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SOUTH UPDATE

Delta South Senate: Go and do more, Isoko monarchs tell Uduaghan

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Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan (m) with traditional rulers in Isoko ethnic nationality in Delta State during the former governor’s visit to the monarchs on Wednesday 24th January, 2019.

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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SOUTH UPDATE

SAM OGRIH: Magistrate adjourns case against two Delta journalists over ‘unpreparedness’ of claimant

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…Fixes March, 2, For Full Trial

The Presiding Magistrate, magistrate court 5, Asaba, Delta state capital, B.N. Anumadu, on Monday adjourned to March, 2, 2020, the hearing of the defamatory charges brought against the Managing Editor of BIGPEN Online newspaper, Joe Ogbodu, and investigative journalist in Delta State, Prince Amour Udemude.

At the resume of the case, a lawyer who introduced himself as M.A. Omakor, told the trail magistrate, that he was watching brief for the claimant, Sam Ogrih, announcing that he has written to the state Attorney General and commissioner for justice for a ‘fiat’ to formally take over the matter from the state criminal investigation department, (CID), Delta state police command that is currently prosecuting the two Journalist’s.

According to Omakor, “The letter I wrote to the state Attorney General for a ‘fiat’ for me to formally take over the matter, has been responded to but the problem now is that the replied letter is not eligible, the words are not clear to read and as a result we have written another to the state Attorney General, but he has asked why should he issue me another letter when he has already issued me one.

“Your lordship, for this reason, I am applying for an adjournment, to enable me reach out to the state Attorney General concerning the ‘fiat’, and I want to take March, 2, 2020, to enable me do all I needed to do and when we come back there won’t be any reason for any excuse my lordship.”

In his submission, lead counsel to the two Journalists, C.F. Ebu, argued that it is very obvious that both the police and the claimant were not ready for the case and urged the trial Magistrate, to struck out the case.

“Your Lordship, it is very clear that they are not ready for the case. My clients were first arraigned in this court, October, 24, 2019, and this is January 2020 and nothing has been done my Lord. You will see that my learned friend is only playing gimmicks. They are not prepared to go with this case, my lord my application before this court is that the case be struck out my lord.”

At this point, the lead counsel to the two Journalists, sought leave of court for the claimant’s counsel to drop a copy of the response to his letter from the state Attorney General for the court to see whether actually a response letter from the state Attorney General that was probably typed on a computer cannot be visible to read.

But, this request, the claimant’s counsel turned down and appealed to the Magistrate to accept his proposed adjourned date with a promise to tidy up everything before the next adjournment date.

After listening to both counsels, the Presiding Magistrate, B.N. Anumadu, told the claimant’s counsel to his house in order, saying any further excuse from him on the next adjourned date will not be accepted by her court and therefore adjourned the case till March, 2, 2020.

Our correspondent reports that, since the two Journalists were first arraigned in October, 24, 2019, the police prosecutor, has failed to come to court for all the adjourned dates, an indication that the police may have lost interest to the case which may have also forced the claimant to hire the services of a lawyer to take over the case.

It was reliably gathered that, the police could not lay hands on any evidence to nail the two Journalists and as the police have maintained that he who claimed to have been defamed must prove his or her case beyond reasonable doubt because a case of defamation is not that easy to prove.

It would be recalled that, October, 24, 2019, the two Journalists were arraigned by the Delta state police command, following a petition by one Sam Ogrih, that he was defamed in a story alleging him funding and sponsoring some armed Uzere community youth with the codename “Freedom Fighters” who unleashed mayhem on the community over N20 million oil largesse gifted the community by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC).

According to the report, some community sources who fled the town at the wake of the mayhem caused by the armed community “freedom fighters”, had alleged that Ogrih, was the one funding and sponsoring the armed youth terrorising the area with guns, battle axe and cutlasses.

Ogrih had denied any involvement in the alleged funding and sponsoring of the armed youth unleashing mayhem in the community.

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SOUTH UPDATE

Okun Development Association disowns group

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Okun Development Association President

The national executive of Okun Development Association (ODA) has distanced itself from a group named Okun Development Association, South West Branch.

The National Executive of ODA, the umbrella body representing the Yoruba people of Kogi State, rose from its quarterly meeting of 18th January 2020 held in Isanlu, Yagba East LG, with some far reaching decisions.

In a communiqué released in Kogi State after the meeting, and signed by the National President, Barrister Femi Mokikan, the National Secretary, Pst Ayo Abereoran and the National Legal Adviser, Barrister Abimbola, the association stated that:

1) Legal, civil and criminal actions will be taken against anybody or group of persons parading themselves as representing the Association at National or Branch levels in any manner outside the provisions of the constitution of the Association.
2) No organisation or individuals shall henceforth undertake any event or function, for commercial or non commercial purposes, using the Okun name without the written approval of the National Executive Committee of ODA.
3) That the security situation in Okunland is still of serious concern. We commend the efforts of the State Government, other security agencies in the State, our Hunters and individuals who have collaborated with us in addressing the challenges we are often confronted with.
4) To further enhance the effectiveness of our efforts, we believe the time has come for us to set up our own Okun Security Trust Fund (OSTF). Towards this end, a committee is working on the details and other modalities and the outcome will be announced as soon as their report is approved.
5) We received with excitement the creation of the AMOTEKUN Security outfit at inter governmental level to address the security challenges of the SW States. This provides us in ODA an opportunity to explore the possibility of raising our security collaboration with the SW Yorubas to another level. We shall not relent.
6) As part of possible measures to reduce unemployment, we appeal to Okun Sons and Daughters with means and the entrepreneurial profile to come home and establish businesses with potentials to absorb people into paid employment.
7) The presence of a Community Radio is a powerful means of social and cultural reengineering in any community. The ODA will explore every opportunity/possibility, through appropriate individuals, to ensure that Okun Radio becomes a reality.
8) To further give teeth to the ODA, the Okun Council of Elders is to be reconstituted within the shortest possible time. We, on behalf of all Okun people thank our fathers and mothers who have served meritoriously on the Council
9) We appeal to our politicians to stop meddling with the affairs of the National Association of Okun Students so as to permanently put an end to the divisive tendencies that continue to plague the body. What we need is unity at all levels.
10) That the Miss Okun Pageant is a proprietary asset of the Okun people. Therefore the process of selecting the successful candidate to wear the Miss Okun Crown will henceforth be under the umbrella of ODA. This is without prejudice to any groups or individuals that may wish to initiate, organize and own their own beauty pageants, provided the word Okun is not reflected in the appellation of such pageant
11) Meanwhile, ODA has announced that election will be held into various offices of the Lagos branch of the association before the end of February 2020.
The Executive offices to be filled shall be contested by individuals from Ijumu Local Government, Yagba West Local Government, Mopa Amuro Local Government, Yagba East Local Government, Oworo/Lokoja Local Government and Kabba/Bunu Local Government.
12) Ijumu Local Government will produce the Chairman of the Branch, while the Vice-Chairman will be produced by Oworo in Lokoja Local Government, the office of the Secretary has been zoned to Yagba West, while the Financial Secretary will be produced by Mopa Amuro. The post of Public Relation Officer (PRO) and Treasurer will come from Yagba East and Kabba/Bunu Local Government respectively.

Speaking further on the Communique, the National President, Barrister Femi Mokikan, appealed to the Federal Government to urgently rebuild all the federal roads in Okunland that are in a deplorable condition. The association President said most Okun communities are now “landlocked”.

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SOUTH UPDATE

NDDC contractors fled with mobilisation fees, says lawmaker

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Three Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) contractors absconded after collecting mobilisation fees in 2012, House of Representatives Minority Leader Ndudi Elumelu said on Wednesday.

He urged the House to investigate Ninno Engineering Nigeria Limited, Petrogas Specialists Services Limited and Quintus Investment Company Nigeria Limited.

The lawmaker alleged that they abandoned the construction of Onicha-Uku/Idumuje and Onicha-Uku/Idumu-Ogo roads and Onicha-Uku civic centre after being mobilised.

The lawmaker said the NDDC awarded Ninno Engineering the construction of Onicha-Uku/Idumuye Unor link road.

The commission  gave Quintus Investment Company the Onicha-Uku/Idumu-Ogo link road project, and awarded Petrogas Specialist the Onicha-Uku civic centre construction in 2012.

The contracts, he said, were to be executed within three months.

Elumelu said none of the contracts has been executed, even as the land allocated for the civic centre has been overgrown with weeds.

According to him, the failure to complete the projects has hampered the region’s socio-economic activities and brought hardship on the indigenes.

He said efforts to bring the contractors back to work were unsuccessful, while fees paid to them have not been refunded.

Elumelu said the contractors’ excuse was that they were not given sufficient funds to execute the projects.

The House, therefore, directed its Committee on NDDC to summon the agency’s management and the contractors.

It is to find out the level of work done vis-a-vis the amount released so far.

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