The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike says the untimely death of Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) Chairman, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (rtd) has dealt a severe blow to Niger Delta struggle.
Wike made this assertion when he visited the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Emmanuel Udom at the Government House, Uyo, yesterday, to commiserate with him over the death of Nkanga and the state Chairman of PDP, Udo Ekpenyong.
The Rivers State governor said the death of the PANDEF chairman has created a deep void in the agitation for restructuring of Nigeria in line with the principle of true federalism.
“The PANDEF chairman stood for the struggle of the Niger Delta, restructuring of this country. As Rivers people, we are all from Niger Delta. We face the same problems. So, if anything happens to Akwa Ibom State, it also affects Rivers State. We have lost a voice. Whether anybody likes it or not. We have lost a voice.”
Wike, who described the death of both the PANDEF and PDP chairmen as painful, urged Udom and the people of Akwa Ibom State to take solace in God over the death of these two great sons of the state.
In appreciation of the immense contribution of the late PANDEF chairman to the Niger Delta struggle, Wike said Rivers State Government will collaborate with Akwa Ibom State Government to support his family and accord him a befitting funeral.
“My brother, we will support you to sustain the family. We will support you for the burial of the late PANDEF chairman. Rivers State Government will want to be fully involved in whatever it takes to give him a befitting burial.”
Wike, also lamented the abrupt death of Ekpenyong who was just recently elected chairman of the party in the state.
In his response, the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Emmanuel Udom, thanked Wike and Rivers State delegation for standing by the people of Akwa Ibom in their moment of grief.
Udom said the death of Nkanga, who was the Director General of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s Divine Mandate Campaign organisation 2015 and 2019, was emotionally devastating to him and the people of the state.
“He was my DG for both first term and second term. For somebody who had been your director general for first and second term, you know the man must have proven that high level of loyalty and integrity.
“What he doesn’t say in front of you, he will never say it behind you. He was that man at that level of integrity, character.”
He urged the governors of the South-South states to collaborate with the Akwa Ibom Government to give Nkanga a befitting funeral next month.
Udom, who described death as a mystery that only God understands, said he was saddened about the death of his state party chairman, who according to him epitomizes loyalty.
“In fact, my party chairman when they are introducing him, they use to call him Mr Loyalty. He was that loyal to our party. He had served the party at the national level; he started serving the party at the state level. If you want any definition for loyalty, just look for Udo Ekpenyong.”
RSG Kick-Starts Another Phase Of Projects’ Commissioning, Today
The Rivers State Government will, today, continue another week-long scheduled commissioning of mega projects with significant socio-economic impact on the people as part of its policy to bequeath world-class infrastructures to jump-start the sustainable development of the state.
A statement in Port Harcourt, last Friday, signed by the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, read in full, “Rivers State Government will enter the fifth phase of projects’ commissioning within four months with the inauguration of Rumuji-Ibaa-Obele-Isiokpo Road cutting across Emohua and Ikwerre Local Governments on Monday, March 8, 2021.
“The Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Sunday Akin Dare, will commission the second phase of the Real Madrid Football Academy on Tuesday, March 9, 2021.
“It will be the turn of Omuhuechi-Omuoko-Omuokiri Road in Ikwerre Local Government Area on Wednesday, March 10, 2021.
“Activities for the week will be rounded off on Friday, March 12, 2021 with the commissioning of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) Secretariat.
“All Covid-19 protocols will be strictly observed at all venues”, the commissioner added, just as he urged people of goodwill in the state to join the government in the celebration of an era of good governance and the delivery of quality projects designed to restore the Garden City status of Port Harcourt while making the whole state tourists and investors’ destination of first choice in Nigeria.
Already, one of the projects, the Real Madrid Football Academy (RMFA), has not only been rated the first of its kind in Africa, but its pioneer admission process has been over-subscribed by candidates from across Nigeria, and indeed, sub-Saharan Africa.
Tension As Army Redeploys 100 Generals, Others
The Nigerian Army has announced the redeployment and posting of over 100 senior officers with a charge to remain absolutely loyal to the Constitution of the nation.
The Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier-General Mohammed Yerima, yesterday, said that the massive shake-up was in line with the bid to re-position the Nigerian Army for optimal performance, adding that all postings and appointments take effect from March 10, 2021.
According to the statement, “the NA has released postings and appointments of some affected senior officers. The posting, which was approved by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant-General Ibrahim Attahiru, is a normal routine aimed at re-invigorating the system”.
Some of the appointments include: Major General A.S. Maikobi from Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON) to Headquarters Training and Doctrine Command and appointed Commander; Major-General D.C. Onyemulu from Armed Forces Simulation Centre to Special Task Force (Operation SAFE HAVEN) and appointed Commander; Major-General S.A. Yaro from Nigerian Army Welfare Limited by Guarantee to Nigerian Defence Academy as Commandant; Major-General L.A. Adegboye from Headquarters 82 Division to Defence Headquarters and appointed Chief of Defence Training and Operations.
“Major General O.I. Uzamere from Army Headquarters Department of Army Logistics to Headquarters Infantry Corps Centre and appointed Commander; Major-General O.F. Azinta from Defence Headquarters to Army Headquarters Department of Army Training and appointed Chief of Training; Major-General J.B. Olawumi to remain in Defence Headquarters and appointed Chief of Defence Logistics.”
“Similarly, Major General K.I. Mukhtar from Depot Nigerian Army to Nigerian Army School of Infantry and appointed Commandant; Major General D.H. Ali-Keffi from Defence Intelligence Agency to Headquarters 1 Division and appointed General Officer Commanding; Major General T.A. Lagbaja from Army Headquarters Department of Training and Operations to Headquarters 82 Division and appointed General Officer Commanding; Major General S. Dahiru from Army Headquarters Department of Transformation and Innovation to Army Headquarters Garrison and appointed Commander; Major General U.A. Yusuf from ECOWAS to Headquarters 8 Division and appointed General Officer Commanding.
Approve Not Less Than 10% For Host Communities In PIB, Wike Tells NASS
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has advocated not less than 10 per cent fund allocation to host communities in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) that is still before the National Assembly.
Wike said it is also necessary that the bill state in clear terms what specific development projects that the allocated fund should be spent on, so that development of host communities can be truly actualised.
The governor gave the charge when the members of the National Assembly Committee on the Petroleum Industry Bill, visited him at Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Wike stated that oil bearing communities have suffered the loss of their livelihood, good drinking water and their socio-cultural life disrupted because of the insensitivity of the International Oil companies (IOCs).
“It is unfortunate that people produce oil but they live in poverty. I believe that this Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) committee will make recommendation of how certain percent must be given to the host oil communities.
“There are issues of education and health. Don’t just say 10 per cent to the oil host communities. It must be tied to specific projects so that whoever is in charge will know.
“Let it also not be that host community people will have this money, and you begin to see assassinations among themselves.
“I have found out that part of the problem we have in communities is that they allow these oil companies to divide them. They cause crisis among them; divide and rule. That is the pattern of IOCs, particularly Shell.”
According to the governor, the mistakes found with the act establishing the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) should be avoided because it did not specify what projects the commission should embark on in the Niger Delta.
“This same thing that has happened to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) should not happen to the issues of host communities in PIB.
“If in the NDDC Act, they were able to tie the money that will be coming to specific projects, it would have developed the people of Niger Delta. And you won’t be having people fainting at the National Assembly.
“NDDC will leave their job and begin to buy vehicles for police, Army, and asphalting barracks. Is it what NDDC is meant to do? That is where we have lost it!”
Speaking further, the governor emphasised the need for the bill, when passed, to be signed, and not go the way of the Electoral Act amendment bill that the president refused to assent to.
“I hope this bill will also not be like the Electoral Act, after you pass it, they’ll keep it for months. Later they’ll say they can’t assent to it.
“Then, the Presidency will throw it back to you, and you will keep quiet. That will then show that what you’re doing is only for the interest of your party, and not the interest of Nigerians.
“Otherwise, you’ll insist that it is signed. I hope you’ll have the courage to do what is right, and this is the time that Nigerians require you to be strong, firm and do what will move this country forward.”
In his speech, the Deputy Chairman of the National Assembly Committee, who led the delegation, Hon Victor Nwokolo Onyemaechi, said the committee was in Rivers State to have town hall meeting with stakeholders to resolve issues of what should be allocated to host communities in the PIB.
“A lot of people have been misinformed about the issue of host communities. Some have said that host communities are related to hostility of the producing communities. But what we have seen today, and in the last four days, have shown to be negative. It has proved negative in the sense that we walked round over 800 meters about three days ago, and they saw that even in dry season, we have to use wood as bridge to get to where Shell is exploring oil and making all their money.
“They also saw the impact of Shell operations to people’s means of livelihoods, where their farmland and palm trees were burnt to ashes. They can feel it and they can see it.
“Today is not a different story. What we saw today is that a community that is known for fishing, as their means of livelihood, has been brought to a standstill. The boats were there, over 40, 50 boats, lying idle because their water has been fully polluted”, he added.
The chairman also commended Governor Nyesom Wike for the rapid infrastructural transformation ongoing in Rivers State.
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