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Niger Delta

Appeal Court Ends 30-Year-Old Ataba Kingship Tussle …As King Benson Retains Stool

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In a landmark judgement to end a 30-year old Ataba Chieftaincy dispute, the Federal Appeal Court sitting in Port Harcourt upheld its earlier verdict which declared King Benson Mgbowaji Egwenre the Oruk XV11 as the legitimate Okan Ama of Ataba Kingdom in the Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State.
In a suit: CA/PH/359/2013, the three Honourable justices of the appellate court: Justices Ali Abubakar Gumel, Isaiah Olufemi Akeju and Bitrus Gyarazama Sanga, unanimously affirmed the court’s earlier ruling of October 29, 2015.
The court presided over by Justice Ali Abubakar Gumel on March 21, 2018 ruled that the consent judgement entered into by the two warring groups in the Royal House of Ataba Kingdom remained the final judgement of the court and cited several legal authorities to buttress its ruling.
One Elder Jonah Nteile, an elder of Egwe Isiyork Ruling House of Ataba in Andoni Local Government Area of the State had challenged the said consent judgement of the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt, describing the purported document as a fraud and gross misrepresentation of facts and asked the same Court to reverse itself.
After delivering judgement in the main motion, the three Justices at the Court of Appeal had in a unanimous decision struck out a motion by the applicant, Elder Jonah Nteile, seeking leave of the court to appeal against its earlier consent judgement of Ocober 29, 2015.
Justices Ali Abubakar Gumel, Isaiah Akeju and Bitrus Sanga affirmed that the court lacked the capacity and power to review their earlier decision on the consent judgement or grant the applicant leave for appeal to the Supreme Court, insisting that the said motion was brought out of time, having been filed on February 15, 2016 for a judgement that was delivered on October 29, 2015, more than 90 days statutorily required for such application.
Citing several other cases to back up the decision of the court, Justice Gumel who read the lead judgement, said consequent upon the late filling of the motion, the application is rendered incompetent and the Court lacks jurisdiction to entertain it and accordingly struck out the application, though without cost.
Furthermore, in the substantive motion, Justice Gumel reviewed the case which dated back to January 1989 and in pursuant to order 16 of the Court of Appeal Rules 2011, referring to the consent judgement, declared “the judgement stands as a valid judgement of competent jurisdiction. It is a final judgement of this Court”.
Justice Gumel whose ruling was also adopted by his other two colleagues, asserted that “this application to set aside a consent judgement of this Court in Appeal No: CA/PH/359/2013, is procedurally wrong and to that extent not cognizable by this Court”.
Describing the application as “dead on arrival” and “incurably bad”, the leading Justice struck out the application for “lack of jurisdiction to entertain same as presently constituted”, but made no order for costs.
Immediately after the ruling that lasted about two hours, Sir Benson Mgbowaji Egwenre, (King Oruk XV11), the Okan Ama of Ataba Kingdom, led a large crowd of Ataba sons and daughters who had thronged the court in solidarity to St. Cyprian’s Anglican Church, Hospital Road, Port Harcourt, to thank God for allowing justice and the voice of the people to prevail.
Reacting to the ruling, the Okan-ama was grateful to God for sustaining peace and massive progress in the community throughout the duration of the case and called for calm, brotherly love, patriotism, and harmonious relationship among the people of Ataba Kingdom.
He said it was only under a peaceful atmosphere that development could take place and admonished the people to avoid divisive tendencies while warming against external influence in the affairs of Ataba community.

 

Goodluck Ukwe

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Niger Delta

Minister Urges NDDC Board To Be Unique

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The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Umana Okon Umana, has called on the newly inaugurated Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to ensure they make a difference for the development of the region.
Umana said this in his keynote remarks, while declaring open the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Board and Management retreat in Uyo, at the weekend.
He said the inauguration of the board was meant to enhance the development of the Niger Delta Region and charged them to live above board in the discharge of their duties.
He urged them to strictly adhere to the rules of due diligence and transparency in line with the Establishment and Public Procurement Acts.
He said the inauguration of the board was meant to enhance the development of the Niger Delta region, adding that the region, which has suffered neglect and deprivation for so long, needed a new lease of life
The minister called on the board to focus on key areas like the establishment act and public procurement act as Nigerians expect a turnaround of the commission to reflect the core mandate of developing the region.
Umana called on the participants to set a template that would facilitate rapid development of the niger delta and Nigeria in general.
“This retreat is principally to ensure that the new board are properly equipped to provide a new direction for the development of the Niger Delta region,” he said.
Earlier, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, NDDC, Chief Samuel Ogbuku, in his address of welcome, said the board was expected to do something differently to take the Niger Delta region to greater hight.
Ogbuku said the new board had a template for sustainable programme for youths and every citizen of the region.
He said the commission would endeavour to create partnership with International Oil Companies (IOCs) and other stakeholders through public private partnerships initiative.
He urged participants to evolve ideas, programmes and blueprints towards taking the region to a new level of development.
“We will soon unfold our packages for the development of the region. The Niger Delta Development Commission Board is expected to make great difference this time around,” he said.
The Tide’s source reports that the three-day retreat for NDDC board and management is with the theme; “NDDC: Making a Difference.”
The source also reports that a communique is expected at the end of the retreat to address issues affecting the niger delta region and proffer possible solutions.

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FG Trains 50 Farmers On Agroforestry Model In Edo

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The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) has trained 50 coconut farmers and processors on agroforestry system-based plantation model, to improve the livelihoods of the farmers in Edo State.
The capacity building was organised under the coconut value chain of the ministry, in collaboration with the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) in Benin.
Declaring the training open, the Minister of Agriculture, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, said the exercise was part of efforts of the Federal Government to attain food security and self-sufficiency in Nigeria.
Represented by Chukwuemeka Ukattah, a Director in the ministry, Abubakar said President Muhammadu Buhari was determined to turn around the nation’s economy through agriculture by its unwavering support for farmers and empowerment of women and youths.
He said it was an effort to attain food security, self-sufficiency as well as improve the livelihood of coconut farmers and processors.
“The government, through the coconut value chain, decided to provide you with the necessary knowledge and skills to establish and maintain a successful coconut plantation.
“We will cover topics such as nursery establishment, field development, harvesting and processing to meet local and international markets standard and demand.
“With the right training, coconut value chain has the potentials to contribute significantly to the nation’s GDP and generate employment,” Abubakar said.
The Executive Director of NIFOR, Dr Celestine Ikuenobe, who welcomed participants to the workshop, said Nigeria’s coconut production was far below the demand.
“I am sure that if the National Coconut Producers Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NACOPPMAN) works with this agroforestry based plantation model, the value chain will be on a scale to contribute significantly to our economy.
“We suddenly got a huge demand for coconut seedlings in the last three to four years and we were caught napping because we did not prepare for the fact that there was going to be an upsurge in the demand for coconut seedlings,” he said.
Ikuenobe explained that NIFOR was strengthening its capacity to meet the sudden upsurge in the demand for the seedlings.
“We are working to invigorate our coconut gardens in addition to other identified seed trees,” he added.
According to him, in the last two years, “we have replanted our coconut germplasm and in the next five years, there will be enough to provide nuts and materials for the industry.”

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Niger Delta

Council Re-Proclaims Ekpo Abasi-Otu As Obong Of Calabar

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The Etubom’s Conclave of the Obong of Calabar Palace has re-proclaimed Edidem Ekpo Abasi-Otu V, as the Obong of Calabar.
This was in compliance with the Supreme Court Judgement of January 13, which ordered the Etubom’s Conclave of the Obong of Calabar’s Palace to conduct fresh selection process for the throne of the Obong of Calabar.
Chairman, Etubom’s Conclave, Etubom Ntiero Effiwat, stated this recently while reading a document signed by 13 of the conclave members before the others at the palace of the Obong of Calabar.
According to Effiwat, Abasi-Otu of Adiabo Ikot Mbo Otu House, having fully satisfied with candidate qualifications and eligibility, the Etubom’s Conclave therefore, declared him the successor.
“He is hereby on this day, Jan. 18, 2023 been proclaimed as successor to the throne of the Obong of Calabar.
“The qualified Etuboms who fall under this group were communicated to and directed to produce and present their nominee to the Etubom’s Conclave by Jan. 18, 2023.
“The most senior Etubom of Atai Iboku group, Etubom Otu Efa-Otu, presented thier selected nominee for the throne of Obong of Calabar in person of HRH, Ekpo Abasi-Otu of Adiabo Ikot Mbo Otu House,” he said.

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