Niger Delta: LEDAP Files Suit Challenging Powers Of Godswill Akpabio

 

The Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP) has filed a suit at the Federal High Court, challenging the powers of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, to constitute an interim management committee to run the affairs of the Niger Delta Development Commission.

The announcement of an interim management team had sparked outrage in the Niger Delta states as many see the move as a way to scuttle the development projects of NDDC.

The Minister was quoted as saying that the interim committee was to prepare ground for the new Board and supervise the forensic audit which the President had ordered weeks ago.

LEDAP in the suit, filed by its Executive Director, Chino Obiagwu SAN, is challenging the appointment of the interim board on the grounds that it is contrary to specific sections of the NDDC Act as amended.

READ ALSO: Court Adjourns Sowore’s Trial

Joined as plaintiffs in the suit are some indigenes of the Niger Delta area, including Iruo Onoruvwe, Anatole Osuji, and Walter Abere.

Other defendants aside the Minister and the NDDC are Dr Gbene Joi Nunieh, Dr Cairo Ojougboh, and Chief Ibanga Basset Etang.

LEDAP specifically wants the four to declare that the purported appointment
by the first defendant of a three-man interim management for the second defendant is contrary to sections 2, 10, and 12 of the NDDC Act 6 2000(as amended).

A declaration that the purported appointment by the first defendant of the third defendant as the Managing Director of the second defendant, the fourth as Executive Director, Projects, and the fifth defendant as Executive Director, Finance and Administration of the second defendant are contrary to the provisions of section 12(1)c of the NDCC Act as amended, which provides that the Managing Director and two executive directors of the second defendant shall be appointed by the President, Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces and confirmed by the Senate in consultation with the House of Representatives.

A declaration that by virtue of Section12(2) of the second defendant of the NDDC Act,the Managing Director of the second defendant performs his functions under the general direction of the board of the second defendant.

A declaration that the first defendant cannot validly appoint the 3rd-5th defendants as acting Managing Director; and Executive Directors of the second defendant while the list of nominated members of board of the second
defendant submitted by the President, pursuant to sections 2, 10, and 12 of the NDDC Act 2000 to the National Assembly is pending the approval of of the Senate.

An order nullifying the purported appointmentsof the 3rd-5th defendants as acting Managing Director and Executive Directors of the second defendant;

An order restraining the second defendant and its management from handing over, and, or permitting the 3rd-5th defendants to assume the office of the Managing Director and Executive Directors of the second defendant;

An order restraining the first defendant by himself or anyhow whatsoever from interfering in the affairs of the second defendant in manner inconsistent with the provisions of the NDDC Act.

The court is yet to fix a date for the hearing of the suit.

IYC Rejects NDDC’s Interim Management, Threatens To Ground Activities

 

The Ijaw Youth Council has threatened to ground activities at the headquarters of the Niger Delta Development Commission in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State.

According to the IYC, it will back the threat with action if the NNDC’s Interim Management Committee constituted by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Godswill Akpabio, is not disbanded immediately.

Addressing a news conference in Warri, Delta State, IYC President Eric Omare also demanded that the new members of the NDDC Board cleared by the Senate should be inaugurated immediately.

He added that the forensic audit ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari should be “directly supervised” by the President.

“If our demands are not met within a reasonable time from this moment, we will be forced to embark on mass action in the entire Niger Delta, especially at the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt to forcefully remove the interim management committee from the NDDC headquarters,” the IYC President said.

IYC President, Eric Omare

Mixed reactions have trailed the constitution of the interim committee which is charged with the responsibility to oversee the affairs of the commission throughout the period of the forensic audit.

Mr Akpabio had announced the appointment of a three-man interim management committee expected to oversee the affairs of the NDDC until the forensic audit is completed.

Not only did the IYC reject the move, it also dismissed the idea behind it declaring it illegal.

“The reasons why we are against the committee set up by the Minister are as follows: Number one, it is illegal. Number two, the argument that the committee is to ensure unhindered forensic audit ordered by the President is unacceptable; it is weak and baseless,” Mr Omare said.

Following shouts of “Enough is Enough”, he added, “We are tired of people using our resources to run their bogus lifestyles.”

He believes the youths of the Niger Delta are ready to hold everybody accountable and if the incoming board fails to do what they are supposed to do, they will “hold them accountable”.

Senate Rejects Budget For Niger Delta Ministry

 

The Senate Committee on Niger Delta has rejected the 2020 capital budget of the ministry over the non completion of major projects in the region.

At the ministry’s budget defense session in the national assembly, committee members expressed dissatisfaction over many abandoned projects across the Niger delta states.

READ ALSO: Ex-Niger Delta Agitators Protest In Abuja

The displeasure over unfinished projects in the region was disclosed by the Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Peter Nwaoboshi, when the Minister, Godswill Akpabio appeared before the committee to defend the ministry’s budget of N25, 910,486,285.

Senator Nwaboshi stated that there is no state within the Niger Delta which does not have abandoned projects that should have been completed before now.

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.