Annkio Briggs Supports Dialogue To End Niger Delta Crisis

Annkio Briggs, Niger DeltaHuman rights activist, Annkio Briggs, has called on the Federal Government not to back out of talks with the Niger Delta militants, although the group had refused to come to the table.

The English-born Nigerian activist made the appeal on Wednesday while suggesting solutions to the attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta region.

“The British government is recommending dialogue with the Niger Delta Avengers, the American government is recommending the same, and it is a welcome recommendation.

“People like me support that recommendation and also call on the people blowing up the pipeline that they should also hold their peace, let us see how we can now sit down and discuss the issues,” she said on Sunrise Daily.

Injustice In Nigeria
Briggs asked the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to look at past documents and policies, to find a lasting solution to the problem.

She observed that there were lots of injustice in Nigeria and called for a genuine review of the issues which, according to her, include the physical federalism, national conference report, oil well licences among others.

Confab Committee In Bottleneck Over Resource Control, Revenue Sharing

Annkio BriggsA National Conference delegate, Annkio Briggs, on Tuesday disclosed that the National Conference committee deliberating on issues including resource control, system of government and revenue sharing had hit a bottleneck in its proceedings.

While speaking on a number of issues being discussed at the National Conference, on Sunrise Daily, Briggs said: “We are stuck in certain critical areas. There is yet to be willingness to compromise by either the Northerners or Southerners”.

Briggs, who decried the inability of the Committee to reach a consensus, stressed the need for delegates and all stakeholders to make sacrifices for the greater good of the nation.

She disclosed that the committee had started the review of the legislative list of the tiers of government, but that talks about resource control were being met with resistance from the Northerners. She also mentioned the issue of State Police, which she said should be considered.

“If people want State Police, we should have it regulated in a way that the rights of people are not abused, while they are exercising their right to State Police.”

Briggs also cited example of the Sharia Law which was being practiced in some parts of the country and said that the States that want State Police should be granted their wish according to the Federal Law. She further called for the adoption of true fiscal federalism which would allow the different components of the country develop at different paces.

She mentioned that the committee was yet to agree on the adoption of fiscal federalism which would indirectly deal with issues concerning revenue sharing and others. There was also no consensus on the issue of States having access to resources and so it was adjourned on Monday and will be attended to again on Tuesday.

“Everything outside fiscal federalism will not work,” she said.

She further disclosed that the North wants the South-South to forfeit the Amnesty programme, Ministry of Niger Delta and NDDC in exchange for revenue sharing.

“We all understand that there is a very critical need for us to begin to find ways forward” she said, maintaining that sacrifices would have to be made.

“Over 50 years of the oil and gas resources being used, we really cannot count ourselves amongst manufacturing countries; we cannot count ourselves among the powerful economies (that we should be).

“We count ourselves among the poor; we count ourselves among the corrupt, we count ourselves among countries that don’t tell themselves the truth.

“All of these things must change if we are going to survive as a country,” she said.

APC Directive To Lawmakers Is ‘High Stakes Politics’ – Omatseye

The Chairman, Editorial Board f Nations Newspaper, Sam Omatseye, on Thursday described the Block Budget Directive by the All Progressives Congress to lawmakers in the National Assembly as ‘high stakes politics.’

“This is bringing the issues of Rivers State to the plate of national discourse in the way it should be.”

Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, the journalist opined that the issues involving Rivers State, the Presidency and the National Assembly “have been misdirected in terms of focus by so many people who think the issue of Rivers state is about Rivers state.”

“Rivers state belongs to this federation,” he said, adding that “if one state is burning it has implication on the peace of other states.”

He faulted the President who is the Chief Security Officer of the nation, for not taking any official steps to curb the crisis especially in light of the fact that “the state is burning, the commissioner of police is acting as though he does not respect rule of law, he does not respect lives and property and who is supposed to be the chief security officer of the state which is the governor.”

Despite criticisms against its directive, APC has defended its stance on grounds that the directive is working because the third Save Rivers Movement rally held without interruption.

Asked why the opposition is yet to back down, Mr Omatseye said “the directive has been misappropriated by the Presidency and people in the PDP to mean that the APC does not want the budget passed or the minister screened and nominated or passed as well as the service chiefs.

The real thing, he said, is that they are trying to use the instruments of democracy for the purpose of democracy.

Filibuster does not mean we don’t want the budget, he said, adding that “there’s a high stake principle involved here. Let us face that high stake principle. Get it done, then we can go ahead with the budget after all what is the purpose of budget without security.”

On the internal wranglings in some chapters of the APC, especially in Ogun state, Mr Omatseye who criticised the developments played down the issue in comparison to the crisis in Rivers state, adding that there was no issue of impunity on the part of the police commissioner.

He also said “it’s not appearing, as of now, to be an issue of protracted significance. It is a party issue and they are trying to resolve it.”

However, the problem of Rivers state began when Rotimi Amaechi expressed dissatisfaction with how the President removed his successor while the First Lady caused problems before the 2011 elections, followed by the “almighty crisis of the governors’ forum election,” including the issue of Soku oil wells.

Omatseye claimed that the Police commissioner, Joseph Mbu, had become important to the President and is even more powerful than the IG in matters of Rivers State,” adding that, “the IG himself has been completely quiet and complicit in whatever goes on.”

On recommendations that all issues be solved in the Court of Law, Omatseye said “the courts cannot ask the president to fire or remove a police commissioner. It is all within the ambit of the executive.”

He suggested that the President have a dialogue between the Bayelsa and Rivers State governors to settle the matter of Soku oil wells in a bid to get them to settle the matter in court.

Nigeria has decrees not constitution – Annkio Briggs

In a continued discussion on the constitution review which has been generating a lot of reaction, Annkio Briggs, a Niger Delta Activist and the Executive Director and Founder of Agape Birthrights said Nigerians are concerned on an objective approach.

Mrs Briggs disclosed this in Lagos while responding to questions on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily.

She said there is no constituton in Nigeria and that what we have is a mere book of law.

‘No people in Nigeria ever sat down to write the 1999 constitution, it is a military decree that was put together by the out-going military government that handed over to former president Olusegun Obasanjo’.

Subsidy probe: Activist says bribery scandal is a distraction ploy

A renowned Niger Delta activist and founder of Agape Birthright, Annkio Briggs on Monday said that the current bribery allegations against the suspended Chairman of the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee that probed the management of the fuel subsidy fund, Farouk Lawan is a ploy by those indicted by the committee to distract Nigerians from the corruption in the oil sector.

The Chairman of Zenon Oil and Gas, Femi Otedola blew the whistle that Mr Lawan had demanded $3 million from him in order to remove his company from the list of companies indicted by his committee to have received foreign exchange without using the money for fuel importation. Mr Lawan was alleged to have received $500, 000 part payment while the former Secretary of the committee, Boniface Emenalo allegedly received $120, 000 from the oil merchant.

Mrs Briggs, while responding to questions from the hosts of Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily said the bribery scandal is a set up to make Nigerian look the other way of the subsidy probe report.