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Groups Warn Against Delay In Unveiling Substantive NDDC Board

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Community Development Committee of Oil and Gas Producing Areas of the Niger Delta (CDCOGPAND) and Oil Mineral Producing Communities Traditional Rulers Forum (OMPCTRF), yesterday, warned that the delay in inauguration of a substantive board for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) may lead to renewed hostilities in the oil-rich region.
The groups, in a statement jointly issued by Chairman, Board of Trustees, CDCOGPAND, Joseph Ambakederimo; and Head of Secretariat, OMPCTRF, Kingsley Arthur; enjoined the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Obong Umana Okon to stop the ongoing charade of the illegal sole administratorship and avoid getting himself sucked into the macabre dance of shame in the NDDC, saying; “Obong Umana Okon should not allow himself to be manipulated, he should not give-in to the shenanigans of the buccaneers. He should not allow himself to be manipulated, he should not give-in to the shenanigans of the buccaneers.
“We are appealing to President Muhammadu Buhari to implement his renewed promise last week to inaugurate the Board of NDDC, whose members he duly nominated, equally forwarded to the Senate for screening and confirmation as the NDDC Act prescribed, yet, the president’s appointees are yet to be sworn into office to do their work three years since the process of the appointments were completed.
“Looking at other appointments the President has made, particularly the recent appointment of the Managing Director for the Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority (OGFZA), Onne in Rivers State, the swiftness at which the appointment was made, calls to question as to why the NDDC board has become something of ridicule to the people of the region.
“Another one is the directive issued by the president for a forensic audit of Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) without dissolving the board of the HYPREP or appointing an interim sole administrator to run the affairs of HYPREP while the audit will last. In the case of the NDDC, a substantive board has been delayed even after the forensic audit had been concluded.
“The president did not also appoint an interim sole administrator to run the affairs of the OGFZA. A substantive appointment was quickly made which has made the OGFZA appointment the swiftest appointment ever made in seven years of this administration.
“Now, the question to ask the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Obong Umana Okon Umana, is: what is delaying the NDDC Board inauguration? Why is the NDDC board inauguration being handled in such a lackadaisical manner? And why are the people of the region seemingly so weak that they can’t resist this treatment of slavery by our own people?
“There has been two financial years’ budget of the NDDC approved by the National Assembly amounting to N799billion, which has been brazenly mismanaged with no repercussions meted out to persons, and we say this is alright by every standard.
“The resources of the commission are allegedly pilfered on a daily basis with some used to lobby people in this government to get extension of tenure in order for them to continue the illegality of the ongoing contraption and pillage the collective resources of the region.
“We hereby call on the minister to stop the ongoing charade of the illegal sole administratorship so that he does not get himself sucked into this macabre dance of shame. Mr Umana should not allow himself to be manipulated, he should not give-in to the shenanigans of the buccaneers.
“The people of Niger Delta are happy that Obong Umana was given the headship of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and by extension the responsibility to supervise the NDDC. The people are looking up to him for succour, to better their lot, therefore he cannot afford to disappoint the people, but the only way he will continue to enjoy the confidence of the people is when he quickly ensures the inauguration of the board, in accordance with the law, to ensure fair and equitable representation of the nine constituent states.
“The sole administrator’s continued stay in NDDC has become very toxic and corrosive to the environment and the earlier the sole administrator is dispensed with, the better for the region. The public space has been replete with stories of barefaced corruption since the appointment of the interim sole administrator to run the agency. The NDDC is over due to be run by a duly appointed and confirmed board, in accordance with the NDDC Act. Anything short of this at this time becomes unpalatable.
“The implication of what is going on is not yet felt by the perpetrators of the illegality. The NDDC that was a source of genuine means of livelihood for the young men and women of the region, has been taken away from them such that they now turn to illegal refining of petroleum products for survival, and which has activities have impacted heavily on the environment. Now that the illegal refining activities have been destroyed by government leaving them helpless, do we not see impending calamity? It is naturally follows that there could be a push back and that push back is imminent.
“The region is the most peaceful today in the country considering the level of insecurity in other parts of the country. We should not allow or do things in a manner that will open old wounds and plunge the region into unimaginable crisis. Let us not forget in a hurry when oil production in 2016 was drastically reduced to an insignificant quantity that adversely impacted revenues and the economy.
“Our actions and deeds should not be a tonic that will spur negative reactions which will be detrimental to the nation. Our collective concern should be guided by the challenges the region and by extension the nation will face.
“It will not be good for violence to erupt in the region during your time as the minister holding forth in the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
“We, therefore, urge the minister to follow the path of honour and due process and end the ongoing illegality of administering NDDC with a sole administrator in violation of the NDDC Act.
“We are not advocating for violence but the illegality in NDDC is the kind of action that propels people to anger, especially when agreements reached are not respected. Let us not allow this to get to the point where people will resort to self-help. If we can restrain ourselves we cannot guarantee that others will, therefore, it becomes extremely important for the minister to act in a manner that will douse tension. The position we take today shapes what happens tomorrow.”

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Stakeholders Harp On Collection Of PVCs …As Okrika Hosts GDI Sensitisation Rally

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The Grassroot Development Initiative (GDI), has tasked eligible voters in Okrika Local Government Area of Rivers State to focus efforts at the collection of their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) to enable them actively participate in the 2023 elections.
The stakeholders gave the charge, last Wednesday, during a PVC sensitisation rally at Okochiri.
Thousands of dignitaries from far and near Okrika Kingdom stormed the ancient town for the sensitisation programme.
In a brief speech, the state Chairman of PDP, Amb Desmond Akawor, reminded GDI and PDP members and supporters to intensify mobilisation and enlightenment of the electorate on the need to arm themselves with their PVCs to enable them exercise their franchise during the forthcoming elections.
Also speaking, two chieftains of the PDP, Dr Sampson Parker, and Hon Ibibia Walter, assured that Okrikans were already energised to ensure that their votes count during the 2023 elections by registering and collecting their PVCs.
They urged those who were yet to collect their PVCCs to do so without further delay.
In his remarks, President-General of GDI, Hon. Bright Amaewhule, said the political pressure group embarked on the sensitisation programme with the aim of ensuring that no eligible voter in the state was left behind in efforts to elect acceptable leaders into the Executive and all Legislative offices in 2023.
Amaewhule challenged all those who were yet to collect their PVCs to rush to the nearby Independent National Electoral Commission office or PVC Collection Centre to pick up their PVCs, and get ready to do themselves proud by exercising their franchise come 2023 elections.
Among the dignitaries were the Rivers State Chairman of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Amb Desmond Akawor; some members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), including the Deputy Chairman, Chukwuemeka Aaron; and the state Secretary, Dr Benibo George; who were there on solidarity.
There were also past and present LGA chairmen, serving and former lawmakers and commissioners in the state, party stalwarts and leaders, including Dr Sampson Parker, Hon. Ibibia Walter, and former NUPENG National Chairman, Comrade Igwe Achese, among others.
The event featured ward-by-ward gyration by GDI members in Okrika and solidarity speeches from GDI stakeholders in the area.
They all advised those who have already registered during the just concluded continuous voter registration exercise to ensure collection of their PVCs.

By: Nelson Chukwudi

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Nwanosike Reprimands Abati Over Diatribe On Wike

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The Chairman of Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State, Engr. Samuel Nwanosike, has reprimanded Dr. Reuben Abati over his diatribe on the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike.
Recall that Abati, an ace journalist and public affairs commentator, had in one of his programmes on Arise TV, took a swipe at the Rivers State governor over his perceived misunderstanding with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on the choice of his running mate.
Nwanosike, while speaking with newsmen at his office in Isiokpo, last Tuesday, urged Nigerians to disregard the outburst of Dr. Reuben Abati, because, according to him, Abati does not understand the discussion that took place between Governor Nyesom Wike and his team, while advising Abati to properly advice his boss.
According to Nwanosike, “I will advise him to advise his principal properly. A man that won a presidential ticket, and wants to win an election should not send attack dogs to attack those who will gather votes for him.
“In Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike is in charge. In South-South, Chief Nyesom Wike is in charge. Chief Nyesom Wike remains the star-man of South-South politics, and we will continue to follow his directions. His leadership quality is okay for us”.
He decried the rate at which men who were meant to be upright and truthful, were attacking and bullying some others because they have easy platforms.
Nwanosike said, “It’s a shame that we have gotten to a level in this country where men who are supposed to say the truth will wake up in the midnight because they have a platform, they have the opportunity, and then, want to bully other Nigerians who are eminently qualified, even more qualified than them, into a position that will suit them”.
He acknowledged that Abati raised some critical issues, but wondered why a first-class material like him has failed to proffer any solution to the issues bedevilling Nigeria.
“Dr. Reuben Abati is or has raised some critical issues. Issue number one is that he started writing and practicing journalism since 1985, and he made a first class in the University of Calabar. It’s a great achievement. But the only problem we have as Nigerians is that all issues, being a first class graduate and writing since 1985, has he produced any result in the Nigerian issues?
“As a first class graduate, he is supposed to be one of Nigeria’s best”, Nwanosike said.
He regretted that Abati bullied former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to appoint him as presidential spokesman, but rather worked in connivance with the opposition party to ensure Jonathan’s failure.
“He bullied President Goodluck Jonathan into giving him an appointment as press secretary. Between 2012 and 2013, President Jonathan was considered the best and Nigeria was adjudged one of the fastest growing economies in the world, yet Lai Mohammed came and sold lies to Nigerians not to appreciate the good works of Jonathan, and this Reuben Abati couldn’t do anything to sell the good works of President Goodluck Jonathan because he doesn’t have the capacity.
“In fact, we can accuse Reuben Abati of sabotaging or as one of those who sabotaged the victory of President Goodluck Jonathan. That’s why Jonathan lost that election.
“And today, Reuben Abati’s failure has brought us the destruction of lives and property we have in Nigeria today”, Nwanosike stated.
The Ikwerre Council boss lashed out at Abati for being Atiku Abubakar’s political puppet, and his inability to establish any media outfit, despite his claim of being a media practitioner for over 37 years.
He said, “A man who claims that he has been at the third tier for over 22 years, yet, he cannot tell us of a media investment that he has developed whether it’s a television station of his own or a print media of his own. Rather, what he is doing is to wake up in the morning, wear a suit and tie of his age, seems he is over 60, and come and sit down and churn out lies to Nigerians because his paymaster, Atiku Abubakar, wants to press Nigerians into giving him an opportunity to manage the Nigerian economy because he believes, Atiku Abubakar believes, that being the President of Nigeria is his life ambition”.
Nwanosike noted that what the Rivers State governor said that a leader like Atiku Abubakar, the former Vice President of Nigeria, lied to the Nigerian public about him is factual, saying that one Dr Osina justified Wike’s assertion when he called Alhaji Atiku Abubakar a liar during Dr. Reuben Abati’s Morning Show.
“Governor Nyesom Wike has done well as an Ikwerre man; has done well as a Rivers man; has done well as a South-South man; and represents the image of the South-South people. We are not to talk about age, age is just a number. He has the capacity and competence.
“Chief Nyesom Wike has done well as a chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government, two-time chairman, built wonderful infrastructures for Obio/Akpor people, and made Obio/Akpor people to understand what dividends of democracy mean, and touched all their wards as a sitting local government chairman.
“He grew to the level of becoming President of Commonwealth Association of Local Government Chairmen. Outside that, Chief Nyesom Wike served in the same administration with Reuben Abati as a minister. He didn’t shop for it”, Nwanosike noted.
He stressed that the legacies of Chief Nyesom Wike as Nigeria’s Junior Minister of Education and even Senior Minister of Education still speak volumes, and remain evergreen, adding that Chief Nyesom Wike has replicated his tremendous achievements in Rivers State.
He urged Nigerians to disregard the outburst of Dr. Reuben Abati because, according to him, he does not understand the discussion that happened between Chief Nyesom Wike and his team, while advising Abati to properly advise his boss.
While digressing, Nwanosike advised the National Chairman of PDP, Senator Iyorcha Ayu, to abide by the party’s Constitution and honourably resign since the presidential candidate of the party is from the same North with him.

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Embrace Exclusive Breastfeeding, Banigo Tasks Nursing Mothers

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Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, has reiterated the need for nursing mothers to embrace exclusive breastfeeding to facilitate the healthy growth of their babies.
Banigo stated this in her goodwill message in Government House, Port Harcourt, last Wednesday, to commemorate the 2022 World Breast Feeding Week.
According to the public health physician, breast milk remains nature’s food for ensuring the health and quality of life for infants through childhood to adult life.
She said expectant mothers should register at the government health facilities spread across the state for their antenatal visits, delivery, and post-natal services, adding that the Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike-led administration cares about the health of nursing mothers and their babies.
The first week of August each year has been set aside as World Breastfeeding Week, which is an initiative to raise awareness on the benefits of exclusive breast-feeding.
The theme for this year’s celebration is: “Step Up for Breastfeeding: Educate and Support”.

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