‘Notorious Cultist’ Emenike Akam Surrenders Arms, Pleads For Pardon

A ‘notorious cultist’ in the Niger Delta region and member of recently slained Don Waney’s gang has renounced cultism and surrendered various arms and ammunition pleading for state pardon.

Rivers State born Don Waney was killed in January 2017 after a joint effort of 6 Division Nigerian Army and DSS operatives in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Waney was shot and killed alongside his second-in-command, Ikechukwu Adiele, and another member of his gang, Lucky Ode while trying to escape arrest.

His younger brother, Oluchi Igwedibia, popularly called Obatosu was killed on Saturday, January 27 by a joint operation of the Army and the DSS following intelligence report of the State Security Services, Rivers State Command.

Another member of his gang, Emenike Akam popularly known as Number One Red Squad General surrendered in Imo State on Monday, February 5, alongside over 200 cultists and militants.

Emenike Akam surrendered his arms alongside members of his gang. They appealed for state pardon calling on the state government to forgive them and that they are ready to reintegrate back into the society.

The arms and ammunition surrendered by the repentant cultists include explosives, rocket launchers, high-caliber rifles, pistols, AK-47 rifles, army and police uniforms, charms and other dangerous weapons.

Some of the gang members gave unemployment, hunger and poverty as reasons why they have towed the path they took.

Receiving the repentant militants and cultists at the Freedom Square in Owerri, the Imo State capital, Governor Rochas Okorocha said it is good news that the repentant cultists have decided to tow a new path and reintegrate back into the society. He said the state government will look for means to rehabilitate them and ensure that they are good citizens of the state.

“It is very shocking to note that most of the avengers and Don Wanney operatives are our sons and daughters we have them in the Ohaji/Egbema, Awara and other areas where people have been on self-exile for many years.

“But today these our children have decided on their own to come back to the society and be part of the society. They are doing so on their own, surrendering arms which they have used in committing criminal activities for what they called expression of grievances of different sorts,” he said.

He said further that the Imo State is ready to receive them and listen to them so as to integrate them back into the society.

Ijaw Youth To Engage FG In Resource Control And Ownership

Ijaw Youth Council, Niger DeltaThe Ijaw Youth Council has pledged to do what it can to ensure development in the Niger Delta region.

The pledge was made during the national convention of the council held at Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State, south-south Nigeria.

According to the outgoing President of the council, Udengs Eradiri, the convention will produce a new leadership that would consider all issues that affect the youth, Ijaw nation and the Niger Delta region as a whole, most especially the final declaration of the resumption of the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko.

“Before now, Niger Delta youths were involved in a lot of things but today, we are trying to chart a new course and we’ve been able to put them together.

“For me, I believe that the ultimate achievement will be the declaration of resumption of the maritime university by the Muhammadu Buhari led administration; that process is one that will build the capacity of the Ijaws and develop our environment,” said Eradiri.

Resource Control

With a mandate to demand resource control, the new President of the council, Eric Omare, promised to do all he can to engage the Federal Government in a purposeful dialogue to achieve resource ownership.

While appreciating the confidence building activities created by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo’s recent visit, Omare stated the council’s interest in a lasting solution to the challenges faced in the Niger Delta region.

“Our mandate as Ijaw youths is to demand for resource control and self-determination; we will continue the agitation for resource control.

“We appreciate the fact that there are efforts to build confidence in the region by the Acting President, but let me say that we are no longer interested in the short solutions to the Niger Delta problems.

“We are only interested in long term solutions and that long term solution lies in resource control or true federalism as the case might be.

“So any solution to the Niger Delta problem without addressing resource ownership is unacceptable to the youth council and Ijaw nation in general.

“In the days ahead, we will engage the Nigerian Government to ensure they carry out a purposeful dialogue towards ensuring this,” the new council president said.

The new officers elected are expected to manage the affairs of the organisation from March 2017 till March 2020.

Niger-Delta Region: New Army Division Established To Improve Security

Nigerian army in Niger delta region A new division of the Nigerian Army, Six Division, has been established in Port Harcourt to take care of the security issues in the Niger Delta region.

The division is headed by Major General Kasimu Abdulkarim.

The development was made known to reporters in Delta State after a meeting between the Governor of the State, Mr Ifeanyi Okowa and the General Officer Commanding (GOC) the division, Major General Abdulkarim.

Major General Abdulkarim said that they were in Asaba to brief Governor Okowa on the establishment of the new 6 Division with Headquarter in Port Harcourt and the new brigade in Asaba and to seek his support in meeting the challenges of the establishment.

He explained that the new Division, which would cover Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Delta States, would handle the security challenges in the region and help improve security.

The head of the division also told the Delta State governor that a new brigade would be established in Asaba, the capital of Delta State.

On his part, Governor Okowa called for synergy among stakeholders in the Niger Delta region to tackle myriad of security issues.

He told the army that it was imperative for the stakeholders including the security agencies, traditional rulers, opinion leaders, elders and youths to partner together to improve peace and security in the region.

“I am glad that a new division has been established to take care of the security issues in the region.

“Also, that a new brigade will be established in Asaba, Delta State, this will help improve security in the state. I want to commended the synergy among the security agencies in the state which has led to improved security and ensure peace,” he said.

Governor Okowa commended Major General Abdulkarim on his appointment as the GOC of the new Division and assured him of the government’s support in the provision of the necessary infrastructure for the takeoff of the Division and the brigade in Asaba.

The army has increased military presence in the Niger Delta region to quell resurging militancy which has forced the oil output of the nation to drop below two million barrels per day.

 

Governor Ayade Appoints 1,106 Persons In Cross River

Ben Ayade, Cross RiverGovernor Ben Ayade has announced the appointment of 1106 persons in Cross River State.

They are appointed as special advisers, special assistants, personal assistants as well as the Chairmen and members of Board, commissions, departments and agencies.

The appointment is in addition to the over 800 others which Governor Ayade had earlier made.

A breakdown of the appointment shows that 799 were appointed into various boards, commissions and agencies.

The remaining 307 appointees are: six special advisers, 30 senior special advisers, 75 special assistants, 25 personal assistants, 16 personal assistants to paramount rulers and 90 representatives of each local government in the State Food Bank Unit.

Others are, 21 liaison officers for the 18 local government areas and three senatorial districts, 18 special assistants on religious affairs and 26 permanent secretaries.

A statement by the Governor’s spokesman, Mr Christian Ita, on Tuesday says the appointments take effect from November 1, 2016.

Ogun Govt. Seeks Partnership In Mechanised Cassava Production

Ogun government on mechanised cassava productionOgun State Government has expressed its readiness to collaborate with development partners in the area of mechanised cassava production and its value chains.

The government explains that the partnership is a way of diversifying the economic base of the state in southwest Nigeria.

The expression of interest was communicated by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Taiwo Adeoluwa, who represented the State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, at a workshop on mechanised cassava production.

The government informed the gathering that there was a provision in the 2017 Budget for the opening up of about 1,000 hectares of farmlands for cassava farming in the state.

The training which took place on Tuesday in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital brought together agriculture experts and development partners from Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and the United States.

Some experts, Enorck Chikava and Adebayo Sangobiyi, raised concerns over the best practices in commercial and mechanised cassava production and agro-processing, stressing the need to ensure that such engagements sustain grow and develop the nation’s economy.

They also addressed some of the challenges facing the sector with a view to exploring some of the available options such as effective government intervention, more funds for research and development as well as improved seedlings among others.

Economy In Recession

Nigeria is the highest cassava producer in the world with at least 50 million metric tonnes per year.

However, the output per unit is very low as a result of the numerous challenges grappling with the agriculture sector, one of which is the recession in Africa’s most populated country.

While the government is making effort to address the economic challenges, a World Economic Outlook report released by the International Monetary Fund had predicted that the Nigerian economy would grow by 0.6% in 2017.

The report revealed that Nigeria’s real Gross Domestic Product was expected to increase marginally by 0.6% with Consumer Prices rising by 17.1%, effectively lifting the country out of an officially declared recession.

Attacks On Oil Facilities

The recession was triggered by the drop in the price of crude oil and the attacks on the nation’s oil facilities by some militant groups in the Niger Delta region.

The militants under the umbrella of the Niger Delta Avengers have claimed responsibility for most of the attacks which have drawn the attention of the Nigerian Government and some other foreign governments.

Disturbed by the spate of the militants’ activities, the Nigerian Army launched a special team code named “Operation Crocodile Smile”, amidst agreement between the government and the militants to hold talks after a ceasefire agreement from both sides.

Despite this agreement, several other attacks have been launched on oil installation by the Niger Delta Avengers and another splinter group.

Both military and militants have continued to point accusing fingers at each other, alleging a breach of agreements, as the military said it would not hesitate to repel militants’ attack in the region.

Navy Deploys Security Stations, Gunboats To Choke Points In Niger Delta

Nigerian Navy, Niger Delta, Choke PointsThe Nigerian Navy has deployed maritime security stations with fully equipped surveillance gadgets and gunboats to choke points in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region.

The Navy says the deployment is in line with efforts to sustain the fight against crude oil theft and other maritime crimes across the country.

The Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral James Oluwole, made the disclosure during an operation visit to the latest deployment to Cawthorne Channel in Kalabari in Akuku Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State.

He noted that more stations would be deployed to the choke points which have been identified as routes for high rate of crude oil theft and other insecurity challenges.

In his remark, the Commander of NNS Pathfinder, Commodore Obi Egbuchulam, revealed that 120,000 litres of crude oil which he said was careful disguised has been uncovered by the station.

 

Police Assure Rivers’ Creek Residents of Increased Security

Police, RiversThe Nigeria Police Force has assured residents of riverine communities in Rivers State that it is collaborating with other security agencies to improve security in the area.

The Assistant Inspector General (AIG) of Police in Zone 6, Mr Abubakar Marafa, gave the assurance on Wednesday while addressing reporters in the state.

The AIG is on a two day tour of the area.

According to him, the security situation at the riverine communities of the South-south will continue to improve, with the cooperation of other agencies.

Creeks in Nigeria’s riverine communities are volatile due to activities of oil thieves and militants.

Militants activities have resurged in the Niger Delta region in the last few months with several attacks on oil facilities in the region that holds the nation’s wealth.

A group that calls itself the Niger Delta Avengers has claimed responsibility for most of the attacks that have depleted the nation’s revenue from crude oil sales.

To address the crisis that has contributed to the nation’s slide into recession, several military operations have been launched.

Operation Delta Safe and Exercise Crocodile Smile are two military operations launched to quell the activities of the militants.

Despite these efforts, the Niger Delta Avengers attacked a pipeline last week.

The attack came weeks after it said it has agreed to a ceasefire and was ready to negotiate with the Nigerian government.

After the latest attack, the group said it carried out the attack in protest of what it called harassment of youths of the region.

On the welfare of police officer, the AIG also said all hands are on deck to improve the well-being of police officers.

“The living condition and welfare of an average police officer in Nigeria is of concern to the Inspector General Police,” he stressed.

 

Niger Delta Avengers Bomb Bonny Pipeline In Rivers

Niger Delta Avengers, Bonny Pipeline in RiversThe Niger Delta Avengers say they have bombed the Bonny crude oil Export Line in Rivers State, Nigeria’s Niger Delta region.

In a statement on its website, the group said it “brought down oil production activities at the Bonny 48 inches crude oil Export Line” through its “strike team”.

The militants said the attack was a “wake up call” for the government, which it accused of intimidating youths in the region since the ceasefire began.

The statement, however, added that the organisation was “still in favour of dialogue and negotiations”.

This would be the first attack in Nigeria’s southern energy hub since the Niger Delta Avengers declared in August that it was halting hostilities to pursue talks with the government.

It comes as part of a chain of attack on oil installations by militant groups in Nigeria’s south-south region, which has drastically affected the nation’s economy.

The Niger Delta Avengers have claimed responsibility for most of the attacks on the oil facilities.

They said they expected a genuine and positive attitude to restructuring and self-determination for every component unit of Nigeria.

In an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, written after they agreed to ceasefire, the militants pointed out that they had “listened carefully and halted hostilities” in the region.

However, they claimed that ongoing military operations in the creeks of Ijaw communities were pre-determined genocide in Niger Delta.

Buhari Blames Corrupt Politicians For Niger Delta Pipeline Bombings

Muhammadu-Buhari-Niger-Delta-Corrupt-PoliticiansPresident Muhammadu Buhari has blamed corrupt politicians who looted Nigeria’s treasury for the bombing of oil facilities in the Niger Delta region.

The President made the accusation in a statement by his spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, released after President Buhari briefed Nigerians in the U.S. on “how the country got into trouble”.

He said that the development was unfortunate due to the fact that the price of crude oil had dropped drastically.

President Buhari expressed disappointment that a minimum of 27 states, out of 36 states in Nigeria were unable to pay worker’s salaries.

“We Did Not Save”

“Those who stole Nigeria dry are not happy. They recruited the militants against us in the Niger Delta and began to sabotage oil infrastructure.

“We lose millions of barrels per day, at a time when every dollar we can earn, counts.

“It is a disgrace that a minimum of 27 states, out of 36 that we have in Nigeria, can’t pay salary,” he said.

On what led to Nigeria’s economic recession, President Buhari said: “We got into trouble as a country, because we did not save for the rainy day.

“For example, between 1999 and 2015, when we produced an average of 2.1 million barrels of oil per day, and oil prices stood at an average of $100 per barrel, we did not save, neither did we develop infrastructure. Suddenly, when we came in 2015, oil prices fell to about $30 per barrel.

“I asked; where are the savings? There were none. Where are the railways? The roads? Power? None. I further asked; what did we do with billions of dollars that we made over the years? They said we bought food. Food with billions of dollars? I did not believe, and still do not believe.

“In most parts of Nigeria, we eat what we grow. People in the South eat tubers, those in the North eat grains, which they plant, and those constitute over 60 per cent of what we eat. So, where did the billions of dollars go?

“We did a lot of damage to ourselves by not developing infrastructure when we had the money.

“Talking of our military, they earned respect serving in places like Burma, Zaire, Sudan, Liberia, Sierra-Leone, and then, suddenly, that same military could no longer secure 14 out of 774 local governments in the country. Insurgents had seized them, calling them some sort of caliphate, and planting their flags there; till we came, and scattered them.

“We raised the morale of our military, changed the leadership, re-equipped and retrained them; USA, Britain, and some other countries helped us, and today, the pride of our military is restored.

“Boko Haram ran riot, killing innocent people in churches, mosques, markets, schools, motor parks, and so on. And they would then shout Allahu Akbar.

“But if they truly knew Allah, they would not do such evil. Neither Islam, nor any other religion I know of, advocates hurting the innocent.

“But they shed innocent blood, killed people in their thousands. Now, we have dealt with that insurgency and subverted their recruitment base.

“Those who stole Nigeria dry are not happy. They recruited the militants against us in the Niger Delta, and began to sabotage oil infrastructure. We lose millions of barrels per day, at a time when every dollar we can earn, counts.

 

“After 16 years of a different party in government, no party will come and have things easy. It’s human. We need quality hands to run Nigeria, and we will utilise them. I will like to welcome you home when it’s time. But I’ll like you to be ready,” the President told the gathering.

Nigerians-in-the-United-States-of-America
Some Nigerians in the U.S. at the meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari

‘Working On Government Structure’

President Buhari further told them that his administration was working on a government structure that would effectively engage their skills and expertise.

He agreed that distinguished Nigerians in the diaspora had a role to play in Nigeria’s development, promising to provide a conducive environment for them to thrive.

“I assure you that we are trying to be systematic in the government to organise the government properly.

“When we do that, we will get the ministries to function and we will need quality people to come along and help it to move fast,” President Buhari told the gathering.

All the Nigerian professionals pledged to contribute their quota towards re-launching their fatherland to a new dawn.

They assured the President of their support and willingness to come and offer their services to Nigeria like they do in the U.S.

For some of the professionals at the meeting there is no better time to return home than now.

“The determination to have structure in place, I think it will be encouraging for some of us in the diaspora to come back and participate because that is the structure we know here that we are used to,” one of those at the meeting said.

There are many Nigerian professional in the United States and around the world and leveraging on their expertise would be a boost for the nation in economic recession.

 

Stop Hiding Under Regional Agitation To Commit Crimes, Military Warns Militants

Military, Militants, Niger DeltaThe Nigerian military has warned the various militant groups in the Niger Delta region against hiding under regional agitation to commit all manners of crimes and atrocities.

The Defence Headquarters gave the caution on Tuesday in a statement to alert the general public of the disturbing spate of crimes allegedly committed by the groups.

They pointed out the latest of the groups, the Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate (NDGJM), claimed responsibility for blowing up an oil pipeline belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation few days ago in south-south Nigeria.

The same group, according to the military, has come out again, demanding that residents living near oil and gas infrastructure should vacate their homes to avoid being caught in its next attacks.

Olive Branch To Broker Peace

The Defence Headquarters stated in clear terms, “that no group or individual has the right to threaten or force residents in any part of Nigeria, to abandon their homes in obeisance to certain group’s selfish and devilish interest.

“It is more worrisome that despite the Federal Government’s olive branch to broker peace and proffer solution to the lingering Niger Delta problem, some groups are still fanning the ember of war.

“The military and other security agencies would remain focused, un-intimidated and will display professionalism in ensuring adequate security to lives and property”.

Enhancing Civil-Military Relationship

While the military respects the government’s negotiation with relevant stakeholders in the Niger Delta, they explained that their exercise and operations in the area were not targeted at any group or meant to make life difficult for the inhabitants.

“The ongoing exercise is geared towards enhancing civil-military relationship and building the confidence of the resident on the ability of the military to protect them.

“The exercise also demonstrates the strength of the troops to purge the region of criminals and economic saboteurs.

“The Armed Forces would not tolerate any form of criminality in that region,” the statement read.

The military and other security agencies also reaffirmed their total commitment to ensuring security of lives and property, not only in the Niger Delta, but across Nigeria.

They solicited the cooperation of all the stakeholders, including the royal fathers, leaders and youths to achieve the feat.

The Defence Headquarters also urged the public, especially those residing in Niger Delta, to discountenance the threat, asking innocent citizens and residents to go about their legitimate businesses.

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.

FG Commissions 28 Additional Resident Permit Centres

FG on Resident Permit CentresThe Federal Government has commissioned 28 additional centres for the production of Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card.

The development is aimed at automating the operations of the Nigeria Immigration Service, for the issuance of residence permits to expatriates residing and working in Nigeria.

The centres were commissioned on Monday in Abuja by the Minister of Interior, Lieutenant General Abdulrahman Dambazau (rtd).

He explained that the new structure would ease the stress of doing business in Nigeria.

The centres are now in all states of the federation except Borno and Yobe states, which were exempted for logistics reason.

Rivers State in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region has two centres.

The establishment comes as part of measures to buoy Nigeria’s depressed economy, following the fall in the price of crude oil and subsequent drop in production capacity.

The addition brings the number of residence permit centres to 37 across Nigeria.