Controversy Trails AGF’s Statement On Maritime University

Some Ijaw inhabitants and their Itsekiri’s neighbours in Delta State have locked horns over the ownership of the location, where the Nigerian Maritime University is sited and with the latter citing a Supreme Court judgment, affirming their ownership of the area.

This has generated a lot of reactions including from the Federal Government as the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami in a memo to the clerk of the National Assembly, on October 17, 2017, advised the National Assembly to change the name of the location of the Maritime University, from Okerenkoko, to Okerenghigho.

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In this controversy, prominent Niger Delta activist from Gbaramatu in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State, High Chief Micheal Johnny condemned the purported memo emanating from the AGF.

Johnny, who is also a chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Delta State, accused the AGF of deliberately trying to cause a fresh crisis in Niger Delta.

“Malami’s advise as contained in his memo to the National Assembly to rename the location of Nigerian Maritime University from Okerenkoko, to Okerenghigho is mischievous and taken to deliberately want to cause a fresh crisis between the Ijaws of Gbaramatu kingdom and our Itsekiri brothers in Warri South West local government area of Delta State.

“I am an Ijaw man from Okerenkoko, where the Maritime University is located, the Itsekiri people cannot claim ownership of Ijaw land for whatever reason,” Johnny, who is also the immediate chairman, Egbema Gbaramatu communities said.

Reacting to this development, President of Itsekiri National Youth Council (INYC), Agbateyiniro Weyinmi says the decision of the Supreme Court has become a law, adding that the world is watching to see the outcome which has become a test case for the National Assembly.

The Maritime University, which was established by Former President Goodluck Jonathan in May 2015 has suffered a lot of setbacks with litigations and accusations. It took a lot of lobbying and perhaps even the resumption of hostilities in the Niger Delta region before an approval was given for its take off

The Itsekiri leaders called on the Senate to relocate the institution to Okerenghigho in Omadino community, saying the movement is imperative and in consonance with a valid court judgment supporting their claims.

Ijaw Leaders Criticise Bayelsa Govt Over Allocation Of Grazing Land

The Ijaw stakeholders under the aegis of Ijaw Nation Forum (INF), an online-based social mobilisation platform for the Ijaw ethnic nationality, have tackled Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State over the controversial allocation of a grazing land in Yenagoa measuring about 1200 hectares to cattle herdsmen.

In an open letter addressed to the governor dated 6 July 2017 and entitled, “The Menace Of The Cattle Herdsmen And Ijaw Peoples’ Security”, the forum questioned the rationale behind the allocation of the grazing area to the herdsmen.

In the eight-point-demand letter signed by Benedict Amaebi Okoro, INF moderator, the forum asked Dickson to “give reasons why Bayelsa State in the South-South region seems to have officially established “grazing land” for the cattle herders from outside the state”.

The INF also asked the governor to explain how the cattle would access the allocated space without passing through other areas.

The letter read in part: “There have been several ugly stories coming from nearby Delta and Edo States concerning the seemingly life and livelihood threatening activities of these herdsmen in recent times.

“Are there other measures Bayelsa State has adopted to prevent such occurrences, aside from the grazing land already allocated to the herdsmen?

“How did the Bayelsa State government reach the conclusion that allocation of grazing land to herdsmen would be beneficial to an average Ijaw person; and what was the consideration given to the atrocities being committed by these herdsmen elsewhere in the country, in reaching that conclusion?

“Is the allocation of grazing land to the herdsmen another expansion of Bayelsa Business Initiative?

“Is the allocation of grazing land to herdsmen a public/private partnership project and what percentage is the state government providing in funding it? Kindly avail us of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between government and the partner.

“Who are the cow owners and private partners, and if so, are they paying for the grazing land?

“What are the social responsibility services that will be provided to the communities from which the land was acquired?”

Ijaw Leaders Raise Alarm Over Threat To Attack Host Communities

Ijaw Leaders Raise Alarm Over Threat To Attack Host Communities
Godspower Gbenekama

The Ijaw leaders in Delta State have raised an alarm over possible threats by the Itsekiris to attack their communities.

According to the spokesperson for Gbaramatu Kingdom, Mr Godspower Gbenekama, the land in dispute belongs to the Ijaws and no other group has the right to claim ownership.

The leaders called for the intervention of the federal and state governments in the matter, in order to protect their territories from any possible attack.

The appeal followed a warning purportedly issued by a group of youths from over 250 Itsekiri communities in Delta and neighbouring states.

The warning tagged the ‘Deghele Declaration’, read: “That all resources within the stretch of land and water in Itsekiri Ethnic Nation belong to the Itsekiri people as provided by God for their perpetual survival. We hereby notify all our communities that are host to these oil companies to be on red alert and be ready to defend our territories against the aggressors (internal and external), since the oil wells are preferred to the dignity of our people”.

Reacting to the warning, Mr Gbenekama lamented that: “We have always lived here for many years and for the Itsekiris to come up to say that they own this land is completely unacceptable”.

“It is the duty of the government to provide security for us and that is why we are bringing this to their notice. The only thing we need is development for every community in the region and we will not exchange words with the Itsekiris,” he added.

The Delta State Police Command said it was aware of the possibility of the threats and that it was doing all it could to prevent any occurrence of such.

The State Commissioner of Police, Zanna Ibrahim, said: “This is a legal matter so we are doing everything we can to ensure that there is peace in the region.  We will work with relevant stakeholders to solve this problem”.

PIB:  Ijaw Youths Seek Speedy Passage Of Other Tranches

The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC)  is seeking a  speedy consideration of other tranches of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) that concerns the host communities.

According to a statement issued by the spokesman of IYC, Henry Iyalla, the fragmentation of the PIB into tranches is counterproductive and time wasting.

He said  “the Niger Delta people had expected the tranche of the PIB relevant to the region to be given expedited attention in line with the federal government’s commitment to resolving the Niger Delta question”.

“It is unfortunate that at a time when we expect the government to show commitment in the development of the region we have to contend with the celebration of an ill-conceived idea to divide the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into mushroom bits.

“We wish to state expressly that the only PIB bill that will ensure peace in the region and be celebrated by all is one that includes the Oil Communities Fund Act.

“The proposed Oil Communities Act gives the Niger Delta people a stake in the industry and provides avenues to alleviate the suffering of the people in the region.

“Without the passage of this bill any governance structure put in place will not succeed.

“The National Assembly should immediately take further steps for the quick passage of the Host Community Bill which guarantees 10% equity to the community,” Iyalla said.

He noted that Niger Delta people want smooth governance of exploitation and exploration of the abundant oil reserve within the region with the economic interest of host communities adequately protected in the laws.

The youth group maintained that passage of the complete Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is the only guarantee for a smooth and conducive operational environment in the Niger Delta.

Ijaw, Niger Delta Youths Protest Alleged Victimisation Of Leaders

Ijaw-Youth-CouncilA crowd of youths from Ijaw and other parts of the Niger Delta, took to the streets of Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital, to protest what they say is a calculated victimisation of former President, Goodluck Jonathan, and other leaders in the region.

The protesters took their grievances to the south-south zonal office of the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and the headquarters of the police command in the state.

They alleged that there was an attempt to subdue the region which according to them, would be resisted.

The aggrieved youths then called on the Federal Government to tell the EFCC and other security agencies to tread with caution.

Furthermore, they lamented what they described as a neglect and lack of development in their area.

Meanwhile, the Assistant Zonal Head of the EFCC, south-south, Usman Muktar, has disagreed with them, stating that the commission is not victimising anyone.

2016 Has Been Challenging Yet Successful – Harrysong

Harrysong, 2016 successPopular ‘Reggae Blues’ crooner, Harrysong, has made major impact and hit huge success in 2016 despite various economic as well as personal challenges.

The track ‘Reggae Blues’ became an instant hit within the Nigerian Music sphere, and also crossed into some international music scenes.

The man behind the atonal music, Harrison Tare Okiri, popularly known by the stage name, Harrysong, confesses that the track catapulted him to yet another level of stardom.

In an interview with Channels Television, he described his career in 2016 as challenging, yet fruitful and interesting because in his words, “we’ve achieved quite a lot”.

He recounted some of the major international shows, including the One Music Fest, that have accounted for the success of his career in the year 2016.

Speaking of his creative journey, he said being a song writer and content producer, he goes along with the flow of the market.

“I try to see where the market is going now, before I produce content. If I can change it, I change it, if I don’t want to, I just play along and still make a difference”, he added.

Harryson who was born as the only child to Ijaw parents in Warri, Delta state, narrated that he went into music after he lost his mother.

He said a strained relationship between him and his step-mother led to him dropping out of school and discovering his new found love for music, which grew while he was still in Port-harcourt.

As his career continued to grow, he took some of his colleagues back to his home state for a peace concert.

Speaking of the concert, he said it was inspired by a land dispute which had occurred in his hometown.

According to him, afterwards, he felt he could be a voice to the community, through the peace concert, which was expected to serve as a re-orientation opportunity for youths and the larger community through the musical platform.

Among other successes the artist highlighted, Harrysong hinted that he is set to release something new for fans in the next two months.

Dickson Gets Accredited, Experiences Card Reader Malfunction

dicksonGovernor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State has been accredited alongside his wife and mother.

The Governor whose Permanent Voters Card (PVC) was authenticated by the smart card reader expressed his displeasure with the failure of the card reader in authenticating his finger prints and that of most voters in his polling unit.

The Governor who got accredited at Sagbama 06, ward 2, Oruerware compound in Toru- orua community by 10:45am also complained about the slow pace involved in accrediting a voter.

Even though the elections in Sagbama Local Government Areas has been very peaceful, reports from other Local Government Areas in the state are worrisome as there is reported electoral violence in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area and Nembe Local Government Area of the State.

Northern Governors Condemn Onitsha Attack, Move To Avert Spread

Onitsha Governors of Nigeria’s 19 northern states on Thursday said that they have taken security measures to ensure that Wednesday’s violence that included burning of places of worship in the commercial city of Onitsha in Anambra State does not spread to the northern part of the country.

Speaking on behalf of the 19 governors, Borno State Governor and Chairman of the Northern States Governors’ Forum, Kashim Shettima, said that the governors, particularly those of major cities were in touch with one another on Wednesday and had taken some firm measures aimed at averting any spill-over.

A three-week-long pro-Biafra protest turned bloody on Wednesday resulting in the killing of scores with many injured in Onitsha, the commercial city of Anambra State.

The protesters were pressing for the release of detained Director of Radio Biafra, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu.

In a statement issued by his spokesman, Malam Isa Gusau on Thursday in Maiduguri, Shettima said that the governors took the undisclosed measures, following media reports claiming that worship places were torched during the Wednesday violence in Onitsha.

The statement reads: “We condemn the Wednesday crisis in very strong term. We have been in touch with one another today. The Governors of major cities in the north in particular, have been in critical touch to share thoughts and we have collectively taken firm measures to ensure that the violence doesn’t spread to any part of the 19 northern States and we will also be working with our colleagues in the south to nip the crisis in the bud but we will not disclose the measures we have taken so that those who may want to take advantage of the Onitsha mayhem don’t know our strategies.

“However, it is surprising to the Northern States Governors Forum that any Nigerian at all can even contemplate any kind of violence when we already have serious problems of Boko Haram insurgents that are killing Muslims and Christians, killing northerners and southerners, attacking Mosques, Churches and markets, in an effort to kill all of us that do not subscribe to their interpretation of Islam.

“We have Boko Haram that kill Hausa, Fulani, Ibo, Yoruba, Kanuri, Ijaw and anyone they are able to come across. We thought that the existence of Boko Haram should have been enough to make all Nigerians fuse into one and fight a common enemy.

“It is really sad that any Nigerian can contemplate violence. We are not blaming any individual or group because there are security agencies whose job it is to safeguard lives and property and do investigations where necessary, we will not go into their duties.

“We beg all Nigerians to be calm and go about their duties in peace. We have got more than enough problems to worry about. We can’t afford any distraction that will shift our focus from the bigger problems of Boko Haram that has an ambition of sending the human race into extinction.

“We urge all Nigerians to be calm. We particularly call on all Nigerians living in the northern states not to pay attention to differences in religion and ethnicity but rather, should see each other as Nigerians with equal residential rights and fundamental human rights that include freedom to lawfully reside anywhere in Nigeria, freedom of worship, movement, trade, association, education, healthcare and other rights as provided by the Nigerian constitution.

“We particularly call on our youths not to allow anyone use them for any purpose because youths have suffered more than any other age category from the hands of Boko Haram insurgents and that is more than enough.

“Our focus should be on how to end the Boko Haram insurgency and not to be driven into any other crisis. We have suffered too much, we must say no to any crisis.

“As heads of Government of the 19 northern states, we will by the grace of God, do everything humanly possible to ensure that no resident, regardless of his or her ethno-religious background, is denied any of these rights.

“As Nigerians, we are one, we need one another and we must live as one people,” Shettima said, on behalf of the Northern Governors.

Delta Gets Seven-Day Ultimatum To Abolish DESOPADEC Bill

desopadecThe Delta State Government has been issued a seven-day ultimatum to reverse or abolish the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Commission (DESOPADEC) Bill passed by the State House of Assembly and recently signed into law by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa. 

At a press briefing organised by leaders and representatives of oil producing communities, drawn from the Ijaw, Itsekiri, Urhobo and Isoko ethnic nationalities in Warri, Chief Mrs Rita-Lori Ogbebor, said the oil producing communities in Delta State have been denied their rights since the introduction of the derivation principle.

Chief Ogbebor explained that the principles of derivation remained clear that 13 percent of the revenue accruing to the federation account from any natural resources shall be allocated to the oil bearing communities.

She further noted that the Delta State Government has not done much for the oil producing communities, despite the nearly N5 Billion monthly derivation fund the state has received for over 16 years.

She warned that the oil producing communities would institute a criminal action against the Delta State Government in the Court of law, if the Bill and Law passed by the House of Assembly and signed by the state governor respectively is not urgently reversed.

On Tuesday, Governor Okowa signed the DESOPADEC amendment bill into law emphasising that the new law would also allow the establishment of a Management team for DESOPADEC to meet with the expectations for which the commission was initially established.

Jonathan Performs Groundbreaking Of Gas Industrial Park

JonathanNigeria may be set for a major gas revolution with the flag off of the Gas Industrial Park in Delta State, South South Nigeria.

This indication was given by the President Jonathan on Thursday while performing the groundbreaking of the project which he believes would generate much needed revenue for the country when it starts functioning.

Speaking at the ceremony, President Goodluck Jonathan said that the park would be designated a free trade zone, and is expected to generate large number of jobs for all Nigerians.

President Jonathan expressed optimism that the project, which is believed will be Africa’s biggest gas industrial hub, would be executed to international standard and attract many gas related industries from across the world.

The park is expected to consist of industries, which would produce fertilizers, petrochemicals, methanol and other related products.

Thursday’s groundbreaking comes after several attempts to kick-off the project were frustrated as a result of the tussle between the Ijaw and Itshekiri over the ownership of the land on which the facility is located.

Present at the ceremony were traditional rulers, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Maduekwe; Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga; Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, top government functionaries and member of the community.

VIDEO: Ijaw – Itsekiri Crisis: 91 Buildings Destroyed As Communities Seek Attention

Members of Itsekiri communities in Delta state have called on the federal government to intervene over the incessant attacks allegedly by Ijaw Youths which they claimed has led to the destruction of about 91 houses.

The community members who recorded the destruction allegedly carried out by the Ijaw Youths said they needed to show the world the unprovoked havoc wrecked on their community as they have been attacked by these Ijaw youths three consecutive times.

An amateur video given to Channels Television revealed that houses and settlements allegedly destroyed by Ijaw youths in seven communities.

Six persons were also killed during the raid while the video also showed a burial ceremony of one of the victims whose hand was severed, and had several lacerations on both legs and on his neck.

The residents said they were attacked by the youths with guns machetes, dynamites and grenades.

They also said their attackers made away several of their boats.

Omolubi Newuwumi, a member of the Delta State Waterways security claimed the Ijaws took to violence because they wanted the local government chairmanship position which they could not have because according to him, they deficient in the required population that will make achievable politically.

He said despite being attacked thrice they have neither got the federal government or the state government attention or intervention.

Boko Haram: Ijaw Leader Gives Conditions For Amnesty

Former President of the Ijaw Youth Council, Chris Ekiyo has opposed the calls for amnesty for members of the fundamentalist group, Boko Haram insisting that if pardon was the requirement to end criminality then it should be extended to armed robbers and hoodlums too.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Ekiyo said it was wrong to compare the amnesty granted the former Niger Delta militants and that sought for members of the Boko Haram sect because unlike the former, the demands of the latter are unreasonable and ambiguous.

He said, “Everybody who wants this amnesty thing are saying that because the people of the Niger Delta enjoy this amnesty, it should be given to Boko Haram. But I am saying if you do that, you have sent the wrong signal out.”

Mr Ekiyo said unlike the Boko Haram members who have demonstrated traits of terrorism, the former Niger Delta militants were mere rebels and not terrorists. He insisted that ‘people have the right to rebel’ against perceived injustice but not to fight and kill innocent people.

According to the Ijaw leader, there are three basic conditions that must be considered before amnesty is discussed with leaders of the Boko Haram sect.

Watch the complete interview in the video below for the conditions Mr Ekiyo gave before members of Boko Haram are granted pardon.