Governor Dickson Declines Assent To Bill Seeking Life Pension For Bayelsa Lawmakers

Bayelsa Governor Signs N299bn Budget For 2019
Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson (file)


The Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, has declined assent to the bill seeking lifetime pension for lawmakers in the state as proposed and passed by the Assembly.

Mr. Daniel Iworiso-Markson, the State Commissioner for Information, in a statement said the governor conveyed the decision to decline assent to the bill in a letter to the Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly on Monday.

The Governor held consultations with the Assembly members in his country home of Toru-Orua, where he explained his reason for declining assent.

He said the bill was inconsistent with Section 124 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.

Governor Dickson said that he was of the view that the State Assembly lacked the powers to expand the categories of public servants who should be entitled to a pension.

He said that he had to withhold assent to the bill because the State which was bedeviled with a lot of challenges in spite of its low Internally generated revenue base and unstable earnings from the oil economy was the only state out of Nigeria’s 36 states to come up with such a bill.

According to him, he was guided in the decision by the principle that government should not be for a select class of the privileged in the society, and would not discard it over seven years into his administration.

READ ALSO: SERAP Asks Governor Dickson To Reject Life Pension Bill For Lawmakers

“The lawmakers and indeed the Nigerian populace would attest to the fact that all decisions of his administration were guided by the strong urge to protect the public interest and promote the general good”.

He said that the quest to protect the vulnerable against the privileged few inspired the populist programmes of his administration which include the Bayelsa Health Insurance Scheme with over 150, 000 beneficiaries, the Education Trust Fund, the scholarship programmes that are supporting our young people in their studies both locally and outside the country, the various empowerment programmes, support for the aged, the most vulnerable, massive employment, public housing and a number of other social intervention programmes which are already taking root.

He commended the leadership of the house for the healthy relationship with the executive organ and the high level of productivity as shown by the high number of bills and motions passed during the period insisting that their place in history was guaranteed.

He said that notwithstanding his decision to decline assent to the bill, he still holds the Assembly in very high esteem.

The Governor also noted that he had to set up a committee on the contributory pension scheme to make it workable so that the assembly members and other appointees at the state and local government levels who are interested can take advantage of it.

The Governor urged the Assembly members to liaise with the committee adding that if legislative action was required after the work of the committee, he would readily communicate with them.

Gov Dickson Inaugurates Medical Lab At State Varsity

The Bayelsa State Governor, Mr Seriake Dickson, has urged multinational oil companies operating in the state to show more commitment in contributing to the overall development of their host communities.

Governor Dickson made the call while commissioning a Diagnostic Laboratory, built by Chevron and its Joint Venture stakeholders in the Agbami Field to the state-owned Niger Delta University, NDU, Amassoma.

The governor urged oil companies in the state to honour the global memorandum of understanding they had signed with their host communities, as part of efforts to reduce conflicts.

He also used the occasion to assure students of the NDU that his administration would continue to collaborate with other development partners to provide a conducive environment for teaching and learning in the university.

He said, “We would continue to jointly do everything that is necessary and appropriate to ensure that you have the enabling environment to undertake your studies.So what you owe us, is the exhibition of a sense of responsibility to utilise this facility in the best possible way you can.”

In his address, the Acting Vice Chancellor of the NDU, Prof. Samuel Edoumiekumo, expressed optimism that the project would not only impact the University community, but the country at large.

Also in an address, the Director of Star Deep water Petroleum Limited, Mr. Lanre Kalejaiye said, the Diagnostic Laboratory would enhance students’ research efforts and stimulate major medical research breakthroughs.

In their separate remarks, representatives of NAPIMS, Statoil, Famfa Oil Ltd and Petrobras, said the facility would complement the government efforts at building manpower for healthcare delivery and expressed readiness to continually embark on projects to improve the well being of the people.

Bayelsa Signs MOU For Management of Hospital

Bayelsa Signs MOU For Management of HospitalThe Bayelsa State Government has entered into an agreement with Oyesis Global Network Nigeria Ltd for the management of the Government House Hospital Complex, towards actualizing its vision of transforming the state into a major medical tourism destination.

Speaking shortly after signing the memorandum of understanding in the Government House, Yenagoa, Governor Seriake Dickson said his administration has already made relevant investments in the sector, including the complex, to drive the vision.

According to the Governor, the 350-bed Melford Okilo Memorial Hospital and other ongoing health projects in the state would be completed and put to use in 2017, in addition to the state healthcare insurance scheme.

The Governor said that “most of the health facilities in the state would be run under a public private partnership arrangement” and called on the people of the state and the general public to take advantage of the services.

Describing the diagnostic centre as a world-class facility, which has been outsourced to a reputable medical firm, he said the forensic analysis unit would commence operations in January 2017.

Commenting further on the Government House Hospital Complex, Governor Dickson described its location as strategic, as the facility would enjoy constant power supply and security services to boost service delivery to the people.

In his remarks, the leader of the Oyesis Global Network Nigeria Ltd team, Dr. Herbert Oye, while commending the state government for providing state-of-the-art health facilities said that with proper management of the projects, the government would reap bountifully from its investments.

“I assure you of my company’s commitment to the agreement and to bring our experience to bear on the running of this state healthcare delivery system, in accordance with international standards,” he said.

Bayelsa Government Set To Apprehend Killer Militants

Bayelsa Governor on killer militants The Bayelsa State Government says strategies have been put in place to apprehend suspected killers of military personnel in Nembe Local Government Area.

Governor Seriake Dickson on Tuesday commiserated with the Nigerian Military over the brutal killing of three soldiers by armed bandits and gave reporters update on the development.

The Governor described the incident as worrisome, as a similar attack had taken place last year in the same community

Governor Dickson, who had a chat with reporters in the state, said his administration had ignited the community information dissemination system and are on the move to track down the culprits.

While calling for calm within the affected community, the Chief Security officer also advised traditional rulers to stay more in their domains so they could be on top of every aspect of the development.

Governor Dickson has already invited high ranking officials of his administration who are indigenes of Nembe to a meeting to map out ways of ensuring that the ugly incident would not occur again said doesn’t repeat.

“We will not allow Bayelsa State be used as a launching pad for criminality, violence, or any breach of national security,” he stressed.

Also discussed during the media chat was the issue of the payment of half salaries to civil servants in the State and when it would be reversed to the full amount.

Meanwhile, the Operation Delta Safe force has deployed reinforcement team to apprehend suspected militants that killed three members of the Joint Task Force on Monday Morning.

A statement by a spokesman for the military, Lieutenant Commander, A. Ahmed, said the attack occurred at about 10:00am local  time.

The officers came under attack at a checkpoint mounted by the Nembe waterway checkpoint by persons suspected to be militants.

“The commander of Operation Delta Safe, Rear Admiral Joseph Okojie, has consequently deployed reinforcement team to apprehend the perpetrators of this heinous crime,” the statement read.

Bayelsa Tribunal Fixes April 11 To Decide On Inspection of Election Materials

 Election MaterialsJustice Kazeem Alogba has fixed April 11 for ruling on whether the APC candidate in the Bayelsa governorship election, Timipre Sylva, can inspect the materials used for the polls.

The Balyesa Governorship Election Petition Tribunal on Thursday heard an application filed by the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Timipre Sylva, to inspect election materials used for the December 5, 2015 and January 9, 2016 governorship election.

Counsel to Mr Timipre Sylva, Sebastian Hon, had moved the motion hinged on seven grounds.

He urged the Tribunal to grant the request, since INEC, which conducted the election and in possession of the items sought to be inspected, is not opposing the application.

According to him, in law, the facts deposed to in an affidavit and not challenged by way of counter affidavit are deemed admitted by the force of law.

He argued that it was wrong of Governor Seriake Dickson to claim that Mr Sylva’s claim was vague when the documents sought to be inspected were well pleaded in the petition and in line with section 151 of the Electoral Act 2010.

Opposing the application, lawyer to Governor Dickson, Tayo Oyetibo, urged the Tribunal to reject the application on the ground that it lacked merit.

Oyetibo insisted that the request of the petitioner was vague because it failed to name the maker of the items sought to be inspected

He also argued that the petitioner failed to give reasons he wanted to inspect the election materials, adding that the motion violates Section 104 of the Evidence Act because the mandatory fee for certification of the materials has not been paid by the petitioner.

Among the materials sought to be inspected are the ballot papers, Form C4 and duplicate copy of the Certificate of Return issued to Governor Seriake Dickson.

Gov. Dickson Urges National Institutions To Be Apolitical

DicksonBayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, has called on the political class in Nigeria to stop the use of national institutions to serve personal and political aspirations of their political allies.

He said this while addressing a world press conference at the Government House Banquet Hall in Yenagoa.

The Governor began his address by observing a minute silence in honour of persons who lost their lives during the December 5 and 6 elections in the state.

Governor Dickson stated that the essence of the briefing was to inform Bayelsans of the state of affairs, with particular reference to the upcoming January 9 elections, expected to take place in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area and 101 polling units across the state.

The Governor, who seized the opportunity to call on law enforcement agencies to do their jobs and stop meddling in partisan politics, said that such acts would be interpreted as a deliberate subversion of national security.

The Governor decried the ongoing situation in the state where he alleged that known perpetrators of violence are not being called for questioning by security agencies.

He advised residents of the oil-rich state not to engage in electoral violence as the essence of politics is to build and not to destroy.

Gov. Dickson Speaks Against Minimum Wage Reduction

Minimum WageBayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, has said that he would not support any move for the downward review of the present minimum wage, despite the financial hardship facing the state.

Reaffirming his administration’s commitment to the welfare of civil servants, Governor Dickson maintained that, rather than reduce the minimum wage, as being advocated in some quarters, his administration would do everything within its reach to create a more enabling environment for civil servants to discharge their duties effectively.

He restated his commitment to the training and re-training of public servants in 2016, adding that this would promote human capacity building, which is one of the cardinal points of his administration.

The Governor, who revealed that the state was yet to receive its monthly allocation from the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee, FAAC, however said he has directed the state financial team to liaise with financial institutions to effect payment of workers and pensioners.

Calling on workers to show more understanding, Governor Dickson explained that, the present economic comatose was not peculiar to Bayelsa State.

He gave the assurance that the government would not renege on its promise of making the state civil service one of the best in the country.

“Civil servants are so important to us so we will do more about their training and welfare. I think we will meet with them more regularly next year because they need to show more understanding as we move forward.

“Bayelsa is committed to the minimum wage. I don’t believe in reducing the minimum wage at all. I’m rather even in support of doing more things to make living better for civil servants, after all, they are our brothers and sisters.

“I have always told civil servants that, they are the landlords while I am the tenant. Now my tenancy has been renewed for another 4 more years. We are just waiting for the lease to be signed, sealed and delivered by INEC on the 9th of January 2016.

Gov Dickson Swears-In Commissioner And Special Advisers

gov seriake dicksonThe Governor Of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, wants the newly sworn in Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Esueme Dan-Kikile and two Special Advisers to generate sound ideas that would further consolidate on the achievements of the government.

The Special Advisers are, Dr. Seiyifa Koroye on Strategy, Documentation and Community Relations and Barr. Lloyd Ineye-Owonaro, on Local Content Matters.

Governor Dickson, while congratulating the newly sworn in officers, urged them to demonstrate absolute commitment to the ideals enshrined in the restoration agenda of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)

Addressing the new Commissioner, Governor Dickson urged him to re-engineer the Ministry to achieve effective dissemination of government policies and programmes as well as enlighten the people on their civic responsibilities.

Highlighting the dangers of inadequate information on the government’s activities in the state, the Governor noted that mischief-makers who indulge in blackmail and propaganda for parochial gains would misguide the citizenry.

Governor Dickson enjoined Mr Lloyd Owonaro to liaise with the Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), to enable the state derive maximum benefit.

He also expressed the need for the Special Advisers to evolve programmes to promote the growth of local businesses and entrepreneurs to take advantage of the opportunities in the oil and gas industry.

NIPSS Embark On Fact Finding Mission To Reposition Education

nipssMembers “Class 37”of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) in Kuru, Plateau State, on Monday visited Bayelsa State on a fact finding mission, with the aim of re-positioning the Nigerian educational system for global competitiveness.

The leader of the delegation, Major-General Johnny Hamakim, who paid a visit to the Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, in the Government House, Yenagoa, said that the essence of their trip was to find out the root cause of the rot experienced in the nation’s educational sector and proffer lasting solutions.

To Governor Dickson, there is no better time to begin the restoration process for the educational system.

“There is no more compelling national problem to solve than the education system,” he said, adding hat successive governments have over the years been paying lip service to education.

According to him, a properly educated child would not have the time to hide in the creeks to vandalize pipelines or carry bombs.

Bayelsa Election: Governor Dickson Calls For Peaceful Polls

dicksonThe Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, has called for a peaceful governorship election, as he begins a tour of constituencies in the state ahead of the April 11 Governorship and House of Assembly elections.

Governor Dickson assured the residents in the state that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would continue to maintain its dominance in the state, in spite of the setback the party suffered at the Presidential polls.

At the Palace of the Opu Okun of Opukuma Clan, HRM king Okpiotari Diongoli, the Governor urged Bayelsans to keep faith with the PDP and ensure that they would vote for the party in the upcoming elections.

Describing the party as a credible political platform that promotes the interest of the minorities, Governor Dickson urged the people to remain steadfast in their support for the party.

While appreciating the people for demonstrating their support for the party, through their huge turnout and votes in the last elections, the Governor encouraged them not to despair, but join hands with his administration to consolidate on the successes recorded so far. He also asked them to work for the prosperity of the state.

Dickson also advised the residents to conduct themselves peacefully, assuring them that the government has put in place all necessary measures to maintain law and order during and after the elections.

Communities visited by the Governor were Sagbama town, Kaiama, Akaranbiri in Opokuma, as well as Sabagreia.

Minister Of Works, Mike Onolememen Visits Bayelsa

bayelsaThe Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen, has visited Bayelsa State to commission the Mbiama/Igbogene dual carriage way that was embarked upon by the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA), as well as flag off the Bayelsa Palm/Elebele/Imiringi road, which has been awarded to China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) for a cost of 26 billion naira, with a completion period of 30 months.

Mr Onolememen shared his mission to the state during a courtesy visit to Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson.

Mr Onolememen, while intimating the Governor on the achievements recorded by his ministry, commended him on the development of critical infrastructure across the state.

Governor Dickson, in his response, reaffirmed his administration’s desire to collaborate with the Federal Government and private sector in undertaking the construction of some roads which he described as key road projects in the state.

The Governor also noted that the three senatorial roads to Brass, Koluama and Agege were critical to the socioeconomic development of the state, adding that the completion of the roads would also check crime, and criminality on the waterways.

Underscoring the need for collaborative efforts, Governor Dickson noted that the peculiar terrain of the area, and the heavy financial cost of the three projects was beyond the capability of the state government alone.

Mr Dickson also pointed out that, the state had already made significant progress, by embarking on the initial sections of the roads to Nembe, Oporoma and Ekeremor.

He commended the leadership of the FERMA, describing it as a reliable outfit and partner.

25 Political Parties In Bayelsa State Endorse Jonathan

political partiesBarely a week to the 2015 Presidential polls in the country, 25 political parties, under the aegis of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), Bayelsa State Chapter, have shown their support for President Goodluck Jonathan.

In a statement issued at the end of the meeting attended by the Chairmen and Secretaries of political parties in Yenagoa, they expressed satisfaction with the performance of the incumbent President in all sectors of the economy in his first tenure, pointing out that he deserves a second term in office to consolidate on the gains already achieved.

Addressing journalists after the meeting, which was convened by Governor Seriake Dickson, the State Chairman of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties, Mr. Lucky Akpeli, stated that the parties were unanimous in their support for President Jonathan and equally pledged their resolve to mobilize their supporters across the state to turn out massively and vote for Goodluck Jonathan.

The forum, which commended Governor Dickson for his all-inclusive and fair minded disposition to governance, especially in handling the affairs of the state, urged him to convene meetings of the forum on a more regular basis to give all stakeholders the opportunity to speak their minds, as well as contribute more meaningfully to the development of the state.

The four-point communiqué also enjoined the leaders of all the political parties to work hard and ensure peaceful and rancour free elections in Bayelsa State.