The safety of the environment is one of the major challenges of the times, which nations have tried to tackle spiritedly because of its far-ranging consequences on sustenance of life on the planet.
Since the Rio Conference on the environment in 1992, which held under the auspices of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), Nigeria has braced to the challenge of tackling some of the challenges head-on.
These efforts notwithstanding, observers say that the nation’s environmental problems are still very visible, considering the level of pollution and land degradation in parts of the federation.
According to the Minister of Environment, Hajia Hadiza Mailafia, “the nation’s environment has suffered extensive damage arising from human and natural causes”.
Environmentalists specifically point to the high level of water and air pollution, gully erosion, desertification, deforestation and related human activities, which had seemingly defied efforts at redemption.
Besides these localised problems, there have also been global concerns over the depletion of the earth’s ozone layer, which resulted in increased global warming.
Toxic waste dumping has also been a major problem for the developing countries which were always victims of such nefarious act.
The problems, nonetheless, have persisted despite the provisions of the Basel Convention, which aims at reducing the movements of hazardous wastes between national borders, especially from developed to underdeveloped countries. Nigeria ratified it in 1991.
Only recently, the 8th National Council on Environment met in Kaduna, to appraise Nigeria’s efforts at tackling problems related to the environment.
Its theme was: “Transforming the Nigerian Environment”.
At the meeting, Mailafia and other stakeholders said that unless urgent rescue mission was embarked upon, the extensive damage to the nation’s environment would persist.
Before now, Nigeria was ranked 126 among the 149 countries on the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) in 2008.
This ranking, however, has deteriorated to the extent that Nigeria has been overtaken on the table by many African nations which were hitherto behind it.
“This has placed Nigeria behind other African countries like Mauritius, Egypt, Ghana, South Africa and Kenya,” Mailafia bemoaned.
The minister underscored the need for stakeholders to reduce the erosion of the nation’s coastline from 835 kilometres to 250 kilometres by 2013, as part of efforts to meet the target of MDGs in 2015.
“It is a responsibility to be shared by all three tiers of government as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution”.
Analysts say that deforestation and forest degradation are other areas of critical concerns in environmental protection, especially as Nigeria cannot yet boast of the coverage of 25 per cent of land mass coverage by vegetation, as recommended by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).
Mailafia called for a holistic and coordinated approach at combating this aspect of environmental problem, lamenting that the nation’s total forest reserves had dropped from 10 per cent in 1977 to about six per cent currently.
Gov. Patrick Yakowa of Kaduna State on his part said it was time for pragmatic steps to be taken against every actions of man that were inimical to the preservation of the environment.
He said that Kaduna State presently faced challenges as illegal mining, industrial pollution and solid waste management. He called on the Federal Government to come to its aid through the establishment of a central effluent waste treatment facility.
The Director-General, National Environmental Standards Regulations and Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Dr Ngeri Benebo, said that environmental qualities were on the decline in Nigeria.
In her presentation entitled: “Role of Environmental Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement in the Attainment of Sustainable Development”, Benebo advocated heavy fines for violators of environmental laws.
She said that the paltry fines paid by violators of environmental laws, coupled with the delay in the handling of environmental cases in courts largely contributed to such decline.
The director-general further charged Nigerians to be environmental watchdogs, stressing that sustainable environment were a collective responsibility.
In an apparent response to some of these challenges, some institutional frameworks have been evolved by the Federal Government, all geared towards a sustainable development, in realisation of the fact that much of climate change was linked to human activities.
For instance, the Federal Ministry of Environment recently launched the Automated Web-Based Flood Early Warning Systems (WEBFEWS), to check and manage floods across the country.
Director, Erosion, Flood and Coastal Zone Management in the ministry, Mr Adekunle Oshikoya, said that the system’s capacity to forewarn on floods raised the prospects of better management of floods in the country.
According to him, the Federal Government was making efforts to install WEBFEWS in all major catchments and coastal areas of the country that were vulnerable to flood.
His deputy, Dr Moronkeji Oyeleke, said that eight persons — four each from his ministry and the Water Resources Ministry — had been trained in the U.S. on the handling of the facilities.
Government’s perception has been that a clean, reliable, secure and competitive energy supply mechanism was of critical concern.
Following this realisation, the ministry has commenced the construction of “Abuja Green City with Zero Emission’’ in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Coordinator, Renewable Energy of the Ministry of Environment, Mrs Bahijjahtu Abubakar, described the project as being the first in Africa, with a potential to reduce Greenhouse gas emission and thus boost the nation’s Voluntary Emission Reduction (VER).
“It will be the first in Africa and second in the world after Masdar city in United Arab Emirates. It is low-carbon development, using a combination of local electricity generation, improved insulation and energy efficient devices for apartments. ’’
She said that the project, which would be sited between Mpape and Bwari towns in Bwari Area Council and the city, would sit on an estimated 2,000 hectares of land.
Besides, she disclosed, the ministry recently distributed about 150 Solar Kits for use by barbers, hairdressers and restaurant operators in rural areas of the country, to tackle poverty and boost the nation’s Carbon Credit – a monetary incentive from the United Nations Framework Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC).
Mrs Abubakar added that additional 500,000 kits were expected by October, for distribution to subsequent batches of beneficiaries. She said that the project was supported by international donors.
Moreover, she said that her ministry was executing a 50 mega watts solar plant and a 2,000-unit energy efficient scheme in Kaduna, which were both aimed at addressing perennial power outages.
Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu, an environmentalist, lamented that the country had not made the expected progress in environmental management since over five decades of independence.
“There are no clear standards on ground to address environmental issues such as waste disposal and other forms of environmental management.
“When there are no standards, it then becomes difficult to measure your rate of progress or decline. “
He alleged corrupt practises in matters related to the conduct of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which in turn impacted negatively on the nation’s economy.
Nwagwu tasked governments at various levels to address desert encroachment, erosion, air and water pollution, as well as environmental degradation, which bred restiveness in the Niger delta region.
Dr Morufat Balogun, Dept. of Crop Protection and Environment, University of Ibadan, said that Nigeria has made progress in environmental management though the pace was slow.
Balogun called for increased awareness programmes on environmental issues at all levels, so as to sensitise the populace on climate change.
She particularly tasked government to ensure adequate monitoring and evaluation of environmental projects across the country, while the grassroots should also contribute towards improving the environment.
Observers say that the recent release of N11.5 billion by the Federal Government, through the Ecological Fund Office (EFO) for the remediation of 15 erosion sites and flood control projects in the South East zone is a salutary gesture.
They expressed hope that more interventions as this would come for most parts of the federation, which have suffered immense environmental degradation.
Oluyole writes for News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Boundary Commissions And Peaceful Co-Existence (II)
This is the concluding part of the article published on Wednesday August 3, 2022) Rivers State is one state
that is proactive on the issues of boundary disputes because more often than not, disputes arising from boundary have degenerated to crisis situation with colossal loss of lives and property.To address boundary disputes in Rivers State, the State Boundary Commission (Establishment) Act, 2006 which empowers the Deputy Governor of the State to serve as the Chairman, was established. The Act also makes provision for other statutory members to serve in the commission. According to the official website of the New Rivers State on Boundary matters, the State Boundary Commission is empowered by the act to carry out the following thirteen functions:
“To deal with inter and intra-Local Government Boundary disputes within the State; to define and delimit inter and intra-Local Government Area or Area Council Boundaries in accordance with the delimitation instrument or document established for that purpose; to liaise with the zonal liaison officer of the commission in the State and the Federal; To identify and intervene in areas of potential disputes in the State; to hold meetings at least once in every quarter, to ensure maintenance of peace and order in the border areas; To liaise with the State Boundary Commission of neighbouring States with a view of taking joint measures that shall promote good inter-community relationship; to arrange with other State Boundary Committees for joint utilisation of shared resources and facilities along their common borders.
Others include; to encourage and support peace organs within the State for the purpose of promoting peace and harmony between communities involved in boundary disputes; to monitor the activities of the Local Government Boundary committees within the State, and deal with disputes which cannot be settled by the Local Government Boundary committees; to evolve measures for joint utilisation of amenities along Local Government Boundary within the State; to encourage negotiated settlement of boundary dispute in preference to litigation; and to carry out awareness and enlightenment campaigns among the people in the State on the essence of boundaries in order to foster peace and harmony among the people living along boundary lines”. Before the inception of the present administration in Rivers State, boundary disputes accounted for majority of the crises in the State.
Consequently, the present administration headed by Chief Nyesom Wike, through the Office of the State Deputy Governor, Dr Mrs Ipalibo Harry Banigo, has left no stone unturned in ensuring that communal and local government areas boundary disputes are promptly addressed. The State Boundary Commission interfaces with Communities and other stakeholders that are enmeshed in crisis through regular meetings.
The Commission set up Technical Committees to consider critical areas, hold meetings with those affected and submits their findings/report to the State Boundary Commission who makes recommendation to the State Governor based on the report of the committees inaugurated to look at the issues in dispute. No doubt in a determined efforts to maintain peace in the State, the present administration has committed so much money into this project. This is because the government believes that peace is sacrosanct and a sine qua non for holistic development.
Dr. Ipalibo Harry-Banigo, whose office is saddled with the responsibility of handling boundary matters has kept faith with the confidence reposed in her. And she has proved beyond reasonable doubt that she is intentionally and passionately committed to the resolution of boundary related disputes. Some of the intra-State disputes under consideration, according to information obtained are: Barako/Nweberra, two border communities in Ogoni ethnic nationality. A technical committee to demarcate the boundary of Barako and Nweberra Communities in line with the Supreme Court Judgement was set up on 18th of August, 2016 by the State Boundary Commission. The technical committee was headed by HM King Kaleh Obuge and its report was presented to the Rivers State Boundary Commission on the 8th of June, 2017. The technical reports after due consideration by the commission were retrieved by the technical committee for amendments. The reports were resubmitted on the 1st of August, 2019 for consideration.
Bukuma/Tombiaare Communities in Degema Local Government Area have incurred human and material losses from border related crises even with subsisting competent judicial pronouncements. The Bukuma and Tombia boundary dispute also received consideration by the Rivers State Boundary Commission. A technical committee was set up to demarcate the boundary in line with the Supreme Court Judgement in Suit No. SC/97.1919 using plan Nos. SL/25/74 and UR/433/74 as a guide. However, the Technical Committee found it difficult to demarcate the boundary because a point identified on the footpath cannot describe the entire length of the boundary. The Committee, therefore, recommended that a Dispute Resolution Committee be set to negotiate an acceptable boundary. The committee inaugurated on 11th February, 2016 was headed by HM. King Dandeson D. Jaja, Jeki V to look into the dispute as recommended by the Technical Committee.
The committee however, could not reach an amicable settlement and consequently recommended that the two communities should return to the Supreme Court for proper interpretation of the judgement, The two communities were made to enter into an undertaking to keep the peace, among others. A recommendation was also made to the Governor for the State Government to acquire the area in dispute for the purpose of development project. Tema and Ifoko Communities in Asari Toru Local Government Area were also locked in a protracted land dispute. The Boundary Commission inaugurated a technical committee on 10th May, 2018. The Committee was headed by Pst. Paulinus Nsirim, then Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Information. It submitted its report on the 20th of December, 2018. The Tai/Ogu-Bolo (Norkpo/Ogu). The Norkpo is a community in Tai Local Government Area while Ogu is headquarters of Ogu/Bolo Local Government Area. This inter -Local Government Area Boundary dispute of Norkpo/Ogu had a Technical Committee headed by Chief Dr Silas Eneyo. The committee was inaugurated on 14th September, 2017, to resolve the dispute. A technical committee also headed by Chief (Dr) Silas Eneyo was inaugurated on 13th October, 2016 and re-inaugurated on the 22nd February 2018 to consider the Eleme/Oyigbo Boundary Dispute.
The Committee has concluded its assignment. For Obete/Seme-Leuku Boundary Dispute, the Rivers State Boundary Commission, set up a technical committee on the 12th of April, 2018. The committee was headed by Chief Sir Fynface Ihunwo JP. The committee concluded its assignment and submitted its report to the commission on the 20th of December, 2018.
Another boundary dispute that was considered was that of Oyigbo/Tai (AfamUkwu in Oyigbo Local Government Area and Korokoro community in Tai Local Government Area). A Technical committee was set up on the 13th of October 2016, to resolve the dispute. The committee chaired by Chief Sir Fyneface Ihunwo submitted its report on the 23rd of February, 2017 with a recommended boundary for demarcation. No doubt the Rivers State Boundary Commission under the leadership of the State Deputy Governor, Dr Mrs Ipalibo Harry Banigo has intentionally and consistently worked to ensure the resolution of the boundary disputes to keep the peace. Other States’ Boundary Commissions are doing their best to live up to their purpose of creation, but their best may not have been good enough, hence the cases of incessant violence culminating in loss of lives and property.
Local government area chairmen should ease the burden of disputes resolution on State Boundary Commissions by constituting the Local Government Boundary Committee in their domain. Dr Hamzat, of Lagos State was right for making the clarion call for local government areas to inaugurate the committees. Another crux of the matter is the status of technical committee on matters already decided by courts of competent jurisdiction, even the Supreme Court with clear judgement. Do technical committee have the locus to set aside and make recommendations which pre-suppose a setting aside of the subsisting judgement of court of competent jurisdiction as alleged by a people of Aguleri in their dispute against Umulere? An effective and functional boundary committee at the national, state and local government levels holds the wands for peaceful resolution of boundary disputes if matters were considered dispassionately, with the fear of God and without favour.
By: Igbiki Benibo
Boundary Commissions And Peaceful Co-Existence
Literally, “boundary disputes” which is conflict over how to draw border lines; or “territorial dispute” which covers conflicts over larger tracts of land or water have been a pain in the neck of many States and communities in the country.
In fact, boundary disputes account for a significant proportion of conflicts, and wars between Communities and States with attendant loss of lives and properties.
Boundary and territorial disputes are products of materials and/or cultural claims, sometimes they may also emerge as a result of fundamental changes in domestic and international environments.
In certain circumstances, boundary and territorial disputes may evolve into geographical power rivalry and competition.
To stem the unpleasant challenges that characterise boundary disputes, the Federal Government established the National Boundary Commission to look into disputed areas. And the commission was replicated in the other two tiers of Government: State and Local Government Areas.
According to the Director – General of the Commission, Mr. Adamu Adaji, the National Boundary Commission has intervened in 86 interstate boundary disputes presently with a determination to create a peaceful atmosphere within the boundary corridors.
“The Director – General who made this known at a Forum in Abuja also reiterated the commission’s commitment to ensure a peaceful boundary regime among communities, States and between Nigeria and its neighbouring countries”.
“We have been intervening in them (boundary disputes), and we can say we have been able to resolve about 30 of these cases though in some cases not fully.”
The resolutions may be partly, some grey areas are still pending and we will look into them as we make progress.
Several States and communities are locked in age-long boundary conflicts that have resulted in loss of lives and properties. Some border communities in disputed areas have been displaced and the inhabitants refugees.
In the words of Adamu Adaji, “there are so many other boundaries that are still in dispute and we are trying our best to ensure that these disputes are reduced to the barest minimum by trying to resolve them as quickly as possible”.
He listed the interstate disputed boundaries flashpoint as: Between Abia and Cross River, Abia and Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Ebonyi, Benue and Taraba, Benue and Ebonyi, Ebonyi and Enugu, Anambra and Kogi, Anambra and Abia.
While disclosing the commission’s efforts to show limits through its Integrated Boundary Management System, Adaji emphasised the need to demarcate the boundaries physically on ground to become visible.
According to him, the definition and demarcation of these boundaries physically on ground is important so that it can be very visible.
“Our aim is to ensure we have a very peaceful boundary regime to have people appreciating boundaries for what they are: there are near administrative arrangements to show limits”.
“Over the years, we have been trying to define these boundaries in such a way that it can be understood but for people to appreciate it properly; it has to be physically established on ground”.
“We have an integrated System of management of these boundaries and at the Federal level is the National Boundary Commission, boundary committees at the State and Local Government levels to determine the local government boundaries”.
“They should work in synergy towards establishing and determining our boundaries and resolving all boundary issues that may arise.”
On the cooperation of States to the activities of the National Boundary commission, the Commission’s helmsman said, “The states have been cooperating so far but not without some obstacles.
There are some uncooperative attitudes from time to time occasioned by the communities’ resistance to some of our activities because of their wrong perceptions of what boundaries really should be. So, we try as much as possible to sensitise these communities through the state boundary committees for them to buy into our activities and appreciate the extent and essence of boundaries, generally”,
On the basis for effective, and result -oriented demarcation, the Director – General stated that the commission relied on legal instruments inherited from the colonial masters, records, gazettes, treaties, agreements, maps, chats, inscriptions among others to define the boundaries.
According to him, “where some of these instruments are deficient, we resort to the principle of ground to paper.
It is a principle we had to create whereby we go on ground and rely on the communities and the states to show us what is agreeable.
We take it from the ground and transfer it to paper, try to make recommendations, analysis and description for the government to accept as a boundary between affected communities and States, as the case may be”.
However, a conflict resolution therapist, Dr. Soibim MacGregor commended the essence of the creation of the Boundary Commission. He expressed disappointment on the Commission’s lack of will to enforce boundary demarcation and adjustment in as some cases.
According to MacGregor, the commission seem to not have substantial independence from the government as those close to government involved in boundary influence the commission to do their bidding.
“Another issue that seems to dent the credibility of the Commission is the covert move to work against subsisting judgements of competent courts of law.
“No Technical Committee on Boundary dispute nor Boundary Commission has the locus to make recommendation or act in any manner that is repugnant to the judgement of any competent court in Nigeria on a disputed area.
“But, in some cases because of corruption or interests some boundary commissions have taken decision, made recommendation that undermines court judgement. In fact, when a matter is in court it is subjudice and contempt for the commission to act on such matter,” he said.
He decried what he described as crisis situation arising from the Commission’s lack of will to address dispute because of interest or financial inducement, even in the face of substantial facts on the matter.
The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides for the creation of Local Government Boundary Committees, most local governments have no boundary committees.
The unfortunate situation cuts across most States of the Federation. The absence of the functional committee at the Local Government level has heightened the challenges associated with boundary disputes in Local Government Areas.
Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat decried the absence of functional committees to curb the incessant cases of communal clashes.
While stressing the importance of the National Boundary Commission while receiving a delegation of the commission on a sensitisation and advocacy visit to the State, Hamzat said creating boundary committees at the Local Government levels would aid easy identification of boundaries and go a long way in attending to communal boundary matters before they degenerate into crisis.
“There is no need for communal clashes if all States and Local Government Areas in the country know their boundaries”, Dr. Hamzat said.
He stressed the need for a functional pillar emplacement on interstate boundaries by the commission for proper identification to stop communal clashes among States.
On the Rivers and Imo States boundary, the Director – General of the commission, Adamu Adaji said the Commission had already commenced field work on the border communities of the two States following the judgement of the Supreme court on ownership of 17 oil wells located in boundary communities between the two States.
The National Boundary Commission had in the Nigeria Administrative map, 10th, 11th, 12th and other maps delineated the two communities in which the 17 oil wells were located in Imo State.
But Rivers State citing decree No.14 of 1967, Decree No.12 of 1976, the White papers/conclusion of the Federal Military Government on the Irikefe and Nasir Boundary Commission/Boundary Adjustment Commission, amongst others claimed ownership of the disputed communities.
Some of the local government areas in Imo and Rivers being affected by the field work, according to the Director – General are: Oguta, Ohaji/Egbeme, Owerri West, Ngor-Okpala, Ndoni, Emuoha, Ikwerre, Etche, Egbema, respectively.
“They will pass through the affected local government areas of Oguta, Egbema and Ngor-Okpala in Imo State, and in Rivers State will be Egbema, Ndoni, Emohua, Ikwerre and Etche”, he said.
Boundary related disputes are identified as one of the causes of deep seated resentment, crisis and wars among border Communities and States across the country. The Aguleri and Umuleri boundary disputes, the protracted border dispute between Ebonyi and Enugu States communities that have resulted in occupation of the disputed areas by the Nigerian Army, the Ebonyi and Cross River, etc are instances where development has stalled as a result of absence of peace.
Recently, about 15 bodies were recovered as Benue and Ebonyi communities located at the boundaries clashed over farmland.
According to media reports, the Ojiogu and Okpochiri Ukwagba Ngbo in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State suffered loss of properties worth millions of naira, “Many people were found dead, many missing and injured”.
Similarly, Effuim and Ezza-Effium in Ohaukwu Local Government Area have also claimed many lives and created a refugee situation.
Unconfirmed reports said at least four persons were killed and over five houses were burnt.
To address boundary disputes in Rivers State, the State Boundary Commission (Establishment) Act, 2006 which empowers the Deputy Governor of the State to serve as the Chairman, was established.
The act also makes provision for other statutory members to serve in the commission. According to the official website of the New Rivers State on Boundary matters, the State Boundary Commission is empowered by the act to carry out the following thirteen functions:
To deal with inter and intra-Local Government Boundary disputes within the State; To define and delimit inter and intra-Local Government Area or Area council Boundaries in accordance with the delimitation instrument or document established for that purpose; To liaise with the Zonal Liaison officer of the commission in the State and the Federal; To identify and intervene in areas of potential disputes in the State; To hold meetings at least once in every quarter, to ensure maintenance of peace and order in the border areas; To liaise with the State Boundary Commission of neighbouring States with the view of taking joint measures that shall promote good inter-community relationship; To arrange with other State Boundary Committees for joint utilisation of shared resources and facilities along their common borders; to encourage and support peace organs within the State for the purpose of promoting peace and harmony between communities involved in boundary disputes; To monitor the activities of the Local Government Boundary committees within the State, and deal with disputes which cannot be settled by the Local Government Boundary committees; To evolve measures for joint utilisation of amenities along Local Government Boundary within the State;
To be cont’d.
To encourage negotiated settlement of boundary dispute in preference to litigation; And to carry out awareness and enlightenment campaigns amng the people in the State on the essence of boundaries in order to foster peace and harmony among the people living along boundary lines.
Consequently, the present administration headed by Chief Nyesom Wike, through the Office of the State Deputy Governor, Dr. Mrs. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, has left no stone unturned in ensuring that communal and local government areas boundary disputes are promptly addressed through meetings with affected communities and other stakeholders, setting up of Technical Committees to consider critical areas and making recommendations to the State Governor.
Dr. Banigo, whose office is saddled with the responsibility of handling boundary matters has kept faith with the confidence reposed in her. And she has intentionally committed to the resolution of boundary related disputes.
Some of the intra-State disputes under consideration, according to information obtained are: Barako/Nweberra.
A technical committee to demarcate the boundary in line with the Supreme Court Judgement was set up on 18th of August, 2016. The committee was headed by HM King Kaleh Obuge and its report was presented to the Rivers State Boundary Commission on the 8th of June, 2017. The technical reports after due consideration by the commission were retrieved by the technical committee for amendments. The reports were resubmitted on the 1st of August, 2019 for consideration.
Bukuma/Tombia boundary dispute also received consideration by the Rivers State Boundary Commission. The technical committee setup to demarcate the boundary in line with the Supreme Court Judgement in Suit No. SC/97.1919 using plan Nos. SL/25/74 and UR/433/74 as a guide found it difficult to do so because a point identified on the footpath cannot describe the entire length of the boundary and therefore recommended that a Dispute Resolution Committee be set to negotiate an acceptable boundary. The committee inaugurated on 11th February, 2016 was headed by HM. King Dandeson D.Jaja, Jeki V to look into the dispute as recommended by the Technical Committee.
The committee however, could not reach an amicable settlement and consequently recommended that the two communities should return to the Supreme Court for proper interpretation of the Judgement, even as they were made to enter into an undertaking to keep the peace, among others.
The Tema/Ifoko Communities in Asari Toru Local Government Area Technical Committee was inaugurated on 10th May, 2018. The Committee was headed by Pst. Paulinus Nsirim, then Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Information. It submitted its report on the 20th of December, 2018.
The Tai/Ogu-Bolo (Norkpo/Ogu) Boundary dispute Technical Committee headed by Chief Dr. Silas Eneyo was inaugurated to resolve the dispute on 14th September, 2017.
A technical committee also headed by Chief (Dr) Silas Eneyo was inaugurated on 13th October, 2016 and re-inaugurated on the 22nd February 2018 to consider the Eleme/Oyigbo Boundary Dispute. The Committee has concluded its assignment.
For Obete/Seme-Leuku Boundary Dispute, the Rivers State Boundary Commission, set up a technical committee to resolve the disputes on the 12th of April 2018. The committee was headed by Chief Sir Fynface Ihunwo JP, the committee concluded its assignment and report submitted to the commission on the 20th of December, 2018.
Another boundary disputes that was considered was that of Oyigbo/Tai (Afam Ukwu in oyigbo Local Government Area and Korokoro community in Tai Local Government Area). A Technical committee was set up to resolve the dispute, on the 13th of October 2016. The committee chaired by Chief Sir Fyneface Ihunwo (JP) submitted its report on the 23rd of February, 2017 with a recommended boundary for demarcation.
No doubt the Rivers State Boundary Commission under the leadership of the State Deputy Governor, Dr Mrs Ipalibo Harry Banigo has intentionally and consistently worked to ensure the resolution of the boundary to keep the peace.
Other States Boundary Commissions are doing their best to live up to their purpose of creation but their best may not have been good enough, hence the cases of incessant violence culminating in loss of lives and properties.
Another crux of the mitter is the status of technical committee on matters already decided by courts of competent jurisdiction, even the supreme court with clear judgement.
Do technical committee have the locus to set aside and make recommendations which pre-suppose a setting aside of the subsisting judgement of court of competent jurisdiction as alleged by a people of Aguleri in their dispute against Umulere?
An effective and functional boundary committee at the national, state and local government levels holds the wands for peaceful resolution of boundary disputes if matters were considered dispassionately, with the fear of God and without favour.
Attack On Odili, Wike, Sim By Media Hirelings: A Bare-Faced Insult On Rivers People
We read with consternation the ranting and bare-faced insult on Rivers people by one media hireling, David Oguzierem, who has elected to attack some respected Rivers leaders, which include former Rivers State Governor, Dr. Peter Odili, Governor Nyesom Wike and the state Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Sir Siminialayi Fubara.
Unfortunately, his attempt of political revisionism backfired with his poor sense of history. He raised an interesting narrative of Rivers political sojourn since 1999 to justify the peanuts he is being fed with by Lucifer.
We pity him because he has just stoked up a raging fire that would consume him and his sponsors. Perhaps, David completely forgot the wisecrack of the English man that admonished those living in glass houses not to throw stones. I certainly knew he would forget, after all, he just forgot a short space of political history in a moment. He truly has a short memory or we guess his masters weren’t smart enough to tutor him.
In any case, we shall spank him like the poor school boy who is completely ignorant and refused to learn by observation. Since he picked the fight, he shall be paid in greater equanimity without qualms.
By his warped narrative, David has made his reader to believe that Rotimi Amaechi is the canonised saint of the Rivers political journey since 1999 and castigated Dr. Odili, a man who picked Amaechi from the gutters, washed, cleaned and gave him the platform that pulled him out of the dungeon of poverty till date. David, indeed, forgot so soon that Amaechi (his paymaster) was an unapologetic loafer with indescribable low life and morally deficient, which of course, reflected immensely during his stead as the governor of Rivers State.
In a pointblank response to David’s uncouth rantings, the same Odili he called names had landmark accomplishments like Rivers Independent Power Projects built at Eleme, Trans-Amadi, Omoku and Ahoada, which at the twilight of Amaechi’s administration, he sold to his business cronies at a paltry sum and was never found in the financial records of the state.
What about the Olympia Hotel? I believe David will pretend not to know about all these. Why would he? Let him know that his master sold the hotel to his crony as a place holder. Has David not also heard about the transferred $50million of Rivers money to same person that he now projects to Rivers people as the best candidate to govern them? If he pretends not to know, let me inform him that, both his canonised saint Amaechi and his man Friday are on trial for the obvious financial profligacy that occurred during his tenure.
We certainly believe that David wouldn’t also know that Amaechi’s administration witnessed the worse project conception, planning and execution with some abandoned till date and others glaringly standing as white elephant projects. Instances abound like the failed monorail project, which over N60billion Rivers money went down the drain and the phantom Karibi Whyte Hospital, which contract was awarded, contract sum paid and no sand or cement found on site. Okay, let’s be moderate with the Mother & Child Hospital contract awarded by Amaechi, sum paid and was left on ground level.
With these insight, David should now know that his ranting and warped narrative to re-invent the wheel of history was a direct affront on Rivers people. In fact, he should apologise to Rivers people for such an audacious insult to ever think of selling such a counterfeit character as a candidate to Rivers people. Was it to justify the filthy lucre he got from Lucifer?
Anyway, it is very obvious that David is grossly ignorant of events in Rivers State and his folly has just brought some sad reminders of things that we have almost let go. What an affront and he chose to canonise his master as a saint, though, such is no longer strange with the All Progressive Congress (APC), if they can easily ordain Bishops of Agbado in a jiffy without recourse to morality and good conscience. They have no shame, even when the nation is collapsing under their direct watch.
However, we have a duty to point out to David, in case he pretends not to see that today on Wike’s stewardship in the state over nine flyovers have been added to the aesthetic ambiance of the Port Harcourt city, one almost on completion stage and two more coming on stream before the administration wind down. Same man he referred to his time-tested projects as sand and cement has changed the entire landscape of Rivers State either building new roads or expanding old ones. We can testify about the landmark projects of the Opobo/Nkoro Unity Road, the Abonnema Ring Road, the ongoing Trans-Kalabari Road with several bridges, the dualisation of Saakpenwa-Bori-Kono Road, the ongoing dualisation of Ahoada/Omoku Road, the construction of Igwuruta/Chokocho/Etche Road and re-modelling of several internal roads within Port Harcourt metropolitan city and surroundings of Obio/Akpor.
Governor Wike has further stamped his name in the education sector of the state with the repealing of the law that established the State University, changing it from its specialised status to a more conventional university, thus giving it the latitude to create faculties that Rivers people were formally denied admissions in other institutions. With the creation of faculty of medical sciences, he upgraded the Braithwaite Memorial Hospital to a first class Teaching Hospital, equipping it with world-class facilities. By the new law, he has also created additional campuses at Emuoha, Etche and Ahoada. In the same breadth, he upgraded the State College of Arts and Science to a polytechnic, now Elechi Amadi Polytechnic, Rumuola. Not forgetting the State School of Nursing and Midwifery as well as renovation of several secondary schools in the state.
It will certainly be unfortunate for the likes of David not to also find a place to commend Governor Wike’s star project in education with the attraction and construction of an ultra-modern Port Harcourt Campus of the Nigerian Law School, which has recently been adjudged the best in Nigeria by members of the National Assembly. Can that also just be seen as sand and cement?
Alright, in the health sector, we can further testify to David that Wike has lived up to his promise to Rivers people. Beside completing the Mother & Child Hospital abandoned by Amaechi, Governor Wike is currently building Dr. Peter Odili Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease Diagnosis and Treatment Centre at Rumuokuta. We are definitely sign-posting these projects for David to verify, just as Wike’s administration has also built several Primary Healthcare Centres and Zonal General Hospitals located in Ahoada, Okrika, Omoku just to mention a few, including the new Government House Clinic.
David lamented about lack of human capital development. Like I said earlier, he is completely gloating in deep ignorance just like his masters.
Is David aware that there are some Rivers children enjoying the state scholarship studying at the Pamo Medical University as well as those studying medicine at the Rivers State University? Or did he know about the Julius Berger Limited training of Rivers youths as well as engaging some of them in several of its project sites as part of the deliberate human capital development programme of the Wike’s government? Ignorance is truly a disease.
In same breadth, David should ask his masters to purge themselves of moral depravity before accusing others. They are standing trial for various financial profligacy committed against the people of Rivers State. His saint, Amaechi, cannot foist his man Friday on Rivers people. They are morally and administratively deficient. Arch. Tonye Cole cannot be compared to Sir Siminialayi Fubara.
In terms of grassroots politicking, Tonye is not a match for Siminialayi, who is in touch with the people always. In experience and competence, it has been obvious that one of the challenges of Amaechi’s administration was his lack of knowledge of bureaucratic training, thus failing to understand the boundaries between politics and the modus operandi of the extant rules in public service, thereby violating lots of financial regulations and administrative commands. This is what Siminialayi Fubara is bringing to bear as governor, not the Oshodi-Oke business model of Tonye Cole, who is a complete neophyte both in politics and government business.
It suffices to educate David on who Sir Siminialayi Fubara is as he rightly asked. Fubara was a seasoned teacher and accomplished technocrat with immeasurable knowledge of the extant rules and financial regulations. He rose meteorically as a chartered accountant from the ranks and file in the civil service to the pinnacle of his career as Permanent Secretary and Accountant-General of the state without any blemish. He is a man with uncommon political pedigree, humble and well-prepared for state craft. He is rightly focused at sustaining the impeccable accomplishments of Governor Wike as a square peg in a square hole. His social contract will certainly satisfy the yearnings of Rivers people to deepen social welfare and security, advancing infrastructure through re-modelling of other urban centres to create industrial clusters and hubs, fortifying education through innovative learning and healthcare services at affordable rate and at the reach of every Rivers person, strengthening innovative governance; improving agriculture; and promoting entrepreneurial development scheme. SIM is a bundle of network connections to make Rivers State great.
May we further remind David that Sir Siminialayi Fubara is free and not on any EFCC’s radar. If not for ignorance, David would have known that there is a court baring the agency from investigating any Rivers official which his master relied on while serving as the governor of the state.
Again, David should rightly be informed that rather his boss, Amaechi and Tonye Cole are the current fugitives of the law as they are under trial for their sins. It is unfortunate that those with logs in their eyes often want to chastise those that have specks.
Let David remove the logs blurring his eye first; then we can debate the rest.
By: Bon Onyedi
Onyedi, Deputy Media Assistant to PDP Governorship Candidate in Rivers State, writes from Port Harcourt.
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