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Niger Delta

Crisis Rocks Bayelsa Traditional Rulers’ Council

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All is not well with the Bayelsa State Council of Traditional Rulers and Chiefs as some members are calling for change of leadership.

The present leadership of the council headed by King Joshua Igbagara was constituted in 2002, by the administration of Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha.

Signs that trouble was brewing in the council became public during a function last week, when King Igbagara in a speech said a traditional ruler had been arrested for embezzling community funds.

He did not however give the name of the traditional ruler, nor elaborate on the issue but The Tide investigation revealed that the said traditional ruler was among those calling for him to step down having exhausted his tenure.

A group of 11 traditional rulers, led by His Majesty, King S. F. Amgbare has written to the state government on the need to appoint a new chairman and deputy for the council, contending that King Igbagara and his deputy King Jonathan Kubo have exhausted their tenure, and were, therefore occupying the seat illegally in the past five years.

According to them Cap C. A. Section 15 of the state chieftaincy law, provides that “the chairman shall hold office for one year and shall be eligible for reappointment for further term of one year and on no account shall a chairman of the council hold office for more than two consecutive terms at a time”.

Following this development, The Tide gathered that the agitating members have been meeting to strategise on how to make the governor appoint a new chairman for the council.

At one of the meetings, the royal fathers exclaimed a white paper which government had earlier issued on the matter, in which it was stated that the office of the chairman should be rotated among the senatorial zones in the state.

The issue which has factionalised the council is now generating bad blood among the traditional rulers, as accusations and counter-accusation trail the council.

The Tide gathered that a traditional ruler from the eastern senatorial axis of the state who is desperate to occupy the stool is the brain behind the crises.

As a result of the disagreement, activities at the council’s secretariat along Hospital road, Yenagoa has been grounded as the aggrieved royal fathers have vowed to frustrate further administration of its affairs by the Igbagara and Kubo team.

Efforts to reach  King Igbagara and his deputy was not successful as none of the staff at the council could disclose their phone numbers, or agree to speak on the matter.

One of the staff who pleaded that his name should not be mentioned said that two previous occupants of the seat left in controversial circumstance, revealing that while one died, the other was struck down by stroke.

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Niger Delta

Eno Sacks Commissioner For Special Duties

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Akwa Ibom State Governor, Umo Eno has relieved the Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr Bassey Okon, of his appointment with immediate effect.
Secretary to the State Government, Mr Enobong Uwah, disclosed this in a statement in Uyo on Monday.
Uwah, who did not give reasons for the commissioner’s sack, directed him to hand over all state government properties in his possession to the Permanent Secretary.
He thanked the former commissioner for the period he served the state, and wished him well in his future endeavours.

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Niger Delta

Check Oil Pollution In N’Delta, Stakeholders Urge Oil Firms

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Stakeholders in host communities have demanded that oil companies be compelled to address adverse health impact of oil exploration in the Niger-Delta.
They made their position known on Monday during a public presentation of the research report on the impact of oil extraction on women’s health in Otuabagi community in Bayelsa.
The Tide’s source reports that Dr Emem Okon, Director, Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre, an NGO, championed the event.
The source also reports that Otuabagi Community within the Oloibiri District in present Ogbia Local Government Area is where crude oil was discovered in commercial quantity in Nigeria in 1956.
Okon said the report highlighted the adverse consequences of oil extraction which had profound negative impact on health and livelihood of women in Otuabagi community.
She said research revealed that several of the participants had hydrocarbons in their blood sample more than World Health Organisation (WHO) threshold and therefore demanded for compensation from oil companies and government.
“There is, therefore, a need to demand for compensation and restoration of polluted sites as well as health actions to keep us alive and to resist death, poverty and injustice”, she said.
She stated that the findings and data would serve as a tool for policy makers, community leaders and all those who strove for a more equitable and sustainable future.
Meanwhile, Dr Bieye Briggs, a public health physician and head of the research team, said from the findings of the report, it was revealed that there was very high and unacceptable level of exposure of the people to hydrocarbons.
Briggs advocated for the Federal Government to carry out health audit in Otuabagi community and other oil producing areas in the Niger-Delta region.
He explained that such audit was with a view to instituting intervention program to halt and reverse the impact of oil exploration.
Similarly, Chief Daniel Amangi, the traditional ruler of Otuabagi community, commended Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre for undertaking the project and urged the Federal Government to focus on developing the community.
Amangi also called for the immediate implementation of the recommendations of the research findings for the overall benefit of the people.
In the same vein, Alagoa Morris, a stakeholder, lamented that life expectancy was lower in the Niger-Delta region than in other parts of the country due to the hazards caused by oil exploration.
He called for compensation to be paid to host communities to ameliorate the health impact of oil extraction in the region.
The ceremony also featured a drama presentation by Otuabagi women and panel discussion on the findings of the report.

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Niger Delta

Court Orders AAU Graduate’s Car, iPhone’s Forfeiture To FG

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A Benin High Court on Monday ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to sell a Toyota Venza 2012 model, recovered from a graduate of Biochemistry from Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma, Osadolor Edomwonyi.
The EFCC charged Edomwonyi with internet fraud.
Delivering judgment, Justice Efe Ikponmwonba, sentenced Edomwonyi to three years imprisonment.
The judge also ordered the forfeiture of an iPhone 13 Promax, recovered from the convict .
He also ordered that balances in his Opay account, Kids Bank account and Access Bank with which he was charged and convicted to the Federal Government through EFCC and the accounts be parmanently closed.
The convict prayed the court for a plea bargain agreement.
Ikponmwonba, however, gave him an option of fine in the sum of N100,000.
Earlier, the EFCC counsel, Mr I K Agwaisaid, said the convict committed an offence contrary to the provisions of Sections 6 and 8 (b) of the advance free fraud and other fraud-related offences Act 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.
The prosecutor said in a plea bargain agreement, Edomwonyi pleaded guilty to the one-count charge of possession of fraudulent documents.

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