Gov Diri Orders Manhunt For APC Chieftain’s Killers

The late Frank-Oputu. Source: Facebook/Lizziano Ventures

 

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has directed the police in the state to fish out the killers of a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Sunday Frank-Oputu.

Mr. Frank-Oputu was assassinated by yet to be identified gunmen on Tuesday night at his Yenagoa residence.

Governor Diri, who condemned the killing during the 73rd State Executive Council meeting in Government House, Yenagoa, on Wednesday, described the incident as most unfortunate and unacceptable.

He called on politicians to play politics devoid of violence and assured that those behind the dastardly act will be unmasked and made to face the wrath of the law.

READ ALSO: APC Member Assassinated At Bayelsa Residence

The governor also expressed his condolences and that of the government to the immediate family of the deceased.

“We received the sad news of the assassination of Sunday Frank-Oputu. Let me say that killing does not settle scores. We cannot bequeath a state of killings to our children,” he said.

“Let us build our brothers and sisters, and not assassinate them. On behalf of our government, we send heartfelt condolences to the family.”

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.

READ ALSO: Bomb Explosion Rocks Cattle Market In Taraba

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.”

Restructuring: ‘No Justice’ In What Bayelsa Gets From Oil Revenues, Says Governor Diri

 

Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri on Thursday criticised the federal allocation revenue system as unfair to Bayelsa State and the Niger-Delta region.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, the Governor was reacting to a private sector report alluding that the state’s finances may be in the red zone.

“The question you will ask yourself is that, is that fair, is that just, that what is generated here as income comes back to Bayelsa State as federal allocation,” Mr Diri said.

READ ALSO: NNPC GMD Reveals How ‘Adulterated Fuel’ Was Imported And The Importers

“And maybe, truly, a paltry federal allocation. And those are the issues that we have been talking about: that you cannot have the whole chunk of money generated from our land here and taken to the federal and shared to the states, and in the end you now say Bayelsa State is insolvent.

“And that’s why we are talking about restructuring, that’s why we are talking about the amendment of our country’s constitution. A constitution that says land surface rights belongs to the people, and what is under that land belongs to Federal Government. There is no justice in it. And anybody who bandies these figures, you are annoying the people of Bayelsa State, and indeed the people of the Niger-Delta.

Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri featured on Channels Television's Sunrise Daily on February 10, 2022.
Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri featured on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on February 10, 2022.

 

“So, for us, we need to rework our constitution; we need to restructure our country, in a way that we can approximate our own resources here and pay tax to the Federal Government. And nobody will be talking about Bayelsa State being insolvent or any other state in the Niger Delta for that matter.

“If Bayelsa state is insolvent, then it means Nigeria is insolvent. From where you get all your resources, and the resources are not ploughed back here. And you say the state is insolvent?”

Cocoa money?

Mr Diri also explained that oil wasn’t developed in Nigeria by money made from cocoa farming.

“A lot of people make a mistake and say we used cocoa money to developed oil, that’s not true.

“Multinational, international oil companies came with the capital in oil exploration and exploitation,” Mr Diri said.

“There was no money from Nigeria, every money that came was monies from those who came to develop oil here. These are the issues Nigeria needs to resolve.”

Focus on farming

The Governor noted that despite Bayelsa’s oil wealth, his administration is working to re-orientate youths to go into farming.

According to him, farming is a priority and everyone in the state is encouraged to key into it.

“Agriculture is a priority for this government, we are working hard to have a change of mindset of our youths to key into Agriculture.

“Tomorrow, the Akwa-Ibom Governor is coming into Bayelsa to flag off the farming season. He will also superintend over the made-in-Bayelsa Agriculture show.

“Oil is almost going; we cannot continue to live (dependent) on oil. The focus of this government is agriculture. Let us all key into Agriculture,” the governor said.

UPDATED: Supreme Court Affirms Diri As Bayelsa Governor

A seven-man panel of the Supreme Court has affirmed Douye Diri as the duly elected Governor of Bayelsa State.

In a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, the Apex Court dismissed the six appeals filed against the governor and his deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo.

The appeals dismissed were filed by Alliance for Democracy (AD), Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP), Labour Movement (LM) and Accord Party.

READ ALSO: APC Defection: My Friend, Umahi Wants To Be President – Wike

Justice Ngwuta, in his judgement, predicated the dismissal of the appeals on the withdrawal of the six appeals by lawyers of the appellants.

Diri’s victory has been challenged a number of times but the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja at different times affirmed Diri as the duly elected governor of the state.

Governor Duoye 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.

Lyon’s election was nullified after his deputy was accused of submitting forged certificates to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Appeal Court Overturns Nullification Of Diri’s Election As Bayelsa Governor

A collage of a gavel and Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri

 

A five-man panel of the Appellate Court has overturned a ruling which nullified the election of Douye Diri as governor of Bayelsa State.

The court held that the Bayelsa Election Petition Tribunal acted outside its jurisdiction by nullifying the election of Governor Diri.

In a unanimous judgment, the five-man panel of the court said the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party failed woefully to show that it had a valid candidate that was unlawfully excluded by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The court berated the tribunal for ignoring the fact that the petition of ANDP was status barred in addition to the fact that the party presented an unqualified candidate to INEC in the November 16, 2019 Governorship election in Bayelsa State.

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.

COVID-19: Bayelsa Govt Increases Screening Of Persons At Borders

(FILE PHOTO) Bayelsa State Governor, Duoye Diri.

 

The Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri has directed the COVID-19 Task Force to intensify screening of persons at all entry points into the state.

This is in line with the rise in the number of cases in the state and the lifting of the interstate ban by the Federal Government.

Governor Diri also directed the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, to come up with documents for the purchase of a biosafety cabinet for testing COVID-19 cases in the state.

READ ALSO: Buhari Could Have Dealt With Wike And Fayose But He Let Them Be – Adesina

He gave these directives during an enlarged meeting of the State’s COVID-19 Task Force team at the Government House in Yenagoa, the state capital.

Bayelsa Governor Tests Negative For Coronavirus

A file photo of Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, has tested negative for coronavirus (COVID-19).

His acting Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday following speculations that the governor may have been infected with the virus.

Alabrah explained that Governor Diri was tested for COVID-19 by officials of the epidemiology unit of the state Ministry of Health on Wednesday and the samples were sent to the Irrua Specialist Hospital, in Edo State.

He added that the result was obtained from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)-accredited laboratory at the hospital.

“The result showed that Governor Douye Diri had ‘no evidence of COVID-19 infection,” he said.

The governor’s aide said his principal opted for the test after several phone calls and messages, following speculations on the social media that he might have been infected.

According to him, this was fuelled by his sitting next to Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State who tested positive for the virus, during the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting held in Abuja on March 19.

Following the result of the test, Governor Diri thanked Nigerians and the people of Bayelsa for their concern, love, and good wishes toward him and his family.

He also prayed for a reversal and healing for all those that had been infected by the pandemic.

“I had to take the test so as to douse the tension and end all the speculation. Besides, I needed to know my status concerning the COVID-19.

“I am, therefore, thankful to God that the result was negative as I anticipated,” he said.

The governor added, “I also thank Nigerians and Bayelsans all over the world for their concern, love and prayers. I pray for everyone that has been infected by this disease to be healed.”

Meanwhile, the state government has directed civil servants on Grade Levels 1 to 12 to stay at home for two weeks, with effect from March 26.

It also ordered the closure of all public and private primary and secondary schools in the state, as part of measures to curtail the spread of the disease.

The government had also suspended burial and wedding ceremonies for two weeks while the number of persons at worship centres and public gatherings has been reduced to not more than 20.

According to the statement, the restriction order also affects night clubs and bars in the state.

Bayelsa Governorship Election: Court Dismisses Alaibe’s Suit Against Diri

File Photo: Timi Alaibe

 

The Federal High Court in Owerri, Imo State has dismissed a suit filed by the former Bayelsa governorship aspirant in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Timi Alaibe challenging the emergence of the state governor, Duoye Diri as the legitimate winner of the PDP primaries held on September 3, 2019.

Mr Alaibe had dragged Douye Diri and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to court over what he described as a ‘flawed process’ of the PDP primary.

Read Also: Douye Diri Sworn In As Bayelsa Governor

But the court dismissed the suit for lacking in merit, adding that the PDP followed all the constitutional requirements to conduct the primary and subsequent emergence of Diri as the rightful candidate of the party.

The trial judge, Justice Tijani Rigim also ruled that Mr Alaibe shouldn’t have even approached the court in the first instance since PDP had met all the requirements.

Supreme Court Set To Deliver Judgment On APC’s Application For Review

 

The Supreme Court is set to deliver judgment on the application for review filed by the sacked Bayelsa governor-elect, Mr David Lyon and the All Progressive Congress (APC).

Mr Lyon and APC in their applications argued by Afe Babalola SAN and Mr Wole Olanipekun SAN, prayed the court to review and set aside the judgment of February 13 which voided their participation in the November 16 governorship election.

Mr Babalola had in his submissions said that the Supreme Court has inherent powers to set aside its own decision because the judgment which voided the election of his client was a nullity on account of denial of fair hearing of his client.

READ ALSO: UPDATES: Supreme Court Hears Application For Review Of Judgment Sacking Lyon

Mr Olanipekun on his part argued that the apex court erred in law when it invoked section 36 of the Electoral Act to disqualify the APC’s participation in the election when the Federal High Court judgment restored by the Supreme Court did not disqualify the party’s eligibility.

Counsel to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Tayo Oyetibo, however, informed the apex court that the application by APC and its governorship candidate were a dangerous invitation to the Supreme Court to violate section 285 of the 1999 constitution, for the court to sit on appeal over its own matter.

He further stated that the apex court was right in disqualifying Lyon as the governor-elect because section 187 of the 1999 constitution is clear and unambiguous to the effect that a governorship candidate who has no deputy candidate is not qualified to contest any governorship election in Nigeria.

After taking arguments from parties in the matter, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta announced the stand-down of the matter, adding that the panel would reconvene soon for its decision in the matter.

UPDATES: Supreme Court Hears Application For Review Of Judgment Sacking Lyon

A crowd of lawyers, politicians, and others gather at the Supreme Court in Abuja on January 14, 2020. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

The Supreme Court is currently hearing the application for review of the judgment which sacked the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa state, David Lyon and his deputy, Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo.

The APC is seeking a reversal of the judgment which disqualified its candidate David Lyon.

Representing Mr Lyon and Degi-Eremienyo is Afe Babalola, who argued that the apex court has the power to set aside its earlier judgment.

He insisted that the application is not for a review of the judgment but to set aside the judgment sacking Mr Lyon who overwhelmingly won the election.

Mr Babalola added that the judgment of the court delivered on February 13, amounts to a denial of fair hearing.

READ ALSO: Court Sentences Olisa Metuh To Seven Years In Prison After Four-Year Trial

Justice Sylvester Ngwuta is presiding and is being assisted by six other judges.

In his final submission, Mr Babalola urged the court to reverse its decision.

Also, Wole Olanipekun representing the APC is asking the apex court to set aside its February 13, 2020 judgment on the ground that the court had no jurisdiction to have entertained the appeal in the first place.

He explained that the suit was first filed at the Federal High Court as a pre-election matter, which is the foundation of the matter that made the appeal get to the apex court.

Mr Olanipekun, therefore, restated his argument that the apex court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

He added that all humans are fallible so it is not beyond the apex court to make a mistake.

Mr Olanipekun also faulted the interpretation of the judgment of the court by INEC which issued a certificate of return to Senator Douye Diri of the PDP, urging the court to grant the application to set aside its earlier judgment.

Counsel to the PDP, Tayo Oyetibo argued that the application by David Lyon is an invitation to violate the nation’s constitution.

He added that it is also an invitation to the court to ‘sit in judgment’ over its earlier decision which must not be allowed while urging the court to summarily dismiss the application.

Mr Oyetoyibo argued that areas were well considered before the apex court arrived at its decision on February 13, insisting that the court cannot change the operative part of any judgment delivered by the apex court which is the final court in the land.

Citing section 22 of the Supreme Court act, Mr Oyetoyibo said “the court has wild powers to make any order including the order asking INEC to withdraw the certificate issued to David Lyon. The order made by the court was not out of order.”

He explained that the facts and justice of the case warranted the decision of the court and there is no error in it whatsoever.

He added that if any error is felt, it can only be addressed in a future case.

Mr Oyetibo insisted that the grant of this application will engender judicial stability as people will now wait for a possible review before acting on any judgment of the apex court.

He urged the court to dismiss the application and not to disturb the status quo.

Yunus Ustaz Usman who is representing Governor Douye Diri aligned himself with the submissions of Mr Oyetibo, insisting that the court cannot make any order outside the judgment, especially after a full-blown trial.

He reaffirmed the finality of the court as the highest of the land, urging the court to dismiss the application in the interest of the overall survival of the country.

Counsel to Bayelsa Deputy Governor, Mr Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo vehemently opposed the application for a review of the judgment of the apex court and urged the court to dismiss the applications filed by Mr Lyon and the APC for totally lacking in merit.

Chris Uche who is representing Mr Ewhrudjakpo argued that the Supreme court lacks the power to sit on appeal over any judgment delivered by the court.

He added that it is a case of outright abuse of court process, stating that the court must ‘jealously’ guard its judgments otherwise, there will be a floodgate of applications for review which will lead to a bastardization of the judicial process.

He urged the court to resist the dangerous invitation to violate the nation’s constitution.

Present to witness the proceeding is the National Chairman of the APC, Mr Adams Oshiomhole.

Also in the court is the incumbent governor of the state, Senator Douye Diri and the sacked deputy governor-elect, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo.

The court has risen, to resume later to deliver judgment.

Court resumes session as Justice Amina Augie is reading the judgment.

The apex court has dismissed the application, saying it is lacking in merit.

Justice Augie added that the decisions of the court are final.

She added that the applicants failed to point out errors, stating that the judgment is final for all ages.

The apex court judge said the judgment is final in the ‘real sense’ and no court on earth can review the judgment.

She added that the applications are frivolous and vexatious, and awarded the cost of N10 million against the applicants to be personally paid by their counsel.