The Bayelsa State Government has expressed concern and displeasure with oil firms for flouting court orders on oil spill cases in the state.
The government decried the alleged ‘blatant disregard for court rulings’ and called on oil firms operating in the state to embrace the rule of law.
The appeal was made by the Special Adviser to Governor Seriake Dickson on Oil and Gas, Mr Felix Ayah, in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.
“Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) has reneged its corporate social responsibilities to maintain peace in its operations, negating the state government’s effort to strengthen the existing peace for smooth operations by (the) oil firms.
“After going through the outcome of the court’s verdict at my disposal authenticating Anyamawari family as certified owners of the land, it is incumbent on SPDC to recognise and treat them as such,” said Mr Ayah who mediated in a peace meeting between Onyoma community in Southern Ijaw and the SPDC.
He advised the Anyamawari family to channel all relevant documents to appropriate quarters of the company for prompt action and payments of all outstanding obligations without further delay.
An official of the SPDC, who said that the oil firm had laid down procedures in resolving issues with communities where it operates, urged the community to follow the same process.
The Bayelsa Government had in January 2016 sued the Nigerian Agip Oil Company, seeking 1.6 trillion naira damages for pollution caused by an oil spill in Brass area of the state in November 2013.
Nigerian Navy has extended its monthly medical outreach to rural coastal communities in Bayelsa State, as part of its effort to promote a cordial relationship with the communities where it operates.
The medical team at the Central Naval Command (CNC), which comprises of doctors, pharmacists, ophthalmologists and other medical professionals, offered full day free services at Otua community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state, south-south Nigeria.
Flagging off the event, the Flag Officer Commanding CNC, Rear Admiral Mohammed Garba, noted that the free medical mission would henceforth, focus on rural communities who lack access to basic health services in Bayelsa State.
“The navy remains committed to building a cordial relationship with you our host community. We will do this by what you are seeing now.
“We are here to provide free medical and humanitarian services to the people of this community,” he said.
Rear Admiral Garba also urged the people to support the Navy in its effort to stamp out oil theft and prevent sabotage on oil installations within their communities.
On his part, an indigene of Otua community and a retired Rear Admiral, Thomas Lokoson, urged the people to desist from oil theft and pipeline vandalism, saying it results to self-inflicted adverse consequences that could be prevented.
He noted that oil leaks and spills resulting from pipeline breach by vandals pollute waterways and farmlands as well as threaten the livelihood of residents in the community.
The retired naval officer regretted that the funds that would have been channeled to development were used for clean-up exercises to solve environmental problems that were avoidable.
The traditional ruler of Otua community, Edward Tokpo, who also benefitted from the free medical mission, applauded the Nigerian Navy for the gesture.
“This is the first in my over 40 years reign as the paramount ruler of this community that we are experiencing this kindness. Thank you Navy, you have indeed done well,” he said.
Mr Tokpo further pledged the cooperation and support of the community to the Nigerian Navy in its effort to secure oil facilities and the coastal communities.
A field report by Environmental Right Action (ERA) has indicated that oil spills from Tebidaba-Ogboinbiri crude line operated by Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) has discharged massive volumes of crude into surrounding environment.
The report claimed that officials of NAOC had commenced recovery of spilled crude from Ikienghenbiri community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
The report, signed by Head of Field Operations at ERA, Mr. Alagoa Morris, said that more than 30 plastic tanks of 2,000 litres of crude had already been recovered by Agip officials.
ERA, the environment focused non-governmental organisation regretted that a joint investigative visit had yet to be conducted to ascertain the cause of the leak and urged the management of NAOC to urgently convene a JIV to the spill impacted site.
Some community sources at Ikienghenbiri said that the development had crippled economic activities in the predominantly fishing and farming coastal settlement as oil recovery was still ongoing at the spilled site.
A former Community Development Committee Chairman in Ikienghenbiri, Mr. Marshall Josiah, said that the community had reported the incident promptly but the oil firm had allegedly delayed its response resulting in the massive leaks.
He said, “Due to the heavy volume of crude oil so far spewed, we have not been able to commence the process of clamping the ruptured point.
“We are looking for a way to evacuate the crude oil from the place to enable us to access the oil-bearing pipe and repair it.
“That is what we are doing now, recovery of spilled crude oil. No JIV has been done on this spill incident.
“I saw several Geepee (plastic) tanks being used for the recovery exercise. From my observation, it may take them up to two or three months to conclude that task. And much of the surrounding bush/swamps have been completely polluted.”
The Community leader regretted that the pollution had depleted the arable land and fishing grounds available to Ikienghenbiri for fishing and farming, adding that urgent steps should be taken to bring reliefs to the people affected by the spills.
Officials of NAOC declined comments when contacted for comments.
The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) says it has discovered new ways employed by vandals in transporting petroleum products.
Commandant of the Bayelsa State NSCDC Command, Desmond Agu, said this on Monday at the command headquarters in south-south Nigeria.
He revealed that the merchants of adulterated petroleum products continue to find new ways of conveying the products without been apprehended by men of the various security services.
As a proof of their hard work and success at curtailing them, the NSCDC premises was filled with vehicles, engines and sack bags which can easily pass as bags of rice or beans but are instead filled with adulterated petroleum products.
The staff of the NSCDC were, however, in a sober mood as they mourned their colleague who just lost his life in active service.
He was patrolling the waterways at Ogbobiri community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state.
Mr Agu explained that the deceased lost his life while his officers engaged the hoodlums in a shootout where they were ambushed.
He appealed to the Federal Government to equip the command with more modern and sophisticated weapons to enable them overpower the criminals.
The NSCDC boss also appealed to the public to always inform them of activities or persons suspected to be related to such criminality.
Troops of Sector 2, Operation Pulo Shield, have recovered one AK 47 rifle and two loaded magazines, 9 mobile GSM telephones and three walkie-talkies from suspected pirates.
The troops, who were on a cordon and search operation in Idema Community in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, were engaged in a gun battle by the pirates which led to the death of one of the gunmen, while others escaped with gunshot injuries.
In a similar operation, troops of Sector 2 also conducted raid operation at suspected militant camps in Gbarain Community, Southern Ijaw LGA of Bayelsa State and recovered three AK 47 automatic rifles.
Other items recovered include magnum double barrel gun, 273 round of 7.62mm special, 7 empty magazines of AK 47 rifle, one empty magazine of FN rifle and 9 packs of explosives suspected to be dynamites.
The arrested suspects and exhibits are in custody of Operation Pulo Shield for preliminary investigation before further action by prosecuting agencies.
Rt. Hon Kombowei Benson has been sworn in as the Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly.
Benson, who occupied the position as Speaker of the House, was sacked by the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, over election petition appeal by the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ebifaghe Orunimighe.
He got re-elected during the March 5 rerun poll to represent Southern Ijaw constituency 4 in the House.
Having received his Certificate of Return from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Yenagoa, along with Hon Ogbere Micheal representing Ekeremor constituency 3, they were first readmitted into the Bayelsa State House of Assembly.
One of the lawmakers, Hon Tonye Isenah, then moved the motion for Kombowei Benson to be made the Speaker of the House and a unanimous voice vote of ‘yes’ sealed the election.
Speaking with journalists immediately after taking his oath to serve as Speaker of the House, Mr Benson pledged his commitment to the development of Rivers State. He also addressed the issue of the absence of other persons who were supposed to be sworn in to the House as directed by the courts.
The event made it a record third time, Mr Kombowei Benson has been sworn in as the Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly.
The Independent National Electoral Commission in Bayelsa State has issued Certificates of Return to the candidates who won the March 5 House of Assembly rerun elections conducted in the state.
The rerun elections, which was conducted in Ekeremor constituency 3 and Southern Ijaw constituency 4, was sequel to and in compliance with the orders of the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt division.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner, Bayelsa State, Barr Austin Okojie, who presented the Certificates of Return to the successful candidates, said that with the rerun, INEC introduced some innovations in the area of distribution of sensitive materials and collation of results.
Mr Ogbere Micheal won the Ekeremor constituency 3 while Kombowei Benson, won in Southern Ijaw constituency 4.
After receiving their certificates, both men promised to take the dividends of democracy to their constituents.
The Deputy Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Timi Frank, has urged authorities to ensure that those who perpetrated violence in Saturday’s supplementary election in Bayelsa State, must face the wrath of the law.
Speaking at a news conference in Abuja on Monday, the APC Deputy spokesman said that the culprits, who caused mayhem in the Southern Ijaw supplementary election, must be prosecuted irrespective of political affiliation.
Mr Frank added that the Bayelsa polls’ results were proof that the APC was not desperate to seize power at all costs and that the Buhari-led administration is serious about fulfilling its promise of conducting credible elections in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, The Director of Communication for the APC Campaign Organisation, Nathan Egba, had earlier declared that the APC in Bayelsa State, had challenged the return of Governor Seriake Dickson in the just concluded election, saying the whole process appeared untidy.
Mr Egba attributed the victory of Governor Dickson to manipulation of results announced by the Returning Officer of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Governor Seriake Dickson has attributed his election victory to the people of Bayelsa State.
Speaking to Channels Television’s political correspondent, Seun Okinbaloye, Mr Dickson thanked the people for their support and vowed to implement more socio-economic reforms.
“We are very grateful to the people of Bayelsa for their abiding loyality, trust and confidence in me and in our party and on the government’s programmes that we have been able to execute in the past going to four years now.
“I believe that all powers come from God alone. I want to also use this opportunity to thank God almighty who has made it possible and at all times has enabled me to overcome challenges,” he said
Speaking on the challenges he faced during the election, Governor Dickson said that he was sure of victory from the beginning of the entire process, adding that getting the residents to vote for him was not the challenge.
“The challenge was the interposition of other factors which are also critical, crucial for political victory. I am a party in opposition in my state and we have a lot of issues to contend with in areas where I have no control, that was where the challenge came from. The challenge was never from the people.
“I have always had direct contact with the people and I know the people have always been by me. Do not forget I have contested several elections in this state and I have always won all, so I knew that this was not an election to be bothered about.
“I want to thank God, thank the people of Bayelsa for finding me worthy again and investing their confidence in spite of all those challenges and renewing my mandate.”
“I believe that INEC tried to do a good job. There were lapses here and there but generally speaking, INEC tried. I want to call for more support for INEC. From my experience in this exercise, INEC needs the support of all to improve on the card reader.
“The card reader is a right way to go, our nation made the right investment in it and I think we should work with INEC to perfect it so that you do not have any cases of people coming with armed hoodlums to hijack materials and then thinking that they will just fill the forms and return for collation. That is nonsensical, that is terrorism.
“That is what has taken place and you have been in this state, you are aware of the deaths that have taken place, those killed by hoodlums and thugs, those whose houses have been burnt.
“These are important issues I will like to work with the Federal Government to address, particularly the federal law enforcement agencies.
“We had a peaceful community attacked and razed down and no arrest was made. The hoodlum is known, those who sponsored it are known and it is like that all over.
“We cannot let that be and that cannot be the Nigeria we will build together. So I want to work with the Federal Government to ensure that peace, law and order as well as security return once again to Bayelsa.
The agent of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the collation centre in Yenagoa, Mr Dennis Otiotio has condemned INEC’s announcement of Governor Seriake Dickson as winner of the Bayelsa election.
Speaking ton Sunday evening during Channels Television’s programme, Politics Today, Mr Otiotio described the decision to announce the results as a disregard for the electoral process.
He said, “The process started with an abuse of the process from the PDP to this point, even at this point, because provision 26 of the Electoral Act is very clear.
“It says that where the difference between the winner and runner up is less than total votes cancelled, the returning officer is not supposed to make a return.
“In this case, the total votes cancelled is about 53, 000 votes while the difference between PDP and APC is 48,146. In this circumstance, the returning officer is not supposed to declare any winner.
“We have about 10 National Commissioners and two Resident Commissioners here with him but he has gone ahead, in flagrant disregard to Section 26 of the Electoral Act, to declare the winner.
“We have made protest of several issues; the undue discretional powers exercised by the ad-hoc staff in cancelling the areas where APC won. Secondly, the process of delivering the materials, the hijacking, the widespread violence that took place in Ekeremo, especially the Ward 12 materials that were hijacked, in Southern Ijaw, several materials were hijacked, they never arrived at their destination, and results were filled and brought here.”
Mr Otiotio, who said that he had refused to append his signature on the result, further claimed that a rerun should have been ordered in places where election was cancelled.
“What the returning officer should have done was to order for a rerun in the areas that were cancelled because they cancelled a total of 53,000 votes while the difference between PDP and APC is 48,000.
“When they said people should come and sign (you saw me), I went up, I did not sign and I told them ‘tell the board what was the total number of votes cancelled so that everybody will know’ but they refused to announce the total number of votes cancelled.
“If you are following, you will see that local government by local government, they were announcing the number of votes cancelled and when you sum them up, you will get 53,000.
“The thing was a trap from the beginning, it was designed from the beginning to fail, to rig APC out, and it was designed from the beginning to make PDP win,” he said.
The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Seriake Dickson was on Sunday, January 10, 2016, declared winner of the Bayelsa State governorship election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Mr Dickson polled 134,998 votes to emerge winner of the election while the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Timipre Sylva, scored 86,852 votes to place second.
The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Seriake Dickson has been declared winner of the Bayelsa State governorship election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Mr Dickson polled 134,998 votes to emerge winner of the election. Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Timipre Sylva, scored 86,852 votes to place second.
“Henry Dickson Seriake, having satisfied the requirements of the law and scored the highest number of votes, is hereby declared the winner and is returned elected. This is signed by the returning officer dated this 10th day of January 2016,” the Returning Officer said.
After taking results from four local government areas where governorship rerun election was held in Bayelsa State, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) commenced the collation of the final results in the early hours of Sunday between 12:00am and 2:00am local time.
After the results from Ogbia were announced, the electoral body said it would take a break and reconvene in the morning by 11:00am.
In the declared results, the All Progressives Congress (APC) scored 448 votes in Yenagoa LGA while the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) polled 839.
In Brass LGA, APC had 1,679 and the PDP got 5. In Sagbama LGA, APC scored 119 , PDP, 180 while APC had 139 in Ogbia LGA with PDP polling 1,290 votes.
On resumption, it was declared that in Ekeremor Local Government Area, the PDP polled a total of 2,695 votes, while the APC recorded 257 votes.
In Nembe, the PDP had 1,160 votes while the APC polled 1, 400 votes.
The result for Southern Ijaw was finally announced on Sunday evening around 7:00PM local time. The PDP scored a total of 23,081 votes, while APC scored 10,216.
The collation officer also reported that elections did not take place in Kolana Ward 17 because voting materials arrived very late and had to be returned.
Speaking on Sunday evening during Channels Television’s programme, Politics Today, Mr Otiotio described the decision to announce the results as a disregard for the electoral process.
“The process started with an abuse of the process from the PDP to this point, even at this point, because provision 26 of the Electoral Act is very clear.
“It says that where the difference between the winner and runner up is less than total votes cancelled, the returning officer is not supposed to make a return.
“In this case, the total votes cancelled is about 53, 000 votes while the difference between PDP and APC is 48,146. In this circumstance, the returning officer is not supposed to declare any winner,” he said.
INEC had revised its guidelines for the re-run of the governorship election in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
The Commission said all the parties had given their consent to the revised guidelines, which it believes would help to fast-track the exercise on Saturday, January 9.
According to the new document, accreditation and voting will go on simultaneously.
“Severe Militant Activities”
The INEC had in December 2015 declared the Bayelsa election inconclusive after it rescheduled the governorship election in Southern Ijaw for January 9.
Professor Mustapha Leki announced the rescheduled election at the headquarters of INEC in Yenagoa, the capital of the State.
He said the INEC experienced major disturbances and challenges in a number of places, especially the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area.
“These were occasioned as a result of severe militant activities. As a result of this development and working in conjunction with security agencies, our first concern is to take steps to stabilise the situation to ensure the safety of electoral officials and the security of materials,” he told reporters.
While the incumbent governor said he had set up a judicial commission of enquiry to examine the alleged violence and thuggery during the governorship election, the APC candidate said the action of the election umpire was a rape on democracy that had denied the people of Bayelsa the right to choose their leaders.
It has been quite hectic in Bayelsa State where agents of political parties are at loggerheads over results so far released by the returning officer in the Bayelsa supplementary elections.
It has been drama at the collation centre where agents of the PDP and APC have made several allegations of malpractice.
One of the agents also tried to provoke the returning officer. But he calmly managed the situation.
After the announcement of the results from polling units in Ekeremor Local Government Area, the APC’s agent described the process as flawed.
He said his party had written a petition detailing electoral malpractices, and demanded that the state returning officer attend to the petition first.
However, the PDP agent insisted that the APC had hijacked the votes they scored in the local government and demanded that they should be cancelled.
In Nembe Local Government Area, results were cancelled in three units of Kolo Asiri ward.
According to the INEC returning officer for Nembe, the cancellation in two of the units was owing to non-use of the card reader, while one unit was cancelled because of over-voting.
The APC agent objected to the reason of card-reader failure given for cancellation of the results in those units. He insisted that the local government collation had exercised undue jurisdiction in cancelling the results.