Eze Israel Kanu, the traditional ruler of Isiama Afaraukwu in Umuahia, has appealed to the Federal Government to withdraw all the charges against his son and leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
Kanu, who made the appeal in Umuahia on Monday, said such measure would help to foster peace and douse tension in the country.
“I call on the Federal Government to immediately withdraw all the charges preferred against Kanu in the interest of peace in the country.
“He did not commit murder. He did not carry arms; neither did he commit any heinous crime to warrant such a government clampdown.
“His only offence was that he expressed his opinion in a democracy where people are free to express themselves without the fear of arrest or molestation,” he said.
The monarch said he was not in a position to stop his son from pursuing his conviction, adding that Nnamdi was mature enough to hold an independent opinion.
“He is more than 18 years of age and has become an adult. He is capable of having an independent opinion on any issues. So, I cannot ask him to stop pursuing what he believes in.
“The only thing that can assuage him is to allow him to have Biafra and no amount of inducement, even giving him an oil block, would stop him.” he said.
Kanu, who described the bail conditions by the Abuja High Court as stringent, thanked Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe, (Abia South Senatorial District), an Igbo Jewish Rabbi from Port Harcourt , Immanuu El-Shalom, and a renowned Chartered Accountant, Tochukwu Uchendu, for securing his release.
He assured that his son would not betray the trust the sureties reposed in him.
He said that while in his palace, young able-bodied members of IPOB volunteered to restrict the number of visitors around him “so that he does not run afoul of one of the bail conditions.”
The visibly elated octogenarian described the two-year incarceration of his son as a period of depression.
“Very often, I kept wondering what would be his fate and hoping also that he would not die in detention. I had very strong hope that God would not allow him to die in the cell,” he said.
He also spoke on how he felt when the IPOB leader arrived at his palace on Friday, after regaining his freedom, saying that he felt very happy and excited.
“He looked quite healthy and strong. His looks showed that the prison warders took good care of him, so I was very happy and impressed when I saw him,” he said.
Nnamdi arrived at his country home at Isiama Afaraukwu in Umuahia on Friday to the warm reception of his parents, kinsmen and other relations as well as IPOB members.
The palace has been hosting visitors daily, including traditional rulers, politicians and other members of the community seeking to catch a glimpse of the IPOB leader.
Nnamdi, who was arrested on Oct. 14, 2015, had been standing trial at an Abuja High Court on an 11-count charge bordering on terrorism, treasonable felony, managing an unlawful society, publication of defamatory matter and illegal possession of firearms, among others.
He was, however, granted bail by Justice Binta Nyako on April 25.
AMEPROGAS lauds Bayelsa governor over commission of inquiry on oil spills
… Urges South-South Governors to emulate efforts
A CSO, Association of Media Practitioners in Oil and Gas Producing Areas of Nigeria, AMEPROGAS, has commended Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson for constituting an Environmental Degradation Commission of Inquiry to investigate the years of negative impact of oil exploration of the waterways and lands of the State by Oil multinationals.
AMEPROGAS also urged Governors in South-South Nigeria to emulate the effort geared at making the Niger Delta environment clean and habitable from the incessant effects of oil exploration.
The statement was contained in a communique signed by AMEPROGAS Team Leader, Comrade Pere Botu and Director of Publicity/ Human Resources, Mr. Iteveh Ekpokpobe, after a meeting of stakeholders which held in Asaba, Delta State Capital territory.
According to the statement, the move by Governor Seriake will go down well in the annals of history as it signifies a clarion call for restoration of sanity to oil exploration in the Niger Delta.
They said oil exploration has wrecked immeasurable havoc on the health and livelihood of Niger Delta inhabitants without reasonable testimony of benefits for the people hence all oil sector stakeholders must see this as ample opportunity to right the long history of wrongs.
In the same vein, the newly inaugurated members of the Commissioned were urged to vehemently uphold their mandate of bringing succour to Bayelsa State environment.
Recall that Governor Seriake Dickson last week constituted the State Environmental Degradation Commission of Inquiry to investigate the years of negative impact of oil exploration of the waterways and lands of the State by Oil multinationals.
The newly inaugurated Commission of Inquiry is made up of foreign experts, diplomats and forensic experts including the Arch Bishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu as Chairman, the Former President of Ghana, John Kufou, a former in the British Cabinet and House of Lords, Baroness Valerie Amos Brondesbury and a Principal at the Fydow Forensics, Daniel Onifade.
Also on the Commission are the Former Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, Barr. Wodu Kemesuode, who is to serve as legal Counsel to the Commission, Head of the School of Law, University of Bradford, Prof. Engine Emeseh, Prof. Of Public Economics, University of St. Gallen, Prof. Roland Holder and Dr. Kathryn Nwajiaku-Dohou among others.
The Commission which has a life span of Nine months to submit it’s report and such duration can be extended on request of the Commission, has the powers to conduct private hearings, both within and outside the country, “the term of reference of the commission include the conduct of investigation the facts and current circumstances surrounding oil spills and their environmental and human impact. “To that end, the Commission shall (a) establish the facts; (b) quantify the impact of oil spills; (c) determine responsibilities and, where possible, identify those responsible; and (d) make recommendations, including, in particular, on a suitable accountability framework.
2019 ELECTION: “plans for Delta South in the senate” – Uduaghan
The All Progressives Congress (APC) 2019 Delta South senatorial candidate, Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan has said he wants to represent Delta South at the Senate in 2019 because of his desire to pursue quality legislation that will lead to the development of the district and the Niger Delta region.
Releasing his manifesto in Warri, Delta State on Friday, Uduaghan, who is the immediate-past governor of Delta State said he hinged his manifesto on four pillars which he called the JEW+P (Jobs, Empowerment, Wealth plus Peace).
In his words: “I salute you, my good people of Delta South Senatorial District. I seek your mandate and support to represent you at the Senate.
“Over the years, I was actively part of and at a time, head of a team that managed the development of Delta State. In those years the Delta State government through its various organs embarked on projects and programs in the areas of peace, human capital and infrastructure development that will lead to job creation and poverty alleviation. In doing this, we faced a lot of constraints. These constraints were mainly in the areas of non-existent extant laws to control the various processes that were put in place to fast-track the development.
“Efforts to bring peace and security to the area were mainly through engagements at various levels and the use of force. Both methods have led to a temporary peaceful environment. However, to attain a level of job creation and alleviation of poverty in the region that will lead to permanent peace, prosperity and a sense of well-being, there must be laws enacted to fast-track the processes of industrialization, wealth creation and a peaceful environment. These are the laws I seek your mandate to bring up at the Senate.
“My mission therefore at the Senate will be focused on four pillars which I call the JEW+P (Jobs, Empowerment, Wealth plus Peace).
Poverty alleviation through the creation of Job Opportunities for the people of Delta South at all levels.
Creation of Industrial Empowerment for the people of Delta South through the promotion and encouragement of indigenous participation, as well as, the use of homegrown technology in the oil industry.
Championing the creation of Enduring Wealth for the people of Delta South through the promotion of Community part-ownership of major and minor oil companies.
Promotion of Enduring Peace in Delta South through the involvement of local and community people in security and peacekeeping.
Do you know why the Jews prosper and flourish anywhere they are? They patronize their own. We can build a new Delta South Senatorial district by creating an environment that employs our talents and utilizes our God-given resources to flourish as a people.
As a former Secretary to the Delta State Government and a former two-term Executive Governor of the state, and also as I be Delta pikin, I know and understand your pains and your needs. You need room to express your God-given talents. As governor, there were a lot of things I wanted to do to open up opportunities and bring economic development to you that I could not do because I was constrained by the laws of our country. This was what fired my desire to represent you at the Senate. We come from a senatorial district that is massively endowed, and all we need to do is to use our imagination, and with the cooperation of our brothers and sisters from other parts of Nigeria, we will drive a New Vision for the people of Delta South Senatorial District. A New Vision that fully explores and exploits our strengths and endowments.
CREATION OF JOB OPPORTUNITIES
The unemployment level in Delta South Senatorial District is embarrassing, given that the region is the economic hub of Delta State hosting up to 72% of high impact industries, especially in the oil and gas sector. As a result of policy and security challenges which were beyond the state government, many of these industries were either shutdown or were operating way below capacity; therefore, many of the oil service companies in particular that used to give employment to a lot of our people, especially the youth were either shutdown or forced to relocate. For example, the major oil companies for so many years did not prospect for new oil fields and this caused a major disaster in the employment, economic and social life of the people of Delta South Senatorial District.
I believe that focused legislative interventions in the Senate can deal with these challenges and launch Delta South Senatorial District into a phase of development and expansion that will meet the demands of our people. Delta South Senatorial District can be galvanized and developed into the industrial base of the state by taking advantage of the oil and gas and the maritime sectors to create jobs for men, women and youths.
We are also endowed with arable lands that we can use to drive active investments and participation in agriculture and agro-processing. However, over the years, our lands, air and sea have been highly polluted by the activities of the oil industry, especially old pipes, sabotage and oil theft. The review of our extant laws to make them more effective and formulation of new laws in the areas of the environment to prevent further pollution of our air, lands and sea and also to clean up the already polluted environment will be needed to enable every relevant authority do the needful. This will encourage investments in agriculture and agro-processing.
ILLEGAL REFINERIES AND INDUSTRIAL EMPOWERMENT
I know that pragmatic legislation in the Senate can secure legality for the use of indigenous technology for small-scale oil refineries. Scattered all over the Delta South Senatorial District, as it is in many parts of the Niger Delta, are illegal refineries that make use of local technology that is damaging the environment, including soil, water and air pollution which has resulted in the soot crisis in our communities and cities. The legislation of laws in this area will guarantee best-practices and create jobs for men, women and youths in the region, directly and indirectly, in the value chain of crude procurement, refining, petrochemicals, product marketing, logistics, hospitality and other ancillary services.
About 6,000 illegal refineries were reportedly destroyed by the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) in 2015. Some of these “refineries” were actually rickety science projects that are over-glorified by calling them “oil refineries”. However, among the thousands of illegal refineries, there must be some that are well set-up. Should a country that cannot put its four “legal” refineries in full working order afford to destroy its own indigenous refineries? Illegal refineries should be done away with, but those youths and women should be engaged in better set-up refineries. The illegal refineries that are being destroyed offer a lot of employment for the youths and women, which in turn, relieve the government of the burden of providing jobs for them.
I believe that there has to be a rethink towards the concept of “illegal refineries”. The so-called “illegal refineries” are a testimony of the ingenuity of Nigerian youths and women in their ability to creatively innovate, driven by the daily challenges of their existence. The ingenuity that has been exhibited by the operators of the so-called “illegal refineries” should constitute the foundation of technological breakthrough.
As the Senator representing Delta South Senatorial District, I will push for the promotion and encouragement of indigenous technology in the oil industry and also legislative backing to recognize and reform non-conventional refineries.
EFFECTIVE DISPOSAL OF SEIZED CRUDE
It is no secret that there is a high level of illegal bunkering activities in the Delta South Senatorial District like it is in other parts of the Niger Delta. There has been a lot of government security measures to arrest the situation. These measures have led to the seizure of stolen crude in various vessels, especially the wooden Cotonou boats. The current practice is for security operatives to burn these boats with the confiscated crude or dispose of seized crude oil on the high seas and the creeks. This is assumed to be the best way to discourage crude oil theft in the Niger Delta. Sadly, the destruction of seized crude has not only failed to solve
the problem but has contributed immensely to the degradation of the environment. Destruction of seized crude by burning or disposal at sea pollutes the land, air and water. Furthermore, it is a colossal waste of the nation’s natural resource.
I believe that the nation needs to evolve an effective way to disposing of seized crude without destroying it. This will achieve a three-pronged benefit for: (1) the oil industry, (2) the Niger Delta environment, and (3) the nation’s revenue.
Seized crude would be more beneficial to all if it is effectively
channeled back into the oil industry. For instance, it can form part of the stock made available to registered non-conventional refineries or even sent to the nation’s conventional refineries for processing into petroleum products. This will help the country generate revenue from seized crude, service the oil industry and reduce environmental pollution.
I also believe that effectively disposing of seized crude without destroying it will:
- Reduce pollution of the air, land and water in the Delta South Senatorial District;
- Enhance the availability of crude oil to registered
non-conventional refineries operating in the Delta South Senatorial District;
- and generate revenue for the country as a whole.
As the Senator Representing Delta South Senatorial District, I will push for legislative backing to evolve effective ways of disposing seized crude that will be beneficial to the community, the environment and the nation.
I am certain that articulate legislative intervention in the Senate can accommodate the youths of Delta South Senatorial District within the security architecture of the region. Community-based policing which entails professional security operatives working hand-in-hand with indigenes of the area to solve problems of crime and disorder is a recognized strategy of keeping peace and order worldwide.
Professional security operatives are usually deployed from
the central commands at the national level to Delta South Senatorial District. Most times, this entails posting of people who know very little or nothing about the terrain, to manage the security of the area. The result, in many instances, is poor security in the creeks.
The terrain of the Niger Delta has always proven to be a great challenge to conventional security forces. This has made their operations quite difficult and sometimes frustrating. As a governor, I started the Delta Waterways Security Committee made up of many of our youths who understood the terrain and could guide the security forces through the creeks when the need arose. These youths who were part of the communities were able to gather intelligence which helped the security agencies preempt planned security breaches arising from community hostilities and sometimes criminalities.
I propose that the local youths and community people should be involved in securing the pipelines and the keeping of peace and order.
Involvement of the people of Delta South Senatorial District in security will:
- provide employment and economic empowerment for the people;
- enhance the operations of the Federal security agencies in Delta South Senatorial District as the professional security operatives would be helped to effectively gather intelligence and also to navigate the area by locals who are familiar with the people and the terrain;
- reduce the level of crime and criminality in Delta South
Senatorial District of Nigeria; and
- promote a conducive atmosphere for doing business in Delta South Senatorial District.
As the Senator representing Delta South Senatorial District, I will push for legislative backing for the inclusion of the youths of Delta South Senatorial District in the security architecture of the area.
CREATION OF ENDURING WEALTH AND INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT: 5% COMMUNITY OWNERSHIP OF COMPANIES IN THEIR DOMAIN
The management of Nigeria’s oil industry will remain at the centre of the Niger Delta crises in the country, until the government evolves a realistic and permanent solution. This practical solution will be best premised on addressing the very heart of the matter. One of the reasons Nigeria’s Niger Delta crisis has persisted is related to disharmony between the oil companies and host communities. On the one hand, the host communities tend to make the operational environments of the firms in the oil industry hostile because of perceived or obvious unfriendly disposition of the oil companies to their host communities. While on the other hand, many of the oil companies are unhappy with their host communities on the ground that the host communities do not show understanding of the realities plaguing the oil companies. The above scenario is an indication that the problem in the Niger Delta, which significantly affects the Delta South Senatorial District, is an issue of mutual distrust and suspicion. By extension, therefore, if this mutual distrust and suspicion are addressed, there is hope for lasting peace and development in the oil industry and the host communities.
I firmly believe that one way to achieve lasting peace and development
in the Niger Delta is by community participation and ownership in Nigeria’s oil industry. When communities in the Niger Delta (including those in the Delta South Senatorial District) are allowed to be actively involved in the ownership and management of oil firms domiciled in their areas, they would have firsthand experience of the prospects and challenges in the oil industry and become more realistic in their expectations from them. This will STABILIZE the Niger Delta.
I believe that community participation and ownership in the oil industry will:
(1) enhance the security of infrastructure of the industry in the Delta South Senatorial District as the communities would not be hostile to their own economic interest; (2) create jobs for the people;
(3) benefit the participating communities and their environs by opening up opportunities for the establishment of service firms at second and third tier levels; and
(4) enhance effective management of the oil industry in the Delta South Senatorial District in particular and the Niger Delta, in general.
As the Senator representing Delta South Senatorial District, I will push for legislative backing to recognize community participation and ownership in the oil industry.
In addition to the above, as Senator representing Delta South Senatorial District of Nigeria, I will push for:
- Legislation on Constitutional role for Traditional Rulers.
- A collective agenda in the Senate to review extant laws bordering on Peace, Security and Prosperity of the Delta South Senatorial District and
- provide good and effective representation through a strategy of synergy and feedback with the people of Delta South Senatorial District. To achieve this, we shall hold town hall meetings every six months.
Delta South Senate: Go and do more, Isoko monarchs tell Uduaghan
Ahead of the 2019 National Assembly elections in February, traditional rulers of Isoko ethnic nationality in Delta State have expressed their desire to have the immediate-past governor of the state and All Progressives Congress 2019 Delta South senatorial candidate, Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan represent the district at the upper legislative chamber for a change in status quo, and for the sake of progress in the area.
Speaking for traditional rulers of Isoko South in Oleh on Wednesday, His Royal Majesty, Anthony Ovrawah, Omogha 1, the Odio-Ologbo of Oleh, said Uduaghan had the blessings and support of the royal fathers for the senate seat.
“I have opened the door of the senate to Dr. EEU because he is an illustrious son of Isoko nation and we have confidence in him. We know him. Isoko nation benefited immensely during your tenure. You are one of us.
“I recall when you were governor, you paid me an unexpected visit. I was almost at the point of death. I didn’t complain to you or anyone close to you of any ailment but as a true medical doctor, you detected I was sick. You insisted that your personal ambulance take me to Oghara Teaching Hospital where I was treated free of charge.
“Before your visit, my people and I had resolved to throw our support behind you and the Itsekiris. The position [senatorial seat] belongs to three children. One child should not monopolize it. It is mother’s breast, only one child cannot suck it.
“Uduaghan has the blessings and support of Isoko nation for the senatorial seat. You’re our candidate for the senate. We picked you not because of APC but for who you are.”
“This is your time; we saw what you did as a state governor. Go to the senate and do more. Your name is already in the senate. Isoko is sending you,” the monarch declared.
The former governor also met with traditional rulers from Isoko North at the palace of His Royal Majesty, Anthony Ogbogbo, Ebuka 1, Ovie of Ozoro kingdom, in continuation of his consultation with traditional rulers in Delta South for his senatorial ambition.
Speaking at Ozoro, HRM Ebuka 1, Ovie of Ozoro kingdom, who spoke on behalf of the traditional rulers, said monarchs in the state would not forget in a hurry Uduaghan’s support for the traditional institution.
The monarchs noted that Uduaghan as a governor accorded the traditional institution its due respect and as well, raised the status of royal fathers to an enviable position in the country.
“The other kings from all the other kingdoms in Isoko North are here to see the man who elevated their status. You did well for us. You fought for traditional rulers and the sanctity of our culture. You won our hearts with your issue-based speech. It is rare.
“We (traditional rulers) in Delta State will not forget you in a hurry. You did well as a governor. You won our hearts with your issue-based speech. We pray God to grant your aspiration with a resounding victory,” the Ozoro king said.
Uduaghan, while speaking during the visit to the two palaces, said he was in Isoko land to solicit the support of Isoko Nation for his senatorial race in the next month’s National Assembly election in Delta South.
He noted that as a secretary to the state government (SSG) and later governor of Delta State, he is well abreast with the role traditional rulers play in ensuring peace in the state.
The former governor also told the monarchs that if elected as senator, he would sponsor bills and law that will give constitutional backing to the traditional institution in the country as well as ensure that their pains are addressed by the federal government.
“As an SSG and secretary to the State Security Council and later as a governor of the state, I know the enormous role traditional rulers play in helping to ensure peace and security.
“Kings have spiritual powers. Somehow, they are gifted with the act of mediation and peace.
“We would have been experiencing more violence if not for the intervention of monarchs especially from Isoko who ensured that their domains were peaceful during my time as governor.
“One of the reasons I am seeking your support to go to the senate is that I believe that our traditional institution should have legal backing in their role in ensuring peace in the country.
“If elected as senator I will also push for the recognition of monarchs in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which would give them a constitutional role to their people.
“I also believe that as people from oil producing communities, we should have a major stake in the ownership of the oil and gas companies in our communities. Through this, our communities will benefit more from the oil and gas that is derived from our area.”
“I will also push for the cleaning of impacted communities. Based on my experience as a governor, there is so much we can do to create jobs for unemployed youths in the region.
“I will push for communities to have at least 5 per cent ownership of companies operating in host communities in Delta South. This will create jobs for men, women and youths.
“I will also push for communities to be in charge of security of government and companies’ properties in their domain.
“Pipeline surveillance contract should be a form of empowerment to our youths but they are only paid peanuts at the end of the day because some persons who are not even from our region are the middlemen. When I become senator, the contract would come straight to our communities so that our youths would be empowered.
“The destruction of localized refineries otherwise known by the government as illegal refineries further causes more harm as much as our boys “cooking” crude oil in the creeks. When I become senator, I will push for the legalization of these localized “refineries”. This will ensure positive engagement across the value chain,” Uduaghan concluded.
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