Bayelsa Commissioner Shuns Inquiry On EFCC Arrest
Sylva Opuala-Charles, the Bayelsa State Commissioner for Finance and Budget Planning who last week was granted bail by an Abuja High Court after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned him over financial crimes, Tuesday barred journalists from asking him questions on the investigation .
Dr Opuala-Charles while presenting the state’s 2010 breakdown at the Creek Motel specially ordered that no question should be asked in relation to the EFCC issues.
Journalists selected to cover the presentation were told to ask only three questions which must be outside the budget presentation, a situation that resulted to murmuring and side talks by both media men and other stakeholders invited to the occasion.
The Commissioner and four top officials of the ministry arrested over what the anti-graft agency had termed money laundry and other financial crimes that run into billions of naira.
He was later declared wanted when he failed to show up, however when he eventually presented himself, he was immediately detained and later charged to court.
The budget analysis presentation, was viewed in many quarters as “face- saving’’ especially when it is coming almost six months after it was formally presented to the State House of Assembly by Governor Sylva and was passed into law two months ago.
Speaking to The Tide on phone, a youth activist and leader of a civil society organisation, Mr Nengi James described the presentation as ‘’belated, over due and long expected’’.
According to him, the problem was not breaking down of the budget, but the actual implementation.
‘’For people to feel the impact of the budget, there must be honest and transparent implementation by those in charge, otherwise the exercise as usual will be in vain’’, he declared.
Diri Assures On Collaboration With Airforce …Receives New AOC Mobility Command
Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri,has restated the readiness of his administration to collaborate with the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) to improve security in the state.
Speaking in Government House when he received the new Air Officer Commanding, Mobility Command of the Nigerian Air force, Yenagoa, Air Vice Marshall Ebimobo Ebiowei, Governor Diri said security was top on the agenda of his administration and would be glad to work with the Air Force to make the state more secure.
The Governor lauded the Air force for its contributions to the peace of the state and urged the officers and men not to relent.
He acknowledged that crime cannot be totally eradicated in any society, but that working with the Air Force and other security agencies has helped to reduce crime and criminality in the state.
He recalled the support of the NAF during the 2022 floods, saying the government was appreciative of its effort to ameliorate the suffering of the people though they were also affected.
The state’s helmsman also lauded the security agency for its role in ensuring peaceful elections in the state and urged the personnel to remain apolitical while discharging their duties.
“On behalf of the government and people of Bayelsa State, I formally welcome you to Government House and the state. Let me thank the Chief of Air Staff who appointed you as the AOC in Bayelsa. You are the second son of the soil to head the command.
“I appreciate the Air Force for its efforts during the 2022 floods. Though you were also victims, you assisted the state and other victims of the flood. You showed that beyond security, you are compassionate and we hope to maintain that good relationship with the Command.
“For us, our agenda here is prosperity, peace and justice. Wherever there is injustice, whatever peace that is prevailing is temporary. So we must work on ensuring that there is justice”, he said.
“As I always say, there is no state where you can totally eliminate crime and criminality. Our desire is to bring it down to the lowest ebb.
“Today, Bayelsa remains one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria. We have worked closely with the security agencies and that has helped to reduce crime.
“Thank you for your role during the elections too. In the history of this state, no life was lost for the first time during the elections and we thank you. That was because you were neutral”, he added.
Earlier, Air Vice Marshal Ebimobo Ebiowei said the visit was to formally introduce himself to the Governor following his appointment as the Air Officer Commanding the Mobility Command in the state, and to seek areas of partnership with the Government.
He pledged his readiness and that of his men to cooperate with the State Government to sustain the peace and security in the state.
He recalled that he was one of the pioneer officers when the Command was established in 2011 and that his posting back to the state as the 15th AOC was a home-coming for him.
By; Ariwera Ibibo-Howells,
Delta Governor-Elect Receives Certificate Of Return
The Governor-Elect of Delta State, Chief Sheriff Oborevwori, Wednesday, received a Certificate of Return from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) following his victory at the March 18 poll.
The state INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Rev. Monday Udoh-Tom, presented the certificate at a ceremony in Asaba.
Udoh-Tom said the state did not record any inconclusive election in 2023 general election.
“I am delighted to have you here today to issue the Certificate of Return to those who are successful at the last election conducted on March 18.
“I thank the Almighty God who gave us the strength and wisdom to pilot that election to its conclusion.
“In Delta, we have no inconclusive election”, he said.
Udoh-Tom, while congratulating the winners for victory at the poll, urged them to embrace everybody irrespective of political affiliation.
“Embracing everybody will go a long way in attracting peace and development in the state.
“As we issue you certificate of return today, INEC Delta, people of Delta and Nigerians expect you to lead every member of the state and not to lead political party in the state.
“You are now to govern those who voted for you and those who did not vote for you.
“I have to say this because it is important you know that every person in your constituency belong to you and every person in the state belong to the governor-elect and the deputy governor-elect.
“You have to carry everybody along and if you are able to embrace those who voted for you and who did not vote for you, everybody will be happy and Nigeria will be a better place for all of us”, he said.
In his remarks, Oborevwori, thanked God Almighty for his victory at the poll.
“Our victory is a testament to this fact; it is as comprehensive as it is decisive. The PDP won in all the 17 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the North and South senatorial districts,’’ he said.
Oborevwori said that in Delta central senatorial district, the party won in four out of the eight LGAs.
“But even more significant is our victory in Ethiope East LGA which has eluded the PDP since the current democratic dispensation began in 1999.
“I wish to, once again, appreciate the leader of our great party, Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa, under whose able and wise leadership the PDP in Delta has remained strong and formidable.
“My gratitude also goes to civil servants, retirees, organised labour, youths, professionals, student groups, traditional rulers, religious leaders, artisans, market women and those who laboured in one way or the other for this victory.
“Thank you all for staying the course. I assure you that your labour shall not be in vain”, he said.
The Governor-Elect said in due course, the State Government would unfold a transition committee that would midwife his inauguration on May 29 and implore the people to remain prayerful, peaceful, and law abiding.
The Tide’s source reports that out of the 29 members-elect that was issued certificate of return, two were females.
Police Confirm Killing Of Three Farmers, Kidnap Suspect Arrest
The Police Command in Edo State has confirmed the killing of three farmers by gunmen suspected to be herders in Sobe Community, Owan West Local Government Area of the State.
Disclosing this to newsmen in Wednesday, the command’s Public Relations Officer, SP Chidi Nwabuzor, the Divisional Police Officer at Sobe Divisional Headquarters reported that on March 4, some armed men suspected to be herders stormed a farm settlement in the community and killed the three farmers.
The assailants, however, abandoned the bodies of their victims at the farm settlement.
Nwabuzor identified the deceased as John Udo, Lucky Euze and Pastor Ogbe Unuoha, whose bodies, he said, had been recovered by the police and deposited at a mortuary.
Investigation into the matter, the police spokesman said, was ongoing, assuring that the perpetrators would be arrested and brought to justice.
Also, the command has also confirmed the arrest of a suspected kidnapper at Okada junction in Ovia North East Local Government of the state.
The kidnap suspect, Nwabuzor said, was apprehended by the command’s rapid response and intelligence unit on March 28.
He said the police, while acting on credible intelligence, arrested the 35-year-old suspect at Okada junction and recovered one local cut-to-size gun from him.
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