PDP Condemns Alleged Mass Arrest Of Members In Niger Delta

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned what it described as on-going mass arrest and detention of its leaders and members in Rivers, Delta and Akwa-Ibom states, ahead of the governorship and state Assembly elections on Saturday March 9, 2019.

In a statement on Wednesday, the party accused the Presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC) of “turning the South South zone into a war zone”.

It alleged that in Rivers State, leaders of the PDP were being hounded and forcefully picked up in a well-coordinated operation by military operatives.

The PDP called on Nigerians and the international community to note the development in the South South, adding that, “The tension in the Niger Delta has been dangerously stretched and there is a limit to what the people can stomach in the face of such aggressions”.

Speaking further, the party stressed that the Niger Delta region remained a stronghold for it and no amount of intimidation and assault by the APC would change that.

“Our party, therefore, demands the immediate release of every PDP member arrested by the military as well as instant stoppage of military aggression in the region ahead of the elections.”

The party warned that if the trend was not checked, it would destroy the relative peace in the region and destabilize the nation.

PDP Condemns Alleged Mass Arrest Of Members In Niger Delta

 

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned what it described as on-going mass arrest and detention of its leaders and members in Rivers, Delta and Akwa-Ibom states, ahead of the governorship and state Assembly elections on Saturday, March 9, 2019.

In a statement on Wednesday, the party accused the Presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC) of “turning the South-South zone into a war zone”.

It alleged that in Rivers State, leaders of the PDP were being hounded and forcefully picked up in a well-coordinated operation by military operatives.

The PDP called on Nigerians and the international community to note the development in the South-South, adding that, “The tension in the Niger Delta has been dangerously stretched and there is a limit to what the people can stomach in the face of such aggression”.

It added that the Niger Delta remained a stronghold of the PDP and no amount of intimidation and assault by the APC would change that.

“Our party, therefore, demands the immediate release of every PDP member arrested by the military as well as instant stoppage of military aggression in the region ahead of the elections.”

The party warned that if the trend was not checked, it would destroy the relative peace in the region and destabilise the nation.

General Elections: Jonathan Warns Politicians Against Encouraging Violence

 

Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan has asked politicians in Nigeria to strive towards peace in the forthcoming elections, urging them to ensure that no one dies on their behalf.

The former President made the call on Monday at a meeting with Niger Delta Youth Leaders in Yenagoa.

He urged the young leaders to embrace peace and shun violence ahead of the rescheduled general elections.

“Let us conduct the election peacefully, people should vote based on their conscience”.

Jonathan said everyone who is true to his or her conscience would be able to know where to pitch their tents.

READ ALSO: Dogara Criticizes Buhari, Oshiomhole Over Comments On Postponed Elections

He encouraged the young people not to be induced, stressing that nobody’s ambition is worth the blood of Nigerians.

Admonishing politicians he asked, “why must another person die because you want to hold a political office?”

The former leader stated that no office is meant for one particular person, noting that the aim of getting into office should be solely for the service of the people.

Speaking about violence especially within the election period, Jonathan said peace is fundamental to growth and economic development, stressing that the nation loses value with any extra-judicial killing recorded.

“Anytime somebody is killed by a person, either by a youth or even security services that is extra-judicial, whether the police kill somebody or a military man kills somebody extra-judicially, it brings the reputation and the image of the country down,” he said.

He said if security operatives in Nigeria are interested in the future of the nation, then they must do everything to suppress extra-judicial killings, because one person killed affects the entire country.

Some Ex-Militants Declare Support For President Buhari

VIDEO: ‘Only God Can Give Them Punishment’, Buhari Blasts Looters

 

Some former Niger-Delta militants today declared support for President Mohammadu Buhari’s re-election bid.

According to them, the President has done well for the people of the Niger Delta and deserves a second term.

The militants, under the aegis of the Peace Ambassadors of the Niger Delta (PAND), endorsed the President Buhari at a press conference in Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital.

READ ALSO: Those Who Spent $16bn On Power Must Pay For It — Buhari

According to the leader of the group Ebikabowei Ben (popularly known as Boyloaf), what the nation needs now is a man like Buhari who has shown commitment to the welfare of the Niger Delta.

He added that the commitment of the President has led to the prevailing peace in the region.

Taraba Govt Assures Residents Of Security During Elections

Taraba Govt Denies Sponsoring Illegal Security Outfit
Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku (file)

 

The Taraba State Government has assured people of the state of their safety in case of any violence during and after the forthcoming general elections.

Governor Darius Ishaku gave the assurance on Wednesday when Niger Deltans, as well as Adamawa indigenes resident in the state, paid him a visit at the Government House.

On their paths, the two groups assured the governor that whatever happens, they would rather defend their territory as the state is not just home to them but also a source of their livelihood.

Read Also: Ekweremadu Asks INEC To Ensure Credible Elections

They said they were fully behind the governor and promised to re-elect him while also voting for Atiku Abubakar as President.

According to them, one of the reasons for their endorsement of the governor is his peaceful disposition.

NDDC Urges US To Support Peace Efforts In Niger Delta

NDDC Managing Director, Nsima Ekere.

 

The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), has appealed to the United States government to support programmes that would enhance peace and security in the Niger Delta to facilitate sustainable development in the oil-rich region.

The NDDC Managing Director, Nsima Ekere, made the appeal when a delegation from the United States Consulate in Lagos, led by the US Consul-General, F. John Bray, paid him a visit at the commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt.

Ekere emphasized the need for an enduring peace in the region, stating that security was critical for development and growth.

Army Arrests ‘Wanted’ Suspect, Others In Niger Delta

Army Arrests ‘Wanted’ Suspect, Others In Niger Delta

 

The Nigerian Army says its field training exercise Operation Crocodile Smile III, which covers Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers states, has continued to record more successes since its inception on October 22, 2018.

In a statement on Friday, Deputy Director of Army Public Relations, Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, outlined the feats the exercise has recorded so far by the participating troops.

He revealed that troops of 6 Division Garrison working on timely and actionable intelligence arrested a notorious criminal suspect, Ernest Ibekwe Alias “Tallest”, on Tuesday in Rivers State.

The suspect, he said, has been on the Nigeria Police Force wanted list in connection to kidnappings and armed robbery operations along the East-West Road.

He added that troops located and destroyed four illegal bunkering camps with five ground reservoirs and 25 storage tanks containing stolen crude oil also on Tuesday.

According to Ilyiasu, the success was recorded during an anti-illegal oil bunkering operations conducted by troops of 16 Brigade at Ijawkiri and Sangasangabio creeks.

He said the troops also foiled an attempt to sabotage oil production by miscreants who intended to set fire to Riser 01 at Gbaraun in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

In Delta State, troops arrested two suspected drug peddlers, Nduka Ozigbundu and Mofi Ndubuisi, with large quantities of substances believed to be cannabis and other hard drugs on Tuesday along Cable Roundabout in Asaba.

“Suspects were handed over to the State National Drug Law Enforcement Agency for prosecution. In continuation of their aggressive patrol of the creeks, the troops also located and destroyed 15 Cotonou boats, five pumping machines, 17 rubber hoses, 30 iron pipes, two (8 HP) outboard engines and four dug out pits at Otumara and Ugboegugun in Warri South/West LGA Delta State,” the statement read.

The colonel further highlighted some of the activities of Operation Crocodile Smile III in the civil-military exercise which held between October 25 and November 2.

He said the Army presented relief materials to flood victims at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in Bayelsa and Delta states on October 31 and November 2 respectively.

Ilyiasu said thousands of flood victims benefitted from the humanitarian gesture.

He noted that troops of 6 Division would remain resolute in clamping down on all criminals and criminal activities within the area of responsibility of the Division, to pave way for legitimate businesses and peaceful coexistence of the people of the Niger Delta.

Ex-Militants In Delta Protest At Govt House Over Jobs

 

Former militants from several communities in Delta State have laid siege to the Government House protesting over an alleged attempt by some contractors to take over their jobs.

The youths, under the aegis of Host Communities of Nigeria (Oil & Gas), who are captured in the Federal Government’s amnesty programme, marched out on Friday in their hundreds with placards to express their displeasure on the issue.

They barricaded the Government House, preventing movement in and out of the premises while chanting solidarity songs and calling on the governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, to come to their rescue.

“Your excellency, we feel that this is the point at which you, as the chief security officer of our dear state, must rise up to take steps to nip this madness in the bud to avert the impending danger that this greedy set of ‘soldiers of fortune’ is about to impose on not just our communities, but also our dear state.

“You may wonder how this is our concern. It has become our concern because we have sat down to imagine what the picture will look like when ocean marine successfully takes our jobs away from us, using either traditional rulers or president generals of our communities as fronts, how many youths with bustling capacities and abilities will be rendered jobless,” they said.

The state’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Peter Mrakpor, who addressed the protesters said their grievances would be communicated to the governor.

Royal Visit: Wike Alleges Neglect Of Niger Delta

Nyesom Wike

 

The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has accused the Federal Government of ignoring the Niger Delta Region in the schedule of visits by the Prince of Wales and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall.

According to him, the visit of the royal couple to Nigeria could have been another opportunity to bring the devastation in the region to the fore.

The Governor said this on Friday during a meeting with a group at the Government House in Port Harcourt, the State capital.

He described the Niger Delta as the bedrock of the nation’s economy which he says should not be ignored.

According to him, money generated from the region is what has been used to develop other parts of the country.

“They don’t want them to come here to see those who produce the wealth of the nation and see how they are suffering.

“They kept them in Abuja and Lagos. That is the country we are in. And then you say I should be happy.

“I produce the wealth, you use it to develop the other areas and the Prince of Wales will come and he won’t see how we are suffering here? He won’t see the people who are producing the wealth of the nation.

“It is our money that is used to develop Lagos. It is our money that is used to develop Abuja. But see where we are… Look at the traditional rulers that they brought, those who produce the wealth were kept at the back and you say we are one country,” Wike said.

NDDC Charges Niger Delta Youths To Embrace Peace

Dr Ibitoye Abosede

 

The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), has charged youths in Nigeria’s oil-producing communities to join in campaigning for peace and security in the region.

According to a statement issued on Sunday, the NDDC Director Corporate Affairs, Dr Ibitoye Abosede, made the appeal when members of the Niger Delta Youth Forum visited him in his office in Port Harcourt.

The President of the Youth Forum, Comrade Emmanuel Ekine, had earlier stated that the body was organising awareness campaigns in the region to sensitize the youths on the need to shun violence and criminality, a move which Abosede believes is a step in the right direction.

He stressed the importance of creating the right environment for development to flourish, adding that development can only take place in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility.

According to him, promoting awareness campaigns within the Niger Delta region remains a viable tool for development agencies that need peace and security to deliver on their mandates.

He, therefore, advised the youths to be focused and make good use of their talents, and also not be discouraged by temporary setbacks.

On the dangers of militancy and other social vices, he said, “We don’t want protests and agitations in the Niger Delta anymore. Dialogue is the way to go.”

‘I Will Look Into 13% Derivation,’ Buhari Promises Isoko Leaders

President Buhari receives in audience HRM Ovrawah Omogha 1 Odiologbo of Oleh Kingdom and Isoko Traditional Rulers Council in State House on 27th July 2018

 

President Muhammadu Buhari says his administration will look into the constitutional 13 per cent derivation benefit to the Niger Delta region and ensure even spread of developmental projects across the region.

The president made this promise on Friday when he received Isoko traditional rulers in Abuja.

He assured the royal fathers that the constitutional provisions for Niger Delta development will be carefully studied for inclusiveness, especially in the prioritisation of Federal Government projects.

“I have listened attentively to your address and I will still update myself with details of development in your area as it relates to oil and gas, and lack of infrastructure.

“I will look at the constitutional 13 per cent derivation and what previous governments have done, in order to know what we can do,’’ President Buhari said.

The President General of the Isoko Development Union, Mr Iduh Amadhe, who spoke on behalf of the Isoko leaders had earlier asked President Buhari to consider some anomalies in the spread of development projects in the Niger Delta.

READ ALSO: Buhari Commends France For Supporting Anti-Terrorism Fight In West Africa

Amadhe claimed that the Isoko community and its indigenes had been sidelined in Federal Government appointments, with the last appointment of a minister in 1975.

He noted that the region was also ignored as regards federal educational institutions, skill development centres and infrastructure.

“With eight oil fields of flow stations in Isoko land, we appeal to His Excellency to direct NNPC to establish a gas plant and a modular refinery in Isoko land. It will be beneficial to the nation and it will create employment and generate revenue,’’ he said.

In response, the president noted that the Isoko kingdom had qualified citizens who have distinguished themselves in various professional and entrepreneurial skills in the country.

He, therefore, promised to look into the matter.

“I will revisit your address and ask for clarification. I will do my best on this issue,” he said.

Amnesty Int’l Accuses Shell, Eni Of Negligence Over Niger Delta Oil Spills

 

 

Rights group, Amnesty International, has faulted reports of oil spills in the Niger Delta by Shell and Eni, and is asking the Federal Government re-open investigations into 89 oil spills in the region.

According to the group, the oil giants under-reported the number of spills in the last seven years and also attributed the causes to activities of militants and oil thieves.

But findings by pipeline experts, accufacts, which carried out the investigation on behalf of Amnesty International, also blamed the spills on pipeline corrosion.

Part of the report also accuses the companies of responding late to reports of oil spills.

It added: “We consider Shell and Eni to be deliberately reckless and therefore wilfully negligent in their operations in Nigeria – their failure to operate in line with Nigerian law and best practice standards is having a devastating impact on the human rights of Niger Delta communities.”

Amnesty International is, therefore, calling on the Nigerian government to strengthen its regulation of the oil industry, including the oil spills agency, NOSDRA, with adequate tools to ensure that the oil companies prevent and clean up spills.

The call was made after crowd-sourced analysis of the companies’ publicly available documents on pipeline failures in the Niger Delta region.

Activists who pored over reports found that since Shell began publishing details in January 2011, it had 1,010 spills amounting to 110,535 barrels or 17.5 million litres of crude.

ENI had 820 spills — the equivalent of 26,286 barrels or 4.1 million litres of oil — since it made its reports public in 2014.

The companies blamed “third party interference” — either sabotage of pipelines by militants or the theft of crude known locally as “bunkering” — for most of the spills.

‘Insult To Injury’

But Amnesty’s business and human rights researcher Mark Dummett said the companies’ claims to be doing all they can to prevent spills were at odds with the analysis.

“(Researchers) found that the companies often ignore reports of oil spills for months on end — on one occasion ENI took more than a year to respond,” he said in a statement.

“The Niger Delta is one of the most polluted places on Earth and it beggars belief that the companies responsible are still displaying this level of negligence.

“Adding insult to injury is the fact that Shell and ENI seem to be publishing unreliable information about the cause of extent of spills,” he added, accusing both firms of “recklessness”.

Allegations about misreporting, including under-estimating the amount of oil spilled, are significant as they could affect claims for compensation for local communities.

In January 2015, Shell agreed to pay £55 million ($77 million, 62 million euros) in compensation to more than 15,500 people affected by oil spills in the Ogoniland area of Rivers state.

The case saw the company admit the spills were greater than first reported.

Food, water contamination

Oil companies are required to make an initial assessment of any spill within 24 hours of detection, put in place measures to prevent wider contamination and clean up spills swiftly.

But the analysis indicated Shell responded within 24 hours on only 26 per cent of occasions during the period in question, while ENI did so on 76 per cent of times.

The risk of contamination of food and water sources increases the longer the response time to spills.

Many spills happened in the same area. ENI, for example, had 262 spills on its 92-kilometre (57.5-mile) Tebidaba-Brass pipeline in Bayelsa state.

ENI blamed sabotage for 260 of the spills but the company was warned multiple times to improve surveillance, it was alleged in Amnesty’s report, “Negligence in the Niger Delta”.

Shell rejected the allegations, saying they were “false, without merit and fail to recognise the complex environment in which it operates”.

ENI similarly rejected claims that it was failing to take prompt action or was providing unreliable or misleading information.

It said spills were down by more than 50 per cent last year compared to 2014.