President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, told the Niger Delta militant group operating on the platform of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), that his response to the demands they had made rendered any ‘sabre-rattling rather unnecessary’.
Buhari was responding to the recent threat by the militant group to resume hostility and cripple the economy, if the Federal Government failed to address the 10-point demands the Niger Delta people had made more than six years ago.
The group had threatened to declare return of violence with ‘Operation Humble’, and ground key oil assets to bring the nation’s economy on her knees, alleging that after four years of cease fire, the Federal Government was unwilling to meet its demands.
NDA, had in a statement on its website, last Saturday, said with the nation even at the brink of disintegration, the Federal Government had continued to feed fat on Niger Delta’s oil wealth with the region still worst neglected.
The group had declared, “We decided to suspend our famous Operation Red Economy which bled the Nigerian economy into recession about four years ago not because we are lazy but for the love we have for our people, and out of respect for the voice of elders of the Niger Delta who beckoned on us to give peace a chance and avail government time to act on our demands at the time.
“To remind this failed government that we have exhausted the very last iota of patience, the High Command of the Niger Delta Avengers have in a meeting held last night made some critical resolutions.
“First, that we have lost total confidence on all socio-cultural groups like PANDEF, the elders of Niger Delta and the bunch of so-called ex-agitators frolicking with the government at our detriment.
“This operation shall be coded OPERATION HUMBLE aimed at bringing down target oil installations capable of humbling the economy into permanent recession.
“This mission is also targeted at political actors collaborating with the Nigerian Government to undermine the interest of the Niger Delta people.
“No doubt, Nigerian Government continues to pay deaf ears to our demands and rising challenges in the country because the pipelines that crisscross our lands are left untouched, allowing dollars to flow into the federal treasury on daily basis for mismanagement.
“We shall spare no oil installation within our range of strategic targets for destruction in the coming days and we bet the Nigerian Government will be humbled to return to the drawing board and chart an all-inclusive course by the time we are done with our action plan.
“Our strike teams across the Niger Delta are commanded to be on red alert awaiting precise strike plans as mapped by the high command of the NDA.
“The high command of the NDA has promoted and appointed one of our finest operatives, Field Commander Tu-ere aka Queen of the Creeks to the rank of ‘Brigadier General’.
“She is an experienced field agent who before now was the head of the counterintelligence unit of the NDA, using her connections with top government and security officials to deliver on her assignment.
“She was part of our elite Strike Teams that attacked and took down the Chevron Valve platform on the 4th of May, 2016; the Shell Forcados 48-inch Export line on the 3rd of June, 2016; and the ExxonMobil Qua Iboe 48” Crude Oil Pipeline on the 11th of July, 2016.
“Brig. Gen. Tu-ere is the first female to ever attain this level, and it is solely out of merit, and is placed in charge by the High Command of the NDA to execute ‘Operation Humble’ to the later.
“We state unequivocally that we are back with ‘Operation Humble’ to humble the economy into permanent recession and political players from the Niger Delta extraction to political retirement.
“Our Strike Teams 01 – 09 and all other formations are to regroup and remain on red alert awaiting further command. No going back till Nigeria economy is humbled into recession, never to rise again.”
However, President Buhari, in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina in Abuja, yesterday, said that he had already responded to the demands.
The statement read, “The media was Sunday awash with threats and demands by a group, Niger Delta Avengers, to embark on economic sabotage through the bombing of critical oil and gas installations unless certain demands, including the development of the Niger Delta, and restructuring of the federation, were met.
“It is, however, curious that the threat was coming less than 48 hours after President Muhammadu Buhari met with the leadership of the Niger Delta and Ijaw National Congress (INC), at the Presidential Villa, and the germane issues had been responded to, especially call for restructuring of the federation, and the inauguration of a Board for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
“For clarity and record purposes, below is the full text of the speech by President Buhari on Friday, June 25, 2021, which renders any sabre-rattling rather unnecessary, ‘I warmly welcome all the Elders of the Niger Delta and particularly the National Executive of the Ijaw National Congress, under the leadership of Prof Benjamin Okaba. I thank you for paying this courtesy visit not too long after your election in April, and swearing-in last May.
‘I also want to congratulate you all for your election and to add that a lot of responsibility is placed on your shoulders, especially coming from the fact that the Ijaw National Congress was almost without leadership for some time.
‘As the symbol of the collective voice of the Ijaw people, which is one of Nigeria’s main ethnic groups, the existence of a focused and people-oriented leadership would go a long way in articulating the demands of the Ijaw people and making sure these demands are made part of the national discourse.
‘I particularly note your ten point demand to the Federal Government in your inaugural speech and assure you that this administration is frontally addressing them.
‘I am equally concerned about the rate of environmental degradation in the Niger Delta and as you are aware the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) has started work with remediation efforts in Ogoni land and I have directed the Minister of Environment to ensure that the projects are implemented with a high percentage of local content and inclusion of the surrounding communities.
‘Similarly, the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), under the same Ministry of Environment is working to make sure that oil spills are reduced and new ones prevented. As you are also aware, all the responsible agencies of government have been directed to ensure that they enforce compliance by the International Oil Companies (IOCs) to international best practices.
“In addressing your call for immediate restructuring, the National Assembly whose responsibility it is to ensure that our constitution responds to the call for a restructured Nigeria has already concluded regional consultations and as soon as they finalise the process, necessary action would not be delayed on my part.
‘In the same vein, your call for the creation of two additional states and more local government areas for the Ijaw people is a legislative matter, which should naturally be handled by the National Assembly and seeking concurrence at the state levels.
‘I completely agree with your call to allocate operational licenses for marginal fields to Ijaw people. However, as you know, the process of granting licenses is guided by laid down rules and regulations, most of which even favour local content and local contractors. I see no reason why they should not be granted such licenses if they qualify.
‘On the issue of fair and balanced appointments to reflect federal character principles, I re-affirm that this has always been my focus and would continue to be because I have always seen Nigeria as a country where everyone should be given equal opportunities.
‘A contentious issue that has been a subject of discourse amongst the Ijaw people of recent has been the need for the Niger Delta Development Commission to live up to its billing by delivering the required succour to the people of the region. Based on the mismanagement that had previously be-devilled the NDDC, a forensic audit was set up and the result is expected by the end of July, 2021.
‘I want to assure you that as soon as the forensic audit report is submitted and accepted, the NDDC Board would be inaugurated. However, I would like to implore you that the Ijaw National Congress should play a more active role in making sure that the mismanagement that occurred in the past is not repeated.
‘I am particularly happy to note your call for promoting ownership of modular refineries by the Ijaw people and I will urge you to interface with your sons who are involved in the processes of establishing these refineries, especially the Honourable Minister of State Petroleum Resources to actualize this quest.
‘Like you well know, completion of the East-West Road is top on my infrastructure agenda and I will look to its speedy conclusion. Again, the occasional disturbance by youths in some communities along the route to construction work would require your close attention and guidance.
‘Furthermore, we have made considerable progress with the construction of the Bonny to Port Harcourt Bridge.
‘I am very happy with the recent affirmation of your belief in a United Nigeria and while I thank you for standing with me, I will also implore you to use your leverage in making sure that we keep working together to keep this country a united, indivisible entity, so that we can tackle our problems together and overcome our challenges together.
‘I would like now to commend Prof Okaba for your emphasis on supporting the fight against insecurity by developing internal control mechanisms as well as working with other institutions in the country to address our current security challenges.
‘While I thank you once more for this visit and I will continue to count on your support as we work towards resolving our current challenges.
‘God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Wike Hails Rivers United For Winning 2021/2022 NPFL
Rivers United was officially confirmed the champions of the 2021/2022 NPFL season following Plateau United 1-2 away loss to Akwa United, last Saturday.
The governor commended the players and coaching staff of the state-owned football club, yesterday, following the memorable victory, which ended their 5-year NPFL title wait.
Wike, who attributed the achievement of Rivers United to the talented team’s determination, said it was most heartening that by virtue of the league win, the club would represent the country at the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League next season.
He further added that Rivers United’s triumph at the 2021/2022 NPFL has brought a wave of joy and happiness for the people of Rivers State and the country at large.
“I wish to express my heartfelt appreciation to the coaching staff and particularly the capable players of Rivers United for the valuable efforts they made to emerge the winners of the 2021/2022 NPFL.
“The Government and good people of Rivers State are very proud of the team’s exploits following their dogged performances and resilient display throughout the 2021/2022 season. It is worthy to note that over the years, Rivers United has brought so much joy and happiness to football fans and supporters all over the country. This victory, no doubt, marks a major milestone in Rivers State football’s history.”
Registration For CBN, AFF eNaira Hackathon Opens, Today
A statement issued by the organisers said the main event, which is billed to kick-off from August 4, 2022, is part of efforts to drive financial inclusion, facilitate macroeconomic growth and integrate Nigerian economy to the world leading economies through innovation and cutting edge emerging technologies.
It, therefore, urged interested participants to visit the eNaira Hackathon @www.affcbn.com
With the theme “eNaira – Africa’s Gateway to a Digital Economy,” the hybrid hackathon will bring together teams of talented entrepreneurs, developers, designers, solution developers, problem-solvers, out-of-the-box thinkers, and code magicians from Africa to develop innovative solutions that will drive improved adoption of the eNaira.
Speaking on innovation in Nigeria’s payments system ecosystem, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, recently said: “We cannot deny the fact that the newly introduced CBDC (eNaira) would be necessary in the future to ensure Nigeria is competitive as the world becomes increasingly digital.
“We have seen in the past few years how digital currencies have opened international economies to individuals who wield them and how seamless they have made trading, buying, investing and other economic activities.
“We desire to achieve this and more with the eNaira with the underlying goal to boost Nigeria’s economic outlook.
“Innovators at the hackathon will develop solutions in the areas of international remittance, trans-border payment, blockchain, financial inclusion, and trade (AfCTFA).”
The statement issued by the organisers said, the hackathon will address the strategic points to eliminate possible glitches that could hamper smooth transactions being carried out with the eNaira.
NECO Begins SSCE,Today
The examination body said the 2022 SSCE would commence on Monday, June 27, and end on August 12, 2022.
NECO made this known in a statement made available to newsmen, last Saturday, by its spokesperson, Azeez Sani, in Minna, Niger State.
The statement read: “The 2022 Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) for school-based candidates conducted by the National Examinations Council (NECO) will commence on Monday, 27th June, 2022.
“State Ministries of Education, Principals, Commandants and all stakeholders are enjoined to disregard any speculation on the alleged postponement of the examination.
“The council has put all necessary measures in place to ensure a seamless conduct of the 2022 Senior School Certificate Examination.
“The 2022 NECO Senior School Certificate Examination will end on Friday, August12, 2022.
“Candidates are to be examined in 76 subjects during the examination.”
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