Members of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) operating in Bayelsa State have so far shunned the centres designated for the surrender of their weapons in the state, 12 days after the exercise commenced.
Just as the news filtered, Sunday, in Yenagoa that one of its top commanders, “General” Kitikata expected to surrender himself at the Nembe Collection Centre is dead.
Kitikata whose real name is Woki Godswill Ibaralauyou is said to have died as a result of bullet wounds sustained in April during his encounter with operatives of the Joint Military Task Force (JTF).
Until his death, Kitikata operated a major militant camp along Nembe-Brass axis, and some parts of Kula in Rivers State, occasionally executing joint operations with his colleagues in Rivers State, according to security sources.
He was said to be responsible for the heavy casualty incurred by JTF in April, but inside source told The Tide that the militant leader got the wound at Igbomotoru in an ill-wind expedition to attack soldiers guiding a house boat belonging to Daewoo contractors working for Agip at the time.
Kitikata’s health condition became public knowledge, when he could not honour several peace meetings initiated by the state government including the visit of other leaders to Aso Rock early this month.
His boys and allies are said to be in mourning mood and have shunned the arms collection centre in Nembe.
The Tide, however, gathered that a Rivers State based medical doctor who had been treating the militant leader and his group of gun wounds has disappeared as soon as he learnt of his death.
The doctor is said to be embittered over several millions of naira the militants were owing him for his service, and have refused to treat Kitikata at the critical moment that he was most needed.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Ibogette Iniobong confirmed the story but said the details are still very sketchy at the time of reporting.
Bayelsa Deputy Gov Advises Communities On Resolution Of Land Disputes
Communities locked in protracted land and boundary disputes in Bayelsa State have been advised not to resort to armed violence, but rather seek resolution of such matters through the court of law or alternative dispute settlement mechanism.
The state Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, gave the advice at a meeting with community leaders from Ondewari and Korokorosei in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state in Government House, Yenagoa.
Ewhrudjakpo, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mr Doubara Atasi, stressed the need for the people of both communities to maintain the peace and abide by existing court judgements over disputed land property in the area, pointing out that the era of rule by might or physical strength has since been taken over by that of rule of law and therefore, cautioned the people to be circumspect in all their dealings to avoid the wrath of the law.
The Deputy Governor maintained that since judgement had been given over the land in dispute, any party that was not satisfied with the judgement should go for appeal and not seek self-help.
Throwing light on the position of government, Senator Ewhrudjakpo said the present administration would not take it lightly with any community that takes up arms against another in the state for any reason.
On the deployment of mobile policemen to Ondewari and Korokorosei, the Bayelsa number two man explained that the security agencies were sent to forestall breakdown of law and order in the area, following the court judgement.
He urged the Commissioner of Police, Mr Benjamin Okolo, to ensure the continued operations of police personnel in the two communities until normalcy was fully restored.
Also speaking, the Member representing Southern Ijaw Constituency 4 in the state House of Assembly, Hon. MacDonald Igbadiwe, stressed that Ondewari and Korokorosei were brothers and had maintained friendly relationship over the years.
Igbadiwe who thanked the present administration for its genuine concern to foster peace and development in the state, called on the two communities to embrace and live in peace as members of the Olodiama clan.
In his remarks, the Chairman of Southern Ijaw LGA, Chief Kia Ebidoughebofa Nigeria, highlighted the dire consequences of violence, stressing that “There is no positive reward for unnecessary violence and bloodshed.”
The meeting was attended by the paramount rulers, Community Development Committee, CDC chairmen, youth and women leaders of the two communities.
In a related development, the State Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, has spelt it out clearly that no individual or group would be allowed to dethrone any recognized traditional ruler without the approval of government.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo stated this during a reconciliatory meeting with stakeholders of Anyama-Ebeni Community in Sagbama LGA, including the Deputy Leader of the state House of Assembly, Honourable Benard Kenebai, in Government House,Yenagoa.
Stressing the need for people not to take the laws into their hands, the Deputy Governor ordered a factional leader and CDC Chairman of the community to apologise to the Paramount Ruler of Anyama-Ebeni for manhandling and attempting to dethrone the Amananaowei.
C’River Disabilities Commission Bill Passes Second Reading
The Cross River State Disabilities Affairs Commission Bill 2021, has passed the second reading on the floor of the state House of Assembly.
The commission bill seeks to safeguard people with disabilities against all forms of discrimination, while providing them with equal opportunities in all aspects of human endeavour.
Explaining the context and objectives of the bill, the sponsor, Mrs Regina Anyogo, representing Yala 1, said, “the Bill will promote multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary collaborations, that benefit persons with disabilities and encourage networking among the civil society organisations.
“The Bill will also implement and promote policies that encourage persons with disabilities to participate in the social, economic and political life of the society,” she said.
NDDC Operating Against The Law, States Losing – Okowa
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has stated that Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), was operating against the law to the displeasure and detriment of member states for over two years running.
The governor frowned at the unacceptable situation and urged the federal government to constitute a substantive board for the commission without further delay.
Okowa, who stated this at a media interaction in Asaba, said the slow pace of the presidency to constitute the NDDC board was detrimental to the development of the South-South region.
Recalling that the governors of the NDDC states have vehemently made their position known, during the intervening period that the commission has been without a board, he said: “Whatever situation the NDDC is operating with now is unknown to the law of this country.
“We have made our position clear as South-South governors. We have spoken about how we feel and it is very unfortunate that where we are at the moment, it ought not to be so. We have not had a proper board for over two years now and that is not right.
“The more important thing is that states are now being deprived of opportunity of having their representative at the board because, behind the managing director and the executive, you have state representatives who are able to understand that the budget of the NDDC is run in the way it ought to be run, with what is due to each state, getting to them.
“That has not been the sit-uation for quite some time. That is why we have always complained. We were told by the presidency that as soon as the forensic report was submitted, the board will be inaugurated.”
Okowa decried that the NDDC has been regulated on irregularities, lamenting that states have been deprived of their statutory representation due to the inability of the presidency to constitute a board to run the affairs of the commission.
On Asaba Leisure Park and Film Village, he said the project would be ready for inauguration in February, 2022, adding that the delivery timeline for the project was shifted from December 2021 to February 2022 because of fluctuations in exchange rate.
He said many of the equipment required for the leisure park and film village were coming from overseas, and fluctuations in foreign exchange rate have obviously delayed the delivery of the job.
He disclosed that his administration was still pushing hard on the contractor to ensure speedy completion of the job, and affirmed that there was a firm understanding that the contractor should be able to deliver the project by February 2022.
The governor expressed appreciation to the media for being good partners to his administration and said “we have continued to stay on course in our promises to deltans.
“We wish that we would have moved a little faster than we are doing at the moment but unfortunately, our resources are dwindling more and more every day.
“However, we have continued to ensure that the projects we already have ongoing, would be delivered.
“One of the major projects is the Asaba Leisure Park and Film Village. Unfortunately, there is a shift on the date of delivery”.
Continuing, he said work on sectors C1 and C2 of Asaba/Ughelli road dualisation was still on course, and pointed out that the contracting firm, CCECC Nigeria Ltd., had informed him that Asaba to Ogwashi-Uku stretch of the road would be delivered in April, 2022.
“From the latest report that l had from the contracting firm, CCECC Nigeria Ltd., the one running from Asaba to Ogwashi-Uku will be delivered by the end April 2022 in full (both lanes) while the other sector running from Ogwashi-Uku to Ossissa will be delivered at the later part of 2022 or early part of 2023.
“Work is still ongoing in sector A from Ughelli to Ozoro and l believe too that the contractor will finish that job in the early part of 2023”, he added.
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