Fourth Edition Of Prosperity Cup Kicks Off In Yenagoa

Bayelsa State Governor, Duoye Diri, kicks the ball during the commencement of the 4th edition of the rebranded restoration cup at the Samson Siasia Sports Complex in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital on May 2, 2022.

 

The fourth edition of the rebranded Restoration Cup, now known as the Prosperity Cup has kicked off at the Samson Siasia Sports Complex in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.

Addressing participants on Monday, Governor Douye Diri charged the 206 teams at the grassroots football tournament to imbibe the spirit of sportsmanship, fair play and ensure they give their best.

While performing the official opening of the competition, Governor Diri described sports as an integral part of every society and expressed optimism that the tourney will not only curb youth restiveness, but create opportunities for exceptional players who may want to pursue a career in football.

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The opening day action of the The Prosperity Cup lived up to expectation with a keenly contested match between the defending champions, Okolobiri Community, and newcomers, Bayelsa Medical University FC. The debutants eventually had the last laugh as they defeated their opponent by two goals to one, to pass a message to other participants that they are not in the competition to make up the numbers, but to make a mark on their debut.

Goals from Godwin Francis in the 32nd minute and Ebi James’s volley in the 66th minute, ensured that the Bayelsa Medical University students were victorious on the opening day, while Benedict Berekubo pulled one back for the defending champions.

The governor expressed confidence that the tournament will promote peace and unity in the state

“And I implore all of you who are participating, and as you know that the game is fair play. I wish all of you the participating teams, good luck,” he stated.

“This is a competition that you need to put in your all, you wouldn’t know those who are coming to watch you, you wouldn’t know those who are coming to scout for players. This is a competition that can expose you nationally and internationally.

“And for the ministry and the organisers, I will like to appreciate you and thank you for ensuring that this year did not pass us by. This competition should have been held last year, but for unforeseen circumstances, we could not commence it last year.”

In his remarks, the Commissioner for Youths and Sports Development, Hon. Daniel Igali, attributed the success of the sporting sector to the commitment and support of the governor to sports being a one-time Commissioner for Sport in the State.

The Director General of the Prosperity Cup, Mr. Ono Akpe, provided more information on the structure and format of the competition.

He said, “The tournament will run for six weeks and we anticipate that the final will be played on June 12. For now, we have 20 centres across the State. 16 teams will emerge from the centres and will play until the final at this very stadium.

“We expect a lot of national and international scouts in the last phase, the quarter finals, semifinals and final, while our own local scouts will be with us from the beginning of this match till the end of the tournament.”

Action will continue on Friday in the selected 20 match centers, across the eight local government areas of Bayelsa State.

APC Member Assassinated At Bayelsa Residence

A file photo of the APC flag.

 

 

A member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State has been assassinated.

The deceased, Sunday Frank-Oputu, was reportedly shot around 11:50 pm at his residence at Baybridge Road in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state.

Frank-Oputu is an indigene of the Igbomotoru community in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area.

The Commissioner of Police in the state, Ben Nebolisa Okolo, assured residents that the police are ensuring that the culprits are swiftly arrested.

A statement issued by the police reads, “On 26 April 2022, at about 2300 hours, gunmen scaled the fence and gained access to the residence of the Hon. Frank Oputu located at No. 1 Jonah road Bay- Bridge, Kpansia, fired several shots at the honourable through the window of his bedroom and fatally injured him.

“The injured victim was rushed to the Federal Medical Center, Yenagoa, where he was confirmed dead.”

The police noted that the corpse has been deposited at the mortuary for autopsy.

The police ommissioner charged officers to intensify efforts to identify and arrest the perpetrators.

He further re-assured members of the public on the command’s resolved at ensuring the culprits are arrested and brought to book.

Insecurity: Things Are Getting Worse Than In 2015 – Diri

 

Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, on Tuesday lamented the security challenges in the country, saying that things have worsened at the moment than it was in 2015 when the All Progressives Congress (APC) took over power in the country.

Speaking at the Government House in Yenagoa while receiving heads of some security agencies, the governor said the level of insecurity in the north is worrisome.

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While noting that once a part of the country is in distress, other areas are also affected, Diri described the spate of killings by terrorists in the country as a great setback for Nigeria where lives could be taken at will.

Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri

 

“I am sure that you will agree that things are worse now than in 2015. The Federal Government has to redouble its effort. Otherwise, the joker card is with the people of Nigeria. They know what to do come 2023,” the governor said.

“When one part of the country is sick, it affects the other parts. Kaduna and other states in the North are sick security-wise and it is affecting other parts of the country. Nigeria is very close to Thomas Hobbes’ ‘state of nature’ where life is described as nasty, brutish and short. The Federal Government has to do something to keep us away from the Hobbesian state.”

The Bayelsa governor, therefore, asked the Federal Government to effectively curb the killings, urging it to redouble its effort at combating insecurity, particularly in the northern part of the country.

We Will Turn Niger Delta Into Another Dubai – Gov Diri

Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State has hailed the infrastructure drive in the Niger Delta and believes the oil-rich region will soon match Dubai’s developmental feat. 

He said this during the commissioning of the Mgbuoshimini-Nkpor Road in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State. The governor praised his Rivers counterpart, Nyesom Wike, for his visionary leadership and expressed optimism that with similar strides by other states in the region, the Niger Delta will eclipse major cities around the world.

“Development must continue in the Niger Delta. We would turn this Niger Delta into another Dubai. Governor Wike has started it and every other governor that will be coming will follow suit,” he said during the event held on Wednesday.

“The same thing [is what] we are doing in Bayelsa. The same thing is happening in Delta. The same thing is happening in Delta. So, I like to thank you, your excellency; the one who has defined and redefined governance in this state.”

READ ALSO: ‘You Have Not Been Forgotten’, Osinbajo Tells Niger Delta Region

‘We Must Continue To Live Together’ 

Governor Diri is faulting claims that the Niger Delta gets much allocation from the Federal Government.

 

For Governor Diri, the Niger Delta must embrace unity to bring development faster to the region. According to him, irrespective of differences in belief and political affiliation, the states in the area should work together to deliver quality governance to the people.

“They want to play Rivers State against Bayelsa State; they want to play Delta State against Bayelsa, against Akwa Ibom. We say, no!” the governor said.

“We must continue to come together; we must continue to live together as brothers and sisters.”

Governor Diri faulted claims that the resources in the region belong to the country, saying the Niger Delta deserves more than it is getting from the Federal Government.

“People say [the] oil belongs to Nigeria. We are not arguing about that. But if Rivers State, Bayelsa State, Delta State were not part of Nigeria, will [the] oil belong to Nigeria? If we were in Equatorial Guinea or Cameroon, will Nigeria claim the oil? Give the due to the Niger Delta people. People give us 13 percent [derivation] and they think that is too much. You give us 13 percent, you take 87 percent.”

Kidnapped Bayelsa Commissioner Released

A file photo combination of a man holding a gun and the abducted Bayelsa State Commissioner for Industry, Trade and Investment, Federal Otokito.

 

Gunmen have released the abducted Bayelsa State Commissioner for Industry, Trade, and Investment, Federal Otokito, days after he was kidnapped.

The commissioner was presented to Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State on Monday evening following concerted efforts by security agencies in the oil-rich state.

Following an investigation by security operatives, the police have also declared some persons wanted over the incident.

Speaking after Otokito was presented to him, the governor thanked security agencies and the government for their efforts in ensuring the commissioner’s freedom.

READ ALSOBandits Kill One, Abduct 15 Others In Niger State

He reiterated his government’s zero-tolerance to crime and kidnapping in the state. According to him, no ransom was paid for the commissioner’s release.

Otokito was kidnapped at his home in Ogbia Local Government Area of the state on January 20th.

During the event, the governor also announced the deposition of Otuokpoti community paramount ruler, Chief A.C.T Wongo, and appointed Chief Rescue Abe in an acting capacity.

The governor also announced the sacking of the community’s development committee chairman, Azibalua Amon. He was replaced by Jerry Offor in an acting capacity while the youth president, Emolem Igue, was sacked and replaced by Shadrach Afiemo.

Gunmen Abduct Bayelsa Commissioner, Federal Otokito

A file photo combination of a man holding a gun and the abducted Bayelsa State Commissioner for Industry, Trade and Investment, Federal Otokito.

 

Gunmen have kidnapped the Commissioner for Industry, Trade, and Investment in Bayelsa State, Federal Otokito.

Police authorities in the state confirmed Otokito’s abduction on Friday in a statement, barely a day after the incident took place.

The Police Public Relations Officer in Bayelsa, Asinim Butswat, revealed that the commissioner was abducted on Thursday night at Otuokpoti, a riverine community in Ogbia Local Government Area of the state.

He explained that the gunmen, suspected to be kidnappers, stormed Otokito’s residence in Otuokpoti at about 11pm.

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The commissioner was later whisked away in a waiting speedboat to an unknown destination, said Butswat who added that the police were already investigating the matter.

He stated that the command has launched a manhunt for the gunmen to rescue the abducted commissioner and ensure his captors were arrested and brought to justice.

Read the statement signed by the command’s spokesman below:

KIDNAP OF HON FEDERAL OTOKITO

Police intensify efforts to arrest the suspects and rescue the kidnapped victim.

Gunmen suspected to be kidnappers have abducted Hon Federal Otokito at his residence in Otuokpoti, a riverine community in Ogbia Local Government Area Bayelsa State.

Preliminary investigation reveals that the kidnappers stormed the residence of Hon Federal Otokito on 20th January 2022 at about 2300hours and whisked him away in a waiting speedboat to an unknown destination.

The Command has launched a manhunt for the rescue of the victim and the arrest of the suspects.

Investigation is ongoing

SP Asinim Butswat

Police Public Relations Officer

Bayelsa State Command.

Residents Of Sangana Community, Bayelsa Protest Gas Leakage, Water Pollution

 

The residents of Sangana community in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State have protested over a gas leakage from a Conoil drilling rig.

According to the residents, the gas emission has led to the pollution of their rivers and damaged aquatic life.

The leader of the community, Uroh Omiekumo Kiani while addressing journalists on Friday said the youths had to shut down the operation of the oil company in protest.

READ ALSO: After FG’s Threat, Aiteo Promises To Contain Nembe Oil Spill Within 48 Hours

“We are helpless. We want the government to save the people of Sagana Kingdom. Many people had to flee the community from fear of the effect of the pollution. We cannot go fishing anymore,” Kaina lamented.

 

They, therefore, called on the oil company, the state, and Federal Government to come to their aid and demand for supply of health materials to ease the effect of the gas leakage and water pollution on the residents.

Sangana is a densely populated riverine oil-producing community in which the major occupation of the residents is fishing.

FG Shuts Down Santa Babara Oilfields After ‘Unfortunate’ Spill

Bayelsa is a state in southern part of Nigeria, located in the core of the Niger Delta region.
Bayelsa is a state in southern part of Nigeria, located in the core of the Niger Delta region.

 

The Federal Government on Tuesday ordered the shut down of the Santa Barbara oil fields in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State over what it described as an “unfortunate oil spillage.”

The spill occurred on November 5 within the proximity of Opu Nembe Community at Well 1, Well Head located at the Southern Field of Sant Barbara.

“In a proactive measure to address the recent unfortunate oil spillage at Santa Barbara in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, the Federal Government has directed the exploration company, AITEO Eastern Exploration and Production Company Limited (AEEPCo) to halt operations in the area until proper investigation is carried out and adequate measures put in place to ensure the safety of lives and property in the area,” a statement signed by Ministry of Environment spokesperson, Saghir el Mohammed, said.

READ ALSO: Buhari Promises To Take Action On Gas Price Hike

“It can be recalled that the spill occurred on November 5, 2021 in a form of fountain on within the proximity of Opu Nembe Community at Well 1, Well Head located at the Southern Field of Sant Barbara.

“Upon receipt of the report of the incident, a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) comprising the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regualtory Commission (NUPRC), Bayelsa State Ministry of Environment, Community representatives and Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company was set up on November 6, 2021 to immediately address the situation. The exercise was inclusive because of inaccessibility to the well head location due to the hydrocarbon fumes that saturated the atmosphere in the area.

“Consequently, the JIT directed AEEPCo to shut in the impacted asset (well head) for appropriate oil II response. Accordingly, AEEPCo deployed booms and skimmers to contain the spill crude oil from spreading.

“As at November 10, 2021, efforts to shut in the well has proven difficult due to inaccessibility. But in an effort to safeguard the environment and livelihood, staff from the NOSDRA’s Yenagoa Field Office were deployed to the site to monitor and give progress report on the measures being taken to address the issue. There is further directives to AEEPCo to engage all relevant stakeholders in the spilled oil recovery process.

“In this vein, 3000 barrels of emulsified crude oil have been recovered and held in a recovery barge. Also, additional booms were deployed by the Clean Nigeria Associates, a Tier II response (CNA) System to work with the on-site recovery contractor.

“Further effort yielded result as containment and recovery within the leak area have been reinforced by 15th November. Clean Nigeria Associates (CNA) has mobilized to site for enhanced containment and recovery. Boot & Coots, mobilized for well control and securing. AEEPCo has secured temporary Work Permit for expatriates expected in the country for the activity. Logistics support and arrangement build-up for the Well kill activity is currently ongoing.

“Based on JIT reports, a well control company (Kenyon International) was at the incident location for an on-site assessment. Meanwhile containment and recovery is still on-going. It is instructive to note that the well head experts have arrived Nigeria and will commence work on the killing of the well tomorrow.

“However, in order to ensure safety and guaranty future operations in the area by AEEPCo, NOSDRA has mandated the company to carry out concrete actions to address the situation that include clean-up of impacted areas, remediation of spill site as well as damage assessment and post spill impact assessment.

“The National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency through the Federal Ministry of Environment will keep the public informed of future developments on the spill incident with an effort to contained further spread and limit the effect on the environment.”

Bayelsa Police Command Gets New CP

A Logo of the Nigeria Police Force

 

A new Commissioner of Police, CP Ben Okolo, has assumed duty at the Bayelsa State Police Command.

Okolo took charge on Monday, following the deployment of the erstwhile police boss, CP Echeng Eworo Echeng to Anambra State.

His posting was approved by the Inspector General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, who charged him to boost public safety in the state.

Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, who disclosed this via a statement said the IGP equally asked the new police commissioner to “bring his wealth of experience to bear in advancing the gains in crime prevention” in the Niger Delta state.

He also urged residents of the state to cooperate with the new police commissioner to enable him to succeed in his assignment.

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The new police commissioner is a fellow of the National Defence College and hails from Onitsha in Anambra State.

Having earned a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Political Science from the University of Nigeria Nsukka, CP Okolo has vast experience in policing and community safety.

Prior to his new appointment, he held key positions within the Force cutting across administration, criminal investigations, operations, amongst others.

Okolo has previously served as Deputy Commissioner of Police, Force Intelligence Bureau, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Special Fraud Unit and the Head of IGP Monitoring Unit, amongst other positions.

He has also attended several courses (leadership and professional) within and outside Nigeria including the Tactical Command Course at the Police Staff College, Jos, Strategic and Management Training Course at the INTERPOL Headquarters, France.

We Will Welcome Jonathan To The APC – Akpanudoedehe

File photo: Former President Goodluck Jonathan speaks in Abuja on September 10, 2021.

 

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has said it would welcome former President Goodluck Jonathan if he decides to join the ruling party.

A chieftain of the party, Sen. John James Akpanudoedehe, who was a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Wednesday, said if the Nigerian ex-President defects to their fold, it will strengthen the party’s structure.

“I am hearing that for the first time that we are expecting the former President. That will be great news. We will welcome him; that will also strengthen the party,” Akpanudoedehe, who is also the National Secretary, APC Caretaker and Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee, said.

READ ALSO: APC Fixes October 2 To Conduct State Congresses

When asked if APC would pick Jonathan as its presidential candidate should he join its fold, the party’s spokesman neither confirmed nor opposed it.

Rather, he said the ruling party has a special waiver for new members, including the privilege of vying for any political office in the country.

“The last National Executive Council (NEC) of the party actually gave a blanket approval to any individual that if you join APC today, it is as if you are a founding member of the party.

“So, anyone who joins today has the same opportunity to run for any office in this party. It has always been so, so I am not speculating,” he added.

Jonathan emerged as Nigeria’s president after the death of ex-President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua on May 5, 2010.

The former Bayelsa Governor and Yar’Adua ran under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2007. 

After winning the 2011 presidential poll, Jonathan’s re-election bid was dashed as he lost to incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari of the APC in 2015.

As the 2023 election draws closer, reports suggest that the ex-President might dump the PDP for the APC and that he is also considering vying for the country’s number one seat. 

Jubilation As First Commercial Flight Touches Down At Bayelsa Airport

 

It was an occasion for great celebration as a United Nigeria Airline (UNA) aircraft touched down at the Bayelsa State International Airport on Wednesday.

This landing was of a different import, even as it entered into the history books, becoming the first commercial flight to commence operations at the airport.

The aircraft took off from the Murtala Mohammed Airport 2 (MMA2) in Lagos at exactly 3pm. It had on board the state governor, Senator Douye Diri; the airline’s chairman, Chief Obiora Okonkwo and Bayelsa-born Tokyo Olympics silver medalist, Blessing Oborududu.

Others were King Alfred Diete-Spiff, Ambassador Boladei Igali,  National Assembly members from Bayelsa State, members of the state House of Assembly, commissioners among other dignitaries.

Many Bayelsans were also on the ground and could not hold back their joy, as the historic event holds great potentials for economic growth and development in the state.

When the aircraft landed, Governor Diri told his people that full commercial flights would commence in two weeks based on bookings made.

“This is the maiden commercial flight of the United Nigeria Airlines. From today, you can book online, you can book and we hope that by next week or there about, they will commence the usual commercial flights from Lagos to Yenagoa and from Abuja to Yenagoa,” the governor stated.

According to him, the event is a culmination of the aspirations that was birthed by late Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, a former governor of the state, which was eventually built by Senator Seriake Dickson, his predecessor, and finally brought to fruition under his administration.

The Bayelsa governor believes that that the landmark event is a true testament that his team truly works.

Why EFCC Invited Me – Senator Seriake

The lawmaker representing Bayelsa-West in the National Assembly, Senator Seriake Dickson speaks during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on August 4, 2021.

 

Senator Seriake Dickson has explained that he was at the office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to clarify some issues related to assets declaration. 

The former Bayelsa State leader was at the office of the anti-graft agency in Abuja on Tuesday upon the invitation of the agency. He was later released to go home.

In a statement he issued later in the day, Senator Seriake noted that a non-governmental organization had petitioned the EFCC over some of his assets which they claimed were not declared.

“I understand that the subject matter of the inquiry relates to investments of my family trust, which I incorporated while being a member of the House of Reps to hold my family assets and investments which were made between 1996 and 2012 before I became Governor,”  the lawmaker representing Bayelsa West, added.

“I understand that there is a petition from an NGO alleging that these investments (largely buildings, plots, farms, etc in my village, Orua, Yenagoa, and two buy-to-let houses in the UK) were not declared. I have a duty to clarify these issues with the investigating authorities who by law have the responsibility to inquire into these matters.”

He noted that the said his family investments were made before he became the leader of the the oil-rich state and that these assets were declared to the right quarters before and after he left office.

“My solicitors and those of the trust have written to the EFCC to clarify these issues with the accompanying documents,” he said.

According to him, on getting to the EFCC office, the investigating team made fresh allegation of a diversion of N17.5 billion flood funds in 2012.

“The petition further alleged that the money was used for my re-election in 2019. The fact is that there was no such donation about the 2012 flood in Bayelsa,” the statement further said.

“Curiously, there was no mention of donor or where the money came from. There was also no re-election for governorship in Bayelsa in 2019 which are clear proofs that the petition was totally frivolous.”

The EFCC, he said, is “looking into these allegations”.

 

READ FULL STATEMENT

About two weeks ago I received an invitation from the EFCC to clarify some issues relating to assets declarations as alleged by an NGO.

On account of our busy schedule at the time, I wrote to inform them and we agreed to reschedule the interview for today.

As a law abiding citizen and with a life long commitment to supporting Law enforcement and security agencies, I honored the invitation today as rescheduled. I understand that the subject matter of the inquiry relates to investments of my family trust, which I incorporated while being a member of the House of Reps to hold my family assets and investments which were made between 1996 and 2012 before I became Governor.

I understand that there is a petition from an NGO alleging that these investments (largely buildings, plots, farms, etc in my village, Orua, Yenagoa, and two buy-to-let houses in the UK) were not declared. I have a duty to clarify these issues with the investigating authorities who by law have the responsibility to inquire into these matters.

However, for the avoidance of doubts, let me state that my family investments, Seriake Dickson Trust Incorporated were made between 1996 and 2012 before I became Governor.

These investments were funded by loans and advances and repaid from salaries, allowances, savings and others. One of them is still on mortgage and I have made these documents available to the EFCC.

These investments were declared in my assets declaration form at the House of Reps in 2011; my Governorship form in 2012, 2016, 2020 after I left office and the Senate Assets declaration form this year.

I went beyond these declarations and wrote several letters to the appropriate agencies, copies of which have been made available to the EFCC. My trust and I subscribed to the federal government Voluntary Assets Income AND Declaration Scheme (VAIDES) and also paid the necessary taxes.

As a result of blackmail from some quarters, the Trust and I went to the Federal High Court where there is a subsisting judgement declaring that no Nigerian law is breached by a public officer who takes loans and other verifiable avenues to make investments for his family provided these are declared.

It should be on record that I have since resigned from the Trust Administration since 2011 before I became Governor.

My solicitors and those of the trust have written to the EFCC to clarify these issues with the accompanying documents.

However on getting to the commission, the investigating team came up with a new allegation of diversion of flood funds in 2012 totaling N17.5 billion. The petition further alleged that the money was used for my re-election in 2019. The fact is that there was no such donation about the 2012 flood in Bayelsa.

Curiously, there was no mention of donor or where the money came from. There was also no re-election for governorship in Bayelsa in 2019 which are clear proofs that the petition was totally frivolous.

The commission after looking into these allegations have since asked me to return home on self recognition.

I have authorized this statement to be released for the avoidance of any misinformation.

Senator Henry Seriake Dickson
Senator representing Bayelsa West in the National Assembly