Group Slams 15 Oyo Monarchs Over Injunction Against LCDA Allocation

oyo-stateA socio-cultural group, Oyo Development Initiative (ODI) has condemned action by 15 Baales to stop the allocations of the 33 LGAs in Oyo.

According to the group, the action of the Baales to contest the legality of some Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) has put local government administration in Oyo state in a limbo.

In a statement by the group, the Coordinator, Dr. Adesola Okanlawon stressed that while it believes that the case is already in court and some comments on it might lead to contempt, it is however expedient to highlight the implications of the court order on the citizens and development of the state.

“The plaintiffs in the suit might not have thought deeply about the implications of their action. They have issues with four LGAs and some of the newly created LCDAs. We believe they should have sought an order affecting the four disputed local governments in order not to jeopardize the welfare of the entire state.

“Perfection belongs to God and no individual can claim to be perfect.  Government itself knew that there could be imbalances in the creation of LCDAs as established in 2001. Hence, the establishments of a petition review committee.

“These perceived imbalances should therefore not lead to the hardship for larger section of the state.  The LCDAs will no doubt enhance grass-root development and bring even distribution of dividends of democracy to the communities in the state.

“It is to be noted that the action of these Baales will affect salary payment which was not regular before. It will also impact negatively on the development at the grass-root and by extension, the general welfare of the people. In short, their action has multiplier effects and everyone in the state will bear the brunt.”

The group appealed to the state government to seek every legal means to speedily resolve the impasse, saying that it is only those who do not want grass-root development that will be against the creation of LCDAs.

“It now behooves on the state government to do the needful in order to get the injunction vacated as soon as possible.

“This act will make the people insinuating that the Oyo State government is behind the court case to prevent the conduct of LGs election, to have a rethink that the government has nothing to do with the interim injunction,” the group stated.

Ex-Militants Set To Be Trained In Advanced Farming Methods

Ex-Militants Set To Be Trained In Advanced Farming MethodsA total of 500 ex-militants in Bayelsa State have just benefited from the Presidential Amnesty programme.

The ex-militants have been sent to the National Bio-resources Centre, Odi, to train in advanced farming methods.

The beneficiaries will be trained in the application of verified scientific technologies to increase yields in crop and animal farming.

Speaking at the launch of the training, the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brig.-Gen. Paul Boroh (Rtd), described investments in agriculture as key and imperative to the country’s national and economic growth.

He said: “Today’s economy remind us of what we have taken for granted and how with dedication and focus, we can turn the tide, using agriculture as the harbinger for economic greatness.

“It is not enough to clamour for diversification of the economy, we must walk the talk by raising a generation, which sees agriculture as a viable business platform and is willing to push the frontiers”.

Boroh said the programme would engender an atmosphere in the Niger Delta where youths can embrace commercial agriculture to reduce unemployment, thereby increasing food security and production.

He added: “The rich bio-diversity of the Niger Delta provides opportunities to explore the agricultural value chain production. We must take steps to become a giant in agro-allied businesses.’’

The Director-General of the National Biotechnology Development Agency, Prof. Lucy Ogbadu hailed the Amnesty Office for taking the initiative to send the ex-militants to the centre for the advanced agricultural training.

“We are a centre dedicated to excellence with the required manpower to train entrepreneurs in agriculture by utilising the knowledge in contemporary farming methodology to give an edge to today’s farmer,” she said.

Ogbadu said that the youth should use the knowledge and skills they would acquire to improve their lives and impact on the society.

The youths will be trained in advanced methods in mushroom cultivation, fisheries, snail and grass cutter farming.

Other areas include poultry technology and crop farming.

Agricultural empowerment tools will be given to beneficiaries at the end of training.

Governor Dickson Vows To Complete Odi General Hospital Renovation

Governor Dickson Vows To Complete Odi General Hospital RenovationBayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, has announced that his administration would complete the renovation of Odi General Hospital in no distant time, to improve healthcare delivery in the area.

Governor Dickson made the declaration on Tuesday, while flagging off the 58th edition of the famous Odi Ogori Ba Uge festival, at Odi in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, south-south Nigeria.

Describing Odi as one of the biggest communities in Ijaw land, he acknowledged that the people had been supportive to the Peoples Democratic Party and his administration right from its inception, stressing that they deserved more dividends of democracy.

Governor Dickson maintained that the decision to re-award the contract was informed by his policy of completing every people-oriented project within the limits of available resources.

He also promised to build a befitting pavilion for the community to hold its social functions, urging the community leadership to provide land for the construction of the civic centre.

Governor Dickson said his government would award contract for the project and mobilise workers to site within the next three weeks, as well as support Odi in sponsoring the festival.

He further called on the people to resist any temptation that would divide them, advising them to pitch a united front to attract more development to the area.

Governor Dickson also unveiled an art work depicting a hunter and the killer of a buffalo and announced a donation of one million Naira each to the two sculptors who are students of the Niger-Delta University, for doing what he described as ‘beautiful’.

Criminologist Blames Nasarawa State Re-occurring Clashes On FG

A professor of Criminology, Femi Odekunle on Monday blamed the lack of military and police presence in Nasarawa state for the re-occurrence of the clash between the Ombatse Militia and Alago Youths in the state.

He also noted that the “unresolved problems in the state” could be attributed to the cause of the clash.

Odekunle, who was speaking from the Abuja studio of Channels Television during Sunrise Daily programme, said the incidence of the “last weekend must be considered as another instance of a pattern of an unresolved problematic in the state” insisting that “this is not limited to the state. In the last decade we have had vast situations of instances of inter-intra community, inter-religious clashes, so it is not limited to that state”.

He went further to describe the recent clash, which occurred during the weekend, as a result of an “institution that is problematic”.

He then commended the state government for appointing credible non-indigenes of the state into the judicial commission of inquiry to ensure “impartiality in investigating the circumstances and situations and the nitty–gritty of various inter community clashes and killings in the state”.

He accused the federal government of irresponsibility for not showing concern after a dispatch of police officers and operatives of the State Security Service were ambushed and killed.

He expressed disappointment that the federal government, according to him, has not done anything in response to the killing of those security personnel noting that “the same police is reaching para-military orgasm in Rivers state over fully nothing” adding that “yet we have a situation in Nasarawa state where somebody would have expected heavy federal government presence to ensure that territorial integrity and authority of the government and state are actually enforced”.

While noting that security in this country, by the constitution, is the “formal responsibility” of the federal government, he advocated for a full federal government presence in the state to ensure that such killings do not occur again.

He however said “I am not expecting a situation like Odi under Obasanjo or Zaki-Biam under Obasanjo because we should appreciate to respect human right and we should also appreciate the limit of collective punishment”.

He further said those calling for state police are being armed with such situations “whereby you expect the federal government to come in and help you and they are not helping and go to another state where they don’t need military or police presence”.

He expressed worry for the Nigeria Police because “it appears to be its own worst enemy” noting that “the problem of the Nigeria police started when (Sunday) Adewusi, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), at that point in time, actually acted as if he was an NPN (National Party of Nigeria) card carrying member. So when the new government came in, they decimated the police and the police have not recovered from that decimation up till now, in terms of power, in terms of resources”.






















ACN Urges ICC To Investigate Baga Carnage, Calls It Crime Against Humanity

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has claimed that the killing of about 185 people, in Baga, Borno State, “may constitute crimes against humanity which should attract the attention of the International Criminal Court (ICC).”

The Desolated Baga Town after clash between the JTF and members of Boko Haram left at least 187 dead

According to the opposition party, the federal government should be investigated by the ICC because it is “either unwilling or unable to prosecute those involved, going by precedence.

“Either unwilling or unable to prosecute these crimes, despite the deceptive assurances by those at the helm, hence the ICC must immediately beam its search-light on the situation in Nigeria.”

The party made this known in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, on Thursday, where the party argued that “far beyond the justifiable call for a judicial commission of inquiry into the Baga massacre, it is time for leaders under whose watch these killings are being perpetrated, to be held to account.”

The ACN noted that “the killings in Baga, like previous ones in the areas where Boko Haram and the military Joint Task Force (JTF) have been engaged in clashes, are undoubtedly a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population – the definition of crimes against humanity which is one of the four groups of crimes under the jurisdiction of the ICC.”

Noting that similar large scale extra judicial killing that occurred in Odi in Bayelsa State and  Zaki-Biam in Benue State occurred before 1 July 2002, when the Rome Statute setting up the ICC came into force, ACN argues that “the killings in the north, especially at Baga, fall within the temporal jurisdiction of the global court.”

The party blamed President Goodluck Jonathan, for the Baga killings for “failing to distinguish between support for security agencies battling the insurgents in the north and the incitement of the same forces against civilians who are caught in the cross fire.”

”When the President issued his tactless vituperation against community leaders, and by extension hapless civilians, during his visit to Borno and Yobe States, we warned that he was further victimising the victims of the insurgents’ attack. That action helped to set the stage for the mindless massacre in Baga,” the party said.

It is estimated that about 3,000 lives have being claimed in the violent insurgency which started in 2008, following the killing of Boko Haram’s leader by Nigeria’s security operatives.

According to the ACN, those engaged in the killings, including the Boko Haram sect, “cannot and must not get away with these heinous crimes” the party insisted.

It also noted the only reasons that the killing and maiming of innocent citizens have continued unabated in Nigeria is because such killings in the past as in Odi and Zaki Biam, went unpunished.

”Enough is enough! Even in countries at war, innocent citizens are not being daily mowed to death either by insurgents or state forces, as we are experiencing in Nigeria. It is clear that the Nigerian government is” the party declared.

Foreign Troops

Meanwhile, the ACN has urged the National Assembly to investigate how troops from foreign countries became part of the JTF troops battling the insurgents in the north

The party said this is important to find out who authorized the deployment of foreign troops in Nigeria and what their mandates are.

”We know that international troop deployments are authorized at sub-regional, continental or global levels. It is therefore important to find which body authorized the deployment of foreign troops to Nigeria, the same troops that are now said to have participated in killing and maiming of innocent Nigerian citizens,” it said.

Media chat: You are wrong about Odi, Obasanjo tells Jonathan

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Tuesday rebuffed claims by President Goodluck Jonathan that the army invasion of Odi – a small community in Bayelsa state – in 1999 was a failure.

During last Sunday’s presidential media chat, President Jonathan had said that the invasion of Odi ordered by Mr Obasanjo in 1999 was a failure.
He had said: “After that invasion, myself and the governor entered Odi…and saw some dead people. Most of the people that died in Odi were mostly old men, women and children, none of the militants was killed.

“If bombarding Odi was to solve the problem, then it was never solved. If the attack on Odi had solved the problem of militancy in the Niger Delta, then the Yar’ Adua government would not have come up with the Amnesty programme. So, that should tell you that the attack on Odi never solved the militancy problem and we had more challenges after that attack on Odi.”

Reacting to these assertions, Femi Fani-Kayode, who served as Special Assistant on Public Affairs and subsequently Minister of Aviation during Mr Obasanjo regime, released a press statement claiming that the invasion of Odi not only killed the militants but decimated their capacity to wage acts of terror against the state.

The statement reads: “During a live broadcast of the Presidential Media Chat to the nation on the evening of November 18, 2012, President Goodluck Jonathan said that the military operation in Odi by the Nigerian Armed Forces in 1999, which was ordered by President Olusegun Obasanjo, did not solve the problem or stop the killing of soldiers, policemen and innocent civilians in the Niger Delta area by the terrorists and militants. He also said that all he saw in Odi after he went there on an official visit as Deputy Governor were the dead bodies of old people. With the greatest respect to Mr. President this is factually incorrect. He has either forgotten the relevant facts or he has been misinformed. Whichever way he is mistaken and it is important for those of us that proudly served the Obasanjo administration to respond to him in order to clarify the issues, clear the air and set the record straight for the sake of history and posterity.

“I had the privilege of being briefed about all the facts by President Olusegun Obasanjo himself and Col. Kayode Are, the former DG of the SSS, immediately after the Presidential Media Chat and I believe that it is appropriate to share some of those facts with members of the Nigerian public given the grave assertion and serious charge that President Jonathan has made. Those facts are as follows:
Why Army invaded Odi

“Five policemen and four soldiers were killed by a group of Niger Delta militants when they tried to enter the town of Odi in Bayelsa State in order to effect their arrest. This happened in 1999. After the brutal killing of these security personnel, President Olusegun Obasanjo asked the then Governor of Bayelsa State, Governor Alamieyeseigha, to identify, locate, apprehend and hand over the perpetrators of that crime.

“The Governor said that he was unable to do so and President Obasanjo, as the Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, took the position that security personnel could not be killed with impunity under his watch without a strong and appropriate response from the Federal Government. Consequently he sent the military in, to uproot and kill the terrorists and to destroy their operational base which was the town of Odi. The operation was carried out with military precision and efficiency and it’s objectives were fully achieved. The terrorists were either killed and those that were not killed fled their operational base in Odi. They were uprooted, weakened, demoralised and completely dispersed. That was the purpose of the whole exercise and that purpose was achieved. The truth is that the killing of security agents and soldiers with impunity by the Niger Delta militants virtually stopped after the operation in Odi and remained at a bare minimum right up until the time that President Obasanjo left power eight years later in 2007. I advise those that doubt this to go and check the records.

“The same thing was done in Zaki-Biam in Benue State in the North-central zone of Nigeria in 2001 after 19 soldiers were murdered in cold blood and then brutally beheaded by some terrorists from that area. Again after the Federal Government’s strong military response in Zaki Biam, the killing of security personnel with impunity stopped. The objectives of the military operations in both Odi and Zaki-Biam were to stop such killings, to eliminate and deal a fatal blow to those that perpetrated them and to discourage those that may seek to carry out such barbarous butchery and mindless violence in the future.

“Those were the objectives and nothing more and clearly those objectives were achieved. There is no doubt that after Odi, there were still unrest, agitations, protests, kidnappings and the blowing up and sabotage of oil pipelines in the Niger Delta area but there were hardly any more attacks on or killing of soldiers and security personnel by the terrorists and militants because they knew that to do that would attract a swift and forceful reaction and terrible retribution from the Nigerian military.
Invasions objective achieved

“To stop and deter those attacks and killings was the objective of President Obasanjo and that objective was achieved. President Goodluck Jonathan was therefore in error when he said that Odi did not solve the problem of killings in the Niger Delta area by the Niger Delta militants. Not only did it stop the killings but it is also an eloquent testimony of how to deal with terrorists, how to handle those that kill our security personnel with impunity and how to deter militants from killing members of our civilian population and thinking that they can get away with it. If President Obasanjo had not taken that strong action at that time, many more of our civilian population and security personnel would have been killed by the Niger Delta militants between 1999 and 2007.

“By doing what he did at Odi and Zaki-Biam, President Obasanjo saved the lives of many and put a stop to the killings and terrorism that had taken root in the Niger Delta area prior to that time.”

The former Aviation minister also said Mr Obasanjo’s comments last week on how to solve the Boko Haram problem were misconstrued and misrepresented in certain quarters.

“He never said that the Odi treatment should be applied to Boko Haram or that such action is appropriate in these circumstances. What he said was that a solution ought to have been found or some sort of action ought to have been taken sooner rather than allow the problem to fester over time like a bad wound and get worse.

“There can be no doubt that he was right on this because, according to President Jonathan’s own Chief of Army Staff, no less than 3000 people have been killed by Boko Haram in the last two years alone. That figure represents approximately the same number of people that were killed by the IRA in Northern Ireland and the British mainland in the 100 years that the war between them and British lasted and before peace was achieved between the two sides.

“The same number of casualties that the IRA inflicted on the people of the United Kingdom in 100 years, is the same number of casualties that Boko Haram have managed to inflict on our people in just two. This is unacceptable and it is very disturbing. The Federal Government must cultivate the courage and the political will to stop the killings by Boko Haram and to find a permanent solution to the problem.”