Consolidate Ban On Open Grazing With Legislation, Environmentalist Tells Dickson

Ekiti Government And Herdsmen Sign Peace AgreementA renowned Environmentalist and Human Rights Activist, Mr Alagoa Morris, has lauded Governor Seriake Dickson for the recent ban on open grazing and restriction of activities of herdsmen in Bayelsa.

Giving his opinion on the ban, Mr Alagoa pointed out that the ban on open grazing was timely and a right step to preserve the economic interests of farmers in the state.

According to him farmers in the state had lost their crops to uncontrolled grazing by cattle, a development that has led to conflicts between farmers and herdsmen.

The activist urged the state government to consolidate the restriction of herdsmen and plans to establish cattle ranches in the state with an enabling legislation.

“I applaud the governor for listening to the yearnings of farmers across Bayelsa. It shows that the government in Bayelsa is a listening one. It shows that government is sensitive to the media reports on radio.

“They say in local parlance that ‘fence makes good neighbours, you know your limits, that is why if actually they are going to talk about and strategise about this ranch of a thing, I will say,it will help.

“The farmers should know their limits, the nomadic people will also know their limit because this nomadic life should have a limit. It should stop. In other developed clime, they don’t do that.

“And all these types of things are taken as indices of development. Allowing these cattle to move about anyhow in this nomadic fashion also shows that we are far from development. The proposed ranch as good as it is, should be followed up with a legislation, a holistic legislation,” he insisted.

Mr Alagoa observed that an enabling law would provide a legal framework to penalise and prosecute offenders and recommend appropriate punishment that would deter potential offenders.

He advised the government to ensure that the legislation should work out details of ownership of the ranches and other salient conditions to forestall future conflicts with communities where the ranches would be sited.

The State government had on December 9 announced the restriction of the activities of herdsmen in the state to the Bayelsa Palm area.

It says the decision will prevent the invasion of farmlands and check any security breaches.

Governor Dickson, who issued the restriction order in a live radio and television interview in Yenagoa, said the measure had become imperative, in view of the recent upsurge in violence and criminal activities of the cattle rearers in some parts of Nigeria.

He also warned cattle rearers against bearing arms in the course of grazing their livestock, threatening that anyone caught with weapons would be dealt with in accordance with the law.

Bayelsa Scholarship: Students In Ghana About To Be Expelled

Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State

The inability of the Bayelsa State Government to pay the school fees of students on their scholarship scheme studying at King’s College, Ghana, may force the school to send the students back home.

The students are said to be having a tough time over the development with the school authorities, as they are been threatened with expulsion.

A human rights activist, Mr Aluzu Augustine, has expressed concerns following a letter addressed to the students by the Registrar of the school, Mr Simion Isekpo, threatening to expel the students if Bayelsa State government failed to pay their fees.

The letter read: “Management of the university wishes to inform all students being sponsored by the Bayelsa State Scholarship Board that should your outstanding and current fees not be paid by October 15, 2016 deadline, the university would have no choice but expel you from the university on October 16, 2016.

“Also, affected undergraduate and postgraduate students who have completed their programme would not be allowed to participate in the forthcoming convocation in November 2016.”

Sending A Delegation

Already, it is learnt that the Ghanaian school had, in adherence to the deadline, barred the affected students from participating in school activities, but had yet to issue a circular expelling them.

“We have been told that Governor Seriake Dickson is sending a delegation to our school. But for now, we have been stopped from taking parts in school activities.

“Those of us in hostels have been asked to vacate. We are just hanging around waiting for the governor”, an affected student, who requested not to be named, claimed.

A spokesman for the governor on Students’ Welfare, Mr Owoupele Jeremiah, has confirmed that Governor Dickson had directed that funds should be released for the immediate payment of the students’ fees to enable them participate in examinations and access their certificates.

Jeremiah said: “Today, the governor told me he had graciously given approval and directive for release of funds to quickly address the payment issues for Kings College, Lincoln and universities in the UK whose certificates are pending.

“A well-structured payment plan has been established to be implemented phase-by-phase by the board.

“This will allow the government to address them so that their certificates can be released to enable them use same for their various endeavours.

“While some may find this development with scepticism, it is intended to let the public know that the government is responsive and willing to deal with issues of development in human capital.

“The resources are lean but with a pyramid of preference, the needs will be met eventually. The scholarship board will do the needful and the affected students will receive their privileges restored in the affected institutions”.

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.

Supreme Court Dismisses Gov Dickson’s Objection To Watch Video

CourtThe Supreme Court has dismissed the objection of Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State to the playing of a video evidence tendered at the Election Petition Tribunal by the All Progressive Congress and its governorship candidate Mr Timipre Sylva.

The video is to substantiate their allegation of fraud and malpractices against the election of the governor.

The Apex Court agreed with counsel to Sylva, Mr. Sebastine Hon that the objection of Dickson against the playing of the video by the tribunal was misplaced, unwarranted, baseless, lacking in merit.

The court in a unanimous judgment of its full panel of seven justices delivered by Justice Chime Nweze ordered the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Tribunal to play the video evidence tendered by a witness of the APC candidate, to prove his petition against the governorship election conducted on December 5 and 6 of 2015 and January 9 of 2016.

The Apex Court held that counsel to the appellant Mr. Tayo Oyetibo’s objection to the demonstration of the video tape “rail-loaded the tribunal into unwarranted exercise” adding “that it is the fallacious piece of reasoning because Section 84 of the Evidence Act did not require the production of two certificates before electronically generated evidence can be demonstrated in court.

Justice Nweze said “demonstrating the evidence in court will allow the applicant to link the evidence and also allow the opponent to test and contest the accuracy of the said evidence”.

Gov. Dickson Seeks End To Attack On Oil Producing States

Bayelsa governor seriake dicksonThe Bayelsa Government has gathered leaders of most communities in the state, saying they are not in support of any militant group and will do their best to ensure they are brought to book.

This is in view of the downward slide of the economy due to the dwindling export of crude oil, occasioned by the vandalisation of some pipelines by suspected militants in the Niger Delta.

Bayelsa state is of one the oil producing states in the country and is also the epicentre of the Niger Delta and its struggle.

To strengthen its internal security, Governor Seriake Dickson in two separate meetings with traditional leaders, community development chairmen and heads of all security agencies in the state, mapped out strategies to put an end to the increased spate of insecurity within the state.

In separate meetings with heads of oil companies operating between the territories of the state, the issue of kidnapping was also handled as the governor announced the criminalization of any form of negotiation with these militant who partake in hostage taking and kidnapping.

With a consensus reached that militancy can be conquered from within, participants at the meeting offered advice on tactics to be employed in curbing pipeline vandalism and kidnapping.

The aim of the meeting is to find a way to jointly fight against militancy and keep Bayelsa State safe.

Bayelsa Election Tribunal: Wrong Pagination Stalls Sylva’s Petition

dicksonHearing in a petition filed by the governorship candidate of the Bayelsa State All Progressive Congress (APC), Mr Timipre Sylva, challenging the election of Governor Seriake Dickson has been stalled due to wrong pagination of the petition.

Lawyer to the petitioner, Sebastian Hon (SAN), requested for an adjournment of one day to enable him reconcile the numbering of the pages and open his case.

Shortly after proceedings commenced it stopped abruptly when parties in the case and even the judges realized that the court process was not properly numbered and that the first witness was not properly identified.

This made counsel to Mr Sylva, Tayo Oyetibo (SAN) apply for a short adjournment to enable him correct the errors.

His application was not opposed by the respondents and it was granted by the Tribunal.

The Tribunal, however, turned down his application asking that the day’s sitting not be counted as part of the days granted his client to prove his case.

The Chairman of the Tribunal agreed with the respondents that his inability to go on with his case, does not cancel the fact that the day had been fixed for hearing, but noted that should in case his application is premature and speculative, if he requires more days, it will be considered at a later date.

The APC its governorship candidate are challenging the election of Governor Seriake Dickson as Governor of Bayelsa State in the December 5, 2015 and January 9, 2016 governorship election in the state.

Bayelsa Election Tribunal Fixes May 3 To Hear Petition

Bayelsa Election TribunalThe Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja has fixed May 3 for the commencement of the hearing of the petition file by Mr Timipre Sylva.

This is coming after Mr Sylva, who was the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Bayelsa State governorship election, challenged the return of Mr Seriake Dickson as the duly elected Governor of the state.

At the resumed sitting of the tribunal, ‎Justice Kazeem Alogba, directed all the parties to prepare their witnesses before the full commencement of hearing.

He added that the conclusion of pre-hearing trial was to enable the tribunal guide the parties properly, stressing that no application would be entertained once the hearing begins except for applications with very good reasons.

The tribunal ordered the petitioner to open its case on the set date while the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is to open its defense on May 10.

Governor Dickson is also expected to open his defence on May 20 just as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would take its turn on May 30 as the third respondent.

Lawyer to the petitioner, Felix Okoroti, and that of INEC, Alex Ejesieme, expressed satisfaction with the conclusion of the pre-trial hearing.

Tribunal Grants Sylva Leave To Inspect Election Materials

Election MaterialsThe Bayelsa State election tribunal sitting in Abuja has granted leave to the All Progressives Congress, APC and its candidate in the governorship election, Mr Timipre Sylva to inspect and make copies of 30 election materials used for the poll.

The Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Kazeem Alogba, however removed seven other items from the list because the petitioner had not shown how not having those items would affect its case.

The items removed include the final and interim report on the Kogi governorship election, summary of the total voters register, security report relating to the election and election observers report.

Others are video and audio recordings relating to the Bayelsa governorship election and duplicate of receipts issued by INEC for the certification of documents.

The tribunal ordered INEC to allow them access to the approved election materials within 14 days.

The APC and its governorship candidate had filed an application seeking to have access to and also inspect 37 materials relating to elections.

Mr Timipre Sylva said that these materials would help him further maintain his case, which is challenging the election of Mr Seriake Dickson as Governor of Bayelsa State.

Tribunal To Hear Sylva’s Application To Inspect Election Materials on Thursday

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

The Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Kazeem Alogba, fixed the hearing of the application following the agreement by the party’s suit.

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.

At the opening of the proceedings Justice Alogba heard some of the applications filed by the parties in the petition.

The tribunal however deferred hearing in two applications; first, an application challenging the competence of some portions of the petition filed by Mr Sylva which it adjourned to April 7th and one filed by counsel to Mr Sylva asking the tribunal to allow him inspect the election materials used for the governorship election.

Counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), who told the court, he did not object to the request, however, asked for 14 days to enable the election umpire comply with the directive, if granted in favour of the petition.

The tribunal also heard the application filed by a faction of the Action Alliance Party challenging the petition filed by another faction of the party against the election of Governor Dickson.

A faction led by the National Legal Adviser of the party, Anaukyaa Peter, distanced the party from the petition and demanded a withdrawal of the petition on the grounds that the national leadership of the party did not authorize the filing of the petition.

However another faction of the party, which filed the said petition, led by the National Chairman of the party, Reverend Johnson Ayozie, insisted that the other faction lacked the locus standi to seek for the withdrawal of a petition they did not file.

He therefore asked the tribunal to refuse the application of the faction led by the National Legal Adviser and allow their petition to be determined by the tribunal.

Governor Seriake Dickson Takes Oath Of Office

dicksonGovernor Seriake Dickson has offered an olive branch to the opposition political party to join him in what he calls consolidation of his achievements of the first four years as Governor of the state.

He made this revelation at the Samson Siasia Sports Complex in Yenagoa as he and his Deputy, Rear Admiral Johnson Jonah (Rtd), took the oath of office for another four years.

Governor Dickson thanked Bayelsans for the overwhelming support during the elections.

He assured the people that he would consolidate on the gains of his first tenure and also ensure more rural development.

He promised to do more in the areas of road development and electrification of communities yet to benefit from his light up the state programmes.

Chief Judge of the state, Kate Abiri, presided over the oath taking ceremony.

Members of the Nigerian Police who wore their ceremonial regalia performed the ceremonial parade while the Governor inspected the guard of honour.

The programme, which many say was well attended, had all PDP governors in attendance.

The acting Chairman of the party, Uche Secondus, members of the National Assembly elected on the platform of the PDP, traditional rulers and other citizens were also present at the event.

APC Condemns Bayelsa Election Violence

APC on Bayelsa electionThe Deputy Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Timi Frank, has urged authorities to ensure that those who perpetrated violence in Saturday’s supplementary election in Bayelsa State, must face the wrath of the law.

Speaking at a news conference in Abuja on Monday, the APC Deputy spokesman said that the culprits, who caused mayhem in the Southern Ijaw supplementary election, must be prosecuted irrespective of political affiliation.

Mr Frank added that the Bayelsa polls’ results were proof that the APC was not desperate to seize power at all costs and that the Buhari-led administration is serious about fulfilling its promise of conducting credible elections in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, The Director of Communication for the APC Campaign Organisation, Nathan Egba, had earlier declared that the APC in Bayelsa State, had challenged the return of Governor Seriake Dickson in the just concluded election, saying the whole process appeared untidy.

Mr Egba attributed the victory of Governor Dickson to manipulation of results announced by the Returning Officer of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

PDP Salutes Bayelsa People’s Courage And Gallantry

PDPThe national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has commended the people of Bayelsa for the successful conclusion of the governorship election in the state.

The Acting National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, in a statement on Monday, saluted the people of the state for standing against intimidation, rigging and violence to ensure that their will, as a people, prevailed in Saturday’s supplementary election.

He said: “The steadfastness and resilience shown by the people, particularly in Southern Ijaw will go down in history as one of the many sacrifices made to defend democracy in the land”.

“By standing against intimidation and remaining resilient, the people have greatly contributed in deepening democracy in the country and by so doing ensuring that their own destiny is right in their own hands,” he said.

The party further stated that, “rising from what happened in Bayelsa State on Saturday, it is very clear that the APC-led Federal Government under the watch of President Muhammadu Buhari is not disposed to free, fair and credible electoral process in the country despite being a huge beneficiary of PDP’s electoral reform.

“Bayelsa is a core PDP state and one wonders how APC thought it could win in this gubernatorial election with its discredited candidate, knowing the strength and popularity of our great party in the state, in addition to the record of achievements of our candidate, Governor Seriake Dickson”.

The PDP also decried “the desperation of thugs and compromised security operatives openly engaged in violence resulting in the killing and maiming of innocent Bayelsans”.

“We hereby demand a comprehensive inquest into these killings and that all perpetrators be brought to book.”

The PDP also congratulated Governor Dickson for what it called his well-deserved victory and statesmanly handling of the situation in the face of provocations.