Unpaid Salary: Local Government worker commits suicide in Bayelsa

A 42-year-old father of seven and local government worker, Gbemede Kitchen, was on Thursday morning found hanging in his apartment in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.

Mr. Kitchen, who until his death was a staff of Ekeremor Local Government Area, was speculated to have taken his own life out of frustration resulting from his unpaid salaries.

Local governments in Bayelsa reportedly owe their workers between six and 12 months’ arrears of salaries.

The body of Mr. Kitchen was reportedly discovered by his children hanging by a rope formed from a bed shit tied to the roof in the apartment he shared with his family at Imgbi Road, Amarata, Yenagoa.

Benjamin Samuel, caretaker of the house where the deceased was a tenant, described the development as shocking. He said the victim did not show any indication of anxiety before the incident.

“We charged mobile phones together in the night of the Wednesday; Mr. Kitchen’s children were around last night, but the wife was not around.

“Though, I saw him making calls before and after charging his phone in search of his wife before the night fall, the wife was nowhere to be found.

“I am their caretaker, it was a big surprise and shock to me; I never believed that my own neighbour could be a victim of suicide.

“I was sleeping before his children and other neighbours started shouting this morning; they woke me up and I rushed to his apartment.

“He died in a room that the children are not sleeping in; I was the one that untied and brought him down; I tried to see if he could breathe again, I pressed and poured him water but all to no avail,” the caretaker said.

Also speaking, a woman who only identified herself as elder sister to the deceased, said Mr. Kitchen had never disclosed any of his problems to family member.

She said the victim was a former councillor in their local government, stating that she was surprised to see her brother kill himself.

“He was a civil servant in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa, though the salary was not forthcoming. I guess he died out of frustration and hunger,” she said.


Source: Premium Times

Herdsmen, farmers clash averted by Police in Bayelsa State.

The Police Command in Bayelsa said it has foiled a clash between herdsmen and farmers in Agudama community in Yenagoa Local Government Area of the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Bayelsa Government had donated a grazing land to herdsmen and subsequently banned indiscriminate and open grazing in the state.

The police spokesperson in the state, Asinim Butswat, said on Friday that the operation which averted the clash was led by an Assistant Commissioner of Police.

“On March 19, 2017, at about 10 a.m., His Royal Majesty, Obadiah John Osumu, King of Akenfa-Epie Community raised an alarm about herdsmen activities in Akenfa Community.

“Consequently, an Assistant Commissioner of Police led a team of policemen to the scene.

“The team noticed heavy movement of cattle in the area but diverted them to avoid destruction of farmlands,” Mr. Butswat said.

The spokesperson advised community leaders in the state to maintain peace and always partner with the police to prevent crime in their communities.


Source: NAN

NSCDC Uncovers Plot To Attack MTN In Bayelsa

The Bayelsa state command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), has revealed plans by some persons to attack investments of MTN in the state as a reprisal following the ongoing xenophobia attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.

In a statement, the Bayelsa Commander of NSCDC, Mr Desmond Agu, said that the corps is on red alert to stop aggrieved persons from destroying MTN facilities in the state.

Mr Agu said intelligence reports revealed that such persons were planning to vent their anger on MTN’s masts and other facilities.

The Commander however advised the people behind such plots to desist from toeing a violent path and appealed to members of the public to report suspicious people to the corps.

“Our attention has been drawn to an intelligence report that some people are planning to carry out an attack on South African investments, especially the MTN’s telecommunication masts and other facilities following the ongoing xenophobia attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.

“Members of the public especially Bayelsans are hereby advised to desist from such acts and avoid taking laws into their hands.

“As an organisation saddled with the responsibility of protecting our critical national infrastructures, the command remains committed to deliver on its mandate.

“Members of the public are hereby advised to report person or group of persons suspected to be planning such attacks to the command,” Mr Agu stated.


Source: Channels TV

Oil spill: Ex-commissioner urges Shell to compensate Bayelsa communities

The immediate past Commissioner for Environment in Bayelsa, Mr Iniruo Wills, has appealed to the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) to compensate Bayelsa communities for the Seibou oil spillage of 2015.

Wills told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Yenagoa that Shell should adopt the industry’s best practices on the issue and compensate Keme-Ebiama and Azagbene communities.

Wills, who led a team of investigators on a visit to the site on Feb. 10, 2015, shortly after the spillage, said that the spillage was beyond the tolerable limits for oil discharge.

“I am wondering why the oil firm is reluctant to adopt best practices.

“The National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) had also recommended compensation.

“To say that the Seibou spills, by its volume, spread and location, did not affect the host and neighbouring communities, was not correct,” he said.

NAN reports that NOSDRA had directed SPDC to compensate communities affected by the oil spillage.

The Director-General of NOSDRA, Mr Peter Idabor, had told NAN that the agency established that the spill made an impact and, therefore, recommended compensation for the victims.

On March 5, 2015, Shell confirmed spilling of some 550 barrels of crude oil into the Ogboinbiri River.

According to the company the spill was from its underwater line within its oil fields in Ogboinbiri River in Bayelsa.

However, the SPDC Spokesman, Mr Joseph Obari, was quoted as saying in a statement that the discharge of the crude on Jan. 23, 2015, had no effect on the environment.


Source: The Guardian

Killers of Bayelsa government official to die by hanging

The killers of a Bayelsa government employee, Edi Kolu, who was on an official duty when he was attacked, have been sentenced to death by hanging.

Justice Nayai Aganaba, who presided over the case which was first brought before the court two years ago, yesterday upheld the prayer of the prosecution and ordered that the duo should die by hanging.

At the Bayelsa state High Court 4 in Charge No. YHC/83C/2015 between the State and the convicts, the court said it was convinced beyond all reasonable doubts that Izibefien Tamuno and Izibekuma George, were responsible for the death of the victim, Edi Kolu.

The prosecution led by officials from the office of the Special Prosecutor on Violent Crime and Other Related Offenses in the state, told the court that the two convicts killed the victim while he was on official duty with other staff from the office of the Surveyor-General of Bayelsa.

They maintained that Kolu who until his death was a staff of the office of the Surveyor General of Bayelsa, was killed when he and other government officials had gone to demarcate a boundary between Opolo community and Okutukutu in Yenagoa.

The prosecution stated that the deceased was carrying out his mandate in accordance with a judgment delivered by the Supreme Court in favour of Opolo community on the 21st day of May, 2015.

Messrs Tamuno and George of Okutukutu and Etegwe towns respectively, were subsequently sentenced for the murder of the surveyor by Justice Aganaba.

Radio station manager flogs 4 staff in Bayelsa state.

The General Manager of Radio Bayelsa, also known as Glory FM, Mr John Idumange, on Thursday caned four members of staff on duty.

The station is currently facing an industrial dispute between workers and management of the station.

The Radio Bayelsa Chapel of Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, and Radio Television and Theatre Arts Workers Unions (RATTAWU), consequently shut the radio station. Some reports had said the staffers were whipped by suspected thugs.

NUJ Chairman in Radio Bayelsa, Tonye Yemoleigha, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Yenagoa, said he and three female staff were flogged by the General Manager of the Station, Mr John Idumange.

“Four of us, myself and three female staff were flogged by Idumange himself. The report that it was thugs is inaccurate. It was the General Manager himself. The blisters on the skin are more severe for the ladies.

“We have reported the matter to the Ekeki Police Division and sought medical attention at the Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa. Workers have been constantly intimidated and threatened for no just cause.”

Mr. Idumange declined to comment on the allegation that he caned the four members of staff.

The NUJ Chairman said, “Mr. John Angese, Bayelsa Council Chairman of NUJ who is a staff of Radio Bayelsa has also been threatened with a sack, we are all being victimised for insisting that the General Manager complies with Public Service rules.

“We have been under siege since the General Manager was appointed on December 6, 2016. We are not opposed to repositioning the station which is in our interest but we want the procedure to follow due process,” Mr. Yemoleigha said.

It was gathered that after the station went off air, the management mobilised armed security men and few employees who rebuffed the strike to reopen the station.

The station continued to play music all through as the station’s scheduled programmes and news bulletin could not be aired.

Mr. Yemoleigha said that workers of the station are not opposed to staff redeployment.

“But the unions should also be part of the process to ensure that the best hands are not sacrificed on the altar of nepotism, sentiment or witch-hunt.

“We are also aware of the alleged over N5 million naira payroll fraud which Idumange claimed to have uncovered and has referred to the Police for investigation.

“Ordinarily, in line with established procedures, an Investigative Panel should have been instituted to look into the matter and come up with a report with which management would act as appropriate.

“All these are expressly spelt out in the Public Service Rules; however, we are requesting for a copy of the police report after their investigation.

“We have asked management to properly discipline everyone involved in an established case of running the salary of a staff who resigned with effect from August 2016,” Mr. Yemoleigha said

Mr. Idumange dismissed the allegations levelled against him. He his reforms had the backing of the supervising Bayelsa Ministry of Information.

“This small radio station has 346 workers; employment and job placement have never followed due process, we are currently reorganising the place and they are resisting our efforts.

“Those ghost workers must be fished out and the payroll cleaned up.

“The wage bill of the station is N35 million monthly and it is not sustainable. My predecessor incurred a debt of N40 million.

“The unions are being instigated by the Heads of Department affected in the illegal recruitment, and those who came into that place through the back door,” he said.

Militants give Bayelsa Government 48-hour ultimatum over alleged assault on Briggs

An amalgam of militant groups known as the Joint Revolutionary Council (JRC) has issued a 48-hour ultimatum to Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson to apologise to Ijaw woman activist, Annkio Briggs or face their anger.

The JRC said it held Dickson responsible for the alleged assault on her and others during a recent peaceful protest in Bayelsa.

Briggs was assaulted by hoodlums in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital a week ago to protest the allocation of 1, 200 hectares of land to Fulani herdsmen for cattle grazing.

According to the spokesperson of the JRC, Cynthia Whyte yesterday, if Governor Dickson failed to apologise “key agitating groups in the state would be activated to undermine the Dickson government.”

She said: “Within that 48-hour space, key agitating groups will first renounce amnesty and then commence series of activities to drive home our point and position. It is unfortunate that the same government which many Ijaws struggled and clamoured to win the 2016 elections would now turn out to be a government of tyranny, incompetence and ineptitude,” JRC said.

Whyte said: “It is unfortunate that today, the same bandit elements, armed robbers and unrepentant hardened criminals, who worked against Governor Dickson’s second term are the same band of renegades that would be hired to mug, mob and attack Annkio Briggs and her fellow protesters.

“This represents the fullness of treachery and tyranny. We will not allow this to happen in Bayelsa State, the cradle of Ijaw nation,” the JRC statement alleged.

Thugs attack Annkio Briggs, other protesters in Bayelsa.

A peaceful protest embarked upon by a coalition of Ijaw interest groups in Yenagoa on Tuesday ended on a sad note as thugs allegedly attacked the protesters.

Annkio Briggs, a Niger Delta rights activist, was reportedly among those rough handled during the protest against the donation of land to cattle grazers.

The rally christened “Love for Bayelsa, Love for Ijaw land, Love for Niger Delta, Love for Nigeria” had barely began when the heavily armed thugs invaded the take off point of the rally at the Tombia junction, a witness said.

Thugs reportedly beat up and inflicted bodily injuries on the protesters, mainly women and youth, including one of the conveners, Ankio Briggs.

The presence of the police officers at the scene did not deter the thugs as they carried out the violence while the police looked on to the chagrin of the protesters.

While others sustained minor injuries, one Christy Odiko, a member of Ijaw Women Connect, IWC, was reportedly hospitalised due to sustained injuries.

Speaking to journalists shortly after the attack, Ms. Briggs who said she lost her phone in the cause of the melee, described the action of the police as “unacceptable”.

“All what we are saying is no to Ijaw land being ceded to Fulani people under any circumstance.

“At the rally, thugs came into the Tombia round about field, they invaded the place push me down, one particular boy collected my Samsung phone, my Identity Card was ripped off my neck and some people secured me and moved me away from the location.

“I told the police DPO that this rally was not against the Governor of Bayelsa, but against the decision he has made.

“It is unbelievable, I am an Ijaw person, I have fought for the Ijaw nation for as long as I can remember.

“I have been called a bigot because of my stand on Ijaw issues and if today I can come to Bayelsa, and Bayelsa children some of them are old enough to be my children, whether it is Gen Africa, and others; so if today they have appointments and positions and think that people like me no longer have the right to speak on Ijaw matters, that is a sad day for them and not for Ijaw nation.”

When contacted for comments, the spokesperson of the Bayelsa Police Command, Asinim Butswat, asked for more time and promised to call back. He did not call back before the report was published.

Abuja, Bayelsa, Borno, pay highest prices for diesel in January.

The National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, has said that Abuja, Bayelsa, Delta and Cross Rivers recorded the highest average price of N240.52 for diesel in January 2017.

A report released Wednesday by the NBS said the average price paid by consumers for automotive gas oil, known as diesel, increased to N240.52 in January 2017 from N196.20 in December 2016.

The increase, the bureau said, represents 22.56 per cent on the basis of year-on-year and 50.06 per cent on month-on-month basis.

Further analysis revealed that states with the highest average price of diesel were Abuja and Bayelsa where consumers paid N270, followed by Delta (N256.77) and Cross River (N256.36).

Meanwhile, states with the lowest average price of diesel were Enugu (N230.78), Adamawa (N230.50) and Lagos, Oyo, Taraba were consumers bought the product at N230 in the period under review.

The NBS also said on Wednesday that average price paid by consumers for Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) known as petrol increased by 35.7 per cent year-on-year in January.

This is contained in “Premium Motor Spirit (Petrol) Price Watch for January” released by NBS in Abuja.

The report stated that Petrol increased by 35.7 per cent year-on-year and 1.35 per cent month-on-month to N148.7 in January 2017, from N146.7 in December 2016.

It noted that states with the highest average price of petrol were Borno, which sold the product for N164.09, Oyo; N161.00 and Ebonyi N156.47.

“States with the lowest average price of petrol were Kogi, which sold at N144.67, Ekiti and Imo, N144.64; and Abuja which sold at N144.20?

The states with lowest average price sold the product below the recommended price of N145.

Fuel prices are collected across all the 774 local governments across all states and the FCT from more than 10,000 respondents and locations.

The report reflected prices households actually bought fuel together with the prices reportedly sold by the fuel suppliers.

The average of all these prices is then reported for each state and the average for the country is the average for the state.

Bayelsa Government Organises Media Chat To Address Developmental Challenges.

As part of activities marking the first year of the second tenure of the Bayelsa State Governor, Henry Seriake Dickson, the state government has announced its plans to organise a media chat to address developmental challenges.

The announcement was issued and signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Bayelsa State, Daniel Iworiso-Markson.

Scheduled for Monday February 13, the special two-hour live media chat is expected to be broadcast on all the Bayelsa based radio stations and would begin at 12 noon at the Governor’s Conference Room, Government House, Yenagoa.

The announcement further explained that the governor is expected to address a wide range of issues, including the various steps the government is taking to address the developmental challenges of the state in the midst of dwindling resources.

Bayelsans and the general public were therefore advised to tune in and also participate by asking questions and sending in comments.

Osinbajo To Meet With Niger Delta Leaders In Bayelsa.

The Bayelsa State Government is set to welcome the acting President, Yemi Osinbajo.

Professor Osinbajo is scheduled to meet with the leaders of the Niger Delta, to discuss how to achieve peace, that would lead to the improvement in crude oil production and resolve the youth restiveness in the oil rich region.

This is the first visit of Professor Osinbajo as an acting President, who is leading a high level delegation of the Federal Government, in an interaction with traditional rulers of the region.

The first time Professor Osinbajo held a similar meeting was at Gbaramatu Kingdom in Delta State, where he told the people that the Federal Government feels the pain of the Niger Delta region.

The Bayelsa Government on Thursday released a statement saying it is looking forward to receiving Professor Yemi Osinbajo, when he visits the state, as part of his tour to some states in the Niger Delta region.

The state government urged residents to come out en masse to welcome the nation’s number two citizen.

It also assured the acting President of the hospitality of people of the state and urged him to use the occasion of his visit to experience same for himself.

Furthermore, it called on him to access critical areas of the state that need prompt intervention by the Federal Government, stating that Bayelsa is the epic centre of all the issues as the home land of the Ijaw ethnic nationality.

N3 Bn Car Loan: Bayelsa government owes us six months salaries, workers insist.

The Bayelsa Government and its workforce have disagreed on the exact outstanding salary arrears owed civil servants in the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that workers claimed that they were being owed six months’ salary backlog, while government officials put the arrears at three months.

The Bayelsa House of Assembly on Tuesday, in a closed-door session, approved a N3 billion loan request from the executive arm to purchase cars for legislators and security agencies.

The development attracted criticisms from civil servants in the state, who said that seeking a loan to purchase the cars at a time the state government owed workers six months’ salary arrears was insensitive.

Reacting to the development, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, the Chief Press Secretary to Gov. Seriake Dickson denied in a statement that the government was owing workers for six months.

According to him, the government is owing workers only three months salaries.

The statement restated the governor’s commitment to running a transparent system, where the welfare of workers and the citizenry remains a priority.

“It is therefore not true that government is owing six months’ salary of workers, as alleged in some of the media reports.

“Rather, government is making conscious efforts to clear all outstanding salaries and has even gone ahead to pay in full, the salary for the month of January,” Mr. Iworiso-Markson said.

However, labour leaders and civil servants maintained that the government was yet to clear a backlog of the six months salary arrears being owed the state workers.

The Chairman of Bayelsa chapter of the Trade Union Congress, TUC, Tari Dounana, and his Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, counterpart, John Ndiomu, insisted that the government is owing the workers six months’ salary.

Mr. Dounana said, “The facts are there and we cannot be lying on issues like this, I can be quoted on this.

“Workers are having salary arrears of six months and we met with government on this issue only last week.

“It is likely that those claiming that we are not being owed do not have the details, we met with the government finance team and they set up a committee to work out the payment plan,” Mr. Dounana said.

A civil servant, Ebi Douye, provided further details on the salary situation in Bayelsa.

“The arrears is six months, we are keeping records, January 2015 salary was paid full in April 2015. February and March 2015 salaries were not paid.

“From April to September, half salaries were paid. December salary has not been paid.

“The three full salaries not yet paid, plus half of the six months makes it six months of unpaid salaries,” Mr. Douye said.


Source: NAN

Bayelsa government donates 1,200 hectares of land to herdsmen.

The Bayelsa government has donated 1,200 hectares of land to cattle herdsmen to control indiscriminate grazing in the state.

In December 2016, the government restricted the activities of herdsmen in the state to the Bayelsa Palm area in Yenagoa, the state capital.

According to the government, the decision was to prevent the invasion of farmlands and check any security breaches.

During an interactive session with stakeholders on Sunday, Shitu Mohammed, state chairman, Cattle ranches management and control committee, said the 1,200 hectares of land was for ranch development, grazing and slaughtering of cattle.

He said more ranches would be donated to the cattle rearers in order to maintain peace and order in the state.

Mohammed commended the Bayelsa government for releasing the land, saying the gesture would help to sustain the lasting peace that had existed between herdsmen and farmers in the state.

He also noted that the committee was set up by the state government to foster cordial relationship between the cattle rearers, farmers and the people of the state.

“This is simply because the committee in collaboration with the state government and the security agencies had put in place quick response mechanisms,” he said.

He called on the people of the state to appreciate the provision of the ranch as it will create job opportunities and boost tourism in the state.


Source: The Cable

Bayelsa Government Sues Agip Oil, Claims N1.6tn Worth Of Damage.

Bayelsa State government, has sued Nigerian Agip Oil Company Limited (NAOC) to a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, over an oil spillage from the company’s SBM Sirius, (offshore Brass) in Brass local government area of the state.

The government, in an originating summons, filed by the Bayelsa State Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, Kemeasuode Wodu, demanded the sum of 1.6 Trillion Naira compensation for general and exemplary damages from the spill which occurred on November 27, 2013.

The originating summons, which is pursuant to order 3 Rule 9 of the court, said the spill contravened the provisions of Regulation 13 of the Petroleum Regulation, made pursuant to the Pursuant Act Cap P10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.

Meanwhile, the government is seeking an injunction restraining the defendant, its agents and or servants from further discharging onto or allowing petroleum (crude oil) to escape onto the waters of and around the said SBM Sirius, (Offshore Brass) facility.

Another relief includes an order directing the defendant (NAOC), to provide potable drinking water for the communities in Bayelsa state impacted by the said Petroleum spillage from the said SBM Sirius (offshore Brass) operated by the defendant.

The plaintiff added, “defendant should be ordered to take all appropriate steps towards restoring the land, swamps, rivers and waters impacted by the spillage and pay compensation to all persons whose properties were destroyed”.

While claiming that the spillage contravened relevant sections of the constitution, the plaintiff asked the court to declare that the action or conduct of the defendant in allowing or causing petroleum to escape from its SMB Sirius facility was as a result of its operational error into the waters of and around the said SMB facility which flowed into the sea and parts of Bayelsa State.

The plaintiff demanded a declaration that the defendant by allowing or causing petroleum to escape from its SBM Sirius facility as a result of its operational error, into the waters of around the said SBM Sirius facility contravened Regulation 13 of the Petroleum Act Cap P10 laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

However, the state wants the court to declare that “the defendant is under a legal obligation to restore the lands, rivers, creeks and the entire environment impacted by the aforesaid petroleum (crude oil) that escaped from the SBM Sirius (offshore brass) facility on November 27, 2013 to their original state before they were impacted.”


Source: Channels TV

Bayelsa Governor Asks Ministries To Generate Payroll With Attendance Register.

The Bayelsa State government is taking a firm stand on its decision to implement a ‘No Work No Pay’ policy, insisting that only workers who sign attendance register will be paid.

Making good the state government’s decision, the Governor, Mr Seriake Dickson, has directed all Permanent Secretaries in the state to henceforth, generate the payroll of their respective Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), from workers’ duty attendance registers.

The Governor gave the directive in a closed-door meeting with permanent secretaries in Government House, Yenagoa.

To Check Payroll Fraud

At a press conference after the meeting, the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Honourable Jonathan Obuebite, described the directive as well-intentioned and targeted at achieving total compliance with the new policy to check absenteeism and payroll fraud in the State Public Service.

According to Honourable Obuebite, the meeting emphasised the need for heads of MDAS to instil discipline in their various offices to promote productivity and efficiency.

He expressed optimism on the success of the current monitoring system, pointing out that, preliminary reports indicate that workers have started complying.

The Information Commissioner urged itinerant workers and those on secondment to only sign the attendance register at the outpost where they are assigned to avoid a situation where such workers would be shuttling between their parent MDAs and places of posting.

“On the contentious issue of those who are working in ministries that have outposts, for instance, in the Information Ministry where we have information officers that are posted to different MDAS, they are going to sign their own attendance there and not in the Ministry of Information.

“But it was made clear that every worker will sign the attendance register that is provided for the particular ministry, department or agency they are working. At the end of the period, they are going to do harmonisation of registers.

“The Governor also told them that going forward, payrolls would be generated by them (permanent secretaries), as they are already doing but this time through registers which they have now so that from the attendance, they are going to generate the payroll for payment of civil servants in the state,” he told reporters.

Bayelsa Government Launches No Work, No Pay Policy.

The Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr Henry Seriake Dickson, has invited all Permanent Secretaries, Heads of Ministerial Departments, agencies and other major stakeholders in the state for a meeting and the formal launch of the new ‘no work, no pay’ policy.


It will be recalled that the governor had through the Secretary to the State Government, last week announced that he would launch the policy to curb the unfortunate trend of low attendance to official duties by most civil servants in the state and the issue of over bloated wage bill.


In a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Daniel Iworiso- Markson, the meeting and official launch of the policy is expected to take place on January 25.


The event which will kick off at 12 noon, will hold at Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha Banquet Hall, Government House, Yenagoa.


The agenda for the meeting as stated by Markson, reads “Absenteeism and payroll fraud in the State”.


Source: Channels TV

Bayelsa landslide: Lawmakers Visit Affected Community.

A member of the House of Rep. representing Kolokuma/Opokuma and Yenagoa Federal Constituency, Hon. Douye Diri has called on the National Emergency Management Agency, (NEMA) to help the victims affected in the landslide in Okoloba Community Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

The Federal parliamentarian made the call when he visited the site to assess the extent of destruction caused by the incident.

Hon. Diri, who was accompanied on the visit by Senator Forster Ogola, the Senator representing Bayelsa West Senatorial District, called on other relevant federal agencies to take steps to mitigate the effects of the unfortunate incident, which has rendered a number of persons homeless.

The House member urged the leadership of the ecological fund, the federal Ministry of Environment to take advantage of the 2017 budget process to provide funds for erosion control and shore line protection of Okoloba and other communities that have experienced similar occurrences in the past.

He commended the State Government for the urgent steps already taken, especially with the donation of relief materials to the affected individuals and families, while also calling on all relevant federal ministries, departments and agencies to swing into action and mitigate the effects of the incident on the people.

“We have come to see the degree of destruction that affected Okoloba. We also want to commend the Bayelsa State government’s effort in sending relief materials to the people.

“As members of the National Assembly, we assure the people of Okoloba that the matter will be presented before both chambers of the House and every relevant ministry, department and agency of the federal government”.

Senator Ogola, who is also a member of the Senate community on Environment, equally added his voice to the call for relevant federal agencies, saddled with the responsibility of erosion control and shore protection to come to the aid of the community, pointing out that, a bill setting up a National Erosion Commission has passed its second reading at the Senate.

According to him, the bill, which will soon be passed into law, will give the proposed National Erosion Commission the powers to deal more swiftly with cases of erosion and landslide, which affects a whole lot of communities in Bayelsa State and elsewhere in the country.

The federal lawmakers also promised to make representations on behalf of the Okoloba community to the leaderships and members of both chambers of the National Assembly, with a view to drawing their attention to the devastating effects of the landslide.

Youth absence in governement responsible for recession – Ben Murray Bruce

The senator representing Bayelsa East constituency in the National Assembly, Ben Murray-Bruce, has argued that the absence of youth participation in governance is responsible for Nigeria’s economic recession.


He noted that the country had only experienced recession twice, and that on both occasions, Nigeria was not being led by youth.


Taking to his twitter handle, Murray-Bruce had written, “Youths have tremendous potential. Nigeria has only gone into recession twice in her history and at both times, we were not led by youths.”


According to official figures, Nigeria has about 70 per cent youth population — which is approximately 80 million.

Residents of Jonathan’s hometown, Otuoke, beg Bayelsa government to repair road.

Residents of Otuoke in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa have appealed to the state government to repair the Otuoke-Onuebum road which has been in a deplorable condition.

Otuoke is the hometown of former President Goodluck Jonathan who led Nigeria for five years (2000 – 2015) after he had served as deputy governor and governor of Bayelsa for eight years.

Bad and non-motorable roads are not limited to Otuoke or Bayelsa, but present in every part of Nigeria.

The residents made the appeal in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Otuoke on Sunday.

Ologi Damiete told NAN that the condition of the road had become worse since the last rainy season as vehicles now found it difficult to pass through.

Mr. Damiete, a staff of the Federal University, Otuoke, FUO, appealed to the state government to come to the aid of the residents by fixing the road.

“The condition of this road has become worse since the flood that submerged the whole community and there has not been any preventive measure to forestall future occurrence.

“We are expecting the government to put necessary measures in place to guard against future occurrence.

“Students of FUO have resumed for the new semester and they have been finding it difficult moving in and out of the community.

“I am calling on all the relevant authorities to look into the matter because we has become unbearable. Our vehicles have been damaged because of the road,” he said.

Another resident, Oweifa Debekeme, urged the state government to make more efforts toward checking flooding in the state, pointing out that flood had destroyed many roads in the state.

He said that the people were suffering and government had the responsibility to alleviate their agony by providing roads and other infrastructure for them.

A taxi driver plying the road, Babatunde Adeola, said the road was already in a bad shape before the flood destroyed it completely.

Mr. Adeola called on the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, to also help repair the road to alleviate the plight of the people.

He implored the Bayelsa Government to come to the aid of the people of Otuoke and Onuebum communities as well as students and staff of the university.

He said the youth in the communities now help by sand-filling the bad portions on regular basis, adding that “commercial drivers now pay them for that”.

Bayelsa Detects 5,000 Ghost Workers From Payroll

Bayelsa Government on Saturday said it had fished out 5,000 ghost workers from its payroll.

Dr David Ala-Peter, Chief Accountant, office of the Special Adviser, Bayelsa Treasury, Account and Revenue, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Yenagoa.

He said the ghost workers were identified in the recent staff verification exercise, where more than 50,000 workers participated.

Ala-Peter said the exercise was aimed at identifying fake names to reduce the state’s wage bill.

“The panel has done well during the exercise. We use software of international standard; we use oracle software.

“The method used was very effective. We have established staff database; we captured both their fingerprints, dates of birth and their credentials.

“During the exercise, we verified more than 50,000 staff. Right now, we are operating with little above 45,000 workers.

“Right now in the state, names in the payroll cannot be duplicated as your fingerprint is only identical to you.”

He said the exercise had reduced the state’s wage bill, adding, “but I may not be able to ascertain the correct figure.”



Strange Ailment Kills Female Corps Member In Bayelsa

A female Member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Miss ?Elechi Chiyerum was on Wednesday confirmed dead after a strange ailment which caused her to bleed and vomit for few hours after arrival at the State orientation camp at Kaima community of Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government area of the State.

Miss Chiyerum, who is a 27 years old? graduate of the Ignatius Azuru University of Education, Port Harcourt in Rivers State, was confirmed dead at about 9pm on Tuesday night five days after arriving camp.

Some corps members claimed the deceased on arrival, at the camp on Thursday, was looking “terribly” sick and could not participate in some opening sessions at the camp.

Some officials of the NYSC claimed that this is a case of “non-disclosure” of state of health by a Corps member. It was gathered that a search on her hostel section showed signs of excessive bleeding with clothing and sanitary pads soaked in blood.

It was gathered that the deceased corps member reportedly relapsed into ill health and was rushed to the sick bay of the camp at about 8pm.

According to sources,” the doctor at the NYSC camp clinic immediately referred her to the State owned Diette-Koki Memorial hospital in Opolo area of the State capital where she was confirmed dead.

It was also gathered that though the untimely death of the Female Corps members casted a gloomy and sad atmosphere on the camp, the State Director, Mr. Ekeocha Anthony addressed corps members and assure them of their safety.

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Bayelsa Politics Forces Radio Nigeria To Shut Down Over Rent.

SaharaReporters has learned that the FM station of Radio Nigeria in Yenagoa, capital of Bayelsa State, shut down operations over the last three weeks due to its inability to afford accommodation.

Radio Nigeria Creek 106.5FM, located along Opolo-Elebele Road, started its broadcast in 2014. After only two years, the station has gone off the air to the surprise of listeners and fans who used to tune in to follow the network’s different programs, particularly the 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. network news.

A senior staff of the station told SaharaReporters that the station was on a two-year lease, adding that the Bayelsa State government had paid the rent. The source revealed that the former Director-General of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Ladan Salihu, had in 2014 pressured Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State to provide logistical support, especially accommodation, for the station’s takeoff and apparently to win the heart of then President Goodluck Jonathan who hails from Bayelsa State.

Two years later, with the defeat of Mr. Jonathan in last year’s presidential election, the state government became unwilling to renew the rent, even thought it reportedly promised to provide a temporary accommodation for the station until the management develops the plot of land allocated to FRCN in Yenagoa.

SaharaReporters also learned that Mr. Dickson was reluctant to renew the rent at the station’s present address for political reasons. During last year’s governorship election, the owner of the property, Victor Akenge, defected from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC). Mr. Akenge was a former commissioner in Bayelsa State.

A source at Government House said, “How do you expect the governor to empower a political enemy? It won’t work and politics does not favor such a transaction.’’

Our correspondent reported that numerous listeners and fans of Radio Nigeria in Bayelsa State had been visiting the broadcasting house since October 31, 2016 when the landlord locked up the premises. When our correspondent visited the station on November 15, he found the gate still locked. A few members of staff were seen around the premises. One of them told our correspondent that the landlord had locked up broadcast equipment worth millions of naira.

A member of staff stated that it was not even right for the state governor to provide the accommodation in the first place, adding that the transaction created image problems for the station. “How do we guide against compromise and maintain independence in the spirit of balanced reportage if the state government is paying rent for a federal agency?”

She said more than 60 employees of the station now risked been transferred to other stations across the country to avoid redundancy.

Police Arrest 248 Suspected Kidnappers, Others in Bayelsa

The Bayelsa State Police Command says it has arrested no fewer than 248 suspects in connection with kidnapping, armed robbery, murders, rape, cultism, among others in the state.

The State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Adeyemi Ogunjemilusi, who made this known on Thursday during the parade of scores of suspected criminals, said the hoodlums were apprehended from July till date.

The commisssioner also said 151 cases of the arrests had been charged to court.

Giving breakdown of the arrests, Ogunjemilusi said two suspects, David Sunshine and Otuogba Usio, both males, were part of a four-man gang that invaded Sagbama town and kidnapped a 78-year-old man, Dennis Ogazi.

He said investigation led to the arrest of Sunshine and Usio on October 29 and they confessed to the commission of the offence and that the victim died in their camp at Enwe community in Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State.

The commissioner said investigation was ongoing to effect the arrest of two other suspects and recover the remains of the deceased septuagenarian.

Ogunjemilusi said five suspected armed robbers had on July 23 broke into the house of Justice Ebiyerin Omukoro of High Court II, Yenagoa, held him and his family captive, collected his ATM card under duress and went to withdraw some money from his account.

He said the suspects, whose names were Ayakeme Ebikie, Frank Pere, Chimezie Ibekwe, Ogoli Stephen, and George Ovede, later carted away the Judge’s Plasma TV set, handsets and other personal items.

He stated, “I am glad to inform you that all the members of the criminal gang have been arrested. Investigation revealed that they were responsible for other robberies.

“The same group on August 22, 2016, at 2.30am broke into the house of Hon. Tolumoye Bikikoro and robbed him of his TV set and handsets. One locally made pistol was recovered from them as well as home theatre, DVD player, mobile phones of the Judge.”

He also said that some suspects who had been on the wanted list were on October 30 arrested at Etegwe and Bolex Car wash respectively for the killing of two policemen, Sergeant Sagbe Owori and Corporal Nanagha Ekeiweri.

He said while Owori was killed at Bossy Waters along Tombia-Amassoma Road on January 19, 2014, Ekeiweri of the Department of Operations, Yenagoa was killed on November 24, 2014, after which they took away his Assault rifle 06 with breech number 0702754330 and 30 rounds of ammunition.

He said items recovered from the suspects, James Kalaye and Austin Olozulu, were one Brownie pistol and locally made pistol.

The commissioner further said that four suspects gang-raped a 19-year-old girl on September 13, 2016.

He said the suspects: Godwin Governor, 20, Kingsley Akpas, 21, Ebikewenemor Aripamone, 18 and Harrison Eribo carried out the dastardly act in the house of Governor in Tungbo, Sagbama, who allegedly lured the victim.

He said the victim had already identified the suspects.

Ogunjemilusi said three cases of defilement were also recorded during the period.

JTF foils attempt to vandalise oil facilities in Bayelsa.

The Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta, codenamed Operation Delta Safe, yesterday, said its operatives at FOB FORMOSO repelled an attempt by suspected oil thieves to vandalise and steal the control unit from a Well Head in Nembe creek, Bayelsa East senatorial district.


This came as troops raided Bukuma Jetty in Rivers State, and arrested three suspected militants and one Cotonou boat laden with illegally refined Automated Gas Oil.


Coordinator, Joint Media Campaign Centre, ODS, Lt. Col Olaolu Daudu, in a statement issued in Yenagoa, identified the oil facility as Well Head 72, operated by AITEO Company.


According to him, the suspects on sighting the troops abandoned their tools and fled the scene.


He said: “The Nigerian Navy Ship JUBILEE also foiled an attempt by gunmen led by the suspected leader of a cult group popularly referred to as “Icelander” at Entebe community in Akwa Ibom State to kidnap people of value but on sighting the naval gunboats, the kidnappers fled the scene. The group had earlier embraced Amnesty but some intractable members still indulge in acts of criminality. Troops are on their trail.

“It was also reported that sea robbers operating from Eastern Obolo attacked and kidnapped unspecified number of persons on a ship at sea. Troops of NNS JUBILEE are on the trail of the kidnappers for possible rescue. Troops of Sector 3, while on patrol, discovered an illegal oil refining camp at Idama Creek in Rivers State. The site was destroyed. Also, based on tip off, troops raided suspected militants camp at Harrison Kiri, Liberty, Evil forest, Virgin forest, Opuru fishing port, Wangwa fishing port and Zion City. At Harrison camp, suspected militants fled on sighting troops. They are being trailed.


“Similarly, troops raided Bukuma Jetty and arrested 3 suspected militants and one Cotonou boat laden with illegally refined Automated Gas Oil. Troops also discovered an illegal refinery site at Borokiri general area where bunkerers engage in massive loading of illegally refined AGO. One container truck with registration number AWK 119 ZL loaded with 50 drums concealed behind bags of flour was impounded.”

Troops defuse IED in Bayelsa, arrest four suspects.

The joint taskforce code-named “Operation Delta Safe” has discovered a suspected criminal hideout around Biogbolo Secondary School in Yenagoa metropolis, Bayelsa state.

The taskforce revealed that this was while its men were on foot patrol. The area was cordoned and subsequently searched.

Upon searching, an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) placed on a riser with the intention of blasting it was discovered. The IED was diffused as troops provided security.

The joint taskforce, in a statement, informed residents of Bayelsa State that the relative peace now enjoyed in the State is due to the unrelenting approach of its officers in the fight against criminality in the Niger Delta.

The statement which was signed by the coordinator joint media campaign centre, Lieutenant Colonel Olaolu Daudu, says the troops of the joint taskforce ‘Operation Delta Safe’ have successfully dislodged a suspected unrepentant militants/sea robbers camp extension at Isunkiri in Bayelsa State.

Items recovered during the raid include; two laptops, Philippino currency note and coins, one plasma TV, one DVD player, two saw blades, four Motorola hand held radios, two R2 GMDS radios, four mobile phones, five Radio chargers, five Motorola Radio batteries and one foreign ATM card.

Others items are; two sim cards, one civil helmet, pair of firefighting uniform, one GMI radio, documents/identity cards belonging to one Mr Roberto Bacariza Jr (Philippino), civil clothes, four pairs of Swire pacific offshore overall uniform, two boxes of drugs, two foreign passports, one ladder, one blue colour speed boat mounted with 115 Horse power with inscription VIP on it and one 75 Horse power engine, light blue coloured fibre.

Also the troops on anti-illegal bunkering operations discovered and destroyed a bunkering camp in Obi creek Epelepele Community of Brass Local Government Area in the State.

The joint taskforce revealed that a tip off led to the arrest of Mr Kelly Ikurusi, Mr Dokubo Erempagamo, Mr Orifie Borto and Mr George Friday AKA Yellow 1.

Yellow 1 is believed to be among the militants who attacked and killed the officers who were ambushed on August 8, 2016 at Nembe.

The four suspects are currently undergoing preliminary investigations.

Two killed in rival cults clash in Bayelsa State.

The struggle for supremacy between suspected rival cult groups have claimed two lives in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital.

It was gathered that the incident occurred, Wednesday, at 9.30p.m., at the Ekeki and Kpansia suburbs of Yenagoa.

According to eyewitnesses, four arm-wielding youths accosted a 32-year-old man at the Ekeki park junction and shot him dead.

The victim, identified as Otoko, popularly known as Oracle, an indigene of Delta State, is believed to be a member of a rival cult.

Also at the Kpansia area, some suspected cultists, were reported to have stormed a suya spot, lured their victim with a girl and shot him at close range.

The victim was said to have died while being rushed to the hospital.

There had been increasing cases of burglary and stealing, cult-related killings and armed robbery in the state capital in recent times.

Spokesman of the State Police Command, Asinim Butswat, could not be reached for comment, but a senior security officer, attached to the anti-vice section of the command said police have achieved a lot in the area of arrests of cultists and criminals in the state.

He, however, added: “The setbacks are caused by poor logistics, shortage of patrol vehicles and refusal of the public to assist the police with vital information.”

JTF invades militants’ camp, kill notorious militant in Bayelsa.

The Joint Military Task Force, Operation Delta Safe on Wednesday said it has invaded a militant camp and killed a notorious militant in Bayelsa State.

This was in a statement by the Coordinator, Joint Media Campaign Centre, ODS, Lt. Col. Olaolu Dauda on Wednesday.

Dauda said a suspected militant kingpin known as Edoboy was killed during the invasion.

He said, “The troops in conjunction with special forces conducted patrols in Sand-sand fishing camp in Bayelsa State and came upon suspected militants who had regrouped to resuscitate a camp earlier destroyed.

“Our troops engaged the suspected militants and killed one of them popularly called Edoboy.  He was one of the notorious kingpins on the wanted list of security agencies who had been terrorising innocent members of the communities in the area.”

Dauda also said another militant was killed when troops of sector 2 encountered a group of suspected sea robbers while on patrol.

He said others escaped with injuries and one AK 47, two magazines, 29 rounds of 7.62 milimeter special, 10 empty cases, seven charms, two head warmers and a cutlass were recovered.

Shell probes oil leak in Bayelsa community.

The Shell Petroleum Development Company says the source of an oil leak that polluted Otuokpoti communities in Bayelsa is being investigated.

The Medial Relations Manager at SPDC, Mr. Precious Okolobo, in a statement on Monday said that there was no oil leakage from its operations in the area.

He said, “The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd is investigating reports of a leak around Otuokpiti community waterfront situated downstream the Ekoli River, where a section of SPDC’s Nun River – Kolo Creek Pipeline is buried.

“Preliminary site visits did not indicate any spill.

“SPDC has, however, shut the pipeline as a precautionary measure pending further investigation.”

Officials of SPDC and Nigerian Agip Oil Company, at the weekend, visited Ekole Creek near Otuokpoti in Bayelsa in search of the source of oil leak in the area.

Residents of Otuokpoti community had on Wednesday reported a massive oil leak from an oil field operated in the area.

A resident of the area, Ms. Beatrice Okatubo, said on Monday in Yenagoa that officials of SPDC and Agip jointly visited the oil fields to trace the source of oil discharged into the Ekole Creek and the adjoining farmlands.

She said, “Officials of both oil firms visited Otuokpoti to investigate the source of the oil leak and it was traced to Shell but the community had claimed that the spill came from Agip’s facility.”

Ekole Creek is around Agbura and Otuokpoti communities in Ogbia and Yenagoa local government areas of Bayelsa respectively.

The residents had said the spill resulting from the leak destroyed farmlands and aquatic lives in the communities.

The residents said that crude oil deposits from the spillage, measured about five centimetres thick on the surface of the water, and had been carried away by water current.

Tragedy As Policeman Shoots Colleague To Death In Bayelsa Over N20,000

A policeman attached to the Bayelsa Police Command has shot dead his colleague over N20, 000 largesse. The incident occurred early Tuesday morning following an argument between the officers on the sharing formula. The duo went on an operation where they were rewarded with N20, 000.



The deceased was of the opinion that they should give their Divisional Police Officer (DPO) part of the money, while the other objected.

While the argument ensued, the enraged police officer allegedly brought out his gun and shot his colleague.

The deceased, a native of Ondewari community in Southern Ijaw Local Government area of Bayelsa, is survived by two wives and children.

His remains have been deposited at the morgue of Federal Medical Center, Yenagoa.

Sympathisers were seen trooping to the deceased residence at Swali to pay condolences to his family.

Some of them, who spoke with our correspondent, described him as a “jolly good fellow.’’

When contacted, the spokesman for the command, Mr. Asinim Butswat, said he was yet to be briefed on the incident.

BREAKING: Supreme Court confirms Seriake Dickson as Bayelsa Governor

The Supreme Court on Tuesday declared that Seriake Dickson was validly elected as Bayelsa Governor.


The seven-member panel of judges gave the ruling following an appeal by Timipre Sylva, candidate of the Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, in the elections.


Mr. Dickson’s election as governor had earlier been ratified by the election tribunal and the Court of Appeal.


Details later…

Bayelsa communities clash over oil-rich land

Ibou, Eminama and Dorgu-Ewoama communities, all in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State are spoiling for war over the ownership of Ibou Forest and Iyallakiri Creek oil location following claims by some families in Eminama and Dorgu-Ewoama that they own the contentious portion of land.

Meanwhile, the people of Ibou community have called on the Bayelsa state government to intervene and restrain Eminama and Dorgu-Ewoama communities from the said land to avoid a breakdown of law and order, stressing that the ownership claim was capable of igniting communal crisis in the area.

The Ibou community in a petition to the Special Adviser (Oil and Gas) to Governor Seriake Dickson, signed by Chief Ipogolanyo Daw-Feghawari and others, stated that the land in question has been in existence for over 120 years and never in dispute or disputed by anybody, except for the latest claims by Eminama and Dorgu-Ewoama.

Describing the claims of the two families as “ignorance and greed”, the Ibou community said as a peace- loving people, they were ready to defend their ancestral heritage through a peaceful and law- abiding process and advised the Bayelsa State government not to be misled by a few self-seeking persons.”

It added: “The Ibou community, therefore, advises the Bayelsa state government and the public to disregard the purported claims as they want to reap where they did not sow.”

Tight Security as Supreme Court Rules on Bayelsa Gov Election

Residents of Yenagoa woke up on Tuesday morning to witness  increased security around Government House and strategic areas of the capital in anticipation of Supreme Court judgment on Bayelsa governorship poll.

A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria in Yenagoa reports that all the roads leading to Onopa, the seat of government were blocked by armed security men.

Motorists and other commuters were forced to seek alternative routes to their destinations.

The Supreme Court will deliver judgment on Monday on the legal tussle between Gov. Seriake Dickson of the PDP, who was declared the winner of the poll and Chief Timipre Sylva, the APC candidate who challenged the victory.

Sylva had approached the election petitions tribunal which upheld Dickson’s election.

Not satisfied with the verdict of the tribunal, the APC candidate took his case to the Appeal Court which also affirmed the decision of the tribunal.

However, in spite of the heavy presence of security men deployed in strategic locations, the capital remains calm.

DSP Asinim Butswat told NAN in a telephone interview that the deployment was to ensure the prevailing peace in the capital is maintained.

We are moving Bayelsa away from its evil past – Dickson

Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr Seriake Dickson, on Thursday stated that his primary mission as leader of the state was to move it from its ‘dark and evil past” to a glorious one.

He noted that having fought “so many battles” and emerging triumphant in all, it was necessary to work closely with God and the people to ensure that the state was weaned from its unenviable past.

Dickson spoke during an event to mark the state’s fifth Annual Thanksgiving Day at the Ecumenical Centre in Igbogene, Yenagoa.

He explained that being the first bill he sent to the state House of Assembly when he became governor underscored the importance of the annual thanksgiving ceremony.

According to him, the event was to give everybody an opportunity to thank and praise God according to their faith. “Its a sacred day of thanksgiving. Its not just a day for officialdom”, he said.

The governor added, “When we came on board five years ago, knowing all the battles that we fought, we have never lost any battle along this way. It’s our prayer that moving forward, we always remain victorious.

“I look at life and see how God raised me as a police constable, working through different people at different times through thick and thin, I emerged governor of this state.

“Because of some of the issues that preceded my emergence after I had gone to court to compel INEC to put back my name, I discovered I had to thank God.

“God has been merciful. Seeing the need to reposition our state rightly before God, we thought there was need to move the state away consciously from all that was dark and evil. That was why the first bill I sent was the law giving rise to this ceremony”.

He called on the people of the state to jettison all divisive tendencies and join forces with his administration to build the state, irrespective of their political differences.

In his sermon, the guest preacher, Rev. Uma Ukpai, noted that Bayelsa remained a very dear state in God’s heart, stating that that underscored the choice of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan by God to rule Nigeria for the period he did.

BCPG President Kunle Awobudu Warns Of Possible Earthquake In Nigeria.

The national President of Building Collapse Prevention Guild, Mr Kunle Awobudu, has expressed the possibility of Nigeria experiencing earthquake and the need for the federal government to immediate take preemptive action by reducing the spate of substandard building construction across the nation.

Recall that mild earthquakes recently occurred in parts of Oyo, Bayelsa, Rivers, and Kaduna states.

According to him, vibrations accompanying the earth tremors resulted in the collapse of mud houses and infliction of visible cracks in modern buildings within the affected areas.

“This development has clearly ossified the harbinger on the possibility of Nigeria having an earthquake induced disaster in the near future,” Awobudu said.

In a press statement made available to journalists in Lagos, Awobudu expressed concern that the notion that Nigeria is safe or far from seismic active regions is no longer tenable.

He disclosed that Shaki in Oyo State has been subjected to intermittent earth tremors this year and climaxed in the first week of June 2016. More so, communities in Bayelsa and Rivers on July 10, 2016 had a similar experience but in this case due to prolonged effect of oil exploitation.

Records from the seismological station of the Centre for Geodesy and Geodynamics (CGG) showed that the earthquakes that occurred in Kwoi area of Kaduna State on 11th and 12th September, 2016 ranged from 2.8 to 3.1 in magnitude.

The statement reads in part: “Shaki and Kwoi towns are not far from the Ifewara – Zungeru fault Zone, which is linked with the Atlantic fracture system. The fault transcends the South-West and North-West of the country, thereby making that stretch of land susceptible to seismicity due to stresses generated within the earth-crust, that is, partial reactivation of fossil plate boundaries.

“Earth tremors occurred in Nigeria in 1933,1939,1964,1984,1990,1994,1997, 2000, 2009, 2011 and now 2016. A series of earth tremors might not necessarily lead to the high intensity earthquake, a reason that should douse our fears.

“However, a study carried out by Dr. Adepelumi Adekunle Abraham of the Department of Geology, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile- Ife and his team of researchers exacerbated the portentous signs in the following grim words, “After the earth tremor of 2009 in South- Western Nigeria, (which) was felt in several towns and villages in Oyo, Osun and Ogun States, a detailed short-term probabilistic earthquake prediction was carried out by our team, our findings indicated the probability of earthquake occurrence in the study area between the year 2009 and 2028 increased from 2.8% to 91.1%.

“The result also showed that the probability of three events occurring annually has the highest likelihood within the predicted years. Also, found that the Weibull probability density model predicts a damaging earthquake (Magnitude 5) before year 2020.”

“Buildings are the bastion of physical development which is used to adjudge a nation’s rung in the global socio-economic ladder.  Investors in buildings should be concerned about the durability of the buildings they are providing fund for. The longer a building exists, the more the revenue or value the owner derives from it. Indubitably, a solidly constructed building can stand the test of time.

“The wise learns from the errors of others. Nigeria must not continue to repeat the mistake of Haiti and Nepal where stringent building regulations were lacking, thereby aggravating the effects of  the earthquakes on buildings. In an earthquake disaster, the vulnerable, substandard buildings have always been the major cause of high death toll. And unfortunately in Nigeria, the National Building Code is legally and practically not in existence just as it was in Haiti.

“A 5.7 magnitude earthquake occurred near Bukoba town in Northern Tanzania on September 10, 2016. According to local authorities, all fatalities were people ‘in brick structures’ that collapsed. Lesson from this experience is a warning to prospective homeowners and developers in Nigeria that they should endeavour to follow due process and avoid quakes. Government should pay due attention to building construction from the scratch by strengthening ministries of physical planning and development control, and also uphold the tenet of professionalism in the nation’s building industry.

BCPG in the statement reiterated the call by the Director of  Centre for Geodesy and Geodynamics, in Toro, Bauchi State, Dr. Tahir Abubakar Yakubu that Nigerian government should establish additional seismological stations to monitor crustal movements in the identified earthquake prone areas, and the suggestions of Dr. Adepelumi Adekunle that Nigerian Government should invest in earthquake electromagnetic precursors monitoring devices that are capable of monitoring foreshocks, main shocks and aftershocks of any future earthquake event.

A nation without an effective national building code will end up in ruin in an occurrence of an earthquake. Enforcement of building regulations without compromise will prevent serious calamity in the future. Many nations, including USA, Japan and Australia have been constructing earthquake resistant buildings in their seismic regions. Nigeria can imitate such preventive measures. To be forewarned is to be forearmed,” the statement reads.

Unpaid Salaries: Bayelsa teachers meet, insist on strike.

The Bayelsa State chapter of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) has called on all public primary and secondary school teachers in the state to continue observing the strike declared by the union.

Teachers have been on strike since the resumption of the new academic session to protest unpaid arrears of salaries and other unfulfilled obligations of the government.

It was gathered that the NUT had an emergency congress on Monday and resolved that the industrial action should continue.

The body called on the teachers to disregard the directive given by the Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools (ASUSS) that the teachers should resume work.

The state Chairman of the NUT, Mr. Kalama Tonpre, alleged that the ASUSS might have been compromised and called on the teachers to stay at home until the NUT would call off the strike.

Kalama also called on members of the public to disregard the allegation by the state’s Commissioner for Information that the union had been politicised.

He, however, said the commissioner’s position was his personal opinion which did not represent the standpoint of the state government.

But the state government, yesterday, assured the teachers of prompt payment of their salaries and allowances and appealed to them to call off their strike.

The Commissioner for Education, Mr. Markson Fefegha, gave the assurance during a one day workshop on the preparation of monthly payment vouchers and nominal rolls held at the DSP Alamieyeseigha Memorial Banquet Hall,Yenagoa.

Fefegha said the preparation of vouchers in line with the present administration’s policy on transparency to stop the sharp practices perpetrated by some unscrupulous elements in the system.

He said the seminar would assist in addressing the issue of voucher preparation to ease the payment process adding that the Governor Seriake Dickson-led government was passionate about the teaching profession.

He said: “I am sure that most of you have received the two halves and we are working assiduously so that by next week you would receive your other month salary so that you would not only be at par but will be ahead of other civil servants in the state”.

Also speaking, the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Jonathan Obuebite, appreciated the principals for their cooperation and urged them to prepare an all-inclusive payroll.

He scored the government high in educational transformation and urged to safeguard the infrastructure built by the government.

Bayelsa State Gov Dickson’s Wife Gives Birth to Quadruplets

Wife of Bayelsa State governor and first lady of the state, Rachael Dickson, has put to bed quadruplets (four babies) today. The team of four babies includes four females and one boy.

Daniel Iworiso-Markson, chief Press secretary to governor Seriake Dickson said in a statement released moments ago:

“This is particularly good news for the family and Bayelsans because this bundle of joy is coming after many years of praying and waiting upon the Lord.

“Governor Dickson thanks friends, family members and Bayelsans for their prayers and support and enjoins them to continue to pray for the family.”

Gov. Dickson hails judiciary as APC, Sylva lose at Appeal Court

The Bayelsa State Governor, Henry Seriake Dickson, has commended the judiciary for its steadfastness in protecting the sanctity of the ballot and upholding itself as the bastion of the nation’s democracy.

Dickson’s comment came on Thursday afternoon following the judgement of the Court of Appeal, which upheld the earlier judgement of the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, in his favour.

Both the Tribunal and the Court of Appeal upheld the election of Dickson, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party for the governorship election in the State.

Former Governor of the State and candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Timipre Sylva, had petitioned the appellate court seeking to upturn the decision of the tribunal. But in its judgement in Abuja on Thursday, the Appeal Court, in a unanimous decision, dismissed Sylva’s petition as lacking in merit and affirmed Dickson’s election as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

It held that the APC failed to provide credible, cogent and convincing evidence for their appeal.

The five-man panel of justices, led by Justice Olukayode Bada, faulted Sylva on the various grounds of his petition, noting in particular that contrary to the petition, no credible election took place on December 6, 2016 in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area.

Sylva had premised his argument on the cancellation of election in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area as the sole action of INEC, thereby contravening the law.

But both the tribunal and the Appeal Court thought otherwise.

Dickson, in the statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, has called on Sylva to stop the flagrant abuse of the judicial process and the needless distractions designed at overheating the polity.

He noted that the judgement indicated that the resolve of the people did not go in vain as he called for greater vigilance to protect democracy in the country.

Bayelsa Teachers Issue 21-Day Ultimatum To State Government

The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) has issued a 21-day ultimatum to the Bayelsa state government to fully pay the four months’ half salary of all teachers or the teachers in the state would stop working.

This, they said, would affect their expected participation in the conduct of the National Common Entrance and other examinations.

The state wing executive council of the NUT Bayelsa state chapter issued a 9-point communique titled “Not Until We Perish” highlighting their resolution after an emergency meeting to discuss the lingering non-payment of six months’ salaries to primary and secondary school teachers.

The state chairman of the NUT, Kalama Tonpre, while reading the communique, said that the union was committed to enhancing public school system but demands improved working conditions.

He highlighted “the apparent hardship suffered by teachers on account of the prolonged non-payment of over six months’ salaries owed primary and secondary school teachers in order to be at par with other civil servants in the state”.

Other problems discussed were the planned dismissal of teachers employed in 2008/2009, the non-payment of duty post allowances, shifting the responsibility of funding primary school teachers’ salaries to local government councils and non-implementation of promotions.

Others are the 18,000 naira minimum wage arrears and non-inclusion of stakeholders in state education law committee.

According to them, if these issues are not resolved, they would stop working.

The chairman continued by saying “an ultimatum of 21 days from today is given to the Bayelsa state government to fully pay the four months’ salaries of all teachers and address other problems”.

“For some teachers, these months without salary has been hellish as daily survival has been a major challenge,” he said.

The government on their part say they would do their best to pay the salaries for as many months as they can afford.

Agip pipeline explosion victims’ families accuse company of neglect

The families of victims of the pipeline explosion at the Agip Oilfield in Azuzuama community in Bayelsa State have accused the company of neglect.

They accused the Nigerian Agip Oil Company, operators of the oilfield, of being insensitive to their plights.

The News Agency of Nigeria reported that a pipeline explosion in the Southern Ijaw Local Government community on July 9, 2015 left 14 people dead.

A regulatory official of the Bayelsa State Ministry of Environment and National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency was among the dead victims.

NAN said that officials of NAOC, representatives of the host community and the Bayelsa State Ministry of Environment were investigating the cause of an oil spill in the area when the blast occurred.

The Director-General of NOSDRA, Dr. Peter Idabor, had bemoaned the poor safety procedures at Agip’s oilfields which resulted in the death of its worker and an official of the ministry.

“It is a painful experience to us in NOSDRA. We have informed the families of the affected employees who hailed from Enugu State.

“We are talking with the Bayelsa State Government that also lost an employee from its Ministry of Environment.

“This incident shows the kind of risks and hazards that our officers are constantly exposed to in the discharge of our mandate at oilfields, amidst daunting challenges and limitations,” Idabor said.

Some of the family members of the victims of the blast said that they were still feeling the pains of the loss.

They blamed Agip for neglecting the dependants of the victims.

Mr. Clinton Italia, a relative of one of the victims, told NAN on Wednesday that all that the family got was an N800,000 burial assistance and N7.4m interim palliative.

“Life has been difficult and painful for the families of the victims at Azuzuama.

“Apart from the burial assistance and the sum of N7.4m, nothing has been done to the oilfield to forestall future repetition of the accident.

“The dependants of the deceased feel abandoned as Agip has yet to pay the main compensation.

“We have waited for the compensation and other promises they made to no avail and we are looking at ways of taking up the case with them,’’ Italia said.

Mr. Karibi MacDonald, the spokesman for the bereaved families, also said in Yenagoa that Agip had neither shown remorse nor commiserated with the families of the victims.

“It is very unfortunate that Agip is so insensitive to the needless death of 14 Nigerians due to the poor safety records in their oilfields.

“There has been no contact with us – the relatives of late staff of the Bayelsa State environment ministry.

“The stance of Agip, since this incident occurred, has been regrettable.

“They have not bothered to contact us even during the burial of the victims. When my own brother was buried, we did not see Agip.

“It is very sad that a foreign company can be this arrogant, be shying away from its liability and could not commiserate with the bereaved families.”

However, Eni, the Italian Energy firm and the parent company of NAOC, in a reaction to the claims of neglect, said in a brief email response that its Nigerian operations had assisted 12 families of the victims of the blast.

Reacting, the Media Relations Manager of Agip, Mr. Filipo Cotalini, was however silent on the allegations of unsafe oilfield practices, which reportedly resulted in the death of 20 people within one year of the firm’s oil block operation in Bayelsa.

“Twelve out of 14 families have received support from NAOC.

“For the remaining two families, the process is in progress and will be completed very soon,” Eni stated.

Operation Crocodile Smile suffer loss as 4 Soldiers drown In Bayelsa boat mishap

Four soldiers that are part of the Operation Crocodile in the Niger Delta have drowned in a boat mishap in Bayelsa state today September 5th. The incident happened at about 10 am this morning along the Brass Water Front in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa.

The riffles of the soldiers are currently missing. A resident of the community, Effa, who spoke with Leadership, said attempts by the youths in the community and other soldiers to rescue the soldiers failed as the drowned soldiers could not be found.


“In recent times,we have been noticing increased movement of soldiers in our area. The boat that capsize was conveying a new batch of soldiers to the water front. I was going to dispose of refuse at the waterfront and I saw uniformed soldiers struggling to rescue their colleagues in a capsize boat. When the confusion subsided, Four Soldiers were found to be missing with their rifles and other military gear. Some others that were rescued had their rifle missing and struggling out of the water. “he said

Search for the missing soldiers and their riffles is still ongoing.

Army Hunts For Killers Of Soldiers In Bayelsa

A manhunt has begun for militants who killed three soldiers attached to the Operation Delta Safe in Bayelsa State on Monday, according to the Nigerian Army.

Meanwhile, the state government has condemned the killing of the soldiers in Nembe community, describing the action as barbaric and not in the best interest of the people.

Similarly, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai, has said that the killing of both army and air force personnel in Bosso, Niger State, is unacceptable to the military.

While commiserating with the military over the brutal killing in Bayelsa by armed bandits, Governor Seriake Dickson described the incident as most painful and unfortunate. He pointed out that a similar incident occurred in July last year, when soldiers were attacked at the same security checkpoint in Nembe, resulting in deaths.

Addressing the people of Nembe at the King Koko Square, in the community, the governor, who was represented by his deputy, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah (rtd), said he took it upon himself to visit the scene of the incident to condole with the military authorities, with a view to dousing the palpable tension occasioned by the sad incident.

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Militants Kill Three Soldiers, Cart Away Weapons In Bayelsa

Suspected militants on Monday attacked the location of the newly-activated Joint Task Force, Operation Delta Safe, in Bayelsa State, and killed three soldiers.

The incident, which reportedly occurred about 9.30am, took place at Tombi Jetty, Ogolomabiri in Nembe Local Government Area of the state.

The militants were also said to have made away with military gunboats, rifles and other ammunition, after an ambush on the operatives stationed at a checkpoint.

The checkpoint, it was learnt, is located at the community’s entrance and had been in existence since the era of militancy in the Niger Delta.

It was also learnt that heavy sounds of gunshots allegedly fired during the surprise attack unsettled the community for about 30 minutes.

The situation was said to have thrown the residents of the community into panic, as many of them who initially thought the area was under siege ran in different directions for safety.

It was further learnt that the gunmen, who stormed the area with unspecified number of speedboats, dressed in white uniform to deceive their targets of their real intentions.

Their immaculate white dresses, it was learnt, were designed to create an impression that they were members of a white garment church on a funeral procession.

A resident of Nembe, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said there was widespread fear in the community.

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“Don’t Use Military Action Against Niger Delta Avengers” – Governor Seriake Dickson

The governor of Bayelsa state, Seriake Dickson has revealed that he advised President Muhammadu Buhari not to employ any military operation against Niger Delta Avengers.


Addressing state house correspondents after meeting President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, Dickson said dialogue has a key role to play in restoring peace to the region.


He said: “The military solutions as I have always maintained is not the right option. We are hopeful that the ongoing discussions will yield the desired result,” he said.


“I have always been in support of negotiations, of dialogue as the sustainable way forward. Dialogue will bring out the issues and then we will all unite around these common issues to move our country forward.


“For us who are products of political system who are at this level, we have a duty to mobilise communal and local leadership, we have a duty to support the work of intelligence and security agencies are doing, we have a duty to ensure that issues are better appreciated and that we fill the communication gap.


“And where there are issues those issues need be addressed and is also our duty to network like I’m doing to ensure that problems that are identified as the route cause of some of these challenges are looked into.”

Suspected Militants Blow Up Agip Pipelines In Bayelsa

Suspected militants in the early hours of Friday blew up the Tebidaba-Brass Nigeria Agip Oil Company, NAOC pipeline. Also affected are the Goulubokiri Manifold and Lasukugbene pipeline.

Bayelsa state Commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps,NSCDC, Desmond Agu, who confirmed the incident said men of the Command on surveillance exchanged gun fire with the vandals.

Agu said: “Reports from the swamp area indicates that last night(early hours of this morning) a gang of heavily armed youths with two double 200hp speedboats used explosives to blast three different points on the Tebidaba-Brass NAOC pipeline.”

Credit: vanguardngr

Another 140,000 bpd Shut In As Agip, AITEO Close Operations In Bayelsa

Nigeria’s crude oil production capacity has again dropped by 140,000 barrels per day (bpd) from the renewed activities of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), a new militant group in the country’s Delta region.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported in Abuja yesterday that while the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) has shut its Bayelsa production facility which produces 65,000bpd, indigenous operator, Aiteo, which operates the Nembe Creek Trunk Line, has also stopped its 75,000bpd facility in Bayelsa.

According to the agency, earlier attacks on NAOC oilfield on May 18 and 24 resulted in the shutdown of some 5,200 barrels of its equity share of oil output.

It said a spokesperson for Agip confirmed the development in a short e-mail response to it.

“The total deferred production due to the attack is 65,000 barrels of oil equivalent daily,” read the e-mail sent to NAN.

It further said: “I can confirm that. There is no further impact on production, since all production from the swamp area has already been stopped days ago.”

According to crude production figures provided by the oil firm, the country is losing about $3.12 million in revenue each day its facility remains out of production.

Also, Shola Omole, spokesman for Aiteo, said the Nembe Creek Trunk Line, which conveyed crude to Bonny export terminal but came under attack by NDA on May 28, had been shut.

Omole explained that 75,000bpd of oil was deferred as the line remained out of service.

Credit: Thisday

Bayelsa Workers Begin Strike Today Over Unpaid Salaries

Civil servants in Bayelsa State will on Thursday (today) proceed on an indefinite strike over months of salary arrears owed by the state government.

This is just as the 21-day ultimatum issued by workers’ unions to the Bayelsa State Government to pay all outstanding salaries and allowances elapsed on Wednesday (yesterday).

The state chapters of the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress had issued an ultimatum to the government on Thursday, April 28, 2016.

They had warned that at the end of the ultimatum, they would take an action against the government if it failed to comply with their demands.

State workers are currently owed four months’ salaries with pensioners being owed seven months’ arrears even as local government council workers are being owed 12 months’ unpaid salaries.

The NLC and the TUC, in a joint meeting on Wednesday at their council’s secretariat in Yenagoa, resolved that they could no longer guarantee the existing industrial harmony the state.

The unions said the decision to proceed on strike became imperative as government had refused to yield to their demands to relieve workers of the huge economic pains they were going through.

Bayelsa State NLC Chairman, Ndiomu John-Bipre, and the state TUC Chairman, Tari Dounana, said that the two labour groups in Bayelsa resolved to join the ongoing nationwide strike arising from the hike in the price of fuel and electricity.

A statement by the two groups said, “The council-in-session has also resolved that due to the inability of the state government to measure up to the demands of workers arising from the non-payment of salaries from January till date, workers are directed to proceed immediately on an indefinite strike, taking effect from Thursday, May 19, 2016.

“Workers are by this development advised to stay off their places of work and remain at home as long as the strike may last.”

Credit: Punch

Abduction: 14-Yr-old Ese Oruru Allegedly 5 Months Pregnant

14 year old Ese Rita Oruru, the Bayelsa born girl child who was abducted by Yunusa Dahiru, alias Yellow but rescued by the Police in Kano, has been discovered to be about 5 months pregnant.


It was gathered that the white Hijab dress she wore on her arrival from Kano on Tuesday, was used to conceal the pregnancy even though her physical condition and looks created a suspicion.


According to reports by Vanguard, it was the condition in which Police authorities discovered about Ese that informed the IGP, Solomon Arase’s directive that she should be handed over to the Gender and Child Protection Unit and later, a team from the Medical Department of the Force to carry out a comprehensive medical examination of the girl-child at the Police Medical Facility in Area 1, Garki.


Upon certifying her medical status and emotional state, Vanguard gathered that the Inspector General of Police feeling uncomfortable with the transport arrangement of the mother that they return by road, cancelled the arrangement and directed that both Ese and her mother be flown to Yenegoa by air.


Meanwhile, the IGP has directed the Bayelsa State Police Command to take over investigation in the child violence offense saga because according to sources, the offense was committed in Bayelsa which is the place of residence of the abductor, Yunusa Dahiru.


Consequently, Vanguard was told the Yunusa will be moved to Yenegoa to face interrogation and prosecution for kidnapping and child abuse as well as violence
against a girl-child.


Credit : Vanguard

Police Hand Over Ese To Parents; Dad Says She’s Hypnotised, Will Take Her To TB Joshua

Police authorities in Abuja yesterday night said Ese Oruru, freed Monday, will now be officially handed over to her mother, Mrs. Oruru, today.


14 years old Ese Rita Oruru was brought to Police headquarters at Louis Edet House at about 12. 55pm amid tight police protection.

Her dad, Mr Charles Oruru, however disclosed that he has concluded plans to seek spiritual assistance from Lagos cleric, Pastor T.B. Joshua, founder of The Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN).

ese oruru

Ese would have been handed over to her mother yesterday, but for inability of the woman to arrive Abuja by 8.00p.m. last night as she travelled from Yenagoa, Bayelsa State by road.


She was immediately ushered into the office of the Force Public Relations Officer, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Olabisi Kolawole, for what sources said was a debriefing exercise. Also arrested and brought to Abuja by a Special Police team from Zone 1 headquarters, Kano, led by an Assistant Commissioner of Police, was the abductor of Ese, Yunusa, alias Yellow.


Both the abductor and the abductee were escorted by three representatives of the Emir of Kano to brief the police authorities about the roles the Emir and Kano Emirate Council played in getting Ese released.


At exactly 1 25pm, the Force Public Relations Officer was seen leading the freed Ese Oruru to the office of the Inspector General of Police for further briefing. Attempts by newsmen to talk with Ese were rebuffed as the FPRO assured that as soon as Ese’s mother, who was being expected from Bayelsa arrived, the Police will brief the media on the matter by 4 pm.


Recall that Ese was abducted by one Yinusa, from her mother’s shop in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State on August 12, 2015, and whisked away to Kano State without the consent of her parents.


She was rescued Monday night, following a directive by the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, to the Commissioner of Police, Kano State, Mohammed Katsina, to liaise with the state’s Emirate Council and relevant persons in the state.



Credit : Vanguard

NDDC To Complete N24bn Ogbia-Nembe Road, 6 Bridges In Bayelsa

The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) on Tuesday said that its 27-kilometre Ogbia-Nembe road and six bridges project in Bayelsa would soon be completed.


A statement issued in Port Harcourt by Mr Chijioke Amu-Nnadi, the commission’s Head of Corporate Affairs unit, disclosed that the project was awarded at a cost of N24.5 billion.


It quoted Mrs Ibim Semenitari, Acting Managing Director of NDDC, as saying that President Muhammadu Buhari directed the commission to fast track completion of ongoing projects in the Niger Delta.


It said the project, which had more than 50 culverts spreading across “very difficult terrains”, would terminate in Brass Local Government area of the state.


“NDDC is committed to speedy completion of the 27-kilometre Ogbia-Nembe road, six bridges and 50 culverts project in partnership with the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).

“The project which is in its first phase of completion will eventually terminate in Brass area of Bayelsa State.

“The project, which is nearing completion, was made possible by President Muhammadu Buhari’s release of N22 billion for the commission between June and December,” Semenitari was quoted as saying.


The statement said that the commission would soon commence construction of a prototype-ultra modern student hostel at the Niger Delta University on Wilberforce Island in Bayelsa.

It called on individuals and corporate organisations to partner the commission to realise its development mandate, adding that governance was a collective responsibility of all.




Soldiers Raid Ex-militant’s Home, Allege Gunrunning, Kidnapping

Soldiers have raided the residents of a former militant leader, Chief Solomon Ndigbara (also known as Osama bin Laden), for alleged gun running and kidnapping.

The soldiers were said to have stormed one of Ndigbara’s houses in Bua-Yeghe, Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State from the 2 Brigade base of the Nigerian Army, at about 5.30pm on Sunday.

The soldiers also carried out a similar operation at the home of the ex-Niger Delta agitator in Port Harcourt on Monday.

Earlier, a group of armed policemen had also raided two houses belonging to an ex-militant leader and Caretaker Committee Chairman of Asari-Toru Local Government, Mr. Soboma Jackrich.

Confirming the raid through a statement on Monday, the Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, 2 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Captain Eli Lazarus, said Ndigbara’s supporters staged a protest against the raid.

“Men of 2 Brigade Nigerian Army relying on credible intelligence conducted a raid operation on Sunday 11 January 2016 on the residence of one Mr. Solo also known as “General Solo” in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State.

“Mr. Solomon Ndigbara is suspected of gun running and kidnapping activities. Sadly, supporters of the suspect mobilised and staged a protest against the raid.

“During the protest, several property belonging to the suspect and other innocent citizens were destroyed. Investigation into the suspected criminal activities of Mr. Solomon is ongoing.

“The Brigade enjoins all law-abiding citizens in the area to go about their lawful activities as the military will continue to work assiduously to ensure the protection of lives and property of all,” the statement read.

Sources said the whereabouts of Ndigbara’s wife, Kate, and his two younger brothers identified as Bariagan and Gabriel Ndigbara remained unknown after the soldiers’ operation.

It was learnt that the soldiers destroyed two vehicles; a Toyota Sienna and Lexus SUV, even as sources said that some rooms in Ndigbara’s Bua-Nyeghe home were ransacked while some property inside the rooms were damaged.

In his reaction, the Chairman of Gokana Local Government Area, Mr. Austin Sor, described the operation as an onslaught, shocking and unwarranted.

Sor said, “It is pathetic and a war declared on Chief Solomon Ndigbara and the people of Bua-Yeghe. To me, this is a political war.

“Yesterday at about 4pm, I was in the community field watching a final match when some of my community boys came to call me and asked if I am aware that Army has taken over the community.

“When I got there, actually, what I saw were heavily armed soldiers with 10 vans in the compound of Solomon Ndigbara. An attempt to get their attention to know who sent them was seriously resisted. Even the paramount could not access them.”

Sylva To Challenge Result Of Bayelsa Governorship Election

The candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the just concluded governorship election in Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva, on Monday said he would challenge the result of the election in court.

The Independent National Electoral Commission had on Sunday declared the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, and incumbent governor of the state, Seriake Dickson, winner of the election.

Addressing journalists on Monday, Mr. Sylva alleged that INEC and the PDP worked in concert to rig the election in favour of the PDP.

He said he had officially complained, prior to the election, that the present structure of INEC in the state would not conduct a credible election.

According to him, the INEC officials were assembled by the immediate-past administration to deliver the state to PDP in last general elections.

“I said in the beginning that I do not have confidence in the REC and the Administrative Secretary, that I do not expect a fair treatment if these people were to preside over the election.

“I said so over and over and over again. I even reduced it to writing, and we sent the petition. Usually before elections of this nature, INEC officials are switched.

“But this time, they chose to keep this team that was already in place set up by the PDP as rigging machine.

“This was the same team that returned almost 100 percent of all votes in Bayelsa to the former president.

“And we felt that these people could not have given us a free and fair treatment. But unfortunately, our cries fell on deaf ears. Yesterday, they proved themselves true to type,” he noted.

Credit: PremiumTimes

Five Men Arrested In Bayelsa Over Attempt To Attack Jonathan’s Home

According to the police in Bayelsa, they have arrested five people over an alleged plan to attack former president Jonathan’s home in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state.

According to reports, the five men were arrested at a hotel close to the former president’s house as they put their plans in motion. Confirming the arrest, Police Public Relations Officer, Bayelsa State Command, Asinim Butswat, said;

“On the January 6, 2016, based on a tip-off, detectives from the Anti-Kidnapping and Anti-Vice unit
stormed a hotel premises in Swali community, Yenagoa, and arrested five suspects. The suspects are Asupha Emeka, 34, Ebipre Ebebi, 25, Samuel Joe, 27, Okilo Matthew, 25, and Timiere Matthew, 25”

The spokesperson didn’t say why the men plotted to attack Jonathan’s home but many believe it could be part of a plot to create tension in the state ahead of a supplementary election in southern Ijaw local government.

The spokesperson said the suspects are currently being interrogated.

Election: Police Restrict Movements On Bayelsa Waterways

The Police in Bayelsa said on Friday that movement of some water transportation facilities and river craft activities would be restricted during the governorship election in the state on Saturday.

It also announced that movement of persons, motor vehicles and tricycles would be restricted from the hours of 6am to 6pm on the election date.

This is contained in a statement by the command’s Public Relations Officer, Mr Asinim Butswat, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, in Yenagoa.

It said that the restriction was from 7 p.m. on Friday to 7 a.m. on Sunday, adding that boats fitted with 200 horsepower engine and above was not permitted to move during the period.

“Any person or group of persons who violates this order will be arrested and prosecuted accordingly.

“Likewise, movement of persons, motor vehicles and tricycles will be restricted d on the election date, from the hours of 6am to 6pm.

“Only those on essential services will be allowed to move,” it said.

It urged the electorate to go out and exercise their franchise “by casting their votes for candidates of their choice.”

Credit: Nation

Jonathan Commissions 1st Bayelsa Flyover

A former Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, has commissioned a flyover to be constructed in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital.

The flyover project was executed by the Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson’s restoration government.

Performing the commissioning ceremony on Monday, the former President said that the construction of the flyover had given the state capital a face lift and had upgraded Yenagoa from a town to an emerging city.

According to him, the Governor’s political will to embark on such a daring project revealed his love for the growth and development of the state.

The project is poised to bring relief to the usual traffic gridlock experienced along the Ox-Bow Lake axis of the state capital which is one of the star projects of the present administration.

Also commissioned is the Azikoro Road dualisation project which brought respite to road users in the heart of the state capital.

Credit: ChannelsTV

UK Indicates Interest In Kogi, Bayelsa Elections

The United Kingdom has told the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that it is very much interested in how events playing out in Kogi State’s inconclusive governorship election finally unfold.

British High Commissioner, Mr. Paul Arkwright, who dropped the hint when he led a delegation on a courtesy visit to the Chairman of the electoral commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja, further expressed happiness over conduct of credible elections in Nigeria.

Charging the INEC boss to surpass the 75 per cent name recognition of his immediate predecessor, Professor Attahiru Jega, the UK Government equally promised to help Nigeria in improving on visible deficiencies noticeable in computerised electoral system in the country.

His words: “We are here to see how we can work with you in future in alliance with your commissioners. We want to see how we can continue our relationship with you. We also came to congratulate you on your appointment as the commission’s chairman .

“I heard that you did a very good job during the confirmatory hearing  and you showed huge amount of confidence in the structure. I want to also congratulate the new commissioners. It is really wonderful to know that you have some outstanding individuals among the commissioners with rich international backgrounds.

“I appreciate all you said and hope that in the future you will live up to expectations as the commission’s chairman. I was told that your predecessor, who did very well on the job, has 75 per cent name recognition in the entire country. That was a very impressive statistic and it will be nice if you have the same or above such record.

“I want to equally tell you that we are interested in your plans concerning Kogi elections. The death of the APC candidate for that election was a very sad news. We are equally happy about the plans for the Bayelsa election. We appreciate the professionalisation of your elections,” he assured.

Credit: Sun

Gunmen kidnap Timipre Sylva’s cousin in Bayelsa

Gunmen believed to be kidnappers yesterday afternoon kidnapped Krinpere Douglas, a cousin to Timipre Sylva, the APC Governorship candidate for Bayelsa governorship election. According to Nathan Egba, the Director for Media and Publicity of Sylva’s campaign who made this known to newsmen, Douglas was kidnapped along the Ogbia-Brass waterways this afternoon as he was heading to a political rally in support of his cousin, Mr. Sylva.

”The victim was coming for this campaign but, unfortunately, their boat which was in our convoy was attacked by the gunmen who abducted him to an unknown destination. I pray that nothing will happen to him,” he said.

Kidnappers Of Samson Siasia’s Mum Demand N150 Million Ransom

The abductors of the 72 year old mother of U-23 National team Coach Samson Siasia, Madam Beauty Siasia, has demanded N150 million ransom for her safe return.

The younger brother of Samson, Moses Siloko Siasia, who is also the Governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), in the December 5 election, made the disclosure while speaking with The Guardian in Yenagoa.

Moses disclosed that the family had opened channel of communication with the criminals. “We are communicating with them (abductors). It shall be well, we are dealing with it,” he said.

When asked if he thinks the abduction was targeted at his mother in order to distract him, he said: “If that was the plans, then it is bound to fail because I am now stronger in my resolve to come tops in the forthcoming Governorship election.

The old women was abducted on Monday in the riverside town of Odoni, Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa State by about three gunmen who stormed the community in a commando-style operation on motorcycles.

Her abduction occurred less than 24 hours after a leading Ijaw musician, Grandmaster Pereama Freetown, was kidnapped by some yet to be identified gunmen at Polaku in Yenagoa.

The Inspector General of Police, Solomon Aranse assured yesterday that the police was working round the clock to ensure the safe release of Siasia’s mother.

Buhari’s Meeting With INEC, Police Not To Rig Elections – Presidency

The Presidency says President Muhammadu Buhari’s meeting with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Police was geared towards ensuring credible governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa.


A statement issued on Sunday by the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, dismissed PDP’s insinuation regarding the meeting.


NAN reports that PDP had earlier said the meeting was part of plans by the APC to rig the forthcoming governorship elections in the two states.


“The President called the meeting cited by the PDP to warn in particular INEC and the Police, to prepare to give the nation a credible election.


“He said he expected nothing short of a free, fair and credible election.

“He said he had suffered election manipulation in 2003, 2007 and 2011 and would not like to have any Nigerian go through that again.

“He also warned against the intimidation of voters in any way and vowed that he was prepared to move with all the forces available to him against anyone who undermines the rights of any citizen.

“The meeting was short and straight to the point. It ended after five minutes.

“Furthermore, he asked the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, if he had anything to say and Osinbajo had added nothing to what the President said,” the statement had quoted Shehu as saying.


The presidential spokesman advised Nigerians to be wary of PDP’s fruitless attempts to destroy the national institutions President Buhari was determined to rebuild.


“They started with the courts, then the EFCC, then on to the Police and now they are on the one-week old INEC.

“When will PDP allow our national institutions to do their job?” he said.

Governorship Aspirants Sign Peace Accord In Bayelsa

Barely one month to the governorship elections in Bayelsa State, aspirants from various political parties have converged to sign a peace accord, to ensure peaceful and credible elections.

The signing of the peace pact which was initiated by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in collaboration with United Nations Development Program (UNDP), had heads of security agencies, traditional and religious leaders in attendance.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Baritor Kpagi, said that information available to INEC suggested that a number of cloned cards were in circulation in the state, and such cards would not be verified by the smart card reader.

The INEC National Commissioner representing the North West Zone, Mrs Amina Zakari, in her address, explained that election is a beautiful experience, especially when it is devoid of violence.

Credit: ChannelsTV

Bayelsa APC Youths Defect To PDP

About 1,000 youths of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State have defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), ahead of the December 5 governorship election.

It was gathered that the defectors were received by Governor Seriake Dickson at the Banquet Hall of the Government House at the weekend.

Dickson told the youth that they were the future of the state and the Ijaw nation.

The governor urged them to defend their votes in the election.

Credit: NationOnline

Gunmen Kidnap Community Leader In Bayelsa

Armed men in military camouflage have reportedly kidnapped a community leader, identified as Chief Geoffrey Agorodi, at Ogbia Town, Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

The abduction, it was gathered, occurred at about 8.30pm last Friday some distance from Ogbia Town jetty.

The four gunmen,  allegedly bundled Agorodi into a waiting speedboat and sped off after shooting sporadically to scare people away.

Chairman of Ogbia clan, Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, Worldwide, Mr. Osaanya B. Osaanya, condemned the incident, describing it as one abduction too many in the council.

He said: “Kidnapping has become a worrisome development at Ogbia. Kidnappers have laid siege to our council and at the last count, over five persons were abducted in the past one month.

“This is unacceptable. Most of the victims were elderly men and women, including traditional rulers.”

Credit: Vanguard

Bayelsa Worker Commits Suicide Over Unpaid 13 Months Salaries

An employee of the Bayelsa State Water Board, Peter Ogiero, has allegedly committed suicide following the non-payment of his salaries for 13 months by the state government.

It was gathered that the middle-aged engineer reportedly took his life on Tuesday after he waited endlessly for the period without any action by the Governor Seriake Dickson-led administration to save workers at the board from their financial predicament.

Sources said that the deceased, who is a father of four, and whose only means of livelihood was his monthly take home pay, was allegedly overwhelmed by frustration over the unfortunate development.

Ogiero was said to have first developed hypertension and later stroke about one year ago when he
found it extremely difficult to care for himself let alone his wife and four children.

In the midst of his sorry state, his second wife, it was learnt, had to abandon him for their village alongside three of their children.
The only child, a teenager, that stayed with him in his state of impoverishment and anguish, was his first son, Wilson, who barely depended on charity for survival.

Wilson’s mother was said to have died before Ogiero married his second wife, who allegedly abandoned their home at Okaka area in Yenagoa metropolis because the breadwinner could no longer provide ‘bread’ for the family.

It was further learnt that Ogiero, who felt life and the government were unkind to him, decided to kill himself by taking a sniper, an insecticide.
A visit to the Ogieros’ residence on Thursday, showed that the deceased’s relations, who wore sad looks, could hardly narrate how the deceased lived in penury and committed suicide out of frustration.

However, a niece of the deceased, who gave her name only as Tina, said the deceased had been suffering from stroke for over 12 months.
“The stroke was caused by too much of thinking due to the fact that the state government has been owing him (deceased) salaries for 13 months.

“This state of affairs has caused a lot of issues in the deceased’s home. At a point, when his wife could no longer bear the situation, she had to run away from home with his three children to their village”, she said.

Tina said that Wilson and she, who were living somewhere else before, only came on the directive of their families to take care of Ogiero when it was discovered that his second wife, who was living with him, abandoned him in his trying times.

“That was how Wilson and I came to Yenagoa to take care of him. We least expected that he was going to die just like that,” she explained.
Narrating how Ogiero was living when he was alive while shedding tears, Tina said that the situation was so painful and precarious that the deceased found it very difficult to get money to buy drugs recommended by doctors.

“We hoped upon hope that the situation would ameliorate and that the government would pay him the salary they owed him but all to no avail.
“When salary did not come, we tried to manage with the little money given to us by the deceased’s sister, uncle and sometimes by his colleagues.
“But this did not suffice as it was not coming regularly. So, at a point, we found it really hard to buy him drugs and food sometime”, she added.
She said as they were hoping that things would get better someday, they had no idea that the Ogiero had his own plans – to free himself from the frustration he was enmeshed in.
She said on the fateful Tuesday, while they had gone out to look for what Ogiero would eat before taking his drugs, they returned home to see him lying on the ground, gasping for breadth.
Not long after, Ogiero, who before his travail, took families’ problems as his, gave up the ghost, Tina said amid sobs.
“That was how my uncle died. On a close observation, we discovered that he drank a sniper to take his own life out of frustration and poverty,” she stated.
Ogiero’s colleague at the water board, who identified himself simply as Raymond, also corroborated Tina’s account.
Raymond said, “My friend was strong and healthy before the state government stopped paying us salaries.
“The situation led to his frustration and this in turn led to an increase in his blood pressure which later resulted in stroke that worsened his frustration.

“As of now, we are being owed 13-month salaries. The head of our agency has made several efforts in writing and appeals to the state government to pay our salaries and allowances but to no avail”, he said.

According to him, it was not just only him and the late Ogiero that were owed, it also affected over 150 workers in the corporation.
He said some of them had worked in the board for more than 15 years, wondering why the government was so indifferent to their plight.
He said worse still, many of the workers at the board had worked for close to 15 years as casual workers, without the regularisation of their designations.

He lamented that the government had been treating workers of the board with disdain and scorn, wondering what they had done to deserve being treated as sub-humans.
The situation under which we operate is simply appalling. We are human beings with responsibilities but the government treats us as if we are sub-human beings.

“This is supposed to be a restoration government but we are treated with disdain and scorn. Our salaries are not paid as and when due. As I speak with you, the government is owing us 13 months salaries. Another month has ended, making it 14.

“At our various homes, we are no more worthy to be called fathers because we cannot meet up with our obligations as fathers. We have been turned into vegetables.

“This is not what we bargained for when we took up appointments with the corporation. We are no more able to provide food for our families let alone pay our children’s school fees.

“We are appealing to the government to come to our rescue before more of our colleagues go the way of Ogiero. We are also calling on thegovernment to rally round the family of our deceased colleague so that the children can have some respite”, he said.

Source: DailyIndependent

Sylva Wins Bayelsa APC Guber Ticket Again

Former Bayelsa State governor, Chief Timipre Sylva, yesterday, won in the rescheduled primary of All Progressives Congress, APC, to emerge as the party flag bearer for the December 5,  governorship election in the state.

Sylva polled 981 votes  to beat his closest rival, Chief Godknows Powell, who garnered 39 votes.

Fourteen governorship aspirants participated in the primary.

The former Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Mr. Timi Alaibe, had earlier withdrawn from the race citing party interest and collateral consequences.

Also absent from the party secretariat, venue of the governorship primary, was the former Federal Permanent Secretary, Dr. Imoro Kubo and Ambassador Emmanuel Otiotio.

The governorship primary, which was conducted by a seven-man team, led by Brigadier- General Monsur Dan-Ali (retd), was peaceful and without any security hitch.

Read More: vanguardngr

Sylva accepts cancellation of APC primary

Former Governor Timipre Sylva of Bayelsa State who was declared the winner of the disputed All Progressives Congress governorship primary last week has accepted the cancellation of the exercise by the leadership of the party.

His campaign team, however, boasted that he would win the next primary.

The Timipre Sylva Campaign Organisation described the invalidation of the primary as unfortunate.

A statement signed on behalf of the campaign team by Mr. Doifie Buokoribo, on Tuesday, however, said Sylva would abide by the party’s decision because as a loyal party member, he believes in the supremacy of the party.

The campaign organisation, in the statement titled, “We will win again,” told supporters to remain calm and steadfast, saying, “Ultimately, our victory is sure.”

The statement by the campaign team read in part, “The cancellation of the September 22 primary, where Chief Timipre Sylva was overwhelmingly voted by the APC family in our state to be the governorship candidate at the December 5 governorship election, is unfortunate.

“But as loyal and faithful party folks, we have the serenity to accept the decision in the larger interest of our great party. We urge our teeming supporters to remain peaceful and unruffled, rest assured that all is well.

“Ultimately, our victory is sure. Our hope cannot be annulled. Our mission to rescue Bayelsa State from the grip of maladministration and underdevelopment is a task that must be accomplished.”

It urged delegates to turn out more than ever on Wednesday to repeat the “overwhelming endorsement you gave Sylva on September 22.”

Though there had been fears that Sylva might head for the courts to stop the new primary, sources said influential members of the party prevailed on him not to take any action that would be inimical to the interest of the party.

Sylva was said to have dropped the idea of going to court and decided to participate in the fresh primary to safeguard the interest of the party ahead of the December 5 governorship election.


Bayelsa APC Governorship Primary To Be Held Today

The controversial Bayelsa State primaries that was cancelled in which former governor, Timiprye Sylva emerged flag bearer has been fixed for Tuesday the 29th for fresh primaries to be conducted.

National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr John Odigie-Oyegun, told journalists after the committee’s meeting on Monday that they decided to cancel the controversial primaries after prolonged discussions and anyone against that decision including the former governor of Bayelsa State, Timiprye Sylva, may challenge it in court.

This leaves the party with barely 24 hours before the deadline of Wednesday the 30th of September when it must submit to the Independent National Electoral Commission, the name of its candidate for the governorship election in the state coming up on December the 5th.

Read More: channelstv

Ex-Gov. Sylva wins Bayelsa APC governorship primary

Former governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva, has been declared winner of the APC primary election in the state.

Sylva, who was governor of Bayelsa between 2007 and 2012, polled 726 votes to defeat his closest rival, Timi Alaibe, a former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, who got only four votes.

A total of 1,502 delegates were expected at the primary election while there were 19 aspirants.

Governor Adams Oshiomhole, who is the Chairman of the seven-member Committee appointed to conduct the election, had earlier been whisked away by JTF before the election.

The result didn’t come as a shock to Sylva, who had previously predicted he’d win with a landslide.

He said, “I have no doubt that, come next Tuesday, I will emerge the candidate of our great party for the December 5 governorship election.


“The primary election is just a process to our ultimate goal of retrieving our collective political destiny from the Peoples Democracy Party grabbers, who have arrested the development of the state since 2012, and fulfilling it for the good of all,” Sylva added.

Gunmen Hijack APC Governorship Primaries In Bayelsa

Pandemonium broke out on Tuesday morning in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, as gunmen and suspected cultists hijacked the governorship primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

19 aspirants were expected to contest in the primaries, but trouble broke out when the former Governor of the state and party leader, Timipre Sylva, suddenly picked up a form and joined the race.

The Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, who conducted the primaries, had ordered the arrest of Mr Fortune Panabi, the Publicity Secretary of the APC in the state, for allegedly accrediting unknown delegates for the exercise.

However, three of the aspirants, Timi Alaibe, Editimi Angbare and Priye Aganaba, called for a shift in the exercise, saying that the atmosphere was not conducive for a proper primary to hold.

Read More: channelstv

Dickson’s Aide Abducted By Gunmen In Bayelsa

Gunmen have abducted the Special Adviser to Bayelsa State Governor on Political Matters, Mr. Fyneman Wilson, in the state.

Wilson was abducted in the early hours of Wednesday in Sagbama Local Government Area of the state. The abducted top aide in Dickson’s government is a kinsman of the governor.

It was learnt that the Special Adviser was abducted around 4pm on Wednesday by five gunmen.

Read Morepunchng

APC Has Not Endorsed Anyone For Bayelsa Guber Polls- Aspirant

A female gubernatorial aspirant, Mrs Tonye Apraela, said on Monday that the All Progressives Congress (APC) has not anointed any person for the Bayelsa governorship election.

Apraela said this while addressing newsmen after submitting her nomination and expression of interest forms at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja.

She said: “Nobody has endorsed anybody. It is his followers that endorsed him. I had wanted to make that correction but thank God I have the privilege now.

“The APC has not endorsed anybody, so, nobody should be afraid in Bayelsa State, we are all going out for the primary.’’

Read More: ngrguardiannews

APC ‘ll Win In Bayelsa To Enact Buhari’s Change — Timipre Sylva

FORMER Bayelsa State Governor and leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state Chief Timipre Sylva has boasted that the party will take over the reins of government in Bayelsa to replicate the change going on at the federal level in the state.

(Photo right)-Former Governor Timipre Sylva; back in the reckoning for leadership of the state as the arrowhead of the APC. Picture by Lindsay Barrett.

Sylva, who made the declaration during a condolence visit to the family of late Col. Sam Inokoba, the immediate past state chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the state said the PDP led administration in the state is in its twilight, ready to bow out.

The former PDP chairman had last month defected to the APC and indicated interest in obtaining the party’s governorship ticket.

Speaking during a condolence visit to the Inokoba family, Sylva represented by the state party chairman, Chief Tiwei Orunimighe, who led other members of the state executives to the residence of the late party chieftain described the late Inokoba as a man who left behind a glowing political legacy.

He said the late Inokoba was not satisfied with the development in the PDP, hence his defection to the APC.

His words, “He left a comfort zone as the chairman of a ruling party in the state, to join APC because he didn’t like what was going on in the PDP, and that goes to show the character of such a person, he wasn’t satisfied with their activities, that was why he joined us and had to even bought form to contest the governorship seat because he wanted the desire change for the state.”

Resolve of the party

He expressed the resolve of the party to participate in the burial formalities and assured the members of his family that APC will continue to stand by them.

In his remarks elder Robbins Inokoba, described the late Inokoba as an achiever, stressing that he consulted and received the blessings of the family before joining APC when he became uncomfortable with the PDP.

He said the last conversation between him and his brother was for him to be prepared to work for Change advocated by the APC as he was on his way to procure his Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms to contest the governorship primaries of the party in the state.

Police Foils Sea Pirates’ Attack In Bayelsa

Bayelsa Police Command yesterday said its Marine Division in Southern Ijaw local government area of the state had repelled an attack by sea pirates on a passenger boat in the area.

Mr. Asinim Butswat, an ASP and spokesman of the Command, said in a statement that the attack occurred on August 28 at Gina-Gbene area of Southern Ijaw.

According to the spokesman, an AK-47 assault rifle and live ammunition were recovered from the pirates who abandoned their 75 Horse Power speedboat and fled into the creeks.

Butswat assured that efforts were being intensified to arrest the fleeing pirates, explaining: “On August 28, about 0820 hrs, the Bayelsa State Marine Police, stationed at Koluama, in Southern Ijaw local government area, repelled some suspected sea pirates attacking a passenger boat around Gina-Gbene, in Southern Ijaw local government area. “The Pirates ran into a nearby Creek, abandoned their speed boat mounted with 75HP Yamaha Engine, with the inscription ‘DEEP SEA MARINE’.”

Read Morenigerianpilot

Pirates Attack Boat, Abduct 3 In Bayelsa

Unidentified gunmen suspected to be sea pirates on Wednesday, attacked two passenger boats and kidnapped three persons along the Ogbia to Brass waterways in Bayelsa.

Asinim Butswat, Police Spokesman for Bayelsa Command, confirmed the development on Thursday but said that details were still sketchy, “I am waiting for details.”, Butswat said.

It was learnt that the abducted victims were two Okpoama community Chiefs, identified as Chief Blessing Wagio and Chief Isaac Akono-Igolo, as well as a security man whose identity could not be ascertained.

The victims’ boats reportedly left the Ogbia water front at about 2pm on Wednesday for Brass, when they came under attack around Kiberibio area of the Ogbia-Brass waterway.

A staff of the state Ministry of Education heading to Brass, a naval officer and a former Chief Librarian in the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Chief Jigekuma Ombu-Kieri, escaped the attack unhurt.

An eyewitness in one of the boats, Mrs Kilete Arum, also told said that she saw an unidentified man lying face down in the pirates’ speed boat when they were being dispossessed of their valuables.

Credit: NAN

INEC To Conduct Voter Registration In Kogi, Bayelsa On September 2 & 7

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it will commence Continuous Voter Registration in Kogi and Bayelsa States on September 2 through September 7, ahead of the governorship elections in both states.

According to the commission’s daily bulletin issued and obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) monday in Abuja, the exercise will take place at the local government areas in the states from 8a.m. to 4p.m. daily.

It stated that the five-day exercise would afford opportunity for three groups of eligible persons to be registered.

The groups, the commission said, were those who were eligible but did not register before the 2015 general election and who were registered but their names were not in the voters’ register.

“The other is those who have attained the age of 18 since the last registration exercise,’’ it added.

Read Morethisdaylive

Moses Siasia To Dump PDP, Over 700 Youths May Follow Suit

35-year old governorship aspirant in Bayelsa State, Moses Siloko Siasia is set to dump the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for a new political party. He is expected to lead over 700 youth leaders across the eight local government areas of the state to the new party.

A source within the Moses Siasia campaign organization said that the decision by the astute businessman to dump the PDP is based on the injustice to other aspirants by the newly selected excos of the party loyal to Governor Seriake Dickson and lack of internal democracy within the various organs of the party in the state. The source also hinted that over 15 political parties within the state are willing to adopt Siasia as their sole candidate.

Read Morevanguardngr

We Received N535m For Flood Victims, Not N15bn – Bayelsa

The Bayelsa State Post-flood Management Committee has described as lies, the allegation by the All Progressives Congress that it received N15bn as donations during the peak of the 2012 floods that devastated the entire state.

The committee said it had only received the sum of N500m from the state government, being donation from a philanthropic organisation, Mr. Mike Adenuga Foundation, and additional N35m for logistics and administrative cost.

A leader of the APC in the state, Mr. Bodi Arerebo, had challenged Governor Seriake Dickson to account for almost N15bn flood money allegedly received by the state during the floods.

Arerebo, a kinsman of Dickson, who spoke at a news conference in Yenagoa recently, said after the disaster, public spirited individuals, including international donors, donated the money for the resettlement of victims and rebuilding places destroyed by the floods.

The politician had lamented that the money might have gone down the drain as Dickson since then had yet to tell the people how the money was expended and nothing on ground to show for it. But while clarifying the issue, Chairman of BSPMC, Chief Francis Doukpola, in a statement in Yenagoa on Monday, said it was wrong for any person or group of persons to make such a weighty allegation without any iota of fact.

He challenged those raising the allegation to come up with proof of any transactions that led to the acquisition of such amount by the committee or state government.

Doukpola said the money received was used for positive interventions in most of the flood affected areas in seven local government areas in the state.

He said the committee, in a bid to alleviate the sufferings of the people, had embarked on some projects, including the distribution of cement in all the communities in the seven LGAs which were affected by the flood apart from Brass council area that was not affected.

He also said 400 bags of cement were given to each of the communities to be distributed among the most affected persons, with emphasis on the less-privileged with mud houses.

Doukpola explained that the committee also carried out post-flood activities by opening up a blocked channel in Igbogene community in the Yenagoa LGA, which was largely responsible for the massive flooding in the community.

Other interventions, according to him, were the renovation of Primary School II Agorogbene; repair of damaged hospital fence in the Niger Delta Teaching Hospital, Okolobiri; removal of damaged/collapsed bridge and water hyacinths at Imiringi and opening of a flood channel at Onuegbum.

He said more interventions were also done for the repair of parts of Amatu link road in Odi; renovation of Ologoghe hospital; renovation of Ologi hospital; blockage of flood channels in Agbere; construction of shore protection in Sampou; construction of earth dyke in Sagbama; blockage of flood channels in Tombia; blockage of flood channel in Olugbobiri and renovation of health centre and primary school in Opuama.

Doupola said the committee embarked on the renovation of the Cottage Hospital at Agbere; construction of two footbridges in Fikuroma, Nembe and Oweigbene in Ekeremor; renovation of Pretrugbene Primary School; renovation of Yenaka Primary School; construction of concrete road in Ayamassa; renovation of Opuama primary school; building of flood muster point at Isoni; renovation of doctors’ quarters and wards at General Hospital in Biseni; reconstruction of teachers quarter at Toru-Orua; protection of Tombia waterfront with concrete; renovation of Comprehensive High School in Agudama-Epie and protection of shoreline at Agbere.

Doukpola, however, noted that the several other interventions that were not listed were contained in a detailed committee report which had been handed over to the state Auditor-General.

Kidnapped Wife Of Former Bayelsa Acting Governor Regains Freedom

The kidnapped wife of the former acting governor of Bayelsa State, Madam Martha Nestor Binabo, has been released.

According to a family source, the 48-year- old woman was handed over to a negotiator at Buguma area of Rivers State in the early hours of Sunday.

According to the source, the family adhered to the strict instructions by the kidnappers not to involve the police. She was released with a transport fare of N18,000 and a big fish with directive that she should prepare pepper soup for her husband.

While some family members denied knowledge of a ransom payment, others claimed the sum of N8.2million was paid to secure her freedom.

The source said: “She was well taken care of by the kidnappers. They gave her N18,000 as transport and a big fresh fish to prepare pepper soup for the husband.”

The spokesman of the State Police Command, Astimin Butswat, confirmed the development but said the command was yet to get full details on her release.

Meanwhile, the former governor of Bayelsa State,Chief Timipre Sylva, has visited the Chief Binabo over the abduction of his wife.

Sylva expressed happiness over the bold spirit of the former acting governor in spite of the abduction of his wife.

According to Chief Sylva, he decided to visit Binabo along with party faithful, to show solidarity and encourage others on the mission of the APC.

“I am happy that Binabo was upbeat despite the kidnap of his wife. This is the hallmark of a leader. It meant for us to be prepared for any eventuality that comes our way. Let me urge all to be steadfast as there would soon be a change in governance in the state.”

Sylva, who said he was his back in full force to participate in the politics of the state, added that he had deliberately ignored Governor Seriake Dickson all this while because he had a national objective of ensuring that his party, the APC, wins in the last national election, but “now that that objective has been realised, I can now face the government in the state.”

Gunmen Abducts Former Bayelsa Gov’s Wife

Unidentified gunmen have kidnapped Madam Martha Binabo, the wife of former Speaker of Bayelsa State House of Assembly and the state former Acting Governor, Rt. Hon Nestor Binabo.

The incident, the latest in the series of high profile kidnaping in the state occurred at Agbura community in the outskirts of Yenagoa the state capital.

The victim, aged 48, was abducted Monday at about 11.30am by five armed men clad in military camouflage in front of a company where she is also the director.

File: Commissioner of Health, Dr. Benson Dadigi (left) explaining a point to the Ag. Governor of Bayelsa State, Rt. Hon. Nestor Binabo(centre) during an unscheduled inspection visit to the Melford Okilo Memorial Hospital under construction in Yenagoa, while Hon. Walaman Igurubia of the State House of Assembly (right) looks on.

The gunmen were said to have lured their victim outside the company’s gate for a talk only to force her into a waiting car and drove towards Otuokpoti sand dump.

The get away car was later abandoned and set ablaze at the Otuokpoti sand dump water front by the gunmen who escaped into the creek in a waiting speedboat with their victim.

Details later.

APC Will Wait Till Eternity To Rule Bayelsa- Gov Dickson

The governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, has dismissed the plot by the All Progressives Congress to win the 2016 governorship election in the state, saying the party will wait till eternity to actualize its dream.

He also said he inherited a whopping debt of N332.2 billion when he assumed office in 2012 and rejected the claim by the opposition party that the state has nothing to show for the federal allocations to it.

This is contained in a statement on Monday by the governor’s media aide, Daniel Iworiso-Markson.

The National Chairman of the APC, John Oyegun, lambasted the state government for poor performance, saying it could not account for the huge allocation from the federal government.

Read Morepremiumtimesng

Our Expulsion Is Illegal, Laughable- APC Leaders

The nine members of the All Progressives Congress suspended and later expelled   by the Bayelsa State chapter of the party, have described the actions against them as laughable.

They said through their leader, Richard Kpodo, that their suspension and   expulsion were “illegal, unconstitutional and a breach of due process.”

According to them, the actions against them was a deliberate act by “some questionable characters” to cause an implosion within the party in the state.

The APC had on Monday expelled two and suspended seven of its leaders for anti-party activities. The two expelled members are Kpodo, a former Security Adviser to the State Government   and   Sunday Oputu.

Those suspended are   Godwin Sidi, Fred Akamu, Rosemary Okeazi,   Livinus Opratapu, Harrow Zuokumo, Enoch Koripamo and Christopher Abariowei.

The APC Secretary in the state,   Marlin Daniel, had said that Kpodo and Oputu   left the APC to join the opposition.

But Kpodo said he and others   had filed a petition before the national leadership of the party.

He warned that   if the APC failed to put its house in order, it should forget winning the 2016 governorship election in the state.

He said, “It is funny that party men cannot come together and discuss the way forward for the good of our party. How can some persons accused of criminal charges be selected to lead the party.

“This is the result you will get. They did not follow the constitution; they did not provide an avenue for fair hearing. It is criminal.”

Kpodo, who has been having a running battle with a former governor and leader of the party in the state,   Timipre Sylva, accused him (Sylva) of promoting crisis within the party.


APC Expels 2, Suspends 7 Others

The Bayelsa State chapter of All Progressives Congress on Monday expelled two senior members of the party for alleged anti-party activities. It also suspended seven others.

Those expelled are Sunday Oputu and Perekeme Kpodo, one time chairman of the defunct New Peoples Democratic Party in the state. The suspended members are Harrow Zuokumo, Enoch Koripamo, Christopher Abariowei, Godwin Sidi, Fred Akamu, Rosemary Okeazi and Livinus Opratapu.

The Secretary of APC, Marlin Daniel announced the decision of the party at a press conference in Yenagoa, the state capital. He said Messrs Oputu and Kpodo had since joined the opposition.

Mr. Daniel explained that Mr. Kpodo was expelled for saying the APC was dead on arrival while Mr. Oputu had not been part of the meeting. “We want to make it clear that they are not members of the party. They have since been expelled. Kpodo was expelled when he allegedly said the APC was dead on arrival in the state,” he said.

“Oputu himself has not been part of the party. But we are surprised of recent that they have been calling party meetings, in what capacity, we do not know.

“We want to alert the members of the general public to know that they are not part of the APC in Bayelsa State and that nobody should deal with them in that respect. We are aware that the re-emergence of these people was sponsored by the PDP government of Seriake Dickson.”

Read More: premiumtimesng

INEC Upturns APGA’s Victory In Bayelsa

Forty-eight hours after the presiding officer of the rescheduled House of Assembly poll in Bayelsa State gave victory to the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the Brass Constituency II election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has upturned the verdict.

The commission on Tuesday declared the election as inconclusive.

Timidi Wariowe, the Public Relations Officer of INEC in the state, said the suspension of the result was due to the conflicting declarations by the Returning Officer and the circumstances surrounding the declaration.

In the declared result, the All Progressives Congress (APC) came second and the Labour Party third. The ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state was declared a distance fourth.

Read More: DailyTrust

JTF Seizes Vessel Carrying 1,500 Metric Tons Of Stolen Oil In Bayelsa

The Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta, Operation Pulo Shield, on Friday said it has impounded a vessel laden with 1,500 metric tons of illegally refined automotive gas oil.

The spokesperson of the JTF, Ado Isa, a lieutenant colonel, told reporters at the task force’s headquarters in Yenagoa on Friday that the vessel registered as MV Europort was seized at Foropa waterways in Bayelsa.

Mr. Ado said operatives of the JTF on patrol duties at about 2.30 a.m. on June 2 arrested the vessel in Forropa creeks in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area in Bayelsa.

“The 2,000 metric tons capacity vessel was arrested by the JTF operatives patrol team following a tip off at about 02.30 hrs on 2 June, 2015,” Mr. Ado said.

“The vessel was discovered carrying 1,500 metric tons of illegally refined automotive gas oil. The suspects boarded a speed boat and sailed into the high sea on sighting the JTF troops.”

Read More: premiumtimesng

‘Call Your Wife to Order’ – Group Warns Ex-President Jonathan

A group, Concerned Bayelsa Elders, has warned former President Goodluck Jonathan to call his wife, Patience, to order or risk political crisis in Bayelsa State.

The leader of the group, Ebeletimi Wilson, said this while addressing journalists in Lagos, according to a statement on Tuesday. Wilson said Jonathan’s wife was still scheming to ensure that the Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, does not emerge governor next year.

He said now that Jonathan has relocated to Bayelsa State, his wife is attempting to use her supporters in the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria to frustrate the governor.

He said if Jonathan did not handle the situation well, he could lose Dickson’s loyalty just as former governors Rotimi Amaechi and Timipre Sylva abandoned him.

Wilson said, “What exactly does Dame Patience Jonathan want? Dickson has proved to be a performing governor as he has within three years transformed the state in the areas of infrastructural development and security. This initiative has changed the fortunes of the state.

“Jonathan should be able to call his people to order because we know that his inability to call his people to order resulted in the eventual face off with Timipre Sylva and Rotimi Amaechi.

“Our appeal is that, as the leader of the state, Jonathan should encourage Dickson for succeeding in keeping the Peoples Democratic Party united in the state.”

Wilson said if Jonathan did not speak up then it would be assumed that he and his wife are plotting to ensure that a former commissioner, Waipamo-Owei Dudafa, emerges the next governor of the state.

He alleged that Patience’s clique and preferred candidate were the ones frustrating Dickson’s administration.

He said, “Why should ex-President Jonathan keep mum while his wife fuels crisis in the state just because she is not getting her way? It is very disappointing. Her aim is to turn Bayelsa into a crisis-ridden state like what she encouraged in Rivers State, but thank God Dickson has been tactful.

“It is ironical that she has in the last three years been the main opposition in Bayelsa State, intimidating the people and even security operatives.”

Two Cousins Of President Jonathan Have Been Kidnapped

Two cousins of President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience Egbeni and Kate Eni, have been abducted by gunmen.

According to reports, they were both abducted on Tuesday morning at Akimpelai, Ogbia local government area in Bayelsa by six gunmen dressed in military camouflage.

The women are said to have been abducted from their provision stores located along the riverbank, forced into a waiting speedboat, where they were taken to an unknown location.

The incident, which occurred a few days to a grand reception being organized for President Jonathan on May 29, is said to have devastated the President’s extended family.

The source said: “The victims are two maternal cousins of the President. We know that they have been preparing to welcome the President after the May 29 handover. Unless they are rescued before then, their dream of welcoming their brother will be a mirage.”

When contacted by the Nation, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Butswat Asinim, said: “The gunmen were dressed in military camouflage. They went to the provision stores of the victims at the riverside and abducted them into a waiting speedboat.”

Asinim said the marine and anti-kidnapping squads of the police, including the Joint Task Force (JTF), Operation Pulo Shield, have been contacted on this issue.

Credit – ekeekeee.com

Ijaw Youths Applaud Jonathan For Relocating $500m Fabrication Site To Bayelsa

The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has applauded President Goodluck Jonathan for the relocation of the Egina Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel to Agge in Bayelsa. The 500 million dollars project had earlier been slated for LADOL fabrication yard in Lagos.

But President Jonathan on May 15, directed that the oil and gas investment project be relocated from LADOL Free Trade Zone (FTZ) in Lagos to Agga in Bayelsa.

The directive also instructed industry operators to move oil and gas cargoes to only ports in Warri, Calabar and Onne nearer to where the projects were to be sited.

In a statement issued in Yenagoa on Sunday by Eric Omare, IYC Spokesman, said the directive made economic sense and was in tandem with the Nigerian Content Act, 2010. “The IYC and indeed the Niger Delta people back the directive of President Jonathan to move the fabrication of oil and gas materials to the Niger Delta where the eventual job is to be done.

“This is not only in line with the requirement of the local content law but it also makes so much economic sense.

“It is common knowledge that Lagos is highly congested and there is need to move some class of cargoes, especially oil and gas materials, to ports within the Niger Delta region where the oil facilities are located.

“We consider the opposition to the Presidential directive and the attendant media propaganda as an insult on Niger Delta people,” Omare stated.

Omare also noted that all the oil companies operating in the Niger Delta region had their head offices in Lagos to the detriment of the Niger Delta economy, even when existing laws stipulated they should be domiciled in the Niger Delta.

Credit: NAN

Jonathan Orders Transfer Of $500M Oil Project From Lagos To Bayelsa

President Goodluck Jonathan has ordered the transfer of a $500 million oil and gas investment project to be relocated from LADOL Free Trade Zone (FTZ) in Lagos to Agga in Bayelsa State.

The project is a partnership between LADOL Integrated Logistics Enterprise and Samsung Heavy Industries, Korea. But the project is said to have reached an “advanced stage” before Jonathan issued a directive that it should be relocated.

The directive, contained in two letters dated April 27, was signed by Mr A.B Mohammed, a general manager with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).

Mohammed signed the letters on behalf of the NPA Managing Director, Sanusi Ado Bayero, who is believed to be a stakeholder in Intel, an oil and gas logistics firm in Rivers State– an allegation he has denied in newspaper advertorials.

The letters read: “Pleased be informed that Mr President has vide PRES/99/MT/2/22 of April 20 approved the FPSO project be relocated to Agga in Bayelsa State when the facilities to handle such operations are developed.

“In addition, the project can be conveniently located at any designated oil and gas terminal. Please be informed that Mr President has approved, henceforth, all oil and gas related cargoes must be handled only  in the designated terminals in Onne, Warri and Calabar Ports.

The letters added:  “In view of this, vessels coming to Nigeria with oil and gas related cargoes, excluding petroleum products, are advised to first go to the appropriate concessioned terminals to be cleared by Customs and other relevant authorities, terminal operators and shipping firms.”

The Managing Director, LADOL Integrated Logistics Enterprise, Dr Amy Jayesinmi, said the timing of the letters was wrong.

She said the directive was ill-conceived, and capable of destroying the gains made by the partners in the project. Adding that the directive to relocate the project to Bayelsa was part of efforts to destroy the potential local operators who are bent on deepening their participation in the oil and gas sector.

She said the letter was diversionary in content, advising stakeholders not to allow their attention to be distracted.

Mrs. Jayesinmi said efforts were being made by oil and gas operators  to build one of the biggest floating vessels in the world,  as well as making Nigeria the oil and gas hub in West Africa, adding that nothing would frustrate that efforts.

She added: “We got the two letters the same day: a day after the appointment of the new MD of NPA. I want to make it clear that we (LADOL) do not have problems with NPA because they are using our facility.

“NPA has an office in LADOL Free Trade Zone. NPA had severally said LADOL is the largest private investor in its facility. By the end of 2017, LADOL would have invested $500million in NPA facility. Technically, it is not appropriate for the project to be relocated to Bayelsa, the President’s home state.’’

The two companies are to build fabrication and integration yards for Egina Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) facility for the use of local and foreign-owned oil companies.

The multi-million dollar project is in phases, and billed to be completed in the next five years.

Gov. Dickson Denies Plan To Defect To APC

Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson has denied that he was planning to leave the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Dickson said this in reaction to claim by Sen. Clever Ikisikpo who defected to the APC on Wednesday in Abuja and announced at the ceremony that the Bayelsa governor was ready to move over to the APC.

However, in a statement issued in Yenagoa by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, Dickson described the assertion of Ikisikpo, who represents Bayelsa-East Senatoral District as “uncharitable”.

“Ikisikpo wants to dignify his perfidy and rope Gov. Dickson into his dubious defection scheme,” the statement said, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

“He is a man who rose from relative obscurity through the platform of the PDP from 1999 as House of Assembly member and later to the National Assembly.

“And, he is serving as a two-term member of the green chambers and from there rose through the shoulders of President Goodluck Jonathan to the Senate.

“He could not even, as a mark of honour and respect, wait for the president, his benefactor, kinsman and leader of a political party that gave him so much, to leave office before defecting to the APC.

“It shows the height of desperation, treachery, mischief and blackmail perpetrated by some of the so-called PDP leaders, who worked to deny the party victory at the polls even against one of their own.

“As a government, we are not surprised at the action of Ikisikpo and others like him. In fact, the public should expect many more defections in the days to come from those, who worked against the party.

“It is pertinent to state that, their leaving the party is of no consequence to the party’s fortunes. We want to assure them that posterity will be the judge.” Dickson said.

Students Of Federal University Otuoke Evicted Over N24m Rent Owed By State Govt.

Hundreds of returning male students of the Federal University, Otuoke in Ogbia local government area of Bayelsa State were Sunday stranded as they were shut out of their hostels by the landlord over alleged inability of the school and state government to pay twenty -four million Naira for two years rent.

When our correspondent visited on Monday, the 52 bedroom apartments which housed more than half of the school male population was bereft of the normal student activities but the porter and the school Dean of Student Life, Dr. Marcellina Offoha, was seen packing out some of the belongings out of the hostel as the landlord lay in wait to put a lock on the gate.

Speaking with our correspondent, the landlord who brandished a letter from his solicitors, Stream Solicitors, based in Yenagoa, said he was tired of the antics of the state government, who has failed to honour the agreement to pay him annually for the rented apartment.

He said he had made several efforts to get the issue resolved amicably but all his efforts were thwarted by the Bayelsa state government who were the tenant and the school authorities who occupies the apartment.

According to the landlord,

 “I am evicting the university, they are my tenants, they are owing due to the negligence from the state government, they are owing me for two years, I have given them quit notice and I hope they are quitting.


Save Coastal Settlements, Bayelsa Monarch Appeals To FG

Chief Howells Levi, the paramount ruler of Olobia Community, Koluama in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa, has appealed to the Federal Government to protect their settlements from extinction.

Levi told media personnel on Monday at Yenagoa that a violent surge had, in July 2014, rendered hundreds of Koluama residents homeless as their homes were washed away by the Atlantic Ocean.

The monarch explained that the coastal community located along the Atlantic coastline in the state, had lost substantial territory to marine erosion and tidal surge, forcing residents to retreat.

According to him, the Federal Fishing Terminal constructed by the Federal Government has been washed away by the violent Atlantic tide which is still threatening to submerge the remaining settlements.  “Koluama is faced with erosion and the erosion is so serious that within the next five years, from what we see there, the name Koluama will no more (be) in the history of Bayelsa State.

“The people of Koluama want the government to protect the shore, so that we don’t want to be removed from that environment, government should protect the shore.

“The whole land is eroded, and we see that it is the company in that environment that has caused this problem for us, because of constant exploration activities.

“And so, we will like the government to come to our aid by securing the shore for us.”

He said that the environment of the oil rich area had also suffered the adverse effect of oil and gas exploration and regretted that the people were facing serious threats of losing their ancestral home land.

The traditional ruler also appealed to the Federal Government to provide social amenities to the coastal settlements to enable them have a sense of belonging.

Reacting to the claims made by the monarch, the General Manager of Policy, Government and Public Affairs at Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL), Deji Haastrup, said that the operations of the company were environmentally safe.

According to him, there is no scientific basis to link CNL’s activities offshore Bayelsa State to an ocean surge which is normally caused by a rise in sea level. “At CNL, we conduct our business in accordance with international best practices and in accordance with the highest ethical and environmental standards which helps to maintain the integrity of the environment wherever we operate.

“This includes offshore Bayelsa State. We have integrated environmental protection into every aspect of CNL’s activities and operations as prescribed by the company’s Policy of Protecting People and the Environment.”

Credit: NAN

2016: Alamieyeseigha, Alaibe, Sylva Eye Bayelsa Gov

There are strong indications that a former Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, is seeking to govern Bayelsa State again.

It was learnt on Monday that this time around, Alamieyeseigha, who in his first tenure, was called ‘Governor General of Niger Delta,’ wishes to actualise his ambition on the platform of the All Progressives Congress.

It was also learnt that a former Managing Director, Niger Delta Development Commission, Chief Timi Alaibe, is interested in the governorship ticket of the APC for the 2016 governorship election in the state as well.

Others said to be eyeing the party’s tickets were a leader of the APC and a former Governor of the state, Chief Timipre Sylva; a former Commissioner for Health, Chief Frank Akpoebi; a Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power, Godknow Igali, and APC state Chairman, Mr. Tiwe Oruminighe.

It was further learned that Mr. Preye Aganaba, who recently lost his senatorial ambition, was being propelled by the Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, to go for the party’s governorship ticket.

A source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Alameseigha, the first elected civilian governor of the state, was seriously staging a comeback to the Creek Haven, Bayelsa Government House, on APC platform.

The source claimed the former governor and Igali were plotting to wrest power from the incumbent Governor, Mr. Seriake Dickson.

Alamieyeseigha became the first civilian governor of the state in 1999 and was re-elected for a second term in 2003.

He was later enmeshed in serious allegations of corruption and money laundering, leading to his impeachment by the state House of Assembly.

The former governor was subsequently prosecuted and convicted.

But he was pardoned by President Goodluck Jonathan, who described him as his political benefactor.

The source said, “Alamieseigha is eyeing the governorship seat. His plan is to make a grand return to the seat of power in 2016. To this end, he has been holding a series of meetings with some APC stalwarts.

“He is assuring the APC leadership that with him as governor, the militants will feel comfortable. He is saying that the incumbent governor is not liked by ex-militants, citing the clash between the governor and ex-militants over pipeline contracts,” he said.

Source – Punch Ngr

Come To Bayelsa And Watch Us Give You Massive Trouble – Bayelsa Youths Tell Patience Jonathan

Some concerned youths in Bayelsa State, under the auspices of the Bayelsa Youth Vanguard, have threatened to disrupt the Peoples Democratic Party presidential rally if President Goodluck Jonathan’s wife, Patience, comes with her husband for the campaign.

The rally is slated for February 5 at the state capital, Yenagoa.

The organisation therefore warned Patience not to accompany her husband to the presidential campaign.

It accused her of causing crisis in the state and warned her to desist from that or face the consequences.

The warning, the group said, was sequel to what it described as attempts by the President’s wife to destabilise the state and fuel needless crisis and political tension in the state.

The spokesperson for the BYV, Precious Ebi Johnson, in a statement in Abuja on Thursday, said that Patience would only be allowed to come to the state “unless she retraced her steps or otherwise we will mobilise against the President’s rally.”

The statement read in part, “We are constrained to issue this statement to bar the President’s wife from accompanying President Goodluck Jonathan to Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, for the presidential rally on February 5.

“Our action is well informed by the various steps and activities of the President’s wife in recent times which portend clear danger for the good health of our dear state.

“We note with regret the various attempts by the President’s wife to create crisis in the state through subterfuge or using surrogates.

Even Jonathan’s Village Lacks Proper Power Supply – Timipre Sylva

The immediate past governor of Bayelsa State, and a former acolyte of President Goodluck Jonathan, Timipre Sylva, has again distanced himself from Jonathan, describing the President as a self-centered man and a “fox” who has nothing to offer the people of the Niger Delta region and Nigeria as a whole.

Speaking openly about his strained relationship with the current President on Royal FM radio, Sylva said, ”As far as am concerned I don’t see him as a brother anymore. Who is your brother? Your brother is who looks after you.”

Sylva furthered “This is a so-called brother who pushed [me] to the fox. As far as am concerned my brother is the one I met on the street and took me into his home, and I am sure you will agree with me that a brother who pushed me into the street for the fox to eat me up is not my brother.”

The former two-term governor of Bayelsa State has also called on the people of Bayelsa State to vote against Jonathan in the 2015 election. “I don’t think Bayelsa should make the mistake,” he said. His problem is that he only thinks about himself.”

Sylva’s further explained that his decision to support the candidature of All Progressives Congress presidential candidate Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.), was based on conviction and need for change in the polity. “If I have somebody else that is not my brother but a friend with my interest at heart, it is better.”

He encouraged others in the Niger Delta region to question the purported achievements of the presidency in the region.

“We should be careful,” Sylva said. “Let us look, what has Bayelsa gained from the Presidency? Where is the federal project in the state that is significant? I don’t see any. Not even electricity is available in Otuoke. Look at Bayelsa. Look at the Niger Delta region.”

“Look at the East-West road. Why hasn’t he been able to fix the East-West road? Why is the Brass LNG not working? Because we know where the project was under Obasanjo. Why is it that all they promised us under amnesty has not been fulfilled? You remember they promised us a new city. Where are those small cities, under our brother? Is there any serious institution established here to empower our youths to give them skills? Where is the institution built in Bayelsa? Nothing has been done. What has been done is that some private jets have been bought by their cronies. Is that what Bayelsa is about? Is that what a Niger Delta presidency is about? We all fought for this power but certain people have hijacked it.”

On his alleged removal as Governor of Bayelsa State by the forces of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) loyal to President Goodluck Jonathan, Sylva explained that the rift, which began over his refusal to complete the controversial and costly Tower Hotel project in the state, was what led to his dismissal.

“That project was given for N8 billion and I felt it was too high. But there was nothing I could do about it.

“Because I didn’t want to quarrel with the past administration, I would have cancelled the project. I decided to continue with the projects even though I don’t agree with all of them. I gave out N6 billion to the contractor and he took the project to where we are. And then, he came to me [to say[ that he needed a variation and that the original contract did not include external works, including environmental works. And I was shocked and asked how someone can give you such work without external works?

Nigerians Will Appreciate my Good Work after I Leave Office – Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan has said that Nigerians will appreciate the good work he has done for the country after he has left office.

Speaking yesterday when he received a delegation from Bayelsa State who paid him a Christmas visit, President Jonathan said he will continue to do his best in order to meet the expectations of not only Nigerians but especially the people of Bayelsa State.

According to President Jonathan, the seat of the president of the country belongs to the Nigerian people and only Nigerians can decide who occupies the seat at any point in time.

He said: “The new year is full of challenges. Everywhere will be hot from the January 2. I am here by the grace of God and the will of Nigerians. If I don’t do well the shame will be on you. I will do my best. I don’t expect praises now. Its when you leave that people will begin to compare you with others. I will do my best to address all the challenges we are having. I will do my best so that when I leave the people will compare what I have done and what others before me have done. The seat belongs to the country and it is only the country that can decide who occupies it.”

President Jonathan enjoined the people of Bayelsa State to pray for the country, adding that he will continue to do his best for the country.

In his remarks, the governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson said the delegation was in the State House to show solidarity with the president and express appreciation to Nigerians for supporting President Jonathan thus far.

He said: “We are here to show solidarity and to let everybody know that your people in Bayelsa are with you. It is in the spirit of Christmas that we are here on behalf of the people of Bayelsa to wish you, your government and family compliments of the season and a very happy, prosperous and victorious 2015.”

“We bring you prayers and strong message of solidarity. We are here to thank Nigerians for their support for your government” he said.

The delegation was made up of traditional rulers, political leaders as well as religious leaders. A Christmas card was later presented to the president.


Rich Kids, Poor Kids: States And The Pot Called Federal Allocation – Ogunyemi Bukola

Yesterday budget and public data analysis platform BudgIT shared how much in total each state in Nigeria received as Federal Allocation in 2013. The list was divided into two. The top ten earner states:

Top 10 States

And the bottom ten:

Bottom 10 States

So this morning I decided to dance around the data a bit and see if numbers could talk. Here’s what numbers said:

My analysis is centred on the Top Four, and Top Six, states (the rich kids), and the Bottom Four, and Bottom Six, states (the poor kids). Figures are approximates.

The Top Four states (Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Delta, and Bayelsa) received a total of N928.2 billion in Federation Allocations in 2013. This is 5 times the total allocation of the Bottom Four (Nassarawa, Osun, Ekiti and Ebonyi) who received N176.6 billion.

The Top Six states (Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Delta, Bayelsa, Lagos and Kano) received a total of N1.1 trillion in Federal Allocations in 2013. This is 4 times the total allocation of the Bottom Six (Kwara, Gombe, Nassarawa, Osun, Ekiti and Ebonyi) who received N272.4 billion.

Bayelsa’s N182.5 billion is more than the combined allocation of Nassarawa, Osun, Ekiti and Ebonyi (bottom four) – N176.6 billion. The N237.8 billion Rivers got is more than the combined allocation of Gombe, Nassarawa, Osun, Ekiti and Ebonyi (bottom five) – N223.1 billion. While top earner Akwa Ibom got N293.5 billion in 2013, the bottom six of Kwara, Gombe, Nassarawa, Osun, Ekiti and Ebonyi got N272.4 billion combined.


It gets even better.

Akwa Ibom got 7 times the total allocation of Ebonyi. This means Akwa Ibom got in one year what Ebonyi will get in 7 years if rates are fixed. Rich Kid Bayelsa got 4 times the allocation of Poor Kid Osun.

Numbers wouldnt stop talking so I went online to get the population data of the Rick Kids, and the Poor Kids. Here’s what I found:

Top 6

What did numbers say?

The Top Four earner states have a combined population of 17.5 million (2011 projection figures), add Lagos and Kano to that and the population more than doubles, to 39.3 million. Divide the total allocation received by population and you realize the Top Four got about N53,ooo per citizen. This figure comes down to N28,000 per citizen when Lagos and Kano are considered.

Let’s see what the poor folks are up to:

Bottom 6Bottom Four total population is about 11.5 million, this goes up to 17 million when Gombe and Kwara states enter the fray. N15,000 per citizen is what you get when total allocation of bottom four states is divided by the total population, this goes up to N16,000 per citizen when all six states are considered.

For individual states, Akwa Ibom: N64,000 per citizen is what Akwa Ibom got, Bayelsa is N93,000 per citizen, more than 5 times the N17,000 per citizen for Ebonyi.

A quick look at the map of Nigeria shows that Top Four states are from the oil-rich South-South region. That is not surprising. What is surprising is that only one state from the North, Nassawara (North-Central), is in the Bottom Four, with two from South-West (Osun and Ekiti) and one from South-East.

Numbers started speaking French when I compared the data with primary school enrollment figures, state GDP, WAEC pass rates, health reports etc.

Instead of having all 36 come to him every month, one wearing Louboutins, the other rubber slippers, to give one money for private jet back home and the other just enough to board a train, why cant Big Daddy just let the mothers of these kids take care of them?


Ogunyemi Bukola (@zebbook) writes from Lagos. www.zebbook.com


Nigeria, as seen via satellite

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Nigeria, and continues to recommend that U.S. citizens avoid all but essential travel to the Niger Delta states of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, and Rivers; the Southeastern states of Abia, Edo, Imo; the city of Jos in Plateau State, Bauchi and Borno States in the northeast; and the Gulf of Guinea because of the risks of kidnapping, robbery, and other armed attacks in these areas. Violent crime committed by individuals and gangs, as well as by persons wearing police and military uniforms, remains a problem throughout the country. Based on safety and security risk assessments, the U.S. Mission requires advance permission and justification as mission-essential for U.S. official travel to all Northern Nigerian states, in addition to the locations listed above. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning for Nigeria dated January 12, 2012, to update information on recent violent activity, and to inform U.S. citizens that the U.S. Mission to Nigeria has placed restrictions on all travel by U.S. government personnel to Northern Nigeria.
On December 31, 2011, the President of Nigeria declared a state of emergency in 15 local government areas in the states of Borno, Niger, Plateau, and Yobe. According to the Government of Nigeria, the declaration of a State of Emergency was in response to recent activities of extremist groups. The State of Emergency gives the government sweeping powers to search and arrest without warrants.
On January 9, residents of Nigeria participated in a national strike in protest of the government’s elimination of a gasoline subsidy, causing the closure of businesses throughout the country. Several large protests took place across Nigeria and some clashes with security forces resulted in deaths. Authorities established curfews of varying lengths in the cities of Kaduna (Kaduna State), Kano (Kano State), Oyo (Oyo State), Potiskum (Yobe State), Yola (Adamawa State), and Gusau (Zamfara state). Both international and domestic air travel were disrupted during the strike which ended on January 13.
On February 7, the extremist group known as Boko Haram claimed responsibility for three simultaneous attacks on Nigerian military targets across Kaduna in which dozens were killed and injured. In addition, eleven people were killed during a January 22 gun battle and bomb attacks in Bauchi, Bauchi State. On January 20, elements of Boko Haram claimed responsibility for multiple explosive attacks and assaults against various Nigerian government facilities in Kano. The attacks lasted several hours and caused numerous casualties. Boko Haram has continued attacks in January and February, focusing on Borno, Yobe, Bauchi, Gombe, Kano, and Kaduna states, and the group continues to publicly threaten attacks throughout northern Nigeria.
On January 6, gunmen reportedly killed 12 worshippers at a church in Jineta-Yoli, Adamawa State. Gunmen also attacked gatherings in Gombe, Gombe State and Mubi, Adamawa on January 5, reportedly killing 28 people. An explosive device was thrown into an Arabic-Koranic school in Sapele, Delta State on December 28, 2011 injuring seven people. Boko Haram also took credit for church attacks on December 25, in Niger, Plateau, and Yobe States that killed dozens. On August 26, a suicide bombing at the UN Headquarters in Abuja killed 25 people and wounded more than 80 other individuals. This attack was the first against an international organization and the fourth bombing in Abuja during the past year. It followed a similar bombing against the Nigerian Police Force Headquarters ten weeks earlier that killed five individuals on June 16. These bombings were in addition to bombings elsewhere in Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Adamawa, and Plateau States throughout the last year.
The risk of additional attacks against Western targets in Nigeria remains high. In December 2010, a bomb exploded near an Abuja “fish bar,” killing several people and injuring many others. Also in December, several explosive devices detonated in Jos, Plateau State, and alleged members of an extremist group attacked police and others in Maiduguri, Borno State, leading to significant casualties. In October 2010, two car bombs detonated in downtown Abuja during Independence Day celebrations, killing ten and wounding many others. Since March 2010, five improvised explosive devices (IEDs) have detonated in the Niger Delta region, causing one to three reported casualties in each case.
In September 2010, over 150 members of Boko Haram escaped from prison in Bauchi, some of whom now may be participating in attacks in other parts of the country. A loose alliance of militant groups in the Niger Delta region has conducted a number of attacks against oil installations and posts of the Nigerian military’s Joint Task Force (JTF), which had attempted to close the militant camps. In June 2009, the Federal Government of Nigeria offered unconditional amnesty to any militants willing to surrender their arms and accept the government’s amnesty program. While almost all major militant leaders accepted the offer and the amnesty remains in effect, the potential for violence and the risk of kidnapping remains, with violent incidents involving “ex-militants” continuing.
Kidnappings continue to be another security concern. In January 2012, a U.S. citizen was kidnapped from his vehicle in Warri, Delta State and his security guard was killed. Assailants kidnapped a German citizen, also in January 2012, along a road where he was reportedly working in Kano, Kano State. In 2011, there were five reported kidnappings of U.S. citizens in Nigeria. The most recent occurred in November when two U.S. citizens, along with a Mexican national, were taken hostage in international waters off the Nigerian coast and held captive for over two weeks in the Niger Delta. Others have occurred in Lagos and Imo States. Also, a British national and an Italian national were kidnapped in Kebbi state in May 2011. Since January 2009, over 140 foreign nationals have been kidnapped in Nigeria, including seven U.S. citizens since November 2010. Six foreign nationals were killed during these abductions, while two U.S. citizens were also killed in separate kidnapping attempts in Port Harcourt in April 2010. Local authorities and expatriate businesses operating in Nigeria assert that the number of kidnapping incidents throughout Nigeria remains underreported.
Travel by foreigners to areas considered by the Nigerian government to be conflict areas without prior consultation and coordination with local security authorities is not recommended. The Nigerian government may view such travel as inappropriate and potentially illegal, and it may detain violators. In 2008, Nigerian authorities detained six U.S. citizens, including journalists, on six occasions, in areas where militant groups had operated. The Nigerian government interrogated these U.S. citizens for lengthy periods of time without bringing any formal charges before ultimately deporting them. Journalists are required to obtain a special accreditation from the Ministry of Information prior to traveling to conflict areas in the Niger Delta region states. This special accreditation is in addition to the general press accreditation and a valid Nigerian visa which are required to conduct such activities elsewhere in Nigeria.
Many foreign oil companies operating in the Niger Delta states of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, and Rivers have implemented “essential travel only” policies for their personnel. The U.S. Mission requires advance permission for U.S. government travel to these states, as well as the states of Abia, Edo, and Imo, the city of Jos in Plateau State, and Bauchi and Borno States, given the safety and security risk assessments and the U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate General’s limited ability to provide assistance to individuals detained by Nigerian authorities in these states. Due to recent violent activity, the U.S. Mission has temporarily restricted all travel by U.S. government personnel to Northern Nigeria. All travel requires advance permission and justification as mission-essential for U.S. official travel to all Northern Nigerian states. U.S. citizens who are resident in these states are advised to review their personal security in light of the information contained in this Travel Warning.
Nigeria is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious society in which different ethnic and religious groups often live in the same area. The States of Bauchi, Borno, and Plateau have experienced violence in the past year exacerbating tensions along those lines.
Violent crime committed by individuals and gangs, as well as by some persons wearing police and military uniforms, is an ongoing problem throughout the country, especially at night. U.S. citizen visitors and residents have experienced armed muggings, assaults, burglary, carjacking, rape, kidnappings, and extortion – often involving violence. Home invasions remain a serious threat, with armed robbers accessing even guarded compounds by scaling perimeter walls; following, or tailgating, residents or visitors arriving by car into the compound; and subduing guards and gaining entry into homes or apartments. Armed robbers in Lagos also access waterfront compounds by boat. U.S. citizens, as well as Nigerians and other expatriates, have been victims of armed robbery at banks and grocery stores and on airport roads during both daylight and evening hours. Law enforcement authorities usually respond slowly or not at all, and provide little or no investigative support to victims. U.S. citizens, Nigerians, and other expatriates have experienced harassment and shakedowns at checkpoints and during encounters with Nigerian law enforcement officials. Traveling outside of major cities after dark is not recommended due to both crime and road safety concerns. There are regular reports of piracy off the coast of Nigeria in the Gulf of Guinea. Armed gangs have boarded both commercial and private vessels to rob travelers. The Nigerian Navy has limited capacity to respond to criminal acts at sea.
U.S. citizens who travel to or reside in Nigeria are strongly advised to enroll through the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). U.S. citizens without Internet access may enroll directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By enrolling, you make it easier for the U.S. Embassy or Consulate to contact you in case of emergency.
U.S. citizens should contact the U.S. Embassy in Abuja or the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos for up-to-date information on any restrictions. The U.S. Embassy in Abuja is open Monday – Thursday 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The U.S. Consulate General in Lagos is open Monday – Thursday from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Friday 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The U.S. Embassy in Abuja can be reached by telephone, including after-hours emergencies, at +234(9) 461-4000. The U.S. Consulate General in Lagos can be reached by telephone, including after-hours emergencies at +234(1) 460-3600 or +234 (1) 460-3400.
Current information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada, or a regular toll line at-1-202-501-4444 for callers from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). You can also stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.
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Via Travel.state.gov