- No Dialogue, Niger Delta Problems Already Known
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday openly acknowledged that the Niger Delta zone has been neglected, promising to establish a roadmap for the development of the oil-rich region.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who spoke on behalf of the president at Gbaramatu kingdom in Delta State said he was on a fact-finding tour of the region. Osinbajo later met with leaders, youths and women of Urhobo, Ndokwa, Itsekiri and Ijaw ethnic nationalities at the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) conference centre in Effurun. At the meeting, the vice president said there was really no need for dialogue with the region as the problems of the area had been well documented and presented to the presidency by the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) led by Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, and what was needed now was action.
The visit was a means of restoring confidence in the Niger Delta. It has become crucial in view of the fact that the region needs to be given an assurance of the government’s understanding of its plight and the urgent need to alleviate it. Such an assurance is what is needed to stabilise the region for the production of crude oil on which the economy depends. However, it was expected that much more impact would have been made if the president were there himself.
Osinbajo said at the meeting that the Niger Delta must prepare for a better future devoid of the negative activities that characterised oil exploration in the region.
He said to ensure a better future for the region, all the stakeholders, including state governments and Federal Government must sit down and formulate a roadmap. He said the Buhari administration would leave a legacy that all Niger Deltans would be proud of.
“I’m here as an emissary of the president and I’m here as a citizen of the country and brother to you. I have come with a message and it is a short one. We must prepare for the future. The Niger Delta that we see today is an area of poor infrastructure; a few schools and hospitals.
“In the Niger Delta today, there are signboards of projects that are abandoned all over the place. The Niger Delta is a special region which we have all benefited from and should be treated as a special region.”
Earlier, the spokesman of Gbaramatu kingdom, Chief Godspower Gbenekama said there was so much expectation that the visit of the president would be a game-changer in the region
“We wish to express our profound appreciation for this visit which we believe should represent a game-changer, coming at a time of national economic recession and when the Niger Delta, especially Gbaramatu kingdom, has become more endangered and feeling estranged from the Nigerian nation.
“We believe that this visit will truly build confidence of the people of Gbaramatu kingdom and the Niger Delta in the Federal Government to go beyond hitherto frustrating rhetoric, not just in developing but according dignity and pride of place to the oil-rich region. Indeed, Gbaramatu Kingdom is tall and rich in national oil infrastructure that enriches the nation but lamentably lacking in infrastructure that benefits the people.”
Also, a group under the auspices of the Transparency in Petroleum Exploration Initiative (TIPEDI) called on the Federal Government to revoke all illegally acquired oil block licences in the Niger Delta.
It specifically urged President Buhari and the security agencies as well as the petroleum industry regulatory agencies and the National Assembly to urgently scrutinise and terminate most of the other OML transactions entered into by the former Petroleum Minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Maduekwe.
The group’s stand, however contradicted the position of the Ijaw Youth Congress (IYC) which decried the singling out of the Malabu oil deal for probe, saying it was disheartening that while the other oil blocks awarded the same time and through the same process were left untouched, the Malabu oil deal had been subjected to sustained probe because it was owned by a Niger Deltan.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts has given the Ministry of Niger Delta a 48-hour ultimatum to furnish it with the financial details of the East West road project that runs from Delta State through Bayelsa and Rivers States to Akwa Ibom State.
The committee led by its chairman, Kingsley Chinda at an investigative hearing with government officials, expressed regrets that the ministry had been denying lawmakers the opportunity to see the project’s contract agreement and relevant documents.
At their last meeting, the committee had demanded the documents, which the ministry had been unable to present, even as the ministry officials led by its Permanent Secretary, Mr. Nwankwo Alo claimed that the agreement was within reach.
Alo, however, said the 48 hours were too short to reproduce the documents in 40 copies, considering their sensitive nature and volume.
He said: “As I speak with you, there is no light to reproduce the documents for you in 48 hours. We will therefore plead for two weeks, considering the volume of the documents you are asking and their quality.”
Insisting on compliance with its directive, Chinda announced members’ willingness to conduct an assessment tour of the project after their next meeting with the officials to ensure that the committee is not misled by the documents provided by the ministry. The next hearing has been slated for Monday next week.
Nigeria Immigration Service Reopens Portal With New Passport Application and Payment Process
The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has announced the reopening of its passport application and payment portal.
The assistant comptroller of immigration, Mr Amos Okpu announced in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.
In the statement, Mr Muhammad Babandede, the Comptroller-General of the service, said the portal became effective for new applications from 12 midnight on Tuesday.
Babandede further said that the portal would allow eligible applicants to apply and make payments for the various categories of passports of their choice.
Mr Muhammad Babandede explained that with the reopening of the portal, a new passport application and payment regime had begun.
The statement in full:
“The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (CGI), Muhammad Babandede MFR, has announced the reopening of the Passport application and payment portal effective 8th June 2021 by 12 midnight to allow eligible Passport applicants to apply and make payments for the various categories of Passports of their choice.
The Passport portal was closed following the directives of the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on the 17th of May, 2021to afford the Service the opportunity to clear all backlogs of applications that have piled up across Issuing Centres in the past few months.
With the reopening of the portal, a new Passport application and payment regime have commenced. Under the new Passport regime;
Applications and payments for Passport services shall be made through the Service website www.immigration.gov.ng;
- applicants are expected to visit the portal to apply and upload their support documents for vetting and processing;
- a chat room facility to guide applicants through the application and payment process has been provided on the portal;
- upon successful applications, applicants shall make their online booking interview/enrollment appointment on any day, time and location they consider convenient;
- that the new timeline for Passport production and issuance after a successful enrollment at the selected Issuing Centre shall be six weeks for Fresh applications and three weeks for Re-issue (Renewal applications);
- that no applicant who is yet to make an online application and payment shall be allowed into any of the Passport Issuing Centres for Passport processing;
- applicants will be contacted through email and phone number they provided during application when their Passports are ready;
- a helpline with the number 08021819988 has been provided for feedback mechanism on any challenges.
The Comptroller General, Muhammad Babandede MFR wishes to use this medium to call on Nigerians and indeed Passport applicants to avoid patronizing touts as the entire process has been made seamless for effective and efficient service delivery. He warned Passport racketeers to desist from acts capable of undermining the reform efforts to avoid very strict sanctions.
Signed AMOS OKPU MNIPR
ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER OF IMMIGRATION
SERVICE PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER
For: COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF IMMIGRATION 8TH JUNE, 2021″
INEC To Publish The List Of New Polling Units Next Week
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has pledged to publish a comprehensive list of its new polling units across the nation next week.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja.
Yakubu was speaking at the formal handing over of a new state of the art fire truck, deployed to the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja by the Federal Fire Service (FFS).
He said that details of the locations of its registration centers and the procedure for the commencement of online registration for resumption of nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) would be made available in the second week of May.
He expressed appreciation of the commission to the FFS and all security agencies for the demonstration of their support to protecting INEC facilities
He said that the support was coming on the eve of the resumption of the CVR nationwide in the next three weeks.
“We earlier assured Nigerians that we shall conclude work on the expansion of voter access to polling units and make the new polling units available to citizens ahead of the CVR exercise.
“I am glad to report that we have accomplished this task for the first time in 25 years.
“A comprehensive list of the new polling units will be published next week.
“Similarly, details of the locations of the registration centers and the procedure for the commencement of online registration will also be made available after a series of regular consultative meetings with stakeholders next week,” Yakubu said.
He said that as a member of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) FFS had been as concerned as other security agencies about the recent attacks on our offices across the country.
“This is particularly so because out of the 42 attacks on our facilities nationwide, 18 incidents resulted from arson and three more by a combination of arson and vandalisation.”
Yakubu recalled that concerned by those incidents, the commission convened an emergency meeting of ICCES last week of April, where the security agencies renewed their determination to collaborate more with the commission.
According to him, they pledged to assist the commission address the challenge beyond the routine protection of INEC assets and the security of its officials, voters, observers, the media, candidates and their agents during elections.
“On its part, the Federal Fire Service offered to deploy an additional state-of-the-art fire engine to the INEC headquarters to complement the two existing trucks.
“At the same time, it directed its state offices to take additional protective measures around other INEC facilities nationwide.
“Today’s inauguration of the new fire engine is another affirmation of the support to the commission from the FFS whose personnel, already deployed permanently to the commission
“The personnel will continue to operate and maintain the fire engines and other firefighting equipment installed by INEC,” Yakubu said.
Speaking earlier, the Controller-General (CG) of FFS, Alhaji Liman Ibrahim said the deployment of the firefighting truck was premised on recent fire attacks on INEC offices in different parts of the country.
Ibrahim, represented by the Assistant Controller-General of the service, Mr Samson Karebo, said the deployed truck would serve as fire cover for the premises of INEC headquarters and the entire Maitama vicinity of Abuja.
“The FFS is taking this step as a proactive measure to protect our critical infrastructure and help to protect our economy by forming synergy with all stakeholders in protecting our environments.
“Our center is focused on bringing firefighting operations to every part of the country as part of our statutory duties by having a presence in virtually every state in Nigeria
“The FFS will very soon be moving into all senatorial headquarters in the country. That is how we want to operate for now so that we can touch every corner of this country,” Ibrahim said.
He called for the cooperation of all for the service to better serve the nation by not molesting FFS staff in the line of duty.
In his remarks, the National Security Adviser (NSA) retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, who is also Co-Chair of ICCES, described the deployment of the truck as a demonstration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to sustain Nigeria’s democracy and address insecurity.
Monguno said that the gesture also symbolised commitment to a clear affirmation of Buhari toward protecting institutions of government, toward securing their property, toward fighting acts of irresponsibility, vandalisation and outright criminality.
“The President is determined as much as he can within the confines of legality to suppress any kind of criminality and destruction of public property.
“This is something that he is determined to do regardless of whatever the challenges are.
“He will apply all the resources in his disposal in his capacity as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces to ensure the wider Nigerian society is safe, stable and is allowed to carry out its legitimate undertaking, free from any act of insecurity,” he said
Monguno urged all other security agencies not to relent in ensuring that they continued to protect lives and property.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Usman Baba pledged commitment to security agencies to work with INEC and protect INEC’s facilities, citizens’ life and property.
Also at the occasion was the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, represented by Director of Joint Services, Mr Peter Obodo; as well as the representative of Director-General, Directorate of State Services, Tony Adikweruka.
Recovered Assets: Ad-hoch Committee Gives Emefiele, Others 72 Hours Ultimatum
The House of Representatives ad-hoc committee, investigating recovered assets, has given the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, 72 hours to appear before it.
The committee also issued same ultimatum to the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali, and the Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Bashir Jamoh.
The summon was issued on Monday, after Mr Emefiele and the others failed to appear before the committee.
The government officials had sent representatives, but the committee chairman, Adejoro Adeogun (APC, Ondo), said they failed to forward letters to that effect.
He said allowing representatives without a proper letter of introduction would be akin to allowing “impersonators.”
“You are indirectly insulting the House of Representatives. You are undermining the House of Representatives,” an angry Mr Adeogun said.
Moving a motion to give the agencies 72hours to appear before the committee, Ibrahim Isiaka (APC, Ogun), said the agencies created by Acts of the parliament “should not be undermining the parliament”.
The motion was unanimously adopted by the committee.
Mr Isiaka suggested that the House should shut down its activities if the agencies fail to appear before them.
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