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GOVERNOR DICKSON IN SOUTHERN IJAW

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Dickson braved the waves to Southern Ijaw, as12,000 youths vow to end kidnapping, piracy
The November 11 to 13 tours of communities in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area afforded the Bayelsa State governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson an opportunity to further feel the pulse of the people and get first hand feed backfrom the communities. A significant part of the tour was the denouncing of kidnapping and piracy in the whole of the local government.
Speakers after speakers at the rally in Oporoma, the council headquarters were unanimous in praising the Countryman Governor for developing the state and restoring peace to the once volatile state. Prominent ex-agitators such as Pastor Reuben, and Joshua Makaiva said aside his developmental strides in Southern Ijaw, the governor has projected the dignity of the Ijaw nation. They declared; ‘‘Dickson is an embodiment of the Ijaw man, and based on his development stride, the crowning glory of which is the Anyama bridge, we have mobilized over 12, 000 youths, and we have resolved that as from today, there will be no kidnapping and piracy on the waters of Southern Ijaw. “
This came as news filtered in same Friday that the youth leader and 29 other APC members in Otuan ward in Southern Ijaw have defected to PDP.
In an interactive session with journalists, minutes before he rode on okada to the mega rally at Oporoma open field, Dickson said he deliberately chose to visit the communities for firsthand assessment to enable him assess their needs, and serve them better during his second term. .
His Words: “I am appreciative of the people of Southern Ijaw for coming out enmass to receive me and my entourage. I am also aware of their demands and I am committed towards addressing them, as well as complete all on-going projects in the state.”
He did not leave each community the same way he met it. At all the communities visited, the governor who was overwhelmingly received with gifts and chieftaincy titles, also reciprocated with either commissioning of projects, requests affirmed and promises made..
While almost all the communities got their prayers answered, others have his words especially in the areas of appointments and further infrastructural development. .
The success story is same from Olugbobiri on Wednesday to Koluama 2 through Korokorosei, to Peremabiri where he was decorated as The Peacemaker 1 of Pere Kingdom, Okpotuarri, Lobia 2 and Ekowe among others on Thursday. The campaign train continued at exactly 12.40pm from Opuama on Friday to Eniwari by 1. 45pm, Aguobiri – 2.40pm, Igeibiri in Terakiri clan at about 3.18pm, Oweikorogha (where he stopped briefly by 4.05pm) to Angiama then Oporoma at 5.49. .
Expectedly, like a well-rehearsed script, each community showered the governor with encomium after reeling out his government’s presence in their communities, and reeled out their demands. The governor in his usual style took on each demand and made his pronouncement. At the palace of HRH, N.S. Orianzi, the Ebinanaowei of Olodiama clan, Dickson who was decorated and presented with a sword, had in response to their numerous demands said, “Olugbobiri is my in-laws’ community. I have awarded contract for more inner roads. By the end of this month you will see the contractors as they will be mobilized to site.”
After hailing the governor for being miles ahead of his predecessors in the state in terms of infrastructure development, appointments of theirs sons and daughters into prominent positions, the community spokesperson, Col. Ronald Yeikorogha stated that their demands were, “third inner road, upgrading of the cottage hospital to a full-fledged health centre, more appointment position among others.”
In Koluama, the governor’s instant solution to their pathetic erosion story brought relief to the troubled community, They are one of the three APK (Apoi, Basan and Kaloama) communities who were once a clan that was almost washed off in 1952 disastrous erosion which has now separated them into three clan. While Apoi and Basan have since respectively gotten official recognitions as clans, Kaloama is not.
But Dickson came and made their day as the governor declared thus: “You have asked for a number of things. Kaloama is hereby recognized as a clan. All necessary process will be given express attention to enable you take your rightful place in the state. I will liaise with relevant agencies to tackle the situation and save this beautiful town.”
A prominent son of the town and former agitator for a better Niger Delta, Makaiva had earlier in his speech declared that, “We are one hundred percent PDP. There is no vacancy in the whole Kaloama. We have since 1999 remained wholly in PDP”
Dickson also commissioned a road project at Korokorosei, home town of the Speaker of the state house of assembly. At Opuama, their spokesman, Chief Okoko Stample said, “Since 1999, we have been PDP all through. We have resolved to vote you back for a second term. We believe in you as we are living witnesses to your lofty achievements in all sectors of the state”
He however lamented that in spite of their loyalty, they have no commissioner and top government functionaries.
one of the many highlights was at Peremabiri where HRH, King Progress Ebiseleghe Neverdie went philosophical, quoting Zachariah 7 vs 4 to buttress his points, just as he described Dickson as the David of our time, before his spokesperson dropped a 12-point requests from the countryman governor. Chief amongst them were facilitation of a Navy base, employment of 20 teachers to the primary schools in the area and provision of more infrastructure.
At Eniware, their needs are walkways, healthcare and traditional stool upgrade., while at Angiama 1000KVA generating set was approved for the community, just as the governor informed them that the state has remobilized the contractor handling the state turbine located at Imiringi, back to site.
In all the places visited, Dickson enjoined community, women and youth leaders not to give in to the temptations of violence before, during and after elections.
From the tour, one thing that stood out according to feelers from the communities visited, though Dickson operates with a Pan Nigerian outlook, yet the people see him as an Ijaw laeder who projects the interest of the Ijaw nation within the context of the national interest.
No wonder the Countryman Governor declared: ‘I have a duty to moderate and work with these people and earn their confidence for a stable Niger Delta, because without the stability of this region, there won’t be a stable Nigeria.”
For him, “The stability of Bayelsa is central to the stability of Niger Delta. And that will translate to the stability and unity of Nigeria, as anything to the contrary comes with great consequences to the world at large.”
Another respondent, Israel Richards at Oporoma said, “Dickson has no other choice that to play the role because he is a product of Ijaw movement. Having served in Ijaw National Congress, INC, as national legal adviser, Dickson, who is also the Adaka 2, is a progressive who hit the limelight as the Bayelsa State chairman and national legal adviser of the defunct Alliance for Democracy, AD.” Dickson’s stint with the AD was remarkable because he remained the only state chairman of the party outside the South West who delivered his senatorial district, Bayelsa West to the AD in all elections, culminating in the AD producing the senator, house of reps and state house of assembly members in the 1999 general elections. It was in recognition of Governor Dickson’s sterling performance that the AD apparatchik elevated him to the enviable position of Legal Adviser!
At Korokorosei, David Akari, a boat operator who hails from Eniware , recalled that Dickson as a man of peace, always remind his people, especially the militants, that ‘This is not a time to war war, but to jaw jaw, and build bridges of understanding across the country.’
It would be recalled that Governor Dickson, a grounded grassroots politician, with four others, had floated the Green Movement for Jonathan political evolution, with Dickson as the operational and strategic arrowhead, as he is known and well-respected by Bayelsans across board..
Governor Dickson comes with a bit of activism from the National Democratic Coalition Organisation, NADECO and AD. His prudent management of resources is readily attributed to the Ijebu blood running in his veins because his great grandmother is Princess Olubukola of the Fidipote ruling house, and daughter of a former Awuljale of Ijebu land. His pan Nigerianism was at work when he made the Shehu of Borno the Chancellor of the state owned university, Niger Delta University.
Apart from his zero tolerance for corruption, Dickson’s brand of politics is all about service, as he will readily remind you of his ancestors who were ancient rulers and warriors, and that any child from such background must always serve his people diligently.
Dickson, a Prince of Tarakiri is from Kpadia Ruling House, and his great grandfather was the first king from that kingdom.
He was born of Ijaw mother from Angiama in Delta State while his paternal grandmother hailed from Otor-Iyede in Isoko, also in Delta State.
Apart from having blood relatives in two major geo-political zones of the country, what makes Dickson a highly detribalized Nigerian is that, he is one of the few politicians in Nigeria that builds bridges across political parties, tribes and religions.

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NASRE Advises FG On Food Crisis, Forex Shortage Amid Calls To Suspend Import Ban

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As Nigeria finds itself at a critical crossroads, grappling with simultaneous challenges of a food crisis and a foreign exchange (forex) shortage.

 

This is even as the nation seeks solutions to mitigate these pressing issues, the debate over whether to open its borders for importation has intensified.

 

The food crisis gripping Nigeria has raised concerns about food security and access to essential nutrition for millions of citizens.

 

Adverse weather conditions, supply chain disruptions, and other factors have contributed to dwindling food supplies and soaring prices, placing a significant strain on households and exacerbating the vulnerability of already marginalized communities.

 

Meanwhile, the forex shortage has hampered Nigeria’s ability to import essential goods and raw materials, further exacerbating supply chain disruptions and exacerbating inflationary pressures.

 

Industries reliant on imported inputs, including agriculture, manufacturing, and healthcare, have been particularly hard hit, impeding economic growth and development.

 

In response to these challenges, some stakeholders advocate for opening Nigeria’s borders to facilitate the importation of food and other essential commodities.

 

Proponents argue that increased importation could help alleviate immediate food shortages, stabilize prices, and provide relief to vulnerable populations facing hunger and malnutrition.

 

However, others caution against the potential risks of opening borders amid a forex shortage. Critics raise concerns about the impact on domestic production and self-sufficiency, as well as the long-term consequences of relying heavily on imported goods. They emphasize the need to prioritize investments in domestic agriculture and infrastructure to build resilience against future crises.

 

As Nigeria navigates these complex issues, the government faces the daunting task of balancing short-term relief efforts with long-term strategies for sustainable development and economic resilience.

 

Proffering suggestion on how the government can address the unending inflationary pressures, Forex shortages, food prices hike and revitalise the nation’s economy, the Nigerian Association of Social and Resourceful Editors (NASRE), has advised the Nigerian government to adopt collaborative efforts involving policymakers, industry stakeholders, civil society organizations, and international partners to identify holistic solutions that address both immediate needs and underlying structural challenges.

 

On the debate over whether Nigeria should open its borders for importation amid the food crisis and forex shortage, the President of the advocacy group, Mr Femi Oyewale, underscores the urgency of coordinated action and innovative thinking.

 

According to him, now more than ever, solidarity, cooperation, and forward-thinking policies are needed to ensure the well-being and prosperity of all Nigerians.

 

“The question of whether Nigerian borders should be opened for food importation in the face of a food crisis is complex and multifaceted. However, there are factors to consider, which basically, Domestic Agricultural Capacity. Because opening borders for food importation could undermine domestic agricultural production by flooding the market with cheaper imported goods.

 

“However, if domestic production is insufficient to meet demand, importing food may be necessary to avoid shortages,” he said.

 

On the economic implications of borders opening, the President of NASRE, Oyewale, said: “Importing food can have economic ramifications, both positive and negative. On one hand, it can provide access to a wider variety of foods and potentially lower prices for consumers. On the other hand, it may negatively impact local farmers and exacerbate trade imbalances.”

 

The resourceful editors, while commenting on Food Security, pointed out that relying heavily on imported food leaves a country vulnerable to supply chain disruptions and price fluctuations in the global market. Therefore, it urged the federal government to develop a robust domestic agricultural sector, which is crucial for long-term food security.

 

According to Oyewale, the Nigerian government must consider its broader economic and agricultural policies when making decisions about food importation. This includes evaluating subsidies, tariffs, and investment in agricultural infrastructure.

 

“Importing food often involves long-distance transportation, which contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and environmental degradation. Promoting local production can help reduce the carbon footprint associated with food consumption.

 

“Food is not just a commodity; it is essential for human well-being. Government policies should prioritize ensuring access to nutritious and culturally appropriate food for all citizens, particularly those most vulnerable to food insecurity,” he added.

 

The Nigerian Association of Social and Resourceful Editors, NASRE, therefore, noted that the decision to open Nigerian borders for food importation during a food crisis should be approached cautiously, taking into account the country’s domestic agricultural capacity, economic implications, food security goals, environmental concerns, and social welfare considerations.

 

“A balanced approach that supports both domestic production and responsible trade practices may be necessary to address immediate food shortages while also promoting long-term food security and sustainability,” the Association stated.

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Lagos State Government to prosecute 11 suspects for extortion

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The Lagos State Government said 11 suspects arrested at the Ibeju-Lekki junction and Akodo area of the state will be prosecuted to serve as deterrents to others extorting residents and motorists in the state.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Olawale Musa, disclosed this while addressing journalists on Wednesday.

He added that the suspects parade themselves as enforcement officers to extort unsuspecting motorists and residents in the state.

Musa said, “Lagos State Government has declared zero tolerance for extortion of unsuspecting residents, especially motorists, by miscreants parading themselves as enforcement officers at the Ibeju-Lekki junction and Akodo area of the state.

“We have announced severally that nobody is allowed to collect money for the local government on the street of Lagos, and the government has set up a team to ensure that anybody that does that is picked up and from that Lekki axis.

“They will be charged to court to explain themselves, and I want to sound a note of warning to others that do the same thing that we will not relent; the government is all out for them.”

He noted that it is unlawful for any local government area within the state to place personnel to conduct such operations on the highways.

“If you have any issues, you call us, and we will come and address them, but when you have people coming on the road on the guise that you want to have revenue at this hard time, collecting money from motorists on the road is not fair, and it is illegal in Lagos State to resist it.

“It is illegal for any local government area in the state to deploy people on the roads as it negates the Lagos State Road Traffic Law, Section 18, 2018, which empowers only the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority to carry out such operations on the roads,” he added.

In March 2023, The PUNCH reported that the Lagos State Government arrested four suspected hoodlums in some parts of the state over extortion.

The suspects were arrested in the Amuwo-Odofin area of the state while attempting to extort motorists.

 

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N10bn fraud: EFCC to arraign Abdulfattah Ahmed, ex-Kwara Governor Friday

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission will arraign the immediate-past governor of Kwara State, Abdulfattah Ahmed, for alleged N10bn fraud on Friday, The PUNCH has learnt.

Credible sources in the anti-graft agency said the ex-governor would be dragged before the Federal High Court in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.

“He is going to be arraigned on Friday at the Federal High Court in Ilorin for diversion of funds, amounting to N10bn,” the source told our correspondent.

The ex-governor has been detained by the EFCC since Monday when he honoured an invitation for interrogation.

His Chief Press Secretary, Alhaji AbdulWahab Oba, confirmed his principal’s visit to the EFCC office on Monday, stating that it was only “procedural and routine”.

“Dr Ahmed’s visit to the EFCC is procedural and routine. He was invited and he honoured them as he’s always done. He’s always ready to respond to any query or question regarding his tenure as a governor of the state.”

On Tuesday night, Oba lamented that the EFCC was still holding on to Ahmed, saying he was given stringent bail conditions.

“Yes, he is still with the EFCC and we are now in a dilemma over the issue because they keep changing the goalpost during the match. The case is taking a new dimension, which we don’t really understand for now.

“Initially they said they wanted him to produce two sureties who are federal directors. The sureties came and were asked to provide landed properties in Abuja. We see this as a contradiction. The case was initially handled by the EFCC office in Abuja before it was transferred to Ilorin over the issue of jurisdiction. Additionally, he has been denied access to his doctors, medication and direct access to his cook,” Oba said.

Meanwhile, members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party in Kwara State on Wednesday staged a peaceful protest to the EFCC zonal office in Ilorin, where Ahmed was being detained.

The protesters, who carried placards with various inscriptions, expressed displeasure over Ahmed’s detention.

Led by the state Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Olusegun Adewara, the party members alleged that the All Progressives Congress in the state was behind Ahmed’s troubles.

Some of the inscriptions on their placards read: “EFCC should stop being a tool in the hands of Abdulrazaq led-APC”, “Governor Ahmed was very transparent”, “EFCC is not a department in the APC, EFCC, stop the harassment”, “The opposition cannot be silenced”, “Maigida will not join the APC no matter the persecution”, “EFCC, don’t instigate political crisis in Kwara State”, “No to illegal detention. Respect the rule of law”, among others.

But addressing the protesters, the zonal commander of the EFCC, Michael Nzekwe, said Ahmed had been given an administration bail but he could not meet the conditions.

“We’re wrapping up. Once we wrap up, the law will take its course. The anti-graft agency, being a creation of law, would not go contrary to law.

“Everything we’ve done is within the ambit of the law. The former governor is cooperating with us and we’re making good progress following rules of law. As I speak, he’s with his lawyer, a SAN; he attends to everyone who comes to see him, and he has a doctor who has attended to him. He eats what he wants to eat. I urge us to allow the law take its course. We’re not partisan nor prompted by anybody. This body is solely sponsored by the Federal Government,” Nzekwe said.

 

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