The Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta, Operation Delta Safe, says allegations that it invaded Igbomotoru Community in Bayelsa State is baseless and an attempt to distract ongoing efforts to stamp out oil theft.
The Tide’s source reports that the joint military force conducted a site visit to the illegal refineries site on Thursday with newsmen, led by Lt. Col. Philimone Malgwi, the Commanding Officer 343 Artillery Regiment.
The trip showed the illegal refining sites operated by oil thieves, where the ongoing clampdown on criminal elements took place, are located about 1.3 to 5 km away from Igbomotoru community.
Addressing newsmen after the visit, the JTF Commander, Rear Adm. Aminu Hassan, said the mandate was to protect oil and gas infrastructure and deter militancy, sea robbery, crude oil theft and other form of criminality within the Niger Delta region.He dismissed claims that the JTF was occupying the area and maintained that the operation was in line with their rules of engagement.
He added that the military was in the area to flush out criminals and protect law-abiding residents from criminals.
“In the way we do our things, we believe in showing people that we have nothing to hide, that is why we conducted the press to the field and we showed them what and what is there, and what the criminals are doing.
“They have erected illegal refining camps the size of which had never been seen in Bayelsa before. We have been watching them before now, it is now they want to start operation and we must stop them.
“We are here to protect the people, the oil and gas facilities, we follow international best practices, as professionals,” he said.
He challenged the suspected masterminds of the illegality behind the false alarm, to come out to answer them if they believed they had no hands in the illegality going on in the Igbomotoru, and its environment.
The JTF Commander urged the people of Igbomotoru to work together with the JTF to protect the national assets which belonged to all Nigerians.
Hassan explained that the JTF did not engage in dehumanising practices and did not interfere in community affairs.
He said the JTF had no links with allegations of rights abuse against a surveillance contractor, Dalon Security Services engaged by Agip in the neighbourhood.
According to him, the terrain is a difficult one that the JTF is ready to take anyone ready to the illegal refining site which is the biggest in Bayelsa State, so far.
He called on young people to go into legitimate business, and shun illegalities which would not pay them well but cut their lives short.
In his remarks, the Commanding Officer said they deployed their men in the area because the oil thieves and illegal refineries opetators had been unleashing terror to law-abiding residents of the area.
He said investigations indicated that the illegal refining sites were all tied to one suspect who had been attacking people opposed to using the area for the illicit acts, adding that the JTF was already on his trail.
Gov Eno Flags Off Rural Roads In Akwa Ibom
In keeping to his campaign promises of connecting different parts of the state by roads, Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Pastor Umo Eno has flagged-off road construction projects to re-connect communities in Obot Akara, Essien Udim and Etim Ekpo local government areas.
The roads flagged – off include 11.71Km Abiakpo Ikot Otu-Atan Ibong-Usaka Annang Road and Nto Ndang-Nto Ekpu road Road, with two bridges, each spanning 15 metres, and 16km Midim Atan-Ikot Inyang-Ikot Akpan Ekpeyong-Etok Uruk Eshiet-Ikot Imonte road, with 30 metres span bridge, linking some villages in Essien Udim and Etim Ekpo Local Government Areas.
Speaking at the flag-off ceremony of the Essien Udim – Etim Ekpo access road at St. Paul’s Primary School Midim, Essien Udim, Governor Umo Eno said his administration is committed to the promise made during his campaign and urged the people to exercise patience as every part of the State will benefit from his administration.
He reaffirmed his commitment to selecting and undertaking projects primarily on the basis of impact and benefits to the generality of the people, rather than satisfying and serving individual’s interest.
Governor Eno noted that he was moved by the sad stories of the community and especially, the “pregnant-women-swallowing-bridge” as was told by one of the community members, and assured that such sad tales will become history within the shortest time.
He stressed that the 16Km Essien Udim-Etim Ekpo road and the bridge projects had no political motivation, but a pointer to his administration’s sensitivity to the plight of the people, especially the women and children who had been exposed to avoidable risk by using the collapsed road and bridge.
According to him, “we didn’t come to do this projects based on political reasons. It is God that directs the government on this road project, not any politician.
“We are connecting two local government areas by this project.
“We want to thank our brother, Celestine Mel who has used his God-given talents to attract this project here.
“If you know this man, he is a critic in every sense, but I don’t have a problem with criticism, so far it’s very constructive and will bring good to the people, not just abusing the government.
“We want to thank you for drawing our attention to this road and to the various accidents and incidents that have occured here. We believe that by the Grace of God, all that will cease,” he said. This road when completed, will connect the people of Essien Udim with their kith and kins in Etim Ekpo Local Government Area.
At the Abiakpo Ikot Otu-Atan Ibong-Usaka Annang Road and Nto Ndang-Nto Ekpu road Road, in Obot Akara Local Government Area, the Governor who was moved by the outpouring of love and gratitude by the people also approved the construction of a model primary healthcare facility to replace the dilapidated Usaka Health Centre project initiated during the military era.
The Village Head, Eteidung Williamson Ndarake, had made a passionate plea to the Governor to intervene on the health facility and his request was instantly granted, with people responding with a roar of gratitude.
In their remarks, the members representing Etim Ekpo/Ika and Essien Udim State Constituencies, Chief Mfon Idung, and Prince Ukpong Akpabio respectively, as well as the transition chairmen of Essien Udim and Etim Ekpo, Dr. Anthony Luke, and Mr. Ekpuk Eshiet as well as a social critic Mr. Celestine Mel, expressed gratitude to the Governor for the heartwarming intervention and assured of their people’s continuous support for full actualisation of the ARISE Agenda.
On his part, the Paramount Ruler of Essien Udim, HRM Obong Cosmas Akpan, also expressed profound gratitude to the Governor and prayed for God’s blessings and guidance to the governor.
At Obot Akara event which was attended by a cross- section of political stakeholders in the local government area, such as a the former Deputy Governor, Senator Chris Ekpenyong, the Commissione
Edo APC Youth Leader Apologises Over Vandalisation Of Party Secretariat
Edo State All Progressives Congress (APC) youth leader, Tony Adun alias Kabaka, has apologised to the party for leading youths and women to vandalise the secretariat after the first primary election on February 17, which threw up three winners.
According to The Tide’s source, the crowd which he led, forced their way into the offices and brought out the furniture, bags of rice and other equipment, vowing to stay at the building for seven days till the state executive council is dissolved.
Adun said they were protesting the conduct of the officials at the primary election, noting that it was obvious the exco worked against the party.
The protest came after the chairman of the Electoral Committee of the primary, Governor Hope Uzodinma announced Dennis Idahosa as the winner, while the returning officer, Stanley Ugboaja, declared Monday Okpebholo as the winner.
Also, Ojo Babatunde, who claimed to be representing the returning officers in all the local government, declared Anamero Dekeri as the winner of the election.
With the confusion, the National Working Committee of the party ordered a rerun on February 22 under the Chairmanship of Governor Bassey Otu of Cross Rivers State, who replaced Uzodimma as the head of the electoral committee for the election.
After the exercise, Okpebholo was declared the winner with 12,433 votes to defeat Idahosa, who scored 6,541 votes.
Adun, in a viral video and a statement on Sunday, apologised to the leaders of the party in the state.
He said, “I, Comrade Tony Kabaka, the state youth leader of the APC, wish to apologise to our leaders, women leaders of our great party and all our youths as regards the conduct of aggrieved APC youths during the party primary which took place on the 17th February 2024.
“The party is supreme, I will work with the party and leaders to ensure that our candidate, Senator Monday Okpebholo, is victorious and I wish to use this medium to congratulate him on his victory at the just concluded party primary.
“I want to urge all youths to embrace peace and let us all work together to make sure we succeed in the general elections come September 2024; I remain a loyal party man.
“I wish to use this opportunity to appeal to our state chairman, Jarret Tenebe, and state secretary, Lawrence Okah, and other members of the state working committee to lead us to rebuild the party and bring all of us together to ensure our party produce the next governor in the elections,” he said.
Lawmakers Pass Confidence Vote On LG Boss
A vote of confidence has been passed on the Chairman of Okpe Local Government Council of Delta State, Chief Isaiah Onoriode Esiovwa by members of the legislative arm.
Majority leader of the legislative arm, Hon Ramsey Daniel Okoro, who moved the motion for the confidence vote during the plenary of the House, said the council chairman has been able to spread development to all the wards in the local government area.
Okoro who represents Ward 17 in the local government area said: “With lean resources being experienced by council chairmen across the Local Government Areas in the country, the chairman of Okpe Local Government Council, Hon Isaiah Esiovwa has been able to achieve so much for the people since he came on board as the council boss and we are impressed with his leadership skills.
“I want to hereby move a vote of confidence on the dynamic chairman of Okpe Local Government Council for carrying everybody along and for his numerous achievements. His types are rare and we have satisfied with his leadership”.
Seconding the motion, Deputy Leader of the House, representing Ward 6, Hon. Kingsley Ese Onojighofia, said, “I want to hereby support the motion moved by our Majority Leader in passing a vote of confidence on the chairman of Okpe Local Government Area, Hon Isaiah Esiovwa.
“He has performed extremely well and we are encouraged by what he has done so far as chairman. He has been able to sustain the cordial relationship between the Executive Arm and the Legislative Arm.
“He is gifted with leadership skills. We want to applaud him for his developmental strides and that is why the entire 20 members of the Legislative House present here today are passing a vote of confidence on the chairman for all he has been doing in the entire local government area”.
The motion was thereafter, put into vote by the Leader of the Legislative Arm of Okpe Local Government Area, Hon. Aragbata P. Obakpororo and it was unanimously adopted.
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