Police Parade Suspected Bayelsa Kidnap Kingpin, Others

 

Police authorities in Bayelsa State on Monday paraded suspected kidnap kingpin John ‘Lion’ and three other members of his syndicate. 

The suspects were paraded by the Bayelsa State Police Command at the Police Officers Mess in Yenagoa.

They were alleged to have masterminded most kidnap activities in Bayelsa State dating back to 2015 when the younger sister of the former Bayelsa State governor Nancy Dickson was abducted.

The suspects also confirmed their levels of involvement in kidnapping activities.

According to police reports, some other persons who are members of the gang, are still at large.

Police told Channels Television that “Lion” was arrested on September 15th but the news broke last weekend, a development that triggered a wave of reactions from Nigerians.

The suspects during their parade. Photo: Bayelsa Police Command.

 

Lion, known to show off his wealth on social media, was in a viral video seen dressed in pyjamas. He was spotted displaying some foreign currency notes and asked people to work hard in life to succeed.

Reports claimed that he was a banker between 2008 to 2014 and paraded himself as the Chief Executive Officer of Lions Interior Hub.

He was trailed to Abuja where officers of the Bayelsa State Police Command apprehended him.

Hours after reports of his arrest surfaced another viral video showed him being handcuffed. The suspect, who confessed to kidnapping, claimed he joined the criminal gang just to carry out two operations.

In the two-minute clip, he was captured asking for forgiveness, noting that his wife just delivered.

Hundreds Of Permanent Voters Card Discovered By Hunters In Bayelsa

Commandant of Nigeria Hunters and Forest Security Services, Moses Okanu, speaks after handing over the 320 recovered PVCs to INEC in Bayelsa State on July 27, 2022.

 

Hunters under the aegis of the Nigeria Hunters and Forest Security Services have discovered over 320 Permanent Voters Cards in Bayelsa State.

The hunters handed over the hundreds of PVCs to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Wednesday in Yenagoa, the state capital.

While handing over the cards to INEC, the Commandant of the association, Moses Okanu, disclosed that they were found at an uncompleted building along the AIT/Elebele Road in Yenagoa.

He said the items were recovered when his men were combing the bushes and forests on Tuesday around Asikoro and Elebele in the state.

READ ALSO: Insecurity: FG Sued Over Continued Existence Of NYSC Scheme

Okanu stated that the hunters were attracted by a noise in the forest, and upon approaching the uncompleted building; the occupants of the facility fled the scene.

“We have been combing the bushes in the nooks and crannies because of the happening we have been hearing in the bushes. We started from Azikoro and went through Elebele,” he said

“In the course of our going round, we ran into an uncompleted building in the bush and we heard some noise with our usual way of operation to ascertain those who were there, the people sighting us started to jump out of the windows of the uncompleted building.

“So, we were able to penetrate into the building and what we saw was the abandoned voters’ cards. So knowing full well that these are Federal Government property and the only authority empowered or authorised by law to keep custody of these items is INEC, we have to recover them and decided to bring it to the Commission.”

Receiving the voters’ card on behalf of the Resident Electoral Commission, Dr Alex Hart, INEC Administrative Secretary, Okop Umobong, said the commission will investigate the circumstances that led to the cards being found in the forest.

The INEC official also commended the Hunters Association for bringing the cards to the commission as well as keeping the neighbourhood safe.

According to him, the INEC investigation would determine whether the PVCs were abandoned in the process of printing or belonged to genuine voters.

Bayelsa Boat Accident: Corpses Of Corps Members Found, Two Toddlers Still Missing

Bayelsa Govt House Photographer, One Other Shot Dead

 

The corpses of the four out of six victims of a boat accident along the Otuan and Ayama communities of Southern Ijaw Local Government council in Bayelsa State, have been found.

Of the four victims, two were identified to be corps members.

Channels Television gathered that the boat accident, which occurred on Saturday at about 4:00 pm, was reportedly caused by bad weather, poor visibility and lack of life jackets for the passengers.

Read Also: Corps Member, Pregnant Woman And Others Drown In Bayelsa Boat Mishap

According to sources from Ayama Community, the corpses of the victims were found floating on Sunday night close to the scene of the incident.

The State Chairman of the Maritime Workers Union, Comrade Ipigansi Ogoniba also confirmed this, while noting however, that two toddlers are still missing.

Ogoniba also said the the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) authorities have been notified of the recovery of the corpses of the deceased female corps member.

Meanwhile, the spokesman of the Bayelsa State Police Command, Asinim Butswat, has denied the reported arrest of the boat rider, Lucky Christopher.

According to Butswat, Lucky Christopher was only invited as part of procedures into investigations over the accident.

Corps Member, Pregnant Woman And Others Drown In Bayelsa Boat Mishap

A file photo used to illustrate the story.

 

A female corps member and a pregnant woman were among passengers who drowned in a boat mishap between Otuan and Ayama communities of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

Channels Television gathered that one of the victims of the mishap was a mother with her two kids and a 70 years old Otuan chief.​ The boat and the corpses of the victims are still missing at the time of this report.

The boat, with a 15-passenger capacity, rammed into a barrier while trying to berth close to the Ayama community. It was gathered that the Saturday afternoon rain storm, which made all the passengers cover themselves with Tarpaulin, reduced visibility, thus contributing to the incident.


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The Chairman of the Maritime Union in Otuan Community, Joseph Shedrack, said the boat driver, Lucky Christopher, who survived the accident, has been detained by the police unit in Ayama over alleged reckless driving.

The State Chairman of the Maritime Union, Ipigansi Ogoniba, however, said that six persons have been confirmed missing and dead.

“Six persons died. When the boat got to Ayama, it had a mishap. One corpse was recovered and handed to the family for proper burial,”

“While three adults and three children were still missing or probably dead,” he said.

Court Declares Jonathan Eligible To Contest Presidential Election

Former President, Goodluck Jonathan

 

The Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa has ruled that former President Goodluck Jonathan is eligible to contest the 2023 presidential election.

The Presiding Judge, Justice Isa Hamma Dashen, gave the judgement on Friday.

He also held that Jonathan’s right to vie for the office of president again cannot be stopped by any retroactive law.

As of the time of publishing this report, the former Nigerian president has not issued an official comment about the ruling.

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The ruling adds to the twists ahead of the 2023 general elections. A coalition of northern groups had bought the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential nomination and expression of interest forms for the former Bayelsa State governor months after speculations emerged that he will join the ruling party.

In the wake of the development, his media aide Ikechukwu Eze, however, said his principal did not consent to the decision.

While reports suggested that Jonathan had registered as an APC member in his Otuoke, Bayelsa hometown, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) insisted that the former vice president is still in its fold.

Jonathan served as vice president between 2007 and 2010 but became president in May 2010 after President Musa Yar’ Adua (to complete the latter’s tenure).
He thereafter contested for the presidential seat in 2011 and won.

But he failed to retain the position after losing to President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.

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.

READ ALSO: Kano Govt Closes School Where Five-Year-Old Hanifa Was Killed, Buried

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.

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“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.