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Okowa Celebrates 30th Anniversary Of Delta, Pays Tributes To Predecessors

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Okowa Signs Delta Anti-open Grazing Bill Into Law

Delta State Governor Dr. Ifeanyi Okowaon Tuesday paid tributes to his predecessors as he celebrated the 30th anniversary of the creation of the state.

Okowa spoke at a Stakeholders Interactive Forum in Asaba as part of the activities marking the anniversary.

He said that the forum would afford people the opportunity to reflect on the last 30 years, share experiences and chart a course for the future, recalling that due to political differences at that time, the creation of the state was greeted with cautious optimism.

The governor, however, announced that he was happy to report that skepticism had now given way to belief in a more united Delta.

“Thirty years ago, Delta State was born, and given the prevailing political atmosphere at the time, its birth was, understandably, greeted with cautious optimism.

“Indeed, not a few were skeptical about the future of the new state, given its ethnic plurality and the initial feelings of disappointment among those who felt shortchanged in the process.

READ ALSO: PDP Deputy Chairman’s Bid To Stop National Working Committee Meeting Fails

“But after 30 years of existence, it is gratifying to note that the skepticism has given way to belief, despair has been replaced by confidence, and suspicion has succumbed to understanding and acceptance.

“I dare say that Deltans have come to live as one big, happy family and the state has continued to forge ahead in all indices of human, physical and economic development,” he said.

He expressed gratitude to civil servants – serving, retired, or late – who made huge sacrifices to ensure the successful take-off of the state.

“My appreciation also goes to elected politicians and political appointees who have served the state at various times.

“Your ideas, policies, programmes, and contributions have helped to raise the profile of Delta to what it is now, a pacesetter in the Nigerian federation.”

Okowa paid glowing tributes to his predecessors, the late Chief Felix Ibru, Chief James Ibori, and Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan for their immense contributions to the growth and development of the state.

He said that his administration had improved on the growth trajectory recorded by his predecessors and lauded the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administrations in the State for the continuity of programmes and policies since 1999.

READ ALSO: Deputy Chairman Takes Over PDP As Secondus Is Suspended

He added that the new universities created by his administration would commence academic sessions in September this year, and would provide opportunities to many bright students who, due to limited space, were unable to gain admission into the existing public universities.

“In the tertiary education sector, three existing institutions have been upgraded to universities to broaden access to university education for our bright students, especially in the fields of medicine, engineering, law, ICT, and architecture,” Okowa said.

On the health sector, he said that Delta became the first in the country to commence universal health coverage with no fewer than 950,000 enrollees under the scheme, the highest so far in the country, with 487 hospitals officially accredited to provide service.

The governor disclosed that his administration had extended the frontiers of rural-urban integration and urban renewal through massive infrastructure development, especially road projects.

“The 20.28km Obotobo I-Obotobo II-Sokebolou–Yokri-Road in Burutu Local Government Area underscores our commitment to providing infrastructure of the most vital interest and consequence.

“Indeed, the riverside communities of Burutu, Oporoza, Okerenkoko and Benekrukru, amongst others, have been given a facelift with well-paved roads.

“Building on the foundation laid by my predecessors, we have transformed Asaba, the capital city, into one of the fastest-growing cities in Nigeria.

READ ALSO: Kebbi Speaker, Deputy Impeached

“The sprawling ultra-modern Central Secretariat Complex, which is nearing completion, has enhanced the architectural beauty of Asaba landscape,” he said.

On the Petroleum Industry Act 2021 as assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari, the governor commended the passage of the bill, but with reservations.

“We welcome the passage of the PIA but I must say that the three percent allocated to host communities from the operating cost of the oil companies is unsatisfactory.

“We are convinced that the five percent demanded by our state and other oil-producing states is fair, just and equitable in view of the ecological and environmental degradation that the host communities are exposed to from oil exploration.

“We shall continue to push for higher compensation but I appeal to all Deltans, particularly the youth, to be calm and law-abiding. I am confident that we will have the opportunity to make improvements to the law by way of amendment,” the governor stated.

Welcoming guests earlier, Secretary to the State Government, Chief Patrick Ukah, said that at 30, Delta was smart, strong, and safe and had brought to the fore the results of three decades of hard work and dedication by the founding fathers of the state.

Ukah stressed that Delta was celebrating 30 years of massive infrastructure, education, sports, entertainment, human capital development, and small-scale enterprises among others.

Stakeholders at the forum commended Governor Okowa and other past leaders for their outstanding accomplishments in the governance of the state.

READ ALSO: Governor Ifeanyi Okowa The Fearless

The forum was attended by the Deputy Governor, Mr. Kingsley Otuaro; former military administrator of the state, Navy Commander Walter Feghabo (Rtd); Speaker of the House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Sheriff Oborevwori; Chief Judge, Justice Theresa Diai; Minority Leader, House of Representatives, Chief Ndudi Elumelu, Traditional Rulers among others.

 

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Gumi Protests As Court Declares Bandits As Terrorists

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Gumi Protests As Court Refers To Bandits As Terrorists

Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, has condemned a court’s declaration of bandits as terrorists as a political decision.

“I think the Federal Government has succumbed to media blackmail by a section of the country.

“It will not have any practical value because even before the declaration they are being fought and treated as terrorists,” he said.

The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court had declared proscribed bandit groups as terrorists.

READ ALSO: Court Declares Bandits As Terrorists

Specifically, the court, in a ruling that was delivered by Justice Taiwo Taiwo, held that activities of Yan Bindiga and Yan Ta’adda bandit groups, constitute acts of terrorism.

In a statement issued by Malam Tukur Mamu ,the Dan-Iyan Fika and Media Consultant to Sheikh Gumi, the Muslim scholar said: “So it’s just a nomenclature which I believe will not change the dynamics on ground.

“If you can remember, IPOB was also declared a terrorist organisation. The declaration was even backed by the order of the court, but as you can see even the international community did not recognise FG’s declaration on IPOB.

“So it has failed to be effective or to achieve the desired results.

“They have not been banned from travelling to other countries, while their citizenship remains intact; it has not been denounced. So what type of declaration is that?

“I sincerely hope that Nigerians will not take the herdsmen as terrorists, but should regard the criminality of the few among them against innocent people as acts of terrorism just as we see IPOB and their attacks on security agencies and other northern citizens as acts of terrorism.

“Very few herdsmen are bandits if you go through their population.

“I hope this declaration will not give the licence to people to be profiling herdsmen in general as terrorists and taking laws into their hands against them.

“It will cause more mayhem. The declaration will not change anything, it will not change the dynamics. Already the military is engaging them.

“It didn’t stop them from kidnappings and killings. The declaration will not end their aggression against the society.
‘It is a socio-political problem’

“The Fulani banditry is a socio-economic problem. We have seen it, we interacted widely with them.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Will Be In Ruins If Bandits Are Declared As Terrorists – Gumi

“We told the federal government the way out. It can only be won through engagement, dialogue and justice.

“That is why today there is relative peace in the Niger Delta because government has accepted the painful reality of rehabilitating and empowering them.

“There has to be equitable distribution of wealth in Nigeria and justice for every one.

“People don’t want to accept it. Before the issue of banditry that now affects all of us, the Fulani have suffered so much.

“They have lost their legitimate means of livelihood; I mean their cows through cattle rustling and extortion by security agencies.

“That has to be addressed as a means of genuine reconciliation and integration. They should have sense of belonging.”

 

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Court Declares Bandits As Terrorists

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Court Declares Bandits As Terrorists

Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has declared the activities of bandits in Nigeria as acts of terrorism.

In a landmark judgment on Thursday, the court said “Yan Bindiga group”, “Yan Ta’adda group” and others alike are active terrorists.

M. B. Abubakar, Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Federal Ministry of Justice, filed an ex-parte motion.

A supporting affidavit, filed by Aminu Kayode Alilu of the ministry, explained why the application was made.

The government told the court that bandits were responsible for several acts of criminality in different parts of the country.

The oath pointed out that Yan Bindiga, Yan Ta’adda and others were responsible for “wanton destruction of lives and property in Nigeria, particularly in the Northwest and North-central states”.

READ ALSO: El-Rufai Asks Buhari To Declare Bandits As Terrorists

It mentioned, “kidnappings for ransom, kidnapping for marriage, mass abductions of school children and other citizens, cattle rustling, enslavement, imprisonment, severe deprivation of physical liberty, torture, rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, other forms of sexual violence, attacks and killings”.

The government said the outlaws were carrying out “acts of terrorism that can lead to a breakdown of public order and safety and is a threat to national security and the corporate existence of Nigeria”.

In his pronouncement, Justice Taiwo proscribed Yan Bindiga, Yan Ta’adda and all bandit clusters “either in groups or as individuals by whatever names they are called”.

The judge directed the Federal Government to publish the proscription order in the official gazette and two national dailies.

 

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Telecoms Services Restored In Kaduna

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Telecoms Services Restored In Kaduna

Following the return of peace to the troubled parts of Kaduna, the state government has ordered the immediate restoration of telecommunication service in areas where the facility was earlier suspended for security reasons.

The Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr Samuel Aruwan, said this while addressing newsmen in Kaduna.

He said, the state government had contacted relevant federal agencies to effect the immediate restoration of the services.

He recalled that in October 2021 security agencies had requested the shutdown as part of the measures to address the problem of banditry and related crimes.

READ ALSO: El-Rufai Asks Buhari To Declare Bandits As Terrorists

“The security agencies have notified he government that telecoms services can now be restored.

“The initial shutdown, along with other measures, had helped the security agencies to achieve some results“, Aruwan said

He said it was unfortunate that the measure, had its negative impact on the legitimate activities of citizens and businesses.

He assured residents that the restoration of full services in the affected area would be full achieved in few days.
While commending the sacrifices made by residents during the temporary shutdown he expressed regrets for inconveniences caused the affected areas.

The commissioner, however, said other measures, on security measures aimed at combating crimes in the affected areas remained in force.

“These include; prohibition of movement of motorcycle, the ban on weekly market, transportation of cattle and sales of cattle across the state,” he said.

 

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