Gas Explosion Rocks Delta Community, Kills Three Children

An explosion has occurred at a gas plant in Agbor, Ika South Local Government Area of Delta State.

The gas plant went up in flames Friday night, razing down some buildings, killing at least four persons, including three children, and leaving 11 others with various degrees of burns.

The cause of the fire is still unknown as of the time of this report but firefighters are were able to put out the blaze after hours of battling with it.

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa visited some of the victims at the hospitals where they are receiving treatment on Saturday.

He confirmed that the casualties include one female adult and three children.

“The unfortunate thing is that we’ve lost people,” he said. “We’ve lost four persons. One is a grown-up woman and the other three are children. It’s a very painful thing. And so many others are currently at the burns unit of UBTH.”

According to Governor, the explosion did not take place within a densely populated area or the damage inflicted would have been more.

However, he noted that his government will take steps to prevent a reoccurrence in other parts of the state.

“I’m aware that we have some of these facilities even in more densely populated areas and I’m going to sit with the House of Assembly – we have to do an immediate legislation that will not allow such (incident) anymore,” he said.

 

South-South Governors Demand Apology From Presidency After Cancelled Meeting

 

South-South leaders on Tuesday demanded an unreserved apology from the presidency for abruptly canceling a stakeholders meeting scheduled to hold in Port Harcourt.

According to a statement from the Rivers State Government, the presidency had fixed a meeting for Tuesday with the Governors and other leaders of the region to discuss burning national issues, including the aftermath of the #EndSARS protest.

The federal government delegation was supposed to include all the Ministers from the geopolitical zone.

However, after the meeting was adjusted twice from 11am to 1pm, Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari, put a call through to the Chairman of the South-South Governors Forum, Ifeanyi Okowa and cancelled the meeting.

Okowa said the people of the region have been embarrassed, disgraced and disrespected.

He stated that the South-South geopolitical zone is a very important component part of the nation and the governors feel insulted because the traditional rulers who had gathered for the meeting, deserved to be revered.

A file photo of Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa. Photo: [email protected]

 

“As governors, we feel very touched and very sad about what has happened. And having also listened to our youths, we can feel the anger. As a mark of respect for our people, because you are actually the stakeholders of our region, we felt it was necessary for us to consult with you before taking any decision, if we take our decision without consulting with you, then we would have added to the disrespect that has just been meted on you.

“We call for a public apology, not for the governors alone. We call for a public apology because this meeting was not called at our instance. It was called at the instance of the Presidency. The time was changed last night. We understood and we talked to our people. Some of us did not sleep in trying to put things together. We have gotten to a very bad start. So we are going to convey this message to the chief of staff to the president.

He added: “We deserve as a region unreserved public apology to the region, particularly to our traditional rulers and the leaders in this zone, which include our Christian leaders, opinion leaders, our women and our youths, and also the governors of the zone who were voted into office and that is the least that we expect for us to accept the reconvene of this meeting.”

Present for the cancelled meeting were Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River; Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom; Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State; and Godwin Obaseki of Edo State.

Others were the National Chairman of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga; former President, Nigerian Bar Association, Onueze Okocha (SAN), among others.

Delta Records Third COVID-19 Case

A file photo of Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa. Photo: [email protected]

 

Delta state on Saturday confirmed its third case of COVID-19, according to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa,

Okowa, who disclosed the news in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, said the patient was diagnosed in Asaba and is currently being managed by healthcare professionals in an isolation centre.

He added that the sample of the case was taken to Irrua Specialist Hospital in Edo, and returned positive.

“The patient is currently in a good state and responding to treatment; and we have already began to track all those that have had contact with him,” Okowa said.

“I am pleased to report that the patient is in stable condition and is responding well to treatment from our team of medical professionals,” he said.

The Governor said the third case reinforced the need for social distancing and a lockdown.

“In consonance with the rules and according to international best practices as enunciated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the state government urges Deltans, especially Christians to worship from home as the lockdown order is still in force,” he said.

“We thank Deltans for their support so far and urge them to continue to obey relevant instructions as it has become apparent that the virus is spreading in the state.

“We will continue to partner the Federal Government on effective implementation of its regulations on measures to curtail further spread of the virus in our state and country.”

 

COVID-19: Delta Index Case Receiving Necessary Treatment – Gov Okowa

A file photo of Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa. Photo: [email protected]

 

The Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, has said the index COVID-19 case in the state is getting the needed treatment.

He also expressed optimism that the state will overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had on Tuesday evening reported sixteen new COVID-10 infections with Delta State having one.

While reacting to the development, Governor Okowa in a tweet on his official handle, disclosed that the index case in the oil-rich state is getting medical attention and called for the cooperation of residents of the state.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Katsina Govt Lifts Ban On Friday Prayers

“This evening [Tuesday], a patient in Delta State tested positive for the #COVID19 virus,” he said.

“This index case is already receiving the necessary treatment at one of our isolation centers. Tomorrow morning, I will be addressing our citizens on developments surrounding this case.”

While calling on residents of the state to adhere to precautionary measures rolled out by the relevant agencies, he urged them to remain calm, also.

He added: “Again, I ask that you all remain calm at this time and continue to adhere to the precautionary measures and isolation directives that we have put in place to keep you and your families safe. I have no doubt whatsoever that we will all get through this together.”

Africa To Get More Space In FIFA Competitions – Pinnick

pinnickPresident of the Nigeria Football Federation, Mr Amaju Pinnick, says plans are ongoing to get more space for African teams in FIFA competitions.

The newly elected executive member of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) confirmed that the number of teams in CAF competitions would also be increased.

On the development of football in Nigeria, he gave assurance that Nigerian referees would be given their pride of place in the comity of nations during his tenure.

Mr Pinnick made the remarks when he visited the Governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, in Asaba, the state’s capital.

He thanked Governor Okowa for his support in the development of human resources in the state, south-south Nigeria.

“l am in the state to say a big thank you to you and the people of the state for your encouragement and support for my election,” the NFF President said.

Governor Okowa, on his part assured Pinnick that his administration remains committed to the development of human resources and sports infrastructure in Nigeria.

He congratulated the NFF President on his election into the CAF Executive Committee, and his appointment into the FIFA Organising Committee.

“We give glory to God for your success in your election. I believe that when God has blessed a process to be, no one can stop it. I want to urge you to continue to look up to God and stay committed to your duty as you move on.

“We as a state look forward to greater things that will come your way but be rest assured that we will continually give the best of our support. We are confident in your ability and understanding of the game of football and we believe that you will perform very well.

“Always look up to God and stay committed as you move up in sports administration. We pray that God will guide you to remain focused in carrying out your new functions; when you progress, Delta State is progressing,” he said.

Okowa Goes Tough On Cultists In Delta State

Ifeanyi Okowa, Delta State, CultistsDelta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, has vowed that there will be no hiding place for cultists and anyone involved in the act of terrorism in the state.

The Governor validated his vow as he signed six bills, including the Delta State Anti-Cultism and Anti-Terrorism Bill 2016 into law.

Others bills presented for assent by the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Honourable Monday Igbuya, and Clerk of the Legislature, Mrs Lyna Ochulor include: Delta State Bursary and Scholarship Bill 2016, Delta State Public Procurement Commission Bill 2016, Delta State Signage and Advertisement Agency Bill 2016, Delta State School of Nursing and Midwifery Bill 2016 and the Delta State Traditional Rulers and Chieftaincy (Amendment) Bill 2016.

Governor Okowa, while lauding the legislature for their diligence and cooperation towards having an egalitarian society where there is law and order, emphasised the importance of the bills he signed into law.

He expressed optimism that the laws would improve the peace, security as well as socio-economic life of the people and the environment in the state.

The Governor stressed that the Delta State Anti-Cultism and Anti-Terrorism law is important for the security of life and property in the state.

“Our youths should know that government will not take likely any breach of security, especially people who partake in cultism and terrorism.

“I want to caution our youths to shun all forms of cultism and terrorism this yuletide period because if they are caught, the law will take its cause, no matter the position of the person.”

Dr. Okowa revealed further that the Delta State Signage and Advertisement Agency law 2016 would also bring about smarter cities with proper signage regulations.

He observed that the Schools of Nursing located in different areas of the state do not have laws backing up their setup until recently, adding that the Delta State Public Procurement Commission 2015 would help improve government procurement process.

Honourable Igbuya explained that the presentation of the bills were in line with the constitutional duties of making laws that would impart positively on the people of Delta State.

He said the bills passed through rigorous process before they were passed by the legislature.

The event was also attended by the Deputy Speaker of the Assembly, Honourable Friday Osanebi and other principal members of the state legislature.

The Secretary to the Delta State Government, Honourable Festus Ovie-Agas, the Head of Service, Mr Reginald Bayoko and the Attorney-General, Mr Peter Mrakpor, among others also witnessed the event

Obiano Discusses Inter-state Partnership With Okowa

Willie Obiano, Ifeanyi Okowa, Inter-state CollaborationAnambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, has visited his Delta State counterpart, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, to discuss issues of inter-state security, economy and road safety ahead of the yuletide.

Governor Obiano said that the visit was in the bid to strengthen the mutual relationship existing between the two states.

The meeting held on Wednesday at the Delta State Government House in Asaba, south-south Nigeria.

It had in attendance, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Marshal, Boboye Oyeyemi, whose attention was called to the area of road safety, especially at the Bridge Head axis where traffic gridlock is always experienced.

Addressing the press at the end of the closed-door meeting, Governor Obiano said some of the issues discussed touch upon strengthening inter-state partnership.

He listed the areas of focus to include security, economy and supporting the FRSC to ensure free flow of traffic during the Christmas period.

empowerment scheme, Okowa, Delta State, Knowledge-Based DevelopmentDr. Okowa, on his part, expressed confidence that the cooperation of the two states, which he said was the best way to go, would yield positive results for the two sister states in the area of security.

In his response, Mr Oyeyemi assured the governors of immediate dismantling of road blocks, removal of obstruction and reduction of the strength of both military and police check points.

Okowa Assures Delta State Residents Of Business Opportunities

Ifeanyi Okowa, Niger DeltaThe Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa has assured citizens of the state that business opportunities will abound, through the high return of investments and international investors.

The governor made this known while delivering a lecture titled, “Public policy & governance in Delta State: opportunities & challenges” at a ‘dialogue with Public Policy Makers’ Programme organized by the Lagos Business School and Nigerian Economic Summit Group.

According to GDP rebase of 2013, Delta State has an economy size of $24.6b making it the fourth largest economy in the country

Unemployment, underemployment, stands at 27.2 per cent in 2014 and that’s also according to the National Bureau of Statistics

The essence of the lecture is a bid to address the economic challenges of the state, majorly caused by the fall in the price of oil.

Governor Okowa says his administration has come up with policies that provides the road map to drive rapid infrastructural development; ensure and sustain inclusive economic growth and sustainable development; reduce the worrisome high level of youth unemployment and pervasive poverty

The governor also added that as the state moves to reduce its dependence on crude oil, his administration would build on the efforts of the past administration to strengthen the enabling environment for investments to thrive in the agriculture and other sectors of the state economy

Representing the Dean, Lagos Business School, Dr. Chris Ogbechie reiterates the commitment of the Lagos Business school in partnership with the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, to continue to engage with Public Sector Policy Makers in proffering solutions to developmental challenges in a growing economy like Nigeria.

Okowa Responds To Claims He Plans To Disrupt Edo Elections

okowa, oshiomhole, edo electionsThe Governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, has refuted claims allegedly made by his Edo State counterpart, that he planned to deploy militants to Edo State to disrupt the now postponed governorship election.

The electoral body had shifted the election which was initially scheduled to hold on September 10 to September 28.

In a statement issued by the governor’s office, he described the allegation as baseless, unfounded, spurious and tendentious.

“We vehemently reject this accusation as alarmist, reckless and false in facts,” the Governor stated.

The statement pointed out the Governor Okowa was a peace-loving Nigerian who had never and would not engage in any activity inimical to law and order.

It further noted that he had committed himself to raising the standard of governance in all ramifications.

The Governor’s office further highlighted that the exalted office of the Governor, was one that demanded decorum and maturity, emphasising that “those who are privileged to occupy such offices need to exercise restraint in their public conduct and utterances”.

U.S. Officials Meet With Stakeholders In Niger Delta To Resolve Crisis

Niger Delta, US GovernmentOfficials of the American Embassy, led by the Deputy Chief of Mission, Mr David Young, are in Delta State in Nigeria’s south-south for an all-embracing dialogue involving all stakeholders in the Niger Delta region.

At a meeting with the Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, held in Asaba, the capital of the State, Mr Young said that their visit was part of measures toward finding lasting solutions to the crisis in the region which had crippled oil production.

Addressing reporters after the visit to the Delta State government, Mr Young said that the U.S. government believed that dialogue was very important in resolving grievances and there is a need to encourage Nigerians to exploit mechanisms for dialogue in moving forward.

The Governor of Delta State suggested the creation of an environment that would foster peace and tranquility, adding that the state government have also made efforts to forestall peace in the delta region.


The Niger Delta region encompasses about 8% of Nigeria’s landmass and with oil drilling in the region, the nation’s economy was stimulated.

Numerous multinational corporations also established oil operations in the region with very high stakes.

The activities of the oil companies have caused several environmental and economic issues in the region, leading to militancy in the past.

In recent times, there has been a resurgence of militant activities in the region with new groups taking up arms and attacking oil installations in the region.

A militant group known as Niger Delta Avengers has claimed responsibility for the recent attacks on oil-producing facilities causing the shutdown of oil terminals and a fall in Nigeria’s oil production to its lowest level.

Burutai Asks Niger Delta Militants To Speak With One Voice

Army, Tukur Buratai, Niger Delta MilitantsThe Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Burutai, has asked militants in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria to speak with one voice, if they expect to be taken seriously.

The Army Chief made the call on Monday on the side-line of a closed door meeting with security heads including the police, Department of State Services and representatives of oil companies in south-south Nigeria.

He told journalists in Rivers State that the proliferation of groups, who claim to be Niger Delta militants, do not come across as a genuine move for peace.

General Burutai stated that the “Exercise Crocodile Smile” should not be mistaken for an invasion in the region.

However, he maintained that the army would not hesitate to clamp down on any action that threatens the peace of the Niger Delta.

The call is coming barely two weeks after the Nigerian Army formally launched the new military exercise in the Niger Delta region.

The exercise has a mandate to provide adequate security for residents as well as critical national economic assets in the region.

General Buratai, who flagged-off the exercise in Sapele, Delta State, had urged military personnel to respect the rights of law abiding citizens in their areas of operation whom he said were critical to the success of the exercise.

Nigerian Army Launches ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’ In Niger Delta

Tukur-Buratai-Chief-of-Army-Staff-Lieutenant-GeneralThe Nigerian Army has formally launched a new military exercise in the Niger Delta code named “Exercise Crocodile Smile”.

It has a mandate to provide adequate security for residents as well as critical national economic assets in the region.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, flagged-off the exercise on Saturday in Sapele, Delta State.

Addressing the troops, he urged them to respect the rights of law abiding citizens in their areas of operation whom he said were critical to the success of the exercise.

“We are in Warri to flag-off this exercise in order to get our troops prepared for any eventuality .

“We need to keep our country safe. We need to get our economy going without any interruption,” he said.

Increase In Militant Activities

The Chief of Army Staff and his entourage had earlier in separate courtesy visits to the Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa and the Olu of Warri, Godfrey Ikenwoli Emiko, briefed them on the exercise.

After the meeting with the Governor, Lieutenant General Buratai expressed hopes that at the end of the exercise that security would be achieved in the south-south region.

“We hope that the economy will come up again and the facilities and the infrastructures in terms of the oil and gas will be protected and the people around will go about their  normal  businesses without fear of any attack.

“We hope that this will other investors to come around and that those companies that have already declared force majeure,” he told reporters.

The decision to set up the force in the Niger Delta region is not unconnected with  recent increase in militant activities, with a wave of attacks on oil installations.

A group that calls itself the Niger Delta Avengers has claimed responsibility for most of the recent attacks that has forced some oil companies to declare force majeure.

The group has, however, said it has agreed to a ceasefire and was open for negotiation with the Federal Government.

It is the second operation in the region after the Operation Delta Safe was set up to also quell the resurgence of militancy.