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Niger Delta

Compensation Over Oil Discovery Triggers Crisis In Delta

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Crisis looms at Oviri-Olomu community, Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State, over the compensation by Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), for a fresh oil discovery.
Five families, including Edariese Efedjamah, Irevwiruemu, George Akanuota, Onakota and Ashe, claiming ownership of Evue/Igbighogho bushes in the community where oil was discovered, alleged that faceless persons, who claim to be leaders of the community, connived with the company to shortchange them.
At a press conference in Udu, they stated that only the five families should be paid compensation and allowed to enjoy the benefits accruable from the land.
A member of the Edariese Family, Elder A.P. Edariese said: “The five families have been grossly denied their rights to fair compensation for their properties destroyed on the land and denied all payments for loss of use of the land as well as their rights to be paid anything under the freedom to operate, both at the time of preparation for drilling and now that the company has moved into the land for drilling purposes.
“We are equally denied of our rights to job slots.
“The land is not owned by the Oviri-Olomu Community, Individuals and families own the lands. NPDC should respect the five families for decency, reasonable fairness and justice, and allow peace to reign supreme if they want to do business in the land.
“They imported strange names who have no mandate to lead or represent the community for negotiations against the cries of the five families. They refused to hearken to these long calls and cries.
“NPDC is hereby placed on caution, solemnly advised and warned never to do anything with impostors who do not have the mandate of the community to represent the five families in the acquisition of their land by NPDC for the new oil location that’s being developed.”
Edariese noted he and three others were allegedly held hostage at Wellington Hotel in Effurun, Uvwie Local Government Area by a consultant and forced to collect N1,500,000 on behalf of his family
He said: “He threatened that if I love myself, I should collect the money. That if the lords in Oviri-Olomu community know he is dealing with me, he will be in trouble. I should accept the money.
“I accepted the money under duress. I had to sign the cheque. He said my family was fortunate because we got the larger sum and others got peanuts.”
Representative of George Akanuota family, Mr. Shedrack Akanuota, who corroborated the claims of Edariese, said: “Only five families own the land wherein NPDC is currently carrying out drilling works at the moment and not nine as it was mentioned and forwarded to them by some faceless persons.”
“They have sidelined us, yet operation is going on in this land. I do not know on whose permission NPDC has gone to carry out their operation.
“So, if they have negotiated with any group of persons before, they should know that they have negotiated with the wrong persons. NPDC need to correct it now.
“NPDC should be cautious of themselves if they are going into communities for transactions to avoid any loss of lives and properties.
“I want NPDC to take note that they have transacted wrong businesses with wrong persons. They need to correct it.”
A representative of the Irhoremu family, Mr. David Irhoremu, who insisted that only five families owned the land wherein NPDC operates, said: “They are dealing with masquerades, who parade themselves to be representative of the community.
“NPDC is working contrary to the constitution of Oviri-Olomu community. They are operating outside the constitution.
“We want to advise NPDC to retrace their steps so that there will be no bloodshed and there will be no court matters.
“We are not against NPDC operating in our land. It is a welcome development that oil is being discovered in our land. But they should follow due process.
“They should come back to the landlords, there should be an MoU so that there will be peace in the land in the community.”

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School Retracts Statement, Apologises Over Alleged Abuse Of Female Student

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A private secondary school in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, has retracted its statement over the alleged abuse of a female student by an official of the school.
The school, King Solomon Secondary School, has also apologised to the girl’s parents over the incident.
The school’s initial position was that the 16-year-old girl who is in SS3 was indecently dressed to school and had muttered “offensive words” when confronted by the school official.
It had also said a report of the incident posted on Facebook by Celestine Mel, a relative of the girl, was exaggerated.
Mr Mel’s Facebook post has photos of the student with bruises all over her body allegedly inflicted by the official, identified as Ndifreke.
“The charge was that her school uniform was too short, and goes against the Bible, which forms the moral pillar of the school.
“She wanted to strip the child down. The child tried to run away. Ndifreke (the official) descended on her, using every weapon within her reach: cane, stick, planks. From the head to her back, shoulder, thighs, legs, etc,” Mr Mel wrote.
Continuing, he wrote: “There were bumps, blood and bruises. She looked like a lucky survivor, out from bombed-out rubble in a war zone. The head bulged out. The eyes blood-shot. Her skin peeled here and there, lacerated and bleeding. She left the school by foot and in pain, and walked home by foot, several kilometers away.

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Dep Gov Wants MDAs To Boost Bayelsa IGR

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The Bayelsa State Government has charged various revenue generating ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to redouble their efforts in the drive to improve the internally generated revenue (IGR) of the state.
The Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, gave the charge while declaring open the ninth Bayelsa Tax Advisory and Review Committee (TARC) meeting in Yenagoa, recently.
He reminded members of the committee that it was high time they explored new and better ways of generating revenue in order to boost the revenue profile of the state.
He pointed out that the state was not where it supposed to be, in terms of income generation, noting that Bayelsa’s IGR would not rise until better methods were employed.
Ewhrudjakpo, who commended members of the committee for their support and contributions to the implementation of the present administration’s fiscal policies in 2021, implored them to be more passionate about their responsibility this year.
The Bayelsa number two citizen who also doubles as Chairman of the State Tax Advisory and Review Committee (TARC), urged the Committee to scale up efforts in their revenue drive to enable government pay workers’ salaries as and when due without depending on monthly federal allocations.
To achieve this, the deputy governor said, some tough and proper decisions would be taken not only to expand the state tax net but also identify and plug areas of revenue leakages in the system.
He however, assured the law abiding and tax-paying public of the present administration’s readiness to eradicate multiple taxation as part of its investment promotion strategy.
“I want to use this opportunity to thank members of TARC for their support and contributions that took us to where we were last year. But clearly, that is not where we ought to be.
“Although we are not where we used to be, we also are not where we supposed to be as a state in terms of IGR. This therefore means, some more determination as well as passion is required for us to get there.
“If what you know cannot change you, then you have to change what you know. And so, if what we are doing cannot give us the dividends we need, then we need to change what we are doing.
“Until we forage and also explore new avenues, our revenue profile will remain what it is and we can never change. And so, we should not be afraid of daring because without daring, we cannot win.
“We should be seen to be written on the positive side of history that, ‘yes, progress was made by the previous TARC but that better progress was made by this present TARC.
“We still have a lot to do to increase our IGR. We should be able to pay our workers’ salaries as a state with what we generate even though we may not be well resourced as some states in the country,” the Deputy Governor said.

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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Judges, Judicial Staff, Others Extol Chief Judge’s Virtues

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Justices of the Bayelsa State Judiciary and others have commended the Bayelsa State Chief Justice Kate Abiri for her leadership qualities.
The Tide reports that the commendations came on the side line of the 64th birthday celebration of the Chief Judge which held at the Judges’ quarters in Yenagoa, the state capital.
Speaking as Chairman of the occasion, Justice Ken Aganaba in his opening remarks, described Justice Abiri as a woman of excellence known for her brilliance, sagacity and honesty, adding that the Bayelsa Chief bencher was a prudent manager of resources.
He pointed out that the Chief Judge was dependable and have cemented a good working relationship between the bar and the bench as well as with other arms of government in the state.
While thanking God for the enablement given Judicial officers to perform their duties, Justice Aganaba also prayed God to grant the celebrant good health to complete her tenure in the next one year before retirement.
In an exhortation tagged, ‘Benefit of the Lord’, Pastor Amatari Zuofa, advised the living to celebrate God, noting that Justice Abiri has enjoyed good health even at 64 due to her love and service to the Lord and humanity.
“The matters that mattered most are inside us as nobody has ever worked on his or her internal organs. God has been very faithful to everyone. We must fear and serve the Lord, let’s all adore and worship the Lord”, the clergy said.
The Tide reports that the Bayelsa State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Biriyai Dambo, proposed the toast for the Chief Judge’s birthday celebration, wishing her long life and prosperity in health, wealth, wisdom, knowledge and understanding.
Meanwhile in their separate goodwill messages, the duo of the President of the State Customary Court of Appeal, Justice Ayah, and the Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Sayo, as well as the state Chairman, Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), Comrade Keme Dirikebamo and the Yenagoa Federal High Court Judge, Justice Isa Bashiru, described Justice Kate Abiri as a role model who have demonstrated love, care, commitment to duty, saying she has encouraged others to succeed.
They noted that the Chief Judge’s calm disposition has enabled her to forge a good working relationship with the Bar and the Bench and the entire staff of the state Judiciary.
Giving her vote of thanks, the celebrant, Justice Abiri, thanked guests for creating time out of their tight schedules to come celebrate her. She said that her 64th birthday celebration is a ‘dress rehearsal’ to 2023 when she will retire from active service.
Abiri described the work of judges as a sacred one, noting that the judiciary in the state is one of the fastest growing in the country; she thanked God for keeping her alive and expressed gratitude to judges, magistrates, lawyers and staff of the judiciary for their support and show of solidarity for her leadership.
She also lauded her husband, Mr Patrick Abiri, for his understanding as well as the wife of the first Chief Judge of the state, Mrs Ungbuku, retired Justice, Margaret Akpomienmien, Pastor Amatari Doutimi, the district minister of Greater Evangelism World Crusade and other ministers of God for their prayers and support, praying God to bless them beyond their imagination.
Dignitaries present at the occasion included, newly appointed justice, and wife of the Bayelsa State Governor, Patience Ama Diri, Justice Timi Cocodia, Justice I. Eradiri and Justice Eneni Opoko. Abraham.
Also present were, Hon. Justice T.Y Abas, Justice E.T Okara, and another newly sworn-in Justice of the state Judiciary, Christine Omo Enegesi, Hon.Justice Simon Amadou Bowa, and Dame Grace Fiepere, amongst others.

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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