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Groups Caution Against Killings, Oil Production In Ogoni

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Foremost social cultural organisation in Ogoni, KAGOTE, an acronym for the four Ogoni LGAs of Khana, Gokana, Tai, and Eleme, in Rivers State has cautioned against the unmitigated cult-related killings in Ogoni, particularly in Khana Local Government Area, and called for the intervention of security agencies to save the communities from untold deaths.
The group said the onslaught of cult-related activities in Ogoni has led to wanton wastage of lives and displacement of indigenes of the affected communities, and urged perpetrators of the killings to desist from the dastardly acts or face the full wrath of the law.
President of KAGOTE, Hon Emmanuel Deeyaah, who disclosed this while briefing newsmen in Port Harcourt, said the organisation, in collaboration with other Ogoni stakeholders, would work with the state government and security agencies to put an end to the killings.
The group also cautioned against the planned resumption of oil exploration and production activities in Ogoni by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), stating that such plans without due consultations with Ogoni stakeholders and the state government was an insult on the sensibilities of Ogoni people who were still contending with issues of environmental degradation and pollution of their natural environment by decades of oil exploitation.
He said, “Plans are on the way to organise an Ogoni stakeholders’ conference where key issues bordering on Ogoni development would be discussed. If the Federal Government is desirous of resuming oil exploration activities in Ogoni, then, there has to be dialogue with the government and people of the state, particularly the immediate Ogoni people. No individual or single group has the mandate to decide over matters affecting Ogoni development, including oil resumption in the land”.
Deeyaah expressed regret that NPDC, a subsidiary of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), would visit Ogoni without going through the right channel.
He said, “Lately, in Ogoniland, we have had this issue of cult-related killings. So, we have come to say enough is enough. We are talking with the relevant security agencies so that henceforth, anyone caught shooting even crackers, they should visit such person with the full weight of the law. They should do everything within their powers to apprehend such persons.”
Deeyah said, while the people were pondering on how to tackle insecurity in the area, that they were again inundated with the report of the visit of NPDC on their planned resumption oil mining in Ogoni.
KAGOTE president said any company that intends to explore oil in the area must meet with critical stakeholders, chiefs and opinion leaders in Ogoniland.
He added that Ogoni was not ready to make the same mistakes it made in the era of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).
Deeyah said, “The truth about it is that nobody in Ogoni owns the means of the facility to mine oil. We belong to the federation, that is, Nigeria, and we are also bound by the laws of the country.
“We can’t decide which company comes and which will not come. But we have a long history when it comes to oil exploration. We have lost our bests and there have been killings and all kind of things, and we believe that such a process, if the government is actually desirous of mining oil in Ogoinland should consult. There should be a process of dialogue with the people.
“We have our son, Senator Magnus Abe, who is on the board of NNPC, the parent company of NPDC. He is not in the picture of this development. We also have Senator Barry Mpigi, also an indigene, and others; they are not in the picture of this development.
“Those people who claim to come from NPDC, do they actually come from Nigeria? Don’t they come from places? We even have local government chairmen on ground. We have never heard that any of the council chairmen was involved in any of those processes. We also have the state government. Why would they just enter Ogoni without interacting with these layers of leaders?”
He disowned Ogoni Liberation Initiative (OLI), the organisation that championed the visit of NPDC, stating that the body does not have the mandate to speak for Ogoni people.
He said, “I would like to say that the OLI as they call them, don’t have the legitimate mandate to invite any group to come and mine oil in Ogoniland, and we want to say to them that, henceforth, they should stop all such activities.
“In the next few days, we are going to call a broad-based meeting of Ogoni people, so that we chat the way forward. It is in that meeting we are going to agree on what we expect.
“We rejected Shell, so if another organisation is going to come, we should know what other things they are going to do better than Shell.”
Similarly, the Ogoni Elders’ Forum, Gbokabaari, has also warned against alleged moves to resume oil exploration in Ogoni.
A statement signed by the Chairman of the body, Chief Monday Abueh, said there was a sinister motive behind the plan, as the Federal Government was plotting another round of killings in the land, similar to the instigated killings that led to the decimation of Ogoni elite class in the 90s.
The statement called for calm in Ogoni, adding that the NGO fronting for oil resumption in Ogoni, Ogoni Liberation Initiative (OLI), lacked the pedigree and mandate to do so.
The Tide gathered that following moves to resume oil exploration and production activities in the area, stakeholders and opinion leaders in Ogoni ethnic nationality have agreed on a broad-based meeting to address the resurgence of cult-related killings and the visit of Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), to the area without official notice to the leaders.
Also, the leaders of Ogoni have regretted the visit of NPDC, and vowed that no company would resume oil business in the area without due consultations with the people.

By: Taneh Beemene

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Niger Delta

Oborevwori Charges New LG Chairmen On Prudence In Office

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Delta State Governor, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, Monday, charged newly-elected Chairmen and Vice Chairmen of the 25 Local Government Areas in the state to ensure prudent management of resources, while embarking on viable infrastructural projects.
He enjoined them to shun wasteful spending and extravagant lifestyle but ensure modesty, fiscal discipline, prudent management, judicious allocation of resources, and excellent service delivery.
Governor Oborevwori also tasked them to avoid profligacy typified by wasteful spending and extravagant lifestyle, but to address the recurring problems of insecurity, poverty, unemployment and environmental decay in the various Local Government Areas.
He gave the charge while swearing-in the newly elected Chairmen and Vice Chairmen of the 25 Local Government Areas in Asaba, the state capital.
Oborevwori explained that it was necessary for the chairmen to stay close to the people by operating from their area headquarters and warned that they must shun the unhealthy practice of running the local governments from offshore, especially Asaba and Warri.
“To the elected Local Government Council Chairmen, I urge you to reciprocate the huge mandate that has been given to you by giving preference to the needs and aspirations of your people with a view to delivering good governance.
“You must discharge your duties with sincerity of purpose, impartiality, compassion, fairness, and justice, and I expect you to work assiduously for the actualization of the MORE Agenda.
“As the third tier of government closest to the people, you need to improve the environmental sanitation in your communities. Our urban centres are riddled with filth as a result of improper waste disposal and poor sanitation habits of our people.
“I will like to see you step up in this regard by devising proper waste disposal measures, while embarking on aggressive public enlightenment campaign to educate our people on good sanitation habits”, he said.
Governor Oborevwori, who reiterated that the State Government does not tamper with local government funds, said he welcomed the Supreme Court’s ruling on Local Government autonomy, emphasising that statutory allocations to the local governments in the state for the last three months remained intact.
He said as the then Speaker of the State House of Assembly, they voted for autonomy for the Councils during the 5th Constitution alteration session.
“I, therefore, expect you to hit the ground running by embarking on visible infrastructural projects that can be commissioned.  You must shun wasteful spending and extravagant lifestyle.
“Let your administrations be characterised by modesty, fiscal discipline, prudent management, judicious allocation of resources, and excellent project delivery.
“As Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, we advocated for financial autonomy for the legislature and judiciary.  The House also voted YES to Local Government autonomy during the Fifth Alteration of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Therefore, the Supreme Court judgment on financial autonomy for local government councils is a welcome development.
“Actually, Delta State Government has never tampered with local government funds. Rather, the State Government has often had to augment the allocations to the local government councils to enable them meet their financial obligations”, he said.
While charging the Chairmen to improve on their Internally Generated Revenue, Governor Oborevwori cautioned against overtaxing an already burdened populace reeling under the painful effects of the current economic hardship.
He said: “Your success on this job will also depend on your ability to work seamlessly with your Vice Chairmen, the legislative arm and other critical stakeholders in the Local Government Area. Please, avoid running a one-man show.
“You must demonstrate the political sagacity to manage the local politics, and the administrative acumen to be all- inclusive to ensure peace, stability, and cohesion in your domains”.
He expressed appreciation to the Delta State Independent Electoral Commission, (DSIEC) for conducting free, fair and credible elections and to the security agencies for ensuring peace and security throughout the exercise across the state.
The newly elected Chairmen are: Emmanuel Bazim Chinye, Aniocha North; Jude Chukwunkwike, Aniocha South; Dagidi Andaye, Bomadi; Julius Takeme, Burutu; Augustine Ogedegbe, Ethiope East; Christian Onogba, Ethiope West; Monday Odigwe, lka North East; Jerry Ehiwarior, lka South; Godwin Ogorugba, Isoko North; Warri Ovoke Friday, Isoko South; Vincent Osilonya, Ndokwa East; Obi Nzete, Ndokwa West; and Isaiah Esiovwa, Okpe.
Others are; Innocent Esewezie, Oshimili North; Obi Kelvin Ezenyili, Oshimili South; Isaac Aguanah, Patani; Bright Abeke, Sapele; Vincent Oyibode, Udu; Jaro Egbo, Ughelli North; Lucky Avweromre, Ughelli South; Possible Ajede, Ukwuani; Anthony Ofoni, Uvwie; Festus Ashima, Warri North; Weyinmi Agbateyiniro, Warri South; and Sylvester Oromoni, Warri South West.
While congratulating the new chairmen and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on the resounding victory at the polls on Saturday, Governor Oborevwori said it was a product of weeks of grassroots campaign which they did not take for granted and thanked the good people of Delta State who, in spite of the heavy downpour, came out and voted for the leaders of their choice.
Responding on behalf of the Chairmen and Vice Chairmen, Chairman of Oshimili North Local Government Council, Hon. Innocent Esewezie, expressed appreciation to the Governor and leaders of the PDP in the state for the opportunity given to them to serve at the grassroots level of governance.
He commended the electorate in the various local government areas for endorsing their candidature through the electoral mandate given to them at the polls, and assured that they have adopted the MORE Agenda of the Governor and would not betray the confidence reposed in them.
Highpoint of the ceremony, which was attended by the wife of the Governor, Deaconess Tobore Oborevwori; the Deputy Governor, Sir Monday Onyeme; the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Emomotimi Guwor; State Chairman of the PDP, Dr. Kingsley Esiso; and other top government functionaries, was the administration of oath of office on the chairmen and their deputies by the governor.
Albert Ograka, Asaba
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Niger Delta

Navy Assures On Effective Waterways Security 

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The Nigerian Navy has reiterated its commitment towards stamping out economic sabotage and other forms of  criminal activities along the waterways.
Rear Adm. Saheed Akinwande, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Eastern Naval Command, made the statement at the end of the Nigerian Navy second quarterly route march in Calabar on Saturday.
Akinwande said the quarterly exercise was intended to prepare navy personnel physically and psychologically for contemporary security challenges in the country.
“The exercise is to tune us up to meet our maritime security challenges and other internal security concerns”, he said.
The FOC expressed optimism that the exercise would not only enhance the combat readiness of officers and ratings of the command, but also send a strong statement to criminal elements.
He stated that under his watch, the navy would not condone any form of threat around the maritime domain.
The naval officer said the massive participation of personnel in the exercise was an indication of their collective resolve to win the battle against crime and criminality.
“This exercise will tell criminal elements that we are combat-ready, and they we shall not condone any form of threat to our national security interests”, he said.
Akinwande said the navy was fully committed to making the waterways uncomfortable for criminals and economic saboteurs.
The flag officer said the newly launched ‘Operation Delta Sanity’ was a deliberate step to strengthen Nigeria’s waterways security architecture.
He said the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Emmanuel Ogalla, had approved a 90-day extension for the conduct of the Operation.
The Tide’s source reports that the exercise which kicked off at the NNS Victory parade ground, attracted naval personnel from other formations across the state.
The route march which was led by the FOC, took participants through major routes around the Calabar metropolis.
The source further reports that operatives of the Nigeria police and Federal Road Safety Commission were on ground to reinforce traffic management during the exercise.
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Niger Delta

COAS Inaugurates 70,000-litre Water Project in C’River 

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The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, on Monday, inaugurated a 70,000 litre, solar-powered water project in Alesi, Ikom Local Government Area of Cross River State.
The Tide’s source reports that the project is a Special Intervention Civil-Military Cooperation scheme, initiated by the COAS and implemented by Maj.-Gen Hilary Nzan, the Commander, Four Special Forces Command, Doma, Nasarawa.
The source also reports that the strategic initiative is aimed at fostering improved relationship between the army and communities through the implementation of people-oriented  projects.
It further reports that the Nigerian Army had earlier provided solar-powered street lights in the community.
Represented by Maj.-Gen. Hassan Dada, the General Officer Commanding, 82 Division, Nigerian Army, Enugu, the COAS said the project was designed to complement the existing infrastructure provided by the government and other stakeholders.
He said the water project would provide a sustainable source of clean water for the people of Alesi and its environs..
“This project will help to improve the people’s health, sanitation and overall quality of life”, he said.
Lagbaja said the army had implemented a number of people-oriented projects across the country to support the wellbeing of the communities.
He said some of such projects included construction and rehabilitation of hospitals, schools and laboratories, roads, town halls, and borehole facilities among others.
He pledged the commitment of the army to sustain initiatives capable of promoting the security of the nation and the wellbeing of the people.
Earlier, Nzan, said the army chose to implement a water project after a thorough and rigorous consultation with the community.
He urged members of the community to ensure good maintenance culture while using the project to enable it to serve them better
Speaking on behalf of Alesi Community, Dr Odigha Odigha, a Community Leader, described the project as a good omen to the community.
He commended the army for the initiative and said that the water project would impact positively on the wellbeing of the people.
“This project is a huge relief to the community, it would help in the reduction of waterborne diseases such as cholera. It will also reduce the burden of long treks to the stream.
“We commend the Nigerian Army for its visionary interventions in the community, this has truly enhanced the relationship between the people of the community and the force”, he said
The source reports that the inauguration ceremony was greeted with traditional dances and the conferment of the traditional title: “The Leader of People ” on the COAS.
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