Archive for June, 2016

Cleanup Flag-off: President Buhari’s Commitment to Ogoni Fell Short of Expectations

Posted on June 25, 2016. Filed under: Opinion | Tags: |

The news of President Muhammadu Buhar’s visit to Ogoniland elicited much interests far more than any other presidential visit to the area. Expectations were high and the area was agog for the president’s visit. The event was largely seen as a reward for non-violence. It is only unfortunate that it cost the lives of an entire generation of Ogoni leadership for government to pay attention to the Ogoni situation.

The Ogoni people defied the rains and have turned out in their numbers. It was the first time we could see a commitment, though verbal, to address an aspect of the Ogoni problem.  The flag-off gave hope that Ken Saro-Wiwa and his compatriots did not die in vain.

The cleanup of Ogoni is seen as an important step for us to achieve a safer society. In as much as we welcome it, we are fully aware that the pollution of our environment was aided by the Nigerian government who went as far as killing our people and leaders to protect the polluters and tied to cover-up their evils in Ogoni. An acknowledgement by those who messed up our lives and are now offering to fix an aspect of it is not enough and isn’t really such an exciting thing for us.

However, as a people whose lives have been completely disoriented by years of state sponsored repression, death and severe violations by those who ironically should protect us, the decision to clean the environment raises the hope that there could be a more people-oriented engagement that will enhance the life of the Ogoni people in a better way. Notwithstanding, our fears cannot be completely allayed by an offer by government to cleanup the mess they put in Ogoniland. Much more than an environmental cleanup will be required to build the people’s confidence in the Nigerian system. Ogoni indeed expected more from a presidential visit to a land whose history had been dominated by repression on the orders of president Buhari’s predecessors.

We and our environment are still sick, very sick from the multifarious injuries they inflicted on us. Our expectation was that the president’s visit will come with some apologies and a pronouncement on how the pains of our dehumanization will be addressed. That was not to be.

The presidential speech came without an ovation – that was because the president had spoken without touching on his plans to address the core issues affecting the Ogoni people which are essentially the conditions that led to the environmental disaster for which his coming sought to remedy.

A high point of the event as the presidential address was been read by Vice President Osinbajo was his commendation of the sacrifices of Ken Saro-Wiwa to bring joy and good life to the Ogoni people. Part of paragraph 10 of the presidential speech read as follows: “The beginning of this clean-up exercise is clear evidence that Ken Saro Wiwa and other sons of Ogoniland who fought hard for environmental justice did not fight in vain. Let this mark the beginning of the restoration not just of the environment of Ogoniland, but of peace and prosperity to the great land and people of Ogoniland.”

At this point, one would have expected the president to apologize for the 1995 hangings and pronounce a presidential pardon for the “Ogoni 9”. The president appeared not to fully understand what Saro-Wiwa, Barinem Kiobel, and the entire leadership that had been lost to the Ogoni struggle mean to us. By not decriminalizing the Ogoni nine on June 2, Vice President Osinbajo left behind an Ogoni people full of consternation while he flew to Abuja in the euphoria of his praise singers.

Also disappointing was the president’s concept of justice for the Ogoni people. In the sixth paragraph of the president’s speech, he said: “Today we are in Ogoniland, in the heart of the Niger Delta, to fulfill our promise to you,and to bring justice and succour to our people”. The president’s idea of justice and succour does not resonate with me given the fact that:

1. The Ogoni cleanup is coming without sanctions against the polluters and compensation for the victims.

2. Ken Saro-Wiwa and the victims of the 1995 hangings remain criminals despite their innocence even when judged by Nigerian laws. The state murder of Ken Saro-Wiwa should not have been set aside by any president visiting Ogoni with a sincere intention to bring justice and succour to the Ogoni people.

2. The pollution of the Ogoni environment and a verbal commitment from the polluters to clean what they messed up does not appear to me as justice.

Nonetheless, the verbal commitment will be basis for continuous engagement to push the government into action. The flag-off is a commendable action which needs to be followed by concrete steps beyond the euphoria of fulfilling an electoral promise.

The stack realities are that the Ogoni people want concrete measures and not fanfare. These will be necessary for us to truly see our president as belonging to nobody and belonging to everybody.

About the author: Fegalo Nsuke is the Publicity Secretary of The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP). He wrote from Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

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Ghost School Contracts Accusation: A Diversion from Looming EFCC Investigation – APC

Posted on June 25, 2016. Filed under: Press Release | Tags: |

Ghost School Contracts Accusation: A Diversion from Looming EFCC Investigation – APC

The Rivers State Chapter of All Progressives Congress, APC, has sadly noted that the Rivers State Government and the PDP in Rivers State have, once again, resorted to their old choreograph of indulging in wild and baseless accusations as a means of diverting attention whenever the noose is tightening on the inglorious regime of Gov. Nyesom Wike who climbed on the blood of innocent citizens to power as governor.

The APC in a statement signed by its Spokesman, Senibo Chris Finebone said, “The recent reported invitation to certain companies and persons by the Rivers State Secondary School Board on alleged monies collected for renovation of secondary schools in Rivers State by the last administration under Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi is nothing more than the old tired refrain by the Wike administration and the PDP to divert attention from the widely reported decision by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to probe an obvious humongous fraud surrounding the unlawful withdrawal of N11 billion from the coffers of the Rivers State Government by Gov. Nyesom Wike through the Government House Director of Finance and Administration [DFA], one Mr. Kingsley Fubara between October 2015 and February 2016.”

The APC stressed that “it is possible that Mr. Kingsley Fubara is a fake name used by the Governor to open an account in order to siphon Rivers money away. We very well remember his antecedents especially concerning his past infractions with the EFCC.”

The statement reads: “It must be stated clearly that the list published by the Rivers State Government of companies pencilled down for renovation of schools reflects total values of contracts and not the paltry stipends provided as mobilization in all cases. The APC is convinced that this is a deliberate misinformation to hoodwink the ordinary Rivers man and Nigerians just to paint the Amaechi administration in bad light to deflect attention from the N11 billion fraud by the Wike government. If the government is sincere it would have published the whole contract sums alongside what was paid out to the companies as mobilization. The government deliberately chose not to do so for obvious mischievous political reasons.

“The press release by the Rivers State Government signed by its Information and Communication Commissioner, Austin Tam-George flies in the face of proper reasoning.

“For all he cares, Austin Tam-George is free to pursue his personal vendetta against Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi for the former governor not awarding him the running of a curious programme he so badly needed but the Commissioner must accept that he goofed big time by stating that the Attorney-General’s directive to EFCC to investigate the fraud by the governor is “manifestly illegal and ridiculous.” He should be reminded that if the Office of the AGF could, by law, direct the Chief Judge of Bayelsa State to swear-in Gov Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, the AGF also has the power to order an investigation into the curious and fraudulent withdrawals from the Rivers State bank accounts. Where lies the usurpation of the powers of the Rivers State House of Assembly?

“Mr. Austin Tam-George can relish the privilege of running a campaign of calumny against Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi from one media house to another; at least that was what got him the job as Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications but he should not stand facts on their head. There was no assurance that life would have become Eldorado for Tam-George if Amaechi awarded him the contract he wanted because of the governor’s frugality. So, the Commissioner should temper his vengeful vituperations against the Minister since Gov. Nyesom Wike eventually offered him a chance for economic survival this time.

“The usual refrain by the government that the Amaechi administration received over 3 trillion Naira in 8 years is already sounding like a severely broken gramophone record. Assuming without conceding that that amount was received, why is it that the Wike administration is not listing all the projects and programmes undertaken by the Amaechi administration in which he was Chief of Staff for 4 years. Were the so-called N3 trillion received in 4 years after he had left the administration or did he leave the administration in protest of that?

“The APC believes that the desire of Gov Nyesom Wike is to inspire the PDP with Rivers taxpayers’ money to win the Presidency in 2019 in order to escape what is awaiting him. This is evidenced by the loans he took to fund the failed PDP National Convention in Port Harcourt and the huge sum he provided for the failed PDP Edo State Governorship Primary Election while workers in Rivers State are groaning without salaries for upwards of 6 months depending on the Ministry, Agency or Department. Worse is the local government workers who have all become miserable across the State. However, his efforts have registered disastrous consequences already. Gov Wike must know that his inequities as Minister of education are waiting for him and would catch up with him as soon as his immunity toga falls off and it does not matter how long.

“The APC wishes to advise Gov. Nyesom Wike and his officials to simply forget contriving evil plans against the APC and the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi as such insidious efforts will continue to fail. Gov. Nyesom Wike knows that his former boss is a good man but the governor is just unable to digest the fact that the Minister has since moved on.”

 

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Hon Okpara Joins Other PDP Members as They Blame the APC for the Crisis in the PDP

Posted on June 21, 2016. Filed under: Press Release | Tags: |

Former Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives, Austin Okpara, has learnt his voice to the allegation by the Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party that the All Progresses Congress, APC, is fuelling the crisis in the PDP.

Okpara stated this when a group of PDP youths, known as Rebisi nu Obio/Akpor PDP Support Group, paid him a solidarity visit at his home at GRA. Rebisi, Port Harcourt.

The former Deputy Speaker, who lamented over what he called “external intervention” in the party, said “information available to us is that (Ali Modu) Sheriff is meeting some of the leadership of the APC.

“In fact they assisted him get that court order from Lagos, but I pity him because they will disappoint him very soon.”

Okpara also accused the APC in Rivers State of trying to destabilize the administration of Nyesom Wike.

“See what is happening in our state for instance. It is not by accident. It is planned and executed by the APC so that they can destabilize His Excellency’s administration.

“Unfortunately for them, His Excellency is ready for anyone that is why we have decided to set an example with Ojukaye Amachree. By time we send him and others to jail, APC will know that His Excellency is not joking.”

He advised the group to remain committed to the party. “I enjoin your group to remain focused and support His Excellency.”

On the other hand, the leader of the group and delegation, Livingston Wechie, who is also the Coordinator of The Integrity Group in Rivers State, while speaking on behalf of the Group assured the former Speaker of the group’s commitment to the PDP, especially the government of Governor Nyesom Wike. “…the essence of our visit is to thank you for standing by our brother, His Excellency, Chief/Barr. Nyesom Ezenwo Wike. Our vision is to always promote the progress of Rebisi nu Obio/Akpor. We are grateful that you stand by our dreams and vision, Meka”

Other leaders that were in attendance were Alreuchi Owhor, Ovunda Owabie, Lynda Okparaodu, Stanley Ichemati, Chizi Wodi, Hanny Woko, Buduka Adele, Ichebadu Boms, etc.

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APC hails ruling on ALGON matter by Court of Appeal in PH

Posted on June 21, 2016. Filed under: Press Release | Tags: |

image001The Rivers State chapter of All Progressives Congress, APC, has hailed the ruling on ALGON matter by Court of Appeal in PH noting that “today’s judgement by Justice Theresa Orji Abadua of the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division, granting leave to the 22 illegally removed elected Chairmen of Local Government Councils in Rivers State to appeal against the Federal High Court judgment nullifying their May 23, 2015 LG elections, without granting them permission to join as interested parties to the original matter, goes to demonstrate that despite the assault on the integrity and good conscience of the judiciary by elements at the helm of affairs in Rivers State executive arm, there are distinguished men and women of the hallowed bench of the Nigerian judiciary in Rivers State who are ready to stand for justice and damn Satan and his Greek gifts.”

 

The party in Statement signed by its spokesman, Senibo Chris Finebone said, “it further demonstrates that the judiciary remains the last hope of the common man until the system provides another alternative. But for now, the judiciary remains the strong sanctuary for the down-trodden even though a few unsavoury exceptions happen time and again. We believe that the ruling today will serve the cause of justice as those Chairmen were duly elected in line with relevant laws of the land.”

 

The APC urged other courageous men and women of the Bench in Rivers State to boldly look into the eyes of executive impunity at all times and under all circumstances and call their bluff by doing what is right before man and God Almighty, always remembering the solemn oath they have taken to serve justice to all at all times.

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12th AMA Awards held in PH: Gov. Wike’s white lies to the world

Posted on June 13, 2016. Filed under: Press Release, Uncategorized | Tags: |

12th AMA Awards held in PH: Gov. Wike’s white lies to the world

The Rivers State Chapter of All Progressives Congress, APC, said it has observed with disappointment the continuous churning out of white lies to unsuspecting Rivers people, Nigerians and the world at the slightest opportunity by the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike.

The party in a statement signed by its spokesman, Senibo Chris Finebone and made available to journalists today in Port Harcourt, Rivers State Capital said “the latest of this ignoble past time of the governor took place last Saturday during the 12th African Movie Academy Awards [AMAA] that was gratuitously hosted by the governor to burnish and shore up his fledgling public image as a dangerous desperado who climbed on the blood of innocent people to become governor. Curiously, as Gov. Nyesom Wike was talking down his predecessor as having left no legacy, he was having good time at the poorly organized awards night in the magnificent Obi Wali International Conference Centre, an edifice built and named after an illustrious personage of Ikwerre land, late Dr. Obi Wali by the same predecessor and former boss of Nyesom Wike, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi CON.”

Continuing, the statement noted that, “the hosting of the AMA Awards by Gov. Nyesom Wike is only part of a well-calculated agenda to create image makeover for the governor at great cost to the Rivers taxpayer. But most significantly is the fact that each of the events ends up being held at one of the epochal landmark legacies conceptualized, built and commissioned by his predecessor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi as against what Gov. Wike would want his audience, Nigerians and the world to believe. The Adokie Amiesimaka 40,000-seater magnificent stadium conceptualized and built by former Gov. Amaechi has hosted countless of such events by Gov. Wike even as he insists his predecessor did nothing. That is white lie number 1.”

The statement reads: “On the more important matter of security, Gov. Nyesom Wike is blaming everyone else but himself for the insecurity ravaging Rivers State. Hear him: “We have tackled insecurity with decisive steps in conjunction with the nation’s security agencies, so much so that Rivers State has now become one of the safest places to visit, live and do business in the country. As a result, we have been hosting several local and national events to the joy and applaud of the organizers, participants and visitors” The APC would want Rivers people, Nigerians and the world to score this statement. However, we consider this statement the most criminal, insensitive and blatant lie told by man in this Century. Indeed, this is Wike’s white lie number 2.

“For the benefit of those who may not know, records show that over 35 souls were dispatched to the great beyond across Rivers State in a space of 5 days before the Saturday event. Cases of daylight robberies, shootings and killings are daily reported in Port Harcourt alone. Yet still, the governor mindlessly and unconscionably spewed his lies to the innocent audience in Dr. Obi Wali International Conference Centre main hall.

“It is perhaps necessary to remind Gov. Nyesom Wike that the Information and Communications Technology [ICT] has collapsed the world into a small global village where information virtually circulates with the speed of sound. Much of Nigeria and the world know exactly what the security situation is in Rivers State, meaning that as the governor spoke at the event that night, many in the audience would have been quietly chuckling and wondering whether he just returned from outer space before attending the event.

“The truth remains that two things appear to hold the key to immediate and relative peace (howbeit temporarily) in Rivers State and both are in the hands of the governor.

“Firstly, Gov. Nyesom Wike must disarm his private armies and militants he used to kill and intimidate voters to enable him write election results for himself and his party candidates with the active connivance of Jonathan-era INEC and  security agents. His warning to the CTCs he recently appointed to fight insecurity in their LGAs is neither here nor there as it amounts to merely sending a thief to catch a thief. Secondly, Gov. Wike must go beyond appointing the leadership of his hoodlums and ex-militants as Caretaker Chairmen and members of LG Councils; he alone must devise the means of engaging the other ranks in his private armies who feel abandoned and have turned to robberies, killings, kidnapping and other common crimes as a means of subsistence.

“The APC believes that no amount of casting blames on cult groups today or threatening oil companies tomorrow will bring peace in Rivers State. Gov. Nyesom Wike has served drinking water to the baboon and it is him that must retrieve the cup he used in serving the baboon. He has himself to blame, not cult groups and oil companies. Indeed, Gov. Nyesom Wike needs to look at himself in the mirror.”

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Delta State House of Assembly: Hon. Igbuya lists priorities

Posted on June 10, 2016. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Delta State House of Assembly: Hon. Igbuya lists priorities

The Speaker, Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Monday Igbuya, Wednesday made a critical appraisal of the Delta State House of Assembly, describing the Sixth Assembly as “the most stable and promising.”

Igbuya who spoke in Asaba on the occasion of the first anniversary celebration of the Sixth Assembly said the House received a total of twenty-three bills (23), fifty-three (53) motions and eighteen (18) reports.

He listed the Delta State Oil Producing Area Development Law (Amendment), 2015,  Delta State Contributory Health Commission Bill, 2015,  Delta State Bureau of Land Instrument Preparation Charges Bill, 2015,  Appropriation (Amendment) Bill, 2015, Delta State House of Assembly Service Commission Bill, 2015,  Delta State Community Service Bill, 2015; 6) Delta State Economic Planning Council (Amendment) Bill, 2015, the Delta State Public Procurement Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2015, Delta State Agency for Control of HIV and AIDS Bill, 2015, Appropriation Bill, 2016, Delta State Structure for Signage and Advertisement Agency Bill, 2016 and Delta State Advisory Council on the Prerogative of Mercy Bill, 2016 as bills received by the assembly.

The House, according to Igbuya, also received the Delta State Security Trust Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2016,  Delta State Anti-kidnapping Bill, 2016, Delta State Anti-Terrorism and Anti-Cultism Bill, 2016,  Delta State Investment Development Agency Bill, 2016,  Delta State Scholarship Board Bill, 2016, Delta State Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Bill, 2016, Delta State Hotels and Restaurants Bill, 2016, Delta State Administration of Criminal Justice Bill, 2016, Delta State Internal Revenue Consolidation (Amendment) Bill, 2016, Delta State Public Procurement Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2015 and Delta State Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

Igbuya, in a joyous mood throughout the press conference, said “The governor has so far assented to the  Delta State Oil Producing Area Development Law (Amendment), 2015,  Appropriation Law, 2016, Delta State Contributory Health Commission Law 2015, Delta State Capital Territory Development Agency Law, 2015; and Delta State Technical and Vocational Education Board Law, 2015.

“The Delta State Economic Planning Council (Amendment) Bill, 2015, Delta State Anti-kidnapping Bill, 2016, Delta State Advisory Council on the Prerogative of Mercy Bill, 2016; and  Delta State Security Trust Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2016 have been forwarded to the state governor, Sen. Dr. Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa, for assent” he said.

Igbuya who spoke at length about the yearning of Deltans for quick delivery of the dividends of democracy, dwindling oil revenue and its negative impact on the economy and capacity of government to meet basic commitments, described Governor Ifeanyi Okowa as a blessing to Delta State.

“In my inaugural address, I told the good people of the state that the legislature would maintain cordial working relationship with the Executive. The Assembly has since then enjoyed a harmonious relationship with the Executive, having so far approved several requests of the governor. It screened and confirmed nominees for appointment as commissioners of the Government of Delta State and several other positions” he said.

Igbuya also spoke on the sanitization of some local governments in the state.

“We must also not forget the role of the Assembly in the sanitization of the Local Government system. In the light of great insecurity and evidence of financial fraud, occasioned by flagrant disregard for constituted authority, the House suspended the Executive Chairman of Uvwie Local Government Area. It subsequently set up an adhoc committee to verify the authenticity of the various petitions levelled against him. On grounds of financial recklessness, fraud and diversion of funds, the House relieved the chairman of his duties as Executive Chairman and Accounting Officer of Uvwie LGA.”

He continued; “Sequel to the impeachment notice forwarded to the House by 12 of the 15 councilors of Ndokwa East Local Government Area, the committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs of the House suspended the Executive Chairman of the council. This was necessary to give the House the opportunity to carry out a thorough investigation into the issues raised. I am happy to inform you that she is back to her seat.”

Focusing on accountability and responsibility to the electorate, Igbuya said “Here at the Delta State House of Assembly, the will of the people is speedily carried out.”

“In the second year of the Sixth Assembly, we will focus on issues that will move us closer to the dreams and aspirations of our founding fathers. We will continue to offer the best representation to the people of Delta State. We will continue to support government’s effort at guaranteeing peace, security and welfare of all Deltans. We will strive to finish the work we have started. We will continue to put in longer hours in debating and making the laws that would move our state forward. We will welcome the battle of ideologies. We will encourage and engage in it, openly, honestly, and respectfully.”

Amidst intermittent applause from Honourable members, staff of the assembly and journalists, Igbuya said members of the Assembly would closely monitor the implementation of the budget by providing effective oversight.

“We will continue to keep faith with our duties of Law making, Representation and Oversight functions of the Executive arm of government. We will continue to insist on probity, accountability and efficiency in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the 2016 Budget” he said.

He commended local and foreign journalists for their efforts in bringing to the spotlight the activities, deliberations, and resolutions of the House.

“Functions of the press transcend entertainment, education and mere information dissemination. Indeed, the role of the press in democratic dispensation and otherwise is to bring about real political change through robust discourse.”

He also praised his colleagues and the staff of the Assembly for their cooperation and contributions to the smooth running of the business of the House.

Sent in by Fidel Njamanze

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NDDC: Semenitari disowns fraudulent mail, bank A/C

Posted on June 9, 2016. Filed under: Press Release |

NDDC:  Semenitari disowns fraudulent mail, bank A/C

The Ag. Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, said her attention has been drawn to a fictitious electronic mail currently in circulation purporting to have its origin from her.

A statement signed by Bekee Anyalewechi SA on (Media) to the Ag. MD/CEO of NDDC explained that ‘To make it (the fictitious electronic mail) bear the emblem of authenticity, those behind it hacked into Semenitari’s official email portal, subsequently signing-off the mail in her name.”

Full text of the statement reads: “The said correspondence claims that Semenitari is seeking various financial gratification to the tune of N700, 000 from various contractors and vendors doing business with NDDC. However, a little scrutiny would reveal that it lacks the characteristics of coherence, quality diction and grammatical fluidity which are trademarks of correspondences originating from Semenitari.

“The fake mail reads, “Good day, I’ve a personal outstanding totalling the sum of 700,000. I will need you to credit Mr Onos account details with the required amount. Find below his account information. Jonafuvwe Onos, 0040271951, Diamond Bank. Please note this is not official and should be treated as such”.

“Semenitari, whose knack for prudence, frugality and respect for rules is open to staffers of NDDC, the Commission’s contractors and vendors,  does not know any Jonafuvwe Onos, nor has she a link to the said Diamond Bank A/C. If the particulars referenced in the email are verifiable, Semenitari shares no relationship whatsoever with them.

“Obviously the handiwork of fraudsters, who would stop at nothing to rubbish and denigrate the reforms Semenitari has brought into NDDC, the email clearly bears the signature of commonplace, online criminals tagged as yahoo yahoo boys and official pick-pockets who lurk around the fringes of nobility and character which Semenitari represents. But rather than aspire to attain such pedestal through hard work, the fraudsters mire deeper into ignominy and opprobrium.

“Semenitari, a discreet public servant verse in public financial rules and regulations, had at no time, either in person, or through an intermediary, front, proxy, Special or Personal Assistant, commissioned anybody to solicit for or accommodate any gratification on her behalf. It is on record that one of the first official actions she initiated upon assumption of duty in December 2015 was a campaign against corruption that included kick-back and bribery. Till date, her zeal in extending the tempo and sustaining the success so far achieved in that regard remains fresh.

“Therefore, we counsel contractors, vendors and the general public doing business with NDDC not to subscribe to the scam mail and its content. They should watch out for fraudsters who would stop at nothing to sabotage genuine efforts at reforming NDDC and repositioning it to fulfil its core mandate of driving development in the Niger Delta region.

“Since her appointment, Semenitari has worked hard to reposition NDDC, including evolving a new culture of transparency in government business. It is a worthy legacy Semenitari would not compromise for as long as she remains the CEO.”

 

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Towards preserving a bio-diverse environment for future generations – Ibim Semenitari

Posted on June 1, 2016. Filed under: Uncategorized |

BEING THE SPEECH OF MRS. IBIM SEMENITARI, AG. MD/CEO OF NDDC AT 2016 WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY


It is my pleasure and pride to make comments at this year’s World Environment Day (WED) celebrations. This is so because of the significance of this year’s celebrations to us in the Niger Delta region and especially at the NDDC as it marks the beginning of the fulfilment of the Federal Government’s promise to clean up the region, starting with the strategic Ogoni clean-up exercise.

When we visited Governor Seriake Dickson on April 12, at Government House, Yenagoa, during our regional tour, he said, “For us in Bayelsa, our wealth is in the sea.” That profound statement underscores the immense endowment of the Niger Delta’s ecosystem. What is unfortunate however is how this same resource is constantly abused and denigrated by repeated violations brought about by decades of bad behaviour. From government, with its weak regulatory frameworks, to oil companies and multinationals who do business in the region, to communities and individuals, who for different reasons wreak havoc, the environment in our region has taken a hard beating.

Covering about 70,000 square kilometres, the Niger Delta region is home to one of the largest wetlands in the world and Africa’s largest delta. It has at least five distinct ecological zones. These range from the montane and savannah belts in Northern Cross River to the mangrove swamp forests, near the Atlantic coast, which embody some of the last remaining untouched forest resources and centres of endemism in Africa.

These bio-geographical attributes are known to have created the complex and rich environment of habitats that supported the evolution of its fantastically wide range of plant and animal lives. Some say the Niger Delta is home to all of Nigeria’s endemic or near-endemic mammal species. Others say Niger Delta harbours many locally and globally endangered species, and approximately 60-80 percent of all plant and animal species found in Nigeria.

However, the globally significant environment and biodiversity of the Niger Delta are in grave danger. Some endemic fish species of the region are in grave danger of extinction due to many reasons, including environmental degradation and over-exploitation among others. Likewise, some animal species such as the endemic African Monkey (Guenon species), one of the world’s most beautiful monkeys found mostly in the West African rain forest region (the Niger Delta Region inclusive), are at the risk of extinction.

This is why we must all rise to the daunting and pressing challenge of preserving our bio-diverse environment for future generations. We all owe future generations a responsibility to preserve the bio-diverse environment of the Niger Delta. As the countdown begins for us to join people from across the globe to celebrate WED on 5 June 2016, we all need to take part in environmental action and become agents of change for positive impacts on the planet. Today’s tree-planting exercise typifies such action.

This year’s theme is on the illegal trade in wildlife, which is eroding Earth’s precious biodiversity, robbing us of our natural heritage and driving species to the brink of extinction.

The NDDC is statutorily mandated to tackle ecological and environmental problems in the Niger Delta region. Evidently, the killing and smuggling of wildlife constitute ecological and environmental problems. They also undermine economies and ecosystems, fuel organized crime, and feed corruption and insecurity across the globe.

Tackling the scourge of illegal trade in wildlife requires concerted action. We need to understand the damage this illicit business is doing to our environment, livelihoods, communities and security. We must change our habits and behaviour so that demand for illegal wildlife products falls. But it is not just the demand for illegal wildlife that must fall. It is also the demand for illegal crude, the destruction and vandalism of pipelines in the region. Our ecosystem is our wealth, and the protection of our region is, first and foremost, the responsibility of all who live and do business in the region. Saying no to everyone who dares to destroy our environment, whether they be government, corporations or individuals, is our collective responsibility.

This year’s theme for WED – Go Wild for Life – encourages each one of us to celebrate all those species under threat and take action of our own to help safeguard them for future generations. This can be about animals or plants that are threatened within your local area as well as at the national or global level – many local extinctions will eventually add up to a global extinction! Whoever you are, and wherever you live, show zero-tolerance for the illegal trade in wildlife and the destruction of our environment, in word and deed, and make a difference.

According to Roxanne Paul, “Every little bit helps. It’s amazing how much you can do when you choose to give a little bit of that natural habitat back.”

Thank you for your attention and God bless you.”

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Cancel your plans to sponsor protests against flag-off of UNEP cleanup – APC tells Gov. Wike

Posted on June 1, 2016. Filed under: Press Release | Tags: |

Cancel your plans to sponsor protests against flag-off of UNEP cleanup – APC tells Gov. Wike

image001The Rivers State Chapter of All Progressives Congress [APC] said it has come to its attention that the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has concluded plans to sponsor PDP members, tugs and hoodlums to protest and disrupt the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to Rivers State to flag off the UNEP cleanup of Ogoniland on Thursday, 2nd June, 2016.

The APC in a statement signed by its spokesman, Senibo Chris Finebone and made available to NF-Reports said, “it has also come to our notice that the protesters will disguise as citizens who have been mobilised to give Mr. President a rousing welcome on his visit before they will turn on their protests with placards and dangerous weapons with the singular purpose of embarrassing Mr. President, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, Senator Magnus Abe, Dr. Dakuku Peterside and the All Progressives Congress, APC, amongst others.”

“Indeed, the APC finds it curious that Gov. Nyesom Wike will claim to mobilise his party members to welcome President Buhari, the same person he has repeatedly spoken about derogatorily in the past. The only reason Gov. Wike would engage in his planned subterfuge can only be to score a cheap political point due to his desperation for political advantage in Ogoniland – something way out of his reach under a peaceful atmosphere” the statement explained.

The APC noted that it was solely political desperation that drove the governor to hurriedly flag-off the dualisation of Saakpenwa-Bori-Kono Road last week to deceive Nigerians that Wike cares about Ogoni people after sponsoring militants to kill them, adding that “the fraud behind the Saakpenwa-Bori-Kono Road has been uncovered as the governor deliberately refused to mention that the project is in phases. He also cunningly went silent on the number of kilometres of the road is covered in the phase 1 of the project he flagged off, just to deceive the people of Tai, Gokana, Khana, Opobo/Nkoro and Andoni LGAs.”

The APC urged the governor not to push his luck too far as there will obviously be grave consequences if he insists on over-reaching himself along the line he has chosen as he will be held responsible for any breach of the law, order and further undermining of the fragile peace of the State at this time.

“But if the governor insists on sponsoring people to disrupt the flag-off with the purpose of embarrassing Mr. President and others, we wish him the best of luck” the statement concluded.

 

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