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Court Vacates Order To Remand Diri’s Critic

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The Bayelsa State Government is unhappy that a state High Court in Yenagoa granted bail to a government critic charged for sedition, after he accused Governor Douye Diri’s administration of diverting N3 billion agricultural loans from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The critic, John Idumange, is a former head of a state-run radio station, Radio Bayelsa, and was also an aide to the former-Governor of the state, Seriake Dickson.
Mr Idumange was arrested on March 10 by the police, apparently on the order of the Bayelsa State government, at the gate of a private radio station in Yenagoa, where he was expected to speak on his allegations against the government.
He was arraigned before a chief magistrate who gave the police power to remand him for 30 days “to enable the police conclude investigation”.
But the order was vacated by the state High Court judge, Ebiyerin Omukoro, who granted bail to Mr Idumange on March 15.
The Tide gathered that the case was scheduled for hearing before Justice Umukoro on Tuesday but was stalled because the Chief Judge of the state, Kate Abiri, reassigned it to another judge, following a request by the Attorney-General of the state, Biriyai Sambo (SAN).
Mr Sambo, according to reports, had expressed doubt over Justice Omukoro’s fairness in the case.
He said the judge vacated the remand order by a lower court and granted Mr Idumange bail without hearing the opposition to the bail application.
Speaking on the matter, the former-Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr Dickson, who is now a Senator representing the state, had discredited Mr Idumange over his remark against his successor and the state government.
The senator said he had no hand in the attack against Mr Diri’s administration.
He said he remained supportive of the administration.
“I want to advise that no one who is supportive of me, a member of our party or who claims to be, should be publicly critical of our government. This is unacceptable,” he added.
Meanwhile, Mr Diri, has dismissed Mr Idumange’s allegations as a ploy to blackmail and arm-twist his administration to give appointments.
“Let me say it clearly before the full glare of the press that we are open to criticism if they are constructive, but this one is entirely not based on facts, the funds are being managed by CBN and warehoused at Access Bank.
“The N3 billion is not in the treasury of Bayelsa Government to be disbursed and the CBN has come here to say that no fund was diverted”.

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Niger Delta

Jonathan Relives Three Key Bills As President

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Former President Goodluck Jonathan has revealed that among the numerous bills he assented to while in office as president, three of them have remained very dear to his heart.
Jonathan gave the insight during his remarks as a special guest of honour at the opening of a three-day Health Summit organised by the Bayelsa State Government in Yenagoa, the state capital, last Monday.
He listed the three special bills as the National Health Bill, the Freedom of Information Bill (FoI) and the Nigerian Local Content Bill establishing the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).
Among dignitaries present at the event were Governor Douye Diri; Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire; Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu; WHO Country Representative, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo; and Dr Osahon Enabulele, who was the keynote speaker.
The former president, however, said that among the three pieces of legislation the Local Content Law was making the most impact because it provided for a board to oversee the activities of the NCDMB.
Jonathan, a former governor of Bayelsa State, became Acting President in May, 2010, following the sudden death of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, and was later elected president in 2011 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.
He was defeated in 2015 by the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, of the then opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).
Jonathan said, “I thank the Honourable Minister (of Health) and the (state) commissioner for health made reference to the National Health Bill that I signed into law in 2014. As a president, I signed so many bills into law, government bills and private bills.
“But there are three bills that till today I am quite pleased that we signed into law. The National Health Bill is one of them. The second one is the Freedom of Information Bill that affects my good media people and the third is the Nigerian Local Content Bill.
“But the Local Content Law provides a board that manages the process; they are working very well and the results are obvious. But these other two are not because there is no ombudsman kind of to oversee what is being done.
“Most cases I believe that 30 to 40 per cent of doctors practising in Nigeria will not even know the details about that (National Health) Bill. So I will request the minister, as you go back to Abuja; luckily from what you said, you are expanding on that Act, may be developing a manual to guide practitioners.
“I think there is a need for a summit or conference that will dwell only on that Act for state actors, private actors and even those who teach in the university. Before you graduate as a doctor you should really have an idea about the law.
“And when the states are domesticating that law based on local circumstances with a clear knowledge of the law, it will help us greatly to improve on our health services.”

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Niger Delta

Ishaku Rates Okowa High Over Quality Projects

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Taraba State Governor, Arc. Darius Dickson Ishaku, has described his Delta State counterpart, Senator, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa as one of the best governors in Nigeria, for providing meaningful, people oriented, quality development projects across the State.
Governor Ishaku made the observation when he commissioned two key road projects with drainages in Asaba, Oshimili South and Okpanam in Oshimili North local government areas of Delta State, respectively.
Governor Ishaku, who was accompanied on the commissioning visit by Senator Shuaibu Isa Lau, Taraba North and Speaker of Taraba State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Joseph Albasu Kunini, described Governor Okowa as a testimony to the quality of leaders produced by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Among road projects commissioned, was the 3.30km reconstructed Jesus Saves/Agric/Onweugbuzia alternative roads constructed by CCECC Nig. Ltd in Asaba, Oshimili South Local Government Area.
The other commissioned road project in Oshimili North Local Government Area was 3.1km Okpanam/Asaba dualized carriage road Section II with 6.8km and 8.8mtrs of drainage on either side, originally awarded to Tatrix Engineering Ltd in 2013 and later reviewed and constructed by the Okowa administration in 2018.
Speaking earlier at the venues of the commissioning, Governor Okowa said that the successful completion of the road projects had alleviated the suffering of residents in the areas that had been affected by flooding.
He commended both Asaba and Okpanam people for providing the enabling environment for the execution and completion of the key road projects.
“They used to be bad and difficult terrains. In trying to achieve an underground sewer, I was scared many houses would go under but with the expertise of the contractors the situation was averted.”
In their separate addresses, the Oshimili South Local Government Council Chairman, Hon. Kelvin Ezenyeli and his Oshimili North Council counterpart, Hon. Innocent Esewezie, expressed utmost appreciation and promised to contribute their quota to sustain the ongoing development programme of the Governor Okowa-led administration to attain the stronger Delta agenda.
Also, during the project inauguration at Okpanam, King Michael Mbanefo, Ugoani of Okpanam applauded Governor Okowa for his commitment to service, considering the numerous people-oriented projects across Delta State.

 

By: Albert Ograka, Asaba

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Niger Delta

Police Nab Two Kidnappers, Rescue Two Victims

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The Delta State Police Command says it has apprehended two suspected kidnappers and rescued four victims in two separate operations.
The acting Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the Command, DSP Edafe Bright, made this known in a statement, yesterday in Warri.
Bright said two of the victims, Solomon Otomierewo and Rukewe Urhiephroune, were kidnapped on April 19, 2021.
The police spokesman said Otomoierewo and Urhiephroune, were returning home when they were abducted by four suspected kidnappers in Oghara, Ethiope West Local Government Area (LGA) of the state.
He said the victims were rescued following a tip-off that they had been kidnapped by the criminals.
“On April 19, 2021, at about 03:32 hrs, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Oghara Division, CSP Jimoh Hassan, received information that one Otomierewo of Ibori Road, Oghara and his girlfriend Urhiephroune, were kidnapped by four armed men.
“They were returning to their house when the kidnappers blocked the victims’ unregistered Mercedes GLK car, and took them to a bush along Koko Road.
“On receipt of the information, the DPO swiftly mobilised patrol teams, vigilantes and anti-cultists to the bush.
“The kidnappers, on sighting the headlights of the police patrol vehicles, ran in different directions abandoning the victims, and the police were able to rescue them unhurt.
“The victims’ Mercedes Benz GLK, through technical intelligence, was later traced to Oviore, near Isiokolo in Ethiope East LGA.
“With the assistance of the Army, two of the suspected kidnappers, one Oghenetewhe ‘m’, surname unknown, and Gift ‘m’, surname also unknown, have been arrested and the vehicle recovered from them,” Bright said.

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