Nigerian Army Calls For Improved Welfare Packages

The Nigerian Army has again called for an improved welfare package for its officers and men of the command to boost their surveillance in its quest to making the nation a crime free one.

General Officer Commanding, 82 Division, Nigerian Army, Major General Oluwaseun Oshinowo made the call in Calabar, the Cross River state capital, after he commissioned  a renovated Corporal Below Quarters of five blocks containing ten rooms each at the state command.

He described the welfare of the officers and men as paramount to the Nigerian government, as this will fast track the speedy development of government’s laid down projects.

Oshinowo, who inaugurated the buildings at the 13 Brigade Nigerian Army Barracks, Calabar, said they were renovated with assistance from the Chief of Army Staff and also thanked the Cross River State government alongside Men and Officers of the Command for their support as he’s at the verge of retiring.

He later paid a courtesy call on the acting governor of the state to intimate him on his retirement in few days’ time.

Ex-militants donate N52.7 million to south south flood victims

Ex militants in the Niger Delta have contributed N52.7 million for victims of flood disaster in the region a statement from the presidential Amnesty Programme office said.

Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, PAP, Mr Kingsley Kuku, who disclosed this, said the 26,358 amnesty beneficiaries in Phases one and two of the programme, agreed to donate N2, 000 each from their October allowances to support efforts of the federal and state governments on the flood disaster.

Already, the PAP chairperson, who is also the Special Adviser to the President on Niger-Delta, has constituted an 18-member Flood Relief Committee, comprising key stakeholders in the amnesty programme and volunteers.

The Technical Assistant on Reintegration, Mr Larry Pepple, heads the committee.

Kuku, expected to meet with state governors of the affected states soon on the management of the disaster, commended the amnesty beneficiaries for their selfless and humanitarian gesture.

Kuku said “This is very commendable as it is a practical demonstration of the African spirit and tradition of being your brother’s keeper in times of distress.”

He added that the committee would procure the necessary relief materials and liaise with the various states government to ensure the distribution of the items.

The beneficiary states are Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo and Rivers.


Red Cross International to raise N34m for flood victims in Nigeria

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have launched an Emergency Appeal Fund to help the Nigerian Red Cross assist 10,000 people affected by the flood as part of efforts to cushion the effects of the flood ravaging some parts of the country.

Addressing a news conference in Abuja, the Disaster Management Coordinator of the Nigerian Red Cross, Mr Umarabdu-Mairiga says the sum of N34, 000,000 (Thity Four million naira) raised by the international arm of the humanitarian foundation will be used to assist victims in Adamawa, Taraba, Kogi, Plateau, Katsina, Cross River, Jigawa, Kogi, Benue and Edo states.

He added that the flood has claimed 148 lives and displaced 64, 000 persons in 21 states.

Also speaking at the occasion, the who described the flood situation as a disaster says the funds being raised by the federation will be used to support the ongoing relief efforts of the Nigerian Red Cross Society.

Senate urges Presidency to challenge ICJ’s judgment on Bakassi

The Senate on Wednesday appealed to the Presidency to invoke Article 61 of the International Court of Justice statute to appeal against the judgment ceding Bakassi to Cameroon.

The Senate’s appeal followed a debate on a motion titled, “The Judgment of the ICJ on the International Boundaries between Nigeria and Cameroon including Bakassi.”

Leading the debate on the motion, Abdul Ningi (PDP-Bauchi), who sponsored it along with 18 other senators, noted that the deadline for appealing against the ICJ judgment would expire on October 9.

The judgment was given in 2002 and Nigeria had a 10 year period within which to appeal the verdict or lose Bakassi to Cameroon forever.

Mr Ningi noted that the judgment was erroneously based on an agreement between the British and Calabar chiefs in 1884.

He said that there had never been a precedent in history where a case of this nature was executed without a referendum as enshrined in the UN rules.

“We are disturbed by the lack of faithful implementation of the Green Tree Agreement signed by both the Cameroon and Nigerian governments, thereby vitiating the basis of the implementation of the court’s judgment.

“Articles 3(1) and 2(a) of the Green Tree Agreement stipulate that after the transfer of the territory to Cameroon, the Cameroonian authorities should guarantee the Nigerian citizens in the Bakassi Peninsula the exercise of their fundamental human rights,” he said.

The Senator said the motion was premised on the fact that new facts had emerged after the ruling that were not available before the first trial coupled with the absence of a Nigerian legal representation.

The Leader of the Senate, Victor Ndoma-Egba (PDP-Cross River), said that there had been three motions in the previous Senate urging the Federal Government to tarry a while before ceding Bakassi.

Mr Ndoma-Egba expressed regret that the appeals were not heeded by the government and in spite of the protest by the people of Cross River; the government went ahead to hand Bakassi over to Cameroon.

“Bakassi was ceded in spite of the protest by Cross River State. Bakassi was ceded when Cross River had no governor because the election of Liyel Imoke had been annulled.

“There was an acting governor in place. The ceding of Bakassi will go down in history as the fastest compliance with the judgment of the International Court of Justice,” he said.

Mr Ndoma-Egba said the least that the people of Cross River demanded was compensation if they could not be put back to where they were before Bakassi was ceded.

Contributing to the debate, Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP-Abia) wondered which country in the world would willingly give away its own property.

Mr Abaribe said the question of whether Bakassi was ceded because Cross River was a minority should not even arise since they were still citizens of Nigeria.

Hadi Sirika (CPC- Katsina) noted that the issue of referendum was very crucial and essential to the matter.

He called on the Senate to do all within its powers to make the Presidency to appeal against the judgement.

In his contribution, George Akume (ACN-Benue) said that the matter was brought before the National Council of State at the time by then President Olusegun Obasanjo for advice.

He said it had been a very contentious issue, adding that at the end of the debate, the resolution of the council was only advisory.

He said its members were made to understand that Nigeria was being represented by the best legal brains.

Heineken Lokpobiri (PDP-Bayelsa) noted that the motion should have come much earlier, saying Nigeria could take the second option which was to go back and reclaim Bakassi.

“There are two options, one is for us to appeal from now to October 9 and the second one is for us to go back to Bakassi and reclaim it.

“If Nigeria had not elected to appear before the court, it would not have had jurisdiction over it.

“My candid opinion is that Bakassi has not been legally ceded to Cameroon,” he said.

The Senate President, David Mark said he would on his own write a personal letter to President Goodluck Jonathan on the matter.

“Time is not on our side and so whatever decision or resolution we take should be that Bakassi should be returned to us,”” Mr Mark said.

He noted that going on appeal was the only right thing to do since Nigeria had subjected itself to the international court.

Mr Mark noted that it was the belief of every Nigerian that Bakassi should not have been ceded to Cameroon, saying that the Senate would protect all Nigerians.

Senate calls for supplementary budget to address flood disaster

The Senate has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to send a supplementary budget to the National Assembly to address the immediate needs of the victims affected by the ravaging floods across the country.

The Senate took the resolution on Tuesday, after considering a motion on the menace of flood in the central part of the country that claimed a number of lives and displaced over a million people.

The motion for an urgent need of the supplementary budget to support the affected state government was moved by Senator Danladi Sankara.

The Senator drew the attention of the Senate to the flood which has ravaged many states in the country claiming lives and rendering thousands of Nigerians homeless.

The floods have ravaged communities along the River Niger, River Benue, Cross River as well as Gongola River and Iyere River.

The unprecedented flooding has been alleged to be caused by the release of stored water in a dam by Cameroonian authorities. Others attribute it to climate change, but the reality is that many are unprepared for it despite numerous warnings by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET), earlier in the year.

Presiding over the session, Senate president David Mark expressed his displeasure with the manner in which the disaster is being handled despite NIMET’s warnings.

The lawmakers also lamented that as much the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) tried to contain the situation, the rescue agency was ill-equipped to manage disasters.

They therefore urged President Jonathan to forward a supplementary budget to the national assembly to address the immediate needs of the victims affected by the flood across the country.

They also urged the federal government to draw up a national standard operating procedure to respond to such disasters in the future.

New Salary Scheme: NUT issues ultimatum to defaulting states

The Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) has directed teachers in all the states that are yet to implement the enhanced salary structure to begin indefinite strike action as soon as the schools resume for a new session in September.

Addressing the media in Abuja, the President of NUT, Comrade Michael Olukoya said the teachers have ran out of patience, three years after an agreement  on the payment of the 27.5 per cent enhanced salary scale was signed between the union and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum.

The NUT president said the union has exhausted all efforts to convince the teachers that there was significant difference between the payment of Minimum Wage and the 27.5 per cent teachers’ enhanced allowances.

The affected states include Delta, Lagos, Cross River, Ogun, Katsina, Ekiti, Kogi, Abia, Enugu, Ebonyi and Nasarawa states.


Supreme Court cedes disputed 76 oil wells to Akwa Ibom State

The Supreme Court on Tuesday conferred on Akwa Ibom State, the ownership of the 76 oil wells along the Atlantic Ocean, ruling that Cross River State has lost its claim to being a littoral state.

According to the Court, Cross River State lost the right of an oil producing state when the federal government under the leadership of former President Olusegun Obasanjo handed over portions of the Bakassi peninsula to Cameroun.

The seven justices of the court headed by Dahiru Musdapher, in their ruling, submitted that the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMFAC) was right in attributing the oil wells to Akwa Ibom at the inter-agencies meeting.

Justice Olufunlola Adekeye, who read the lead judgment, which was unanimous, dismissed the appeal by Cross River State as lacking in substance and merit, insisting that the agreement which initially gave the state rights to the 76 oil wells was upturned by the handing over of Bakassi to Cameroon.

“The facts before the court do not support the claim of the plaintiff to being a littoral state. A non-littoral state cannot claim oil wells offshore as she has no maritime territory. The plaintiff has no maritime territory since the cessation of Bakassi Peninsula and the Cross River estuary which used to be part of the state prior to August 2008. The present position of the plaintiff cannot be blamed on any government agency particularly the National Boundary Commission and the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC.

“This court cannot because of the influx of refugees from Bakassi into Cross River State, give a legislative judgment. The government of Nigeria has a means of providing for the social needs of the people of Cross River State faced with the social problems thrust on the state due to the cessation of the Bakassi Peninsula to the Cameroun,” the court ruled.

The 76 oil wells had before the judgment of the International Court of in Justice in Hague belonged to Bakassi Local government area of Cross River state.

Bakassi was however handed over to Cameroun on the order of the International Court of Justice as the new owner of the oil rich area after its victory in a boundary legal battle with Nigeria.

However, the Supreme Court said that Akwa Ibom being a littoral state with its boundary directly touching the sea remains the only state that can lay claim and remains the rightful owner of the 76 oil wells in line with the International law.

The Cross River State government had through it counsel, Yusuf Ali, approached the Supreme Court and asked it to compel both the Federal Government and the Akwa Ibom state government to respect the sharing formula put in place by the former President Obasanjo on the 90 oil wells which had been a subject of dispute between Cross River and the Akwa Ibom state government.

Imoke flaws judgement

The Cross River State governor, Liyel Imoke has faulted to the judgement of the Supreme Court which handed over 76 oil wells to Akwa Ibom State.

Mr Imoke said: “As a wronged but law-abiding people, we had hoped for justice. We had hoped for a dispensation of justice that would restore our belief in the timeless saying by the iconic American civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Junior that “the arm of the moral universe still bends towards justice.”

He said that the judgment differed from the opinion of the people but noted that justice could only be delayed and not denied.

“We maintained our peace and dignity even in the face of what could easily have provoked unprecedented violence and reprisals. We hoped for justice from the highest court in the land. But our hope was dashed. My dear brothers and sisters, our spirit will never be broken,” he said.

Akpabio hails ruling

The Akwa Ibom State governor, Godwill Akpabio, who also spoke to journalists after the judgment, said had the apex court ceded the 76 oil wells to Cross River State, the oil well would have automatically been transferred to Cameroun.

He said: “we are happy that the Supreme Court did justice today, but we hereby extend hands of fellowship to our sister state, we have always lived amicably with one another, and we are committed towards ensuring that the relationship that had always existed between the two states is not jeopardized in any way.”

Akpabio lauds Supreme Court’s ruling on oil wells

The governor of Akwa Ibom state, Mr Godswill Akpabio and federal lawmakers from the state have applauded the judgement of the Supreme Court which declared the state as the owner of  76 oil wells in the Atlantic ocean.

An elated Governor of Akwa Ibom, Godswill Akpabio

Reacting to the judgement, the elated governor described the apex court’s decision as ‘no victor no vanquished’.

The governor promised to assist the government and people of Cross River state whenever the need arises saying indigenes of the two states are brothers and sisters

Federal lawmakers from Akwa Ibom also praised the judgment and promised that the revenue from the oil wells will be used to develop the state.

The Supreme Court has ruled in favour of Akwa Ibom state and the National Boundary Commission that since the handing over of the western Bakassi to Cameroun in 2008, the plaintiff, Cross River state, is no longer a littoral state and hence, cannot benefit from the oil wells.

But the last may not have been heard about the disputed oil wells as the government Cross River state has filed a motion challenging the authenticity of a map submitted by the Nigeria Boundary Commission.

Cross River claim that the map was doctored and as such the judgement should be upturned

Rainstorms kill 4, injure 20 in Cross River

Four persons lost their lives, while over 20 others sustained various degrees of injuries in windstorms that destroyed communities in Yala and Ogoja local government areas of Cross River State in the last one week.

According to a local newspaper report, one of the vicitms was killed by lightening while the three others died when tree trunks and walls of residential buildings fell on them. The injured are being treated in both orthodox and traditional hospitals but one with a fractured skull was referred to a specialist hospital in Enugu for surgery.

According to Mr. Samuel Edom, a brother to one of the deceased, Mr. Ekam Ekpishoko, from Egoja-Ndim in Ogoja Local Government Area “The rain came down…in an unprecedented manner amidst windstorm that appeared ready to bring down the entire community. My brother was in his room with his family while I was in mine in the same building when suddenly I heard a loud sound of a tree falling and our home came crumbling.”

The storms which displaced about 20, 000 persons also affected many houses, churches, recreational centres, schools, hospitals and markets.

While assessing the disaster, the Chairman of Yala LGA, Mr. Gabe Ugor, appealed to the state and federal governments to assist the affected persons while the Director-General, Cross River State Emergency Management Agency, Mr. Vincent Aquah, described the destruction as monumental.

Meanwhile, fire gutted a one storey building housing Saint Benedict’s Cathedral, Ogoja, where the Cathedral Administrator, Rev. Fr. George Cholpa and other priests working at the cathedral live and property worth millions of naira lost to the inferno.

Thousands of Fulani herdsmen flee Benue for C’river

Cross River State Government has expressed its worry over the migration of about 3,000 Fulani herdsmen from Katsina Alla, Benue State, to Utanga in Obanliku Local Government Area of its state.

The refugees, are believed to be among those who fled Benue state in the wake of the clash between Fulani herdsmen and Tiv groups recently, leading to the loss of several lives and property.

Although government officials declined comments, a Nigerian newspaper learnt that the security agencies had been put on high alert to prevent any breakdown of law in the state.

The Assistant Director of Information, SEMA, Mr. David Akate, said the Fulani herdsmen were gradually settling in about four camps using grasses and tree shades as shelter.

According to him, “The displaced persons had hundreds of tiny piles of their belongings such as clothes, mats and cooking utensils scattered all over the place are obviously passing through trying times, especially the lack of basic necessities of life such as food, clothing and shelter.”

Aquah however assured that the hospitality of the people of the state would be extended to them and admonished the refugees to be law- abiding while they go about their duties without fear.

President Jonathan congratulates Imoke on Cross River win

President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday congratulated Senator Liyel Imoke on his landslide win in Saturday’s Cross River governorship elections.

Imoke, who was declared winner of the elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission, swept into a first place finish with 415,544 votes, more than 25 percent of votes cast.

President Jonathan urged Mr. Imoke, who will be embarking on his second term in the office of Governor, to “establish a dedicated, purposeful and efficient administration that will help him consolidate on the laudable achievements of his first term.”

Jonathan, in the statement signed by his media aid, Reuben Abati, called on Imoke to “boost the pace of socio-economic development in the state” and says the newly elected governor could continue to rely on his support.

The President wished Imoke good health and strength and more wisdom and courage in he returns to office to serve his people.

Liyel Imoke emerges victorious in Cross River elections

Governor Liyel Imoke and his wife

PDP flagbearer Senator Liyel Imoke on Sunday emerged winner of Saturday’s Cross River governorship elections, winning with 451,544 votes and beating out 11 other contestants for the seat.

INEC returning officer and Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, Profesor James Epoke, declared Imoke victorious, with Usani Usani of the opposing Action Congress of Nigeria party coming in a distant second with 31,206 votes.

All Nigeria’s People’s Party (ANPP) candidate, Mr. Patrick Okomiso came in third with 2,235 votes while Mrs. Ima Nsa-Adegoke of the Labour Party stole fourth with 1,922 votes.

Epoke said: “Imoke having satisfied the requirements of the law and having scored the highest number of votes is hereby the winner and returned elected.”

The Cross River State election is the last of the five rescheduled elections. The Supreme Court, in January, had sacked five state governors, including Liyel Imoke of Cross River state and the governors of Adamawa, Bayelsa, Sokoto and Kogi states.

The court had ruled the governors had overstayed their tenures, appointed acting governors and called for fresh elections.

The polls were said to be peaceful, though some reports noted low voter turnouts. The newly elected Governor Liyel Imoke was said to have won more than 25 per cent of the votes cast in all 18 local governments of the southern Nigerian state.

PPA Governorship Candidate accepts Defeat

Liyel imoke Declared Winner