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SOUTH UPDATE

2019 ELECTION: “plans for Delta South in the senate” – Uduaghan

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Uduaghan plans for Delta South in the senate

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

“My mission therefore at the Senate will be focused on four pillars which I call the JEW+P (Jobs, Empowerment, Wealth plus Peace).

 

JOBS

Poverty alleviation through the creation of Job Opportunities for the people of Delta South at all levels.

 

EMPOWERMENT

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.

 

WEALTH

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.

 

PEACE

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:

  1. Reduce pollution of the air, land and water in the Delta South Senatorial District;
  2. Enhance the availability of crude oil to registered

non-conventional refineries operating in the Delta South Senatorial District;

  1. 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.

 

SECURITY ARCHITECTURE

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:

  1. provide employment and economic empowerment for the people;
  2. 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;
  3. reduce the level of crime and criminality in Delta South

Senatorial District of Nigeria; and

  1. 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.

 

OTHER AREAS

In addition to the above, as Senator representing Delta South Senatorial District of Nigeria, I will push for:

  1. Legislation on Constitutional role for Traditional Rulers.
  2. A collective agenda in the Senate to review extant laws bordering on Peace, Security and Prosperity of the Delta South Senatorial District and
  3. 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.

 

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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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