The National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Rivers State has condemned in strong terms the continuous protests by some youths and women groups at the headquarters of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in Port Harcourt.
The State Director of the Agency, Mr Andynweye who said this in an interview with newsmen in his office said that the spate of protest being witnessed these days at the NDDC is enough to think that there must be an external sponsorship.
Mr Nweye also said that the agency was disturbed that the protest is coming from just two states out of the nine that made up the commission.
He appealed to those involve to have rethink of their action as the present board of the NDDC inaugurated few months ago needs some time to implement the Niger Delta Development master plan with a view to addressing the issues being raised by the protesters.
According to him, the present board cannot be held responsible for the problems of the region, since it was just inaugurated few months ago.
He however advised the new board to remain focused in the discharge of its duties stressing that with high expectation, people expect a complete paradigm shift in terms of polices and programmes to lift them out of the poverty level in the region. Chief Nweye also said that NOA in the Niger Delta is discussing with the NDDC on how to raise the consciousness of the people through advocacy programme in building strong community governance structure that will ensure peaceful co-existence in the region.
Increase Intervention Fund To Rivers, Commissioner Urges FG
The Rivers State Commissioner for Women Affairs, Dr. Roseline Apawari Uranta, has called on the Federal Government and donor agencies to consider Rivers State as a special case in allocating intervention funds.
Making the call when a delegation of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Cares Coordinating Programme paid a courtesy visit to her in her office, Dr. Uranta said, “your visit, I am informed, is based on the fact that the State Care Coordinating Unit is doing well in service deliverly, hence our State is visited”.
A statement by the Special Assistant (SA) on Media, Publicity, and Protocol to the Commissioner, Elder Omini Ayo-Tamuno said she assured that the State Government under the leadership of Sir Siminalayi Fubara “is committed to the welfare need of our people and is shown in his first 100 days in office.
“The State being the Treasure Base of the Nation, would continue to be hospitable to visitors at all times”.
The Commissioner commended those behind the establishment of the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Stimulus in all the States of the Federation, saying that this had reduced proverty level to an extent.
“We will continue to have increase of people living below the poverty level. The present administration will do all within its power to change the narratives for good”, she said.
In her speech, the State Technical Head of the Cares Coordinating Unit, Mrs Imaonyari Ephraim-George thanked the Commissioner for receiving the delegation within a very short notice.
She noted that among the comity of States, Rivers States had performed creditable well, and “I am not surprised the FCT Office picked the State”.
According to her, the Ministry of Women Affairs, being a major partner of the Project, housed three delivery units which include the Livelihood Grant, the Social Transfer and the Road Maintence.
Speaking later, the Leader of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Mr Uba A. Bala, explained that they are in the State to understudy the operations of the State Unit with a view to improving their office in Abuja.
Mr Bala said it had been a rewarding experience for the three days the delegation was in the State.
Reactions Trail Death Of Over 30 At Illegal Refinery In Ibaa
Reactions are trailing the death of over 30 persons at an illegal oil bunkering site in Ibaa Community in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The Tide learnt that the incident occurred as a result of attempt to setup an illegal refinery at a bunkering site earlier closed down in Ibaa.
Paramount Ruler of Ibaa Community, Eze Wobodo Jonah, expressed surprise over the incident despite intense sensitisation against illegal oil bunkering in the area.
Chairman of Emohua Local Government Council, Dr. Chidi Lloyd, who spoke to newsmen at the site of the incident, said he was shocked over the incident.
He urged traditional rulers in the area to expose criminals in their neighbourhood and alleged that illegal oil bunkering is going on at Obele, Rumuji, Ndele, and Ibaa Communities.
He advised the youths against short cut to wealth, saying, “it does not pay”.
Recall that two pregnant women and others were said to have been burnt to death at an illegal oil bunkering site in Ibaa Community.
A community source also informed newsmen that 26 Support Engineer Regiment (SER – Nigerian Army Engineers) in collaboration with PINL, which is a joint security architecture in charge of pipeline surveillance in the area, along the RoW and its corridor , had embarked on massive clampdown and destruction of illegal refineries in the area.
It was gathered from an indigene who pleaded anonymity that the fire incident occurred as a result of attempt to set up illegal refinery at the said location after the GSA and PINL had previously destroyed the illegal refinery at the same location about two weeks ago.
He further stated that the accident could be linked to fear of a clamp down or arrest as PINL and GSA maintain presence all round the clock especially at night.
Representative of PINL, who spoke to journalists at the scene of the incident said the feedback from some community members revealed that the victims were burnt due to the illegal refining at the location as the illicit business was hurriedly been carried out for fear of the Private Security Contractor (PINL) and GSA.
PINL and GSA from 26 Support Engineer Regiment (SER-Nigerian Army Engineers) has intensified destruction of illegal refinery over the last six months.
PINL representatives who led his team along with some stakeholders to the scene expressed worry despite engaging hundreds of youths in Ibaa community in public enlightenment and on the dangers of illegal refining, they still engaged themselves in the illicit business of crude oil theft and illegal refining.
He further said PINL will not relent in its synergy with stakeholders in the community and relevant security agencies towards sensitising the youths to shun all forms of illegal crude oil refining in the area and also keep the TNP safe.
Speaking, Chief Security Officer of Ibaa Community, Rufus Welekwe, while expressing sadness over the incident, appealed to the youths of the community to stay away from illegal crude oil refining and ensure they engage themselves in legitimate businesses.
Meanwhile, some family members of the affected victims that were burnt to death have expressed sadness over the loss of their loved ones.
Speaking with newsmen, an elder brother to one of the victims, Pastor Henry Iyenatebo, from Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, said his relation is a victim of the incident.
“My relation is lying there as well. I don’t know what happened, because these are not the things I accommodate as a pastor.
“I schooled every person to keep themselves away from such situations but coming to hear that this happened to my own person, I was surprised”, he said.
He said he was in church when calls came that his relative was involved in the incident.
“I was in the church before I got a call that I should come to this community that something was going on.
“I asked what was going on and they said my younger one was lying there helplessly. I asked what happened, they said he went for Kpo fire business.
“He should be between 30-32 years old. Eric Isaac-Okoro is his name. I didn’t have a clue that he was into this kind of business because if I knew, I would have stopped him on time. I’m surprised to see this because that is not how he was brought up. We were trying to train him on welding.
“I have been able to identify him, and the family will do what they can to bury him within available resources”, he said.
A relative of another victim, Mfata Prince, said, “I don’t even know how she came to be part of this. I was just called this morning from Port Harcourt.
“It’s a very sad news. I never knew she was involved in this kind of business. She left our community and moved down to Ibaa to live with her boyfriend from Ibaa. We have been begging her to come back home but she refused.
“This is my first time of coming here. We are yet to identify the body, but according to the boyfriend, she left in the night to come here. That’s how we knew she is one of the victims”.
Speaking further, the CSO of Ibaa Community, Chief Welekwe, lamented that the leadership of the community has been preaching against illegal oil bunkering activities in the community.
“The community chief has been shouting for everybody to stop this because the Federal Government does not want it and we don’t want it in our community.
“Now, it has happened, they have seen the result of what that man is saying. They said some are from Ogbodo Community, some from Rumuji Community, some from Odogha and I can’t exactly know”.
Meanwhile, there are plans to hand over the corpses to their relatives to avoid epidemic in the community.
By: John Bibor
Truck Drivers Chairman Condemns Publication Against LG Boss
The South – South and South – East Chairman of the Heavy Truck Drivers Unit of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Comrade Mohammed Giwa has condemned in strong terms newspaper publication titled, ‘Hausa Community Rejects Obariollor’ s Second Tenure’.
Giwa, the Wammbi of Port Harcourt urged the public to disregard the said publication as it is false, unfounded and emanted from the imagination of a faceless and unknown group.
Giwa reaffirmed the South-South, South-East members for their’ unflinching and unwavering support to the Eleme Chairman, and the Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara.
He said heavy truck drivers-cum Hausa Community at the popular trailer park have often supported the chairman and have no regrets whatsoever in supporting him and the state Governor based on their track records in office.
He described those behind the said publication as real enemies of Eleme and Rivers State.
Giwa challenged the faceless group if they are serious to reveal their names and where they are coming from.
He noted that such elements are envious of the peace the former Governor, Chief Wike has restored at trailer park using the council chairman, saying, Hausa community in the entire State will continue to give full support to the present PDP-led government in the State.
“We are aware they have NIR been happy since the then Governor used the council chairman of Eleme to chase them away. Those who have been covering criminality at trailer park are now happy.
We are in total support of the government for restoring peace at trailer park .We are ready to fight any group which will resist it. South – South, South – East heavy truck drivers under my leadership are in total support of Rivers State Government including the Eleme chairman. Right from the beginning, we have always shown our support to them and we have no regrets whatsoever for it.
We are giving our 100 percent support to the Eleme local government chairman and his future ambition. The Eleme Chairman has been able to everyone along irrespective of tribe, political divide or religion.
We call on anyone who is not happy with it to hiide his face In shame.
I challenge anyone claiming leadership of Hausa community to show his certificate or show up outrightly”.Truck Drivers Chairman Condemns
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