The Interim Administrator, Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (rtd) has challenged the people of the Niger Delta to take advantage of the maritime opportunities in the region to grow and nurture successful business ventures.
He expressed optimism that if stakeholders looked inwards and tap the unique natural endowments in the Niger Delta, the region in no distant time would produce a new set of wealthy entrepreneurs.
Dikio, gave the charge in Calabar, Cross River State at the weekend, when he unveiled the first set of ferries owned by Abitto Global Services Limited, an indigenous firm belonging to an ex-agitator, Richard Akinaka.
The amnesty boss, in a statement signed by his Media Adviser, Nneotabase Egbe, regretted that people often focused on the risk factors, and discouraged themselves from starting and in the process allow lofty ideas to die.
Dikio said: “One of the first instructions God gave is ‘go and multiply, dominate’. Are you dominating this riverine environment? Why will you be thinking about other parts when the one God gave you, you have not dominated it? How many roads can you build?
“Our people live in creeks unconnected by road but God has given us roads, the rivers are our roads and for those who don’t know, many great powers are maritime powers.
“The waterways can carry any load, any load at all, it can carry it. The waterways of the Niger Delta are full of money but people don’t know. Stop making excuses and just take the initiative.
“People live where there is snow all year and they adapt to it, they adapt to that environment. And that is what this is all about; adapt to your environment, dominate the environment, the water environment”.
While congratulating Akinaka for the bold step in floating the ferry business, Dikio urged him to expand it to other riverine parts of the country, and also go public by allowing people to buy shares and be part of the business.
Dikio, again called on people of the region to pull their resources together, form partnerships and cooperatives to pursue and actualize their business dreams.
Addressing Akinaka, he said: “Richard, I want to congratulate you for your boldness, and your antecedents are not lost. You are a bold man. On this occasion, I want to assure you that as we hear of Elon Musk, people will hear of you.
“This transport company should not remain only in the Niger Delta, Lagos is 75percent water. I will do everything within my power, to promote this initiative. Already, I have started. I urge you to go corporate, so that you can spread generational wealth”.
Earlier, Akinaka said his foray into business was borne out of the need to find solutions to problems, saying he understood the basic challenges of the people.
He appreciated Dikio for his support and inspiration to the ex-agitators’ community in the region, and appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to confirm him as substantive PAP boss.
He said: “Today, I want to thank you for making out time to come, I ask myself who am I that you will so honour. For me, growing up, I told myself I don’t want to work for the government and I don’t want to work for anybody.
“That is why you see my activities in government are just a part-time job. That is why we call ourselves stakeholders. We are stakeholders, we assist, and we interface between the government and our brothers.
“For me, business is all about solving problems. Looking at the distance, when you travel from Uyo to Calabar, the bad road and terrible traffic I began to think how to ease the sufferings of people.
“I travel that road every week and I know how it is. So, while trying to build military boats, I decided to design a ferry and that is what we are seeing there today.
“We did this design; we have four concepts of what we have designed and the military version. We have not begun what we did and we have supplied about eighteen pieces of it to NNS Pathfinder through the government of Rivers State. Now this is the first one, this is a 26 carrier, that’s why you see the name AWLP26. We have a 20 carrier too which is ready.
“We are here to meet the gap of marine transportation. Our operation will definitely start from here; we will operate from here straight to Ibom Golf Resort in Akwa Ibom and other areas”.
By: Akujobi Amadi
RSHA: Amaewhule-Led Lawmakers Defy Court Order, Elect New Leaders
The crisis rocking the Rivers State House of Assembly took a new twist on Wednesday as lawmakers loyal to the former Speaker, Martin Amaewhule, sat under tight security in the complex.
This is contrary to the court order asking the two factions of the State House of Assembly to maintain the status quo pending the determination of a suit filed by the Edison Ehie faction.
Recall that Ehie faction had obtained a court order that parties should maintain the status quo pending the determination of a suit seeking to sack Amaewhule as the House Speaker.
The Rivers Assembly had become factionalised following an unsuccessful move to impeach Governor Siminialayi Fubara.
The Amaewhule-led lawmakers are believed to be loyal to Fubara’s predecessor and political godfather, Nyesom Wike.
It was learnt that ahead of Wednesday’s sitting, cleaners had on Tuesday been deployed to clean up the Assembly complex, which had been under locks, since October 29, following an explosion in the complex the night before.
One of the cleaners said they were instructed to tidy up the complex ahead of a sitting on Wednesday.
It was gathered that the Wednesday sitting was held for about two hours as a team of riot policemen and security vans were stationed in front of the House to prevent any breaches.
It was gathered that the lawmakers elected a former Chief Whip as the new Majority Leader of the Assembly.
The member, representing Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Constituency 1, Frankline Nwabochi, was named the new Chief Whip.
An unsigned statement sent to the Assembly Press Corps obtained by The Tide said the two new principal officers accordingly took their oath of office.
Amaewhule congratulated them, charging them to be committed to their new responsibilities.
According to the statement, the lawmakers also passed the first reading of a Bill seeking to amend the Rivers State Local Government Law, No. 5 of 2018.
They also debated on the Rivers State House of Assembly Funds Management (Financial Autonomy) Bill, 2023, which passed second reading on Wednesday.
Amaewhule who described the Bill as important, expressed his conviction that Governor Fubara would assent to it after the lawmakers finally pass it.
He hinted that the governor had withheld funds meant for the Assembly for the month of November.
He said the lawmakers were determined to perform their constitutional duties despite the distractions.
He thereafter referred the Bill to the House Committee on Public Accounts for public hearing and further legislative scrutiny.
The other faction of the Assembly led by Ehie, and loyal to Fubara, had yet to react to the Wednesday development as of the time of filing this report.
Ogoni Group Mulls Recall Of Lawmakers Over Foiled Fubara’s Impeachment
An Advocacy group in Rivers State, Ogoni Development Drive (ODD), says it has begun the process to recall four Ogoni lawmakers from the Rivers House of Assembly over their alleged roles in the botched impeachment of Governor Similanayi Fubara.
The lawmakers are Dumle Maol (PDP, Gokana constituency), Barile Nwakoh (PDP, Khana), Aforji Igwe (PDP, Eleme) and Bernard Ngba (PDP, Tai).
The group’s Convener, Comrade Solomon Lenu, made this known at a news conference in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Recall that Fubara survived an alleged impeachment plot on October 30.
ODD said it had on November 10 issued a seven-day ultimatum to the four Ogoni lawmakers who partook in the plot that attempted to serve an impeachment notice to Governor Fubara.
The four lawmakers, now suspended, were asked to apologise to the Ogoni people whom they represent and to Gov. Fubara for denigrating his exalted office or risk being recalled.
“Instead of heeding this advice and embracing the olive branch extended to them, they rather embarked on an egocentric escapade,” the group said.
Lenu further said the lawmakers rather than heed to the advice by ODD, engaged in various meetings that purportedly plotted to unseat the governor.
“Governor Fubara was collectively voted for by the entire Rivers people, and as such, the action by the lawmakers has not gone well with all men and women of conscience.
“It is illogical for the erring assembly members to think it is right to impeach an innocent governor for no just cause but wrong to recall them for erring against their constituents.
“The suspended lawmakers called a bluff of ODD ultimatum, and so, we have decided to carry out this recall process in earnest, to put our democracy aright,” he said.
Lenu said the group had already reached an advanced level in sensitising and mobilising the lawmaker’s constituents to recall them.
He said that ODD had also obtained the comprehensive voters’ register of all voters in the four local government areas and constituencies.
According to him, an electronic capture form has also been created to make the petition process easier for students at various tertiary school campuses and those on holiday to sign the petition.
“So far, the response from the aggrieved constituents has been very impressive, and we shall in a few weeks’ time complete the compilation of the required signatures.
“The signatures are required for INEC to call for a referendum, which shall be carried out in branches with strict security guidance, to abort any sinister counterplot against democracy.
“We know this process is not going to be easy, but we are ready to go all the way, to create a sense of responsibility in our elected leaders,” he said.
Lenu said instilling a sense of responsibility in politicians and elected leaders would further entrench democratic tenets in the country.
The ODD convener called on the people of Ogoni to come forward and sign the petition, to end political “jamboree and illicit godfatherism” in the state.
The Tide reports that 26 lawmakers on Oct. 30 proceeded to impeach Fubara but were stopped by four pro-Fubara lawmakers led by Ehie Edison (PDP-Ahoada East II).
Mr Martins Amaewhule (Obio Akpor constituency), a close ally of a former governor, was later ousted as Speaker and Ehie sworn in as the new Speaker.
However, Amaewhule insists that he is still the Speaker of the House of Assembly, resulting in some form of confusion over the office of the Speaker.
FRSC Commander Faces Sanction Over Unauthorised Comments
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), yesterday, disowned the Unit Commander, Central Business District Unit Command, Assistant Corps Commander IL Ibrahim, over his recent statement on Vehicle Inspection Officers, otherwise known as Directorate of Road Traffic Services.
Ibrahim was quoted to have said that VIO officials did not have the right to arrest road traffic violators, including overloaded vehicles and motorists caught using phones while driving.
But Deputy Corps Marshal, Bisi Kazeem, in a statement, yesterday, said Ibrahim’s comment was not the position of the Corps.
Kazeem added that the concerned official had been recalled to the national headquarters for necessary disciplinary action.
The statement read, “The Federal Road Safety Corps wishes to make a pertinent clarification regarding the pronouncement by the Unit Commander, Central Business District Unit Command, Assistant Corps Commander IL Ibrahim, that Vehicle Inspection Officers, otherwise known as Directorate of Road Traffic Services, do not have the right to arrest road traffic violators, including overloaded vehicles and motorists caught using phones while driving.
“The general public is advised to disregard the statement as it had no approval of the Corps Marshal, Dauda Ali Biu, and does not in anyway reflect the corporate or general position of the Corps.
“It is important for the public know that the laws establishing VIOs/State Traffic Management Agencies give them the statutory mandate to make arrests on different offences depending on the state within which they operate. As such, the agencies should be given the maximum cooperation for the enhancement of safety on our roads.
“On this note and in line with sustaining the Corps’ resolve that road safety is a collective responsibility, and in acknowledgement of the roles the State Traffic Management Agencies like the Vehicle Inspection Officers play in complementing the statutory responsibilities of the FRSC through enforcement of traffic laws, the Corps Marshal has ordered the immediate withdrawal of the Unit Commander to the national headquarters for necessary administrative and disciplinary actions.
“The public is admonished to always comply with all established traffic regulations and cooperate with security agencies deployed to maintain law and order on the highways, irrespective of their corporate mandate.”
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