Bayelsa Govt. Urges Residents To Receive Osinbajo Warmly

Bayelsa Govt. Urges State Residents To Receive VP Osibanjo WarmlyThe Bayelsa State Government has issued a statement saying it is looking forward to receiving the Vice President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo, when he visits the state, as part of his tour to some states in the Niger Delta region.

The government statement released in Yenagoa on Thursday, urged residents in the state to come out en masse to welcome the nation’s number two citizen.

It also assured the Vice President of the hospitality of people of the state and urged him to use the occasion of his visit to experience same for himself.

Furthermore, it called on him to access critical areas of the state that need prompt intervention by the Federal Government, stating that Bayelsa is the epic centre of all the issues as the home land of the Ijaw ethnic nationality.

Also, the government has asked Mr Osinbajo to resist every attempt by some persons to use his visit to score cheap political points by advancing their selfish interests which he believes is capable of truncating the commencement of a sustained peace process in the Niger Delta.

Bayelsa Govt. Admonishes Oil Firms On Flouting Court Orders

Oil, Bayelsa, CourtThe Bayelsa State Government has expressed concern and displeasure with oil firms for flouting court orders on oil spill cases in the state.

The government decried the alleged ‘blatant disregard for court rulings’ and called on oil firms operating in the state to embrace the rule of law.

The appeal was made by the Special Adviser to Governor Seriake Dickson on Oil and Gas, Mr Felix Ayah, in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.

“Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) has reneged its corporate social responsibilities to maintain peace in its operations, negating the state government’s effort to strengthen the existing peace for smooth operations by (the) oil firms.

“After going through the outcome of the court’s verdict at my disposal authenticating Anyamawari family as certified owners of the land, it is incumbent on SPDC to recognise and treat them as such,” said Mr Ayah who mediated in a peace meeting between Onyoma community in Southern Ijaw and the SPDC.

He advised the Anyamawari family to channel all relevant documents to appropriate quarters of the company for prompt action and payments of all outstanding obligations without further delay.

An official of the SPDC, who said that the oil firm had laid down procedures in resolving issues with communities where it operates, urged the community to follow the same process.

The Bayelsa Government had in January 2016 sued the Nigerian Agip Oil Company, seeking 1.6 trillion naira damages for pollution caused by an oil spill in Brass area of the state in November 2013.

Bayelsa Govt. Denies Purchasing Cars For Political Appointees

Bayelsa, Cars, Political AppointeesBayelsa State Government has debunked the reports that bought official cars for political appointees in the state.

The government stated that there was no truth whatsoever in the reports and called on the public to disregard the claims.

The declaration was made in a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seriake Dickson, Mr Daniel Iworiso-Markson.

The statement revealed that the purchase of the said vehicles only covered the state-owned security outfit ‘Operation Doo Akpo’, in order to rejuvenate and boost its functions and improve security in Bayelsa State, especially within Yenagoa and its environs.

Mr Iworiso-Markson said that the payment for the vehicles, which was spread over a long period of time, would be deducted monthly from the beneficiaries, as against the widely spread notion that the government dished out three billion naira to buy official cars for Assembly members and political appointees.

No Arrangement To Buy New Cars

“The Government is not in a good financial standing to buy cars for the use of its functionaries.

“Even the State Governor has remained with the same set of vehicles that were procured in 2012/13 and no arrangement has been made to buy new cars, in view of the state of the finances of the government”, he said.

The governor’s spokesman, however, explained that “as lawmakers and like their counterparts at the Federal level and other states, they need cars to function and perform their duties as representatives of the people”, stressing that “it has always been the practice and not new to Bayelsa”.

The statement restated Governor Dickson’s commitment to running a transparent system, adding that the welfare of workers and the citizenry remains topmost priority.

Bayelsa Govt. Sues Agip Oil, Claims N1.6tn Worth Of Damage

Bayelsa Govt. Sues Agip Oil, Claims N1.6tn Worth Of DamageBayelsa State government, has sued Nigerian Agip Oil Company Limited (NAOC) to a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, over an oil spillage from the company’s SBM Sirius, (offshore Brass) in Brass local government area of the state.

The government, in an originating summons, filed by the Bayelsa State Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, Kemeasuode Wodu, demanded the sum of 1.6 Trillion Naira compensation for general and exemplary damages from the spill which occurred on November 27, 2013.

The originating summons, which is pursuant to order 3 Rule 9 of the court, said the spill contravened the provisions of Regulation 13 of the Petroleum Regulation, made pursuant to the Pursuant Act Cap P10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.

Meanwhile, the government is seeking an injunction restraining the defendant, its agents and or servants from further discharging onto or allowing petroleum (crude oil) to escape onto the waters of and around the said SBM Sirius, (Offshore Brass) facility.

Another relief includes an order directing the defendant (NAOC), to provide potable drinking water for the communities in Bayelsa state impacted by the said Petroleum spillage from the said SBM Sirius (offshore Brass) operated by the defendant.

The plaintiff added, “defendant should be ordered to take all appropriate steps towards restoring the land, swamps, rivers and waters impacted by the spillage and pay compensation to all persons whose properties were destroyed”.

While claiming that the spillage contravened relevant sections of the constitution, the plaintiff asked the court to declare that the action or conduct of the defendant in allowing or causing petroleum to escape from its SMB Sirius facility was as a result of its operational error into the waters of and around the said SMB facility which flowed into the sea and parts of Bayelsa State.

The plaintiff demanded a declaration that the defendant by allowing or causing petroleum to escape from its SBM Sirius facility as a result of its operational error, into the waters of around the said SBM Sirius facility contravened Regulation 13 of the Petroleum Act Cap P10 laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

However, the state wants the court to declare that “the defendant is under a legal obligation to restore the lands, rivers, creeks and the entire environment impacted by the aforesaid petroleum (crude oil) that escaped from the SBM Sirius (offshore brass) facility on November 27, 2013 to their original state before they were impacted.”

Bayelsa Landslide: Govt. Calls Seeks Federal Intervention

Bayelsa Signs MOU For Management of HospitalThe Bayelsa State government on Wednesday made a passionate appeal to the Federal Ministry of Environment, to join its efforts in combating coastal erosion.

It is also asking agencies and other well-meaning organisations to support its efforts in addressing environmental disasters ravaging the state.

The Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha Jonah (Rtd), made the appeal, shortly after inspecting a landslide site at Okoloba Community in the Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of the state.

Lamenting the loss of houses and other valuable property to the disaster, Rear Admiral Jonah urged the Federal Government to participate more effectively in the protection of the Bayelsa environment, which he noted, had suffered serious degradation owing to erosion and oil exploration activities.

According to the Deputy Governor, several communities in the state, including Koluama, which had been washed away by ocean surge and coastal erosion are now in their new settlements.

In his words: “There are lots of erosion sites in Bayelsa State. This is just one of them. We have been reporting about how the ocean surge has been washing off our communities including Koluama.

“There is need for the Federal Ministry of Environment to look into Bayelsa case more seriously now with this wake up call that we have got today. We shall inform the Federal Government on the need for them to participate more effectively in the protection of our environment”.

He sympathised with the victims, assuring them that the government would do everything within its reach to provide them with some temporary relief, while proffering long-standing solutions to the problem.

Rear admiral Jonah, however, cautioned people of the state to be more safety conscious and take proactive measures by avoiding development of houses and other facilities in areas that were prone to natural disasters.

On the issue of providing shoreline protection for the community, the Deputy Governor said: “I understand there is a record that, the government had planned to provide shore protection here. We will look at that and see where the plan stalled and put pressure as much as we can to see that that project comes back to light”.

Giving eyewitness accounts, some of the victims, who are indigenes of Okoloba community, Mr Titus Yeigbagha and Mr Imomoemi Officer, said the incident occurred thrice at about 8:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. respectively on Monday this week.

Mr Yeigbagha, who lamented that property worth several millions of Naira including six houses were wiped away by the slide, called on the government to come to the aid of the victims and the Okoloba community by providing shoreline protection for the area.

Also speaking, the Governor’s Special Representative in Kolokuma/Opokuma local government area, Mr Iselema Gbaranbiri, recounted a similar incident that occurred in the community in 2008, 2013 and 2015 and appealed for the urgent attention of the government.

Bayelsa State Restricts Herdsmen Activities

herdsmen, kaduna killings, Godogodo villageThe Bayelsa State Government has announced the restriction of the activities of herdsmen in the state to the Bayelsa Palm area.

It says the decision will prevent the invasion of farmlands and check any security breaches.

Governor Dickson, who issued the restriction order in a live radio and television interview in Yenagoa, said the measure had become imperative, in view of the recent upsurge in violence and criminal activities of the cattle rearers in some parts of Nigeria.

He also warned cattle rearers against bearing arms in the course of grazing their livestock, threatening that anyone caught with weapons would be dealt with in accordance with the law.

He said, the government had been collaborating with security agencies and leaders of cattle rearers in the state, with a view to opening up designated ranches for their operations.

According to him, “no cattle should be seen roaming the streets of Yenagoa”.

“It is a dangerous trend and we are working on a system to give them a temporary place at the Bayelsa Palm, which has over 1,000. Non-state actors will not be allowed to go about with weapons because government will not condone it.

“We have been taking a lot of measures to check the activities of herdsmen in the state. We condemn the attitude of herdsmen who come into the state and carry cattle to destroy farmlands,” he added.

Last week, a clash between farmers and  herdsmen in Ozuitem community in Bende Local Government Area of Abia State in southeastern Nigeria left many residents hospitalised, with large amount of crops destroyed.

The attack came after the Ndiokereke Abam clash of November 8 and was the third in less than one month in different parts of Abia State within Abia North senatorial zone.

Security operatives in the state appear overwhelmed, as no herdsman has ever been paraded or arraigned in the state despite their increasing attacks on communities.

Bayelsa State Assures Workers It Will Pay Full Salary

henry-dickson
Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State

The Bayelsa State Government has re-assured its workforce of its preparedness to pay full salaries at the end of November, with a view to cushioning the financial hardship caused by Nigeria’s current economic situation.

The Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral John Jonah (Rtd), gave the assurance during the transparency briefing for the month of September, 2016 at his office in the Government House, Yenagoa.

He explained that, the 50% salary owed in the month of February, 2016 would be paid alongside that of October, to make full payment.

Cashless System

the Deputy Governor stated that the government was still committed to the payment of the salary arrears owed the workers.

“We understand there is this fear that, the past halves would be forgotten. No! We don’t need to be afraid. We want to reassure our workers that the government would be doing this from time to time until we pay up the whole arrears. After all, it is your own money,” Rear Admiral Jonah stressed.

While presenting the income and expenditure profile of the state, he said from 2017, the state government would operate a cashless system of collecting Internally Generated Revenues (IGR) to check leakages.

He announced a gross inflow of 11.07 billion Naira saying that the amount was made up of 13% derivation of 4.2 billion Naira, exchange differential 2.2 billion Naira, statutory allocation 1.8 billion Naira, Petroleum Profit tax 1.1 billion Naira, Budget support 1.1 billion Naira, VAT 662 million Naira while refund from other states stood at 57 million Naira.

On deductions, he noted that, bond loan amounted to 1.2 billion Naira, restructured bank loans 741 million Naira, Excess crude account loan facility 126 million Naira, Commercial agricultural loan schemes one and two 162 million Naira, foreign loans 29 million Naira and salary bailout of 16 million Naira totalling 2.3 billion Naira which brought the net inflow to 8.7 billion Naira.

He, however, pointed out that, an IGR of 736 million Naira increased the amount available for spending to 9.4 billion Naira from which 9.7 billion Naira was expended resulting to a negative balance of 267 million Naira.

The Deputy Governor also said that “the expenditure include recurrent payment of 2.9 billion Naira, capital payment 2.4 billion Naira, civil servants’ salaries 2.5 billion Naira, bank loan repayment 1.5 billion Naira, salaries for political appointees 160 million Naira and provision for IGR collection 69 million Naira”.

Agency Assesses Other Mineral Resources In Bayelsa To Grow Revenue

mineral resources, bayelsa, revenueA monitoring team from the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) is in Bayelsa State to verify number of mining companies and leases issued to them and see to increase in revenue.

The team, which will also consider the revenue generation potential in solid mineral exploration, says the profiling is necessary as part of attempts to check the economic challenges facing the oil-rich nation.

They believe the economic recession the nation is facing was triggered by too much dependence on crude oil sales for revenue.

The members of the RMAFAC have therefore been mandated to search for the next big mineral discovery in Nigeria, beginning with Bayelsa State.

At a meeting with the RMAFAC, the Deputy Governor of the state, Rear Admiral John Jonah (rtd), who was pleased with the reasons for their visit, was optimistic that both the Federal and the State government would benefit from any success made.

Rear Admiral Jonah requested that the ream should do a thorough job, expressing confidence that the exercise, if properly conducted, would open a vista of opportunities to all the state governments to discover and harness alternative sources of revenue.

While expressing belief that every state is endowed with mineral resources, he said:

“The current economic recession is worsened by the long period of over-dependence on revenues accruing from the oil sector and the lack of political will to explore and exploit other natural endowments, including agriculture to boost the nation’s economy”.

He assured the team of the state’s support and urged them to engage the appropriate government ministries, agencies and departments, as well as other stakeholders in the course of the exercise.

“Identifying alternative potentialities of the state and possible means to harnessing such resources, in line with the present administration’s policy of economic diversification,” he told the team.

“Yes, it is true that Bayelsa State isn’t doing well in the non-oil sector. So they (RMAFC), are going to carry out an audit of what we have because some of the non-oil mineral resources they have in mind may be here and we may not be aware.

“At the federal level, the government is trying to get a consultant to work it out for the entire country.

“I’m firmly of the belief that there is no land in Nigeria that has no minerals. It depends on how you maximise the exploitation of it. So, at the end of this exercise, the team will tell us know what we have and how we can get it out from the soil.

“Just like the Federal Government, we also have interest in taxes. We have common interest, so we will certainly benefit from the exercise. But the extent of benefit is what I will not be able to define now,” he added.

The Bayelsa State Government further described the ongoing nationwide monitoring exercise embarked upon by the RMAFC, as a step in the right direction.

The leader of the visiting team, who is a Commissioner at the commission, Mr Sanyon Omiri, told reporters that Bayelsa State got a paltry 1.2 million Naira as its share of 13% derivation from the non-oil sector.

He said that the state currently occupies the 36th position on the table of non-oil remittance to the Federation Account, as at June this year.

“We believe that at the end of our investigations we will discover a lot of minerals in Bayelsa State that can be tapped for economic benefit,” Mr Omiri stated.

He also noted that, the state could move up in its position and increase its share of the 13% derivation from non-oil revenue, if all leakages were plugged and illegal miners captured into the tax net.

Bayelsa Yet To Receive Bailout Fund

Bayelsa State Governor, dicksonThe Bayelsa State Government says it is yet to receive bailout fund from the Federal Government.

The State Government, however, added that even though the 1.3 billion Naira it applied for was the least from any state in the nation, no explanation had been offered to the state for the delay.

This was made known on Tuesday during the inauguration of three committees headed by eminent personalities from the state to advise the government on best ways to handle issues regarding pensions, the State Civil Service and local government matters.

Rear Admiral John Jonah, who sympathised with pensioners for the non-payment of their gratuities and three months pension allowance, said that he understood their plights.

While giving the Pensions Committee their terms of reference, Rear Admiral Jonah stated that the hardship experienced by the pensioners would soon be a thing of the past.

He expressed hopes that their findings within the next 30 days would launch a new pension payment regime in the state.

A Committee on Establishment and that of Local Government Matters was also inaugurated and it is aimed at reviewing the actual staff number in the eight local government areas from 2007 till date and related wage bill.

Chairperson of the Pensions Committee, Dr Georgina Ngeri-nwagha, lauded the decision of the government to resolve pension related issues in the state.

The Committees, which are expected to submit their findings within the next 30 days, had been advised to be thorough in their duty as their results would help shape the polity of the incoming administration.