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Bayelsa: Rivers NASS Caucus Berates FG Over Attack On Odili

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The National Assembly (NASS), Rivers State Caucus, yesterday, wondered why the Federal Government allegedly maintained a long time of silence over the attack on the family house of a Supreme Court Justice, Mary Odili.
It also accused the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) of hiring political thugs who masterminded the dastardly act.
Further, the lawmakers called on the International community to hold the APC and her supporters responsible should any harm befall Justice Odili or any member of her family.
It would be recalled that Justice Mary Odili, who is wife of former Rivers State Governor, Dr Peter Odili, was among the Supreme Court Justices who delivered the verdict that invalidated the victory of the Bayelsa State erstwhile governor-elect, David Lyon.
Upon the affirmation of this controversial judgment, there has been uneasy calm in most political circles of the ruling party and, particularly the affected state.
In a statement endorsed by Senator George Thompson Sekibo and Hon. Kingsley Ogundu Chinda, the caucus described the attack as an audacious act of primitivism and grave threat to democracy.
It added, “the placard-carrying thugs invaded the privacy of the Odilis and erected barricades against their residence for no other reason than that Justice Mary Odili participated in the Bayelsa governorship appeal as one among a five-man panel who heard the appeal and reached a unanimous decision against the APC.
“This latest wanton shamelessness constitutes a new dimension in the continuing assault against the Judiciary and, once again, underlines Nigeria’s inexorable degeneration and descent into rapid lawlessness.
“We recall that in 2015 Rivers State was the victim of unfavourable judicial decisions where, in literally one fell swoop, 15 out its 16 members of the National Assembly were sacked. Painful as the decisions were, there was no recourse to self-help or threat of violence against any of the Justices who sat on the appeals.
“We would like to point out that Justice Mary Odili, who has been inexplicably and unfairly targeted since the Bayelsa governorship decision, was a member of other panels of the Supreme Court which gave judgment in favour of at least three APC governors who are in office today.”

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Banigo Tasks Christians On PVCs’ Collection

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Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr Ipalibo Harry Banigo, has attributed the success of the Governor Nyesom Wike-led administration to the prayers of Christians.
Banigo said this at the 2023 life members’ conference/fund raising of the Bible Society of Nigeria (BSN), Rivers/Bayelsa Area in Port Harcourt.
The deputy governor, who was represented by a director in the Office of the Deputy Governor, Mr. Benjamin Robert, also commended the executive of the society for its consistency in the propagation of the gospel of Christ.
She, however, charged Christians to participate actively in the ongoing political process by collecting their permanent voters’ cards (PVCs) with a view to voting for God-fearing persons during the forthcoming general election.
While pledging her continuous support,she called on members of the society to identify with the needs of the BSN to enable it realise its aspirations of building a Bible House in the state.
Meanwhile, authorities of the Rivers/Bayelsa Area of the Bible Society of Nigeria have lamented its inability to build a Bible House, years after its inception.
The Chairman of the area, Elder Omoni Ayo-Tamuno, who said this in his address at the conference, also expressed concern over the low participation of Christian churches in the state in the activities of the society.
He regretted that the area was at the moment struggling to meet its quota of Bible distribution.
According to him,”As stated earlier,the area is facing serious challenge to exist or not in the coming year as regards our meeting the national target, especially in the area of Bible distribution.As at the time of this conference, we have only distributed about 1,200 copies of the Bible, leaving a deficit of 6,300 to meet the 7,500 target”.
He said that if the target was not met, the Rivers/Bayelsa Area would be merged with Delta or Akwa Ibom states.
The chairman also regretted the lack of concern by Christians in Bayelsa State towards the activities of the society.
Ayo-Tamuno said the conference was to review the activities of the society for this year, and also plan ahead for the subsequent year.
He commended the Bishop, Diocese of Okrika Anglican Communion, Rt Rev. Enoch Atuboyedia, for directing all churches in the diocese to support the society.
Also speaking, Chairman of the occasion, Engr. Obinna Douglas, urged Christian community in the state to support the society.
He said all churches in the state needed Bibles for evangelism, stressing the need for them to patronise the activities of the society.
Douglas also commended the executive of the society for being at the forefront of placing Bibles in the hands of everyone in the state.

By: John Bibor

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N’Delta Stakeholders Kick Against Move To Replace PAP

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Niger Delta stakeholders have described as “unreasonable” and “vexatious” the plan by the Federal Government to substitute the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) with the crude oil pipeline contract recently awarded to some persons in the region.
It warned that the plan would trigger another round of agitation and frustrate the campaign against oil theft in the region.
According to the stakeholders, made up of traditional rulers, elders, women groups, youth groups, former militant leaders and stakeholders from across the nine states of the Niger Delta region, the plan of the Federal Government was revealed by the Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Major General Barry Tariye Ndiomu (rtd), during a “Presidential Mandate briefing” with employees of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, last Wednesday, at the Sheraton Resort, Abuja, FCT.
They noted that part of the plan to shut down PAP was Ndiomu’s directive to the staff of the PAP to immediately commence the process of winding down the PAP prior to the expiration of his tenure on March 1, 2023; approximately 90 days before the end of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure of May 29, 2023.
The stakeholders, in a statement issued via electronic mail and signed by High Chief Maxwell Ayamabele, condemned the actions and steps taken so far by Ndiomu terming his action as “inexperienced, naïve, and disrespectful to all traditional rulers, women groups, youth leaders and former militant leaders that participated in the amnesty process under the leadership of late President, late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
“Since Gen Ndiomu’s appointment, the smooth operations of the Amnesty programme have shattered; causing serious tension across the region due to Ndiomu’s so-called presidential mandate to urgently terminate the Amnesty programme in exchange for the pipeline surveillance contract.
“Gen Ndiomu failed to meet with the relevant stakeholders that fought for the establishment of the Presidential Amnesty Programme to brief them and the people in the region about the reasons behind his plans to urgently terminate a programme that directly and indirectly benefits over a million families across the Niger Delta region.”
Ayamabele further cautioned Gen Ndiomu to desist from his plan to forcefully reduce the number of Amnesty beneficiaries in the different camps by almost 50per cent; from 30,000 ex-militants to 15,000, stating that such an illegal act to deny legitimate beneficiaries of the amnesty programme will surely be resisted.
They warned Ndiomu against “allowing himself to be used by the Fulani – Kanuri oligarchy against his own people to perform an impossible, dead-on-arrival plan,” stating that “all ex-militants and stakeholders across the nine states of the region will use every means necessary to resist him and the presidency’s plan during the remaining few months of the administration.”

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‘Pipeline Surveillance Contracts Must Promote Ethnic Cohesion, Not Rivalries’

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The leadership for the Movement for Survival of Ijaw Ethnic Nationality in Niger Delta (MOSIEN) has said that the pipeline surveillance contracts to indigenous Ijaw contractors by the Federal Government should promote ethic cohesion rather than rivalries in the region.
The group also condemned petitions to the Presidency on the contracts by some non-state actors, saying that such letters lack substance and were ill-orchestrated.
This was contained in a statement by the President, MOSIEND Worldwide, Amb Kennedy Tonjo-West made available tonewsmen in Port Harcourt.
Tonjo-West said some non-state actors had been hitting hard, expressing disaffection, threatening and issuing one ultimatum after another, adding that some even went as far as transmitting letters to President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We are asking Mr President to disregard such petitions as the fact stated therein is unfounded.
“The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), now a private business outfit, has said in response to some uninformed agitations that the contracts were awarded with strict adherence to the Public Procurement Act, and that the companies were qualified, and we think that they deserve commendation for getting it right”.
The President noted that the contracts to indigenous contractors had provided employment opportunities to Ijaw youths and others trained to be specialists.
“This singular policy by the government is already generating employment for thousands of jobless youths within the communities who are now trained and engaged by the companies in line with their contractual obligations.
“We called for caution because the Federal Government in their wisdom deemed it right to involve community participation in addition to the military is dedicated efforts in the fight against illegal bunkering and oil theft in the region”.
He appealed to all aggrieved youths to learn to put common interest above all, and show love, oneness and brotherhood.
“We should learn to put our common interest above all and show our adversaries that we love ourselves, we should cooperate, tolerate and respect each other, promote harmonious relationships, support and share in the success of our neighbours.
“We should avoid intimidating any tribe or ethnic nationality due to their size or educational standing.
“As people from the Niger Delta, we cannot be crying of mistreatments from the government and mete out the same treatment to fellow Niger Deltans.
“If we cannot understand ourselves on this ‘small opening’, how can we sustain our cries for better deals from the government and oil companies”, Tongo-West added.
“We are not at war with ourselves; all the ethnic nationalities in the region are one people, blessed by God, and designed to live together”, he said.
MOSIEN further advised “individuals, ethnic nationalities and tribes which are not directly part of the contracts never to give up on our working together, let us be proactive and consciously allow for a win-win approach to enable us to grow and progress together, but apply the re-orientation and re-positioning mechanism to recovering our lost values as a region”.

By: Chinedu Wosu

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