Stakeholders in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria have appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to approve a Board rather than a sole administrator for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The stakeholders, under the auspices of the Niger Delta Movement for Development (NDMD), made the appeal in a statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Mr Ogbakiri Yanga, in Yenagoa.
The NDMD members said they would only accept the current management team led by Dr. Efiong Akwa as the commission’s last interim administrator.
The stakeholders said their call became necessary because they recently “observed with dismay another selfish plot to make the NDDC an appendage of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs with full powers to dictate the direction of the commission”.
The statement said the NDMD emergency meeting, where their resolution was taken, held in Oporoza, Delta and was attended by youth leaders and elders from the region.
Members of the NDMD resolved that they would not accept another sole administrator for the NDDC.
The NDMD maintained that any other change in the management of the NDDC should be the appointment of a Board rather than a sole administrator, as directed by the Act establishing the commission.
“This is the least we expect from The Presidency and the Ministry of Niger Delta. Any announcement of another interim administrator other than the inauguration of a substantive Board will be viewed by us as provocative and the highest level of insensitivity.
“We have stomached this outright neglect of our opinions and feelings for a long time because we believe that Dr. Efiong Akwa will be the last sole administrator of this commission”, they said.
According to the body, any administration other than a substantive board will lead to a revolution of unimaginable proportion in the region, saying the entire Niger Delta was watching with keen interests and was prepared to rise to defend its common interests.
Members of the NDMD described as “utter wickedness” the plot by some few selfish individuals to want to institute and perpetuate the status quo.
“We want to believe that some selfish individuals are bent in totally damaging the image of President Muhammadu Buhari in the Niger Delta.
“Already, the way some of these individuals have handled the affairs of the NDDC has left much to be desired”, the statement said.
It said the people were quiet because they believed that the next change of leadership would be the announcement of a board.
“Don’t taste the wrath of a lion by touching its tail. Any attempt to appoint another interim administrator will be likened to waking up a sleeping dog.
The group then urged Buhari to urgently constitute the board for the commission.
They also said it was unacceptable the moves in some quarters to reduce the powers of NDDC and make it subservient to the Ministry of the Niger Delta Commission.
The NDMD said it was keenly monitoring the situation, adding that the planned selfish move by these unnamed persons was not in the best interest of the region.
FCFMT Resumes Academic Activities, Next Year
Academic activities will resume next session at the Ngo campus of the Federal College of Fisheries and Marine Technology.
It would be recalled that the Federal Government, through the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, had recently granted provisional approval for the establishment of a campus of the college at Ngo, headquarters of Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The approval was contained in a letter titled: “Provisional approval for the establishment of a campus of the Federal College of Fisheries and Marine Technology, Ngo, at Andoni Local Government Area Rivers State”.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting on Wednesday at Ngo, the Executive Secretary, Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, Professor Garba Hamidu Sharubutu, said the council was satisfied with facilities at the Ngo campus of the college.
He said normal academic activities would resume in the campus from the next academic session.
Sharubutu commended the member representing Andoni/Opobo/Nkoro Federal Constituency, Hon. Awajinombek Abiante, for his effort towards the establishment of the college campus at Ngo.
He said the institution would bring development to the community as well as improve its economic conditions.
The Executive Secretary also urged the people to protect facilities at the new campus.
Also speaking, the Provost of the college, Dr. Chuks Onuoha, said the campus which is the only one in the South South part of the country would assist the college in the training of the huge manpower required in the fishery and marine technology.
Dr. Onuoha said the campus would also assist management to save the cost of moving ex-militants to the Lagos campus for training, as well as improving the skills of local fishermen in the area.
Onuoha also described the college as the foremost fishery institute in the country, noting that since its establishment in 1969, it has graduated people that dominate the fishery and maritime industry.
He said the college awards both OND and HND certificates.
Chairman of Andoni Local Government Area, Barrister Erastus Awortu, said the campus would place Andoni on the map as far as educational institutions are concerned.
“It will bring manpower and oil companies will not have any excuses of lack of manpower, “he said.
Meanwhile, the member representing Andoni/Opobo/Nkoro Federal Constituency, Hon. Awajinombek Abiante, has promised to pay the tuition fees of the first one hundred students who will enroll into the college.
He said the campus being the first of such in the entire South South would be beneficial not only to Andonis but the entire South South region.
He said he had donated parts of his property to facilitate the take-off of the college at Ngo.
Meanwhile some groups in the local government area have commended the Federal Government for the approval.
The groups, which include the Ngo Professionals Forum and the Amango Youths Assembly, said the establishment of the new institute in Ngo would help in the development of the community and the entry Andoni Local Government Area.
President of Ngo Professionals Forum, Monday Oboada, said the campus was long overdue, stressing that it was in line with the yearnings of the people.
According to him, “without much words, all of us know the importance of education in the development of every society.
“The approval of this divine institute to be sited at Ngo is a much welcome and strategic development”, he said.
Monday said the campus would create educational opportunities for sons and daughters of Ngo and Andoni.
He praised Hon. Abiante, for championing the siting of the institution at Ngo.
Also speaking, Vice President of Amango Youths Assembly, Mr Arong Brown, said the campus would attract investors into the community.
He said, “The siting of the Federal College of Fisheries Research and Marine Technology in Ngo Town is a great feat and it’s unprecedented as its presence would beckon investors within and beyond Nigeria for business purposes.
“It will attract road construction and other social amenities in the area including lodges, hotels and hostels for students and business owners, especially those outside Ngo and Andoni and Rivers State, and perhaps, Nigeria.
“Furthermore, not only will it thrive economic activities in Ngo Town but those of its environs by over 500% comparatively thereby, bringing Ngo and Andoni into the economic world”.
By: John Bibor
Court Hastens Suit Against Edo PDP Factional Leaders
A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, has ordered an accelerated hearing in a N5 billion libel suit filed against three factional members of the Edo State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Justice Idris Kutigi gave the order following an application by counsel for the claimant, Musa Isiaka.
The Tide’s source reports that Senator Yisa Braimoh, in the suit marked: FCT/HC/CV/1025/2022, is suing Omobumhe Bobmanuel Umaru (aka Jesus Army), Osilame Okuofu, and Boniface Pascal Ugbome as 1st to 3rd defendants respectively.
When the case came up for mention, the 1st and 3rd defendants were represented by Johnson Bolade while the 2nd defendant (Okuofu) was neither in court nor represented by counsel.
Justice Kutigi then adjourned proceedings until October 27 for the claimant (Braimoh) to effect service of court documents on Okuofu.
In the originating summons dated March 29 and filed by Isiaka Braimoh, who represented Edo North Senatorial District at the 6th Senate, is seeking a perpetual restraining order against the defendants from further publishing defamatory words against him and members of his family.
He also prayed the court for an order mandating the defendants to publish a public apology on the full pages of two widely read national dailies and on all the political platforms to which he and the defendants jointly belong.
Besides the sum of N5 billion damages, the former lawmaker is pressing for N5 million compensation against the defendants as cost of prosecuting the suit.
In his statement of claim, he stated that he and the defendants jointly belonged to several PDP social media political platforms, including PDP Unity League Platform, a group with a membership strength of 200 people.
He said notable members of the PDP Unity League Platform include Governor Godwin Obaseki; his deputy, Philip Shaibu; the Secretary to the State Government, Barr. Osarodum Ozie; Sen. Ehegieuzamere, Sen. Victor Oyofo and Chief Lucky Igbenodion.
He alleged that the 1st defendant, on January 15 posted defamatory messages on the platform against his person and members of his family.
Braimoh alleged that while the 1st defendant commited the act, the 2nd defendant is the chief administrative officer of the platform and the 3rd defendant is the forum chairman.
According to him, the 2nd and 3rd defendants possess the powers to determine who is added and removed from the platform, including carrying out disciplinary powers against erring members.
Delta Investment In Health Will Reduce Medical Tourism -Okowa
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has said his administration’s investment in the health sector would reduce medical tourism abroad by Nigerians.
The Governor stated this while speaking with newsmen after inspecting facilities at the Advanced Diagnostic Medical Centre and Mother and Child Hospital, Owa-Alero in Ika North-East Local Government Area of the State.
According to Okowa, the huge investment being made by his administration in the health sector was to improve healthcare delivery in the country.
He said the twin medical facilities would, on completion, reduce medical tourism as it would provide first-class medical services to people who would have sought medical treatment abroad.
He said the Mother and Child Hospital would take care of every illness concerning women and children.
He added that the Advanced Diagnostic Medical Centre would take care of all manner of investigative procedures in radiology and other laboratory analyses.
“I am glad that we have gotten to this place. I had high hopes that by today, we would have inaugurated these projects.
“We are working behind time, there is no doubt about that but I have just been reassured that in the next one month, the projects would be ready.
“The equipment are fully on site and we are trying to get things fully sorted out and I am sure that in the next one month, it should be ready and open to the public for use.
“The two projects are obviously very important. The Mother and Child is supposed to take care of every illness concerning our women and children.
“While the Advanced Diagnostic Centre is going to take care of all manner of investigative procedures both in radiology and other laboratory analysis that they have to do.
“The Advanced Diagnostic Medical Centre is also going to be a centre that would be involved in treatments. There are so many equipment in here. But until they finish with this construction, they would not be fully installed”, he said.
Okowa also disclosed that key infrastructural projects being executed by his administration would be inaugurated between November and December.
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