Ijaw National Council Warns FG, Condemns Proliferation Of Adhoc Groups

 

militant, NPDC, Delta, Pipelines, Crisis, Negotiation
The council says there are too many parties jostling to be part of the negotiation talks with FG

At least 32 groups have emerged and are scrambling to be part of negotiations with the Federal Government over the Niger Delta crisis.

This was according to the President of the Ijaw National Council, Charles Harry, who mentioned this during a meeting of the council with journalists in Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital.

The Ijaw leader who described it as inimical to the interest of the region, called on the federal government to avoid ad-hoc arrangements which is believed to only produce temporary relief.

Ceasefire Agreements

There have been several attacks on oil facilities in the region, leading to a drop in oil output of the nation that relies largely on crude oil sales for revenue.

A group that calls itself the Niger Delta Avengers has claimed responsibility for most of the attacks.

Recently, it said it has agreed to a ceasefire and was ready for negotiation with the Federal Government.

Ijaw national council, adhoc groupsThe Ijaw council however opined that the recent bombings in the Niger Delta even in the face of ceasefire agreements, are also an expression of grievances.

This according to them is over what they believe is the “persecution of the Former President, Jonathan, by prosecuting his wife Patience Jonathan”.

‘Don’t touch Mrs Jonathan’

The Niger Delta Avengers had threatened to initiate more attacks if Mrs Jonathan is arrested, suggesting that the EFCC should begin with the “prosecution of past first ladies”.

One of the groups, Ijaw Youth Congress (IYC) headed by Udengs Eradiri said “Mrs Jonathan should not have to answer any questions from the EFCC as she got her wealth through gratification and ‘thank you’ gifts from those who seek her help”.

Mr Eradiri also made reference to the funds allegedly recovered from ex-Governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha.

He alleged that “Bayelsa state money is in their coffers” saying such monies ought to be put back into the state for its well-being.

The Avengers appear to have split into several groups, making the task of securing proper negotiations with the actual group seem a bit daunting for the government.

However, with the military’s initiation of Operation Delta Safe and Exercise Crocodile Smile, there are hopes that there will soon be an end to the attacks on oil installations.

 

US State Department Affirms Opposition To Alam’s Pardon

The United States of America on Wednesday affirmed its criticism and opposition to the state pardon granted to former Governor of Bayelsa State, Dipreye Alamieyeseigha by President Goodluck Jonathan.

The spokesperson for the US Department of State, Victoria Nuland at a daily press briefing in Washington on Wednesday said, “we see this as a setback for the fight against corruption, and also for our ability to play the strong role we’ve played in supporting the rule of law and legal institution-building in Nigeria, which is very important for the future of the country obviously.”

“We have made clear to Nigerians that this puts a question mark on the kinds of work that we’ve been trying to do with them.

When asked if the US will take any action against the Nigerian government, Nuland replied, “we haven’t yet taken the kinds of steps that you’re suggesting Matt (the reporter who asked the question), but we’re continuing to look at what’s appropriate.”

@USEmbassyAbuja

Mr Alamieyeseigha who is also wanted in the United Kingdom for money laundering charges was granted state pardon by President Jonathan with authorisation from the National State Council alongside a few others convicted Nigerians.

Condemning the decision, the US Embassy in Abuja had through its Twitter handle @USEmbassyAbuja, described the pardon as “a setback in the fight against corruption.” The move was promptly criticised by the Federal Government.

The Political Counsellor of the Embassy; Gregory Lawless, at a teleconference on US-Nigeria Bi-national Commission in Abuja on Wednesday, also told journalists, that “the situation has not changed”.

He maintained that his country has not departed from its earlier statement where it condemned the action.

He however noted that whatever the disappointment was the US had since moved on with its relationship with Nigeria.

”We have a very mature relationship. So we can recognize our differences and opinions on issues. We are moving on we have a lot of things to do”.

Lawless also assured Nigeria of the US support to tackle violent extremism.

Responding to a question on the proposed amnesty to Boko Haram members, Lawless said “we are a working group as government of Nigeria embraces a more holistic approach to the issue of violent extremism, whether it is in the north or other areas. We think it is a positive development. We will work with Nigeria government as it develops its own policy approach to counter violent extremism.”

Tompolo Links Alam’s Pardon To Jonathan’s 2015 Ambition

Founder of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Mr. Government Ekpemopolo, also known as Tompolo, has described the presidential pardon granted former Governor of Bayelsa State, Diepriye Alamieyeseigha, as the best thing President Goodluck Jonathan has done for the Niger Delta people.

Tompolo who was addressing journalists at Oporoza, Warri North Local Government said the action further guarantees the Niger Delta people’s support for the President’s second term bid.

He argued that as a Nigerian, President Jonathan is constitutionally qualified to run, having been given the go-ahead by a federal high court sitting in Abuja.

Tompolo said the Niger Delta people view the second term bid of the President as the right of the people of the region where the President is from.

The former MEND leader, however, declined further comments on the 24 years sentence handed MEND’s former leader, Henry Okah, describing it simply as a family matter that will be sorted out.

 

 

Alam’s Pardon Has No Connection With 2015 – Reuben Abati

Dr Reuben Abati has also denied claims that the state pardon granted to former Governor of Bayelsa state, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha is connected to the next general election in 2015.

The campaign posters hit the social media over the weekend

This is coming despite the emergency of campaign pictures of Mr Alamieyeseigha for Senatorial election in Bayela state in the forthcoming 2015 general elections.

Dr Abati noted that people connecting the recent state pardon with the 2015 general elections are just being mischievous.

When asked to make known the President’s stance on his attempt to seek another term in the 2015 general elections, the President’s spokesperson urged Nigerians to wait till 2014 to know whether President Goodluck Jonathan will run or not in the next general elections.

Is Sultan Not Thinking Right To Ask For Boko Haram’s Pardon? – Tony Uranta

Mr. Tony Uranta has countered claims that the pardon granted the former Governor of Bayelsa state, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha is wrongly timed.

He likened the pardon to the recent amnesty request by the Sultan of Sokoto for members of Boko Haram sect.

“Is the Sultan not thinking right to make such a request?” he asked in response to people raising issues with the timing of Alamieyeseigha’s pardon.

Akinjide likens Alamieyesiegha’s Pardon to Ojukwu’s

Former Attorney General of the Federation; Chief Richard Akinjide has likened the pardon granted to convicted former Governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyesiegha to the pardon granted to late Biafran leader, late Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu who staged a civil war against the Nigerian state.

Akinjide likens Alamieyesiegha's Pardon to Ojukwu's

He describes the gesture as a worthy one from a group of people who are well informed and asked that reality be separated from sentiments.

Alams Deserves To Be Pardoned For His Role In Amnesty – Tony Uranta

The Executive Secretary of the National Summit Group (NSG), Mr Tony Uranta, has condemned the widespread criticism that has greeted the pardon granted to the convicted former Governor of Bayelsa state, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, saying the man has admitted the crime he committed and has served his time for his conviction.

Speaking on our breakfast television programme, Sunrise Daily Mr Uranta, stated that the former governor who has remained a prominent Ijaw leader, played a prominent role in the prevailing amnesty that has restored peace to the Niger Delta and therefore deserves the pardon.

“Alamieyeseigha contributed enormously to the on-going amnesty in the Niger Delta and every Nigerian is currently benefitting from because via the increased crude oil production that has doubled after the amnesty” he said.

“He played a great role in helping to keep peace in the country and he done his time in prison” he added.

Minority card

The Presidential ally also drew the ethnic sentiment when he asked that “should Alamieyeseigha not be pardoned because he is a minority?”

He further asked why there is no similar brouhaha over the other beneficiaries of the pardon that came from other major tribes in the country.

“Why the focus on Alamieyeseigha when coupists are amongst those that were pardoned?”

The National Council of States, headed by President Jonathan on Tuesday granted state pardon to Mr Alamieyeseigha and other ex-convicts including Major Genral Oladipo Diya, Major Bello Magaji, Mohammed Lima Biu, Late Major General Abdulkareem Adisa (Post Humous), Major Segun Fadipe and former head of the Bank of the North, Shettima Bulama.

According to Mr Uranta, the military coup plotters engaged in a higher level of corruption than the convicted former governor because they truncated the nation’s constitution to enrich their pockets.

He also asked why there was no similar uproar following the pardon granted to the first Speaker of the fourth republic, Mr Salisu Buhari, who was pardoned by President Olusegun Obasanjo just hours after his conviction.

Mr Uranta also recalled that former President Obasanajo was also granted pardon after he was convicted and sentenced to death for an alleged coup plot.

The social commentator urge all Nigerians to respect the decision of the National Council of States, emphasising that it was not a decision reached by the President on his own.

“If all former Chief Justices, former Presidents and all serving governors sat down and decide that these people deserve to be pardoned, then I think we should all respect that.”

Sylva Denies Ownership Of 48 Buildings Seized By EFCC

The former governor of Bayelsa State; Mr Timipre Sylva has denied ownership of 48 houses seized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission; EFCC on Thursday.

Officials of the anti-graft agency sealing one of the buildings in Abuja.

The spokesperson for the former governor; Mr Doifie Ola on Friday said none of the former governor’s properties has been seized by the anti-graft agency.

He told Channels Television in Abuja that the former governor does not own any 48 properties in Abuja or anywhere in the world

He further explained that all the properties owned by his boss were aptly declared ahead of his swearing as the elected governor of Bayelsa state.

Mr Ola described the prosecution of the former governor as being politically motivated and that there is no court order directing the seizure of properties belonging to the former governor.

Meanwhile the anti-graft agency said it has valid court orders as officials of the anti-graft agency commenced the sealing of some of the properties allegedly belonging to the Mr Sylva within the nation’s capital.

The court order provided by EFCC reads : “that an interim order is hereby made temporarily attaching the properties listed in the schedule to this application to enable the applicant investigate the alleged complaint submitted to it against the respondent in respect of the said properties listed in the schedule and attached to this order.”

The order is for two weeks only and has only nine properties listed in the schedule.

Despite the controversy over this order, the question of who owns these houses is yet to be answered.

Mr Silva is facing charges of misappropriating N6.46 billion state funds while in office.