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Niger Delta

S’South Leaders Task Boundary Commission On Fieldwork

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Four South-South zone states in the country have berated the National Boundary Commission (NBC) over its inability to take decisive actions to resolve inter-state boundary disputes in the region.
Recounting their challenges, the Governments of Bayelsa, Delta, Akwa Ibom and Edo states strongly condemned the lay-back attitude of the commission, calling on it to embark on fieldwork with a view to verifying claims made by parties to border disputes.
This, they said would enable the Commission to settle boundary disputes in the geopolitical region in real time as against its current practice of holding mere seminars and signing of communiques from time to time.
The boundary committees of the South-South states chaired by their respective deputy governors made this known at a 2-day interactive session organised by the National Boundary Commission at the Unity Hall, Asaba in Delta State.
Speaking at the event, the Bayelsa State Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, wondered why the NBC had failed to implement the Supreme Court order of 2012.
The order, according to Senator Ewhrudjakpo, mandates the Commission to properly delineate the boundary between Rivers and Bayelsa especially in regards to the Oluasiri/Soku dispute.
Describing Bayelsa and Rivers people as brothers and sisters, he urged NBC not to allow any party involved in the dispute to slow down its efforts, but rather take practical steps towards resolving the issue in the interest of justice and peace.
“We in Rivers and Bayelsa are brothers more mingled than Delta and Edo. We want our dispute settled as quickly as possible now. Like the Attorney General presented earlier, we don’t have any problem in the borderline of Sagbama and Ekeremor LGAs which were part of the then Mid-western region.
“The only one that came up on that axis was the Beniseide and since the resolution of 2002/2003 that boundary has been quite. The only one that has refused to be quite is this Rivers/Bayelsa Boundary.
“It is quite pathetic in the sense that since 2012 when the Supreme Court gave its judgement, nothing has been done. I think the NBC needs to be a little bit more decisive.
“On issues where court has given an order, ‘go and do this’ and the other party is not forthcoming, what I expect the NBC to do is to go to the ground (field), act as a neutral body, do the right thing and then ask the Federal Government to help you enforce your decision.”
On his part, the host deputy governor, Barrister Kingsley Otuaro, identified lack of will as the cause of NBC’s inability to exercise its statutory responsibility, which he noted, had caused incalculable damage in border communities.
While calling on the Commission to live up to its billing, he expressed readiness on the part of both Delta and Edo state governments to pool resources together for NBC to go into fieldwork and settle their boundary dispute.
Otuaro said, “NBC seem to be lacking the strong will to do what they are statutorily empowered to do. Series of meetings have been held in both states and many communiques signed, some of which the NBC was also part of. But from then till now, we have not seen any tangible results.

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Niger Delta

Diri Presents N311bn 2022 Budget To Assembly

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The Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri last Wednesday, presented a N310.7 billion budget estimate for 2022 to Bayelsa House of Assembly in Yenegoa.
The 2022 appropriation bill christened “Budget of Sustainable Growth’’ is to be funded partly from borrowing and grants from development partners, according to the governor.
During the presentation, Diri said the administration was formulating a 30-year development plan for the state.
He said when the budget becomes law, the government would build critical infrastructures, sustain urban renewal and development, create wealth and job opportunities, build human capital and strengthen agriculture.
“We intend to explore other sources of funding apart from our projected revenue and expected federal allocation.
“We intend also to borrow N45.8 billion to fund 13 per cent of the total budget estimate.
“The expected aid and grants from our development partners is estimated at N24.7 billion, which is approximately eight per cent of the total budget estimate.
“The 2021 “Budget of Growth’’ was based on a benchmark oil price of 38 dollars per barrel of oil and production capacity of 1.8 million barrels per day and an exchange rate of 379 Naira to the dollar.
“Notwithstanding shortfall in our expected revenue inflow and the rise in our internal expenditures, we gave approval to augment payment of new minimum wage to local government workers, primary school teachers and cleared minimum wage arrears.
“The 2021 Budget was framed to give the state a positive outlook and drive it to a genuine path of prosperity after the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic.
“More than 60 per cent of the capital expenditure was allocated to sectors that drive investments, economic growth, improved infrastructure, youth and women empowerment.
“This was achieved through support to trade, entrepreneurial and agricultural activities and sustainable policy formulation and implementation of ICT.
“The education sector is enjoying robust funding, infrastructure upgrade and improved policy implementation.
“We have put machinery in place to establish vocational schools and technical skills training centres to aid the training of our youths and women in skill sets that are of high demand to make them employable,’’ he said.
According to the governor, the 2022 budget breakdown shows capital expenditure of N110.980 billion, Education – N4 billion, Agriculture – N12 billion and Works – N51 billion, among others.

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Niger Delta

CSOs, Others Hold Peaceful Protest In Edo

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Members of the civil society organisations and youths in Edo State on Wednesday joined others across the country to observe the memorial of the #EndSARS protest that rocked the country a year ago.
The Tide source reports that the protest was largely peaceful, as security operatives, comprising officials of Nigeria Police, Department of State Services, DSS, Nigeria Security & Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Edo State Security Network (local vigilante), took over the Museum ground venue of the protest as early as 7.30 am.
The Museum is located at Oba Overamwen Square (otherwise known as Ring Road), in the heart of Benin City, the Edo State capital.
The security operatives were positioned inside the Museum premises and major routes that lead to the park.
Also, security vehicles were parked at strategic positions and entry points into the Ring Road and the State House of Assembly complex.
Other parts of the City also have the presence of security operatives and their vehicles.
Meanwhile, a senior police operative averted what could have degenerated to a clash between security operatives and the protesters, when a civil activist almost exchange blows with local vigilantes who manned the gate to the Museum grounds.
Trouble started when one of the activists attempted to drive his car into the Museum grounds, but was stopped by one of the vigilantes who closed the gates and requested the occupants of the car come down from the vehicle.
This infuriated the CSO member who said he was conveying an amputee victim of #EndSARS to the grounds.
The victim was reportedly amputated after security operatives reportedly rammed into him and others during the protest last year in Auchi, Edo State.

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Niger Delta

Okowa Heads Human Rights Protection Committee

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Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa is leading a committee to ensure that all issues concerning police brutality are addressed.
Senator Okowa, on Wednesday, inaugurated the Committee for the Protection of Human Rights in the state, with a call on citizens to be law-abiding in all endeavours.
Inaugurating the committee, Okowa said that constitution of the committee was part of the recommendations of the Judicial Panel of Enquiry that investigated complaints of police brutality and extra-judicial killings in the state.
He recalled that a year ago, youths in the country embarked on #EndSARS, a protest against police brutality and other issues, adding that the protests shook the foundation of the nation.
“We saw a lot of our youths come out in anger against so many issues as it concerned the nation but particularly against police brutality.
“The #EndSARS has taught us, particularly the police, that we must be civil in our manner of approach while carrying out our work because no man has the right to take the life of another and more so when it is unjustly done.”
The governor said that Delta had remained relatively peaceful and thanked the youths and people of the state for their cooperation in maintaining peace.
He urged the people to live in peace and to trust the security agencies to carry out their job of maintaining peace and security in the state.
The 20 member committee include: Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Isaiah Bozimo: Comrade Ifeanyi Egwunyenga, Commissioner for Youths Development:; Solicitor-General/ Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Mr. Omamuzo Erebe; Commissioner of Police in the state.

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