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Guild of Editors Urges Support For Post Amnesty Programme …Ex-Militants Begin Camping, July

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The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has urged stakeholders in the Niger Delta to support the Federal Government’s post-amnesty programme to maintain stability in the region.

Such support, the guild said, was necessary to frustrate any resurgence of militancy in the oil-rich Niger Delta.

The call was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of the Guild’s sixth All Nigerian conference in Port Harcourt.

Signed by the President and Secretary of the Guild, Messrs Gbenga Adefaye and John Ndukauba, the editors pledged to treat all persons pursuing legitimate demands for justice and equity in the region through legal means with understanding.

They commended President Goodluck Jonathan for signing the Local Content Bill into law and for setting up the Local Content Monitoring Board.

They urged the media to publicise the provisions of the law and the activities of the board, adding that the law provided opportunities for empowerment of Nigerians in the oil and gas sector.

They stressed the need for transparency, accountability and probity in the allocation and use of oil and gas resources.

This, they believed, would engender growth and development and eliminate restiveness in the oil-rich Niger Delta region.

The conference noted the contributions of the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) in ensuring transparency in extractive industries and urged the government to give the agency more powers to sanction defaulters.

It criticised the over-dependence on oil and advised the government to develop other sources of revenue such as solid minerals and agriculture.

It requested the government to take measures to ensure that international oil companies operated within acceptable standards and acquired appropriate technology in enforcing payment of appropriate taxes and royalties.

On the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill before the National Assembly, the editors re-echoed their earlier demand for the passage of the bill to allow people to hold the government accountable.

They called on relevant authorities to take concrete steps to alleviate poverty in the society, noting that “poverty is pervasive across the country”.

Meanwhile, following the revival of the post-amnesty programme, ex-militants, are set to go for rehabilitation next month.

The hint was dropped by Mr Ndutimi Alaibe, Special Adviser to the President on Niger-Delta Affairs, shortly after speaking at the 6th All Nigerian Editors Conference over the weekend.

Mr Alaibe, who had earlier spoken on the theme: “Militancy, Avoiding a Resurgence,” said President Goodluck Jonathan had directed that the scheme be given priority attention following delays in the past months.

He stated that by July, the ex-militants would be taken to a rehabilitation camp, where they would be engaged in non-violence training.

Mr Alaibe, who described the process as ‘transformative’, said the essence of the scheme was to get the ex-militants employable and re-integrated into the society.

Though he did not give full details of how the programme would run, he said they had commenced proper classification and documentation of those to participate in the scheme.

The former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), ruled out the possibility of non-ex-militants participating in the scheme.

“We went to the camp and we talked to them so they know themselves, and we also know those who are militants and those who are not,” he said.

He disclosed that already the ex-militants had started showing enthusiasm to be engaged in the programme. He added that those who are not ex-militants would be trained as well.

His words: “For those who are not militants, they would be involved in a different programme that would be run by other service providers,  oil companies and private sector.”

Alaibe had earlier in his paper recommended the need for more equitable sharing of oil proceeds, in order to avert the recurrence of violence in the future.

For him, the present measures were not sufficient enough to prevent the youths from resorting to violent agitation in the future.

Particularly, “if the economic oppression persists, then militancy would not be eradicated,” he said.

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Buhari Seeks Return To Family Values In Rebuilding Nigeria …Wike, Tambuwal, Other Govs Attend Ikpeazu’s Son’s Wedding

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President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the reason why there were so many problems in the Nigerian society was because of a diminishing emphasis placed on the importance of family values.
Buhari said this, yesterday, at the wedding of Mr. Jachimike Ikpeazu, son of Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu at the International Conference Centre in Umuahia, Abia State.
At the event, the groom wedded his heartbeat, Miss Thelma Chidinma.
The wedding was also attended by the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, Sokoto State Governor, Hon. Aminu Tanbuwal, and several other dignitaries.
Others present at the wedding service that was conducted by the Seventh Day Adventist Church were Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel; Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki; Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri; Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed; Ebonyi State Governor, Engr. David Umahi; and Enugu State Governor, Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.
Also at the event were the immediate past governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi; and National Secretary-elect of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Sam Anyanwu.
Buhari, who was represented at the occasion by the Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Uche Ogah, decried the situation where parents and guardians who should have paid greater attention in inculcating good character in their wards, have abdicated that responsibility.
He sued for a collective effort across tribes and regions towards restoring family values and giving it its rightful place.
“Marriage is family value, character. The reasons why there are issues in the society, today, is because families are broken. When values are enshrined in families, the entire society will be good.”
Buhari charged the couple to build their family on the word of God, have a regular family altar of prayers, and give good attention to building enduring character.
Wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, who was represented by wife of the Ebonyi State Governor, Mrs. Rachael Umahi, told the couple to know that marriage is where love is celebrated.
She urged them to continue in the training given to them by their parents, and learn to love themselves more so that their home can be a blessing and impact positively on others around them.
In his sermon, Pastor B. E. O. Udoh, admonished the couple not to allow their love for each other to diminish.
He further urged them to be tolerant, support each other to become their best, build and cultivate goodly character.
In his remarks, Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu said it was delightful to watch his son take a wife to himself, and prayed God to make their union fruitful.
Ikpeazu expressed gratitude to Buhari and his wife, his brother governors, political associates and friends who attended the event, for honouring him with their presence.

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Insurgents Planning To Attack Military Bases, DSS Alerts

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The Department of State Services (DSS) has issued an alert over planned attacks by insurgents on Ogun border communities and other border communities in Nigeria.
In a letter signed by the State Director of Security, Ogun State Command, M.B. Abdullahi, DSS warned that it has intelligence that the insurgents were plotting to attack military bases in border towns.
The DSS also advised customs and other security agencies in the country to put counter-measures in place to frustrate the plot by the insurgents.
The letter titled, ‘Plans by insurgents to launch attacks on military bases in various border communities’ read, “Available intelligence indicates plans by insurgents and criminal elements to carry out simultaneous attacks on military posts and bases in various border communities across the nation anytime from now.
“In view of the foregoing and the likelihood such attacks not limited to the military personnel only, all law enforcement and security agencies with operational bases at border communities are advised to take note of the above threat and emplace countermeasures with emphasis on personal security of operatives to frustrate the planned attack.”

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PAP Partners NNPC To Sustain Peace In N’Delta

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Towards attaining sustainable peace in the Niger Delta region, the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) have agreed to work together to tackle pipeline insecurity, unemployment and other challenges in the region.
The agreement was reached when PAP’s Interim Administrator, Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (rtd) led a delegation to visit the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Mr Mele Kyari, in Abuja, over the weekend.
In a statement signed by the Special Adviser on Media to the Acting Administrator, Mr Neotaobase Egbe, PAP said the meeting was strategic and in line with the objective of programme to partner with all relevant stakeholders for the full implementation of the amnesty programme.
He said PAP was courting willing partners to have robust synergy to drive the Niger Delta Recovery Plan (NDRP) to fruition.
The statement noted that though PAP was executing its own role in reintegrating 30,000 ex-agitators captured by the Presidency, there was a need to strengthen partnership between sister agencies of government for the sustainable development of the Niger Delta.
He said the NNPC like other institutions of government had roles to play in oil assets redistribution, infrastructural development and environmental remediation.
Dikio said that there was a need to control disruptions in oil production, saying destructive energies could be channelled into productive ventures through re-orientation and sustained advocacy.
He also said that PAP had made efforts to cut down irrelevant trainings and had become intentional about successfully empowering its delegates.
He said trainings over the years had become contractor-driven and were not meeting the beneficiaries’ needs.
Dikio maintained that the PAP was targeting functional businesses that had the capacity to train, employ and mentor delegates into becoming successful business owners.
He said: “For instance, if we have someone that has a commercial poultry farm and we partner with them to train our delegates, they will be employed after their training. In the course of two years and five months they will be taken through the ropes of poultry farming before they are sent out to start their own poultry.
“It is a win-win for everybody. We did the research and we discovered that the cassava plant in Bayelsa needs about 20,000 metric tons of cassava daily, so there is ample opportunity for our delegates to go into that kind of business.
“Again, palm oil when sold in international markets is above $1,000 a ton, and here, we are in the region only focusing on oil and gas”.
Dikio further said there were arrays of businesses the PAP was looking to inject delegates into, adding that exceptional graduates under the PAP scholarship scheme had more opportunities for employment.
In his remarks, the NNPC GMD, Mele Kyari, commended Dikio for the efforts to ensure peace in the Niger Delta, and emphasised the need to sustain the peace through accommodation and inclusiveness of Niger Delta youths.
He bemoaned the inability of the oil industry to fulfil its obligations to the region over the years, saying that it was one of the reasons the amnesty programme had prolonged.
He said: “As we speak today, we have seen a number of increasing incidents of unrest; cases that remind us of the past we don’t want to recollect again.
“Therefore, everything you have said points to the fact that inclusion, support and empowerment for young people particularly in the Niger Delta will bring peace and development to the Niger Delta. No amount of resources available to you will give you peace except there is alignment with the respective players in the space”.
Kyari said the award of licences to investors to begin production on about 57 marginal oil fields within Niger Delta in 2022 was designed to support businesses that originated from the region because most of the beneficiaries from the marginal field programme were indigenes of the Niger Delta.
He said working together would bring lasting peace to the region, explaining that the number of experienced technical people produced from the programme, would easily fill employment opportunities.
He said: “Once you create opportunities and investments return, more employment opportunities will come. I think it is a good thing that we work together, both the amnesty programme and all other actors in this space to bring the lasting peace to the Niger Delta and across our country, where people can benefit because ultimately if we cannot give, there will be nothing to show in another five to ten years, that is the reality that we are in.”

By: Akujobi Amadi

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