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.”
Akeredolu will be remembered for truth, justice – Aiyedatiwa
Gov. Lucky Aiyedatiwa of Ondo State on Wednesday said the late former Governor of the state, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, would be remembered for his good deeds, especially standing for truth and justice.
Aiyedatiwa stated this during a special court session held in honour of the late former governor at the Ondo State High Court in Akure.
He explained that the former governor used his knowledge, ebullience and capacities to defend the human peaceful existence.
Aiyedatiwa added that the deceased deeds during his life time were greatly impactful.
According to him, the deceased was after justice and rule of law.
Aiyedatiwa said that late Akeredolu was always not pleased when justice was not served.
He described the honour bestowed on the late governor as a well deserved because his life evolved around the legal profession.
“He was an achiever with success stories. He stood firm and was committed to truth and justice,” he said.
Also speaking, the Chief Judge (CJ) of the state, Justice Olusegun Odusola, said that late Akeredolu remained celebrated in death more than being alive considering a reference to his achievements and attainment in life.
Odusola said that the late governor was a courageous fighter, who faced the serious security challenges in the state with ingenious courage that had become a national model.
He stated that it was more-worthy that the late governor did not interfere with judicial activities, even when it did not favour his desires.
According to him, late Akeredolu was a man that lived with his words.
“In my last encounter with him at a time when his health was obviously failing, Arakunrin still reiterated his desire to construct a judiciary complex that will be the envy of other states in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“He also spoke about judges’ welfare and I wondered how a man in such a condition could still love the judiciary so much as to remember the little promises he made,” he said.
The CJ said that late Akeredolu was an outstanding legal icon and a political colossus, a man who was an exemplar of indefatigable courage, principled resistance with honesty and self-respect.
He stated that late Akeredolu would continue to be a good reference point in humanity.
In his remarks, the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr Yakubu Maikyau, described the late governor as a man with keen passion to help humanity and secure peace.
Maikyau added that the deceased was a person of humility known for truth and justice, and asked the deceased family to take solace in the good deeds of the late governor.
Dignitaries present include Gov. Abdulrasak Abdulrahman of Kwara; Ondo State Deputy Gov, Olayide Adelami; Chief Olusola Oke, SAN; and APC Chairman in Ondo State, Mr Ade Adetimehin.
Others are human rights lawyer, Mr Kayode Ajulo; Ambassador Sola Iji, Speaker Ondo State House of Assembly; and former Inspector of Police, Mr Sunday Ehindero.
Gunmen Kill Police Inspector In Rivers
The Rivers State Police Command said an Inspector was killed by gunmen who ambushed and attacked its men on a stop and search duty at the Eliozu Flyover in Obio/Akpo Local Government Area of the state on Wednesday night.
The spokesperson of the command, Grace Iringe-Koko, disclosed this in a statement issued yesterday.
Iringe-Koko said the gunmen who were spotted in a carton-colored Sienna bus with fully tinted glasses drove in from the Rumuodumaya axis, near Port Harcourt where they launched the offensive which claimed the officer’s life.
She, however, said the team rose to the occasion and returned fire and neutralised one of the miscreants who wore masks, but that other gang members escaped by the whisker.
The statement reads, “We are deeply saddened to announce a heinous incident that occurred on 21st February 2024, involving an attack on policemen attached to Operation Sting of the Rivers State Police Command.
“At approximately 2145hrs, while conducting routine stop-and-search at Eliozu flyover, the officers were ambushed by unidentified hoodlums operating in a carton-colored Sienna bus, with fully tinted glasses.
“The registration number of the vehicle remains unknown at this time.
“The assailants drove in from the Rumuodumaya axis, and opened fire on the police team, resulting in the tragic loss of one Inspector who valiantly gave his life in the line of duty.
“Undeterred, the police team responded with bravery, engaging the attackers and managing to neutralise one of them with a mask on his face, while the others managed to escape, potentially sustaining gunshot wounds.
“The command has launched a thorough investigation into this despicable act and has already identified the group responsible.
“Rest assured, we will relentlessly pursue these criminals and bring them to justice. No amount of intimidation will hinder our officers’ unwavering commitment to safeguarding the lives and property of the citizens.”
While noting that such acts of aggression against security forces detrimentally impact the safety and security of our entire society, she stressed that the command remains resolute in its duty to maintain peace and protect the well-being of the populace.
“The Commissioner of Police, Olatunji Disu, reiterates unequivocally that those who perpetrate violence against policemen or any citizen will face the full weight of the law.
“We urge all law-abiding citizens to continue with their daily activities without panic, as we are determined to uphold our mandate of preserving lives and property in the face of such challenges.
“We extend our deepest condolences to the family and colleagues of the fallen inspector, and we assure them that his sacrifice will not be in vain. Our resolve to serve and protect remains unwavering as we stand together against those who seek to disrupt the peace and harmony of our society”, she said.
Recall that last year, a former Divisional Police Officer of Ahoada Division, Bako Angbashim, was ambushed and killed by a cult gang.
Since the death of the cop, the command has been on his trail, with constant land and air bombardments in the various hideouts of the Iceland cult leader, even as some of his lieutenants were gunned down previously.
However, on Monday, Grace Iringe-Koko, said intelligence reports revealed that the wanted cult kingpin was killed in a recent joint security raid in the Idu-Ekpeye community, Ahoada East Local Government Area of the State.
Nigeria’s GDP Grew By 3.46% In Q4 2023 -NBS
Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product grew by 3.46 per cent year-on-year in real terms in the fourth quarter of 2023, the National Bureau of Statistics has disclosed.
In its ‘Nigerian Gross Domestic Product Report (Q4, 2023),’ released yesterday, the NBS said the growth rate is lower than the 3.52 per cent recorded in the fourth quarter of 2022 and higher than the third quarter of 2023 growth of 2.54 per cent
It added that the service industry was responsible for the growth in the quarter.
Both the IMF and World Bank expected Nigeria’s economy to grow by 2.9 per cent in 2023.
The report read, “Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 3.46 per cent (year-on-year) in real terms in the fourth quarter of 2023.
“This growth rate is lower than the 3.52 per cent recorded in the fourth quarter of 2022 and higher than the third quarter of 2023 growth of 2.54 per cent.
“The performance of the GDP in the fourth quarter of 2023 was driven mainly by the Services sector, which recorded a growth of 3.98 per cent and contributed 56.55 per cent to the aggregate GDP.”
In terms of share of the GDP, industry, and the services sectors contributed more to the aggregate GDP in the fourth quarter of 2023 compared to the fourth quarter of 2022.
“The agriculture sector grew by 2.10 per cent, from the growth of 2.05 per cent recorded in the fourth quarter of 2022. The growth of the industry sector was 3.86 per cent, an improvement from -0.94 per cent recorded in the fourth quarter of 2022. In terms of share of the GDP, industry, and the services sectors contributed more to the aggregate GDP in the fourth quarter of 2023 compared to the fourth quarter of 2022. On an annual basis, GDP grew by 2.74 per cent in 2023 relative to 3.10 per cent in 2022,” the report added.
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