Category Archives: South-South

Activist Eholor threatens to drag Gov Obaseki to court as security deteriorates in Edo

Chief Patriot Patrick Eholor, a human right activist has threatened to drag Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki to court over the insecurity issues at verious parts of the state especially Benin City, the state capital.

He said it is becoming worrisome that inhabitants of the state now live at the mercy of hoodlums over robbery, kidnapping and cult clashes which has led to the lose of lives since October last year.

According to the president of One Love Foundation, “Edo as a state has now being hijacked by hoodlums who have continued to operate freely as robbers, kidnappers or cultists. People are being robbed on daily basis, POS operators, market women at various quarters, drivers and passengers are left to their faith. We have never had it bad like this as a state.

He also said “Nigerians should know their rights, especially my Edo people. If anybody is killed or kidnapped again in Edo State, I will sue the governor because he collects security votes. So I will ask him what he is using the security votes for, because it is a constitutional matter, very clear that the government is suppose to protect us as citizens.

“All we want is a safe Edo State where investors can come in and do business any day any time. We need jobs to be created for our teeming youths. Politics aside, the governor should do better”, he added.

COVID-19 2nd wave: 39 Edo health workers infected in 72 hours

The Edo State Government has said 39 healthcare workers in the state have been infected with the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease in the last 72 hours.

Permanent Secretary, Edo State Ministry of Health, Dr. Osamwonyi Irowa, during a press briefing in Benin City, said case management for critical care is being strengthened to ensure effective management of severe cases of COVID-19.

He expressed worry over the increasing rate of infection among healthcare workers in the state who are critical to the fight against the spread of the disease, noting, “We have the challenge of healthcare workers infected with COVID-19. In the last 72 hours, we have had 39 healthcare workers infected with the virus.

“This is critical to us because they are in the frontline taking care of persons who have tested positive or not positive. It is important and necessary to ensure that they are duly protected and comply with the COVID-19 protocols.”

He said the 39 health workers who have tested positive in the last 72 hours are from the various healthcare centres managing active cases in the state.

“It is our duty to pull the infected healthcare workers out of the system so that they will not infect others.

“We are doing everything possible to ensure that the healthcare workers are protected by way of ensuring the use of appropriate PPEs. We also urge them to follow the protocols already designed and being implemented in Edo State.”

“The State has procured additional PPEs for distribution to health facilities across the State to address rising healthcare workers’ infection and decontamination of facilities affected with strict measures to ensure compliance to standard precaution and other IPC preventive measures,” Irowa added.

Obaseki parleys US govt, private investors on agribusiness drive, targets $32m investment outlay

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has said his government is focused on building the capacity of the people to attract private investments in agro-industrialization.Obaseki speaking during a virtual meeting with the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, high-ranking US government officials and agribusiness investors, said the focus of his administration on agribusiness development is to attract investors into the oil palm sector as well as production and processing of cassava into high value Consumer-Packaged Goods (CPG).This is as a private investor, Fayus Inc., secured 5000 ha in the state for a plantation, commenced the development of nurseries for oil palm 600,000 seedlings and fast tracking on processing CPG for export.Governor Obaseki stated that efforts to reposition the agricultural sector in his first term in office shifted from lamentation to getting the job done by instituting the framework for the Edo State Oil Palm Programme (ESOPP) in support of oil palm value chain development in the state.He said: “At the sub-national tier of government, we have focused on moving from lamentation to getting the job done. This paradigm shift in the establishment of the EDSOPP will now include a move towards renewed focus on Cassava Industrialization Programme through land administration and civil service reforms.”“We want to build the capacity of our people to attract private investments in agro-industrialization,” the governor added.During the parley, agribusiness investors including Fayus Inc., among others present committed to investing $43.7 million in industrial food ingredients and CPG cassava value creation, food science and technology knowledge transfer and increased trade and investment inflows between the United States, Nigeria and other ECOWAS countries.The firm further disclosed plans to invest over $32 million in cassava value creation in Nigeria and an additional $18 million in Ghana and Togo with support of the USAID funded West Africa Trade and Investment Hub (WATIH).The chairman of Fayus Inc., Fatai Yusufu, noted: “We are ready to get the job done in Nigeria and in Edo State. Over the next four years, I promise you, we will be milling oil palm in Edo State from our investment in the newly allocated 5,000 Ha land by Governor Obaseki’s administration.”Fayus is one of six new oil palm investors in Edo State with state-of-the-art nurseries boasting of over 600,000 high-performance seedlings ready for planting by 2021.“Fayus is committed to sustainable cassava supply chain infrastructure development and value creation in Nigeria to meet its latent demand of 50,000 MT High-Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF) for export to North American, European, and Australian markets in addition to in-country manufacturing of CPG in Nigeria and the United States.”

Kidnapping: Prof Ayade demolishes 4 houses, brothel in Calabar

Cross River State Governor, Prof Ben Ayade on Monday came hard on criminals, as he began another phase of demolition of properties belonging to suspected kidnappers within the Calabar Metropolis.

The exercise was part of the governor’s warning last year during the launch of a crack security outfit code-named Operation Akpakwu in December.

Gov Ayade had warned that any house harbouring criminals including kidnappers, child traffickers would be demolished and the exercise started last year in Calabar with over 15 houses demolished so far.

Speaking with newsmen on Monday shortly after the demolition of five houses, State Security Adviser (Southern Senatorial district) to Governor Ayade, Henry Okokon said the exercise was in fulfilment of the warning by the governor to criminals to either change or leave the state.

Okokon said governor Ayade had earlier warned landlords who were harbouring criminals to either quit them or face the full wrath of the law which included demolition of their property.

According to him, the demolition exercise which was a continuous process was to serve as a deterrent to both landlords and criminals that Calabar and Cross River as a whole was no longer a safe haven for any criminal.

Speaking further he said five houses including a flat, 2 twin duplexes, and a brothel were among some of the properties belonging to high profile Kidnap suspects and a child trafficker who specializes in using underaged kids for prostitution.

His words: “This is part of the activities of Operation Akpakwu, a special force set up by Gov Ayade to fight crime especially kidnapping. When we get intelligence, we process it and take decisive action, it is no longer business as usual as the governor warned that they either leave or rot in jail.

Some of the demolished houses belonged to kidnap suspects who have been declared wanted by security agencies as well as the Cross River State government.

COVID-19: Edo records 72 new cases in 72 hours, 143 health workers infected

Edo State has recorded 72 new cases of coronavirus in the last 72 hours, even as the number of health workers infected with the virus has risen to 143 in the state, in the wake of the second wave of the pandemic.

The Edo State COVID-19 Incident Manager, Dr. Andrew Obi, disclosed this in a virtual meeting of the State COVID-19 Taskforce, chaired by the state governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki.

He said the 72 new cases recorded in the last 72 hours were reported from a total of 640 samples collected within the time frame, adding that the state currently has 306 active cases.

He added that within the 72-hour period, there were 34 new recoveries and three new deaths.

According to him, “44 of the 72 new cases were reported at the Real-Time PCR Laboratory at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) while 28 were reported at Laboratory at the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH).”

Noting that the number of health workers infected have increased significantly, he said, “143 healthcare workers have been infected since the outbreak of the second wave of COVID-19 in the state. 110 of them are workers at ISTH, while 33 are staff of UBTH.”

He said since the outbreak of the second wave in the first week of December, the state has recorded 565 confirmed cases, with 248 recoveries and 15 deaths.

Dr. Obi added that there has been a 73.3 percent rise in numerical death of elderly persons, constituting two thirds of the total death recorded in the state from COVID-19.

Delta State Ministry Of Education Cancels Transfer of Teachers

Delta State Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education has cancelled the recent transfer of over 4,500 secondary school teachers across the state by the Post Primary Education Board (PPEB).

The Commissioner in charge of the ministry, Mr. Patrick Ukah, in a statement in Asaba said that with the increasing rate of COVID-19 infections across the country, which have already affected the adjusted academic calendar, transferring teacher at this time will lead to further loss of academic hours as the affected teachers will need time to adjust and settle down in their new schools.

He therefore directed the PPEB to cancel the posting immediately and called on the affected teachers to remain in their duty posts as students return back to school for second term academic activities on Monday, 18th January 2021.

Mr. Ukah assured that the state government is working round the clock to put necessary measures in place to curtail the spread of the disease in the state, especially among pupils, students and teachers.

University of Calabar announces resumption date for students

The Senate of the University of Calabar (UNICAL) under the leadership of the Vice Chancellor, Prof Florence Obi, has announced the 5th of February, 2021 as the date of resumption for the 2019/2020 Academic Session.

The Vice Chancellor said the date was carefully chosen to give Management sufficient time to effect repairs in the hostels arising from the vandalisation of facilities during the #EndSARS rampage that adversely affected the institution.

Prof Florence Obi said all students are to resume on the 5th of February, 2021, while lectures will commence on 8th February, 2021.

The University had earlier commenced renovation of its male and female hostels in other to kick-start academic activities after one year of absence.

The hostels are mainly those located a Malabor, male and female hostels respectively.

Militants attack shipyard in Akwa Ibom over failure to pay N20m settlement

Suspected militants on Monday attacked facilities at the new Norfin Offshore Shipyard located at the boundary shoreline of Ikot Ukpong in Oruk Anam Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.

This followed the company’s alleged inability to allegedly settle them with the sum of N20m.

The attacks, it was gathered, led to the postponement of the commissioning of the shipyard initially billed for January 23, 2021 to January 30, by the Governor Udom Emmanuel

The armed men reportedly arrived at the yard at about 5am, shot sporadically to scare off security workers around the site before unleashing their explosives into the multimillion naira dredging facility of the company.

Chairman of the facility, Engr. Iniekong Charles Udonwa, who briefed newsmen at the site, condemned the damage done to facilities at the shipyard by the suspected militant group from Ogoni part of Rivers State.

According to Udonwa, “they said we cannot start any business with the government of Akwa Ibom without settling them.

“They kept telling our staff to tell the government of Akwa Ibom to reach out to them since they are in charge of both Rivers and Akwa Ibom States. Where do they expect me to get N20m naira from to give them after destroying our machine worth N60 million?”

He said he felt discouraged and demoralised by the incident adding that he was contemplating taking his investment elsewhere.

“The investment was borne out of my desire to contribute to the development of the State by providing employment opportunities for her teeming youths.

“At the last count, over 100 staff are working at the Shipyard with 4 of them from neighbouring Rivers State.” He said.

Engr. Udonwa appealed for a prompt intervention from the State government to forestall a recurrence of the ugly incident.

He however said the decision to postpone the date of the launch was regrettable and apologize for the inconveniences.

Budget Transparency: Bayelsa did not benefit in N123.34 bn 2020 grant to states – Commissioner

The Bayelsa government on Friday said that the current administration did not participate in the 2020 budget transparency assessment by the federal government, and therefore dismissed reports that the state failed to meet set criteria.

Mr Ayiba Duba, Commissioner for Information, Orientation and Strategy in Bayelsa said in Yenagoa that the current administration in the State only came into office on Feb. 14, 2020.

He explained that the state was in transition mode as at January 2020 when the assessment was conducted and could not have participated when its 2020 budget was passed in March 2020,after the assessment had been concluded.

Recall that Gov. Douye Diri was sworn in on Feb. 14, a day after the Supreme Court sacked the erstwhile governor-elect of Bayelsa , David Lyon, and his deputy, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo.

Lyon’s election was nullified because his deputy submitted forged certificates to the Independent National Electoral Commision.

Duba, who described media reports that Bayelsa did not meet the eligibility criteria for the funds as erroneous, noted that Bayelsa government gives priority to transparency and accountability in the management of public funds.

“The report that Bayelsa State did not benefit from the N123.34 billion recently disbursed to thirty-two states under the Federal Governments States Fiscal Transparency Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme for Result because the state did not meet the eligibility criteria is inaccurate and misleading.

“The claim could not have been the truth because Bayelsa did not participate in the selection process.

“It is an open secret that Bayelsa was in transition for the larger part of 2019.

“The administration assumed office in February, 2020 and the budget was not passed until March long after the SFTAS condition for benefiting in the funds had expired.

“It is therefore impossible to have published the budget online in January.

“However, the 2021 budget was passed in compliance with the SFTAS.

“The citizenry is assured that the prosperity administration of Sen. Douye Diri is committed to fiscal transparency and accountability,” Duba said.

On the outstanding pension liability, Duba said the Diri who has been offsetting the pension areas since he came on board, has released an additional sum of N500 million in addition to the N150 million for pensions in January.

“Bayelsa State Government is deeply committed to the welfare and wellbeing of its citizenry particularly those who have invested their productive years in the service of our state and will continue to do things that will ameliorate their condition.

“The people of Bayelsa are encouraged to continue to support the prosperity administration of Gov. Douye Diri as the movement on the path of development has commenced,” Duba said.

Gunmen invade Bayelsa community, shoot sporadically, burn houses

There was pandemonium yesterday as unknown gunmen invaded Ogila-ama community in Opuoama Kingdom in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

According to community sources, the gunmen stormed the community in three speed boats and began to shoot sporadically ostensibly to instill fear into the people before they proceeded to set some buildings in the community ablaze.

Pastor Lorhi-bolouikie Ogoro, a native of the Ogila-ama, community but resident in Yenagoa said people of the community living in Yenagoa have been inundated with calls over the attack and the palpable fear in the community.

According to him people in the community said before gaining access into the community, the gunmen who came in three boats, shot sporadically.

Mr Ogoro appealed to the state government to come to the community’s rescue and arrest the situation.

The spokesperson of the Bayelsa State Police Command, Asinim Butswat who confirmed the attack disclosed that the Commissioner of Police, Mike Okoli, has despatched detectives to ascertain the situation of things.

The invasion of Ogila-ama is the most recent community coming under attack in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

Peremabiri community was attacked four times in a space of one month before the state government intervened in the crisis between different factions in the community.