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Niger Delta

Lack Of Funds Stalls Investigation Into Witches’ Murder

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Paucity of funds is stalling investigation into the alleged murder of five persons in Ndong Nwong Community, in Odukpani Local Government Area of Cross River State over allegations of witchcraft.
Police in the state currently need money to conduct autopsy on the corpses.
Police spokesperson in the state, SP Irene Ugbo, said in Calabar, weekend, that though investigation was on-going, there was an urgent need to conduct autopsies on the corpses of those murdered.
She also dispelled the rumour that some vested interests were working to compromise the investigation.
Youths allegedly accused 15 persons in the community of possessing witchcraft and they took the suspects into a forest where five of them were murdered.
The youths also held three police officers sent to investigate the matter hostage for hours before they were rescued by an anti-cultism and kidnapping squad, led by SP Awodi Abdulhameed.
The team made several arrests in the community after rescuing the three police officers.
Since the arrest and subsequent interrogation of the suspects by the police, however, there had been concerned over the handling of the matter.
SP Ugbo said the current state of the investigation required inputs of medical professionals, but that the Command did not have money to engage their services.
“The job requires a lot of hands, especially health workers that will dig up the graves and fumigate the location and a pathologist that will carry out a post-mortem.
“We know that there are organisations who can assist the police in making the process easier and faster; we urgently need a pathologist to carry out autopsies before we can proceed on the investigation,’’ she said.
Ugbo said there was nothing like a compromise in the investigation as the police would ensure the conclusion of the case.
“There won’t be any form of compromise on the part of the police.
“The SP Awodi-led unit has professionals and would handle the matter in accordance with international best practices; there won’t be any form of interference,’’ she assured.

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Niger Delta

PAP: Kuku Urges Ndiomu To Revive, Complete Vocational Centres

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Former Special Adviser on Niger Delta Affairs to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Kingsley Kuku, has urged the Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Major General Barry Ndiomu (rtd), to revive and complete all Vocational Training Centers in the Niger Delta region.
Kuku, who also served as Chairman of the PAP under the Jonathan administration, made particular reference to the vandalised Vocational Training Center in Kaiama, Kolokuma Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, carried out by hoodlums in 2019.
Making the appeal at the Presidential Amnesty Office in Abuja on Wednesday during a courtesy visit to the Interim Administrator, Kuku regretted that the facility will undoubtedly cost billions of naira to revive.
“Bring back the centre no matter what it will cost you,” he said, adding that the facility when revived, can serve as advanced training centre for universities in the region, even beyond being a facility for training ex-agitators.
Kuku commended late President Umar Yar’Adua, ex-Presidents Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari, as well as incumbent President Bola Tinubu for the creation and sustenance of the Programme.
On malicious media attacks against Ndiomu, Kuku urged the Interim Administrator to remain steadfast in his “commendable” resolve to impact lives in the Niger Delta.
Administrator. The only thing you will get are abuses. But they will thank you tomorrow,” Kuku added.
Commending the Aviation Resuscitation Programme for Pilots/Aircraft Maintenance Engineers under which some of the beneficiaries are currently undergoing their Type-rating Programme in South Africa, Kuku said, “In today’s Aviation Industry, any Pilot without Type-rating is nothing. You are touching lives. After what you are doing for them now, they will get jobs easily”.
He expressed delight that Ndiomu has brought back hope to the Niger Delta, and assured of his unalloyed support towards sustaining the gains of the Amnesty Programme.
Earlier in his remarks, General Ndiomu told Kuku that his administration is resolutely building on many of his legacies, adding that the enormous number of graduates under the Amnesty Scheme today, can be traced to his (Kuku’s) doggedness to better the lives of ex-agitators.
The Interim Administrator regretted that after such hard work and efforts put in by Kuku, it is “disappointing” and “embarrassing” that his administration came on board and inherited huge debts.
“For me, it was a bit irresponsible and reckless. But I came in here to surmount these challenges,” he said.
While noting that the Amnesty Programme has not fully lived up to its objectives, Ndiomu recommended a possible transition of the scheme into “a Social Investment Agency” to directly impact the lives of youths in the region.
Ndiomu disclosed that the Vocational Training Center in Agadagba-Obon in Ese-Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State, when completed, will be named after Kuku, regretting however, the vandalization of the Kaiama Vocational Training Center in Bayelsa State.
The Amnesty Office also disclosed that 106 out of over 800 beneficiaries have been trained and certified in various digital skills, in its partnership with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA). This is as over 600 are currently undergoing various digital courses.

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Niger Delta

Calabar Wears New Look Ahead Of Carnival

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The capital city of Cross River State, Calabar, is wearing a new look ahead of the commencement of the 2023 edition of the Annual Calabar Carnival scheduled to begin today.
The TIde’s source reports that in a bid to ensure seamless movement, the State Government has put finishing touches to the rehabilitation of major streets and roads in the city.
While drainage system across Calabar Municipality are being desilted, waste managers also worked round the clock to rid the streets and roads of wastes.
The lawn on major roads and streets, especially in the carnival routes, have received the attention of the landscapers.
The aesthetics of Calabar have been further enhanced with the reactivation of street lights on major roads and streets across the municipality.
The government is also matching word with action to organise the best carnival since its inception in 2004 by carrying out rehabilitation of junctions in the city.
While the junctions have been adorned with lighting and Christmas decorations, the foremost Millennium Park has been transformed to signpost the commencement of the carnival.
The decorated junctions include Eleven Eleven, Mary Slessor, Calabar Calabar, Effiete and Etta Agbor.
Executive Secretary of the state’s Carnival Commission, Mr Austine Cobham, had recently disclosed plans to make the 2023 edition of the festival the best organised in history.
Cobham had disclosed that four countries, South Africa, Brazil, Turkey and Egypt would participate in the carnival.
He further said 26 states of the federation had also indicated interest to be part of the annual carnival.
He assured that adequate arrangements had been put in place to ensure security of lives and property before, during and after the festival.
stopped. For instance, the children carnival is coming back after 10 years.

“Again, concentration will not just be in Calabar alone, central and northern parts of the state will also be made to feel the carnival.

“Just like we are lighting up major roads and streets in Calabar for the festival, same will be done in central and northern parts of the state”, he stated.

The source also reports that as part of the plans to ensure seamless movement in and out Calabar, the State Government had on Tuesday inaugurated additional aircrafts to boost the fleet of the state-owned airline, Cally Air.

The Governor, Sen. Bassey Otu, had said the Boeing 737, with the previous plane, yesterday, started and will be  flying from Abuja and Lagos to Calabar during the 32-day carnival.

The annual carnival, which started in 2004, has taken place every year, except in 2020 and 2021, due to the COVID-19 lock down.

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Niger Delta

2023  NCDMB’s PNC: Petroleum Ministers, Others To Meet In Yenagoa 

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The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has said all is now set for the 2023 annual Practical Nigerian Content (PNC) forum.
A statement made available to newsmen, midweek, in Yenagoa, by the management of the board says the 2023 PNC is billed to kick-off at the NCDMB’s content tower, its headquarters in Swali, Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital from 4th through 7th December, 2023.
The board’s management also stated that this year’s PNC is the 12th edition of the annual event in which stakeholders and operators of the oil and gas industry are expected to converge to brainstorm on prospects and challenges in the sector.
According to the NCDMB, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, and his Gas counterpart,  Hon. Ekperikpo Ekpo, would lead other big wigs of the oil and gas industry to Yenagoa, describing the PNC as one of the biggest events in the calendar of the oil and gas industry.
The board’s management stated that the Ministers were expected to deliver ministerial addresses and to show the direction of the Federal Government’s thinking concerning Nigerian Content and investment strategies.
The Tide learnt that the 2023 PNC is to be hosted by the NCDMB in partnership with DMG Events and the Bayelsa State Government.
“Some of the presentations that will be received at the PNC include the opening keynote address by the host of the event and Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote, while the Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Engr. Gbenga Komolafe, and Chief Executive, Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Authority (NMDPA), Engr. Farouk Ahmed, alongside other key industry figures would feature prominently in the 4-day event.

“The Group Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, Mallam Mele Kolo Kyari, is also expected to grace the PNC as he had always done in previous years.

“Major international oil companies (IOCs), members of the Independent Petroleum Producers Group (IPPG), and service companies, would be actively participating in the four-day conference, with their chief executive officers functioning in one capacity or the other, principally as moderators of panel discussions or panellists or delivering papers on critical subjects relating to local content practice in the oil and gas industry.

“For the 2023 edition, key subjects for the panel sessions centre around ‘Providing an Enabling Environment for Investment in the Energy Sector’,  Opportunities in Decarbonisation and Domestic Gas Utilization’, ‘Deepening Nigerian Content in the Manufacturing Sector’, and ‘Financing a Thriving Midstream Sector for Socio-economic Development’, and ‘Sustainable Framework for Human Capacity Development.

“Presentations on R&D Success Stories are also expected”, the NCDMB added.

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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