Supreme Court Strikes Out Bayelsa Govt’s Suit On Soku Oilfield

Supreme Court Strikes Out APC's Appeal On Exclusion From Rivers Elections

 

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.

We Are Not Hoarding COVID-19 Palliatives – Bayelsa Govt

A file photo of Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri.

 

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.

Nigeria At 60: Bayelsa Governor Calls For Unity, Peace

Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri,

 

 

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.

Police Foil Kidnap Attempt On Bayelsa Doctor, Arrest Five Suspects

File photo of a Police patrol vans.

 

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.

Bayelsa Election: Court Fixes September 14 To Hear Diri’s Appeal

A collage of a gavel and Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri

 

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has fixed September 14 for the hearing in the appeal filed by the Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri.

The Bayelsa State Governor is challenging the judgement of the State Governorship Election Tribunal which nullified his election on 12 grounds.

At the hearing on Thursday, some factional members of the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP) brought an application to be joined as parties in the appeal.

Counsel to the ANDP Kehinde Ogunwumiju informed the court that a notice of preliminary objection which is challenging the competence of the application has been filed.

READ ALSO: Tribunal Nullifies Bayelsa Governorship Election, Diri To Appeal Ruling

Justice Stephen Adah, who is the head of the three-man panel hearing the appeal ruled that at the next date, parties will be allowed to respond to the application filed by factional members of the ANDP.

The Court also awarded a cost of N200,000 against the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the inconveniences it has caused the ANDP over the PDP’s withdrawal of a brief of argument it filed on September 3, on the ground that a new brief of argument has been filed.

The Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP) in its petition challenging the victory of Governor Diri in the November 19 governorship election claimed that the party was unlawfully excluded from the election.

In a split judgement of two-one, the three-man panel ruled that INEC does not have the power to disqualify any candidate for an election.

But INEC in its argument had said that the party’s Deputy Governorship candidate was 34-year-old as at the time of nomination and therefore did not qualify to contest the election.

ANDP told Justice Yunusa Musa, who delivered the lead judgment that its initial Deputy Governorship Candidate, David Esinkuma was duly substituted by the Party within the allowed time frame, following the notification from INEC that he’s under-age.

Justice Musa in his response said that INEC has no power to disqualify any candidate and insists that the petition of the ANDP stands.

The Tribunal however ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to order a fresh election within 90 days.

NAF Airlifts Conjoined Twins To Bayelsa After Successful Separation

Parents of the conjoined twins that were successfully separated at the Federal Medical Centre in Yola arrive in Bayelsa on August 30, 2020.

 

The Nigerian Air Force has airlifted a set of twins after successfully undergoing a separation surgery at the Federal Medical Centre in Yola, Adamawa State.

This was disclosed in a statement issued on Sunday by NAF spokesman, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola.

According to him, the twins – Mercy and Grace Aeiygbenmi, along with their parents and medical team have been conveyed to their base in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.

Reacting, the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, who received them thanked the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, and the entire Air Force for the support provided throughout the process.

On his part, Abubakar, reassured Nigerians that the Air Force will continue to sustain its humanitarian relief operations, including medical outreaches, to alleviate the sufferings of victims of insurgency, banditry and natural disasters.

The twins who were born on December 1, 2019, were joined at the abdomen, and was successfully separated by the collective efforts of medical professionals.

See Photos Below:     

Diri Appeals Judgement Nullifying His Election As Bayelsa Governor

A file photo of Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, at the INEC headquarters in Abuja on February 14, 2020. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, has appealed the judgement which nullified his election as the governor of the state.

The governor’s lawyers filed the Notice of Appeal on Tuesday at the Court of Appeal in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

He is challenging the majority judgement of the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Tribunal which nullified his election on 12 grounds.

The Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are listed as first, second, and third respondents in the appeal.

Governor Diri disagreed with the entire majority decision of the Tribunal as delivered by Justice Yunusa Musa and Justice Sikiru Owodunni.

He argued that the petition by the ANDP challenged its alleged unlawful exclusion from the election that was conducted on November 16, 2019.

The governor added that the cause of action of the first respondent crystallised on November 16, 2019, the Election Day when it claimed to have realised that INEC indeed did not place it on the ballot.

READ ALSO: Tribunal Nullifies Bayelsa Governorship Election, Diri To Appeal Ruling

Court To Decide Certificate Case Against Buhari Today
A file photo of the Court of Appeal in Abuja.

 

“From the date, the 1st Respondent had 21 days within which to file a petition against the alleged unlawful exclusion from the election.

“There was no election on the 14th day of February 2020 held by INEC to warrant the 1st Respondent’s petition filed on 26th February 2020, more than five months after the declaration of results, as the ground of complaint of unlawful exclusion is a complaint against an election, not a declaration,” he said.

According to Governor Diri, the case of ANDP is not hinged on the nullification of the votes of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, David Lyon, nor on the declaration of results by INEC on February 14, nor on his return as the governor of Bayelsa State.

He insists that it was hinged on the ANDP’s alleged unlawful exclusion from the election, stressing that the first respondent’s petition was statute-barred and in breach of the provisions of Section 285(5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).

The governor, therefore, urged the appellate court to set aside the entire majority decision of the Tribunal, as well as dismiss the petition by the first respondent.

He also asked the court to uphold the minority judgement of the Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Muhammad Sirajo.

Governor Diri believes Justice Sirajo appreciates the law and correctly applies the same to the facts and rightly dismissed the petition of ANDP.

Tribunal Nullifies Bayelsa Governorship Election, Diri To Appeal Ruling

A collage of a gavel and Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri

 

The Bayelsa Governorship Election Tribunal on Monday nullified the election of Governor Douye Diri.

The Tribunal also ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to order a fresh election within 90 days.

The verdict follows the petition by the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP) challenging the victory of Governor Diri in the November 19 governorship election.

The ANDP claimed that the party was unlawfully excluded from the election.

In a split judgement of two-one, the three-man panel ruled that INEC does not have the power to disqualify any candidate for an election.

INEC in its argument had said that the party’s Deputy Governorship candidate was 34-year-old as at the time of nomination and therefore did not qualify to contest the election.

ANDP told Justice Yunusa Musa, who delivered the lead judgment that its initial Deputy Governorship Candidate, David Esinkuma was duly substituted by the Party within the allowed time frame, following the notification from INEC that he’s under-age.

Justice Musa in his response said that INEC has no power to disqualify any candidate and insists that the petition of the ANDP stands.

He also added that only a court has the power to disqualify any candidate for any election and that the petition was filed within 21 days, which is the stipulated time for petitions to be filed.

Justice Musa described the action of INEC to exclude the ANDP from the Bayelsa Governorship Election as illegal.

The Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Muhammad Sirajo, however, dismissed the petition on technical grounds.

Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri

I’ll Appeal Tribunal’s Ruling

Governor Diri in his reaction has revealed that he will appeal the ruling by the tribunal nullifying his election as governor of the state.

He also said that he has instructed his lawyers to file the necessary papers.

Governor Diri disclosed this shortly after the tribunal ruled that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) wrongly excluded the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP) governorship candidate in the November 2019 election.

The governor said he has implicit confidence in the judiciary and he would triumph at the end.

Tribunal Dismisses Three Petitions

Last Saturday, the tribunal dismissed three petitions filed against Governor Douye Diri challenging his victory.

The three-man panel took the decision in a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Owodunni.

The tribunal held that the petition filed by Owei Woniwei of the Alliance for Democracy is incompetent and lacks merit.

According to the Tribunal, the petitioner failed to prove the allegations of the forged declaration of age and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) discharged certificate levelled against the Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence.

The second judgment between Ibiene Stephen versus the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Governor Duoye Diri, his deputy and PDP was also heard by Justice Yunusa Musa.

The Tribunal dismissed United Peoples Congress’ petition challenging Governor Diri’s election.

Tribunal Affirms Election Of Duoye Diri As Bayelsa Governor

(File Photo) Bayelsa State Governor, Duoye Diri.

 

The Bayelsa Governorship Election Tribunal sitting in Abuja has affirmed the election of Senator Duoye Diri as Bayelsa State Governor.

The three-man panel took the decision on Saturday a month after the Supreme Court dismissed an appeal filed by a former aspirant of the Bayelsa governorship election under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Timi Alaibe, challenging the candidacy of Senator Diri in the November 2019 election.

In a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Owodunni, the tribunal held that the petition filed by Owei Woniwei of the Alliance for Democracy is incompetent and lacks merit.

READ ALSO: Bayelsa Election: Governor Duoye Diri To Know Fate As Tribunal Set For Judgement

The Tribunal further held that the petitioner failed to prove the allegations of the forged declaration of age and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) discharged certificate levelled against the Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence.

The second judgment between Ibiene Stephen versus INEC, Governor Duoye Diri, his deputy and PDP is being delivered now by Justice Yunusa Musa

The Tribunal dismissed United Peoples Congress’ petition challenging Governor Diri’s election.

The last judgment to be delivered is between Vijah Opuama of Liberation Movement against INEC, Senator Duoye Diri, his deputy and the PDP.

 

Bayelsa Election: Governor Duoye Diri To Know Fate As Tribunal Set For Judgement

(File Photo) Bayelsa State Governor, Duoye Diri.

 

The Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja is set to deliver judgments in three petitions.

The petitions are that of Vijah Opuama of the Liberation Movement versus the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and three others.

The second petition is between Ibiene Stephen of United Peoples Congress and INEC and three others while the third petition is between Owei Woniwei of Alliance for Democracy and Governor Duoye Diri and three others.

The petitioners are challenging the election of Senator Diri as the duly elected Governor of Bayelsa State.

This comes a month after the Supreme Court dismissed an appeal filed by a former aspirant of the Bayelsa governorship election under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Timi Alaibe, challenging the candidacy of Senator Diri in the November 2019 election.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Kill Bauchi Lawmaker, Abduct Wives And One-Year-Old Daughter

Alaibe who had earlier lost a similar suit at the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal is claiming that he is the authentic candidate of the PDP.

But the court dismissed the case on Tuesday, on the ground that it was a pre-election matter.

Governor Diri was sworn in on February 14, a day after the Supreme Court sacked the former governor-elect of Bayelsa State, David Lyon, and his Deputy, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo.

 

 

Edo Election: Avoid Rivers, Bayelsa, Zamafara Experience – Buhari Tells APC

President Muhammadu Buhari with his Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, and the APC governorship candidate in Edo State, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, at the State House in Abuja on August 7, 2020.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Edo State to avoid the experiences of Rivers, Bayelsa and Zamfara States.

The President stated this when he received the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, and the Caretaker Committee Chairman of the APC and Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni.

Others he received were the Chairman of Progressive Governors Forum and Governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, and APC Campaign Chairman for Edo State elections and Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje. at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

The President, in a statement through his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, urged the party leaders and campaign team to do all that is necessary, following legal and constitutional means, to win the election.

President Muhammadu Buhari presents the symbolic APC flag to the party’s governorship candidate in Edo State, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, in Abuja on August 7, 2020.

 

He charged the party leaders to avoid the pitfalls that affected the party’s victory in Rivers, Zamfara and Bayelsa States in the 2019 elections, pointing out that with the resolution of the “acute crisis’’ in the party in Edo State.

The President said he was optimistic that the party will regain its pride of place in winning elections, and serving the people, thereby asking party leaders at the national and state levels to follow the electoral process in an open and transparent manner.

“What I want is a transparent process so that the confidence of the people will be strengthened.’’

The President congratulated Pastor Ize-Iyamu on his emergence as the party’s candidate in Edo State after a “turbulent process’’, assuring him of full support.

Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of the Caretaker Committee, who presented the candidate, told the President: “Pastor Ize- Iyamu is a seasoned grassroots politician who is loved by his people’’, noting President Buhari’s blessings on the candidate further validates the party’s confidence.

The Chairman of the APC Edo State gubernatorial campaign, Governor Ganduje, said in line with the principles of the party the APC will lead a clean campaign, devoid of acrimony, hatred, and violence.

Governor Ganduje said the campaign had started on a good and happy note, with the APC already taking over the state legislature with a majority of 17 out of 24.

In his response, Pastor Ize-Iyamu assured the President of his commitment to ensuring good governance in the state if elected in September elections, recalling that he served as Deputy Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee of the APC at its formation.

Pastor Ize-Iyamu said he was glad to return to the APC, describing his initial exit like that of a “prodigal son’’.

The APC candidate thanked the President for the warm and fatherly reception, saying he was honoured to receive the party’s flag from the President.

Pastor Ize-Iyamu told State House Press Corps that he was fully in charge of his campaign as a popular candidate who served the State as Chief of Staff and Secretary to State Government in previous administrations.

He also said former APC Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, had already explained that his initial unfriendly comments during the 2016 campaigns were purely political aimed at giving another candidate an edge in the elections.

The Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum said all the APC governors were fully behind the candidature of Pastor Ize-Iyamu.

80-Year-Old Kidnap Victim Regains Freedom In Bayelsa

Bayelsa Govt House Photographer, One Other Shot Dead

 

The 80-year-old father of the Chairman of Sagbama Local Government Area in Bayelsa State has regained his freedom.

Channels Television learned Pa. Napoleon Alale was released in the early hours of Tuesday at Otuokpoti, Ogbia Local Government Area of the state.

Confirming the development, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mike Okolo said the release was a result of efforts made by the police to restructure the security strategy of the Command and to reduce crime to the barest minimum in the state.

READ ALSO: Bristow Helicopters Sacks 100 Pilots

Although security operatives arrested one Commander Mummy Reuben alleged to be the mastermind of the kidnap, efforts are ongoing to track down the other fleeing suspects.

According to the police authorities, the suspect confessed to have conspired with others to carry out the abduction.

The victim was kidnapped on May 8 at Agbere Community, in the Sagbama area of the state.