By Nathan Nwakamma
Bayelsa's government on Wednesday indicated its willingness to withdraw the ongoing dispute against the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) for unpaid revenues amounting to billions of naira.
The Nigerian News Agency (NAN) recalls that the Bayelsa government had taken SPDC to court for non-payment by the oil company of "development taxes".
The development royalties concerned land acquired for the construction of SPDC's Gbarain-Ubie gas installation in Yenagoa, capital of Bayelsa.
The state government suspended all agreements signed between oil companies and host communities in March, alleging that the SPDC was fueling community clashes resulting in violence in the Ekeremor local government area in Bayelsa.
Governor Douye Diri extended the olive branch when Shell Country President and SPDC Managing Director Osagie Okunbor led a management delegation on a courtesy visit to Government House, Yenagoa.
Speaking on the legal dispute over unpaid income owed to the state by the company, Diri said an amicable resolution was possible in the spirit of the renewed relationship between the two parties.
The governor also spoke about his administration's decision to oversee the signing and be part of the global memorandum of understanding (GMoU) between host communities and companies operating in the state.
He said that this was occasioned by cases of violation of such agreements, which lead to conflicts.
The policy, according to Diri, would be overseen by the Justice Department in order to protect the interests of these communities and, by extension, businesses.
“We made this policy statement to say that all GMoUs to be signed between communities and any business, including oil companies, must be overseen by the Department of Justice.
“This is because we want to protect the interests of our communities and even businesses at all times. Also, at all times, the state government would be aware of the issues.
“We have seen situations where the GMoU is signed, but very few people, who claim to be community leaders, are aware of it. And it becomes real tools for community conflicts, '' he said.
According to the governor, Shell's presence in Bayelsa was mutually beneficial for both parties.
The governor pointed out that the long-standing relationship between the state and Shell, following the discovery of oil in commercial quantities in the community of Otuabagi in the local government area of Ogbia, was proof that they were both inseparable in the oil and gas business.
While ensuring the company a conducive working environment, Diri noted that the stereotype of insecurity in the Niger Delta as a ploy to deprive the goose that lays the golden eggs is no longer tenable.
The governor requested Shell's partnership on major infrastructure projects such as the Nembe-Brass road project as well as the ongoing Yenagoa-Oporoma and Sagbama-Ekeremor road projects.
He thanked the company for its support on the Ogbia-Nembe route.
Speaking at the event, Okunbor noted the key steps Diri has taken to promote peace in the state and praised the governor's quality of leadership.
Okunbor described Bayelsa as the most important host state for the company, adding that the management of the Shell company in Nigeria is impressed with the way the governor manages the affairs of the state and his support for their operations.
He said Bayelsa plays host to some of the company's most strategic assets that keep it running.
The CEO is committed to maintaining the relationship between the company and the state by investing in key development projects in the state. (NAA)(NAN)
By Ifeanyi Olannye
Delta Governor Ifeanyi Okowa congratulated his Bayelsa counterpart Senator Douye Diri as he turned 62.
The governor's congratulations are conveyed in a statement by his chief press secretary, Mr. Olisa Ifeajika, on Friday in Asaba.
He congratulated Diri for his enormous contributions through service to the development of his state and his country.
According to Okowa, since Diri took the saddle of governance in Bayelsa, Yenagoa, the capital and other parts of the state have seen remarkable improvements in terms of infrastructure and aesthetics.
He praised the governor for his determination to make a difference in the state, including hard work to achieve universal health coverage for the Bayelsans.
“I must congratulate you, my dear brother Governor, for your achievements already recognized in the development of your State during the short time that you have dominated.
“I am aware of your efforts to make Bayelsa airport become operational to give the Bayelsans the option of having aviation services instead of going to Port-Harcourt and Owerri for such service.
“Your Excellency, it should be noted that you are providing universal health coverage and improving health facilities for the people of Bayelsa, and I must congratulate you on that.
“Your selfless and impressive beginnings as governor of Bayelsa have already distinguished you as an emerging nationalist and one to watch in the emerging political firmament of our country.
“I must also recognize your unwavering commitment to the course of the South-South region, especially as we face the challenges that prevail in the region and the country.
“On behalf of my family, the government and the people of Delta, I congratulate a man of honor and integrity, an accomplished politician and a budding nationalist, Senator Douye Diri, on his 62nd birthday of birth.
“I am extremely proud of your great accomplishments in the short time you have been running your state.
“I urge you to continue to use your God-given exalted position to conscientiously serve your people.
“On this auspicious occasion of your birthday, I join your family, friends and supporters in thanking Almighty God for your life which has been marked by divine favor and outstanding achievement,” Okowa added. (NAA)(NAN)
By Nathan Nwakamma
Gov. Douye Diri of Bayelsa on Sunday said that the virtue of love towards all practised by his mother, late Mrs. Rose Diri, shaped his political philosophy of no bitterness.
Diri disclosed this at Ayamasa, his maternal hometown in Ekeremor Local Government Area of the state, during the eighth-year wreath-laying ceremony in honour of his mother.
Madam Diri was born on May 15, 1939 and died on her 74th birthday 74 on May 15, 2013.
The governor said his late mother was the perfect example of the woman and wife captured in Proverbs 31 in the Bible.
He described his late mother as a woman that accommodated everyone who came across her while alive and never had any enemy.
According to him, her lifestyle of living without enmity and grudge towards anyone impacted his own life greatly.
“My mother had no enemies. That is why as a governor, I do not have any enemy because I learnt that from her.
“She was a woman that I can aptly say was described in Proverbs 31. Our mother was a mother to everybody.
“From here in Ayamasa, she got married and moved with her husband to Sampou. Even in Sampou, she was mother to everybody. Those who came across her can testify that she took everybody who she saw as my friend like her own children.
“For those of us she left behind, the only thing I would say is to continue to emulate the standard she left for us.” Diri said.
The governor in his remarks further condemned politics of bitterness and blackmail.
He expressed the hope that his emergence as governor would change the narrative and heal political wounds in the state.
“Let us not pull anybody down. Those that have served have done very well and served meritoriously. Let us give them the honour. Those of us serving now should know that history would always be there to look back at our service.
“We should move away from abusing one other and name-calling to a friendly and brotherly disposition. A disposition of service to our people, service to Bayelsa people, the Ijaw nation and Nigeria at large.” he said. (NAN)(NAN)
By Nathan Nwakamma
Gov. Douye Diri of Bayelsa on Friday, said that the use of electronic voting would end election fraud and electoral violence in the country.
Diri said this at the inauguration of the new Ijaw National Congress (INC) leadership at the Ijaw House in Yenagoa,
The governor said that the hitch-free conduct of the recent INC election indicated that Nigeria can conduct free, fair and violence-free elections in the country.
He, therefore, urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to adopt electronic voting to avoid conflicts during elections.
The governor noted that the failure of the country’s electoral body to adopt e-voting has led to politicisation of revered state institutions and disrespect to such institutions.
He also said that adoption of e-voting would provide an opportunity for Nigerians in the Diaspora to choose their leaders through the ballot.
“I am an advocate and supporter of electronic voting system. Many Nigerians have been denied the right to vote because they are not in Nigeria and cannot participate in choosing their leaders.
“It is a challenge to Nigeria. Let the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) be challenged. If the Ijaws can do it, the Federal Government can also do it.
“If Ijaws can enfranchise Ijaws in Europe and America to be part of deciding who leads them, INEC can equally do it. It will check violence, criminality and state institutions being politicised,” Diri said.
The governor, while advising the new executive council of the apex Ijaw socio-cultural body, stressed the need to advance the cause of Ijaws to achieve equity and fairness in Nigeria.
In his inaugural address, the new INC President, Prof. Benjamin Okaba, assured that the body would work for the progress of Ijaw people.
Okaba also said that the INC fully supported the recent pronouncement by governors of southern Nigeria prohibiting open grazing in the region.
According to him, the organisation would provide the necessary support to ensure adherence to laws aimed at protecting the people and their land against invasion from external forces.
He stated that INC would collaborate with other ethnic minorities that share the same experience with the Ijaws to achieve their dreams.
He said the ethnic group was aware of surreptitious moves by some groups to annex territories in the Niger Delta because of its resources, but that no part of Ijaw would be ceded or conquered.
“The INC wishes to use this special occasion to and in an unequivocal term remind and warn such characters that the Ijaw territory was never and will never be ceded or conquered.
“We belong only to the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Should there be a compelling necessity to pull out of the present Nigeria, we shall go our separate ways in fulfilment of the dreams of our ancestors,” he said. (NAN)(NAN)
By Shedrack Frank
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have lauded the worker-friendly disposition of Gov. Douye Diri of Bayelsa.
The workers’ unions, in a joint address at this year’s Workers Day celebration, particularly commended Diri’s commitment to prompt payment of salaries and gratuity.
Mr Bipre Ndiomu, the state’s NLC chairman, who delivered the address in Yenagoa on Saturday, said that Diri’s emergence as governor in February 2020 had been a huge blessing to Bayelsa.
He also praised the governor for standing by the workers at the peak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“At that time there were job losses all over the world, but the story in Bayelsa was different, thanks to Diri’s pragmatic and people-oriented leadership style.
“The readiness of the governor to rise to the occasion was heartwarming. We can’t thank him enough,” he said.
The labour leader, however, urged Diri to pay the gratuity of local government retirees, implement annual salary increments, and promote workers due for such privilege.
He also demanded for the payment of the national minimum wage, promotion arrears, as well as resumption of training and retraining of civil servants.
Ndiomu pledged the readiness of workers to put in their best toward quality service delivery.
In his response, the governor commended the workers for their support which had ensured the success story they were praising.
Diri also lauded the workers’ patience and understanding and reiterated his commitment to their welfare.
He directed the Commissioner for Finance and the Head of Service to work out modalities for immediate implementation of the annual salary increment, and promised to liaise with the relevant officers toward settling arrears accruing from the minimum wage.
The governor further directed relevant government officers to furnish him with details of salary arrears owed workers of the Environmental Sanitation Authority.
He also called for more information on the vehicles of staff of Radio Bayelsa damaged in the aftermath of the violence that trailed the Supreme Court judgement that declared him winner.
Diri assured workers that the training of workers would be given priority to boost productivity.
His words: “I urge workers in Bayelsa to remain resilient, hopeful and focused as we upscale our determination and resolve to build the state we all want. So much lies ahead that should make us optimistic rather than pessimistic.
“The wealth of the state is inextricably tied to the health of our workers, so government will continue to rank the welfare and happiness of workers at the zenith of its policies and programmes.
“This policy thrust is exemplified in initiatives of my government that include the allocation of 1,000 plots of land to civil servants to enable them to own their houses.
“We have implemented the N30,000 minimum wage, sustained the prompt payment of salaries while not neglecting pensions and gratuities.
“The State Government supplements the wages of local government staff to the tune of nearly N250 million monthly. This is a heavy toll on our already severely over-stretched resources, but we view it as a sacrosanct duty to our cherished workers,” he said.
Diri bemoaned the paucity of funds, but assured the people that their demands would be met as finances improved.(NAN)
By Shedrack Frank
Governor Douye Diri de Bayelsa called on members of the House of Representatives to speed up action on the passage of the Oil Industry Bill (GDP), as it will correct some of the injustices facing oil-producing states. oil.
Diri made the appeal on Tuesday when members of the House Committee on Oil Spill Investigation, Cleanup and Repair in Oil-Producing States visited him at Government House in Yenagoa.
He said the GDP, once passed, would be a way to right some of the wrongs that oil companies have in host communities, adding that the bill has long been overlooked by the National Assembly.
The governor said, “Let me appeal as you get very serious about GDP. The bill has been there from one house to the next.
"This is another source of improvement in what we perceive as cheating on the part of the oil companies and Nigeria, on the Niger Delta and its people."
Diri said people in the Niger Delta have suffered so much in terms of environmental degradation and pollution of water bodies, leading to an increase in cases of cancer and other strange ailments.
He questioned the standards applied by oil companies in their operations in the area compared to other parts of the world.
The governor, while also calling for the cleanup of the Niger Delta as a whole, noted that the Ogoni cleanup, which has attracted international attention, was only a fraction of the environment polluted by oil spills. 'hydrocarbons.
“What happened in Ogoniland is the same throughout the Niger Delta. That there is a cleanup in Ogoniland is, to say the least, a fraction of the Niger Delta.
“The clean-up should therefore take place throughout the Niger Delta,” Diri said.
He expressed hope that the committee's report would bring relief to people in the area, if implemented.
Earlier, the chairman of the committee, Representative Amiru Tukur, said they were in the state on a verification mission to some oil spill sites to verify the actual clean-up and remediation.
Tukur also said the results of the visit would form the basis of the committee's report to the House. (NOPE)(NAN)
By Nathan Nwakamma
Bayelsa's government said on Monday it would ensure its infrastructure projects underway across the state meet world-class standards and provide value for money.
Mr. Ebiye Tarabina, chairman of the Project Monitoring and Evaluation Directorate, said this during the inspection of ongoing projects in the state.
He said the projects were designed to meet the highest standards specified in their contracts.
Tarabina advised contractors on state government projects to execute their contracts according to standards and specifications, as management would not hesitate to wave the big stick against any erring contractor.
The president warned that the days of entrepreneurs cutting corners just to provide substandard jobs are over.
He said management would spare no effort to ensure contractors honor their contractual agreements.
The president, who noted that Governor Douye Diri remained committed to the completion of all ongoing projects on schedule, instructed the contractors in charge of the various projects to speed up actions on them.
He said the projects undertaken aimed to modernize social facilities in Bayelsa to bring the state in line with the league of cities with world-class infrastructure, thereby making Bayelsa comparable to other developed states.
Tarabina also noted that the gains from the investments made by the current administration in the provision of critical infrastructure would soon be felt positively on a large scale in all sectors.
The president congratulated the company that manages the Yenagoa-Oporoma road project for the speed of the works, noting that the project is strategic and, when completed, would lead to the accelerated development of the state.
The (NAN) reports that the road will connect Yenagoa to Oporoma, the seat of the South Ijaw Local Government Zone, the largest of the eight LGAs which is only accessible by waterways by boat.
Responding to the project site, an indigenous from the Oporoma community, Mr. Daniel Brazil, said the project would have a positive impact on the socio-economic status of the Oporoma community and the LGA of South Ijaw in its area. together.
He praised the efforts of Governor Diri for the financing of the project and expressed his gratitude to the CEO for the inspection tour of the project to ensure the compliance of the contractors.
NAN reports that the projects inspected include: the Nembe Unit Bridge; the Bayelsa Media complex, Ekeki; the Igbogene-Tombia road and the Yenagoa-Oporoma road.
The President was accompanied on the inspection tour by management engineers, department heads, journalists and management support staff. (NOPE)(NAN)
By Shedrack Frank
Governor Douye Diri de Bayelsa on Tuesday offered another scholarship to a top-notch law graduate from the state.
The scholarship was awarded to Miss Esther Amazige, who graduated first class from Rivers State University, Port Harcourt.
The Nigerian News Agency (NAN) reports that the governor earlier in the year awarded a scholarship to Miss Ebizi Eradiri after graduating first class at the University of the Niger Delta and the Faculty of Law from Nigeria.
Diri announced Miss Amazige's scholarship on Tuesday as he received the law graduate with mother, Ms. Joy Amazige, at Government House in Yenagoa.
The governor, who assured her of the readiness of her administration to sponsor her studies up to the doctoral level at any university of her choice inside and outside the country, congratulated her on 'have achieved this feat against all odds.
Diri praised Amazige's courage and resilience, pointing out that she was not deterred from achieving her dreams by the death of her father.
His words: “You have a lot of offers in UK for your Masters. Let me on behalf of the government state that your education, inside or outside the country, would be sponsored by the state government, even up to the doctoral level.
“I take this opportunity to advise our young people not to be discouraged by the circumstances in which they find themselves.
“Esther lost her father while in high school. Nothing can stop you when you are determined to make your dreams come true.
“Let Esther be your role model. With all the intimidating challenges she and her mother faced, she stayed focused; today we are celebrating its success.
“I urge young people to learn from its success story,” he said.
He instructed Miss Amazige to continue to demonstrate good conduct and to be the ambassador of the state and the country.
In his opening remarks, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Biriyai Dambo (SAN), described Miss Amazige as an intelligent and promising young girl, who won the first class in 2018 but narrowly missed her reply to Nigeria Law School.
In her remarks, Miss Amazige expressed her gratitude to the governor for the opportunity to advance his studies, saying his academic success was the result of his determination to make her late father proud.
The researcher said she has already received five offers of admission for a master's program abroad and promised to fly the state and country flag at all times.
On a related note, the governor also welcomed three National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Presidential Award recipients, who are indigenous to the state.
The 2018/2019 Presidential Fellows are Dr Anointed Riches, Engr. Abbott Temple Olotu and Bodisere Isaac.
He appreciated the award winners for positively promoting Bayelsa's image at their primary duty stations during their year of service.
The governor noted that their achievement was proof that, thanks to the opportunity and the right environment, the young people of the state could compete favorably with their peers all over the world.
His words: “This is why we continue to preach that the young people of Bayelsa are not lazy. Bayelsa youngsters are brilliant and can compete with anyone anywhere. You just proved it.
During the presentation of the recipients, Education Commissioner Gentle Emelah said two of them graduated from Niger Delta Public University, while the third graduated from Polytechnic School. of Delta State, Ozoro.(NAN)
By Nathan Nwakamma
Chief Timipre Sylva, the Minister of State for Petroleum says the All Progressives Congress, (APC) will clinch the Dec. 5 bye-election for Bayelsa West and Central seats in the state.
Sylva, gave the assurances at the committee rally for the Bayelsa West Senatorial District candidate Ebebi in Yenagoa.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN),recalls that the Central and West seats became vacant following inauguration of Sen Douye Diri and Sena Lawrent Ewhrujakpo as Gov and Deputy Governor of Bayelsa respectively.
The Nov. 16 guber poll was won by APC’s candidate David Lyon who was sacked by the Apex court on Feb. 13 on grounds that his Deputy Sen Degi Biobarakumo submitted forged credentials in his nomination.
The APC is fielding Chief Peremobowei Ebebi for Bayelsa West and Mr Abel Ebifemowei for Bayelsa Central bye-election.
The minister noted that the party had more acceptable candidates for the polls.
He regretted that the former Gov. Seriake Dickson of the state and PDP candidate for Bayelsa West, was maligning the image of the APC candidate, who was a former Deputy Governor, due to Ebebi’s political clout and pedigree.
Sylva described the recent judgement by a Federal High court sitting in Yenagoa, barring Ebebi from contesting as a ‘miscarriage of justice’.
“You all know the antecedents of our candidates, Peremobowei Ebebi and Abel Ebifemowei. You also know that the PDP candidates have failed Bayelsa.
“Dickson did not argue that Ebebi was a lawyer, but took him to court on the grounds of his qualification for admission into the Rivers State University of Science and Technology where he read the law.
“It seems to us, the APC family in the state, that the judiciary in the state is targeted at our party and candidates.
“The said judge who gave the procured judgement is sympathetic to PDP, she is partisan and so we are not surprised at the biased judgement that was delivered in favour of Dickson and his party,” Sylva noted.
He said that the party was hopeful that the Appeal court would upturn the judgement against Ebebi and the APC, maintaining that the two APC candidates would emerge as senators-elect at the end of the polls.
Also APC senatorial candidate, for Bayelsa West, Ebebi has urged his support base and party faithful to disregard the court judgement which had earlier disqualified his candidacy.
He said he was hopeful that the expected judgement from the appeal court would upturn the former judgement and put him back on the ballot.
He promised that he would fast track the development of the senatorial district when he emerged winner in the forthcoming polls.
The Bayelsa Government on Monday lamented the decline in revenues accruing from the Federation account while announcing its income and expenditure profile for the months of August, September and October 2020.
Presenting a breakdown of the figures for the three months in Yenagoa, the Commissioner for Finance, Mr Maxwell Ebibai, disclosed that the state received a gross inflow of N12.8 billion for August.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the transparency briefing is a monthly ritual, initiated by the former Governor, Seriake Dickson’s Administration and by Law in the state.
He explained that the amount consisted statutory allocation of N3.14 billion, derivation N8.8 billion, VAT N1.97 billion and refund for Pay As You Earn (PAYE) N636 million.
Ebibai also noted that deductions from the Federation Allocation Accounts Committee (FAAC) was N1.007 comprising foreign loans to the state while the federal government recovery was N42.171 million, restructured commercial loan N741.156 million among others.
The commissioner, who announced N463.9 million as IGR receipt for July 2020, also remarked that funds from other sources stood at N500 million.
He said total receipts from FAAC excluding the deductions at source amounted to N11.8 billion, including the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) for July, which brought the total receipts to N13.159 billion.
For September, the commissioner stated that N10.285 billion was recorded as gross inflow, including statutory allocation of N2.981 billion, derivation N6.030 billion and Value Added Tax of N1.27 billion.
Ebibai also announced N1.952 billion as total deductions from FAAC, noting that judging from the deductions at source from the month of August, the total deductions for September was significantly higher by N933 million.
He said the state recorded a sharp drop in its revenue from the federation account owing to two major factors.
The commissioner, explained that the state had been receiving federal government grants since 2012 but started making refunds on it in September 2020, coupled with deductions at source on revenues due to the state from the disputed oil well between Bayelsa and Rivers.
He said after the total deductions of N1.952 billion from FAAC, the state was left with a net balance of N8.333 billion as against that of the month of August which was N11.8 billion.
Ebibai further explained that the state government recorded total receipts of N1.49 billion in August and had to source for funds of N2 billlion due to the shortfall in revenue the previous month.
He said the net funds available for the state came up to N11.382 billion while the state’s total expenditure was N7.2 billion.
The commissioner noted that the expenditure among other components included, civil servants salaries of N3.9 billion, gratuity N150 million, while N173.5 million was spent as salaries for political appointees.
Ebibai pointed out that Gov. Douye Diri has been consistent in the payment of gratuities to pensioners despite the state’s financial constraints and assured that it will sustain the payment until the backlog is cleared.
He added that recurrent and capital expenditure gulped N4.140 billion, leaving a balance of N26.560 million while it recorded a closing balance of N995 million in September.
For October, the commissioner reported that the state got a gross inflow of N10.2 billion, comprising statutory allocation of N1.9 billion, derivation N3.8 billion, Value Added Tax N1.2 billion and Forex Equilisation Fund of N1.9 billion.
He said total deductions at source stood at N1.9 billion, which included foreign loans to the state and federal government recovery while commercial agriculture credit scheme and other items gulped N939.8 million.
Ebibai also announced that the state has a net figure of N8.2 billion with an IGR of N839 million, a receipt of N1 billion for COVID-19 and total other receipts of N1.839 billion.
He said the net FAAC receipts in addition to other receipts amounted to N10.50 billion.
Giving a breakdown on the outflows, Ebibai disclosed that the government made total payments of N6.452 billion out of which it made loans repayment of N870.6 million and minimum wage arrears N50 million.
Others are gratuity N150 million, grants to higher institutions N846.6 million, civil servants salaries N3.9 billion, political appointees salaries N201.7 million and salary arrears N130.5 million, leaving a net balance of N3.9 billion.
He reported that total recurrent and capital payments gulped N4.3 billion, leaving a deficit balance of N707 million.
Ebibai noted that the balance brought forward from September was N995 million out of which the state had a closing balance of N288.7 million.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Vincent Obi
Picture showing the Commissioner for Finance, Ebibai, Commissioner for Information and Orientation Mr Duba Crowther and other members during the transparency briefing.