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Niger Delta

We’ll Complete Repayment Of Sylva’s N50bn Bond -Dickson

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The Bayelsa State Government under Governor Seriake Dickson has restated its commitment to completing repayment of the N50billion bond facility which was obtained by the administration of former Governor Timipre Sylva.
The Commissioner for Finance, Mr Maxwell Ebibai reiterated the government’s commitment while briefing newsmen on major resolutions reached at the 105 State Executive Council meeting in Yenagoa last Wednesday.
He, however, did not disclose how much of the N50billion bond had been repaid so far by the government and how much was left.
Sylva took over from former President Goodluck Jonathan as governor of Bayelsa State in 2007 and was sacked from office by a court judgment in January 2012 after he was denied a second term governorship ticket by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In 2013, he defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and became the leader of the party in the state.
Recall that the Governor Dickson-led administration had in May 2016 claimed to have expended the sum of N123billion to service debts, including bonds and foreign loans collected by the Sylva administration, from 2012 to May 2016.
But the figure was a contradiction of the government’s earlier claim in August 2015 that it had spent N242billion to pay debts incurred by the Sylva administration.
Dickson, at the time, disclosed that he inherited a massive debt profile of N332 billion from the Sylva administration when he assumed office as governor in February 2012.
He said that his government had paid N242billion to service the debts and that about N90billion was the balance payment. According to the government, the total value of the bond was N104 billion and was expected to be paid off in June 2017.
Nevertheless, the Commissioner for Finance told reporters that the Dickson administration had been committed in the repayment of the loan in order to take off the huge burden it had placed on Bayelsa.
Ebibai also said that the State Executive Council also reviewed the funding options before it for some of its key projects and the challenges of completing such projects.
He explained that to achieve its target, the government had expanded the Contractor Infrastructure Finance Development Scheme (CIFDS), which would give contractors access to funds directly from banks based on milestones.
Ebibai further explained that with the scheme, contractors could approach banks to secure the loan and execute their projects while the state government will act as a guarantor and ensure that the loans are repaid based on the job done.
He said, “It is a sort of a Public Private Partnership (PPP). It involves the government, the contractors and the banks. We are not borrowing, but the contractors.
“We will only guarantee payment based on the job done. By this, we are sure to complete some of our key projects.”
Ebibai stated that the present administration was determined to start the sand filling of the Nembe/Brass Road in Bayelsa East Senatorial District with an eye for the completion of the Sagbama/Ekeremor Road in Bayelsa East and Yenagoa/Oporoma Road in Bayelsa Central, and other projects.

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Niger Delta

Dep Gov Hails Media Practitioners’ Support, Effective Reportage

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Deputy Governor of Bayesla State, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, has commended media practitioners in the State for what he described as their unrelenting support and effective reportage of the policies and programmes of the Prosperity Administration so far in the state.
Ewhrudjakpo, who gave the commendation when members of the Bayelsa Independent Publishers Association (BIPA) paid him a courtesy call in Government House, described BIPA as “a friend and partner in progress”.
He thanked the leadership of the association for its detailed appraisal of the developmental strides of the present administration of Governor Douye Diri in the state, noting that BIPA had been in the forefront of the media telling the Bayelsa story to the world.
While recalling how he worked closely with them when he held sway as the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, he promised to convey their requests for the procurement of an 18-seater bus and the resuscitation of their printing equipment to the Governor for consideration.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo, who pledged to support the foremost indigenous publishers in the State, in his own little way, charged them to sustain the prevailing congenial government-media relations in the state.
“I feel excited to welcome you, my very good old friends, to Government House on this visit. I thank you for the appreciation of what your government has done in Bayelsa State.
“I want to use this opportunity to thank media practitioners in Bayelsa for your support to government and your effective coverage and reportage of policies and programmes and happenings in Bayelsa.
“We appreciate your support. Let us maintain our relationship. Remember, when I was Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, I made sure the Bayelsa media publishers were part of our field trips for project site visits and inspections.
“We will look into your rent issue and that of the printing machine. On your request for procurement of a bus, I will convey the request to the Governor for consideration. We will also look into the suspended stipends and do something about it”, the Deputy Governor said.
Presenting the Association’s address, the Publisher of Izonlink Newspapers, Mr. Alfred Egbegi, highlighted some of the challenges confronting the members of the association, such as bad printing press equipment, absence of operational bus, and high cost of printing materials, among others.
Egbegi, applauded the Governor Douye Diri-led Administration for its remarkable strides in infrastructure, security, education and the civil service, saying the Association is well pleased with the performance level of the State Government.
While assuring the Deputy Governor of a better working relationship, he appealed to the State Government to reinstate their monthly stipends that were suspended since 2016 in the wake of the nationwide economic recession.
“All through the first tenure culminating in the eventual elections, and now, half way into the first year of your second tenure, we have keenly followed your leadership style and effort at changing the narrative in Bayelsa State.
“We never expected the kind of development we are seeing today. You know me. For me to say this it means, you and your principal, His Excellency, Senator Douye Diri have done wonderfully well.
“We are living witnesses of the revolution on roads around all over the State. Just to mention a few critical ones; the Nembe-Brass Road in our estimation is going to open up the state’s economy.
“A very welcome development is the creation of the Marine and Blue Economy”, Egbegi said.

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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Niger Delta

East-West Road: Diri Calls For FG’s Speedy Attention

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Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, last Friday, appealed to President Bola Tinubu and the Federal Government to act swiftly to end the suffering of commuters at the Okogbe axis of the East-West Road in Rivers State.
The Governor, who was stuck for more than two hours at the bad portion of the road on his way to the Niger Delta Stakeholders Summit in Port Harcourt, lamented that some commuters and vehicles were on one spot for more than a week.
Speaking to journalists after an on-the-spot assessment, the Bayelsa Governor said the contractor handling the culverts project lacked the capacity and should be sacked for causing pains to Nigerians.
He also called on South-South legislators in the National Assembly to make the issue of the uncompleted East-West road a matter of national priority on the floor of the national legislature.
Describing the situation as pathetic and unacceptable, Governor Diri said the road, which connects all South-South states, was too important to be left in such impassable state.
He also stated that as the region that lays the golden egg for the country, the Niger Delta people deserve better than the pitiable situation on the road and urged the Minister of Works, Engr. Dave Umahi, to visit the bad portions to see things for himself.
Diri recalled that the road was damaged during the 2022 floods, which also seriously affected Bayelsa, but that the state had within one year fixed all the roads destroyed in more than four local government areas and wondered why the Federal Government allowed the rehabilitation work on the East-West Road to linger for so long.
Speaking with Mr. Kingsley Onyema, the project supervisor of the company handling the project, Rock Result, the Governor questioned the rationale behind not making a section of the road passable for motorists rather than working on both lanes at the same time.
While appealing to people of the region to be patient, he dismissed claims by the contractor that drivers were impatient and urged the contractor to speed up the pace of work on the project.
“It is chaotic, pathetic and unbelievable that this is happening to an oil producing area that lays the golden egg for our country.
“The way forward is for the Federal Government to realise that an urgent step must be taken now. I commend the good intentions of the Federal Government but the Minister of Works need to come here and see things for himself and not rely on information from the contractor. I have spoken to the Minister about this road.
“You are all aware that the same flood of 2022 damaged roads in Bayelsa and we have fixed all of them. So how come an important road like this will be in this bad state? I am pained.
“Let me appeal to Mr. President to call all relevant officials concerning this road to ensure that the work is done to reduce the suffering of our people. From what I see, there is no plan on the part of the contractor and the company should be sacked”, he said.

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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Niger Delta

Navy Donates Educational Materials To A’Ibom School

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The Nigerian Navy, Forward Operating Base (FOB), Ibaka, under Operation Delta Sanity 11, has donated educational materials to Saint Paul’s African Primary School in Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
The Commanding Officer, FOB, Ibaka, Capt. Uche Aneke, who made the donation on Friday, said the gesture was part of the efforts to kick-start Operation Delta Sanity 11 and foster civil relationship with host communities.
Aneke enlightened the students that Operation Delta Sanity 11 was a renewed effort of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Emmanuel Ogalla, toward ending the menace of crude oil theft.
He further enlightened them on the economic and environmental effects of illegal oil bunkering and smuggling of petroleum products as well as the security consequences on the Nigerian maritime environment.
He said the Civil Military Cooperation (CIMIC) exercise, which involved educational outreach and community services among others, was used to drive the message in a non-kinetic line of operation.
He emphasised that under the current leadership of the Chief of Naval Staff, such community services would be constant and sustained.
The Commanding Officer urged the female pupils to take their academics seriously and observe good hygiene.
“Parents of girls of school-age who are out of school within the community are also encouraged to enroll in school for a brighter future”, he said.
Aneke said Operation Delta Sanity 11 as well as constant surveillance of areas under the FOB Ibaka Area of Operations and Eastern Naval Command Area of Responsibility would be sustained.
He explained that the operations were aimed at flushing out all forms of criminal elements.
In her remarks, the Head Teacher of St. Paul’s African Primary School at Ibaka, Mrs Justina Uko, thanked the Nigerian Navy for the gesture.
Noting that the initiative would enhance education in the community, Uko emphasised the importance of girl-child in the country and prayed that God would continue to bless the Nigerian Navy for impacting knowledge on the pupils of the school.
“We thank and appreciate Nigerian Navy for what they have done to the pupils of the school; we pray that God should bless them more and more,” the head teacher said.
Highlights of the outreach included sensitisation lecture and the donation of exercise books and writing materials to encourage and support the schoolgirls.
The Tide’s source reports that the theme of the exercise was “The impact of Girl-Child Education on Community Development with focus on the Ibaka Community”.

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