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Govt, Ijaws Honour Bayelsa’s First Executive Governor

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The government and people of Bayelsa State gathered on Monday in Yenagoa to reminisce the life, times and achievements of the first civilian Governor of the state, late Chief Diepreye Solomon Peter Alamieyeseigha, popularly refered to as DSP.
The event was the 7th Memorial Anniversary and Annual Public Lecture organised by the State Government at the DSP Alamieyeseigha Memorial Banquet Hall, Yenagoa, with the Wife of the immediate past President of the country, Dame Patience Jonathan, in attendance.
Also in attendance were the Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, Wife of the late former Governor, Mrs Margaret Alamieyeseigha, the President of Ijaw National Congress, Prof. Benjamin Okaba, Apostle Zilly Aggrey, traditional rulers, including the Chairman, Bayelsa State Traditional Rulers Council, King Bubaraye Dakolo.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, described the legacies of Chief Alamieyeseigha as indelible and unforgettable, saying he laid a worthy foundation under very trying circumstances for successive governments to build on in the State.
Diri, who was represented by his Deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, noted that the Amassoma-born hero passed on at a time when the ovation was loudest as a true Ijaw son and political liberator who championed the struggle for resource control and fiscal federalism in Nigeria.
According to him, Chief Alamieyeseigha sacrificed himself for the first Ijaw man to become President of Nigeria through his doggedness and advocacy for the minorities to be recognised at the top echelon of national politics.
The State Chief Executive likened the leadership qualities of Alamieyeseigha to that of King Solomon in the bible, stressing that his predecessor was wise enough to lay the foundation for the political, economic and educational development of Bayelsa State.
Governor Diri also encouraged the immediate family to continue to take solace in the legacies their father and husband had left behind, promising to sustain the annual programme in honour of the departed hero of the state and the entire Niger Delta.
“When people say that Alamieyeseigha felt offended, I always reply, he was just fighting all his battles to immortalise his name as a David. He was also a Solomon, because he laid the foundation in which other governors have been building.
“He was a wise man to have established the Niger Delta University, initiated bursary, attracted foreigners to bring home investment and so he remained one of the greatest Kings to have ruled Bayelsa.
“He was also a Peter, who stood for resource control and stood by the gospel of resource control and he was crucified for it. He is an Alamieyeseigha meaning God does no wrong so it was the will of God that he passed on at that time.
“For every upliftment, there is a sacrifice that must be made. For an Ijaw man to occupy the presidency of Nigeria, a sacrifice had to be made. The blemish and appropriate sacrifice was Alamieyeseigha”, Diri said.
In her goodwill message to the Alamieyeseigha family, former First Lady of Nigeria, Dame Patience Jonathan said the Bayelsa pioneer civilian Governor was a father to all who never discriminated against anyone he encountered.
She noted that the occasion calls for sober reflection and lessons to be learnt on the life and times of Alamieyeseigha, urging the people of the state to shun the pull him down syndrome that is hindering their growth and development.
Delivering the annual lecture titled: “Of Governance, Heroism and Nationalism:” Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha: Seven Years After,” the Chief Historian and Archivist of Bayelsa State, Dr Stephen Temegha Olali, eulogised Alamieyeseigha as a philosopher Governor who led his people from the front.
Also speaking, the General Overseer of Royal House of Grace International Church, Apostle Zilly Aggrey, re-echoed Chief Robert Enogha’s request at the event by calling on the State Government to put together a truth, peace and reconciliation commission as a unifying mechanism.
On his part, the President of the Ijaw National Council, Prof. Benjamin Okaba, said Chief Alamieyeseigha earned the title “Governor General of Ijaw Nation”, by identifying with the pains and challenges of Ijaw people within and outside Bayelsa State.
In his tribute, the state Chairman, Traditional Rulers Council, King Bubaraye Dakolo, urged Ijaw people to see themselves as the true owners of the resources in their land and stop fighting one another over the pittance thrown at them by those who are not only oppressing them, but also expropriating their God-given wealth.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Commissioner for Ijaw National Affairs, Chief Patrick Erasmus, explained that the annual event was put together to not only remind the people of Chief Alamieyeseigha’s achievements, but also inspire them to show love and support for every worthy Ijaw cause.
Others who spoke at the event included Alamieyeseigha’s sons, Ebipade and Selaike, Chairman, Bayelsa Founding Fathers Forum, Chief Benedict Guembe, Vice Chancellor of Bayelsa Medical University, Prof. Ebitimitula Etebu, Chief Austin Lugbenwei and a former National Chairman of Ijaw Youths Council, Chief Oyinfie Jonjon.

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

 

 

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Niger Delta

Eno Sacks Commissioner For Special Duties

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Akwa Ibom State Governor, Umo Eno has relieved the Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr Bassey Okon, of his appointment with immediate effect.
Secretary to the State Government, Mr Enobong Uwah, disclosed this in a statement in Uyo on Monday.
Uwah, who did not give reasons for the commissioner’s sack, directed him to hand over all state government properties in his possession to the Permanent Secretary.
He thanked the former commissioner for the period he served the state, and wished him well in his future endeavours.

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Niger Delta

Check Oil Pollution In N’Delta, Stakeholders Urge Oil Firms

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Stakeholders in host communities have demanded that oil companies be compelled to address adverse health impact of oil exploration in the Niger-Delta.
They made their position known on Monday during a public presentation of the research report on the impact of oil extraction on women’s health in Otuabagi community in Bayelsa.
The Tide’s source reports that Dr Emem Okon, Director, Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre, an NGO, championed the event.
The source also reports that Otuabagi Community within the Oloibiri District in present Ogbia Local Government Area is where crude oil was discovered in commercial quantity in Nigeria in 1956.
Okon said the report highlighted the adverse consequences of oil extraction which had profound negative impact on health and livelihood of women in Otuabagi community.
She said research revealed that several of the participants had hydrocarbons in their blood sample more than World Health Organisation (WHO) threshold and therefore demanded for compensation from oil companies and government.
“There is, therefore, a need to demand for compensation and restoration of polluted sites as well as health actions to keep us alive and to resist death, poverty and injustice”, she said.
She stated that the findings and data would serve as a tool for policy makers, community leaders and all those who strove for a more equitable and sustainable future.
Meanwhile, Dr Bieye Briggs, a public health physician and head of the research team, said from the findings of the report, it was revealed that there was very high and unacceptable level of exposure of the people to hydrocarbons.
Briggs advocated for the Federal Government to carry out health audit in Otuabagi community and other oil producing areas in the Niger-Delta region.
He explained that such audit was with a view to instituting intervention program to halt and reverse the impact of oil exploration.
Similarly, Chief Daniel Amangi, the traditional ruler of Otuabagi community, commended Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre for undertaking the project and urged the Federal Government to focus on developing the community.
Amangi also called for the immediate implementation of the recommendations of the research findings for the overall benefit of the people.
In the same vein, Alagoa Morris, a stakeholder, lamented that life expectancy was lower in the Niger-Delta region than in other parts of the country due to the hazards caused by oil exploration.
He called for compensation to be paid to host communities to ameliorate the health impact of oil extraction in the region.
The ceremony also featured a drama presentation by Otuabagi women and panel discussion on the findings of the report.

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Niger Delta

Court Orders AAU Graduate’s Car, iPhone’s Forfeiture To FG

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A Benin High Court on Monday ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to sell a Toyota Venza 2012 model, recovered from a graduate of Biochemistry from Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma, Osadolor Edomwonyi.
The EFCC charged Edomwonyi with internet fraud.
Delivering judgment, Justice Efe Ikponmwonba, sentenced Edomwonyi to three years imprisonment.
The judge also ordered the forfeiture of an iPhone 13 Promax, recovered from the convict .
He also ordered that balances in his Opay account, Kids Bank account and Access Bank with which he was charged and convicted to the Federal Government through EFCC and the accounts be parmanently closed.
The convict prayed the court for a plea bargain agreement.
Ikponmwonba, however, gave him an option of fine in the sum of N100,000.
Earlier, the EFCC counsel, Mr I K Agwaisaid, said the convict committed an offence contrary to the provisions of Sections 6 and 8 (b) of the advance free fraud and other fraud-related offences Act 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.
The prosecutor said in a plea bargain agreement, Edomwonyi pleaded guilty to the one-count charge of possession of fraudulent documents.

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