“The Bayelsa State Police Command has launched a manhunt for the rescue of Madam Betinah Benson and arrest of the suspects.
“Madam Betinah Benson 80 years was kidnapped on 20th July 2021, at about at about 2300 hours at her residence at Old Legislative Quarters, Azikoro Road, Yenagoa. The kidnappers who were dressed in military camouflage stormed the residence and kidnapped the victim to an unknown destination,” the statement read in part.
The statement added that the Commissioner of Police Bayelsa State Command, Mike Okoli, and other detectives have visited the scene and investigation is in progress.
Bayelsa has seen a surge in the activities of gunmen in recent years.
In 2020, a police officer was shot dead while trying to prevent an attack at the residence of Seriake Dickson, a former governor of Bayelsa, in Sagbama LGA of the state.
A year before, gunmen attacked a security post within the country home of former President Goodluck Jonathan at Otuoke, Ogbia LGA of Bayelsa.
Also in 2019, gunmen abducted the mother of former Super Eagles coach, Samson Siasia at her residence in Adoni community Sagbama Local Government Area of the state.
The Bayelsa State Government has directed that the residents of Bassambiri and Ogbolomari community in Nembe Local Government Area observe a dusk-to-dawn curfew to prevent the escalation of violent crisis in the community.
A statement by the Commissioner for Information, Orientation and Strategy, Mr Ayibaina Duba, who issued the directive regarding the curfew said the curfew takes effect from Wednesday.
Duba said the decision is a result of the state government’s review of reports of violent crisis in Nembe LGA during the weekend which allegedly led to the death of an adult male in the Basambiri Community.
According to him, the curfew shall be in force from 6 pm to 6 am daily until the security situation improves.
The statement reads, “Bayelsa State Government has reviewed the reports of violent crisis in Nembe, leading to a breach of the public peace and the law by yet-to-be-identified individuals.
“Worried that the violence might escalate, a dusk to dawn curfew is hereby imposed on Nembe; Bassambiri, Ogbolomabiri and environs effective from Wednesday, July 14, 2021.
“The curfew shall be in force from 6pm to 6am daily until the security situation in Nembe improves. Relevant security formations have been mobilized to enforce the dusk to dawn curfew. Residents of the area are, therefore, advised to comply in their own interest.
“Government further wishes to implore residents of Nembe and aggrieved individuals in the area to allow peace to reign by seeking civilised alternatives to resolving whatever might have caused the recent unfortunate situation.”
Team Delta on Monday opened the gate for medal rush with gold from the 80km road race for women at the 20th edition of the National Sports Festival.
Ese Ukpeseraye beat 12 other cyclists to cross the finish line and clinch the first gold medal at the games ongoing in Benin city, the Edo state capital.
Host state Edo settled for the silver and bronze medals when Ayuba sisters – Comfort and Grace – came second and third respectively.
Elsewhere, Team Bayelsa sent a clear statement of intent after winning three gold, one silver, and two bronze medals from swimming.
Ifiemi Gagbe got the campaign going as she won the gold medal in 100 meters freestyle in swimming, while Golden Ifie made it two just as Yellow Yeighya completed the hat-trick of gold medals in the men’s 200m freestyle events.
Earlier, Doutimi Gagbe settled for the bronze medal in 200 meters Butterfly Stroke event.
Team Bayelsa also won two gold medals and a bronze in Judo to cap a memorable opening day of action at the National Sports Festival.
Ese Bassey and Selere Mathias got gold medals while Udeze Amarachi had bronze.
Team Oyo and Taraba were reinstated on Monday to participate in the games after being barred from competing.
Organisers had barred both teams from the event after they failed to produce the evidence of COVID-19 vaccination for their athletes.
The decision was later rescinded after the authorities of both states arrived with the certificates, in line with the directives of the COVID-19 protocols for the games.
Team Oyo has already featured in the swimming event.
Bayelsa State Government has enacted a law prohibiting open grazing of livestock in the state.
Governor Douye Diri assented to the Livestock Breeding, Rearing and Marketing Regulation Law 2021 on Wednesday at the Executive Chamber of Government House in Yenagoa.
He said the essence of the law is to ensure harmonious living between cattle dealers and other inhabitants of the state and to forestall the violent clashes being experienced in other parts of the country.
“Bayelsa State welcomes all and sundry to eke out a living legitimately. The people of Bayelsa want to have a mutual and harmonious relationship with non-natives and natives. The essence of the law is to avert and forestall any clash between herdsmen, farmers, natives and non-natives as experienced in some states,” he said.
“From the commencement of the law, no person shall breed, rear or trade in livestock in the state in any other place as may be designated by the committee and approved by the state government.”
The law, according to him, stipulates that any herdsman found with arms, whether licenced or not, should be arrested.
Governor Diri also stated that the law establishes a livestock management committee to regulate livestock activities in the state.
Members of the committee include the Commissioner for Agriculture, security agencies, youths and others.
The law prohibits the movement of cattle on foot from other parts of the country into the state, inspection of livestock and certification by veterinary doctors at entry points into the state among others.
Diri said by assenting to the law, any person found engaging in open grazing of livestock on foot commits an offence and would be arrested and prosecuted with the livestock impounded.
The governor also signed into law the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Law 2021.
He explained that the law was to prevent certain harmful practices against women and children, noting that with its enactment, Bayelsa has domesticated the federal law, which had been in existence.
In his remarks, Speaker of the Bayelsa House of Assembly, Rt Hon Abraham Ingobere, while presenting the bills for the governor’s assent, said the livestock regulation bill was to prevent clashes between herdsmen and farmers.
Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has commiserated with the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, over the loss of some police personnel that drowned while escorting voting materials during the December 5 senatorial bye-election in the state.
The boat conveying the policemen capsized on its way to Oporoma, the headquarters of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area.
In a statement issued on Sunday by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, the governor alsoo condoled with the families of the deceased policemen, adding that their sudden demise while on national duty was very painful.
While describing the incident as unfortunate, he prayed to God to give the IGP and the families of the policemen the strength to bear the great loss.
On the smooth conduct of the election, Governor Diri commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for process put in place for the exercise.
The governor, who voted at his hometown in Sampou Ward 7 Unit 4 accompanied by his wife, Gloria Diri, said INEC’s decision of having accreditation and voting simultaneously saved time and energy.
“The process was faster and even smoother. The card reader identified me as soon as my voter’s card was slotted in,” he said.
“So I can describe the process as smooth, fast and peaceful. Certainly, the simultaneous accreditation and voting enhanced the process rather than waiting for hours before coming back to vote. I think this decision of taking them at the same time is far better than what we used to do.”
Reacting to the alleged hijacking of election materials in Agbere community in Sagbama Ward One, Senator Diri described the act as the handiwork of mischief-makers bent on discrediting the electoral process.
The governor called on Bayelsa people not to give a negative image of the state, saying that it is a state with people of integrity that work hard to earn a living.
To Diri, he is optimistic that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would clinch victory judging by the pedigree and capacity of its candidates for the Bayelsa West and Central senatorial districts.
He further described the National Assembly as a place for serious-minded persons and not for jokers.
“We fielded quality candidates and you can see the difference between the PDP candidates and the others. The Senate is not a place for jokers. The Senate is not a place for school dropouts or people who were dismissed from service,” he added.
Tigger-happy policemen on routine patrol along the Tombia/Etegwe axis of the Yenagoa metropolis have shot a 17-year-old trader and two other residents of Bayelsa State who went to the Tombia market for regular shopping.
The unprovoked shooting enraged some residents of the state on Wednesday who called for steep disciplinary measures to be meted to the officers involved in the shooting.
Channels Television learned that the teenage victim, Alice Azaghene, would require a surgical operation to enable her to use her legs again.
A resident, Kingdom Baine, said the teenager was sent to the market to trade periwinkle before tragedy struck.
“I was in my house yesterday when her elder sister sent her to sell periwinkle at the market in the night around past 7 pm. After then, a police van arrived and shot.
“After shooting the gun, bullets entered her two legs. That was what they told me,” the resident narrated.
Another victim of the shooting, Ebinipre Onojamadu, said the second gunshot fired by the police personnel pierced her legs and put her in her current situation.
The acting Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Air Vice Marshal Ahmed T. Muazu (retired), has said that the departure of Professor Mahmood Yakubu and other National Commissioners from the commission will not affect electoral activities.
He disclosed this on Monday during an interactive session with election stakeholders in Bayelsa State ahead of the December 5 bye-elections in the state.
“This is our first major outing since the temporary exit of the Chairman of the Commission Professor Mahmood Yakubu and the constitutional exit of other National Commissioners,” he said.
“We assure all the stakeholders that the activities of the Commission have not been affected by the departures.
“This is also the first election being conducted in Bayelsa State in the context of the pandemic and the Commission has made adequate arrangements in conformity with the protocols and guidelines issued by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and the Nigeria Center for Disease Control.”
SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE:
OPENING REMARKS BY THE ACTING CHAIRMAN, AVM AHMED T. MUAZU AT AN INTERACTIVE SESSION WITH ELECTION STAKEHOLDERS IN BAYELSA STATE PREPARATORY TO THE CONDUCT OF DECEMBER 5, BYE-ELECTIONS.
On behalf of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) I welcome you to this interactive session.
This is our first major outing since the temporary exit of the Chairman of the Commission Professor Mahmood Yakubu and the constitutional exit of other National Commissioners. We assure all the stakeholders that the activities of the Commission have not been affected by the departures. This is also the first election being conducted in Bayelsa State in the context of the pandemic and the Commission has made adequate arrangements in conformity with the protocols and guidelines issued by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and the Nigeria Center for Disease Control.
The leadership of the Commission is in Bayelsa State to assess the readiness of its staff and processes relating to the two Senatorial bye-elections holding on December 5, 2020. We want to be sure that all the non-sensitive materials have been deployed. We want to be sure that all categories of ad-hoc staff have been recruited and trained. We want to be sure that the voters are sensitized and remobilized for the election. We also want to be sure that all the stakeholders have keyed into the plans of the Commission.
This Commission is inclusive and consultative and this informs our constant engagement with the critical stakeholders in the electoral process. In this regard, the Commission has made adequate arrangements for Persons Living with Disability (PWD), the elderly and pregnant women. We believe that it is important for all the stakeholders to understand the processes and procedures of the Commission which is constantly evolving based on new innovations and creative application of new technologies in the electoral processes. The sensitive materials for the election will be here on time and stakeholders will have the opportunity of being at the Central Bank to view and audit the materials before they are moved to the Local Government Areas.
The Bayelsa Central Senatorial Bye-Election will be conducted in three Local Government Areas with 43 Registration Areas and 860 Polling Units and Voting Points involving a total of 418, 109 Registered Voters, and a total of 395,554 Permanent Voters Cards collected. In this regard, the Commission will deploy a total of 3589 election staff. The Bayelsa West Senatorial District election will also be held in two Local Governments with a total of 26 Registration Areas and 410 Polling Units and Voting Points. It will also involve a total of 234,649 registered voters with a total of 229,022 Permanent Voters Cards collected. The Commission will deploy a total of 1716 election staff.
We implore all the voters in these two Senatorial Districts not to lower their guards in terms of the COVID-19 protocols. All registered voters must come to the polling units with their facemasks as the policy of the Commission remains NO FACEMASK NO VOTING. The Commission will also implement the two-tier queuing system involving an inner cordon and outer cordon as well as the strategic and targeted deployment of infrared thermometers to polling units and Collation Centers.
The Commission will activate and deploy the Z-pads for the purposes of real time uploading of Forms EC8A (Polling Unit Results) using the INEC Result Viewing Portal. We are committed to transparency and accountability in the electoral process and will keep upgrading the processes and procedures of the Commission to achieve free, fair and safe elections.
We implore all the critical stakeholders to reeve up and accelerate voter and civic education and get out the votes. The value of the vote must on no account be diminished and mandate is compromised when a negligible proportion of the people exercise their democratic franchise.
We assure the voting population that adequate security will be provided at the polling stations and the collation centers. We have improved our collaboration with security agencies and this synergy assisted in the good conduct of the Edo and Ondo governorship elections. The Commission and the security agencies will activate a joint situation room for smooth and timely coordination of security and electoral operations and necessary interventions when the need arises. We have the assurance of the highest echelon of the security agencies that they are prepared for the election and that their state structures will be activated to aid the process.
We urge all the critical stakeholders to remain law-abiding and be assured that in this and all elections, the votes of the people will be the sole determinant of who gets elected to office. We received tremendous support from the voters in Edo and Ondo States and we expect nothing less from the voters in Bayelsa.
Bayelsa State Governor, Duoye Diri, has reacted to the Supreme Court judgement which upheld his election as the duly elected governor of the state.
Speaking on Wednesday in Abuja, Diri said Bayelsa State does not need further distractions from politicians, adding that the apex court ruling has laid to rest attempts by the opposition to kick him out of office.
“As a state, we do not need all of these distractions. We are one state that the brotherhood should be predominant,” he said.
“After elections particularly when the governor has taken the oath of office, we expected everybody to support and bring their ideas on board for Bayelsa to succeed, grow and prosperous.
“We have tagged our administration as the administration of prosperity. Today marks the end of litigations. Constitutionally, I believe that today is the end of all litigations.”
The governor while admitting that the opposition politicians have the right to approach the court when necessary, called on them to support his administration for the overall good of the people of the state.
He also reiterated the commitment of the state government in delivering the dividends of democracy to residents of Bayelsa.
Diri’s remark come after the Supreme Court upheld his election as the duly elected Governor of Bayelsa State.
In a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, the Apex Court dismissed the six appeals filed against the governor and his deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo.
The appeals dismissed were filed by Alliance for Democracy (AD), Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP), Labour Movement (LM) and Accord Party.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday struck out a suit filed by the Bayelsa State government over the disputed Soku oilfield belonging to Rivers State.
The apex court said the action of the Bayelsa State government, by seeking the nullification of the judgment of the Federal High Court delivered in favour of Rivers State, when the Court of Appeal has not even ruled on the matter, was an abuse of court process and forum shopping.
Bayelsa State government had filed Suit: SC/CV/649/2020 through its Attorney General against the Attorney General of the Federation and Attorney General of Rivers State, after the Federal High Court in Abuja ordered it to refund the 13 percent derivation it had received over the years from Soku oilfield, to Rivers State.
While leading a panel of seven justices to hear the suit, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, wondered why the Bayelsa State government decided to file the suit at the apex court since steps were being taken to challenge the judgement of the Federal High Court at the Court of Appeal.
Justice Ngwuta observed that the Bayelsa State government was jumping the gun and its action was tantamount to abuse of court process.
He asserted that there was no way the apex court could make pronouncement on a judgment that was given by a Federal High Court when the appellate court has not done so.
He explained that the Supreme Court does not have jurisdiction on a matter relating to a High Court. To this end, he directed the Bayelsa State government to take its grievances to the Court of Appeal.
It was on the basis that the counsel to the Bayelsa State government, Kemsauode Wodu, applied for a formal withdrawal of the suit and it was struck out by the Supreme Court.
It will be recalled that Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, while delivering judgement in Suit Number FHC/ABJ/CS/984/19, filed by Attorney-General of Rivers State against the National Boundary Commission, based on documents from relevant government agencies, had declared that the Soku oilfields belong to Rivers State.
Ekwo had noted that the failure and refusal of the National Boundary Commission to rectify the admitted mistake in the 11th edition of the administrative map of Nigeria since 2002 which erroneously showed St Batholomew River instead of River Santa Barbara as the interstate Boundary between Rivers and Bayelsa States, was a breach of commission’s statutory duty and a flagrant disobedience of the order of the Supreme Court contained in its judgment delivered on 10/7/2012 in Suit Number SC. 106 /2009.
The judge explained that the continued reliance on the said defective 11th edition of the administrative map of Nigeria by the other government agencies/statutory bodies, particularly, the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission and the Accountant General of the Federation in the computation of revenue accruable to Rivers State from the Federation Account has resulted in the continued unjust denial of derivation funds accruing from the Soku oil wells situate within Rivers State to the detriment of the State Government.
Justice Ekwo then directed that notice be served of the decision of the Court on the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission and the Accountant General of the Federation.
The judge said the National Boundary Commission cannot unilaterally delineate boundaries between Rivers State and Bayelsa State after the Supreme Court judgment on the matter.
He also dismissed an objection to the suit raised by the National Boundary Commission because it lacked merit.
The Bayelsa State government says it has distributed all food items and other palliatives it received as donations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in the country.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Commissioner of Information, Orientation, and Strategy in the state, Ayibaina Duba, stressed that the government was not hoarding palliatives in any warehouse in Bayelsa.
He explained that the clarification became necessary to ease the tension arising from attacks on warehouses containing COVID-19 palliatives and other items by rampaging residents in some states.
The commissioner believes although Bayelsa has been commendably peaceful, it is necessary to dispel misinformation from those with motives to foment trouble.
He stated that so far, the state government had distributed food and other items four times to residents across the eight Local Government Areas (LGAs) as COVID-19 palliatives between April and July.
“As a government, we commend the youths of Bayelsa for their peaceful disposition and their statesmanship in ensuring that the state is calm and rid of criminality.
“I recall that about two weeks ago, during the #EndSARS protest, Governor Douye Diri addressed the protesters at the Government House and marched peacefully with them to the headquarters of the state police command,” Duba noted.
He added, “The governor, thereafter, quickly acted on their demands by setting up two panels to address their concerns. Members of the #EndSARS campaign and the civil society are in these panels.”
The commissioner gave an assurance that the government would continue to encourage and support the youths to achieve their real potentials through entrepreneurship, agriculture, and skill acquisition.
Giving a breakdown of the donors, the items received, and the distribution to various LGAs, he disclosed that the government purchased and distributed 14,500 cartons of noodles, 14,657 (10kg) bags of beans, and 6,105 (10kg) bags of garri.
Duba listed other donors as the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, CACOVID Foundation, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan Foundation, and Ecobank, among others.
He stated that beneficiaries of the items were in the eight LGSa, including non-indigenes, corps members, and the Bakassi Internally Displaced Persons.
Others were the physically challenged, orphanage homes, and persons displaced by the Nembe community crisis.
Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has emphasised the importance of unity as Nigeria and Bayelsa marked their 60th and 24th anniversaries respectively on Thursday.
Governor Diri in a statewide broadcast aired on Yenagoa-based radio stations on Thursday called on Nigerians and Bayelsans “to emphasise the things that unite us as we have much in common than those things that divide us.”
A press release by his spokesman, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as specifically calling on Bayelsans to focus more on promoting unity, peace and sustainable development rather than dissipate energy on issues that cause disunity.
He also urged the people to join hands with his administration in building Bayelsa in line with the vision of its founding fathers.
He stressed the need to honour the memory of those that fought for the country’s political freedom in order to liberate the people from the shackles of poverty, ignorance, injustice and underdevelopment.
Describing the October 1 annual celebration as solemn and significant, Senator Diri congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari and Nigerians for achieving the remarkable milestone.
The governor also saluted the courage, sacrifice and tenacity of all frontline medical personnel in the fight against the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.
Highlighting some of his development efforts, he noted that the state’s progress might have been slow but it is no longer where it was at creation 24 years ago.
“Whereas the noble dreams and lofty heights hoped for may not have been fully attained, we are nevertheless not where we started from. Progress may have been slow, but slow progress is still progress,” he stated.
Senator Diri identified agriculture as his administration’s major sector targeted at engendering sustainable development and growth.
“We have already identified some strategic areas to substantially invest in, which include rice, fish, cassava and plantain production.
“Furthermore, we are seriously supporting SMEs to diversify the economy of the state by empowering over 1000 Bayelsans through the ongoing Diri Boost scheme.”
Speaking on the ongoing Etegwe-Edepie roundabout expansion, the senatorial districts roads, Bayelsa Palm-Igbogene Ring Road and the Gateway Road projects, he expressed the commitment of his government towards ensuring their completion.
“Work is far advanced with fencing of the Bayelsa International Cargo Airport to ensure full operations.”
“We are pleased to have also undertaken various measures to give the city a facelift in our urban renewal policy. Of note is the sanitisation and fencing of major markets at Swali, Kpansia and Etegwe.”
The governor averred that his administration had demonstrated commitment in the prompt payment of salaries, pensions and gratuity despite the dwindling funds from the federal allocations.
He also noted that teachers had been trained on COVID-19 safety protocols to enable students and pupils to return safely to school just as he had also signed into law various bills to improve the governance processes.
In the education sector, Diri said the government would build three new technical schools and upgrade existing structures in schools while general hospitals are being renovated in the eight local government areas.
On security, he said the situation had improved significantly through the proactive stance of his government, which had also taken steps to engender an improvement in power supply within the Yenagoa metropolis.
The police authorities in Bayelsa State have foiled the kidnap of a medical doctor working at the General Hospital in Odi, Kolokuma/ Opukuma Local Government Area of the state.
According to a statement issued by police public relations officer, Asinim Butswat, the state command arrested five suspects in connection with the incident.
“Credible intelligence revealed that some suspected kidnappers conspired among themselves, went to the Quarters of the Doctor at General hospital Odi, on 10 September 2020, to kidnap him but met his absence,” the statement partly read.
Butswat said the Commissioner of Police, Mike Okoli, ordered the Anti-Kidnapping Unit to track down the perpetrators of the crime.
The suspects apprehended were Sunny Ubaka, Inerepamo Ikati, Pereowei John, Osamedike Daniel, Sambo Olawei have their age brackets between 21 and 26 years.
According to the police spokesman, they all confessed to the crime, adding that investigation is ongoing.
Butswat also asked residents of the state to avail the police of timely information to reduce the level of criminality in the state.