue to work with them to deliver on our projects,” he said.
Gunmen Attack Delta Monarch’s Wife
There was pandemonium on Monday in the Ughelli area of Delta State as gunmen numbering five laid siege to the palace of Ughelli Kingdom.
The Queen of the Kingdom, Queen Rachael, narrowly escaped after the gunmen ambushed her in front of the palace along Isoko Road in Ughelli North Local Government Area of the state.
An orderly attached to the palace, Inspector Bello Chinye, also narrowly escaped the incident but sustained a gunshot wound.
It was gathered that the monarch’s wife and her driver had gone to a new generation bank along the Isoko Road and were returning to the palace when they were accosted by the gunmen.
A source said, “The gunmen upon sighting the policeman, opened fire on him and shot him on the hand. It was during the melee that ensued that the queen also ran into the palace for safety while the hoodlums also fled the scene.”
The remains of the deceased has since been evacuated and deposited in the morgue by the Police.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Oneme Onowakpoyeya, who confirmed the incident on Tuesday, said it was an incident of attempted robbery and not kidnapping.
“We were told it was attempted robbery not kidnap. However, irrespective of their intentions, they didn’t succeed,” Onowakpoyeya said.
Meanwhile, there was tension in Ovwian Community in Udu Local Government Area of Delta State as gunmen shot a yet-to-be identified man dead in front of Free-Nice Hotel, adjacent Izomo Junction.
Details as to why he was killed were still sketchy at the time of this report.
Residents of the area scampered for safety when the gunmen struck.
When contacted for comments, the Delta State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Onome Onovwakpoyeya confirmed the report in a telephone chat with Warri yesterday.
The Police Image maker said, “It’s true. He was shot in the stomach.”
Delta LG Polls Hold, March 6
The Delta State Independent Electoral Commission has fixed March 6, 2021 as date for the conduct of elections into chairmanship and councilorship positions in the state.
The Chairman of the Commission, Michael Ogbodu, made the announcement after meeting with stakeholders and party chairmen yesterday in Asaba, the state capital.
He said, “The Commission is set to organise credible local government elections in 2021. We will further use this platform to urge our esteemed stakeholders including the various registered political parties in the state and electorates to give us the much needed support as we embark on the journey of delivering free and fair election.”
Ogbodu disclosed that additional 34 wards were created to add to the existing 466 wards across the 25 local government areas in the state.
The commission’s chairman approved that pre-election activities such as campaigns commence immediately.
Also speaking at the meeting, the Chairman of Inter-Party Advisory Council, Emeka Bidokwu, appreciated the commission and sought more cooperation to ensure the election is violence-free and successful.
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